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July
26

Back-to-School Shopping in the Shenandoah Valley

Back to School Shopping

While it might not qualify as retail therapy, back-to-school shopping is an annual summer ritual. Our real estate agents will be getting their kids ready to hit the books with some strategic shopping at these malls and markets around the Shenandoah Valley.

Valley Mall - 1925 E. Market St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
Looking for top national retailers like H&M, Old Navy, and JC Penney? You'll find them just minutes away from Shenandoah County homes for sale at Valley Mall. Department stores and specialty retailers carrying footwear, cosmetics, accessories, and other school needs are all together in one convenient location. The self-service Visitor Center helps make the most of your shopping expedition. Before your visit, check out the website for information on current sales and promotions. Register for Valley Mall's online Kids Club, a virtual program that uses entertaining activities to promote environmental awareness. Mall hours are 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

Agora Downtown Market - 165 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801
In most cities, downtown has traditionally been the primary shopping hub. Agora Downtown Market combines historic Main Street appeal with trendy boutique shops. Everything old is new again at Heartworn Vintage, while Charlee Rose Boutique carries a curated collection of clothing and accessories sourced from women-owned businesses. Handmade bags at Lineage are the brainchild of founder Paul Hansbarger, who was inspired when he couldn't find a diaper bag he was willing to carry. Another modern touch is a focus on fair trade and sustainable items. Tare Apothecary + Refillery, featuring zero-waste goods and supplies for everyday use, is having their grand opening in August. Pick up a latte from Broad Porch Coffee Co., which uses ethically sourced beans from sustainable farms. Hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

The Dayton Market - 3105 John Wayland Hwy., Dayton, VA 22821
For more than 30 years, The Dayton Market has been such a popular destination in the Shenandoah Valley that it's become a tourist draw. Nearly 20 independently owned shops are under one roof, providing a casual setting to browse homemade foods along with handcrafted clothing, accessories, gifts, and collectibles. Green Hummingbird Fair Trade Clothing and Tic Tac Toys are two of the top shops for families. You won't be able to resist the tempting aromas coming out of The Pretzel Shop and The Kaffee Klatsch, and no one leaves The Dayton Market without a stop at The Cheese Place. In addition to dozens of savory cheeses and spreads, the shop features an impressive selection of old-fashioned candy such as root beer barrels, gumdrops, and chewy wax bottles. Market hours are 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, while The Cheese Place is also open during the same hours on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Downtown Staunton
Take your back-to-school shopping to the next level and spend a fun day with the kids exploring Downtown Staunton. Walk around the downtown area and pop in and out of the local shops and with many shops throughout downtown, you are sure to find what you're looking for on your shopping list. Pick up running shoes for your student-athlete at Sole Focus Running. The Book Dragon Shop makes a great stop if you want to add to your child's library. Or buy some vintage apparel for your fashion-forward teen. Regardless of what shops you stop at, you're sure to have a good time browsing!

ShenandoahValleyWeb.com
Do you have a specific shopping list to cover, whether it's for you or the kids? ShenandoahValleyWeb.com has a comprehensive listing of stores, malls, and specialty shops in the area. Entries are sorted into well-defined categories, including bookstores, hobbies and supplies, and sporting goods. One of the entries is University Outpost Bookstore, serving students at James Madison University but open to all. The Outpost is a great source for apparel and accessories for all members of the family, even the four-legged ones. Other helpful features of the website include a map of Shenandoah Valley that indicates significant points of interest, as well as a calendar of events and a listing of attractions and activities in the area.

Grab your back-to-school shopping list and plan your shopping trip! While the kids are hitting the books this year, are you ready to learn more about what makes the Shenandoah Valley such a hot real estate market? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty for friendly and knowledgeable help buying or selling your home.

February
6

Moving to Harrisonburg: Finding the Best Schools for Your Children

How to Find the Best Harrisonburg Schools
For growing families, school quality is an important factor when buying a home.  Harrisonburg, VA is known for many features that appeal to families--one of the most vital being excellent schools.

Families moving to Harrisonburg will find plenty of public and private school options from pre-K to college prep. Harrisonburg provides an atmosphere where every child has the opportunity to do his or her best academically. 

How to Find the Best Schools in Harrisonburg

Some communities have just a sprinkling of schools, but Harrisonburg is truly rich in this area. With that in mind, it can even be difficult to decide which school is right for your young learners. With a systematic process, you can compare your options more easily.

Here's how:

  1. Review School Statistics
    Many factors go into a good school, and not all are easy to measure. Most parents find, however, recent test scores are a good place to start. When scores are high – especially in notoriously difficult subjects like math – it means the "average student" has more chances to excel. Student to teacher ratio is another big one since it indicates personalized attention for students.

  2. Check Out Extracurriculars
    Each school has its own approach to subjects outside the core curriculum, such as art and music. In some areas around the United States, these are being cut – but they can help children grow into well-rounded adults. You can often learn about a school's extracurricular programs by visiting a school's website, as those who offer them tend to emphasize it prominently.

  3. Attend a PTA Meeting
    Although PTA meetings are generally open only to teachers, parents, and administrators, they are usually organized by the parents themselves. Exceptions can certainly be made for someone who wants to join the community, so don't be afraid to reach out. Not only will you get a sense for the issues a school is facing, but also how well parents and teachers collaborate to solve problems.

  4. Speak to Administrators
    School administrators tend to be cautious of anything that sounds like a promise to a particular parent or student. Still, they are often willing to discuss the school in general terms and how it could meet the needs of a particular learner. When the school staff is open, honest, and willing to engage with your questions, it is a good sign of how they will operate in the future.

  5. Plan for Tomorrow
    Depending on your child's age, it is usually a good idea to look ahead to the next "level" of schools. This is especially crucial as middle school students prepare to enter high school. What are the graduation rates? What percentage of students go on to enter college? Are there special college preparatory or accountability programs that can help students overcome challenges?

Choosing the right school takes some effort, but it is well worth it. After all, each student spends a tremendous amount of time within a school's four walls. Children are shaped by whether that environment is a fulfilling one where they can plant the seeds for a successful adulthood!

When it comes to moving to Harrisonburg , many factors come together. In addition to schools, you need to find the right neighborhood and home for you. It could be a daunting task, but Old Dominion Realty makes it much easier.

Our REALTORS® are Harrisonburg real estate experts who deliver sound advice and one-on-one care to each client. We'll be glad to introduce you to a selection of the best Harrisonburg homes – and help you close on your dream home.  Contact us to learn more about relocating to Harrisonburg.

Contact Old Dominion Realty

October
21

Augusta County School Receives Top Award

Strong Schools a Deciding Factor for Augusta County Home Buyers

Home Buyers Choose Riverheads High Schools


When you're ready to buy a home, there's a long laundry list of things to consider to help you make the right choice.  An excellent school district is one of those things. Even if you do not have children at home, you want to purchase a home in a neighborhood with quality schools, not only for any potential future children you have, but also to increase the potential resale value and the speed of sale of your home in the future.

For those shopping for a home in Augusta County, VA, the local school district is one of the area's biggest draws. Strong schools help families feel comfortable moving to the area, and also help improve the resale value of their homes. One of those schools, Riverheads High School, was recently awarded national recognition by being named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School.

Riverheads High School Recognized


Riverheads High School One of Seven Virginia Schools Recognized

Riverheads High School in Augusta County was one of only seven public schools across the state recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as National Blue Ribbon Schools for 2015. This award is considered a prestigious recognition of excellent academics. Both public and private schools with superior academics or who demonstrate dramatic student achievement gains are eligible for the award. In total, 285 public schools in the country were given the award this year.

Specifically, Riverheads High School received the award because of high standardized test scores for its students. In the most recent school year 88 percent or more of the students passed the tests in every subject area, and that is a high number compared to national averages. Riverheads High School also boasts a 14 percent AP participation rate and received a Bronze medal from U.S. News and World Report's Best High Schools list.

Benefits of Strong Schools for Augusta County VA Homebuyers

If you are considering buying a home in Augusta County, this news is beneficial to you. If you have children, then you benefit automatically because the schools you will be sending your children to are gaining national recognition for excellence.


If you do not have children, you still benefit from strong schools. Strong schools are a sign of a strong, well-educated community base. They also make your home easier to sell in the future and drive up property values. Finally, strong schools can help protect a neighborhood from the natural up and down nature of the real estate market. Homes in neighborhoods with good schools tend to hold their value better even in difficult economic times.

Contact Old Dominion Realty


Remember, even if you don't have kids, someone in the future who is considering buying your home might. Strong schools make your home more appealing and easier to sell.  Contact the team of professional REALTORS® at Old Dominion Realty to buy a home in Augusta County.

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