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nrvmagazine.com July/August 2018
ER V I R W NE TRAIL RK A P E T A ST 6 PAGE 2 FOOD LAKE LIVING LOOK GOOD FEEL GOOD FOLLOWING THE SUN SHEDDING LIGHT ON SLEEP PROFILE: LAUREEN BLAKEMORE
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Visit our showroom: 1701 S. Main St., Blacksburg, VA • 540.951.0544 • EwingBuildingAndCabinets.com NRVMAGAZINE.com
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J U LY / A U G U S T
26 Lo o k Go o d Feel G ood
Co n cu s s i on s 12 S h eddi n g Li gh t o n S l e e p 14
Invisible Invader : Thyroid 1 8 N RV H o me: Lake L i v i n g 2 2 N ew Ri v er Tr ai l S t at e Pa r k 2 6
N RV Ri des: Ca m p e r 3 0 Fo l l o w i n g t h e S u n 3 4 Profile: Laureen Blakemore 40 Fo o d Fa re 4 2 Wi n e C e l l a r 4 4
A ro u n d t h e N R V 4 6 2 0 1 8
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P. O. Box 11816 Blacksburg, VA 24062 o: 540-961-2015 firstname.lastname@example.org www.nrvmagazine.com
PUBLISHER Country Media, Inc. Phillip Vaught MANAGING EDITOR Joanne Anderson ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Sabrina Sexton DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Dennis Shelor WRITERS Joanne Anderson Karl Kazaks Krisha Chachra Sheila Nelson Emily Alberts Jennifer Cooper Mike Wade Becky Helper Astleigh Hill Nancy Moseley PHOTOGRAPHERS Kristie Lea Photography Michael Speed Always and Forever Photography Tom Wallace Silver Pebble Photography Nathan Cooke Photography COVER IMAGE: New River Trail State Park by Michael Speed - michaelspeed.com ÂŠ 2018 Country Media, Inc. Country Media, Inc. will not knowingly publish any advertisement that is illegal or misleading to its readers. Neither the advertiser nor Country Media, Inc. will be responsible or liable for misinformation, misprints, or typographical errors. The publisher assumes no financial liability for copy omissions by Country Media, Inc. other than the cost of the space occupied by the error. Corrections or cancellations to be made by an advertiser shall be received no later than 5 p.m. the 20th of each publishing month. No claim shall be allowed for errors not affecting the value of the advertisement. Paid advertising does not represent an endorsement by this publication. Content cannot be reproduced without written consent from Country Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Real Estate advertised in this publication is subject to the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.
I haven't quite got my mind around what Ipsos does, but it was founded in France in 1975 and expanded to North America in the 1990s. According to bloomberg.com, Ipsos "operates as a market and social research consultancy company." From its own website: "At Ipsos, we are passionately curious about people, markets, brands and society. We deliver information and analysis that makes our complex world easier and faster to navigate and inspires our clients to make smarter decisions." The reason I bring it up is that I found a survey conducted by Ipsos that pegged magazines as more believable than any other media by the reading public whether in print, online, mobile or video. "Magazine media does what no other media can. In a time when credible journalism is competing with fake news, magazine brands deliver content that's more trusted, inspiring and motivating, with a depth of accredited, audited measurements unlike any other." Then I discovered The Association of Magazine Media (abbreviated MPA, which I couldn't quite grasp) at magazine.org. Its website notes: "Magazine media deliver powerful relationships that influence, inspire and endure. The magazine media brand experience is based on trusted editorial, complemented by relevant advertising." Not only are magazine readers more engaged, but also they are more likely to recommend advertised products. It's all about trust, and that can sometimes be in short supply. Contrary to what some might think, Millennials love to turn pages. In yet another study, conducted by Vividata, 67% of Baby Boomers read print only magazines and 14% read print plus computer and mobile. And 44% of Millennials read print only magazines, and 28% consume print plus computer and mobile. Print is still ahead of digital magazine media, and approximately 70% of Americans read print magazines. While the cost of printing and delivery is rising, the interest in print magazines is still strong, and we at New River Valley July/Aug
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Magazine are especially humbled by trust and confidence in our content and the advertisers. I made kebabs last week, marinating fresh sirloin chunks in teriyaki, cutting a fresh pineapple, green peppers and onions. They are perfect for a crowd with diverse palate preferences ... a real something-for-everyone, build-yourown-skewer kind of cookout. Of course, I did it because I had just written about it. I took family from out-of-state to Macado's because I see their ads in every issue, and I bought some high-priced shampoo for one of my horses because it had "clinical" on the label. Those marketing folks and advertisers have me all figured out. Someone warned us on horseback about spotting a black bear on a Tuesday about a mile from the parking lot on Poverty Creek Trail at Pandapas. They had a little stare-down, and then the bear wandered off. The man said it was "a really neat experience" -- after the fact, of course. The whole idea of summer in the New River Valley is "a really neat experience," and here's hoping you have much fun on trails, lakes, rivers, camping, bicycling, picnicking and everything else, sans any bear encounters.
Joanne Anderson ManagingEditor email@example.com
When Ya Look Good ~ Ya Feel Good non-surgical ways to help you feel good about the way you look Text by Emily Kathleen Alberts
Rarely do we say: “My house looks 10 years younger!” But year after year, we spend thousands of dollars on home maintenance just to keep our homes looking good and lasting long. Our bodies are no different. Though self-care may seem like just another passing trend, it is extremely important to pay attention to our bodies and take care of them. Our lives depend on it. Jane Gilley and Joe Nazare, who own Inspire Med Spa in Blacksburg, are trying to take a more natural approach to body rejuvenation. “We’re here to make the aging process more bearable, so that people feel better on the inside which projects to the outside. We approach it from holistic point of view,” says Gilley. The spa offers hormone replacement therapy to treat weight loss. Many times, weight gain in older 10
adults can be attributed to hormonal imbalances. As a user of the therapy herself, Gilley says she is amazed at how much better she feels. Another approach to fighting stubborn fat is CoolSculpting offered at New River Aesthetics. This completely non-surgical procedure uses gentle vacuum pressure and cooling to treat fat below the skin, freezing and killing unwanted fat cells. The process is so relaxing that you can surf the web or watch a movie while it’s happening, and it's over in an hour. As women age, metabolism slows down for many reasons, hormones being one of them. Perimenopause starts around age 40, when progesterone levels gradually start to decline. Estrogen levels begin declining about 10 years Jul y/August
Jane Gilley of Inspire Med Spa
later during menopause, and there are other hormones at play. A person with a stressful lifestyle may experience adrenal fatigue, which can cause changes in cortisol levels and lead to a decreased immune response and a lot of sick days. Another option that can help the way one looks and feels is Platelet Rich Plasma, commonly known as PRP. "We take it from your blood and separate the platelets into rich and poor plasma with a centrifuge," Gilley explains. "The rich plasma can be used for all kinds of rejuvenation – fillers for your face or topically with microneedling, leading to a 400% collagen boost. It’s even been shown to reverse hair loss by 24 percent.” Since it’s your own blood product, there is no adverse reaction or burning. On a pain scale, it’s maybe a 2 or a 3, without any numbing. This in-patient procedure requires zero recovery time and just protecting skin from the sun for a little while. Not only is this process more natural than a facelift, but also it’s less expensive. PRP microneedling is a process, and results aren’t immediate. It takes a couple of repeat visits to achieve major results, but then it’s only NRVMAGAZINE.com
needed about once every three years. Those just getting their feet wet might entrust those feet to Kim Mann at Allure Spa & Skin Health Boutique which has a new location in Blacksburg. Allure Spa offers everything from body scrubs to facials, a Golden Years Massage and Gentleman's Hand Leg and Foot Massage. Mann says that whether her clients are coming in for a relaxing body scrub or seeking treatment for skin care, Allure Spa is a two-for-one. “We want our clients to be able to relax while being treated. From the moment someone walks in, the ambiance can lighten a mood. It’s a place to escape.” New River Aesthetics also offers an Intense Pulsed Light Photofacial (IPL), which can improve brown spots, smooth out uneven texture and eliminate the appearance of capillaries. Contact Cooling Technology allows the patient to feel comfortable during treatment. IPL may be performed on the face, neck, chest
and hands with little to no down time. Regardless of how you feel about your face, let’s face it, surgery is scary. Knowing that there is a multitude of less painful options for your face, your body and your wallet makes everyone feel better already.
Kim Mann of Allure Spa & Skin Health Boutique
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You don’t even need to be “knocked out”
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) affect 2 to 4 million Americans a year. Most are mTBI (mild), otherwise known as concussions. You don’t even need to be “knocked out”. Different causes are more likely at different ages with falls predominating for younger and older, sports in the teens and 20s, and motor vehicle accidents (MVA) during the rest of adulthood. A wider-than-one-would-think variety of “head bumps” is also common. Symptoms can persist for months to years and affect thinking, headaches, balance, emotions, sleep and vision. More of the brain’s surface is devoted to visual processing than all other senses combined. So it’s not surprising that 90% of sufferers experience one or more visual symptoms such as blur, double vision, strain, focusing, print jumping around, light sensitivity and problems with visual movement.
• Refractive – Following an mTBI, even very low powers or small changes can make a big difference in clarity and comfort. • Oculomotor/binocular – Getting your eyes to work together is one of those things you don’t think about until something goes wrong. With a TBI it often does, leading to a variety of problems, especially with reading and computer work. A special type of glasses prescription called a prism can be helpful, and a little can go a long way. • Visual perceptual – The eyes and other parts of the brain don’t communicate well after a concussion. Balance and movement can be a problem and result in dizziness, nausea, light sensitivity and poor depth perception. One treatment, which seems weird but can work well, is Bi-Nasal Occlusion. Strips of tape are placed over inner parts of both eyeglass lenses. This reduces information coming
in and can relax and stabilize perception, at times with dramatic results. • Ocular health – Vision involves a lot more than just the eye, but the eye can be damaged too - anywhere from the front surface all the way to the back, including the optic nerve and nerves controlling eye movements. Head injuries are a lot more complex than we used to think. At the same time, they and their symptoms aren’t always obvious. Affecting a wide range of behaviors, they’re best managed by a range of experienced professionals (preferably as part of a team). If you ever “bump” your head and don’t feel quite yourself in any way, find a doctor who knows about TBIs. You’ll likely still get a headache, but you’ll save yourself a bunch more! ~ Contributed by Dr. Steve Jacobs Drs. Jacobs & Diaz, Optometrists 620 N. Main St. ~ Blacksburg
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Shedding Light on Sleep developments in technology that ruined, revolutionized and rejuvenated sleep
Text by Nancy S. Moseley
We spend one-third of our
lifetime sleeping. For perspective, that’s
25 years if we live to 75. It is almost like a fairy tale to think of sleeping that long.
(Someone cue the handsome prince!) Maybe even a little disappointing? Is it a
shame to not be awake and experiencing life for decades?
Since recorded time, sleep was
considered a luxury. It was something
reserved for higher classes or those in
good standing with the gods. Sleep was 14
an award, a cherished connection to
an hour, then a second, lighter sleep
period, people engaged in activities
physical and spiritual rejuvenation.
Roger Ekirch, Ph.D., of Virginia
Tech’s history department wrote a book
in 2005 entitled At Day’s Close: Nights in
Times Past. He uncovered that sleep, prior to the Industrial Revolution, occurred
in two segments, a “first sleep” and a “second sleep.” Folks generally slumbered
from around 9 or 10 p.m. to some time after midnight. This was followed by a period of “quiet wakefulness” for about
until morning. During the wakefulness
that required little light, like mediation, visiting with neighbors or prayer.
On evolving to modern sleep,
Ekirch told NPR’s Talk of the Nation in 2006:
to be the most likely cause behind this shift for what had long been a dominant
pattern of sleep to the more compressed,
consolidated sleep today.” The Industrial
Revolution turned sleep from something
Arianna Huffington states in her book,
to the fancy science of sleep. Trackers
sleep when there was work to be done?
Life, One Night at a Time: “… there is an
and changes in our heart rate. They
revered to something expendable. Why
Sleep became a sign of weakness in a time of relentless capitalism, synonymous with inefficiency and low productivity.
In 1914, Thomas Edison was
quoted in The New York Times: “In the old days, man went up and down with
the sun, a million years from now he won’t go to bed at all. Really, sleep is an absurdity, a bad habit.”
While we are well advanced
in technology to better understand the biology of sleep, the stigma that
great success is associated with less sleep persists. However, the tide is just starting to change. Thanks to progressive
research, we are able to put tangible results against the science of slumber
and attach real benefits to respecting sleep and its affect on performance.
The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your increasing awareness that sleep helps us perform better physically and cognitively, learn faster, consolidate memories, and, generally, be healthier.”
The very technology, starting
with the light bulb, that stole society’s
admiration of sleep, may ultimately bring it back to a place of reverence and
monitor sleep by detecting movement dump all the findings in an app and
the next morning, we are able to pull up the results over coffee. Any number of questions are answered: How much
sleep did I get? How long did it take me to fall asleep? Was I restless? How long did I stay in deep sleep?
cultural popularity. Paradoxically, the
Mayoclinic.org lists four stages of sleep:
all day and, often, all night, may help
glowing hyper-connectivity we live with deify darkness.
obsessed with gadgetry, it’s refreshing to
Stage 1 (light sleep)
Stage 2 (intermediate sleep) Stage 3 (deep sleep) and
The final stage is REM or Rapid
see something hit the market that might
that we can wear devices on our wrists
the way), we have actionable access
amount of deep sleep lessens. REM sleep,
change behavior for the better. Now
that track sleep patterns (Fitbit is leading
Infants and children reach deep
sleep more often and by age 20, the
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when we typically dream, is tenacious
insists, like a cell phone, tablet, eReader
formula for shut-eye is beneficial, as
the content - will have an impact on
“You can't make up sleep,” Smith adds.
and stays fairly constant throughout a
When it comes to the golden
rules of sleep, Mike Smith, a Registered Polysomnography
Carilion Clinic Sleep Center New River Valley says: “It’s everything your Momma told you.” In other words, it’s common
sense. Establish a bedtime routine and
stick to it. Sleep in a room that’s cool and
as dark as possible. White noise helps,
as does eating healthy and cutting out late-day caffeine. TVs in the bedroom
are a no-no, and try to avoid exercise three to four hours before bedtime. Set your alarm, then put your phone aside and be done with it.
or television - and how stimulating sleep onset. Brain chemistry changes when it’s dark, and light inhibits the
brain’s ability to prepare for rest. “Brain activity becomes slower and shorter as patients drift off to sleep,” Smith offers. “If a commercial comes on or there is a
brighter flash of light, we see them pop
out of Stage 1. They’re not necessarily awake, so they aren’t aware of the setback.”
That’s where the intelligence
of a sleep tracker can help. Emphasis should be placed on the quality of
sleep, not the quantity (though eight to nine hours is still recommended). Using
technology to figure out a magical
long as we save the analysis for sunrise. “Once it's gone, it's gone. You just didn’t get it.”
approach sleep as something we’ll get another chance for tomorrow night.
Instead of “one day at a time,” maybe we should take things one night at a time and prioritize the physical and
psychological need for a break. After all, it’s not a shame to do something for 25 years, as long as it’s being done right.
Nancy S. Moseley is a Blacksburg-based freelance writer who finds that, while not recommended for quality slumber, settling down with her kids in front of Bubble Guppies will put her right to sleep.
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An Invisible Invader
Text by Jennifer Poff Cooper When a physician lightly squeezes the front of one's neck and asks someone to swallow, he or she is checking the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland normally located in the lower front of the neck. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are secreted into the blood and carried to every tissue. They help the human body use energy, stay warm and keep the brain, heart, muscles and other organs working properly. “Thyroid is a big topic,” says Dr. James Mulinda, an endocrinologist. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function. The most common issues he sees in his Roanoke practice are “thyroid function abnormalities” and tumors in the neck, or goiters. Too much thyroid hormone results in "hyperthyroidism", while insufficient hormone production leads to 18
"hypothyroidism". A goiter describes an enlargement of the thyroid gland and may be associated with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or normal thyroid function. Treatment may not be needed if the thyroid works normally and symptoms are not disruptive. Otherwise, medicine should make the thyroid shrink. In the extreme, one may need surgery to take out part or most of the thyroid. According to womenshealth.gov, women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease. One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime like issues with menstrual periods and pregnancy, including the ability to get pregnant. Sometimes, symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms. Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause.
Dr. Mulinda says that signs to watch for include changes in weight, energy, hair and skin (losing hair, dry skin, sweating too much) and sleep. Additionally, heart palpitations or heart rate changes can signal thyroid problems (see sidebar). To diagnose thyroid diseases, doctors use medical history, physical exam, thyroid blood tests and sometimes a biopsy. Although the effects can be unpleasant or uncomfortable, according to MedicineNet.com most thyroid problems can be managed well if properly diagnosed and treated. Treatment depends on the problem, but may include medicines, radioiodine therapy or thyroid surgery. One 51-year-old Christiansburg woman avoided surgery through myriad testing and her own research. After experiencing insomnia, heart palpitations,
Sp e c ial Ad v e r t i s i n g S e c t i i on
Dr. DoBin Choi
S. Main St. Suite 101, Blacksburg
540-443-9285 Dr. DoBin Choi was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She earned her Degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Science in Orthodontics from West Virginia University. She completed her masterâ€™s thesis on accelerated orthodontics with Invisalign treatment, with a focus on non-invasive methods to expedite the tooth movement for a shorter orthodontic treatment. Dr. Choi graduated as the valedictorian of the class and was inducted into the dental academic honor society, Omicron Kappa Upsilon. Dr. Choi is a board eligible orthodontist and a member of various professional organizations, including American
Understanding the value of convenience, New River Dermatology has opened a new Radford office in a building that once served as the post office. "It is much more accessible with parking right next to the building, like our Blacksburg office," Dr. Daniel Hurd relates. He understands that uncomplicated accessibility, as well as an attractive interior decor, creates a relaxing environment. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and one of the most treatable. You can get a knee or hip replacement, but there is no replacement for your skin. Taking care of it with annual exams is
Association of Orthodontists, Southern Association of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, and Virginia Dental Association. She is a member of local Seattle Study Club to keep current with the new techniques and technology in dentistry. Dr. Choi is a certified provider of Invisalign, Periodontally Assisted Accelerated Orthodontics, Soft Tissue Orthodontics, Dental Laser Therapy, and Temporary Skeletal Anchorage treatment. She specializes in early interceptive treatment, adult treatment, dentofacial orthopedic treatment, orthodontic treatment in conjunction with orthognathic surgery, cleft lip and palate treatment, sleep apnea management, and TMD management.
imperative to maintain this largest body organ. The professional staff now includes Joe A. Sheets, PA-C, who brings more than 15 years of experience as a Certified Physician Assistant, including a decade specializing in dermatology. New River Aesthetics offers a wide range of spa and skin care services like dermal fillers, chemical peels, state-ofthe-art laser treatments, wrinkle therapies, body contouring like Coolsculpting and more. Hand in hand with New River Dermatology, you can stay safe skin-wise and look and feel your own personal best.
newriverdermatology.com 540-953-2210 2617 Sheffield Drive Blacksburg 306 W. Main St. Radford 710 West Ridge Road, suite G Wytheville
Enjoying NRV Magazine? Take a look at our other publications online or find them around the New River Valley.
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Major thyroid conditions unpacked
anxiety, and peeling, flaky fingernails, her Internet search made her connect the symptoms to a three millimeter neck nodule that had been an incidental finding on at CT scan two years prior. At that time, she had been told not to worry about the cyst. Further testing revealed five nodules. A biopsy determined that one was suspicious for follicular neoplasm, which can be benign or malignant. She then underwent Afirma thyroid analysis, a genetic test of the biopsy material, a new and more conclusive test, and the result was benign. She is now in a “watch and wait” pattern, with periodic ultrasounds and blood tests. Her main lesson was to be her own advocate. She has seen or will see her general practitioner; a local ear, nose and throat specialist; the department head of endocrine surgery at the University of Virginia; and a local endocrinologist. Her research helped her make informed choices about treatment and surgery or not. Dr. Mulinda emphasizes that if you have a new or existing lump in the neck, have it checked by a physician. It could signal a goiter or, at worst, thyroid cancer. The outlook for most people with thyroid cancer is also good, although patients with thyroid cancer that has spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis. Carrie Case of Blacksburg was diagnosed in 1993 with follicular 20
cancer with Hürthle cell involvement, an aggressive form of thyroid cancer. Her only clue was after a bout with the flu “my thyroid was blown up like a balloon,” she recalls. Both her thyroid and parathyroid were removed surgically, followed by radioiodine treatment which landed her in the hospital. Fortunately, she says: “Medical advances have changed treatment of thyroid disorders in the last 25 years.” She now takes Synthroid, a synthetic hormone to replace what she lacks from her thyroid and is symptom-free. Her yearly follow up is a blood test instead of invasive testing. As there is a nationwide shortage of endocrinologists, Dr. Mulinda recommends seeing your family doctor for initial screening, which is typically a simple blood test. “Should anything be complicated, the family doctor will refer you to a specialist,” he relates. The primary aspect Dr. Mulinda wants to communicate is that there is no single complaint that represents abnormality in the thyroid. “Complaints with thyroid vary with individuals. There is no ‘a-ha’ symptom.” Case says that her endocrinologist in northern Virginia, Dr. Mark McClanahan, told her: “My best patients are my educated patients.” Knowing what is going on with your body will help your doctor best treat you.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms may include: • Being nervous or irritable • Mood swings • Fatigue or muscle weakness • Heat intolerance • Trouble sleeping • Hand tremors • Rapid and irregular heartbeat • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea • Weight loss • Goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid that may cause the neck to look swollen Hypothyroidism symptoms may include: • Fatigue • Weight gain • Puffy face • Cold intolerance • Joint and muscle pain • Constipation • Dry skin • Dry, thinning hair • Decreased sweating • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods and fertility problems • Depression • Slowed heart rate
[Source: MedlinePlus website]
Thyroid cancer can cause any of the following signs or symptoms: • A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly • Swelling in the neck • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away • Trouble swallowing • Trouble breathing • A constant cough that is not due to a cold
[Source: American Cancer Society]
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Relaxed Lake Living Text by Joanne M. Anderson | Photos by Sean Shannon, courtesy of Nest Realty
"Our idea of lake living is relaxed, not formal," states Greg Rooker. "So the house had to have an open, airy feel to it along with lots of windows to take advantage of the 3 1/2-mile view of the lake and mountains." Rooker shared his dream of building a house on this point on Claytor Lake with his wife, Fran, when they were dating back in the late 1970s. Growing up, he spent a lot time enjoying Claytor Lake with his family. His newspaper career took him to other states to live and work, but the lake and the New River Valley tugged on his heartstrings. "I decided I wanted to return to southwest Virginia and particularly 22
Claytor Lake," he recalls. Location was important, especially easy access to the water and to I-81 for heading to work or going anywhere in the NRV. Soon after getting married, the couple purchased the three lots which span an arc of property with approximately 300 feet of waterfront. Then they started planning with their good
"We decided on a passive solar, modern design," Fran relates. "And we chose cypress siding and steel-shingled roofing for lower maintenance."
friend and architect, Luther Cain. "We decided on a passive solar, modern design," Fran relates. "And we chose cypress siding and steel-shingled roofing for lower maintenance." The great room is Fran's favorite space for its lake views and open flow to the kitchen. The room evokes an incredible warmth with its floor to ceiling stone fireplace, pine cathedral ceiling with fir beams and large windows with wood trim. An angled breakfast bar looks into a modern kitchen with a prep island and stainless steel appliances. There are two bedrooms and bath also on the main floor. The 2nd floor master suite is
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a haven of privacy and space with a large bedroom, private sitting room, luxurious full bath and an attached office/den all off a walkway which overlooks the great room below. The lower level features another floor-toceiling stone fireplace, bedroom and full bath. The house was completed in 1981 and was ahead of its time for contemporary style and passive solar system. It is the outdoor lifestyle here that captures the spirit of lake living. Make that relaxed lake living. From the picnic tables, garden, fire pit and hammock to the lakeside decks, docks, boat house, lift and guest house, the property is stunning. "Sitting on a
deck is my favorite spot," says Greg. "There's something soothing and restorative about pondering the water, and the sunsets can be spectacular." The waterfront guest house is an adorable A-frame structure with its own full deck on two sides. Sleeping quarters on the main floor and in the loft offer versatile space, and a full bath and small kitchen render it completely functional. "Many boaters passing by have said they could live comfortably in our little guest house," Fran adds. There's also a guest boat dock and swimming dock. Back up next to the house is a 3-car garage with workshop space and windows that capture the view.
The Rookers would not change anything about their 3,864-square foot, 4 BR, 4 BA lake house even if they could. "We have upgraded the house through the years, including a total renovation of the A-frame guest house, boat house, docks and boat lift. But we totally enjoy our floor plan, design and style," Greg declares. "And the views. And the water. And sunsets." This is relaxed lake living at its finest. This one-owner property is offered for sale by Rachel Hogan and information can be found at: www.nestrealty.com
ADVENTURE COULD BE IN your backyard...
#LiveWhereYouLove 400 NORTH MAIN STREET | BLACKSBURG, VA 800.325.NEST | NESTREALTY.COM
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A Ride Through Time
Part 3 of a 4-part Series
New River Trail State Park is a Cultural Gateway to Yesteryear
Photo by Michael Speed Text by Nancy S. Moseley It’s sometime in the early 20th century, and a Norfolk & Western locomotive is chugging along the “Cripple Creek Extension” through southwest Virginia carrying iron ore to a main line water stop called Martin’s Station (now Pulaski). The view out the window is of the rippling northbound New River, a scene the passengers on trains that traveled the same corridor no doubt relished. Today, the view is graciously the same, but onlookers are now coasting on bikes, riding horses or even hiking on foot along Virginia’s longest linear state park. When higher quality ore started coming out of the Midwest, rail traffic along the extension gradually slowed to a final halt in October of 1985. Norfolk Southern donated the rail bed to the 26
Commonwealth and one of the earliest “rails-to-trails” efforts was underway. In May of 1987, New River Trail State Park opened with four completed miles. Now 57 miles in total, the park stretches from Pulaski to two terminus branches in Galax and Fries and traverses four counties, Carroll, Grayson, Pulaski and Wythe. There are non-flush toilets about every 10 miles, and it’s wheelchair accessible. Park Manager Sam Sweeney chuckles, “It is actually uphill both ways.” And looking at a topography map of the park, it’s clear. Heading south, after the trail crosses over Interstate 81, it descends to the river’s edge and follows a relatively flat grade until a gentle climb starts around Shot Tower Historical State
Park – significant, of course, for dropping molten lead bullets 150-feet down into a kettle of water to form perfectly cylindrical ammunition in the early 19th century. Bumping along the crushed stone path keeps you pleasantly connected to the natural surroundings, as if submersion in the scenery of mountaintops, tree canopies and river-carved cliff walls wasn’t enough. Reminiscent of its railway origins, there are restored bucolic rail depots, two tunnels and at least 30 bridges and train trestles along the way. There are 17 entry points and four primitive campgrounds (with no vehicular access) for those that want to try their tolerance for bike packing. The park sits 3rd in number of
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Photos by Keith Lanpher visitors and consistently generates over $1 million in revenue each year. The New River Trail is longer than the popular Creeper Trail near Damascus, so the experience is more peaceful and secluded given that visitors are more dispersed along the route. On the river itself, there are sights like Byllesby & Buck Dams for picturesque spillways or the naturally occurring Chestnut Creek Falls north of Galax. “One of the most interesting places on the river is Double Shoals near Fries Junction,“ Sweeney adds. Double Shoals, a legendary mile-long rock garden, is a fluvial playground for kayakers. There are also numerous historical relics. Just south of Allisonia sits a low stone wall that is the remains of an ore washer, a contraption to separate the metal for smelting from the ore. The commanding Cliffside Mansion in Cliffview, just before the Galax terminus, was once the home of Thomas L. Felts of the Baldwin-Felts Detective Agency. The agency played a major hand in the internationally-headlined Hillsville Courthouse Massacre of 1912 (worth a Google search). A Virginia Tech environmental interpretation class helps write the interpretive signs along the trail, and future signs are in development. The depot at Foster Falls, which serves as the park’s headquarters, will soon house a museum showcasing local community,
railroad and environmental histories. And renovations are underway to turn the old 1880s Foster Falls Hotel, which in later years served as a girl’s industrial school and orphanage, into a bed and breakfast. Sweeney, a Virginia Tech graduate who majored in history, is extremely passionate about finding ways to conserve the history along the trail and give visitors easy access to the many stories the land could tell. “We have such a unique opportunity to showcase history. We want to tell the tale of what we’re all about, not just for out-of-towners, but for locals also.” One of the newest developments is Hoover Mountain Biking Park, a long anticipated extension of the trail in Hiwassee. A unique homage to local history, the park sits on a closed iron oxide pigment mine with striking yellow, orange and brown earthen walls. Hoover Color Corporation partnered with Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to prepare the company’s 250-acre site for an environmentally sustainable transformation to recreational space. “I travel to Utah and Colorado to hike and bike the canyons there,” CEO Chuck Hoover adds. “This feels the same, it just happens to be a manmade canyon. But the natural landscape is pretty spectacular.” The beauty of the new mountain biking park echoes the sentiment of New
River Trail State Park. When faced with a dormant piece of property, a closed mine or an out-of-business rail line, turn it over for the greater good. Work tirelessly and passionately to create something for the community to learn from and enjoy. Thankfully folks with such a payit-forward vision exist all around us. It provides recreational access to the past and a unique opportunity to prepare it all for the future. Generations to come may one day read about today’s efforts on a carefully crafted sign. Nancy S. Moseley is a freelance writer from Blacksburg who prefers to explore trails via mountain bike. In 2014, she biked the 100-mile Mountains of Misery. She will never do that again.
Top 5 To-Dos at New River Trail State Park 1) Rent a kayak and paddle to a
primitive campsite at Baker Island Campground
2) Grab a slice of homemade pie at Draper Mercantile
3) Register for the New River
Trail Triathlon (3rd Saturday in
September): 40-mile bike ride, 12mile kayak event, 13-mile run
4) Stand on the Hiwassee bridge at dusk and watch the stars come out 5) Grab a camera and watch for a bald eagle sitting along the river
Pulaski County Administrator
Jonathan D. Sweet
The list of businesses with a presence in Pulaski County reads like a Who's Who of international economic development in the New River Valley. There's Volvo [Sweden], Phoenix Packaging [Colombia], Korona Candles [Poland], James Hardie Building Products [Australia], Koinonia [Brazil], Red Sun Farms [Mexico], BondCote [Germany] and more, alongside creative entrepreneurs, farmers, builders and professionals in myriad industries. At the helm of this ongoing global business expansion for the last 18 months is County Administrator Jonathan D. Sweet, ICMA-CM (International County Manager Association Credentialed Manager). Pulaski County's economic base is slowly evolving from furniture and textile manufacturing to an appealing variety of companies with job opportunities in manufacturing, management, software, clerical, engineering and more. "I love the tenacity and energy of the people here," Sweet relates. "Of all the places I could have gone to work, I was enamored with the culture, tradition, heritage, art, agriculture, music and education. In many ways, it is similar to parts of Europe, and business leaders are finding that very attractive." It's an exciting place to be for Sweet and his family, who all enjoy being outdoors at the lake, on the New River Trail, fishing, savoring the beauty and adventure throughout the region.
540-921-2260 | 200 N. Main St. ~ Pearisburg facebook.com/Pearis-Mercantile NRVMAGAZINE.com
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Mike and Cathy’s Adventure
Text by Karl H. Kazaks
Photos by Tom Wallace “We like to travel and cover ground and get in and out of campgrounds quickly,” says Mike Skinner, explaining why he and his wife Cathy bought a lightweight Scamp camper last year. “In the morning, I can hook it up, and we can be on the road in 15 minutes.” “In the evening,” Cathy adds, “it doesn’t take long to be parked, with the lights on, having wine and cheese.” If you’re looking for a simple camper, Mike says this is it. The Skinners’ 2006 Scamp has a soft, rounded box shape. White with a fiberglass exterior, the Scamp has a red accent stripe right below its beltline, where the top and bottom halves of the trailer are connected and sealed with piece of metal trim called a belly band. 30
A propane tank and battery sit outside the trailer on its front-side trailer rig. Like all Scamps, it was made in Minnesota. The camper measures just 13 feet long, which is about 3 feet shorter than the 2015 Honda Pilot the Skinners use to haul their Scamp. Despite its size, the Scamp has a lot of features inside, as well as a cozy feel.
“We were surprised by really how much room there is inside,” . . . “We were surprised by really how much room there is inside,” Cathy states. The Skinners’ Scamp can sleep three – two on the main bed in the rear and one on the
forward bench. There is a version of the 13-foot Scamp with a bunk bed up front, permitting four people to sleep inside. Another version has an enclosed toilet in the front. The Scamp’s kitchen area is compact, with a single-well sink, twoburner propane stove and refrigerator. Water for the sink comes from either an external hookup or an onboard 8-gallon water tank. The rear area is convertible between sleeping and dining, with the dining arrangement including a table between two benches. There is also a closet, as well as storage in the rear bulkhead and under the rear benches. There is no air-conditioning but it does have a ceiling fan. A portal in the ceiling is the fire escape required by
code. The Scamp has a power hookup to run the fan, refrigerator, lights and a single electrical receptacle. When an electric hookup is not available, the appliances can be run off the onboard battery. The camper has a screen door and most of all for Cathy: "It has a lot of basic charm.” When the Skinners pull up to a campsite, they extend their available living space by setting up a canopy, putting down vinyl rugs and including the site’s picnic table. They also cook outside on a portable two-burner propane stove. The only thing they use the Scamp’s onboard burners for is making coffee. Cathy enjoys French press. For this couple, the camper’s small size is an advantage. “I had done a lot of research,” Cathy recalls, “and I knew a 13-foot camper would be Mike’s dream.” “Our concept is we want to be able to pick up and go,” Mike continues. “In fact, before we bought the camper, I wanted to make sure I could move it around by hand. [He can.] It comes in handy when you need to maneuver
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. . . “That way we avoided the mistake of getting things we thought we would need but really didn’t,”
the trailer in a campground.” Mike and Cathy have known each other since elementary school in Charlottesville. They are both graduates of Virginia Tech, with Mike attending for both undergraduate and graduate programs and Cathy for her graduate degree. Mike works across southwest Virginia and beyond as an independent forestry consultant, and Cathy is an instructor in Tech’s English department. She plans on retiring after the fall semester. Both of them have camping in their blood. Mike went tent camping with his parents as a child, and Cathy watched 32
her parents experiment with a variety of RVs after their children left home. “On one trip they departed in a Winnebago and came back with a Pace Arrow. Apparently trading for a new RV while on the road is very normal among RV owners.” The Skinners first used their Scamp in March, taking it to Texas to visit a son (the couple has three grown children). They did most of the outfitting for the camper in Texas, after they were on the road and had used it. “That way we avoided the mistake of getting things we thought we would need but really
didn’t,” Mike adds. While on the road, the Skinners can make decisions on the fly about where to travel and stay, permitting them to go places that could not accommodate a larger RV. “We can go to a small town, on small roads. It’s easy to maneuver and park in small spaces.” On their way back from Texas, for example, the Skinners stopped in Oxford, Miss., to see Faulkner’s home. They parked downtown, taking up two spaces and feeding two meters. Since the Texas trip, the Skinners have used their Scamp on other occasions, with more planned for later this year. “It’s exactly what I was looking for,” Mike says. “With its simplicity, being compact and lightweight, it’s like backpacking without the walking.” And Cathy adds having found "when we’re out together in the Scamp, we become a little more balanced in our relationship. You’re out with your best friend, and it’s our adventure. Mike and Cathy’s adventure.”
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Following the Sun
Sunset at Bald Knob Text by Emily Kathleen Alberts
Our lives literally revolve
around the sun. Regardless of how we
may try to fight the morning light with blackout curtains and eye masks, or
how we attempt to silence the birds
They may not be as hyped as solar or
8-mile hike, so a mountaintop campout
day – TWICE! And some would argue
hiker Carey Kish, who caught every single
lunar eclipses, but they occur every single that they are far more interesting.
with ear plugs and loud fans, our bodies
TOP SPOTS TO WATCH THE SUNRISE
down with the sun.
1. McAfee’s Knob in Catawba: This is
nature, we maybe be missing out on
than half an hour from the edge of the
desperately want to wake up and wind
In the ongoing fight against
some of the most magical experiences of life:
Sunrises and sunsets!
may be the best way to be there. Thru-
sunrise from Georgia to Maine, says that
watching the McAfee’s Knob sunrise was one of the greatest experiences of his entire life.
the stuff dreams are made of, and it’s less
2. The Meadow in Blacksburg:
New River Valley. Being so close to this
The Meadow was recently inaugurated as
landmark summit means one doesn't
have to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail to see its celebrated sunrise. It is an
Arguably the highest point in Blacksburg, an official park in the Town of Blacksburg. This patch of paradise has gorgeous
east-facing views of High Top Mountain,
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Sunset at Rising Silo
Photos by Emily Kathleen Alberts
Sunrise High Top
TOP SPOTS TO WATCH THE SUNSET
making it the perfect place to catch the sunrise. Plus, there is
no strenuous mountain to climb. The Meadow boasts beautiful walking trails that weave through 300-year-old oak trees
1. Bald Knob in Giles County: A wonderful place for both
members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Blacksburg
Mountain Lake Conservancy, and the steep incline of this
and showcase abundant flora and fauna. Every year, several come here to camp out and watch the sunrise on the winter solstice. For its ease of access, this spot at Nellie's Cave Park can't be beat.
3. Buffalo Mountain in Floyd: A steep trail of about a
mile, this hike rewards everyone with a gorgeous sunrise
sunrise and sunset watching, Bald Knob is situated atop the
one-mile trail gets you to 4,365 feet elevation in a jiffy. Bring
binoculars because the overlook offers expansive views of the
New River Valley, with a birdâ€™s eye view of Lane Stadium to the west. The small rock outcropping is fun to climb around and explore, too.
view over the Blue Ridge Highlands and Floyd County. The
2. Heritage Park/Rising Silo Brewery (Glade Road Growing)
of the surrounding area, making for a spectacular sunrise
grab one of the benches atop Heritage Park and bask in the
summit of Buffalo Mountain offers a near 360-degree view sky experience. For those who can spend the day in Floyd,
Chateau Morrisette Winery is a lovely place to sip Chardonnay and watch the sun dip behind Buffalo Mountain later in the evening. 36
in Blacksburg: For a surreal sunset experience in solitude,
glory of the setting sun as colors sweep over the hills. Should
you prefer to experience a sunset surrounded by good people
and good beer, walk across the street to Rising Silo Brewery on
Meet the Artist
Steppinâ€™ Out, Blacksburg, Aug. 3-4 Gallery Open House, Aug. 5
Dawn at the Cape
223 Gilbert Street, Blacksburg, VA 24060 Validated Parking available at the North End Center Garage
(540) 552-6446 email@example.com
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Photo by Michael Speed
a Saturday evening. From square dancing to stargazing, the Rising Silo Brewery’s
unique farm setting makes it wonderfully entertaining. Have yourself a sun-downhoe-down.
Can you spot the difference
between a photo of a sunrise and a
sunset? Look at the colors. The setting
sun, mixed with the settling of the day’s
3. Claytor Lake in Pulaski: There is just something about being on the water
traffic and air pollution, gives way to
more pinks and purples, whereas the
crisp clean air of morning lends itself to
as the sun sets that soothes the soul.
more yellows, reds and oranges.
For those who don’t have a boat or a
friend with a boat, rent a paddleboard
at Mountain 2 Island and head out for a Sunset Paddle Tour. It would make a
memorable date night experience, and it’s much cheaper than buying a boat!
Bring a headlamp. Any time you
venture out into nature in the wee hours, you’ll want something to illuminate your path. After all, dawn and dusk are peak
don’t want to be caught in the dark with
Layers. The temperature is
going to change as the sun goes either down or up, so wearing layers is a
smart way to make sure you can stay
comfortable as the temperature changes.
Check the time. Though winter
hiking is certainly less common, there is one benefit: you can catch the sunrise
as late as 7:20 a.m. For those who like
times for curious critters to stir, and you
a creature you can’t see!
sleeping in, this is ideal. It is also one
reason that catching a winter solstice sunrise is a popular activity.
Photos. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera.
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Laureen Blakemore ~ a roundabout journey
Text by Jennifer Poff Cooper Photos by Silver Pebble Photography Staying in a job for 10 years must mean there is an affinity between employee and position, which is certainly the case with Laureen Blakemore. She has been the director of Downtown Blacksburg, Inc. (DBI), since 2008, and in a full-time capacity since 2015. DBI is the association of merchants, property owners and downtown advocates whose mission is to sustain a dynamic, vital and diverse community through marketing, events, economic development and leadership.
â€œMy favorite part is getting to meet and work with amazing, interesting people in downtown Blacksburg,â€? says Blakemore. She adds that she has always been good at organizing things, so planning and coordinating downtown festivals such as Steppin' Out, Summer Solstice Fest, Art at the Market, the Winter Lights Festival and more appeals to her. Marketing and promoting the small businesses downtown are also good fits as Blakemore is enthusiastic and dedicated to the cause of downtown businesses.
Blakemore was born in New York but moved to England when she was 8 years old, which explains her British accent. Her mother is English, and her father was in the U.S. Air Force. It was in England where she married and started her family. Eventually, the Blakemores moved back to the United States, landing in Syracuse. They decided to do a threemonth tour of the country from Canada to Key West to find a place to ultimately settle down. That trip with a 2-year-old, 4-year-old and a tent, was enlightening.
The family visited cousins in Blacksburg, fell in love with the town, and set down roots here in 1996. Her journey to DBI was also roundabout, a term which indicates an indirect journey and is attributed to the United Kingdom in the early 20th century, primarily for large circles in roadways. More roundabouts are being installed in Blacksburg for keeping traffic smoothly moving in place of the stop and go of a traffic light. Blakemore received an associate’s degree in early child care and development from Tile Hill College in Coventry, England. She worked in England in a school for children with disabilities. After moving state-side, her jobs were in day care, community services and the school system. While she was the volunteer coordinator at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the New River Valley, a friend alerted her to Leslie Hager-Smith’s need for an assistant at DBI. When Hager-Smith, the current mayor, left to run for city council, Blakemore stepped into the director’s position. At this point, she was feeling burned out from working with children for so long, and when she learned about the DBI position a “light bulb clicked on.” The moniker of event planning was new to her, but not the concept. She realized that she could get paid for doing something she was good at and loved. Blakemore considers her biggest accomplishment at DBI bringing more visibility to downtown businesses and growing the festivals. The biggest challenge in her position might be bringing different viewpoints together. “Everyone wants a wonderful downtown,” she relates, "but there are as many ideas on how to accomplish that as there are people in town." So she focuses on bringing people together toward that common goal and figuring out what will be beneficial to the town as a whole. Part of her interest in downtown comes from life in England. “In England, I was accustomed to communities where NRVMAGAZINE.com
everything happens.” She was surprised at the car culture in the U.S., where people drive everywhere and expect to park right in front of a destination, as opposed to strictly pedestrian downtowns. Blakemore also mentions the language, with differences in meanings to words and the ways they are used. And the food is different. In England, there are more whole, fresh foods with fewer chemicals. She is pleased that the U.S. is starting to lean that way. In her free time, Blakemore volunteers with The Lyric Theatre and the Montgomery County Christmas Store. She was an original member of the local PanJammers Steel Drum Orchestra, playing bass or lead drums for approximately 10 years and was the auction chair at the Unitarian Universalist church for eight years. Now she takes lessons at New River Irish Dance in – where else – downtown Blacksburg, and she plays the guitar. “I like to try different things. What I lack in talent, I make up for in enthusiasm.” “Something that people may
not know about me which is sort of fun [is that] I am an absolute fanatical ABBA fan [the Swedish pop group founded in 1972].I have even performed as part of an ABBA tribute on several occasions! We lip synced and danced in the full '80's costumes!” Blakemore envisions her future right where she is, with a thriving downtown and bringing even more businesses and bigger festivals to Blacksburg. A sister and her parents followed the Blakemores here, so DBI is often a family affair. The whole crew, including her 27-year-old son who lives in Blacksburg, volunteer at events. She credits her husband with being hugely supportive of her when she has doubted herself, as well as when she spends whole weekends working festivals. “People need community,” she believes. “And I love to bring people together.” It's a perfect match from a roundabout journey. Jennifer Poff Cooper is a New River Valleybased freelance writer.
It's very exciting to have a downtown piano outside the Community Arts Information Office on College Avenue. Pianists of all ages and abilities are welcome to play awhile. Be gentle with the piano and sensitive to time of day or night and other activities like Henderson Lawn Concerts. The downtown piano was donated by Gregg Moneyhun, and arranged by the Downtown Revitalization Committee. -- Laureen Blakemore July/Aug
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NR V F o o d F a re
The Fun of
Compiled by Joanne M. Anderson
About a third of the fun is choosing and preparing what's going on the skewers. Another third can be grilling, turning, basting and watching raw stuff transformed into hot, cooked, appetizing food. Of course, the final third is the excitement in pulling it off the stick and enjoying the flavorful components. Kebabs originated in the Middle East and referred to grilled meat dishes, some on skewers, but others grilled, baked or stewed. They can be spelled kebob or kabab, and while first using mutton or lamb, kebabs have evolved into delightful summer grilled treats with all kinds of meats, fish, chicken, vegetables, fruits and mushrooms neatly in a row on a skewer. Like fondue forks, skewers come in several styles. The flat metal ones keep things from spinning while cooking. Bamboo skewers are disposable, and the exposed ends do burn. Plain metal skewers get hot at the ends and need to be handled with a pot holder or heat resistant glove. Double prong skewers are especially helpful with chicken thighs and salmon. Peacock and elephant copper skewers (they are really stainless steel, just the animals at the top are copper-coated) sell at WilliamsSonoma for $60 for four, but you can pick up a 4-pack of metal skewers at Walmart for $2.44. Actually, skewers make a nice gift, too.
• Beef cubes: 3 Tbl olive oil, 1 Tbl each soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chopped parsley, thyme, plus dash of salt and pepper. • Curry pork: Puree 2/3 cup coconut milk, 1 Tbl. each Thai curry paste and lime juice, 3 Tbl peanut butter, dash of salt. Marinate in half the sauce, then discard. Cook. Pour other half of sauce over kebabs after cooking. • Rosemary lamb: 1/2 cup olive oil, juice 1 lemon, fresh rosemary, 3 smashed garlic cloves, salt and pepper. • Jerk chicken: whole chicken thighs and pineapple chunks; marinate in 2 Tbl jerk seasoning, 1 Tbl vegetable oil, 2 tsp lime juice. • Dill salmon: Olive oil and chopped dill. • Scallops 'n bacon: Boil bacon strips 5 minutes, cut in pieces. Toss scallops with 1 Tbl olive oil, 1 tsp smoked paprika, salt. Skewer with lemon slices and bacon. • Prosciutto fig: Wrap halved figs in prosciutto, season with pepper. • Veggies: Olive oil, thyme, rosemary, garlic. Baste with lemon juice while grilling.
N NRRVV M MAAGGAAZZIIN NEE
Jul July/August y/August
Grilling Kebabs Kebab Foods: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Chicken chunks or thighs Shrimp, scallops, salmon, swordfish, halibut Beef, pork, lamb Cherry tomatoes, red and yellow peppers Mushrooms, onions Fresh pineapple and melon chunks Lemon or lime wedges Bacon and sausage pieces 1/3 Corn cobs Hot dogs Small potatoes and carrots Zucchini, parsnips, olives, snap peas Tomato wedges, jalapenos Pound cake and marshmallows for dessert
• Easy to prep at home and take camping, to a neighborhood grill party, tailgating and picnicking • Cut ingredients about the same size • Marinate fish one hour; poultry and meat overnight • Soak wood skewers, except bamboo, in water 20 minutes before threading and grilling • Keep ingredients in separate containers
Chicken NR NVRM VM AG AA GZA IZNI E N.Ec .ocm o m J u Jl yu/lAy u/ gA u g2 0 1280 1 8
Wine ~ and the End of the World
Text by Joanne M. Anderson Photography by Kristie Lea Photography When John and Elena Leshyn moved into their Blacksburg house in 2001, John was intrigued by some vacant space on the other side of a 6-inch thick, concrete, basement wall. There was a rectangular, horizontal window up high, and he could climb a ladder and look. It was open in there under part of the house for access to pipes with compact dirt and very large rocks across from the cellar wall. Clumsy indeed, but if need be, someone could crawl through the window and reach pipes or drop down on the other side, assuming they did not have claustrophobia and did have a way back up to the window. 44
This unused space kind of played in his mind for a couple years until it struck him: the perfect wine cellar! So, he had someone come in and saw a doorway about six feet high and three feet wide. "That slab of concrete just fell into the vacant space, and there we left it," he smiles. Guests walk in on this platform and when they run out of bench and chair space in the wine cellar, people sit on it. They added a mildew resistant carpet to the somewhat lumpy floor, then came the shelves, antiques from Spain, bench, coffee table, candles and finally ... the wine. In the neighborhood of 150 bottles. In nature's perfectly climate-controlled
50-60 degrees. "It can get up to 60 in summer and down to 45 in winter," John points out, "but it's perfect year-round." They often sit down there in summer and host wine tastings. In winter, it's warmer upstairs. As the years have passed, John has glued many empty wine bottles in corners and along shelves of concrete, praising the sticking power of Goop. "The bench at one end is made from one piece of wood and was shipped from Barcelona, in my native Spain," Elena relates. "Other antiques came from El Rastro, an immense, centuries-old market in Madrid somewhat like our flea markets. There's some old wood furniture, clay jugs
and other old stuff. The word 'rastro' can be translated as a trace, a vestige." The wine cellar is approximately 15 feet wide, 50 feet long and 10 feet tall with cinderblocks holding up wood planks for shelving, along with other shelves, bricks and stone mulch. It is decorated with bottles and posters, and outside the door, inside the real basement, John illustrates the "porrรณn". This is filled with wine, then passed around for all to taste. The vessel never touches anyone's lips or mouth, and people really good at this can lift it as high as their arm will go and pour into their mouth. Must be the Spanish version of tossing a mini-marshmallow NRVMAGAZINE.com
in the air and trying to catch it openmouthed. John installed some black fabric on the ceiling and upper walls to keep any dirt specs from falling and to look nicer. The entire interior is concrete, rock and hard pack clay. To say is it enchanting once they pop the cork and light the candles is an understatement. The gracious couple, who love to entertain, then hosted this writer and the photographer to a very smooth, Spanish, red wine and delicious tapas. "The word 'tapa' means lid," Elena explains. "It started centuries ago when they would put a small plate on top of a wine glass
to prevent flies from getting into the wine. The Spaniards, even then, were not much for empty plates, so a slice of ham or small snacks went on the lid." The source of tapas is widely debated, but the appeal is not, as they have spread all over the U.S. in bars and restaurants, bistros and wineries. John, who purchases most of their wine from the Vintage Cellar on S. Main St. in Blacksburg, says if he would do anything differently, he would have done it sooner. "If the end of the world comes soon, we'll be down here enjoying our wine."
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Newsy Relevant Valuable A round-up of items of interest across the NRV
Actress Cindy Flinchum with Awesome (owned by Debby Ring)
Sissy Lou, an abused teen from the hollers of West Virginia and Awesome, a Tennessee Walking horse, meet by chance and heal their broken lives. Local resident Debby Ring is hoping to bring yet another movie filming to the New River Valley. Based on a true story, the movie profiles this girlhorse bond. Director Frank Calo has toured the NRV for suitable filming locations, and once funding is in place, it will begin. There's a "donate" button on the website: www.chancesawesomegal.com
Direct Sports, Inc., a baseball and softball equipment supplier based in Giles County, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. The family business was founded by Paul Wagner, who was always intrigued by the mail order concept. He teamed with Mike Lively, and with Mike's extensive knowledge of sports and Paul's entrepreneurial spirit and funding, the venture was launched in Rich Creek. It moved about 10 miles in 1997 to its current Pearisburg location. The company grew fast through its catalog and telephone 46
4th Year for Replenishfest Christian Music Festival July 13, 14, 15 5433 Indian Valley Road ~ Willis www.Replenishfest.com Straight Street will have a Teen Tent at the event. Straight Street NRV is devoted to helping youth have a safe place to hang out, develop life and enrichment skills and find God's purpose for their lives.
order system, escalating it to the number one catalog company in the industry. The business model has adapted across the years with the industry and changing technologies. Their core values, however, have stayed the same: pride in hard work integrity firm commitment to customers In a 30,000-square-foot building, Direct Sports hosts its warehouse, customer service center and retail store. The firm moves more than $4 million in inventory per year with a staff of 14. Lively serves as CEO, while Paul's son, Andrew, took over as President when his dad passed away in 2007. The company continues to
grow, and Andrew looks to possibly taking on another sport, perhaps a fall sport to complement the spring business. Direct Sports carries a wide variety of bats, balls, equipment, sports apparel for men, women and youth, as well as footwear, accessories and a clearance and closeout section. There's also a fun, informative blog on the website:
www.directsports.com Direct Sports 1720 Curve Road, Pearisburg Retail Store Open: Mon-Fri., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m. - noon
Newsy Relevant Valuable A round-up of items of interest across the NRV
"Bella" Labeled by the American Kennel Club as "independent, sweet, silly," the Afghan hound has been revered since ancient times for its exotic beauty and silky, flowing coat. It is the oldest recorded breed in history, with thick fur invaluable in the mountain regions of Afghanistan. As an unusual dog, it requires an unusual owner, and Bella found exactly that in Shannon Hammons. Bella was just one year old when the recession hit. Her
South Carolina family left town in the middle of the night; the bank took the house; the dogs were picked up on the street by the local pound. One volunteer fought for Bella's life, contacting the Afghan Hound Society for a home. They are large dogs with high maintenance coat issues. Salvador Dali and Picasso both owned them. Commercials for airlines, Coca-Cola, Chase Bank and more have used them to attract readers. Bella was adopted almost immediately by Hammons five years ago, and she now lives a life of royalty in their Newport home.
A lifelong passion for acting and theatre has brought Robin Brooke to settle in the New River Valley and start her dream of professional productions in an historic theatre. Royalties to produce one show can run in the five-digit range (left of any decimal point), so she seeks corporate sponsors who appreciate the value of Equity level performers in timeless stage plays.
Lend Me A Tenor funny farce set in 1934 Aug. 16, 17, 18, 19
Pulaski Radio Show and much more ... check out the website!
www.nrvregionaltheatre.com Aug. 23 ~ Sept. 2
Tony Award-winning tale of love, murder and revenge set in 19th century London
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We are flexing our muscles
BEST OF 2018
After being voted as the Best Retirement Community (5 years in a row) and Post Op/Rehab Facility by The Roanoker; and one of the Best Retirement Communities in Southwest Virginia by Virginia Living, we were honored when the readers of SWVA Living voted us as a silver winner for Best Rehab Facility and bronze winner for the Best Retirement Community. Thank you for trusting us with your care. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Come see for yourself! Call us today to schedule a private tour: (540) 777-5602.
3804 Brandon Ave, SW • Roanoke, VA 24018 • (540) 777-5602 • www.brandonoaks.net
Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Giles County, Pulaski County and Floyd.