Floyd is special for many reasons.
In the ‘odd trivia’ category, no water flows into Floyd county. All streams, rivers and springs have their sources here; their water or their headwaters originate within the county and flow out of the county's borders, a small but distinctive 'quirk' that contributes to the 'Floyd-ness' of Floyd. Geographically, Floyd is a spread-out county of time and weather worn mountains connected by acres of forests, grazing lands and crop fields. Small farmers still do well here, and residents are fortunate to have access to fresh vegetables, local milk, cheeses, grass fed beef and poultry, and Most Floydians maintain a backyard garden of their own. Twenty minutes out of town the Josephine Porter Institute prepares and ships organic biodynamic preparations all over the world, based on Rudolph Steiner's progressive theories of agriculture, which reject chemical fertilizers, and are based on the subtle formative forces of plant growth.
Despite the fact that it is one the few locales growing, in both economy and population, Floyd is still small. The population is 14,000, town and county. There is still only one stoplight, and the sidewalks don’t extend more than two blocks in any direction. On a cultural level, though, it would be hard for any place as small and off the beaten track as Floyd (thirty minutes from any interstate) to pack more punch. The musical traditions that began and flourished in local mountain communities are still alive. A visit to the Floyd Country Store any given Friday night of the year affirms this 'living tradition,' as bluegrass and old-time players from nine to ninety spill out of the store onto the sidewalks, playing together in small groups for appreciative listeners, dancers, and for the sheer fun of it. Likewise, crafters, both native to Floyd and migrants to the area, their talents ranging from the traditional to the bizarre, contribute largely to the 'artistic flare' of Floyd. Recently, Blue Ridge Yurts set up shop, and now FloydFest has it’s HQ in a small round building of ancient Mongolian origin, on the outskirts of town. A walk downtown will take you past several galleries, as well as the New Mountain Mercantile and ‘The Station,’ a collection of boutique stores and tasting room of local wines and craft beer. Further up the street, a grant to the communities' 'Jacksonville Center' provided funding for the creation of a small business arts incubator out of an old dairy barn. The old-school Blue Ridge Diner, the cornerstone Farmer's Supply hardware store, the funky Oddfella's Cantina, two coffee shops, the timber framed Harvest Moon health food co-op, and, recently, a farmer’s market, make the two-block trek through Floyd well worth the effort for tourists up from North Carolina, or coming off the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway.
The special ingredient, though, that makes Floyd what it is, can only be summed up as it’s ‘vibe’.. it’s what we mean when we say ‘running on Floyd time’ and why we all sport ‘Floyd’ bumper stickers, and why there’s a festival called ‘FloydFest.’
Come see for yourself..