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Date Archives: September 2021

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September
27

How to Prepare for Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail

If you've been exploring Elkton homes for sale, you probably already know how proud this community is to be a part of the Appalachian Trail. In fact, we recently celebrated becoming the 50th designated trail community. Other designated communities span all the way from Georgia to Maine. 

Close to four million hikers head out on the trail each year. If you've ever dreamed of joining them, you'll need to spend some time getting yourself prepared. Our real estate agents have had the opportunity to speak to many hikers over the years and have learned a lot from them. Here are a few of the most important tips they've shared with us. 

Appalachian Trail Rest

  • Budget Wisely
    You don't just have to be physically fit to hike the trails, you also need to make sure you're in good financial shape. You may think that being away from civilization means you won't need money, but that's not true. Making sure you have enough money will make your adventure far more comfortable. There will be times when you want to stop at one of the trail communities for a hot meal or a cold beer or pay for a shower. When you do, you'll want to make sure you can afford it without worry. 

  • Don't Forget Your Sunscreen
    Even though there's lots of cover over much of the trail, it's still far too easy to get a sunburn. If you do, your hike will be uncomfortable, and it could even make you sick. Do yourself a favor - pack plenty of high-quality sunscreen and remember to reapply it often. 

  • Rain-Test Your Gear
    There's nothing worse than getting out on the trail only to find out that your gear doesn't stand up to rain as well as you think it will. Make sure this doesn't happen to you by setting up your tent and gear in the backyard, turning on the sprinklers, and sitting inside to see how it performs. You may feel pretty silly doing it, but it's much better to find out you have a problem when you're just a short drive away from the store rather than when you're out on the trail.

Appalachian Trail Marker

  • Pack Lightly
    It's critical to make sure you pack all the essentials, but you'll also want to remember that the less weight you have to carry, the better off you'll be. Before you add anything to your pack, make sure to consider whether it's really important. As a rule of thumb, you should try to carry no more than 25% of your body weight throughout your hike. 

  • Prepare "Bump Boxes"
    A "Bump Box" is a box you pack with essentials like clean clothes, a new book, or anything else you think might give you a boost while you're out on your journey. You'll want to mail these to the towns you're planning to travel to so they're waiting for you when you arrive. Sometimes, knowing you have a bump box waiting for you is the extra push you need to make it through when you feel like giving up.

    Hiking Trails

    • Practice Makes Perfect
      Before you hit the trail, it pays to take some time to get familiar with all your gear. Make sure you know basic things like how to start your stove and how to set up your tent. You'll also want to practice hiking with your backpack. This way, you can make sure it fits comfortably and that you can handle the amount of weight you're planning to carry. 
    • Bring Duct Tape
      There's a reason why it's a long-standing joke that duct tape can fix anything. Having a roll with you on your hike is sure to come in handy. From repairing broken equipment to taping a broken finger, there are countless ways this little trick may save your tail. 
    • Designate a Support Person
      At some point along the way, chances are you're going to need the help of someone back home. Make sure you know who you can count on before you head out. You may need something physical - like having them mail you a new pair of hiking shoes - or you might just need some moral support.

    Appalachian Trail Tips

    • Believe in Yourself
      Doubting yourself will make the hike less fun and may become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Head out on the trails committed to doing your best, and remember that even if you don't get as far as you had hoped, you will still have done something that many people never will. 

    If you want to live along the Appalachian Trail, consider purchasing one of the beautiful Elkton or Luray homes for sale. The experienced agents at Old Dominion Realty would love to help you find your dream home. Contact us today to get started. 

    September
    20

    Orchards and Markets for Farm Fresh Apples

    Apples in Shenandoah ValleyFall is in the air, and it's the best time of year to visit your local farms in the Shenandoah Valley! Our real estate agents love this season because of the amazing variety of available crops—apples, grapes, pumpkins—and the fun fall festivals that return year after year. 

    If you happen to be in the Charlottesville or Harrisonburg area this fall, be sure to check out some of our favorite local farms, orchards, and markets!

    • Back Home on the Farm - 2915 Willow Run Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
      Offering one of the most fun-packed farm experiences in Virginia, Back Home on the Farm is the sort of place you'll want to visit again in every season. The greenhouse is alive with flowers in spring, and the farm stand is packed with produce in summer. But in fall, the farm is abuzz with activity, including wagon rides, you-pick pumpkins, nightly campfires, and a 7-acre corn maze. The farm is located just outside Harrisonburg, convenient to many Harrisonburg homes for sale.

    • Showalter's Orchard & Greenhouse - 17768 Honeyville Rd, Timberville, VA 22853
      Showalter's Orchard & Greenhouse is a popular wedding venue in addition to being a working farm, and it's not hard to see why. The place is stunning, with spectacular views across acres of rolling farmland. Autumn is pick-your-own apple season here, and the farm grows more than 30 varieties. Be sure to check out the cider (hard and otherwise) that is made right here on the farm, just minutes from these Timberville homes for sale.

    • Hickory Hill Farm - 3034 Fruit Farm Ln, Keezletown, VA 22832
      Hickory Hill Farm is a picturesque, family-owned farm that has been run by the same family for 30 years. You'll find a different crop ready for harvest in every season: blueberries in June, tomatoes and sweet corn from July through August, and grapes from August into September. The farm is located in Keezletown, not far from these Rockingham County homes for sale. They also sell their produce at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market, which is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from April through Thanksgiving. 

    • Turkey Knob Growers - 17581 Mechanicsville Rd, Timberville, VA 22853
      Peaches in the summertime, apples in the fall—it seems there's always something sweet ready to be picked at Turkey Knob Growers. Nestled in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, the farm grows several varieties of apples, which they package and ship to stores and markets all over the United States. You can also pick up apples in person at their farm stand or order online through their website. Turkey Hill is one of the oldest orchards in the Shenandoah Valley; they've been going strong since 1918. 

    • Overlook Produce and Farm Adventures - 609 Friedens Church Rd, Mt Crawford, VA 22841
      There's a lot to explore in any season at Overlook Produce and Farm Adventures, but fall is definitely our favorite time to visit this Shenandoah Valley farm. They offer a vast pumpkin patch with over 50 varieties of pumpkins and gourds in virtually every size, shape, and color. Fall also brings a sunflower harvest and corn maze, and be sure to check back in next spring for strawberry season! Overlook Produce is just of I-81 and a stone's throw from these Mount Crawford homes for sale.

    • Carter Mountain Orchard and Country Store - 1435 Carters Mountain Trail, Charlottesville, VA 22902
      Offering pick-your-own and pre-picked apples from August through November, Carter Mountain Orchard and Country Store is a beautiful place to spend a day in the fall. They also grow peaches that are available well into September and recently launched their own wine label using home-grown grapes. This is a great time of year to enjoy a glass of wine in their beautiful outdoor space. The farm is a short drive from these Charlottesville homes for sale and also has an on-site bakery that's known for making some of the best apple cider donuts around. 

    • Cross Keys Farm - 3022 Cross Keys Rd, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
      You'll find just about any fruit or vegetable you can think of at the farm stand at Cross Keys Farm. Each crop is grown right here on the farm and available fresh for as long as it's in season. In fall, apples are the star of the show. Cross Keys Farm includes an orchard that grows modern apple varieties like Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady, as well as unique heirloom apples like Albemarle Pippin, Arkansas Black, and Esopus Spitzenburg.

    Fall is a great time to be in Virginia, but we happen to think it's a pretty special place to call home in any season. Contact us today to learn more about life in the Shenandoah Valley area and talk to our real estate agents about finding your Virginia dream home.

    September
    13

    Happy Cat Month: How to Make Your Home Cat-Friendly

    Home Improvement for PetsWhether you have one beloved cat or a full house with multiple cats, you want to provide a comfortable, safe, cat-friendly home environment.

    September is National Happy Cat Month. Yes, there really is a recognized month when cat lovers celebrate their feline friends. Happy Cat Month is an annual event held in September that serves to inform and educate cat owners about creating a cat-friendly home. At Old Dominion Realty, our real estate agents take pride in supporting the well-being of our furry felines. Take a look at ways you can create a cat-friendly home.

    Cat in Home

    Create an Outdoor View

    Although your cat may be an indoor-only feline, they will welcome an outdoor view of trees, plants, flowers, and outdoor critters. Cats are curious creatures, and they need stimulation to stay happy. If you're looking for properties in Virginia, many homes have spectacular outdoor views that will keep your cat mesmerize your cat for hours.

    Keep Your Cat Active

    Keeping your cat active will provide exercise and mental stimulation. Cats love to play, so they love cat toys with playful interaction. You don't need to buy expensive toys since cats like unwinding balls of string, attacking shadows on the floor, jumping up to catch a feather, and chasing toy mice. Taking time to play with your cat shows affection, creates strong bonds and promotes healthy activity.

    Tabby Cat

    Create Vertical Spaces

    One of the best ways to create a cat-friendly home is by providing vertical spaces where your cat can climb. This is especially important in multiple-cat households where cats need their own private space. Cats love to climb and perch themselves high above the floor where they feel safe. If Broadway homes for sale have high ceilings, you can use tall cat trees with multiple levels, as well as cat shelves that can be attached to walls and windows.

    Indoor Cat

    Provide a Cozy Bed

    Cats spend a lot of time sleeping, so they need a cozy bed where they feel safe. Some cats like to rest and relax in different spots in the house, so you can use soft quilts, blankets, and large throw pillows to create cozy places to relax in different rooms. For cats who like to hide, soft baskets and decorative containers are cozy options for Dayton homes for sale with large rooms and open floor plans. 

    Buy a Scratching Post

    Cats scratch to file their claws and mark their territory. If you don't buy a scratching post, you're likely to find scratches on your walls, cabinets, furniture, and upholstery. Scratching posts should be as tall as possible to allow your cat to scratch vertically at a full stretch. If you build a floor-to-ceiling scratching post in an area where your cat likes to scratch, your cat will love you, and your furniture will last a lot longer.

    Indoor Cats

    Buy a Quality Food Bowl

    Cats look forward to eating their food. As creatures of habit, they prefer regular daily feeding schedules, food placed in particular bowls, and meals served in certain places. Cats are picky about their food. It's best to buy a food bowl made of glass, ceramic, or stainless steel so you can wash it. Avoid bowls made of plastic that can give off chemical odors because your cat will turn up his nose. An elevated food bowl will keep your cat's whiskers cleaner and out of the food.

    Provide Fresh, Clean Water

    Water is essential to your cat's health, so make sure they always have fresh, clean water. Most cats like their water bowl near their food, but some cats prefer water in separate locations. Cats are natural hunters, so finding a water bowl in a different room rewards their hunting instincts. Cats prefer water bowls that are filled to the brim so they can drink without putting their heads down. Pet drinking fountains encourage drinking while creating a playful experience.

    Pay Attention to the Litter Box

    If you have a cat, you need a litter box. Cats instinctively know how to use a litter box, even if they have never stepped into one. Make sure your cat's litter box is big enough for your cat to easily move around. If you have two cats, get three litter boxes. As a cat owner, you owe it to your cat and yourself to clean out litter boxes every day and refill them with clean, fresh litter. Dirty litter boxes can quickly create unhealthy, stinky odors in your home. 

    Ready to find a new home for you and your cats? For information on Virginia homes for sale, contact us for available listings and prices in different neighborhoods. 

    September
    7

    Better Breakfast Month: Breakfast Spots Around Rockingham County

    Breakfast Rockingham County

    September is a month for pumpkins and cooler temperatures, but it is also Better Breakfast Month. There are many ways to celebrate this month centered around the most important meal of the day. You could pledge to eat a healthier breakfast each morning. You could cut out some unhealthy items from your breakfast routine. Or, you could take this opportunity to try one of the awesome breakfast restaurants around Rockingham County. Here are a few that our real estate agents recommend.

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    • Magpie: 85 W Gay Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
      Magpie is a great place to stop for breakfast when looking at Harrisonburg homes for sale. This neighborhood diner serves breakfast all day Tuesday - Friday and a more extensive brunch on the weekends.

      One favorite at Magpie is the Peach & Blueberry French Toast. If you'd prefer something savory, try the Turkish Eggs, which are topped with chile butter and served with a cucumber-herb salad.

      If you visit for weekend brunch, you're in for even more menu options. The Blackberry Jalapeno Waffle is a unique treat. You could also try the Southern Poutine, which is breakfast potatoes topped with sausage gravy and a fried egg. Wash it all down with a Bloody Mary or White Peach Lemonade. That's a better breakfast!

    • Town and Country Restaurant: 21 West Lee St., Broadway, VA 22815
      Town and Country Restaurant is an American, home-style restaurant a short drive from Broadway homes for sale. They serve classic, comfort food favorites in a laid-back atmosphere.

      Some key options to consider here are the omelets and the breakfast sandwiches. The ham and cheese omelet is a delicious choice, as is the egg sandwich. The chip beef gravy, served over biscuits, is another hearty dish.

    • Crossroads Cafe and Catering: 4549 Spotswood Trail #9, Penn Laird, VA 22846
      Crossroads Cafe is a modern cafe worth visiting for a quick breakfast. They have delicious breakfast sandwiches for just $4, and their cheesy golden potatoes are the perfect side dish. Make sure you pair your meal with a caramel macchiato or espresso. They also serve smoothies, and there's a different quiche on the menu each day. 

      Crossroads Cafe is within easy reach of many Penn Laird homes for sale. They have large indoor and outdoor seating areas, making this a good spot to visit with your family or a larger group. 

    • Thunderbird Cafe: 42-A Island Ford Road, McGaheysville, VA 22840
      If you're in the area looking at McGaheysville homes for sale, then you should definitely stop by Thunderbird Cafe for a tasty breakfast. They serve it until 3 pm daily, so it's okay if you're a bit late. 

      Thunderbird Cafe is housed inside a rustic barn. This is the perfect decor to match their comfort food. Plus, they have an extensive coffee and cocktail menu.

      The biscuits and gravy are a tried and true favorite here. The buttermilk biscuits themselves are tender and flaky, and the sausage gravy is packed with flavor. Another great choice is the Wild Wing Waffle, which is a Belgian waffle topped with fried chicken, then drizzled with Buffalo sauce and honey-maple glaze. Then, there's the French Toast. You can order it with cinnamon whipped cream or blueberry cream cheese, and both are excellent.

    • Merge Coffee Company: 425 North Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22802
      If you love coffee, then Merge Coffee Company is the perfect place to celebrate Better Breakfast Month. As the name suggests, they have a great selection of hot beverages, including a Coconut Macaroon Latte and cold brew coffee.

      The breakfast menu at Merge Coffee offers some sweet and savory dishes, like the Bacon Stuffed Waffles. They're also known for their danishes, which are always tender and fresh.

    • Sunrise Market & Deli: 950 Mason Street, Dayton, VA 22821
      Sunrise Market & Deli is a combination cafe and grocery store. You can enjoy a nice breakfast and then pick up some treats to take home for later. 

      One of the favorites here is the Sunrise Daybreaker, a breakfast sandwich built on a cheese biscuit and stuffed with sausage quiche, bacon, and cheese. If you're in the mood for something sweeter, the cinnamon rolls are the perfect treat for your sweet tooth. They even offer a gluten-free version.

      Sunrise Market & Deli is conveniently located near Dayton homes for sale, and they're open every day except Sunday.

    Contact us if you're new to the area and looking for a real estate agent. We'd love to help you find the perfect Rockingham County home.

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