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Quentin Duff's

Quentin Duff


Dear Friends,

The breeze has started to cool and the leaves are just starting to turn around the edges, autumn will soon be here! What better time to sell your home? The weather is perfect and with a little help your home will be too! Welcome Home magazine gives you the tools you need to sell your home in September, or any other month for that matter! Ever find yourself wondering just how tacky your neighbor's yard actually is? Find out how to estimate a selling price for your home without buying a new calculator, locate that perfect look for your kitchen that will have buyers hungry for your house. Love your lawn but hate how it looks in the fall? Cheer up! The answers are here! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have a profitable September, and as always, Welcome Home!

If you have comments or suggestions please email us at , we love to hear from you! Also if there is a subject that you would like to see covered, let us know! We look forward to hearing from you!

Quentin Duff


Welcome Home! Tomato-Basil Soup

Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokers始 listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information. All pictures courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor

Make a quick version of the classic soup for a refreshingly light supper. Toasted French bread topped with a light Boursin cheese adds great flavor to the meal and is a tasty stand-in for the standard grilled cheese sandwich. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/2 cups) Ingredients * 2 teaspoons olive oil * 3 garlic cloves, minced * 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth * 3/4 teaspoon salt * 3 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained * 2 cups fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced * Basil leaves (optional)

Preparation Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in the broth, salt, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes. Stir in basil. Place half of the soup in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed soup into a bowl, and repeat procedure with remaining soup. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired. Cooking Light, JANUARY 2002 - Photo Randy Mayor; Melanie J. Clarke

The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, INC. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.

Ready – Set – Sell! Preparing Your Home To Sell In A Buyers’Market Sluggish. Slow. Decreasing. Those are words that are being applied to the recent housing sales markets. If you’re planning to sell, the news is nowhere near as bad as the doomsayers are making it sound. The problem is that there are so many people trying to sell their homes right now. The number of choices on the market encourages buyers to be choosy and to hold out for the perfect home at the best price. Any Realtor will tell you, though, that homes are selling – and when they sell, it’s because the prospective buyer fell in love at first sight. The homes that sell are those that “wow” buyers from the curb and woo them all the way through to the back yard. So how do you turn your hearth into a new buyer’s heart throb? The same way that you’d attract a new beau – freshen up, put on a little makeup and sport the most attractive outfit you can find.

Five Steps to Wow Them at the Curb. Curb appeal is the real estate equivalent of sex appeal. That first view of your house may not break a sale – but it can definitely make it. 1. Get rid of clutter in the yard. Don’t kid yourself that the bikes and Big Wheels tell buyers a home is well-loved and family-friendly. Stow the stuff – the kids’ toys, the gas grill, the rake leaning against the porch - and not in the garage. You’ll want that to look nice and clean, too. 2. Make any cosmetic repairs that the house needs. Clogged gutters? Hanging drainpipe? Shutter off kilter? Spend a weekend doing all those little things you’ve been saying you’ll do for the last three years.

3. Freshen up your house’s face. If you can, give it a new coat of paint. If your house is sided, this is the time to rent a power washer and give it a good hose down. Don’t forget to wash the windows and hang pretty window treatments inside, too. While you’re at it, make sure that mini-blinds are all at the same level in the windows facing the street. You’d be surprised what a difference, symmetry makes. 4. Mow the lawn, trim the shrubs, get the tree guy out to lop off those overhanging branches. Fix cracks in the driveway, dig up the moss in between the paving stones. The keyword is manicure – everything should look very, very well taken care of. 5. Wrap it up with a bow. You can’t exactly put a ribbon in your house’s hair, but you can do the next best thing. Flowers offer instant appeal. Hit your local garden shop for a few flats of colorful, in bloom annuals and put in a flower beds along the walkway, or encircle a palm with a bed of impatiens.

Five Steps to Woo Them All the Way. Give the inside of your house the same attention that you did the outside. Here’s how to turn attraction into love. 1. Get rid of clutter. Take down family photos, remove those report cards from the front of the fridge, tuck away the cherished collection of knick knacks. When you’re done, you should have clean counters, clean tables and clean shelves. 2. Clean. Clean. Clean. The key word is spotless. Scrub down walls, wash windows, get rid of the gray fingerprints around doorknobs and light switches. Clean your grout especially in the bathrooms. Shampoo carpets. Added bonus – you’ll have to do far less deodorizing.

3 . P a re d o w n f u r n i t u re t o t h e essentials. Sofa, chair and tables in the living room. Bed, dresser and lamps in the bedroom. Engaging the services of a professional home stager is a very worthwhile investment. 4. If your budget allows for it, go for one or more of these high-ROI home improvements. -Repaint your kitchen and bathroom walls. Choose a warm neutral color. -Replace worn carpets. -Update your kitchen. -Update your bathroom. 5. Try a few psychological tricks. Hang a mirror on the wall opposite your front d o o r. I n v e s t i n f r e s h f l o w e r arrangements – but be sure to keep them fresh. Wilted flowers are NOT inviting. Play classical music – softly – when the house is being shown. And a favorite quick-pretty-up trick – toss a clean damp towel and fresh scented dryer sheet in the dryer about half an hour before a showing. Clean laundry smell is even more appealing than chocolate chip cookies or apple pie baking in the oven.

Written by Calum MacKenzie. Article courtesy of

Get More From Your Home Top Five Home Improvements To Bring Value Upon Selling A Home

Every home seller wants to get the highest price for the sale of their home but how many really know what to do and what not to do to get the most return for their investment? There are many home improvements that can be done. Which home improvements are proven to bring the highest return and which home improvements can be nothing but a money pit? One of the best things to do while getting started is to walk your home inside and out and look at it from the eyes of the buyer. When you pull up in front of your home, does it have great curb appeal? What is the first impression? This is very important to remember because we never get a second chance to make a first impression. Next, walk around the yard and look at the grounds, the plants, flowers and trees. Do they look healthy, green and lively? Is the front and back yard free of debris? What is the condition of the exterior of the home, the light fixtures etc? This is called the observation step of getting a home ready to bring top dollar and it is a very important step when getting started. Now let始s take a look at what has been proven to bring a strong return on investment to fix a property to sell. The number one item is paint! Having good exterior and interior paint has proven time and time again to bring top dollar upon sale. Buyers want a home that looks clean and presentable and there始s nothing like a good quality paint job to make a home shine. Studies have also shown that a fresh paint job will speed up the time it takes to sell a home. The number two item is the kitchen! A great kitchen can mean serious profit when selling a home. The kitchen for many buyers is the heart of the home and therefore a very important area to consider. Changing old fixtures, cabinets and flooring can be a good place to start in the kitchen and can make a significant difference in the way a kitchen looks. If one really wants to bring a great return upon sale, a home seller can change the sink, counter tops and the appliances to make the kitchen look like a center piece. This is a great area because a little or a lot of money can be spent upgrading the kitchen. In general, for every $5,000 spent could bring as much as $15,000 in return. The number three item is useable space! A good home can become great if it is completely functional and has all useable space. Many times the way a home is laid out can be improved by knocking out a dysfunctional wall, adding a bathroom or a bedroom, or turning a previously unusable room into a room that has a purpose. Look around the home to look for areas that fit into this category and figure out how they can be expanded or refurbished to bring extra value. The number four item is adding an extra bathroom or upgrading bathrooms! This is a very important area of the home being functional, comfortable and convenient. If the home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, adding a second bathroom will add great value. The average cost to remodel a bathroom with all the bells and whistles is on average $11,000. In most cases this will do more than just pay for itself! It will add a much greater value, make the home more sale-able and bring more money upon sale. Another selling point for bathrooms is to make sure there is plenty of light or adding a skylight can bring extra value. The number five item is adding a redwood deck or enclosed patio! This is a great way to improve the look of the home from the outside. This is also a great way to add extra space and make the home more functional. Many people love to be outside when the weather is nice, barbeque and entertain family or friends. The key to this element is to make sure to use quality materials. This is not an area to cut costs. There are other things that can be done such as making sure the home is clean, the floors are clean, there is no debris or clutter and there are no leaks in the faucets. Written by Matt Larsen . Article courtesy of

Fun Around Town This Labor Day Weekend

With gas prices skyrocketing this Labor Day weekend, it may be a good idea to skip the road trip and stay in town. That doesnʼt mean you canʼt have just as much fun though. Here are a few ideas you can try in lieu of that road trip. Go for a Hike Go for a day hike and pack a light picnic. Take your time; let the kids play along the way and use this opportunity to teach them about fauna and flora. Without everyday interruptions like TV and radio, youʼll get to spend some quality time with your kids. Plus all of you will get some great exercise along the way. If you and your family feel up to it, you can even plan to spend the night either in a tent, or see if you can rent a cabin along the trail. You can turn this into a fun 2 or 3-day mini-vacation. Camping Trip When was the last time that you took the kids on a camping trip? This may be the perfect weekend for it. You wonʼt need much in this warm weather; almost any tent and some comforters or blankets will do. Check out your local state parks for some free camping spots. Plan to get out there early, preferably Friday afternoon, or make a reservation if you can. not only provides info on hiking and biking maps, but also on camping spots. Spend the weekend exploring the area around your campsite, go for little walks or hikes and roast some hotdogs and marshmallows over the campfire at night. Youʼll be creating memories for a lifetime. Spend the day at a local amusement park Did you take the kids to a local amusement park or water park this season? If not, this may be your last good opportunity. Be prepared for a crowd and long waiting lines though. Your best bet is to go as early as possible and donʼt forget to designate a spot to meet at if someone gets lost. Spend the day at the zoo Load the kids in the car and head down to your local zoo. The zoo is not only a very fun place to visit, but it also gives you an opportunity to teach your children not only about the different animals, but also about geography, colors and shapes etc. Take your time and plan for several breaks. Since consignment stand prices within the zoo can be pretty high, you may want to pack a cooler and go out to the car for a parking lot picnic before heading back to see some more animals. A little planning can go a long way to make the most of your day at the zoo. Check the zooʼs website for listings on feeding schedules, feature exhibits, etc are going on where and at what time, and make a list of the events you want to catch. Go to a different Park each day There are so many different parks in my city and every time I pass one, I tell myself that I should stop and check it out – one of these days. Why not take advantage of this long weekend and visit a different park that youʼve never been to each day. You may find some new favorites that you will want to come back to this fall. You never know what youʼll find – a great new playground, a fun trail along the river, some statues and sculptures hidden in the park. Check out some local museums Look for childrenʼs or nature museums. Donʼt miss any special exhibits that may be going on that may interest your kids. You never know, there may be a special dinosaur, outer space, or even old toys and dolls exhibit that your child may be interested in. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Iʼm sure youʼll come up with plenty of fun stuff on your own as well. Think back about what you enjoyed doing as a kid. Tell your children about it and then relive the experience and share it with your kids. Iʼm sure you will have a wonderful, fun-filled Labor Day weekend. Written by Susanne Myers. Courtesy of

Four Tips To Help You Accurately Price Your Home In Today’s Market An unrealistic asking price may impede the sale of your home. But undermining your profit margin is also unwise. Pricing your home accurately – especially in the middle of an entrenched buyerʼs market – is always a bit challenging. But if youʼre trying to sell a house or condo these days, intelligent pricing is critical. Those who are off the mark by a slight amount may wind up off target completely in terms of attracting a qualified and interested buyer, and those who price their home unreasonably high may be shooting themselves in the proverbial foot.

Here are four tips for figuring out how to price your property, without “leaving money on the table” by selling yourself short: Know Your Primary Motive for Selling Understanding why you want to sell is the first step, and the most important. If you are selling to capture capital gains, for example, your strategy regarding pricing will be much different that if you are selling to move to a new job in another city. Those selling to avoid imminent financial problems, for instance, may need to price their house lower – and sacrifice some of the proceeds – in order to inspire a faster sale. If you donʼt need to sell by a particular deadline, you can afford to price your house at the high end of the spectrum and “fish” for a while for an interested buyer. After a couple of weeks you can adjust your price lower if you arenʼt attracting enough interest. Find Out What Buyers are Paying for Houses like Yours To find out what buyers are paying for comparable houses, have a Realtor print out a market report that shows recent sales data for nearby homes with similar amenities and square footage. Compare the asking prices to the actual sales prices, to find out if other sellers have been pricing their houses too high. Accurate pricing usually reflects a gap of no more than 10 percent between what is asked and the final price. Study the "time on the market” data, to see how long it takes houses to sell. If they are selling faster than average, it may be because they are priced below average. If they stay on the market longer than normal, it may indicate that they are overpriced or need repairs that are not discounted from the price. Price it Objectively When housing prices are falling steadily it is easy for sellers to cling to a false sense of what their properties are really worth. Thatʼs fine if you are just testing the waters, but it can be counterproductive if you intend to sell within a reasonable amount of time. Take the average price per square foot you gathered from your data analysis and multiply it by the number of square feet in your home to find out what the marketʼs average valuation for your house happens to be. Add value for extraordinary features like a new kitchen, a garage apartment, or an oversized lot. Subtract for such things as needed repairs or peeling paint, less bathrooms than other comparable homes, or heating and air conditioning systems that will soon need to be replaced. Be Decisive Decide ahead of time what constitutes a reasonable offer to purchase. Knowing what your bottom line final price is will help you make quick, clear decisions under pressure. Establish a price range that you consider acceptable, and if you arenʼt getting results, be prepared to lower your price at strategic intervals of time. A good way to plan ahead for price adjustments is to create benchmark dates on a calendar. If you reach a benchmark and have not gotten the results you expected, be decisive and businesslike – not emotional – about changing your price. Be ready to recognize if the time is not right for you to reach your goals. Trying to sell when you arenʼt convinced youʼre ready to can be frustrating and will likely cost you more money in the long run. It may be better to wait for the market to rebound, perhaps leasing your home or taking out a home equity loan to tide you over in the meantime. Another important thing to keep in mind regarding pricing is that buyers and Realtors search the MLS database using specific price parameters. If you arenʼt within their search range they wonʼt even know your house is on the market. For example, if you hope to attract buyers who are shopping for homes within the $250,000 - $300,000 range but your home is priced at $315,000, you may be pricing yourself out of your target market. Similarly, if you are asking $300,000 for your home you may be connecting with a whole pool of buyers that wouldnʼt find you if you were priced at $301,000, because they are only searching up to the round number price of $300,000. Written by Jeff Hammerberg. Photographs courtesy of SXC.HU

How To Know If Your Yard Is The

Tacky One On Your Street

Weʼve all seen it, weʼve all pointed at it and weʼve pretty much all lived beside it. The yard with tacky written all over it. What makes a house look like it is from What Not to Wear. Bottom line is itʼs you and your taste and love of dollar store trivialities. Or, itʼs your friends and family and your weak-willed nature that fills your front yard with the abominable, plastic doodads. Well, stop it! Trade your crooked, bentover, gardenerʼs spine for a straight sunflower backbone. Hereʼs how to tell if your yard is part of the tacky tourist tour in your city: • You have a ½ barrel spilling purple petunias (and the odd weed), surrounded by a medium-sized rock and a round dug-out area. • You have white, quartz pebbles in any part of your garden and especially beside the driveway in rectilinear rows of what resembles poodledroppings. • You leave-up and plug-in your multicolored Christmas lights all year round. • You have a ceramic goose and you dress it up for all holidays including your dogʼs birthday. • You buy inflatables, of any variety…even at Christmas, they are not cool and if you have more than one be prepared for midnight pinattacks…to watch it die slowly. • Too many colors in your planting arrangement. Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue…I can see a rainbow, see a rainbow, see a rainbow too. Enough said. • Even worse then that??? Fake flowers. So, you have a black thumb or youʼre just lazy…let it go. Put some grass seed down instead. Fake flowers can melt in the sun, be covered with cat urine and they fade PDQ. • If you buy the following plants you are borderline (mind the pun) tacky: marigolds, petunias and begonias. These plants are wayyyy out of fashion (unless you grow marigolds in your herb gardens to put on salads). Cʼmon, really, get with the times and accept change. Go wild, throw in the odd Japanese Anemone or ornamental grass or really go crazy and throw in a gigantic allium that is bigger than your kidʼs head.

• Garden sculptures and garden ornaments are all about the usage. So, you like garden gnomes. Garden gnomes are great, but moderation is the key. Or, if youʼre overly excited about the seven-million dwarfs, at bare minimum, keep them against the perimeter fence and out of the direct view of your neighbors windows. If you have them on your front lawn, whistling while they work, and NONE go missing by the end of the season, you know a) that no one wants the monstrosities and b) there are no such things as dwarfs or gnomes that come to life at night (or fairies for that matter). • Plastic…anything plastic (not resin that looks like concrete) is a huge no, no! Think, would you put that in your house (well, you probably would if you have any of these yard and garden features listed)? If you wouldnʼt, than think about this…your neighbors get a first impression of the interior of your home, by looking at the exterior. Also, your garden should be an extension of your home, like a room of its own. • House Butterflies. Ok, they were cute in the late 70ʼs. You know what? No, they werenʼt even cute then. I bet some people have not bought a house that was up for sale because of the orange, metal monarch butterflies bolted to the side of the house instead of blissfully on their way to the mountains of Mexico. • A car on blocks looks, well, quite frankly abysmal. • Grass. Cut the stuff. If its so long you get bikini rash and wild animals come for dinner then you know itʼs too long. • Flags. One or two decorative flags are nice, provided you donʼt have any of the other stuff listed here, but more than that and oh my. If you are reading this, chances are you have some style and pizzazz which follows through to a stylish garden. Therefore, there is that person on your street that has many of these items. My advice to you: walk by and note the number of the house, print off this article and mail it anonymously. Feel free to add your own notation about that one thing that drives you crazy…sit back and watch the bonfire.

Written by Kate Robertson. Courtesy of Photo of lawn flower by Eric Feldman

Autumn Lawn Care Tasks


Summer officially gives way to autumn on the 22nd of September, which is known as the autumnal equinox, but for the lawn owner autumn begins much earlier. This is because the green keeping tasks for autumn begin from the 1st day of September. Your first task is to make changes to your mowing method, I would suggest raising the height of cut by 1 cm above your summer mowing height which will give you an ultimate mowing height of 3 cm (1 Âź inches). The reason why you raise the cut to this height in autumn is to allow for the slowing of grass growth, on top of this I would usually mow just once a week once this growth begins to slow. Should your lawns suffer from slow growth in the spring or during dry spells in the summer you may consider applying an autumn lawn feed to develop strong roots and hardiness. If you feel your lawn is not all it should be and would benefit from this autumn pampering then by all means apply the fertilizer but ensure it is specially formulated for autumn application, an autumn lawn feed such as this contains phosphates and potash whilst omitting nitrogen which would cause unwanted growth. Many gardens may have goalmouths and beaten paths to washing lines that are tread-bare, sparsely populated by grass or compacted. Address these now to have them ship-shape for next season, start by driving the prongs of a garden fork approx. 15 cm (6 inches) into the compacted turf at various points throughout the affected area. This is a form of aeration, which allows more air to reach the grass plants roots on compacted soils. To thicken up your grass sward in these high traffic areas we must introduce fresh seed, so firstly we must create a seedbed. Add a light layer of clean loamy topsoil (This is available bagged in most garden centers), rake this with a flat garden rake to the consistency of large cake crumbs and follow this by shaking on some lawn seed at a rate of 40 to 50g per square meter. Tamp down lightly with the flat of the rake to ensure firm seed-soil contact, alternatively on large areas use a light garden roller. Try to avoid mowing the reseeded area until next season, as most lawnmowers tend to unsettle the new seed due to their vacuum action. As well as being a good month for reseeding bare areas, September is also a good time to sow new lawn from seed, with many being sown over the early autumn weeks. Written by James Kilkelly. Courtesy of

Products To Love In September

Need to tidy your house and tuck somethings away but don始t want to rent a whole storage unit? We think the perfect solution are these Grey Storage Bags! Made from super sturdy 600 denier polyester they keep the dirt and bugs away while still allowing your clothes, or whatever you choose to stuff them with, fresh! They come in five different sizes including one just the right height to slide under the bed. Please visit www.the for more information.

Have we got a candle for you! Worried about your house not smelling it始s freshest but don始t want to spend a small fortune on Febreeze? Gold Canyon Candles are your answer! The Clean Sheets or Pomegranate from their Heritage line are truly delightful, the only problem you might have is trying to keep your buyers interested in the house and not the candle! Please visit for more information.

Sick and tired of fighting with your ancient push mower every time you need to mow the lawn? Tired of stray tufts of grass left over and crazy lines in your yard after all the hours of sweat and effort? Let us end your pain and frustration! We give you the ExMark Quest Zero Point Turn Riding Mower! This beautiful machine can handle most anything a yard has to hand out, while keeping you off your poor abused feet. And besides, we heard that it has a really comfy seat! Please visit for more information.

City Spotlight

More Than Monuments - Richmond, Virginia Richmond, Virginia is a city surrounded by history working hard to achieve a good future. Not far from Richmond on the James River is Jamestown, the first settlement in the United States by the British and 30 miles north of Richmond is Williamsburg, start of the Virginia colony. The American Civil War raged through the heart of Richmond which was the capital of the old South and battlefields, houses, and memories from that time exist around the city still. Richmond has become famous for Monument Avenue, a long stretch of highway downtown which features huge stone statues of civil war heroes. Monument Avenue was also a bronze statue of tennis great Arthur Ashe who defeated racial segregation to become one of the premier tennis players in the world and work to ensure racial equality and understanding within the world of professional sports. However Richmond is much more than monuments and flags. It is surrounded by natural treasures. Maymont Park Near the center of downtown Richmond is Maymont Park. Once a 100 acre private residence owned by wealthy family named the Dooley's, they donated the entire estate to the people of Richmond for the future of the city. The park features a visitor center with aquatic displays, a children's petting zoo, an Italian garden, amazingly well constructed Japanese garden from two periods of Japanese history, and a horse carriage museum. Amidst all that is a sprawling open park for picnicking and relaxation. Maymont Park is free and open to the public and hosts many events to educate citizenry and visitors on conserving the land and natural resources of central Virginia. Ginter botanical Gardens One of the highlights to any trip to Richmond is a trip through the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. The sprawling environment features several specialized Gardens including: the four seasons Garden made of indigenous materials and mythical fountains, a healing Garden made of plants used for medicine and medieval healing, a sunken garden designed and shaped like ancient Rome and the Rose Garden framed around a reflecting pool set aside by the many colors of roses available. The Ginter Gardens also feature walkways and an educational center, a horticultural awareness center and a peaceful healing environment for anyone who needs a little rest and beauty in their lives. The Gardens charge a minimal fee for entering and participants can stay as long as they desire. Cold Harbor Battlefield Because Civil War history plays so much a part in the Richmond landscape, preserved battle sites and houses can be seen in and around the Richmond area. By far the best preserved is the Cold Harbor Battlefield park. Located on Route 156 slightly south of Mechanicsville, Virginia approximately 25 miles from Richmond, this battlefield features a 1 mile paved walk through the last battlefield the south won on during the Civil War. Place markers show bunkers that have been preserved, Union and Confederate lines and lead to the Garthwright House a structure remaining from the Civil War that was used as a hospital for Union soldiers. Cold Harbor Battlefield offers a peaceful beautiful walk through history. Among these natural delights is Richmond, a city full of technology, business opportunities with a nod towards its future economic development. Fortunately, with such natural delights and historical emphasis Richmond will never escape its past. Written by James Brown, courtesy of Photograph by Greg Pinkston

Random Facts

This month's random fact is one that may surprise, and even disgust, a few of you. Of all the sports in the world, one that you may never have considered is competitive eating. That's right, it's actually a sport, with ranking and everything!

Think about it, all you can eat of your particular favorite food and you get paid for it! Sound too good to be true? Well, ya, it is! Consider this. One of the reigning champions of the competitive eating world, a man named Takeru Kobayashi, can consume more than 20 POUNDS of food. Can we say WOW! It makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it.

One particularly fascinating fact is how very thin the top competitive eaters are, they are tiny! According to them fat is a hinderance! Without a large layer of fat across their stomachs they are able to expand them further and therefore eat more food. Rigorous training habits are important in keeping them in top fighting, or in this case eating, shape. So before you plunge into your neighborhood all-you-can-eat buffet with reckless abandon, remember this, not only is competitive eating a serious sport, it takes serious work!

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