Destination Vacation: Dancing through the Town of Floyd

FLOYD, Va. (WFXR) — A one-stoplight town sits along the spine of the Blue Ridge Plateau. At times, the Town of Floyd is quiet. However, the community is full of local flair and the locals can make a lot of noise.

The Floyd County Tourism Director, Pat Sharkey, says the town has more than 25 galleries and shops. These stores sell anything from clothes to traditional crafts to fine art.

“We also have some phenomenal dining experiences, a lot of farm-to-table. And a wide range of styles,” Sharkey said. “If you’re a vegan all the way to our classic southern fried chicken and biscuits and gravy, it’s all here to choose from.”

There’s even a place for those with a sweet tooth. Cocoa Mia has been selling truffles, chocolate bars, and chocolate drinks in Floyd for four years. They’re won an award from Virginia Living Magazine for their hot chocolate. Many of their items are handmade in-house.

Chocolate truffles at Cocoa Mia

Owner and chocolatier Gray Rudd says the Town of Floyd is unique because the community works to keep things as local as possible.

“As a community in general, we tend to make everything by hand if we possibly can and that’s kind of the trademark of the town,” Rudd said.

Many businesses have local community partners. 5 Mile Mountain Distillery gets the grains to make their spirits from Gracious Day Grains; Bell Gallery and Garden and Troika Gallery offer art pieces created by Floyd artists; and Republic of Floyd also sells a number of local beers, wines, snacks, and other items.

Rye Whiskey cocktail from 5 Mile Distillery

“There’s something for everybody from the bluegrass music on Fridays and Saturdays at the country store to a speakeasy that you have to know how to find to get in to a brewery, winery,” Rudd said.” I mean, we have a little bit of everything.”

It’s not just the local goods and businesses that make Floyd special.

The Town of Floyd is a main stop along The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. There are several music and open mic venues in town, such as Dogtown Roadhouse and OuterSpace.

However, one venue has caught the attention of people from around the world.

Jake Retting & Friends at Dogtown Roadhouse

The Floyd Country Store houses barrels of candy, crafts, cookware, books, and other merchandise. While the store serves classic food from its kitchen, the business is also home to authentic Appalachian music.

“Floyd Country Store is known as a gathering place where people can come and enjoy each other’s company, dance on the dance floor, listen to good old-timey bluegrass music, and have great food, and you know, just brings a lot of joy to a lot of people,” said Dylan Locke, co-owner of the Floyd Country Store and executive director of the Handmade Music School.

The store’s signature “Friday Night Jamboree” started in 1984. People make their way inside the store to listen and dance to old-timey bluegrass music. Flatfoot dancers and cloggers shuffle along to the music. The weekly event has been going on for more than 35 years, but it still manages to draw in a crowd.

“You’ll have two-year-olds and 90-year-olds on the dance floor together. College students, people from all over the world all come together and dance together,” Locke said. “To me, it’s a beautiful thing to see and it give me a lot of hope that we are together. We are more unified.”

Love mural on the side of Blue Ridge Florist & Gifts

The music isn’t just inside the store on Friday nights. Bands come together on the sidewalks of Floyd to play open jam sessions. Dancers join in on the sounds and onlookers watch from the sides.

Locke says the local businesses don’t do these things for tourism.

“We’re doing this because this is our way of life. This is our lifestyle,” Locke said. “We play music, we dance, we get together over good food. A lot of the businesses that are here in this community are really authentic in their passion for what they’re doing.”

If you’re looking to slow down and take in the local sounds, Floyd may just be your next destination.

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