Saturday, November 7, 2009

Take a Fall Stroll Uptown

Fall is the perfect time to take a walk. The cool crisp air and colorful leaves against a bluebird sky make this time of year seem magical! This week a cheerful group of walkers came out to participate in the November Tuesday Morning Stroll, held at the Uptown Spur Trail.

The paved trail is located at the corner of Depot and Franklin Streets behind the historic Courthouse in Uptown Martinsville, Virginia. It is 0.6 mile long and will connect to the 4.5 mile long Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail in Spring 2010.

While on the Tuesday Morning Stroll, participants learned about the history of "Black Friday", the kick off of holiday shopping that will be held on November 27th this year. The group learned several interesting facts about the holiday and Bill Mitchell of Martinsville won this month's trivia challenge. Do YOU know where the term "Black Friday" originated? The term was coined in Philladelphia in the 1960's in reference to heavy traffic and smog on that day as a result of so many shoppers seeking door buster deals and holidays sales. Because of his great guess, Bill won an official Dick & Willie Passage T-shirt!

The Uptown Spur Trail paired with the addition of the Dick & Willie Passage can help avoid that problem of vehicular pollution by making every day a "Green" day. The trail will allow families and individuals from Fieldale, Collinsville, and Axton to walk or bike into Uptown Martinsvile to dine, shop, catch a movie at the Rives Theater or visit the museums available there without having to crank the car! Best of all walking and biking makes for a very relaxing commute where you can enjoy beautiful scenry along the way.

After completing the Uptown Spur Trail the group took a trip up into the heart of Uptown, Church Street to sample the Martinsville Historic Walking Tour. Brochures for this self-guided tour can be picked up at the Martinsville Uptown Revitalization Association (MURA) or at the Artisan's Center. Together we learned about the 22 room mansion that once stood in town near the historic Carriage House, the many department stores that dotted the streets of town such as Globmans, saw the location of the very first telephone in Martinsville and saw points of interest that are not usually noticed while driving in a car. Do YOU know where the Uptown Gargoyles are? Take a walk and look for them!

No trip to Martinsville can be complete with out a photo op in front of The Big Chair! The group took a moment to pose for a picture in front of the world's largest wooden chair that celebrates our rich furniture heritage before continuing the walk. This attraction is located on Church Street accross from the new Uptown Furniture Market, a one-stop shop for upscale furniture pieces, perfect for any home or apartment.

According to Regenia Manns,  everyone "enjoyed the walk in Uptown Martinsville; the information about the buildings and businesses was very interesting." She went on to say that "some of us remembered the starting places of some of the stores and we all look forward to seeing new stores and restaurants opening in uptown Martinsville."

Tuesday Morning Strolls is a program sponsored by the Dan River Basin Association, Activate Martinsville-Henry County, Henry County Parks & Recreation and the Martinsville YMCA. Participants are invited to free public walks throughout the year where they can learn about points of interest found around our community. Participants are given a frequent walker card that is punched each time they participate and registers them for prizes. The next walk will be held at 9 a.m. on December 1st at Liberty Fair Mall. Meet inside the mall at the former Goody's entrance. For more information, contact Jennifer Doss at 276-634-2545 or

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