Amanda Gray Wants You to Visit SOVA

by Billy Chandler

Amanda is a tourism and marketing specialist for the West Piedmont Planning District in Virginia, and she hopes you’ll soon visit Virginia’s other valley.

“Life in SOVA” is the heading given to the tourism efforts for the area of the Commonwealth that includes Franklin County, Rocky Mount, Henry County, Martinsville, Pittsylvania County, Danville, and Patrick County. SOVA refers to the southern valley of Virginia, or Virginia’s “other valley.”

Amanda grew up in Martinsville and after college she spent some time doing sports tourism for her hometown. NASCAR is just one of the tourism draws for the city. She then left tourism altogether to work in health care for several years, and now she’s really excited to be back in tourism.

She is enthusiastic for all the region offers – museums, outdoor adventures, sports, great cuisine, Air BNBs, and agri-tourism. She says, “People have no idea how much opportunity is in agri-tourism – breweries, wineries, pumpkin patches corn mazes! We’re here to help farmers market their offerings.”

She says Covid definitely changed the world, including the world of tourism, but the businesses that survived did so because they found ways to flexible in a shifting landscape. And outdoor adventure opportunities boomed during those days of social separation – and they continue to be a huge draw in a place like SOVA with rivers, mountains, and hiking trails galore.

Amanda says if you are looking to get away – even if it’s just for a short vacation – “Come to this area! There’s so much to do! Give the West Piedmont region a visit!”

You can enjoy a lively conversation with Amanda on the Duck Pond Wall podcast.

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/1119-mindy-buchanan-king-receives-outstanding-graduate"><picture class="lw_image"><source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/506,312,802,608/7332_mindy.rev.1578686155.webp 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><source type="image/png" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/506,312,802,608/7332_mindy.rev.1578686155.png 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/506,312,802,608/7332_mindy.rev.1578686155.png" alt="Mindy Buchanan-King (E&H '01) and husband John King." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="296" data-max-h="296" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/1119-mindy-buchanan-king-receives-outstanding-graduate">Mindy Buchanan-King Receives Outstanding Graduate Student Award</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Mindy finished her M.A. in English in December, 2019. <a href="/live/news/1119-mindy-buchanan-king-receives-outstanding-graduate" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>