SWVA is a location as unique as its people. We pride ourselves on rich cultural heritage, food, music, and the arts. "Stories from SWVA" is our podcast which tells the stories of this amazing region we live in.
Today, we are chatting with Wythevillve Downtown Executive Director Todd Wolford about the exciting downtown of Wytheville and some upcoming events in 2021. Wytheville in a central hub destination in Southwest Virginia off I-81. If you're looking to travel to West Virginia, North Carolina, Northern Virginia, or Southwest Virginia, chances are, you'll be passing through Wytheville.
Coming out of the pandemic, Todd and the team at Wytheville want to give back to the local community by showcasing a large-scale celebration on July 3rd. Packed with music, food, and downtown charm, this family fun event will be one to not miss!
To find out more about Wytheville and upcoming events, be sure to visit:
To find out more about Southwest Virginia and all the fun things to see and do, be sure to visit:
Visit Southwest Virginia
In today's episode, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Tourism Director David Rotenizer, Hammer & Forge Brewing owner Caleb Williamson, Chaos Mountain Brewing owner Joseph Hallock. We talked about all things brewing including start-ups, passion projects, innovation, and more. I had the chance to visit both of these breweries back in April of this year and enjoyed both. I went back to Franklin County in May to attend the Chaos Mountain seven-year anniversary party which was an absolute jam!
Both breweries offer beer lovers something different from the environment, to the beers and activities.
To learn more about both of these breweries, be sure to visit their websites.
Chaos Mountain Brewing
Hammer & Forge Brewing
To learn more about all the happenings and fun things in Franklin County, be sure to visit their website.
And finally, to learn more about all the fun and exciting things Southwest Virginia has to offer, be sure to visit our website!
In today's episode, I took some time to talk to 'Round the Mountain Artisan and professional metalworker, Isaac Hylton about his artistic metal and woodwork. Isaac has been working with metal and welding since he was ten years old. Today, he is sharing his crafts in metal and wood with his eleven-year-old daughter. Passing down the skills and knowledge taught to him by his father all those years ago.
If you would like to see some of Isaac's work, be sure to visit the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace in Abingdon, Virginia.
You can also check out Isaac's Facebook page for more information on him and his work.
In today's episode of the podcast, I am joined by 'Round the Mountain Artisan Henri de Hahn to talk about his life of traveling, settling in the region, and his hand-carved, hand-painted snakes. Henri was such a fun quest to speak with on the interpretations of art, various mediums, and how the materials often determine the art.
If you would like to learn more about Henri and his work, be sure to view his website here.
If you would like to see Henri's work, be sure to stop by the SWVA Cultural Center & Marketplace in Abingdon, Virginia.
Today's episode continues the Franklin County Moonshine Heritage month episodes. Today we chat with Franklin County Tourism Director, David Rotenizer, Bethany Worley Director of the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, and Karen Dillion Editor of the Franklin News-Post.
In this episode, we talk about what events visitors can expect to participate in during Moonshine Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of moonshine heritage in Franklin County. Two larger events of interest include a themed car show around bootlegging and a running event called Chug for the Jug.
To learn more about Franklin County's Moonshine Heritage month, be sure to visit their pages below:
Franklin County Moonshine Heritage Facebook Page
Franklin County Facebook Page
To learn more about the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum, please visit their website:
To find out more about the Franklin News-Post be sure to visit their website below:
In today's episode of the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast, I take the show to the Moonshine Capital of Franklin County, Virginia. I am joined by Franklin County Tourism Director, David Rotenizer, Twin Creeks Distillery, and Laws Choice. This special edition episode takes a deep dive into SWVA Moonshine's history with stories of the past. Sit back as we talk about the days of prohibition, bootlegging, and homemade moonshine production.
We also take a look at the changing of times and how these third-generation moonshiners are able to operate legal businesses thanks to changing laws over the years. Today's episode is the real deal stories of a dark past and an inspirational future.
To learn more about Franklin County's Moonshine Heritage Month, be sure to visit their links listed below:
Franklin County Moonshine Heritage Facebook Page
Franklin County Facebook Page
To learn more about Twin Creeks Distillery and Law's Choice be sure to visit their links below:
Twin Creeks Distillery
In today's episode, I sat down with Next Level VR founders Luke and Dylan. The guys and I had a great chat about starting businesses, video games, and living in Southwest Virginia. Both of these guys are taking the region by storm with their forward-thinking and strong sense of business. Their idea is "if it doesn't exist, then build it", and that's exactly what they did with their VR center in Pulaski, Virginia.
Next Level VR is a great place for people of all ages to come together, socialize, and find entertainment.
To find out more about Next Level VR be sure to check out their website and Facebook page.
In today's special edition episode, we dive into the history of Holston Mountain Artisans located in Abingdon, Virginia. Formed in 1971, Holston Mountain Artisans has spent the last 50 years helping artisans within a 75-mile radius of Abingdon, Virginia. Originally located at the Cave House Craft Shop on main street, Holston Mountain is now located in the old Washington County Jail on Park Street.
Today I was joined by Kathy, Eric, Rees, and Sara
To learn more about Holston Mountain Artisans and support what they do, please visit their website or Facebook page for more information.
This week on the podcast, I spoke with Micah Davidson of Midwood Entertainment about music and events in Southwest Virginia. Micah and I went into detail about his role at events at the Harvester (A Crooked Road Venue) and his involvement with the annual Bristol Rythm and Roots Reunion. We shared stories of music and our childhood, the history of music and SWVA, and laughs about our graying hair.
To learn more about Micah and his organization, Midwood Entertainment, be sure to check out their website.
In today's episode, we had the opportunity to speak with Helen at Wolf Hills Coffee in Abingdon, Virginia. A great little local coffee shop, unlike any other out there. Aside from enjoying the traditional offerings like coffee and cafe items, you can also find great local tea and hard cider. Wolf Hills Coffee shares space with Tumbling Creek Cider and Appalachian Teas and Botanicals.
This wonderful little shop is also a great spot to do some remote work, homework for college students, or just find some time to relax and unwind.
Be sure that the next time you're in Abingdon, go pay the folks of Wolf Hills Coffee a visit!
On today's episode of the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast, I had a conversation with Western Front & Sessions Hotel partner, Hal Craddock. Hal took the time to tell us about what you can experience at these hotels as well as the areas that surround them. We covered the idea of storytelling and how boutique hotels offer such a unique experience to guests.
I myself had the pleasure of staying at the Western Front Hotel in St. Paul in July of 2020. It was a great downhome and inviting experience I wish to enjoy again. The next stop on my list is to visit and stay at the Sessions Hotel in Bristol.
If you would like to learn more about these beautiful hotels, feel free to visit their websites at:
The Western Front Hotel
The Sessions Hotel
This week, we sat down with Mark and Justen of Tumbling Creek Cider Company out of Meadowview, Virginia. A relatively new cider company of only a few years providing a fine variety, Tumbling Creek Cider Company is a statement of SWVA entrepreneurship. Holding true to SWVA style, Tumbling Creek works with local businesses and orchards to keep their stock here at home.
Tumbling Creek offers around five main ciders in their taproom:
Aside from these noticeable names, the guys at Tumbling Creek also experiment with seasonal flavors and offerings throughout the year which can be found at their taproom in Abingdon, Virginia.
The team is made up of four professional individuals from different backgrounds: Jerry, Justen, Thomas, and Mark. Each partner brings to the team a different set of skills, which aids in the successful production of delicious cider. Their cider can be found in local eateries, grocery stores, and businesses within the SWVA region.
My first experience with Tumbling Creek Cider Company was in the Fall of 2020 during a visit to the Harvest Table in Meadowview. I had a glass of Hellbender, which was in a perfect company to my New York Strip steak.
If you would like to learn more about Tumbling Creek and their cider, please be sure to visit the links below:
Tumbling Creek Cider Company Website
Tumbling Creek Cider Facebook
This week we had the opportunity to speak with 'Round the Mountain Artisan and writer, Greg Lilly of Abingdon, Virginia. Greg has written a number of books such as Stray, The Wolf Crystal, and The Devils Bridge. It was great to get to hear first hand how Greg got his start, learn about his life and his love for the Southwest Virginia area.
From Greg's biography:
Greg Lilly grew up in Bristol, Virginia then lived in Charlotte, North Carolina. The rich storytelling tradition of the South captivated him and he began writing. He first turned to creating short stories after plot lines emerged from the technical manuals he wrote for a large family-owned corporation.
Moving to Sedona, Arizona, Greg chronicled the high desert characters – past and present – in his books, Under a Copper Moon and Scalping the Red Rocks.
Greg relocated to Williamsburg, Virginia, where he wrote and edited a regional magazine.
Today, he lives and writes in Abingdon, Virginia.
To learn more about Greg, his work, and the links mentioned in the episode, please see below:
Greg Lilly Website
The Virginia Writers Club
Appalachian Writers Guild
You can view Greg's work at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace in Abingdon Virginia. You can also purchase it from our online shop.
In this episode of the Stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Adda "Addie" Leah Davis. Ms. Davis is not only a member of 'Round the Mountain but also a wonderful writer, currently living in Russell County, Virginia.
Adda or "Addie" as she was nicknamed took the time to tell me stories of her childhood, her writing processes, and life living in both West Virginia and Virginia.
Addie has written a number of books, many of which a series. Her most well known series, Fatal Love, currently includes four books. If you would like to learn more about Addie or purchase a copy of one of her books, please sure to visit the following links:
Ms. Davis's Website
Ms. Davis's Facebook Page
You may also obtain a copy of her book by visiting the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Marketplace in Abingdon, Virginia or shop online!
Welcome to the first of our Artist interview series! For this premiere episode, we had the chance to sit down with Daniel Scott of Artistic Kindling to talk to him about his craft. The type of work Daniel performs is called marquetry.
Marquetry (also spelled as marqueterie; from the French marqueter, to variegate) is the art and craft of applying pieces of veneer to a structure to form decorative patterns, designs or pictures.
Daniel creates beautiful wooden works of art using various pieces of wood to create a character or scene. Daniel's works come from his own mind or in commissioned pieces. Daniel has been practicing his craft for over 20 years and is happy to teach others how to do the craft themselves.
If you would like to learn more about Daniel, you can visit his Artistic Kindling Facebook page to stay up to date and view his work.
What is ecotourism you might ask?
tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, intended to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.
In this episode, we had the opportunity to speak with guest Austin Counts from Appalachian Voices. Appalachian Voices is an organization located in Southwest Virginia that aims to reclaim abandoned lands within the region. Their goal is to claim these lands which were once used for things such as mining and turn them into clean and natural habitats once again.
They take the time to make these areas clean, safe, and presentable for locals and SWVA visitors alike. These areas once left abandoned and isolated became used for hiking and biking trails, fishing spots, and much more.
It's a great thing that Austin and Appalachian Voices are doing. Aside from reclaiming and repurposing lands, the group also helps to educate others on how we might preserve our lands. Sticking to trails, keeping things neat and tidy, and not littering are just a few examples.
If you would like to find out more about Appalachian Voices and the current projects they are working, please feel free to visit their website at:
I would like to welcome everyone to Season two of the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast. I really enjoyed everyone I got to meet and speak within season one. During season one we focused on the arts and music of the SWVA region, while here in season two we are going to be looking at the outdoor beauty and recreation of the region.
If you would like to be on an episode of the podcast, please feel free to reach out and email me at:
To find out more about the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast, please visit our website at: https://visitswva.org/stories-from-southwest-virginia/
There is no question that the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was an important one. This Amendment gave women the right to vote. Today, we pay respects to the women who fought hard for this prestigious cause. It's hard to imagine a time when women were not treated equally as men in regards to their privilege to vote.
Today I speak with two very special guests, Karen Hester and Jan Medeiros. Two amazing ladies who are successful both in life and in business as well as believe in their ability to vote.
Karen Hester, born in Marion, Virginia, and currently living in Bristol is a successful small business owner. She owns two businesses on State Street in Bristol, Virginia, Cranberry Lane, and The Southern Churn as well as Hester's Country Store & Fudgery in Marion, Virginia. Her stores are all about decor, sweets, and treats! To learn more, please visit one of the links above and pay Karen a visit.
Jan Medeiros from Marion, Virginia is also a small business owner with her husband Keith. They run Past Time Antique Emporium and General Store in downtown Marion, Virginia. Their location features a wonderful selection of antiques as well as handmade goods from Southwest Virginia and North Carolina. Jan also believes in the power of your vote and voicing your opinion. Be sure to pay Jan a visit on your next stop in Marion or by visiting the link above.
To learn more about the Stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast, or to plan your next trip within the region, you can also visit our website at VisitSWVA.
In today's episode, I had the chance to speak with Michael Gillman about the work he does at the Thomas J. Boyd Museum in Wytheville, Virginia. Michael is the Coordinator of Heritage Sites and Programs for the Wytheville Department of Museums. The Department of Museums includes three museums and a museum gift shop located in downtown Wytheville.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Thomas J. Boyd museum for a feature story on the Polio pandemic, while there I also had the chance of seeing Michael's feature exhibit on pioneer SWVA decor. I highly recommend to anyone wanting to see some great exhibits and learn about Southwest Virginia history in Wytheville, to pay these museums a visit.
If you would like to learn more about the Thomas J. Boyd Museum, you can begin your journey here.
If you would like to learn more about the Stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast and more fun things in Southwest Virginia, you can visit our website here.
If you would like to be featured on the Stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast, you can do so by vising our webpage linked above, or by emailing email@example.com for more information.
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking with country music artist Ella Patrick (Momma Molasses). We have a delightful conversation about music, roots, fun stories, and life during COVID as an artist. Patrick has spent the majority of her life in the world of music. She was born and raised in North Carolina and just a couple years ago moved to Bristol, Tennesse, the Birthplace of Country Music.
From her Facebook Page:
"Momma Molasses' music interlaces; Classic Country, Folk, Piedmont Blues, Soul, Swing, Bluegrass, and Old-Time which blend into a uniquely timeless sound. Harnessing her rolling contralto voice which scales over homespun finger-picked guitar, her sound is warm, rich, and passionate, with songs that embrace, and captivate listeners, soothing well warn hearts with vulnerable lyricism"
Her music has been likened by listeners to Patsy Cline, "Mother" Maybelle Carter, early (pre-rock n’ roll) Janis Joplin.
Prepare yourselves for an energetic and fun-loving chat with the one and only Momma Molasses!
Below are a few links mentioned in today's episode:
Momma Molasses Website
Momma Molasses Facebook
Radio Bristol - The Birthplace of County Music
Farm and Fun Time
To find out more about the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast you can visit our webpage here.
With the events going on around the world today, there was little hope for live theatre performances in 2020. The Barter Theatre in Abingdon Virginia had other plans, however. An idea sparked of an outdoor theatre, perhaps at the old Moonlite Drive-In, just a couple exits down the road. This idea would become a reality, a one of a kind idea because after all, "The show must go on."
On today's Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast episode, I had the chance to speak with Terrance Jackson, a resident actor at the Barter Theatre. Terrance tells us all about this amazing idea of outdoor, drive-in theatre and how it went from just an idea to something real. Terrance is performing in both scheduled plays of The Wizard of Oz and Beauty and the Beast Jr.
It's been wonderful seeing and hearing about all the great things Terrance and the rest of the Barter Theatre actors, staff, and crew have been working on over the past few months. They have even been showcasing behind the scenes videos, where you can view backstage footage of the production, preparations, and more.
Terrance also talks to us about how the cast and crew remains safe during the pandemic. He discusses the necessary precautions and guidelines they have been utilizing to not only keep themselves safe, but also visitors to the outdoor theatre.
If you would like to find out more about the Barter Theatre, their productions, and the Moonlite Drive-In shows, you can visit:
Barter Theatre Website
Barter Theatre YouTube
Barter Theatre Facebook
If you would like to find out more about Abingdon Virginia and the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast, you can visit:
Abingdon Virginia Website
Stories from Southwest Virginia
Today I had the chance to speak with Alicia Phelps, Executive Director of the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association. We at Southwest Virginia work closely with our neighbors in Northeast Tennessee as we see no borders or state lines. Alicia has been doing some great work with Northeast Tennessee tourism for a while now and we wanted to chat with her about some amazing things to see and do in their neck of the woods.
Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association has been around since the 1970s and over the past 40 years have done a lot to promote the wonderful features of the region.
Everything from lakes and the great outdoors, to wonderful foods and small-town charm, Northeast Tennessee has it all. In today's episode, Alicia shares with us a few points of interest you may want to visit. We also talk about some of our favorite spots in both Northeast Tennessee as well as Southwest Virginia.
If you would like to learn more about Northeast Tennessee and see what Alicia has been up to, you can visit their website at: https://northeasttennessee.org/
If you would like to learn more about Southwest Virginia and our Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast, you can visit our website at:
On today's episode, I had the chance to speak with Assistant Director of Tourism, Amanda Livingston about some great things going on in Abingdon, Virginia.
Like many areas in Southwest Virginia and all across the nation Abingdon has suffered from the COVID19 pandemic. As a thriving tourist town, this small community hasn't let current day struggles interrupt their stride. Creative and innovative are just two terms to describe how this community has come together to keep businesses open and the economy going.
One such creative feat is the use of the old Moonlite Drive-in theatre as a stage to perform live shows from the Barter Theatre. Since social distance is practically impossible inside the actual Barter Theatre, creative-minded members came together for the one-of-a-kind idea. Build a stage outdoors, have space for cars to park, and perform live under the stars! Not only does this allow for guests to continue being able to enjoy Barter Theatre performances, but also to once again re-live childhood memories in front of the silver screen once again.
Abingdon's local eateries were also steadfast in coming up with plans to keep their doors open and provide their wonderful meals to the town. From outdoor dining, to take out, and even some offering delivery. Some local restaurants are even taking part in the Barter Theatre event in a "Play with your food" event the town is holding. The idea is to enjoy a nice meal from a local restaurant and then go see one of the Barter plays at the Moonlite. Guests can go grab their meal and eat it while enjoying the play, sounds like a great plan! Dinner Theatre if you will!
Even though things have been limited, the spirit of the town is still alive and well.
Abingdon has so many fun things to offer from outdoor recreation, downtown shopping, and dining, entertainment, and even self-guided tours! Rather you have never been to Abingdon before, or you're looking to go back and visit again, there's never a dull time to go.
If you want to find out more about Abingdon, please visit their website and Facebook page for more information!
If you would like to find out more about Southwest Virginia, you can visit our website at VisitSWVA or if you want to hear more from the Stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast, you can visit our page to find out about more episodes!
The Pakalachian Food truck has become a staple of the Southwest Virginia food scene. The truck in conjunction with its name makes food options that combine traditional Appalachian dishes with that of Pakistani meals. The Pakalachian is a beautiful story of love, food, and culture, between truck owners Katlin and Moshin. At first, they were not sure what big adventure they wanted to embark on. One day while driving through Rural Retreat, Virginia, the idea of The Pakalchain Food truck was born.
Katlin's background in education and Moshin's background in conservation make for a unique blend of culture, awareness, family, and love. They both strive to give back to the local economy by purchasing fresh products and ingredients for their truck locally at farmers' markets. They also believe in maintaining conservation efforts by providing biodegradable supplies and never purchasing more than what they need. Their idea of always purchasing just enough, but never too much is something we could all live by.
In today's podcast episode, we talk about all things Pakalachian from the name to the artwork, and of course those delicious dishes you can order!
To keep up to date with the Pakalachian, please visit their website at:
Here you can stay up to date with upcoming events, their story, the menu, and more.
You can also follow the Pakalachian on social media at:
If you would like to find out more about Southwest Virginia and our podcast, you can visit our website here:
Today's episode we take a delicious dive into the story behind Greeko's Grill and Cafe in Abingdon, Virginia. I had the pleasure of speaking with the owner and chef Mustafa about how Greeko's got its start in Abingdon. Mustafa was a pleasure to speak with and you can tell he truly has a love and passion for what he does.
Greeko's features a full Greek menu complete with items such as salads, soups, pasta, pitas, and gyros.
Mustafa tells us about his cooking adventures from all over the world in places like Egypt, New York City, London, and finally finding a permanent home in Abingdon. The recipes at Greeko's are a collection of meals from Mustafa's Greek grandmother, with some modifications from his learnings around the world. Mustafa believes in a passion for what he does and ensures there is love in every bite of his food.
Greeko's is located in the historic downtown district of Abingdon, Virginia. They currently offer both dine-in and carry out with a convenient drive-through window. On Greeko's website, you can find a complete menu, online ordering as well as history and more information about Mustafa, Greeko's, and fresh ingredients.
To find out more about Greeko's or place an order today, please visit their website at:
To find out more about the stories from Southwest Virginia Podcast, you can visit our podcast page on our website at:
In today's episode, I am joined by Beth Ford and Julie Steel representing the Reynolds Homestead in Patrick County, Virginia. The Reynolds Homestead is an Outreach Campus Center of Virginia Tech housing both a community outreach center and a forestry research center. The homestead is the birthplace of both R.J. and A.D. Reynold.
This year, the homestead is celebrating it's 50th year anniversary, although festivities have been moved to the 2021 season due the current pandemic.
Join me in talking with Beth Ford as we dive into the history and origins of the homestead as well as how she keeps the history alive through online videos, living history events, historical markers, and other learning.
I also speak with Julie Steel about current events, plans, and some of the offerings the Reynolds Homestead currently showcases to the community.
For more information on the Reynolds Homestead, be sure to visit their website and stay up to date with their Facebook page.
Reynolds Homestead Website
Reynolds Homestead Facebook
To find out more about the Stories from Southwest Virginia podcast or how to be on the podcast, please visit our website link at:
Stories from Southwest Virginia
In today's episode, we wrap up our current music series with The Crooked Road Executive Director, Carrie Beck. The Crooked Road is Southwest Virginia's Musical Heritage Trail and it covers over 300 miles of music, history, community, and heritage. Carrie talks to us about things The Crooked Road has done and has in store for music in SWVA. We also cover various stories, talk about venues, and other initiatives centric around music in the region.
To find out more about The Crooked Road, Please visit their website at: https://thecrookedroad.org/
To find out more information about Southwest Virginia and our podcast please visit our website at: https://visitswva.org/
If you would like to leave us a voice message for future podcast episodes please visit us on anchor: https://anchor.fm/storiesfromswva
Finally, if you would like to be on an episode of Stories from Southwest Virginia, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today we're taking a look into Floyd County, Virginia and how it has helped shape and establish the music and heritage of Southwest Virginia. Floyd County is home to the Floyd Country Store, the Handmade music school, and County Sales. Listen in as current owner Dylan Locke tells us about these three places of interest along The Crooked Road and learn some more about Southwest Virginia musical history and heritage!
Music from today's podcast is by The Twin Creeks Stringband called "Lee Highway Blues". Twin Creeks Stringband is from Franklin County Virginia and frequently performs at the Floyd Country Store.
To find out more about The Twin Creeks Stringband and their upcoming CD including the song "Lee Highway Blues" please visit the following:
Twin Creek's on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/Twincreeksoldtime/
County Sales: http://www.countysales.com
Floyd Country Store: https://www.floydcountrystore.com/
Handmande Music School: https://handmademusicschool.com/
Southwest Virginia: http://www.visitswva.org
On this episode we talk with Musician and Educator Tyler Hughes about the music and dance in SWVA. We take a dive into Big Stone Gap, Virginia and learn about the history, culture, and story telling aspects of SWVA music.
To find out more about Tyler and his music, please visit: https://www.tylerhughesmusic.com/
To find out more about SWVA and plan a future visit, please visit: https://visitswva.org/