Appalachian Culture

Mountain Music

Tucked into to the heart of the Blue Ridge Highlands of Southwestern Virginia, Grayson County is an ideal destination for a romantic get-away or a relaxing weekend with friends and family. Formed in 1793, Grayson County has a rich historical heritage, Appalachian culture and a deep appreciation for mountain music.

GuitarCredit: Morgue File

Explore the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, home of the Virginia’s highest mountain, Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet. Impressive Mount Whitetop towers over the countryside at 5,520 feet of elevation. The rugged mountain terrain provides numerous trails for adventurous hikers, horseback riders and snowmobile riders to explore. The Corners Rock Recreation Area offers mountain bikers a broad variety of inspiring trails. Whatever your choice of outdoor adventure, Grayson County provides the opportunity to pursue it in one of the most scenic areas in Southwestern Virginia.

The Grayson County Tourism Department advises, “We have it all in Grayson County!  Grayson Highlands State Park, New River Trail State Park, a portion of the Virginia Creeper Trail, countless acres of the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and Jefferson National Forests which includes the Appalachian Trail. If that isn't enough, hikes can be found at the Grayson County Recreation Park, spur trails off of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mathews State Forest.”

Scenic and serene, the New River[1] presents a wide variety of recreational opportunities including canoeing, kayaking, whitewater rafting, tubing, swimming, and fishing. Sparking and clear, the New River, designated an American Heritage River, wanders for over 30 miles through Grayson County. The name New River is quite confusing. The mighty body of water is actually the oldest river in Virginia.

The friendly residents of Grayson County invite travelers to “Rest, Relax and Unwind.” From cozy mountain cabins to charming bed and breakfast inns, there are lodging accommodations for every taste and budget. For visitors that prefer to sleep under the stars, there are endless primitive campsites along the trail or recreational campgrounds offering full amenities. Leave the “hustle and bustle of city life” behind while you savor the tranquility and scenic beauty of Grayson County, Virginia.

Festivals and Celebrations

Grayson County celebrates all the seasons with fun things to see and do. Annual festivals and celebrations include the Whitetop Mountain Maple Festival, the Fairview Ruritan’s Fiddlers’ Convention, Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival, the Grayson County Fiddlers Convention,[2] the Independence Fourth of July Celebration, the Grayson Wine Festival, the Grayson Highlands Fall Festival, the Baywood Pumpkin Festival, the New River Trail 50K, the Mountain Foliage Festival and Grand Privy Race and the Whitetop Mountain Molasses Festival. All area events offer sumptuous food, Appalachian arts and crafts and the constant sound of foot-stomping mountain music. For a brochure and detailed information contact the Grayson County Tourism Department, PO Box 217, 129 Davis Street, Independence, Virginia, 24348 or call (276) 773-2471.

Mountain MusicCredit: Morgue File

Mountain Music

Bring and instrument and join in the pleasure of making music. Grayson County[3] is a mecca for musicians. Jam sessions and spontaneous musical events are happening all over the county. Traditional gospel and bluegrass music encourage everyone to join in. So clap your hands, stomp your feet while you sing and dance to some of the best fiddle playing in all of America. Learn to clog mountain style. If you love mountain music, the Henry Whitter Festival held in Fries and the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition hosted in Grayson Highlands State Park in June are “joyful happenings” not to be missed.


The three incorporated towns of Independence, Troutdale and Fries and the rural mountain villages of Elk Creek, Flat Ridge, Baywood, Mouth of Wilson and Fairview offer superb shopping for local Appalachian mountain arts and crafts including woodcarvings, musical instruments, quilts, baskets, pottery and antiques.

Plan a family vacation in Independence, Virginia