About Fries VA
Fries is Where the New River Trail Begins
Just across the North Carolina border in southwestern Virginia lies some of most beautiful scenery you can imagine. Crystal clear water cascades over rocks as streams meander through the trees and across the rolling meadows. Cows, sheep, and goats graze peacefully, undisturbed by the steady stream of hikers and bike riders.
The Town of Fries (pronounced "freeze") was built by Col. Francis Henry Fries, a forward-thinking industrialist of the early 19th century. Col. Fries followed the New River until he found the perfect spot for a textile mill. A special Act of Congress gave permission for a hydroelectric dam to be built at Bartlett Falls on the New River. A new town mushroomed. This was one of America's first planned communities, with approximately 300 houses (all with indoor plumbing and electricity), a company commissary that some say would put Wal-mart to shame, post office, doctors and dentists office, recreation facilities (including one of the first lighted baseball fields with its own dugouts and a bowling alley), Masonic Lodge, library, and churches. The area boasted one of the first schools for Detective Services (teaching men how to be private detectives), drawing men from across the nation during the mid-20th century. Furniture manufacturing provided employment for the people of another neighboring town, Galax. This area flourished until the textile operations ceased and furniture manufacturing moved offshore. Since that time, Fries and its sister cities, Galax and Hilltown, have focused their attention on tourism, taking advantage of the natural beauty of the surrounding area. In 1998, the New River was designated the first American Heritage River. Along its banks stretches a 53-mile trail that's the perfect spot for hikers, bikers and outdoor enthusiasts. Within the town of Galax you'll find a wide array of antique and mountain craft stores exhibiting wares from both the local artisans and imported furniture and accessories from throughout Europe. This portion of Virginia is rich in mountain heritage, being a part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Since 1935 Galax has hosted the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention the second week of August. The restored Rex Theatre is the perfect venue for old time bluegrass bands. Galax is a part of the Crooked Road Music Trail, a consortium of towns supporting Virginia's Heritage Music. During our recent visit we were awed by the piano playing of Jeff Little and guitar master Wayne Henderson. To reach Fries and Galax. take I 40 East from Asheville north of Statesville, N.C. At Statesville, go north on I 77 until you see the signs for Galax.
Article provided with permission by LAUREL Magazine January 2008, Your Guide to the Finest in Highlands and Cashiers.
The article is under Homes and Lifestyles Title of the article Fries, Virginia: Up the River and Around the Bend, By Wiley Sloan
We are sure that Fries, Virginia will not be a disappointment.
Come and see us soon!