In summer, the music fan's mind turns to rambling.
It's a perfectly natural seasonal condition. A country-music-loving traveler could make the long haul to Nashville, but it's not necessary. He or she can find plenty of sightseeing -- and listening -- opportunities right here in Virginia.
My wife and I recently spent a nice Friday evening eating gourmet pizza and listening to bluegrass music in the small-but-spunky hamlet of Floyd. There, dozens of pickers from across the region gather for jam sessions right on the sidewalk. The Floyd Country Store is a hotspot where bands play classic stringband tunes and fans love to dance.
A few years back, the travel website TripAdvisor.com included several Virginia locations on its list of Top Ten Palces for Country Music Fans. Hampton even made the list because songwriter Steve Earle has listed Fort Monroe as his birthplace.
Other Virginia points of interest on the list included Winchester, formerly home of Patsy Cline, and Maces Springs, birthplace of June Carter Cash.
It's not a bad list, but I'd steer anyone serious about exploring the Old Dominion's musical history toward The Crooked Road, Virginia's Music Heritage Trail. Key trail locations include Bristol -- considered by many to be the birthplace of modern country -- and the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum in Ferrum.