Tag Archives: Shenandoah Valley

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.


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


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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Autumn 2016 … Winter Woods Return, Thankgiving Blessings

Autumn was late arriving this year and warm temps hung on into November. Leaf color was about two weeks later than usual and, like past years, when it began, it went fast. This past weekend a cold front passed through the Shenandoah Valley complete with below freezing temps and extremely blustery winds. Any leaves clinging to trees were no match and flew away, leaving behind bare branches as the winter woods returned. It was a good time to walk the yard and woods to see the transformation from fall into winter.

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Winter haters rewarded with earliest spring since 1896, snow in western Virginia

By Lynn R. Mitchell



By Lynn R. Mitchell

For those who don’t like winter, rejoice! It silently crept in just past midnight, the earliest spring in 120 years. It’s the way they figure these things, and it’s only by hours that makes it the earliest in so long, but the method is fascinating, nonetheless:

The reason why goes back to Pope Gregory XIII, who created the Gregorian calendar in 1582, according to the website EarthSky. Each year on Earth lasts 365.242 days, and the existing calendar in Gregory’s time accounted for this fraction of a day by having most years be 365 days long, with leap years every four years, where were 366 days long.

But under this system, with one extra day every four years, the average length of a year was 365.25 days — still a hair longer than the actual length of a year.

And so Pope Gregory XIII declared that years ending in “00” should not be leap years unless they’re also divisible by 400, EarthSky reported. That means that the year 2000 was a leap year, but the years 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not, and 2100 won’t be either.


Stick around … spring 2020 will happen on March 19. Now that’s early.

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Snowmegeddon 2016: Are we about to have the snow event of the decade?

Snow 2016

NBC-29 graphic

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Have you heard? There’s big snow in the forecast for most of Virginia. If you haven’t heard, where have you been? It’s the talk everywhere. A run on grocery stores has left bare shelves and scarce supplies of bread and milk as folks prepare to be holed up for the weekend. Forecasters — The Weather Channel, WeatherNation, National Weather Service, Weather Underground, AccuWeather,  — are warning everyone to prepare.

One of the more well-known of a growing group of online meteorologists first gave the heads-up over a week ago. Richmond-based WxRisk’s Dave Tolleris — DT to legions of followers — doesn’t suffer weather fools easily. His desire as an independent meteorologist to give adequate warning about impending snow events has made him a maverick of sorts. If he sees the makings of a big snowstorm days or weeks out, he will give the heads-up of the possibility that it could develop. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t.

He has caught heat for his busts, but his forecasting accuracy on some big storms has captured the public’s attention.

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Historic Christmas full moon appears briefly over Shenandoah Valley

Christmas 30 full moonAfter all the rain, I didn’t think we would get to see tonight’s historic Christmas full moon. But we got a glimpse as it rose above the mountains before disappearing into the clouds, the first full moon on Christmas Eve/Day since 1977. It is an event that won’t happen again until 2034.




And then it was gone into the clouds….

Merry Christmas!

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
December 24, 2015

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W-i-n-d-y day in the Shenandoah Valley

WindyBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It’s windy today! Leaves are skittering across the lawn while bare tree branches dance in the strong swirling winds that are affecting much of western Virginia. The sun is bright but the temperature is 56 degrees so it feels much cooler in the stiff breezes.

The “s” word is in the forecast tonight for the mountains west of us so maybe we will see white along the ridges in the morning.

WHSV TV-3’s forecast says the conditions will continue through today:

Winds continue to stay strong. The Valley will see plenty of sunshine, but clouds will linger over the western mountains as cooler air filters into the area. Highs on Friday will be in the upper 50s, near 60° for many areas.

Late Friday night into Saturday morning, light snow showers will be possible over the far western mountains as winds will stay out of the northwest. The air will be cold enough to support the flurries and small accumulations will be possible. Don’t expect the snow to reach the Valley, but a few blowing flurries may be seen in West Virginia.

Saturday will be the coldest day this week with high temperatures in the upper 40s and it will still be fairly breezy. Expect mostly sunny skies in store for the end of the weekend, conditions will warm up through the beginning of next week.

We’re getting closer to the snowy time of year for my corner of Augusta County with only 5.5 weeks away from the first day of winter. Enjoy your blustery day!

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Chrysanthemums, pumpkins, and gourds … oh, my!

By Lynn R. Mitchell

1Oh my heavens! In mid-September my sister and I stumbled into Blue Ribbon Nursery and Landscaping in Broadway … and it was decked out for fall and Halloween. What a show! Pumpkins, gourds, mums of all sizes, garden flags, wreaths, decor … whatever you need for your autumn decorating needs, chances are you’ll find it and get into the spirit of the season.

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Autumn travel and leaf peeping in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley

By Lynn R. Mitchell
Originally published in the Washington Examiner, October 4, 2010 – Updated

17Now that autumn has arrived in the Shenandoah Valley, October’s calendar is full of festivals and events for those who wish to enjoy cooler temperatures and colorful leaves. If waiting until the fall color show hits its peak, be sure to check out Virginia Tourism’s Fall Color Hotline at 1-800-424-LOVE or check the Fall Color report.

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Showy flowers of Fall

2Chrysanthemums … one of the flowers of Fall.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell
August 2015

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4th of July free admission at Frontier Culture Museum

Frontier Culture Museum 6 Independence DayBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Free admission and celebration America’s independence will be on tap at Staunton’s Frontier Culture Museum on Saturday, July 4th, for the annual waiving of the admission to invite Americans to enjoy this historical treasure. Featured will be many traditional events and activities including reading the Declaration of Independence at noon.

Bring the family and a picnic, and plan to spend the day soaking in the history of America.

Here’s the schedule of events for Saturday, July 4, 2015:

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Remnants of Hurricane Bill to bring tornado, flash flood threat to Shenandoah Valley

WeatherBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The U.S. National Weather Service has issued a weather alert for the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of Virginia as remnants of Hurricane Bill head east. Gusty winds, isolated tornadoes, and flash flooding is possible Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning.

 For more weather information in the Valley, check NBC-29 and WHSV TV-3.
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Innovate LIVE coming to Staunton this weekend

Innovate LIVEBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Get ready, Staunton … Innovate LIVE is heading our way this weekend, April 24-26. Staunton is stunning this time of year — spring flowers and blossoming trees, soft warm breezes, and the historic downtown area just waiting for visitors while the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains surround the Shenandoah Valley.

A full agenda will begin Friday morning and last through Sunday.

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Sweet Briar College to close … Staunton’s Mary Baldwin College partners with students, faculty, staff

Sweet Briar CollegeBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The news burst out Tuesday afternoon that Virginia’s Sweet Briar College in Amherst is closing effective August 25,2 015. They are financially unable to continue running the 3500-acrew campus in rural Amherst County (see Sweet Briar to close).

Stepping in to fill the void is our daughter’s alma mater, Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, that notified their campus of the sad news, and announced they had partnered with Sweet Briar to reach out to students, faculty, and staff and bring them into the Mary Baldwin fold.

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Shenandoah Valley has lost another of the greatest generation

By Lynn R. Mitchell

A sad loss this week for Polly Campbell, long-time volunteer for the Republican Party of Virginia and secretary of RPV’s state central committee for 40 years. Her husband, Loren, passed away on Tuesday after losing his battle with pneumonia.  I have written in the past about Polly and her connection to Shenandoah National Park (see Polly Yager Campbell … growing up in the shadow of Shenandoah National ParkLunch with Polly Campbell … surprise presentation of RPV resolution, Resolution honoring Polly Campbell for 50 years with Republican Party of Virginia, Judge James Turk … ‘his one wish was to become a judge’).

Our thoughts and prayers are with Polly and her family at this sad time with gratitude to Loren for his service to our country.

December 18, 1922 – January 6, 2015

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