7/28: Mary Draper Ingles Weekend
Tours of the historic Ingles farm, a 1700s dress sword, exhibits at museums throughout the New River Valley and an outdoor drama are just a few of the sites and items visitors can see as the New River Valley celebrates Mary Draper Ingles Remembrance Day.
Visitors will get a glimpse of late 1700s rural life in southwest Virginia at Ingles Farm, where Mary lived out her life along the New River. The property, which is listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, remains a working farm run by descendant Col. Lewis Ingles “Bud” Jeffries and includes a replica of the original cabin, livestock, graveyard and remnants of a ferry site.
Storytellers will be there to share information on Mary’s famous capture by a party of Shawnee Indians and her escape and trek over hundreds of miles back to the New River Valley. They’ll also provide information on the area’s important role as a trade and commerce center in the early westward expansion of America. The farm, located at 9 Wilderness Road near Exit #105 off I-81, will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 28.
The Wilderness Road Regional Museum will host a special day called “Ingles Ferry to Newbern” on Saturday, July 28th starting at 10:30 AM. The museum will celebrate Mary Draper Ingles and her journey out of captivity. Wilderness Road museum volunteers will give tours that focus on Ingles Ferry and its role transporting travelers on the Wilderness Road. At 2 PM, local singer and folklorist Ricky Cox will present “Traveling the Road through Song.”
Visitors to the Glencoe Mansion and Radford Visitor’s Center will be able to take a journey back to the 18th century with demonstrations by a blacksmith and period reenactors. In addition, a sword that has been handed down in the Ingles family for more than two centuries will join other early settler displays, including an art exhibit and a short documentary on Mary. A special plein air exhibit will feature art from several locations along the New River, all associated with Mary and her journey. Books, commemorative prints by acclaimed artist P. Buckley Moss and other souvenirs will be available in the gift shop.
Visitors also will want to tour the Mary Draper Ingles Cultural Heritage Park that includes a bronze statue of the heroine. The park is adjacent to Glencoe and overlooks the New River.
An outdoor drama called ‘Walk to Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story” is now in its second season and Mary’s story will be retold in the amphitheater at Nesselrod B & B on July 27th, 28th and 29th with both reserved dinner tickets and general admission seating available.
Radford tourism director Deborah Cooney says the Mary Draper Ingles Weekend intends to provide a weekend that gives an overview of a special frontierswoman, life in the region and the development of the area during these two centuries. “It’s a varied menu, and one we hope prompts visitors to delve deeper into the fascinating stories of our early American history,” says Cooney.
In 2017 the Virginia General Assembly honored Ingles by designating the last Saturday in July as her special 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.
Mary is one of 12 women to be honored in a future monument on Virginia’s Capitol Grounds in Richmond that is scheduled to open in 2019.
Points of interest include for Mary Draper Ingles Weekend, July 27-29 include:
Ingles Farm, July 28, 10AM-3PM, 9 Wilderness Road, Radford
Mary Draper Ingles Statue, dawn to dusk, 601 Unruh Dr, Radford
Mary Draper Ingles Plein Air Paintings Exhibit, Interpreters, Ingles Family Sword,
Video Short, Exhibit, Mary-related books & Souvenirs, July 27-29, Sat 10AM-4PM, Sun 1-4PM, Glencoe Mansion & Radford Visitor’s Center, 600 Unruh Dr, Radford
“Ingles Ferry to Newbern-Traveling the Wilderness Road”,
July 27-28, 10:30AM-4:30PM, Wilderness Road Regional Museum, 5243 Wilderness Road, Dublin
Andrew Johnston House & Giles County Historical Society, July 27, Noon-5PM, July 28-29, 2-5PM 208 N. Main St, Pearisburg
Smithfield Plantation-July 27-28, 10AM-5PM, July 29, 1-5PM, 1000 Smithfield Plantation Rd, Blacksburg
Floyd County Historical Museum, July 27 Noon-4PM, July 28 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
Walk to Freedom: The Mary Draper Ingles Story (outdoor drama) July 13, 14, 15 and July 27, 28 & 29
7535 Lee Hwy, Radford
July 27-29th events in the New River Valley are part of Virginia’s AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ commemoration for the 400th anniversary of key historical events in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Wilderness Road Regional Museum has been chosen as one of the 200 historical sites in the state that best tell Virginia’s story of democracy, diversity, and opportunity. It is included on the Virginia History app, which can be downloaded on mobile devices to lead tourists to the key sites.
Brochures with Mary-related site information will be available at Ingles Farm. Site information is also available at MaryDraperInglesTrail.com