Tag Archives: western Virginia

The Homestead’s magical holiday lights

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Homestead 2015 6The Grand Hall is majestic and comforting, all at the same time … the familiar surroundings are even more beautiful at Christmas.

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Finding the perfect tree at Joe’s Christmas tree farm in Craig County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

10What a great tradition when you mix together a beautiful cool late autumn day, the mountains of western Virginia, a family, a Christmas tree farm, and a dash of fun and adventure … and you have a family outing to find just the right Christmas tree. On a recent weekend in Blacksburg we piled into the SUV with daughter Katy and son-in-law Colin and set out for Craig County and family-owned Joe’s Christmas Tree Farm located on Route 42 north of Newport.

12Other tree hunters were already there as we parked and headed inside to get instructions and a saw …

13… but first pausing at the top of the stairs to look out over the parking lot and surrounding mountains. Ahh, Virginia.

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The winter woods have returned to Afton & Blue Ridge Parkway

By Lynn R. Mitchell

After a particularly colorful autumn leaf show, the winter woods have returned to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Howardsville Turnpike can now be seen through the leafless woods from the Blue Ridge Parkway. I love the winter woods … trees are bare and you can see the forest floor. This time of year there are few people on the Parkway so it offers solitude with only the sound of the wind and the dry, rustly leaves on the ground to keep you company.

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Bojangles coming to Staunton and Waynesboro

Bojangles Cville

Charlottesville Bojangles at Pantops. (Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell)

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Stopping by the brand new Bojangles in Charlottesville’s Pantops (I-64, exit 124) on Rt. 250) area on Tuesday, we got the low-down on future Bojangles locations in the area from the owner himself. He confirmed the rumors that have been circulating in the Staunton area.

He is opening a Bojangles in Staunton on Richmond Road near the Sheetz and Frontier Culture Museum. From I-81, that’s exit 222 — WalMart, Lowe’s, Starbucks, Rowe’s, Cracker Barrel, Texas Steakhouse, Chili’s, and Martin’s Food Market. He mentioned that plans also call for a Chick-Fil-A and McDonald’s (replacing the one in the service station on the east side of the interstate) that will locate in that same area along with a hotel and restaurant. Exit 222 has been begging for development along the strip of Richmond Road between the interstate and Frontier Drive.

He said he also plans to open a Bojangles in Waynesboro at the location of the old Ladd Elementary School located off I-64’s exit 96. That area of Rt. 340 also has WalMart, Martin’s Food Market, Applebee’s Ruby Tuesday’s Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, Target, Kohl’s, and other restaurants and hotels.

Many in the area have been asking for a Bojangles and Chick-fil-A so it looks like we won’t have much longer to wait, Staunton. Perhaps in 2017….

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Mill Mountain star honors Paris terrorism victims

Roanoke Star

Roanoke’s famous Mill Mountain star is lit in red, blue, and white, the colors of the flag of France, to honors those who perished in Friday night’s terrorism attacks in Paris, according to the Roanoke Times. The display is expected to continue through the weekend. It is just one of many gestures throughout America and the world as they stand with France after over 100 were killed and hundreds more were injured in six separate attacks by gunmen and suicide bombers. Vive la France.

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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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Shops at Dayton Farmers Market 2015 holiday hours

By Lynn R. Mitchell

Dayton Farmers Market 1

Dayton Farmers Market 2

Saturday at the Shops at Dayton Farmers Market southwest of Harrisonburg for Customer Appreciation Day was full of giveaways and crowded with buyers at the eclectic variety of shops featuring everything from baked goods and candy to floral and art, Virginia-made foods, pretzels, and more. They are now in their holiday 2015 hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 9am until 6pm, through December 31. They will also be open Monday, Dec. 21.  Closing at 3.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

If you’re lucky when you stop by, you’ll see an Old Order Mennonite horse and buggy hitched at the hitching post. It’s unique in the Shenandoah Valley.

Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
November 7, 2015

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Augusta County: Tracy Pyles wins re-election in Pastures District

Tracy PylesBy Lynn R. Mitchell

Augusta County’s Pastures District, on the western edge of the county and bordering with Bath and Highland counties, has three library branches, more than any of he seven districts. That is a direct result of Supervisor Tracy Pyles’ work to bring that community resource to his far-reaching areas of Deerfield and Craigsville in addition to Churchville.

That is just one of the improvements Tracy has brought to Pastures, where there is more national forest land than private land, and houses can be few and far between.

Tracy won a close re-election Tuesday night against Chris Morrison whose family owns the IGA grocery store in Craigsville, bringing in 52 percent to 48 percent.

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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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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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Back roads, sheep farms, mountain vistas of Highland County

By Lynn R. Mitchell

32Highland County is also known as Virginia’s “Little Switzerland” because of its mountains and sheep. Sparsely populated, the vistas year round are exceptionally stunning but in the fall vibrant oranges, reds, and golds make the mountain slopes come alive with color. These photos were taken on September 30 when only the far western part of the county was at peak but the next week will see big changes as the autumn color show moves east. (For more photos see Fall colors brighten western Highland County.)

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Back roads

By Lynn R. Mitchell

2Rockbridge County, Virginia.

3House Mountain, Rockbridge County, Virginia.

4Our roadside picnic spot. There are still some of these left on the back roads of America.

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8James River near Springwood, Virginia.

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Photos by Lynn R. Mitchell
September 15, 2015

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House Mountain

By Lynn R. Mitchell

House Mountain 1House Mountain, September 15, 2015.

Photo by Lynn R. Mitchell

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