On Saturday, members of the “History United” program from Danville, VA visited the Martinsville Uptown area for a group tour. The group consisted of 19 visitors who spent the day touring museums, historical buildings, arts, and dining in the area. The tour was facilitated by the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corporation’s Tourism Division as part of their group tour program.
The Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center & Museum was the first stop on the tour. The program participants enjoyed touring the museum and exploring the history of the community. The “On the Shoulders of Giants” exhibit, featuring the major players in the tobacco, furniture, and textile industries through the years, allowed many visitors to recognize similarities between the history of Danville and that of Martinsville-Henry County.
After the MHC Heritage Center & Museum, tour participants went on a historic walking tour of Martinsville Uptown led by Heather Hoffman, Visitor Services Coordinator with the MHC EDC Tourism Division. Tour stops included a variety of historic buildings in the area including former Masonic temples, historic department stores, renovated facilities, and so much more. Participants were able to get a feel of the many changes that occur throughout the years as cities such as Martinsville continue to develop and grow their communities.
The walking tour portion concluded with lunch at the recently opened Serendipity Coffee House & Bistro. The restaurant received rave reviews from guests on both cuisine and service. Many participants were able to use the rest of their lunch hour to browse the unique shops in Martinsville Uptown.
The tour concluded with a visit to Piedmont Arts to see some of the exhibits that are part of the “¡Celebraçion des las Artes!” program designed to highlight Latin American culture. “Aura” and “Ten Days in Havana” allowed the visitors to experience Latin American art while also learning about the history of Piedmont Arts and the many ways that for over 50 years they have helped bring the arts to Martinsville-Henry County.
The tour participants enjoyed their experience in Martinsville. According to visitor David Corp, “the pace (of the tour) was wonderful. It was a nice combination of history, art, and food. We got a real feel of what Martinsville is trying to do to reinvent itself.”
Ina Dixon, History United Fellow with the Danville Regional Foundation, stated that planning the tour “was absolutely the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I literally called… and (tourism) arranged the whole thing.” Although this tour was focused on history, Karen Hibbard, Danville Parks & Recreation Seniors Program Coordinator, added that “there is so much else to do in Martinsville that we will be looking to do a day trip for our seniors.”
According to Heather Hoffman, Visitor Services Coordinator with EDC’s Tourism Division, “We’re delighted to host group tours in the area so that visitors can learn about the many ways to have ‘fun in record time’ in Martinsville-Henry County. We once again would like to thank all of the community partners that cooperate so that visitors have positive and memorable experiences when they visit MHC.”