Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8

FROM THE EDITOR

COURTESY OF RADFORD VISITOR CENTER

Part of Radford,
Virginia's charm
is the Riverway in
Bissett Park along
the New River.

Towns

FINDING THE HEART AND SOUL

The magazine debuts a new column this issue-one that goes deep
inside the places where we live, the places we come to love.
By KURT RHEINHEIMER

I

t's a pretty good version of the "You know you're
getting old when . . ." joke lead-in line. In this case.
. . "when you've been alive for more than half of the
existence of a Virginia mountain town."
Actually, in the case of Radford, where my mother was born and I spent childhood summers, a Virginia mountain city, as Radford, with a population
of about 17,000, was, as my late grandfather loved to
point out decades back, the second-largest Virginia city
by square miles.
The era of annexation has since pushed Radford down
that list a few notches. And whatever its official identity,
Radford is a mountain town. As in one main street, albeit
with two separate business districts. As in a pretty riverside
park, one high school, one movie theater and a tendency
to rely on one major employer.
The first of those-around the time of the 1892 founding-was the Norfolk & Western Railway. And in the
1950s-'60s era of my childhood visits, the Lynchburg
Foundry Company, where my grandfather was employed.
Neither of those, nor their descendants or vestiges,
shows up on the list of Radford's current top-50 employers, the last three of which are Papa John's Pizza,

8

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Domino's Pizza and Moe's Southwest Grill. At the top is
Radford University.
All of which is to make the point that the "town" I
know best is not so different from so many in our sevenstate coverage area-built along a river, and around an
industry that has likely long-since left it behind.
Which is where our new column comes in: Our Blue
Ridge Towns, first edition of which is on page 14, will explore one such place each issue. Its writer, Joan Vannorsdall, is not only a decades-long contributor to this magazine, but also the author of two novels, and op-eds in the
Washington Post and New York Times, as well as a member
of the Alleghany County, Virginia Board of Supervisors.
And oh yeah, a person with as keen a sense of place
as anyone. With that passion manifesting itself perhaps
most acutely in her former and chosen-again-later hometown of Clifton Forge, Virginia.
Joan will be wandering the mountain regions of all
seven of our coverage-area states, learning the soul of
towns so that we may too. The next few are lined up,
but if you have a reason to champion this town or that
to fall under Joan's keen eye, I hope you'll let us know:
krheinheimer@leisuremedia360.com. Thanks.


http://www.BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 14
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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