Blue Ridge Mountains & Blue Grass Music

Joanne Arendse begins her visit to Virginia Tech with a tour of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a jam session of Blue Grass Music in Floyd, and a cookout with Mexican tostadas.

“Just in case” Joanne was jet-lagged her first night in Blacksburg, Janna Doyle, University Libraries Metadata Workflow Coordinator and Joanne’s hostess, had prepared a fruit basket, bottled tea, and a tasty sandwich from Our Daily Bread Bakery. Good plan, Jana! Although Joanne was lively and talkative on her arrival, she would of course mainly be running on adrenalin after a 25 hour flight from South Africa, and went to sleep early. (Blogger’s note: “early” is a relative concept, considering that 9:00pm + 6 hours time difference = it was 3:00am for her!) She was wide awake at 2:00am local time… you do the math 🙂

Later that morning, Joanne, an avid walker, hiked to Kroger’s, the local grocery supermarket. She even discovered Oasis, our best international food store, located on the other side of South Main Street. The International Outreach Committee had appropriately labeled her first full day in Blacksburg “jet-lag day” on her calendar, and she was thankful to be able to stretch her legs and acclimate.

The next day Paul Hover and his wife Tecla picked Joanne up for a short tour of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The day was sunny with brilliant white clouds floating over this beautiful section of the Appalachian Range, and the photograph above makes it easy to understand why people call them blue.

Floyd, music capital of South-West Virginia

Joanne (pictured right) and Tecla Hover stop in to listen to some genuine Blue Grass music at the Floyd Country Store on their way back from a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Joanne (pictured right) and Tecla Hover stop in to listen to some genuine Blue Grass music at the Floyd Country Store on their way back from a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Joanne (pictured right) and Tecla Hover stop in to listen to some genuine Blue Grass music at the Floyd Country Store on their way back from a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Next stop was Floyd, where impromptu Blue Grass jam sessions occur every day of the week, but especially on Friday evenings. Click on the photograph to get a closer look: there are 8 musicians gathered around in the circle at the back of the country store. Between riffs there is a lot of friendly banter and good-natured kidding, both among themselves and with the audience, and then the music magic begins again.

We ended the day with a tostada dinner back in Blacksburg, cooked for us by Shantal, Tecla and Paul’s daughter and a recent alumnus of Virginia Tech, and her VT PhD student boyfriend, Taylor Jones.