Sunday, April 17, 2016

Fries Virginia

Nobody comes to Fries by accident, we were told by the first resident we met.  Tom is the owner of the Fries New River Trail RV Park (the park that exceeds your expectations) and he already had.  We had followed his detailed directions up and Down hills, over the low water bridge on the wide wide New River, past two churches, across the tiny creek and up the narrow valley where he met us with a warm smile and a basket of home baked muffins. WOW!  

The campground was lovely, with broad gravel pads, lush lawn dropping down to the tiny stream, full hookups, cable and wifi that actually works.     


  Tom told us about the history of the town (more on the website), the construction of the Park and invited us to the community music event at the theater that night. Time's wasting and the sun is dropping fast, so we set up on our elevated pad.    

  The crowd at the Jam was welcoming.  Musicians sat in a big circle trading quips among themselves and then spinning out a tune. Couples and singles danced around the circle as the spirit moved them.  Saturday the music would be more formal with the mikes on stage hosting a rotation of players.     Walking home along the two main streets, we studied the 300+ nearly identical homes built as housing for the mill workers.  The mill is long gone and each house showed the individual finishes and flourishes of the owners, but you would be hard pressed to find a single panel in need of paint or a garden not neatly kept. The jobs have migrated away, but the pride and fellowship of the citizens shows in many ways.  Fries and neighboring Galax (the Big city of 2500) have embraced tourism as the way forward; the beauty of the place and the spirit of the residents seem to us to guarantee success. We, of course, came for the biking on the New River Trail. The old railroad ended on a spur at Fries and another spur in Galax. Our favorite section runs downstream along the wide River  from Fries to the junction, then upstream on little Chestnut Creek. The route contrasts the two streams, includes the long long bridge trestle and a short tunnel, even a waterfall along Chestnut.        



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