Often, when you people talk about the best places to hear live music in the United States, they recommend New Orleans and Nashville. And those places are home to some of the best musicians in the country. However, if you want to dive even deeper into the history of American music, head to The Crooked Road in Virginia.
This 330 mile stretch of driving trail aims to preserve and continue on the legacy of bluegrass music in Virginia. It passes through four cities, 50 towns, and 69 different music venues, and offers opportunities not just to see live music but to explore museums and outdoor recreation. There are signs along the way as well, to help drivers stay on the right path.
The Crooked Road starts off in the Moonshine Capital of the World, Rocky Mount. From there, it’s a short drive to Grayson Highlands State Park, where you go hiking and maybe run into some wild ponies. For more hiking opportunities, climb to Big Walker Lookout in Bland County.
If you’re especially interested in the history of music, be sure to check out the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, where the so-called father of country music, Jimmy Rodgers, first recorded his music in 1927.
All along The Crooked Road, there are places to stop and watch live music, from the The Carter Family Memorial Music Center to the The Floyd Country Store. These venues offer Appalachian performances which pay tribute to this region’s specific style of music and dance.
For the full experience of The Crooked Road has to offer, it’s crucial to check out the drive’s 26 Wayside Exhibits. This series of stops along the drive where you can pull over and listen to a five minute recording detailing the history of each location. This immersive experience allows people traversing The Crooked Road to absorb history of the region in between stops at music venues.
The Crooked Road is a road trip worth embarking on if you love music, but outdoor adventurers will find opportunities for hikes, kayaking, and even ATV trails. In and out of the car, you’ll also be treated to views of the Blue Ridge Highlands. There’s so much to do, learn, and explore here.