Tag Archives: photos by Lynn R. Mitchell

Nelson County’s Thai Siam restaurant permanently closes its doors

11 By Lynn R. Mitchell

Late Monday a message was posted on Thai Siam restaurant’s Facebook page that has caught many fans of the tiny Nelson County eatery off guard. Without fanfare or warning, they made an announcement:

Thai Siam is permanently closed. Thank you for your patronage over the last 15 years.

The response was immediate as word began spreading that the local icon tucked away in the Virginia woods along Rt. 56 a short distance from Rt. 29 was no more. “Miss Mae,” as many knew the owner, had spent 15 years sharing her authentic family recipes from her homeland of Thailand, closing each year for a month or more as she returned to visit family and friends in her homeland. Patrons who included generations of Sweet Briar students waited until her return, knowing she and her brother would fire up the grills and reopen the doors.

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News Leader editorial: ‘Grateful for Emmett Hanger’

Emmett Hanger

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

At noon on a day in May earlier this year, I sat in a make-shift political office in Staunton waiting for Augusta County’s State Senator Emmett Hanger to meet and work on our schedule as we approached the upcoming June primary. By the time I saw him, he had already attended a breakfast with local business folks followed by another meeting, while returning phone calls in between.

A typical day was filled with conversations with fellow legislators, traveling his 24th senate district that extended from Staunton north in the Shenandoah Valley and over the mountain to Cupeper and Madison, and grassroots activities, and a hospital recognition and stopping to say hey to folks in a local eatery. While making his way to a table in a local restaurant, he would be greeted with, “Hey, Emmett,” and handshakes and smiles and recognition as the hometown boy who went to Richmond and did well.

That is the Emmett Hanger most voters in his district know and respect, someone who stands up for them in Richmond — Republicans and Democrats, he represents them all the same — and folks from all walks in life. He has family all over the place and no matter where he goes, there is someone to smile and call out the familiar “Hey Emmett,” greeting.

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The back roads and November vistas of western Virginia

By Lynn R. Mitchell

2While traveling the back roads from Blacksburg home to Augusta County, the winter woods opened vistas of the fields and mountains of western Virginia as we traveled through Montgomery, Giles, Craig, Botetourt, Allegheny, Bath, and finally Augusta. In Giles County, we stopped to check out this covered bridge located within a mile of Rt. 42 at Newport.

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Donald Smith elected new Augusta County sheriff

By Lynn R. Mitchell

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Hundreds of Donald Smith supporters turned out Tuesday night at the Verona Fire Department to enjoy a roast pig, tables full of homemade goodies, and to listen to election results. They weren’t disappointed. As soon as the numbers began rolling in for the four sheriff candidates, Smith led and never let up. As the night went on, excitement rose as a win was anticipated and finally realized.

When Smith, 31, was declared the winner, the air was electric as the capacity crowd cheered. A new shirt was donned by dozens — navy blue with the words, “There’s a new SHERIFF in town,” across the back.

Indeed.

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Halloween 2015 … trick-or-treaters stop by for goodies

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By Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s Halloween 2015 and we’re ready for our little goblins to stop by for treats.  The weather is overcast, windy, and 51 degrees as we begin with the first one.

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Jeb Bush’s impressive list of endorsements

Jeb Bush

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

By Lynn R. Mitchell

On Thursday former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg announced his endorsement of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for President 2016. He joins a long and growing list of those who have endorsed Governor Bush from throughout the United States. Below is the complete list.

List of endorsements for Jeb Bush (as of October 29, 2015) from Wikipedia:

U.S. Presidents and First Ladies (former)
  • George H.W. Bush, 41st President of the United States (1989-93); candidate’s father
  • Barbara Bush, First Lady of the United States to George H.W. Bush; candidate’s mother
  • George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States (2001-09), candidate’s brother
  • Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States to George W. Bush, candidate’s sister-in-law

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Embracing Virginia’s fall colors along Blue Ridge Parkway and Peaks of Otter

By Lynn R. Mitchell

38The autumn leaf color was somewhat muted Saturday under overcast skies but the golds, reds, and oranges were still vibrant along the mountain ridge tops of Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. Fall colors have been running about a week behind this year and so we have been able to stretch leaf season longer to embrace and squeeze out ever bit of this once-a-year event. Because it is fleeting, it is treasured.

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Only 9 days left to enjoy October

Haystack, pumpkins“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
– Anne (L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)

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Shenandoah National Park’s October leaves are peaking — Sunday’s trek along Skyline Drive

By Lynn R. Mitchell

3It’s October and autumn leaves are peaking along the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. The Blue Ridge Mountains on the southern end of the Drive are made up of the golds of poplars, oaks, and hickories, and the reds of maples and black gums. Red sumac, Virginia Creeper, and poison ivy add to the palate that makes a drive along the ridges a beauty to behold. High winds over the weekend took a toll on some trees, stripping their leaves and leaving bare branches even as others are in full glory, and some are still green with just a tinge of color.

1Sunday’s drive from Afton to Loft Mountain was sunny with cold temps in the upper 30s and blustery winds. The bright October sun bleached out many photos as the brightness reflected off golden trees quaking in the wind.

2This is a view looking west over Waynesboro and the Appalachian Mountains in the distance.

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5Loft Mountain campground had many bare trees but also some that were still showing color, and yet others that were beyond peak and turning brown. At mid-day on Sunday, most campers had packed up and left with a few scragglers who were in the process of getting those last few items in the car. The smell of campfires permeated the cold air and completed the ambiance of the mountain top.

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11Every hiking area was filled with parked vehicles including Riprap where hikers filled the lot and then began parking on the shoulder of the Drive. There was even an activity bus from RVA’s Collegiate School in the parking lot.

12As we left, there was a line of visitors waiting at the entrance station. Prepared for the expected October peak weekend crowd, there were two rangers / volunteers at the two fee windows, and two more working this line of cars to collect entrance fees and speed up the process. We are grateful to live so close because we are able to head to the Park anytime — it’s just a short drive from our house — but we are also mindful that many have only their weekends to drive a long distance and enjoy the beauty we never take for granted. I may have to head to Big Meadows later this week as peak color moves north along the Blue Ridge Mountains. All too soon, it will be over. It’s fall in Virginia….

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 18, 2015

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Autumn maple tree in my yard

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Autumn leaves 2 maple tree in yardLooking up through the maple tree in our back yard. October 17, 2015.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
October 17, 2015

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October’s Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market

By Lynn R. Mitchell

11On Saturday mornings the Staunton-Augusta Farmers Market is open from 7am until noon. Located in the Wharf parking lot in downtown Staunton, it offers a wide variety of foods, plants, autumn decor, and more from local farmers.

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Virginia Hospitality Brunswick Stew recipe

Haystack, pumpkinsBy Lynn R. Mitchell

We woke this morning to 35 degrees and the first frost of the season. With a freeze warning in the forecast for the next several nights, we harvested the last of the tomatoes and peppers from the garden, and now the growing season of 2015 is over. When the temps dip this low, it’s time to put a pot on the stove and make up a batch of Brunswick stew, that Commonwealth staple that has kept generations of Virginians warm in cold weather.

The Brunswick stew recipe I have used for years is from the cookbook, Virginia Hospitality: A Book of Recipes From 200 Years of Gracious Entertaining. As with any cook, I have variations (in parentheses). Stew is best when the flavors are given time to meld together so each day it tastes better than the day before. The recipe easily doubles and triples for larger groups. Stay warm, and enjoy!

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Highland County’s October sights

By Lynn R. Mitchell

28Saturday in Highland County we noticed most streams were full after the rains of the previous two weeks. It’s not unusual for creeks to be very low in October, but not this year.

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On top of the world in Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

18“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.” -Nathaniel Hawthorne, October 10, 1842

9“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.”  – John Muir

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Goodlatte for Speaker?

Bob Goodlatte, Robert Hurt 2By Lynn R. Mitchell

As the U.S. House of Representatives looks for its next Speaker, some have suggested Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-6th) of Roanoke who currently heads the judiciary committee.

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling noted on his Facebook page:

Well, this is an interesting development. I am now officially promoting Bob Goodlatte of Virginia to become the next Speaker of the House. Paul Ryan would also be a good choice, although he has previously said he does not want the job. We’ve got to find someone who can bring the various factions of the GOP conference together, and that won’t be easy.

Rockbridge-Lexington Republican Committee Chairman Roger Jarrell took to Facebook to suggest:

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