Posts Tagged ‘History’

Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention Attracts Top Talent, April 1-2

Posted on: March 11th, 2016 by 89and52 No Comments

Old Time Fiddlers Convention Attracts Top Talent, April 1-2

DOBSON, N.C. – The seventh annual Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention brings together some of the area’s best musicians in the old time music genre, April 1-2 in Dobson.
The event takes place at Surry Community College. Its goal is to preserve the region’s traditional stringed-instrument music that has been passed down for generations.
The convention kicks off with a square dance Friday night featuring two well-known bands from the area, while Saturday’s lineup includes youth and adult competitions in multiple categories, workshops led by renowned musicians, jam sessions and more.
Mountain Park Old Time Band and New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters headline Friday evening’s festivities. Cakewalks are also a favorite Friday activity, where winners receive homemade confections.
“Friday night’s dance has a certain kind of energy and community feeling,” says Buck Buckner of the convention committee. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve – that old time community feeling.”
Saturday’s lineup includes daylong competitions – youth and adult – in instrument, band and dance, while four old time music experts will lead free one-hour workshops.
Paul Brown will give instructions on fiddle. Brown is known as both a musician and host of the popular “Across the Blue Ridge” radio show on WFDD (88.5 FM) in Winston-Salem.
Steve Lewis, a native of Todd and award-winning musician, will offer insight on guitar. Banjo virtuoso Adam Hurt will share his picking talent, and Rodney Sutton, known for his expertise in traditional mountain dance, will help attendees with their footwork.
“Every year we have a stellar lineup of people,” Buckner says. “They appreciate what we’re doing to foster the area’s musical heritage, and they’re willing to support it and share in it.”
Workshops, luthier displays and jam sessions take place throughout the day Saturday. Mount Airy radio station WPAQ (740 AM) broadcasts live from the convention.
Admission is $5 daily, with children 12 and younger admitted at no charge. Contestants get in free Saturday. Hours for Friday night’s dance are 7-10 p.m. On Saturday, registration for contest participants begins at 10 a.m., and activities continue throughout the day and evening.
For info on the Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, call (336) 526-1111 or visit: For lodging info, go to:

Media Contact: Craig Distl, 704-466-3744, [email protected]

LuRosa Atkins Manor Tour Home

Posted on: September 28th, 2015 by 89and52 No Comments

Tour LuRosa Atkins Manor a historic home built over 160 years ago. This Victorian farm house was originally built by the Jones’ family local residents of Surry County. Ed and April Atkins purchased the home in 2002. They began renovations immediately while at the same time maintaining the Victorian Era in every room including the original flooring in several rooms, the staircase, the parlor which was added in 1929, and the front foyer. After completing the renovations the Atkins’ decided to share their home with the public, by giving tours. Attractions include the doll room with over 55 dolls, an African Art room, a Western room containing John Wayne relics and Calvary swords. The antiques in the home have been collected over the past 30 years. These antiques include tea sets, glassware, furniture, 18th century tableware, and numerous collectibles. Also, there is an Oriental room with Nippon tea sets, oriental paintings from Japan and China and a carved ornate settee.

Mr. Atkins has been a stained glass artist for over 60 years. He has designed, built and installed 10 stained glass windows and the entire surface of the kitchen counter tops. One example is a hand-painted, three-dimensional, 7 ft by 4 ft stained glass window of the Canterbury Tales.

As Ed and April open their home and hearts to you, experience the feeling of stepping back into another time and place.

Tour Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 11am-5pm

Closed: December 20th-First Wednesday in April

Admission is $8 per person (Groups of 6 or more: $5 per person. Children ages 6 and under: Free admission)

Call 336-786-9122 for more information.
Traveling south on Hwy 601/Rockford Street: Turn right on Forrest Drive. Go to Stop Sign and take a RIGHT. Home is 3rd house on left.
Traveling on West Pine Street/Hwy 89 – Turn at Hardee’s onto South Franklin Road. Home will be on the right, about 2 miles. If you reach Forrest Drive, you have gone too far.

Surry Sonker Trail Showcases a Tasty Confection

Posted on: January 27th, 2015 by 89and52 No Comments


Just Desserts: Surry Sonker Trail Showcases a Tasty Confection

North Carolina’s newest culinary trail showcases a heritage food passed down from generation to generation in Surry County.
The Surry Sonker Trail leads visitors to several places that serve sonker – a cobbler-esque dessert unique to the county. Seven trail stops offer this sweet confection on their regular menu. An additional stop is a pottery studio selling sonker baking dishes and sonker cookbooks.
So, what exactly is this authentic Southern delicacy?
Sonker is similar to a pot pie or cobbler. It comes about by blending fruit and unshaped dough that is sweetened with sugar, molasses, or other secret ingredients. Sonker is also similar to snowflakes in that no two are exactly alike.
“Everyone has their own recipe,” says Carolyn Carter of the Rockford General Store, “and I’ve never had a bad one.”
Sonker’s origins in the county date to the early 1800s. A common belief is it was made to stretch the usage of fruit in tough times, or as a way to utilize fruit toward the end of its ripeness.
A lot of places on the trail, including Rockford General Store, feature sonker that is baked; however, Loretta Flack of Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin has a different philosophy. Her grandmother taught her to cook a dumpling-style sonker in a pot on the stove.
“The dumplings sit on top of the fruit,” says Flack. “When you cut into the dumplings they are like a biscuit inside – fluffy and soft with the flavor of the fruit.”
Not far from Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin is Heaven’s Scent, a hometown bistro featuring a recipe handed down from Linda Darnell, mother of co-owner Jones Darnell.
“Our sonkers are all baked. They have a crust on top, and no crust on bottom,” says Heaven’s Scent co-owner Jeff Taylor. “We do not use a glaze. The butter itself gives it a bit of a glaze. Most people like our sweet potato sonker. That seems to be everyone’s favorite.”
In addition to Heaven’s Scent, Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery and Rockford General Store, there are four other eateries on the trail. They are: The Living Room Coffeehouse in Pilot Mountain, Putters Patio & Grill in Dobson, Trio Restaurant in Mount Airy, and Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Mount Airy.
Another trail stop is Mayberry Pottery in Mount Airy, where visitors can purchase baking dishes and sonker cookbooks.
The most unusual sonker on the trail belongs to Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies. Owners Angela and Randy Shur are natives of Long Island, NY, and have bestowed a northern flavor on this tasty treat. They utilize a crumb-based crust, and drizzle a moonshine glaze over the crust.
“They tease us for being from the North, so I don’t call it a sonker,” says Angela Shur. “I call it a zonker because when you eat ours with moonshine, you go zonkers.”
The trail was created in early January by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County. It aims to spotlight a heritage food at a time when culinary trails are gaining in popularity.
“People travel now to find good food and this ties in nicely,” says Jessica Roberts of the tourism partnership. “We have visitors who have picked up the brochure and said, ‘Oh wow, that reminds me of what my grandmother baked,’ or ‘That reminds me of what my mother made for me when I was growing up.’ We’re getting a lot of good feedback from the trail already.”
That sentiment is echoed at the state level by Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC.
“These unique trails bring the history and culture of the state to life through food,” Tuttell explains. “They showcase the diverse landscape of North Carolina by highlighting the customs and local foods that make a visit to our state so special.”
A brochure map has been created by the Tourism Partnership of Surry County to guide folks along the trail. It includes all the key info to enjoy a day or two along the trail.
The brochure map is available at no charge by calling (800) 948-0949, or by requesting a map online at: Also, you can “like” the Surry Sonker Trail on Facebook!

From left to right – Peach “Zonka” at Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies in Downtown Mount Airy, followed by Blackberry Sonker at Rockford General Store.

Miss Angel's 010-2Rockford


From left to right – Peach Sonker (a stove-top version) from Roxxi & Lulu’s Bakery in Elkin, followed by Sweet Potato Sonker with Ice Cream from Putter’s in Dobson

Roxxi and Lulus                                      Putter's Patio and Grill

Christmas Tour of Homes – Dec. 6 & 7

Posted on: November 18th, 2014 by 89and52 No Comments

The Mount Airy Restoration Foundation presents the Christmas Tour of Homes on Saturday, December 6 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, December 7 from 1 to 5 p.m. The homes may be visited in any order, on either day or both days.
Tickets are $15 each and are available at the Mount Airy Visitors Center, located at 200 N. Main Street in Downtown Mount Airy (on the corner of Moore Ave. and N. Main St, with the antique clock on the corner of our granite building). Tickets must be presented at each home on the tour.


Gertrude Smith House

Posted on: January 8th, 2014 by 89and52 No Comments

The historic Gertrude Smith House was built by merchant and landowner Jefferson Davis Smith around the turn of the century.  This Victorian-style home contains period furnishings and is listed on National Register of Historic Places. Open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., April-December. There is no admission charge.

Jefferson Davis Smith was a local merchant and landowner who operated a general store, several farms, and numerous rental properties. After his death in the 1930s, his daughter Gertrude moved back to the Smith family home and assumed management of the family businesses. Gertrude was an interior decorator who was educated at Parson’s School of Design in New York City and was employeed by two prestigious NYC decorating firms. She used her decorating talents when she moved back to Mount Airy by updating and enlargming her childhood home and filling it with beautiful art and antiques. She continued her career in Mount Airy, decorating many of the interiors of the homes in the area. Gertrude’s brother, Dr. Robert Smith, collected much of the artwork in his world travels, including serving during World War II.
Gertrude was also involved in historic preservation locally and was one of the charter members of the Mount Airy Restoration Foundation. It was her passion for preservation that caused her to form the Gilmer-Smith Foundation, and the foundation’s board of directors oversees the perpetual care of the home. When Gertrude died in 1981, she willed that the home be left as a “living museum.”

A tour of the home gives visitors the feeling that the Smith family just walked out the back door moments earlier. Furnishings, accessories, and artwork are displayed just as they were when the Smith family lived there. Even the dining room table is set with Miss Gertrude’s china and crystal. Personal items are placed throughout the home for all who come to visit to appreciate, relish, and enjoy.

The beautiful yard contains trees and shrubs planted decades ago. Giant oak and ash trees, along with fruit and nut trees, redbuds, and dogwoods, are among the original plantings. Vintage shrubs such as forsythia, scotchbroom, spirea, lilac, and winter honeysuckle are woven throughout the Victorian landscape.


Mayberry Squad Car Tours

Posted on: June 26th, 2013 by 89and52 No Comments

Remember Sheriff Taylor’s police car? The one you saw in every episode? In Mount Airy, you can tour all of the sites in a Mayberry squad car. Each tour starts at Wally’s Service Station, then it will travel up and down the streets of Mount Airy, where you will learn stories about Andy Griffith and Mayberry, history of the town, Floyds Barber shop, the TV Land statue, Snappy Lunch, Andy Griffith Playhouse, the childhood home of Andy Griffith, and the world’s largest open-face granite quarry. Please call ahead to schedule a tour, especially during summer and fall seasons. Keep in mind that winter hours are limited – always call before visiting.

Mount Airy Museum of Regional History

Posted on: June 25th, 2013 by 89and52 No Comments

The museum’s collections include a history of the Saura Indians of the 1600s, the story of the world’s largest open-face granite quarry, the Yadkin River, the original Siamese Twins, Andy Griffith, Tommy Jarrell, transportation, and the history of Mount Airy and surrounding communities. A new exhibit shows the luthier art form – instrument making. The Mount Airy Museum of Regional History is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. until 5 p.m in the late fall/winter and will be open in spring and summer 7 days per week. Please call ahead for exact hours and visit the website for more information. Groups should call ahead to arrange for a guided tour.