Category Archives: Shenandoah Valley

Festivals, Saunders Brothers, Blue Ridge Mountains … just another day in paradise

By Lynn R. Mitchell

[Editor’s Note: With the unofficial start of summer behind us, here’s a rerun column about the variety of events and activities available in the Shenandoah Valley.]

??????????It’s summer with all the festivals and events that are available in the Shenandoah Valley and beyond so today we decided to spend the day just going where the wind took us. We plopped our straw hats on the back seat — I burst out laughing when I saw them and had to take a picture — and off we went. Our first stop was at our friends’ house near Crimora for a garage sale. After visiting a while and paying for our purchases, we headed to Waynesboro where the first day of the 2014 Extravaganza was going on.

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We were fairly early to this annual event that features spectacular fireworks, ahead of the crowds that began showing up by the time we left. Crafters, artists, games, pony rides, carnival rides, food vendors, and live entertainment … there was plenty to do. We enjoyed talking with local photographer Brent McGuirt (www.brentmcguirtphotography.com) whose stunningly beautiful work showcasing the Shenandoah Valley and beyond was on display. (Check out his Facebook page for his latest works.)

It was great to run into Bill and Jean Ann Bolling who were spending the weekend nearby in the cool of the mountains.

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Memorial Day 2017 … Small Town Honors Fallen With Moment of Silence

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The annual Memorial Day tribute in front of our house from my Air Force Vietnam-era veteran husband.

On this Memorial Day weekend, a special memory comes to mind that epitomizes the meaning of the day.

It was Memorial Day in 2009 in the central Shenandoah Valley. My sister and I had made a last-minute trip to the local Food Lion in Staunton for a forgotten cookout item when now-retired manager Dan Pritchett’s voice came over the intercom at the Coalter Street store. In his soft southern voice, he addressed employees and customers:

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is Memorial Day. The store will shut down for the next 60 seconds as we observe a moment of silence in honor of America’s fallen heroes.”

Perhaps this is one of the things I love most about living in a small town.

Dan Pritchett

News Leader photo

It was 3:00 pm on Memorial Day, the time of the national moment of silence. The cashiers stopped checking out customers. Muzak was turned off. Customers paused in aisles while employees ceased working. The store was essentially shut down and for the next 60 seconds all observed a moment of silence for America’s fallen military heroes. Among those was an uncle I never knew, a casualty of battle in Germany just six weeks before the end of World War II in Europe.

Thanks to Mr. Pritchett, the small town of Staunton in western Virginia paused to remember … this town that is home to the Stonewall Brigade, the 116th Infantry Regiment of the U.S. Army National Guard, founded in 1741 and active during the Civil War, World War II, and most recently deployed to Bosnia, Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan … this community that turns out when troops deploy and return from battle.

It is also home to the Statler Brothers whose “More Than a Name on a Wall” is their own hauntingly poignant tribute to those who died for God and country, and returned home draped in the American flag: “She said, ‘Lord my boy was special and he meant so much to me. And oh I’d love to see him just one more time, you see. All I have are the memories and the moments to recall. So Lord could You tell him he’s more than a name on a wall.’ ”

Freedom is not free….

Staunton area community welcomed home the Stonewall Brigade in 2011 after deployment to Iraq.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Frontier Culture Museum ‘Pay What You Will’ on Memorial Day

On Memorial Day Monday, May 29, the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton will celebrate May Fair and, best of all, it will be a “Pay What You Will Day” so you decide how much to pay for admission: pay a little, pay a lot, or pay nothing at all.

During the 16 years that we educated our children at home, our one-income family lived on a tight budget and often could not take in all the historical sites we wanted to see so a “pay what you will” admission is helpful for families who are in the same place.

If you have never experienced the Frontier Culture Museum, or if you’ve been multiple times throughout the years, Monday will be a great time to join in the fun, enjoy hands-on history, explore the early days of 1600s England, 1700s Ireland, 1700s Germany, pioneer America, and 1700s West Africa. Interact with on-site historical interpreters dressed as the country they represent as they go about the daily tasks of the time — cooking, spinning, basket weaving, gardening, and other chores common to the time period.

Stroll the trail between the Old Country and pioneer Early America. Linger at the forge in Ireland and watch the smithy at work. Pause to talk with the animals — sheep, cattle, pigs, chickens. Explore the Indian village. Stop by the rustic 1740s log cabin, then discover how early American housing advanced with the 1820s and 1850s American farm houses. Peek inside the school house.

Bring the entire family from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm to experience the living history, enjoy lunch on the Museum’s Pavilion with live musical entertainment, and visit the Artisan Vendor Fair in the Courtyard throughout the day.

ARTISAN FAIR:  (9:00 am – 5:00 pm) 
Shop the artisan craft booths located in the Museum’s newly expanded courtyard throughout the entire day. Visit the caricaturist, face painter, and ballon twister too!

FOOD VENDORS:  (9:00 am – 5:00 pm)
Area food vendors will be on hand beginning at 9:00 am.

LIVING HISTORY ACTIVITIES:

  • Old World Exhibits: (9:00 – Noon)
    • West Africa: Drum and Dance/Gardening
    • England: Green Woodworking/Herbals in the Garden
    • Ireland: Natural Dyeing/Spinning
    • Germany: Games/Gardening
      .
  • Lunch: (Noon – 2:00)
    • Pavilion:  Take a lunch break under our covered pavilion or at the picnic tables
  • America Exhibits:  (2:00 – 5:00)
    • Ganatastwi: Clay cooking pot construction/ Fire Starting
    • 1740’s Settlement: Court Days and Militia Drill
    • 1820’s American Farm: Bread oven baking/Doll making
    • 1850’s American Farm: Basketmaking
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Bear Under the Deck

A bumping outside the window woke me this morning around 4:00. Edging over to the open window, I listened to the bump and then heard the snort.

Bear.

Our garbage cans are kept under the deck. Only one had trash — one bag — but the full-grown black bear was in the process of knocking them all over to be sure there wasn’t anything more than what he was able to drag out and spread all over the ground.

I shined my small flashlight out the window and caught the shadowy outline of our woodland visitor. Padding across the carpeted floor, I gently shook a sleeping Mr. Mitchell.

“Hmm?” he responded, groggily. Guys sleep through anything.

“There’s a bear in the trash,” I whispered. I wasn’t sure what he could do about it but it seemed only reasonable that I should share this pre-dawn moment by disrupting his sleep.

He stumbled out of bed and disappeared into his man cave, coming back with a handheld spotlight. Did I hear him say it was a million watts? Whatever it was, it was bright.

Positioning himself at the widow, he pointed the spotlight in the direction of the bumping and snorting. There it was … a full-grown black bear pawing through our discarded water bottles, empty cans, used paper towels, and all the other assorted odds and ends found in the family trash.

With iPhone in hand, I snapped some photos but the combination of darkness, the screen on the window, and distance made it difficult to get a clear picture. The bear ate. I took pics. The bear pawed through the pile. More pics. More pawing and eating.

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What’s Blooming in the Yard Today….

What was blooming in the yard today? After two nights with 30-degree overnight temps which required covering tender plants and flowers with plastic, everything not only survived but seemed to thrive in today’s sunshine and temps in the mid-60s. Purple salvia continues to bloom into its second week while the pink and white peonies blossomed under the hothouse-like plastic.

Irises

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Ox-Eye Vineyards Offers Wine Tastings and Fun in Downtown Staunton

A hidden gem to Staunton is being discovered by visitors as well as locals. On Saturday we joined friends for the Sears Hill Bridge dedication in downtown Staunton and enjoyed lunch at the Clocktower Restaurant before walking to the Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room on Middlebrook Avenue. The day was beautiful so we sat outdoors on the patio and enjoyed a tasting and glasses of award-winning wine from Ox-Eye Vineyards.

 

Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room is located in the Historic Wharf District of downtown Staunton in a 1904 building designed by noted architect T.J. Collins. After sitting vacant for years, it was carefully and tastefully renovated by the Kiers.

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A Look Back: Staunton’s First ‘Bridge Day’

[Over the weekend Staunton celebrated “Bridge Day.” Here’s a look back at “Sears Hill Bridge Day offers festive atmosphere in historic downtown Staunton” held on April 13, 2013.]

Sears Hill Bridge Day in Staunton, Virginia – Noon on April 13, 2013 – Dedication of the refurbished foot bridge over the railroad tracks connecting the Sears Hill neighborhood to the Historic Wharf District of downtown Staunton. It was reminiscent of a Mayberry day with the local Stonewall Brigade Band providing music, balloons, and a turnout of citizens from throughout the region to join in the festive mood. City Council members and other local dignitaries joined in with business owners and others.
The crowd spilled out onto the cobblestone parking area and into the street including ladies dressed in Victorian attire.

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It’s Spring … Get Your Hands In the Dirt Part 2

??????????Hands in the dirt … time to plant spring flowers and garden vegetables.

Dirt … spring planting sunshine … outdoors.

??????????Window box choices.

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??????????Lavender and rosemary.

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Get Your Hands in the Dirt

Plants from Milmont Nursery wait to be potted … Hanging baskets look skimpy now but will be overflowing in a couple of months …

Working in the potting shed under the deck …

Lawn furniture is in place along with the hammock for summer lounging …

Terra cotta pots wait for flowers….

Dirt … spring planting sunshine … outdoors.

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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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