150 years ago the first shot of the Civil War was fired. The first Russian Cosmonaut 50 years ago. First space shuttle was launched 30 years ago. Also the first visit by Homer Hickam here at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast. The auther of the Rocket Boys/ October Sky and now The Dinosaur Hunter which I just started reading. Interesting how the NASA Engineer who started life changes with his facination of Sputnik crossing the October Sky is here on this anniversary of so many accomplishments.
It is such a pleasure to continue the working farm tradition here at Rockwood Manor. Our family forefathers came from Scotch Irish roots and raising cattle was second nature to them. What better business to start here in the New World. Following in the footsteps of these various frontier families where many of their fortunes were based on the cattle industry. Cloyd’s , Kents, McGavocks, Buchanans, and others built up considerable wealth and we often tell our guests that it was the cows that built Rockwood.
Frances Bell was an adept cattle trader and as such traveled the Valleys of Virginia bringing cattle back to his home farm in Swoope, Augusta County, Virginia which he ran with his brother Samuel Hays Bell. In his travels to the New River Valley he met and learned from master trader James Randal Kent who was married to Mary Cloyd and lived at Buchanans’ Bottom ( now known as Kentland and owned by Virginia Tech) J.R. Kent was the wealthiest man in Montgomery County. He had five daughters and Frances (b1820) married Sarah James Kent (b1824) in 1855.
In a wonderful book “Virginia’s Cattle Story” The First Four Centuries by Katherine Brown & Nancy Sorrells the real story of cattle in American history outlines the bringing of the cattle to Jamestown and Williamsburg. From there various breeds were imported and some cattle were actually first exported back to England by great grandfather Frances Bell and sold as “Pulaski Beef”. His sons escorted shiploads of cattle and that sounds like a job to me. A picture of Rockwood Manor and story of “Fat Cattle” can be found on page 147-8.
The home here went from strictly raising beef to become a dairy in the early 1900′s and now we are back to raising beef again. The cows are very curious creatures with a wonderful herding instinct and our guests really enjoy their presence. You will too.
Homer Hickam guest at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while presenting the McGlothlin Awards at Radford University
One of my heros is coming to visit us at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while he presents “The McGlothlin Awards” at Radford University. Growing up in a small town in the West Virginia coalfields he and a group of his friends formed a small club that became later in life a book the “Rocket Boys: A Memoir” . This grew into another book about The Coalwood Way” and that was turned into a Hollywood Movie called October Sky.
As a writer and an adventurer he has continued on with multiple stories and has become accomplished as a speaker and presenter. Check him out at
The McGlothlin Awards are a blessing to the teachers of Southwest Virginia and given once a year to the outstanding teachers of the year. We would like to thank Tom McGlothlin and his family foundation for these honors.
|(Roanoke, VA)- The McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are awarded at Radford University, granted in the amount of $25,000 each to two outstanding teachers. These awards are tied with the nation’s largest awards to teachers-the Milkin and the Disney awards-but are only offered to teachers from communities in the Blue Ridge regions of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.|
The purpose of these awards, now in its 12th year, is to “find the best teachers working in today’s classrooms around our region. We want to recognize their fine work, reward them for it, and by so doing inspire others to the high qualities they exemplify. This award recognizes in a rather significant way what we consider one of the most important professions-and one with so many unsung heroes.”
My wife Rochelle and I are fans of the New River Community College’s Fiddle, Banjo and Dance Club and for years this group has been putting on shows next door in the wonderful Edwards Hall once a month. Usually they are free to the public and donations are asked for the Bands. We rarely get to enjoy these events as our events and weddings are on almost the same schedules. On our 4th Anniversary this past weekend (April 2nd) we did obtain tickets ( the last four) to see the “Cracker Barrel sponsored group Dailey & Vincent. A sold out show and I can see why!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were simply blown away. What a group of fine musicians and their harmonies were amazing. The Bassman (Christian)
was absolutely incredible. And the show was not only a mixture of Bluegrass and Gospel but a great comedy routine too. I cannot stress the fact that if you have the opportunity to see these guys in action you must take it. I am already planning to be there next year when they return on April 28 2012. Which will be the Reenactment of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain weekend too. TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! Come and see both of these and have a wonderful stay at Rockwood Manor too.
Last year we were blessed to have Laura Matney of Laura’s Focus Photography have a great story run in “The Wedding Planner Magazine”. This season we have another great photographer Michael Keyes of Photographic Dreams get us on the Front Cover with a shot of our Bride Jordon McAllister Aldrich. We cannot thank either of these artistic people enough for what they do in helping us promote the home at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast. We would also like to Thank The Wedding Planner Magazine for their recognition of us.
We are holding the 147th “Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain” here at Rockwood Manor on April 30th & May 1st. This historic battle took place only a few miles from here on my Grandparents property at the Cloyd’s Farm. We have rooms with a great view of all the action. Check out our specials. Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain
We were blessed with a pair of wonderful guests today and the breakfast table fairly buzzed with wit , gaelic and music. Our family history of musical roots steeped
in the Scotch-Irish traditions goes back to Whitetop Mountain Virginia. This landmark was once owned by my Grandfather; John Blakemore; who also started one of the earliest folk festivals in America. That was the Whitetop Mountain Folk Festival and began in 1931. Eleanor Roosevelt visited there as did thousands of music makers.
John accompanied a legend in Scottish Fiddle Bonnie Rideout and it was a pleasure to meet them.
Here is a short bio on John Purser from the BBC.
“2007 marks a second bite at the Scotland’s Music apple for John. The first series aired on Radio Scotland in 1992 to wide acclaim, and his accompanying book earned him the 1993 McVitie’s Scottish Writer of the Year Award. He is currently writing a new, extended edition based on the research that informs his second Scotland’s Music series.
John has been creating award-winning radio since the seventies – as in Scotland’s Music, usually as writer, researcher and presenter. As well as for Radio Scotland, he has made programmes for Radio 3 and Radio 2, and his radio work has been aired as far afield as Ireland, New Zealand and even Iceland.
John Purser with Highland CowRadio is only one of John’s many passions. He is a composer, a poet and playwright, and a musicologist of some renown. He lectured on classical music for Glasgow University Extra-Mural Department, and has travelled the world lecturing and broadcasting on Scottish music. He also finds the time to raise Highland cattle on a croft near Elgol in Skye, with the help of his wife, Bar, and the occasional mucking in of extremely well-fed and watered guests.
John has recently been studying Gaelic at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig in Skye, and in 2006 he was appointed as a Research Fellow and Gaelic Music Course Director. He is one of the team of researchers undertaking the five-year research project, “Window to the West – towards a redefinition of the visual within Gaelic Scotland”, funded by the AHRC.”
We will talk about Bonnie Rideout and her wonderful accomplishments in the next post.
It was wonderful!!!!!!!!!!
We left Roanoke after lunch on Thursday and it took Christina (great friend and bridesmaid) and I 8 hours to get to her family’s home in Queens. We stayed with her cousin, got up for breakfast with her parents (Mary and Dino) at a local diner, and headed into the city. By the time we had finished breakfast, her aunt showed up to inform us that she had seen the initial running on tv, with 200 ladies in line for the doors to open at 8 a.m.
We drove into the city, over the Queensboro bridge, and I started getting a little nervous. One of my other friends’ brothers,Phil, met us outside of Filene’s (photo), and was kind enough to park the car so we could get inside. It took him 45 minutes, and we were anxious to start our search anyway. However, since we arrived closer to 10:30, we walked straight in, and immediately started digging through the 2500 dresses!!!!!
After an hour of looking and trying on 20 dresses, I was getting a little frustrated with the other gals in the store bumping into us and there being no room. Everyone was VERY polite, but each bride had managed to bring an average of 3 people with her, so it was supercrowded. There were brides in all state of dress and undress running around, trying on and tossing aside things that didn’t fit……at one point, I saw a $5000 gown on the floor! The Filene’s store employees were great to try to get into the stacks of dresses and rescue and rehang them, so it worked out ok.
We actually left to get a bottle of water and regroup. Phil came back and he and I and Christina each took a section of the store, went to look for the sizes and specifications I had called out. Phil found my second place winner (photo), but it was too big and the seamstress advised against it. (There are seamstresses and drycleaners to help you see if a dress will work or not.) We kept on trying, and Christina actually found THE ONE! It is a beautiful Davinci gown, and I saved over $1200!!! It is not what I thought I was looking for, it is even better……I can’t wait for Rick to get to see me in it!
I could not have done the whole search without my team! It was smart to have a man along to just carry our gowns, since you pick out what you want to try, then find a corner of the store to try them on in. Christina kept handing me these beautiful gowns to try on…….AMAZING variety and selection, but it was a challenge to find them. Phil asked the store manager what the system was, and she said that they literally drive the truck up to the door at midnight before the event, and just unload the dresses onto the racks that they have cleaned out from the previous day and the regular store merchandise. You might be looking at a size 2 one minute and a size 26 the next, and they are NEVER near each other! That’s why the initial dash at 8:00 am is such a madhouse……ladies just grab the most they can and then trade, with signs and friends helping negotiate! I was glad to miss that part, but I did have my pink whistle so I could alert Christina and Phil when I was ready to try on. We tried to get a couple of pictures of the actual event, but it was difficult….I’ve attached a couple for the fun of it, but they are not great…..sorry for the blur!
I hope you guys are doing great, and can’t wait to see you again soon!!!!!!
Rockwood Manor Bed & Breakfast will have one of our Bride’s in Filene’s Basement World Famous Bridal Event
Brides-to-be come to the Running of the Brides® to find their dream dress at a bargain price. Whether you camp out overnight to be one of the first through the doors, or arrive later in the day for a less chaotic experience, by day’s end virtually every bride who comes here leaves with the wedding gown of her dreams (that she snagged for an unbelievable price) and a treasure trove of memories.
We would like to wish Steph good luck and happy hunting
from all of us here at Rockwood Manor.
Katie Deal (Patsy Cline)
Katie Deal is delighted to return to the Springer for her second national tour of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. A native of Gainesville, GA, Katie is proud to represent the State Theatre of Georgia with this historical and heartwarming show. Country music runs through her veins so portraying Patsy is always an honor. Katie has been lucky enough to perform nationally and internationally, as this legendary singer.
Now she is coming to the New River Valley and Pulaski Theatre for a Tuesday Feburary 1st Show at 7pm. Tickets are 18 advance and 22 at the door.Contact the Theater at WWW.PulaskiTheatre.org . For more on Katie and her upcoming shows, visit www.katiedeal.com. Now, come on in and enjoy the show, Hoss!