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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. 

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.

April
26

Classic Virginia Dishes - Where to Find Them in the Shenandoah Valley

Virginia Dishes

If you've been exploring Virginia homes for sale, you'll definitely want to get to know some of the best local food! From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, each region has its own culinary delights. While seafood ranks at the top of the list, the area is also well-known for other tasty treats, including some of the best-fried chicken you'll ever taste. 

We recently asked our real estate agents to name their favorite area restaurants that serve up local specialties. Here are their recommendations. 

  • Edinburg Mill Restaurant: 214 South Main St., Edinburg, VA 22824
    The historic Edinburg Mill building has been a Virginia landmark since 1848. The Edinburg Mill Restaurant, located on the lower level, is well-known for serving delicious dishes made from locally sourced ingredients and incredible seafood. You may not realize that Virginia is the top oyster producer on the East Coast. Since it's so easy to get them fresh, dishes featuring this ingredient are extremely popular among locals and visitors alike. Edinburg Mill serves incredible Chesapeake Oysters that are dusted, friend, and served with hot sauce and tarragon aioli. If you're in the area looking at Edinburg homes for sale, we recommend paying this iconic restaurant a visit. 
  • Rhodes Seafood: 173 McCauley Ave., Timberville, VA 22853
    When our agents are in the area showing Timberville homes for sale, they love visiting Rhodes Seafood. This small, family-run restaurant has been pleasing locals for 20 years. They offer a huge selection of fresh seafood, including oysters in the half shell, breaded oysters, and shrimp served with the shell on, peeled, or breaded. Selection is one of the biggest selling points here. Rhodes' Seafood offers various options, including your choice of sauces, breading, spices, and mixes. We love the fact that we can visit time and again and never have the same thing twice. 

  • Spring House Tavern: 325 South Main St., Woodstock, VA 22664
    Nothing says local quite like a delicious piece of southern fried chicken. There are many great restaurants serving this simple yet incredible dish. One of the most popular is Spring House Tavern. This iconic restaurant has been family-owned for over 19 years and is loved by the locals. We recommend the Chicken-Fried Chicken. This savory dish features fresh chicken deep-fried in Lefty's homemade breading and served with their signature creamy white-pepper gravy. The Spring House is also located near many of the best Woodstock homes for sale, so consider taking a drive around after dinner. 
  • Southern Kitchen: 9576 South Congress St., New Market, VA 22844
    Are you looking for the best fried chicken in Shenandoah County? Look no further than Southern Kitchen! They're famous for their fried chicken dishes, which they serve with your choice of sides like mac n' cheese, freshly sliced home fries, or buttered carrots. This locally owned family restaurant is known for its home-cooked meals, just like grandma makes. If you've been thinking about moving into one of the beautiful New Market homes for sale, you'll definitely want to get to know Southern Kitchen.
  • Town and Country Restaurant: 21 West Lee St., Broadway, VA 22815
    You can't live in Virginia without sampling the south's favorite cheese spread -- pimento cheese! This classic dish is made with cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and sweet peppers. Locals enjoy it melted on toast, with ham, and on top of various savory dishes. While you'll find pimento cheese on many local menus, we can't get enough of Pimento Cheese Sandwich at Town and Country Restaurant. They're known for having some of the BEST homecooked meals, and we couldn't agree more! Add a side of onion rings or an order of their fresh-made potato wedges for a meal you won't soon forget. You may be surprised to see how many great Broadway homes for sale are located nearby, so plan to spend some time exploring the area when you visit. 

  • The Cheese Place: 3105 John Wayland Highway, Dayton, VA 22821
    If you love all things cheese, then you'll want to spend lots of time at The Cheese Place. This family-owned and operated business is one of the best local places to find not only pimento cheese but just about any other kind you can think of. They also carry pasta, soup mixes, spices, seasonings, nuts, candy, cereal, oats, dried fruit, and more. If you're thinking about moving into one of the great Dayton homes for sale, you're sure to become a regular here. 

The excellent selection of dining options is just one of the many things there are to love about living in Virginia. If you're ready to call this area home, the real estate experts at Old Dominion Realty are here to help. Contact us today to get started! 

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