Another Reason

We’ve lived in Martinsville-Henry County Virginia for over 15 years. That’s pretty special, considering our 28-year career in the Army when we moved on average every 2-3 years. I love living where we do now, retired fully and enjoying it all the best we can, considering age and health concerns. My cameras help keep me focused (no pun) on what’s around me. This photo essay is about a very nice (and relative new) attraction in Martinsville. Another reason why we love living here.

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The items in the display represent many facets of the diversity of people and activities in Henry County … textiles, furniture, music, faith, farming, recreation, etc. The display shows a high level of creativity in how those items are presented. Thanks to all who designed and put together this creative artwork, and to those officials and others who made its public display possible. It’s great!

Closed for the Winter

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A very popular location in SW Virginia at which to enjoy yourself is Fairy Stone State Park, with it’s swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and fishing lake, plus many amenities designed especially for younger children. Now, it’s closed for the winter. Heavy rains have muddied the normally clear blue, spring-fed water, while fallen leaves and other debris have cluttered usually clean, white sandy beaches.

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During warm summer days, there would be rental kayaks and canoes lined up along this shoreline, with fees being paid in the shed in the background. A different summer scene would be present below, with more rental boats lined up.

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Fishing in the lake, both from shore (below) and on the water, is very popular; however, in the midst of winter, the lake is mostly deserted. Pedal boats are currently stored under picnic shelters, waiting to again be put in the water in just a few more months.

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Also sitting idle are gymnastic facilities designed for young children. I’ve been there in the midst of summer and this specific place is packed with shouting, suntanned kids, while nearby parents watch happily.

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Distinct contrasts between seasons in many locations all across northern regions of America may appear rather sad and drab when not snow-covered. I don’t look at it that way at all. It’s just a promise of what lies ahead.

Martinsville’s Lake Lanier

After all the snow and extreme cold we’ve had over the past week, I decided yesterday I needed to get out and about, even if it was cloudy and in the mid 40s. I spend a lot of time with my cameras, driving around Martinsville, Virginia where we live, looking for interesting sights and memories to share. Why I picked going to Lake Lanier I don’t know. As the next image shows, I’m glad I did.

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I made photos of the boat house and canoes laying on shore from various angles. Had it not been cloudy as it was, I’m not sure I could have captured the soft look I did.

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And there’s the wildlife. Ducks, geese and two magnificent swans were there … the latter swimming up next to shore where I was standing. I felt like they were posing for me. Perhaps they were.

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As I was walking around the lake (about an hour’s leisurely stroll) I spotted an adjacent pond with an interesting fishing pier projecting out. Peaceful indeed.

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The lesson learned for me that day is that it’s not the weather that matters, it’s what we do with it.

First Snow

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As the sun lowered in the sky late this afternoon, after twelve hours of moderate to heavy snowfall (the first of 2017 for us here in SW Virginia) the beauty of our back yard made me smile. I made the Barn Quilt you see attached to the side of our storage shed for my wife Barb several years ago, and its color, that of the shed and the dark blue sky really made this scene memorable. I believe this will be just one of hundreds more I’ll record during this new year. Many to share here.

Smith River Colors … and a Bee

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One great aspect of living where we do in Henry County and Martinsville, Virginia is the tremendous outdoor recreational activities available. The Smith River lies at the center of that. Trout fishing, canoeing, kayaking and trail hiking along its banks are very popular with visitors and residents alike. I decided the other day to take a look at a river access point near our home, and found some nice colors awaiting. I was especially happy to see the yellow colors in the river itself, as a result of seasonal changing river vegetation I’d not seen before. So, I wandered about the bank looking for possible photo compositions.

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Later, I spotted some flowers still in bloom, given the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having. And on one flower sat this lone Bumblebee, most likely feeding one last time before going to places unknown to me, perhaps Bee heaven. It made for a great photo.

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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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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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The Dick and Willie Trail

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Before the arrival of railroads in the Dan River Valley region of SW Virginia, goods were transported to city and town markets via flat-bottomed boats. By the late 19th Century, railroads had taken over that purpose. A rail line was completed from Danville to Stuart in 1884 and passed through Martinsville. The “Danville and Western Railroad” was nicknamed the “Dick and Willie” by local residents and while train traffic was discontinued years ago, the roadbed of the line has been converted into a multi-purpose recreational trail as it passes through Martinsville. The 4.5 mile long trail is used today by thousands annually, and the name Dick and Willie remains affectionally in the hearts of many. Recently, I took a early morning walk along the trail, and was rewarded not only by the exercise I had, but by the beauty of wildflowers and greenery all along the route. Kudos to local government planners and officials for making this all possible.

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