It’s been quite a while since Rockford was considered a municipality. Its status as the seat of Surry County was given to the neighboring Dobson in 1850. All Rockford addresses were absorbed by Dobson by the end of 1975 when the Rockford Post Office finally closed its doors.
But don’t try to tell Rockford residents they don’t live in a lively, prospering community. They won’t believe you. And once you visit there, you won’t either.
Instead, you’ll find a community alive with history, art, culture, vineyards and wineries and outdoor recreation galore. You’ll find a beautiful spot along the N.C. Scenic Byways, the Mountain-to-Sea Trail and the Surry Scenic Bikeway.
Every day in Rockford is a history lesson. From 1789 forward, the people of Rockford have seen its heyday as a government and trading center, Civil War battles, the advent of the railroad, major floods and devastating fires.
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The spirit of Rockford remains in a number of its original buildings, many of which have been restored and/or fortified for preservation. The 1914 Rockford Methodist Church serves as the community center. Visitors come from far away to see, not only the church itself, but the Tony Griffin fresco “Come Unto Me.” See where visiting travelers and law students came to socialize at the 1830 Mark York Tavern and imagine the business that took place at the 1800 Rockford Masonic Lodge. A small park is at the former site of the 1796 Reuben Grant Tavern and John Burrus Hotel – distinguished lodging during the town’s heyday when the passenger train stopped in Rockford.
You can’t pass through Rockford without a visit to the Rockford General Store (www.rockfordgeneralstore.com). Built in 1890, the store has been in continuous operation ever since. It’s still the go-to place for supplies, a grill lunch, candy and unique gifts. The general store is also one of seven stops on the county’s Surry Sonker Trail (www.sonkertrail.org). A sonker is cobbler-like dessert passed down through generations in Surry County and store owner Carolyn Carter makes them fresh daily.
Rockford lies just a few feet away from the banks of the Yadkin River whose waters quench the thirst of more than 30 vineyards on the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail (www.yadkinriverwinetrail.com). Among them are four within a five-minute drive of historic Rockford: Stony Knoll, Hutton, RagApple Lassie and Sanders Ridge all offer wine tastings, tours and special events.
The Yadkin River also welcomes nature lovers and fun-loving visitors who like to kayak and canoe as well as serious fishermen. Yadkin River Adventures, across the road from the Rockford General Store, is ready to outfit visitors and offer good advice (www.yadkinriveradventures.com).
You’ll find soothing accommodations at the charming 1848 home now known as The Rockford Inn (www.rockfordbedandbreakfast.com). Enjoy its hospitality and the full country breakfast (it features classic family recipes such as praline French toast with raspberry sauce). A short drive will put you in front of the extensive menu – and excellent food – at The Depot at Cody Creek (www.codycreek.net).
Through April 3: Surry Wineries Winter Wine Passport Program. Sip wine in the Rockford area via the Winter Wine Passport Program. “Passports” provide a tasting at 10 Yadkin Valley wineries. Passport owners receive a commemorative trivet to fill with corks from each stop, plus discounts at area businesses. Food-and-wine weekends take place once a month in January, February and March at select wineries. Passports are $55, $95 for couples. Passports are available at participating wineries and at www.Surrywineries.com.
Feb. 19-21: Foothills Theatre’s Annual Dessert Theatre, Elkin First Baptist Church, Elkin. Features “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a comedy by Joe DiPietro. Dessert, coffee and tea are served 30 minutes prior to each performance. Show times are 7 p.m. Feb. 19-20; 2 p.m. Feb. 21. Tickets, $12 at the door, include dessert. Details: www.foothillsartscouncil.org.
April 1-2: Surry Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Surry Community College, Dobson. Celebrate Surry County’s stature as a center of the old-time music at this event. Highlights include a Friday night dance with three bands, a Saturday full of jam sessions, individual competitions on stringed instruments (youth and adult), and band competitions (youth and adults), plus multiple workshops Saturday led by expert artists renowned in the world of old time music. Admission is $5 daily, 12 and younger, free. Details: www.surryoldtime.com.