Patrick County, Virginia, celebrates its natural heritage and artistic traditions with Trail Hands, a project that’s placed five sculpted hands at key county trails.
Each Trail Hand was decorated by a local artist and functions both as sculpture and as a functional place to sit and enjoy a peaceful moment before or after a hike.
Trail Hands was created to promote Patrick County’s natural resources in a way that increases tourism, boosts economic development, and celebrates art while encouraging healthier lifestyles. The Trail Hand sculptures function as a permanent, concrete art installation, with one in each county locality.
Nancy Clark’s stain glass-adorned “The Family Feeling of Patrick County” is located at the Mayo River Rail Trail. The 1.8-mile trail begins in downtown Stuart, just off Commerce Street, and follows the path of the Danville and Western Railway, nicknamed the ”Dick and Willie.” This trail is good for walking and bicycling, with a smooth asphalt level surface. The trail also follows the Mayo River with a spur leading to the Landmark Assisted Living Center.
Grace Helms’ “Bridging Tradition” creation at Mountain Top Recreation Park replicates a 12-foot-long banjo cobbled together from parts salvaged from a variety of county businesses. Mountain Top Recreation Park features a ball field, a concession stand with restrooms, a playground for children, tennis courts, a basketball court, a horseshoe pitching area and a picnic shelter.
Sarah Reyburn’s forest-inspired “Mountain Leaves” sits at Dan River Park near Ararat. The walking trail at Dan River Park runs 0.6 miles offers great birding and wildlife viewing opportunities along the river.
Pepper Martin wound green vines, words, and a ton of inside references into “All Trails Lead to Home,” which is located at the Reynolds’ Homestead’s LEAF trail. The 1-mile LEAF trail—which stands for “Link to Education About Forests”—offers an opportunity to observe the changing habitat of native flora and fauna through an interpretive experience that combines learning about natural resource use and heritage tourism.
Joyce Wray wanted to reflect her home county, so she covered her hand in hundreds of mirrors that reflect the sunlight to create “Reflections: The Ever-Changing Chair” at I.C. Dehart Park. DeHart Park is one of the Blue Ridge’s hidden gems, with extensive single-track trail that’s made it a destination for mountain bikers and the site of the annual Shiner’s Revenge XXC and Bootlegger’s Blitz XC races. The park is located on the former estate of Isaac C. DeHart, who operated a mill and distillery.
Each person that experiences a Trail Hand also has the opportunity to learn more about Patrick County through the themes that make up the HANDS acronym:
- Heritage: Families, their traditions and how they preserve and pass them down to each other.
- Art: Musicians, fabricators, creators, farmers, gardeners, chefs, photographers and everyone who walks a creative path.
- Nature: Trails, trees, mountains, animals and the beautiful environment that shines so bright around us.
- Dreams: To continue to inspire creativity.
- Stories: The essence of transferring oral traditions from grandparent to grandchild, local to a visitor, and teacher to student.
The Trail Hands project grew out of AIR Patrick County, an Air Shift workshop that brings together emerging and professional creatives with business professionals to produce hands-on experience in collaboration, planning, and challenging existing models of art, business, money and community.
Patrick County, Virginia, offers a wealth of experiences, with opportunities for everything from rugged outdoor adventure to 5-Star luxury. Located where the Blue Ridge Mountains meet the Piedmont, the county offers lovely covered bridges, soaring vistas on the Blue Ridge Parkway, artisan studios, local wineries, bed and breakfasts, camping, hiking, mountain biking and more.
Enjoy authentic mountain music at one of the county’s Crooked Road music heritage sites. Catch mountain trout on the upper Smith River, or bass from the Dan River.
A single visit can encompass big experiences, intimate moments, and everything in between.
Patrick County, Virginia: Come experience the simple life.