By Kay Whatley, Editor
Quilt Trails showcasing patterns used in quilting are springing up across the United States. Painted wooden blocks depicting quilt styles are hung outdoors on barns, old buildings, and private locations — often in remembrance of a loved one or a time in history — and maps are created for tourists to follow the trail. Two such trails are available in Eastern North Carolina.
The Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers encompasses seven counties: Franklin, Wake, Vance, Granville, Nash, Pitt, and Martin. The number of quilt blocks is at 66 and counting. The Franklin County Arts Council (FCAC) captures the history of the area through the display of quilt blocks on historic buildings and structures in Franklin and surrounding counties. What began as a Franklin County endeavor spread east to Martin County. FCAC’s plan is to install quilt blocks along the route of the Tar River all the way to Beaufort County — where the Tar River empties into Pamlico Sound.
The Quilt Trails map available from FCAC shows where these ornate, wooden blocks may be found. Maps are broken down into the Roanoke River Trail and the Tar River Trail. One of the communities visitors will find is Louisburg, North Carolina.
Quilt Trail Town Spotlight: Louisburg NC
In the Town of Louisburg, the county seat of Franklin County, the Franklin County Arts Council has nine quilt blocks. Drive the Quilt Trail to visit these locations:
- Carpenter’s Wheel: Franklin County Board of Education, Porch Building, 53 West River Road, Louisburg
- Flying Geese with Aeroplane: Triangle North Executive Airport, 440 Airport Road, Louisburg
- Oak Leaves: Peter and Carolyn Andrews, 1405 Laurel Mill Road, Louisburg
- Prarie Rose: Rosy and Sandie Rosenthal, 1346 Flat Rock Church Road, Louisburg
- Card Trick: Franklin County Arts Council, 106 Justice Street, Louisburg
- Sun Burst: Simon and Michelle Brough, Cascine Mill, Louisburg
- North Carolina Star: Bill Lord and Sue Guarrant, 901 NC-561 Hwy, Louisburg
- God’s Eye: John and Margaret Hilpert, Louisburg
- God Bless America: Herman and Linda Wincovich, 665 MC Wilder Road, Louisburg
Special Events Weekend
Taking a drive on the Quilt Trail this weekend? Stopping in Louisburg October 19-20, 2018 is a good idea, as lots will be happening in Louisburg that Friday-Saturday.
- OkTARberfest Weekend: Oktoberfest, renamed for the Tar River, offers two days of activities, two free concerts, the River of Yesteryear history event in the park, and community engagement. At the River of Yesteryear event, colonial times take over River Bend Park. Join a debate on The New Constitution, let the kids take a pony ride, shop from “colonial” stores, and see demonstrations on medicinal herbs, fire cooking, rag dolls, and more. Weekend information, including details on the River of Yesteryear, may be found on the town’s OkTARberfest page.
- FCAC Book Sale and Signing: A “Six Pack of Authors” will have books on sale and be signing their books. Read local or give books as gifts. Copies of the FCAC annual literary journal will also be on sale. See more here.
- Chamber of Commerce Oyster Roast: Pick up tickets and enjoy oysters and whole lot more at this fantastic food event. Details here.
Places to Stop
While traveling to view the quilt blocks, travelers may enjoy each community’s art, history, agriculture, and scenic byways. Check out the Franklin County Courthouse downtown, or the historic churches, structures, and homes in the Greenbook of the historic district (PDF).
Have a cup of coffee, or a home baked treat, at Blue Collie Coffee downtown, grab a biscuit along Bicket Boulevard, or sit down for a meal at one of the town’s restaurants: El Perico, Johnny Bull’s Steakhouse, or a chain/fast food spot.
Note that during the OkTARberfest Weekend activities, additional food offerings or food trucks may be available downtown during select hours.
Hosting a Quilt Block
Quilt blocks continue to be installed, with new locations added each year. For those with property along the Tar or Roanoke River basins who are interested in hosting a quilt block, see frequently-asked questions and contact information here.
To find out more about the the Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers, visit the Franklin County Arts Council’s website.
COMING NEXT: The Quilt Trail articles will continue every few weeks, so come back and visit The Grey Area News to learn about the towns and cities along the Quilt Trails of the Tar and Roanoke Rivers.
Source: Ellen Queen, Franklin County Arts Council