Radford, VA- The Mary Draper Ingles journey is legendary and will be celebrated in Virginia’s New River region during the weekend of July 25-26, 2020. While the state is still in the midst of pandemic re-opening conditions, this year’s weekend of activities are perfect activities for families and staycations.
Visitors will want to tour the Mary Draper Ingles Cultural Heritage Park that includes a bronze statue of the frontier heroine. The park overlooks the New River and has been designated as a Virginia Treasure by the Department of Conservation and Recreation.
The Radford Visitor’s Center at Glencoe Museum is adjacent to the park and will feature a Mary Draper Ingles video short and a permanent display about Mary. Books, commemorative prints by acclaimed artist P. Buckley Moss and other souvenirs will be available in the gift shop.
Radford tourism director Deborah Cooney says the Mary Draper Ingles Weekend gives an overview of a special frontierswoman, life in the region and the development of the area. “Because of social distancing, Ingles Farm and cabin are not able to open safely this year but we hope the weekend prompts visitors to delve deeper into the fascinating stories of our early American history,” says Cooney.
The Wilderness Road Regional Museum in Dublin will have living historians on site Saturday and Sunday, presenting Colonial and Native American history with Monacans from Natural Bridge. They will be outside however museum representatives are asking for everyone interested in visiting to prearrange tour times and follow mask and social distancing recommendations. Tour times will be on the half hour, Sat 10:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am to 3pm. A blacksmith workshop has already sold out but may be observed if happening during the tour. The museum typically encourages folks to stop by during posted hours but for this weekend, prearranged times must be scheduled for everyone’s safety and they appreciate the understanding and support. Donations are always appreciated during visits to the museum. To arrange tours, people are asked to email or text firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-818-3804.
For the more adventurous, there is an opportunity to jump onto the Mary Draper Ingles Trail in Glen Lyn that traverses seven miles one way right along the New River. This trail has no improved surface, no restrooms, and has moderate grade changes throughout. To return to Glen Lyn you must walk back along the same trail. There are great views of Shumate Falls and many wildlife viewing opportunities, including osprey and eagles, which are common in this area.
In 2017 the Virginia General Assembly honored Ingles by designating the last Saturday in July as Mary Draper Ingles Remembrance Day. The distinction has continued to increase interest in the story of Mary’s capture and escape from a Shawnee hunting party during the French and Indian War. Over the years, her return home by navigating rivers and living off the land has been the subject of numerous books, outdoor dramas and several movies. She is also widely honored through the states of West Virginia and Kentucky.
In October 2019, Voices from the Garden: The Virginia Women’s Monument was installed on the Capitol Grounds in Richmond, VA and Mary is one of 12 women chosen to be honored for the full scope of women’s achievements.
Points of interest for Mary Draper Ingles Weekend, July 25-26 include:
Mary Draper Ingles Statue, dawn to dusk, 601 Unruh Dr, Radford
Mary Draper Ingles Video Short and Exhibit, Mary-related Books & Souvenirs, July 25, 10AM-4PM, Radford Visitor’s Center at Glencoe Museum, 600 Unruh Dr, Radford
Living Historians, Tour times must be prescheduled on the half hour, Sat 10:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am to 3pm. Wilderness Road Regional Museum, 5243 Wilderness Road, Dublin
Andrew Johnston House & Giles County Historical Society, July 25 & 26, 2-3PM, 208 N. Main St, Pearisburg
Smithfield Plantation-July 25, 10AM-5PM, July 26, 1-5PM, fees apply, 1000 Smithfield Plantation Rd, Blacksburg
Floyd County Historical Museum, July 25, 11AM-3PM, 217 N. Locust St, Floyd
Obelisk, Westview Cemetery, 1500 Fifth St, Radford
The Return of Mary Draper Ingles Mural at Radford Post Office, 901 W. Main St, Radford
Hike along the Mary Draper Ingles Trail in Glen Lyn, Campground Drive, Glen Lyn
Please note, most sites have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions so the hours listed are the most up to date available. In the event of stricter guidelines, current local restrictions will be followed. Brochures with Mary-related site information will be available at the Radford Visitor’s Center and at the Mary Draper Ingles statue. Site information is also available at www.MaryDraperInglesTrail.com