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October
3

October Fun: Fall Festivals in the Shenandoah Valley

October Festivals

Fall fun is on its way to the Shenandoah Valley, and our real estate agents want you to be a part of it.

There's always something exciting for the whole family here in the Shenandoah Valley, and the autumn season is no exception. Between trips to the great outdoors to see the fall foliage, you can revel in any number of small community festivals. Each of these has a unique flair and a fall flavor you won't forget.

Town chambers of commerce, small businesses, and nonprofits all work together to make fall in the Shenandoah Valley a truly rich experience with something for everyone. You won't want to miss a minute of these charming local events. They're a terrific opportunity to mingle and meet the neighbors!

Let's drop in on a few highlights of Shenandoah Valley's bustling fall calendar:

  • Elkton Autumn Days – West Spotswood Avenue, Elkton, VA 22827
    Elkton Autumn Days are here again! Coming to you live on October 15 and October 16, this is the 36th annual rendition of the top arts and crafts festival in town. More than 100 artisans, crafters, and chefs will arrive from across the region, gathering from 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. throughout the weekend. It's not too soon for holiday shopping, and you are sure to find a unique souvenir that's truly "Only in Elkton!" After all, you'll be just steps from some of the best Elkton homes for sale.

kids crafts

  • Massanutten Fall Festival – See Website for Location in Massanutten, VA
    Massanutten Fall Festival is one of the biggest fall get-togethers in Shenandoah Valley, and this year's festival will take place on October 8. It will be replete with famous food vendors, arts and crafts, an assortment of children's activities, and the unbeatable $7 chairlift rides. Adults can savor a complete selection of local and imported beers for just $5. Vineyards minutes from Massanutten homes for sale will also be on hand with samples by the bottle or glass.

  • White Oak Lavender Farm Fall Festival – 2644 Cross Keys Road, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    White Oak Lavender Farm Fall Festival is sponsored by the White Oak Lavender Farm in partnership with The Purple Wolf Toasting Room and a number of local musicians. White Oak Lavender Farm is already well known for its gardens, wine tasting area and gift shop open daily. Now, it will go to the next level with a day of live music, vendors, grape stomping, and more from 10 a.m. on October 8.

candy

  • Mount Pleasant Fall Festival – 2788 Taylor Springs Lane, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    The Mount Pleasant Church of the Brethren will welcome guests from 11 a.m. on October 15 for its annual Mount Pleasant Fall Festival. This outdoor-indoor event will feature a "Trunk or Treat" (also known as "Halloween tailgate party") with volunteers from the community in the parking area. Proceeds go to a playground remodel.

  • Annual Harvest Fest –  780 University Boulevard, Harrisonburg, VA 22807
    Taking place at the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum at James Madison University, the Annual Harvest Fest offers family activity time with an environmental spin. There'll be lawn games, storytime, and a fully interactive underground classroom, among other delights and surprises, on October 22 at 11 o'clock. It's a terrific way to learn in a beautiful fall setting near Harrisonburg homes for sale.

apple cider

  • 47th Annual Apple Days Arts & Crafts Show – See Website for Location in Waynesboro, VA
    Apples are one of the things that make fall in Virginia that much more special. It's not out of the ordinary to enjoy warm, spiced apple cider around Waynesboro homes for sale, not to mention hot apple pie! The 47th Annual Apple Days Arts & Crafts Show will give you a new appreciation for this favorite fruit. On October 15 and 16, you can browse arts and crafts and dig into beloved apple dumplings!

Contact us to learn more about Shenandoah Valley real estate opportunities.

September
6

Augusta County Fall Events

Augusta County

Augusta County has fun things to do in any season, but the fall months are extra special. With so many fall events to look forward to, your calendar is sure to be full of fall fun. Watch for our real estate agents at these entertaining activities around Augusta County. 

  • 16th Annual Mill Day - Cyrus McCormick Farm, 128 Cyrus McCormick Cir., Raphine, VA 24472
    Celebrate agriculture, Virginia's largest and most important industry, at the 16th Annual Mill Day. The festival is held on the grounds of the farm that once belonged to Cyrus McCormick, who revolutionized agriculture with his invention of the mechanical reaper. Plus, it's close to Raphine homes for sale. Watch the restored grist mill in action as Glenn Wilson discusses the history of milling. Afterward, enjoy some BBQ as you listen to live music, and the kids take part in fun educational activities. Mill Day runs from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturday, October 1, and admission is free.

Fall Craft Show

  • Fall Arts & Crafts Show - Augusta Expo Events Center, 277 Expo Rd., Fishersville, VA 22939
    Personalize Augusta County homes for sale or find that perfect gift among artisan items from the Fall Arts & Crafts Show. More than 100 local artists will be showcasing their handmade jewelry, clothing, and home decor accessories near Fishersville homes for sale. Items range from holiday ornaments and wreaths to embroidered linens and macramé wall hangings. Food and beverages will be available when you're ready to refuel. Hours are 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 12, and 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 13. Admission is $3 for ages 13 and up.

  • Food Truck Wednesdays - Government Center, 18 Government Center Ln., Verona, VA 24482
    Add some variety to lunchtime with Food Truck Wednesdays. Augusta County's top food trucks are stationed outside the Government Center from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., offering an assortment of tasty treats. Be sure to make time to visit the Verona Farmers Market, held on the building's veranda during the same hours. Sign up for the Food Truck Wednesdays newsletter to find out which trucks will be on hand each week near Verona homes for sale.

Fall Foliage

  • Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival - St. Paul's United Methodist Church, 2000 Shutterlee Mill Rd., Staunton, VA 24401
    Virginia boasts some of the more spectacular scenery on the East Coast. Especially the area around Staunton homes for sale. Take in the colorful countryside during the Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival. The popular event, which draws more than 700 cyclists, has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Fall Bike Rides. This year, new routes pass picturesque farmlands, historic sites, and charming small towns. Registration fees, $125 for adults and $25 for ages 6-17, include a t-shirt, snacks, and breakfast or lunch. Hit the road at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 15, and Sunday, October 16.

  • Apple Days Arts & Crafts Show - Willow Oak Plaza, 901 W. Broad St., Waynesboro, VA 22980
    Summer is a time for melons and berries, but Apple Days Arts & Crafts Show celebrates fall's favorite fruit. More than 100 artists from around the country participate in this juried competition for crafted items such as quilts, furniture, and jewelry. Listen to live music as you watch apple butter-making demonstrations, sip on apple cider, and eat luscious apple dumplings. Mark your calendar for Saturday, October 1, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday, October 2, from noon - 5 p.m.

Fall Event Car Show

  • 41st SVBCC British Car Festival - Ridgeview Park, 620 S. Linden Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980
    Support a great cause while viewing classic automobiles at the 41st SVBCC British Car Festival. With more than 200 vehicles on display, this event is one of the longest-running car shows on the East Coast. There will also be live music, door prizes, and food vendors, with a portion of all profits going to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. The festival runs from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.

  • SVAC Fall Foliage Art Show - 301 W. Main St., Waynesboro, VA 22980
    The streets of downtown Waynesboro will be filled with visual delights at the SVAC Fall Foliage Art Show. Approximately 150 artists will be displaying their works in all media, including jewelry, pottery, and paintings. Kids can explore their own creativity with sidewalk chalk drawings and other activities in the craft area. Don't miss the ArtMobile, the collection on wheels from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Sample some fine culinary arts in the food truck area, which also features live music. The art show is scheduled for Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Sunday, October 9, from noon - 5 p.m.

Want to welcome the fall season in a new home? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to get started.

July
18

Breweries on the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail

Beerwerks Trail

If you've been looking at Augusta or Rockingham County homes for sale recently, odds are good you've learned about one of the many things that makes our area special: The flourishing craft brewery scene. Nowhere is that more evident than on the local Beerwerks Trail here in the Shenandoah Valley.

The Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail consists of more than a dozen local breweries and stretches across some of the area's most desirable communities. You are welcome to explore the trail on your own and make your stops wherever you wish. Local tour companies also offer a guided group experience on the trail.

You may already be familiar with the Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail, which offers a similar experience for the vineyards and wineries here in Virginia. Just as the Wine Trail showcases all the outstanding new developments in wine, the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail does the same for the craft brewing scene.

Let's take a closer look at just a few of the many fun and exciting stops along the way:

  • Elkton Brewing Company – 100 North Fifth Street, Elkton, VA 22827
    Elkton Brewing Company is only minutes from some of the best Elkton homes for sale. It brings an age-old family recipe dating from the early 1900s to the Elkton area – a legendary Austrian brew that is now available to the public for the first time. The brewery is located within the spacious yet historic setting of the old Elkton Milling Company building, which was originally founded back in 1890.

  • Brew HaHa Brewing Company 11704 Spotswood Trail, Elkton, VA 22827
    Brew HaHa Brewing Company stands out as the newest brewery to enter the ranks of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Located near the entry of famous Massanutten Resort, it warmly welcomes beer aficionados as well as those who'd prefer something non-alcoholic. In addition to its "nanobrewery" craft beers, you'll also find small-batch craft sodas with memorable flavors derived from local ingredients.

  • Skipping Rock Beer Company – 414 Parkersburg Turnpike, Staunton, VA 24401
    Skipping Rock Beer Company is all about worrying less and living more. Nothing encapsulates that idea better than a high-quality craft beer that's "a reflection of place" from right here in the Shenandoah Valley. Beers that have been lovingly handcrafted down to the smallest detail will greet you along with a relaxed and casual atmosphere full of old friends and new ones who you haven't met yet. As a watering hole near Staunton homes for sale, it simply can't be beaten.

  • The Friendly Fermenter – 20 South Mason Street, Suite B10, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    The Friendly Fermenter is here to make the whole experience of craft brewing "friendlier" than ever. Just a short hop from Harrisonburg homes for sale, it approaches this goal with the town's very first DIY "brew on-site" shop. Drop in any time and the helpful staff will be there to show you the ropes. Want to take the hobby home with you? There's also a full assortment of different brewing gear to buy.

  • Brothers Craft Brewing – 800 North Main Street, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
    Brothers Craft Brewing, originally known as Three Brothers Brewing, offers both large-scale brewing and small, experimental batches you can sample during your own journey down the trail. The brewery is well known in the area for its monthly charity events and its deep involvement in the community. Live music, games, fundraisers, and much more await you, with local food trucks frequently found nearby.

  • Seven Arrows Brewing 2508 Jefferson Highway #1, Waynesboro, VA 22980
    Seven Arrows Brewing features a large taproom that gives visitors access to many different offerings of the brand, its lagers foremost among them. Twelve iconic beers are always available, with a rotating cast of characters taking up the rest of the menu. Seven Arrows distinguishes itself with a full kitchen, a lasting collaboration with Nobos Restaurant. It's a terrific pick near Waynesboro homes for sale.

  • Stable Craft Brewing – 375 Madrid Road, Waynesboro, VA 22980
    If you are paying a visit to the horses of the Hermitage Hill Farm and Stables, a working horse farm in Waynesboro, then you'll want to top off your visit by swinging by Stable Craft Brewing. This brewery's barn venue fits right in with the action of the real working farm, and the tours end here so you can get some refreshment. And "fresh" it is: Stable Craft grows its own authentic Cascade and Nugget hops!

Contact us to find out more about the Shenandoah Valley.

July
6

Creative Uses for a Detached Garage

Detached Garage

If you recently bought a home with a detached garage, you basically have a whole extra building on your property. While you could use the detached garage to house your vehicle, there are plenty of more creative ways to take advantage of the space. Our real estate agents have seen homeowners using their detached garages in all sorts of unique ways over the years. Today, we have a few suggestions to share with you.

Space for Toys

  • Create a Place for Your Kids' Toys
    Are you tired of your living room floor always being covered with Legos? Perhaps your kids' rooms are messy because they have more toys than they have spots for those toys. Creating a playroom in the garage is the perfect way to solve these problems.

    To give the garage playroom a soft floor, purchase some removable carpet squares. They'll add enough padding for little knees, and if someone spills a drink on one of the squares, you can easily pull it up and replace it. Totes on a rack along one wall provide a quick and easy toy storage solution. You can also set up a plastic table where the kids can play with smaller toys or do some arts and crafts.

Home Gym

  • Home Gym
    The cost of a gym membership has increased pretty dramatically in recent years. Instead of paying for a membership month after month, consider spending that money on gym equipment for your detached garage. We've seen lots of Waynesboro homes for sale with gyms in the garage, and the setup works really well.

    You don't need a lot of equipment to get started. A treadmill and a basic set of free weights with a bench will allow you to get a decent workout. In the coming years, you can add some additional equipment such as an exercise bike, a rowing machine, or some resistance machines. A few yoga mats and a television are good additions, too — especially if you enjoy yoga or Pilates.

  • TV Room
    Turning your detached garage into a TV room serves a few different purposes. If you find that you and your family members are spending too much time watching TV, moving the TV to the garage can help curb that habit. You'll physically need to walk to a different building to watch TV, so it will become something you don't do quite as often.

    Creating a TV room in the garage also works well if your family can't always agree on what to watch. Some family members can watch sports in the living room, and others can go out to the garage to watch a favorite sitcom.

    You can make your garage TV room as fancy or as minimal as you desire. All you really need is a TV and a few couches. Add a small refrigerator, a microwave, and some movie posters on the walls for good measure.

In-Law Suite

  • In-Law Suite
    If you often have family members come to stay with you, having a separate place for them to stay can be nice. Convert your detached garage to an in-law suite, and you'll all have more privacy. We've seen Harrisonburg homes for sale with in-law suites in detached garages, and many look like comfy, cozy cottages.

    Since there are a lot of building codes that need to be adhered to if you turn a garage into a living space, it's best to work with professional contractors on this project. Still, it can be done quite affordably if you stick with an open floor plan. You can convert most of the garage to an open living space with a kitchenette and living room-style seating. Build a little loft bedroom, a bathroom in one corner, and you're set to go.

Hobby Space

  • Hobby Space
    If you have a specific hobby, you could always convert your detached garage into a space dedicated to that hobby. For instance, some model train collectors use their detached garage as a place to paint and set up their trains. We've also seen cyclists who use their garage as a place to store and work on their many bikes. Florists have even made garages into greenhouses.

    Using your detached garage as a hobby space helps reduce the hobby-related clutter that builds up in your main home. It also helps you get into the right mindset when engaging in the hobbies you love. You can retreat to the garage, leave the worries of the day at home, and focus solely on your hobbies whenever you're in the garage.

If you're not using your detached garage to park a car, don't let that space go to waste. Your garage could elevate your life if you turn it into a TV room, home gym, or hobby space. If you're still on the hunt for the perfect home with a detached garage, contact us. We'll help you navigate the buying process.

January
17

Getting Married in 2022? Wedding Venues in Augusta County

Wedding Venues

Our real estate agents know many people are excited about all the things 2022 has in store. For some, that means exploring the best Augusta County homes for sale. Others will be taking big steps in different ways. If wedding bells are ringing, Augusta County has plenty of options for you.

With its combination of natural beauty and historic buildings, Augusta County offers a stunning selection of wedding venues in rural, suburban, and city settings. No matter what your vision is for your gathering, there is something here for you. You can create memories that will last a lifetime.

Virginia stands out for its tradition of big weddings! Many couples select a venue out in the countryside where they can get away from it all. Surrounded by breathtaking natural wonders, you can have the best of both worlds: Unbelievable historic locales backed by some of the best luxury amenities in the state.

Let's look at some popular options for your special day in Augusta County:

  • Red August Farm – 1171 Hermitage Road, Waynesboro, VA 22980
    With a beautiful Shenandoah Valley location, Red August Farm sits nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, providing for incomparable views. For your event, you have the opportunity to fully customize the 15-acre property according to your desires. Parties of up to 300 guests are welcome. Other special events and photoshoots are also held throughout the year near Waynesboro homes for sale.
  • Cana Barn – 339 Walnut Hills Road, Staunton, VA 24401
    Billing itself as the place "Where we never run out," Cana Barn was originally a historic bank barn just under a century old. It was painstakingly disassembled and reassembled to its current location near Staunton homes for sale, which allows it to combine the authenticity of the original structure with all-new modern amenities. One advantage is that the entire venue is now ADA accessible for all of your guests.

  • Hotel 24 South – 24 South Market Street, Staunton, VA 24401
    Hotel 24 South is known for a variety of things, among them being one of the oldest surviving hotels in vibrant downtown Staunton. Built in 1924, it was restored in 2005 and renovated in 2018. Replete with historic charm and character, its principal wedding venue is the Colonnade Ballroom, featuring majestic columns and sweeping ceilings. The much larger Shenandoah Ballroom is also available.

  • Fairfax Hall – 1101 Reservoir Street, Waynesboro, VA, 22980
    Fairfax Hall will dazzle you with one of the oldest and most storied historic wedding venues anywhere in Virginia. It was built in 1890 and was originally known as the Brandon Hotel. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it perches on a pristine hillside that overlooks Waynesboro. In addition to weddings, it's been known to host banquets, civic events, and large parties of all different kinds.

  • The Event Center at Turk Mountain – 1358 East Side Highway, Waynesboro, VA 22980
    The Event Center at Turk Mountain is one of the best places to consider if you need to welcome many hundreds of guests. The astonishing 9,000-square foot space can be transformed to suit almost any kind of need. Wedding packages come complete with a two-day venue rental, and the space is available from 8 a.m. through 11 p.m. – including a catering kitchen, easels, sound system, and outdoor space.

  • American Shakespeare Center – 10 South Market Street, Staunton, VA 24401
    For a unique experience, American Shakespeare Center is not to be missed. Of course, the ASC provides the community with performances and special insights into the work of "the Great Bard," William Shakespeare. But you can also rent the Blackfriars Playhouse – a recreation of the English playhouse where many of Shakespeare's works were first seen. Open since 2001, it has a 300-seat capacity.

  • The Club at Ironwood – 62 Country Club Circle, Staunton, VA 24401
    For golf lovers of all backgrounds and skill levels, The Club at Ironwood is sure to please. This full-service golf course introduces 18 splendid holes with a range of different challenges. Choose to hold your wedding here and you will enjoy sumptuous dining at the beloved 19th Hole Restaurant located in the exclusive clubhouse. Tennis and aquatics at the pool are also available for you and all of those celebrating.

Ready to learn more about life in Augusta County? Contact us today to find out more about Augusta County real estate.

December
6

Holiday Light Displays Near Staunton

Holiday Light Displays

The holidays are a wonderful time in Staunton, with local businesses, homeowners, and community organizations going all out to put on some amazing holiday displays. Touring the light displays around Staunton is a great way to enjoy some quality time with your family and get everyone in the holiday spirit. Staunton's Celebration of Holiday Lights is the biggest light display near Staunton, with a variety of ways to get involved yourself or simply drive through and enjoy the show. Our real estate agents have all of the festive details on the best holiday light displays near Staunton this year.

Gypsy Hill Park

Celebration of Holiday Lights at Gypsy Hill Park – 600 Churchville Ave., Staunton, VA 24401

Held every year at Gypsy Hill Park, Staunton's Celebration of Holiday Lights is always one of the most anticipated events of the holiday season near Staunton homes for sale. Every year, thousands of visitors explore the light displays around the park. This year's Celebration of Holiday Lights takes place every day from 11/22/2021 through 01/01/2022, with the fun starting at 6:00 PM each evening. All of the displays are created by local families, community organizations, businesses, and church groups, so there's plenty of creativity on display each year.

Holiday Lights

What to Expect at the Celebration of Holiday Lights

Visiting the Celebration of Holiday Lights is like being transported into a holiday wonderland, with dozens of unique, handcrafted holiday scenes lit up throughout the 214 acres of Gypsy Hill Park. In most years, there are more than 80 displays, each created by a local family or community organization. You'll encounter some of your favorite characters from the holiday season, along with dazzling lights, holiday scenes, and a few fun surprises.

The Celebration of Holiday Lights is a drive-through display, so you don't even have to leave your vehicle to see all of the delightful displays. There are also some free attractions that are part of the event, which you can enjoy outdoors. These attractions include free hot chocolate, a live nativity display, caroling from local choir groups, pictures with Santa, and crackling bonfires where you can warm up on a crisp holiday evening.

You will also find some special displays and memorials to honor members of the community. The Field of Deer features a group of deer, each placed to honor a special person and sponsored by a member of the community. This is always one of the most popular, meaningful displays at the Celebration of Holiday Lights. There will also be a Lite a Tree display this year, placed to honor local first responders, firefighters, police, and rescue squad members. These beautifully lit trees are placed by members of the community, and you can even volunteer to place a tree yourself.

Tree Lights

Getting Involved in the Celebration of Holiday Lights

The Celebration of Holiday Lights is all about community involvement, and it wouldn't be possible without all of the people who volunteer to create unique displays. Through the Celebration of Lights website, you can fill out an application to create your own display, place a deer in the Field of Deer, or light your own outdoor tree for the Lite a Tree display. Share your holiday spirit with the more than 30,000 people who visit the Celebration of Holiday Lights every year.

Add more fun to the calendar and be sure to check out these other holiday light displays in the area.

Decorations and Lights at Snow & Ice Christmas Shop – 4080 Evelyn Byrd Ave., Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Located near Harrisonburg homes for sale, the Snow & Ice Christmas Shop always puts on some great displays for the holiday season. While the store is open year-round, the team at Snow & Ice really goes all out for the holidays. The whole shop is decorated for the season, with light displays, holiday scenes, and so much more. If you're looking for a great place to stock up on decorations and lights to create your own display, this shop also offers everything you need.

Santa on Mountainview

Santa on Mountainview – 608 N. Commerce Ave., Waynesboro, VA 22980

Last but certainly not least, we have Santa on Mountainview, a holiday light display put on every year by a local homeowner near Waynesboro homes for sale. This award-winning display has been a local favorite for more than 20 years and only seems to grow every year. The display features more than 50,000 lights and 300 inflatables. The inflatables include popular cartoon and holiday characters, so this is a great display for families with young kids. You can visit every evening after dusk, from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas.

Are you searching for a home of your own near all of the festivities around Staunton? Let our local real estate team help you find the perfect match. Contact us to buy and sell homes in the Staunton area.

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. 

    March
    9

    Where to Go Stargazing in the Shenandoah Valley

    Among Virginia homes for sale, there are plenty of desirable options. Shenandoah County homes for sale have an extra something more for amateur astronomers of all kinds: Access to unique Shenandoah National Park and its unparalleled night sky.

    One of the first things any would-be Copernicus learns is this: If you want a truly phenomenal view of the stars, you need to get away from city lights. Light pollution is the term given to the artificial brightening of night skies because of lights that operate all night long.

    Many people don't realize that a sky free of light pollution "looks like the movies" – the whole Milky Way can be visible at night. While it's possible to see it any time of year from anywhere on Earth, it can be virtually invisible unless you find a good vantage point.

    Luckily, you can get a great view by visiting Shenandoah National Park. It is recognized as one of the best places for stargazing in the United States.

    Discover the Stars at Shenandoah National Park

    A long, narrow park encompassing nearly 200,000 acres, Shenandoah National Park includes part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River Valley. About 40% of the entire area has been designated a protected wilderness. It is a remarkably serene and quiet place even at the height of the season.

    • Exploring the Skies with Frank Perfetti is a weekly event in May through October led by amateur astronomer Perfetti, who has gathered thousands of dazzling night sky photos over more than 50 years as an aviator. No telescope is necessary, but flashlights are required, and a jacket will protect you from the wind.
    • Night Skies Events are also held weekly throughout the season. Attendees should bring their own binoculars. A limited number of telescopes are available for use during some meetings. A blanket, chair, and flashlight are the other "must-haves" for making the most of this guided tour of the night sky.
    • Twilight Hiking is a journey through the park's "big meadow" at dusk, offering an unparalleled view of the changing mountain sky and emerging stars. Available May through August, it is led by Shenandoah Mountain Guides, who can also tell you about animal signs, seasonal plants, and the local ecosystem.
    • The annual Night Sky Festival will return one weekend in August 2021. Kid-friendly learning activities, ranger talks, and stargazing go on throughout the evening on a selected Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a terrific way to introduce young minds to the wonders of the stars!
    • Want to meet more night sky enthusiasts? There are several unofficial astronomy groups around the Shenandoah Valley. The most active group is the Shenandoah Valley Stargazers, which you can find on Facebook or on their official website. Visitors to the area are welcome to contact them to learn about night sky excursions.

    • JMU's John C. Welles Planetarium offers free public shows every Saturday from late August through late June. This is an ideal stop for those who start their journey into Shenandoah Valley National Park from Harrisonburg. Other programs include Science Sunday for Girls and periodic "Star Parties," where you can use the telescopes.

    Where to Start Your Journey to Shenandoah National Park

    Harrisonburg (35 minutes), Waynesboro (46 minutes), and Staunton (54 minutes) are some of the closest towns. Many people choose to start out from one of these communities, using it as a base to enjoy dining, shopping, and local Shenandoah Valley charm between their stargazing trips.

    Here's what to know about them:

    • Harrisonburg
      The home of both James Madison University (a public research university) and Eastern Mennonite University (a private university), Harrisonburg is an iconic college town. The Rosetta Stone language learning software company has its headquarters here, not far from some of the best Harrisonburg homes for sale.
    • Waynesboro
      Waynesboro homes for sale are situated in a community of about 21,000 residents known for a relaxed pace of life. Historic Main Street offers a dazzling assortment of charming locally owned businesses for you to visit. A safe and welcoming town with affordable lodgings for tourists is often the place where local astronomy groups depart on their trips into Shenandoah National Park.
    • Staunton
      Staunton is the home of the American Shakespeare Center, a theater company operating out of a replica of William Shakespeare's own Blackfriars Theatre. In 2011, it attracted the Heifetz International Music Institute, a summer music school and festival focused on classical music. Woodrow Wilson's presidential library is located here. Staunton homes for sale feature some true architectural marvels in a historical setting.

    Looking for a home near this national park? Contact us at Old Dominion Realty to discover real estate opportunities in Shenandoah Valley.

    November
    23

    Local Florists in the Shenandoah Valley for Your Holiday Poinsettias

    Holiday Poinsettias

    The holidays are right around the corner, and our real estate agents are excited about all the possibilities the new season brings. As always, we're also excited to highlight some of our favorite local businesses in the Shenandoah Valley. 

    Of course, the holidays are poinsettia season, and if you're looking for a place to pick up a perfect holiday bouquet, you have a wealth of options to choose from in the Shenandoah Valley. These are our favorite local florists for holiday bouquets!

    • Blakemore's Flowers - 4080 Evelyn Byrd Ave, Harrisonburg, VA 22801
      Nestled in the heart of beautiful Harrisonburg, VA, Blakemore's Flowers is a go-to destination when you need a flower arrangement for any season or occasion. They create some truly beautiful fall and Thanksgiving-themed table arrangements that are perfect for your holiday feast. They also specialize in Christmas bouquets, arrangements, wreaths, and table centerpieces and are always one of the first places to start offering poinsettias when they come into season. Blakemore's Flowers is currently open for both delivery and curbside pickup and is located just minutes from these Harrisonburg homes for sale

    • Vivian's Flower Shop - 47 W Main St, Luray, VA 22835
      A family-owned florist with more than 45 years of experience serving the Shenandoah Valley, Vivian's Flower Shop is a perfect place to get your holiday bouquet this year. They offer traditional holiday plants like classic vibrant red poinsettias and unique and spectacular arrangements that utilize all the colors of the season. These holiday arrangements are all but guaranteed to spread holiday cheer. They also have a kind and courteous staff of flower specialists who are always more than happy to help you pick out the perfect bouquet for any occasion. Vivian's Flower Shop is a short drive from these Luray homes for sale. Delivery and curbside pickup are available. 

    • Evergreen & Victoria Floral - 134 E Lee St, Broadway, VA 22815
      From the vibrant fall hues of their Thanksgiving table arrangements to their tasteful Christmas bouquets, Evergreen & Victoria Floral has all your seasonal flower needs covered. They always have vibrant and healthy red poinsettias for the holidays, as well as beautiful arrangements with roses, carnations, and other varieties that bring on the holiday cheer. Evergreen & Victoria Floral is a family-owned full-service florist that's been serving the Broadway, VA area for more than 50 years. They're located a stone's throw from these Broadway homes for sale. Call ahead for curbside pickup!

    • Milmont Greenhouses - 48 Milmont Dr, Waynesboro, VA 22980
      At Milmont Greenhouses, you'll find an incredible variety of holiday poinsettias in a spectrum of colors. More than 30 varieties are available. Choose from classic bright red, pink, white, exotic marbled patterns, and many more. Poinsettias are available from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Located near these Waynesboro homes for sale, Milmont Greenhouses also offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants that change with the seasons. Curbside pickup is available, and you'll definitely want to give them a call when spring planting time rolls around!

    • Cristy's Floral Designs - 610 N Main St Ste G, Bridgewater, VA 22812
      A beloved local flower shop in Bridgewater, VA, Cristy's Floral Designs makes splendid arrangements for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and all other major holidays. They also create unique and beautiful any-time bouquets, and their winter floral arrangements are truly stunning. Using elements like white roses, evergreen boughs, delphiniums, and hydrangeas, the artists at Cristy's craft winter bouquets that truly capture the essence of the season. Call Cristy's Flowers for curbside pickup, or have your bouquet delivered to these nearby Bridgewater homes for sale
    • Stanley Flower Shop & More - 186 E Main St, Stanley, VA 22851
      The folks at Stanley Flower Shop & More create some truly spectacular floral arrangements, including holiday baskets and bouquets. We're sad to see their last of their fall arrangements go for the season but always look forward to their Christmas creations. You can also browse a wide variety of gifts for any season or occasion, from candles and wreaths to quilts and Amish-made furniture. Stanley Flower Shop & More is known throughout the Shenandoah Valley for their great selection and friendly service, and they now offer curbside pickup and delivery to these Stanley homes for sale

    Contact us today to learn more about life in the Shenandoah Valley. From vital local businesses to a specular landscape, we think it's a truly special place to call home, especially during the holidays. 

    October
    23

    How The Government Shutdown Impacted Virginia Housing

    The government shutdown has impacted people in all states and industries. In the housing market, the shutdown has caused serious issues when it comes to processing loans, verifying buyer information, and conducting transactions for housing purchases. The state of Virginia has specifically been hit hard because of its large number of federal workers and members of the military.

    The Shutdown's Impact On Housing

    Government shutdown

    Throughout the country, the government shutdown has caused some serious challenges for people that are looking to buy a new house. Loans that were going to be approved by the FHA or Federal Housing Administration are backed up because of the shutdown. Even private mortgage market companies that are not government entities were impacted by the shutdown because their pending loans could not be researched properly: the IRS was unavailable to verify the income of someone trying to purchase a house or get information about them by researching their social security number through the Social Security Administration.

    Effects Felt By Virginia

    Virginia in particular has seen drastic impacts on its economy and housing market because of the large impact the government has in the area. According to the Vienna, VA Patch, Virginia is one of the five states with the most federal workers per capita, the most federal contract money per capita, and the most veterans per capita. Without income from government contracts or benefits from the Veterans Administration, even those that are not directly employed by the federal government felt the sting of the shutdown. And while many government employees that were furloughed will get what they were owed during the time that the government was shut down, many contractors saw pending awards simply vanish because of the government shutdown. Without these valuable federal dollars it is difficult, if not impossible, for many in Virginia to purchase a home.

    Although it is now over, the government shutdown had a ripple impact on markets in all areas of the country. In Virginia, the real estate market was hit because of the state's huge presence of federal workers and contractors. Buyers or sellers that are interested in navigating the post-shutdown housing market should get help from specialists like the ones at Old Dominion Realty.

    August
    12

    Waynesboro Virginia Homes - Real Estate

    Waynesboro Virginia real estate is perfect for the home buyer that wants to enjoy endless skies, picturesque mountains, and plenty of great recreation. Waynesboro residents get to live in close proximity to some significant historical sights as well as cultural attractions. There are some excellent advantages of deciding to live in the city of Waynesboro for those that appreciate the splendor of Mother Nature as well as the legacy of American history, yet still want to make a sound investment in a home.

    Strong Property Values

    Many statistics show that real estate in the Augusta County area is trending upwards. In January 2013, it was reported that overall annual sales for residential Augusta County homes increased almost 8.5% compared to similar 2011 statistics. However, the Waynesboro Virginia real estate market still offers reasonably priced homes and condominiums for a variety of different types of residents that need a space that fits their unique lifestyle.

    Historic Landmarks

    Waynesboro is in the heart of an area of Virginia that was of great importance during the American Civil War. At the Waynesboro Heritage Museum locals will get a chance to relive some of the high drama of Civil War conflicts that took place around the area. There are also many historical markers in the area, such as Early's Last Battle where Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early was defeated, which ended the Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

    Exciting Recreation

    Outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and camping are some of the most popular for Waynesboro denizens. At one of the many campgrounds in and around Waynesboro locals can bond with the outdoors as well as close friends and family members. Residents can also access portions of the Appalachian Trail, which makes for wonderful hiking excursions that provide physical as well as spiritual refreshment.

    Modern Culture

    Waynesboro offers much more to enjoy than just historic locations. At the Shenandoah Valley Art Center residents can see the latest pieces from current artists or take classes on artistic techniques. Waynesboro Virginia real estate is also close to some excellent theaters like the Blackfriars Playhouse and the Wayne Theater, the latter of which is currently being renovated.

    Living in Waynesboro is an experience like no other. To buy a home effectively in Waynesboro, it is wise to call upon an experienced and knowledgeable realty company. Pick Old Dominion Realty to fulfill any property needs in and around Waynesboro.

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