Explore the “The Seldom Seen Barn Quilt Trail”


Barn quilts dot the country landscape in Highland County, but have you seen them all? An upcoming one-time event will take folks off the beaten path to catch a glimpse of barn quilts that aren’t usually accessible to the public. The Highland Council Tourism Council’s Donna Bedwell and Margie Boesch of Highland Barn Quilts, tell us more about the tour.

Ms. Boesch begins the story. She says, “Some people might wonder what a barn quilt is exactly. It’s a quilt square that is painted on wood, generally, a form of plywood that is weather resistant, and it’s affixed to a barn, very often they’re four feet by four feet or eight feet by eight feet. And the reason behind them is usually not only as a decoration, but also as a way to highlight the agricultural area to tell the story of your farm to say something about you, but Suzi Parron has been in Highland County. She is an author who wrote a book called ‘Following the Barn Quilt Trail’, and it is a chronicle of her story as she and her husband and their dog drove throughout the United States to look at the barn quilt trails that have been constructed throughout the different states in the union. She was here in Virginia and the reason that she came was to see our barn quilt trail because we actually had the very first barn quilt trail in Virginia.”

Donna Bedwell continues, “So the idea of an event around Suzi’s book came up and that’s when we started talking about all the wonderful barn quilts that are up private driveways or are on more secluded roads that many of them are visible on Route 220 or 250, but so many of them only the landowner often gets to see or their own private guests. So we came up with the idea of a Seldom Seen Barn Quilt Trail, and we have ten barn quilts that are only viewed by those individuals who own the property or their personal guests. For those people who live in Highland, you know that there is a Seldom Seen area and Seldom Seen Road, well they’re not on that road. ‘Seldom Seen’ stands more for how often people get to see them than their actual location. And so the day that we’ve put together, we start out with a registration at 9:30 in the morning at The Highland Center, and then Suzi will give her slide show presentation and be available for questions and answer and book signing, and then at about 11:30, we’re going to serve lunch, and then we’ll give out the maps for the Seldom Seen Barn Quilt Tour. And this is a self-guided tour that individuals will go at their own pace. The total distance from the beginning of the tour to the end is about thirty miles. It can easily be done in two hours.”

Margie Boesch concludes by stating, “So bring your cameras, because you’ll have a unique opportunity to take photos of some of these barn quilts that you probably wouldn’t have a chance to take a picture of otherwise. And be prepared, too, because we’ve got vendors who are going to be at The Highland Center, including a lady who is painting barn quilts that are of a size that you could actually purchase and bring home, as well as some other items that are locally made, and it will be a great day. We hope everyone will come.”

The Valley Program for Aging Services will also be offering the use of two vans for the tour at an additional charge to the ticket price. The event will begin at The Highland Center at 9:30 am on Saturday, April 8th. Tickets must be purchased in advance to prepare accurately for lunch. Sales are cutoff on Monday, April 3rd, and may be purchased now at The Highland Center or by visiting www.highlandcounty.org. For more information, highlandbarnquilts@gmail.com.

Story By

Chris Swecker

is the Assistant Station Coordinator and a News Reporter for WVLS. He has roots in Highland County going back several generations, and he grew up in Monterey. Since graduating from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in Media Arts and Design, he has pursued his career at a news station and advertising agency in Virginia, on Microsoft’s campus in the state of Washington, and in both states as sole owner and employee of a video production company. He enjoys exploring life with his wife, Jessa Fowler, traveling, hiking, hunting, gardening, and trying new foods, all while discovering more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He feels blessed to be a small part of this talented AMR team to help give back to the community that has provided him with so much.

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