Meet a Martinsville Insider: Brian Williams. As the Project Manager for the Dan River Basin Association, Brian works to promote and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the Dan River Basin through stewardship, recreation and education. He is an avid outdoorsman, a member of Smith River Trout Unlimited and also a great actor who frequently participates in theatrical productions at the TheatreWorks Black Box Theatre. Here are Brian's tips for enjoying Martinsville:
Where do you take friends and family when they come to town?
"It really depends on the season and the weather, there are so many opportunities for both indoor and outdoor adventures that I really base it on the weather. My first choice even in the winter months, is to experience our beautiful Smith River. It's one of the best places in Virginia to catch a wild brown trout, or you can paddle a canoe or kayak or just hike along its banks on one of our beautiful trails. Don't miss the stunning beauty of the overlook at Philpott Lake framed against the Blue Ridge Mountains. This incredible lake is the source for the cold clean water of the Smith River.
You don't have to be an outdoor adventure junkie to enjoy the scenic beauty of our area and every season brings a new experience. So many trails to choose from that its hard to decide which one to do first. You can take a bike ride on the paved surface of the Dick and Willie Passage or you can experience the river along the Fieldale Trail or enjoy the serenity of the Gravely Nature Preserve while learning about the history of the area.
"I like to fly fish for trout and there is no better place than the Smith River. For 35 miles from Philpott Dam to the North Carolina line, you can catch a variety of fish from Brown and rainbow trout in the upper sections to Smallmouth, largemouth, rock bass, river bream and catfish in the lower sections. Plenty of access points allow you entry either by wading or by canoe or kayak. If its local sports you want to see, anything from soccer to field hockey to special events, the Smith River Sports Complex always has something going on. The complex also has a world class playground for the kids, hiking trails and river access and is home to Smith River Fest in August each year!"
What places do your kids like to visit?
"The Smith River Sports Complex has an excellent playground. We also have a roller rink in town and go karts too!
Where do you go to enjoy Martinsville-Henry County's arts-and-entertainment scene?
"You can't beat our local talent, it's really amazing. We have community theater here and even a new "Black Box" theatre uptown where locals perform a variety of plays and musicals that are all first rate and high quality entertainment. The Rives Theatre has great shows from bluegrass to rock and roll. The Artisan Center always has an exciting variety of arts on display and for sale from local artisans
What are your top Martinsville-Henry County dining spots and why?
Wild Magnolia is the place to go for lunch, my favorite is the Reuben sandwich. For Japanese cuisine, I love Yamato. Any Mexican restaurant in town is great but my favorite is El Norteno. In Bassett I suggest stopping in at Papa's Pizzeria, right on the Smith River! Uptown is the Daily Grind or Arts, both excellent sandwich/coffee shops where you can get full meals and great atmosphere.
Tell us about your favorite places to shop in Martinsville-Henry County.
The Visitor Center & Artisan Center uptown is a great place for local arts and unique gifts from pottery to paintings. I also like the museum gift shop. I like bargains and there are plenty of small shops around that provide quality clothing or furniture at a great price.
Get out to explore Martinsville-Henry County and see for yourself!