How to Make a Christmas Fitness Countdown Calendar With Your Kids
Is your December calendar packed with Christmas planning and preparations, but not much time for play with your kids?
Do your kids love counting down to Christmas all month long?
In this article, I’ll show you how—with minimal supplies and investment—you and your kids can create a holiday countdown calendar that will bring the family together, get everyone active and build excitement for the big day.
Why Create a Christmas Fitness Countdown Calendar?
A Christmas fitness countdown calendar will help you get up, get active and have some quick family fun every day this holiday season.
We’re always looking for ways to boost kid’s excitement for the holidays without adding too much stress to ours. The problem is most holiday activities are costly, time-consuming or don’t encourage family interaction. How many Christmas movie marathons do we really need?
The Christmas fitness countdown calendar is a fun, healthy, holiday-themed project that will get the whole family involved and excited for the holidays.
It’s an Advent calendar with a lot less chocolate and a lot more family activities.
It’s also a great way to combat seasonal stress and keep cooped-up kids from going stir crazy during their holiday break.
You may hesitate to add another task to your already-overloaded December to-do list. A Google search of “Christmas stress” generates 109 million results in less than a second, so you’re definitely not alone.
Christmas can make people crazy, yo! Exercise can help.
A majority of those sites recommend that you do some physical exercise as a way to combat the effects of stress. And that’s where the Christmas fitness countdown calendar can help.
It’s an inexpensive, easy way to connect with the entire family this holiday season. You can create it together in as little as 30 minutes and enjoy the benefit of 25 planned fun physical activities to do with your kids throughout the month.
Let the kids help plan fun activities to do together every day.
It’s a great way to stay active and excited about the holidays and to burn off some of those holiday treats.
What You Need
- Poster board
- Construction paper cut into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) wide strips. (You can also use ribbon)
- Markers, crayons or other writing utensils
- Glue sticks
- Scrap paper
5 minutes to collect the needed materials, including the kids
20-30 minutes, depending on how crafty your calendar is and how long you and the kids take to decide what activities to include on the calendar
Use a table or area in the house that can be cleaned easily in the event the gluing gets a bit sticky
#1: Prep It
Collect the poster board, construction paper (or ribbon) and a pair of scissors. Cut the construction paper into narrow strips. You’ll need to cut at least 10 strips of paper to make a 4-week calendar.
Add a title. It’s simple to write in with markers. You can also create a fun, festive title out of paper with the aid of a Cricut or a skilled hand on the scissors. Titles with alliteration are not necessary, but encouraged.
Lay out the poster board, strips of paper and letters for the title.
Do this before gluing. We glued down the strips creating 6-day weeks. Oops!
Don’t glue it yet. Experiment with the design. Space it out. Trace out the design you want. Try it in portrait or landscape orientation. Sketch your title lightly in pencil if you’ll be writing it. Get a feel for what it will look like. Be sure you have everything laid out and ready before you glue.
#2: Paste It
Once you’ve finalized the design and made sure everything fits, you can start to glue. Begin at the top and work your way down.
Position and paste the title first (or go over your sketches with markers). The size of the calendar squares can be adjusted.
Cut your strips longer than the paper and trim the excess after gluing.
Second, glue the horizontal lines of the calendar. There are only 4 or 5. This makes it easier to fix if you make a mistake.
Now, paste the vertical lines creating each individual day of the week. Remember if you mess up with glue stick you have approximately one minute to pull it up before it’s stuck.
Lastly, add any bling, bedazzlement, ribbon or pretty Pinterest ideas to accentuate the calendar.
When you finished beautifying your calendar, let it dry. Take this time to plan out the activities.
#3: Plan, Pen, Post It
Brainstorm with the kids about fun physical activities your family can do. Jot them down on a piece of paper. Be sure to include everyone’s ideas.
Take turns and pick which activities you’ll include on your calendar. The dogs even made it onto our calendar!
Strategic planning session.
Increase the excitement by correlating the activity to the date’s numerical value. On December 1, do 1 minute of jumping jacks. The next day, schedule 2 laps biking around the pond. On December 3, dance to at least 3 songs. 20 minutes of Flag Tag on December 20. And so on through December 25.
When setting the dates, be sure to coordinate with your existing schedule. Make sure to plan shorter activities on busier days.
Types of activities to include:
Plan special holiday activities on the days leading up to Christmas or when you’ll have family visiting for the big celebration. Sledding, a visit to the ice rink, a snowball fight or Santa’s sleigh ride are great ways to really pump up the excitement.
Santa’s Sleigh Ride Necessities:
- Bike helmet for the rider
- Optional: Santa hat for rider, reindeer antlers for puller
- 2 people: 1 puller, 1 rider
It’s time to fill in the dates. Check your “real” calendar to put the dates on the correct days of the week.
Pencil in the dates so the kids can just trace with a marker.
Next, write in the activities. Let the kids go nuts. Encourage them to include artwork. Have them really make it their own.
Our calendar included pictures of jumping jacks, people on stilts and dancing aliens.
Find a spot to hang your calendar. The fridge. The door. The wall. Keep it easily accessible and visible to everyone.
Post it where everyone will see it every day.
#4: Play It
Let the fun times roll. The 30 minutes of planning creates hours of fun and activity for the whole family.
Dancing is great exercise. Check out this video to learn some dance moves.
Superman rolls are hardcore fun, so get rolling!
and Zombie Tag…oh my!
There are many ways to play tag. Zombie tag and Mummy tag are some creepy favorites.
The countdown calendar removes the guesswork. Gather the family, check the calendar and get moving.
- What was your favorite part about making the calendar?
- Why did you pick this activity?
- What activity are you looking forward to the most?
- Feel your heart. Is it beating fast or slow? What does that mean? You’re exercising.
- Why is it important for us to be active every day? Be healthy, stay healthy.
- How do you feel after exercise?
- What other activities do you want to do for exercise?
- What’s your favorite part of the holiday season?
Some Final Thoughts…
The Christmas fitness countdown calendar is a great way to get the entire family connected and active and to relieve holiday stress. You can create a calendar like this for any major event: birthdays, Valentine’s day, last day of school, etc. Increase anticipation and excitement for your next celebration by creating a fun, themed countdown calendar.
What do you think? What types of activities will your family put on the calendar? Please share what active adventures your family is doing this holiday season. Share photos of your calendar. I’d love to hear from you and see what you create.
All photos are courtesy of Kristine Couchman.
Jon Kidwell is the founder of Finding Fit, a company focused on empowering people to lose weight and maintain healthy lifestyles. Learn more at www.jonkidwell.com. Other posts by Jon Kidwell »
Special Thanks to Kids Adventures and Michael Stelzner
Tis the season. Christmas Parades, Nutcracker Ballet Performances, lights up around the house, now it is time to buy the Christmas tree. Terry Fogle with Fort Valley Nursery sums it up when he saids, “There is nothing capturing Christmas than the smell a fresh tree can give a home. It is as much Christmas as anything."
Here are the tips to pick out your fresh Christmas tree:
Tip #1 - Buy as Local as you can including of course going to a Christmas Tree farm or a an arbor center or nursery. If you are going to a lot that is only open for the season, these trees could be coming as far away as the west coast. "It is normal for trees to have needles in the center because trees shed their needles so do not be alarmed if you see dead needles in the center of the tree. They have no impact if the tree is fresh. Give the tree a good shake or bounce and the dead needles will fall out.
Tip #2 - Look at the color of the tree and freshness of the needles. Trees should have good bright color - not dull. It needs to look fresh and plump. Take your fingers and bend the needles, they should not break.
Tip #3 - “What type of tree to pick?” Spruces are not good because they will not hold their needles. Firs including the very popular Douglas Fir are amazing fragrant, can hold heavy ornaments, and will last for a month if kept watered. They are also a beautiful blue green color. Pines are also excellent but do not hold heavy ornaments.
Tip #4 - Buy early in December, there is no problem buying a tree early. Unless you are going to a tree farm and cutting the tree yourself, cut trees will stay fresh if you bring them home and cut a half inch off the base so the tree can take in water again. If you are not putting the tree inside immediately, put them in a bucket out in the garage or carport. If you cut the base and then wait, the sap will seal the tree up again.
Tip #5 - Keep away from a heat source. Trees have resin which is very flammable but this is only if something else ignites the fire like a fray electric wire from your lights. Just like poinsettias, the cooler the environment, the more the tree will not dry out.
I asked Terry about home remedies like putting aspirin in the water. Laughing, Terry said the aspirin company must have introduced that one. I have heard of many and do not know any that actually work.
If you are considering a live tree to be planted outside after Christmas - here are some pointers.
Tip #1 - Stay small, the ball of the tree is very heavy plus it must be put into water so there are the logistics of container size.
Tip #2 - No more than 7 - 10 days at the max inside your house. Like the cut trees, live trees are also dormant and you do not want to break the dormancy. You will shock the tree with little success of it living once planted outside.
Tip #3 - Dig your hole early in case the ground gets hard.
Last Reminder - when you buy a tree in the December whether it is cut or live, you are in the dormant season for the tree so it is imperative that you make a fresh cut and IMMEDIATELY put the tree in water so it can take water in before it closes up again.
If you are looking for decorating ideas, great plants and decorations, Go Blue Ridge Travel salutes another small business in the Shenandoah Valley. Visit Fort Valley Nursery at the Woodstock Virginia exit on Interstate 81. It is another Best Kept Secret here in the Shenandoah Valley. Next month, we will introduce you to the weddings occurring in this nursery, a very unique environment.
Thanksgiving as a holiday is a welcome event compared to the hectic Christmas holiday that begins the day or evening of this year. It is one of a few holidays that simply celebrate America’s love of family, friends, and food. For the valley where local resourcing is a way of life, Thanksgiving is extra special. The valley is seeing a return to the farm with many farmers markets and U-pick farms available during the growth months to locals and visitors.
As I think back over the years, Thanksgiving has always been the holiday to eat and eat and eat some more all on one day! Some years it was only the family and other years we have invited in neighbors and even strangers. I am appalled that our culture is so driven by money that the BIG stores insist on starting earlier each year trying to take away or diminish the Thanksgiving holiday. In protest, I as well as many others simply boycott Black Friday by not going out to any stores.
What I will do is celebrate the small businesses in our region by supporting SHOP SMALL. Hats off to American Express on this venture. So what are your choices?
Here is GoBRT’s Top Shopping Picks for the season –
Interstate 81 Corridor
Harrisonburg is going all out with their Shop Local Campaign. Many stores are offering specials for Shop Small Saturday so check out Harrisonburg Shop Local. Downtown also features 25 restaurants, which makes shopping a real pleasure. If you have the children, don’t miss taking them to the Explore More Discovery Museum right there in the heart of the Downtown area. Another favorite of mine is Ten Thousand Villages where you can pick up gifts from various cultures around the world.
Woodstock is branded by the locals as 'the other Woodstock'. This little town offers many shops to browse thru. Definitely a must top is All Things Virginia at The Farmhouse. A real supporter of local foods and crafts, the Farmhouse has a large selection of food products, fine art and crafts made right here in our backyard. Check out their facebook page for the latest products and happenings. Stop by Woodstock Cafe and Shoppes for lunch.
Winchester is full of surprises when it comes to shopping. Forget about going to the city for Williams Sonoma or Sur La Table, Nibblins Edibles and Gifts can stand up to either of these in the kitchenware selection available to the buyer. Family owned, Nibblins also offers cooking classes where one can see kitchenware demonstrated. They also have great coffee and ‘to die for’ fudge.
Perhaps one of the best-hidden surprises is Throx Country Store. Located on Senseny Road, you may need your GPS to find this treasure. Not only is it a fantastic deli, but Throx carries the largest collection of craft beer in the region. Expanding into speciality gifts, Throx has something for anyone on your list including good old fashion candies. Sante Wine, Beer, and Gifts is located in Kernstown Commons. A great place for gift baskets, Sante also has a selection of beautifully built wine tables for your kitchen or dining rooms. Sante also has unique cheeses for your holiday party.
Bluemont Vineyard not only offers you a truly relaxing experience with a magnificent view of Loudoun County but it also has a unique gift shop. Enjoy their wines particularly the table red.
Route 340 and Interstate 66
Front Royal is the last town on Interstate 66 before you reach I-81. Main Street offers one of the largest selections of small antique stores in the region.
The Plains is a small village directly off of Interstate 66. Small quaint shops and restaurants are on Main Street. If you are a fine arts and craft collector or have someone on your list impossible to buy for, then a visit to Live An Artful Life is a must.
Black Dog Coffee is again a family owned business which has grown out of a decade of research. Their best seller is Ethiopian Longberry Harrar Horse. Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee, produces some of the finest coffee in the world. Complex and intensly flavorful, Harrar is an unwashed, dry processed coffee with an incredibly smooth body, powerful undercurrents of wild fruit, blueberry and chocolate followed by a crisp, clean finish. Now reaching out to over 40 retail establishments including The Ashby Inn and Throx Market Station and Country Stores.
Visitors often refer to Shepherdstown as the ‘Greenwich Village of DC’. German Street runs for three long blocks with an eclectic selection of small stores and wonderful restaurants or coffee shops. I particularly like the D’Accord Boutique offering authentic French products. One of the newest shops is Plum. Cari Aliveto Rosen, designer and owner, crafts one of kind sterling silver pieces of jewelry. Two River Treads, a shoe store promotes barefoot strategy footwear. A town that loves to celebrate holidays, Shepherdstown will offer a full month of activities each weekend in December.
Put your foot on the brake, DO NOT TURN INTO THAT MALL, but head to a town here in the valley and enjoy your holiday shopping.
Christmas can either be the biggest commercial event one experiences or it can be one of the most unique holidays of the year. So put the commercialism of Christmas aside and let's capture the ‘Spirit of Christmas' in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland where culture and heritage are rich
Here are ten top events to look forward to in Go Blue Ridge Travel’s region. If you need to escape the hectic - join a town’s festivities and shop at wonderful small shops on any given weekend during December.
#1 - Christmas Middleburg, Virginia
What is most unique and sets the Middleburg parade apart are the horses and hounds and red coat riders. Located in the heart of Virginia horse country, the small town attracts local residents and visitors from around the region to take part in traditional festivities that have become an essential part of the spirit of Christmas in Middleburg. Each year the Middleburg Hunt has over 100 horses and hounds in the mile long parade. Parade features a unique assortment of floats, marching bands, local community groups, antique fire trucks, and a variety of animals including horses, llamas and dogs. Santa brings up the rear riding on a beautiful horse drawn coach. Festivities are thru out the day Throughout the day there are hayrides, choir performances, the Garden Club's Christmas Flower & Greens Show and the Craft Show. Looking to spend the weekend, The Ashby Inn and Goodstone Inn & Restaurant were both voted two of the top 50 restaurants in Northern Virginia. This parade is on December 7th.
#2 Christmas at Oatlands Leesburg, Virginia
Just down the road on Route 15 between Route 7 and Route 50 is Oatlands Historic House and Gardens. welcomes Christmas celebrating the history of the region. With Wreath Making Workshop, Ginger Bread House Contest, and Candlelight Tours, one can experience Christmas past in the countryside of the grand south. Offering a Children's Theater play - "Jingle in the Jungle", performances are available December 15, 20. 21, 22nd. Oatlands showcases an Art Show thru December 30th.
#3 Christkindlmarkt at Village Commons Front Royal, Virginia
Celebrating a German and Austrian tradition, Christkindlmarkt is about a 16th - 17th century tradition of toymakers coming to the villages to sell their wares. Many of these villages would celebrate with a small festival since the work of the harvest would be over and winter would only just be beginning. Here in Front Royal, the Town Crier announces the official opening of "Christkindlmarkt". The ten year old festival is on December 6th and 7th. Just off of Interstate 66 and Route 522, Front Royal is known as the Canoe Capitol of the World.
#4 Historic Harrisonburg's Downtown Holiday Tour Harrisonburg, Virginia
Located off of Interstate 81, Harrisonburg's Downtown is going thru a Renaissance growth period of change. With over 25 restaurants and 45 plus speciality shops, 'Shop Small Shop Local' is celebrated during the entire holiday season. This Holiday Tour on Sunday, December 8th, start at the Virginia Quilt museum showcasing a selection of old town homes as well as downtown lofts decorated for the holidays. For families, make sure you visit, Explore More Discovery Museum on Main Street.
#5 Christmas On the Farm - New Market, Virginia
Just north of Harrisonburg on Interstate 81 is the New Market Battlefield State Historic Park. On December 7th, Civil War-era Yuletide traditions will be re-enacted in a program titled "Christmas on the Farm." Costumed historic interpreters will share traditions of the season from the mid-19th Century including the visit by the Belsnickel. The Belsnickel tradition which was tied to St Nicholas was familiar to immigrant German families.
#6 Christmas Movie Celebration - Winchester, Virginia
If one is a movie follower, then The Alamo Drafthouse's Holiday Movie Series will be a must experience Christmas event. The Alamo is right off of Interstate 81 before you reach Winchester. On December 2nd, the most popular Christmas movie ever made will be showcased. Wrapping up the series which began in November will the The Nutcracker Ballet, It's a Wonderful Life, and Home Alone.
"Each year, we kick off our holiday programming at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester with The Polar Express. Originally screened based on customer requests, the film now plays for nearly two weeks each year to packed houses. We encourage our guests to wear pajamas, and we have a live conductor at every show. With optional treats like holiday cookies, hot chocolate and coloring pages, The Polar Express draws several thousand viewers every year and is the single biggest annual event at the Alamo." said Steve Nerangis, owner of The Alamo - Winchester VA
#7 Christmas Tours at Historic Jordan Springs - Winchester, Virginia
On the northside of Winchester, Historic Jordan Springs has one of the oldest recorded histories in the Shenandoah Valley region. Dating back to 1549, the Catawba Indians discovered two mineral springs on what is today's historic property. The property has a long history as the Jordan Family Resort Hotels beginning in 1832 and closing in the 1930's. As was true of many homes, the hotel served as a hospital during the Civil War. In 1893, the present faciiity was built and used as a resort destination. The property was purchased in 1953 by the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity and then sold again to the present owners in 2001. As a Christmas tradition, Toni Wallace Aitken oversees the decorating of the home as a fundraiser for the community. Opening on December 6th with a Ghost of Christmas Past Candelight Tour and Wine-tasting, the venue is open for tours, a tea and a concert thru December 20th.
#8 Festival of Flights - Harpers Ferry, West Virginia
Definitely the most unusual Christmas experience in the valley, at River Riders beginning December 14th thru January 4th on Saturdays, one can experience a luminary experience by ziplining thru the canopy of trees. A 2 - 3 hour spectacular adventure, one will zip thru tree tops high above the forest floors. Experience Old World Holiday Shopping in Harpers Ferry.
#9 Christmas in Shepherdstown - Shepherdstown, West Virginia
Being a small German town rich in history and hertiage, the town has all the typical activities of the past such as chestnuts roasting, carriage rides thru the town, a parade and the lighting of the tree. A month long celebration with something happening each weekend, the season kicks off on November 29th with the arrival of Santa and the Grinch. It is fun to join the bonfire and save the cornbread and chili. The a parade is scheduled on December 7th. Anyone who has experienced Shepherdstown knows the town's parades are informal small town fun. This is a great time to get your holiday greens and Christmas bazaar crafts. The town is know for its many unique restaurants and coffee shops as well as its the small unique shops open.
#10 - Christmas Memorial Illumination - Sharpsburg, Maryland
On Saturday evening December 7, 2013, Antietam National Battlefield, in cooperation with the American Business Women's Association and the Washington County Convention and Visitors' Bureau, will host the Annual Antietam National Battlefield Memorial Illumination in honor of those soldiers who fell during the Battle of Antietam. A must see Go Blue Ridge Travel Bucket List experience for every adult and child. Over 23,000 luminaries for each soldier who died at this battle. This is a 5-mile driving tour and will stay in one's memory for a lifetime.
Have 48 hours to spend, any of these events or combination of will make a great road trip to the Shenandoah Valley in December. Check out GoBRT's accommodations from resorts, bed and breakfast, cabins, vacation rentals and hotels.
What do your kids know about the first Thanksgiving?
Would you like to make the story of this incredible event more vivid for your children?
Send your family on a journey of discovery, starting with the sailing of the Mayflower and ending with the Thanksgiving meal itself.
In this article, you’ll find all you need to plan a quick and easy Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt that’s both fun and educational.
Why a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt?
When you ask most kids to tell you about the first Thanksgiving, they’ll rattle off a thing or two about the Pilgrims, turkeys and pumpkin pie. Not a bad start, but there’s so much more to the story!
Get your children excited to learn more about the first Thanksgiving. Send them on a scavenger hunt to track down fun Thanksgiving facts and tidbits!
They’ll learn more about the people who risked their lives to come to a new country. They’ll find out about the true meaning of helping your neighbors and they’ll develop a deeper thankfulness when they sit down to their own Thanksgiving meal.
Print the Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt clues and send the kids searching at your holiday gathering.
To start your Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt, your children will follow a string of clues hidden inside your home.
The Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt will take kids all over the house searching for clues.
At the end of the scavenger hunt, you can present a mini-Thanksgiving meal (a snack) and share more interesting facts about the first Thanksgiving.
To learn more, refer to the list of Thanksgiving books and websites in this article to keep you moving on your journey of Thanksgiving discovery.
You Will Need
- Printer paper
- Internet access
- Snack food (optional)
Depending on your printer speed (and we all know how that can vary!), you’ll need anywhere from 5-20 minutes to print the story cards, cut them out and hide them.
Inside your home
#1: Print and Cut Out the Scavenger Hunt Clues
These are for your eyes only. Each clue is labeled with a number.
Numbered clues will lead your kids all over the house, learning about Thanksgiving each step of the way.
The first one, the Get Started clue, will lead to clue #1. That clue will lead to clue #2, which will lead to #3 and so on.
Just print out the clues and hold your own Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt.
First, print the clues (PDF), cut them out and either roll them into small scrolls, or fold them.
Cut each clue on the dotted lines.
You can also keep them flat and tape them to the hiding places that are listed in step #3.
#2: Announce the Hunt!
Get kids excited about the impending scavenger hunt. Gather your gang together and say something like this:
“Okay, guys. We’re going to have a Thanksgiving Scavenger Hunt! But before we start, tell me two things you know about the first Thanksgiving.”
Each clue has Thanksgiving facts to teach your kids about the first Thanksgiving.
After your crew has answered, tell them you’re going to hide the Scavenger Hunt clues.
#3: Hide the Clues
Gather the kids in a place where they won’t be able to watch you hide the clues. Better yet, have one of the other relatives take them on a walk outside where they won’t be able to peek.
Hide your clues in the locations listed below.
Hiding Place Locations:
Clue 1: Your kitchen sink
Hide the first clue at the kitchen sink.
Clue 2: Your front door
Clue 3: Your bathroom sink
Clue 4: At a table large enough for your children to crawl under
Clue 5: At or in your refrigerator
Clue 6: At a window
Clue 7: At a mirror
Hide clue #7 at a mirror.
Clue 8: In a clothes closet
Clue 9: Under the pillow of a bed or on the bed
Clue 10: At the table or counter where you eat your meals
#4: The Hunt Begins!
Call your children out of hiding and officially kick off the hunt.
Hand one of them the Get Started clue and tell the gang, “Okay, we’re going to start the hunt.”
Read the Get Started clue aloud to the group and then start the search for more clues.
Ask them to read the first clue and then take turns finding and reading the clues as they go.
If your children can’t read yet, you can help.
Finding the kitchen sink clue.
The Get Started clue will lead them to clue #1, at the kitchen sink.
If your children seem to be struggling to figure out where the next clue is hidden, help them along by asking them leading questions.
Once they find the clue, have them read it aloud so the whole group can hear.
Ask kids to read clues aloud to the whole group.
#5: The Hunt Ends
When your children reach and read the final clue, it’s time to celebrate.
Reaching high to find another clue!
Enjoy a Thanksgiving snack together, review the clues they found and talk about what they learned.
Use our More to Gobble Up Section to learn more about the first Thanksgiving, and keep the conversation going!
#6: More to Gobble Up!
If your children want to hunt down more Thanksgiving facts and stories, the books and websites listed below are a great place to start.
Some Final Thoughts…
The first Thanksgiving is a gripping story of how determination in following your beliefs can lead you to do extraordinary things.
One way to help our children to grasp the overall importance of Thanksgiving is to intrigue them with interesting facts about the event and the people.
Just say the words “scavenger hunt” and you’ll be well on your way to having them learn about the first Thanksgiving.
What do you think? How do you teach your children about historical events like Thanksgiving? Let us know! We’re always looking for new ways to get our kids interested in history. Leave a comment or photo in the box below.
Susan Merrill is a mom of five, author of The Passionate Mom, and the director of iMOM.com. She loves her kids, dogs, and husband, but not necessarily in that order! Other posts by Susan Merrill »
Shop Local: Small Business Saturday
Saturday, November 30, 2013
**Please note that this event is not associated with the American Express Small Business Saturday. Some downtown businesses may also be participating with American Express, but please call ahead directly to the business to learn more.**
- A Touch of the Earth: 25% off storewide sale (through end of December)
- Capital Ale House: Featuring an All-Virginia Menu. Receive $20 bonus gift card with purchase of $100 gift card.
- Dragonflies Toys: Coffee and tasty treats. Be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift card with your purchase made on this day.
- Friendly City Food Co-op: 10% off Local Gift Boxes
- Glen's Fair Price Store: details coming soon
- The Lady Jane: 15% off storewide sale
- Laughing Dog: 10%-40% off large selection of fashion jewelry, tees, handbags, scarves, fashion reading glasses, and other accessories. 10%-40% off candles. 15% off handcrafted tea bowls & tea pots. 20%-40% off coffee mugs. Other specials as well. Hershey's Kisses for all! Open 11-6.
- Midtowne Market: 20% off select craft beers
- Mint: Be entered to win a drawing for a Holiday Gift Basket with your purchase made on this day.
- Over the Moon: 20% off all regularly priced inventory store-wide. Specials on select Tea collection children's clothing, Lilac maternity clothing, and Cotton Babies cloth diapers. Local photographer Molly Whitmore will be providing mini-sessions at a special holiday rate.
- Polished, Inc.: New, estate, and vintage sterling silver jewelry Store Closing Sale
- Ragtime Fabrics: Holiday Happy Hours from 9 am-4 pm, with demos, Pick-Your-Sale, refreshments, and project ideas.
- You Made It! Paint Your Own Pottery & Fused Glass Studio: Be entered to win a drawing for a $50 gift card with painting purchase made on this day. 20% off any fused glass item created by "You" on this day. Space is limited. 20% off any "Made by Us" fused glass or pottery item purchased on this day.
1:00-5:00 pm: Art Market at Larkin Arts
Featuring local arts and crafts from more than 15 vendors.
Winchester, VA 11/20/13 – The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is the recipient of a $16,000 grant from Wells Fargo. This generous grant will benefit Head Start families in the Apple Country Head Start area, providing annual household museum memberships free of charge. Since 2010, the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum has distributed 487 free household memberships. The majority of these are made possible through the generosity of the Wells Fargo Foundation.
Of the 176 free household memberships distributed in 2012, 165 were selected and distributed to families with children ages 3 through 5 by the Apple Country Head Start program. At Head Start, children are guided to bring about social competence and a positive self-image. They are assisted in their readiness for kindergarten through their literacy program and a curriculum rich in science, math, language arts, pre-writing, arts and crafts, and music. The Discovery Museum is natural partner in helping Head Start and their children to reach their goal.
“This is a deeply appreciated show of support from Wells Fargo Foundation,” said Mary Braun, Executive Director. “Head Start serves as advocates for families, meets the individual needs of all children, and supports family development. By funding these Museum memberships, Wells Fargo is a true community partner in supporting both the goals of our four local Head Start communities and the mission of the Discovery Museum.”
“Wells Fargo is proud to support the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, which is a tremendous asset to the Winchester community,” said Mike Wilkerson, Wells Fargo’s Mid-Atlantic Business Banking Manager and Discovery Museum board member. “We are proud to be able to reach another great organization and give families and children the opportunity to experience this great museum.”
Apple Country Head Start, based in Winchester, Virginia, prepares children from Clarke County, Frederick County and Winchester to meet their future school experiences and to provide their families with comprehensive support services in order for them to access resources and maximize opportunities in the community. Teachers at Head Start’s four regional locations will distribute Discovery Museum household memberships to Head Start students’ families free of charge. In addition to free annual admission to the Museum, family members also receive discounts on programs and camps.
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is currently working on renovations to its future home at 19 W. Cork Street in Winchester, VA. The new location expected to open in early 2014 will expand the Museum to almost 20,000 square feet, allowing for new and exciting exhibits and programs that will engage and challenge visitors of all ages, spark imagination and creativity, and instill a love of learning to be shared across generations.
From a Scarecrow Contest to Haunted House Tours to a Week Long Celebration starting with a Vampire Ball, Go Blue Ridge Travel highlights the must experience Halloween events in the Shenandoah Valley. A great time to plan a 48-hour road trip for adults and families, pick your activity from mulled wine and cider donuts to a Zombie 5K road race.
Leaves are falling, apples have been picked, and one of the most popular holidays is just around the corner. October wraps up the month with celebrations of Halloween. Here are great activities and events for the kids and the adults.
Scarecrow Days in The Plains - This is the third year for this little town’s Scarecrow Days. Hardly frightening and all meant in fun, it’s the merchants’ way of celebrating fall and the love of laughter. Even if you cannot visit The Plains, then go to social media and share your photos. Public voting has started and winners will be announced on October 26h.
Another small town is also decking out for Halloween. This year, for the first time, the historic town of Shepherdstown, WV will celebrate Halloween with a week-long "Boo!Fest." The Boo!Fest will begin with a “Vampire Ball” at the Community Club the evening of Friday, October 25, and conclude with the town’s traditional trick-or-treat on German Street on Halloween night, October 31. This small quaint West Virginia town welcomes everyone to attend this seven-day celebration. Check the schedule so you do not miss out on a scary happening.
Corn Mazes and Pumpkins – Since the Shenandoah Valley grows a lot of corn, corn mazes abound in all of our regions of Go Blue Ridge Travel. Starting in Loudoun on Route 7, you can visit Great Country Farms for their annual Pumpkin Festival. Just over the mountain visit Mackintosh Fruit Farm for their Happy Apple Maze. Pick a pumpkin, take a hike on their 1 – 2 miles paths and enjoy a cup of warm cider to celebrate the fall. Then right down the road near Berryville, stop by Wayside Farm to see The Angry Birds.
If haunted House Tours are part of your fun, discover the real nightlife of Leesburg! In its 22nd year, the Hauntings Walking Tour allows visitors to tour the haunted homes and businesses of Leesburg. Once a year through the generosity of the property owners, the Loudoun Museum is able take the tours inside several of the haunted places. “We have people coming from all over the country for this," says Peter Kelpinski, Hauntings founder and long-time member of the Loudoun Museum's Board of Trustees. "We have some sites where the stories need to be updated each year because new occurrences are documented over the past year.” Hear about the widow who fought to keep her house and has never left- she even helps with the housework; the Civil War Colonel who watches over the office staff during the day; and many more spirits that do more than go bump in the night!
GoBRT knows how popular marathon races are but have you ever participated in a Zombie 5K. Even if you do not run or walk the race, at least go to experience the wild fun. Put on by Clarke County Parks and Recreation, this race is very unusual with strict rules to keep the zombies in check. There are races, walkers, rollers, and Zombie Chasers levels. But pick your costume carefully so you can run fast!
If you are traveling down south Interstate 81, then stop off at the Mt Jackson exit of lots of fun. Visit Shenandoah Caverns and American Celebration on Parade. Nothing is spookier than walking thru a dark cave and having your partner whisper ghost sounds in your ear. The Corn Maze at Bridgewater Farm claims to be largest in the Shenandoah Valley. If you want more adventure then attend Bryce Resorts Bike Bonanza Bash on Saturday October 26th. Then if you still have energy, head back to The Family Drive In Theater for the 4th Annual Trunk or Treat Halloween Costume Contest.
Then two days after Halloween on November 2nd. Whether you use the Silo Drop, the Zip Wire Sploosh or Pumpkin Drop Zone, there will be some Pumpkin Chunkin’ going on November 2nd through November 5th at Great Country Farms. Bring your leftover jack-o-lantern or stock up on other squash and let ‘em fly. Create your own team toss or group battles to see who can create the most artistic mess. Roam the 5 acre playground and enjoy the Giant Pumpkin Jumping Pillow, Triple Threat Slide, and more.
Finish out the holiday with The American Conservation Film Festival beginning on October 31st and running thru November 3rd. Over 65 films over 4 days and 5 venues, the festival celebrates the art of film making honoring students and veterans of the industry. Located in Shepherdstown, check out the schedule and purchase your tickets.
One of the most popular activities in the Shenandoah Valley is the small informal town festival that occurs from the moment that spring arrives and wraps up with the fall leaf change and the arrival of winter. The Autumn Fest is just one of these festivals occurring this weekend at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock, Virginia.
Sponsored by the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, the festival celebrates its third year opening at 11 am on October 19th. This year’s event promises to combine past event favorites such as delicious BBQ, local wines, craft beers and live music with some new and improved features including a lower admission price.
Event Chairperson, Jenna French explains, “Our goal is to create a signature annual event for local residents and visitors alike. We take the feedback of our participants and attendees very seriously and each year, work to make improvements based on the suggestions we receive. We want people to walk away from the event having had a fun, unique experience and great value for their money.”
Tickets start at just $7 in advance and admission is free for children 16 and under. The ticket price may be lower but this year’s event is sure to offer higher entertainment value. New features include the Virginia Golden Ax Wood Splitting Competition, a chain saw carving contest, and expanded children’s activities.
Also added to the line-up is the second annual Virginia Golden Ax wood-splitting championship, a very popular Chamber-sponsored event that made its debut at Bryce resort in 2012.
"The Virginia Golden Ax wood-splitting championship debuted at Bryce last year, and the feedback we received from spectators was tremendous. It really is a jaw-dropping event that you have to see with your own eyes to believe. The brutes who are swinging away for the title are extremely talented athletes, and we are excited to see many of these fellas returning to compete again this year!" explains Chamber President Wade Zirkle.
Event chair, Jenna French has also been working closely with local artist, Glenn Richardson to organize the event’s first chain saw carving contest. As the visionary behind the signature wooden Autumnfest trophies and having organized a similar event at this year’s Shenandoah County Fair, Glenn was a natural partner for this event. The contest will feature 6 chain saw artists from throughout the Mid-Atlantic region including Glenn Richardson himself, Joe Stebbing, Joe King, Jack Veara and Rusty Rayfield.
Event attendees will be able to watch the carvers in action as they create their masterpieces which will be available for auction at the end of the event.
The event will also feature live performances by The Instigators and Danni Leigh. In addition, this year’s event will include an expanded children’s area thanks to City National Bank. Activities include pony rides, bouncy castles and obstacle course, rock climbing wall provided by Bryce Resort, fall crafts, straw bale maze and hands-on video game trials from Game Stop.
“It is exciting to receive calls from people all over the country interested in attending,” says Jenna. People have been calling from as far as Illinois interested in attending the event thanks to an increased marketing campaign after the Chamber received a marketing grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation aimed at attracting visitors to the area.
Jenna also notes that the event would not be possible without the support of the business community through sponsorships including Shenandoah Valley Memorial Hospital/Valley Health, Mary Ellen Ruddy- Financial Representative for Edward Jones, Northern Virginia Daily, 105.5 Big Country and many more. “The support and enthusiasm around this event is tremendous,” says Jenna. “It is encouraging to know that so many of our local businesses stand behind this event and its mission year after year.”
Proceeds from the event support the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce and help fund programs such as business workshops and educational seminars, networking events, and college scholarships.
For those of us who have grown up in the Shenandoah Valley, traveling the roads having lunch or dinner in the towns, it is apparent the Valley has matured as a cultural hub for artists, great wineries, theater and music performances. Nothing is more evident of this trend than the world famous culinary chefs in the Valley's restaurants and resorts.
Go Blue Ridge Travel (GoBRT) highlights the new trends gracing the landscape of the Shenandoah Valley. As the Fall foliage festivals begin, it is apparent that the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley is home to many indigenous and ethnic cultures. The events wrapping up September and moving into October are witness to this. Here is GoBRT’s ‘Hot Happenings’ in culinary, theater, the visual arts, music, and cultural heritage.
Theatre - American Conservation Film Festivaloffers over 65 films from October 31 to November 3rd at five venues, topics include water, energy, wildlife and wild places, food and agriculture, history and heroes, health and well-being. For families, there is a free day of nine films featuring Cafeteria Man, a story of positive movement that shows what's possible in our nation's schools. It is the true story of chef Tony Geraci's mission to radically reform Baltimore's public school food system with a recipe for change. "ACFF films change lives. You will never look at plastic the same way again; you will question the necessity of all the 'stuff' you own; you will learn to live a little smaller but have a much larger view of the world. Who knows, you may be the solution the world's been waiting for," said Lissa Cobetto, Executive Director.
Culinary Expertise - GoBRT’s Wine Series reaches out to the chefs in our region for their favorite vineyards and wines produced. Featuring Tarver King, formerly of The Ashby Inn and Restaurant, Tarver picks include Linden Vineyards, Delaplane Cellars and RdV Winery. “One of my favorite Linden wines is a Late Harvest Petit Manseng 2008. Another close vineyard, is RdV Winery is also in the Delaplane, Virginia. It is definitely in my opinion the most beautiful facility with cool architecture including an underground tasting room. One of my favorites there is the Rendezvous. Kevin does a wonderful job letting the visitor taste his wines to other top wines from California and France. You will definitely bring wine home with you!” said Chef Tarver. Tarver has just moved this September to The Patowmack Restaurant in Lovettsville and the Ashby Inn is welcoming Chef David Dunlap.
Visual Arts - Tom Neel celebrates his 25th year of fine art sales with a milestone celebration on September 28th hosted by The Hill School at the Sheila C. Johnson Performing Art Center, Middleburg, Virginia. “The Land Beneath My Feet” celebrates the 25th anniversary of fine art sales for Tom Neel, the Piedmont's premier landscape artist. Along with new paintings, the show will feature a new 130 page, full color book and a short introspective film, both with the same name as the show. Neel’s oil paintings are known for rich color, powerful light and varied majestic views of the region.
Music - Blackthorne Inn & Restaurant will feature the newly formed Fox Hole Band featuring Bryan Fox on the evening of October 4th. Playing Motown, Old Soul, and Soulful Country (Ray Charles), the band features the amazing vocals of Gene McBride from P-Funk and Jeffery Walker from Patti Labelle along with Benjiie Porecki (from Everybody) on keyboards, Blues Webb (from Billy Preston) on drums, and Samir Moulay (from Natalie Cole) on guitar. “Bryan Fox always brings in a great crowd. We are really excited that he wanted his new band to debut at The Blackthorne Inn & Restaurant. Should be a great evening!” stated Inn owner Shane O'Connor.
Cultural Heritage - Also on the 28th, the town of Harrisonburg, Virginia will host the 16th annual Harrisonburg International Festival. Celebrating the Harrisonburg community’s rich intercultural diversity, this event is free and brings together an extravaganza of performing, visual, and culinary arts, a World Bazaar of exquisite hand-made and imported art and souvenirs, and a world of stories waiting to be shared!
For many visitors, the quality of the NEW traveling experience to the Shenandoah Valley is welcomed since the valley is one of the most beautiful places in the world to experience the fall foliage change.
“I wanted to let you know how well your web site worked to help build tourism and spending in Virginia. A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail blast from your site and saw that there was ‘Shrek - The Musical’ being performed in Winchester. This was the start of a little getaway idea. We live in Reston and know that a trip to Winchester is only an hour and 15 minutes. By the time that our Saturday night was complete, the end result was 2 families thoroughly enjoyed the quality of the Shenandoah University Theatre performance on every level. I have raved about the quality of the performance to numerous friends and look forward to bringing more people out to Winchester for other future performances.” - DW. Reston, Virginia
Forget the trip to New York or DC and experience culture and the arts in the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia.
This is the season when the GREAT PUMPKIN takes over at the farm and becomes almost a member of the family for the month of October.
Join three generations of family farmers in Bluemont, Viriginia to celebrate 20 years of sustainable agriculture and fun. Great Country Farms' Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival features unique attractions and special events through October 31. The festivities commence with the arrival of the Pumpkin Princess in her Cinderella Coach to open Camelot Weekend on 9/28. Visitors can wear their best medieval gear and kids can test their jousting skills on wooden “horses”. P-Rex the Pumpkin Munchin’ dinosaur roars into action on weekends as well as the Farm’s famous “Oinkintucky Derby” pig races. Hedge your fantasy football results by tracking the NFL themed ‘swine line’ contests at 12:30pm Tuesday - Friday. Daily events include the kid sized corn maze, tractor rides to the U-Pick pumpkin fields, Cow Pie Putt Putt and a 5 acre farm style playground. Kids who have never seen a live pumpkin patch will love searching through foot high vines to find their perfect golden gourds. Each weekend has a special theme such as the carving weekend October 19 where all can learn artistic tips to create the best jack o lantern on their blocks.
Great Country Farms is owned by the Zurschmeide family which has over 14 members working in their diverse operations of farming, special events, and wine making at adjacent Bluemont Vineyard who offers a Free Farm Special wine tasting with proof of admission from Great Country Farms. Their community supported agriculture program (CSA) has grown into one of the largest in America and partners with local organizations to promote sustainable farming. The Farm’s Market is open daily and carries locally produced meat and dairy products as well as pre-picked produce and other hand crafted foods and decorations from local sources. The family extends heartfelt gratitude to the many friends and colleagues who have shared their journey and have enabled them to celebrate 20 years in the community.
Pumpkin Harvest Festival details:
Open daily from 9am-6pm
$8/child & $10/adult weekdays; $10/child & $12/weekends & holidays
Farm Members, Military ID holders and kids 2 and under are FREE
Please check our website & Facebook pages for special event times & U-Pick updates!
Contact Jaclyn Jenkins firstname.lastname@example.org 540-554-2073 GreatCountryFarms.com
Courtesy of RvD Winery - Delaplane, Virginia
Wine Adventure Series #2
Many people when they decide to take a Virginia wine tour, pick a geographic area they will explore. It is questionable how many people actually pick the vineyards based on the tasting experience they will have.
Go Blue Ridge Travel recognizing the excellent culinary talent in the Shenandoah Valley has begun a “Straight from the Chef Wine Series" with the goal of providing culinary expertise from chefs on their favorite wines and vineyards in the area.
Our first article was from Tammie and Paul Limoges of Sante Wine,Beer, and Gifts. With the opening of the new store in Winchester, there was no time for a great anniversary trip. Instead they made their anniversary a celebration of good wines here in Virginia.
GoBRT is happy to welcome Tarver King, Former Executive Chef of The Ashby Inn and Restaurant.
Tarver - “When my wife and I can take a break and visit a vineyard, the big question is how much time do we have. Probably our favorite vineyard is Linden Vineyards in Linden, Virginia. The Ashby Inn actually specializes in their wines with our Linden wine dinners selling out like crazy.
One of my favorite Linden wines is a Late Harvest Petit Manseng 2008:
Aromas: Pungent fragrances of candied orange, mint, fennel, and nutmeg.
Palate: A quiet restrained entry with an explosion at the end, mid palate of dried apricots, juniper berry, Mexican chili poser and a bracing acidity
It is wonderful this time of year with peaches. If you take peaches and rub the skins with butter and sugar until they blister. Then skin the peach and make a vanilla porridge, add ice cream and toasted oats, then sit back and enjoy this dessert with the Manseng. You have almost reached heaven
What is also wonderful about living in the valley are the local fruit farms. I am totally over the top with the Golden Donut peaches from MacKintosh Fruit Farm here in Berryville, Virginia. Last year I bought two cases and not one peach reached our menu. It is my opinion they are the best fruit on the planet.
I am also fond of their robust red wine - 2009 Hardscrabble
Aromas: Blueberry jam, patisserie, vanilla lift and smoky underbrush
Palate: Dried cherries, savory, very linear, energetic and fresh with assertive, long tannins.
Food Pairings: Lamb and other red meat preferably served rare.
Even though it is great with lamb and other red meat, my wife and I enjoy a good Vegetable Pizza on the grill in our small garden patio. The wine makes all the difference in a simple dinner to a great dinner fare.
Here at the Ashby Inn, I can cook on a fire pit. With this menu, the Ashby serves a lot of the Linden Chardonnays with people sitting out until late in the evening enjoying the wine.
Many of our guests who want a close vineyard experience, I send to Delaplane Cellars. It is just four miles from the inn. The vineyard has a beautiful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and very good wine maker. I particularly like the Syrah and the Cabernet Franc.
Another close vineyard, is RdV Winery is also in the Delaplane, Virginia. It is definitely in my opinion the most beautiful facility with cool architecture including an underground tasting room. One of my favorite there is the Rendezvous. Kevin does a wonderful job letting the visitor taste his wines to other top wines from California and France. You will definitely bring wine home with you!”
Go Blue Ridge Travel - thanks Chef King for his comments. Here is his bio -
Peering into Chef Tarver King’s background, one would not be surprised to find the title Chef attached to his name. In fact, one might believe it to be a foregone conclusion. Looking back two generations, Tarver’s grandmother was the food editor for Vogue Magazine in the 1960’s. She published multiple cookbooks and contributed to Gourmet Magazine’s cookbook. With a calling to the culinary craft, Chef King began his career at an early age apprenticing for the three-stared chef of La villa Lorraine, Alain Jackmin at his restaurant in Virginia Beach, Le Chambord. Gaining an education in the fundamentals of cuisine under Jackmin, Tarver worked with an outstanding list of acclaimed and accomplished chefs in this country and Europe. His career has included time in the kitchens of Le Bec Fin, The Inn at Little Washington, The French Laundry, The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn.
Renown of his own came first as the head chef of The Dining Room at The Woodlands Inn & Resort in Sommerville, South Carolina where he and his team achieved the highest recognition from both Mobile and AAA, receiving respectively five stars and five diamonds. He was also named “Grand Chef” by the Relais & Château organization, of which The Woodlands was a recognized member. Esquire Magazine named King as one of its top five chefs to watch. Chef King has been featured and published in numerous periodicals including Wine Spectator, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine Magazine.
As the former Chef of The Ashby Inn & Restaurant and now at The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville, Tarver returns to the roots of cooking. He draws from what the region has to offer, crafting a daily changing menu based on what the local farmers, fisherman, and foragers provide. The elemental base of fresh ingredients serves as inspiration for his contemporary cuisine.
For the Bride looking to have their wedding in the countryside, the Shenandoah Valley offers unique venues from mountain tops to overlooking the Potomac to historic restored hotels. One hour outside of Washington DC and Northern Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley is a ‘best kept secret’ to the DC-WV-MD-VA wedding market, offering award-winning accommodations without traveling far- just peace and romantic beauty in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It’s no secret that the northern Blue Ridge Mountains Shenandoah Valley offers everything a bride could imagine as the wedding backdrop for their special day. “I have spent ten years branding ‘Blue Ridge Bride’ and am excited to launch BlueRidgeBride.com at the Blue Ridge Bridal Fall Show on September 15th,” said Nancy Craun, Owner and Founder of Blue Ridge Bride.
The northern Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley from Shepherdstown, West Virginia to Harrisonburg, Virginia offers romantic fun destinations including the award-winning Luray Caverns. From luxury country inns to spa resorts to newly restored historic hotels and manor houses to wilder adventuresome venues, these wedding destinations are a hidden gem about to burst. They have the advantage of no airplane hassles and are areas loved by brides and guests.
On Sunday, September 15th in the heart of the northern Blue Ridge in Winchester, Virginia, Blue Ridge Bride will celebrate weddings kicking off their 2014 season with the Blue Ridge Fall Bridal Show. Showcasing the George Washington Hotel, brides can begin the day by having a brunch with Alpha Voyages where they can explore honeymoon opportunities with Luke Majewski of Sandals Resorts.
Blue Ridge Bride in partnership with Go Blue Ridge Travel offers FREE planning checklists to every bride designed to be shared over the internet. You can have a checklist for the Rehearsal Dinner to be shared with those guests and one for a Bridal Luncheon and one for the complete wedding details. Click here to begin. With the goal of making the planning of a wedding easy for all involved parties, Go Blue Ridge Travel is the travel itinerary planning guide for the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and West Virginia.
The show, featuring regional wedding vendors, will open at 1pm. Brides can talk with some of the leading venues including Historic Rosemont Manor, Historic Jordan Springs, and Holiday Inn and Suites Front Royal Blue Ridge Shadows. Each one of these venues has its own aura from a home that welcomed past Presidents to a golf course setting. Of course, the George Washington Hotel will be at is best hosting the show and the Garden Tea.
Vendors will include Classc Tuxedos - men's formal wear and photographers 2gether Again Weddings and Photography and Moments by Misty Photography. Balloon Artist and Planner, Rachel Manor from Exceedingly Magnificent Event Planning and Balloons, and cake designer, Pamela Hutzell from Celebration Cakes. We will also have It Works, Slumber Parties by Tiffany Noel, and Vacation Village Resorts. Plus BRB is pleased to welcome a new floral designer, Heather Merchant, LOVE Flowers Shenandoah. If you are looking for beautiful transportation handles with great service, BRB welcomes Michael Bohrer with Detailed Destinations.
Redken Artist, Andrea Kozel, of Mane Attraction Salon and Wellness Spawill demonstrate the latest bridal hairstyles. Brides can enjoy the Garden Room Tea and then watch Potomac Bridals’ Fashion Show. Prizes include a romantic getaway package from the George Washington Hotel and Alpha Voyages Travel Agency's 'Four Night Fling at a Starwood Hotel anywhere in the United States.'
All future 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 $7 for one and two for $12.
Planning a romantic getaway, family outing or even a wedding? Go Blue Ridge Travel knows the hottest Fall hangouts, sophisticated events and bridal shows in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas. Less than a tankful of gas from Washington DC, festivals and events for brides, families and adults in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and West Virginia are happening now.
Fall activities in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley are here. There’s nothing to say except that it's 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.
Shenandoah Valley Hangouts -
The George Washington Hotel George Washingon Hotel, A Wyndham Grand Hotel in Old Town Winchester, Virginia, complete with elegant marble flooring, soaring ceiling heights and the original front desk, this Georgian Revival-style hotel, still has all the appeal and ambiance of the bygone era.
The Ashby Inn and Restaurant is located just outside of Winchester, Virginia on Route 50 at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountain ridge. Situated at the cross-section of routes 50 and 17 in the charming village of Paris, the 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 Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant is an Irish Oasis in Virginia Hunt Country, just outside of Upperville, Virginia. Sitting on 45-acres at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the inn offers 14 guest rooms and cottages overlooking a large water lily-filled fish pond. Lodging is available in restored stables, individual log cabins and an individual chalet. Wolfe Tone, an Irish Pub, is a local favorite for light fare and live music on the weekends.
Upcoming September Events -
6th-7th: The Downtown Tailgate -Old Town Winchester will fuse the high energy atmosphere of a football game day with the sophistication of a traditional beer and wine festival. Saturday times will be from 5-11pm and Sunday 12-8pm. Television viewing stations will be featured in front of the Old Civil War Courthouse Museum showing the best regional and national college football games on Fridays and Saturdays. Adults and Kids can play fun games including cornhole tournaments. General admission tickets are $5 and a special advance tasting package is available for $10.
14th- 15th: On Sunday, September 15th, the 5th annual Blue Ridge Bridal Fall Show will be held at The George Washington Hotel in Old Town Winchester. Brides can celebrate their upcoming weddings attend the tea hosted by Go Blue Ridge Travel. Potomac Bridals will present a Fashion Show in the George and Martha’s ballroom. Register online for the Silver Suitcase Giveaways or tickets are available at the door for $7 or two for $12.
Cider Festival Apple Harvest Celebration - Bluemont, Virginia celebrates the start of the cider pressing season with tastings of this season’s best sparkling cider blends including peach, cherry and raspberry. For the first year, Showalters Orchard will be offering hard cider tastings for purchase as well as Cocoran Winery with their Apple Wine product. The Catoctin Presbyterian Church will be making Apple Butter. There will be cider pressing demonstrations, a Corn Maze and a Pumpkin Patch--fun for all ages.
28th: Harrisonburg International Festival - Harrisonburg, Virginia is a true surprise, emphasizing on past history and heritage. Celebrating Harrisonburg/Rockingham County’s rich intercultural diversity, the Harrisonburg International Festival takes place from 12-6pm at Hillandale Park. This unusual event is FREE and brings together an extravaganza of performing, visual and culinary arts, musical talent, dance, creative folk art, language and intercultural learning opportunities.
Brews and Blues Festival - Front Royal, Virginia is a great example of the love of all music in the Shenandoah Valley. Warm sunshine...Fall colors...Laughter fills the air. Visit histori downtown Front Royal just off of Interstate 66 for a day fo shopping with craft and artisan vendors, blues music and of course, beer tasting. Festival is open from 12 - 8 pm.
Fall is a perfect time to visit the Shenandoah Valley. See more featured events at Go Blue Ridge Travel the travel planning guide for the northern Shenandoah Valley.
Go Blue Ridge Travel Announces that the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, a children's museum in Winchester, Virginia is expanding from 4,000 to over 20,000 square feet with the opening of new museum facilities in Spring 2014. Offering family fun and education to four states, the new museum mission it to offer generational learning experiences for all ages.
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum (SVDM) will be moving into a building next spring that will offer more than four times the space it currently has, offering generational learning experiences for all ages. The new location in Winchester, Virginia is 19 West Cork Street which formerly housed the Schewel Furniture Company for 50 years.
"Our mission is to provide a stimulating learning environment which is self-paced and hands on. It is our goal to promote families learning together - 'share the joy of learning' We give the children the control of their own discovery and their own learning. As the discovery process unfolds, the children progress where their interests take them," said Mary Braun, Executive Director of Shenandoah Valley's Discovery Museum.
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum has been a staple of downtown Winchester since 1996, serving over a half million visitors. With a goal to provide childhood educational opportunities, the Museum helps to foster a foundation for a lifetime of future learning. Serving as a regional community museum in the northern Shenandoah Valley, the bulk of SVDM visitors come from VA, WV, MD and PA, but the museum also has international and national tourists. Western Loudoun County is the largest demographics outside of Winchester/Frederick County.
“Thanks to a generous gift from J.J. Smith, we’re able to pursue this project,” Braun said. “That coupled with gifts from the city and the county, both of $500,000, have made this expansion possible.”
The future museum will stretch across three floors and the rooftop area encompassing nearly 20,000 square feet compared to the current museum comprised of 4,600 square feet. “Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum’s goal is to be THE destination for learning, imagination and roof top gatherings, through its many new exhibits that will engage children, their parents and their grandparents in novel and exciting ways.” said Braun.
With a planned opening date of Spring 2014, the renovated children’s museum will feature a triceratops, an updated medical area featuring a recently retired ambulance donated by Valley Health, a science kitchen laboratory, the old museum’s Native American lodges, a creator-in-residence studio and a paleontology section. There will also be a rooftop garden which will be the new nightlife of Winchester and hopes to be the area’s unique venue.
"The first floor is about encountering the museum and the second floor is all about action. It will contain areas focused on watershed and erosion, roller coasters, climbing walls and the popular apple packing shed, which will be brought over and updated from the old museum. It is where children can learn about simple machines like pulleys, levers, apple orchards and farming,” said Braun.
Nathan Webb, project architect with Reader and Swartz said the museum’s move has been ten years in the making. “Very much a work in progress, the new space began as a cold brick and concrete shell. The rooftop was a 3,000 foot gravel surface without guardrails, but soon will include a bandstand pavilion to accommodate events and ceremonies, even weddings. Colorful shade sails will make the space inviting, he said, even in the harsh summer sun,” said Schwartz.
“Go Blue Go Blue Ridge Travel is excited to add this project to the launch of the Shenandoah Valley Kids Trail Spring 2014. A project supported by eight partners in the Shenandoah Valley will launch an eighteen month marketing program focusing on family activities in the Shenandoah Valley”, said Nancy Craun, founder and owner of Go Blue Ridge Travel.
Summer is leaving us, school and college has started and things are about to heat up at Go Blue Ridge Travel for September and the upcoming ‘Changing of the Foliage’ before ole man winter arrives. The weather has been wonderful here in the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley. Not nearly as dry and miserably humid. Yes, a lot of rain but things are very green. Here is a list of September’s fun schedule of events for adults and kids just a tankful outside of DC. Labor Day is just around the corner. Don’t waste time traveling when there is so much to do in the Valley.
Family fun outside of DC -
The Big Dig at Great Country Farms August 31 and September 1, Bluemont, VA - Offering the familiar and the new to families, The Big Dig is offers you a Pancake Breakfast and Potato Harvest. You will start the day with pancakes fresh off the griddle! Pile them high on your plate and then top with our delicious fruit syrups. Pancakes, Juices and Coffee included until 11:30 am with admission. Then jump on a hayride and hunt for potato treasure in their U Pick field. Weather permitting, Great Country Farms will “rip” some rows with the tractor to make the hunting easier!
Shenandoah County Fair Ends August 31st, Woodstock, VA - There is nothing that speaks more of the aura of the Shenandoah Valley than a country fair. From a Pig Scramble to Harness Racing to great music entertainment in the Valley, Shenandoah County Fair is fun for all ages! Friday night will feature Tate Stevens and Saturday night ends with Impact Wrestling World Tour. During the day there is the midway and animals to see.
Harpers Ferry Adventure Center, Harpers Ferry, WV - Wrap up a wonderful summer of water-sports this weekend. Just as summer ends, there is the NEW Off-road Segway Tours. Call today to book this exciting new adventure! 800-836-9911 to book your fun and challenging tour through the scenic trails of our beautiful mountain. This 1 & 1/2 tour is a fun and thrilling ride that allows you to move around at your own pace and also challenges your every move. Don't miss out on the fun!
Hiking in the mountains - The weather looks good but read our Hot Tips on Hiking with Kids before you start out.
Bloomery Plantation Distillery Fun and Black Dog Coffee, Charles Town, WV - Perhaps you may not have heard of two of the best kept secrets in the Valley. Our West Virginia friends are just a little crazy - ‘lemon in a canoe’. Just for Labor Day, the Bloomery Plantation Distillery known for its excellent award winning SweetShine Cocktails will be open all Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Labor Day Monday. On Friday, August 30, CassiRaye will perform Indie Folk/Jazz. Music will start at 6 pm. On Saturday, August 31, the amazing Viqui Dill will host the monthly Open Mic. Bring your fiddle, banjo, tuba, triangle or whatever else! Play with us, or just come to listen. A little difficult to find if you are not from WV - call Rob if you are lost! If you need a cup of coffee before you head home, stop by Black Dog Coffee off of Route 9. You will end up taking a bag of freshly roasted beans home!
Theater and Music in the Valley
Congratulations to The Family Drive In Theater, Stephens City, VA - After working hard raising the capital to go digital, this weekend is the first of Digital Movies. As a thank you to their loyal fan base - the drive in is offering a unique movie night of Dusk to Dawn movies (from sun down to sun up) for their normal admission price of $8.00 for adults and $4 for children (ages 3 - 11). If you don’t live close, then book a hotel room with one of Go Blue Ridge Travel’s partners - Towne Place Marriott, Country Inn and Suites, and Wingate. Starting after September 2 - it is back to just weekends.
Mountain Jamboree at Massanutten Resort, August 31, Massanutten, VA - So what if it is not July 4th, Massanutten Resort will be doing fireworks this year following the Mountain Jamboree. If you have never been to the resort, then enjoy visiting during this special event. Music, food vendors and drinks in the beer garden, the line up of bands is Big Leg Emma, Yarn, and Love Canon. Music starts at 5:15 to 10 pm. Just of the kids is Hoop Dance with the Dogtown Hoop Mafia from Richmond, Virginia.
??Have a great Labor Day Weekend in the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley.
“Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature. Not only those of a certain economic class or culture or gender or sexual identity or set of abilities. Every child,” said Richard Louv, author of eight books about the connections among family, nature and community.
Louv says, “Research suggests that exposure to the natural world—including nearby nature in cities—helps improve human health, well-being, and intellectual capacity in ways that science is only recently beginning to understand.”
As parents, we have such little downtime to really enjoy our loved ones; we’re usually driving a car, making dinner or helping with homework.
Tree-climbing is becoming a lost art.
And then there’s this: According to a national survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, American youth (8-18 years old) devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media across a typical day. That’s more than 53 hours a week!
Here’s an alternative.
Carving out time for a family hike is a smart decision on many levels and there’s no better time than now to take a walk in the woods.
You Will Need
- Sunscreen and a hat
- Comfortable shoes, socks, clothing
- Healthy snacks
- A backpack for each hiker
- First-aid kit
Give yourself an hour to choose a location, check the weather, pack your gear, apply sunscreen and load everyone into the car
- Around half a day (2½ hours plus travel to and from hike location)
- Adjust the duration and difficulty according to hikers’ ages and skill levels
The great outdoors
Here’s how to get started:
#1: Hike Location and Time of Day
There’s a reason children coined the phrase, “Are we there yet?” In general, kids love doing, not waiting. Keep this in mind when you plan where your family hike will occur.
Travel distance shouldn’t be more than 30 minutes away. Schedule your hike for morning when the weather is cooler and the family is fresher. You want your little ones to be alert and happy when they take their first step on the trail.
Hike in the morning when the weather is cooler and everyone is fresh.
#2: Route Length
Depending on the age and fitness level of your children, the length of the route will vary. Plan on about one hour out and one hour return, with a 15-minute break in the middle for a good first hike.
If your children are under age 8, you’ll want to shorten the hike time and select a trail without much elevation.
#3: Trail Snacks
All hikes should include a snack break. Breaks are not just about nutritional refreshment; they provide mental and physical refreshment too.
Bring healthy snacks of cut fruit, almonds with raisins, and carrots and celery. Place snacks in individual plastic bags so each person can carry food in his or her own backpack.
After the break, everyone should place their trash in a plastic bag and carry their trash back to the parking area where it can be disposed of. A favorite hiking expression to teach your children, “Leave only footprints, take only photos.”
Every hike should include a break time. Bring healthy snacks without much packaging. All the trash from the snacks in this photo can be bundled into one of the plastic bags.
Every hiker needs to carry a water bottle, preferably in a reusable container. Rehydrate frequently.
Hydrate—each hiker should carry his or her own reusable water bottle.
#4: Hiking Clothes
You don’t need to invest a lot of money in special clothes. A T-shirt, a comfortable pair of shorts or jeans and a hat will do just fine. The most important article of clothing is shoes—wear comfortable shoes! Think well-worn and rubber soles. Warning: never wear a new pair of shoes or boots on a hike, unless you want blisters.
For an hour-long hike, cotton socks are OK. However, if your family decides to try a day-hike, you might consider purchasing a pair of high-tech socks. Dry, comfortable and blister-free feet can mean the difference between a happy hiker and a miserable hiker.
Footgear should be well-worn and comfortable.
#5: Hike Pace
Set an easy pace. The pace of the hike should be only as fast as the slowest hiker. Although some children may want to make it a race, encourage the kids to take in the scenery, watch where their feet fall and smell the outdoors.
Remember that your children may tire quickly. According to Sierra Club Trails, for each step you take, your child may be taking four.
#6: It’s About the Journey, Not the Destination
Teach your children to be good observers of nature by being a good observer yourself. They will love it when you point out a bird’s nest, or a frog or an animal track.
Take time to pause, look at your discoveries and ask your son or daughter questions about what you’ve found.
Before you leave on your hike, teach your children to pay attention to the weather conditions. Bring appropriate gear based on weather reports.
#7: Weather Forecast
An important life-long lesson for your children is to respect Mother Nature. When you awaken on the day of your family hike, invite your children to look out the window. Ask them to notice if there are clouds in the sky or if the wind is blowing the leaves on the trees.
If you’ve received a morning newspaper, show your child the weather page and note the daily forecast at your hike location. The tech-savvy family will look up the forecast on their smartphone or laptop. Remember, the weather conditions where you’ll be hiking may be different from the conditions at your home.
I strongly suggest that you reschedule your family hike if rain is predicted. You want to keep your hike experience dry and pleasant.
Some Final Thoughts…
Recently, I asked my 25-year-old son, Dillon, to tell me of his childhood memories of hiking. “Leadership,” he said as he crossed his arms and leaned against the kitchen counter. “I liked leading the hike.”
I smiled at his unique perspective and asked him to tell me more. “When you’re a kid you don’t get to lead very much. There’s always a teacher or a soccer coach or a parent… some adult telling you what to do and how to do it.” Dillon continued, “But when we went hiking, I got to lead the way.” He grinned and said, “I liked that.”
You never know what memory your child will take away from a family hike. But they will remember. Plan your family’s hike today.
What do you think? Do you have any additional hiking tips? Please share your comments and pictures below. We all can learn from each other.
Shelley Miller, home exchange consultant helps people travel the world and stay for free. She writes about family travel and home exchange vacations for the Huffington Post and her website. Other posts by Shelley Miller »
Go Blue Ridge Travel welcomes Shelley Miller blog writer for My Kids Adventures! Hiking is a great way to connect with your family and good exercise for you and the Kids!
Celebrating an Anniversary in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains by Tammie and Paul Limoges, owners of Sante Wine Beer and Gifts - Winchester, Virginia
The beautiful state of Virginia is known for many things: its historic significance, beautiful coastal lines and more recently, the more than 230 wineries that are producing award winning wines, with many allowing visitors to come and enjoy breathtaking scenery of acres upon acres of vineyards! Having recently opened a fine wine, craft beer and gourmet food shop in Winchester, we taste and compare many wines from Virginia and around the world so that we can offer our customers the very best in many different price points.
What we have found, is that while France, South Africa, California and many other places around the world create wonderful wine, Virginia wineries offer a wonderful selection of crisp, vibrant wines, as well as bold, full bodied wines and everything in between to tantalize your taste buds!
For our 15 year wedding anniversary last month, we ventured out for a little road trip to explore beautiful vineyards and wineries in Northern Virginia, the Monticello Region and the Shenandoah Region. With so many to choose from, we began creating our list by referring to the 2013 Virginia Governors Cup Top 12 Wine Medalists and chose 5 vineyards from that list. They included Trump Winery, Sunset Hills Winery, Pollak Vineyards, King Family Vineyards and Barboursville Vineyards. We also made stops at Veramar Vineyards, Horton Cellars, Jefferson Vineyards and had a wonderful lunch (with a flight of beers) at Blue Mountain Brewery.
As impressive as these landscapes and views were, we were equally impressed with the warm welcome and knowledgeable staff that we encountered. One very memorable stop was at Sunset Hills Winery where we purchased a bottle of their 2011 Cabernet Franc, along with a basket that included a warm baguette, brie cheese, salami and a fig spread and we sat on the beautiful patio while a light rain sprinkled down on the grape vines. We were thrilled when we were joined by winemaker, Nate Walsh, who took the time to come and greet us and tell us more about his background and the wines that Sunset Hills produces. This is a winery that we will certainly plan to visit again, and will bring our friends to as well.
After a whirlwind couple of days delighting in the many wonderful wines and beers made in Virginia, we returned to our wine and beer shop, Santé, with a greater understanding of the challenges that Virginia wine makers encounter such as weather, soil and temperature changes, and with a burning curiosity to continue to learn (and taste!) more of what Virginia has to offer.
Over the past six months since opening our store in the Kernstown Commons center in Winchester (near the Alamo Drafthouse), we have invited wine makers, distributors and other representatives to come to Santé to share with our customers about their products at a free monthly beer or wine tasting. Most recently, our July tasting was with Cave Ridge Vineyard and offered a taste of their Viognier and Chambourcin wine, which benefits the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation (www.shenandoahatwar.org) in their effort to preserve historic battlefields in the area. By enjoying a wonderful bottle of their Virginia wine, you also contribute toward this organization’s efforts.
Santé Wine, Beer & Gifts opened in December 2012 and offers more than 200 fine wines from around the world, over 130 craft beers, gourmet foods and unique gifts. Visit us at www.santewineandbeer.comand LIKE US on Facebook to find out about specials and new products.
OK, it is August and it is HOT! You have four choices to select from in this heat and humidity. One is to stay in your house in the air-conditioning ('boring') and the other is to put on the sunscreen and take a drive in the Blue Ridge Mountains northern Shenandoah Valley and have some fun. Here is what is hot for everyone including your dogs!
Summer Festivals reach their peak in August with country fairs wrapping up and local harvest festivals happening every week. Plus, of course, the Shenandoah Valley is known for its music festivals. As part of Go Blue Ridge Travel's Kids Bucket List, here are three 'Hot Happenings' in the Blue Ridge Shenandoah Valley.
Hot Happening #1 - the Dog Days and Peaches Festival at Great Country Farms has something for everyone. On August 10th and 11th, Great Country Farms likes to say that this weekend the farm goes to the dogs! The Dogs Days at Great Country are all about fun with your family and canine companions. Bring the whole family for a romp in the play area and to u-pick peaches in their orchard. Jaclyn Jenkins of Great Country Farms said, "This is a great time to try out our agility course, Doggie Olympics, and demonstrations that make you bark! Plus dogs can take a dip in the pond to cool off. Our peaches are ready to be picked." Bring your dog's favorite item to enjoy a dip in the pond. Each pup will receive a doggie bag of goodies plus you can shop for fun gifts to bring home! All canine companions are asked to bring their owners on a leash and sport their finest rabies certification tag. Of course, canine drinking water and scooping bags will be provided.
This is a great time for kids and their dogs to have fun together event if those kids are 18 years and above!
Hot Happening #2 - the Mountain Jamboree at Massanutten Resort on Sunday, August 31st. The 4th annual Mountain Jamboree Festival is packed full of surprises this year! This will be plenty of music, food, drinks, and other activities to keep the whole family happy! If you have never been to Massanutten Resort, you are in for a big surprise. First, the drive is wonderful whether you take Interstate 81 or you take the more scenic routes - Route 11 or Route 340. This festival begins at 3:30 and is all about music, kids activities, and good cold brew.
Zenaida Hall, Director of Shenandoah Valley Travel Association (SVTA) saids, "Massanuttern Resort does three large events a year to raise money for local non-profits. This is our third year as the recipient of the Mountain Jamboree proceeds. STVA provides all the volunteers for this event. The event is a good mix of family friendly activities with local food vendors participating. It is a wonderful relaxed festival event where you can spread your blanket out on the lawns and listen to the great music which is a combination of bluegrass and rock. Banjos, mandolins, fiddles, acoustic guitars, and other unique string instruments create fun fun music. Kids love the RVA Hoop Lovers!"
If you want to make a weekend of it and put yourself out for a Guinness Book of Records experience, we suggest starting this Saturday with the 9th Annual Infamous Route 11 Yard Crawl. Over 43 miles of bargain, this event will feature business side walk sales, yard sales, antiques, food and much more along the designated Scenic By-way of Route 11 in Shenandoah County. It will take you all day to move down Valley Pike. Pick a Hotel or Bed and Breakfastin the Shenandoah Valley to spend the night because you definitely will not make it to Massanutten on that Saturday. Woodstock is a great place to visit. Plan on going to the Woodstock Cafe and Shoppes for a late breakfast/lunch on Sunday before you head on down to the Mountain Jamboree.
Happening #3 - It is fair time in the Shenandoah Valley for the county fairs to kick in. Starting in July and every week after until the first of September there are fairs in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland. Our two featured fairs are the Rockingham County Fair August 12th - 17th in Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah County Fair August 24th to September 1st in Woodstock, Virginia both directly off of Interstate 81. Tom Eshelman, General Manager of the Shenandoah County Fair, saids "The fairs all the epidemic of what our counties in the Shenandoah Valley are all about. Agri-tourism and Going Local is huge in this area. The fairs lets you experience the change that is happening in the agricultural economy in the Shenandoah Valley." County Fair popularity is on the rise. Why - because they are fun and represent the whole community! There is nothing that speaks more of the aura of the Shenandoah Valley more than a county fair. From a Pig Scramble to Harness Racing to a Beauty Pageant, to great musical entertainment, buy your tickets today!
It's BBQ Time - Try this BBQ Sauce Recipe
2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1 medium Spanish Onion
3 Cloves garlic - coarsely chopped
1 Cup Ketchup
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 can Chipolte Chle In Adobo, chopped
2 Tablespoons Ancho Chili Powder
1 Tablespoon Sweet Spanish Paprika
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Molasses
Kosher Salt and freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the onion and cook 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minutes
- Add the ketchup and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes
- Add the mustard, vinegar, worcestshire, chipolte chile, ancho chile powder, paprika, brown sugar, and molasses and bring to a simmer. Cook stirring occasionally for an additional 10 minutes or until thickened.
- Transfer the mixture to a food processor and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a bowl and allow to cool at room temperature. The sauce will keep for 1 week in a tighly seater container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
Chef Adam Carter
The Dancing Goat
The George Washington Hotel