Points of Interest

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West Virginia/Virginia

The race site for WV and VA is the same course, as the state border runs through the parking lot. Bluefield, WV and Bluefield, VA are considered sister cities.

Rounding up “The Best of West Virginia” under one sunburst roof, Tamarack shines like a beacon in Beckley to those interested in mountain crafts. A juried selection of hand-made goods and fine arts satisfy every taste. Take exit 45 off I-77.

In 2000, the Graham Historical Society gained ownership of the Sanders House. This historic structure was constructed in the late 1800s, and is one of the architectural landmarks of the community. The house, outbuildings and yard are currently listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The Sanders family has graciously donated original furnishings, artifacts and papers to be displayed in the house. The Tazewell County Visitor’s Center, also on the grounds, is housed in a former tenant house known as the “Rosie Trigg Cottage.” Open 9 am-5 pm Monday-Saturday (closed on Sundays), the visitor center is the only county owned and operated visitor center in southwestern Virginia.

Located in the west end of Bluefield on Bluefield Avenue, Gary Bowling’s House of Art is like no other gallery you will visit in West Virginia. Hometown artist Gary Bowling provides a unique experience in contemporary art. The gallery occupies the top floor of a stately Federal-style building that used to be City Hall but was converted to the Bluefield Area Arts Center several decades ago. The front of the top floor is the gallery, and in the back is the old city jail, complete with bars and original fixtures. Located at 500 Bland Street, Bluefield, WV. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Baldwin House, located at 126 Summers Street, Bluefield, West Virginia, features jail cells and the secret office of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. Open by appointment.

The Eastern Regional Coal Archives, located at 600 Commerce Street, Bluefield, West Virginia, houses artifacts, blueprints, films, ledgers, maps, miner’s tools, newspapers, photographs, mine scrip, railroad memorabilia and more. Open by appointment; call 304-325-3943. Admission is free.

Tennessee

Birthplace of Country Music Museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate that tells the story of the Bristol Sessions and its continued impact on music today. Interactive technology, cinematic films, and special exhibits provide an extraordinary experience for visitors of all ages. The museum is located at 520 Birthplace of Country Music Way. Check out their web site for more information and current admission fees: www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org

Bristol Caverns, one of the largest and most beautiful caverns in the region, can be found at 1157 Bristol Caverns Hwy. Consider it a journey through millions of years. The tour takes you to all three levels of the caverns, from Mayor Preston’s Chamber in the upper section to the winding banks of the Underground River 180 feet below on the cavern floor.  Along the Underground River, you will be dazzled by dramatic displays of formations reflected in the streams waters.  You can also peer over Lover’s Leap, view the breathtaking Bridal Veil formation and stare in wonder at the dazzling formations of Entrance Hall.  Don’t forget to bring your camera! Call 423-878-2011 for current ticket price.

Fans of NASCAR will enjoy a visit to Bristol Motor Speedway at 151 Speedway Blvd. It is one of the premier facilities on the NASCAR circuit. Tours are available daily, except during major Speedway and Dragway events. Tours originate from Speedway World Gift Shop, located on the first floor of the O. Bruton Smith Building (located just off Hwy. 11E/Volunteer Parkway); Monday through Saturday, tours begin on the hour starting at 9 AM, with the final tour of the day starting at 4 PM. Check their web site for current admission fees: www.bristolmotorspeedway.com/.

North Carolina

Chimney Rock is the natural fulfillment of your trip to the North Carolina mountains. Take a deep breath of refreshing mountain air, become invigorated by hiking trails, and let your cares fade away in the cool mist of Hickory Nut Falls. This is the perfect place to reconnect with nature and spend time with family and friends. Only minutes from Lake Lure, Chimney Rock offers the best of the mountains in one place – spectacular 75-mile views, hiking trails for all ages, and a 404-foot waterfall. Chimney Rock is in Chimney State Park on Hwy 64/74A. GPS address is: 431 Main St. Chimney Rock.

Carl Sandburg provided a popular voice for the American people of the twentieth century and still speaks to us through his words, songs and the beauty and serenity of Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville, NC on Little River Road off Greenville Highway/Rt. 225 in Flat Rock, NC. Visitors using GPS or mapping software should use 1800 Little River Road and look for the signs directing you to the visitor parking lot on Little River Road. Admission is free for grounds, trails and barn; there is no park entrance fee. Check the web site, www.nps.gov/carl/index.htm, for the current price of the Guided House Tour.

Nestled in the southern Appalachian Mountains just south of Asheville, The North Carolina Arboretum offers acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some of the most beautiful, botanically-diverse plants in the region. The grounds are open from 8 am to 9 pm. There is a fee for parking, so check their web site for current pricing. To get there from downtown Asheville, take Interstate 240 West (soon to be I-26 East, both signs may be present) and merge onto Interstate 26 East, then take Exit 33 (marked Blue Ridge Parkway/Brevard Road/Hwy. 191). Turn left (south) onto Hwy. 191. Travel south on Hwy. 191 for approximately 2.1 miles (pass Asheville Outlets). Look for brown signs for the Blue Ridge Parkway and The N.C. Arboretum. Turn right at the light and the entrance to The North Carolina Arboretum is on the right. (Please note: Most GPS units do not correctly identify the Arboretum’s location within the Bent Creek Experimental Forest, therefore we DO NOT recommend the use of a GPS device for navigation to the Arboretum.)

South Carolina

Not far from Seneca (the site of the race) are the City of Clemson and the surrounding areas which are full of historical sites and beautiful scenery!
 
Fort Hill was the home of John C. Calhoun, South Carolina’s preeminent 19th century statesman, from 1825 until his death in 1850. The antebellum plantation home, office and kitchen are furnished mostly with family artifacts. Today, Fort Hill is just as Thomas Clemson envisioned — preserved, restored and open to the public for tours (Monday through Saturday, 10 am to noon and 1:00 to 4:30 pm). Fort Hill is located in Clemson, South Carolina, near the intersection of Fort Hill Street and Calhoun Drive in the center of the Clemson University campus. It is 11 miles from Interstate 85, two hours north of Atlanta and less than one hour south of Greenville, South Carolina.

Hanover House is located at 150 Garden Trail in Clemson, near the intersection of U.S. 76 and Silas N. Pearman Boulevard in the South Carolina Botanical Garden, on the east side of the Clemson University campus. It is 9 miles from Interstate 85, two hours north of Atlanta and less than one hour south of Greenville. Hanover House was built in 1716 for French Huguenot Paul de St. Julien in Berkeley County, S.C. St. Julien honored his French heritage in the mortar of one chimney where he inscribed, “Peu a Peu,” from the French proverb, “Little by little the bird builds its nest.” Hanover House serves as a monument to early French Huguenot colonial structure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Hopewell Plantation is among Clemson’s historical treasures. Situated atop a hill that once overlooked the Seneca River — now Hartwell Lake — the property features the 18th century home of Revolutionary War hero Gen. Andrew Pickens (ca. 1785). Hopewell Plantation is representative of a rural house type which was common in the late 18th and early 19th century in the South Carolina back country. Hopewell is not regularly open for tours but is maintained by the Clemson Research Farms. The Clemson Experimental Forest manages the site of the treaties and opens it to the public from dawn to dusk. The cemetery site behind the Morgan Poultry Center is open by appointment only.

Old Stone Church: Revolutionary War hero Gen. Andrew Pickens and others built this Presbyterian Church in 1797. The sanctuary was damaged by fire and is no longer in use, but stands watch over a fascinating cemetery where many pioneers are buried, including Pickens and his family. Col. Robert Anderson, of Revolutionary War fame, also is buried in the cemetery. Location: I-85 exit 19-B to US 76. Between Clemson and Pendleton on US 76 & 28 approximately 12 miles from I-85. Grounds open to public Monday-Sunday, from 8am to 6pm.

Georgia

Dalton, Georgia is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is home to many of the world’s floor covering manufacturers. Just 5 miles north of Dalton is the historic Western and Atlantic Railroad Tunnel and Heritage Center, and only a 25-minute drive further is the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. The nearby Cherokee sites of New Echota and the Chief Vann House are some of the best-preserved Indian sites in the area. Dalton’s charming downtown, with numerous unique shopping and dining choices, is great for an afternoon of shopping and dinner.

The Bandy Heritage Center for Northwest Georgia is a community outreach program of Dalton State College. The Center celebrates the history and culture of northwest Georgia. This mission is achieved through collaboration with partnering historical and cultural organizations throughout the area, enabling the Center to fulfill its role as the primary source for information related to the region’s historic resources. The museum is located downtown Dalton, in the old Freight Depot building. 305 Depot St, Dalton. Their web site for more information is http://www.bandyheritagecenter.org/.

Engineered in the 1800s, Tunnel Hill was the site of one of the many skirmishes during the Civil War and one of the oldest railroad tunnels south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Clisby Austin House, circa 1850, still stands nearby. Explore the early heritage of Tunnel Hill, a small community just 5 miles north of Dalton in northwest Georgia. Native Americans, early settlers, the railroad and Civil War soldiers all left their mark in the land and with its people. Museum exhibits include Civil War artifacts and early railroad memorabilia. Check their website for current hours and admission prices: http://www.civilwarrailroadtunnel.com/.

The nation’s oldest, largest and most-visited national military park, Chickamauga Battlefield was the site of the bloodiest two-day battle of the Civil War, and is the home of the Fuller Gun Collection. The park features a multimedia program, self-guided tours, trails and roads for hiking, biking, running and horseback riding. Visitor Center hours: M – Sat 8 am to 4:45 pm. Park is open daily during daylight hours. Admission is free. It is recommended you plan a couple hours to visit. Plenty of areas for a picnic. The battlefield is located at Lafayette Road, Fort Oglethorpe, GA 30742

Prater’s Mill was built by Benjamin Franklin Prater in 1855. The water-powered mill was originally fitted with the latest in grain cleaning, grinding and sifting machinery, all powered by the Coahulla Creek. The grounds host the Prater’s Mill Country Fair every October! Fishing is permitted in Coahulla Creek. A nature trail provides a walk-through of the area. Prater’s Mill is located at 5845 Georgia Highway 2, Dalton, GA 30721. (Note: some Navigation systems still use 500 Prater’s Mill Road Dalton GA 30721.)

Alabama

For the art lover, the Mountain Valley Arts Council features local and regional artists at their location in downtown Guntersville. Their location is 300 Gunter Ave Guntersville. Call 256-571-7199 or visit their web site (mountainvalleyartscouncil.com/) for information on current exhibits.

Over the last ten years, the Guntersville Museum and Cultural Center has seen much prosperity, and has amassed a large art and artifact collection. The museum focuses on Guntersville’s rich history, as well as its art and culture.  Its purpose is to preserve the history of Guntersville, inform visitors and citizens and promote art and culture in the area. As a living repository, the museum offers visitors a chance to explore everything from Native American artifacts to interesting local personalities. The museum address is 1215 Rayburn Ave., Guntersville. Hours of operation are Tuesday–Friday 10am to 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm to 4pm. (Closed Mondays).

Guntersville offers many shopping opportunities with numerous selections and small-town courtesy. Whether you are looking for artwork for your home, a unique gift, the perfect wedding gift, or the latest fashions, you are sure to find it in Guntersville. Guntersville offers quaint downtown shopping as well as department stores and large retailers.

Check out the amazing aerial video shot by a drone flown over our course in Clayton, NM, during the 2015 Dust Bowl Series!
Click HERE to video the full-sized video on our YouTube channel.

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Check out We're All in This Together, an insightful look into the very first 5-state, 5-day series, by author and series participant George Rose!

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