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Friday, February 8, 2013

Artists, nature draw visitors to Stokes County

Artists, Nature Draw Visitors to Stokes County

Thursday, February 7, 2013
With its own mountain range — the Sauratown Mountains — which encompasses 58 miles of the Dan River, an award-winning state park, cascading waterfalls and miles of trails, Stokes County provides daily inspiration for artists. Its towns — Danbury, King and Walnut Cove — have a big appetite for the arts, and the artists often try to capture the beauty of the natural surroundings.The Stokes County Arts Council is celebrating its 35th anniversary and is responsible for much of the cultural activity and entertainment in the county. Painting, photography, pottery, drama and musical performances can easily be found. Take a few hours for yourself to see a play or an exhibit, attend a class or stomp your feet to some bluegrass picking.Just 20 miles north of Winston-Salem, Danbury and the surrounding area provide quick access for visitors looking for a respite. The proximity makes it easy to get away for a few hours.
Outdoor enthusiasts gravitate toward the county’s many interesting destinations such as Moores Springs, Piedmont Springs, Cascade Falls, Tories Den and Hanging Rock State Park. Developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the park is among North Carolina’s oldest. The 7,049-acre park was named park of the year in 2012 by the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. Hikers, rock climbers, fisherman and swimmers all find a haven here.
When you are ready to slow down a bit, stroll along the streets of Danbury and Walnut Cove and enjoy the antiques shops. Stop in at J.E. Priddy’s General Store, in operation for 123 years, and take home a souvenir — a country ham, a hoop of cheese, iron cookware or homemade jam.
There’s a lot of history in these hills. Make time to see: the Moratock Iron Furnace, used to produce usable bar iron; Davis Chapel, which started as a place of worship on the James Davis Plantation in the 1700s; and the 100-year-old Jessup Mill and Farm on the Dan River.
For the luxury of spending more than a day in Stokes County, select from among the inns and cabins available — some within earshot of the river.
While the local cuisine is predominantly Southern, country fare, you can still find Mexican, Thai and Japanese food. There is no need to do without sushi, a gourmet cupcake or a fruit smoothie.

Upcoming events:

“Mud & Memories:” Monty Stevens & Monica Marshall in the Apple Gallery, Stokes County Arts Council, 500 N. Main St., 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Feb. 19:
Photographer Monty Stevens’ interests include natural landscapes, cars and portraits. Monica Marshall is a potter. Free. For more information call (336) 593-8159 or email
Old-fashioned bluegrass picking, J.E. Priddy’s General Store, 2121 Sheppard Mill Road, 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16 and 23: Cozy up inside the 19th-century general store for some old-fashioned bluegrass picking. Every Friday night in February, this family-owned general store in Stokes County plays host to local musical talent. Free. For more information call (336) 593-8786 or visit
John Cowan Band in concert, 4:30 p.m. Sunday, South Stokes High School Auditorium, 1100 South Stokes High Drive, Walnut Cove: Also known as the Voice of Newgrass, John Cowan has been singing for 35 years. From Newgrass Revival, to the John Cowan Band, to the legendary Doobie Brothers, Cowan is one of the most admired vocal artists. With special guests Lacy Green and The Good Fellers. Advance tickets are $20 per person, $25 day of the event. For more information, call (336) 593-8159 or visit
“Roadhouse: Where the Rhythms Rock and the Blues Roll,” 7 p.m. March 1 and 2, and 3 p.m. March 3 at the South Stokes High School Auditorium, 1100 South Stokes High Drive, Walnut Cove: This stunning, foot-stomping musical tale of redemption follows the story of Matthew Porter, proprietor of the once famous Blues and Rock & Roll juke joint. Matthew transports the audience back in time to when the Roadhouse was booming. Darryl Van Leer brings to stage live music from the playbooks of Ray Charles, Little Richard, Elton John, Sam Cooke, Muddy Waters, Jelly Roll Morton, Big Joe Turner, Lionel Richie and Jerry Lee Lewis. Dessert is served one hour before the performance. Tickets are $14, $12 for seniors 60 and older, and $10 for Stokes Arts members and students 18 and under. For more information, call (336) 593-8159, or visit
Painting North Carolina Plein Air, Germanton Art Gallery & Winery, 3530 Highway 8 & 65, Germanton, April 12-14: Presented by the Germanton Gallery and Winery, with support by the Stokes County Arts Council. Forty artists from North Carolina and around the country will converge on Stokes County with programs that include an opening reception, demonstrations, quick-draw party and instructional classes.
For more information on these and other events call the Stokes County Arts Council at (336) 593-8159, email at or visit

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