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GoBRT Launches 2014’s Ultimate Bucket List Just For Kids for VA & WV

Published by Nancy, at 9:25 PM. Categories: Tags: Family_Events,Family Fun,Kids Activities,Childrens Activities

What is it like to grow up in the northern Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley in towns like Leesburg, Winchester, and Harrisonburg or the small villages of Bluemont, Harpers Ferry, and Woodstock? Go Blue Ridge Travel, a regional website for the northern Blue Ridge Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley, is creating a 'bucket list' for kids for 2014. The goal is to find activities and events that every young person should experience before they turn eighteen!

Each week this fall on GoBRT's FACEBOOK page, Go Blue Ridge Travel will feature different experiences kids can have in the valley.  Vote on your favorite!
Join the fun and win tickets to the best attractions here in the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley.

Most importantly, take a look back at your early years growing up in the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley and write on GoBRT Facebook's wall or our blog about an experience you think our children today should have to make their childhood years great.

Kids Bucket List | Gio Blue Ridge Travel

2014 The Best of Kids Experiences!
“Being a Kid in the Shenandoah Valley”

As the hot summer wraps up and Indian Summer begins, Go Blue Ridge Travel's website will focus on what it is like to grow up in the northern Blue Ridge Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley. Go Blue Ridge Travel covers a little over a hundred mile oval of Interstate 81 including the states Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland and twelve counties. From the aura of wineries to horse farms to the beauty of the the Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive to the rich agricultural Shenandoah Valley and the Indian legends of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meeting in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, this region offers young people history, adventure, and the laid back country lifestyle.

Part of the attraction of this beautiful scenic countryside is the diversity of cultures, activities, and events that exist for kids of all ages. For many parents, making the decision to move to one of our regions away from the bustle, congestion, and crimes of the larger metropolitan areas is like going back to their childhood. Life is simpler and slower in the Shenandoah Valley and also safer for a child. It is also richer in a non- monetary perspective.

Kids Bucket List | Go Blue Ridge TravelTo kick off Go Blue Ridge Travel's 2014 Kids Bucket List, GoBRT will salute the agricultural industry of the region. As it has become more difficult for the farm industry to survive a balance has been achieved thru agri-tourism and Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) programs. One of the best examples of this union is Great Country Farms(GCF) in Bluemont, Virginia. "Here kids can learn about farming in a fun environment. From fishing, to picking strawberries, to seeing farm animals, kids learn about the food chain while having fun. Every event we have has an agricultural theme." saids Kate Zurchmeide, co-owner of Great Country Farms.

Two upcoming Fall GCF events are the Apple Gala and Cider Festival and the Pumpkin Harvest Festival.  Kids can become a Maze Master by challenging each of GCF's 4 mazes or climb up the Rubber Ridge tractor tire mountain the fastest or romp in a Corn Bin. Watching apples pressed into apple cider, let's kids learn more about the food chain.

Combining Agri-Tourism with love of culinary arts, Nibblins, a kitchenware retail store in Winchester, Virginia has created a series of cooking classes called "MOMMY AND ME" OR "HEIR AND A PARENT” enabling parents to share their love of cooking with their children between ages 6 and 11. Armed with recipes and ingredients, parents and their children can work together as a team to create their own culinary masterpieces.

Shenandoah Valley Kids TrailJanuary 2014 with the help of Virginia Tourism, GoBRT started the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail.  Our mascot, ‘Bucket’ will take a look at the experiences you are telling us about, and include them on the trail for 2015. There are ten partners on our focus team to include Great Country Farms, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, The Family Drive In Theater, Bryce Resort, Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, Shenandoah Caverns Family Attractions, and Massanutten Resorts, Visit Shenandoah County, and Visit Harrisonburg.  

Top Ten Virginia Fall Festivals and Events in the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 8:17 AM. Categories: Tags: Mountain_Biking,Virginia,Beer_Happenings,West Virginia,Music_Festivals,Festivals/Fairs

Combining the beauty of the changing of the leaves with culinary and music festivals 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.

Shenandoah Valley|GoBlueRidgeTravel

Describing the changing of the leaves includes stunning, breathtaking, amazing, vibrant, crisp and that there must be at least one hundred more adjectives that can describe the immense beauty of the season. This fall promises to be especially incredible, as Virginia's summer was wetter and cooler than usual - the perfect scenario for amazing foliage. From Virginia's apples, civil war and quilts, bicylist adventure, to our culinary and music festivals, the Valley features something for all ages and interests.

#1 Great Country Farms Apple Gala and Cider Festival - Bluemont, VA

Apple Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelApple Gala and Cider Festival  –  September may mean back to school for many, but at Great Country it means back to the farm for freshly pressed cider and apples!  We will celebrate the start of the cider-pressing season with tastings of this season’s best sparkling cider blends including peach, cherry and raspberry. Take home some freshly pressed cider. Don't worry, we didn't forget about the parents! For our very first year we are excited to announce that Showalter’s Orchard will be offering hard cider. Come watch the members and friends of Catoctin Presbyterian Church in Waterford, VA who have been making apple butter for more than twenty-five years.


Civil War | Go Blue Ridge Travel Family Drive In –Celebrate the Civil War with an Encampment Movie Marathon to benefit the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation.  From live Civil War encampments to the firing of the canon to appearances by Patrick O. Gorman, the actor playing General John Bell Hood in both Gettysburg and Gods and Generals will showcase the three day Civil War movie event. The Family Drive-In Theatre, 5890 Valley Pike (US Rt 11) in Stephens City, Virginia is Virginia's largest drive-in. On September 12, 13, and14th, the theater will host a Civil War movie marathon. The event celebrates the Battle of Cedar Creek by showcasing four classic Civil War movies.

#3 QUILT SYMPOSIUM Winchester Frederick County Historic Society - Winchester, VA

History | Go Blue Ridge TravelQuilt Symposium  – The Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society is very excited to host “A Focus on Quilts from the Lower Shenandoah Valley” September 19 and 20, 2014. A wonderful group of quilt experts have agreed to come and share their knowledge. The symposium will begin at the Hollingsworth Mill on Friday, September 19 with a quilt documentation led by quilt appraiser and historian, Neva Hart.  This project is sponsored by the Virginia Consortium of Quilters, which archives all the information.  Attendees are invited to bring up to three undocumented quilts to be measured, photographed, dated, and patterns identified.

#4 BREWS AND BLUES - Front Royal, VA

Beer Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelBrews and Blues Festival – Warm Sunshine...Fall Colors...Laughter fills the air... These are all signs that the Brew & Blues Festival is just around the corner. Join us on Saturday, September 27, 2014 in historic downtown Front Royal, Virginia for a day of shopping, blues music and of course, beer tasting . The festival gates open at Noon with activities and musical entertainment all day until 8 p.m.



Culinary Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelInternational Family Fun Festival of Cultures - Celebrating our community’s rich intercultural diversity, the Harrisonburg International Festival invites you to join us for our 17th Annual event Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 12:00PM – 6:00PM at Hillandale Park. This unusual event brings together an extravaganza of performing, visual, and culinary arts and a world of beautiful people offering a remarkable smorgasbord of mouth-watering delicacies, musical talent and dance, creative folk art, language and intercultural learning opportunities, a World Bazaar of exquisite hand-made and imported art and souvenirs, and a world of stories waiting to be shared!


Cyclists | Go Blue Ridge TravelAlpine Grand Fondo –September 28th - This magnificent scenery is the backdrop for the most challenging and adventurous Gran Fondo in the United States. The route begins in Harrisonburg, Virginia and covers 105 miles featuring over 11,000 feet of climbing and two dirt road climbs – the toughest Gran Fondo in the States!The Alpine Loop Gran Fondo provides the opportunity and inspiration for individuals and teams to take on great challenges in support of worthy causes. The event directly supports community charities and cycling infrastructure.



#7 0'HURLEY'S MUSIC JAM SESSIONS - Shepherdstown, WV

Music | Go Blue Ridge TravelO'Hurley's Music Jam Sessions –On any Thursday night, musicians arrive at O'Hurley's and start tuning up with a dozen or more musicians playing their dulcimer, banjo, guitar, fiddle, Celtic harp, flute, etc.Visitors can have a seat in a rocking chair and listen in and experience what has been a timeless tradition. What makes the jam sessions even more interesting is that visitors fill the rocking chairs, and listen in, with everything free and open to those entering the large room. There is no such thing as a reservation, as observers are seated first come, first served. Often there is standing room only.


Bryce Resort is the only Bike Park in Virginia, has decided to offer up a weekend of racing on September 26th to highlight just how awesome its trails are. We are happy to present you with official runs on all of your favorite trails at Bryce Resort's Bike Park, plus a few runs that are a special mix of whats on the ground.


Music Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelMassanutten Fall Music Festival –On October 11th, join us for the annual Fall Festival featuring over 60 arts and crafts vendors, live music, food vendors, chairlift rides, kids' activities, wine tasting, and more! 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.



#10 AUTUMN FEST - Woodstock, VA

Fall Festival | Go Blue Ridge TravelAutumn Fest  – At The Shenandoah County Fairgrounds -  An annual event designed to give YOU a lip lickin', banjo pickin', wine sippin' good time! This event will feature a Kansas City Sanctioned BBQ contest, bluegrass bands, a business expo, arts and crafts, wineries, and brews. Come early and enter the cornhole tournament, belt sander contest, and the cow plop bingo game.

The Shenandoah Valley Fall Season offers something for everyone. A road trip to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains will not disappoint!

Va Mountains | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Advertising Introductory Offer for First Time Advertisers

Published by Nancy, at 9:18 PM. Categories: Tags: Advertising Specials

#1 Best Advertising Tool

is Word of Mouth!

Girl on phone

Go Blue Ridge Travel loves to talk.

We talk on Facebook (21,000 + fans and a weekly reach of 35,000 ..... on Twitter (3000 +).... on our blogs (10,000 + per blog) .... and our Going Out Guides.  We talk to the locals.... the visitors ..... and even those strange people getting married called Brides.

We also talk nationally getting an average read circulation of 600,000 re-published by over 120 medias per press release.


Are you talking a lot?
This is today's Marketing World!


Join our Marketing Platform for GoBRt and Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail -

Five Plans Just for You - visibility on two websites for one price from Go Blue Ridge Travel.

Platinum Plus is the ultimate plan for the savvy advertiser with multiple business products. The plan includes:

Multiple pages describing your business products based on five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events*

  • Highest visibility on home page and one search criteria
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  • Action Button for client booking
  • One time Deal $1799 to new advertiser (value $2995)

Platinum Level with Individual Search Visibility Call To Action (CTA) Button

Multiple pages describing your business products based on five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events*

  • Highest visibility on one search criteria above
  • Booking Button can be added to one page for $200
  • One time Deal to $1275 to new advertiser (value $1594)

Platinum Level

Multiple pages describing your business products based on five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events*

  • One time Deal $849 to new advertiser (value $999)

Gold Level with Individual Search Visibility Call To Action (CTA) Button

Single page describing your business product based on one of the five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events*

  • Highest visibility on one search criteria above
  • Booking Button can be added to one page for $200
  • One time Deal $1050 to new advertiser (value $1294)

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Single page describing your business product based on one of the five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events*

  • One time Deal $599 to new advertiser (value $699)

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Single page describing your business product based on one of the five search criteria - Places To Stay, Things To Do, Places to Dine, Kids Trail, Weddings, and Events with logo, url, address, phone # and 50 words.

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* Includes Logo, url, address, phone #, email, 90 + word and minimum 4 pictures.

Advertising Includes the Desk Top Website and GPS Driven Mobile Website

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 Have Questions - Email Nancy!

Go Blue Ridge Travel

Sales Closer Position Opens at Go Blue Ridge Travel

Published by Nancy, at 10:16 PM. Categories: Tags: Job opportunities in E-Commerce Sales,Shenandoah Valley,VA

 If you value the relationships you build with clients and love closing deals, Go Blue Ridge Travel has a position for you on their team.  Qualified leads will be provided to you. Your job will be to sell the integrity of the company and close the sale. 


  • Close the ‘warm’ leads handed to you expanding the territory Go Blue Ridge Travel serves.
  • Establish a partnership network of qualified businesses to become part of the GoBRT E-Commerce Marketing Program in the Piedmont and Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

Work Environment

  • Fulltime position with flexible working hours
  • Telecommuting from your home based office
  • Must own laptop computer and preferably ipad
  • Travel required with mileage reimbursement

Job Attributes

  • Strong sales experience
  • Experiences in meeting targeted sales goals
  • Strong background in E-Commerce
  • 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
  • Strong computer skills to include Word, Power Point, and Excel.

Compensation Package

  • Salary based on 35% commission on sales
  • Two Weeks Paid 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. Please send resume to

Quilting Symposium Coming to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 2:20 PM. Categories: Tags: Virginia,Winchester,History

The Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society is very excited to host “A Focus on Quilts from the Lower Shenandoah Valley” September 19 and 20, 2014. A wonderful group of quilt experts have agreed to come and share their knowledge.
History | Go Blue Ridge TravelThe symposium will begin at the Hollingsworth Mill on Friday, September 19 with a quilt documentation led by quilt appraiser and historian, Neva Hart.  This project is sponsored by the Virginia Consortium of Quilters, which archives all the information.  Attendees are invited to bring up to three undocumented quilts to be measured, photographed, dated, and patterns identified. If available, it is requested that a photo of the quilt maker(s) be provided. The data gathered will be recorded for future use by researchers of history, genealogy, and material culture of Virginia.  This is a continuation of earlier documentation projects. We are hoping to have a good turnout for this quilt documentation, and we encourage all members and their friends to bring in their quilts.  To sign up, please call the Society office at 540/662-6550.

History | Go Blue Ridge TravelOn Friday afternoon, an optional field trip out to Apple Pie Ridge to visit “Cherry Row” is being offered.  Participants will be able to view the quilt collection of Dr. David and Jenny Powers.
Alden O’Brien, Quilt and Textiles Curator, DAR Museum, will be the first speaker on “The Quilts of Amelia Lauck.” Amelia Lauck, (c. 1760-1842) was a master quilter from Winchester. She created identical quilts for three of her six children which are today considered masterpieces of American folk art.

Saturday’s program will begin with Mary Robare, independent researcher, who will speak on “Tracking the Apple Pie Ridge Star: Quakers and Quilts across America.” This illustrated presentation explores the exchange and transmission of one quilt block pattern that was shared within the Society of Friends by a people also known as “Quakers.” A brief overview of the behavioral patterns of Quakers provides perspective on how ideas and quilt designs were transmitted.

Pam Pampe will present “Quilts for Two Centuries”. The roles of women in 19th and 20th century societies changed due to the social pressures of historical events. The way quilts were made and the images they reflected also changed. The two changes did not happen in isolation, but as a direct manifestation of the social and economic pressures of the times.

History | Go Blue Ridge TravelThe next presentor is Neva Hart who will speak on “Shenandoah Patriots – Martz Family Quilts, 1838-1860.” The Martz family lived in the northern Shenandoah Valley since before the American Revolution. Two known family quilts exist which tell living descendants about the culture and political sentiments of their ancestors during the mid-1800s. Along with family records, the quilts reveal information about transportation and trade, horticulture, and politics of the era.
Finally, Linda Eaton will conclude the symposium with “Domesticating Quilts: Furnishings, Formalism, and Folk Art.” This topic will include a discussion on professional quilters and upholsterers, the formal design of many quilt formats and their relation to neoclassical architecture, and how quilts became connected with “folk art.”

All lectures will take place at Shenandoah University, the Stimpson Auditorium, Harry F. Byrd School of Business. Registration is $65 for members and $75 for non-members.  Telephone 540/662-6550 to register by phone. To upload a registration form online, CLICK HERE or please visit our website at

Note - Quilt shown is Rosenberger family quilt c. 1930.

If you are a quilt enthusiast, make sure you plan a trip to the Virginia Quilt Museum in Harrisonburg, Virginia.  One of two quilt museums in the United States.

Virginia Valley's First Civil War Encampment Movie Marathon

Published by Nancy, at 2:02 PM. Categories: Tags: Shenandoah Valley,Family Fun,Family_Events,Virginia,Drive In Theaters Civil_War

Civil War | Go Blue Ridge TravelGo Blue Ridge Travel announces the first ever Drive In Theater Civil War Encampment Movie Marathon to benefit the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation.  From live Civil War encampments to the firing of the canon to appearances by Patrick O. Gorman, the actor playing General John Bell Hood in both Gettysburg and Gods and Generals will showcase the three day Civil War movie event.

The Family Drive-In Theatre, 5890 Valley Pike (US Rt 11) in Stephens City, Virginia is Virginia's largest drive-in. On September 12, 13, and14th, the theater will host a Civil War movie marathon.  The event celebrates the Battle of Cedar Creek by showcasing four classic Civil War movies to include:

  • Friday and Saturday – Gods and Generals and Gettysburg
  • Sunday – Glory and Shenandoah

Civil War | Go Blue Ridge TravelThe event will have a three-day encampment by both the Union and Confederates re-enactors. Families can enjoy experiencing civil war life on the battlefield.  As a fundraiser for the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, visitors will have the opportunity to fire an actual Civil War Cannon.   Re-enactors include the 33rrd Virginia regiment and the 7th Louisiana.

Civil War | Go Blue Ridge TravelActor Patrick O. Gorman will be present all three days for autographs and questions. Gorman played Major General John Bell Hood in the movies- Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. 

The event will be a fundraiser for the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation in Middletown, Virginia.  This year is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek.  This seminal battle secured the Shenandoah Valley for the Union and influenced the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln less than three weeks later. Events in Middletown, Virginia are being planned for October 17-19, 2014 and include reenactments, living history demonstrations, National Park Service ranger programs, interpretive hikes, cannon demonstrations, and an evening commemoration ceremony to honor the sacrifices and memory of the soldiers.

The Drive In is offering a weekend movie pass for: $20/adults or $10/child that will allow you to see all these movies and have fun with civil war history! Daily admissions will also be available at: $8/Adult and $4/Child.

Purchase Tickets Here

The Family Drive In Theater is one of 366 theaters left in the United States.  Last year with the help of its patrons, the Stephens City theater made the transition from film to digital. “Transitioning to digital has been a great move for the drive in theaters,” said Jim Kopp, manger. “ The 100,000 investment was well worth the price. The pictures are clearer and the sound is much better. There are only 366 drive in lefts and many have not been successful in moving to digital.”

Voted by Go Blue Ridge Travel 'a must experience childhood experience', the drive in theater allows families to celebrate one of America’s favorite roadside attractions and re-live the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s and experience how much fun it is to see a movie “under the stars” at one of America’s remaining drive-in theatres!

“The Drive -In is a family affordable experience. Tailgating is what adds to the experience.  Patrons can bring their dog and make their visit a social family event,” said Kopp.

This year drive-in theatres will celebrate their 81st anniversary. In 1933, Richard Hollingshead, an auto parts salesman, opened the first theatre and ushered in a new way to watch movies “under the stars”. Hollingshead's concept caught on fast and by the mid-60’s there were close to 5,000 drive-ins open world-wide. The late 80’s saw the closing of the drive-in. As home movies began to become popular and high real estate values saw the rapid closing of the industry. It is the love of family social events, which has brought its popularity back. 

Kids Trail | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Shenandoah Valley Adventure Weekend for a Romantic Couple

Published by Nancy, at 1:45 PM. Categories: Tags: Virginia,Outdoor_Recreation,Romantic Getaways

Outdoor Adventure | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Can a romantic weekend in the Blue Ridge Virginia Mountains be combined with outdoor adventure?   Bryce Resort thinks so.  Not only can you stay in a cabin on a mountain top, enjoy a hike or easy bike ride around Lake Laura, but now you can challenge each other to a thrilling bike ride down the mountain. Take a weekend getaway to the Shenandoah Valley by first climbing to the the top of Woodstock Tower off of Interstate 81 looking at the fall leaf folliage and the seven bends of the Shenandoah River. Follow Route 11 and take a ride thru one of the few covered bridges left in the United States before you turn on Route 263 in Mt Jackson for Bryce Resort.

Bryce Resort has brought a brand new experience to the mountains of Virginia!  Partnering with Gravity Logic out of Whistler, British Columbia and Trek bicycles, Bryce Resort has built a summertime experience to get everyone outdoors and to get the adrenaline flowing.

Our brand-new custom designed Bryce Mountain Bike Park will feature 7 lift-accessed trails with features unique to only Bryce Resort.  Trails ranging from Beginner and Learning Terrain to Advanced Difficult terrain, some of which are over 2 miles in length, have been cut into the mountain!

Outdoor Adventure| Go Blue Ridge Travel 


Outdoor Adventures | Go Blue Ridge Travel

The new Quad Lift eliminates the need to pedal uphill, allowing maximum time for downhill thrills.  Your bike rides in style as you enjoy the ride back up and take in the scenery of the surrounding mountains and all the beauty that Bryce Resort has to offer.

The Bryce Mountain Bike Park also includes a new learning center, teaching beginners proper riding techniques and giving advanced riders a chance to upgrade their style and performance.  Also included, a bike retail and rental area featuring Trek Bicycles and all the pads and gear that you will need for a day on the hill.

Purchase Tickets Here

We are extremely excited to bring this experience to the Shenandoah Valley and we can't wait to share our mountain in a different and sensational way to guests visiting the area for the first time and all of our cherished returning guests.

Need A Trail Map? Grab Yours Here!!!

For 2014 Hours & Prices, Click Here!!!

Outdoor Adventure | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Top Culinary Lodging Destinations in VA- WV Blue Ridge Mountains

Published by Nancy, at 4:27 PM. Categories: Tags: Virginia,West Virginia,Culinary_Chefs

According to Virginia is for Lovers, “Food is not only essential to life, but is often a reason to travel.” If your taste buds direct your path more often than the appeal of any other attraction, Go Blue Ridge Travel invites you to experience these two Virginia and West Virginia destinations known for their dining experience.

Dining Experience | Go Blue Ridgej Travel

Ashby Inn and Restaurant, Paris, Virginia

Culinary Excellence in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia (PRWEB) August 19, 2014

The Blue Ridge mountains in northern Virginia and West Virginia offer beauty and serenity for a 48 hour getaway. What is surprising to the visitor is the culinary sophistication one can find in the small towns. Go Blue Ridge Travel has selected two country inns offering culinary excellence. The aura of the small towns of Paris, Virginia and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia will complete one's weekend experience offering unique shopping, beautiful serene landscapes, and history lore as only the states of Virginia and West Virginia can provide.

The Ashby Inn - Paris, Virginia with Chef David Dunlap

Culinary Experiences | Go Blue Ridge TravelThe Ashby Inn & Restaurant exists as a tenant to history while offering a place for guests to dine and rest amidst the beauty and tranquility of the Virginia countryside. Situated at the cross-section of Routes 50 and 17 in the charming village of Paris, the circa 1829 inn includes ten guest accommodations on three acres of landscaped grounds that provide a view of Paris Mountain, Ashby Gap and Sky Meadows State Park. The restaurant prepares breakfast daily for all inn guests and is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday and for brunch and dinner on Sunday.

A wonderful one hour road trip west of Washington, DC includes a visit to RdV Vineyard where one can sit inside a stunning translucent fiberglass silo sipping a ruby-colored world class wine at the foot of a steep granite hillside planted with the grapes of Bordeaux. One can begin the day with a light breakfast and then visit the pastoral Tuleyries gardens which open to a meadow of restored native grasses at the State Arboretum of Virginia. Antique stores are around every corner including in the villages of Delaplane and Millwood.

Chefs | Go Blue Ridge TravelExecutive Chef David Dunlap, former Executive Sous Chef of the Inn at Little Washington came to the Ashby Inn in September 2013. Dunlap’s love of food began in Washington State where Dunlap grew up finding food right out his back door in the Puget Sound region.

A graduate of California Culinary Academy, Dunlap has an extensive background working in some of the finest restaurants in the United States including Alain Ducasse’s Adour and Plume Restaurant. At Ashby, one will find David exploring vegetables and fruits from the Inn’s garden and local farms. “I have a keen interest in working with local ingredients such as chickweed, morels, wild sorrel, and wineberries,” said Dunlap. Dunlap is excellent at pairing Virginia wines with food selections for a true Virginia cuisine experience.

Hillbrook Inn and Spa - Charles Town, West Virginia with Chef Justin Meyer

Hillbrook Inn | Go Blue Ridge Travel

A surprise for many visitors is the history fact that the Washingtonian family settled in Jefferson County, West Virginia and built many beautiful manor houses. Situated on George Washington’s first land purchase in 1750, Hillbrook Inn and Spa offering 19 rooms in five homes 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.

Plan a two day visit. Less than 15 minutes from award-winning Virginia wineries, this part of West Virginia is steeped in history requiring a visit to historic Harpers Ferry or Antietam National Park. For outdoor adventure, plan an afternoon at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center where one can explore the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers or use a Segway to explore the Appalachian Trail. There is also Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races offering great horse racing. One can watch Porsches at Summit Point Speedway. The town of Shepherdstown is a favorite spot for eclectic shopping.

Chef | Go Blue Ridge TravelMeet Justin Meyer, Executive Chef at Hillbrook. Here at the Inn, one does not have a list of menu choices. Meyers trained at the Pennsylvania School of the Culinary Arts. Having worked at the Final Cut at Hollywood Casino and L'Auberge Provencale before coming to Hillbrook, Meyers like Dunlap loves the lifestyle of the Shenandoah Valley.

Each day Meyers prepare the menu from scratch. The Inn prepares five course candlelight dinners nightly with a three course offered at six pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. “Our guests put their menu in my hands,” said Meyers. The Hillbrook Inn offers a unique dining experience where one has only one chef cooking. Again like Dunlap, Meyers reaches out to the local farmers. “I love to concentrate on the essence of the food product itself rather than changing it with added flavors and sauces.” Carissa and Chris Zanella have worked together with award-winning winemakers at Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars on the Fingers Lakes in New York to now proudly offer Hillbrook’s signature wine series.

As fall approaches, enjoy a drive offering a great dining experience in the Virginia mountains and the Shenandoah Valley!

Shenandoah Valley Wedding Destinations at Fall Bridal Show

Published by Nancy, at 8:03 AM. Categories:

For the Bride looking to have a wedding in the rich green aura of the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley just one hour outside of Washington DC's three national airports, Go Blue Ridge Travel showcases the region's unique wedding destination choices. From mountain tops to overlooking the Potomac, historic restored hotels to hi-end spa resorts, the wedding industry in the Blue Ridge Mountain and Shenandoah Valley is building a wedding destination with the help of Virginia's 'Virginia is For Lovers' branding.

Weddings | Blue Ridge Bride

George Washington Hotel - Winchester, VA

Shenandoah Valley Wedding Venues Explode

Winchester, Virginia (PRWEB) August 26, 2014

It is no secret that the northern Blue Ridge Mountains Shenandoah Valley offers everything a bride could imagine as the wedding backdrop for one's special day. This year’s Blue Ridge Bridal Shows are focusing on expanding the list of affordable wedding venues. The first show opens on September 7th at the recently restored historic George Washington Hotel in Winchester, Virginia. A true wedding destination, the hotel offers full amenities including a spa and is located within easy walking to the new Downtown Winchester mall.

Like everything else that makes the valley special, this bridal show will offer:

  • a tea in the Garden Room
  • round table discussions on hot bridal topics in the Half Note Lounge
  • a demonstration of spa techniques in the picturesque Roman bath style pool and
  • a fast paced Bridal fashion show in the Martha and George Washington Ballroom.

Weddings | Blue Ridge BrideBrides can begin the day with an ‘by invitation only’ VIP brunch in the Dancing Goat sponsored by Alpha Voyages where one can explore honeymoon opportunities with ‘MJ’ Williams. “This is a great opportunity to talk to a Sandals expert on room categories and how to pick the best Sandal resort based on what you want to do”, said Williams.

The show will open at 1 pm and will showcase leading wedding professionals here in the valley. Prior to the bridal gown show on the fashion catwalk, brides can watch the latest in bridal hairstyles and make up techniques to achieve the most “romantic” look possible by Utopia Hair Salon.

Wedding Barns | Blue Ridge BrideVirginia is for Lovers was chosen as one of the top tourism branding slogans in the United States. Starting in 2015, the state will be showcasing leading wedding venues for the destination bride. One of these venues is Historic Rosemont Manor in Berryville, Virginia. Throughout its 200-year history, Historic Rosemont Manor has embodied the graciousness of true Southern Hospitality. Perhaps one of the most breath-taking views across a golf course can be found at the Shenandoah Valley Golf Club. The Stable at Bluemont Vineyard offers the popularity of the rustic barn as well as again, a breathtaking view 951 feet up the mountain over a vineyard.

Following the state’s mission, Blue Ridge Bride offers every bride a travel planning guide thru the sister website - Go Blue Ridge Travel. “One mission of a wedding destination is to make the planning process as painless as possible, said Nancy Craun, owner and founder. “The bride can utilize the wedding planning guide and email these itineraries to the invited guests. The guests then have the option of creating one’s vacation itinerary on the site as well.”

The Shenandoah Valley Blue Ridge Mountains offer guests a great vacation option with an emphasis on outdoor adventure, culinary excellence, and festivals and professional music and theater. The surprising sophistication of this region offers something for everyone. Thanks to a tourism grant from Virginia Tourism, the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail has been launched with the trail’s mascot, “Bucket” helping kids to fill one's bucket list with fun thrilling experiences. “Go Blue Ridge Travel is a planning guide for all ages”, said Craun.

Go Blue Ridge Travel

Brides are invited to attend the show with family and friends. Register online for the Silver Suitcase Giveaways. Tickets will also be available at the door for $8 for one and two for $14. This year’s the package includes three Romantic Overnight Stays here in the Valley as well as a Four Night Fling from Alpha Voyages.

Theater 2014 Blog Series #3 for the Shenandoah Valley

Published by Nancy, at 10:05 PM. Categories: Tags: Winchester,Virginia,Theater

Wrapping Up a Summer Theater Series!

Technical Director, Musical Director and Choreographer

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Today I experienced a rare Wednesday afternoon of fun and relaxation. I found myself sitting in the Ohrstrom-Bryant Theatre on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia watching a matinee performance of the regional premiere of the practically perfect musical Mary Poppins. As I watched Mary (Catharine Kay) descend from the sky, one smiles that fantasy is allowed to come back into our lives at all ages. This is the 31st year for the Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre.

The major purpose of this theater blog series was as in the Producing Artistic Director, Harold Herman’s words, “introduce young audiences to America’s special art form of musical theatre.” I have also wanted to expose career opportunities in the theatre industry.  In March, I started interviewing not the actors but the people behind the scenes who make live theatre truly happen. I remember sitting down with ‘Bill’ Pierson and ‘Mac’ Bozman scenic designers.  As I think back thru each of these musicals for this season, I marvel at the diversity of the sets. Congratulations to a job well done. While watching ‘Mary’ fly through the sky or watch ‘Bert’ (Patrick Clealand Rose’ execute amazing jumps and spins, I think back over the words of Jennifer Adams and Cheryl Yancey that not only must a costume match the period but the actors must also be able to move and sing uninhibited. In this final blog, I move into the technical director, musical director and choreographer.

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

William “Will” Ingham has many roles in the theater department throughout the year but in the summer he is the technical director of the summer theater series. As technical director, Ingham is responsible for meeting budget guidelines and bringing together the individual designers under one roof. He is very aware of staying within the guidelines on what he refers to as “the cost of humanity” which is in reference to the hours the actors and backstage staff puts into getting these musicals to production. “For many of these people, this summer theater experience is the building of a portfolio for future jobs. Bringing together a musical is much harder than a play. Our audience has become more sophisticated and expects more from us.” said Ingham.

The musical is an American born institution which makes it very special. When asked how Ingham became involved in theater, he is quick to say he did not want to be an actor.  Coming from a family owned construction company business, Ingham took a wrong class in high school and found himself in theater. He found one of his strengths was in problem solving which has been a crucial asset as technical director.  With his family construction background, he could both design and build.  Today he loves what he is doing. His picks this summer are Mary Poppins most difficult, Spamelot most fun, and Man of La Mancha most passionate.

Theater | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Matt Moffitt is assistant technical director. He runs the shop for the Summer Music Theater with over twenty people working with him from master carpenters to painters, to props to sound and electrical technicians. Our goal is to bring the “artistic to reality - a push and pull relationship.”  “As a young person, I knew I did not want to work in an office. The theater environment is a catch all for interesting people.” said Moffitt. “This is not the best paying job and tons of work, but I love it.”

Moving to the most essential addition that makes a musical what it is, is the position of Musical Director, Thomas “Tom”  Albert has been at Shenandoah Summer Musical Theater since its beginning. Today his full time job is the summer theater program. “As a young person in public school, I was not interested in music but that changed as my love for composition and composing grew.” said Albert. When you are working with copyrighted musicals, there is absolutely no freedom in changing the music. There are times when based on the musicians we have available I have to adjust the orchestration but that is only with permission. What I cannot do is listen to the musicals that have been produced by the movie industry since they sacrifice the quality for mass appeal.

Finally, one of the last areas of the musical is the choreography. Speaking with Robin Schroth, “normally there are no notes or directions for the choreographer. I have only seen a book of directions once for Fiddler on the Roof,” said Schroth. “I never finalize the choreographer until I have discussed what the set will be with the set designer.  Sets are not designed for dance. We have to fit ourselves into the space.”  Having danced all her life, her mentor was Hal Herman, the artistic director of the Shenandoah Summer Music Theater. “Dancing has been part of my life. I get immediate satisfaction, it is both fun and personally rewarding. For the dance major at Shenandoah University the goal is to give dancers as many career options as possible.  Dancers are encouraged to audition for as much as they can. They are encouraged to take voice lessons.  Today there are more careers for dancers as long as they are versatile.”

My thanks to the staff of the Shenandoah Summer Music Theater for sharing.  I hope that parents will recognize the arts as a viable living wage profession.  In the words of Bill Pierson -
"I have 35 years of never being on unemployment. 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."

Kids Top Pick #3 - Family Road to Harrisonburg, Virginia

Published by Nancy, at 2:26 PM. Categories: Tags: Family Fun,Kids Activities,Road_Trips,Virginia,Harrisonburg

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

“It’s better in the Burg!”

Harrisonburg is a Virginia town living and breathing "green". Nestled in the central part of the Shenandoah Valley in between the Massanutten and the North Mountain ranges, Harrisonburg and Rockingham County provides Mom and Dad and Nana with unsurpassed culinary options, a thriving arts community, endless outdoor adventures, a vibrant downtown and a diverse mix of performances, annual events and festivals. Harrisonburg is home to James Madison University. Two distinctive characteristics of the community are its large international culture population and its strong agricultural base. So what is there to do for the kids.

Shenandoah Valley Kids TrailBucket has done a little bit or research and pick some great experiences here in the “Burg”.

DAY ONE - Farms, Dairies, History, and Children Museums - The first stop is Back Home on the Farm on Route 42 just northwest of Harrisonburg. Gary and Lynn Hess live on 230 acres of farmland which they open up to families each summer. From a sound garden, barnyard volleyball, and squealing pig races, definitely the most popular activity is the 60’ slide, said Lynne. A surprise is the historic 30 horse Carousel which is not only fun to ride but also offers a pictorial history of Virginia and the United States. Back Home on the Farm is also a full blown nursery offering plants to buy and educational events for the young gardeners to be. August 30th is the opening of the 5 acre Corn Maze.

Family Fun | Go Blue Ridge Travel

Have lunch at one of the many downtown restaurants, then it is an easy walk to the Valley Turnpike Museum located in the Hardesty-Higgins House. This is where the kids can become detectives while reliving the history of the settlement of the Shenandoah Valley along old Route 11.  

Children Museums | Go Blue Ridge TravelThe family can easily walk down to Explore More Discovery Museum. Children can be in a medical emergency environment, a scientist in a lab, or putting on a costume and being on a stage. The museum is full of mini environments of experiences. For the older kids, Peak Paintball offers a total family experience. It's fun, it's fast, it's family friendly. Their fully netted 4,000 square foot arena is ready for action. It doesn't get much more fun than splattering mom, dad, big brother or sister with paint.

If visiting on Saturday, Art in the Park is a must at the Farmers Market. Finally each day around 4 pm, head out to Mt Crawford Creamery to experience a real dairy barn with cow milking. Harrisonburg offers hotels and Bed and Breakfasts. You can also stay at the Massanutten condos which are great for families and enjoy a night in the mountains.

DAY TWO - Waterpark, Kids Ziplines, and Upick Farms -

Massanutten Resort’s Waterpark is a full day of fun offering indoor and outdoor water adventure. Massanutten Waterpark addresses the needs of all ages of the family.  Enjoy a fun filled ride throught the Blue Ridge Rapids which both grandparents and the kids will enjoy. Then climb the stairs to the tube slides and body slides. The park offers both indoors and outdoors water sports. "I suggest before hitting the Waterpark, drive up into the resort.  Take the ski lift up to catch the view and then enjoy a fun filled zip line adventure experience. There is one for just kids which my grandchildren adored because it was 'FOR KIDS ONLY'. Mom and Dad and older brothers and sisters have to stand back and let them achieve the goal of finishing the adventure course," said Nancy Craun, owner and founder of Go Blue Ridge Travel.

Family Fun | Go Blue Ridge TravelMassanutten Resort | Go Blue Ridge Travel

After a fun day at the Waterpark, plan to visit one of the partners of the agricultural program - Fields of Gold. You can pick fresh produce to take home with you and enjoy a farm to table experience.

The Shenandoah Valley offers something for everyone in the family. Plan your road trip or week’s vacation today. For a list of all family activites in Harrisonburg, click here.

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,Hiking,Road_Trips

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, 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" 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" 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 as your travel guide.


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



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.



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!



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..



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.



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



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.



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.



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. 



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. 



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 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.


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 »