Floyd Virginia is an adorable stop on the Crooked Road Music Trail, a 300 mile “crooked road” that winds its way through scenic southwest Virginia and the richness of country and bluegrass music. You’ll pass through 19 scenic counties and 54 charming little towns.
Floyd, population 425, is our favorite of those little towns.
The stop light at the intersection of Highway 8 and Highway 221 in Floyd is the only stop light in all of Floyd County. It does a pretty good job of managing traffic most days. But Friday nights are a problem.
To really appreciate Floyd Virginia and the Crooked Road Music Trail, make sure you go on a Friday night.
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What Makes Floyd Virginia So Special
On Friday nights in Floyd Virginia, the county sheriff brings out orange traffic cones, flash lights and whistles. Sometimes things get so out of control that traffic on Main Street stops entirely.
That’s when the population of Floyd grows ten-fold as bluegrass and old-time country music fans descend on this little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Crowds congregate around clusters of musicians who seem to have been transplanted from an old episode of the Andy Griffith Show. Banjos, fiddles, dulcimers and guitars generate a rhythm that simply will not let feet stand still. Hands slap on thighs, toes tap and bodies of all ages jiggle in that distinctive “flat-footin’” folk dance.
Get to Floyd early to get a seat and grab something to eat at the Floyd Country Store. This is where the most formal of music presentations appear. Take plenty of time to just stroll the streets and see who is congregating where and who breaks out in a dance. I didn’t see anyone playing a jug, but I’m sure someone in this crowd does.
Traveling the Crooked Road Music Trail
But don’t think this is some backwater community stuck in another era. Just across the street from the Floyd Country Store, which hosts live music all weekend long, Tibetan prayer flags wave in the breeze outside of a shop selling hemp. A woman in dreadlocks hops out of a pick-up truck advertising yurts for sale. Another truck parked nearby boasts a faded “John Kerry for President” bumper sticker.
Floyd is a colorful combination of cultures where liberals and conservatives enjoy one another’s company at the Farmers’ Market, area art galleries and the magnificent Chateau Morrisette winery and restaurant. Independent restaurants such as the Pine Tree Tavern, serving family-style fried chicken dinners since 1927, are as popular with locals as the vegan offerings at Oddfella’s Cantina and Tapas.
The Republic of Floyd
All of Floyd County is saturated with mom and pop businesses, from apple and alpaca farms to honeybee sanctuaries and vineyards. An artisan trail links together potters, papermakers, woodworkers and fiber artists.
Driving the pleasant country roads to these sometimes remote studios, galleries and farms is an exercise in relaxation all seasons of the year.This is a nugget of the world that celebrates individuality and independence, where non-conformity exists without commentary, but tradition is rooted as deeply as the Blue Ridge Mountains themselves.
As one quirky store has proclaimed, and made a bit of a fortune with T-shirts and bumper stickers spreading the message – “This is the Republic of Floyd.”
Another stop on the Crooked Road Music Trail is in Bristol, where you can also enjoy a great hamburger.