The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

Vesta, Virginia - Backroads Tour

By Bob Heafner © 1984-2012

Issue: April 1984

This month’s BACKROADS tour is a shining example of just how pretty the mountains can be. It offers a variety of mountain highlights including high rolling meadows, picturesque family farms, spectacular views, trout streams, beautiful wild flowers and much, much more.

There are plenty of wide spots in the road, so bring along a picnic and enjoy some of the mountain’s finest. The entire tour is only 22.5 miles and one hour is plenty of time to allow.

We will begin heading east on US 58 Business at the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass in Meadows of Dan Virginia. At this point our mileage reading is 00.0.

BACKROADS tours always make a complete loop back to the point where we started. The underlined numbers at the beginning of each paragraph indicate the total number of miles we've traveled from our point of beginning. The numbers in parenthesis ( ) indicate the distance from the last point of interest that we passed.

00.0 (0.0) From the Blue Ridge Parkway overpass, we will head east on US 58 Business toward Stuart, Virginia.

00.2 (0.2) Welcome to Meadows of Dan, Virginia.

01.3 (1.1) The Meadows of Dan Post Office is on our right. The old building beside the post office was once the Charlie DeHart Store. It was moved to this location from behind the post office where it once fronted on the old Wytheville and Danville Turnpike. It is used as an antique shop now.

01.8 (0.5) Here we cross the Dan River. The old Cockram’s Mill is on our left. At a point near the end of our tour, the upper end of the pond can be seen.

04.1 (2.3) This pretty community is Vesta, Virginia. The Vesta Post Office is on our right. Just past the post office, we turn right onto state road 636.

05.6 (1.5) Here we will turn left onto state road 637. After we turn, there are signs of an old building on our right. This was once the old Free Union School.

06.2 (0.6) This beautiful farm on our right is home to Mr. and Mrs. Pate Lawson. They were selling fresh milk and homemade butter when our son, Billy, was born and Mrs. Lawson’s rich whole milk filled all his baby bottles. The memory of her butter over a hot biscuit still makes my mouth water.

06.6 (0.4) At this stop sign, we will cross state road 639 and continue straight ahead on state road 647.

07.5 (0.9) This beautiful trout stream is Ivy Creek. A burgundy variety of trilliums blooms here on the right between the road and the creek. This and many other varieties of wild flowers are abundant in this area.

07.6 (0.1) At this stop sign, we turn right onto state road 610. Once the old Rye Cove Road went straight across this intersection. It was the main route to Stuart in the days of wagons and horses.

08.6 (1.0) Here there is a beautiful view and cabin on our left.

09.4 (0.8) The state road ends here, but we will continue straight ahead toward Busted Rock Wilderness Area. [Update 2011: The name has been changed to Primland Resort.]

09.6 (0.2) In season, lady slippers bloom on the road bank to our right.

09.7 (0.1) There is a beautiful cabin and pond on our right and a spectacular view on our left.

09.9 (0.2) On our left is an old driveway. Directly across from it on our right, there is a trail leading down the mountainside to Townes Resevoir (known locally as the Upper Dam). This is one of the few places that the city of Danville’s approximately 3,000 acres touches a road. Information on fishing can be secured by calling 276-251-5141 or writing to: The City of Danville, Electric Department, Danville, Virginia 24541.

10.1 (0.2) There was once a homeplace on the left. All that remains today is an old rock chimney.

10.4 (0.3) There is a gate at the entrance to Busted Rock Wilderness Area and we will turn around here and head back the way we came. Busted Rock is an exclusive private development of permanent and vacation homes.

12.7 (2.3) The beautiful home on the knoll to our left belongs to Howard Smith, who manages Patrick Henry National Bank in Stuart, Virginia.

13.3 (0.6) We’re back to where state road 637 turns left and the old Rye Cove Road turns right, but we will continue straight ahead on state road 610.

14.3 (1.0) The beautiful farm on our right belongs to Allen Edwards and his sister Minnie. There will be more about them in a future issue of the Mountain Laurel.

15.3 (1.0) At this stop sign, we will turn left onto US 58.

16.0 (0.7) The small produce shed on the right here belongs to Wakely and Phylis Phillips. Wakely is a top notch tractor mechanic, and like many other folks hereabouts, he raises a field of cabbage each year to sell to the folks passing through the area.

16.1 (0.1) Vesta Supply is to our left and the road turning beside it leads to the Vesta Community Center where an old fashioned 4th of July celebration is held each year by the Vesta Rescue Squad. There’s usually a greased pole climb, a tobacco spitting contest, old time mountain music and many other mountain delights. If you get a chance, we’d recommend a 4th of July in Vesta.

16.2 (0.1) The old store building on the left was once the Vesta Post Office and Donald Boyd’s Store.

16.3 (0.1) Here we turn right on state road 636.

16.4 (0.1) The old Dan River Primitive Baptist Church is on our right.

17.8 (1.4) The pavement makes a sharp turn to the left here and state road 636 ends. We bear to the left on state road 610. The Zion’s Hill Church is on our right.

18.0 (0.2) After stopping at this stop sign, we will continue straight ahead on state road 610, crossing state road 764.

19.1 (1.1) Here we turn left on unpaved state road 745.

20.1 (1.0) The Dan River winds along the foot of the ridge across the meadow to our left. The upper end of Cockram’s Millpond can be seen. These are the meadows on the Dan River that Meadows of Dan was named for. They are a portion of the old Langhorne land grant.

20.7 (0.6) At this stop sign, we turn left onto state road 758 (paved).

21.3 (0.6) Turn right onto US 58 at this stop sign.

22.5 (1.2) We are back to our point of beginning at the intersection of US 58 Business and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This is a beautiful drive and we hope that you have enjoyed it as much as we have.