Category Archives: Shenandoah Valley

Late Winter Snow Mixes With Spring Flowers in Shenandoah Valley

“No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.” —Hal Borland

As a frigid breeze blew across my front yard Monday afternoon, I decided to take my camera and snap some pictures of our blooming plum and cherry trees because snow was moving in later in the evening. The temperature had dipped into the teens over the weekend, already causing blossoms to fall to the ground, limply piled up under the trees, but enough were left on branches to get some decent photos. Icicles were on the wind and I shivered as I reached out in the stiff breeze to steady a branch with one hand while focusing my camera with the other.


Pink and fragile-looking, these little guys are hardier than expected. The blooms in these pics had withstood the teen temps but I wasn’t sure they could withstand snow along with cold. So I clicked away, walking around the trees to try differing angles to showcase them in the best way possible.


Monday night the snow showed up right on time although we only saw about three inches instead of the 4-8 inches that had been in the forecast. However, what we got was pretty and so I returned to the trees Tuesday morning, again with camera in hand, to get pictures of soft pink blossoms covered in fluffy white snow.

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Moving Dirt at Frontier Culture Museum for Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles, Aldi, More

Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia’s property on Richmond Road. Photo take March 8, 2017. (Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

There’s no way you could have missed all the earth moving equipment the past weeks in front of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia (FCMV) on Richmond Road (Rt. 250) in Staunton or, for that case, on the opposite side of the road where the city of Staunton is clearing land for retail development.

But in front of the FCMV, facing onto Richmond Road/Rt. 250, are spaces where Chick-Fil-A, Bojangles, Aldi, and other retail will be going up. It’s been in the planning for several years as the Museum worked with developers to design and lay out the space, and bring in tenants.

Chick-Fil-A had originally planned to be open a year ago. A delay with the property slowed their plans.

I wrote 18 months ago about the owner of Charlottesville’s Bojangles telling us he would be opening a location in Staunton.

There are also proposals to perhaps have a hotel and another restaurant so stay tuned to see what else will join Sheetz in that popular location that will be very accessible to travelers on I-81.

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March Events at Augusta County Library

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There’s lots going on at the Augusta County Library during March. Be sure to check the website for all the latest, and to sign up for the e-newsletter to stay informed of upcoming events. Below are the special events for March. Happy reading!

 

The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
March 2017   |  www.AugustaCountyLibrary.org
Introducing Our New Logo

Check out these new releases!

February 2017’s Volunteer of the Month


Meet Keith! Keith Bell is a student at Riverheads High School, but is a well known young man around the library.As a child, he loved the library and began volunteering in middle school.  His favorite subject in school is English and he loves reading and writing as well as movies and music of all kinds. Learn more.

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Glenn Davis for Lt. Gov. at Crosskeys Vineyards for Meet and Greet on Jan. 11

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“There is no mistaking the voting record and leadership exhibited by Delegate Glenn Davis. As a small businessman and entrepreneur, Delegate Davis understands the needs of businesses.”
–Virginia Chamber of Commerce

Virginia Beach Delegate Glenn Davis, 42, who is running for 2017 Lieutenant Governor, is planning a meet-and-greet at Crosskeys Vineyards in Rockingham County on January 11, 2017, to share his vision for the future with voters. The event, which will offer a great opportunity to meet Delegate Davis and talk with him about the campaign, is open to the public, and will last from 6:30 until 8:00.

Davis, a businessman and entrepreneur, has been all over the Commonwealth carrying his common sense message for governing and his quest to return Virginia to the number one spot for business. More than anything he feels that his biggest contribution as lieutenant governor would be finding ways to provide jobs for Virginians who are out of work. “I’m running because too many Virginians are unemployed, under employed, or stuck in part time jobs desperate for full time work,” he said in March.

Recently he talked with Bearing Drift (listen to interview here). In December he attended the Republican Advance where he was able to talk with many of those who attended, and with the many who were in his hospitality suite until after midnight dancing the night away.

Come on out and catch up with Delegate Davis while he’s in the Valley on Wednesday, January 11, 2017. The 2017 races for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General are in full swing. See you there!

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Delegate Glenn Davis (photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

If you’re going:

What: Meet and Greet with Delegate Glenn Davis who is running for Lieutenant Governor 2017
When: Wednesday, January 11, 2017
Time: 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Place: Crosskeys Vineyards, Rockingham County

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Inter-Library Loans Will Soon Begin Between ACL and BRCC

Augusta County Library 2The Augusta County Library announced a new lending program between the library and Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) that will begin soon, as announced in this press release:

The Augusta County Library will soon be offering reciprocal borrowing with Houff Library at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va. Materials from BRCC’s library can be placed on hold to be delivered once a week to Augusta County Library at no charge to our patrons. Waynesboro Public Library and Staunton Public Library will also be participating in this reciprocal borrowing with BRCC.

To request an Interlibrary Loan from BRCC, call the main Fishersville Library at 540-885-3961 or 540-949-6354, or visit the Help Desk to fill out a form. Be sure to have the title and author of the book you are looking for, as well as the publication date, if relevant. To browse BRCC’s library catalog, visit www.brcc.edu/library/library-catalog.

Once the requested materials arrive, patrons will receive a notification call or email. Delivery may take up to one week, and materials can be picked up at our main Fishersville Library as well as our branches. Additionally, Augusta County Library patrons will be able to pick up their arrived holds at Houff Library at BRCC.

If you have any questions, please contact the Augusta County Library at 540-885-3961 or 540-949-6354 or ask@augustacountylibrary.org. For more information about the Augusta County Library and our branches, visit www.augustacountylibrary.org.

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10 Things To Do in Staunton on New Year’s Eve 2016

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Things to do in Staunton this New Year’s Eve….

1. The Store: Belgian Waffle Breakfast with Mimosa or Champagne. 8:00 am-11:00 am

2. Sunspots: Blow Your Own Glass Ornament, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm.

3. Zynodoa Restaurant: 4 course prix-fixe menu.

4. American Shakespeare Center: 11:00 am Playhouse Tour; 2:00 pm Romeo and Juliet; 5:00 pm Final performance EVER of The Twelve Dates of Christmas, a play written for their stage by one of their actors, with $2 glasses of champagne.

5. Baja Bean Co: Findells Rockin’ New Year’s Eve Party with champagne toast at midnight! $10 cover.

6. Redbeard Brewing: Hosting Magnolia Mountain Grill, and Dragon Wagon is playing, w/ Special Guest.

7.  Clocktower Downtown 27: NYE Bash with live music from Maybe Tomorrow & DJ Neili Neil. The front restaurant will be open until 1 AM, with a Feature Menu, and they will be offering $3 glasses of Prosecco for Midnight toasting.

8. Byers Street Bistro: New Year’s Eve Party. 9:00 pm – 12:30 am featuring dinner specials, live music from Gypsy Town and a champagne toast at Midnight.

9. Pompei Lounge Annual Masquerade: Hosted by The Judy Chops. The show starts at 10:00 but come early as we will definitely sell out. $10 cover and a champagne toast at midnight. Open till 2am.

10. Barren Ridge Vineyards: Open late on New Year’s Eve (until midnight) for anyone who wants to ring in 2017 in a quiet and cozy setting.

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Augusta County Library: Can Your Fines Now Through Jan. 8

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From now through January 8, 2017, patrons of all Augusta County Library locations will have the chance to swap out their fines for canned items. This annual food drive raises goods for our local Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and includes donations of non-expired canned goods and dried food items.

Each item donated will waive a single fine for overdue materials. (Please note that this does not include the cost of lost items or collection agency fees.) Visit any Augusta County Library location, the Staunton Public Library, and the Waynesboro Public Library now to drop off a donation and waive your fines.

Can Your Fines will run through January 8 at all ACL locations and at the Staunton Public Library, and will run through January 3 at the Waynesboro Public Library.

Augusta County Library has locations in Churchville, Craigsville, Deerfield, Fishersville, and Middlebrook.  For questions and information, contact the library at 540-885-3961 or 540-949-6354 or  visit http://www.AugustaCountyLibrary.org.

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Augusta County Library: Cookies With Santa at Churchville Branch

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‘Tis the season — ho ho ho — to join jolly old Santa for holiday cookies and pictures at the Churchville branch of the Augusta County Library. While you’re there, why not find a book to read as the days get colder?

Pictures and cookies with Santa will be Monday, December 5, from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the library located at 3714 Churchville Avenue in Churchville. We’ll be waiting for you!

If you’re going:

Cookies With Santa
Monday, December 5, 2016
Churchville Branch, Augusta County Library
3714 Churchville Ave.
Churchville, Va 24421
Phone: 540.245-5287

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Chick-fil-A Planned For Staunton

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The announcement of a Chick-fil-A coming to Staunton finally made it to the public on Tuesday, a little later than originally planned, but better late than never.

According to reporter Laura Peters with the News Leader:

Staunton Frontier LLC plans to bring retail, restaurants and lodging to a 42-acre area off U.S. 250 and Frontier Drive on land adjacent to Sheetz. The anticipated development is across the street from another mixed use development called Staunton Crossing, which has nearly 300 acres available. Two hotels have already signed on for the Staunton Crossing location and is expected to bring multiple food options, large retail, a gas station and possibly high-end office buildings.

Located at Exit 222 off I-81 on the busy Richmond Road (U.S. 250) corridor near Lowe’s and Wal-Mart, the chicken restaurant will be at the entrance to the Frontier Culture Museum within a half mile of the interstate. Its proximity to the heavily traveled interstate makes it the only easily-accessed Chick-fil-A between Harrisonburg and Roanoke. Staunton’s location is by far the fastest on-off for motorists as they travel north-south.

It’s often a hurry-up-and-wait situation when developing sites and recruiting businesses. Hopefully, Staunton will have its own Chick-fil-A soon.

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The Gleaming Giant Lording Over My Kitchen

refrigerator-freezerThere’s a stainless steel giant in my kitchen. It’s our new side-by-side refrigerator-freezer. But this isn’t a post about a new refrigerator … it’s a post about having an appliance that is smarter than we are. And about bargains.

We didn’t decide to buy a new fridge just because we wanted something new. Our old one that was over twenty years old was in need of life support after we found frozen items thawing, and the refrigerator side wasn’t do its job of cooling edibles.

Uh-oh.

A trip to the appliance store was eye-opening. If you haven’t bought a fridge in the past 20 years, it’s a new world out there. They are larger, more energy efficient, and made up of panels and switches that make it feel almost as if a degree is required to operate.  Almost.

There are multiple lights inside both the fridge and freezer sides. You could host Disney on Ice inside with all those spotlights. What happened to the single, bare light bulb in the back? They’re LED lights, too, that we’re told will last forever, or pretty darn close.

The freezer has a computer-type screen on the front that announces the temperature of the fridge and freezer, on display for all to see. That’s accompanied with a menu of options including variety of freezing choices, when to change the water filter or time to change the air filter (yes, it has an air filter!), and more. The water-ice dispenser on the door has its own illumination and offers three choices: water, cube ice, or crushed ice. Drawers on the fridge side cool separately.

I am awed.

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Downtown Staunton the Weekend Before Thanksiving

staunton-6Thursday night in downtown Staunton … this is looking west from the top of the hill on Johnson Street at its intersection with Coalter Street. Mary Baldwin College is on the right, and the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Birthplace is on the left. I used an iPhone so pics aren’t the best but give a sense of Staunton at night.

staunton-7Christmas is in the air with illuminated snowflakes along Beverley Street, and twinkly lights in shop windows. Thanksiving is in one week. See here for weekend activities in downtown Staunton.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

 

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Shenandoah Valley Supermoon

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It’s a good thing we watched the supermoon last night because tonight is rainy and chilly. Our plans to view it from Skyline Drive were scratched but here’s what it looked like last night as it rose through the trees on the ridge behind the house. It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Shenandoah Mountain 4 Years Later: What Happened to Missing Hiker Robert Fitzgerald?

Shenandoah Mountain / Confederate Breastworks Overlook on Rt. 250 along the Augusta County/Highland County line looks over the Appalachian Mountains in Highland.

 

 

What happened to Bobby Fitzgerald on that fateful day in November of 2012?

Traveling west from Staunton along Rt. 250 as it climbs up and over Shenandoah Mountain, I cannot help wondering what happened to Robert “Bobby” Fitzgerald, the Staunton hiker who went missing in that isolated part of western Virginia on November 11, 2012, and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Searches have turned up nothing. Some wonder about foul play.

On November 20, 2012, I posted about the disappearance:

Hope is fading that a Staunton man has been able to survive a week lost or injured in the vast George Washington National Forest in western
Augusta County. Rescuers decided Monday night to call off the search.

Robert Fitzgerald, 60, has not been heard from even though his car was found parked in the area. Inside searchers found his backpack with power
bars and bottled water and other supplies.

It was a cold 25 degrees at my house this morning with heavy frost on the ground which means colder temperatures up on Shenandoah Mountain
located about 20 miles west of Staunton. Anyone who has driven to Highland County out Rt. 250 west of Staunton has driven over Shenandoah
Mountain. At the very top, at the Augusta County-Highland County line, is a parking area with a breath-takingly scenic overlook that takes in
the mountains of Highland County and beyond into West Virginia.

It also documents the Confederate Breastworks, site of Fort Edward Johnson during the Civil War, with interpretive signs of the historical
importance with a circular trail along the top of the mountain. Many other trails are in the vicinity, and that is where Robert Fitzgerald
disappeared sometime last week.

A Tuesday article in the Waynesboro News-Virginian by reporter Bob Stuart noted that Fitzgerald was physically fit and very familiar with that area of the Shenandoah range because he had hiked it for the past 15 to 20 years.

Fitzgerald appears to have hiked the trail with a friend on Sunday, November 11, and lost his cell phone at that time. It is believed he returned the following day to search for the phone, and disappeared into the wilderness. No one has heard from him since.

He reportedly was not dressed in cold weather gear and, even though days have been comfortable in this area the past week, the nights have been
cold with a low of 20 at my house one night which means temps in the teens up on the mountain.

The owner of Staunton’s Wilderness Adventure store remains cautiously optimistic about the prospects for Fitzgerald, who was a regular customer.

Four years later, it is still a mystery. There have been subsequent searches that turned up nothing. A $50,000 reward that was offered in 2015 has been extended to 2017. How could someone who was an experienced hiker in an area he knew well just disappear without a trace is a question that continues to haunt many, and something that comes to mind every time I’m on Shenandoah Mountain.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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November in Western Virginia

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This view was found on a back road west of I-81 and south of Lexington looking east toward the Blue Ridge Mountains. November … brown begins to permeate the Virginia landscape in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and into winter. Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Baby It’s Cold Outside: Virginia Brunswick Stew Recipe

Baby, it’s cold outside! The chill temps of fall have dipped below freezing for the first time this season so a bowl of Brunswick stew, hot and filling, should do the trick.

From the cookbook, Virginia Hospitality: A Book of Recipes From 200 Years of Gracious Entertaining, is the Brunswick stew recipe I have used for years. As with any cook, I have variations (in parentheses). Stew is best when the flavors are given time to meld together so I often make mine the day before it will be served. The recipe easily doubles and triples for larger groups. Enjoy!

Brunswick Stew
1 whole chicken, cut up (I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
1 onion, quartered
2 ribs celery, diced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
16 ounces white shoepeg corn
10 ounces frozen small butterbeans
1 pound canned tomatoes
2 small potatoes, cubed (I double or triple that amount)
1/3 cup ketchup
2-3 Tablespoons vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco
1/4 teaspoon marjoram (I omit)
2-3 Tablespoons butter

Place chicken in Dutch oven and add enough water to cover well. Add onion, celery, salt, and pepper. Boil until chicken comes off bones easily. Remove chicken to cool and add corn, butterbeans, tomatoes, potatoes, ketchup, brown sugar, and vinegar; cook 2 hours or until tender. Remove chicken from bones or shred chicken breasts and add to vegetables along with Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, marjoram, and butter. Serves 6-8.

Note: Vary amount of water for thick or soupy stew. Add a cube of chicken bouillon after the first or second serving.

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