Tag Archives: families

Local Hiking Trips

The Roanoke Valley and the surrounding area has so much to offer when it comes to spending time outdoors, there are plenty of ways to explore, but the most accessible are the hiking trails. There are so many different trails and scenery in this area, hiking through some is a great way to get to know the area and get daily exercise in a more enjoyable way.

A great place to go if you’re looking for a short scenic trip is Natural Bridge State Park. It’s great for people looking to get an easy start into hiking, families with children, or anyone looking for beautiful view. The hike itself has lot of stops, like the beautiful natural arch that is the Natural Bridge, an old mine, and a waterfall at the very end. It also has a lot to offer educationally like a Monacan Indian Village Exhibit set up along the path, not to mention that the bridge itself was once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Molly Armistead, experienced hiker and member of the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club, gives some of her recommendations of local hikes bellow:

Some other beginner hikes include many with a waterfall as the focal point. Cascade Falls, the hike itself is 3.5 miles round trip. The best and most memorable thing about this hike is the beautiful 69-foot waterfall at the end, and in the summer it’s a great swimming spot. The next hike she recommends for beginners is Crabtree Falls. This hike has a beautiful set of waterfalls. Crabtree even is said to have the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi.

If you’re a beginner that’s less interested in waterfalls and wants a stunning overlook, Roanoke has trails for you too! Read Mountain Preserve is a moderate hike that leads to Buzzard Rocks- which gives you a view of the Roanoke Valley from a new perspective.

For a more advanced hike, get out and explore Apple Orchard Falls in Arcadia, VA! The trail can be amended in length depending on where you decides to start/finish. The end is home to a beautiful waterfall–one of the tallest in Virginia. Apple Orchard Farm offers some camping spots if you’re looking to make an adventure out of the hike. Roanoke also has the access to the Appalachian Trail, which is definitely a place for more experienced hikers.

Of course, no list about Roanoke’s hikes would be complete without mentioning McAfee Knob. It’s one the most photographed places on the Appalachian Trail. It has a beautiful rock ledge that is a great photo opportunity.

Armistead emphasizes that the most important thing about hiking is not leaving a trace. She explains, “Go into the woods and make memories, but when you leave make sure no one knows you were there.” She also adds that while hiking alone is something she does often, hiking is a great family activity and is great way to spend time together.

For more information about what hikes Roanoke has to offer check out Roanoke Outside or Roanoke Play.


Written by Lilith Turman

Hears to a New (Y)ear!

Top 5 things parents need to know about pediatric hearing loss 

Today, it seems almost impossible to avoid increased noise exposure– loud music, noisy toys, vehicles, snow blowers, TVs, drills, hairdryers and more! Especially during this time of year full of celebrations and gatherings, it is a good opportunity to make sure that the youngest members of your family are prepared for the additional noise exposure.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 5 million young people between ages 6 and 19 in the U.S. have suffered permanent damage to their hearing from noise exposure. Hearing is critical for a child’s safety and development of speech, listening, learning, and social skills, so it is important to start monitoring their hearing as early as possible.

Your child may have passed a newborn screening prior to leaving the hospital, but parent should still continue to monitor and protect their hearing. Moreover, if an infant fails a screening, it is crucial to follow-up with additional hearing tests no later than three months of age.

“Missed follow-up visits are rapidly becoming one of the most common reasons children with hearing loss miss out on critical interventions and support,” said Benjamin Cable, M.D., Pediatric Otolaryngologist with Carilion Clinic. “Those interventions work to keep a child on a normal developmental path.”

As a parent or caregiver, be aware that exposing a child over time to anything louder than 85 decibels can cause damage to sensitive structures in the inner ear.

“In practical terms,” explained Dr. Cable, “Any environment where the background noise would require raised voices or shouting to communicate could potentially be damaging to children who are exposed for more than short periods of time.”

Noise-induced hearing loss is usually gradual and painless, but can be permanent. Once sensory nerve cells are damaged, they do not regenerate.

As one might expect, the risk of permanent damage is higher with longer exposure. Damage also occurs more quickly with increasing loudness. There are also non-auditory consequences of repeated noise exposure, including increased stress and irritability with reduced relaxation and concentration.

What can parents do to reduce their children’s risk of damage?

  • Avoid or limit exposure to loud sounds when possible.
  • When not possible, use hearing protection.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones are best for babies and children. Consider the child’s age as well as weight, size, comfort level and the noise cancellation rating of protectors.
  • Kids two years and under need earmuffs that are lightweight and will not put strain on neck muscles and bones. They will provide the highest level of noise cancellation.

Hearing loss including noise induced loss can be detected with a hearing test conducted by an audiologist. No child is too young for hearing testing. Agencies in the Roanoke Valley providing audiological services include:

  • Carilion Clinic Otolaryngology (540-224-5170)
  • Hearing Health Associates (540-774-4441)
  • Jefferson Surgical Clinic (540-283-6023)
  • The Hearing Clinic (540-553-8626)
  • Roanoke Valley Speech and Hearing Center (540-343-0165)

Visit www.ehdipals.org  for a national web-based directory of facilities providing pediatric audiology services.

For more information check out the following:

About the authors: Debbie Williams, Molly Brown, Emily Guill, and Megan Harrison are speech-language pathologists at Carilion Children’s Pediatric Therapy.


What We’re Reading: Wild

Wild: Endangered Animals in Living Motion (A Photicular Book) shines a spotlight on the mammals, birds, and insects currently threatened with extinction.

With Dan Kainen’s masterful Photicular technology, readers are treated to eight movie-like images of a diverse range of endangered species, including a rare Amur leopard licking its paw, a pair of gorillas at play, a young rhinoceros speeding ahead of its mother, and an elephant bathing in a river. Each scene is paired with an informative profile by science writer Kathy Wollard.

Readers will learn that an albatross can float through cold air currents for hundreds of miles without once flapping its wings, that a leopard can leap about 20 feet into the air, and that there are more than 250 species of bumblebees in existence. They will also learn about the devastating environmental and economic conditions that threaten these animals’ survival, and the steps that conservationists are taking to stop (and in some cases reverse) the damage.

Wild will be available where books are sold on September 5, but you can win a copy over on our Facebook page in August! Stay tuned!

Tour Roanoke Outdoor Adventure!

Tour Roanoke was the first group to host food and beverage tours in the Roanoke Valley. Of course, our city is rich with history to explore, and that includes the surrounding mountains and rivers. One of the more spirited ways to learn about and fall in love with southwest Virginia is by taking to the water and the trails, so Tour Roanoke decided to try something new. This year, they offer Kayak the James and Craft Beer Trips with Twin River Outfitters. Each trip includes a six mile paddle on the river to one of three local breweries. This section of the James River includes Class I & II rapids.

“All of our tours–food, beer, wine–it’s all about showcasing local Roanoke. So it was not a difficult leap from that to local recreation. The James River is an appealing location because it’s 60 miles of uninhibited river there. It is one of the longest navigable rivers on the east coast,” says Larry Landolt, founder of Tour Roanoke.

The series of three Sunday trips began last month, but they will host another on July 23. They plan for this month’s adventure to include Great Valley Farm Brewery. Located in Natural Bridge, the brewery is not only a place to appreciate local craft beer, but also offers a remarkable view.

“It’s a really cool brewery. It’s on a nice hill overlooking the mountains. You can sit on the patio and drink a beer and look down to see Safari Park,” explains Larry.

Those participating in tours this summer will be picked up at Target (located near Valley View Mall) or the downtown Visitors Center, and transported to Buchanan, where their trip will begin at Twin River Outfitters. The oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James River, they have safely conducted paddle trips since 1978. Sign up fees include equipment and instruction provided by Twin River Outfitters, and one pint or flight from the brewery on the trip.

Southwest Virginia is quickly becoming an outdoor recreation destination, and it’s not hard to understand why. With breweries popping up all over the area, the two leisure activities easily go hand in hand. For Larry and so many others, it is an unforgettable experience to escape and unwind. So, why not also take the opportunity to enjoy it with old friends and make a few new ones on the journey?

Or, as Larry says, “Let’s go do something really fun, drink beer, and talk about it.”

Can’t make it to one of the dates online? No worries! Tour Roanoke is also open to hosting private tours for up to 14 people. It’s the perfect adventure for wedding parties, birthdays, company functions, and more!

Visit www.roanokefoodtours.com for more information on how to schedule your trip, or one of their many tour options in Roanoke.

Intercept Youth Services Career Fair

Ready for a bright new career helping families in need?

Intercept Youth Services is hosting a career fair on May 23 from 12-6 pm at their Airport Road location in Roanoke. There will be openings for a variety of positions ranging from Treatment Foster Care and Community Based Counseling to Mentoring and Crisis Services. Check out their website for more information on the help they provide our area and positions available.

Grand Home Furnishings Gives Back

As consumers, nothing is more important than shopping with organizations that give back to our community. With large purchases like furniture, that sentiment is even more important. That’s why we were thrilled to hear that Grand Home Furnishings and Tempur-Pedic International will donate 130 mattresses to Take My Hand Ministries at Highland Heights Baptist Church in Rustburg on July 14.

901239_10151365570487624_317201327_oThe wheels were set in motion for this event when Tempur-Pedic International offered Grand Home Furnishings a substantial quantity of mattresses for donation to an area organization. Grand chose Take My Hand Ministries, a mission of Hyland Heights Baptist Church, because of the valuable work the church has done within the greater Lynchburg area. Their program provides home furnishings and numerous referral and counseling services to families in need.

Additionally, they help with utility bills, give out information and referrals to shelters and housing, mattresses, and household goods. The ministry provides referrals to agencies that help those with disabilities, home delivered hot meals, adult day care, and home heath care as well as referrals to free dental and eye glass clinics.

For more information on Take My Hand Ministries, please visit www.hhbc.net. To find the closest Grand Home Furnishings location to you (or to find out how to purchase your own Tempur-Pedic mattress!), go to www.grandhomefurnishings.com.

Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon

f883aecea06b97670f7fd979c17af2ae_f1115The Fourth Annual Planned Parenthood South Atlantic Spring Luncheon will be held in Charter Hall in the downtown Roanoke Market Building on Thursday, May 21 at 11:30 am.

The luncheon will include keynote speaker Jenny Black, the newly appointed president of the newly merged Planned Parenthood South Atlantic that serves women, men, and teens here on the southern East coast. Warner Dalhouse will be honored at this event. Warner is a philanthropist, founder and the former CEO of Home Town Bank and other local banks. Additionally, he was the keynote speaker at the 1991 Planned Parenthood Annual Meeting.

Actress Kathleen Turner will also be in attendance this year. Turner is the chair of the national Planned Parenthood Federation of America Board of Advocates. She is most notable from her roles in the films Peggy Sue Got Married, Romancing the Stone, and Serial Mom. She has also appeared on stage in The Graduate, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and most recently in Red Hot Patriot, a one-woman show about Texas liberal journalist, Molly Ivins.

Kathleen Turner has been a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood. About her work with the organization, she says, “As I travel the country, I’m still shocked at what I see. Attacks on women and women’s health are rampant. No woman should have to face these attacks to access the health care she desperately needs.”

Consider attending this luncheon and volunteering your time and money to this amazing organization that helps support the underserved women AND men in our area. For more information about the many services Planned Parenthood provides, visit their website.  If you are interested in obtaining tickets to their luncheon, email Rachel.Fletcher@ppsat.org.

Written by Krista Knauer

Hope and Hot Chocolate

gshThe holidays are an exciting time for many of us. However, if you are living with the grief of losing a loved one, it can be very difficult to actively participate in the festivities.

Good Samaritan Hospice provides many programs to help people experiencing loss year round. Their upcoming program, Hope and Hot Chocolate, emphasizes ways to identify and meet your own emotional needs while enjoying the meaning and spirit of the holiday season. Participants will work with grief/loss professionals and discuss topics like “normal” grief, strategies for balancing their needs with the demands of others, and ways to honor loved ones during the holidays. 

It is important to remember that you are not alone. These programs will remind you that you have permission to avoid mailing holiday cards to everyone this year. You have every right to miss events or leave early. In fact, contrary to what you may be told by friends and family, taking time to understand and experience your grief may be better for you in the long run.

Everett Collins, has participated in several of the programs offered by Good Samaritan Hospice since his wife passed away. Information they provide, like the Mourner’s Bill of Rights, has been imperative to helping him understand his grief— and it has helped him obtain the support he needs from those closest to him.

“I made a copy of the Mourner’s Bill of Rights for my friends and family. People think you should be like you were before and when you aren’t, it makes you feel crazy,” he explains. “This information helps them understand what you are going through.”

He adds that the purpose of these meetings is not to give people closure. It is to give them a better understanding of why they feel the way that they do.

The Hope and Hot Chocolate program will take place on Monday, December 1 at 6 p.m. at the Good Samaritan Hospice Office. The program is free, but pre-registration is required because seating is limited.

There are many additional groups, organized by Good Samaritan Hospice, that meet year-round to offer a safe and compassionate environment in which bereaved adults can talk to others dealing with loss and work towards a better understanding of their grief. For more information and to register, please contact Sandra Phillips at 540-776-0198, or visit www.goodsamhospice.org.