A Land and Farming Tradition
Roots run deep in Historic Happy Valley. Looking out across this scenic valley recalls a time when residents depended on the land for survival. The valley contains a vast number of historic properties, historic cemeteries and large farms, several called "century farms" because they've been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. Many farmers in the valley today are descendants of its early settlers, and have retained their ancestors' connection to the land and a deep knowledge of local farm traditions. Although all use modern farming methods some continue to train mules, horses and steer to plow and mow. Others cultivate heritage vegetables and fruits, or plant corn and hay in the land bordering the Yadkin River. Some keep bees or grind molasses, while others graze cattle or hunt wild game. Some are loggers, and others construct traditional pole and log barns and outbuildings.
Annual public events like Plow Day and Mow Day promote an appreciation of traditional farming practices while instilling an interest in farmland preservation and conservation. These traditions are inseparable from the region's music, dance, storytelling and other arts practiced by its residents. Today, some of Happy Valley's older farms have been converted to tree and shrubbery nurseries, while others have found new lives as a goat dairy, a Sturgeon roe farm, or an organic cattle farm.
With a 28-mile stretch of road designated as a North Carolina Scenic Byway, pathways being built along the Yadkin River, a canoe outfitter offering historic river tours, and a Tom Dooley driving tour, visitors will find it even easier to appreciate the land, connect to its history, and keep Happy Valley's roots planted firmly in the ground.