Floyd, Virginia: where hippies, farmers and business owners meet

The Oddfellas Cantina logo sums up the town of Floyd, VA. Drawn in the style of Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting, the logo graphic depicts three men standing side by side: a farmer in dungarees and holding a hoe; a Jerry Garcia look-alike and a businessman in a suit sporting a bowler hat. Happily co-existing in Floyd are the farmers who have worked the land for generations, the hippies who started arriving in the 1960s, and the businessmen who keep Floyd’s economy going. The retail stores in Floyd seem to cater to all three cultural cohorts: there’s a hardware and farm store, a mix of real estate companies and banks, a health food store, bookstores, coffee shops, and plenty of clothing stores selling tie-dyes. to equip a hippie army.

If you’re looking for a quiet, relaxed break from city life, nothing beats Floyd, Virginia.

Floyd has a resident population of only about 500 people. There is a traffic light in the center of town (the only traffic light in the county, I might add). However, Floyd has become a de facto mountain cultural center. Annually, it hosts the Floydfest World Music Festival, the Floyd Fandango Beer and Wine Festival, and the Floyd County Arts and Crafts Festival. There are regular music and cultural events at both Floyd’s wineries, and weekly events at Sun Music Hall and Floyd Country Store.

Every time we have guests over, we go to Oddfellas for dinner. I have never been disappointed in a meal at Oddfellas, and I am a food snob. The restaurant’s d├ęcor is eclectic: the furniture, artwork and crockery are all “mix & match”. The chef describes the cuisine as “Appalachian Latino,” and the food is absolutely wonderful. Live Oddfellas music will range from Irish music to old time and jazz.

One warm Friday night, Jill, myself and our guests dined at Oddfellas and then spent several hours wandering the shops and streets of Floyd. On Friday nights when the weather is warm, Floyd’s fills up with bluegrass musicians playing on street corners. If you stand at the corner of Main & Locust, you can hear banjos and fiddles coming at you from various directions.

The center of all this bluegrass activity is the Floyd Country Store, where the Friday Night Jamboree draws bluegrass musicians from various states. We walked into the store and took a look at their collection of bluegrass CDs, while listening to the performers on stage and watching the dancers “go flat” on the dance floor.

Our Los Angeles guests were experiencing culture shock, and I found that amusing. Between the bluegrass music, the mountain roads, and my truck, they wondered aloud if I hadn’t been an undercover mountaineer all my life. What they didn’t realize was that here at Floyd, we all get along great, no matter where we come from.

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