Tag Archives: road trip

Hill Crest Bed & Breakfast

The historic Hill Crest Bed & Breakfast is the perfect weekend getaway. A short hour drive from Roanoke, it welcomes guests from around the world to the picturesque landscape of the Clifton Forge mountains. Some guests come for the privacy, others to enjoy the opportunity to support local businesses, and the beautiful 107-year-old home occasionally hosts weddings. Recently, it was named one of the Top 10 Best Romantic Inns in the United States for 2017. Those who have visited consider the home a hidden treasure, but what makes it special is not limited to the setting or the architecture. The feature that will keep guests returning is the Hill Crest’s owner, Martha Crawford.

Photo Credit: Nicole of N. Nicely Photography

“I love to pamper. It brings me joy to make people happy,” she explains. “We don’t bother guests if they don’t want to be bothered, but we are friendly if they want to visit.  I like to treat people the way I want to be treated. The whole house is theirs through their stay except the kitchen and my room. They can wander, use the drawing room, the parlor, or the morning room. We have a baby grand piano, guitars, and an old Victrola in the music room.”

Martha has years of experience as a Bed & Breakfast owner in Illinois, and several years as a personal chef. She fell in love with Hill Crest from the moment she saw it for sale. Her husband joked that they should purchase the property and move from Colorado to Virginia, but the idea was one that she took seriously. She soon found that she couldn’t get the house out of her head.

“We called the real estate agent over dinner one night, and he explained that it was a very large home. If we didn’t have a job lined up, we may have to commute to Roanoke or Lexington. Then, he told us that the owner wanted to see the house turned into a bed and breakfast. In fact, it had just been zoned six months prior to be one,” Martha says.

They moved into the house on Halloween night in 2011, and have since remodeled the home to include private bathrooms for every suite. Martha is very active in community events, and the bed and breakfast will host everything from corporate events and weddings to Christmas dinners and holiday parties.

Mostly, it is a place for adults to get away from the chaos of everyday life. There are no televisions in the home, which encourages guests to focus on one another or get out and explore the region.

Photo Credit: Nicole of N. Nicely Photography

“I’ve gotten a lot of compliments that you are forced as a couple to take time and step back in the past. It is a warm, good spot to be in,” she adds.

Amenities at Hill Crest Bed & Breakfast include a swimming pool, a terraced yard with gardens, a three to five course breakfast (complete with a sit-down silver service), nightly-turn down service, and Wi-Fi. Guests can also enjoy afternoon wine on the front porch, coffee and tea service in the morning room, and even professional in-room massages. Surrounded by oak flooring, grand stairwell balustrades, columns, and crown molding that are all original to the home, it is an experience that echoes a sense of luxury from the past while embracing the unique modern leisure needs of the diverse guests welcome there. Visit www.virginiahillcrest.com for more information and to reserve your room.

Photo Credit for Featured Photo: Nicole of N. Nicely Photography

 

P.S. Hill Crest Bed & Breakfast will host New World ~ Old World Winery Tours June-October 2017!

The tours will begin at the historic Bed & Breakfast where guests can get to know one another at a wine reception on Friday night. They will also meet their wine connoisseur, Angelia Wengert, who will accompany them to various wineries in the Shenandoah Valley via limousine service.

The next morning, they will be served a seven course breakfast by candlelight and with fine silver. After visiting three to four wineries on Saturday, guests can participate in a wine pairing in the evening. They are asked to bring a bottle of wine back to share with their new friends.

Sunday morning, they will be served another seven course breakfast, offered a 2 o’clock checkout, and have the option of purchasing an in-room massage for two.

Book your reservations now by calling 385-201-4106. Ask for group discounts!

 

Embracing Summer on the Road

Summertime is popular time for travel: no school for kids, no packing heavy coats and boots, no denying that the iced-coffee in your cup holder will be consumed faster than your go-to cappuccino. It’s a great feeling to pack up the car, hit the road, and breathe in the warm, flowing air of the day ahead. Depending on where you’re headed, you could be in the car for quite some time.
To prepare you for all the best, somewhat-spontaneous and impromptu road trips this season, I’ve compiled a short list of my gotta-have-em’s for the road (or the air, or the train, or the camping trail).

Portable phone charger
When you’re on the go, especially in the car, it’s easy to find yourself scrolling through the day’s latest tweets and posts on your smart phone to pass the time. With music, maps, and camera all accessible at your fingertips–it’s understandably enticing–and arguably necessary for some. That battery will drain fast if you’re not careful, leaving you phoneless upon arriving to your destination, out and about.
To avoid any miscommunication with friends and family, I pack a portable phone charger: light, easy-to-store in a bag or purse, and at times, a total lifesaver.

No-mess snacks (high in protein and, of course, water)
If you’ve ever found yourself in the seat of a car for multiple hours, you’re probably familiar with the pains of ‘road munchies.’ Always hitting when you least expect them, cravings of salty, vending machine chips and chocolate-covered-something’s from the gas station checkout lines will wash over you like a wave of mini-vans on the way to Myrtle Beach.
To avoid unnecessary stops and overpriced filler-foods, try packing a few protein bars, nuts, or other non-messy snacks that are high in protein to get you through your trip. You’ll save money, time and feel more alert as you chug along to your next destination. Don’t forget to hydrate too, always keeping water on hand.

IMG_8205Upbeat music
I’m all too familiar with the car slump that comes from static conversations and repetitive, rolling window scenery. Wake yourself up, get excited for the trip ahead and laugh with friends and family over some classic, throwback tunes.
The high-energy music puts anxious travelers in a good mood, passes the time, and leaves the car feeling more energized and happy – because yes, we all know the collective, previous state of forehead-pressed-against-window wasn’t doing much for the car’s energy.

A pillow
We are human, and when in the car for extended periods of time, we will sleep. Be sure to pack a small travel pillow or blanket to rest your head against in the tight space. This will prevent any neck pains of headaches from unexpected bumps and unnatural positions of rest.
Your neck will thank you later and friends will dub you ‘pro-traveler’ of the group when you show up prepared, relaxed, and excited for the trip ahead!

Written by Emily McCaul

Celebrating the LEAF Festival!

Festival season is right around the corner, and we couldn’t be more excited! We can’t wait for North Carolina’s LEAF Festival, a four-day event benefitting local artists and musicians, from May 12-15.
The 42nd LEAF Festival will take place in Black Mountain, North Carolina. For over 20 years, each May and October, an intergenerational family of 12,000 people join together upon the beautiful Lake Eden land to experience the power that music, art, and culture has to transform lives, strengthen community, and foster unity.

Sponsored by LEAF Community Arts, a nonprofit organization, all festival profit and donations go towards music and arts education programming both locally and globally. According to their website, since 2004 LEAF Schools & Streets has served over 45,000 youth with programs in over 20 Western North Carolina locations while LEAF International features cultural preservation programs in over 10 countries worldwide.

maxresdefaultThis year, LEAF’s theme is “World Fusion with Cuban Spice.” The lineup includes Juan De Marcos & The Afro-Cuban All-Stars, Shovels & Rope, Fatoumata Diawara, Danay Suarez, Dakha Brakha, Sarah Jarosz, Marchfourth!, Perdition Martinez, and more!

Guests will also have the opportunity to experience over 50 free of charge healing arts workshops. They include yoga, dance, martial arts classes, nutrition workshops, diverse healing traditions, ancient earth skills, and plant walks.

If you’re like us, one of the things we look forward to the most about this time of year is festival food. You’ll find many delicious local options throughout festival grounds, where vendors are divided into the following culinary sections: Boathouse, Shipside, Lakeside, Eden Hall, Roots Family Stage, The Barn, and Meadow Green. One vendor, Homegrown, has a menu that includes a fried chicken sandwich, a smoked trout wrap, a pimento cheese wrap, and smoked pork tacos with slaw. Start the day with organic fair trade coffees, hot chocolate, cookies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, or cake made with 100% organic flour and all-natural or organic ingredients from Bus Station & West End Bakery. Adults can also purchase local brews from Highland Brewing Company, New Belgium, and Pisgah Brewing Company. Of note, you can not bring outside alcohol to the festival—but you can buy fairly-priced ice and beer by the case and/or boxed wine at the Eden Field Camping drop-off.

LKVFacePaintFancyHM-copyThe LEAF festival is also kid-friendly! Family activities include crafts, educational arts, performances, a Jelly Dome Adventure, and a variety of sports in the World Wide Play Field.
If you are interested in learning more about LEAF, go to www.theleaf.org. You can also download their app. This option is perfect for festival attendees because it works offline and offers a schedule of events, dates and location information, and a map of the event layout.

Head over to our Facebook page for information on how to WIN tickets!

Putting the Fun Back in Family Road Trips!

On family road trips, do you spend the entire drive listening to the music your kids prefer, playing their favorite games and generally doing everything you can to keep them content – and peaceful – in the car?

It happens with the best intentions, but too often parents sacrifice their own enjoyment to keep the kids happy, thinking they can’t please everyone. Fortunately, with some creativity and the right travel “tools,” it’s possible for everyone to enjoy the drive.

Here are some ways parents can reclaim their fun on the family road trip:

* Expand musical horizons. Sure, you want everyone to connect with each other in the car and enjoy all the sights they’ll see. But it’s also okay to set aside some non-talk time. Pop in music they’ve never heard of and introduce the kids to different musical genres. There are a variety of songs out there that are kid-friendly. Do some research before your trip– you may even find a few new songs to enjoy yourself!

* Find an audio book that appeals to all. Bestsellers, non-fiction, self-help and children’s titles – audio books offer a great way for everyone to participate in the fun, including the driver. Look for material with age-appropriate content if you’ll all be listening together. “Borrowing” books through an exchange service is a great way to access a variety of titles. Cracker Barrel offers a service that allows you to get an audio book at one  location and return it at any other Cracker Barrel in the country. When you return the audio book, you’ll receive a full refund less an exchange fee of $3.49 for every week you kept the book. Visit www.crackerbarrel.com to learn more.

* Introduce kids to games from your childhood. Playing games is a great way to pass time in the car, but if you dread the thought of playing one more princess- or shape-shifting-robot-themed game, why not introduce the kids to games you loved as a child? Many require nothing more than your imagination, like group storytelling or license-plate bingo. Others like the low-tech classic peg game or Simon, the original electronic memory game you played as a kid, travel well in the car and provide challenging fun for all ages.

* Pack a snack bag with everyone in mind. Everyone will get hungry on the road, so if it’s not yet time for a stop, a snack bag can save the day. Pack with balanced nutrition and broad appeal in mind. Travel-friendly options like fruit and whole-grain snacks can be appetizing and satisfying. Be sure to toss in a few sweet treats for some extra fun. Look for nostalgic options that will appeal to kids while reminding adults of their own childhood, like Moon Pies or Cracker Jacks. 

Whether you are packing up to go visit a family member over the weekend this fall, or preparing early for a holiday getaway, these tips are sure to help your trip be a little less stressful for everyone involved!

Adventure Awaits!

Summer and fun – while these words aren’t technically synonyms, they probably should be. School is out for the children, you have summer vacation time from work stocked up, and the nice weather across the country is beckoning.

Are you in search of some fun ideas for your summer activities? Check out these family-friendly ideas everyone will love!

Camp – Sleeping under the stars is just the first great benefit of going on a camping adventure. You can plan plenty of fun and kid-friendly activities to keep you busy all summer long. Hiking, cooking over the campfire, fishing, swimming, catching fireflies, telling ghost stories and toasting marshmallows all add to the fun. Just remember to pack plenty of bug spray and sunblock so your fun doesn’t get interrupted by painful or itchy skin.

Ride the Trails – Taking the family for an ATV ride is an adventure all in itself. You get to see the country in a new way, plus you’ll have fun trekking across the countryside. However, we recommend riding with an experienced driver and ALWAYS follow all safety precautions, including wearing a helmet.

Develop a Family Project – It’s always fun to spend time together as a family working on a project. Let your imagination run wild and see where it takes you. If you want to explore your creative talents, consider producing a short play or movie. Everyone can get involved in writing the script, the acting, set creation and finding the perfect costumes. Or consider participating in a community service project. Maybe you have an organization close to your heart you could raise money to help support. Ask the organization if there is something your family can help with this summer.

Road Trip – A themed road trip can create a lot of excitement for your family members. For example, maybe you want to create a theme of seeing all the odd tourist attractions like the world’s largest ball of twine or the country’s biggest collection of autographed baseballs. Perhaps you want to visit as many national parks as you can. Have your children help with the planning and you’ll have a very interesting road trip adventure.

Museums – Make it an educational summer by planning visits to all the museums in the nearest city. Include the local zoos and planted gardens on the list, and you’ll be sure to pique the interest of every member of your family. Plan for one family museum visit a month or every other week, and combine it with a family dinner out or a picnic in the park.

You can combine several of these ideas together for even more fun this summer. So whether you go camping, road tripping, or tour museums, you know every member of the family will enjoy the summer activities!

Weekend Getaway in Lewisburg

In our June issue, we mention Lewisburg, West Virginia as a great weekend getaway for couples or families. A two hour drive from Roanoke, it has so much to offer including a rich history of which too many are unaware. The Greenbrier Historical Society’s Home and Garden Tour on Saturday, June 13 is the perfect opportunity to explore the city and learn about the earliest recorded history of the Greenbrier Valley.

One of Greenbrier Valley’s early treasure houses is situated on a bluff above the Greenbrier River near the Greenbrier River Trail. Built in 1796 of stone, this venerable structure served as the home of Benjamin Grigsby, the second pastor of the Old Stone Presbyterian Church in Lewisburg. The site was beautifully located on a bluff overlooking the Greenbrier River. Reverend Grigsby left his ministry at Old Stone in 1801 for a new call in Norfolk and his property passed through many hands before becoming the home of the Totten Family in 1902.

More recently, it was thoughtfully restored by Richard and Judy Lewis as a Bed and Breakfast Inn. Later, the panoramic views and proximity to Camp Allegheny attracted Dr. and Mrs. David Hunt to purchase the property and make it their own.

The home features gracious living room and dining rooms with fireplaces and an entry hall with murals depicting local history painted by Judy Lewis. The superlative kitchen is state of the art seamlessly blended into the fabric of the early structure. Outdoor spaces are appealingly integrated into the terrain.

An example of the “noggin” used between the logs of the oldest house in Lewisburg owned by Glen and Carol Jewell.
An example of the “noggin” used between the logs of the oldest house in Lewisburg owned by Glen and Carol Jewell.

“Comfortable, convenient, and colorful” is how Glen and Carol Jewell describe their house built by Jesse B. Bowlin in 1784 on “Hardscrabble Hill”. It is the oldest surviving house in Lewisburg. It certainly lives up to those descriptors now that the Jewells have nearly completed their renovation.

Just imagine seeing exposed logs that were put in place before the United States was born; a fireplace surround from 1750; a dining room ceiling that has never been painted; and whitewash or bright colonial colors throughout. The modern kitchen has cleverly hidden conveniences and room for a gourmet cook.

Many of the special touches were created by Mr. Jewel whose skill as a wood worker is apparent in the furniture he has made as well as his ability to add modern conveniences while making them look like they belong.

Mrs. Jewell’s love of fine fabric is apparent in the upholstery materials and window treatments. She had one room painted to showcase a set of crewel bed hangings which will soon be installed.

For more information on the tour, please call the Greenbrier Historical Society at 304-645-3398. Tickets, available at the North House Museum and the Greenbrier Convention and Visitors Bureau, are $50 for the gala on Friday evening, $30 for the Homes tour on Saturday, and $10 for the church tour and concert on Sunday afternoon. A combination ticket can be purchased for $80. The lunch at the church is a separately ticketed event and tickets are available for $10. Both the gala and church lunch tickets must be purchased in advance and by Monday, June 8Saturday Home Tour tickets and Sunday Church Tour and Concert tickets may be purchased at the door.

Be sure to pick up a copy of our June Travel issue for more great weekend trip ideas to consider this summer!

 

 

Turn a New Leaf: Family Road Trip

With the cooler temperatures of autumn flowing in, many Americans will be hitting the road to discover the natural beauty that the season brings. Whether they crave adventure, want to see the fall foliage or are just getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, families need to be prepared to ensure they are getting the most out of this travel season.

“When it comes to fall travel, there is no experience quite like the autumn day drive – it’s your last taste of crisp air and warm colors before the blanket of winter hibernation sets in,” says Editor in Chief of “Road & Travel Magazine,” Courtney Caldwell. “The keys to a successful road trip lay within the amount of preparation you do for your family and vehicle before you put either into motion.”

Nothing puts a damper on a weekend getaway like car issues that could have easily been prevented by simple maintenance.

The American Petroleum Institute’s (API) Motor Oil Matters (MOM) program has been established to provide information to consumers on the importance of using high quality motor oils, and verifying the oils are properly identified on invoices and receipts. Oil-change locations and motor oil distributors that share MOM’s commitment – and submit to independent, third-party auditing – have the opportunity to be recognized by MOM through the Motor Oil Matters distributor and installer licensing programs.

MOM and Caldwell recommend fall travelers arm themselves with a simple plan of action and preparation to help get to their destination:

Don’t fall behind on your vehicle maintenance:

* Change that oil: Motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine. One of the simplest steps you can take to ensure your vehicle is maintained is to change your motor oil with an API-licensed motor oil that meets your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. Be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, and make sure your value-priced oil change includes high quality motor oil. MOM has put together a checklist for consumers, to ensure they are confident when going into a shop. To download this checklist, please visit www.motoroilmatters.org.

* Breathe free: Replacing a dirty air filter can increase a vehicle’s life expectancy and fuel efficiency by reducing the strain on the engine, especially during warmer months.

* Check your tires: Pay attention to your tire pressure and tread depth, as they are essential for increased automotive safety and optimum driving performance. The lower the tread depth is on your tires, the less traction you will have on wet and dry roads, and the greater the distance you will need to stop.

Enjoy more than the season:

* Keeping everyone happy: Write out a packing list for each family member. Store these lists on your computer so you can adjust them for different seasons and trips. Kids can be easily entertained during long car rides in the backseat with trivia, coloring books, games, books, assorted toys and stuffed animals.

* Stop and pop: Bathroom breaks are always a good thing. They force you to get out of the car and talk with locals. A 10-minute break every two hours also increases alertness and adds to the overall sight-seeing experience.

* Expect the unexpected: Always have a car-safety kit packed for you and your family. It should contain: an auto escape tool, blankets, cell phone charger, cleaning items, flashlight, jumper cables, matches, pencil and notepad, warning lights or road flares, bottled water, non-perishable items and drinks, extra (hidden) cash, and a well-equipped first aid kit.

* Keep it clean: Save and bring a handful of plastic grocery bags in the car to use for trash, damp clothes, or a “sick” bag for any car-sick passengers.

For more tips and to read about potential travel destinations, visit www.roadandtravel.com. For more information on MOM and to download MOM’s Oil Change Checklist, and the importance of using high quality motor oil, go to www.motoroilmatters.org. Be sure to also check them out on Facebook and Twitter (@motoroilmatters) for the most recent updates and news.