Saturday, March 28, 2015

In search of the famous Martinsville Hot Dog

From the corny innkeeping family at The Claiborne House B&B in Rocky Mount, Virginia:

The famous Martinsville speedway hot dog road trip
From the corny innkeeping family at The Claiborne House B&B - Martinsville Speedway NASCAR "WARNING: there is a SLOW MO hot dog scene"
Posted by Shellie Coffman Leete on Saturday, March 28, 2015
We apologize if any dawgs were injured or killed in the making of this video... 

Visit our website for more details about The Claiborne House B&B, which is located 40 minutes to the track in Martinsville for all the NASCAR bumpin' and grindin' you could ever want!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Blue Ridge Parkway Virginia Itinerary

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast loves The Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. We are located just 15 miles to this famous scenic road and are sharing this itinerary so you won't miss some of the special sights along the way.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is also America's drive through national park, with 469 miles (754.8 km) of no stops! So for this article we are only covering the Virginia portion of this beautiful road, to help enhance your road trip through the great Commonwealth of Virginia.
Humpbacks to Galax
a virginia blue ridge parkway itinerary
We have highlighted some of our personal favorites below with mile post numbers (all links and info was accurate at the time of this article):

Peaks of Otter MP86
       Sharp Top Hike -3 mile round trip   
       Lunch at the lodge
       Side trip to National D-Day Memorial, Bedford
Smartview Recreation Area MP155
       Picnic on the parkway, 500 acres to hike, views - shoot down off the Parkway to Blue Ridge Institute at Ferrum and Rocky Mount (to overnight, essentials, gas up and visit Harvester Performance Center)
Rocky Knob - Tuggles Gap MP 165
       Take Highway 8 a few miles to Floyd
       Friday Night Jamboree, Saturday Americana Afternoons, hardware store, shops and eateries
       Chateau Morrisette Winery MP 171.5
       You will also see Buffalo Mountain at 3972 feet to the West 
Mabry Mill MP 176
       Sunday demonstrations mountain music
       Diner with great food, especially breakfast
Meadows of Dan MP 180.1
       Mayberry Rock Church - time for church
       Aunt Orlean Pucket House MP 189.9 
Blue Ridge Music Center MP 213
       Cruise over to Galax for bluegrass and country cookin'. Rex Theater, local jams and Annual Fiddler's Convention.

The following is shared from:
Experience America's Favorite Drive

The Virginia Parkway Experience

Virginia Parkway Experiences by Milepost

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a scenic highway that connects Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee.
The majority of the Parkway in Virginia runs through the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and into North Carolina along mountain crests.
The attractions along the Virginia portion of the Parkway differ slightly from those on the North Carolina side.
In Virginia, the recreated mountain farm near Humpback Rocks at the beginning of the Parkway and Mabry Mill, further south, give visitors a glimpse of traditional mountain life in the early days of settlement.

Developed Sites Along the Parkway in Virginia

Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8

At the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor.


The prominent rock outcrop was a landmark guiding wagon trains over the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. A portion of the historic trace still exists. This was a major route across the narrow Blue Ridge until railroads came through the mountain gaps. The view from “the rocks” is spectacular any time of the year.
Located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is an area rich in history, scenic beauty, and abundant hiking trails. Early European settlers forged a living from the native materials that flourished in the Appalachian Mountains. Hickory, chestnut, and oak trees provided nuts for food, logs for building, and tannin for curing hides, while rocks were put to use as foundations and chimneys for the houses, and in stone fences to control wandering livestock. Many self-sufficient farms sprang up in the Humpback Mountain area.

Outdoor Farm Museum

Adjacent to Humpback Rocks Visitor Center, an outdoor farm museum is surrounded by nearly 3,000 acres of predominantly forested lands. Early Parkway designers collected buildings from nearby and assembled them here in an arrangement that allows for an easy stroll along the pathway.
The farm museum consists of a single-room log cabin and a series of outbuildings that represent elements of regional architecture of the late nineteenth century. Costumed interpreters provide demonstrations, including weaving, basket making and gardening. Interpretation focuses on and emphasizes the generalized life styles of subsistence farmers.


  • Hiking trails:  Mountain Farm Trail (easy .25 mi.), a section of the Appalachian Trail (strenuous 2 mi.), Catoctin Loop Trail (moderate .3 mi.), Greenstone Trail (moderate .2 mi.)
  • 91-site picnic area at Milepost 8.5 - open seasonally
  • Interpretive programs available seasonally from costumed interpreters - check NPS calendar
  • Visitor Center here features exhibits and a gift shop - open seasonally
  • Humpback Rocks Mountain Farm buildings representing mountain farms of the nineteenth century, open for self-guided tour year round -see area map
Humpback Rocks Visitor Center phone: (540) 943-4716

Peaks of Otter, MP 86

With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
American Indians passed through the area while hunting and European settlers began to call the region home in the mid-1700s.
The area wasn’t a secret for long: in 1834 the first inn opened and by the turn of the century the Peaks of Otter was a popular tourist destination. Today, the Peaks of Otter still inspires travelers on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

What to Do

  • Enjoy the Peaks of Otter Lodge with 63 rooms and restaurant
  • Stop by the Visitor Center at Milepost 86 to find a ranger or get information about programs
  • Picnic amid natural beauty along Little Stoney Creek with tables, charcoal grills and comfort stations
  • Explore Polly Wood’s Ordinary, a cabin that served as the first lodging for travelers through the area starting in the early 1830’s, or Johnson Farm, a living history farm that entices visitors play games, help work the garden, or enjoy nature’s beauty by relaxing on the porch in a rocking chair
  • Take a hike, with six trails to choose from within the Peaks of Otter area and three National Scenic Trails fewer than eight miles away
  • Go fish! Abbott Lake is open to fishing for anyone with a valid North Carolina or Virginia fishing license. Please note the special regulations posted lakeside
  • Visit the only service station on the Parkway in Virginia and explore a small gift shop for Blue Ridge Parkway keepsakes
  • Grab a snack or camping supplies at the camp store, located at the start of the Sharp Top trail, near the campground
  • Camp under the stars at a Parkway-operated 144-site campground at the foot of Sharp Top mountain, with sites for 92 tents and 52 trailers or RVs, water, comfort stations with flush toilets and cold water sinks (no showers or hook-ups)
Explore the listing of hours and opening and closing dates for visitor centers, campgrounds, and concessions and facilities - many of which are at or near the Highlights featured.

Rocky Knob & Mabry Mill, MP 169, 176.2

Rocky Knob and Mabry Mill offer many opportunities for visitors including hiking, camping, picnicking, and a visit to one of the most-photographed structures along the Blue Ridge Parkway, Mabry Mill. 
Mabry Mill was a community center for the Meadows of Dan area when it operated as a gristmill and sawmill. 
Today, the area becomes another kind of community gathering place each Sunday afternoon during the summer as musicians and dancers gather. 

What to Do

  • Explore a short trail around the mill connecting historical exhibits about life in rural Virginia and allows visitors to view the gristmill, sawmill, and blacksmith shop
  • Choose from three large picnic areas to rest and rejuvenate
  • Take a hike into Rockcastle Gorge
  • Enjoy wonderful agricultural scenes along the roadway that make this a truly unique portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway 
  • Relax at the Rocky Knob Cabins, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and the only cabins for rent on the Blue Ridge Parkway  
  • During peak seasons, enjoy demonstrations of crafts by National Park Service volunteers at Mabry Mill
Explore the listing of hours and opening and closing dates for visitor centers, campgrounds, and concessions and facilities - many of which are at or near the Highlights featured.

Blue Ridge Music Center & Galax Milepost 213

The Blue Ridge Music Center is a state-of-the-art performing arts facility built to preserve and promote the historic music of Virginia and the Blue Ridge. The Blue Ridge region has produced more old-time and bluegrass musicians per capita than any other and it is the epicenter or heart of many of America’s living music traditions.

Drawing from this rich heritage, which continues to thrive, the air at the BRMC is almost always filled with music, even when there is no concert on the stage. From June through October when you leave your car you’ll likely hear the ring of the banjo and the song of the fiddle wafting on the air from the breezeway that separates the visitors center from the indoor auditorium. Well-known local musicians volunteer their time to share the music they love with visitors, inviting those who can pick a tune to join them as well. Listeners relax in rocking chairs and enjoy both the music and the scenic view of Fisher Peak.

What to Do

  • Explore the visitor center as well as permanent and changing exhibits that trace the diversity of American roots music to the region
  • Experience the region’s musical traditions through live performances – past performances include Doc Watson, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley
  • Enjoy music at a 3,000-seat capacity outdoor amphitheater with state-of-the-art sound and lights
  • Discover an indoor theater for films and more intimate performance talks, and a shop for instrument construction
The site is operated through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The BRMC was built through the efforts of three organizations:  the City of Galax, VA, which donated 1,000 acres of land on Fisher Peak near the Parkway – land originally purchased to protect the city’s watershed, the Blue Ridge Parkway (National Park Service, US Department of Interior), which owns the facility and maintains it, and the National Council for the Traditional Arts, (NCTA) a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional music. It operates from May through October each year.
Phone: 276-236-5309
Explore the listing of hours and opening and closing dates for visitor centers, campgrounds, and concessions and facilities - many of which are at or near the Highlights featured.

Virginia Experiences by Milepost

  • 5-9.3: Humpback Rocks. 800 acres. Visitor Center and mountain farm exhibit (Milepost 5.8), Picnic area, comfort station (Milepost 8.4)
  • 8.8: Greenstone Parking Overlook. Self-guiding nature trail.
  • 13.5: Reeds Gap. Route 664.
  • 16: VA 814 to Sherando Lake. (4.5 mi.) in George Washington National Forest. Swimming, picnicking, camping.
  • 27: Tye River Gap. Rt. 56 Crossover, west to Vesuvius, Steeles Tavern, east to Montebello. Alt. 2,969
  • 34.4: Yankee Horse Parking Area. Logging Railroad Exhibit.
  • 45.6: US-60 Crossover. East to Amherst, West to Buena Vista and Lexington.
  • 60.8: Otter Creek. Restaurant, campground, gift/craft shop.
  • 61.6: Rt 130 Crossover East to Lynchburg 20 mi. West to Glasgow 9 mi. and Natural Bridge 15 mi.
  • 63.7: Visitor Center and exhibits. Self-guiding nature trail.
  • 63.7: US 501 Crossover West to Natural Bridge, 15 miles. East to Lynchburg 22 miles. Alt. 670.
  • 74.7: Thunder Ridge Parking Area. Ten-minute loop trail to superb view of Arnold’s Valley. Alt. 3,485.
  • 76.5: High Point on the Parkway in Virginia. Apple Orchard Mountain. (E1. 4,229.) Alt. 3,950.
  • 83.4: Fallingwater Cascades National Scenic Trail. Divided into two sections or may be hiked as one continuous loop. Fallingwater Cascades section is a 1.5 mile loop of moderate hiking. Flat Top section is more strenuous, 2.5 miles to summit and 4.4 mi. to Peaks Picnic Area on VA 43.
  • 84-87: Peaks of Otter Area, 5,000 acres. Three Peaks-Sharp Top [El 3,875], Flat Top [El. 4,004], and Harkening Hill [El. 3,364]. Visitor Center, self-guided trail, historic farm interpretive programs. Picnic area, campground, restrooms.
  • 86: VA 43 East to Bedford 10 miles and Smith Mountain Lake via VA 43 and VA 122.
  • 90.9: Bearwallow Gap. VA 43, 4 miles to Buchanan. Alt. 2,258.
  • 106: Junction Parkway and US 460. 9 mi. southwest to Roanoke, VA. 21 mi. northeast to Bedford, Lynchburg and Appomattox, VA.
  • 112.2: Junction Parkway and VA 24. 5 miles south to Roanoke. Nearest access to Smith Mountain Lake via VA. 24 & 122.
  • 114.9: Roanoke River Overlook. Trail.
  • 115: Visitor Center, gift shop, public restrooms, and a media center with videos on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Exhibit area with historic information and features of the Roanoke Valley. The center piece of the exhibit area Is a large scale topographical map of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Picnic areas are available along with a short walking trail and mountain biking trails. 120 Mill Mountain Discovery Center- Located on top of Mill Mountain, exit Milepost 120. An environmental education and regional information center providing nature programs, hands-on exhibits, and visitor information. Open 7 days a week year round. (April-October: Monday-Saturday: 10am- 6pm, Sunday 1pm-5pm) (November-March: Monday-Friday Noon-4pm, Saturday 12-5, Sunday 1pm-5pm). (540) 853-1236.
  • 120.3: Roanoke Mountain Loop Rd. 4 mi. one way road, around Mountain. Steep grades. Impressive views from summit. No trailers.
  • 120.4: Roanoke Mountain. Campground 1.3 mi. on spur road to Mill Mountain, trails.
  • 121.4: Junction Parkway and US 220, 5 mi. north to Roanoke. 5 mi. south to Boones Mill. 21 mi. to Rocky Mount, 45 mi. to Martinsville. Smith Mountain Lake by way of US 220 to Rocky Mount and Va. Rte. 40.
  • 129.6: Roanoke Valley Parkway Overlook. Fine View of Roanoke. 136 Adney Gap. Junction Parkway and US 221. Alt. 2,690.
  • 144: Devils Backbone Parking Overlook. Fine view.
  • 144.8: Pine Spur Parking Overlook. Named for the white pine which is the tree depicted on Parkway emblem. Alt. 2,703.
  • 154.5: Smart View - 500 acres, hiking trails, large picnic grounds, comfort stations, drinking water. The cabin home of T.T. Trail is picturesque.
  • 165.2: Tuggle Gap. VA. Rt. 8 Crossover. East 6 mi. to Woolwine, VA; 16 mi. to Fairy Stone State Park. Swimming, boating, picnicking. North 6 mi. to Floyd, 20 mi. to Christiansburg.
  • 167: Rocky Knob, 4,800 acres. Picnic area, comfort stations, campground, visitor center (Milepost 169). 15 miles of trails including Rock Castle Gorge National Recreational Trail. Alt. 3,572.
  • 176.1: Mabry Mill - Self-guiding features resto red mill and exhibits on rural life in Appalachia. Mabry Mill Restaurant & Gift Shop: MP 176. Enjoy the Restaurant’s renowned buckwheat cakes & country ham during your visit to the most famous attraction on the Parkway and choose a special remembrance of your visit at the Gift Shop. (276) 952-2947. May-Oct.
  • 177.7: US 58 Crossover. 22 mi. west to Hillsville. East to Stuart, Martinsville, and Danville.
  • 188.8: Groundhog Mountain Parking Overlook, high point affording 360 degree view. Observation tower. Examples of various types of old chestnut rail fences. Picnic area, Comfort station. Alt. 3,030. 189.9 Puckett Cabin home of Orelena Hawks Puckett, storied local midwife. Alt. 2,850.
  • 199.5: Fancy Gap, US 52 Crossover, 8 mi. north to Hillsville, VA, 1.5 miles to I-77, 20 mi. to Wytheville, VA, 33 mi. to Pulaski, VA, 14 mi. south to Mt. Airy, NC. Alt 2,920.
  • 213: Blue Ridge Music Center - Outdoor stage and amphitheater features regularly scheduled seasonal performances (June-September) of oldtime and bluegrass music. (276) 236-5309. Visitor Center open daily Summer-October.
  • 215: VA 89 Crossover. 7 mi. North to Galax.
  • 216.9: NC - VA State Line. Alt. 2,547.
We recommend you also get the Blue Ridge Parkway travel planner app here, or you can click here for an interactive map.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wordless Wednesday

Brought to you by The Claiborne House B&B of Virginia where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

We have it in aces!

All of these search terms brought visitors to our Coffee Talk blog

  • roanoke va star cam
  • facebook - porch sitters union
  • airbnb mount airy nc
  • bald knob rocky
  • bells across the land
  • diners drive-ins and dives blue ridge parkway
  • fall foliage field
  • free things to do in franklin va
  • movies filmed at smith mountain lake va
  • old blue mason jars

Yes that pretty much sums it up y'all!

We hope they will do more than read, and end up coming out to Rocky Mount Virginia. Here is The Claiborne House B&B website to learn more about the inn, the area, the music and why this is a great place to visit!
Brought to you by The Claiborne House B&B of Virginia where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wolves Tour brings American Aquarium to Rocky Mount April 4th

Don't miss the American Aquarium "Wolves Tour" w/ Radio Birds

Saturday, April 4, 2015 - 8:00pm Tickets $16 online here, or $20 day of show
Harvester Performance Center, 450 Franklin Street, Rocky Mount, VA just a few blocks walk from The Claiborne House B&B
Doors: 7:30PM
Genre: Alternative Country
American Aquarium website

For nearly a decade, American Aquarium have spent the majority of their days on the road, burning through a sprawl of highways during the day and playing hours of raw, rootsy rock & roll at night. Sometimes, the job is a grind. Most times, it's a blessing. American Aquarium's songs, filled with biographical lyrics about last calls, lost love and long horizons, have always explored both sides of that divide. For every drunken night at the bar, there's a hangover in the morning. For every new relationship, there's the chance of a broken heart. It's that kind of honesty — that sort of balance — that makes the band's newest album, Wolves, their strongest release to date.

And it nearly didn't happen. When American Aquarium traveled to Muscle Shoals to record Burn.Flicker.Die. in 2012, they were convinced the album would be their last. Even though they had enlisted the help of award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell to produce the sessions, they were exhausted; weathered and whittled to the bone by more than a half-decade of heavy partying and heavier touring. To a small group of diehard fans, they were absolute rockstars… but being rockstars to a cult audience doesn't always put food on your table or gas in your tank. BJ Barham, the band's frontman, was so poor that he'd been living out of a storage unit for months, unable to afford an apartment in the band's hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Clearly, something had to give. Maybe it was time to make one final album — an album about failure, desperation and disillusionment — and then throw in the towel.

As fate would have it, Burn.Flicker.Die. eventually proved itself to be the band’s most successful release to date. Critics loved it. Fans rallied behind it. Fast forward 2 years and almost 500 shows later, the band has travelled the world, quadrupled their fan base and reinvented their passion for the road. When the time came to record another album in June 2014, it only made sense to do something that celebrated survival rather than failure.

The result? Wolves, which Barham describes as "the sound of a band firing on all cylinders". Produced by Megafaun's Brad Cook and recorded during a 20-day stay at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, Wolves was funded entirely by American Aquarium’s diehard fanbase. The album’s 10 tracks represent a departure from the band’s signature twang. Instead drawing more from the alternative rock sound that inspired their name almost a decade ago. Wolves blends the twang of the pedal steel with the dark, dirty swirl of two electric guitars, creating a sound that's fit for the roadhouse, the honky tonk and the dive bar. Barham has certainly spent time in all three, but now looks to brighter horizons in these new songs.

"I've always written about being the drunk guy at the bar at 2 a.m.," he admits. "I've written about the pick-up lines and the drinking and the drugs. This record is more personal than that. It's a coming of age record."

It's also a record that reaffirms his faith in American Aquarium, a band he started in 2006. Since that time, more than 25 musicians have passed through the group's ranks. In recent years though, things have felt a lot more stable. Ryan Johnson, Bill Corbin, Whit Wright, Kevin McClain and the newest addition, Colin Dimeo, round out the group, turning Barham's songs into fiery, fleshed-out compositions.

With Wolves, which hits stores February 3, 2015, American Aquarium is literally bigger and better.

"We were legitimized by Burn.Flicker.Die.," Barham says. "That album was a breakup record with the road. It basically said, 'This is our last album, this is why we're quitting, and hey, thanks for the memories.' Fast-forward to 2014, though, and we're making a new record that says, 'We ain't done yet.'"

Radio Birds

Coming from different musical backgrounds and experiences, the four members of the band now called Radio Birds – Colin Dean (drums), Jaz Dixon (guitar), Justin Keller (vocals and guitar), and Chase Lamondo (vocals and bass) – are united by their passion for writing, creating, and performing rock n’ roll music.“Jaz grew up playing bluegrass, Chase had been playing with a hardcore band called Whoremouth when he started with us, I grew up listening to James Taylor and Simon and Garfunkel and was really chasing the singer-songwriter path, and I’m pretty sure Colin has played just about everything under the sun,” said lead singer Justin Keller.

These varied influences helped inspire what fans hear on their newest self-titled EP. It is the first release from Radio Birds, although most of the members had been playing together recently as JK And The Lost Boys.2013 marked a transitory period for the band; they added Colin Dean, changed their name, and went to work in the studio.

Book your room at The Claiborne House B&B online here and save $10!
Just a 5 minute walk .3 of a mile to the venue