Day Trips from Dublin: The Blue Ridge Parkway
If you are interested in a day away from Rockwood Manor and driving around the beautiful countryside of the Appalachian area of the US, then traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway is one of the greatest drives in America, with wonderful scenic views and chances for hiking, picnicking and visiting some of the natural treasures of the eastern United States.
Work on the parkway started in 1935 during the Roosevelt presidency. As part of the New Deal, it provided work for the men in the North Carolinian and Virginian hinterlands during the depression years. However, work wasn’t completed for 52 years until the Linn Cove Viaduct near Grandfather Mountain was opened in 1987. This piece of road finally connected two of the great national parks of America: the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia with the Great Smoky Mountain National Park almost 500 miles away in North Carolina. Along the route you can see some of the most spectacular natural views in the US. National parkland lines the road on each side so the views of the peaks and valleys of the Appalachian Mountains are unspoiled.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a 469-mile road that stretches through Virginia and North Carolina. Mile 0 is at the Rockfish Gap near Waynesboro in Virginia, which is about 2 hours north-eastof Dublin. But if you are setting out for a drive from Rockwood Manor then the easiest place to join the road is at Fancy Gap, about a 45 minute drive south of Dublin. Take I-81 South, then join I-77 South and take exit 8 heading towards Fancy Gap. From there, depending on how much time you have, you can either take the shorter drive north in Virginia, or head south and over the border into North Carolina.
If you are in rush to get anywhere, the Blue Ridge Parkway is definitely not the route you should take. The road is just a single lane in each direction and though there are passing places at the viewing points along the road, the speed limit on the road is low so you shouldn’t be charging along. The limit is 45 mile per hour along most of the road, with that falling to just 25 miles per hour in some of the more congested sections. The point of the Blue Ridge Parkway is to enjoy the journey and the spectacular views, not to get to a destination.
Image 2: Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a wonderful drive all year round. If you go in the spring or summer, you’ll see the abundant greens over the hills, whereas if you visit in the fall you can see the trees and plants slowly changing to their autumnal reds and oranges. Winter can be an opportunity to see some snow settle on the higher peaks, but the pass can get treacherous during the colder months and don’t be surprised to see some of the parkway closed due to snow and ice. The Park Service do signpost any detours thoroughly though, helping you back onto the main roads until it is safe to join the Parkway again. If you do find yourself on the parkway any time after October beware of icy conditions and prepare your car thoroughly before you set out, making sure the tires are in good condition, you have enough gas to complete your journey, you have supplies available in case you get stuck and you have coverage in the case of an accident. Make sure you check out the tips and travel tools from the park service to ensure you have a safe journey.
The flora and ecology changes as you reach higher elevations. At the lower levels you will see oak, hickory and tulip trees, while the upper reaches of the road are lined with fir and spruces more suited to the difficult climate. Trees near the peaks will often be distorted from years of wind and ice. Smaller flowers such as Rhododendrons and Dogwoods are visible during the spring and summer through all levels of the road, and can be seen retreating as the cold weather moves in.
Image 3: Black Balsam Knob in the Fall
Places to Visit
If you do want to stop anywhere along the way then there are hiking trails and picnic spots signposted throughout the roadway, but a map to guide you to the most memorable spots is a necessity. Some of the best sites along the road are Mount Mitchell (Mile 355), the tallest peak in the Eastern United States, the waterfalls such as Glassmine (361), Crabtree (339) and Looking Glass (417) which dot the lower levels of the road, and some of the idyllic rural manmade structures such as Mabry Mill (176) and Brinegar Cabin (238). The Parkway does not have a direct interchange with any interstates but all the major cities and areas along the route are also signposted. In Virginia, Waynesboro, Galax and Roanoke are the major towns that sit nearby the road. In North Carolina, the road passes by Asheville and the famous Biltmore Estate and vineyards if you wanted to pick up a bottled memento of your trip.
Beginner’s guide to skiing – all you need to know
The vacation is approaching and it’s the first one that involves skiing. Learning to ski for the first time is an exciting experience though it can seem rather daunting. Many beginners may have watched the Winter Olympics and seen the sometimes unbelievable exploits of top athletes on the ski slopes and wondered how they got to be so good. The answer is with talent, practice and good planning, and there’s no reason a beginner can’t progress to experienced status, though possibly not making it as an Olympian!
Good planning will pay off
For someone who has never been skiing before there are certain preparations that will help make the whole process a lot smoother. Apart from the obvious need for ski gear, it’s easy to forget that skiing is a very physical process and as a first timer it makes lot of sense to get fit beforehand.
Skiing puts a lot of stress on a number of parts of the body, in particular the knees and ankles, hips and thighs. Shoulders, back and arms will also be strained, so building up a regular exercise regime some two or three months before the vacation will pay off and prevent the major hurting that would otherwise occur.
Good exercises to strengthen the quads and glutes, because a lot of skiing is done in a part squat position, are box jumps, lateral jumps and squat jumps to help build the requisite muscle strength. Some weight training and cardiovascular work will also assist the body to get into shape.
Ski gear – buy or hire?
There’s no doubt that skiing can be an expensive sport, but the beginner doesn’t need to buy everything up front. The sensible thing to do is to mix buying and hiring. There’s not much point in buying an expensive set of skis only to find that the sport doesn’t really appeal.
Clothing and certain smaller elements of equipment should be bought because they can always be used again. Undergarments of thermal materials, long sleeved t-shirt, a fleece, waterproof jacket and salopettes, a hat to cover the ears and thick gloves are the essentials. Some may prefer a ski suit and often there are good bargains to be had out-of-season when the previous season’s gear is being sold.
Another essential, and not too expensive, is ski goggles, such as goggles with polarized and mirror lenses – they keep the sun and snow out of the eyes. In addition, sunscreen should be packed – cold it may be on the slopes but the clear skies give a lot of UV radiation to the skin.
Ski boots, skis and helmets can be hired at a resort, and the ski shop staff in resorts such as Winterplace in West Virginia will help make sure everything fits properly. The state may not seem an obvious ski destination, but its mountains have a northern exposure with a perfect climate that lets winter arrive early and stay late, providing ideal conditions for both beginners and the more experienced skiers.
Rockwood Manor is honored to be a part of the Virginia Tech/Maryland Football Raffle in support of the Angel Fund.
While remembering the tragic event at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007 and supporting the Angel fund ~ We are honored to have been included in this thoughtful offer donated by a former 1986 Virginia Tech Alumnus. This offer included 2 tickets to the November 2013 VT/MD Football game, one night at Rockwood Manor B&B and $50 cash meal/gas allowance.
This kind offer was made courtesty of Wilson Asphalt Mainenace LC.
The Angel Fund is a positive influence in our community and others, as their mission is to help young people that battle issues in every day life. Their goal is to help give solutions and support with the difficulties young people face daily. More importantly they bring awareness to communities and schools, desiring to create safe environment for young people.
You will be moved by the many areas that are touched by the Angel Fund. We encourage you to learn more by visiting their website and reading their newsletters at http://www.angelfundva.org
Rockwood Manor is delighted to be hosting the The New River Valley Friends of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra Road Show. We are the Sixth stop since they hit the road in September, how exciting!
The NRV Friends of the Roanoke Symphony is a volunteer arm of the RSO that supports performances of the Roanoke Symphony in our area and promotes music education programs in New River schools. This years show will be featuring jazz bassist Charlie Perkinson & Co. Mr. Perkinson is the weekday host of “Jazz Tonight” He has had a love for Jazz since high school where he played the upright bass. In his college years at Virginia Tech he played in the school dance band, The Southern Colonels.
After college, while overseas as a member of the United States Air Force he had the opprotunity one night to play the bass in the band backing up singer Rosemary Clooney while she was on a USO tour.
We look forward to visiting with our friends and having a relaxing evening listening to Charlie Perkinson & Co.
Learn more about the NRV of the RSO Road Show at http://www.rso.com/about/nrv_friends.html
Listen to Charlie Perkinson on the radio at WVTF Public Radio or more information at http://wvtf.org/people/charlie-perkinson
MEMOIRS FROM REDD “THE CHAIR”
What a beautiful time to be in Southwest Virginia!! I was picked up at Ikenberry Orchards by my next tour guides, Frank and Rochelle, and I have never seen such a variety of apples!! There were apples I had never heard of but they were deee-licious.
We left the orchard and headed south on I-81 to Roanoke. There sure were a lot of trucks on this road. Since we were on a time crunch we were not able to visit the huge star atop Mill Mountain but I did get to see the famous Hotel Roanoke as well as the O. Winston Link Museum which hosts hundreds of pictures of trains.
As we traveled further south on I-81 I was able to take in the beauty of the leaves changing to their brilliant fall colors. I saw reds (my favorite since they matched me), golds, oranges, and yellows as well as greens and browns.
When we arrived at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast in Dublin, VA I was exhausted but not too tired to take in the beauty of this historic gem as we drove up the tree lined driveway. I thought I was going to be in a remake of the movie Gone With the Wind. WOW!! Fortunately my hosts sensed how tired I was and put me straight to bed in one of the guest rooms.
The next morning I woke to a cloudy, rainy day so I was able to spend the morning just looking around this huge 10,000 square foot home. But in the afternoon the weather had cleared up and I was able to explore the New River Valley.
My first stop was at New River Community College where I saw wind generators and solar panels. This small college is exploring alternative energy sources and they offer classes based on this.
We traveled to Pulaski to see a huge model train set that has recently been acquired by the town. A scale model of Pulaski Town that is amazing to see. We also took in the restored train station with Bike Pulaski and entrance to the “New River Trail”. A 57 mile long Rails to Trails path. Nearby was Historic Calfee Park home of the Mariners training team.
That evening I was tempted to get in the Jacuzzi but thought better of it since it may have loosened up my joints too much.
On Thursday morning I awoke to a foggy morning but no precipitation so my hosts took me to Blacksburg, home of Virginia Tech. Go Hokies!!! There were so many students headed in so many different directions it made my rungs spin.
Then I went to the football stadium. That place is HUGE!!! It holds 65,000 fans on a Saturday home game and it is packed. The head football coach, Frank Beamer, has been coaching his alma mater for 27 years and is well respected in the football community as well as his local community. I had the opportunity to read his book Let Me Be Frank before I went to bed. What a super person he is!
On the way back to Dublin I got to sit by the cool waters of the New River. Did you know that this river flows from south to north unlike most rivers in the northern hemisphere? I have learned so much on my travels. I wanted to dip my legs in the water but it was a little too chilly for that.
Tonight is Halloween and I am looking forward to the costumes that may come to the door. I will have lots of candy to give out but I also get to eat any that is left over. Yum! Yum!
Tomorrow I travel to my next destination, the Inn at River Bend. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful valley and learn more about the history that abounds here.
Thanks to my hosts, Frank and Rochelle, for showing me around this area. I look forward to seeing the rest of the country and seeing more sites.
Dictated by Redd to Frank and Rochelle October 29-31, 2013
Only in America can one wake in the morning to see a ABC News report on the top spire of the new One World Trade Center being set in place to soon make history as the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. And as part of that report learn that a local Lynchburg Virginia company “Banker Steel” supplied the custom designed steel for the foundation of that new structure. Top that with the fact that I was about to serve breakfast to the owners Don & Carol Banker and another wonderful couple from St Petersburg Russia. The conversation was wonderful and so informative. I learned that not only did the supply steel for the new Tower but the prior owner had supplied steel for the Twin Towers. I had no idea there was such a firm as Banker Steel in Lynchburg but then our home Rockwood Manor was designed by Robert Burkholder and built by a Pettijohn and both came from Lynchburg and we too believe our home was finished in 1876 and showed that though we had lost the Civil War we could still do Grand Things.
Friends and family from across the country will converge here at Rockwood Manor in Dublin Virginia to be a part of their wedding and reception. The spring daffodils
are raising their beautiful flowers up to greet the spring sunshine and this wonderful couple will start their life together soon. We wish them the very best in their future together.
A perfect celebration designed and coordinated by Stephanie H. Dasch *Diamond Events*
This is a special story written directed and produced by a Pulaski Hometown Boy. To think that Scott now lives in an area with other personal friends of ours and is near the Navy Seals of whom this story is about. We are blessed to have such a talented individual in our midst and the story he tells of Lt Michael Murphy is enthralling. Thanks to both for making me Proud to be an American.
These lovely Ladies have really got the talent and we are so lucky they are coming to our local Pulaski Theater this Valentines Day 2013. T he Marvelous Wonderettes is a great off -Broadway musical written by Roger Bean . You are taken to the 1958 Springfield High School prom where we meet the Wonderettes. Four crazy girls with all sorts of talent and spunk! As we learn about their lives and loves, we are treated to the girls performing classic ‘50s and ‘60s songs with a do wop style as good as it gets on over 20 classic hits! A real musical trip down memory lane!
Have you been trying to come up with a great VALENTINES Day gift for your Lady. Well here it is. Rockwood Manor has some rooms available on a first come first served basis and at a discounted price of only $125 for the evening and breakfast the next morning. And better still is the fact that “the Marvelous Wonderettes” will be spending the evening and joining us for breakfast.
There are some people in this great big world who just shine like a star and Connie was one of them.
UNFORGETTABLE SHE IS.
Everyone was her friend and she would go out of her way constantly to make you feel special or help you in anyway.
I remember her taking over the kitchen here and feeding our guests when Rochelle and I could not be here for that.
She would travel to Central America to help those in need and just glow about it. Always taking on the work of The Lord and living it too.
Constance was a living example of what it means to be a Christian and I am sure the Good Lord would agree.
We Love you and you will be sorely missed.
The following words were written for Connie by Sarah McMillin and Caroline Donnelly and spoken at the service yesterday (1/10/13)by Sarah.
Where can I find Connie?
She is the warm love within our hearts , She is the Ray of light that breaks through the cloud cover, She is the resplendence of the blue crab,
She is the dancing of the sandpipers, She is the laughter inside our souls, She is the dramatic glow of a Sandbridge sunset,
She is the gentle caress of the ocean wave, She is the wonder in a child’s eyes, She is the fierceness of the mighty osprey,
She is the devotion of a pair of Tundra swans, She is the playfulness of a leaping dolphin,
She is that comforting summer breeze as it glances your cheek,
She is a love everlasting, She is home in the Glory of God, and
SHE IS HAPPY.