By John Clise
Paint Bank, Virginia, a gem of a find, is located at the intersection of State Route 18 and State Route 311 northwest of the town of New Castle, the county seat of Craig County. The village is located between Potts Mountain and Peters Mountain.
Paint Bank got its name from the iron ochre and red clay taken from the banks of Potts Creek that was used by Native Americans, notably the Cherokees, as war paint, and to make their pottery with a distinctive red color. Early maps and deeds show descriptive names such as Paint Banks, Indian Paint Bank and Painted Banks.
It is believed the area was colonized by White settlers in the 18th century. In the 19th century, the same red clay was used to make commercial paint and red bricks for permanent buildings.
The Paint Bank General Store is an authentic, small-town general store showcasing its wooden floors and tin ceiling.
According to the store’s website, you will find everything from grocery items to gift items. You can purchase our own delicious, farm-raised buffalo meat, with have many different cuts available, including burgers & rib-eye steaks.
You’ll find a huge selection of your favorite candies to satisfy your sweet tooth, and take you back down Memory Lane. You’ll also arts and crafts, souvenirs, a variety of cold beverages in the glass bottle, and so much more.
Upstairs, you’ll find a year-round Christmas store packed with holiday décor.
After shopping, browsing, and taking it all in, be sure to visit The Swinging Bridge Restaurant, located inside The Paint Bank General Store. You’ll be glad you did. It’s a great place to eat and relax. Outside dining is available on the screened-in back porch.
The Lemon Hotel, is another great find, that was recently brought back to its original splendor, is the perfect escape to a bygone era with all the luxuries of today.
You’ll find the hotel is adjacent to the Depot Lodge which the owners have operated for over 20 years.
It’s website, notes the the hotel is nestled in the secluded town of Paint Bank in the southern Alleghany Mountains. The hotel has six unique and inviting bedrooms and suites. Each room/suite is exquisitely decorated with curated antiques and collectibles and has a different theme to reflect various fruits grown on the property.
In the meeting room you will find a refreshment bar stocked with fine coffees, teas and assorted cookies. There is also a small fridge with various cold beverages. Guests will have access to free wi-fi, a charging station, luxurious robe and slippers, a hairdryer and Beekman 1802 bath products.
The Paint Bank Virginia Fish Hatchery run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries is located in Paint Bank, and the trout that are raised there are released locally. Brown trout, Brook trout and Rainbow trout are raised there. The trout are released when they are about 18 months old, and are used to stock streams in nine counties. “This state fish hatchery, just south of Paint Bank, provides a unique look into the trout rearing and stocking process. Numerous concrete tanks hold up to 1.6 million trout in all stages of development, thus providing an easy viewing experience. Around the fish hatchery is a variety of wildlife. The creek that runs along the edge of the property should be checked for butterflies, birds and at dusk some white-tailed deer.
The earth science and ecology students of Glenvar High School raise some of the brook trout hatchlings, which survive at a rate of 10 percent, rather than the one to three percent that survive in the wild. They are released in the Roaring Run creek in Botetourt County, Virginia.
During the 19th century, timber cutting was prevalent in the area, especially for the hardwoods. Oak and hemlock bark was used in tanning leather during this period, and these products were highly prized. The George Washington and Jefferson National Forests are located nearby, as are the Shawvers Run Wilderness and Barbours Creek Wilderness areas. On Peters Mountain are parts of the Old-growth forest. “The Shawvers Run Wilderness Area is located in northern Craig County.
A few miles up the road between Sweet Springs, West Virginia and Paint Bank, is the location of the home of Anne Royall (June 11, 1769 – October 1, 1854). By some accounts, she was the first professional female journalist in America.