Category Archives: Shenandoah Valley

Staunton’s Bob Campbell Joins Heaven’s Chorus

 

Bob Campbell is pictured singing in this video still shot.

I woke up this morning to sad news. Staunton’s Bob Campbell, who sang for years with the Coachmen, a regional gospel-country quartet, passed away last night. His nephew Chris announced it on Facebook.

It brought back some memories. After the terrorist attacks of 9/11, a group of local residents worked with “From Our Hearts,” organized by Dianne and Benny Rankin who owned T-Bone Tooter restaurant in Churchville, to fill care packages for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Often we would meet at the restaurant before it opened to form an assembly line to pack boxes, print mailing labels, and get another stack ready to mail halfway around the world. Occasionally we would hang around on the porch for dinner.

Sometimes Bob entertained diners. I can still see him on the front porch singing in his laid-back way, with a smile on his face because he was doing something he loved.

For some reason, the song that sticks in my mind is that old Keith Whitley tune, “Don’t Close Your Eyes.” Bob nailed it.

A lot has happened since those days. Benny passed away in March 2018 after battling heart disease. The restaurant has been passed on to others and now operates under another name. But this morning Dianne added her thoughts on Bob’s passing, posting on my Facebook page:

Heaven has gained 2 new angels these last couple months. I know Benny Rankin was at heavens gate with open arms to greet his friend along with many others. Both of these great people will be missed greatly by the community. Thank you so much Lynn Randall Mitchell for sharing the memory of such a great friend and the good times of our restaurant, T Bone Tooter. Prayers to Tracy Campbell, Wanda Campbell and all his family during this time for healing.

Prayers for all Bob’s family and friends … he will be fondly remembered.


Bob Campbell sings “Sweet Virginia” beginning at 2:25.

A love song to Staunton where the Coachmen are from, written and performed by Chris Campbell. For those who were raised in Staunton, have left Staunton, have moved to Staunton and love the place … whether you’re from-heres or come-heres, you will recognize many of the landmarks in this video. If you’ve moved away, get ready to be homesick.

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The Beauty of a Cool June Evening

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Last week I was reminded of growing up in Richmond with the hot, muggy summer weather that absolutely drains every ounce of energy out of me. On Friday it was 93 degrees with humidity about 150 percent that felt like a wet washcloth smacking you across the face when you walked outside. When I stepped out the door my hair went into its frizzy “yeah, it’s humid” unkempt look that used to drive me nuts when younger but at my age I now just go with it.

I thought of that tonight while sitting on my deck in the cool — let me emphasize, cool — evening air. It’s 68 degrees at 8:30 and my bare feet are on the edge of being chilly. Mr. Mitchell mowed the back yard — perhaps baled would better describe it after all the rain we’ve had — so it looks like a park down under the trees at the edge of the woods. The clean smell of freshly mowed grass and other earthy smells are in the air.

I’m watching a solitary deer quietly grazing under the apple trees that, by the way, should be full of fruit this fall because they were loaded with blooms this spring. For once, thankfully, a hard freeze didn’t get them this year. It’s dark in the woods although we still have about 20-30 minutes of light left in the areas out in the open. I can imagine all the creatures in the woods looking back at me as I peer into the inkiness of the underbrush and trees.

We’ve seen a lot of wild turkeys — one big male and a bunch of hens. Our yard became their refuge from something, I suspect. They angled through one day from the woods across the back yard and beside the house making their way up the hill to the road. Just before getting there, they caught the attention of a black lab that began excitedly barking at this group of winged creatures heading her way, and that male and those hens took to the air and flew over the trees back down to the woods.

I’ve seen turkeys kind of fly but this was full-out flight up and over and all the way down to the back. Amazing. Nature never disappoints in learning something new.

Today a huge crow caught my attention as it swooped across the front yard and by the window so I opened the door to see if it had been a hawk, and it was the crow on the ground eating something. And then a mockingbird swooped in — back and forth, and back and forth — attacking at the crow that was about three times the size of the mockingbird. It continued to eat what I presumed to be a baby mockingbird that it had raided from the nest. Nature can also be cruel.

The lack of humidity makes it particular refreshing sitting out here, something we haven’t been able to do recently with all the rain. I’m looking forward to back porch sitting and entertaining and visiting. The trees are fully leafed out and deep green, bushes have gone wild with all the rain, and we will need to tame the jungle this week by pruning limbs and shrubs and vines.

Ahh … and I just saw a lightning bug, first of the season. A cricket is chirping and a far-off bird — I can’t tell what it is — is twittering. Other than that, the quiet is mesmerizing.

Wait — there it is … the deep guttural croaking of a bullfrog in our neighbor’s pond. I was wondering why I wasn’t hearing them. Missing are the tree frogs … only quiet from the edge of the woods.

It’s after 9:00 … the temperature has now dropped to 64 degrees and it’s completely dark out here … time to take my chilly naked toes inside. Get ready because summer is only a couple of weeks away in the Shenandoah Valley….

Cover photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
Sunset over the Appalachian Mountains

14 Inches of Snow Fall on Central Shenandoah Valley


The calendar said it was the second day of spring but Old Man Winter was reluctant to let go as the fourth nor’easter in three weeks hit the East Coast. This time my corner of the central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia got hit with over a foot of snow — 14 inches, to be exact, in my back yard. My camera and I took a walkabout in the winter wonderland of the yard to get pictures of flocked trees and deep snow on the ground as the snow continued to fall.


There’s a picnic table under there, somewhere…..

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 21, 2018

Shenandoah Valley March Snow


The first real winter storm of the season dropped 6.5 inches of snow in my corner of the world on Monday. Outside was a winter wonderland as I walked around the yard while the snow continued to fall, and there was lots of activity at the bird feeders. The winter of 2017-18 is drawing to a close as spring slowly pushes in….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
March 12, 2018

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Mr. McGregor’s Garden, Peter Rabbit, and Mr. Mitchell’s Garden

Originally published July 2008….

I grew up on Beatrix Potter tales and especially loved Peter Rabbit. As a small child, I sat wide-eyed listening to my mother read about all the characters that Miss Potter brought to life in the miniature children’s books full of colorful illustrations. My imagination worked overtime as I heard the opening lines of the Peter Rabbit story:

ONCE upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.

I would get lost in all things Beatrix Potter. While Peter’s sisters were good and went hunting blackberries, Peter went straight to Mr. McGregor’s garden where he had been warned to stay away from, and got into all kinds of mischief. The illustration that stands out to me the most of Miss Potter’s drawings is the one of Peter slipping under the fence.

Yesterday, the story of Peter Rabbit’s trials and tribulations in Mr. McGregor’s garden came back to me.

Mr. Mitchell had put up a wire fence around the garden, as he does each year, to prevent as many critters as possible from partaking of the goodies growing there. It is impossible to keep everything out but it helps to limit some of the wildlife we have here in western Augusta County.

When he went out to look over the garden yesterday, a baby rabbit was sitting squarely in the middle of the squash plants. Well … he used to be a baby and had been able to easily slip in and out of the wire fence … but he is now about half grown. When Mr. Mitchell gave chase, the bunny took off for the fence and got stuck, squirming to make his hindquarters squeeze through before making his escape.

And that was where the tale of Peter Rabbit popped into my brain. I laughed and called my husband “Mr. McGregor” all afternoon because he had chased Peter out of the garden and, if that bunny had been wearing a blue jacket, as Peter did in the fairy tale, its buttons would have been caught on the wire fence and the jacket surely would have been left behind.

Perhaps that is why I so enjoyed the charming movie, “Miss Potter,” the story of Beatrix Potter’s life that intertwined the creatures around her as animated figments of her imagination. Miss Potter’s world was brought to life in the biographical film.

Peter, that naughty rabbit, in my garden helping himself to the squash … I smile even as I think of it….

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Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening

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Originally posted Winter 2015….

Snow! Like a kid, I watched all day as rain turned to sleet and then to snow that was so heavy at times it was almost white-out conditions. When it let up this afternoon, the snowy woods called and I answered with camera in hand and plans to wander through 8-10 inches of fluffy snow in 23-degree temps.

Layered and pulling on boots, I grabbed some knit gloves because I cannot work the camera in heavy ski gloves. It proved to be a mistake because my fingers almost froze before I returned. With a plastic bag to protect my camera from the snow that was still lightly falling, I headed into the wintry landscape.

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Ku Klux Klan Recruits With Flyers in Shenandoah Valley

Word began circulating on Facebook Tuesday as Shenandoah Valley residents posted about Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers showing up on vehicles up and down the Valley. In Waynesboro, Mt. Crawford, Staunton, Broadway, Winchester, and on Mary Baldwin University’s campus, the paper circulars were found tucked under windshield wipers.

The 336 area is North Carolina and includes the north-central, mainly Triad Piedmont, region of the state, as well as the northern foothills and mountain regions. I didn’t call it but a Facebook commenter reported that it went to a recorded message. A search online found this video from 2014 of a phone recording at that number.

The Winchester Star wrote earlier this month that the same thing happened in their city on Halloween. In Leesburg, as reported by WTOP, KKK literature was stuffed into baggies along with candy and left in yards on Halloween. Other localities have reported the same.

This morning The Recorder, the news source for Bath and Highland counties, posted on Facebook that they had received the flyer in the mail and had heard of readers finding them tossed out in baggies with birdseed. They were asking if others had received the recruitment circulars.

Seeing the hate-filled words is a reminder of the tiki torch march/alt-right rally in Charlottesville in August, just a few months ago, when a young woman was run down and killed by an alt-right march participant.

Just this week Rick Sincere posted a movie review of “Charlottesville: Our Streets” that premiered over the weekend at the Virginia Film Festival. The movie documents the violence that occurred in Charlottesville on that weekend just a few months ago, the clashes between alt-right members and other groups, and the tragic turn it took.

Background:

Cross-posted at Bearing Drift

Shenandoah Mountain 5 Years Later: What Happened to Missing Hiker Bobby 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. Others have questioned whether he fell into the steep ravines.

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October 2017: 20 Things To Do In and Around Staunton, Va

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Historic Wharf District in downtown Staunton.

It’s autumn in western Virginia.

Voted as one of America’s Top 20 Main Streets by Travel and Leisure magazine, the central Shenandoah Valley city of Staunton was also recently named one of the 20 Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian magazine. Known as the Queen City, Staunton was founded in 1747 and was named for Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife of Virginia’s Governor William Gooch.

With views east toward the Blue Ridge Mountains and west toward the Appalachians, Staunton is an historic slice of Virginia that offers restored Victorian homes, cozy downtown shops, and small-town atmosphere.

There are many things to do during leaf season that peaks in October so here are some places and events you may find interesting. Enjoy!

1. Trolleys
A great way to get around downtown, Staunton’s two trolleys are inexpensive — 25 cents — and pick up and discharge passengers at stops located throughout the city. Check here for parking around Staunton. More information can be found at the Visitors Center on New Street.

2. Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia
This unique hands-on outdoor museum in Staunton brings the past alive with costumed interpreters and farm animals that can be seen along a two-mile trail that connects the English, Irish, German, and African farms with the New World’s American homesteads. They tell the story of America’s settlement. Picnic tables on the grounds.
 Octoberfest – Oct. 7: Enjoy a traditional Oktoberfest celebration at the German farm with music, children’s activities, self-guided tours of this hands-on museum, and your favorite brew.

3. Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market
Voted one of the best farmers markets in Virginia, the Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market offers fresh, locally grown produce, flowers, herbs, eggs, fruits, meats, and more from the convenience of the Wharf parking lot in downtown Staunton. Free parking. Open Saturdays from 7 a.m.-noon.

4. King’s Gourmet Popcorn at Afton Mountain
It’s not just an October thing but if you have a snack attack while around Afton, be sure to stop by King’s Gourmet Popcorn and say hello to Ron King. He has kettle and caramel corn, and many other flavors along with pork rinds, hotdogs, cold beverages, coffee, and more. Umbrella-covered picnic tables provide a respite during a day of sightseeing. Located at the top of Afton Mountain on Rt. 250 where I-64, Skyline Drive, Blue Ridge Parkway, and the Appalachian Trail all cross. Look for the bright yellow food truck.

5. Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County
October 6-8. While enjoying the spectacular autumn colors and crisp mountain air, drive an hour west of Staunton to Highland County for their Hands & Harvest Festival. This event grows bigger every year. Visit area sugar camps for apple butter and cider making, BBQ and other food, pumpkin carving, wagon rides, farmers market, and entertainment. A complete list of activities and locations throughout the county is available at the website.

6. Myers Pumpkin Farm
Myers Pumpkin Farm offers pumpkins, gourds, corn stalks, chrysanthemums, and other seasonal decorations at reasonable prices. There is a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and corn maze to round out the farm experience. Myers Farm is located east of Harrisonburg off Rt. 33.

7. Fall Foliage Festival Art Show
The weekend of October 14-15 will see the Virginia Fall Foliage Festival Art Show take over the streets of downtown Waynesboro as they are turned into an outdoor art gallery. More than 200 booths of fine arts and fine crafts will line Main Street and Wayne Avenue featuring artists from all over the country.  It has been named one of the top shows in the East with paintings of all kinds, pottery, jewelry, sculpture, and more.

8. Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival
October 20-22. At the peak of fall leaf season for the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding mountains, the Fall Foliage Bike Festival based out of Staunton will be held the third weekend in October. Enjoy warm days and cool nights riding the back roads through scenic vistas of rural beauty.

9. Blackfriars Theater
The Blackfriars Theater was built in downtown Staunton in 2001, the world’s only exact replica of William Shakespeare’s indoor theater, and is home to the American Shakespeare Center. What a great place to catch a play, tour the facility, or get involved in their camps for young and old alike. Check their website for current plays and activities.

10. Staunton’s Ghostly Evening Tours
What better way to see the architecture of historic downtown Staunton than with the Ghosts of Staunton Tour? Spooky historical tours of the Depot train station, Mary Baldwin College, and other downtown buildings. If you are looking for something different and unusual, this is the tour for you. Reservations strongly recommended.

11. Shenandoah National Park
Nature’s calling! Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains east of Staunton, Shenandoah National Park offers 200,000 acres of wilderness, campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking trails, horseback riding, lodges, and visitor centers along the 100-mile-long Skyline Drive. Big Meadows Lodge and Skyland Resort and several campgrounds provide overnight accommodations. Escape to the quiet beauty of the mountains.

12. Humpback Rock Farm Visitor Center, Picnic, and Hike
A mountain homestead much like the ones from the nineteenth century, Humpback Rock Farm is located at Milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway south of Afton and I-64. Costumed interpreters and musicians are on hand weekends throughout the fall to answer questions and demonstrate crafts from a bygone era. Farm animals, a working garden, mountain music, and more round out the experience. Visitor Center and picnic tables are available on the site. Hike to the top of Humpback Rock, grill out in the picnic area, or go back in time at the farm.

13. Dayton Farmers Market
A favorite with visitors and locals alike, the Dayton Farmers Market is located on Rt. 42 about 30 minutes northwest of Staunton. Featuring the “best big soft pretzels on the East Coast,” it also has a restaurant as well as a variety of shops offering goods plus fresh produce with apples and pumpkins. Outside is a hitching post for the Old Order Mennonites to park their horse and buggies when they stop by to do a little shopping of their own.

14. Green Valley Book Fair
Open September 30-October 23, the Green Valley Book Fair offers hundreds of thousands of books at up to 90% off retail price that include classics, children’s, political, novels, fiction, history, health and self-help, religion, science, sports, cookbooks, home and garden, crafts, art, reference, computer, nature, and outdoors. Convenient free parking, no admission charge. Located in Mt. Crawford 20 minutes north of Staunton, it’s a bookworm’s paradise.

15. Virginia Mennonite Relief Sale
The Mennonite Relief Sale is September 29-30 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds located on Rt. 11 south of Harrisonburg. Each year, thousands of volunteers come together to raise money at Relief Sales for Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) for the relief of suffering in the world. Entertainment, quilts, crafts, food, baked goods, antiques, silent auction, live auction, farmers market.

16. Nichols Apple Barn
Located in Middleburg, Nichols Apple Barn offers a wide range of apples right at the orchard. Walk in the barn, get a bag or box, and start picking out your favorites straight from the wooden apple crates a few steps away from the orchard where Staymans and other juicy varities grow.

17. Paugh’s Orchard Roadside Stand
Located in a curve along Rt. 42 in Shenandoah County, Paugh’s Orchard offers an explosion of fall goodies including many varieties of apples, pumpkins, mums; mini pumpkins, gourds, and Indian corn for decorating; jars of jams and jellies and other goodies. See Autumn afternoon road trip to apple country and Apple season in Shenandoah County, Va. They are closed on Saturdays.

18. Massanutten Fall Festival
The annual Massanutten Fall Festival will be held on October 14 with chairlift rides, arts and crafts, food vendors, beer garden, wine tasting, kids activities, entertainment, and more. Takes place at the scenic Massanutten Ski Resort east of Harrisonburg.

19. Dayton Days Autumn Celebration
One of the largest craft and food festivals of the fall, this year will be the 38th annual Dayton Days Autumn Festival has celebrated the arrival of autumn since 1980 by closing the small historic downtown area to all but foot traffic. Thousands of visitors enjoy crafts, live music, entertainment, exhibits, arts, children’s games, and food food food. If you’ve never been, you’ve missed a fantastic day. Dayton is located smack in the middle of Old Order Mennonite country.

20. Lots of Eats
There are plenty of places to grab great eats in the Valley. Here are a few: Depot Grille, Byers Street Bistro, Split Banana, Shenandoah Pizza Clock Tower, Kline’s, Green Leaf Grille, Wright’s Drive-In, Mill Street Grill, Emilio’s, and Sorrel’s in Staunton’s Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

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Chasing Autumn in Rockingham County in Western Virginia

Friend Barb and I took Tuesday to chase autumn and spend time together enjoying the beautiful Shenandoah Valley where we both live. Besides the fun of back roads and stunning mountain vistas that we both enjoy, we found all kinds of fall décor for our houses.

Our first stop was Myers Pumpkins just east of Harrisonburg, a family-run farm that provides already-picked pumpkins and gourds, chrysanthemums, pick-your-own pumpkin patch, corn maze, and corn stalks ready for decorating. This was a new place for me that Barb introduced to me, and they were well stocked.

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Autumn Flowers: What’s Blooming in the Yard Today?

It’s autumn in the Shenandoah Valley and the fall flowers are blooming in these days before cold weather descends. A sure sign of autumn is when the mums begin blooming, and mine are popping out all over the place.

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Summer Recipes: Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

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It’s late summer and, I don’t know about you, but our tomatoes are rolling in from the garden here in the central Shenandoah Valley. The fun of having fresh vegetables and herbs is the abundance of recipes that are useful during these warm summer months.

With so many tomatoes — we have a variety of cherry and regular-sized tomatoes — it’s sometimes a challenge to find enough ways to use them before they rot. We share with everyone we know but still have plenty because Mr. Mitchell loves to work in the garden so there’s always enough for everyone.

DSCN4179In this recipe I’m able to use our cherry tomatoes and freshly harvested basil leaves from my deck herbs. For dinner tonight I tweaked this a bit by sautéing the tomatoes and garlic in olive oil on the stove top since I try to limit my use of the oven on hot days which, I suppose, could change the name to Pasta with Sautéed Tomatoes and Garlic. I added the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper and, wow, the flavors popped. Yum.

The pasta can be adjusted for gluten free diets. Nothing says summer like the garden-to-table freshness of a home vegetable garden. From MyRecipes.com … enjoy!

Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic

Ingredients

1 tablespoon kosher salt
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 pints multicolored cherry tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved
1/4 cup small basil leaves

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add 1 tablespoon salt. Add pasta; cook 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 6 tablespoons cooking liquid. Return pasta to pan. Combine reserved cooking liquid and 2 tablespoons oil in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil 4 minutes or until mixture measures 1/3 cup. Add oil mixture to pan with pasta; toss to coat.

3. While pasta cooks, combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, tomatoes, and garlic on a jelly-roll pan, tossing to combine. Bake at 450° for 11 minutes or until tomatoes are lightly browned and begin to burst. Add tomato mixture, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to pasta; toss to coat. Top with cheese and basil.

Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: about 1 cup)
Total time: 35 Minutes

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

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Stuarts Draft Company Adds Jobs for Augusta County

Stuarts Draft sits at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in southern Augusta County, a flattened out plain that is an ancient river bed, that is divided by the South River that floods during heavy downpours. “Draft” probably refers to the winds whistling down the mountain slopes.

Its main claim to fame is mountain man John Colter, born in the vicinity sometime in the mid-1770s. When his family moved further west, his skills in the outdoors help him become a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and to explore western lands where he was the first white man to enter the Yellowstone and Grand Tetons areas.

This is the manufacturing center of Augusta County, long ago agreed on by supervisors as the area to locate factories like Target, Hershey, McKee Foods, and Hollister. They like its proximity to a ready work force as well as the east-west I-64 and north-south I-77.

And it is in that area that Virginia’s governor made the announcement Tuesday about new jobs.

Draftco, Inc, a machine and fabrication shop, settled there in 1965, as a fully equipped precision job shop with highly skilled craftsmen who have the capabilities to meet most any need involving conventional machine work, Computer Numerical Control machine work, welding and fabrication work, sheet metal fabrication, and machine and equipment building.

The announcement that the company will invest $450,000 to expand its manufacturing operation and create 16 new jobs was good news for the local economy.

Tracy Pyles (I-Pastures District), Chairman of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors, noted that local jobs are always welcomed. “With a rich history vested in Augusta County, Draftco, Inc. has served as a leading machine and fabrication shop since the mid-1960s,” he said. “Having the chance to have home-grown jobs harvested by our eager and well-prepared young people brings a great since of pride to the County Board.”

“Draftco exemplifies a long-standing community business that provides skilled manufacturing jobs, good stable pay, and economic growth opportunities for our area,” said Senator Emmett Hanger (R-24th Senate District). He continued, “I am pleased the Commonwealth can assist with this expansion and insure the company’s vitality for another 50 years of business.”

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Water hose, 1; SWAC Girl, 0

Ten years ago this week we were dealing with equally hot and dry weather so while looking back through the archives, I came across this adventure. From July 27, 2007….

It was hot today in the Valley although very breezy — a hot breeze. I was outside working in the yard most of the day … weeding and deadheading flowers, trimming forsythia bushes and getting sweaty and tired … and the sun was hot. A late-afternoon thunderstorm ran me inside only to leave us with only thunder, lightning, and wind while all the rain went north of here.

When I went back outside after dinner to water my flowers, SWAC Husband was watering the tomatoes in the garden. I noticed a substantial leak in the hose so decided to try and scoot the leaky section to the garden so all that water would go on vegetables … except the hose didn’t cooperate. It twisted and turned and twisted again like a snake … I jumped and screeched and tried to throw it over the fence … it twisted back on me — yowie, that water was cold! — and … well, let’s just say I’m watered from head to toe!

Next time I’ll turn off the hose first. Got my towel; now I need to go outside and get back to work….

Water hose, 1; SWAC Girl, 0.

Summer 2017: 40 Things to Do In and Around Staunton, Va

Voted as one of America’s Top 20 Main Streets by Travel and Leisure magazine, the central Shenandoah Valley city of Staunton was also named one of the 20 Best Small Towns in America by Smithsonian magazine as well as many others who have discovered this quaint corner of Virginia.

With views east toward the Blue Ridge Mountains and west toward the Appalachians, Staunton is an historic slice of Virginia that offers restored Victorian homes, cozy downtown shops, and small-town atmosphere. Patriotic holidays find Beverley Street, the main thoroughfare that is lined with restaurants, store fronts, the Dixie Theater, the city courthouse, and old-fashioned lamp posts, lined with American flags. Be sure and check the Staunton Convention and Visitor Center Calendar of Events for all the latest happenings including art exhibits and live entertainment.

There’s lots to do during the carefree summer months so here are some places and events, in no particular order, that may appeal to those visiting the area.

1. Trolleys
A great way to get around downtown, Staunton’s two trolleys pick up and discharge passengers at stops located throughout the city. It’s one of the best deals around, and offers a way to see the city without driving. Cost is $0.25 a ride or free to visitors with tokens from the Visitor Center. More information can be found at the Staunton Visitors Center on New Street.

2. Wright’s Dairy-Rite
Ever heard of the country group The Statler Brothers? They grew up hanging out at the 1950s-era Wright’s Dairy-Rite Drive-In, and it is very much the same today. Pull to the curb, order from the authentic call box, and have a carhop deliver your freshly-cooked meal while listening to 50s music — hamburgers, onion rings, ice cream goodies, fries, and lots more. Or go inside to the 1950s-decorated interior complete with tables, booths, and a historical display of those who have visited over the years including the Statler Brothers and Virginia Governor/U.S. Senator George Allen. It’s a local favorite.

3. Ox-Eye Vineyards Tasting Room
Ox-Eye Vineyards is owned by John and Susan Kiers who lovingly renovated an historic building in the Wharf area of downtown Staunton. The Tasting Room offers wine tastings of their varied selections of reds and whites. Ox-Eye Vineyards displayed at the 2012 Shenandoah Valley Wine and Jazz Festival at the Frontier Culture Museum, and in April 2013 the Washington Post named them one of the Top 10 Mid-Atlantic wineries to visit. Where did the name “Ox-Eye” come from? It’s the name of the common field daisy with a yellow center and white petals that grows all around Ox-Eye Farm. Hint: If you like white wines, try their Riesling and White Ox.

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