One of the first people I met after coming to work with the Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation was Russell County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Director, Linda Marshall. I had been to Russell County only once before, and she was kind enough to show me around her jurisdiction, which includes the Russell County portion of St. Paul. I became an instant fan of both Linda and her wonderful area.
I’m a bit of a fast water junkie, and the Clinch River was up that day, so I made note of the put-in she showed me across from the Oxbow Lake Park. She invited me back for a series of planned hikes, one through the Channels and another at Pinnacle, and even though I’m still kicking myself for not being able to make either, I’m hoping she does it again, soon. Either way, they’re both on my rapidly growing list of things to do in Southwest Virginia.
After a satisfying lunch at the Riverside Diner (I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t recommend the fried catfish), we ventured into Dante where I was instantly taken with the venerable founder and curator of the recently opened Dante Coal Mining and Railroad Museum. We’ll have lots more to say about her and her endeavor to make the museum the reality it is today in a future post; but, suffice it to say, it’s worth a visit.
Before going our separate ways, we stopped by the Wetlands Estonoa Learning Center, a nationally acclaimed student-based wetlands and outdoors education center with a short loop trail that draws you in.
Linda Marshall is a wonderful ambassador for Russell County. She tirelessly directs both the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism efforts. Tomorrow, she’ll be at Heartwood from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along with a group of artisans − among them an author, photographer, woodworker, weaver, jewelrymaker, and papercutter − all of whom draw inspiration from the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. Come visit with them there, then follow them back to Russell County, where the real fun and adventure begin.
Karen Quina-Doyle | Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation