Wednesday, Aug 8
A note from last night at the convention: Tom and John found out that a good part of the music at the convention location is performed casually in the camping area where all the musicians are headquartered. There are pop-up jam sessions all over the place, with all of the premier musicians that participate in the competition relaxing for fun play in the evening
This morning we changed gears as we went from a music celebration to a historical focal point. We caravanned to Hillsville, VA Courthouse, the scene of the infamous “Allen Tragedy” in 1912. It was a shoot-em-up of the first degree. Members of the "Allen Clan" and local lawmen engaged in an epic gunfight that made national headlines and shook the community like an earthquake. In barely a minute, a judge, prosecutor, sheriff, juror, and witness were killed or mortally wounded. A year later, a father and a son would die in the electric chair.
Our treat was to take seats in the court house room where the shooting took place; members of a period cast delighted us with the story of all that took place that day in the court room. Following that performance we toured the Historical Museum downstairs, with many of us buying the definitive book about the incident.
John pointed out one of the two bullet holes in the outside stair steps from when the indoor shoot-out moved to the outdoors!
From there we went to the 5-story-high (+basement) Historical Carter Mansion where we had lunch: ham, beans, cornbread, cole slaw. The home is half-way through a major renovation, and we were able to eat inside or out on the veranda. We had the full run of the 5 different levels; the upper two levels were not yet finished, but the lower floors were magnificently done and an indication of what the final overhaul would look like.
We shopped a little in the surrounding stores and invaded the downtown Hillsville Diner intrigued by the sliding barn door that opened onto the street, and an astonishing indoor décor. A landmark to Hillsville since 1946, the Hillsville Diner is now the oldest continuously operating streetcar diner in the entire state of Virginia. The facility was moved here from Mt. Airy, NC where a young Andy Griffith frequented. We had no intent to eat – but we all ended up buying t-shirts of this historic eatery.
This is a long story -- but the brief version is that Tom brought the manager a carton of Rocky Road Ice Cream. For this he earned a hug!
Back at the campground there was to be a guitar concert by a 14-year-old prodigy – a thunderstorm moved in and washed it out. We didn’t get the word that it was moved into the basement of the facility until every spot was taken and listeners were spilling out the door into the rain! All reports were that the young man had talent beyond belief.
The rain cooled things off and we enjoyed walking the dogs and sitting outside for a quick supper. John and Tom headed out again for the convention site – probably to attend the jam session again at the camping location. I am ready to put my nose in the book: The Carroll County Courthouse Tragedy by Ronald W. Hall.
We don’t go camping any more . . . we go ‘streamin’ ! The “SIlvermine and His” is our 2016 23' Airstream, and ‘streamin’ is the name we use to describe our adventures. Stream along as we document everything from weekend trips to longer summer excursions and full-blown vacations. You know what they say: if you’re not in an Airstream – you’re just camping!
Tom & Ella Brown