Author Archives: swierwil

Roaring River Canoe Rentals

Rent a canoe and sail down the Roaring River this Spring and Summer! Not only will you get to enjoy the challenge of canoeing, but the canoe launch is also set on an historic site, one of the oldest grist mills in Wilkes County. You can also fish along the river, as small mouth, large mouth, red eyes, and catfish are especially prosperous. The rates are very reasonable; for example, a trip up to three hours is only $20 per person.

Find more renting information at the website:


Mount Airy’s WPAQ

Mount Airy, NC is famous for being the inspiration for the fictional community of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show. It is less known for bluegrass music, but bluegrass is equally at home in “Mayberry” as is Andy Griffith. Especially important in Mount Airy and in the bluegrass scene is WPAQ 740 AM, the “Voice of the Blue Ridge,” one of the only truly bluegrass and old-time music radio stations still broadcasting. It is one of the reasons Mount Airy has such a large bluegrass presence; the station helps to bring in fiddlers, pickers, bluegrass bands and jam sessions. The programming includes more than just traditional bluegrass, as it also plays bluegrass gospel music and has a bible hour. If you’re in the area, tune in to 740 AM. WPAQ is truly a cultural gem.

The Shore-Styers Mill Park

There is an undisturbed park embedding a cascading waterfall on North Deep Creek in Yadkin County, North Carolina. Numerous walking trails weave through the Shore-Styers Mill Park, which contains two gardens and steep hills sprinkled with ferns and mountain laurel. The powerful waterfall has been home to several mills in the past, including a sawmill, corn mill, and a flour mill.

Shore-Styers Mill Park is a haven for those looking for quiet, rustic hikes and pastoral views. It is comprised of 4.41 acres of forest along North Deep Creek and is located 4 miles east of Yadkinville between Shacktown Road and Old Highway 421.

For more information and a history of the mills along the creek, visit

Saltville’s Palmer Mill Playhouse

It’s not very often that beautiful historic buildings and sites are put to use for productive modern day use. The Palmer Mill Playhouse in Saltville of Smyth County, VA is a rustic mill that houses working mechanisms from the oldest Plantation style mill in Washington County, Virginia and presents theater plays to the local community. The plays often invite the community to participate and have included performances such as Steel Magnolias, Everybody Loves Opal, and Annie.

Scene from "Everybody Loves Opal" in the old mill

If you’re in the area, visit this website to see performances and times:

Shelton Vineyards

The Shelton Vineyards boasts the title “The Premier Winery in the East.” It has also earned the title of the largest family owned winery in North Carolina. Located in Dobson, NC, the Shelton Winery includes a tasting bar, deli and cheese shop, and gift shop, as well as luscious scenery with picnicking spots. In the summer, concerts are shown on an outdoor stage.

The vineyards produce several wines, such as the esteemed Cabernet Sauvignon of Yadkin Valley, as well as Chardonnay, Merlot, and Riesling. If you enjoy wine, cheese, or fine food, the Shelton Vineyards and Winery are not to be missed.

See their business webpage

Rock Castle Gorge and Trail

Rock Castle Gorge sits just under one of the many overlooks you can find along Rock Castle Gorge Trail, which travels along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia, near Roanoke. The 11-mile moderate loop contains constantly evolving scenery, with plenty of mountain top views, and leads you through everything from cow pastures and meadow scenery to rippling streams. Wildlife has a large presence throughout the trail, and you might glimpse the broad-winged hawk or wild turkey. Red fox, coyote, bobcat, and black bear make a home nearby but are rarely seen by hikers. Be prepared for a few climbs, but also keep in mind that any steep parts are well worth the view ahead.

You can find a detailed description of the trail here:, and directions and information at this site:

Bull Mountain Scenic Trails

The Cascade Highlands is an area rich with scenic hiking and equestrian trails, but each trail sets itself apart in a unique and interesting way. The Bull Mountain Trails is a set of ATV and equestrian trails, but it is not your traditional woodsy trail. It is chock full of wide open spaces, meadows, grassy knolls, and large ponds to camp around. Nevertheless, it certainly does not lack variety, as there are long, steep climbs, loop trails, as well as scenic areas. It is most known for ATV and equestrian trails, but the camping and picnicking opportunities should not be overlooked.

For a gallery of pictures and contact information, see