Archive for the ‘Stokes County’ Category
I went on a road trip yesterday to Yadkin County, where most of my family live. Here are a few photos from along the way.
For ages, I’ve been fascinated with the old concrete silos. I think it’s related to my fascination with towers. I’ve always thought that a silo could be converted into a great place to live. These silos are on the north side of Pilot Mountain.
About my photos: Normally, when I post photos on the blog, I size them down to 600 pixels wide so that the pages load nice and quick. Now that I have a much nicer camera, for some of my photos I will include a link to a high-resolution version of the photo.
[Link to high-res] A butterfly in my mother’s magnolia tree
[Link to high-res] A field just north of Hanging Rock State Park
Looking toward Prabhupada Village from Moir Farm Road
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate…
— William Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if summer days were still temperate?
I realized while I was mowing this morning that I don’t hate summer. What I hate is abnormal summer. After a long run of days with temperatures in the 90s and as high as 97, today seems downright cool. It was 80 degrees out when I was mowing. Now, at 3:30 p.m., it’s 86. It feels like a cool spell, but really it’s not. It’s just close to normal (though still a few degrees above normal). According to the National Weather Service, the normal temperature for June 13 in Greensboro, N.C. (south of here) is 83. Amazing, isn’t it? Temperatures come down to a few degrees above normal and it feels like a cool spell.
But this is what summers used to be like.
Since the weather was so fine, and since I had to go to the post office anyway, I went on a short picture-taking expedition to Danbury, then through back roads to Sandy Ridge, and home again.
I stopped to talk to Carl Hicks, who was out on his tractor on Mission Road. Mr. Hicks owns the land that the nearest Verizon tower sits on, and I drove by hoping to bump into a Verizon technician who I might pump for information on Verizon’s Internet services in these parts. There was no technician, but Mr. Hicks did confirm that Verizon finally ran fiber to the tower a couple of months ago. Maybe that will help with my Internet service, though I’ve not seen any improvement yet.
Mr. Hicks and I talked a while under the shade of a huge oak tree. His view is the same as mine: It wasn’t this hot when we were young. Weather like today’s reminded us both of how summers used to be.
While driving back from Cana, Virginia, today (a trip to get organic fertilizers — more on that later) I took a different route home on N.C. 704 through northern Stokes County. I was surprised to see a sign pointing to a Greek Orthodox monastery. I couldn’t resist driving part way down their long driveway and taking a couple of pictures.
It’s interesting how often one finds something unexpected in Stokes County. There’s a farming community of Hare Krishna devotees not far from me. The Greek Orthodox monastery is only about 12 miles away. Stokes is beautiful and is relatively unspoiled and undeveloped. With luck, maybe more alternative types will discover Stokes County in years to come.
I was expecting a miserably hot, dry August. But instead we’ve had a long run of rainy weather. About 7 inches of rain has fallen here in the last nine days. Everything is emerald green. The cloudy weather has held the temperatures down. The high for today was about 77. The meadows are boggy, just like Irish meadows. We’ve had several flash flood watches, but so far no serious flooding.
All these photos were taken in the Dodgetown area about 3 miles from Acorn Abbey.
Ken and I went to the Danbury Farmer’s Market today. Ken took some photos along the way. Here are today’s photos, along with a couple of older catch-up photos.
As for the rainfall, one farmer said they got about half an inch last night. Another farmer got almost an inch of rain.
After I moved to California, it seemed odd to me how the green seasons are almost reversed. In California (except for the mountains), the rainy and relatively warm winters bring the greenest season in March. Then, because it doesn’t rain from April to September, summers are brown.
Here it’s almost the opposite. It rains during the winter, but it’s too cold for anything green. Come March, the greening begins. Several warm, rainy days are forecast for the end of this week. That should get the grass growing.
This photo shows the side of Hanging Rock from Overby Road in Stokes County.
I drove to Yadkin County today to visit family. It was good weather for photography, and the leaves were just beginning to turn, so I figured it was a good day to document the route from northern Stokes County, where I live, to the Yadkin Valley, where most of my family live, and where I grew up.
When I made the decision to move to Stokes County from California, it was after much deliberation. I weighed many factors. It’s hard to get to northern Stokes County. The roads are narrow, and crooked. Most people would need a map. It’s not a place where a commuter would want to live. But to me, these were positives, not negatives. I wanted to find a sweet spot between remoteness and access to commercial and medical centers. If I want to shop at Whole Foods, I can get to one (in Winston-Salem) in about an hour. If I needed to get to a major medical center, that’s also about an hour by road, but a few minutes by helicopter. And they do have helicopters.
If I want to visit family in Yadkin County, I have to drive for more than an hour. But what a drive it is. The route crosses two rivers (the Dan and the Yadkin), and runs through the shadows of the Sauratown Mountain range. Stokes County is so isolated that it has its own little isolated mountain range! It’s some of the best scenery to be found in the Yadkin Valley and the Blue Ridge foothills.
So here’s a photographic essay on the trip from my house to my mother’s house in Yadkin County. For the sake of photographic honesty, please be aware that I have focused on the picturesque and the historic. There’s plenty of plainness and a certain amount of rural squalor along the way. But why takes pictures of that?
Priddy’s General Store, which appeared in the cult film Cabin Fever
The entrance to Hanging Rock State Park, a few miles from Danbury. Just as in California, state parks are often under-appreciated, and awesome.
Approaching Pilot Mountain. Do you know the word “monadnock”? Culturally, the thing to know about Pilot Mountain is that it was called “Mount Pilot” in the Andy Griffith Show. This is Mayberry Country, remember.
Old mill at Pinnacle. Pinnacle was the setting for the indie movie Junebug.
Coming into Siloam
An old storefront in Siloam. If agricultural tourism and the popularity of the Yadkin Valley Wine Region ever reach critical mass, what a great little restaurant this would make.
Siloam will probably forever remain known for the night of Feb. 23, 1975, when an old suspension bridge across the Yadkin River collapsed, killing four people and injuring 16. This is the new bridge.
The big house at Siloam. Grand farms were not the rule in this area. Small family farms were much more common. But Siloam clearly was once a hot spot. Not only was there fertile land in the river bottom, but there was also a railway line. It clearly was enough to make a few farmers rich.
The history of this area — at least the agricultural history — is best read in the remaining outbuildings. Certainly more than a few big barns like this one remain. More modest barns on the old family farms are common, and hundreds if not thousands of old tobacco barns remain. Still, an untold number of fine old outbuildings have fallen down and rotted away.
The Winston-Salem Journal has a story this morning on plans to expand the Hanging Rock Scenic Byway in Stokes County. The expansion would connect the tiny town of Danbury to the scenic loop.
Fifty years ago, parts of neighboring Forsyth County were scenic, with fields and barns and pastures. When developers come in, that kind of appealing terrain is their first choice of areas to slash and burn and suburbanize. Forsyth County still can’t agree on a tree ordinance, because a citizens committee wants to protect trees, and developers (in cahoots with the planning board) want to slash and burn as they please.
Let’s hope that what happened in Forsyth County doesn’t happen in Stokes.