Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roadtrip with the Dixie Chicks

This past Saturday I jumped in the car with my friend Emily and a Dixie Chick cd. Three hours later I was in Floyd, VA and feeling very light of heart. It's great what a good friend and good music can do for a girl.

I had never been to Floyd, but had heard about it off and on through the years. It had always sounded like some kind of farming town that wasn't worth the long drive (not when I can get "farming" right here in Rockingham County).

Well, shatter my misconceptions, because Floyd is my kind of town. Sure, it's got plenty of agriculture there (nothing wrong with that), but it's also got the best of past traditions, particularly when it comes to good music and dance. Floyd is famous for the "Floyd Country Store" which is celebrating it's 100th anniversery this year. Every Friday night the Country Store holds their "Friday Night Jamboree" with live bluegrass music and plenty of flatfoot dancing (clogging). In the warm summer months the fun and crowds even flow out on to the street with their dancing.
About once a month they even have live music and dancing on Saturday night. It was on one of these Saturdays that Emily and I attended. What a fun experience! I took some pictures for you to enjoy:

This first photo was of the Sunset outside our hotel room. We stayed at the Oak Haven Lodge, which had this incredible oak tree right outside our balcony. The Oak Haven Lodge was probably the best hotel I've stayed in EVER. It wasn't because it was extra fancy or anything, I just liked it because it was styled to be "homey". There was quilted bedspreads, country furnishings, stenciled paintings on the wall. I felt welcome from the moment I walked in. The porch balcony was even nice, I enjoyed this sunset while relaxing on our rocking chair. If you ever make it down to Floyd I'd recommend staying here.

After checking into our room, when then went out in search for dinner. Not far from the Floyd Country Store we came across El Charro's. WELL...we have two El Charro's in Harrisonburg, and they're a favorite of Emily and I, so dinner was an easy decision. We discovered this wasn't a chain restaurant, but the menus were surprisingly similiar. The food though was quite different. I really like the El Charro's in Harrisonburg, I think they're food is great, but the El Charro's in Floyd had INCREDIBLE food. The guacamole was best part of the meal, with real chunks of avacado in it. If you're ever in Floyd you better check out El Charro's for an excellent meal.

After dinner we walked straightaway to the Floyd Country Store, since the music and dancing had already begun. Once inside I have to admit I was a little intimidated by the excellent flatfoot dancers who were out on the floor. There were plenty of chairs to sit on, so Emily and I found a seat and just watched them dance. We sat there for quite a few numbers and I was getting bored, but still didn't have the nerve to actually get out on the floor and make a fool of myself with nonexsistent dancing skills.
After awhile we started browsing the store, which is really a great step back into the past, with their old fashioned products. After we saw all the store had to offer, we found new seats and started watching the dancing again. At this point I was starting to think this was a bad idea, why did we come here when we couldn't even dance. I saw a woman dancing her way to the dance floor, she was excellent, and she was going to be passing right by us. When she was next to me I asked her how long she had been dancing, her reply, "Since July." Less than a year, and she was great! She asked us why we weren't dancing and we admitted we didn't know how. She dragged us with her up to the dance floor and before you knew it we were clogging along with everyone else. I loved it!! I loved the clacking, the rythym, the music, EVERYTHING.
We continued to dance throughout the evening. One older, more eccentric woman took us under her wing and should us some steps. Emily was fun to watch, because of her passion for Salsa dancing she would mix the moves with clogging and came up with her own style. I had a few funny moment during the evening, the first was during a two-step (just a slow paced dance) when our "eccentric woman" motioned Emily and I out onto the dance floor. I'm going to teach you girls the Electric Slide she said. I didn't think I was hearing her right. I remember learning the electric slide in middle school, it was a fast paced line dance. She couldn't possibly be suggesting that the three of us dance the electric slide out on that dance floor with all the other COUPLES dancing around. Just as I feared though, that was exactly what she had been suggesting. For someone who likes to mingle on the floor with other people and not draw too much attention that was the LONGEST dance of my life.
The second "funny moment" came at the end of the evening when they played their last two-step (slow paced). There wasn't many young men at this dance, so that left "grandfather" types for Emily and I to dance with, which when you don't know people those gentlemen are preferred. A very nice gentleman asked me to dance as they called out this last dance. We stood in the middle of the floor preparing to dance. I told him I didn't know how to two step and he quickly told me, "two steps to the right, on step to the left" and we were off. It was then that I noticed that no body else was out on the dance floor. For what seemed like a lifetime it was just him and me, with everyone else watching. Slowly then other couples came out to the floor and my breathing returned to normal.
Here are some photos of the Floyd Country Store.

Here's Emily by the wood carved door at the Hardware Store. How great is that door?

Emily asked me to take a picture of this sign for the Oddfellas Cantina. She loved the name of this place. Since our trip I've heard from someone that this is a really great place to eat. I guess I'll be trying it out on my next trip to Floyd.

Emily also noticed this cross before I did. It was in the window of some store. I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like it.

I love this photo. We didn't go to the Blue Ridge restaurant, but it looked good. I took the photo for the sign "North 221". We came into Floyd on this road, driving south from Roanoke. It's really a great, scenic drive.

As we were driving back home we took Route 221 back. Drive back wasn't as hurried as the drive to Floyd. Along the way we stop and took photos of some of our favorite scenes. We passed a Farmers Market with some neat advertising. Emily got this photo of the vehicle and sign.

I loved the fencing on this farm, so we pulled over and tried to capture the beauty of it all. Though I love this picture and think it turned out all right, I'd say it still doesn't do justice to all that we saw through our own eyes.

One of our last scenic stops was just outside Roanoke where we took this photo that speaks to me of the "First days of Spring." You're just starting to see some color come out on the trees.

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