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Date Archives: November 2021

House Talk with Toria Home

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Bridgewater, VA | 1 Posts
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Buy a Farm | 2 Posts
Buy a Home | 20 Posts
Buying a House | 16 Posts
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Home Improvement | 18 Posts
Homeownership | 6 Posts
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Lost River, WV | 1 Posts
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Moving Tips | 2 Posts
Myers Corner | 1 Posts
Open Houses | 1 Posts
Petersburg, WV | 3 Posts
Sell a Home | 27 Posts
Staunton VA | 15 Posts
Waynesboro, VA | 1 Posts
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November
29

National Mason Jar Day: 7 Ways to Use Them in Your Home

Mason Jar Tips

What was originally designed for canning and pickling vegetables has since become one of the most versatile household items. The mason jar and its unique screw-top was created by John Landis Mason in 1858 in order to improve the safety of food storage. However, they are now the quintessential multi-purpose container. If you're thinking about ways to make good use of extra mason jars around your house, the opportunities are endless.

With National Mason Jar Day coming up on November 30, our real estate agents thought it'd be appropriate to pull together a list of our favorite and most creative ways to use mason jars around the house. Here are some of their best ideas:

Smoothie Storage

  1. Store Your Smoothies
    If smoothies are part of your daily diet, you can actually use a mason jar as a container for both blending and storage. This works if you have an upright blender, in which case you won't have to worry about dirtying a pitcher every time you make a smoothie.

    If you don't have an upright blender, mason jars can still serve as convenient storage containers. Prep your smoothies for the week, store them in mason jars and grab them on the go. Mason jars make prepping smoothies and cleanup easy.

  2. Mix Some Cocktails For Your Party
    If you're planning a house party, pre-portioning cocktail ingredients into individual mason jars will make it easy for guests to grab a drink of their choice. Choose your favorite cocktails (mojitos, margaritas, or vodka lemonade work great) and mix the ingredients into jars. Then, when a guest is ready for a beverage, all they need to do is grab one, add ice, secure the lid, and shake! This way, your guests won't have to worry about mixing their own drinks.

Toothbrush Holder

  1. Make A Toothbrush Holder
    If you're going for a rustic vibe in your home or bathroom, top it off by using a mason jar as a toothbrush holder. Simply cut one or more circles in the lid, and you're done. Or you can even use chicken wire to create a grid across the top of the jar. If you're short on storage space around your sink, secure the mason jar to a wood plank and hang it on the wall.

  2. Gift Some Yummy Treats
    Looking for the perfect gift idea? Packing your favorite treats, mixes, or sauces into mason jars, decorate them, and now you have gifts for all the special people in your life. Cookies, candy, baking mixes are all great ideas for the holidays. Or you can do salsas, jams, or BBQ sauce. Whatever goodies you decide to give away this season, your mason jars will keep them fresh.

Lunch Storage

  1. Take Your Lunch To Work
    Mason jars make for a convenient lunch storage container. Soups, salads, or leftover pasta can be easily transported to work and kept fresh all day long. With mason jars, it's also easy to prep your lunches ahead of time. Being able to simply grab a jar from the refrigerator and head out the door will make your morning routine a breeze. The best part is -- mason jars are microwave safe.

  2. Store Your Herbs
    If you grow your own herbs and want to keep them nearby for easy access while cooking, you can actually store them indoors in mason jars. Just add an inch of water, cover your herbs with plastic wrap, and place them in the jar. This works especially well for parsley or cilantro. Keep them by the window sill for direct sun exposure
    Spice Storage 
  3. Create A Seasoning Shaker
    If you like to create or mix your own seasonings, mason jars can really come in handy. You can easily transform them into a shaker or dispenser by repurposing a spout from a salt container and creating your own circle lid. Secure the lid, and then use the mason jar to store and dispense salt, herbs, or garlic, or your favorite mixed seasonings. Since mason jars always look great, you can line them up on your counter for easy access.

From food storage to crafts and decor, the versatility of mason jars has made them popular for over a century. Contact us today for more information on home decorating tips or to check out some of these beautiful Luray homes for sale.

November
22

How to Sell Your Home During the Holiday Season

Holiday Home Staging

You're ready to put your home on the market, but the holiday season is near. Should you wait to sell your home, or is there a way to find a buyer during the holidays?

Our real estate agents know that with a few adjustments, it's entirely possible (and even profitable!) to sell a home during the holiday season. Buyers tend to have more flexible schedules around the holidays, which gives them more opportunities to look for a home. Here's what you need to know about selling your home during the holidays. 

Home on the Market

  • Take Advantage of the Lack of Competition
    The winter months are commonly viewed as a poor time to sell a home. While there are some difficulties you'll need to address, the lack of competition during this period can be used to your advantage. It's true that there are fewer buyers (and home sellers) during the winter. Those who are buying are often ready to act fast when they see a home that meets their needs. Make sure that your home is as appealing as possible. The goal is for it to stand out as a fantastic option when compared to the small number of homes for sale. 

Winter Decorations

  • Opt for Classic Decorations That Showcase Your Home's Best Traits
    This isn't the year to break out all your holiday decor, but you do need to decorate your home before you add it to the list of Luray homes for sale. A well-decorated home is welcoming and inviting to potential buyers. It allows them to envision their family using the home for holiday celebrations. Buyers think of using the kitchen to prepare holiday dinners and consider how the living room will accommodate their family. A home with a strong emotional appeal is simply more appealing to prospective buyers. Your decorations will work to create this emotional pull while staging your spaces. Decorations must compliment your home without making it appear cluttered. Do you have a lot of large windows? Highlight them by hanging a classic wreath or bow on each one. Are your doors stylish and new? Draw attention to them with a wreath and holiday lights. Skip the inflatable decorations and avoid anything that obscures the view of your home. Stage your dining area with matching place settings and a holiday centerpiece. When putting up your tree, make sure that the size compliments the space of your room. Your buyer should feel that choosing a spot for the tree is an effortless holiday chore.
  • Pay Attention to Your Home's Curb Appeal
    The winter months are a little tricky when it comes to maximizing your home's curb appeal. Most of the grass is brown, the trees are missing their leaves, and the flowers aren't in bloom. Before listing your home with other Augusta homes for sale, check that it looks its best. Make sure that your leaves are raked and that there's no debris or dead plants in your gardens. See that your lawn and gardens are weed-free. Check that your exterior paint looks fresh and isn't peeling or cracked. Keep trash and boxes that tend to accumulate around the holidays removed or hidden from buyers. Stage your front door to create a positive first impression. A doormat, wreath, and garland are simple yet effective additions to instantly improve the look of your home. 

Photography

  • Use Pictures to Help Market Your Home
    Professional-quality photos are always valuable when selling a home, but they're even more imperative during the winter months. Buyers use pictures to decide if a home is worth venturing out in the frigid winter temperatures. Try to have photos taken before you decorate. Otherwise, holiday decorations may make your home feel "dated" if it's still on the market after the holidays. 

Interior Lighting

  • Refresh Your Lighting
    Since natural light is limited during the winter, it's important to check that the lights inside your home are functioning correctly. Replace any burnt-out light bulbs before adding your home to the inventory of Rockingham homes for sale, and see that your lightbulbs all provide the same type of lighting (i.e. don't mix cool and warm light bulbs). Using the same type of lightbulb throughout your home gives it a balanced, consistent look that produces a cozy, cheerful atmosphere.
  • Be Prepared for Wintery Conditions
    Don't let winter weather produce unsafe conditions for your potential buyers. Have lots of rock salt and a snow shovel on hand to prevent icy spots on your paved areas. 

Ready to sell your home this holiday season? Contact us today to get started!

November
8

Take a Scenic Tour Near Luray

Luray Scenic Drives

What makes Luray homes for sale so special? Part of their appeal is how close they are to a wide range of spectacular outdoor scenery and attractions. When they're in the mood for a leisurely day of sightseeing, our real estate agents hit the road and head on out to these scenic spots. 

  • Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway - Route 39, Lexington, VA 24450
    While its official name is Route 39, this road is better known as the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway. Beginning just minutes from Lexington homes for sale, the route parallels the Maury River, one of the top whitewater rafting locations in the state, which makes for stunning views from one of the many overlooks along the way. The real showstopper is Goshen Pass, a 3.7-mile gorge carved out by the Maury. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy as you take in the scenery at Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve.

  • Crossroads - Route 11, Lexington, VA 24450 
    Today's vehicles are a far cry from the covered wagons that first traveled the Crossroads in the 1700s. This highway that runs from Staunton to Salem is part of the legendary Wilderness Road. European immigrants who disembarked in Philadelphia forged their way south along this route, eventually turning Roanoke into a major hub. Don't miss the Natural Bridge, the most well-known attraction along this route. The 200-foot tall, 90-foot wide limestone arch still ranks as one of the country's most impressive natural landmarks. Be sure to spend some time exploring Lexington's charming Main Street, which includes the Stonewall Jackson House.

  • Skyline Drive - 3655 US Hwy. 211 E., Luray, VA 22835
    Shenandoah National Park, Virginia's crown jewel, is frequently found on lists of the country's top parks. Skyline Drive bisects the park from north to south, offering convenient access to Shenandoah's numerous scenic views, hiking trails, and attractions. The 105-mile-long highway is studded with nearly 70 overlooks, but take time to venture further into the park for a truly fascinating experience. Keep your eyes peeled for appearances from deer, bears, coyotes, foxes, birds, and other wildlife that inhabit Shenandoah. Finish with a relaxing stop in Waynesboro, home to three of the breweries on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail.

  • Blue Ridge Parkway - Afton, VA 22920
    Where Skyline Drive ends, right down the road from Afton homes for sale, the Blue Ridge Parkway picks up. Spanning 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park through the forests of North Carolina to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, the route is often referred to as, "America's Favorite Drive." The Virginia portions of the Parkway, from Afton to Fancy Gap, encompass the Ridge and Plateau regions. You could spend an entire day exploring the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Other attractions include Humpback Rock and Peaks of Otter, which features Johnson Farm, a working farm restored to its 1930s appearance, with costumed interpreters conducting discussions and programs.
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  • Route 501 - Lynchburg, VA 24501
    If you want to explore further into Virginia, use the Blue Ridge Parkway as a jumping-off point. One such route comes at mile marker 63.7, where you can turn off onto Route 501. Spend a delightful 30 minutes viewing the pleasant countryside until you end up in Lynchburg, one of the many cities in Virginia that's rich in history and culture. There's fun for the whole family at Amazement Square, an interactive learning museum near Lynchburg homes for sale. Don't miss the CityArts Mosaic mural, right across the street, that took seven years to complete. Too nice to be indoors? Rent some bikes and check out downtown's Riverfront Park or stop by the Lynchburg Community Market to pick up fresh fruit, vegetables, and baked goods. 

  • Luray Caverns - 101 Cave Hill Rd., Luray, VA 22835
    By itself, Luray Caverns, dubbed, "Geology's Hall of Fame," is well worth the trip. The Caverns form an incredible underground world of 10-stories-high cathedral-sized rooms with impressive stone formations. But this popular attraction also includes Shenandoah Heritage Village, a seven-acre recreation of a 19th-century farming community with artifacts from Native American days up to the 1920s. Still want more? The Car & Carriage Caravan Museum chronicles the history of transportation, with more than 75 historic vehicles on display. Toy Town Junction features an exhibit of the comprehensive collection started by Dr. Richard Worden in 1941 when he was a five-year-old boy receiving his first toy train. Hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekends. Tickets, which include admission to all three attractions, are $32 for adults and $16 for ages 6-12. 

Whether you're buying or selling a home in Luray, we can put you on the road to success. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started. 

November
1

Shenandoah National Park Photography Guide

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park offers stunning views! And when you take a camera along with you, you can share the views with others after your trip. Delight family and friends with postcard-ready shots of the stunning scenery near Shenandoah homes for sale. Visit these majestic locations scouted by our real estate agents around Shenandoah National Park. 

  • Dark Hollow Falls
    The trail to Dark Hollow Falls is only about a mile-and-a-half round trip, but its steep inclines require a bit of effort. Nevertheless, it's one of the more well-traveled trails in the park, with stunning views of the 70-foot cascading waterfalls making it worth the trip. Continue past the trail to reach Lower Dark Hollow Falls, which is smaller in size but considered by many to be more photogenic. For best accessibility, head out early in the morning before the crowds arrive.

  • Big Meadows
    With its seemingly endless vistas of open land, Big Meadows is a surprisingly pleasant contrast to the landscape in the rest of the park. The meadows are a popular location for couples who are taking engagement photos, especially during fall when the fields come alive with vivid reds, yellows, and oranges. The Point Overlook, just a few miles south of the lodge, is known for great shots of the sunset. And the photos don't have to stop when the day is over. Big Meadows offers breathtaking views of the Milky Way and other objects in the night sky.

  • Natural Bridge
    Located at the southern tip of Shenandoah, Natural Bridge has been the subject of innumerable photos, yet the sight never gets old. The organic limestone formation, which measures 215 feet high by 90 feet across, has been named both a state and National Historic Landmark. As a top Virginia attraction since the 18th century, Natural Bridge is itself the centerpiece of a state park with Instagram-worthy sites such as Monocan Indian Village, Lace Falls, and Virginia Safari Park.

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  • Skyline Drive
    Thanks to digital cameras, you no longer have to worry about running out of film when traveling 105-mile-long Skyline Drive. The route is a continuous sequence of picturesque scenes that demand to be photographed. Almost 70 outlooks along the way provide different views at every stop. Be sure to check out Hogback Overlook, the longest one along the drive, at milepost 20.8. Watch for deer, turkeys, and other photogenic wildlife crossing the road to "star" in your photos.

  • Stony Man Summit
    Even though it's the second-highest peak in Shenandoah, Stony Man Summit is one of the easier trails, making it a nice destination for a family photo session. The entire round trip is less than two miles, but the summit features glorious panoramas of the Valley, Massanutten Mountain, and points beyond. You may even be able to spot New Market homes for sale from a distance! As the name implies, the peak is covered with a number of rocks and stones, which you can use to get several different perspectives.

  • Hawksbill Summit
    You can literally see for miles atop Hawksbill Summit, the highest peak in Shenandoah. Take your pick of three different trails, ranging from 1.6 to 2.8 miles round trip, each with its own special features. Once you reach the top, 360-degree views of the Valley, Blue Ridge Mountains, and Virginia Piedmont will keep your head on a swivel. The beautiful balsam firs on the summit, more commonly associated with Canada and New England, are a fairly unusual sight near Broadway homes for sale

Tips for Taking Photos Like a Pro

  • Film may no longer be a concern, but don't forget to take extra batteries and memory cards so you won't miss a shot.

  • Sunrise and sunset provide the most flattering natural light.

  • When photographing landscapes, wide-angle and telephoto lenses are a must-have. A UV lens filter will produce darker, richer colors.

  • Overlooks are convenient locations for photo ops, but don't stop there. Go off-road and walk the trails for a greater variety of subjects.

  • Don't let the big picture keep you from seeing what's right in front of you. Look for details such as trees, birds, flowers, and other small-scale subjects that make for equally interesting photos.

  • Be prepared for changes in weather. No matter how sunny the day may start out, clouds and fog can roll in anytime, especially at higher elevations. The good news is that darkness can add a moody, dramatic element to your photos. 

  • Remember that photography is an art form. Put your individual stamp on your photos by experimenting with different angles and effects. Trust your creative eye!

There's nothing like the view from the backyard of your own Shenandoah County home. Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to speak with one of our friendly and knowledgeable agents. 

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