3rd Annual Grayson County Ag & Art Adventure

Grayson County Tourism is pleased to announce the dates of the 3rd Annual Ag & Art Adventure – September 7 & 8, 2024. The tour is self-guided and extends from Matthews Living History Farm on the eastern side of the county to the Rugby Creek Animal Rescue Farm on the Western end. Visitors should choose their own adventure. Since the tour extends approximately 75 miles, visitors are encouraged to pick and choose the stops they would be most interested in visiting as it would be very difficult to manage every one of the 16 stops in one day.

Farm and studio tours will be conducted Saturday, September 7, 2024, from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM.

This year two curated bus tours of the route guided by members of the Grayson County Historical Society will be offered on a ticketed basis. Stay tuned for reservation details. The ticket will include a light breakfast and lunch and will stop at select farms and studios along the route. More details will be forthcoming.

Just outside of Galax, in the Baywood Community there are 4 stops. Kurt Card at Drac Studio will be demonstrating pottery techniques on one of our area’s only fire kilns. Stop by to see his one-of-a-kind pottery, jewelry, stained glass, and ceramics at his own studio on Delhart Road. Matthews Living History Farm Museum will be hosting Heritage Day and Stories of the Stitch. Enjoy farm demonstrations, animals, gardens, vendors, music, and beautiful handmade quilts with the stories behind them.

Every year an artist is selected to be honored for continuing contributions in preserving Appalachian arts, and this year John Alexander has been chosen. John and his family use centuries old methods to create useful brooms and Appalachian toys. This year, John will be at Matthews Farm demonstrating his craft on Saturday and at the Historic 1908 Courthouse on Sunday. Also, in the Baywood Community, visit the Permaculture Garden at the Church of the Good Shepherd to learn about this sustainable and regenerative way to grow food and ornamentals. The garden should be in full bloom this time of year. Finally stop by Cresthaven Farms, a family owned and operated dairy Century Farm. Learn about their milking process, pet some animals, and enjoy story time for the kids (times to be announced).

Several farms and artists are centered in and around Independence. Many artists will be set up at the Historic 1908 Courthouse. Laura Bryant will be selling her quilts and wall hangings for the third year with all proceeds being donated to the 1908 Foundation for the upkeep of the building. Louise Rascoe of Covered Bridge Glass will also be joining us for the third year with her shadow box art depicting scenes using rocks collected from the New River and Grayson County creeks. Anita Simpson, a gourd artist, will be with us for a third year as well. She creates bird houses and decorates gourds and sells goods from her farm too. Several new artists will be located at the Courthouse.

One artist is Avery Lindsey, a painter, specializing in outdoor florals and landscapes using oil, acrylics, and watercolors. She has won several ribbons at the Grayson County Ag Fair. Also new to the tour this year is Vanessa Hollyfield, an artist creating contemporary glass works including stained and fused glass artwork. She has created windows for churches and will commission pieces for individuals.

Joyce and Richard Rouse will be on hand to sign copies of Joyce’s CDs and Richard’s new book. Enjoy the beautiful quality handmade knives by David Walton. These are not only beautiful works of art, but they are useful tools as well. Kathye Mendes joins us for a third year. Kathye’s art includes local elements such as Galax leaves and scenes of the New River. Kathye Mendes will be demonstrating at the Independence Art Gallery and other artists’ work will be available for purchase there as well.

Several farms will be hosting tours near Independence. Rosemary Cornett and family will be conducting tours of Rolling Acres farm just north of Independence. Hopefully, there will be some baby lambs just born and Rosemary will need some help feeding them! Rosemary’s beautiful agrarian photography will be on display as well as John Taylor’s hand carved woodwork. Another farm just outside of town is River Ridge. Weather permitting, they will host a u-pick berry picking by the scenic New River. Raspberries will be in season.

 Osborne’s Farm and Nursery will have lots of fall flowers, pumpkins, and gourds for autumn decorations. They also have kids’ agricultural activities and photo backgrounds on-site. One of the most popular farms for tourists in Grayson County is New River Highland Cattle Farm. Visitors come year-round to see these beautiful Scottish Highland cows and interact with them. Visitors here can pet the cows and have photos taken with them.

Be sure to visit Rock Spring Farms for a pony ride. Most of the horses here have been rescued from kill pens. Talk to Becky about horseback riding lessons while you’re there.

North of Independence on Highway 21 in the beautiful Elk Creek Valley, is Summerfield Orchards. This is a new project extending from the cow/calf sheep/lamb operation specializing in sustainable agricultural practices. Come visit the newly established apple orchard and maybe get a chance to sample the first apples of the season! Summerfield is another of the Century Farms included in the tour. Also in the Elk Creek Community, Anne Rost, of Anne’s Mountain Quilting, invites visitors to her studio to see her quilt making in progress.

A final stop in Elk Creek is Stone Farm where Dr. Robert Lazo and his wife Theresa will welcome visitors to tour this beautiful farm and see the art created by its owners including paintings and glass art. Two for one!

A new stop on this year’s tour is The Grant Grange. With deep roots in American agriculture, the Grange is a perfect stop for the tour. Several artists will be set up throughout the day. Check the website for specific times demonstrations might occur. Enjoy the spinning of Deb Clark and pick up a signed copy of her latest book. Check out Terry Clark’s unique art. He is a talented wood worker and has expanded into steampunk designs or fantasy-industrial pieces including lamps and other sculptures.

Vera Young, who was last year’s Appalachian Cultural Artist Honoree, will be set up this year with her quilts at the Grange. Finally enjoy the honeybee demonstration by  Mickey Cunningham of Bear Tree Farm and participate in their interactive educational opportunities. Local honey will be for sale. Throughout the day, various fiber artists, knitters, weavers, etc. will be demonstrating their craft.

Rugby Creek Animal Rescue was a very popular stop last year. Ashley Smart welcomes visitors to interact with her rescue animals, including the famous Fabio, a wild pony who is living the easy life after many years of being the head of the herd in the Highlands. Rugby Creek Rescue takes in all kinds of farm animals and dogs as the need arises. They have the animals well displayed for visitors to view–you might get to meet a new litter of rescue puppies! Several artists will be set up at Rugby Creek as well.

Kyle Yuditsky of Honeybird Hill will be there with his beautiful woodworking including handmade earrings, furniture, and custom signs. Pick out something he has already made or commission a new piece. Elizabeth Wegmann has a huge social media presence, the Feral Ponies of Grayson County. She will be there with photos and products of many of our wild ponies as well as other scenes from the high country. Robin Geisel of Highlands Laser will display her custom laser engraved products using a variety of materials from wood to glass to leather.  Julian Owen uses mostly reclaimed wood to create hand tooled wooden boxes.

In an effort to include performing arts, this year’s tour will add a free gospel music concert and traditional music jam at the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence on Sunday, September 8 beginning at 1:00 p.m. Come join us at the Historic 1908 Courthouse for an old-time Sunday Sing-n-Pic featuring Tim & Debby Yates and Family along with Granny Turnmire & the Horse Creek Girls. 

The free concert, produced by Legends of Grayson, will close out the 2024 Grayson County Ag & Art Adventure. Some artists and farms from the tour have chosen to set up on the grounds of the Courthouse during the concert as well. Food trucks will be on hand for lunch and snacks. Admission to all exhibits is free, but art and farm products may be purchased. There will be no farm or studio tours on Sunday.

Grayson County thanks our sponsors: Skyline Bank, Ches Helmick of Edward Jones Investments, Grayson LandCare, WBRF, River Ridge Farms, Summerfield Farms, Cresthaven Farms, Grayson County Farm Bureau, Morton Realty and Auction, Corner Market Café, Grayson Highlands General Store & Inn, Independence Gallery, the Town of Independence, Grayson County Historical Society, Legends of Grayson, and Virginia is for Lovers. Questions about the tour should be directed to the Grayson County Tourism Department by calling 276-773-8002 or by emailing [email protected].