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NRV’s Premier Lifestyle Magazine

New River Valley nrvmagazine.com March/April 2021

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Thinking about switching things up in your home? Contact one of our agents for more top designs trends that are a must for 2021! #NewYearNewHomeNewYou

Find your agent at LongandFoster.com Louise Baker REALTOR® 540.320.0382 louiseybaker@gmail.com www.nrvhomes.com

Darin Greear REALTOR®

540.320.5859 Darin@RinerVa.com www.RinerVa.com

Marshall Anderson REALTOR® 540.320.7653 marshallla@gmail.com Rhonda Melton REALTOR® 540.449.3325 rhondamelton3@gmail.com

Priscilla Morris REALTOR® 540.320.3586

Brenda Woody REALTOR®

Priscilla@PriscillaMorris.com www.PriscillaMorris.com

540.257.0281

Brenda.Woody@LongandFoster.com www.longandfoster.com/BrendaWoody

of Long & Foster Real Estate

Mike Weber REALTOR®

540.250.6727

MikesYourRealtor@gmail.com www.longandfoster.com/MikeWeber

Long & Foster was named “America’s Most Trusted Residential Real Estate Brokerage” by Lifestory Research.

Wendy Swanson REALTOR®

540.797.9497

swansonwm@gmail.com www.wendymswanson.com

Visit www.longandfoster.com or download our mobile app today!

3601 Holiday Ln. Blacksburg, VA 24060 | 540.552.1010

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ONLINE EVENT

Saturday, April 17, 2021, 7:30 PM EDT

STEEP CANYON RANGERS with special guest Amythyst Kiah

Experience the diverse sounds of today’s Appalachia when some of our region’s leading musicians take the Fife stage for an exclusive livestream. Don’t miss Asheville, North Carolina-based Grammy winner Steep Canyon Rangers and opener Amythyst Kiah, a Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter from Johnson City, Tennessee.

$10 individual tickets Free for Virginia Tech students

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*2% cash back on debit card purchases up to $500 with monthly Direct Deposit of at least $1,000 and up to $1,000 with monthly Direct Deposit of at least $5,000. Maintain a monthly Direct Deposit of at least $1,000 to avoid a $9 fee and enroll in eStatements to avoid a $2 paper statement fee. Fees could reduce earnings on the account. Rate may change after account opening. With monthly Direct Deposit of at least $1,000 up to 2 nationwide out-of-network ATM fees will be refunded, and with monthly Direct Deposit of at least $5,000 up to 4 nationwide out-of-network ATM fees will be refunded. Surcharge-free ATMs are a part of the CULIANCE ATM network and can be identified by the presence of a CULIANCE, MoneyPass or Allpoint logo. More details available at www.freedomfirst.com/checking.

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CONTENTS March/April

2021

Pasture Ta l k

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9

Home Renova t i ons 1 0 Home I nsp ec t i ons 1 6

38

32

10

Homesc ho o l i n g 22 Tea c ha b l e Moments 26

22 26 20

Pi c kl eball 3 4

Fo o d Fa re 40 Bui l der Stor i es 42

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NRV Ri de: A i rstrea m 3 0

S mal l & Bo l d Busi nes s 3 8

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Wi ndows 1 8

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The Val ue of t he Rea l tor 4 4 Adver t i sers I ndex 4 6

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56 Years of Proudly Serving the New River Valley! Ceramic & Porcelain Tile Carpet Hardwood Luxury Vinyl Stacked Stone Window Treatments 1140 Radford St - (540)-382-3271 Christiansburg, VA 24073 8

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NEW RIVER VALLEY M

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P. O. Box 11816 Blacksburg, VA 24062 o: 540-961-2015 nrvmagazine@msn.com www.nrvmagazine.com

PUBLISHER Country Media, Inc. Phillip Vaught MANAGING EDITOR Joanne Anderson ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Sabrina Sexton

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ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kim Walsh DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Dennis Shelor WRITERS Joanne Anderson Karl Kazaks Krisha Chachra Emily Alberts Jennifer Cooper Becky Hepler Nancy Moseley Kameron Bryant PHOTOGRAPHERS Kristie Lea Photography Kevin Riley Always and Forever Photography Tom Wallace Billy Bowling Photography Nathan Cooke Photography © 2021 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.

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I called Kroger on University City Blvd. in mid-January to see if they had a tiramisu cake I might buy the next day. To be honest, I choked up a little, saying it would be my second solo birthday since my husband, John, died. When I picked up the cake, it had ribbons on it, plus a fresh carnation with a ribbon. There was a receipt taped on it, and when I checked out, the cashier [David] said: “Looks like this has been paid for at the bakery.” I told him I did not pay for it, so add it on, which he did. Once at home, I sliced a piece, called it lunch, and looked again at the receipt. Indeed, it had been paid for with a debit card. Since I do not have a debit card, I realized someone in the bakery PAID for my birthday cake! And added ribbons. And a fresh, red carnation! Since I also paid for it, I wrote Eric Williams, the store manager, requesting that he refund the phantom bakery person $11.26. The whole experience made my birthday extra wonderful for the tender lovingkindness of one special Kroger bakery lady. When people do that sort of thing and do not sign their name, they wish to stay anonymous, which reminds me of the Vermont farmer and the city slicker. The urban fellow got his fancy Corvette stuck in mud on a back road. Vermont is famous for mud, it’s a whole season aptly dubbed Mud Season. The farmer brought his tractor and chains to the scene and pulled that sports car to dry ground. When the city slicker pulled out a $100 bill, the farmer took a deep breath. A hundred bucks is real money to a farmer. But, the farmer backed up a step and offered this: “Sonny, I have the good feeling that I’ve helped someone today. If I accept your Ben Franklin note, then I’ve been paid, and that feeling, young man, is not for sale.” And for that reason, I did not track down the name of the bakery lady. Even though she has her money

Pasture Talk

back, she retains that good feeling of having quietly blessed someone else. A stranger. On the telephone. Me. Thank you. I’ve seriously missed the Home Expo for the 2nd year in a row, but we’ve collected some contractor tales of 2020 ~ lots of home improvement projects as the home has had to accommodate work, live, play, plus school, entertainment, recreation and a host of activities not before integrated into the floor plan. Lucky for us, we have some of the finest, high-quality contractors right here in the New River Valley. We also have great outdoor recreation which families, residents and visitors are discovering and rediscovering. Sometimes the best of life can be found in our own backyards – literally and figuratively. It’s Spring. As the musician, singer, actor Henry Rollins quips: “In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move.” I like Canadian poet and novelist Margaret Atwood’s take on spring: “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Or horses. Or both.

Joanne Anderson ManagingEditor

jmawriter@aol.com

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Fe at ure

Home Renovations

for Style, Fun and Function

Text by Joanne M. Anderson Photos by of Sean Shannon

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Home renovation can be as exciting as it might be intimidating for evaluating a room and contemplating a new function and different color scheme, along with appropriate furnishings and details such as fabric style, pattern and performance, accessories, flooring, lighting and more. Interior designer Edith-Anne Duncan has the keen eye, creative vision and vast experience to assess any challenge in space redesign and décor. Her goal is that each project reflects the unique requirements, personality and lifestyle of the client. NRVMAGAZINE.com

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The Interior She Shed Lounge

“This was my kids’ playroom and when they outgrew the space I decided to turn it into a lounge space that I could enjoy,” states Blacksburg resident Lisa Anthony. “I call it my Hallmark movie watching room.” Edith-Anne right away saw the need for something on the long, vacant wall which now also holds Chippendale-style millwork, a framed television and floral accents. With this charming trim offering a new visual embellishment, a floral pattern for the ottoman was selected and served as the launching point for the color scheme going forward. Vibrant green and white animal print drapes complement the coral lamp, pillows and throw. Pale blue walls offer a figurative glimpse of water with beautiful bird art, modern sofa and gracious interior French doors polishing the subtle 12

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tropical theme. “The homeowners framed the television,” EdithAnne relates, “and I strategically selected performance fabrics for their resilient material and stain resistance.” Performance fabrics also do not experience the kind of wear and tear with constant use as do less sturdy textiles. The lounge also embraces Edith-Anne’s concept of blending high and low (cost) components, like the custom sofa, catalog art and tripod floor lamp from Target. “I hired EdithAnne to design the space, and her vision surpassed anything I could’ve dreamed up,” exclaims Lisa. “I wanted the room to feel light, airy and happy. Mission accomplished!” And it was that collaboration that landed Lisa the job as Edith-Anne’s assistant, her dream job.

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Welcome, Baby Girl!

A baby girl was on her way, and this first time mom wanted a special, functional nursery which could carry the little one through various ages and stages. “The house is a classic, 2-story brick,” Edith-Anne explains, “and I infused the traditional style with some fun and whimsical angles for this young family.” Once again performance fabrics were chosen for their resistance to moisture, stains and abrasion, along with a more durable indoor-outdoor floor rug. The stuffed giraffe stands 14

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sentry at one end of the crib, while another one pokes his head above the drum shade on the table lamp. Once the changing pad is removed, the white dresser becomes functional through tween and teen years. Natural day light flows in under beautiful Roman shade-style valances, which lower to completely calm and darken the space. It’s all any baby needs and a lovely space for a little girl to love. She knew. She waited until just a week after her room was finished to come into the world. March/Apri l 2021


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The Lowdown on Home Inspections Text by Becky Hepler

Next to bringing a child into the world, the most expensive project someone will undertake is buying a home. So are there any ways to avoid what befalls Tom Hanks and Shelley Long in the 1986 movie “The Money Pit”? Enter the home inspector. A home inspection report documents the condition of the house’s major systems like foundation, roof, electric, plumbing and HVAC and notes potential issues that are present or could evolve. If the inspector is certified in other areas, the report can also address environmental issues, such as radon emissions or water quality for wells. While occasionally a seller will order the home inspection as an aid in pricing the property, in most cases, it is the responsibility of the buyer. Though banks do not require a home inspection report in order to obtain a mortgage, Lea Lucas, who 16

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works for Coldwell Banker-Townside Realtors, says because her company recommends it so highly, they require buyers who decide against having a home inspection to sign a waiver. Since 2017, the Commonwealth of Virginia has regulated inspectors with a certification process, with the intent of creating an independent, objective source of information to facilitate the home buying process. Most contracts are signed before the inspection, and each real estate contract’s stipulations are specific to that transaction. However, in the event of serious issues being found in the inspection, buyers can use that information to renegotiate or to get out of the contract. Getting a report can be a daunting experience. “We call it the Moment of Truth,” says John Langen, owner of Pillar to Post Home Inspection. “Do the facts of the condition of the house align themselves with my desire

to own this property?” Thirty to 100 pages listing all the issues facing the buyer can be intimidating, but Lucas cautions her clients not to panic. “No matter what, everything is fixable, it’s just a matter of negotiating with the seller.” Some have said that if you have a house, you don’t need any other hobbies, because there is always so much to do, things that need to be fixed, things that need to be updated. John Heubi of That Place Home Inspections in Pearisburg says: “We do our own work at home and if a home inspector walked into our house today, he or she would find a big long list of things wrong with our house. It’s hard to keep on top of everything, but that is part of home ownership.” More importantly, prospective buyers need to be aware that the long list of issues in a home inspection report does not mean that the house

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isn’t livable or does not meet the current code requirements. If the systems were up to code when the house was built, most or all of these things are grandfathered in, so the buyer doesn’t have to do anything until that system fails. Realizing that education is an important part of their job, some home inspectors invite the buyer to accompany them during the process. “The list might be long,” Heubi explains, “but we can show them that one item might only need a $7 part.” The process gives Langen the opportunity to do what he calls his Home Orientation for the buyer, explaining all of the systems in the house and their location. He marks things with stickers to make it easy to find later and notes the condition and maintenance each will require. Sydney Darden, first time home buyer who just purchased a property in Christiansburg, was happy to accompany her home inspector, Bob Peek of Inspections, Inc. “It was a little expensive, but so worth it,” she says. And she’s ready for the next time she needs one. “I now know what type of moisture in a basement is concerning and what isn’t, what types of cracks in the walls are bad and what is okay.” Because of low inventory and high demand, home buying today is a seller’s market and often home buyers wonder if a home inspection is worth it because they may have little negotiating power with the seller. Still, knowledge is important. “Lots of first-time home buyers are maxing themselves out to buy a property,” Heubi declares. “They’re so excited; then they walk in and realize the roof is leaking and suddenly they need to put $20,000 that they don’t have into a new roof. So it’s a dangerous game to play at this point. Better to have that knowledge before you commit.” So, if you are in the home-buying market, the home inspection report could help you in two ways. First, it can be a negotiating point of the price in the final contract. Second, it can give you the information you need to know exactly what you’re facing in being the new homeowner of a specific property, what repairs or renovations you will need to do or have done and about when. And that beats going into such a very large investment blind.

Mentioned in the article: That Place Home Inspections thatplacehomeinspections.com Pillar to Post Home Inspectors johnlangan.pillartopost.com Inspections, Inc. inspectorbob.com Coldwell-Banker Townside Realtors coldwellbanker.com

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A New Window to the World

Text by Emily K. Alberts The eyes may be the windows to the soul, but windows are the eyes to the outside world. Right now, with the pandemic and the dreary winter-tospring transition weather, many of us are stuck at home like dogs in the window, eagerly hoping to see a familiar face outside. And we’re noticing things. Last spring, I noticed that every time I went to open my 40+-year-old windows, I nearly got pinned beneath the weight of the finicky, heavy, wooden frames. Even though health experts were encouraging fresh air and open windows, I was hesitant to fight with my wornout windows and stuck with stale air. I decided to call National Window & Door in Christiansburg to see what my options might be. Repair? Replacement? This was not my first time calling National Window & Door. They replaced all 14 of the windows on my former house 18

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in 2007. In an age where many companies are replacing showrooms with websites and in-person consultations with phone calls, National Window & Door remains committed to the face-to-face experience. From consultations to home visits and showroom demonstrations -- it is all free. Certified installer Matt Boland explains that whether his customers just need one window replaced or a dozen, it is the same pricing. “More often than not, when we do a few windows, the customer is so pleased with the process that they call us back to do the rest,” he says. With 30 years of industry experience, the quality is excellent. “We are fortunate with the crew we have in place,” Boland explains. “They’ve been with us so long that they know the drill. We can install windows of all shapes and sizes, any time of year.”

He’s right about that. I had reservations about getting my new windows installed in late December. With the pandemic, it took longer than expected for them to be manufactured, and the crew assured me they would work quickly and efficiently to prevent excess cold air from coming in while windows were being replaced. The whole process took under an hour, and they left everything nice and neat. The exterior window wrapping is gorgeous, and the curb appeal of my home has dramatically improved. Though some customers prefer classic wooden windows, vinyl windows are really wonderful for the price and quality. They are energy efficient, not nearly as heavy, and much easier to clean. I opted for the vinyl sliding windows in cherry to match my wood trim, and the color is identical.

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NRV Feature

National Window & Door often partners with Budget Blinds of New River Valley and Salem to work with customers in the planning stages of their homes. “We can work off a blueprint if needed,” says Tia Brown, co-owner and chief marketing officer at Budget Blinds. “Window treatments can drastically make or break the look and feel of a room or home. It can be hard for customers to see past outdated drapes and find potential, but that’s where we come in.” Budget Blinds is a one-stop shop, taking the customer every step along the way from design, to measure, to install. If you have any trouble, they have a terrific warranty. You won’t be stuck calling 800 numbers and writing one-way emails to manufacturing companies. They have close relationships and discount packages with dozens of window treatments companies. “With so many vendors, we are often able to get better bulk pricing than big box stores, and we are constantly checking to make sure we’re getting the best discounts available,” Brown says. Brown herself purchased a new home last March, just one week after the entire country shut down due to the pandemic. Fortunately, she had the foresight to turn her new space into a veritable “show house,” using all the 20

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latest window treatment options and design elements in her home so that customers could still have that vendor event experience. Even if customers don’t want blinds or drapes, Brown encourages window films. “Films don’t just give you privacy, they also protect your furniture and floors from fading – all while still allowing you a great view outside.” Window World, based in Salem, installs lots of windows in the New River Valley. Each window is engineered with heavy-duty construction, insulated glass and a vinyl finish that never needs painting. The company was founded in 1995, with the regional showroom locally-owned and operated since 2008. They have the Energy Star® and Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Check out the blog for a plethora of useful home design and renovation tips and information. https:// www.windowworldroanoke.com/blog Faux wood blinds are always in demand, and motorized window treatments are gaining popularity as well, according to Brown. “We can install a motor in what you already have, working with Alexa, Google Home or any Smart Home hub to deliver control at the touch of a button. You can program blinds or shutters to tilt a certain way depending

on the time of day, and we can install solar panels to charge the shades.” Replacement windows are an investment worthy of consideration for every homeowner. Improvements have made great strides with additional energy efficiency, advanced glass technology, sealing mechanics, minimal maintenance, easy cleaning methods, improved locks and security and stunning styles and aesthetics. Windows are as relevant to structural integrity and personal comfort as a good roof or dry basement. NRV freelance writer Emily K. Alberts is looking forward to opening her brandnew windows this Spring! Advantages of Replacement Windows  Increased home value  Enhanced security and safety  Sound reduction  Curb appeal  Draft-free  Low maintenance  Additional thermal performance  Low-e (low thermal emissivity)  UV protection from interior fading  Lots of choices

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CREATING QUALITY LIFESTYLES, BUILDING STRONGER COMMUNITIES We are a locally owned and operated real estate development, construction and home building company located in Blacksburg, Va. For more than 20 years, SAS has been a pioneering leader in the real estate industry throughout the New River Valley of Virginia.

3169 Commerce Street | Blacksburg, VA 24060 www.sasbuilders.com | (540) 953-2080

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Home Sweet Homeschooling education's plight from home to school and back again "There's a flexibility and a liberty to taking charge of what we teach and when we teach it" - Dawn Shelton

Text by Nancy S. Moseley A recent Saturday Night Live skit featured host John Krasinski playing dad to a pair of creepy, identically-dressed twins (think The Shining). A costar opposite Krasinski, concerned with the suspicious twins, delivered an aside: "Maybe they're homeschooled." Over the decades, homeschooling has endured the ebb and flow from a liberal reform mission in the ‘70s to a more conservative evangelical crusade in the ‘80s. And it has endured being the butt of innumerous jokes. But, at its core, the historically misunderstood movement is simply a desire of parents to purport both the freedom for and control over their children's education. 22

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And now, with more and more families seriously considering the education volition, perhaps we should be wondering, on whom is the joke? "There's a flexibility and a liberty to taking charge of what we teach and when we teach it," Dawn Shelton of Riner states. Shelton has homeschooled all four of her children since 2004. "We forget we've been teaching them since they were born, and then it's just applying some letters and numbers and handwriting to it." Homeschooling gives parents the ability to develop a curriculum more suited for their child's learning pace and interests. The personalized delivery

is hyper-focused and hyper-tailored, so a typical school day takes place in a fraction of the time. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, there are four categories of homeschooling available for ages 5 to 18: • • • •

home instruction option religious exemption with a certified tutor private school option.

Any family homeschool under the needs to file a notice district's superintendent

wishing to first category with the local each year by

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August 1 and provide an evaluation that proves each child has reached an adequate level of progress. The home educator does not need a bachelor's degree or a teaching certificate, only a high school diploma or GED. These days there is no shortage of information and online support material for the new homeschooler and, in fact, it's possible there is too much. Start with a few broadscale thoughts before diving into the details. Spend some time centered on what your own learning philosophy is and pair that with your child's learning style. Use this combination to steer your Internet research. Next consider operational NRVMAGAZINE.com

execution: How much time per day can you devote to school? How much money do you want to spend? Are you more comfortable with hands-on, projectbased lessons, or a more traditional delivery using textbooks and worksheets? Thankfully, there is no singularly right way to homeschool. Most home educators employ several methodologies and a variety of materials to finesse what works best for each individual student. And if something's not working? Change it. "I choose what we're going to do and if it's not working, we make a change," Shelton offers. It took three different chemistry curriculums

Mar/Apr

before her second daughter started to understand the high school science. Once unchartered territory for which few revolutionaries opted, homeschooling is now an increasingly popular alternative to public and even private school, at a time when traditional systems have become the unchartered territory. According to the National Home Education Research Institute, around 3-4% of students were being homeschooled in the spring of 2019. Since the onset of COVID-19, the percentage jumped to 7-9% for the 2020-2021 academic year. EdChoice’s

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Fe at ure

2020 Schooling in America survey reported 23% of parents who were not homeschooling before the pandemic indicated they are now "very likely" to do so full- or part-time. Parents continue to be forced to make tough choices, doing their best to shore up on years of information and legislation in a short amount of time. Kristi Canode's 11-year-old daughter was overwhelmed with the sudden switch to online school and the sheer number of assignments in the spring of 2020. Anticipating a similar fall, the Shawsville mom started homeschooling over the summer to get ahead of the school year and has chosen to continue indefinitely. "I decided to keep homeschooling to be able to pick what material I wanted to teach and how to teach it. I love that my daughter can tell me what she wants to learn more about, and we study that area more. We were able to go at a slower pace and not be in front of a computer for hours a day,"

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Canode states. On the recent number of families becoming homeschoolers, Shelton comments: "I think it's a doubleedged sword. I'm excited for how many families are discovering all the joys and advantages of homeschooling. But if students start to leave mainline education in droves, we might see a bigger push toward more regulation." Regulation, while necessary to a degree, is the antithesis of the original homeschooling ideology. However, the Home Educators Association of Virginia (founded in 1983) works alongside the Department of Education to assure the best interests of homeschoolers are legislatively represented and access to updated information and resources is always a click away. Shelton concludes: "More families would bring a sharpness, in a good way. The way you progress forward is to have different ideas come together." Now, more than ever, we are a community

anxious to do just that, move forward. But the path forward happens one day at time, one lesson at a time, one 'a-ha!' moment at a time. And for all educators alike, it's those 'a-ha' moments that keep the light at the end of long, dark tunnel shining bright. Nancy S. Moseley is a New River Valley writer who became a "pandemic homeschooler" after a painstaking, monthlong decision process. She has no regrets and may even end up homeschooling a bit longer. It sure is nice to not *really* have to set an alarm every day.

LOCAL RESOURCES HNRV Homeschoolers of the New River Valley facebook.com/groups/ montgomerycountyvaunschool Home Educators Association of Virginia https://heav.org

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Meet the Artist

Gallery Open House May 29-30 Saturday 11-4 pm, Sunday 12-3 pm

Rolling Hills Homestead

216 S. Main Street, Kent Square Blacksburg, VA 24060 (540) 552-6446 blacksburggallery@pbuckleymoss.com

www.pbuckleymoss.com

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No Stone Left Unturned

finding teachable moments in everyday life

The Mann Family

Text by Nancy S. Moseley Reading, writing, 'rithmetic -- the old adage evoking the bones of a traditional, well-rounded education. But are old, extinct bones the best analogy we can apply? To be honest, conventional pedagogy, one where students sit respectfully in rows of desks, with all eyes and ears on the teacher, was feeling a little archaic anyway. But here we are, facing a scholastic system that is even more unrecognizable. When schools closed in the spring of 2020 desks sat vacant and chalkboards faded to a dusty black. Teachers, administration and students were forced to pivot on lesson plans and readjust expectations weekly. Even though the four walls of brick-and-mortar classrooms were breached, sending students to the streets, so to speak, might not have been such a detrimental move after all. Sure, there is a time and a place for formal academics, but the beauty of learning is that it happens ... everywhere. 26

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"We started looking for different places to go hike just to get out of the house and to engage in some muchneeded stress release and exercise," offers McCreery Mann, a physical education teacher at Narrows Middle School. The Mann family hiked local trails including Mill Creek Falls, Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, the Mary Ingles Trail and Chimney Ridge. They started morel (mushroom), turkey and shed hunting, the craft of looking for dropped deer antlers. They fished the New River, Wolf Creek, Rich Creek and the Roanoke River. They even tried kayaking for the first time. "We studied the behaviors of turkeys while turkey hunting, like why they gobble, when they roost, what they eat and the anatomy of the turkey," McCreery states. They taught their children about animal track identification and

put plant apps on their phones to lookup the names of different foliage. They identified trees by looking at their bark and leaves. When they caught a fish, they figured out what kind it was by examining its markings. The beauty that learning happens all around us is one thing. But the beauty that we can reference encyclopedic information on the Internet takes learning to a new level of instant gratification. When you can supplement a kayak river run with a YouTube video about how kayaks are built or a Google search on who was the first person to ever paddle a kayak, the lesson becomes tangible, memorable, unobvious and dare we add, 'fun'? Fellow New River Valley Magazine writer Emily Alberts reveals: "My children have learned how to navigate the endless chasm of Internet content and find useful, informative channels and webpages. They have learned how to learn, and that is a

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The Mann family hiked local trails . . . they even tried kayaking for the first time.

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life-skill beyond compare." Alberts is mom to an 11-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, both attending varying schedules of public school. In the oodles of pandemic downtime, her daughter picked up cooking (teaching moment: fractions, math) and her son started helping more with home projects (teaching moment: measuring, tool usage). Like the McCreerys, Alberts headed toward local hiking trails as well. They summitted Bald Knob behind Mountain Lake Lodge to see the once-in-a-lifetime Neowise comet and learned how to identify wildflowers while hiking to Dragon's Tooth along the Appalachian Trail. Her daughter was featured in The Roanoke Times for producing an outside aerial art show. She designed her own custom marketing materials and distributed them around the neighborhood. Alberts adds: "These days, learning is more active than passive, and I embrace that with my children." Even 28

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something as simple as looking out the window at the weather every morning can turn into a study on clouds or the stages of the water cycle. Almost every day is designated National [something] Day. Make a habit of researching the specific honor and its origin. Grocery shopping can be the impetus for a lesson in finance or budgeting. "It's all about finding that 'spark' that is going to motivate you and energize you to get through another day of lockdown. I think so much is gained through conversation and exchanging ideas, because it really helps shape them as creative thinkers finding their own voice," Alberts concludes. Children are naturally inquisitive creatures. Now is our opportunity to embrace their incessant 'why? why? why?' and use the queries to stimulate commonplace curriculum. It's hard to let go of the addiction to 'reading, writing, 'rithmetic,' but it's profoundly

more powerful to master an interest in learning, period, no matter the subject. "It was a positive thing for my kids as they got to do and explore things we usually never had the time to do. I feel like we appreciate things that we took for granted before the pandemic," McCreery states. And that's just it. Quarantine conditions forced us to slow down. The rat race of an everyday routine, of extracurricular activities, of work-a-day life is not the reality we're facing. Now we can afford the extra time required to stop and smell the roses. Where do roses come from, anyway? Nancy S. Moseley is a freelance writer from Blacksburg. She has found that her children tend to ask the most engaging questions when riding in the car. 'Where is Timbuktu?' led to an impromptu geography lesson (it's in Mali, a country in West Africa) and a discussion on what it might be like to live there.

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The Vibe and Charm of an

Airstream Text by Karl Kazaks Photos by Christy Wallace Camping was an important part of Mary Lekoshere’s childhood, and today she and her husband Sawaya are committed to sharing that pursuit with their four children, all under the age of 10. “I want my kids to enjoy nature like I did,” Mary relates. “Growing up my parents took me and my five siblings tent camping a lot, and we all still enjoy camping.” The Lekosheres have taken their family tent camping, but since last August they’ve gone camping with Pilgrim, their 2018 Airstream 30’ Flying Cloud FB Bunk, a pull-behind, dualaxle camping trailer made by the iconic maker of aluminumexterior trailers. “I like the vibe of it,” Mary says. Even though the Lekosheres got their Airstream toward the end of summer last year, they used it many times – taking it to Pipestem in West Virginia, to a KOA near Lynchburg, multiple times to Chantilly Farm in Floyd, and to Hungry Mother State Park. On most of those trips they were joined by friends who camped with them in their own tents or RVs. A typical camping getaway day begins with a big breakfast, cooked outside. “We try to make something special like bacon and pancakes,” Mary explains. Then it’s time for hiking and exploring the area. Hungry Mother was a particularly nice destination for the Lekosheres because of its playground, which the four kids loved. Back at the campground, they spend time with friends and meet fellow campers. “If there’s ever another Airstream,” Sawaya declares, “we always bond with its owners. We had heard the Airstream world was its own world, but you don’t realize how true it is until you get one.” The Lekosheres found Pilgrim at a camping and RV store in Pennsylvania. It had one previous owner. To acclimate themselves to owning the trailer, they joined Airstream Club International and visited online forums for troubleshooting 30

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and advice. One thing they realized is the importance of having the right tow vehicle. Pilgrim weighs more than 6,500 pounds before a single item is packed into it. To make sure they would be capable of pulling that weight, the Lekosheres upgraded their truck to a 2020 Chevy Silverado LT 2500HD Diesel. Pilgrim is known as an FB Bunk because it has a front bed (FB) and a bunk over the rear bed. The front bed is a queen, and the rear bed and bunk easily sleeps the four children, at least at their current ages and sizes. There is March/Apri l 2021


Photo by Kai Gradert

also a sleeping spot in the lounge, and the dinette table can covert to a bed. “It sleeps eight,” Mary states, “if you’re really close friends.” The galley includes a fridge and freezer and a propane stove with hood. Between it and the rear cabin is a full bathroom with a shower. The bed area can be separated from the rest of the living area with a curtain, so the adults NRVMAGAZINE.com

can use the space once the kids have gone to sleep. The interior has a built-in stereo system and three televisions – one more than the Lekosheres have in their 2-story house. The interior walls are, like the exterior, aluminum. There are many windows throughout and a skylight. On top of the trailer are two heat pumps, for air conditioning and heating.

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The exterior has an array of storage compartments, as well as a large awning on the starboard, entrance side and two smaller shade awnings on the port side. There are also exterior LED lights. Typically, the Lekosheres take Pilgrim to sites where they can hook up to 50 amps of power, a water supply and a sewage dump. But because the trailer has fresh and waste water storage

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and a propane furnace, they can camp in Pilgrim without those hookups – boondocking, as it’s called when you camp off the RV grid. Sawaya, who is originally from Kenya, came to the area to attend Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. Today he is a primary care physician and practices throughout southwest Virginia. He’s also, like Mary, an enthusiast of Pilgrim. “He babies her,” Mary relates. “He bought a dehumidifier and cut out shades for the windows.” They also winterized Pilgrim last year. “I didn’t realize when we bought it how much it would be like owning a home,” she adds. Last summer, not long before 32

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buying Pilgrim, the Lekosheres went tent camping. It was raining when they put up the tent, so they had a puddle in the tent the whole time. With Pilgrim when it rains, “it just adds to the charm.” This spring Pilgrim is destined for a weeklong visit to the shore, at South Carolina’s Huntington Beach State Park. The older boys are learning to kayak, so it’s nice to go near water. Eventually they would like to take Pilgrim on a visit out West. “Having an Airstream is a lifestyle choice,” Mary believes. “It’s given us really intense family time.” It also gives her a chance to escape from really intense family time occasionally. Sometimes, at home, she and Sawaya will step outside the house and

go to where Pilgrim is parked to enjoy a glass of wine or visit with friends. “My life can be pretty chaotic with four young kids,” Mary offers. “Spending a bit of time in Pilgrim slows things down a bit, makes things seem more manageable.” To follow along with the adventures of the Lekosheres and their Airstream, visit their Instagram account: @airstream_pilgrim. In addition to naming their Airstream Pilgrim, the Lekosheres gave their Airstream the number 1314, after Hebrews 13:14, which reads: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.”

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Having a Ball

Text by Jennifer Poff Cooper Photos courtesy of Warm Hearth Village “It’s a big dill.” That quip will be imprinted on t-shirts – green, of course – for pickleball players at Warm Hearth, where a pickleball court was recently constructed. Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong and is fun, social and friendly. The rules are simple, and the game is easy for beginners to learn. It can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players, according to usapickleball.org. Two or four players use solid paddles made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, much like a wiffle ball, with 26-40 round holes, over a net. 34

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“All ages and abilities can play and be competitive, including those with some physical limitations,” explains Blacksburg player Lori Miller. “It is played on a shorter court than tennis so a player can be very effective without having to be in prime athletic shape.” Begun in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Wash., the game started with founder Joel Pritchard cobbling together miscellaneous sports paraphernalia like ping-pong paddles and a wiffle ball to help his bored family pass the time. Voila! A brand-new game was born, and is now one of the fastest growing sports in the United States. The spread of it is attributed to its popularity within community centers, physical education

classes, public parks, private health clubs, YMCA facilities and retirement communities. Many players are active retirees, and Brad Epperley, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Christiansburg, relates seeing collegeage students to those in their mid-30s becoming more interested. Pickleball is affordable and easy to pick up since you only need basic gear to get started. To begin, you need a paddle, a ball, a net and a court to play on. Unlike some sports, like tennis, no dress code is required; basic athletic apparel and comfortable tennis shoes work fine. The game is fast, making

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“It is played on a shorter court than tennis so a player can be very effective without having to be in prime athletic shape.”

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it a convenient way to get some exercise. “Judging by the level of sweat, pickleball is considerably less active than racquetball,” states Coreen Mett, who enjoyed pickleball until her health prevented her from playing. Still, it is a great cardio workout. “The sport thrives on quickness at the net and good handeye coordination,” Mett relates. Miller concurs, adding that learning to control where the ball goes takes practice. Effective communication with your doubles teammate is also key, she adds. Warm Hearth resident Roland Byrd was the pickleball trailblazer. He read a favorable article several years ago about pickleball. “I did a little drumbeat,” he explains, “and made it louder until Warm Hearth bought equipment and a free-standing net.” Warm Hearth designated a parking lot, painted pickleball lines and moved cars so that residents could play. Fast forward to today, after a resident fundraising campaign, the community has a 70 ’x 30’ asphalt outdoor recreation court for 36

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badminton, volleyball, basketball, and, yes, pickleball. There are six to 10 players who frequent the pickleball court or play indoors at the Village Center in inclement weather. Byrd, 84, says it has been a bit difficult to get residents motivated because of health concerns and general inertia. But having the facilities has encouraged others to exercise with this less strenuous but similar alternative to tennis. “We’re getting a few residents a little healthier,” Byrd smiles. There is also a regular group that plays in Christiansburg. “The Christiansburg Rec Center has been superbly supportive,” Mett says. “A fellow named Paul Schott had been an active player in northern Virginia before he moved to the New River Valley in retirement. He grew the program at the Christiansburg Rec Center, bringing in some of the equipment with the Rec Center furnishing more. The Rec Center marked off boundaries on the floor, provided a place to store equipment and reserves mornings on two of the four courts.”

Residents also play outdoors at Depot Park during good weather, as the pandemic has caused some indoor facility issues. Epperley indicates one goal is to begin holding clinics for beginners, as well as for intermediates who want to enhance their skills. He is working with Carter Turner, a local professional pickleball player, on this project. At the Blacksburg Rec Center, open gym time is scheduled around other programs, and they provide equipment. The schedule changes in different seasons, with up to 10 people allowed and reservations required (due to COVID-19 guidelines) for the two courts that are available. “It's general play depending on who shows up,” Miller says. “And, it’s free!” Last but not least, how in the world did the game get its odd name? According to co-founder Barney McCallum, they named the game after Pritchard's dog, Pickles.

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Some days you just need a play day!

virginiasmtnplayground.com

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NRV Small ‘n Bold

small businesses with bold entrepreneurs

Kesler Construction

Sugar Mountain Bakery Breakfast biscuits, donuts and pastries are made fresh daily to go with fancy coffee, nitro cold brew, latte drinks. You can pick your own toppings for hand dipped ice cream and build your own donut. Breakfast and lunch. Watch the traffic light on the side of the exterior showcase window. If the green light is on, the donuts are ready! [closed Tues and Wed] 792 Federal St., Rich Creek facebook.com/ sugarmountainbakery89

Founded 15 years ago by Matthew Kesler, this company is grounded in quality craftsmanship and customer service. In the commercial market, their team offers general construction services, along with stained concrete, framing, acoustical ceiling grid and tile installation, exterior siding, interior demolition and more. Home remodeling includes renovation, flooring, hardscaping, roofing, drywall, decks and docks. Their client list is impressive, and their commitment to quality is superior. www.keslercontracting.com

Blue Ridge Cafe Established in 1927 as the Blue Ridge Diner, the café now belongs to the same good folks who run Joe’s Diner in downtown Blacksburg. Comfort food reigns with mac ‘n cheese, hand-cut french fries, classic BLT, potato casserole and chicken & waffles, meatloaf, the Floyd Co. vegetable platter, lemon pound cake, apple pie and more. 113 E. Main St., Floyd www.blueridgecafefloyd.com 38

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NR V F o o d F a re

The Pot Pie

Compiled by Joanne M. Anderson

Nesting snugly in the comfort food category, pot pies are much appreciated as March and April straddle the seasons and can still deliver some wild punches of winter. Early pot pies in ancient Greek and Roman times were baked in pastry with a variety of meats and fillings. Even if they had not spread across Medieval Europe, into England and across the ocean to the New World, surely many an enterprising home cook would have thought of putting bread dough atop or around stew for a hearty one pot meal. This chicken pot pie recipe came from an elderly neighbor years ago, and it’s wonderful, even if I have to be on high alert to pick out the lima beans.

Chicken Pot Pie

serves 6 or so, depending on seconds [13 x 9” pan] 3 cups cooked chicken, cut up 2 (10.75 oz) cans cream of chicken soup 1 (15 oz) can condensed chicken broth 1 15 oz package frozen mixed

½ tsp poultry seasoning 2 cups Bisquick 8 oz sour cream 1 cup milk

vegetables, not thawed

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Mix chicken with soup, broth, frozen vegetables and poultry seasoning, and pour into greased 13” x 9” pan. Mix Bisquick, milk and sour cream. Spoon it on top, careful to cover the entire dish. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes

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• 1 sheet frozen puff pastry or pie crust, thawed • 1/2 small onion, diced • 2 small red potatoes, cubed • 1/2 lb cubed beef stew meat, browned • 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper • 1 tsp. minced garlic • 1/8 tsp. thyme • 1 1/3 cups unsalted beef broth • 1 Tbl. Worcestershire sauce • 1/8 cup cornstarch • 1/4 cup cold water • 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots medley, not thawed • 1/8 cup fresh parsley (minced) • 1 small egg • 2 teaspoons water • 1/4 cup chopped cooked mushrooms, optional

Individual Beef Pot Pies serves 2 [12 oz aluminum pie plates or ramekins]

Put beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and thyme in pan and add potatoes, onions and browned meat. Bring to boil and simmer about 15 minutes until potatoes are cooked and beef is tender. Whisk together cornstarch and water and add to stew until thickened, cooking a couple minutes. Stir in parsley, frozen peas and carrots. Cut crusts in circles to cover your individual baking containers. It’s easy to turn container upside down on pastry as a guide to cut.

Vegetable Pot Pie NRVMAGAZINE.com

Spray pie tins or baking dishes and spoon in stew. Top with pastry round, gently pressing over lip edges or tuck down inside on top of stew. Bake in 400° oven for 25 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before consuming. These can also be frozen in small pie tins before baking, so make a bunch at once and freeze ‘em.

Replace beef or chicken with same volume of vegetables? That should work. Replace chicken soup and broth with vegetable equivalent. That’s easy.

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Builder Stories

AFTER AFTER BEFORE BEFORE

As we understood more about the pandemic, we created strategies to work more safely. For one client, we created a dust and virus barrier from the entry to the second floor. The homeowners moved to the main level while we remodeled upstairs. A note from the clients on completion reads: “Thank you for making this COVID summer wonderful for us. We felt like we were on vacation for two months. Now we feel like we are moving into a beautiful brand new house! Basement and exterior projects were easier to separate safely and we completed several. Responding to clients’ efforts to increase living space to outdoor elements, we expanded decks, built screened-in porches and created concrete and pebble open-air patios. To meet the needs of those who wanted to spread out inside the house, we renovated basements used for storage into beautiful, energy-efficient spaces replete with kitchens, bathrooms and study areas for kids at home. Ed Tuchler, Shelter Alternatives 42

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The ongoing pandemic changed the role that our homes play in daily living. We have seen more than just an increase in persons working from home. The home is now a place for virtual learning, virtual dance lessons, virtual fitness classes and our primary entertainment venue. As a result of this shift, the residential remodeling industry saw a significant increase in demand in 2020. We received more calls for decks, screened porch additions and new patios than in any previous year. Increased time spent at home motivated many homeowners to find square footage wherever possible. For some households, this was the transition of an unused basement space into a home office, and for others, it was the construction of a new home office. For one client, the pandemic motivated them to find out if their oversized crawl space could become a finished basement. Several months later, they have a new internal staircase and a beautiful finished basement, adding nearly 700 square feet of living space. Cassidy Jones Director of business development and lead designer Slate Creek Builders

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During the quarantine, SAS Builders has been working on various remodeling projects. Since more people are home, homeowners have been connecting with us about converting basements into more living space and creating designated areas for schooling. Updating rooms to include indoor recreational activities, like virtual golfing and more functional home gyms, has also been requested. It’s exciting to retrofit home spaces to meet the new needs of families. Trisha Haldiman, creative design manager

Time has a way of changing things, and demand for a real stone mason has dwindled. Oh, perhaps I could have increased advertising and my work area, but spending more to make less didn't seem super smart, then along comes a pandemic, so I closed Stone Age Masonry after 34 years. But when one door closes, God opens another one, and I am restoring a turn-of-the-century bank building in Floyd County. I had the opportunity to construct a building at the Blue Ridge Institute and Museum, which duplicates log structures from the 1800s. I have plenty of experience with restoration work and construction, so going from a stone mason to a contractor is a nice change. With my experience, foresight and honest character, I find myself busy again, with a custom house to build in the spring and some renovation jobs. My mantra: Dream big, work hard.

Home offices have become very important as a result of the pandemic, along with the overall interior family environment. Our industry has gone boom with homeowners embracing our expertise for what works and what doesn’t and often saving money by getting things right the first time. We can do projects in stages, letting the homeowner set priorities. It’s rewarding to be part of solutions for home flow, function and family entertainment as the home scene evolves into a much more dynamic space serving family members in new and different ways. Edith-Anne Duncan, Interior Designer

David Conroy, independent contractor

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The Value of the REALTOR® Text by Joanne M. Anderson

No one wakes up some morning and thinks he or she will become a REALTOR® next week. There’s a 60-hour course and some cost and time involved, a final exam and a state exam before looking for a broker to take you into their firm. Networking can be an extensive part of getting established, and word-of-mouth accounts from many a client, whether buyer or seller. “I have around 4,000 contacts in my phone,” says Darin Greear, long time local real estate professional with Long & Foster. “I get calls every day for contractors, lawn care, movers, roofers, dentists and so on. When I close on a property, it’s never the end of the relationship, especially recent home buyers who are new to the New River Valley. I send out lots of handwritten cards, and we stay connected. Most of my clients now come from word-of-mouth referrals.” Real estate agents offer experience, knowledge and expertise that’s invaluable to both a buyer and a seller in a marketplace 44

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“I have around 4,000 contacts in my phone . . . I get calls every day for contractors, lawn care, movers, roofers, dentists and so on" - Darin Greear Long & Foster

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which involves usually the largest investment of someone’s lifetime. Documentation alone is worth a REALTOR®’s commission as errors, omissions and confusing terms can cost thousands of dollars to the unaware. Home inspections, financing approaches, escrow, timing, privacy concerns and fiduciary responsibility to the client are simply a few areas where real estate professionals bring home their worth in spades. “We work with buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants through the sales or leasing process of commercial properties, such as office space, retail space, medical space, warehouse/industrial space and land. We serve as advisors and advocates for every client throughout the entire transaction process,” states Ginny Richards of Price Richards Commercial. The business serves all of southwest Virginia and is expert in negotiating the prices, rates, terms and conditions for clients. “We highly value helping others with their business goals and aspirations.” Back on the home front, residential agents for sellers have experience with suggested home renovations prior to listing a property and connections with home inspectors, contractors, photographers, staging experts, appraisers, painters, lawyers, flooring folks and many others. They can generate a list of comparable homes which have sold and advise on asking price, closing costs, filing fees, escrow, etc. Many folks are uncomfortable negotiating – for anything, thinking the other party will think them cheap, offensive, unable to afford a property or something else. Real estate agents are well-known for superior 46

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negotiating skills and knowing where and how to bargain for what. This is true not only in the residential market, but for commercial property as well. “We negotiate for a living,” Greear says, “and we have vast experience in market analysis. I have clients tell me what they want in a sale price, and I often explain they can get more. It surprises them pleasantly. My job is to get the best price for either the buyer or the seller, and that almost always involves strategic negotiation.” For buyers, the REALTOR® can spend beaucoup time learning about the lifestyles, wishes, hopes, dreams and financial position of someone relocating to the New River Valley. They can be a valuable tour guide and insider resource on schools, shopping, medical facilities, parks and bike trails and coffee shops. “Especially with landlord/ seller representation, we offer a thorough understanding of market conditions and exclusive data on comparable properties to secure the highest and best rates and terms,” Richards explains. “This knowledge proves very useful to educate our client entrepreneurs and business owners or managers on property values. We have considerable insight on what is available on (and off) the market.” From advertising and marketing to open houses, showing, copious paperwork and trekking around subdivisions, back roads and town streets, the professional REALTOR® can be your new best friend when you are ready to sell or ready to buy. Homeownership is not for the faint of heart, and getting connected to an experienced real estate agent at the outset of the journey to sell or to buy can be the first smart move.

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A-1 Heating & Cooling Albin Landscaping Back to Nature Brick House Pizza Brown Exterminating Brown Insurance CELCO Credit Union Citizens DeHart Tile DogTown Roadhouse Ewing Companies Eyes on Main First & Main FNB Peterstown Freedom First Giles County Joba Designs Kesler Contracting Long & Foster Realty Macado's Matrix Gallery Mitchell Law Firm Moss Arts Center National Window & Door New River Art & Fiber New River Equpment Rental Nest Realty Next Home NRV Rent-All NRVIP Law Original Frameworks P Buckley Moss Gallery Pearis Mercantile Professional Door Progress Street Builders Radford Welcome Center ReStore SAS Builders Shaheen Firm, P.C. Shelter Alternatives Slate Creek Builders Summit Community Bank VA Shoreline

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2020

ANNUAL MARKET REPORT NEW RIVER VALLEY

The full report including various areas within the New River Valley is now available online at www.NewRiverValleyMarketReports.com NEST REALTY | 118 COUNTRY CLUB DR. SW | BLACKSBURG, VA | 800.325.NEST | NESTREALTY.COM NRVMAGAZINE.com

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Profile for New River Valley Magazine

NRV Magazine Mar-Apr 2021  

Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Giles County, Floyd, Radford and Pulaski County

NRV Magazine Mar-Apr 2021  

Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Giles County, Floyd, Radford and Pulaski County

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