Walking is a great outdoor activity to engage in to get and stay in shape, particularly since this delightful spring weather has arrived. The RIDE Solutions program, via the RIDE Solutions app, rewards us for walking to various destinations from home, such as for our commute to work, to go shopping, to travel to a medical appointment, or to get to a dining or entertainment venue. The West Piedmont Region is generally rural, interspersed with a number of towns, cities, and villages and village-like settlements. These centers, serving as magnets of activity, employment, education, culture, and places of residence, are often ideal places for walking. The remainder of this blog will focus on a variety of destinations you’ll be able to walk to this spring, while earning great rewards just for doing what you enjoy via the RIDE Solutions app!
City of Danville
Danville, the largest city in our region, is a walker’s paradise, particularly downtown and along Craghead Street, both of which comprise the River District. Maybe you live in the River District or in one of the city’s surrounding residential areas. If you live in one of these areas, you might think of walking to any one of the following destinations:
- Danville Community Market, which will open for the season in May, and will continue to remain open Saturdays throughout the summer from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Please note that the first hour (7:30 – 8:30) is reserved for those who are immunocompromised, as well as senior citizens.
- The numerous restaurants found within the River District are great places to walk to.
- You may be a local student or faculty member who attends or is employed at Averett University, and if you live in the area, you may like to walk there.
- If you work at SOVAH Health – Danville and you live in the area, you may want to walk to work if you don’t already.
- There are also many opportunities for shopping in Danville, whether they are at Danville Mall, the Coleman Marketplace, or at one of the independent retail or service establishments in the River District.
- The City of Danville is home to a variety of places of worship, so if you engage in worship activities, you may want to walk to one of these worship locations rather than drive.
City of Martinsville
The City of Martinsville comprises the historic uptown business and cultural district, the main commercial district located along the Commonwealth Boulevard corridor, various neighborhood-scale retail and service areas such as is found along Spruce and Brookdale Streets, as well as numerous residential areas surrounding the urban core.
- The Martinsville Farmers’ Market, located in uptown Martinsville, will be open for the season beginning Saturday, April 24th, and will continue each Saturday thereafter until November 20th. The Market will also be open on Wednesdays from July 7th through September 29th. Hours will be 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
- If you’re a student or faculty member at New College Institute (NCI) uptown and you live nearby, perhaps you can consider walking there.
- Uptown is home to a variety of restaurants, retail, and service establishments to walk to.
- If your shopping trip dictates that you must travel to the Village of Martinsville shopping center, that would be a good place to walk to as well, particularly if you live within a short distance.
- Or, if you live along or near Spruce Street and need to go to the post office, to a medical appointment, or you need to take a trip to the grocery store, the area comprising Brookdale and Spruce Streets is very walkable.
- The City is home to a number of places of worship, so if you worship, you may want to walk to any of these.
- Lastly, perhaps you want to take in a Martinsville Mustangs minor league baseball game; if you live a short distance away, consider walking there as well!
Town of Rocky Mount
Rocky Mount is a relatively small town with a pleasant uptown and downtown area. The town is very walkable, and a number of prominent destinations can be found in the uptown and downtown areas.
- The Rocky Mount Farmers’ Market is a great place to walk to, particularly if you live or work nearby. The farmers’ market is open year-round, and many interesting foods and artisan items are available there.
- Carilion-Franklin Memorial Hospital is situated in uptown Rocky Mount, at the intersection of Main Street and Floyd Avenue. If you live in town and you are employed at this facility, you may want to walk, if you don’t already.
- The Harvester Performance Center, located just down the hill from Carilion-Franklin Memorial Hospital, is a very popular and successful music venue in town. If you live nearby, perhaps you would like to walk there one pleasant evening.
- Play-Gem, a large window manufacturer, is located in downtown Rocky Mount. If you are employed at this facility and you live nearby, you may want to walk, if you don’t already.
- The Franklin County Library, located in downtown Rocky Mount, is also a great place to walk to from nearby neighborhoods.
- If you practice a faith, you can walk to your place of worship rather than drive, if you live relatively close by.
- Lastly, the town has a number of other destinations such as restaurants, the Franklin Center, and a variety of local retail and service establishments you may want to walk to.
Village of Ferrum
The Village of Ferrum is home to Ferrum College and the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum. The center is also served by a number of small retail and service-based establishments.
- If you live in Ferrum and you study at Ferrum College or are a faculty member there, you may want to walk to Ferrum College.
- If you live or work in Ferrum, you may wish to walk to any number of the establishments such as the convenience stores, dining locations, or banks.
- A number of churches are also located in the village, so if you live there or attend school at Ferrum College, you may want to walk to one of those on a Sunday.
Town of Stuart
As is the case with the Town of Rocky Mount, the Town of Stuart is characterized by uptown and downtown-anchored centers. The uptown center, situated along Main Street and Blue Ridge Street, could be considered the “main” center. In addition, the Town’s largest park, DeHart Park, and the adjacent Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) satellite campus, are located farther north and west and are both popular destinations.
- The Stuart Farmers’ Market, located along Patrick Avenue in downtown Stuart, is a great place to walk to if you live in or in close proximity to town. The farmers’ market is open every Friday from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. from May through November.
- If you live in Stuart, you may want to walk to any one of a number of dining establishments located either in the uptown or downtown areas.
- If you live near the uptown area, and you occasionally visit the Blue Ridge Public Library or the post office, you may want to walk to these destinations. Furthermore, Stuart offers a number of locally-owned retail and service establishments that you may choose to walk to.
- DeHart Park is a gem in the town, and this is a great destination to walk to if you want to jump in the town’s pool on a hot day or just go for a picnic.
- You may be a student or a faculty member at the Patrick County campus of Patrick Henry Community College, and if you live in relatively close proximity, you may consider walking.
- The Town is home to a number of churches, and if you attend one, you may want to consider walking to one of those, rather than driving.
Town of Ridgeway
The small town of Ridgeway, situated in southern Henry County, is characterized by a small business district surrounded by residential areas including apartments and single-family homes.
Some of the businesses and establishments in and around downtown Ridgeway which residents can walk to include:
- The Ridgeway Branch of the Blue Ridge Library
- The Town’s post office
- A hardware store and convenience stores
- A number of churches
Bassett, located in Henry County and situated northwest of Martinsville, is home to the Bassett Furniture Company, for which this center is named. Bassett is home to a variety of small and locally-owned establishments.
- If you live in or around Bassett, a great place to walk to is the Bassett Community Market, which offers locally-sourced foods to purchase.
- You may work in Bassett, such as at Bassett Furniture, and if you live immediately in the Bassett area, you may choose to walk to work.
- The Bassett area is home to a number of establishments such as banks and small retail and service establishments, which one can walk to.
- Bassett is home to a number of churches, and if you attend church, you may consider walking to one of those on a Sunday morning, rather than driving.
Westlake Corner is an emerging retail, cultural, and medical hub in northeast Franklin County, serving the Smith Mountain Lake community. It is home to several shopping plazas, various types of residences, retail and medical facilities, as well as the Booker T. Washington National Monument. While sidewalks in the area are limited to certain areas along Booker T. Washington Highway, at least two multi-use paths are scheduled for construction. For instance, a trail is scheduled to be constructed between Westlake Village Center and the Booker T. Washington National Monument. Another multi-use trail is scheduled to be constructed along U.S. Route 220 from Lost Mountain Road east to an existing sidewalk which currently terminates east of the Booker T. Washington National Monument.
- If you live in or around Westlake Corner, you may have a medical appointment you may want to walk to.
- If you live in the area, take a trip by foot to the Booker T. Washington National Monument to learn more about the revered Booker T. Washington, and visit the beautiful natural features of the facility, such as the stream and trails.
- Numerous opportunities for shopping or other services abound in Westlake Corner, and these are in very close proximity to one-another and are generally accessible by foot.
Town of Boones Mill
The Town of Boones Mill, located along U.S. Route 220 north of Rocky Mount, is characterized by a small traditional downtown area, but has, in recent decades, taken on more of a “strip” development pattern along the U.S. 220 corridor. That said, there are still opportunities to walk to various destinations.
- If you live in or very close to town, you may want to walk to any of the Town’s convenience stores to purchase any number of goods they sell.
- Boones Mill is becoming a distillery and brewery hub, and you and family or friends can walk to those.
- The Town is home to a number of retail and service establishments, and you may want to walk to any number of these, rather than drive.
- If you attend church, you may want to walk to one of the town’s churches on a Sunday.
Towns of Chatham and Gretna
The Towns of Chatham and Gretna, located along the U.S. Route 29 in Pittsylvania County, are both substantial hubs of activities in the County. The Town of Chatham serves as the County’s seat and is served by multiple service and retail-based establishments. Gretna, like Chatham, is served by a number of retail and service-based establishments. The Town is also home to Centra Gretna Medical Center, as well as a number of industrial uses.
- If you live in Chatham and you work for Town or County government, you may consider walking to work.
- Perhaps if you live in Chatham, you’d like to walk to the local library or to one of a number of retail or service establishments in town.
- If you live in Gretna and you work at one of the Town’s major employers such as the Centra Gretna Medical Center, you may want to consider walking to work. The Town now offers a new walking trail which provides access to several employers, including the medical center.
- If you live in or near the Town, consider walking as part of your shopping trip or medical appointment.
Don’t forget, for every trip you take by foot, as long as there is a clear destination, you’re encouraged to log it into the RIDE Solutions app, available for free at www.ridesolutions.org!