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Best Hiking in Virginia and West Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains

Published by Nancy, at 1:40 PM. Categories: Tags: Family Fun,Virginia,Antietam Battlefield,West Virginia,Road_Trips,Hiking

Blue Ridge Mountains | Go Blue Ridge Travel

The Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley are bordered by four mountain ranges - Blue Ridge Mountains, Massanutten Mountain, Great North Mountain, and Allegheny Mountain. These valleys and mountains offer lots of activities for the outdoor adventure enthusiast.

Hiking is great activity enjoyed by both locals and visitors to the mountains in Virginia and West Virginia. Located just an hour from metropolitan DC, many trails are pet and family friendly and offer great stress escapes. There are two ways to approach hiking. As a hiking fanatic, the goal is to add a check mark to the completion of one trail after another. As a weekend novice, the goal is to pull alongside a road and take a one to three hour hike. Check out GoBRT's helpful hints for hiking with kids!

Hiking | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT) will go to the experts, "you," for the Best Hiking in Virginia. Based on a facebook and twitter polls, Virginia.org has shared the most popular hikes covering the entire state. Hhiking professionals are encouraged to explore Hiking Upward - offering great GPS maps, descriptions and reviews. One of our favorites on the list is The Stony Man Trail.  Another great resourse, the Appalachian Conservancy, has its national headquarters right here in the Shenandoah Valley located in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. It is easy to find trails on their website

GoBRT will showcase the novice trails here in the northern Shenandoah Valley where West Virginia and Maryland connect to Virginia. 'Discovering the Unexpected' is what happens as you explore the Shenandoah Valley.

Perhaps one of the most hidden hiking experiences is in the George Washington National Forrest. The Woodstock Water Tower offers a spectacular view of the seven bends of the Shenandoah River. A must see as a lifetime memory of the Shenandoah Valley. 

Hiking |Go Blue Ridge TravelAt 1350 feet, Bears Den Rocks provide a panoramic view of the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The westward-looking view provides a prime spot for the sunset. This overlook has unique rock formations believed to be a directional landmark of the indigenous people who hunted and fished in the region 12,000 years ago. “One of the most popular experience on the GoBRT’s Kids Bucket List," said Nancy Craun, owner of GoBRT. “I knew one child who went there four times in one week by not letting his various visiting relatives know he had just been there earlier!”

Following closer to the Potomac River, check out hiking the Antietam Battlefield located near Sharpsburg, Maryland is an easy drive from Interstate 70 or Route 340 to Shepherdstown, WV crossing the Potomac Bridge into Maryland. The battlefields are easy to find wrapping around the small village of Sharpsburg. There are many places to pull off and just start walking. This is a paved road experience thru the battlefields themselves with lots of markers explaining the battles that were fought.

C&O Canal runs alongside of the Potomac River. Less than 5 minutes from Sharpsburg, the hiker can walk or ride a bike. This section of the Potomac River is great for dogs loving the water. There are many good shallow places to wade into the Potomac. Bring bug spray since this is a historic canal with stagnant water.

West Virginians refer to many of the smaller ridges as the hills of West Virginia. Sitting on Jefferson Rock, one can look across at Maryland Heights and Loudoun Heights. Maryland Heights is a challenging climb but well worth the view at the top. Take a good amount of water for drinking. There are also the paths around Bolivar Heights where battles of the Civil War occurred.

Hiking Kid-Friendly | Go Blue Ridge TravelJust over the line from Harpers Ferry is the Blue Ridge Center for Environmental Stewardship. 900 serene acres offer three popular hiking trails. The Farmstead Loop is the Blue Ridge Center's signature hiking trail. Just over a mile long and with minimal elevation change, the trail is perfect for all ages and fitness levels. There is also the Western Trails with the highlight being Butterfly Alley and Birds of the Ridge for the bird watcher enthusiast.

If traveling with pets, there are many hotels and bed and breakfasts which are pet-friendly. Chris and Caressa Zanelli of Hillbrook Inn and Spa offer a pet friendly welcome with these words. “We are dog lovers at HIllbrook Inn and welcome your furry friends. We realize that some vacations are not complete without the furry members of your family. We have two ponds at Hillbrook Inn. Taking a plunge is not a problem. It is nothing a hose and some towels can’t fix.” said Chris.

The summer is a great time for a fun weekend discovering nature in the Virginia mountains. Whether you hike with friends, kids, or one's canine friend, the peace and serenity will bring harmony to your life. LIKE US on Facebook.

Visiting Shenandoah County Top 2014 Family Road Trips

Published by Nancy, at 10:15 AM. Categories: Tags: Shenandoah Valley,Childrens Activities,Family Fun,Kids Activities,Road_Trips,Virginia

"Picking the Top Summer Bucket List Experiences for Families in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia - New Series #KidsFunSummer2014"

ShenandoahValleyKidsTrail.com is a new Mobile site which makes planning a family trip to the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains easy. Launched by Go Blue Ridge Travel, the trail spotlights experiences that children from tots to tweens should have before turning eighteen offering adventure, history, and just plain fun.

"Thanks to Stephen French - Winner of the First Annual Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail Video Contest "

Family Road Trip #2 - Shenandoah County, Virginia

Shenandoah County is unique in that not one town of the six towns in the county dominates. It  truly represents the rural country lifestyle of the Shenandoah Valley.  Located on Interstate 81 and historic Route 11 between the cities of Winchester and Harrisonburg, the county towns are Strasburg, TomsBrook, Woodstock, Edinburg, Mt. Jackson, and New Market. One can take the greenway and Route 7 or Interstate 66 to easily connect to the county.

Ask anyone who grew up in Shenandoah County about their fondest memories as a child and you’re likely to hear stories of exploring the great outdoors, favorite childhood foods, interesting museum tours or learn about the role agriculture has played in their lives growing up.

Build your own memories in Shenandoah County with a visit to some of the county’s favorite kid-friendly destinations!

DAY ONE -  State Parks, Parades, Caverns

Go Blue Ridge Travel

Lose yourself in the nearly 85,000 acres of National Forest that comprise Shenandoah County and are filled with hiking, biking and OHV trails. And there’s no better view of the valley and the seven bends of the Shenandoah River than from the Wood-stock Water Tower, located just east of Woodstock, VA.

shen co canoeing 1 2 700x400Beat the heat by tubing or kayaking down the Shenandoah River. Explore your wild side while horseback riding at Fort Valley Ranch which features guided rides through the George Wash-ington National Forest.  Cool off at the new splash pad at the W.O. Riley Park in Woodstock.  enjoy live con-certs under the stars at the outdoor summer concert series, Woodstock ROCS.

 Perhaps farms are of interest. Kiss a llama at Posey Thisisit Llama Farm in Toms Brook, VA. This family run llama farm is open year round by appointment and offers tours of the farm and the opportunity to meet and feed over 30 llamas. Owner Joyce Hall will leave you entertained and more knowledgeable about the species than you ever though possible!  There are also markets available and U-pick farms in the county.

Caverns | Go Blue Ridge TravelPlan a full half day at Shenandoah Caverns Family of Attractions. One begins at ‘Main Street of Yesteryear” with a tour of the miniature window displays of the large department stores like Macy’s in New York city. Then down the stairs or take the elevator into the caverns for a unique hike thru rock formations including the view the famous ba-con formations. Lunch can be had at the 50’s cafe. When the kids walk into American Celebration on Parade, a normal reaction is “So Cool!”. A unique museum celebrating America’s love of parades, floats from the Macy’s, Rose, Philadelphia, and Presidential Inaugural parades are retired here. Children will be delighted at the animated characters on the huge floats. A visit to the Yellow Barn will highlight the agricultural history of the valley.

Spending the night in Woodstock at the Holiday Inn Express. One could also book a cabin or condo at Bryce Resort. enjoy live con-certs under the stars at the outdoor summer concert series, Woodstock ROCS or attend the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival at Orkney Springs next to Bryce Resort.

DAY TWO  - History, War, Lakes, Zip-lining and Bike Parks - Start the day by passing by one of the few covered bridges left in the United States on Route 11. If Civil War is of interest, then a visit to the New Market Battlefield Museum. Then it is on to Bryce Resort.  Well-known as a ski resort, summer finds the ski lift taking one to the top of the mountain to enjoy the view or take a mountain bike down one of the five trails availability based on your ability at the new Bryce Mountain Bike Park.


Bryce Resort | Go Blue Ridge TravelA great place for outdoor adventure, there is zip-lining, summer tubing, and grass skiing. One surprise at Bryce are the small airplanes that land there any time of the day. There are also helicopter rides that can be planned. Looking for a way to cool off than it is Bryce’s Lake Laura. For a small fee, one can spend the entire summer day lounging on the grassy beach while the kids swim and play on tranquil Lake Laura. For rent are canoes, paddle boats and paddle boards, just waiting for a great day spent on and in the water.  If in the mood for a hike, enjoy the three mile nature/hiking trail with scenic views around Lake Laura.

It will be hard to leave this resort, so change your trip from a two day to a three day or week with a vacation rental and enjoy a night in the mountains.

Thanks to Shenandoah County Tourism for their contributions to the blog.

Kids Top Pick #1 - Family Road Trip to Winchester, Virginia

Published by Nancy, at 7:07 PM. Categories: Tags: Family Fun,Virginia,Drive In Theaters,Kids Activities,Farm Experiences,Children_Museums,Hiking

"Picking the Top Summer Bucket List Experiences for Families in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia - New Series #KidsFunSummer2014"

ShenandoahValleyKidsTrail.com is a new Mobile site which makes planning a family trip to the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains easy. Launched by Go Blue Ridge Travel, the trail spotlights experiences that children from tots to tweens should have before turning eighteen offering adventure, history, and just plain fun.

Family Road Trip #1 - Winchester, Virginia

Winchester is a town full of history of the American Revolution and Civil War. With the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, this summer and fall offers driving tours and events for the history buff. Located at the northern tip of Interstate 81 next to West Virginia, Winchester is an easy drive out from the Washington DC and Baltimore areas.



Kids Activities | Go Blue Ridge Travel

DAY ONE - Nature, Farming, and Bears - Leaving DC and heading out the toll road to Loudoun County, one’s first stop will be the Oatlands Plantation to explore fields, streams, forests and gardens. Check out Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail guide on preparing for a hike.  Bring one’s naturalist journal and meet bugs, birds, flowers and more! Don’t forget the camera so the kids can capture that special butterfly.  

Kids Fun | Go Blue Ridge TravelAfter lunch continue the adventure west on Route 7. Your next stop is Great Country Farms. Not only can the kids pick the fruit of the week, but they can visit the barnyard with the farm animals, the cow pie putt putt, and Jumping Pillow (for Kids only). The weekend of July 19th, Great Country Farms is celebrating 'Butterflies and Blackberries'. Then it is off to Bears Den just minutes away. Bears Den is owned by the Appalachian Conservancy and is another great hiking adventure.

Spend the night at The George Washington Hotel with a swim in the Roman inspired pool. Completed in 1924, the historic Wyndham hotel offers old-world charm, but don't worry, the hotel is not old fashioned. Here you'll have every modern convenience a traveler could want. In fact, the hotel was fully restored in 2008 after a thoughtful $30 million renovation.

Family Fun | Go Blue Ridge TravelWrap up the evening up at the Family Drive In for movie night under the stars. Great affordable family entertainment, the Family Drive In Theater offers the latest double feature movies with two screen options.  Great food at the concession stand. Note - get there early and bring some family games to play together like Monopoly.

 

DAY TWO  - Dinosaurs, Wild Animals, and Indians - The next morning begin the day at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum. The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museumhas just moved into their new three story facilities in Winchester, Virginia close to the Old Downtown Mall. Catch a large life-size dinosaur Ticeratops on the first floor. The second floor called the ‘Explorer Floor’ with its massive windows contains the infamous apple crate display from the old museum capturing the industry that made this valley known so many years ago. There is also a water conservation area for the Potomac River Conservation Program.

Kids Fun | Go Blue Ridge TravelHowever perhaps the biggest surprise is on the rooftop floor where one can view out over the rooftops of Winchester. “The museum ignites ignites creativity, sparks curiosity, and inspires learning in people of all ages by providing a rich variety of interactive hands on exhibits and programs which focus on the sciences and mathematics, the humanities and the arts,” said Mary Braun, Executive Director.

Then it is off to Wilson’s Wild Animal Kingdom. A delightful place to have a picnic. From lions, to camels, to lemurs, the wild animal park gives children a one on one with animals. Sitting on twenty five acre with a gravel walk way almost a mile long, you may  purchase animal food to feed  the  deer,goats ,llamas ,and sheep. The site is mainly shaded so you will not bake in the sun. 

Just around the corner plan to wrap up your day at one of the oldest family attractions in the valley - Dinosaur Land. Learn about the plant eaters and the carnivores of the past. Open for over 50 years, it is truly a step back into the pre-historic times.

Heading back to the city or living here in the valley, Go Blue Ridge Travel will spotlight the Shenandoah County as your next road trip plan followed by a trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia. We welcome your comments of secrets you know about that are great for family fun!

Road Trips for 4th of July in the Shenandoah Valley VA WV 2014

Published by Nancy, at 12:22 PM. Categories: Tags: Road Trips,DC,Virginia,Shenandoah Valley Getaways

VA Mountain Trail BikingJuly 4th is great for picnics, parades, and the summer tradition of music festivals. The Valley has water fun attractions to zip-line adventures to golf to endless hiking trails. What is fun about traveling in the valley is combining more than one attraction based on your interest.  Here are two itinerary plans for the 4th.

Itinerary Plan - Route 11 Shenandoah Valley:
Restaurants |Go Blue Ridge TravelTake Route 7 or Route 50 and head down Interstate 81 or take the scenic Route 11.  Lunch could be at in The Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia just off of Route 50 or for a lunch experience at a U Pick farm try MacKintosh Fruit Farm in Winchester, Virginia serving lunch every day. The grilled asparagus panini is excellent. After lunch drop by My Neighbor and Me for great shopping in a fair trade store. My Neighbor and me is located in the small village of Berryville  just off of Route 7.

Then in less then 30 - 45 minutes depending on where you had lunch,  you can be at the Shenandoah Caverns Family of Attractions. One of the best kept secrets on the Kid’s Bucket List of experiences, American Celebration on Parade is one of three family attractions at the caverns. It is fascinating to young and old to see US history through the world of parade floats and other special event decor memorabilia.

Music Festival Shenandoah Valley This fourth of July week spotlights two summer festivals in the valley.  The first on July 3rd is Massanutten Resort’s Summer Jam.  Bands range from Sons of Pirates, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, Rollerblades, and J. Roddy Walston and the Business.  Check out the schedule and get your tickets here. The festival will culminate with fireworks. Start the day early at Massanutten Resort’s Waterpark. Open to anyone.  You do not need to be staying overnight at the resort to enjoy the fun. 

Bryce Resort Festival Bryce Resort celebrates the 4th all week including their signature festival Bryce Fest on July 5th.  This year the resort has several surprises for its visitors. Activities include a beach for enjoying the water and sun, golf course, tubing, grass skiing, and a newly improved Zipline (reservations required).  Having put in a quad chair lift, the resort will open its new Mountain Bike Park the last week of June week. Be one of the first on the Trail.  Bryce Fest has something for everyone and again will culminate the night with fireworks.  

Itinerary Plan - WV Route 340
If West Virginia is your destination, then head out Interstate 70 or the Dulles Toll Road to Route 340. This West Virginia region is rich in history, lots of fun water adventure, great food, wineries and more. There is no better time to visit the Harpers Ferry National Park or Antietam National Park than over the 4th.

Plan on having lunch at Grandale Restaurant just outside of Hillsboro, Virginia.  Located on the grounds of 868 Estate Vineyards, Grandale Restaurant follows the local food resourcing offering savory fare to its visitors.

White Water Rafting Shenandoah Valey

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center has its operations where VA, WV, and MD meet with the merging of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers.  On top of the ridge overlooking Maryland and Loudoun Heights, HF’s new facility, The Mountain, is composed of 58.8 amazing acres including river frontage on the Potomac River and amazing views of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. HF offers every kind of water adventure from tubing to rafting, to canoeing. There are hiking trails and cabins to rent.

For a small town parade and festival celebration, visit Shepherdstown on the 4th.  Kids will be given a fireman’s hat and candy will be thrown from the floats.  The festival culminates in Rumsey Park with music, children activities and just small hometown fun.

Theater Shenandoah Valley Theaters goers, the 23rd season kicks off on July 11th for theAmerican Contemporary Theater Festival in Shepherdstown. The season includes five plays with matinees and evening performances.  Get your tickets early since many of the plays will sell out.  “Adventurous Festival” - New York Times.  “For 20 years, brand new plays have found a home - and a loyal audience - in West Virginia’s oldest town. The Contemporary American Theater Festival at Shepherd University is a dream for the writers of those plays.” - Elizabeth Blair - Morning Edition National Public Radio. 

West Virginia has lots of surprises including being the home of Black Dog Coffee and the Bloomery Plantation Distillery.  Enjoy a tasting.... and the beauty of the mountains here in the valley.

So pack your bags, make your reservations or take your chances on finding the lodging of your choice.  It is easy to have a fun adventure here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland.  Remember you can always use Go Blue Ridge Travel.com as your travel guide.

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Top 10 Summer Music and Theater Festivals in Virginia - West Virginia

Published by Nancy, at 9:31 AM. Categories: Tags: Theater,Kids Activities,Shenandoah Valley,Family Fun,Festivals/Fairs,Outdoor_Recreation,Music_Festivals,Virginia

Combining one's love of theater and music with an adventuresome road trip is a great way to take a 48 hour break from work. Check out Go Blue Ridge Travel's top ten picks combining the arts with great food and wine, adventure, and relaxation.

Theater | GoBlueRidgeTravel

The surprising sophistication of professional theater and music now available in the Blue Ridge Mountain region of the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley offers the visitor a great opportunity to combine a scenic road trip with the performing arts. One fun thing to do is just pick a road route like 55 or 42 or 11 or 33 or 340 and develop a trip around music and theater. Go Blue Ridge Travel offers hotels, bed and breakfasts, cabins, and vacation rentals. The summer offers the opportunity to enjoy the long daylight hours cruising on two lane picturesque back roads. Here are Go Blue Ridge Travel’s Top Picks

From outdoor amphitheater concerts to indoor settings, the Shenandoah Valley's history is full of music. Home of Patsy Cline, from country to blue grass to jazz to classical, you will find it all. Here are GoBRT's top five picks of the summer.

Music | Go Blue Ridge Travel

 

#1 SUMMER JAM

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelSUMMER JAM – Massanutten Resort is on Route 33 outside of Harrisonburg, Virginia in the middle of a mountain range. Not only will one enjoy being in the mountains but one will also be treated to a wonderful family festival celebrating music, food, and fun kid activities. The event starts at 5:30 on Thursday July 3rd and includes fireworks and great Live Music. Bands featured will be JunkFood, Cazhmiere, and Travelin’ Hillbillies.

 

#2 BRYCE FEST

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge Travel BRYCE FEST –Another great Independence Day celebration is Bryce Fest celebrating its 15th year. Bryce Resort is twenty minutes back into the mountains in the small village of Basye, Virginia off of Interstate 81. Surrounded by vacation homes, this is a FREE festival, featuring all of the food, fun and fireworks of years past and providing some exciting new activities for the whole family to enjoy! During BryceFest 2014, many of Bryce's other summer activities will be operating throughout the day including the brand new Bryce Mountain Bike Park!

 

#3 SHENANDOAH SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelSHENANDOAH SUMMER MUSIC FESTIVAL –Located at the crest of the North Mountain in Orkney Spring, Virginia, this music festival is the oldest outdoor music festival in the valley celebrating over 50 years. Kick back with a picnic under the stars to hear blazing bluegrass licks, great gospel tunes, classic country songs, stunning symphonic melodies and more at the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival. Check out the performers from Rosanne Cash to the Fairfax Symphony ‘s “A Civil War Portrait” and more..

 

#4 SHENANDOAH SUMMER JAMBOREE

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelSHENANDOAH SUMMER JAMBOREE –The newest music festival at Shenandoah Caverns, the Jamboree opens in March and runs thru November. This is an indoor concert at The Yellow Barn on the first Saturday of each month. The Shenandoah Jamboree is part of three attractions at Shenandoah Caverns located off of Interstate 81 between Mt Jackson and New Market, Virginia.

 

#5 SMALL TOWN CONCERT SERIES

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelSMALL TOWN CONCERT SERIES - Many of the small towns of the valley offer free music concerts. One of the most famous is the Bluemont Concert Series. Covering eight towns in Virginia, the GoBRT has these outdoor concerts in Leesburg, Middleburg, and Winchester. Since 1976, the Bluemont Concert Series has presented more than 5,000 high-quality events to a combined audience of more than 2 million. Check out the schedule that works for your road trip. Another is the Woodstock ROCS (Riley Outdoor Concert Series). Four musical events will occur from July to September. Woodstock is in Shenandoah County and represents small town USA.

 

 


 

Professional theatre and top films are not limited to metropolitan areas. Directors, choreographers, composers, scene designers, and costume designers can find a home here in the valley. Below is Go Blue Ridge Travel's top five theatre picks.

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

 

#6 SHENANDOAH SUMMER MUSIC THEATER

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelSHENANDOAH SUMMER MUSIC THEATER –Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) is going into its 31st season this summer.  The season begins in June and ends the first week of August. Four Broadway musicals are produced and performed in the beautiful 630-seat Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. Thirteen performances are given of each musical over a two-week period. A professional theatre experience, this season includes Man of La Mancha, Monty Python’s Spamalot, The King and I, and Mary Poppins.

 

#7 FAMILY DRIVE-IN THEATER

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelFAMILY DRIVE IN THEATER –An experience all its own, the family drive in theater steps back in times to the 50’s, 60’s, and 70's when drive in theaters were the rage. Using the same speakers and outdoor screens of yesteryear but showing today’s latest movies, today’s experience finds cars backing in to one's space opening their tailgates and spreading the chairs and blankets out for a fun night of theatre under the stars. Family Drive In is located in Stephens City, Virginia just off of Interstate 81.

 

#8 CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelCONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL –Opening July 11th and runs thru August 11th, CATF has a commitment to new playwright work. The New York Times describes it as an “Adventurous Festival”. Located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia at Shepherd University, this 24th Season features five contemporary themed plays to included “A Discourse on the Wonders of the Invisible World.” This is an adult theater experience covering today’s moral and political issues. 

 

#9 THE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelTHE AMERICAN SHAKESPEARE CENTER –Located in Staunton, Virginia, The American Shakespeare Center is featuring three plays – Macbeth, Cyrano de Bergerac, and The Comedy of Errors. By following the basic principles of Renaissance theatrical production, the American Shakespeare Center gives its audiences some of the pleasures that an Elizabethan playgoer would have enjoyed. The Town of Staunton is a great road trip offering. 

 

#10 COURTHOUSE SQUARE THEATER

Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelCOURTHOUSE SQUARE THEATER –The Courthouse Square Theater of Harrisonburg, Virginia was once the home of the Rockingham Motor Company (RMC), but in 1998, the RMC was renovated into a theater as part of the Harrisonburg downtown revitalization effort. Performances vary so check the schedule.

 

So if music or theater is one's passion, then a road trip to the Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains will not disappoint!

 

Music | Go Blue Ridge TravelTheater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Theater - 2014 Blog Series #2 for the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 10:44 AM. Categories: Tags: Family_Events,Theater,Winchester,Virginia

Topic - Scenery and Lighting Design

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Continuing the theater series celebrating Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) 31st season this summer, I move into scenery and lighting design. Because there are four musicals in less over eight weeks, just like in costume design, there are two scenery and lighting designers Let me introduce Mac Bozman  and Bill Pierson.

For you non-theater professionals, set design is both the creation of the design and the technical building of the sets and then most importantly the light design. Lighting Design creates the mood and atmosphere thru the use of different lighting instruments. What is interesting is that Bozman and Pierson both approach set design from two entirely different creative channels.  Bozman embraces the non-computer approach using "blue print hand drawings" as the guideline for building the set. Pierson however, uses the new tech world of the computer.  Both agree that their goals are the same - to sculpt the space creating the mood and atmosphere for the play to occur in.

Theater | Go Blue Ridge TravelLike with Yancey, a costume designer, Bozman saids, "The first step is to read the play and listen to the score.  The second is to talk to the director who paints his vision for this musical. The third is to analyze the script to determine the specific things required for example in the well-known play "Romeo and Juliet" there is of course the need for a balcony.  In "West Side Story", there is the climbing out of a window and the fire escape.  In "Mary Poppins", not only do we have to create a colorful London setting but we also have to create a world of grey and totally lacking in color."

"What is wonderful is that both the creative costume and set designers fall under a Technical Director.  This is the 'realistic thinking' member of the team who keeps the designers honest. Part of the challenge is working under different directors. Some are crazy, some are very detailed. I just keep drawing until I know they like it," said Bozman.

Theater | Go Blue Ridge TravelBozman has twenty plus years in set design. When I asked him 'why theater?', Bozman admitted he wanted to be an archaeologist. As an archaeologist he needed to speak one to two foreign languages which was not his forte. "I did play the guitar and ended up encouraged by friends to be the stolling trubador in Beauty and the Beast."  From there, Bozman saids he was hooked. "I enjoy the challenge and also the intellectual world I work in. I am not desk bound but move between my office, classroom, and scene shop where I help at times painting and builiding props."

"I was fortunate I worked for Hal Herman when I was in high school and was offered a job at Shenandoah College in 1975 for $5,000. Part of my duties was to be a dormitory supervisor and I also ate in the cafeteria as an added bonus to the low salary. I earned my M.F.A. in 1978. Hal asked to come back which I agreed as long as there were no dorm responsibilites. After thirty years, I am still here." said Bozman.

Pierson like Bozman also uses drawings as his base but then does 80% of his work on the computer. "The range of color palettes and 3-dimensional models is limitless," said Pierson. "The speed the software packages give me allows for me to make rapid changes. I can also add lighting to the set creating a two dimensional light plot and then apply the industry standard colors from Rocco, the biggest theater lighting gel provider getting the exact color I want.

Theater | GoBlueRidgeTravel"The important thing to remember is that the computer is not the art. Young people today want the speed of the process rather then the experience of the process. Nothing takes the place of the hand drawing, hand drafting and rendering of a set design where you develop an understanding of light, shade, and shadow. It is essential to learn the fundamentals. You are the artist and the computer is simply a tool to utilize and expand your art. One problem students face is that the computer gives you too many choices.  You must own the aesthetic as Bozman does", said Pierson.

I asked Bozman and Pierson who works under them. There are carpenters, painters, master electrician, and the lighting board operator. The summer gives students an excellent opportunity to work under leading professionals in the industry, but whether you are a student or a professional, everyone is paid. Working on these musicals require long intense twelve hour days. 

Pierson started as an actor and director attending Eastern Illinois. He became a high school teacher. It soon became apparent to him that there were fewer scene and lighting designers than actors so this part of theater was not as competitive and offer lots of opportunities. After graduate school, he worked on the West Coast developing his portfolio and then came back to Maryland. Winchester appealed to him because of the small town feel with easy access to the major metropolitan areas. "I have 35 years of never on unemployment", said Pierson. "Theater has far more jobs that people.  It may not offer the highest career income, but there is so much more to life and happiness that purely financial gain."

Opening June 11th Man of La Mancha. You have your tickets, right? If not, make sure you visit shenandoahsummermusictheatre.com or call our box office at (540) 665-4569 to secure your seat.

Purchase Tickets!

 Next in our interviews will be Theatre Blog Series #3 - Technical Director and Scene Shop Manager - two more careers to select from in theatre.

Theater 2014 Blog Series #1 for the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 8:40 AM. Categories: Tags: Winchester,Virginia,Theater

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT) is going into its 31st season this summer.  When one thinks of a musical, what usually comes to mind are the actors on the stage not the back of the stage infrastructure.  Over the past eight weeks, Go Blue Ridge Travel has had the opportunity to sit down and meet these infrastructure players (not actors) that make the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre happen each summer.  Each week I have interviewed a key player in moving a musical from the planning stage to the first night live performance. 

"Most people think that our summer music theatre is produced by Shenandoah University students. Our four productions each summer are professional theatre for the Shenandoah Valley. We hire the best professional directors, scene designers, costume designer, technical directors as well as actors who are equity members.  The summer theatre is a great time for serious students to pick up great apprenticeships under these leaders in the industry. Each year we attend the Southwest Theater Festival where we hire the best skilled technicians and artists as well as the apprentices to work under them we can afford. All staff are paid in the summer." said Sue Robinson, Managing Director for SSMT.

Theater | GoBlueRidgeTravel

What has been a surprise to me is that each of these professionals I interviewed were very happy with their career choices?  As Mac Bozman, Scene and Lighting designer said, 'I have not been unemployed a day in my career. Plus I love what I do?  To get paid for this and have this much fun is amazing."

My first interview for GoBRT was with the Costume Designers. Like with other areas, there are two  who each are assigned to a particular musical. I stepped into Cheryl Yancey's  office and found her deep into researching the design for an upcoming play. "The first step is to read the play (musical). Having been in theater for many years, I know many of the works I am going to design but I still go back and read the play. Then my next step is to talk with the Director for this production and get 'their vision'. The reason a great play can be done again and again is because the director's are allowed to bring their creative freedom to the production. For example, some plays offer the opportunity to change the setting to more modern times. This is what you often see with Shakespearean plays because their themes applied yesterday and today." said Yancey. "What is most important is that we do not copy someone else's idea. Theatre is an art to be created."

Then Yancey armed with the director's vision is off spending hours researching the period. She begins sketches on the computer with color changes. "Color is crucial to the success of my design. What color I use sends messages automatically to the audience. When the actor steps on the stage it is the costume they see first before the actor even speaks.  For example in our culture - red equates to bad girl and blue is both calming and strength. I also have to know the body of the actor playing the part.The costume has to accommodate the dancer, singer, or actor. It is actually easier to do a new play than to do an older one. When you are doing a play that is well known everyone is looking to see how the designers and directors have made this production one they own," said Yancey. "Budget is the big guideline. How much time do I have to get these costumes constructed and what will be the skill level of the stitchers (the seamstress to the layman).

Many people think we rent these costumes," said Sue Robinson. "Like a truck pulls up and we unload the set design and the costumes, then the musical opens!"

I asked Yancey how she got into theater.  "I was a history major as an undergraduate. As a child I loved sewing and was designing without any training. One of the courses I took in college was an acting class. Life just sometimes falls together without a lot of help. What could be more perfect than designing costumes for different periods of history - both my passions," said Yancey. 

Theater | GoBlueRidgeTravel

SSMT's second costume designer is Jennifer Adams. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence, she had to do tech work as part of her degree. She got her love of sewing from her grandmother and loves vintage clothes. "I was fortunate to spend my senior year in Italy studying art history and fashion design." said Adams. "Fashion design is all about selling the look. In theater, your design is about selling the character. This summer I will go from designing distressed costumes for Man of La Mancha to the big fun with Mary Poppins where statues come to life. I will be working with at least 4 stitchers and 5 dressers to make these costumes. It is a team building experience."

Just like Bozman, Adams loves her work. "I am happy. I do what I love and I get paid for it! The Arts are both intellectually and emotionally stimulating.  I am forever grateful to my parents for begin supportive of my career," said Adams.

As I left the university, my mind kept going back to the happiness I experienced in talking to these two women. Both extremely talented but not competitive of each other. In each person I have talked to the words 'collaborative art' has been repeated.

Theater 2014 Blog Series #2  - Scene and Lighting Design.

Purchase Tickets!

 

GoBRT’s Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail Kicks Off Summer with Strawberries

Published by Nancy, at 2:00 PM. Categories: Tags: Drive In Theaters,Family Fun,Kids Activities,Childrens Activities,Family_Events

With Virginia and West Virginia U-Pick farms opening and summer music and theater festivals kicking off, ‘Bucket’ picks the first of June top five picks to add to GoBRT's Kids Bucket List. Bikes are being greased for riding and swimming pools are opening, stay on top of the Best Kids Fun in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley.

VA Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Just for Kids Living or Traveling in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley

Be a Kid in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains

Go Blue Ridge Travel launches a new family travel campaign introducing a snail named 'Bucket' as the spokesman for the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail (SVKT). Below are five top picks for the first fifteen days of June! The goal of the SVKT campaign is that kids from 'tots to teens 'can fill a bucket full of experiences they should have in the Shenandoah Valley before they turn eighteen. Get ready for fun and adventure on the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail.

 

Festival | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Strawberry Jubilee - Bluemont, Virginia -
One of the first signs that summer is truly here is when UPick farms announce strawberries are ready to be picked. Plan to attend the biggest strawberry festival in Loudoun County. To celebrate the royal strawberry, Strawberry Jubilee is packed with live music, farm contests, strawberries and great food.

The infamous Pie Eating Contest and Tart Toss will keep one smiling. Don’t miss the Diaper Derby! Babies from 9 to 12 months crawl to the finish line to win great prizes. Bring a camera for a photo op with the Royal Strawberry Princess and blow magical bubbles.

“Strawberries are running late this season with the cool, wet spring so we anticipate picking to begin Saturday, May 31st for the Jubilee Festival,” said Kate Zurchmeide, co-owner with her husband of Great Country Farm.

Children Museums | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum - Winchester, Virginia
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum has just moved into their new three story facilities in Winchester, Virginia close to the Old Downtown Mall. Catch a large life-size dinosaur Ticeratops on the first floor. The second floor called the ‘Explorer Floor’ with its massive windows contains the infamous apple crate display from the old museum capturing the industry that made this valley known so many years ago. There is also a water conservation area for the Potomac River Conservation Program.

However perhaps the biggest surprise is on the rooftop floor where one can view out over the rooftops of Winchester. There is the wild tile work design of Reader and Swartz, architects on the project, captured in the small building in the center of the space. “It is like the man laying the tile became a kid again and followed no rules in putting these tiles together in what seems to be a total disorganized mess that is amazing pleasant to the eye,” said Nancy Craun, founder of the Go Blue Ridge Travel. Visitors have a visual landscape of the rooftops of Winchester with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

“The museum ignites ignites creativity, sparks curiosity, and inspires learning in people of all ages by providing a rich variety of interactive hands on exhibits and programs which focus on the sciences and mathematics, the humanities and the arts,” said Mary Braun, Executive Director.

Festivals | Go Blue Ridge Travel

WVPT Festival of Family Fun - Harrisonburg, Virginia
WVPT's Festival of Family Fun is a one-day event to be held on June 7th at The Rockingham County Fairgrounds in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The focus is on literacy, health, safety and FUN! Free books are provided to children, entertainment, PBS costume characters and opportunities to engage in fun activities about health, safety and reading - all make up the fabric of the Festival of Family Fun (formerly called the WVPT Kids' Book Festival.) The event's major sponsor is The University of Virginia's Children's Hospital.

“This is our 11th year,” said David Mullins, President and General Manager of WVPT. “The festival centers around our core values of public televisions which are education, literacy, and families. We are thrilled to have the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital as a sponsor.Every child attending the festival will leave with at least one FREE book!”.

WVPT is the Public Television Station that serves the Shenandoah Valley and Central & Northern Virginia - as well as parts of West Virginia, MD and PA. Providing educational and entertaining programs as well as community outreach events and services.

Family Drive In | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Family Drive In Tailgate Party - Stephens City, Virginia
The Family Drive-In Theatre is celebrating its’ 58th year of “movies under the stars” with a Family Tailgate Party on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Families will be entertained before the movies with music, a magician, face painting, a bounce house for the kids, karoke, volleyball, corn hole contests and prizes!

In the tradition of tailgating, families are urged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, pillows to stretch out in front of cars or in the back of pick-up trucks or suv’s. Shenandoah Valley Kid’s Trail will be running a contest for the “Best Tailgating Party Display” designed by kids with the help of dads, moms, and grandparents. There will be prizes for ‘Most Beautiful, Most Creative, and Most Crazy’ themes to include FREE tickets to SVKT partner attractions. The night features the new film "How To Train Your Dragon 2." The Family Drive-In Theatre is the only remaining drive-in theatre in the Washington Metro area. It is one of seven remaining in The Commonwealth of Virginia.

“I am thrilled to be a charter partner with the SVKT,” said Jim Kopp. “The Kids Trail give kids a sense of empowerment in planning what they would like to do for the summer as a fun trip or a week long vacation.”

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Shenandoah Summer Music Theater - Winchester, Virginia
Experiencing professional musical theater does not mean driving or going to the metropolitan areas. Here in the valley, Shenandoah University is the summer home to a professional theater experience. Professional actors, directors, scene and costume designers are pulled in from around the country to produce four musicals running from June to August for the Shenandoah Summer Music Theater.

The season opens on June 11th with Man of La Mancha. This summer’s schedule will see laughter bouncing off the mountains from Monty Python’s Spamalot to Mary Poppins flying in the valley and the King and I dancing under the stars. Check out GoBRT's 2014 Theater Blog Series.

Visit Bucket's facebook Page!

6 Ways to Get Your Kids Excited Hiking the Shenandoah National Park

Published by Nancy, at 4:57 PM. Categories: Tags: Family Fun,Kids Activities,Hiking,Outdoor Kids Activities

Looking for ways to get your kids outside and more active?

Do you enjoy walking through the woods and exploring the great outdoors?

If you’ve ever tried hiking with your kids and wondered why they aren’t as enthused about it as you are, keep reading.

In this article I’ll share six ways to get your kids excited about hiking so your family can enjoy the great outdoors together.

Follow these 6 easy tips to get kids excited about hiking in the great outdoors and to ensure your next family hike is lots of fun for everyone.

Why Go Hiking With Your Kids?

Hiking is an excellent way to connect with your family. There’s a lot to talk about while you explore the wilderness—not just the great outdoors and the things you see. It’s the perfect time to ask your kids about school, friends and their lives in general.

Plus, hiking is a great way to get some exercise and unplug from electronics that tend to rule our lives.

But sometimes it can be quite a challenge to encourage kids to pull on some hiking boots and hit your favorite hiking trail.

I’m here to help.

Can you relate to this story? My first attempts at hiking with my kids were disasters.

The picture of us as the perfect hiking family—baby on my back, scaling peaks with birds chirping—was far from reality. The screaming toddler on my back, pulling my hair, caused me to lose patience quickly. Everyone was miserable. I thought I’d never hike again.

kids running on trail

It was a challenge at first, but now my family loves to go hiking.

Over the years, through trial and error, my family and I finally figured out how to get it right. And I’m going to pass our hiking secrets on to you.


Learn a few tips about hiking with kids in this video.

The first and most important thing is to plan a safe hike and get your kids excited about hiking. Talk to your kids about it the day or morning before. Ask them questions about what they hope to see on the hike. Trees? Birds? Flowers?

Ask your kids to draw a picture before the hike and then another one afterwards. See how their perspective changes.

Here are six tips to make hiking with your family an enjoyable experience.

#1: Pick the Right Path

Before you set out on a family hike, do your research. Ask friends, contact local nature groups or look on the Internet for kid-friendly parks in your area. Or just look around town.

You may find that your best hikes take place on unremarkable old fire roads. Find “trails” with plenty of room for your kids to walk their own weaving path. As a bonus, you won’t have to worry that they’ll fall off the edge of the trail.

quote

When you research traditional hiking trails, you’ll often see ratings that will tell you how strenuous the walk will be. Don’t let the ratings, which are usually based on the steepness and technical difficulty of the trail, be the end of your research. Also consider elevation gain and the width of the path.

The best way to try out a hike is to test it without kids first. Since that isn’t always feasible, just do the best you can. Rate the hiking paths as a family and keep a list so you’ll know where to go (and which trails to avoid) in the future.

#2: Allow Plenty of Time

Don’t even try to hike with kids when you’re on a tight timeline. Set aside plenty of time to stop and smell the roses… er, trees.

For kids, the best part of being on a hike is the opportunity to pick up interesting leaves, find different types of rocks and locate the ever-elusive perfect walking stick.

If you hurry the kids along—and say things like, “Come on. Don’t look at that. Don’t touch that. Hurry up.”—trust me, no one will enjoy the experience!

kids climbing fallen tree

Take your time when you hike to explore things; for instance, climb on a fallen tree.

There are new and interesting things to notice on the trail every season. Spring brings animal tracks in squishy mud. Summer gives way to wildflowers. Autumn is a bounty of colorful leaves. And winter is a good time to look for rocks, if the ground isn’t covered with snow.

#3: Turn Back Before Your Kids Get Tired

The key to ending your hike on a happy note is simple: turn around before your kids get tired… and inevitably cranky.

Hikes are fun, but they also use a lot of energy. Your kids’ legs work hard to keep up with your adult-sized strides, so keep track of the time and distance, pace yourself and allow for many breaks along the way.

Note: Loop hikes are also good for families, since you don’t need to decide when to turn around.

taking a break

Take several breaks to ensure you’ve got happy and energetic young hikers.

Pack water to stay hydrated. Plus, keep a good supply of high-energy snacks in your daypack, as well. They’ll give your kids a burst of energy for the trip back. To make the experience more special, bring snacks that you don’t normally have around the house.

#4: Let Your Kids Lead the Journey

The things that grab an adult’s attention on a hike—a beautiful waterfall, a scenic view—may hold little or no interest for kids. Don’t push your children to like the things that you find interesting. Encourage kids to look for and point out things along the trail that are fun to them.

throwing rocks

Our kids like to throw rocks in the water and look for frogs when they hike.

Kids will love to discover a fallen tree, an oddly shaped rock or a stream along the hiking route. Bugs, birds and leaves will also grab their attention.

Note: If your kids are too focused on minute details during the hike, you’ll want to point out the 150-pound deer that wandered across the trail right in front of them.

Ask your kids questions about the things they find interesting. Why do you think that tree fell down? Why are some rocks larger than others? Where does the stream end?

You’ll be surprised and delighted by what will most likely be some creative answers.

#5: Help Your Kids Notice What’s Around Them

To encourage more awareness in the woods, check out nature guides from the library or search for them on the Internet.

If you do some education up front, you can focus on various things like types of butterflies, wildflowers or trees that you’ve previously read about. You can also take pictures of something you find interesting and look it up later.

child holding leaf

A field guide from the library can come in handy on a nature hike.

Another option: Stay still for a minute and listen for sounds in nature. Then take turns sharing what you hear. You may decide that a squirrel sounds like a dinosaur crashing through the woods, while a deer barely makes a sound.

kids looking at nature

Stop, look and listen for interesting things in nature.

On your hike, look for interesting things and point them out to your kids. You can also ask questions, play the alphabet game (call out the things you find in nature in alphabetical order) or have a photo scavenger hunt.

To add an extra element of fun, check and see if there are any geocaches that you can search for on your hike. Or hide a geocache of your own.

#6: Explore Other Locations

When you look for a place for a fun family hike, don’t limit yourself to the woods.

Some of the best hikes take place at historic sites, botanic gardens, by the water, through old battlefields or on roads that are off the beaten path.

kids holding up hands

Spend the day “hiking” through the grounds of an historic home.

For even more options, check out local parks, as well as a directory of international parks and the National Park Service in the United States. The latter even has National Parks fee-free days throughout the year.

Wherever you go on a hike, plan every detail as a family to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.

Some Final Thoughts

One of my favorite things to do is to spend time on the trails with my kids. While hiking as a family didn’t come naturally to any of us, we were able to make some adjustments and turn the experience into something we all enjoy.

I hope these tips (many of them learned the hard way!) will encourage you to go take a hike with your kids and make hiking a fun experience for your family, too.

What do you think? Do your kids like to hike? What things did you do to make hiking fun? What’s the best place to hike in your neck of the woods? Please share your experience and some photos in the comments.

 

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About the Author, Jillian Kay

Jillian Kay is an office worker by day, and at night and on weekends you can find her working in the garden, or cooking from scratch in the kitchen. Other posts by »

Wars, Gardens and Wine This Weekend in the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 1:50 PM. Categories: Tags: Virginia,West Virginia,Family_Events,Festivals/Fairs,Artisans

What makes the Shenandoah Valley so fascinating is the variety of lifestyles people can enjoy in the mountains of Virginia. This weekend is a prime example. 

Reenactments | Go Blue Ridge TravelFirst for the reenactment followers, this weekend is the 150th Anniversary of the New Market Reenactment - New Market, Virginia May 16th, 17th, and 18th

"The beat of a drum rang out as the Confederate and Union soldiers took their positions on the battlefield. On one side the Union army appeared dressed in blue wool government-issued uniforms and carrying an American flag. On the other side the Confederates arrived in homemade outfits, most of which were brown, waving a Rebel flag. Both sides had their guns drawn.

Peering down the barrels of their rifles, the soldiers took aim at each other across the New Market Battlefield in New Market, Va. When they got close enough to shoot, they pulled their triggers without hesitation.

Plumes of smoke billowed out with each shot, and the soldiers yelled with delight as they watched their opponents fall to the ground. Other soldiers rode through the battlefield on horseback and engaged each other with swords, while others fired cannons. All relished in the thrill of the fight.

The combat lasted about an hour before the Confederates overcame the Union troops, forcing them over a hill just as it happened on that very battlefield in 1864 during the Civil War. Only this time no one really died and nothing was really lost. This was a historical reenactment."  (American Journal - "Marching into the Pass). A fascinating experience of America's history for both adults and children.

Virginia Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge Travel"Bucket" saids YES to this one.

 

Virginia Garden Tour | Go Blue Ridge TravelBack Alley Garden Tour and Garden Fest - Shepherdstown, West Virginia May 17th and 18th.

For a more relaxing weekend experience for the family, go to our northern edge of the valley and experience the Back Alley Garden Tour in the quaint town of Shepherdstown, West Virginia.  Considered the Greenwich Village of DC, this is an informal relaxing garden experience allowing the visitors the opportunity to enter historic homes through the back doors. Shepherdstown is 1.5 square mile infusing 250 years of history and today's modern, immaculant cultivation and playful wildness.

"The garden tour shows off the historic homes of Shepherdstown in intimate ways allowing people to explore both the garden and architectural beauty of a home. "Shepherdstown is a community that supports sustainable gardens, the value of gardening to the individual. You will see formal gardens, vegetable gardens, and native gardens. Many of our supporters volunteer because of their need to learn more about gardening.  Since this is a walking tour, the afternoon tea included with the ticket gives you the opportunity to regenerate before starting your tour again," said Kathryn Stella, one of the organizers of the Back Alley Garden Tour. "The Back Alley Garden Tour gives the town itself the incentive to spruce up our common areas for the upcoming summer tourism season," said Jim Auxer, Mayor of Shepherdstown. The Back Alley Tour is a community project of the Shepherdstown Community Club.

Garden Fest Shepherdstown | Go Blue Ridge TravelThis year for the first time, the businesses of Shepherdstown will support the tour with a Garden Fest occurring in the center of the town. "There will be garden vendors and both the restaurants and retailers are supporting the garden theme sporting horticulture products, pottery, garden hats, and more. Even the Old Opera Theater house will be running two movies for kids - It is a Bugs Life and .

One of the treasures for kids is to check out is the 'smallest house in Shepherdstown. Called the 'Little House', the two story house was built in 1929 and has two floors, the supersized doll house known as Little House was a project for Shepherd College for student teachers to study the play habits of children.  Right next to the Little House over the bridge covering the infamous town run is the Community Garden. "Children can enjoy taking the Children Walk in the community garden following a self -guided tour guide for children only", said Deb Tucker organizer of the Garden Fest.

Virginia Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge TravelAgain, Bucket gives this event a YES to her 2014 Bucket List of experiences.

 

Wine & Craft Festival | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Virginia Wine and Craft Festival - Front Royal, Virginia May 17th.

Perhaps the oldest of the Spring Wine Festivals at 28 years and certainly the largest is the Virginia Wine and Craft Festival in Front Royal, Virginia on Saturday, May 17th. “The huge difference that sets this festival apart are the 150 Artisans and Crafters. We will have twenty wineries from all over Virginia, ” said Nikki Foster, Executive Director of the Front Royal and Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

The Virginia Wine and Craft Festival is a great day trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. The festival opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. The festival takes over the historic downtown Front Royal area with musical entertainment and over 20 Virginia vineyards covering seven blocks. A great place to stay for this festival is the Lackawanna Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Artisans and crafters travel to the festival from all over the east coast. From fine handmade jewelry, handcrafted musical instruments, pottery, clothing, original paintings, antiques, there is certainly something for everyone to find that is unique to their individual taste. Food vendors will also be out in full force. Information about the most popular cabins and bed and breakfasts in this area can be found at Go Blue Ridge Travel’s Accommodations. “It is the great atmosphere of good wines, good music and excellent artisans,” said Foster.

Kids Fest | Go Blue Ridge Travel - Downtown Winchester, Virginia - May 17th

Very simply this is for kids only - of course a Bucket choice! Virginia Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Old Downtown Winchester Kids Fest is an afternoon of fun from 11 - 5 pm on the newly restored Downtown Winchester Mall.  Check it out for a quick fix for the kids on Saturday. Make sure you stop in to the newly opened Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum just around the corner from the fountains on Cork Street!

Have a fun weekend!

Coming Soon Summertime People's Best Picks

Spring Road Trips in Virginia and West Virginia- Festivals, Garden Shows, and Winery Events

Published by Nancy, at 9:38 PM. Categories: Tags: Shenandoah Valley,Wineries,Road_Trips,Festivals/Fairs,Garden Shows

Depending on the destination, the Shenandoah Valley Blue Ridge Mountains is an hour from the beltway. The perfect excuse to get away from the traffic and hustle of the city and indulge in relaxation or adventure depending on the mood, here are Go Blue Ridge Travel's Hot Happenings in May.

Visit Shenandoah Valley | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Travel Resource Guide for the Shenandoah Valley VA, WV, MD

Experience the NEW Shenandoah Valley

Goodbye to gray skies and cold days, the sun is out, the apple trees are blooming, and gardeners are donning their gloves and digging in the dirt to plant new things. The vineyards will see green sprouting on the vines soon beginning another growth season here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of the Shenandoah Valley.

Garden Shows | Go Blue Ridge TravelWith the coming of spring, historic home garden tours and flower shows launch the Spring season. A must attend garden show is the Shepherdstown Back Alley Garden Tour and Tea. Be prepared because the main street of downtown Shepherdstown will be packed with vendors and gardeners.

“This is a special garden event since it is not often you are invited into someone’s garden thru their back yard. Shepherdstown is a 250 year old small town divided by alleys that run between the main streets which allows for backyard entrances and exits for the tour. Truly a garden lover’s dream, the event is very laid back and relaxing letting you take it at your pace. There is a wonderful tea and this year there will also be a garden fest with garden vendors,” said Nancy Craun, a past president of the tour. Tickets may be purchased on line thru Go Blue Ridge Travel as well as in local shops. Plan to stay at the beautiful Hillbrook Inn for a wonderful relaxing weekend in West Virginia.

Harness Racing | Go Blue Ridge TravelSpring is also the time for Virginia wineries to pop the corks and take the fun outside of the tasting rooms. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day, enjoy the Wine and Trotter Festival at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. What sets this wine festival apart from the many others here in Virginia is the harness racing. Shenandoah County Fairgrounds is the only fairgrounds in the state with its own harness race track.

“When we looked to do a wine festival, we wanted to set ourselves apart from the many others here in Virginia. First, the festival will only offer wines from the vineyards belonging to the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail which takes in wineries from Berryville to Roanoke. This is also a harness race sanctioned by the United States Trotting Association. Once a horse wins here at the Wine And Trotters Festival, they can compete in the much larger northern races”, said Tom Eshelman, General Manager of Shenandoah County Fair Association. “This means you can drive an additional thirty minutes and enjoy new wineries you do not get to taste at the festivals closer to the DC area, plus you can be educated to a new sport - ‘Harness Racing’.”

Wine Festival | Go blue Ridge TravelPerhaps the oldest of the Spring Wine Festivals at 28 years and certainly the largest is the Virginia Wine and Craft Festival in Front Royal, Virginia on Saturday, May 18th. “The huge difference that sets this festival apart are the 150 Artisans and Crafters. We will have twenty wineries from all over Virginia, ” said Nikki Foster, Executive Director of the Front Royal and Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

The Virginia Wine and Craft Festival is a great day trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah Valley. The festival opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. The festival takes over the historic downtown Front Royal area with musical entertainment and over 20 Virginia vineyards covering seven blocks. A great place to stay for this festival is the Lackawanna Bed and Breakfast Inn.

Artisans and crafters travel to the festival from all over the east coast. From fine handmade jewelry, handcrafted musical instruments, pottery, clothing, original paintings, antiques, there is certainly something for everyone to find that is unique to their individual taste. Food vendors will also be out in full force. Information about the most popular cabins and bed and breakfasts in this area can be found at Go Blue Ridge Travel’s Accommodations. “It is the great atmosphere of good wines, good music and excellent artisans,” said Foster.

It is easy to extend a visit here in the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Go Blue Ridge Travel has over 95 activity categories and showcases events happening each weekend – a must-see website showcasing the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley.

A Culinary Trend in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley - Metropolitan Chefs Moving West

Published by Nancy, at 9:54 PM. Categories: Tags: Culinary Excellence,Virginia

Go Blue Ridge Travel interviews two Baltimore Chefs who have moved move to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley setting a trend for Metropolitan chefs. Affordable housing and the countryside’s lifestyle is pulling more great culinary talent to The Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Culinary Experience | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Southern Inn - Lexington, VA

Culinary Excellence in Virginia

Wnchester and Lexington, VA (PRWEB) March 31, 2014

In the past when one wanted to find great food experiences, one went to the city. Today, that is changing as chefs realize the lifestyle one can have in the countryside of the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia. Moving away from the stress and high home prices of the city is worth taking the leap to work in the Virginia and West Virginia Interstate 81 Corridor. Go Blue Ridge Travel highlights this trend in their Culinary Series at http://www.goblueridgetravel.com/blog.

Winchester, Virginia -

Barbara Hineline is the executive chef at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. Hineline was the Director of Catering and Assistant General Manager for Baltimore based Donnas at the Baltimore Museum of Art and General Manager at Donnas in the St. Gregory Hotel, Georgetown. “It was the lifestyle the Valley offered my family that brought me to Winchester.” said Hineline. Hineline likes to use the term ‘The Land of Pleasant Living’ when describing the Valley.

So why Winchester, Virginia. “I opened Lansdowne Resort and needing to find affordable housing I found that Winchester was a perfect commute.” said Hineline. “Then I went back to Baltimore. When it came time to buy a home, I immediately looked to Winchester again. The city is so limited on affordable homes in good neighborhoods without moving to the suburbs which as a ‘city girl’ did not work for me.”

But why a franchise theater operation? Hineline saids it centers around a Baltimore Girl’s Journey to Craft Beers. “ As a young woman in Baltimore, I learned to love beer It was hard not to do, given that Baltimore's first manufacturing industry was a craft beer brewery, and to this day Baltimoreans appreciate their beer, so much in fact, that we have been increasingly skipping over commercial, watered-down brews, in favor of local craft beers.” said Hineline.

Last year, Hineline had the opportunity to accept a job as Executive Chef at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. “I could not pass it up,” said Hineline. “Imagine, a life long lover of local brewed beers, working in a venue that has well over 30 craft beers on it’s list, in addition, they have the “growler” program that I so came to love many years ago. I have blended these great beers with some amazing menu items. I have done Drafthouse Gingerbread with a hint of Dominion Oak Barrel Stout. Our new Cherry Chocolate Cake is perfect for the Sweet Baby Jesus Porter, a hint of the peanut butter with the chocolate and a slight coffee finish….not need for the an espresso here! And finally, the Devils Backbone Lager is used in a crispy batter for our special Fish Tacos, run for a limited time. It is amazing how to incorporate these brews into our foods, thereby offering our guests a real Drafthouse experience.”

Lexington, Virginia

George Huger is the owner of Southern Inn, a contemporary american cuisine restaurant located in Lexington, Virginia which is in the middle of the Shenandoah Valley just off of Interstate 81 and Interstate 64. Although George grew up in Lexington, he married a Baltimore girl while working in the city. A graduate of Baltimore Culinary Institute, George worked for Aramark at Camden Yards providing food to Baltimore Orioles fans. “I always wanted to own my own restaurant and with two young children, my wife, Sue Ann and I made the decision in 1998 to move back to the valley,” said Huger.

Southern Inn was already a roadside diner opening in 1932. Huger bought the diner in 1998. “The restaurant was in need of a facelift,” said Huger. “This gave us a wonderful opportunity to infuse the restaurant with our own touch. We simply made it a ‘refined diner’ maintaining the historical charm of the old building.”

The summer of 2010 saw a set back when a fire caused by a lightning strike from a storm destroyed the restaurant. With the support of the community, the Hugers reopened in 2011. “The fire gave us the opportunity to give the restaurant a modern touch in the layout and design without destroying the character of the historic building again,” said Huger.

Southern Inn’s menu offers the comfort of Southern food like meatloaf and our healthy version of fried chicken with the sophistication of todays cuisine like duck and vegetarian options. “I had never tasted homemade marshmallows.” said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel. “Their signature dessert is pecan pie and features caramelized marshmallows. Having dinner there last week, I also got to tasted the delicious homemade Farmstead Cheeses from Huger’s brother dairy farm. I definitely plan to visit the farm to purchase the cheeses,” said Craun.

Huger grew up on a farm. “I am a country boy thru and thru,” said Huger. “I hated the city.” When asked what is the difference in opening a restaurant in the city and in the Valley, Huger said. “In the city competition is outrageous. There are small restaurants on every corner. Here in the Valley, your volume may be less but so are your costs so your profit can be higher. It is a balance of lifestyle and livelihood.“

About GoBlueRidgeTravel.com
In 2011, GoBlueRidgeTravel.com (GoBRT), a division of Encore Event Partners was launched to be a travel getaway guide for trip planning in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. GoBRT is the only Tri-State regional website showcasing the activities, events, and accommodations in the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Piedmont, and Shenandoah Valley. With a ten year relationship of marketing the region to brides for their wedding destinations, GoBRT is now reaching out to families branding the trademark 'GoBRT's Kids Bucket List' showcasing the experiences tots to teens should have prior to turning eighteen in the valley. In July 2013, Go Blue Ridge Travel with eight Virginia partners received a Marketing Leveraging Grant from Virginia Tourism to develop a mobi website, Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail, with the target market being families. Expanding to Natural Bridge in 2014, Go Blue Ridge Travel’s goal is to brand this 160 mile radius as a travel and wedding destination both nationally and internationally.

Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and President GoBlueRidgeTravel.com Phone: 540.533.1853 Email: info(at)GoBlueRidgeTravel(dot)com

Win a $10,000 Sandals Resort Vacation at Destinaton - Blue Ridge Bridal Show

Published by Nancy, at 9:48 PM. Categories: Tags: Golf Challenge,Blue Ridge Bride,Bridal and Travel Show


Golf Challenge for CouplesExpanding into the golf arena, Alpha Voyages will host a “Hole in One Challenge” with the winner receiving a $10,000 Sandals vacation.  Alpha Voyages just returned from a Golf Pro FAM trip in Great Exuma, Bahamas hosted by Sandals Resorts and then in May traveling to Sandals newest highest luxury resort, La Source in Grenada.

Alpha Voyages Travel Agency celebrates 26 years in 2014. The agency is the highest performance agency with the Sandals/Beaches resort in the northern Shenandoah Valley. The first of April, owner, Mary June Williams (“MJ”), attended a five day/four night Golf Pro FAM Tour at Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas. This Golf Pro FAM Tour is being hosted for travel agents and golf pros from Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. The resort is home for a Greg Norman Championship Course. Sandals Emerald Bay is located on Grand Exuma in the Bahamas.  Williams will also be stopping at Sandals Royal Bohamian in Nassau to inspect the new River suites.

“I wanted to branch out of the bridal market into the golf market. Sandals has wonderful golf courses in Jamaica, St Lucia, and Exuma.  When golfers are facing a winter as we had this year, a wonderful option the golf pros can offer are group tours in the Caribbean,” said Williams. “Green fees are complimentary at Sandals.

Emerald Bay, Great Exuma - Bahamas


Sandals | Alpha VoyagesEmerald Bay in Grand Exuma appeals to the luxury client who wants isolation, fabulous diving, and superb service. “One can walk around Emerald Bay and feel like you are alone.  There are no big crowds or loud noises, “ said Nancy Craun, Alpha Voyages marketing director.

Representing Alpha Voyages, Craun attended an Awards banquet for Sandals top performing US travel agencies this past December. The ceremony was at the Beaches Resort in Turks and Caicos. “One of our treats was to see the new Beaches’s Key West Village. “I could not believe how well Sandals captured the aura of Key West. The small two story Floridian cottages with balconies are a sharp contrast to the Italian and Caribbean Villages there at the resort,” said Craun.  Sandals also flew us to the Bahamas to inspect the new room categories at Sandals Emerald Bay with a brunch held on the Golf Course.

Destination | Go Blue Ridge Travel
This April 27th, Alpha Voyages will host a “Hole in One Challenge” for golfers at the new Destination - BLUE RIDGE wedding and travel destination show in Front Royal, Virginia.  The challenge will take place at the Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Course. Brides, Grooms, Dads, Granddads, and anyone who plays golf can register for a tee time or compete in the Putt, Putt game to qualify. The winner will be awarded a $10,000 vacation at any Sandals resort of their choice based on availability. Any golfer playing the course that day will have the opportunity to hit a 160 Yard Par 3 on the 18th Hole for the win. “We are also selecting 50 other participants who will be driven to the 18th hole to take their hit." Register today!

La Source - Grenada


Sandals | Alpha VoyagesIn May, Williams will fly to the highest luxurious resort in the Sandals collection, the new ‘La Source’ in Grenada. This is the first opportunity for travel agents to be brought to the island and see the Sandals highest luxury resort.

“Congratulations on your hard working first quarter. I view you as a significant contributor to the Sandals and Beaches business in VA and would love to have you join our Southeast Sales Team VIP FAM in May,” said Luke Majewski, Business Development Manager, Unique Vacations Inc of Sandals Resorts.

Sandals | Alpha VoyagesAdam Stuart, CEO of Sandals said, “La Source is the epitome of Sandals innovation. Over 1600 square feet with the bathroom matching the size of the bedroom, the resort has three freshwater pools and two river pools. The resource will boast the first India restaurant opens to accommodate the increasing international tourists and the first Butch Stuart Steakhouse matching the quality of leading steak houses in New York City.”

“This is the first opportunity given to travel agents to see the new property purchased in August 2013,” said Williams. “I feel honored to be traveling with agents from cities much larger than Winchester. The air travel to Grenada is not good. La Source has over 225 rooms to fill. It is going to be interesting to watch how Sandals addresses the travel issue. It will not surprise me that they do not buy an airline.”

Sandals | Alpha Voyages

Williams is delighted to have another Sandals island where there is a spectacular high end property. “I can hardly wait to put my toes into the pink sand. It usually takes me four times seeing a property to truly know the property. Sandals has over a forty-eight percent return rate so having more islands for my clients to explore makes my work with Sandals all the more worthwhile financially. Besides there is something to be said to having to travel to a warm beautiful island even if it is for business!”  said Williams.

Contact ‘MJ’ Williams, owner of Alpha Voyages at 540-662-6279 or email her at mj@alphavoyages.com. MJ is a Preferred Sandals Agent, a Master Cruise Counselor. Alpha Voyages is an IATAN recognized agency. The agency is located in Winchester, Virginia serving a sixty mile radius of the Shenandoah Valley.

GoBRT's Launches First Virginia Kids Video Contest

Published by Nancy, at 6:02 PM. Categories: Tags: Childrens Activities,Kids Activities,Virginia,Winchester,Middleburg,Harrisonburg,West Virginia,Film

GoBRT Launches Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail with a Kids Video Contest

A new mobile travel website geared toward putting kids in the driver’s seat for family vacations has finally hit the road after months of planning. Kicking off a two month celebration, GoBRT (GoBlueRidgeTravel) launches the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail.

Kids Activities | Go Blue Ridge TravelA new mobile travel website geared toward putting kids in the driver’s seat for family vacations has launched after months of planning. Kicking off a two month celebration, GoBRT (GoBlueRidgeTravel) will launch the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail with a contest for 8th - 12th graders. "The goal is to let older kids be the spokespersons for their younger siblings. It is kids talking to kids about why groing up or visiting the Piedmont and the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginis is so special," said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel. 

The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail is a partnership with Virginia Tourism to promote family travel to the Shenandoah Valley. Using both GoBlueRidgeTravel.com/KidsTrail and ShenandoahValleyKidsTrail.com, families will have easy access to activities and events making their visit to the Valley easy. Kids can fill up their buckets with fun and educational experiences here in the region before they turn 18!

Young filmmakers in grades 8 - 12 will be given the opportunity to submit short videos of kid-friendly experiences in the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont region. The videos will be posted on You Tube and judged by a panel of film industry professionals who live in the region.

The contest begins on March 10th and will culminate in 12 videos being selected to compete on the big screen at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester Virginia on Saturday April 19th. Entrants must have an adult sponsor and endorsement from their school. Prizes include $1000 for the student (s) with the #1 video and $1000 to the school system who sponsors them.

There are three goals for this event -
1. Celebrate the lifestyle of a child growing up in the Shenandoah Valley and The Piedmont Regions.
2. Encourage pre-teens (12 - 18) to highlight the best kid-friendly experiences in the Valley for younger children.
3. Expand the educational emphasis on filmmaking as a career option for young enthusiasts.

The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail connects dozens of family-friendly activities across the Valley and beyond through a website engineered toward children. Tech-savvy kids and teens can pull up a map through the site that shows their location and what’s around them. A map centered on downtown Harrisonburg, for example, shows the Explore More Discovery Museum, Hillandale Park, the Virginia Quilt Museum and the Residence Inn by Marriott, just to name a few. For Winchester, the map shows the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, George Washington Headquarters, and then stay at The Grand Wyndham George Washington Hotel within easy walking distance.

"It is the goal of the contest to discover soem of the best kid experiences here in the region," said Nancy Craun. "At the end of the contest we will have the top ten 2014 bucket list experiences. We are thrilled to have six great judges which includes Steve Nerangis, partner and creatvie manager of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Winchester. Plus:

  • Jim Kopp - Owner of the Family Drive In Theater
  • Paul DiFranco - Music Supervisor for TV and Film. Paul has over 25 years of experience, having assembled soundtracks for such notable films as Soul Surfer, Blue Crush 2, and Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
  • Dale Jackson - Filmmaker, Partner:Zom-Bee TV. Dale directed the award-winning film Maxwell Stein, which out its premiere at the Alamo Drafthouse. Zom-Bee TV is a streaming horror channel that is featured on Roku and has over 80,000 vieweres.
  • Brian Patrick - Founder of the Skyline Indie Film Fest
  • Andy Gyurisin - Founder, Film Club 3.0, Winchester. Film 3.0 is a group of over 800 members that meets weekly at the Alamo to screen independent, foreign, documentary and classic film.

Tourism directors in Winchester, Harrisonburg, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties are excited about what the site might mean for tourism entities across the Valley.

“We’re really thrilled to be part of this,” said Brenda Black, tourism director for Harrisonburg Tourism. “It’s really going to expose Harrisonburg’s attractions, the children’s museum, events, Art in the Park and so many more amenities we have to offer as a family-friendly destination.”

Jenna French, director of tourism and marketing for Shenandoah County, added that it could increase tourism revenue by encouraging families to book longer stays instead of driving through or just spending one night.

“We’re excited about what it can do for our county because we’ve always gotten calls from families coming to this area, looking for things to do,” French said. “Now there’s one comprehensive website to send them to and a brochure to be able to hand them that will really lay out everything there is to do within the entire Shenandoah Valley.”

The site is still under development, and more locations will be added to it in the future based on feedback the creators receive. It will eventually feature many natural recreation sites, such as a hidden swimming hole few people may know about, or a particularly gorgeous hike a little bit off the beaten path.

The Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail is a partnership between Go Blue Ridge Travel and eight leading tourism businesses in the region. These include:

Great Country Farms - Loudoun County, Va
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Winchester, VA
Country Inn and Suites - Winchester, VA
Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum - Winchester, VA
The Family Drive In Theater - Stephens City, VA
Shenandoah Caverns Family of Attractions - Mt. Jackson, VA
Bryce Resort, Basye, VA
Massanutten Resort, Harrisonburg, VA.

"The amazing success of this marketing campaign is due to the power of partnering between these eight businesses," said Nancy Craun. “We are developing wonderful itinerary packages that teach families how to make their visit to the valley fun for all ages."

About GoBlueRidgeTravel.com
In 2011, GoBlueRidgeTravel.com (GoBRT), also a division of Encore Event Partners was launched to be the only Tri-State regional website showcasing the activities, events, and accommodations in the Blue Ridge Mountains and northern Shenandoah Valley. With a ten year relationship of marketing the region to brides for their wedding destinations, GoBRT is now reaching out to families branding the trademark 'GoBRT's Kids Bucket List' showcasing the experiences tots to teens should have prior to turning eighteen in the valley. In July 2013, Go Blue Ridge Travel with eight Virginia partners received a Marketing Leveraging Grant from Virginia Tourism to develop a mobi website with the target market being families. Covering Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland, Go Blue Ridge Travel’s goal is to brand this 160 mile radius as a travel and wedding destination both nationally and internationally.

Contact: Nancy Craun Founder and President GoBlueRidgeTravel.com Phone: 540.533.1853 Email: info(at)GoBlueRidgeTravel(dot)com

Mom 2 Mom 2014 Spring Consignment Sale Winchester, VA

Published by Nancy, at 6:45 PM. Categories: Tags: Shenandoah Valley,Consignment Sales,Childrens Activities,Winchester,Kids Activities,Kids Shopping,Virginia

Courtesy of Ashley Woods - Mom2MomConsignment.com:

Mom2Mom Consignment EventThe 5th Mom 2 Mom Consignment semi-annual children’s consignment sale begins Friday, March 21st at the Sportsplex in Winchester.

"We will have all things child-related, from Tummy to Teen (including maternity clothing). Sell the great items your kids have outgrown to put some extra money in your pocket. Shop our great deals and keep your kids looking sharp. Save with great prices!" said Ashley Woods.

Moms (and a few dads!) will be selling their gently-used children's items, including clothes, toys, gear, furniture, books, etc., and even some adult clothes!

"We love doing the sale. We will have about 150 moms selling their items at this sale, and expect over 1500 to shop.  The moms that sell get to clean out their closets and make some extra cash on items that their family no longer needs, and moms shopping have an opportunity to buy items that their children need now at a fraction of the cost,” says Ashley Woods, co-owner of Mom 2 Mom Consignment.

Moms from all around the Winchester area will soon be browsing clothes racks, toys, books, furniture, and more, searching for great deals for their family.Mom2Mom Consignment Sale Winchester VA

“I love the good deals.  Kids out grow everything so fast that I refuse to pay full price.  I know that what I do spend goes to a mom who’s going to use it to buy her kid(s) what he or she may need now,” says Jessica Hurdle, Mom 2 Mom Consignment shopper.

“The clothes are name brand, in great shape, and very affordable for those of us on a tight budget,” notes shopper Jennifer Rude.

"We have thousands of items of clothing.  Sizes start at newborn, and go all the way up through teen/adult sizes, including maternity clothes.  We also sell tons of shoes, from infant to teen/adult.  We have furniture, cribs, and strollers as well.  We have pack and plays, swings, car seats; anything you might need to start fresh with a new baby, or raise your kids up through high school," says Stasia Wright, co-owner of Mom 2 Mom Consignment.

If you are a new mom looking to fill a dresser for a new baby and find toys and gear, or a more seasoned mom looking to find trendy clothes for your teenager, this is the place to be. A high quality consignment sale can be a great kids shopping experience.

Mom2Mom Consignment Sale Winchester VA“It's great to know that things that my daughters have outgrown are going to have a new home, and hopefully be passed on from there.  We feel like it's the ‘green’ thing to do," says Wright.

Consignors are allowed to pick up their unsold items at the end of the sale to do with as they want.  For the items left behind, they are put to a good home!  Mom 2 Mom Consignment donates unsold and left behind items to CCAP and ABBA Care, Inc., helping local families in need.

“This is my first consignment, but I love the fact that I can sell my boys things, and if it’s not something we want back, it will be donated!  It’s like cleaning house while making money, and it doesn’t have to be packed away again.  Yippee I am excited!,” says April Fitzgerald, first time consignor with Mom 2 Mom Consignment.

The Spring sale will be open to the public Friday, March 21 through Sunday, March 23.

Hours are: Friday 9am-8pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, Sunday 9am-2pm.

 Many items on Sunday will be available at 50% off.  For more information, please visit www.mom2momconsignment.com

Regional Sales Manager Opens at Go Blue Ridge Travel

Published by Nancy, at 2:58 PM. Categories: Tags: job opportunities in Shenandoah Valley VA,Sales Manager in Winchester,VA

If you love the Blue Ridge and northern Shenandoah Valley, then consider joining our team? 

Regional Sales Manager - Go Blue Ridge Travel is looking for a new team member who is passionate about the Blue Ridge & northern Shenandoah Valley. You'll be responsible initially for selling website advertising and sponsorships for targeted marketing event campaigns.

Title - Regional Sales Manager for Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT)

Duties and Responsibilities include – 

  • Take the current GoBRT data base and expand by researching advertiser prospects based on categories on Go Blue Ridge Travel
  • Categorize these Prospects by Sales Opportunities
  • Sell website advertising at five levels from Platinum Plus ($1799) to the Basic ($49)
  • Sell web banner ads to national advertisers who reside in the region ($2500)
  • Sell Featured marketing programs for events occurring in the region starting at $595 per event
  • Sell sponsorships for targeted marketing campaigns to include the new Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail programs as well as the first annual Destination - Blue Ridge Travel Show on April 27, 2014. 
  • Sell web banner ads to national advertisers who reside in the region ($2500)

Goals

  • Expand the sales team as GoBRT expands the territory they serve.
  • Establish a network web for GoBRT and the new Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail and Virginia Kids Trail.

Work Environment

  • Flexible working hours
  • Telecommuting from your home based office
  • Travel required but mileage reimbursement

Job Attributes

  • Strong Sales Experience
  • Team Builder
  • Disciplined, organized, and self-directed with high motivation skills
  • Sensitivity to clients needs and product strength to develop a good targeted marketing package for them to buy
  • Follow up skills to guarantee customer loyalty and respect

Compensation Package

  • Base Salary
  • 10 to 15% Commission on sales
  • Two Weeks Vacation after one year of service

If you have a track record for sales, then you'll be keen to apply your current skills & to take this opportunity to learn, grow, and achieve well about average results. If you believe this is you, be ready to show us why when you call us today at 540-533-1853.

 

Culinary Series #3 - Made from Scratch Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Winchester VA

Published by Nancy, at 2:38 PM. Categories: Tags: Virginia,Winchester,Romantic Getaways,Culinary_Winery_Events,Blue Ridge Bride

 

 

Valentine Events | Go Blue Ridge TravelGo Blue Ridge Travel's featured Valentine event is "Red Carpet Romance at the Alamo". Celebrating its third year in partnership with GoBRT and Blue Ridge Bride, couples will literally walk in the theater on a Red Carpet listening to harp music. The event begins with a champagne reception in the lobby and picture taking of the romantic couple. At this event you get it all including red rose at your table, chocolates, and prizes from Kernstown Commons merchants. For many couples, this event is becoming a tradition. Then you get to watch the opening premiere of 2014's Valentine movie - "Winter's Tale" starring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe, and Jessica Brown Findlay (formerly Sybil Branson of Downton Abbey).

Culinary | Go Blue Ridge TravelHowever, one of the biggest surprises at the event is the menu.  This year is the first year for Chef Barbara Hineline to oversee the 4 course menu. Having just attended an event at the Alamo, I experienced the best fish tacos I have ever had and the signature cherry chocolate cake cannot be resisted.  The Valentine event will feature Tenderloin of Beef Medallions with Broiled Maryland Crabcake, Roasted Asparagus, Mini Loaded Potato Pancake, and a White Balsamic Mead Reduction as the main course. A Vegetarian option is available.

I asked Barbara as part of our Wine and Craft Beer Series to give me a blog about why the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a perfect match for her.  Enjoy -

 

"A Baltimore Girl’s Journey to Craft Beers"


Go Blue Ridge TravelBeing from “The Land of Pleasant Living” automatically makes me a “Natty Boh” fan. And since the famous “One Eyed, Mustached” Man, was my hero in my early legal drinking days. I still have a soft spot for a cold one on a hot summer day, especially if I’m at an O’s game HON! As a young woman in Baltimore, I learned to love beer.  It was hard not to do, given that Baltimore's first manufacturing industry was a brewery, and to this day Baltimoreans appreciate their beer, so much in fact, that we have been increasingly skipping over commercial, watered-down brews, in favor of local craft beers.


Craft beers are nothing new in Baltimore, in fact, Hugh Sisson, opened and operated Baltimore’s first brewpub, Sissons, in the late 80’s. Given that it was the first brew pub opened in Baltimore since Prohibition, it was a novelty at the time to go to South Baltimore’s Federal Hill area, and get beer brewed right on the premise, as well as buy a “growler” to go, and come back time and time again to have it refilled to take home and enjoy; thereby setting the craft beer movement in Baltimore in motion.  Who know that nearly 30 years later, this would become the standard in many a brewpubs across the country, not to mention a movie theater.


Last year, when I had the opportunity to accept a job as Executive Chef at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, I could not pass it up.  Imagine, a life long lover of local brewed beers, working in a venue that has well over 30 craft beers on it’s list, in addition, they have the “growler” program that I so came to love many years ago.  We serve over 30 different kinds of beers, both draught and bottled, craft and commercial.  What I like best, is being able to go back to my affingent for local brews, and at Alamo Drafthouse we offer quite a few.  My favorite beers tend to be dark and heavy, full of nut, caramel, vanilla, coffee, and even peanut butter. The three I like best that have all my favorite characteristics are Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, originally brewed in Virginia, but now brewed in Delaware.  Devils Backbone, brewed in Nelson, Virginia, which in an amber colored lager with hints of nut & vanilla. And finally, Sweet Baby Jesus, brewed in Maryland.  This porter has a peanutty chocolate finish.  All three are the perfect combination to enjoy either by the pint or with friends by the growler.  Additionally, they are perfect to cook with, blending our Drafthouse persona with our movie food standards. 


Culinary |Go Blue Ridge TravelAt Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, I have blended these great beers with some amazing menu items.  I have done Drafthouse Gingerbread with a hint of Dominion Oak Barrel Stout.  Our new Cherry Chocolate Cake is perfect for the Sweet Baby Jesus Porter, a hint of the peanut butter with the chocolate and a slight coffee finish….not need for the an espresso here! And finally, the Devils Backbone Lager is used in a crispy batter for our special Fish Tacos, run for a limited time.  It is amazing how to incorporate these brews into our foods, thereby offering our guests a real Drafthouse experience.


You never know where you are going to find yourself.  A local Baltimore girl, drinking Natty Boh, and even PBR, which we do sell by the bottle, growing up with Breweries in almost every neighborhood, finding the perfect career combination.  Enjoy one of life’s tasteful treasures and cooking with them as well."

Thanks Barbara - for a great personal blog - her bio:

Chefs | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Barbara Hineline, a Winchester resident has been involved in the Restaurant, Catering, and Event Planning business for over 20 years. Barbara has worked in a wide array of dining venues during her career, including the acclaimed  Jean Louis at Watergate. She has been Director of Catering and  Assistant  General Manager for  Baltimore based Donnas at the Baltimore Museum of Art and General Manager at Donnas in the St. Gregory Hotel, Georgetown. While in Baltimore and DC, Barbara has had the opportunity to cater to many celebrities, including Jodie Foster, Holly Hunter, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and many more, as well as countless politicians including Ronald Regan, George Bush, SR, Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, and many Senators and Congressmen & Women.

In addition to Catering and Event Planning,   she has taught Cooking classes in several Winchester locations, and has planned events for companies from Winchester to Miami, Florida. In the summer of 2009,  Barbara won a Character Fantasy Contest for the USA Network, where she filmed her own Cooking Show that aired Nationally.

Well versed in a wide range of cooking styles, Barbara brings a great deal of diverse cooking to augment the standard Alamo menu, offering a wide variety of gluten free and vegetarian options.  Barbara is also ready to meet any other dietary restrictions.  She welcomes emails and inquiries into how she can make your dining a Alamo Drafthouse Cinema a great experience for you.

Affordable Wedding Venues in the Shenandoah Valley 2014

Published by Nancy, at 9:17 AM. Categories: Tags: Weddings,Wedding Venues,Virginia Weddings,Virginia,Shenandoah Valley Reception Sites,West Virginia,Weddings in the Shenandoah Valley

Weddings | Blue Ridge Bridal ShowOne of the most wonderful exciting times is when a woman hears the words, "Will you marry me?"  But once those words have settled in, then reality sets in with wedding couples: "How are we going to celebrate this special event and afford to celebrate it without breaking the bank?"

  • Happiness #1 - A marriage needs to start out with finances on the table. 
  • Reality #1 -  - Get Real and Stay Real.

So before you come to the show this Sunday at Millwood Station, here are some venues for you to consider.  Some will be at the show for you to have a face to face discussion on your options.  Others are partners with us in all the many events we do through out the year. Blue Ridge Bridal Show and Go Blue Ridge Travel are the Shenandoah Valley's wedding resource guide that will help you.

Tented Wedding Shenandoah Valley

 

The wedding reception can consume the major part of your budget so picking a venue wisely should be your number one concern. Reception sites set their costs based on what they are providing for you. The least expensive are the outdoor facilities such as a barn, tented site options.  A couple has to have a reality check that venues not offering a 'weather proof option' but extremely affordable will fit their dream wedding.  Seeing beautiful outdoor pictures is wonderful when the sun is out and it is warm.  "I always suggested a bride and groom come to a venue on a bad weather day and make sure if this was their day they would be totally happy.  My worst memories as an event planner was seeing not only the bride and groom but the guests freeze to death during a wedding reception."

Wedding Winchester VABest value locations are those that provide you with the basics for one price such as tables, chairs, sometimes basic linens.  These are often restaurants and hotels who own these ammendies and can afford to include these costs in their fees. The hotel sites will often have the most room to negotiate if you are also taking rooms with them.

Extremely desirable wedding venue options offering you the opportunity to be on the property for the weekend of your event  but more expensive are the destination resorts, historic manor homes, and bed and breakfasts. One way to make these venues fit your budget is to narrow your guest list  - less people - less cost. Also, be flexible on the day of the week. You will be amazed at the price differences.

The major discussion that needs to occur between you and the groom before you talk to anyone else is what you both want your memories to be. This is your wedding as long as you pay for it. Involving your parents then opens the door to their opinions as well. 

What's Hot in Wedding Venues in the Blue Ridge!

The Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley is one of the most beautiful wedding destinations in the United States.  From historic hotels - manor homes, country inns, mountain resorts, historic homes, museums, hotels, and private event venues, Blue Ridge Brides have unlimited options. There are also some very unique options including caverns, barns, river sites, and more.  Few U.S. destinations offer the diversity of reception venues found in the northern Blue Ridge region. 

This is our second publication of this guide. It's popularity was sustained for an entire year. Check out the beautiful destinations and also the unique and affordable - truly beautiful magnificent venues are at your fingertips. 

The $ symbol is only to give you an idea of price. Depending on the date, size of wedding, reception venues are always open to working with you.  Call and Ask your Questions!

Country Inns, Manor Homes, and Bed & Breakfasts -

Wedding Venue Middleburg VA     Middleburg, VA - Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast  - $$

Wedding Venue Berryville VA Berryville, VA - Historic Rosemont Manor - $$$

Wedding Venue Lovettsville, VA Stone Manor Bed & Breakfast - $$$

 

Event Venue Centers & Restaurants

describe the image Winchester, VA - Historic Jordan Springs - $$

Wedding Venue Winchester VA Winchester, VA - Millwood Station Special Event Center - $

 

 

Reception Sites | Blue Ridge Bridal Show

 

 

  Harrisonburg, VA - 1380 Blackberry Lane - $

 

 

  

Hotels

Hotels | Go Blue Ridge Travel  Winchester, VA - ALoft - $

 

Hotels | Go Blue Ridge TravelWinchester, VA - Country Inn & Suites - $

Reception Site Winchester VA Winchester, VA - Hilton Garden Inn $$

Wedding Reception Front Royal VA      Front Royal, VA -
Holiday Inn & Suites Front Royal Blue Ridge Shadows - $

 

Hotels | Go Blue Ridge Travel 

 

 Woodstock, VA - Holiday Inn Express $

 

 

 

Resorts with Restaurants - True Wedding Destinations

Wedding Destinations | Blue Ridge BrideHot Springs, Virginia - The Homestead  $$$$

 

Wedding Destination Resort Middleburg VA Paris, VA -  Ashbly Inn & Restaurant - $$$ 

 

Wedding Destination Harrisonburg VA Basye, VA Bryce Resort - $

 

describe the image Charles Town, WV - Hillbrook Inn - $$$

Wedding Destination Harrisonburg VA Harrisonburg, VA - Massnutten Resort - $

Wedding Resort Winchester VAWinchester, VA - The George Washington Hotel - $$

 

Wedding Venues | Go Blue Ridge Travel  

 

 

Upperville, VA - Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant - $$

 

Wedding Destinations | Go Blue Ridge Travel

 



  Luray, VA - The Mimslyn Inn     $$

 

 

 

 

From Barns to Mountain Tops and More - Unique and Affordable

Harpers Ferry | Go Blue Ridge TravelHarpers Ferry, WV - Harpers Ferry Adventure Center - $

 

Mountain Top Weddings | Blue Ridge Bride Basye, VA - Bryce Resort Mountain Tops - $

 

Reception Site Shenandoah ValleyMt. Jackson, VA - The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns - $

Barns | Blue Ridge BrideShenandoah Junction, WV - The Barn at York Hill  - $

 

Wedding Venues | Blue Ridge BrideHarrisonburg, VA - The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum - $

 

 

Wedding Receptions | Blue Ridge Bride Winchester, VA - The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - $

 

Wineries

Wedding Venue Bluemont VA Bluemont, VA - Bluemont Vineyard: The Cellar and The Stable - $$

Two Best Virginia Ski Resorts in the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 10:14 AM. Categories: Tags: Childrens Activities,Kids Activities,Virginia,Lodging Shenandoah Valley VA WV,Snow Sports,Skiing,Harrisonburg

Ease of Travel and Excellent Snow Conditions wins Massanutten Resort and Bryce Resort high marks from the DC Northern Virginia Ski Enthusiast. Offering Skiing, Snow Boarding, Snow Tubing, and Ice Skating plus a year round Water Park makes these two resorts a great choice this Winter.

Snow Sports | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Blue Ridge & Allegheny Mountains in the Shenandoah Valley Virginia

A Life Time of Fun on the Slopes!

When the weather outside turns cold, Virginia and West Virginia winter’s fun is just starting to heat up. Many look to the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains of Virginia as a great day trip or 48 hour road trip out of the DC Metropolitan area. Whether one is an adrenaline junkie who loves the exhilaration of snowboarding or downhill skiing or one is the fun-loving type who goes for laughter-filled race on inner tubes, Virginia ski resorts offer a variety of activities that are sure to please all ages and skill levels. Then, after an invigorating day on the slopes, kick back and relax with a great meal and a warm fireplace at lodging accommodations that range from rustic to luxurious.

From exhilarating snow sports to winter festivals, horse-drawn sleigh rides, snow tubing, hockey, ice skating and more, there’s no better time to come see what makes a trip to Virginia a love experience.

Skiing | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Downhill Skiing -
Massanutten Resort’s skiing means days spent on an 1,100-foot vertical drop with great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Ski down the 3,300-foot Diamond Jim or the 4,100-foot Para-dice. The terrain park is for riders, ski boarders, and twin tip skiers.

Bryce Resort has long catered to skiing families and is only two hours from Washington, D.C. The area has 25 acres of ski able terrain and a vertical of around 500 feet. There are five lifts servicing eight runs.

Trained instructors can help get you down the mountain like a pro. If one can’t get enough skiing during the day, both Massanutten and Bryce offer night skiing, too.

Snowboarding | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Snowboarding -
While this extreme sport certainly takes some getting used to, it is no longer solely in the realm of daredevil teenagers. If tricks and stunts are one's thing, Massanutten and Bryce have terrain parks built with challenging obstacles galore.

Snow Tubing -
The slopes may not be as challenging, but the pure childlike glee one gets snow tubing is rewarding. Headfirst, feet first or spinning in circles, it’s an activity the whole family can enjoy. Don’t worry about trudging back up the hill – both resorts have lifts.

Ski Training -
Kenny Hess, Skiing Director at Massanutten Resort, said, “ The popularity of Massanutten is because of the ease of getting here. Whether you are coming from DC or from the South, Massanutten is closer than going to the West Virginia mountains or even for some the North Carolina mountain ski resorts. Plus we offer much more than just skiing such as Massanutten’s new ice skating rink or our year round indoor Water Park perfect for wanting to get away from snow and the cold.”

Skiing Kids | Go Blue Ridge Travel

“Children can begin skiing at four years old. Skiing is a great family adventure. Massanutten Resort’s goal is to make it a positive experience at a young age so it because a lifestyle activity. Now that the ski resorts make their own snow, Massanutten and other ski resorts can offer better and more consistent ski conditions than in years,” said Hess.

With forty seven years at Bryce Resort, Ski School Director Horst Locher says it is never too late to learn to ski. “ Today skis are shorter and with the man-made snow, you have a more forgiving course," said Locher. “This has been a great ski season since temperatures were ready for snow making at Thanksgiving."

"Here at Bryce Resort our trademark is ‘a Family Resort.’ There are no shuttle buses to ride or long hikes to the ski lifts. Bryce is smaller than the West Virginia ski resorts. Parents can sit inside by the fire at the ski lodge and watch their children,” said Locher.

Snow Sports | Go Blue Ridge Travel

"Bryce is one giant playground," said Vicki Bellerose, the director of Bryce’s Kinder School for four years. Ashleigh a parent from Alexandria, Virginia has been coming to the resort since 1986. “Now I have a four year old. In one hour at the Kinder School she gained the confidence to take the bunny slope by herself,” said Ashleigh.

Cozy Cabins and Condos or Luxury Accommodations –
Travelers in Virginia will find a variety of cabins and vacation homes to rent, from gas-lit pioneer cabins to air-conditioned modern ones. Sit by the fire or soak in a hot tub as you enjoy a relaxing getaway near some of the state’s finest attractions and outdoor recreational opportunities. Search Go Blue Ridge Travel's regional accommodation directory for more information.

Ski Packages -
Both Bryce and Massanutten offer Ski Discount Packages and Seasonal & Holiday Packages make planning the perfect Virginia winter vacation or weekend getaway affordable. Purchasing tickets one day ahead can offer you up to 60% in savings.

Luxury Wedding Destinations and Mountain Venues

Published by Nancy, at 10:47 PM. Categories: Tags: Wedding Destinations,Virginia,West Virginia,Affordable Wedding Venues

Imagine a full day of wedding planning, conveniently located one-stop-shop of everything a Bride will need. Blue Ridge Bridal Show's Winter Marketplace is like accessing the pages of one's favorite wedding magazine with a special emphasis on 'why' a bride should choose the Shenandoah Valley as her wedding destination.

Weddings | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Showcasing the Best of the Northern Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley in VA & WV

Unique Mountain Top Venues in the Shenandoah Valley

Winchester, VA (PRWEB) January 15, 2014

2014 sees the growth of wedding destinations continue to expand from the Caribbean Islands to the United States. With three international airports within one hour of each other, Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and West Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains are an easy road trip for visitors attending a wedding in the valley.

Virginia and West Virginia are seeing prime wedding venues and resorts opening up on a yearly basis. The Blue Ridge Winter Marketplace Bridal Show offers brides the opportunity to meet face to face with these venues as well as have a one-stop-shop experience to select photographers, honeymoon specialists, beauty and wellness experts, and more.

Virginia Weddings | Blue Ridge BridalSince budgets vary from one couple to the next, Blue Ridge Bride’s Winter show presents fourteen venues. This includes the Omni luxury resort, ‘The Homestead’, in Hot Springs, Virginia. Absolute luxury surrounded by the natural beauty of the Allegheny Mountains, the Homestead offers brides timeless elegance. Brides can pick from a magnificent ballroom to the intimate Tower Suite to an outdoor setting amid a breathtaking landscape.

A second luxury resort is the Hillbrook Inn and Spa in Charles Town, West Virginia. Situated on George Washington’s first land purchase in 1750, this Harpers Ferry Bed and Breakfast evokes a warm, relaxing and inviting atmosphere for guests to enjoy. More than 30 sprawling acres divided among three separate properties provide a quiet retreat just one hour outside of Washington D.C. Local attractions include award-winning Virginia wineries, the Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, Summit Point Speedway and Harpers Ferry.

When one drives up Route 7 and passes thru Clarke and Frederick County, the small town of Berryville is the home ofHistoric Rosemont Manor 1811. The home of former Virginia Governor and Senator Harry Flood Byrd, Sr, this manor house has seen past presidents spend a country weekend away from Metropolitan DC. Known for its elegant teas, Rosemont offers one of the largest front porches in the South - a breathtaking photo-op for a bride and groom.

Virginia Weddings | Blue Ridge BridalIf the country quaintness suits your fancy, then Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast just outside of Middleburg allows the bride and groom to enjoy this famous small Virginia town. Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant is an Irish oasis in Virginia fox hunting country. The inn sits on 45 acres against the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Shane O’Connor, owner, invites brides and grooms to relax and unwind in the cabins and cottages enjoying an evening of music in the Wolfe Tone’s Irish Pub. For the small wedding desiring the best in culinary experiences, The Ashby Inn and Restaurant is a great choice for a small wedding setting of fifty or below in the village of Paris, Virginia.

It is often said all roads lead to Winchester, Virginia, home of Patsy Cline. The George Washington Grand Hotel, a Wyndham historic property, offers the bride and groom a small hotel setting. “Beautifully restored, the Half Note is one of my favorite spots at the hotel with it large jazz murals, saids Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Blue Ridge Bride.”

If you want a mountain top view, then there are two options. Bryce Resort in Basye, Virginia offers a mountain top ceremony area only accessible by ski lift. Bryce has a beautiful lodge for the reception nestled in the mountains with vacation rentals of condos, villas, and cabins available for the wedding guests.West Virginia Weddings | Blue Ridge Bridal

Harpers Ferry Adventure Center overlooks the Potomac River in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Home of watersports, ziplines, and segway nature tours, the center opens for tented weddings this year. Offering luxury and rustic cabin lodging, the outdoors bride will love this location.

Wrapping up the Shenandoah venues are the barns. The BRBS Winter Marketplace will showcase two rustic locations. The Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns offers a unique setting with the American Flag as a back drop and the Diamond Cascade of the caverns as a photo opt for the bride and groom. Just outside of Charles Town, WV is the historic orchard farm, York Hill. This is a stone barn built into the hillside with a elegant farm house for the bride to use for dressing. Beautifully rustic, York Hill is this year’s Best Kept Wedding Secret in the Shenandoah Valley,

The goal of the show is to give couples a fun interactive four hour event celebrating what it means to be a bride and groom. Not only will brides meet the venues owners and the wedding professionals, but there will be four hours of games, cooking demonstrations, culminating in a fashion show by Potomac Bridals of Hagerstown, Maryland.

“Blue Ridge Bridal Show is the only bridal show in the metropolitan area that courts the grooms. He gets his own contest and his own prizes. Once he completes the Grooms Honeymoon Roll the Dice Challenge, all the grooms get to celebrate with the beverage of their choice. It is pretty intense and fun to see the brides patting their grooms on the back encouraging them. Ultimately one groom wins a FREE honeymoon from Alpha Voyages of Winchester, Virginia” said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Blue Ridge Bride. “The valley is like no other area with its own aura and heritage. One has to live here to understand why this region is a gem for the romantic couple. Between its historic past and the music that lives in its people past and present, the Shenandoah Valley offers a true wedding experience like no other,” said Craun.

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