Nestled within 330 square miles of a rural county lies a small quiet town. 5,030 people call Craig County home. 179 of them live in the town of New Castle. This rural county is flanked by a succession of mountain ridges, running northeast-southwest. The valleys and creeks between the ridges provides for agriculture and population centers. Nearly two-thirds of the county is protected land. Appalachian Trail, Jefferson National Forest, and Niday State Park are here. This hinders expansion and tax revenues. It also insures the area will quietly remain a rural symbol of small town America.
Small town America. You won’t find a stop light in New Castle. You won’t find a stop light anywhere in Craig County. And should you encounter a traffic jam odds are it was because you ended up behind a tractor. However, the roads do get a bit precarious every spring. Cyclist will come from all over the world and fill these winding back roads for weeks. They will test their endurance cycling up and down the idyllic mountain terrain. The Virginia Scenic Byways that criss-cross the county attract motorcyclist as well. Every weekend beginning in mid spring and ending in late fall multiple groups travel through. They often pit stop in town. And for a while the place seems rather lively.
There isn’t much of a night life in Craig. It is a dry county and there isn’t a bar within an hours drive in any direction. This is an outdoorsman’s paradise. If you are into hunting, fishing, kayaking, and hiking this is the place to be. There are also mountain bike trails , jeep and off-road trails to explore.
A majority of Craig County residents are very proud of their self-reliant lifestyle. A Prepper’s festival was started 3 years ago to share self-reliant skills and knowledge. It isn’t all about doom and gloom. It is wise to be prepared in case of any emergency, especially, if you live in a rural area. On a lighter side Craig also has an annual fall festival. There is usually an old school demolition derby on the fairgrounds later the same day. The fall festival happens around the same time fall foliage is approaching peak season. It is the perfect time to ride through and witness the beauty of the mountains in Autumn for yourself.
Dragon’s Tooth trail features many unique geological features. At the summit the 360-view will take your breath away. The hike is worth it to see the amazing overlooks and rock formations that offer opportunities for bouldering. There are also shelters for a rustic camping experience.
Craig County is off the beaten path and receives less public exposure because of this, but its treasures should not go unnoticed. It is a beautiful place to visit. And it is an amazing place to call home.