Earlier this year, Deke and I decided that we were going to see as many concerts as possible this summer (because last year I think we saw one) so when we learned about FloydFest we knew we had to check it out. It seemed smaller, almost all locally sponsored and more laid back than a lot of festivals out there, plus it was 3 hours away! (For a good, really short summary of the festival, I suggest reading This Must Be The Place from the Smokey Mountain News.) The bonus was we could make another trip to Virginia Highland Haven to stay! We love the place, and the town of Floyd, and music, so it was a no-brainer.
That’s us on the left. I think.
Again, we had great weather, met some new folks, reconnected with some we’ve known only online and got to explore the area again, which didn’t disappoint. We wrote a review the last time we were here and mentioned the drive — I forgot to take a video, but here’s what our map looked like driving away from Floyd.
Many, many sharp turns.
I think I’d like to live here……
View from the end of the park.
FloydFest was really fun, and we’re glad we did it, although staying up to see bands going on at midnight didn’t really work for us too much. It’s a really well organized event (free mountain spring water, 24 hour fantastic coffee station and beer is only sold in a cup you buy at the venue with tickets you also buy, so its an easy process, parking is in lots with a shuttle and the food options were numerous). If you go prepared, you’ll be ok (prepared=sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen). Also note: FloydFest really isn’t in Floyd proper, it’s several miles outside of town on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and about 25min drive from Highland Haven – without traffic.
There are big stages….
The Main Stage.
And really small ones…
You can stand way up front…
Trampled By Turtles.
Or sit in the back and just listen (and people watch, which was often better than the bands).
It doesn’t look like Deke has enough sunscreen on.
There were also some great, local vendors there as well — we each picked up a pair of shoes from Astral, a shoe company out of Asheville that makes really stylish shoes for kayaking! They gave you 20% off any pair of shoes if you swapped them out for a pair of your own. So far, I’m loving them. Also, they make incredibly cool lifevests as well — for humans and dogs!
Yes, those are the socks I’m wearing today.
We cut short concert going one day and hit Floyd and the surrounding area. We needed some food, so the Farmer’s Market was a success.
Veggies, kombucha stand, fruit, crepes and coffee.
We had breakfast at the Blue Ridge Restaurant, had a Japanese style pour-over coffee at the Black Water Loft and walked to the biggest fabric store I’ve ever seen: Schoolhouse Fabrics.
Old school = mega fabric store.
Riverstone Farm Store.
The kicker was finding Riverstone Farm Store. On the Floyd Highway into town we saw this handwritten yellow sign stuck in the ground that said “Farm Store” with an arrow. We followed it for MILES on a very narrow dirt road then almost missed it. The Riverstone Farm is a certified organic farm (however their meat is not certified organic) with a self-serve store carrying chickens, lamb, mutton, veggies from the farm, and cheese, sauerkraut and some other things from local places. Definitely worth the stop. They also have a building across the road with bulk meats, so if you want a whole lamb, its butchered and you can just take it out of the cooler and leave the money. They also do tours on Saturdays at 2pm!
We hated to leave —
Blue Ridge Parkway.
We’d rather stay in State Parks on the road, but when a last minute opportunity presented itself to attend my neice’s 3rd Bday party (pirate/fairy themed!) of course we’re going to do it! The only place available close to Charlottesville was the area KOA (9 miles from my sister’s house north of the city). It was one of the better KOA’s we’ve stayed in, but I think your individual experience here would vary greatly depending on which spot you get.
This park is located in a beautiful wooded area, but some of the spots have no shade, and last weekend it was in the 90s. We felt very fortunate to have gotten spot #11 — spaced well from the neighbors and very shaded, with a nice view of the woods.
The first row of spots seemed like winners overall, but I don’t know if they could fit larger motorhomes or 5th wheels, except in spot #12 where they crammed in a Prevost next to a little pop-up camper. I still don’t know how that thing fit.
Spots #12 and #13 would be great for two people camping together!
The second row is all huge pull-through sites, but not a lot of privacy.
This KOA had all the regular things you’d expect in a KOA — a pool, playground and covered picnic areas, but most of these were on the other side of a little creek that separated the two, so you didn’t get any of the noise (genius!).
I worked in an RV park that was a little wonky with its rules, so I understand the quirks of privately owned parks. First of all, Moravian Falls doesn’t take credit cards for reservations. When you call, they’ll give you a total amount owed and you have to mail them a check within a few days (I think it’s 4 days max) to secure the reservation. If you don’t send the money, they don’t hold the reservation. After they receive the check, they mail you receipt that you must bring with you to check in.
The upper tier of very tighly packed spots.
The park is tiny, old and the spaces are crowded together — this is bare bones, but we were going to Wilkesboro for Merlefest and the state parks were booked. This was our only option within town that had hook ups (we needed hook ups because of the dogs and needing AC — it was in the high 70s!).
We were so close to our neighbors that we didn’t feel comfortable putting the awning down, and the people across from us rented two spots so they could have a picnic table to use (they’ve been here before).
A group of tent sites in the woods. The others are one the grounds of the closed swimming pool.
This used to be a great park — Deke visited often as a kid to swim in the pool and play in the waterfall. Unfortunately, the pool area is closed now and the waterslide is overgrown and filled with leaves.
Out of commission 1980s waterslide.
If you’re in the area, I’d recommend staying in one of the state parks. If you need to stay here, I’d say 28″ is the max length!
We spent about 4 days in St. Augustine so we wanted to share a bit of what we did.
All in one stop.
Neither of us had ever been to this part of Florida, but we were a bit intrigued by some things we found online about food/booze/historical sites (all things we love).
Man. Weapon. Fun!
As far as food goes, our favorite place, hands down, was Yardbird for breakfast (For some reason, you can find it on Yelp as The Blue Hen and they have no website). It’s a little hard to find (small corner storefront on a side street with no sign) but just look for the address. Oh, and get there early. We arrived at 8:10am and by the time we left at 9:15am there was a very, very long line to get in, but then again it only has about 15 tables and a counter. We were so into our food, we forgot to take any photos but I had the Blue Crab Quiche and Deke had the Chicken and Biscuits. Just go there. Do it.
The traditional birthday colada!
Deke celebrated his birthday while we were in St. Augustine, so we wanted to go have a celebratory drink at a fun place. Enter The Conch House. You can sit outside under a tiki canopy and watch the boats go by. They have great mixed drinks and a fantastic calamari with banana peppers.
For dinner, we wanted to go to The Floridian, but they don’t take reservations and there was a massive line, so we chose Cap’s instead. Even though we were in a seafood mecca, my steak-and-potatoes man got just that. We sat outside on the water — it’s a great place!
Steak and an old fashioned.
My fun thing was visiting the Castillo de San Marcos — I’m a sucker for military and historical ruins! The structure (I’m just being lazy and copying what’s on the National Park System website) is “the only extant 17th century military construction in the country and the oldest masonry fortress in the United States it is a prime example of the “bastion system” of fortification, the culmination of hundreds of years of military defense engineering. It is also unique for the material used in its construction. The Castillo is one of only two fortifications in the world built out of a semi-rare form of limestone called coquina (The other is Fort Matanzas National Monument 14 miles south).”
View from the tower.
Im in love with these doors.
We plugged the meter for an hour and could’ve easily spent another hour roaming around and looking at the rooms and weapons. For $7 it was totally worth it!
Cannons are cool.
On our way back from Florida, we saw that the temperatures in Raleigh were supposed to be extremely cold in the next few weeks, so we decided it would be best to blow out the lines before putting it back in storage. We thought we’d give try the Fayetteville RV Resort a try since it’s about an hour from our storage garage.
This was previously a KOA, so it’s got all the things you’d come to expect from a KOA (pool, little cabins to rent, a store, full hook ups, level spots, propane) but I feel the new owners are really working to make it better. All the restrooms are being updated, they’ve obviously done a lot of work on the landscaping and overall, it’s a really nice park for a day or two.
They have a section for fulltimers in the back that doesn’t have as many trees as the front of the park, but the spots are still nice (definitely nicer and bigger than several spots we lived in while fulltiming).
Since moving here, we’ve definitely noticed a shortage of nice RV parks in the area (and by nice I mean clean and safe), so I’d definitely recommend this park if you’re traveling through the area and need to make a pit stop.