Some more from Martinsville

Martinsville, Virginia has some significant history associated with it. For example, it once was a central hub for America’s furniture and textile industry; Bassett, Stanley, Hooker, American and more. Today, manufacturing has moved on just as it has throughout the nation, sadly. However, what remains are many interesting sights to see and photograph. Recreational activities are thriving here now. Hiking, biking, water sports and much more. We love living here. Visit sometime if you will. In the meantime, enjoy these images.

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Back Road Gifts

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As I drive around narrow back roads in SW Virginia and adjacent rural North Carolina, I often find what I’ll call photo treasures from the past. When one of them has something of special interest to my wife (like the Barn Quilt in the last image) I’m happier than I would have been otherwise, because I love sharing these sorts of “photo gifts” with her and others.

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Axton Virginia is Special

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Axton is a special place, for me, because I love making photographs of locations that today are far from what they once were. This very small town is located along the state line with North Carolina, near Martinsville, Virginia. Today there is an elementary school there which is part of the Henry County School System, a Fire and Rescue Station, some retail convenience stores, a few old buildings-some occupied and some not, and many small farms. The old water tower there definitely caught my eye.

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Once, a train line passed through and stopped at this station. I walked around it, thinking about what it was like when a train approached on rails now gone.

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There was a furniture store here at one time, now empty, and a Post Office building that to me looks like an old bank. It’s now being used to sell various items.

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Lastly, the farming nature of the area is easy to spot by some vacant farm homes, barns and other structures.

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Like I wrote earlier, Axton is a special place for me … and my camera.

A Quilter’s Country Home

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My wife Barb is a very good “Quilter” and she has close friends here in SW Virginia who are equally so, or better. They each truly love what they do, and spend a good bit of time doing it together. A few days ago, I drove Barb to her quilting friend Patsy’s country home, to deliver an item she had made to be “machine quilted” on Patsy’s large frame machine. I was excited to go along because I wanted to see and photograph Patsy’s century-old family home. The brick style is classic, and it’s in very good condition. There were outside aspects of the home that caught my eye. Such as …

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After I went inside, and after Patsy kindly said I could go look at whatever I wanted, I wandered about being most attracted to the warm wooden textures, especially on the well-worn stairs. The stained glass window in the front door was also interesting. It’s not an original, but looks like it.

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I also walked around outside, making photos of her apple trees and the grape arbor, noting that birds and bees were thoroughly enjoying themselves on the fruit. Patsy also has a vegetable garden, and before we left she took me into her “root cellar” to show me all that she has preserved for later use. She offered me a couple of mason jars full of goodies, which I happily accepted.

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Three hours after we arrived, we drove home having just experienced the true hospitality of a “SW Virginian” … folks we are so very happy to be close to.

NC Mountain Legend: Mast General Store

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I’m a sucker for being first in line to visit any old General Store. Anywhere. We’re fortunate to live close to many still operating in the mountain regions of Virginia and North Carolina. My favorite is located in Valle Crucis, NC near Boone. Mast General Store has so much to see you need at least an hour, and even then you will feel like going around again to find that “special treasure” just waiting for you. In that regard, there’s lots to make you get your credit card out, or your cash, whichever. As far as photo opportunities are concerned … well, just take a look at what I saw recently.

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Looking up in Uptown Martinsville

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Martinsville, Virginia is my home. While I live just outside the city limits, I consider myself a resident, because I spend so much time there with my camera. I have seen the city in ways many people do not. At one time not too long ago, Martinsville was a primary “economic engine” for the Commonwealth. Today, not so much because of major changes in how America obtains manufactured goods, such as textiles and furniture…overseas versus local. But, this is another story. Here, I want to show you what I saw recently while “looking up” in Martinsville. More importantly, I’m convinced that the economic future of the city is also, “looking up.” Lots in that regard is ongoing, but again that’s another story. Now for the photos. PS: Others who live here might want to guess where the photo subjects are located.

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