It’s A New Year’s Celebration in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

It’s A New Year’s Celebration in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

Ring in the New Year with a bang at Roots At Grayson Bistro & Tavern 203 N. Independence Ave, Independence VA!  Dinner will be served from 4:00 to 9:00 PM.  A sneak peak of the some of the menu choices include:  prime rib, bourbon glazed salmon, lobster bisque and scallops.  Live music will be provided from 9:00 PM to 1:00 AM by the band–Black Market Ammo.  A complimentary glass of champagne will be served at midnight.  Reservations are recommended, but not required.  1-(276) 768-1766

 

First Day Hike in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

First Day Hike in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains

Start 2020 off on a healthy track with a hike on New Year’s Day. An interpretive ranger will be your guide on the Rhododendron Trail as it meanders along the rocks and mountain meadows, or balds, of Wilburn Ridge. The views along the trail are breathtaking with snowcapped mountains, and you may even see the local residents, the wild ponies, of Grayson Highlands. This moderate hike will be a total of 2 miles, so be sure to dress warmly, as the highlands experience particularly cold, windy, and sometimes snowy weather during the winter months. You may want to bring a water bottle, snacks, binoculars, a camera, your family, and/or your dog. Parking fees are waived for the day.  As an added enticement, you can participate in the “New Year Challenge” contest. Find out about the photo contest and New Year Challenge here: https://vasp.fun/2020firsthike

Date: 01/01/20

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Parking: Massie Gap Parking Area

About Grayson Highlands

Located near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest mountains, Grayson Highlands offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks. The park hosts a number of outdoor activities including hiking, camping, mountain biking, horseback riding, and backpacking. Scenic horse trails and a horse camping area with electric and water hookups, stables and parking for trailers are available. The park provides year-round access to the Appalachian Trail and the Virginia Highlands Horse Trail.

Park Hours

8 a.m. – 10 p.m

Location

The park is on U.S. 58 midway between Independence and Damascus and is reached from I-81 at Exit 45 in Marion; turn south on Route 16 and travel 24 miles to US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58. Travel eight miles to the park’s entrance. Latitude, 26.628322. Longitude, -81.496889.

From I-77, take Hillsville Exit 14 to U.S. 58. Travel west on U.S. 58, 40 miles to Volney. Turn left to stay on U.S. 58 and go eight miles to the park entrance.

The address of the park is 829 Grayson Highland Lane, Mouth of Wilson, VA 24363; Latitude, 36.628322. Longitude, -81.496889.

Drive time: Northern VA, 6.5 hours; Richmond, 5.5 hours; Tidewater, Norfolk, Virginia Beach, 7.5 hours; Roanoke, 2.5 hours; Winston-Salem, NC, 1.5 hours; Charlotte, 1.5 hours; Raleigh, 4 hours

Park Size

4,502 acres. Various elevation: Entrance – 3,698 feet; Visitor Center – 4,953 feet; Little Pinacle – 5,089 feet.

 

Looking for that special family Christmas gift?

Looking for that special family Christmas gift?

5 reasons to give the gift of time with a family vacation (plus booking tips)

Choosing the right Christmas presents for family members can be challenging. We look for gift ideas that are meaningful, create joy, build lasting memories, build us to be better people, and make us stronger as a family. To cover all these bases, consider giving the gift of a family vacation this year.

There are significant advantages to choosing a vacation as a Christmas gift, and while this is not an exhaustive list, here are five reasons to give the gift of a family vacation (plus travel planning tips).

1. VACATIONS PROVIDE QUALITY TIME WITH FAMILY

If one of your 2020 New Year resolutions is to spend more quality time with family, giving the gift of a vacation is a great way to force yourself to do it.

A study of 2,000 parents with school-aged children across the country found the extent to which hectic routines take a toll during the work week with the families polled managing less than 45 minutes all together on a typical weekday (“American families barely spend quality time together,” New York Post).

A family vacation provides dedicated, quality time with the family that builds relationships and creates stronger family units.

2. VACATIONS CREATE LASTING MEMORIES THAT CHILDREN CHERISH THROUGHOUT THEIR LIVES

Think about your own favorite childhood memories. If any of these include vacations with your own family, it is easy to see anecdotally why family vacations build memories children will take with them throughout their lives, but research proves it. Multiple studies affirm the power that family vacations have in creating lasting, positive memories.

“Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory,” psychologist and best-selling author Oliver James explained to The Telegraph. “It’s all about talking nonsense with your parents, sharing an ice cream and moments of time in which your interests are genuinely taken into account.”

What kind of memories with you are your family members taking into the future?

3. VACATIONS IMPROVE CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENT DEVELOPMENT

Traveling with children is also beneficial to brain development. “An enriched environment offers new experiences that are strong in combined social, physical, cognitive, and sensory interaction,” says child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland. “Think: family together in the pool, walking together through the forest, touching long tall grasses waving in the wind, toasting marshmallows on campfire, hanging out together under warm sun, feeling sand between the toes.”

4. CONNECTING ACROSS GENERATIONS AND MILES

Christmas gift ideas for familyThe advantages of giving vacations as gifts are not just limited to parents. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins find vacations to be extremely valuable in deepening connections with family members across generations and across geographical distances. As difficult as it is to build in quality time with our nuclear families, it is even more difficult to plan for time with extended family members; and maintaining these connections is critical in building strong families. According to AARP, “With so many grandparents living hundreds of miles from their grandchildren, some are turning to a fun way to bridge the distance: vacationing together. About 40 percent of grandparents say they travel with their grandchildren, according to a new ‘Grandparents Today’ survey from AARP Research.”

The survey also found that 75 percent of grandparents had traveled with three or more generations in the past year, while others chose “skip-gen” travel—vacationing with the grandkids alone, minus the middle generation. About one-third of grandparents have taken their grandchildren on skip-gen trips.

5. THE JOY IN ANTICIPATION

The upside of a giving the gift of a vacation is that the happiness it brings starts well before packing. According to Healthy Set Go, “Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. A person can feel the effects up to eight weeks before the trip.”

Having something to look forward to with the family provides weeks of fun before the trip actually starts. “Those who are waiting to go on a holiday are much happier with their life as a whole, experience less negative or unpleasant feelings, and thus enjoy an overall net positive effect or pleasant feelings,” according to David Gilbert and Junaida Abdullah of University of Surrey.

“The holiday-taking group are also happier with their family, economic situation, and health.”

TIPS FOR PLANNING A CHRISTMAS VACATION GIFT

When considering giving a family vacation as a Christmas gift, here are some tips for getting the most bang for your buck.

1. LEISURE DESTINATIONS CAN OFFER MAXIMUM CONNECTION FOR LESS MONEY

While planning a trip to a major city has a lot to offer in sightseeing, staying in vacation rentals in beach, mountain, lake, and recreational areas provides more space and time for family groups. Hotels are great, but in vacation homes—with living rooms, kitchens, outdoor spaces, and everyone under one roof—families have more space to gather for family time while still having separate bedrooms. Plus, the full kitchens provide additional savings by not having to eat each meal out, and not having the big sightseeing admission costs lowers the overall expense of the vacation.

2. VISUALIZE WHERE YOUR FAMILY CAN CONNECT, AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY LIKE TO DO

Can you see your family splashing around the ocean and spending evenings relaxing on a beachfront deck listening to the waves crash? Or skiing, snowboarding and sitting in front of the fire at night? Or boating, kayaking around the lake, and singing and telling stories around the fire pit at night? Visualizing where your family will be most relaxed can help you decide where to go.

3. SAVE BY CHOOSING DESTINATIONS WITHIN A DAY’S DRIVE OR LOOK FOR DIRECT FLIGHT SPECIALS

Flying can be expensive for large groups, and when adding in the cost of a rental car, the total bill starts to quickly rise. By driving, you can save money and plan in some quirky side stops along the way.

4. BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE VACATION HOME MANAGER OR OWNER

The big sites like Vrbo and Airbnb have additional traveler fees, so you can often get a better deal when you book directly. Plus, you have a one-on-one contact that will make sure that everything goes smoothly. In addition, the managers/owners can help with any individual needs you have, things you want to do, or gifts you want to add in the home to make things even more special. Vrbo and Airbnb are great sites to explore to get ideas, but booking directly has a ton of advantages.

5. IF POSSIBLE, BOOK IN OFF-PEAK TIMES

If the children in your family are not in the 10-18 range, you may have a ton of flexibility in when you go on vacation. Avoiding the major peak seasons can help save money and avoid traffic and big crowds. Each destination is different. For example, in US beach vacations, avoiding the three weeks before and after July 4th can significantly decrease the cost of the vacation.

In today’s environment, for many of us, giving more devices, video games, and more ways to disconnect from each other can feel a little shallow. So if you’re struggling to find the right gift, a family vacation may be the perfect present for your family this year. It sounds cliché to say that you will “build memories that last a lifetime,” but it is cliché for a reason. Your future family will thank you.

*Post shared with permission from Amy Hinote of VRMintel.

Dust off your dancing shoes! The 84th Annual Galax Fiddler’s Convention begins 08-05-19!

Local Events

The 84th Annual Fiddler’s Convention is being held August 5 – 10, 2019 in Galax, VA.

During the 2nd week of August of each year the City of Galax has the world tapping its feet as the Old Fiddlers’ Convention takes place in Felts Park. The convention is presented by the Galax Moose Lodge #733.

Musicians and fans from around the world travel to Galax to perform and hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Galax has been designated the Worlds Capital of Old time Mountain Music and is proud to be identified as hosting the worlds oldest and largest fiddlers convention which has taken place consistently since 1935.

Event Details

Grayson Landcare Rocks The River — July 28, 2019 — Fries, VA

Grayson Landcare Rocks The River — July 28, 2019 — Fries, VA

LandCare Rocks the River, held on the banks of the New River in Fries, features rock, soul, and folk music, craft brews, great food, a festival atmosphere with craft vendors and kid’s fun activities, the event has something for everyone! 

Bands for 2019: Urban Soil, Kind Theives, & FutureNature.
Food by Creek Bottom Brews, Taco Trolley, and Grayson Natural Beef.

Grayson LandCare is a community of farmers, landowners, and residents working together to advocate solutions for the community of Grayson County, practice sustainable management of our natural resources and the environment, and increase the productivity and expand economic opportunities for local farmers, forest owners, and other citizens.

Bring a Blanket or Chair & JOIN US @THE RIVER!
Sunday, July 28, 2019 from 1:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Firehouse Drive
Fries, VA

Take A Break From The Interstate – A 100 Mile Road Market – July 26 – 28, 2019

Take A Break From The Interstate – A 100 Mile Road Market – July 26 – 28, 2019

Take A Break From The Interstate is a 3 day road market along Historic Highway 21 from Wytheville, VA to Harmony, NC.

Experience peaceful leisure along 2 way roads as you……

  • Discover Quaint Small Towns, Southern Charms & History
  • Taste Home-cooked Meals at Local Restaurants
  • Stop along U.S. Highway 21 to Enjoy Panoramic Long-range Views
  • Explore 8 State & National Parks
  • ​Delight in Special Finds at Unique Shops & Antiques Stores
  • Taste North Carolina Wines in beautiful Vineyards & Craft Beer at Breweries

Event Details

  • Dates: – 28
  • Directions: From I-77 or I-40 take Exit 54 North to Hwy. 21 which will take you to Harmony, NC. From I-81 or 77 take 21 South Exit which will take you to Wytheville, VA. I-77 runs parallel to US Hwy. 21.
  • Website:  https://www.takeabreakfromtheinterstate.com/

Rock The River 14 & Under Fishing Tournament – Grayson County, VA

Rock The River 14 & Under Fishing Tournament – Grayson County, VA

Grayson County Tourism is pleased to announce the first annual “Rock the River” 14 & Under Fishing Tournament. Come with the family to enjoy a day on the New River and win some great prizes!

DETAILS
This is a 14 & under fishing tournament with no entry fee held in conjunction with LandCare Rocks the River designed to get families outdoors in Grayson County enjoying the New River at Fries, VA.

REGISTRATION
Preregistration runs through July 12. Participants may register up until the morning of the tournament, but only those who have preregistered are guaranteed a tournament Tshirt.

Preregister by sending a message to Grayson County Virginia Tourism. Please be sure to include:
CHILD’S NAME
CHILD’S AGE
PARENT NAME
TSHIRT SIZE

Preregistration can also be completed on paper at any of our sponsor locations. Sponsors will be announced as they are received.

LOCATION
Meet at Fries Park on July 27 at 9:00 AM

FISHING
Fries Dam to Dixon Ferry Bridge (Low Water Bridge in Fries)

PARTICIPATION
Participation is open to anyone 14 and under with a parent/guardian present.

GENERAL RULES
1. NO ENTRY FEE!
2. Wading only.
3. No fish are to be kept on stringers.
4. Any one fish may only be submitted one time.
5. Kids must net fish with MINIMAL ADULT ASSISTANCE!
6. Follow all state rules and regulations.
7. Parents/guardians must have a valid fishing license for the state of Virginia.
8. Everyone must be present at check-in at the end of the tournament. If you choose not to attend, please give us a courtesy call at 276-768-9458 or 276-768-0834.
9. 100% of prizes will be distributed to all winners.
10. A general liability waiver must be signed by a parent/guardian prior to the tournament.

CATCH-PHOTO-RELEASE FORMAT
1. Identifier must be clearly visible in the photo.
2 Any digital camera or cell phone is acceptable for use.
3. A yard stick is the standard measuring device and will be provided for you the morning of the tournament.
4. The length in inches of 3 total bass will be used to determine winners.

PHOTO CRITERIA
Each fish phot MUST include all of the following:
1. The whole fish tip to tail
2. Fish must be measured in a natural position.
3. Fish must be held up to the yard stick, belly to stick.
4. Assigned identifier must be visible in the photo or fish will be disqualified.
5. Identifier will be released day of tournament.
6. One shot only, belly to yardstick, not at an angle
7. Fish must be clear with no obstructions to qualify.
8. The identifier must be in view on the photo
9. No blurry photos will be accepted
10. The mouth must be closed and the tail must be natural (penalty 1 inch deduction)

JUDGING
1. Competitor photos will be reviewed by Tournament Directors: Timothy Dixon and Will Crawford.
2. Photos that do not meet the above criteria will be disqualified.
3. Winners will be declared and prizes/awards be announced by the directors.

SCORING
Each competitor will be provided a unique identifier for the event. Your 3 longest verified lengths will be totaled for your score. The competitor with the highest total score is the winner. Next highest score will place second and so on. Prizes will be based on how many participants enter.

CHECK-IN
A check-in will take place at Fries Park, 329 Firehouse Drive, Fries, VA at 9:00 AM the morning of the tournament. During check-in rules will be explained and identifiers will be issued. After rules have been discussed, competitors may head off to fish in the desired location within the identified boundaries.

IDENTIFIER
A unique identifier will be announced at check in and must be included in all photos.

LENGTH-IN
We will meet back at Fries Park at 1:00 PM. Competitors must be in line to present photos for judging by 1:00. Please be on time for length in.

TIES
In the event of a tie, the following criteria will decide the winner:
1. Biggest Fish
2. 2nd biggest fish
3. 3rd biggest fish
4. and so on until there are no more fish to compare.
5. coin toss

RESCHEDULING
Inclement weather may delay or cancel the tournament. We will NOT RESCHEDULE. Decisions will be made by tournament directors and be announced on Grayson County Tourism’s page as soon as possible.

PRIZES
Grand Prize: Longest 3 bass totaled
2nd & 3rd prizes will be awarded
Other prizes and categories will be announced as they are received.

Grand Opening of the Fries, VA Farmer’s Market — June 23, 2019

Grand Opening of the Fries, VA Farmer’s Market — June 23, 2019

The opening day of the Fries Farmer’s Market is taking place this Sunday, June 23rd from 1 until 4 PM at the Fries Town Park, 336 Firehouse Drive, Fries, VA.  Activities are scheduled throughout the afternoon for the entire family!  There will be live music, face painting for the kids, a bouncy house, adoption animals from Fur-Get Me Not Rescue and a barbecue lunch fundraiser consisting of a pulled pork sandwich, chips and a drink for $5.  All funds raised will go to support the farmer’s market. 

The Fries Farmer’s Market carries local meats and produce, baked goods, herbs, arts and crafts in an open air market setting by the scenic New River.  The market will be held every Sunday through October 27th from 1 – 4 pm.  Special events are scheduled throughout the season. 

This Sunday’s entertainment is provided by a very talented duo — Luke Morris & Madison Elmore.

 

Go With The Flow Brewfest – June 22, 2019 – On The New River in Fries, VA

Go With The Flow Brewfest – June 22, 2019 – On The New River in Fries, VA

Creek Bottom Brewing is kicking off the summer by hosting over a dozen breweries at the 2nd Annual GO WITH THE FLOW MUSIC & BREWFEST at the Fries Park on THE NEW RIVER in Fries, VA on Saturday, June 22 from 12 – 8 pm.  Come out and sample some fantastic brews, savor delicious food, dance to the music of some great entertainers, play corn hole and water pong, run a 5K, and visit some cool vendors.

  • Local, regional, and national breweries represented.
  • Food trucks — Brick oven pizza and smoked wings.
  • Corn-hole & water hole tournaments.
  • Live music all day:  Ray Martin, Matt Mullins & the Bringdowns, Will Jones Band, & One Side Missing.
  • The festival is being held by the scenic New River in Fries, VA, which is in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
  • Held rain or shine.  Don’t forget your lawn chair.

Please visit https://www.gowiththeflowbrewfest.com/ to learn all about the festival.

Take a listen to The Will Jones band here:

Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition – June 15, 2019

Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition – June 15, 2019

On the third Saturday of every June at Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition features some of the region’s best traditional musicians. From time to time, they have shared the stage with bluegrass bands from Europe.

The event takes its name from National Heritage Award recipient Wayne C. Henderson, a musician and instrument maker who lives in nearby Rugby, Virginia. Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family, and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar and in seven nations of Europe, Asia and Africa.

Wayne and many of his musical friends are featured performers at the festival, with bluegrass and old-time music dominating the program. The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition was established in 1995 to express appreciation for this living legend. A portion of the proceeds from the festival are placed into a scholarship fund to aid local young musicians in continuing their educations. More than $237,950 has been awarded through the 2018 festival.

This year’s event schedule includes Darin and Brooke Aldridge, Redd Volkeart and Bill Kirchen, Shadow Grass, The Harris Brothers, The Sea Cruisers and of course Wayne C Henderson himself. For schedule times, click here.

Wayne C Henderson and Friends, are scheduled to take the stage at 5:45 p.m. Concessions will also be available throughout the day. You can find answers to more frequently asked questions online.

Grayson Highlands State Park is located in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia. Drive Time: Northern Va., 6.5 hours; Richmond, 5.5 hours; Virginia Beach, 7.5 hours; Roanoke, 2.5 hours; Winston-Salem, 1.5 hours; Charlotte, 1.5 hours; Raleigh, 4 hours. Click here for Google map directions.

Because of the high elevation the weather can be cooler than you might expect in June. This event is rain or shine so you may want to bring a long sleeve shirt, sweatshirt or jacket.

The festival is from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and is held at the park’s picnic area. Festival tickets are $20 for everyone 13 years old and older. Children under 12 are free with paid adult admission to the festival. The regular parking fee does apply to all vehicles entering the park. The festival is also part of the Mountains of Music Homecoming series sponsored by The Crooked Road.

If you love bluegrass and old-time music, then you won’t want to miss this fantastic festival in the mountains of Virginia.

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