Exploring the Outdoors in Galax Virginia
With #WanderLOVE fully underway, we want to showcase as many road trip ideas and outdoor adventures as we can. Our goal is to give you fun and safe ideas that you can enjoy with friends and family. Our stop this week is in Galax, Virginia, where the possibilities are nearly endless.
Galax is an independent city in Southwest Virginia located near the North Carolina border. Galax has a population of just under 7,000 and is referred to as “The Best Pick in Virginia”. Galax is prominently known for its annual Fiddler’s Convention which is held every year in August.
The city is a gateway to the Blue Ridge Parkway and is full of downtown shopping and local charm. If you’re a fan of Bluegrass music, outdoor recreation, and southern hospitality, Galax may be the perfect place for you.
My Experience in Galax
The Rex Theatre
I recently had the opportunity to visit Galax for the first time. I wanted to explore the city as such, therefore I went with little information and my eyes wide open for adventure. I began my journey at the Rex Theatre for a private recording session with The Crooked Road and local Bluegrass group, The Loose Strings Band. I was blown away by these young ladies as they performed a series of original and cover tunes. I was honored to be a part of the experience.
The Rex Theatre was also a delightful treat. It was like taking a step back in time. The Rex is quaint little space, however, you could feel the energy of years of talent that had performed in there. Words cannot describe my experience, its just something you’re going to have to feel for yourself.
Galax Tourism Center
After leaving the private recording session, I wanted to find out a little more about Galax. Just across the street from the theatre is the Tourism Center, where I found out about some fun things to do. I had a chance to ask questions, grab a few brochures, and plan out the rest of my day. I knew I wanted to explore some outdoor recreation locations and was happily informed, there was plenty to choose from.
The Matthews Living History Farm Museum
My first outdoor stop for the day was at the Matthews Living History Farm Museum. It was only about a five or ten-minute drive outside of downtown. I’ve been hearing a lot about living history sites in the region and was pleased to find out about this one. I, unfortunately, had missed the owner and staff, however, I did get to chat with her about the farm over the phone. I grabbed a pamphlet and gave myself a short guided tour around the property while gathering photos and videos.
On the property, there were various structures such as a home, cabin, garden, and animal shelters. This is a working farm circa 1900. Here you can experience what life on the farm was like through guided interaction.
Also on this particular day, I encountered some members of an artisan guild. They were happy to tell me all about their craft and experiences as artisans. We shared some heartfelt stories about our love for the region, the arts, and the beautiful outdoors. It was a moment I will never forget and a moment that reminded me of why I not only love what I do, but also love the people of Southwest Virginia and North Carolina.
Creek Bottom Brewing Company
As the day continued on, so did my hunger. I was told by a local friend that if I wanted a great meal, I should check out Creek Bottom Brewing. I was pleased with this location as it offered outdoor seating, and since it was a beautiful sunny day, I could not pass up the opportunity. They had a large selection of beers from their own taproom as well as from other Virginia breweries. I believe in total, there were about 18 different options ranging from light, dark, and cider.
Although the beers were good and cold, my most memorable experience here was the food. There was a vast selection to choose from, however, I opted for the pulled pork sandwich and french fries. I didn’t realize just how large this platter would be, I maybe should have thought that over prior to ordering two appetizers. Prior to my delicious entre, I also enjoyed some pickle fries and mozzarella sticks. I was stuffed.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Another stop I knew I had to make was on the Blue Ridge Parkway. While at the Tourist Center in downtown Galax, I was told about one particular overlook “Fox Hunters Paradise”. Although this stop is technically on the North Carolina side, there’s no question I had to add it to this Southwest Virginia adventure. While up here you can see all the way out to Pilot Mountain. A mountain I have passed by on many adventures to Charlotte and Winston-Salem. It was absolutely breathtaking to see for miles and miles. I drove along the Parkway for quite some time just enjoying the scenery.
New River Trail State Park Access
The final stop on my Galax trip was to the New River Trail State Acces Park. This park access is located right outside of the downtown shopping district and not far from Creek Bottom Brewery. This trail felt close to home as many portions of the trail felt similar to The Creeper Trail back home in Abingdon. The start of the trail is marked by an old red caboose and a large painted fiddle.
I was informed that this trail access was a part of a rails-to-trails project, also similar to the Virginia Creeper Trail. This was once a major access point into downtown Galax to bring in and take out supplies via railway. Today, it is a beautiful nature trail perfect for hiking and biking.
If you want to visit Galax for yourself. I recommend you start in the downtown district to get a feel for the town. The people are wonderful and will be happy to have you. After you get an idea for where things are, go out and explore!