Davie County is one of the smaller counties in North Carolina, so you can easily traverse the county in one day and hit all of the highlights. We chose Davie County this day because it wasn’t too far from our origination point–and the days are shorter this time of year, of course.
Davie County was formed in 1836 from part of Rowan County. It was named for William R. Davie, Governor of North Carolina from 1798 to 1799. Davie county was initially strongly Unionist. However, 1,147 soldiers from Davie County fought in the American Civil War for the Confederate States of America. Portions of Davie County are located in the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA).
Today the county features many highlights, including Farmington, Cooleemee Plantation House, and Cooleemee Falls as well as towns named Jerusalem, Maine, and Turkeyfoot.
The first stop of the day is in Bermuda Run, incorporated in 1999. It may come as no surprise that the name Bermuda Run hails from the island nation of Bermuda. The English colony (now designated a British Overseas Territory) of Bermuda, or the Somers Isles, was settled in 1609 by the survivors of the Virginia Company’s flagship, the Sea Venture. Bermuda quickly became thriving and populous. Its limited land mass, however, meant there were few prospects for many members of its rapidly multiplying working class. So, roughly 10,000 Bermudians would emigrate during the 17th and 18th Centuries, primarily to Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia. This included the establishment of the city of Charleston and the colony of South Carolina under William Sayle in 1670. One result of this exodus is the appearance of the name Bermuda in many locations in the American South where Bermudians settled, from Bermuda Hundred, VA, to Bermuda Island, in Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. The name Bermuda Run was also previously used for areas of what are now Colonial Heights and Hopewell in Virginia.
Today, what was once a major cattle and horse farm has become a luxurious retirement community, a private country club and golf course, and the newest town in Davie County.
When Billy Satterfield, a plumber’s helper from nearby Clemmons, found a farm for sale at $1,000 an acre. Armed with artists renderings of what his future club would be, he sold 175 lots for $10,000 each. In the 1980s, the country club was sold with the undeeded land to developers who purchased an additional 234 acres of Lybrook farm (giving Bermuda Run a total of 900+ acres) on the Davie County side of the Yadkin River. The community underwent an expansion that added a plush retirement center, luxury condominiums, and another nine holes of golf.
In the Bermuda Run area, you’ll find Tanglewood Park, best known for hosting the annual Tanglewood Festival of Lights during the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season (usually mid-November through January 1st, 6pm-11pm). Be prepared to wait up to an hour or so just to get in the gate. Once you are past the ticket booth, turn your headlights off and the ride through is pretty smooth. You can stop partway through the tour at the Gift Barn and roast s’mores and enjoy hot chocolate and other goodies. The park also has miles of paths and trails and a large kids playground, hosts golf and community runs, dog events, and other events throughout the year, and is open daily from sun-up to dusk for park visitors.
Various accounts exist for the origin of the town’s name. Some suggest the name was derived from the name of a popular resident and freed slave, Samuel Vance Allen. Other accounts suggest the community was named by residents who hoped that with the addition of a post office, the community would advance.
Mocksville was incorporated as a town in 1839. The town was named for the original owner of the town site. The quaint downtown features the Davie County Courthouse, Davie County Jail, Downtown Mocksville Historic District, North Main Street Historic District, and Salisbury Street Historic District–all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Of note, American folklore figure Daniel Boone lived near Mocksville from 1750–1766. His father, Squire Boone, Sr., was the Justice of the Peace for Mocksville. Squire Boone and his wife Sarah are buried in Mocksville’s Joppa Cemetery. Stop at the top of the short U-shaped drive into the cemetery. Just past the stone wall, you’ll see the gravesite just ahead.
In Mocksville, you’ll also find Main Street Park and Cognition, a children’s discovery place plus several artistic public art wall murals.
The Running of the Horses
If you’ve ever taken a drive down E. Depot Street, or a walk down Main, it is impossible to miss “The Running Of The Horses,” a historic piece with a bright color palette. The piece harkens back to the days of World War II, when gasoline was hard to come by, and farmers would rely on horses for pulling farm equipment. In 2020, William Richardson, son of the blacksmith, recalled the events the piece was inspired by, “During the war years… you couldn’t get gasoline to run tractors… so they used horses on the farms. They would unload them at the depot, run them right up E. Depot Street, across Main Street on the square, and down to where Junker’s Mill is.” The horses in the piece are galloping down W. Depot in the same fashion, and are a reminder of Mocksville’s roots in farming and simple hardworking lifestyle.
The center oak tree in the piece is a nod to the original four oak trees that were in town square for over 90 years. The tree also symbolizes the town itself, with its roots in unity and its limbs reaching out. The roots of the tree serve as the foundation, as unity does with the community. The limbs reach out, symbolizing the growth of the town, and the positive impact its members make. Mother Earth faces both directions as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, which brings about the energy and life of Mocksville. The entire piece is a representation of where we have come from, and the continued growth and progress throughout the generations.
A Vintage Backdrop
A vibrant vintage piece can be seen on Main Street should you be coming from the Brock. The Horn Oil and Royal Republic gasoline advertisement is a classic piece that captures the essence of the early 20th century. The Horn Oil headquarters has been located at 190 North Main Street in Mocksville since 1923, and fans of classic American designs and early 20th century art are sure to love this retro advertisement.
Mermaid of Justice
If you venture down Water Street and happen to find yourself on the back side of the Bomar Law Firm facing the First Presbyterian Church, you can catch a good look at a mermaid in the window. This artwork depicts a figure similar to Lady Justice, a symbol of a fair judicial system that does not discriminate. Her depiction dates back to ancient Greece, over 2000 years ago. In this rendition, the Mermaid of Justice is holding the scales, as well as a fishing pole in place of a sword. She is wearing her signature blindfold as well, representing blind justice within the court. This aquatic twist on classical art is a signature of Mocksville’s familiar nature, yet unique characteristics.
Greetings From Mocksville
Some art downtown requires a bit more work to seek out, but the effort is worth it. On the backside of the popular downtown hangout, The Station’s brickwall postcard is a colorful welcoming piece that encompasses the landmarks and warm feelings that radiate across the easygoing town. The inspiration for the mural came from an old postcard that The Station’s owner, Suzanne Lakey’s mom, Kathy Miller, found in the Davie County Public Library’s online archives while searching for old photos of the building to use as part of The Station’s decor. By merging both the past and present, Lakey hopes the mural will appeal to the older generation as well as the newer “selfie” generation.
“For me, the goal of the mural was the same as that of The Station, to continue bringing people downtown and keeping the environment lively,” said Lakey.
The Elusive Flying Pig
Even more elusive, the Flying Pig piece behind Attorney Ryan Addison’s Law Firm is a whimsical one. Dressed in War Eagle attire, the Flying Pig daringly leaps from the nearby courthouse. “I have embraced this idea that flying pigs represent how anything is possible,” said Addison, who has an extensive collection of flying pigs in his office. Artist Bruce White made sure to give the flying pig some local flavor, in classic orange and white.
History & Heroes
The most recent mural addition to downtown is on display at the office of Attorney Wade H. Leonard. This historic piece was painted by Todd Donahue from Imagination Works, and is composed of various elements from Mocksville’s rich past. From one of Daniel Boone’s homes, to honoring the soldiers who gave their lives, it’s art full of detail that is best taken in up close.
Downtown Mocksville’s urban artwork is sure to catch the attention of those passing through and residents alike. Some pieces are bold and obvious, while others are more elusive. This dynamic placement engrains itself in the character of the town. Next time you find yourself downtown, don’t hesitate to reflect and take in the detail of the art gallery that is embedded within the roots of Mocksville.
RayLen Winery & Vineyards
Stop by RayLen Vineyards (3577 US-158) for a romantic, winding drive to the site’s apex and cupola rooftop building; a glass of award-winning European varietals; and amazing 360-degree vistas across the rolling hills of Davie County and beyond, including a view of Pilot Mountain in the distance in Surry County. See our Surry County blog for details. RayLen hosts daily tastings, shopping, plus other events year round, including musical entertainment.
The property once functioned as a dairy farm for nearly a century until 1988.
Cooleemee’s Textile Heritage Museum
This museum is located in the historic Zachary Holt House (131 Church Street, just off Marginal Street). In the setting of the former mill manager’s large brick home, its exhibits allow visitors to explore just what a cotton mill town was like in its prime.
The Mill House Museum
Just one block down Church Street sits a typical four-room mill house built in 1905. A tour guide takes you back in time to the world of a mill hand’s family in the early 1930s. Hundreds of local period artifacts help tell the story—from iron beds, feather ticks, chamber pots, handmade toys, and a wood cookstove. In the yard, you will find a clothesline, garden plot, and smokehouse.
Cooleemee’s museums are open Tuesdays from 1-4 and then by appointment only.
RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls – “The Bullhole”
RiverPark opens on the riverbank opposite Cooleemee. These 30+ acres on the Rowan County side feature an impressive stone dam and waterfall, a sandy beach deposited there by a flood, and good fishing in the spring and fall. Many bring their bathing suits to swim and “ride” the little rapids. There are scattered picnic tables and benches along its beautiful wooded trails and the picnic shelter can be rented for private events.
Next trip… Randolph County!