Two new squares were recently added to the Rockingham County Quilt Trail, raising the trail total to 33 squares throughout Rockingham County.
“These locations are perfect because they offer an experience with touring our county museum and visiting one of our local apple and peach orchards, as well,” said Robin Yount, tourism manager for the Rockingham County Tourism and Development Authority. “The trail is a unique activity that can be done while driving through the scenic countryside by car, motorcycle or bicycle.”
The trail stretches from Mayodan to Ruffin east to west and from Eden to Reidsville north to south, encompassing all of Rockingham County.
Varying in size but large enough to be seen from one’s vehicle, the wood or aluminum quilt blocks along the trail are artists renderings of quilt squares, each displayed on barns and venues across the county. The scenic drive takes visitors into the county’s quaint towns and villages, across rivers and into beautiful rural areas as participants have the opportunity to see the authentic quilt blocks. The two newest quilt squares were added at the Museum and Archives of Rockingham County (MARC) and Bee Sweet Orchards.
Located on the side of the historic brick Wentworth/Rockingham County Courthouse building, the new MARC quilt square depicts two of Rockingham County’s iconic, historic structures — Wright Tavern and the historic courthouse. Similar to the tile inlay in the courthouse, the center of the quilt square is painted in a Grandmother’s Garden quilt pattern that was popular in the 19th century. Signifying the abundance of wildlife in Rockingham County, the other two corners feature triangles in a Duck and Duckling quilt pattern.
Seen on the front of the main metal barn visible on the drive to the entrance of Bee Sweet Orchards, Bee Sweet’s quilt square was designed to represent the crops and includes a tree pattern adorned with peaches and apples. A honeybee at the top of the square pays homage to the “Bee Sweet” name. Located between Madison and Reidsville, Bee Sweet Orchards is owned by Paul and Veronica Winkler. The farm features 14 varieties of peaches, nine varieties of apples and four varieties of nectarines and also serves as a special event venue.
Local artist Kathy Melvin with Bottle Tree Studio in Reidsville created both of the new squares.
“I am pleased to have created two of the squares representing past history, as well as a current business connected to growing lovely fruit and the agriculture of Rockingham County,” Melvin said. “The Quilt Trail helps to illustrate both, as well as individual stories about families and their connection to the land.”
Quilt Trail participants may set their own pace, visiting all the sites in a day if time allows, or a few sites at a time for those who prefer a more leisurely pace.
“Winter is a great time because you can drive around to see them in the warmth of your car and maybe discover areas of Rockingham County that you have never seen,” said Jamie Rorrer, public relations and marketing consultant for the Center for Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism.
“Visitors can also stop in stores and attractions such as Cedar Mountain Country Store in Mayodan, Dividing Line Antiques in Eden or visit the Museum and Archives of Rockingham County.”
What started in 2015 as a project of the Piedmont Conservation Council with grant funding from the NC Department of Commerce, the trail has become a popular tourist attraction and was featured on UNC-TV.
Those wanting to experience the Quilt Trail may pick up a brochure at the Center for Rockingham County Economic Development, Small Business and Tourism, area Chamber of Commerce offices and visitor centers or go to VisitRockinghamCountyNC.com/QuiltTrail to download a detailed, interactive map, which allows participants to click on each site for a brief history.
“The Quilt Trail is a celebration of the county’s local agriculture, community artists and rich cultural heritage, but it’s also much more than that,” Yount said. “There is so much beauty and the unique communities each with their own personality that have so much to offer, and we hope that visitors will discover these things while traveling along the trail.”