Martinsville, Virginia


Students from Italy Say “Ciao” to MHC

This week, Italian exchange students and local students from Carlisle School toured the Martinsville-Henry County area. Through a variety of activities, the students learned about the many ways to have fun in record time in MHC. 

The tour began Tuesday morning when students visited Philpott Lake in Bassett, Virginia. There they learned about the process of building the Philpott Dam, current facilities, the native wildlife, and much more. The students then traveled to Ridgeway where they learned about the past, present, and future of Martinsville Speedway. Students toured the track facilities while learning about NASCAR’s most historic track from drivers of the past to record holders, and even the “Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog.” The day concluded with a fused glass lesson at Gallery 22, a member of the Smith River Artisan Trail. Owner and artist Aleen Wilson led the students through creating their own unique pieces of fused glass art.

Day two began on Wednesday morning with a visit to Piedmont Arts where they enjoyed “Zip, Zap, Zop,” a performance by students from Carlisle School. After the performance, the students were able to explore the current exhibits: “Fortune, Courage, Love” and “Kind Cuts.” The day continued at Virginia Museum of Natural History. There the students learned many new facts about the natural history of our world. They were able to see scientists working in labs, ancient dinosaur exhibits including a t-rex and triceratops on loan to the museum through the end of the month, earth’s land features, and many other fascinating topics.

The next stop on the tour was Studio 107 in Martinsville Uptown where the students had the opportunity to see many artists working in a variety of mediums including jewelry, glass, wood, and more. Day two then concluded with delicious food: a lunch at Serendipity Coffee House & Bistro and a cupcake decorating class at Uptown Sweets. At Uptown Sweets, the students made beautiful cupcakes with chocolate roses on top using a variety of techniques taught by Colleen Butker.

Heather Hoffman, Martinsville-Henry County EDC’s Visitor Services Coordinator, aided in the planning of the tour. According to Hoffman, “We are always excited to work with Carlisle School to create a tour for both exchange students and local students to enjoy. All of the venues for this tour really showcased what a great area Martinsville-Henry County is and that we have so many activities to offer.” For more information about planning a unique group tour to Martinsville-Henry County, please contact Hoffman at 276.403.5948 or