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When It Comes To Our Valley, There’s Nothing Like ...

Va l l e y May 24, 2013

... The Great


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Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

Our Valley 2013


Page 47

Editor’s Note .................................................. 3 SNP: The Valley’s Playground ....................... 4 Hunting For The Ages ................................... 5 Vineyards Of fer Much Than Just Wine ........ 6

Page 30

Hitting The Slopes ....,.................................... 7 Clay Pigeons Have Pull ................................... 9 Lake Shenandoah A Good Catch ................. 11 Happy Trails .................................................. 13

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Like Rock: Valley A Climbing Mecca............. 14 ‘Hikers Paradise’ ........................................... 19

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One Mudder Of A Business ......................... 22 Treetop Flyers Zip It .................................... . 26 Caving An Underground Movement........... 27 Hang Time: Gliders Soar Above Valley ...... 30 The Best Of The Valley ...... Starts On Page 32 A Wild Way To Make A Living .................... 44 Making A Splash: Swimming Holes ............ 47

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Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


A Breathtaking Backyard, Courtesy Mother Nature From The Editor


o paraphrase a certain playwright who knew a thing or two about scenic locales, if all the Valley’s a stage and its people merely players — well then, the folks here in the Shenandoah Valley have got one heck of a stage to play on. God has blessed the central Valley with a natural beauty few areas of the country can rival. And we don't let it go to waste, either. From hiking and hunting, to fishing, boating, caving, horseback riding and more, our backyard plays host to an endless list of outdoor activities enjoyed by both residents and the many visitors who join us each year to marvel at our natural landscape. It’s true that development has chipped away at that landscape, turning green fields and rugged hills into subdivisions, shopping centers, athletic complexes and more. If you ever take a flight out of Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport, take a good look out your window shortly after takeoff. Or better yet, hike up to Bearfence in the Shenandoah National Park and look west. From either vantage point, you’ll notice how much green remains between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghenys. Vast swaths of pastureland, forests, wooded areas, mountains, hills, lakes and rivers make are the rule, not the exception. The overwhelming majority of our Valley, in fact, remains much as it

Preston Knight / DN-R

Views like this one, seen from atop a hang gliding launch point near Woodstock are just one of the many reasons the Shenandoah Valley is paradise to outdoor enthusiasts. did thousands of years ago. And it’s this expanse of unsullied land, along with its varied terrain and geological makeup, that makes it possible to host so many outdoor activities. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and lived in Manhattan for several years in my late teens and early 20s. I enjoyed many things about the city — the subways that made owning a car unnecessary, the Bleecker Street Jazz clubs, the corner deli that never closed and the vibrant theater and arts scene of my Greenwich Village neighborhood. But one of the things I missed from grow-

ing up in the relative country of the suburbs was the lack of outdoor recreation. The closest I could get to hiking was a walk through Central Park. I suppose if you closed your eyes you could imagine yourself in Shenandoah National Park — if you could block out the exhaust fumes, the endless cacophony of honking horns, the solicitous drug dealers and the odd (and I mean odd) prostitute. Seriously, SNP it was not. I missed the woods, the mountains, the skiing, the kayaking and the fishing. Since moving to the Valley 11 years ago, though, I’ve rediscovered all those outdoor activities I loved as a kid, and much more. It didn’t take long to realize just how much I missed the outdoors, the fresh air, the peace and quiet (not to mention neighbors who actually smile and say “Hi.”) My friends from New York still can’t understand what I see in the Shenandoah Valley. The answer, I tell them, is easy. The next time you’re down this way, step outside and take a good look around. That’s what I see in the Shenandoah Valley. Every day as a matter of fact. The view from any vantage point beats the concrete and asphalt of the Big Apple any day. So join us now as we explore our expansive stage — and the endless opportunity for outdoor fun in the place we call home, Our Valley. — Rob Longley May 23, 2013


Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

Shenandoah National Park: The Valley’s Playground By ALEX ROHR Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — Douglas Cuccherini, a second-grader at Pearl Sample Elementary School in Culpeper, squats down with a magnifying glass to examine an acorn, excited to find a maggot living inside. He picks it up, and rushes to show Ranger Kate Calais, his and his classmate’s teacher and guide for the day at the outdoor classroom at Shenandoah National Park where he’s learning about habitats. “How many different types of food do you find?” Calais asks. “Flowers, bark, grass, leaves,” Casey Evans lists. “What kind of plant might eat flowers?” Calais questions. “Bugs!” Caleb Parker answers. Calais uses lines of questioning to teach the children about the necessities of life, food, water, space and shelter, and how they all intermingle in a single habitat. The students were encouraged to search for plants, animals, bugs and signs of these, like scat, which they learned is the technical name for excrement in a meadow and a forest. When Calais asked her students what

ABOVE: Nikki Fox / DN-R; RIGHT: Alex Rohr / DN-R

ABOVE: Tony Kreml (left) and friend Frank Torres of Baltimore hike to the top of Bearfence Mountain in Shenandoah National Park in early May. The top of the mountain, a moderate climb for most, rewards hikers with a breathtaking 360-degree view. On a very clear day, you can see the Washington Monument from the top of Bearfence. RIGHT: Students from Pearl Sample Elementary School in Culpeper learn about the varied flora and fauna from a park ranger during a May 9 field trip to the park. SNP offers a range of educational programs and activities. the coolest or weirdest thing they saw, she got myriad answers. “The weirdest thing is we actually saw a tree that was like puffed out and we saw poop right next to it,” Casey Evans said.

She also learned the stem was puffed because of fungus that grew inside the tree, its habitat. The park may be a habitat for animals and plants, including the Shenandoah

salamander, a species only found within the park’s borders. But it’s also a habitat for all kinds of people. “It’s the best place to cycle in the world,” said Paul Gordy from Virginia Beach who was on day two of a 10-day trip along the Blue Ridge Parkway, 470 miles, and Skyline Drive, a 105-mile scenic route running through the park. “It’s a nice getaway from the city.” Gordy, who has cycled throughout the nation, said even with the rain and mist falling that morning, it was a cycler’s See PARK, Page 29



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Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Fun And Game Organization Introduces Hunting To Young Guns By PRESTON KNIGHT Daily News-Record

Michael Reilly / DN-R

Katy Simmons, 13, and her parents, Carlton and Kathy Simmons, all members of Hunters Helping Kids’ Shenandoah Valley chapter, show off the head of Katy’s first deer, which she took during the HHK youth deer hunt in September. Katy holds the 7mm-08 Remington 700 she used to take the buck. HHK, which donated the taxidermy work, introduces kids to the joys, and responsibilities, of hunting.

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MOUNT SOLON — Carlton Simmons lives in a hunter’s paradise. His wife, Kathy, grew up shooting deer, raccoon, squirrel and rabbit, so she’s of little obstruction if he wants to enjoy the great outdoors. His new house, under construction by his own hands, includes a spacious main living area to decorate with the various animal stuffings and mounts that showcase game and critters that came out on the wrong end of a battle with the Mount Solon native. That same house, off Wampler Lane in Augusta County, also gives Simmons a view of the mountains as far as the eye can see. And the couple’s three daughters — Leslie, 15; Katy, 13; and Tiffany, 11 — are all inter-

ested in hunting, to some degree, meaning “family day” for Simmons can be spent wearing camouflage. It’s a nice setup for someone who was bred a hunter from the time his grandfather took him out in the woods when he was 4. But like many avid outdoorsmen living in the Shenandoah Valley, he fears such paradise could be lost for future generations because too many other activities are available to youth. “Many of them don’t even have an opportunity to know what they’re missing,” said Simmons, 52. Hunters Helping Kids serves to fix that.

Chapter Created Last Year The national nonprofit has 36 chapters and started one in the Shenandoah Valley a year ago. Its mission is fairly simple: to promote hunting among youth by taking them outdoors. See HUNT, Page 8



Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

The Wine? Sure, But Vineyards Offer So Much More By CANDACE SIPOS

Valley Vineyards

Daily News-Record

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

LEFT TO RIGHT: Heather Titus and Patricia Station, both of Pennsylvania, and Barbara Station, of Mount Solon, enjoy a glass of wine outside at Bluestone Vineyard on April 25.



BRIDGEWATER — On a chilly Friday evening in April, with temperatures hovering in the mid-to-upper 50s and a cool breeze sweeping through the Valley, several dozen people at Bluestone Vineyard couldn’t be bothered to go inside. Family and friends were undoubtedly keeping warm with their laughter and maybe a little Cabernet Sauvignon. Or Chardonnay. Or Merlot. Bluestone has it all. Coupled with live local music, a charming food truck called “Mama’s Caboose” and a picturesque setting, the 2-year-old winery on Spring Creek Road in Bridgewater makes for the perfect venue come warm weather. Or, as evidenced by this night, even before the warm weather sets in. Bluestone owner Curt Hartman started growing grapes on the rolling hills beside his family’s Bridgewater home after selling his local business, Hartman Motor Sales. He operates the business with his wife, Jackie, and son, Lee, the winemaker. Etta Good, of Keezletown, was enjoying the music of Standing Room Only with her friend Phil Mullins, of Crimora. She was bundled up with a blanket covering her toes, but she wasn’t about to leave. A group of four women, all longtime friends, crowded around a fire pit searching for warmth. “I like the atmosphere a lot,” said Shannon Blosser, of Dayton, noting the relatively inexpensive entertainment and “classier” feel as compared to some venues. “It’s a fun place to get a group of people together,” said Heidi Byler, of Penn Laird, another one of the four around the fire. Kim Tate, of Harrisonburg, said she’s been coming to events at the winery frequently since it’s opened. “It’s more of a neighborhood vineyard,” she said, explaining that the location draws a lot of locals.

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Page County Wisteria Farm and Vineyard in Luray Guilford Ridge Vineyards in Luray Shenandoah County The Winery at Kindred Pointe in Mount Jackson Cedar Creek Winery in Star Tannery North Mountain Vineyard & Winery in Maurertown Shenandoah Vineyards in Edinburg Wolf Gap Vineyard & Winery in Edinburg Cave Ridge Vineyard in Mount Jackson Mountain View Vineyard in Strasburg “It’s wonderful for the local community and the economy,” she said. Wineries that have popped up across the area in recent years have not only created a wider range of locally-produced vino, they’ve also become a sort of outdoor See VINEYARDS, Page 18

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Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Like ‘Your Own Personal Roller Coaster’ Locals, Visitors Hit Valley Ski Slopes Each Winter By PETE DeLEA Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — As fall turns to winter, and the temperatures drop, Micah Morris dusts off his skis and hits the slopes. The 31-year-old Harrisonburg resident typically makes about a half-dozen trips to local ski areas each year. When he has time, he travels to Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort, Timberline Resort or Canaan Valley Resort, all in West Virginia. If he has only a few hours, he hits the spots closer to home, Bryce Resort in Bayse and Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville. Whether it’s in Rockingham or Shenandoah County, or over the border in West Virginia, Morris tries to ski as much as possible. “I just like being outdoors,” said Morris, who has been skiing for about 25 years. “It’s a great way to get outdoors when the weather isn’t so conducive to playing golf.”

Justin Falls / DN-R File

A pair of skiers enjoy the fresh powder at Massanutten Resort — just three days before the start of spring. Late snowstorms helped make up for a late start to this past season.

Where To Go Rockingham County is home to Massanutten Resort, which opened in 1972, primarily as a ski resort. But it has expanded with several year-round activities, including golf and water sports, to the point where it is now billed as a “four-season” destination. The resort, which re-

ceives an average of about 33 inches of natural snow per year, now features 14 trails. Massanutten also makes its own snow, about 5 to 6 feet each season, using 80 to 90 million gallons of water each year. The average opening date is Dec. 10 and the resort usually closes by March 17. But the season has become shorter in re-

cent years due to a spate of mild winters. Though March was much cooler than usual this year, the resort’s sky area opened later than usual at the start of the season. “We’re concerned about a lot of things, climate change being one of them,” said Kenny Hess, director of business operations at Massanutten. “Virginia has never really been a cold weather state. Three years ago was one of the best winters we had. This year we got a late start.” In addition to skiing, Massanutten’s ski area offers snowboarding, which became popular in the early 1990s, though Hess said the popularity has died down some. “There are still definitely more skiers than snowboarders,” said Hess. “The growth in snowboarding has seemed to slow down. Like any rising sport, it has a strong growth spurt and levels off.” During the winter, the resort also offers additional winter activities, including snow tubing and ice skating. “We’re trying to give people options to enjoy themselves [with other activities] while they are here,” said Hess, noting that the indoor water park is open all year. See SKIING, Page 10


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Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Harrisonburg Chapter Started Last Year Hunt

Michael Reilly / DN-R

Katy Simmons (left), 13, and her sisters Tiffany (center), 11, and Leslie, 15, are all members of Hunters Helping Kids’ Shenandoah Valley chapter. Here they pose in front of a mounted fox with a squirrel, part of the family’s collection of game mounts.


“Our purpose is to give kids something to do other than sit in front of the video,” said Brenda Sheffer, the chapter’s treasurer and a board member from Mount Solon. “It’s something else to do that will enrich their lives, teach them about conservation. Who knows, maybe one day we’ll have to go out and shoot our own food again. You never know.” The Hunters Helping Kids chapter covers Augusta, Page, Rockingham and Shenandoah counties. It raises money for causes beyond hunting, too, including baseball or softball equipment or technology for local schools, such as a SMART board device for Lacey Spring Elementary School. “We do different things,”

Sheffer said. But hunting is its primary focus. The chapter has taken five youth out who otherwise wouldn’t have had an opportunity, Sheffer said. Through other groups in previous years, its board members introduced more than 50 youth to hunting. “Someone who goes every year 20 times with their dad, they have an outlet,” Sheffer said. “We try to get the ones who don’t have an outlet.” That’s not necessarily Katy Simmons, but Carlton and Kathy’s middle daughter still benefited from the organization’s Waynesboro chapter. In March 2012, just before the Harrisonburg chapter was created, the Waynesboro group donated a deer head mount to the teen, who shot her first deer on the family’s farm during the state’s youth

hunting day the previous September. “She was really lucky,” said Kathy, 43. “She was real surprised. We didn’t tell her anything about it.” Sheffer, who nominated Katy for the mount, said: “Her parents snuck the hide and the mount and everything else to the taxidermist. She did not know it was going to happen.” Katy’s excitement about receiving the mount was tempered in talking about the gift recently, though she shared her father’s reaction to the moment leading up to the big shot. “I said, ‘There’s a deer.’ And dad said, ‘Yeah, right,’” Katy recalls. Yes, right. From about 100 yards out, Katy got herself an 8-point buck on her first shot See HUNT II, Page 9


Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Blue Ridge Outfitters Hosts Hunters From Around U.S. Hunt II


with a 708 shotgun.

Way Of Life

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Chris and Jean Macari of Nokesville celebrate their anniversary by spending the day at Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays in Mount Crawford on May 9.

Pull Of Clays? ‘Instant Reward’ 16-Station Course Give Valley Hunters, Gun Hobbyists, Plenty Of Target Practice By PETE DeLEA Daily News-Record

MOUNT CRAWFORD — A split-second after Chris Macari yelled, “pull,” a neon orange disc flashed through the sky at Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays in Mount Crawford. Macari, 48, of Nokesville, aimed his SKB 700 shotgun at the sporting clay, pulled the trigger and blew the round object into pieces. “The sport gives you instant rewards,” said Macari, who visited the course on May 9 with his wife, Jean Macari, 42. The couple, who have been shooting sporting clays for about five years, visit the Shenandoah Valley about once a year, staying at local bed and breakfasts. In addition to visiting wineries and distilleries, the couple always makes sure they visit the Flying Rabbit. “This place is very calm,” he said. “We consider it a walk through the woods, and we discharge a few shots while we’re at it.”

A Long History Flying Rabbit is one of about a half-dozen sporting clay courses in Virginia and the only public course in the Harrisonburg area. Shooting clays dates back to the early 1900s, when live

That moment of the first kill elicits emotions of pride and joy, says Terry Cubbage, who owns Blue Ridge Outfitters, a hunting guide service in Stanley. But once you’re into hunting, it’s not all about success, he says. “I enjoy watching the game,” said Cubbage, who has hunted for 35 years. “We have a lot of fun whether we kill anything or not.” His business hosts hunters from around the nation who are drawn to the Shenandoah Valley for the game, a chance to bow hunt and the scenery at Shenandoah National Park, he said. Even in his own backyard, outsiders can give Cubbage an education. When a man from Falls Church recently killed his first bear, the hunting group couldn’t find it be-

hunter demographic is an older one. Its motto is, “It takes a hunter to make a hunter,” and it created an apprentice license for firsttime hunters of any age five years ago. Those hunters could hunt as long as someone licensed and 18 years or older is with them. More than 5,000 apprentice licenses are sold each year. “We’re not regenerating our next [generation] of traditional hunters … like we used to,” Walker said. “It’s not one of those activities where you learn by yourself.” Carlton Simmons and his family, though, are invested. After all, hunting can be heaven on earth. “When I see [my mounts], I can think back to [the hunt], the time and era,” Simmons said. “Some family members have passed on. I can relate to the time I was with them.” Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

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cause no blood trail was cline in interest. According to the Virleft behind. “I never like to leave ginia Department of Game anything in the moun- and Inland Fisheries, the number of hunting licenstains,” Cubbage said. Fortunately, the tip of es sold has steadily declined since the arrow topping that was “In 1988, I wasn’t 500,000 in used to kill fiddling on a 1988. the bear lit computer and I For the last up — tech10 years, the nology fordidn’t have emails has eign to Cubkilling me. If I ever agency seen an annual bage at the retire, I’m getting off decrease in litime — enabling the the grid. I’ve got too censes sold of 3 group to find much information.” percent, taking it below its victim. — LEE WALKER 300,000 for the “When OUTREACH DIRECTOR they don’t FOR VDGIF, ON THE ROLE first time this bleed,” he TECHNOLOGY HAS PLAYED IN year, outreach THE STEADY DECLINE OF director Lee said, “they HUNTING LICENSES Walker said. can be hard Competing to find.” Finding outdoorsmen for people’s time is one reaanymore is enough of a son for the dip. “In 1988, I wasn’t fidchallenge, hunters say. dling on a computer and I Permits Down didn’t have emails killing Sheffer grew up in me,” Walker said. “If I Bergton, where deer ever retire, I’m getting off hunting was a “way of the grid. I’ve got too much life,” instilled in her by information.” her father. Now, all she He said the department sees is a widespread de- is well aware that the



Friday, May 24, 2013

Trails Open Second Week Of December Skiing


North of Massanutten, is Bryce Resort in Shenandoah County. Rob Schwartz, the resort’s general manager, said skiing, and other winter sports, are big tourism draws for the Shenandoah Valley. “It’s certainly a key draw … it’s certainly the biggest for us,” said Schwartz, adding that many of the skiers that glide down his resort’s eight trails are from the Washington, D.C., area enjoying a day trip. The trails generally open the second week of December and close the second week of March. This year, like many area ski resorts, Bryce got a late start because of a warmish December. How-

ever, the late-season snowstorm, in March, dumped about 14 inches of snow at the resort, giving it a boost to the season’s back end. When snowfall isn’t cooperating, the resort makes its own, when the temperature dips below freezing. “We have 100 percent snowmaking ability, and with two great nights of weather, we can get open,” said Schwartz. The resort also offers snow tubing, and, like Massanutten, offers yearround activities as well. In addition to Massanutten and Bryce resorts, the area features Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County. The resort offers 26 slopes and trails.

Hitting The Slopes Kathy HurdCarrillo, a

44-year-old professional figure skater from Basye, has been skiing at Bryce since she was about 2 years old. She said she’s been to ski resorts all over the world — including much bigger mountains with more challenging trails in the western U.S. and Europe — but her favorite remains Bryce, where she got her start. HurdCarrillo, who works as a part-time ski instructor at the resort, said she skis as much as possible. “I love the fresh air,” she said, adding that she enjoys the excitement of the sport. “It’s like having your own personal roller coaster.” Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

Harrisonburg, Va.

Children take skiing lessons at Massanutten Resort on March 8. In addition to Massanutten, the region features Bryce Resort in Shenandoah County and Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County. Nikki Fox / DN-R File

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Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


For Anglers, Lake Shenandoah Always A Good Catch Silver Also Among Top Spots For Fishermen By PRESTON KNIGHT Daily News-Record

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Psych, the 12-year-old “bait-ship” cat stops by for a visit with Jennifer Jordan, co-owner of the MJ Bait and Some Tackle shop on Lake Shenandoah. Jordan and her husband, Michael Jordan, operate the shop.

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Jordan’s job that presents ample opportunities for repetition: owner of MJ’s Bait and Some Tackle, a concession stand and fishing and boating shop at Lake Shenandoah. Inside the small stand are dozens of pictures of children and adults alongside their catches, in many cases their first ones. “That’s the biggest comment we get from everybody: ‘I caught my first fish here,’” said Jordan, 52, of Mount Crawford, who runs the shop with wife Jennifer. “I bet we’ve heard that 10,000 times.” And, like the perfect jump shot, it never gets old. Lake Shenandoah, south of Harrisonburg, is one of the most

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popular public fishing spots in the area. Jordan is in his eighth year operating the shop there. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries — then called the Virginia Game Commission — bought three tracts of land totaling 77 acres and constructed a dam in 1956, fish biologist Steve Reeser said. The 36-acre lake has been a manmade fishing spot since the site was renovated in 1960. At that time, it was surrounded by undeveloped farmland. A red barn alongside the lake today is the most photographed part of the property, from See FISHING, Page 12

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Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

‘Quality-Sized Fish’ In Valley

On The Fly


Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Brandon Terry tries his hand at fly fishing on Mossy Creek, one of Virginia’s best-known fly-fishing spots and one that attracts anglers from around the country. It’s one of dozens of managed trout waterways throughout Rockingham and surrounding counties that make the central Valley one of the hottest fly fishing destinations in the region.

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families to prom dates, Jordan said. Intense development in the last 20 years has led to excess nutrients and sediments getting into the lake, causing algae blooms and water quality issues, Reeser said. The state has taken several measures to control the vegetation, including stocking the lake with grass carp to eat the algae. For fishing, the lake has carp, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappy, muskies and channel catfish in the lake. All except the muskie and catfish are naturally reproducing. “The lake does have some quality-sized fish,” Reeser said. Jordan says the largest he recalls is a 69-pound carp. For the non-fisherman, a hiking trail encompasses the lake, and bird watching is popular. But, make no mistake, Lake Shenandoah is about rods and reels. “It’s a fishing lake,” said Jordan, who caught his first fish there as a child. “That’s what it was designed for.”

Taking Silver The area’s other popular lake is Silver Lake northwest of Dayton. It’s a spring-fed, shallow 10-acre lake owned by the city of Harrisonburg. The state stocks the lake with trout, though some largemouth bass, sunfish and carp are also available. A kids’ fishing event attracts scores of youth every year at the start of spring. . Plenty of parking is available, and the Silver Lake Mill, built in 1822, is open Thursday through Saturday. Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or


Harrisonburg, Va.

Nikki Fox / DN-R

Patty Gallagher leads 7-year-old Penny, a Tennessee Walker, into the stables after a ride in April at Jordan Hollow Stables near Stanley. Gallagher, who lives most of the year in New York, enjoys riding regularly during her winter escapes to the Shenandoah Valley.

Happy Trails Horseback Riding Plentiful In Valley By PETE DeLEA Daily News-Record

STANLEY — Living in Long Island, N.Y., Patty Gallagher is surrounded by traffic, large crowds and lots of noise. But for a few months each winter, the 67-yearold escapes her urban-like home just outside New York City and heads to the mountains of the Shenandoah Valley. Up north, the horse lover doesn’t get to go horseback riding very often. So, over the last few years, she’s been a regular

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at Jordan Hollow Trail Rides in Stanley. On a breezy afternoon late last month, Gallagher hopped on 7-yearold Penny, a Tennessee Walker, and took a ride through a country field with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “It’s so gorgeous,” she

said, adding that riding in the Valley, especially, is tranquil. “It’s so clean and beautiful.”

Getting Started Jordan Hollow Trail Rides opened in 2005 and was originally located at See RIDING, Page 16

Friday, May 24, 2013



Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

Like A Rock? If So, You’re In Luck — The Valley’s A Mecca For Novice Expert Climbers By KAITLIN MAYHEW Daily News-Record

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

James Madison University student guide trainer Guy de Brun makes his way up a rock face in the George Washington National Forest.

HARRISONBURG — “I’m terrified,” said Tara Shaw. The 21-year-old James Madison University senior was preparing to take the first step on her first outdoor rock climb. Shaw was a part of a group of JMU students led into the George Washington National Forest in mid May for a one-credit elective course. The course is taught by Guy de Brun, assistant director for adventure programs at JMU. Mainly, he trains the student guides who then take groups into the surrounding forests. The road to a career of rock climbing

and outdoor trekking began in 1997, when he signed up for his first climbing course at Eastern Mennonite University. That was the summer before his senior year of college. Today, de Brun, 37, has climbed all over the country and led groups throughout the East Coast, all before settling back in the Valley, where he resided while attending graduate school at JMU. He says the area is home to some of the finest climbing in the state. Lester Zook, 52, another climbing guide in the Valley, agrees. Zook is the director of the Outdoor Ministry program at EMU. He also leads groups into the wilderness through his own business Wild GUYde Adventures. Zook said he has about six climbing venues for group treks, depending on the level of experience climbers want, from beginning adventures to instructional See ROCK, Page 17

Harrisonburg, Va.


Friday, May 24, 2013


Mount Crawford Business Offers ‘Learn To Shoot’ Lessons, Guns For Rent Clays


pigeons were used in trap shooting. In the years to follow, clay targets were introduced to courses to simulate hunting ducks, pheasants and rabbits. Solar-powered Chucker Trap machines shoot discs at a variety of speeds and in different directions to make the sport more realistic. The Mount Crawford course, which has 16 stations, similar to the way holes are set up in golf, has been in operation since the 1980s. In 2008, the former business owner, Greg Weaver, was contemplating shutting the place down. That’s when John Alexander and Rick Hill, both 66, decided to lease the property from Weaver, located on South Valley Pike at the intersection of Oakwood Drive, and keep the business going. Both are shooting clay instruc-

tors and have shot competitively for years. At the time, both had recently retired and thought it would be fun to run a shooting clay course. “We saw an opportunity,” said Hill. “We saw something we could turn into something fun for families.”

Chris Macari takes aim at a flying clay target on April 9 at the Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays facility in Mount Crawford.

Family Friendly Flying Rabbit is open to both experienced shooters, and firsttimers, said Hill. Many bird hunters use the course during the off-season to keep their skills up. Others just like the sport, said Hill. “Some like to feel the gun, see the break and smell the powder,” he said. In September, the course hosted the National Shooting Clay Association state championship. Roughly 170 shooters participated. “I think they shot at 59,000

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

targets when they were out there” said Hill. While many shooters participate in tournaments, he said, the sport is also a great opportunity for individuals or families looking for something different to do. The business offers “learn to shoot” lessons and guns are available to rent. First, an instructor will teach first-timers gun safety and how

to operate, aim and shoot the shotgun. Then, they move on to trying to break a moving target. “We don’t ask them to shoot a lot, you get tired,” said Hill. “We want to show them it’s fun and want them to come back.”

Coming Back For More Bill Walters, 66, of Verona, is one of the shooters that continue to come back. He first started

shooting at the course about a decade ago. He grew up in Rhinelander, Wis. and started shooting guns, first BB guns, at 4 years old. He said there wasn’t much to do in the small, rural town. “You either fished, or hunted,” he said. Walters is usually at Flying Rabbit several days a week, except during bird hunting season, which runs from October to January. “I use it to replicate bird hunting,” said Walters. “It provides effective practice for real hunting.” Dave Thomas, 68, of Massanutten, has been visiting the course for about two decades and now works there part-time. He said it’s fun, but addictive. “It’s golf, with a shotgun,” he said. Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or



Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

SNP Has 180 Miles Of Trails Riding


Hawksbill Park Road in Stanley. Shortly thereafter, the owner of the trail rides decided to cease operations, leaving the stable manager, Lisa Cubbage, wondering what to do next. The 53-year-old decided to take over the business, but she only had a pair of horses. One day, she said, the late Delmer Breeden, who owned a well-established horseback riding business, Skyland Stables in Luray, stopped by for a visit. He heard that she was starting a trail riding business and thought she could use some help. The two talked and soon after, she had everything she needed to start the business. “He brought me eight horses down … my competition,” said Cubbage, adding that he also sent clients when he was completely booked. “That man set me up in a business.” After roughly two years at the inn, in 2007, the business moved about a mile away to a scenic, 147-acre lot on Maxx Drive, off of Judy Lane. The new location is in a former poultry house, renovated by Ronnie McCoy, on the business he operates, Bar M Stables. Roughly six years later, the location has roughly 40 different trail options. “It’s living a dream,” said Cubbage, who worked as receptionist for more than a decade at her husband’s former satellite business before she jumped into the horseback riding business. Virginia has more than 285 public horseback riding trails, according to the Virginia Horse Industry Board. Many of those are in the Shenandoah Valley. Shenan-

doah National Park has more than 180 miles of trails alone. Jordan Hollow Trail Rides — featuring more than two dozen horses — is among several in the Valley that offers horseback riding year round. Cubbage said a majority of its customers are tourists, with more than 1,000 riding there last year. While mostly tourists visit the business, a handful of locals are regulars at the stable. Hillary Martz, 22, of Luray, has been riding there since it opened. She said horseback riding gives you a thrill. “You can’t explain the feeling that you get when you take a horse out and run through a field,” she said. Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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‘Gravity Never Sleeps’ in love with the sport are multi-faceted, including certifications. He leads spending time in the outclimbers into the George doors and creating relationWashington National For- ships with people who are est, Shenandoah National forced to trust and depend Park and a few sites in on one another while climbing together. West Virginia. “You have the physical “This area just has a lot challenge itself and seeing to offer,” he said. Through Wild GUYde yourself progress and try Adventures, Zook takes different routes of differing he said. groups and families of all difficulties,” “There’s also the spiritual levels of experience. One mistake, according aspect of just being out in creation.” to Zook, would Shaw did be for a beginner The climb is conquer her to go out climbso scary and fear and scaled ing without a then you get the rock face at guide. Runkles Gap “Gravity nevto the top several times er sleeps,” he and it’s so that day. She said. “Some peocool. But said that the ple will say, ‘Oh way down the then you it can’t be that rock after the hard. We’ll just don’t want climb is the experiment,’ to go down. most offwhich is an acciputting. dent waiting to  Tara Shaw, “The climb is happen.” James Madison so scary and Another misUniversity senior then you get to take he sees the top and it’s climbers make is “letting ego get in the way so cool,” she said. “But then you don’t want to go down.” of real learning.” One important reminder “Sometimes, I’ll get younger guys thinking they for those looking to advenneed to show off,” Zook said. ture out among the rocks “When your ego is driving and looking for a guide is to you, you’re not making good make sure the guide or comdecisions. People get com- pany is certified and inpetitive instead of really sured. “You’re not required to thinking what is safe and be certified. Anybody can what is smart.” De Brun said the steep- have a business,” Zook est learning curve comes said. The two organizations with learning the way that certify guide agencies around the equipment. “A lot of the technical sys- are the American Mountain tems to keep you safe re- Guides Association and the quire finite instruction,” he Professional Climbing Instructors Association. said. Insurance, and the nec“When I can send a family home at the end of the day essary permits if the guide and they are a stronger fam- is leading groups on federal ily, or send a group home land, such as a national and feel like I really con- park, are also important. tributed to their relationships as people, it’s really Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or satisfying to me,” said Zook. The reasons de Brun is


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Dustin Robbins (top) and Kathryn Straub scale a rock face in the George Washington National Forest in mid-May. Robbins and several other JMU students spent the day learning the basics of climbing as part of a one-credit course.

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Va. Vineyards Drew 1.6 Million In 2012 Vineyards


oasis for tourists and local residents alike. When Moussa Ishak and his wife, Sue, started planting grapes on their Page County property in 2000, there weren’t many wineries around. But by the time they opened to the public as Luray’s Wisteria Farm and Vineyard in 2009, Bluestone was in the works. CrossKeys Vineyards in Cross Keys and several other vineyards farther in the Valley were open. In the past four years, Wisteria has experienced steady growth every year, Ishak said, including growth in visitors coming out for wine tastings and events, which are a staple for most wineries. “We’ve seen an increase in people coming out in general,” he said. “We see quite a bit more traffic.” Why? For one thing, a strengthening economy, Ishak says. And for another, he says, he’s doing a better job of getting Wisteria’s name out. But also, “I think we’re making pretty good wine in the Valley,” he added. And the competition between local wineries might actually be drawing in more customers for them all. “It’s nice to have wineries around, because I think it’ll be more appealing for people to drive the distance so they can see more than one vineyard,” Ishak said. Strong growth in wine sales and visitors at Virginia wineries is not the exception, but the rule. Sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in 2012 with an increase of about 1.6 percent, or 8,000 cases, over the previous year. A total of 230 wineries

across the commonwealth, including nearly 30 in the Valley, produced almost 485,000 cases of wine last year. And more than 25 of those wineries popped up within the past 12 months, including the Winery at Kindred Pointe in Mount Jackson. While the amount of wine made and sold in Virginia is dwarfed by Californian and European wines, Virginia wines’ reputation and production level are growing rapidly. Virginia is currently ranked fifth in the nation for wine grape production and in 2012, its vineyards drew about 1.6 million visitors. Bluestone has certainly not been left out of the upward trend. “By this time next year, you won’t be able to have much of an event in here,” Hartman said while standing in the barrel room at the winery. About 110 barrels full of aging wine currently sit in the room, which doubles as an event room and was clearly built before the Hartmans realized how quickly their business would take off. They have 50 more barrels on the way. The Hartmans also had to purchase a restroom trailer and a trailer to hold tables and chairs for outdoor events. They have plans to turn more of their homestead into vineyards, and they recently leased land in Mount Crawford to grow more grapes. “Our expansion happened so fast early on that we weren’t really ready for it,” Hartman said. With 12 acres of vineyards at Bluestone’s Bridgewater property and grapes coming from other area sites, the operation will sell more than 3,000 cases of wine this year.

Last year, that number was roughly 2,200. Sales are up by about 35 percent this year, Hartman said. Nikoo Bakhtiar, who owns CrossKeys Vineyards with her husband, Bob, said the operation has experienced a 17 percent climb in sales this year. Much of that funding comes from wine tastings. In an average week during the summer, about 300 visitors come in for a tasting, Nikoo Bakhtiar said, adding that CrossKeys has seen a steady increase of visitors since it started five years ago. “It’s a very relaxing atmosphere,” she said. “We have beautiful, gorgeous views and … we’re close to town, but when you’re here, you feel like you’re miles away from any big cities or developments. It’s just a very relaxing way to spend your weekend and enjoy the outdoors.” Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or

Harrisonburg, Va.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Kelsey Errwin and Rob Groomes of Baltimore enjoy a wine tasting with Bluestone Vineyard host Vicky Mongold at the Bridgewater winery in April.

Photos by Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Josh Horst, who has been with Bluestone Vineyard for a year, plants Petit Verdot, a red wine variety of grape, in the fields on April 25. A total of 230 wineries across the commonwealth, including nearly 30 in the Valley, produced almost 485,000 cases of wine last year.

Harrisonburg, Va.


Friday, May 24, 2013

‘A Paradise For Hikers’ By ALEX ROHR Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — When the moss of civilization grows too thick on Josh Hinkle’s back, he turns off the road and onto a trail. “It’s an escape to reality, and a return to normalcy,” the lanky Lynchburg native says with a grin. “You go out, you start a fire; you’re not smelling good; you’re just out there connecting with nature like people used to,” said Hinkle. “People didn’t used to have TVs, they used to take a walk for enjoyment.” Hinkle, 26, regularly visits Harrisonburg to see family and has been hiking around the Valley since he was a young boy. Being flanked by mountain ranges — the Blue Ridge to the east and the Alleghenys to the west — the Valley offers a range of trails for a variety of hikers.

Valley Sports Wide Variety Of Trails

Seth has been hiking Port Republic Road about much of his life and joined 20 minutes from the city — the Southern Shenandoah which has two hikes, or one Valley Chapter of the Po- long one, with a variety of tomac Appalachian Trail views: Furnace Mountain, Club, a hiking and trail on the right, and Austin maintenance group, short- Mountain on the left, toly after moving to Har- gether totaling 13.3 miles. risonburg. He also recommended “I like a hike on the Fridley Gap — 10.5 miles that has a little with streams and ridge bit of variety,” climbs — a Local Trail Listings wellSeth said, “so there’s a lot of dif- known ferent environspot just ments on one hike.” south of Shenandoah. He said the eight-mile The hike crosses three Old Rag trail in Shenan- mountains and includes an doah National Park, one of area of pinewoods, an area the most popular trails in of deciduous woods and a the state, has good views meadow. and interesting rock formaFor those just getting tions. He also suggested the See HIKERS, Page 20 Madison Run area — down


Nikki Fox / DN-R

Hikers follow a trail at Big Meadows in Shenandoah National Park in early May. With the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Alleghenys to the west, the Valley offers a range of trails for a variety of hikers. “This is a paradise for hour’s drive of here.” grew up in Utica, N.Y. hikers,” said Michael Seth, Seth said hiking “In all those places you who moved to Harrison- around the Valley is dif- can’t hike year round,” burg in 1998 to work at ferent from the Rocky Seth, 65, said, because “the James Madison University. Mountains in the West mountains [here] are not “You have hundreds of and the Adirondacks in that high and the weather miles of hiking within an New York, near where he here is relatively mild.”




Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Hiker Recommends Big Schloss Trail In GW National Forest For Beginners Hikers


recommend starting out easy. John Tefft welcomes novices into the Strasburg Striders, a loosely organized, take-all-comers group that meets every Saturday at Strasburg Theatre at 9 p.m. “This year we’ve been doing pretty easy hikes,” Tefft said. “We start out easy and make it harder as we go throughout the year … to build up endurance.” “There’s little easy hikes that go up to high places,” Tefft said, like Veach Gap, a seven-mile trail. Tefft also suggested Big Schloss, 4.1 miles long in the George Washington National Forest, for beginners. Some hikers prefer more solitary hikes. “I like the secluded

trails away from the general populace, away from all the tourists,” Hinkle said. One of his favorites, referred to as Hidden Cliffs, is in the area around Elkhorn Lake in the George Washington National Forest, about an hour’s drive from the city. But he probably won’t tell you how to get there. “It’s not a secret, but it’s called Hidden Cliffs for a reason,” Hinkle said. Although he held back on the details of this particular trail, he did offer advice for newcomers: “Happy feet make happy hiking.” While hikers generally suggested the same items — comfortable shoes, a flashlight, food, water, first aid supplies and a knife or multi-tool, some, like Williams “Toolbox” Lyster, had a little more to offer.


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Julian Schraibman, 66, of Rockville, Md., hikes a section of the Appalachian Trail with a friend in Shenandoah National Park on May 5.

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Lyster, 45, of Zion Crossroads, got his nickname by making do with what he had. “If you needed something on the trail I could find a way to make it or make it work,” Lyster said. For instance, when he didn’t have a water filter he used a bandana and a coffee filter to sift out sediment before boiling the water. And he said bark from a sapling or a natural vine will do fine to replace twine or string. Hikers also suggested as a trail guide with distances,

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

This Guy’s Got One Mudder Of A Business Business Venture Brings Off-Roading Opportunities To Valley By EMILY SHARRER

Straughen, 41, opened Big Boys Playground, an off-roading business venture just north of HarHARRISONBURG — Various risonburg off of U.S. 11. There names exist for what Kelly Straughen manages 80 acres of Straughen specializes in — mud land — about half of it marred bogging, trail riding, four wheel- with mud holes, rocks, branches, ing, rock crawling, mudding, off- tires and bumps that he invites roading — but he’s never been too ATVs, trucks and other vehicles capable of navigating the caught up in the larugged terrain to dare go. bels. on the And if you’re not breaking a “There are so drive shaft or many names that For More Info an axle, you’re people call this stuff; I just call not quite doing it right. it fun,” says “I like seeing people break,” the Straughen, who decided more than a decade ago Harrisonburg resident says with a there was a mar- laugh. “You get the challenge out ketable way to let oth- here, you get the ability to break er people in on the fun something here.” Added patron Steve Lallas, 42, too. That’s why in 2002 of Waynesboro: “[It’s] kind of the

Daily News-Record


Photos by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R

ABOVE: Kelly Straughen (right), owner of Big Boys Playground on U.S. 11 north of Harrisonburg comes to the aid of some ATV riders who got one of their vehicles stuck in the mud pits. RIGHT: Colby Dorsey of Harrisonburg rides the trails at the facility. Dorsey, who used to race motorcycles, now rides a dirt bike in off-road riding areas.

one and all four wheeling adventure land. You couldn’t ask for a better place to go off-roading in a safe environment.” Off-roading is an activity that Straughen, originally from Mount Crawford, started at a young age. As a boy he would ride on ATVs out in the woods hunting with his family. With his driver’s license came a Dodge truck — “the only thing worth drivSee PATH, Page 23


Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


‘There’s Something For Everybody There ... Easy Or Intermediate Or Difficult’ Path


ing” — that he would use to take friends on afternoon or late night adventures through trails in the George Washington National Forest. As more trails that he liked to go mud bogging through closed, a niche market began to develop for those who had fewer outlets for off-roading. That’s how Big Boys Playground came to be, Straughen said — a spot that brings the kind of off-roading adventures he remembers to enthusiasts. “The trails that exist around here really aren’t very challenging at all,” he said. So the miles of trails, mile-long motocross track, rock and log

courses and hills that the courses at Big Boys boast provide a muchneeded element of excitement for local riders, he said. “This is something that I always wanted to do and I was fortunate enough [to find this land],” said Straughen, who saw that it was up for auction more than a decade ago. “[I] came out here and walked the property and decided I wanted it.” Riders can call Straughen anytime to set up an appointment to use the property and Straughen tries to host one big event each month — the last event brought out about 300 people. “You get more of a crowd to ride with at Kelly’s,” said Aaron Gregory, 28, of Luray, who attends each

Dustin Bailey, 17, of Lyndhurst rides an ATV through a mud pit at Big Boys Playground on U.S. 11 north of Harrisonburg. Owner Kelly Straughen opened the off-roading business in 2002. Photo by Holly Marcus / Special to the DN-R

of the playground’s events. “There’s something for everybody there whether it’s easy or intermediate or difficult.” The main rule of the playground is safety. Straughen says

he wants people to have fun, but not put themselves or others in danger on the trails. And if you get stuck, Straughen will surely be there to pull you out. “We might laugh at what you

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get yourself into but that’s what it’s all about,” Straughen writes on his website, “having fun and challenging your buddies.” Straughen hopes to continue operating the playground for as long as he can, but says he’s noticed the popularity of off-roading ventures starting to wane, especially because of the economy and the cost of fixing those axles and drive shafts, he said. Some of his monthly events used to draw more than 800 people, he noted. “I just don’t think there are as many off-roaders as what it used to be,” Straughen said. “That’s the biggest struggle I deal with.”

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Treetop Flyers

Zip-Line Rides At Massanutten, Basye Resorts Offer Riders A Birds-Eye View LEFT: Kurt Ekstrom of New Hapshire makes his way across the practice zip line before he and his son traverse the canopy tour at Massanutten Resort on April 26. RIGHT: Julie Biehl of New Hampshire rides a zip line on the canopy tour at the resort. The resort offers the canopy course as well as the Mega Zip Line, a 850-foot straight shot.

By KAITLIN MAYHEW Daily News-Record

McGAHEYSVILLE — “I’d recommend going backwards. Just have some fun with it,” said Mike Iskrzak, as he leapt off a platform several hundred feet in the air. Iskrzak led a group of 12 adventurers in April through a lofty labyrinth of cords that is the Massanutten zip line canopy tour. Iskrzak is now the assistant manager of the Family Fun Park at Massanutten, but started as a full-time zip line guide in 2009. The zip line courses, including those at Massanutten in McGaheysville and Bryce Resort in Basye, are examples of the cornucopia

Harrisonburg, Va.

Photos by Jason Lenhart / DN-R

of outdoor opportunities offered by local resorts in the summer. Massanutten offers two zip-line options: a canopy tour that features a series of lines ranging from 90 to 450 feet long intermingled with an obstacle course. The Mega Zip Line is a straight shot, 850-foot line.

The Zip Line Adventure at Bryce features a treetop tour of Bryce Mountain on 10 different lines over 80 feet off the ground. A zip line involves a pulley-type device that sends riders zipping down a cable stretched high above the ground between two points. Alex Bratt said he wasn’t nervous as he was strapping on his zip line harness and helmet, though this was the first time he had ever done anything like it.

Bratt, of New Hampshire, was visiting Massanutten for the first time with his family in April. Robin Ekstrom, who waited on the sidelines while Bratt hit the zip line, said they chose Massanutten because it offered the opportunity to both relax and enjoy the exhilaration of outdoor activities. “We wanted a good mix of both. There was definitely See TREETOP, Page 28


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Friday, May 24, 2013

An Underground Movement Valley Cavers Focus On Conservation, Safe Exploration By EMILY SHARRER Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — Those who spend a lot of time underground have a little saying: “Cavers rescue spelunkers.” What it means, according to caver Marian McConnell, a member and fellow of the National Speleological Society, is that those who are experienced in cave safety and conservation are the ones who save people who venture casually underground. Virginia has more than 3,000 known wild caves and more are discovered each day, McConnell said But exploring them alone can be dangerous, she said. “Even a very simple easy beginner cave is like going through an obstacle course,” said McConnell, also the president of the Blue Ridge Grotto in Roanoke. “What we do for beginners is we take them to a cave that we know they’ll be able to practice some of those things.” For those interested in caving, McConnell recommends first visiting a commercial cave. In the Harrisonburg area, residents have access to a long list of commercial caves, including Luray, Grand, Shenandoah and Endless caverns. For those that want to ditch the handrails and overhead lights, though, McConnell suggests joining a grotto, or caving club. The groups sponsor trips, offer training, teach and practice See CAVERS, Page 29

Minton rappels down a vertical drop as Droms watches in Shoveleater Cave. The cavers from Singers Glen helped to map over fives miles of passages in the Pendleton County, W.Va., cave over the past several years.

Mark Minton, 62, and Yvonne Droms, 60, look at a massive flowstone formation called the Acoustic Persistence Chamber in the privetly owned Shoveleater Cave late last month.


Photos by Nikki Fox / DN-R

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Massanutten Lines Open Every Day Starting May 27 Treetop

Photos by Jason Lenhart / DN-R

ABOVE: Brooke Biehl, 10, followed by her mother, Julie, traverses one of several obstacles along the canopy tour zip line course at Massanutten Resort on April 26. During the peak season, guides take between 250 and 300 people through the trees each day. RIGHT: Duke Biehl, 14, takes the last “leap of faith” off the canopy course.


enough going on,” she said. “We were busy every day.” Julie Biehl, also from New Hampshire, brought her family to Massanutten on spring break. She said it was her family’s first trip to Virginia, and they definitely plan to return. Ten-year-old Brooke and 14-yearold Duke Biehlboth counted the zip line canopy tour as the highlight of their two-week Massanutten stay. “I liked that it was high up in the air,” said Duke Biehl. Iskrzak said the lines are easily one of the most popular attractions at the resort, with rides booked from Memorial Day until Labor Day. During the peak season, guides take between 250 and 300 people through the trees each day. Despite repeating the same courses over and over again each day, the high volumes, Iskrzak said the job of a guide is anything but boring. “There’s a different dynamic with every group,” he said. Canopy tour guides go through two weeks of intensive training, besides being required to be certified in

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Duke Biehl, 14, takes the last “leap of Faith” of the Massanutten Canopy Zipline course in April. first aid and CPR. One job requirement, said Iskrzak, is a calm attitude in the face of an emergency, recalling a time when he had to rescue someone who passed out while riding the line. Chuck Petree, another Massanutten guide, was shocked by lightning while hastily evacuating riders when a sudden thunderstorm hit. “It sort of felt like just bumping into an electric fence,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, it sucked.” But along with the stressful experiences, the job comes with many

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rewarding ones. Iskrzak said two blind riders and one man with an amputated leg had been guided through the tour. “I heard they did better than anyone else on the tour,” he said. Beginning May 27, the zip lines at Massanutten will be open seven days a week. A ticket costs $39. At Bryce, the lines are open Saturdays at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. until June 8. Weekday tours are available by appointment. Beginning June 11, tours will run twice each afternoon on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Though much of the resort offerings are open to only guests and property owners, several activities, such as the zip lines, horseback riding, inner-tubing, miniature golf and mountain biking are open to anyone. Bryce also offers grass skiing and a rock-climbing wall. Massanutten’s new climbing wall is under construction. Kenney Hess, director of sports and risk management, said he hopes it will be open for the summer season. Contact Kaitlin Mayhew at 574-6290 or

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Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Park Has Long, Short Hikes, Resort For Vacationers Safety Top Priority In Caving Park


paradise with little traffic and beautiful views. “Most of us have done the entire Blue Ridge Parkway,” Gordy said of his group of eight adding that he was on his sixth excursion along the road. Although the rain was dropping intermittently that Thursday morning, and even when it wasn’t they were riding through mist, Gordy and crew were still happy to be on the Blue Ridge. But park visitors don’t have to plan a special trip to the park to take advantage of its amenities. Some of them just happen to drive along, see a sign, follow a road and ask a ranger, like Lindsey Aragon, 21, and Zenia Zellechiwsky, 20, of Philadelphia. “We just kind of wanted somewhere to hike,” Aragon said. “We’ve been in the car so long.” The two girls, eating breakfast in the car before beginning their hike, had visited Tennessee to see a friend after school let out at the University of Pennsylvania and were on their way back home when they decided to check out the views from up top instead of down below. They drove up the mountain and

Nikki Fox / DN-R

A cement post marks hiking trails at an intersection in Shenandoah National Park. along Skyline Drive, stopping at lookout points to gaze at the “amazing” view. Although they didn’t have a plan or a clue, they had help from a park ranger. “I’ve been here before but I was really young,” Aragon said. Zellechiwsky had never entered the park. So the tired, wired travelers went to a visitor center where they talked to a friendly helpful ranger and told her they wanted to go hiking. The ranger asked if they wanted to see waterfalls or views. “We said both,” Zellechiwsky said. “So she gave us two options,” one of which was Dark Hollow Falls, which is less than a mile. While the park has long and

short hikes, including a section of the Appalachian Trail, it has a softer side for vacationers. Jim and Karen Spinner, retirees from Bethesda, Maryland, went to Skyland Resort for a “weekday getaway” and relaxed, took some short hikes and enjoyed views from the resort’s restaurant. “The sunset was just spectacular,” Jim Spinner said. “You could see ... every light twinkling in the Valley.” Other people who inhabit the park are fisherman, birdwatchers and flower searchers, but also engineers and scientists who maintain and study the park and its habitat. At the end of the children’s lesson Calais showed them the patch on her arm, the emblem of the National Park Service —a picture of a tree, a mountain, water and a buffalo, explaining its purpose is to protect these living things, to maintain the world’s habitat. “All of you own Shenandoah national Park,” Calais said to the surprised students. She then left them with a challenge: to protect this park, their own backyard.

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cave conservation, according to the National Speleological Society, a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the study, conservation, exploration and knowledge of caves.” “These are people who respect safety and conservation,” McConnell said. “We work with the beInterested In Caving? ginners on how to do it Going underground without the safely.” gear (caves that are open to the Another way to try public): caving is through businesses or organizations ■ Luray Caverns, 101 Cave Hill that offer beginner trips. Road, Luray. Locally, trips are of- ■ Grand Caverns, 5 Caverns Blvd., fered through companies Grottoes. like Outdoor Adventure ■ Shenandoah Caverns, 261 CavExperiences Inc. and erns Road, Quicksburg. Wild Guyde Adventures. ■ Endless Caverns, 1804 Derek Young, owner Endless Caverns Road, New Market. of Outdoor Adventure Experiences, leads halfand full-day trips at caves throughout the Valley. Young said his business has obtained permission to lead commercial trips through the caves and that he is very selective about what caves are chosen. “We don’t want to get folks into a cave situation where we’re asking them to do things that are physically too hard,” he said. Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Hang Time ‘The Most Fun You Could Have With Your Clothes On By PRESTON KNIGHT

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Daily News-Record

Living In the Moment HARRISONBURG — Take One: Bacil Dickert, 55, calls upon a superhero to sell the sport of hang gliding. “It’s like being Superman,” he said. “It’s dangerous as hell.” OK, not bad, but let’s give it another shot. Take Two: Dickert gets playfully angry for his pitch. “Man has been staring at the damn birds ever since we’ve been walking and said, ‘Darn that sure looks like it is fun.’ And boy is it ever. Nothing matches it on the planet,” he said. That’s pretty convincing. But, one more won’t hurt anybody. Take Three: Dickert seals the deal with the one-

Dickert, who lives in Pasadena, Md., south of Baltimore, is flight director for the Capital Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, a nonprofit organization founded in 1974. It has about 150 members living around Washington, D.C., who serve to promote gliding. The members — and non-member friends — often come to the Shenandoah Valley to take flight at a U.S. Forest Service launch site east of Woodstock. Officially created in 1988, it is by far the most popular destination in the area, offering easy access from Woodstock Tower Road, designated See GLIDING, Page 31

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Friday, May 24, 2013


Gliders ‘Get To Play With Nature’ Gliding


landing spots and breathtaking views, including of the Shenandoah River. “Just the view of the whole Valley, you can see 50 miles in every direction on a clear day,” said Gary Smith, a 57-year-old glider from Berryville. “I used to be an active sailor, [enjoyed] scuba diving. …This kind of recreation tops all of the other outdoor activities.” From leaving the car to taking flight, preparation takes about an hour for a hang glider, weather permitting (more on that shortly). At the Woodstock site, you have to lug your glider and equipment — weighing about 70 pounds — up a short hill of rocky terrain to the launch area. A person’s weight determines the size of their glider. The set up includes assembling aluminum tubes as the skeleton of the hang glider, unfolding wings, pulling cables to provide tension and stuffing “battens” to stiffen certain parts, similar to sailboat sails. One of the primary differences between hang gliding and paragliding is that the former has the skeleton, making it more versatile. Before launching, a hang glider will get into a harness that looks like a sleeping bag, exposing his or her feet. The harness hooks onto the skeleton of the glider. With a helmet and a reserve parachute strapped on, a short sprint down the launch “pad” sends a person off into the sky. Depending on conditions and a hang glider’s ability to maneuver, flights from Woodstock can last hours and reach more than 10,000 feet. Harrisonburg resident Randy Weber, 55, fulfilled a longtime goal in February by flying from Woodstock to near his home at Lake Shenandoah south of the city. “When you’re flying, you’re in the now,” he said, “and all worries and all other stuff go away.” Beyond the thrills, hang gliding is nothing if not a guessing game. Flyers do not know if the wind conditions on a given day — and at a site — will be amicable to launching until moments before take off. For the Washington-area flyers who come to Woodstock, that’s important because they drive a few hours to reach the launch. “I’ve been watching the weather like a freaking hawk for 23 years,” Dickert said. “It’s a big chess match in the sky trying to figure out the atmosphere. “Our flying is completely driven by the weather. The stronger the wind, the more

the risk involved.” As a result, it’s common for flyers to have to call it a day without getting to hang glide, even though they already traveled to the site. “It’s an activity that you have to commit [the whole] day to before you start,” said Joe Schad, 70, of Strasburg. If the end result wasn’t so pleasing, the ruining of plans obviously wouldn’t be worth it. “As far as a visual platform …you’re feeling every little sensation of the texture of the air,” said Steve Wendt, who operates Blue Sky, the state’s only full-time hang gliding training school near Richmond. “It’s as indescribable as people can make it.” Schad, summoning his inner Bacil Dickert, tries to paint a picture. “You get to play with nature and the birds,” he said. “Kind of like that little kid that wants to be Superman. This is as close as you get.” Hang gliding keeps a man honest, ensuring he knows his limits, Weber said. Sometimes, the conditions, or more likely, poor performance, spoil a good time. Shenandoah County Fire Chief Gary Yew said crews help pull people who fly from Woodstock out of the trees below an average of two times a year, usually with only minor injures. He does recall a “fatality or two.” The rescues can be “quite challenging” because the person may be deep in the woods and hard to reach, Yew said. The county is better prepared, though, because one of its personnel, Mike Gochenour, is a professional tree climber and arborist. Weber, a Harrisonburg psychologist, has “visited” the trees twice, neither time in Woodstock. “You learn,” he said. “You figure out what you did wrong. That’s why I said it’s a sport for honesty.” Weber, who has been flying since 1993, has hitchhiked when he didn’t reach his intended landing targets and has faced off with a red-tailed hawk through the years. “We were staring each other in the eye,” he said. “If we would’ve collided, he would have gotten the worst end of the deal.” And then there’s Dickert’s proud anecdote of flying from Woodstock to a local vineyard, his wife waiting his arrival with a glass of wine. “I said to myself, ‘How sweet it is,’” he said. Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or

Joe Schad, 70, of Strasburg, preps his hang glider in the George Washington National Forest near Woodstock on May 13. Preston Knight / DN-R

Gliders hike into the forest and up to a small, elevated clearing, where they can get a good running start and take off headed west over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Presston Knight / DN-R



Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.


BEST EATS APPETIZERS Local Chop & Grill House

KARAOKE O’Neill’s Grill

ASIAN Taste of Thai

LIVE MUSIC VENUE Clementine Cafe

ATMOSPHERE Clementine Cafe

MIXED DRINKS Clementine Cafe

DOWNTOWN SHOP Ten Thousand Villages

BAKERY Shank’s Bakery


DRY CLEANERS Classic Cleaners

BARBECUE Log Cabin Barbecue

OUTDOOR DINING Dave’s Downtown Taverna

FLORIST Blakemore’s Flowers, LLC

BREAKFAST The Little Grill Collective

PASTA Vito’s Italian Restaurant

GROCERY STORE Martin’s Food Market

BUFFET Wood Grill Buffet

PIZZA Vito’s Italian Restaurant

GYM Gold’s Gym

BURGER Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint

PLACE TO BLOW YOUR DIET Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint

JEWELER James McHone Jewelry

CHEAP EATS Cook-Out Restaurant

PLACE TO BE SEEN Local Chop & Grill House

SALON The Studio Hair Salon & Day Spa

COFFEE Greenberry’s Coffee Co.

PLACE TO TAKE A DATE Local Chop & Grill House

HANDCRAFTED ART Ten Thousand Villages

DOWNTOWN RESTAURANT Local Chop & Grill House

PLACE TO TAKE YOUR FAMILY Union Station Restaurant & Bar

THRIFT STORE Gift & Thrift

FOOD TRUCK Grilled Cheese Mania


TOY STORE Dragonflies Toys

FRENCH FRIES Dave’s Downtown Taverna

SANDWICHES Cinnamon Bear Bakery And Deli

VETERNARIAN Ashby Animal Clinic

HAPPY HOUR Union Station Restaurant & Bar

STEAK Local Chop & Grill House

WINE SHOP Downtown Wine & Gourmet

ICE CREAM Kline’s Dairy Bar

VEGETARIAN The Little Grill Collective


LATE NIGHT EATS Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint


CHEAP NIGHT OUT The Artful Dodger

PLACE TO RELAX Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

MEXICAN El Charro Mexican Restaurant

DAY SPA The Healing Touch Wellness Spa

DANCE SPOT The Artful Dodger

PLACE TO RUN Purcell Park

LOCAL ARTIST Mike Davis LOCAL BAND (Cover) The Hackens Boys LOCAL BAND (Original) The Hackens Boys MUSEUM/HISTORICAL SITE Explore More Discovery Museum PLACE TO CELEBRATE Local Chop & Grill House

BEST RECREATION FESTIVAL/COMMUNITY EVENT Rocktown Beer and Music Festival GOLF Lakeview Golf Course HIKING TRAIL Skyline Drive PARK Purcell Park PLACE TO BIKE Hillandale Park PLACE TO FISH Silver Lake


Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


PLACE TO TAKE VISITORS An area farmers market

Local Chop Dominates BOV Voting




BEST CULTURE GALLERY OASIS Fine Art & Craft RADIO PERSONALITY [TIE] Jim Britt / Martha Woodroof RADIO STATION WMRA 90.7 RENOVATION Larkin Arts PLACE TO PROPOSE Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens

Daily News-Record

Jeff Hill grew up in the Valley, but after graduating from James Madison University, he spent decades traveling the world. Fortunately for locals, Hill returned with a wealth of knowledge about the hospitality industry which he invested in Harrisonburg’s Local Chop & Grill House. Not quite four years old, the eatery dominated this year’s Best of the Valley voting with wins in six categories, including Best Appetizers, Best Steak, Best Downtown Restaurant, Best Place To Be Seen, Best Place To Take A Date and Best Place To Celebrate. Hill, managing owner and co-partner, says attention to detail may be one reason for the restaurant’s success. See CHOP, Page 34

Katie King / DN-R

Just shy of four years old, the city’s Local Chop & Grill House won in six Best of the Valley categories this year, including Best Appetizers, Best Steak, Best Downtown Restaurant, Best Place To Be Seen, Best Place To Take A Date and Best Place To Celebrate.

PLACE TO SPEND A SATURDAY Browsing a local farmers market

Rick’s Cantina Wins ‘Best New Restaurant’

BEST USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance WORST USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY Heritage Oaks Golf Course

By TIM SCHUMACHER Daily News-Record


Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Tequila bottles line the wall at Rick’s Cantina, which was named Best New Restaurant in this year’s Best of the Valley poll.

Sombreros and lucha libre wrestling masks hang from the walls at Rick’s Cantina Tex-Mex & Tequila, wooden tables and chairs fill the tiny two-story townhome-style building and an outdoor seating area invites diners to feast in the fresh air. More than 50 types of tequila line the wall behind the bar — ranging from bottom of the barrel to top

shelf. Some varities are famous, and there are others you may have never heard of: Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo and Carlos Santana’s Casa Noble are among them, alongside the Patrón, Jose Cuervo, Don Julio and Herradura. Rick’s Cantina has been a popular destination since its opening in October, a fact cemented by its emergence as Best New Restaurant in the DN-R’s 2013 See RICK’S, Page 34



Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Co-owner: Tequila ‘Unique Rick’s

Celebrating 70 Years of Sweet Success

W = 58 E Wolfe St (540) 434-6980 S = 2425 S Main St (540) 434-4014

MAY 23

W - Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough S - Cookies & Cream


W - Chocolate Peanut Butter S - Cake Batter




Best of the Valley polling. Co-owner Sean Pugh, 46, said the goal for the restaurant was to do serve up something different. “Tequila is unique because the only place in the world that makes it is Mexico. And the concept of doing just a tequila bar and not offering a full bar with other liquor is just different. No one else is doing it.” Co-owner and Chef Mark Newsome, 44, said the name came from Pugh’s alter ego. “He got called [Rick] accidently by a friend and they kept calling him that after that as a joke,” Newsome said. “So, when we were thinking of what to call the [restaurant], we were like ‘We have to call it Rick’s.’ Pugh said the restaurant’s decorations are thanks to Newsome. “The Tex-Mex thing is cool and Mark has a twisted sense of humor about things, and he was looking around online and found these Lucha libre masks and thought it would be cool to bring them in as décor.” The Mexican-style establishment also sells a variety of dishes: Two of the most popular sit at opposite ends of the spectrum, Newsome said. That’s fitting, say the owners, as they also own the Joshua Wilton House.

W - Cookies nʼ Cream S - Blueberry Cheesecake Swirl


W - Black Raspberry S - Chocolate Peanut Butter


W - Peach S - Cherry Nut


W - Strawberry Cheesecake Swirl S - Cookies nʼ Cream

Community Paramount Chop

See RICK’S, Page 39 The crew at Rick’s Cantina, named Best New Restaurant by 2013’s Best of the Valley voters, hopes the eatery offers a singular dining experience for its customers. Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Voted Best Florist JULY 4

W - Peanut Butter/ Cookies nʼ Cream S - Red Raspberry

Thank you to our loyal customers for your support.

“We cut all our steaks ourselves, we make all our bread fresh and all the sauces are made from scratch. It’s the start-tofinish control factor.” While working for Windstar, a luxury cruise line, he spent years traveling to places in the Mediterranean and French Polynesian islands. He often accompanied the ship’s chef on shopping trips to local markets for the freshest ingredients. “We would supplement the menu with what was in season locally, like blood oranges in Italy,” he said. The lesson stuck: He estimates that the restaurant purchases food from nearly 60 local farmers. “Our mantra is to be community based,” he said, adding that he enjoys answering customers’ questions about the origins of their food. He doesn’t even consider it work. “[The restaurant] is really more of a selfish endeavor,” he admitted. That must only make sweeter the list of 2013 BOV accolades for the chophouse — the formula for which is as welcoming as its atmosphere: an unpretentious gathering place that serves highquality proteins. Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or

4080 Evelyn Byrd Ave. Harrisonburg, VA 22801

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From our spa family to yours we would like to thank you for your vote and the continued opportunity to work with such a wonderful community.


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Harrisonburg, Va.


Friday, May 24, 2013


Owner of The Center, Suzanne McCahill Perrine (left) set out to create a yoga studio that offered students of all skill levels exactly what they were looking for. It seems she’s accomplished that goal: Her business was named Best Yoga Studio in this year’s Best of the Valley voting. Courtesy Photo

400 S. High Street Harrisonburg • 434-0111

Om .... Center Edges Out Yoga Studios

Thank you to everyone who voted us

“Best Coffee” in the Valley!

By SAMANTHA COLE Daily News-Record

For a peaceful form of fitness, the race for Harrisonburg’s best yoga studio was a close one. Best of the Valley voters cast ballots for East-West Yoga, Shenandoah Yoga, Bikram Hot Yoga, The Nest, Breathe Pilates and Breathe, but one edged out the competition by an “Om.” The Center, located at 70 North Mason St., is Harrisonburg’s first yoga studio, opened in January 2006. For more than six years, owner Suzanne McCahill Perrine and staff have stretched the studio’s potential to include a wide variety of classes and styles of the ancient practice. Instructor Veronica Whalen Jones, who began teaching at The Center in 2010 after being a student

there for more than a year, says the variety of styles has helped them succeed. “Not everyone resonates with a particular style,” she said. “Or, if they resonate with a few, they can get them all here.” They offer classes ranging from “Gentle Yoga” and “Easy Kundalini,” to pilates fusion and power yoga, and everything in between: core-centered focuses, mixed-level sessions, vinyasa, Pilates, Nia, hot yoga and dancebased fitness. When Jones started her yoga journey in 2005, the thought of striking a pose turned her off, she said. “I couldn’t stand it at first,” she laughs now. “I was like, ‘I hate this!’ ” After a friend persuaded her to keep an open mind, “get over yourself” See CENTER, Page 43

Daily Hours: Mon-Fri 6AM - 9 PM, Sat. & Sun. 7:30 AM - 9 PM SUN. - THURS. 11:00AM - 10:00PM | FRI. & SAT. 11:00AM - 11:00PM

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Dueling Radio Personalities

Harrisonburg, Va.

Britt And Woodroof Tie As Voters’ Favorites

By KATIE KING Daily News-Record

As a teenager in Maryland, Jim Britt got his start in the radio business by writing a letter to his local station and offering to work without pay. “I had always wanted to be in radio or TV,” he recalls. “I just wanted the opportunity.” Decades later, as the host of the morning and midday local news shows on the WSVA, Britt fortunately no longer has to work for free. He does, however, have to deal with an alarm clock that frequently beeps before dawn. “It’s not easy when the alarm goes off at 4:19 a.m.,” he admits. “But

Katie King / DN-R

Jim Britt of WSVA (left) and Martha Woodroof of WMRA tied for Best Radio Personality in this year’s Best of the Valley voting. there’s an energy with the morning show, it does move at a fast pace.” Local listeners appear to appreciate the energy Britt brings to both his programs, as he recently

tied for Best Radio Personality in the Valley. Britt, who enjoys having a job where “no day is the same,” is grateful to all his fans. “I’d like to thank them

for voting for me and for listening,” he says. “I enjoy being on the air and being here in the Valley.” Martha Woodroof, the host of WMRA’s “The Spark,” tied with Britt for

Best Radio Personality. Her pre-recorded, weekly program features a different guest each week who talks about what they love to do. Woodroof, who calls the show a creative look at

creativity, says the program is basically all about the people. “Their excitement can make any topic exciting,” she says. Woodroof is thankful to the station for being openminded about her idea for the show and, like Britt, appreciates her listeners. “I have been kind of a gypsy my whole life, but I love being in Harrisonburg, “she says. “This [honor] makes me feel like I’m contributing to the community in some way, and I can’t tell you how satisfying it is because it’s just a wonderful, caring place.” Contact Katie King at 574-6271 or

Harrisonburg, Va.


Friday, May 24, 2013




Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Double Trouble The Hackens Boys Take Original And Cover Band Categories The Hackens Boys, voted Best Original and Best Cover Band in the 2013 Best of the Valley’s annual poll. The Daily NewsRecord recently caught up with the country/southern rock band following a jam session in a small shack behind a house in Bridgewater.

Members of The Hackens Boys perform during a recent practice. Timothy Schumacher / DN-R, Features

really good at it. Turned out to be one of the coolest things I was ever apart of.

Where did ‘The Hackens Boys’ name originate? Josh: “My mom’s family, they’re from a place called Monterey, Va., back in Highland County. It’s right on the West Virginia line. And my great-grandfather bought some property with a hunting cabin and it was called the Hackens Blue field, and then it just became the Hackens. And that’s where Tyler and myself and my cousin Jeremy, (former guitarist) in about 2005 went back there and we use to go back their a lot and play guitar, and that’s where we all started to learn. And we thought if we ever have a band what would we call it? And we couldn’t think of anything we liked so we started looking around and we called it the Hackens, of course the boys came after.”‘

What was the best show you have played? Linden: “Opening for Craig Morgan in 2009 at a Navy base... As far as playing a show where six thousand people were watching us and we were opening for a national act that was a national artist ... it was the biggest stage we’ve ever been on with the most equipment and the most sound.”

Which bands influence your music? Tyler: Chris Knight, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Blackberry Smoke, Jason Aldean Linden: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Led Zeppelin, Reckless Kelly

How did everyone in the band meet? Tyler: “[Linden] is my uncle.” Linden: “[Josh, Jeremy and Tyler] grew up together. And they started this little acoustic jam session at the hunting camp … Basically I was in a band and I needed an opener and I didn’t have an opener. So, I said ‘Can you guys open?And they were like ‘We really don’t have a band, we’ve only got a singer, a guitarist and I don’t know even know how to play drums.’ I was like if you can play drums then what do you need? See HACKENS, Page 42

4101 Shen Lake Drive | Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801

What was it like opening for Craig Morgan? Tyler: “It was our 100th show, on the nose. We kind of hung out back stage while they were sound checking … and It came time to go out and play and I remember us, we were standing back there getting ready to go out and they sang the national anthem … I swear, man, we walked out on stage and I couldn’t feel my hands, I was so nervous. We probably played for an hour. I wish I could remember more about it. I just remember a sea of people.”

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What is the writing process like for you guys?


Josh: We’re starting on new original stuff and we have been getting some newer original stuff together since maybe the middle of last year. And all of us have really been doing the writing on it. We usually do it separate actually, then everybody brings it in and we work on it. Tyler: For me, people always think what do you write first, music or lyrics and for me, all the songs we’ve done have been lyrics first.


Josh, you were on Virginia’s Dancing With The Stars, how was that experience? I didn’t know what I got myself into, and then, about seven weeks into the 14 weeks of practice, it was miserable. I was hoping for something to happen where I wouldn’t have to go to practice. Dancing didn’t come easy to me, so I dreaded practice cause I was just stiff and awkward and not good at it. And then like anything, after 14 weeks you are bound to get better at it. And we practice hard and a lot and my partner was




Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Food Special Since It’s ‘Made From Scratch’ Rick’s


“We sell our gringo tacos, which are ground beef, hard shell ... something that’s really like comfort food that people are familiar with at home. We sell a lot of those, way more than I expected. The other is a Hippie Burrito. It has tofu, local mushrooms, corn relish, guacamole, all these cool vegetables and it also has surprised me. It is probably the number one burrito we sell.” The most unique item the restaurant offers is duck. “At this level, you don’t find duck burritos,” Newsome said. “We do what is called a “Duck Sopes” appetizer, which is a little crispy potato cup we fill with slow roasted duck and we make a mole sauce, kind of a complicated sweet and spicy sauce that goes on it. And we make our own cheese for it, as well.” Pugh said what makes Rick’s Cantina special is the food is made from scratch. “We do make everything fresh. Everything is made in house. We don’t open jars, we don’t open cans and bottles and stuff, with the exceptions of pickled jalapeños and things like that. But all of our sauces, all of our dressing, all of our soups are made in

house. And as the season heats up here in the Valley, we will have more access to local produce. We will be using local tomatoes and lettuces.” Bartender Lauren, 24, said Margaritas are the most popular drink she sells. “The cool thing is you can’t just pick from one liquor. We have 60 to pick from. People just love to pick their own tequila and make a margarita with it. And having the option of getting salt or our house-made Chile salt just expands it and makes people like it even more.” If that is not enough for you, you can order what is often referred to as a “Coronarita,” which is basically a Corona flipped upside down in a margarita. “It just changes the flavor,” Reynolds said. “They are kind of frustrating to carry around, but they taste awesome.” For the connoisseur of fine tequila, Rick’s offers a high end variety. But be prepared to dish out some serious dinero. “We have a really awesome tequila that has been aged for six years called Asomobroso,” Reynolds said. “It’s $31 a shot.” Contact Timothy Schumacher at 574-6265 or

Thanks Harrisonburg and Surrounding Area for voting us 2013 “Best of the Valley” for Buffet Harrisonburg


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Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Mexican-style wrestling masks, according to its owners, are one of the decorations that gives flavor to Rick’s Cantina. The eatery won Best New Restaurant in 2013 BOV voting.



Friday, May 24, 2013

Harrisonburg, Va.

Downtown Barber Shop Oldest Barber Shop in Harrisonburg – Est. 1964



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Harrisonburg, Va.


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Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

‘Easier To Balance Now’ utter chaos for the next week, everything was torn “They were like ‘We need a down. It was probably the bassist.’ I was like ‘Why worst natural disaster I’ve don’t I come play bass?’ … ever seen in the Valley We went the show and we ever and it happened right opened and I played bass in the middle of our set.” and played with them and then my band finished af- Two of your band memterwards. Once the gig was bers are married, how do over, my band did one you balance life at home more show and that was it. and playing music? And then this band kind of Casey: “Got to have a like took off, so I just cool wife.” jumped in with them.” Josh: “You have to have Tyler: “[Casey] we a flexible job and an underpicked up off the street like standing boss. There’s time six months ago.” when it’s more than just a Josh: “Brandon actually hobby; especially, a couple lives right down the road, of years ago when we hit it and he was in a band, and real hard and we traveled we played with his band a a lot. Then, it was like two lot and Casey’s band so we jobs. But now we have cut all met through that. And our shows back and we we needed a guitar player know which ones to play in 2011, so we called Bran- now, which is a smart don and when we needed thing. We use to play anyone last year we called body that would let us set Casey.” up. It was cool, we got a lot Casey: “I’ve known of fans that way but now these guys since one of it’s two-three weekends a their first gigs. I feel like month. It’s easier to balwe’ve always been around ance now.” each other doing gigs.”


Downtown Wine & Gourmet Large Selection of Domestic and Import Wine and Beer, Brewing Supplies, and Gourmet foods. Free Wine Tasting every Friday 5-7 PM Free Beer Tasting every Saturday 1-4 PM


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When was the craziest moment on stage? Josh: “There was a massive wind storm that come through the Eastern part of the country last year, and it come through and tore up the Valley pretty bad. And it came through right in the middle of our second set at a lawn party. It blew every mic over, ruined the whole tent they had. That was pretty intense. It was at the crowds back coming and I see it and I was like ‘Man, it looks dark.’ I thought it was just a thunderstorm. But, all at once, there was no wind then all the mic’s blew over and it was just

What is coming up next for the band? Josh: “We’re going to be playing ValleyFest on May 25 … And we have four singles done, we’re just doing one at a time at the studio. Like you said we’re trying to balance it with work. We have one single we’re trying to get out called ‘Outlaw Rhythm.’ Then, our schedule picks up being spring with a lot of lawn parties. So, just getting those [four] songs done and getting more originals is the next step and mixing in our spring tour.” Contact Timothy Schumacher at 574-6265 or

visit us at


Harrisonburg, Va.

Friday, May 24, 2013

‘More Present’ Center

Timothy Schmacher / DN-R

Fans of The Hackens Boys can catch them at ValleyFest on May 25.

Celebrations Wedding, engagement and anniversary announcements run each week in full color. For information about paid announcements, contact Delores Hammer at 574-6208.

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and join her to a class, she found that yoga was very different from her usual “sweating and pumping away” gym routine. “I don’t think I was ready for it,” she recalls. Now, yoga is her main workout, combined with occasional cardio training. By 2009, she was in training to teach classes herself. “I definitely came to it at first from the physical standpoint, wich is fine; some people stay there and some people get more interested in the philosophy of it,” she said. “It’s allowed me to be more present in my body … I’m more willing to respond to what my body’s asking of me.” Along with a variety of class offerings come a variety of students. Jones says she sees all walks of life leave their shoes at the door, young and old, men and women. Slowly, they’ve seen more men take classes, as Harrisonburg catches up with a yoga acceptance that’s highly popular on the West Coast. The average age of Jones’ students, she estimates, is between 43-47, buck-


ing the idea that the practice is only for the young, lithe yogi. “Nobody wants to walk into a place for the first time and feel like they’re the only one like them,” she said.

Complimentary Relationships Although there are a half-dozen studios now in the city, they’re all nodding a heartfelt “Namaste” to one another. Jones says they’re complimentary, not competitive, of each other’s styles and schedules. Some instructors may even moonlight at other studios, filling in gaps in expertise or scheduling. What’s good for the whole community is good for The Center. “We’re growing here, so it’s really exciting.” Their plans for the future of The Center are to keep breathing deep and opening their doors wide. They’ve recently added more power yoga classes in the morning for the very ambitious, and are always looking to expand their instructor base. “We’re just teaching, and whoever wants it, come and get it,” said Jones. Check their class schedule and find more information at Contact Samantha Cole at 574-6274 or


Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

‘Most Beautiful Office In The World’ Business Owners Skirt 9-5 Routine For A Run On The River By JEREMY HUNT Daily News-Record

HARRISONBURG — Derek Young didn’t set out to lead people on outdoor adventures for a living. In fact, the owner of Outdoor Adventure Experiences didn’t even see the vocation coming. Not long after graduating from Eastern Mennonite University, Young took a job as day care director at First Church of the Brethren in Harrisonburg. Shortly after that, he was also hired to direct youth activities for the Harrisonburg congregation. Between the two it was more than a

full-time gig, as the youth program “exploded” over a three-year period. “It was just nuts,” he said. “I just kinda felt like I had a tiger by the tail, and I was holding on for dear life.” But summers were slower, as the afterschool day care program ceased when school did. Parents approached Young asking for something their children, mostly boys, could do during the summer. He started out keeping the kids busy mostly with sports. Little by little, outdoor adventures crept into the mix. Over time, he had bought enough equipment to take groups caving, rock See OFFICE, Page 45

Private Schools

Derek Young, president, program director, and primary guide for Outdoor Adventure Experiences heads down the Shenandoah River on May 16 in Elkton. Young is one of several business owners in the Shenandoah Valley whose job it is to take people out to experience nature. Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Harrisonburg, Va.


Friday, May 24, 2013


Owners Say Water Activities Biggest Attraction For Visitors From Washington, D.C. Office

Massanutten Adventures, an outdoor adventure guide service, picks up Thomas Harrison Middle school students after a rafting trip down the Shenandoah River on May 16.


climbing and the like. “That sort of evolved over three summers where it was all outdoor adventure stuff,” he said. Through word of mouth, people he barely knew heard about the activities and began inquiring. “It got to where I just had people calling and I had no idea of any connection with [them],” said Young, 50. “Finally, in 1996, I said I’ve got to take this more seriously, so I got licensed [and] incorporated [the business].” Young, who works out of a home office in Harrisonburg, is one of several business owners in the Shenandoah Valley whose job

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

it is to take people out to experience nature. A common thread among these unique entrepreneurs is that they have other jobs, as the outdoor ad-

venture gig is seasonal.

Life On The River Water activities are by far the biggest attraction, business own-

Private Schools

ers say, with visitors traveling from the Washington, D.C., area and elsewhere to spend some time on the picturesque North and South forks of the Shenandoah River and other waterways. You might say Christian Goebel, 49, of Page County, was born to do this kind of work. His mother, Nancy Goebel, started Shenandoah River Outfitters more than four decades ago with Christian’s uncle and aunt, Joe and Jackie Sottosanti. Located west of Rileyville along the South Fork, it continues to be a family-run business. It has cabin rentals in addition to water activities.

Shenandoah River Outfitters offers trips down the river in canoes, rafts, kayaks and tubes, with fishing guide options. Large groups can opt to have lunch waiting for them at stops and wrap up the day with a steak and chicken dinner. Christian Goebel started out as a young boy helping Joe Sottosanti take groups on guided fishing trips. Goebel would set up tents, gather firewood and forage for wild food so as to give tourists a comfortable experience. At 15, he bought into the business. See OFFICE, Page 46

Starting To Wane? Path


The popularity of the sport goes in cycles, though, and Straughen is hoping to attract new customers to his 40 acres. “Get outside and do something, it’s a lot better than sitting in front of a TV or a video game all day long,” Straughen said. Patrons agree that the playground is something that everyone should try at least once. “Whenever somebody gets the chance to go, it’s definitely an experience,” Gregory said. Added Lallas: “It’s really user friendly, it’s very family oriented in a way that everybody respects everybody… if somebody gets stuck, you help them. I’ve been to a few places, but for me there’s no comparison to the environment you have when you go to Big Boys.” Contact Emily Sharrer at 574-6286 or



Friday, May 24, 2013

Rents Out Cabins In The Off-Season Office


He went away to college, at George Mason University, but he always knew he’d be back in the Shenandoah Valley. “I recognized when I was heading east [to GMU], I never felt as good as when I was traveling west toward the mountains,” he said. “For me, that’s part of why I chose to make a living in the Shenandoah Valley because I never saw myself sitting at a desk.” During the off-season, Goebel and his family work on the other business they’re involved in, renting out cabins. They’ll build a home or a cabin during the off-season, and when the warm weather returns, it’s back to the river.

Jason Lenhart / DN-R

Derek Young, president, program director, and primary guide for Outdoor Adventure Experiences, gets his kayak ready for a trip down the Shenandoah River in Elkton on May 16. Several guide services in the valley offer outdoor adventure trips, like canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing and caving. “All you need is one or two projects to carry you over through the winter until the season,” he said. “You get a fresh start every year

because you’ve had about five months of doing something different.” See OFFICE, Page 47

Your Key To Your New Home!



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Harrisonburg, Va.


Harrisonburg, Va.

Make A Splash!

Swimming Holes Still A Popular Destination

Friday, May 24, 2013

Owner: Biz Pays For Itself Office



An Office With A View

Daily News-Record

Rodney Turner, owner of Shenandoah River Adventures in the town of Shenandoah, doesn’t mind being in “the office” so much. Of course, his is far removed from the fluorescent lighting, cheap carpet and dingy cubicles that haunt dreams and supply material for Dilbert cartoons. “My office is the most beautiful office in the world,” he said. “It’s right there on the river.” A forklift operator, Turner bought Village Store Canoeing in Port Republic in 2006 and later moved it to Shenandoah. He has no expectations of getting rich off the venture. It pays for itself, he says, and he may use it to supple-

HARRISONBURG — Spending the day at a swimming hole is a popular summer pastime in the Valley. Some, such as Harrisonburg’s Blue Hole, are more wellknown than others. Here’s a list for anyone looking for a swim and in some cases, a hike as well: ■ St. Mary’s Falls: Located in southern Augusta County features two swimming holes. ■ Fridley Gap: Located in Rockingham County ■ Overall Run: Located in the Shenandoah National Forest ■ Moorman’s River: Located in the Shenandoah National Park ■ Riprap Hollow: Located in the Shenandoah National Park ■ White Oak Canyon Trail: Located in the Shenandoah National Park

Traci White / DN-R File

A swimmer performs a back flip off of a 15-foot-tall rock into the "blue hole" in the Dry River in Rawley Springs in the summer of 2010. Swimming holes around the Valley offer a break from the summer heat. ■ Cedar Run Trail: Located in the Shenandoah National Park

■ Blue Hole: Located in Rockingham County


ment his income when he retires. “You really don’t start generating any income until June, July and August, maybe a bump in September, and then you’re in your off-season,” he said. “You’ve got to do a tremendous amount of business in three months just to pay all the bills for the year.” It can be stressful, but he enjoys the work and being on the river. “You get to meet new and interesting people,” he said. “It’s a business that pretty much sells itself. Your customers come in excited and leave happy. And it’s not like being in an office or being on a fork truck” Contact Jeremy Hunt at 574-6273 or


Friday, May 24, 2013


Harrisonburg, Va.

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