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Artisan Trail Unfolds in Bristol and Washington County

May 19, 2010

‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network is unveiling its new community trail, Countryside Artisan Trail, for Bristol and Washington County, VA. The new trail features artisan studios, galleries, farms, farmer’s markets, points of interest, outdoor recreation and unique dining and lodging venues throughout area.

The Countryside Artisan Trail is one of many trails formed by the artisan network. Its purpose is to “help visitors find the wonderful artisan studios, galleries, shops and farms in Washington County and Bristol,” said Diana Blackburn, Executive Director with ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Network. “It is an important addition to the trail network especially with Heartwood, Southwest Virginia’s Artisan sitting in the center of Countryside Artisan Trail. With construction well under way, visitors will soon discover the rich craft and culture of Washington County and Bristol, as well as the rest of the Southwest Virginia region.”

Countryside Trail visitors can connect with other artisan trails, search for specific artists and crafters and create a customized trip planner through the networks website, www.roundthemountain.org.

The trail also offers opportunities to explore the area’s musical heritage and history as it merges with Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail: The Crooked Road, and the Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route.

About ‘Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network: `Round the Mountain was created in 2004, as a result of funding from Governor Mark Warner's Virginia Works Initiative. Recognizing the assets of the 19-county region, Governor Warner announced $100,000 in Appalachian Regional Commission funds to develop an artisan initiative in southwest Virginia to further develop the region as a major cultural and heritage tourism destination. A group of interested individuals representing state and local government, planning districts, the small business community, arts organizations, economic development, tourism and artisans began the planning process; the organization is operated by a board of directors. Other funding partners include Virginia Department of Community and Housing Development, the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission, Virginia Commission for the Arts and Virginia Tourism Corporation.

The ‘Round the Mountain service area includes Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Montgomery, Patrick, Pulaski, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and Wythe counties, and the cities of Bristol, Galax, Norton and Radford. www.roundthemountain.org