Growing up 38 miles south of the town of Floyd in Rocky Mount, VA, I have known Floyd County my whole life. When I was a kid, my step-dad was a Mandolin player and the family would come up Shooting Creek Road through Ferrum to Cochran’s Store, now The Floyd Country Store. I heard some really good pickin’ and jammin’ on those trips and so began my great love of bluegrass music and Floyd.



Through The Rectangle Photography

As a teenager my mom would let me drive her car to school on Fridays. (I am about to get myself into big trouble with my mom!) My best friend and I would skip school on some of those days and drive to Floyd. We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, we drove the gravel back roads, we walked trails and down the street. The feeling I got from this place was a sense of belonging, like these were my people and this was my world. My first two years of college at Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke were spent mostly skipping class and heading up the mountain to Floyd. My horrendous GPA showed how much time I spent on the mountain and I failed a few classes thanks to it.

My third year of college I went away to Savannah College of Art and Design and brought my GPA up to a 4.0; no mountains down there to distract. When I would come home for a visit I would usually find an excuse to drive up the mountain. I love the view from the parkway down into Franklin County and I always have a sense of nostalgia looking down into the Callaway/Boones Mill area where part my family first settled in the late 1700′s to early 1800′s.
Coming home from college found me living and working in Roanoke and still driving up the mountain on a regular basis. I came to many open mic nights at the Pine Tavern and began meeting many of the people that were to become my Floyd family. But before I could settle down for good, I found myself moving one more time to New York City.
My move to NYC lasted only three months and that was enough for me! I lived in mid-town Manhattan on West 43rd street between 9thand 10th Avenues. I was in my high rise apartment on the morning of September 11th, 2001 when I got a call from home to tell me what was going on. I could see the twin towers from my apartment window, I saw them on fire, I saw them fall, I saw the people walking out of downtown, I smelled the smell, I heard… Well, two weeks later my bags were packed, I was out of there, and I was headed for the hills.

Through The Rectangle Photography

I made it back to Roanoke and stayed with a friend. I looked for places to rent in Floyd and continued my visits up the mountain because that is where I wanted to be. I ran into an old friend, a Floyd County (transplant) boy, and one day he called me up and asked if I wanted to go to Las Vegas and get married with Elvis. I said yes and three months later my lifelong dream of living in Floyd was realized. When I moved into this county ten years ago, I put down roots and I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the whole wide world! Floyd County always has been and always will be home to me and my heart.



Carly Burke is a Jewelry Artist and owner of Mountain Light Jewelry , Gallery Coordinator for St. Pierre Gallery, Project Manager forBeautiful Layers Design and co-owner and designer for Elizabeth’s Heritage Clothing Company. This spring she will celebrate 10 years of intentional living in beautiful Floyd County, VA!
Photos courtesy of Rob Jones from Through The Rectangle Photography.

One Response to A Journey Up the Mountain

  1. Pat says:

    Love this article. I did not realize that you were in N.Y. at the time the towers fell. What a memory. Enjoy your musings. You are an excellent writer, Carly.

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