Midlothian Living

Opening doors to life in Midlothian, VA

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Changing Addresses

mailboxDid you know that the average homeowner moves every five to seven years? That can add up to quite a few moves in a lifetime. While moving can have some benefits like getting rid of the old and starting fresh, experiencing new communities, and making new friends, moving can also bring with it a number of headaches.

There is a laundry list of items to schedule when planning for a move. One of the most important items is to make sure you file for change of address so that there is no interruption in your mail service so that you receive bills, letters, and other correspondence that is integral to your everyday life.

The following change of address tips from American Lifestyle Magazine may serve to help you in this task:



Moving is an exciting, but often stressful life event. Between packing and attending the closing, important details can be overlooked—like changing your address.

Use this checklist to ensure that all essential people and places are informed of your new move to prevent any major headaches like lost mail and lapses in service.

Financial Services and Documents

  • Bank/credit card companies
  • Loan agreements
  • Insurance companies
  • Financial advisor
  • Accountant
  • Lawyer
  • Mortgage broker/real estate agent

Employment and Education

  • Employer(s), employee(s)
  • Clients/business relationships
  • Insurance
  • Pension and other retirement accounts
  • Current colleges or education providers
  • Alma maters
  • Child care provider(s)
  • Child’s school and after-school activities

Government Offices and Documents

  • Post office
  • Drivers license (DVLA)
  • Vehicle registration (DMV)
  • Voter registration
  • Social security administration
  • Passports
  • Department of revenue

Utility and Service Providers

  • Electricity provider
  • Gas supplier
  • Cable/satellite provider
  • Water company
  • Trash removal service
  • Internet provider
  • Cell phone provider

Family, Pets, Groups, and Other

  • Health care providers
  • Pharmacies
  • Veterinarians
  • Pet insurance company
  • Pet tags
  • Churches
  • Community groups
  • Memberships
  • Rewards programs
  • Subscriptions
  • Return address labels/business cards
  • Friends and family

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Get Slimed this St. Patrick’s Day

751fc57c9a988757392e7e000ef17c79--st-patties-day-st-pattysThese kids today! I am sure as the parent of any child under the age of 14 you may be more concerned about the amount of time they spend on electronic devices, visiting questionable social media sites, or playing those dreaded video games. You are probably less concerned if that they may be creating something artistic or performing a science experiment.

However, if you are the parent of a child who is engrossed in the current wave of slime and putty making (a combination of artistry and science), you may have some concerns. Particularly concerning about the surfaces of your home, what might end up coating your tile or hardwoods, or ground into your upgraded carpet, or pasted to your son’s favorite pair of pants. Or maybe you are thinking you should buy stock in the glue and Borax markets. And if they are into making “fancy” slime, then you may be constantly vacuuming up mini beads and glitter. Oh, the glitter! The glitter that you find absolutely everywhere.

But honestly, there could be worse things they could be doing I suppose. They could be blowing up my home with chemistry experiments or exploding soda bottles, or catching the yard trees on fire with homemade bottle rockets. Forget video games and social media folks … your children could be interested in “science” instead.

So, in homage to you parents who, though exasperated by the slime craze, would prefer sticky glue creations to walking video zombies, here are two St. Patrick’s Day inspired slime recipes to share with your kiddos. You can find these and more on: http://www.kiwico.com

Pot O’ Gold Slime

Pot O' Gold Slime

Create an amazing, oozing mix of ingredients that encourages sensory play. Don’t worry about getting a little messy, because who doesn’t like slime?



5 – 16


Est. Time:


<30 mins

Materials List

  1. mixing bowl
  2. liquid starch
  3. clear glue
  4. measuring cup
  5. popsicle stick
  6. glitter – gold
  7. liquid watercolor – yellow, or yellow food coloring
  8. plastic bag



How we did it:

  1. Step 1

    Gather your materials.

  2. Step 2

    Pour ¼ cup of liquid starch into the mixing bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Add gold glitter and liquid watercolor to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Step 4

    Add a little over ¼ cup of clear glue to the bowl.

  5. Step 5

    Start mixing the slime with your hands! It might take a while for the slime to feel like slime. Don’t worry – just be patient and keep mixing!

  6. Step 6

    When your slime starts to look stringy (about 5 minutes of mixing), put it in a plastic bag, squeeze out any excess air, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Step 7

    Take the slime out of the plastic bag, knead it a bit, and start playing!


Shamrock Slime

Shamrock Slime

Create an amazing, oozing mix of ingredients that encourages sensory play. Don’t worry about getting a little messy, because who doesn’t like slime?


5 – 16


Est. Time:


<30 mins
  • Materials List

    1. mixing bowl
    2. liquid starch
    3. clear glue
    4. measuring cup
    5. popsicle stick
    6. sequins – green
    7. liquid watercolor – green
    8. plastic bag


How we did it:

  1. Step 1

    Gather your materials.

  2. Step 2

    Pour ¼ cup of liquid starch into the mixing bowl.

  3. Step 3

    Add sequins and liquid watercolor to the bowl and mix well.

  4. Step 4

    Add a little over ¼ cup of clear glue to the bowl.

  5. Step 5

    Start mixing the slime with your hands! It might take a while for the slime to feel like slime. Don’t worry – just be patient and keep mixing!

  6. Step 6

    When your slime starts to look stringy (about 5 minutes of mixing), put it in a plastic bag, squeeze out any excess air, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

  7. Step 7

    Take the slime out of the plastic bag, knead it a bit, and start playing!


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Hooray for Pi Day!

maxresdefaultimage: youtube

Did you know that today, March 14th, is recognized as Pi Day? Do you know the significance of Pi Day? Are you one of those mathematically-inclined people who like to celebrate Pi Day in unique ways, like standing in line at your favorite pie shop for hours for the pie of the day on Pi Day, or hosting a “Make Your Own Pizza Pie” party?

Some fun facts about Pi Day:

Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Pi has been calculated to over one trillion digits beyond its decimal point. As an irrational and transcendental number, it will continue infinitely without repetition or pattern. While only a handful of digits are needed for typical calculations, Pi’s infinite nature makes it a fun challenge to memorize, and to computationally calculate more and more digits.

(the above is shared from http://www.piday.org)

Some fun observances of Pi Day include:

Pi Day has been observed in many ways, including eating piethrowing pies and discussing the significance of the number π, due to a pun based on the words “pi” and “pie” being homophones in English ( /p/), and the coincidental circular nature of a pie.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has often mailed its application decision letters to prospective students for delivery on Pi Day. Starting in 2012, MIT has announced it will post those decisions (privately) online on Pi Day at exactly 6:28 pm, which they have called “Tau Time”, to honor the rival numbers pi and tau equally. In 2015, the regular decisions were put online at 9:26 AM, following that year’s “pi moment”.

Princeton, New Jersey, hosts numerous events in a combined celebration of Pi Day and Albert Einstein‘s birthday, which is also March 14. Einstein lived in Princeton for more than twenty years while working at the Institute for Advanced Study. In addition to pie eating and recitation contests, there is an annual Einstein look-alike contest.

(the above as stated on wikipedia.com)

However you celebrate Pi Day, have fun and channel your inner mathematician!

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Cleaning with a Purpose

spring-cleaning (1)As an addendum to our previous notes on important projects to tackle around the home before spring, we would like to add some other cleaning tasks that can often be overlooked. These are cleaning items that will freshen your home and add some sparkle to the winter dullness.

So, on the next rainy weekend, get moving, attack these areas, and by Sunny Monday, you’ll be breathing easy. Houselogic.com is a great resource for handy home tips. Enjoy!

9 Spring Cleaning Tasks That Homeowners Tend to Overlook

One that seems to skip everyone’s mind? The vacuum cleaner.

No matter how hard you try, it’s easy to overlook some spots when you spring clean — because you’re blind to what you see and use every day in your own home.

So before you say you’re done with your spring cleaning, check to see if you missed any of these tasks:

#1 Clean and Inspect Your Vacuum

Woman vacuuming her houseImage: Heshphoto/Image Source/Offset

A clogged and For a Fresh-Smelling VacuumAdd a sprinkle of baking soda to absorb odors, or cinnamon for a pleasant scent, to the bag or the bagless container.dirty vacuum can undo any cleaning you’ve done the minute you switch it on. Blame it on that stinky odor that only vacuums seem to emit.

Best to clean it first:

  • Change the bag and wipe down the bag’s holder or empty and thoroughly wash the bagless container with a soapy damp rag.
  • Wipe down the entire vacuum.
  • Pull debris from the vacuum’s brushes and wipe out the underside as much as you can.
  • Change the filter.
  • Inspect the hose for holes.

This goes for your wet/dry vacuum, and handheld one, too, if you have them.

#2 Clean the Undersides of Surfaces

Dog sitting on colorful striped rugImage: Ellen Mertens

The bottoms and underside edges of dining tables, kitchen countertops, and high-chair trays can get pretty sticky.

While you’re at it, if your table has leaves, wipe down those alarmingly icky cracks, too. Don’t question what the mystery gunk is: Just clean it and forget it.

Related: Other Spots To Focus on If You’ve Got Kids

#3 Dispose of Dried-Out Paints, Adhesives, Etc.

Check with your city or county for a spring toxic waste disposal event and plan to do your spring cleaning before that day. That way, you can responsibly get rid of all those dried-out cans of adhesives, varnishes, paints, and finishes clogging up your storage space and your DIY workspace.

Related: Tips for Tidying Up and Organizing Your DIY Workspace

#4 Pitch Outdated Pantry Staples

Vintage spice cans to be recycled for storageImage: Chris Tincher

Basics like flour, vinegar, and sauces that are past their expiration date lose flavor, and anything containing oil, like nuts, can go rancid.

To bring a bigger bang to your recipes, also replace any dried spices that have been open longer than a year. Going forward, you can buy smaller portions where bulk spices are sold, so you always have a fresh supply.

#5 Clean the Crevices in Kitchen Appliances

A gas stovetop with food crumbs, green teapotImage: Jamie Bonilla

Even if you wipe your appliances daily, gunk and crumbs can hide in nooks and crannies — like behind the knobs and under the grill on the range, and cracks around your dishwasher buttons.

You shouldn’t need more than some baking soda and soapy water — along with an old toothbrush to reach into crevices — to banish the eww factor.

Related: A Quick Guide for a Deep-Clean Kitchen

#6 Give Houseplants a Shower (and Clean the Spots Where They Live)

Take all your plants outside for a nice cleansing shower on a drizzly day. Then inside, tackle the spots where they live: the floor, shelf, countertop. Clean the walls and baseboards, too. And check for water damage. A cracked pot or chronic overwatering can allow moisture and dirt to leach out.

Related: A Cleaning Guide for Homes With Houseplants

#7 Sanitize Trash Cans

It’s inevitable that sometimes icky stuff leaks out and crumbs make their way around the bag. But in the rush to get the new bag in there, cleaning it up often gets forgotten. And the can’s lid: Have you looked at it, really looked at it lately? Yuck.

Sanitize with a mixture of soap and bleach (don’t forget to wear gloves!) and, if your can is stowed in a cabinet, use a vacuum attachment to suck up dust and crumbs inside the cabinet box. And wash the cabinet, too. There’s almost always yucky stuff there.

#8 Disinfect Door Knobs and Light Switches

In our quest to clean the deepest crevices of our homes, many of us forget the stuff right under our fingertips all day long. Literally.

Light switches, door knobs, cabinet handles, and remotes are some of the germiest places in your house. You almost can’t clean them enough.

#9 Wash Grocery Totes

And speaking of yuck, when is the last time you cleaned your reusable grocery bags? Studies have found bacteria easily moves from your bags to your fridge, countertops, etc. — increasing the chances of food poisoning and cross-contamination.

Throw them in the washer or wash by hand with hot, soapy water.

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Celebrating Women

womens_history_month_20151There are so many wonderful things to celebrate throughout the year, especially historical accomplishments. That includes celebrating amazing women who have overcome gender bias and inequality in the workplace, in sports, and throughout other arenas in society to become women of strength and resilience who made a name for themselves and set the stage for those who came after them.

March is Women’s History Month, but it is not only a time to look back at those who made it possible for women to succeed now, but to celebrate women of today who are setting the bar ever higher. The women profiled in the following article from American Lifestyle Magazine are breaking barriers and conquering goals right and left. These are some of the women who will make the world a better place for the young women who follow in their footsteps.

Be sure to celebrate the women in your own lives who make a difference everyday!

International Women’s Day is upon us, and with it, time to reflect and acknowledge all the women in our lives doing incredible things. These are just a few of the fearless female leaders making waves in a number of industries.

Emily Weiss

Founder and CEO of Glossier, Weiss has built a beauty empire and a devoted following that many brands have tried, and failed, to match. She wanted women buying the brand’s products to feel like they were “friends” with Glossier, rather than having it be just another beauty product on the shelf. Innovative and engaging, Glossier is here to stay, and so is founder Emily Weiss.

Ashley McCollum


Chances are, you’ve stumbled upon a Buzzfeed Tasty video from time to time, if not everyday. Reaching well over a billion monthly views on these easily digestible (pun intended) videos, Tasty is on an upward rise, and McCollum is at the head of it all. She resides as Buzzfeed’s General Manager for the Tasty brand, with everything from a TV show to an app to even more cookbooks on the horizon.

Gwynne Shotwell

President and COO of SpaceX, Shotwell is inspiring millions to pursue their dreams of getting into a STEM field. Having worked with Elon Musk for over 15 years, she acts as the calm to his storm, balancing out his risk-taking leadership methods. She also stresses the importance of a work-life balance, which in a company like SpaceX, is often not at the forefront of their most well-known aspects. But for women in tech, Shotwell is shattering ceilings left and right.

Anne Wojcicki

If 23andMe rings a bell, or modern DNA testing in general, you can thank Anne Wojcicki for making the swabbing of spit a trendy and cool thing to do. A self-proclaimed Silicon Valley nerd, Wojcicki has been head of 23andMe since its inception in 2006—where a multi-million dollar investment from Google helped kick it into gear. Since then, Anne has been at the helm of this futuristic company, and it continues to change the name of the DNA game daily. 

Amy Levin

When Amy didn’t see any opportunities to get into fashion, she made one for herself. In 2009, CollegeFashionista began—a community of college students who come together to write blog posts, take stylistic photos, and boost their resume skills with fashion-related content. Acquired by Clique Media Group in 2016, what Levin started as a way to get her foot in the door of an industry she loved has since turned into a nationwide team.

Along with those mentioned, there are countless other leaders in a vast array of industries paving the way for women to be bold and daring in the face of adversity.

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DIY Cleaners for a Healthy Home


In an age of too many choices in various segments of living, there are some people who prefer to turn back time a bit to a more simple life. That includes putting aside products that are produced with man-made materials and infused with harmful chemicals for those that are organic and made from nature. Many homeowners are choosing to infuse their daily lives with homemade products, especially cleansers that still tackle the job just as easily as those you can buy off the shelf.

If you are one of those homeowners who prefer to do it your way, you might want to try some of these homemade recipes from houselogic.com.

7 Super-Easy Cleaning Recipes for the Most Awesome-Smelling Home

Essential oils are the key to these sweet-smelling (and highly effective!) homemade cleaners.

If you get light-headed just reading the ingredients on your cleaning products, take heart: There’s another way.

These make-in-minutes, super-cheap recipes create potions that use sweet-smelling essential oils that won’t fumigate your home, while having superpowers to fight grime and bacteria.

And much like a food recipe you may try, you can modify the oils to suit your own olfactory senses.

Citrusy All-Purpose Cleaner

  • 15 drops of essential oil of lemon
  • 5 drops essential oil of sweet orange
  • 5 drops essential oil of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups Why Use Filtered Water?It doesn’t leave a residue like regular tap water can. Distilled works, too.filtered water

Funnel all these ingredients into a spray bottle, seal, and gently shake. There’ll be a battle of odors here, with the acidic vinegar likely winning out against the sweet-smelling oils, but don’t let this deter you.

The vinegar scent disappears quickly, but that citrusy, herby zing lingers on. And these oils aren’t just there for their scent alone. Lemon oil is a natural disinfectant, orange oil busts grease, and rosemary oil has some antibacterial and antiseptic qualities.

Lemon-Scented Window Cleaner

  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 10 drops essential oil of lemon

Mix all these ingredients in a Invest in Dark Glass Spray BottlesIt’ll protect the oils from breaking down. Plus, plastic bottles can leach chemicals into your potions.spray bottle.

Spray on any glass surface and polish in with a microfiber cloth. You’ll have sparkling panes and mirrors in no time, and that wondrous essential oil of lemon will kill off the bacteria left behind by mucky fingerprints.

Eucalyptus Toilet Bowl Cleaner

  • 25 drops essential oil of eucalyptus
  • 1/3 cup Castile soap
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 1/3 cups baking soda

Fill a squeeze bottle with the water, baking soda, and eucalyptus oil. Aside from having a deliciously fresh aroma, eucalyptus is a natural germicide.

Seal the bottle and shake. Next, add the Castile soap. Shake again. Squeeze around the bowl. Leave for 15 minutes, then scrub with a toilet brush, flush, and you’re done.

Lavender-Thyme Dish Cleaner

  • 20 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 10 drops essential oil of thyme
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1 cup liquid Castile soap
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda

This one does require some stovetop time: Bring the water to a boil, then mix in the oils (thyme and tea tree goes to war on salmonella while emitting a pleasant aroma along with lavender). Add the rest of the ingredients slowly, and remove from heat and allow to cool.

Once cooled, pour into a squeeze bottle. Shake gently before using.

Peppermint-Lavender Floor Cleaner

  • 5 drops essential oil of peppermint
  • 5 drops essential oil of lavender
  • 5 drops of essential oil of tea tree
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Pour the vinegar into a bucket, fill that bucket up with hot water and add the oils.

Works on stone, tile, and wooden floors. Not only is peppermint oil anti-bacterial, many believe it can deter mice and other pests.

Tea tree oil is antibacterial, an antiseptic, and antifungal. And, not only is lavender oil antibacterial, its aroma has soothing properties to calm your whole household.

Lavender Linen Spray

  • 6 drops of essential oil of lavender
  • 2 tablespoons witch hazel
  • Filtered water

Fill a spray bottle with the witch hazel and lavender, shake, top up with water, shake again, and spray.

Cinnamon and Sandalwood Air Freshener

  • 10 drops essential oil of cinnamon
  • 10 drops oil of sandalwood
  • 1 cup filtered water

A spritz of this subtle-but-effective scent erases stinks in seconds. Fill a spray bottle with the water and the oils. Cinnamon scent boosts brain power and sandalwood is calming, perfect for a hardworking, stressed out home!

Essential oils do mix, so if any of the scents in these recipes don’t appeal, you can play around with other oils. Just keep the quantities the same. So if you switched sandalwood for essential oil of orange in this air freshener, stick to the 10 drops specified in the recipe.

Related: The Laundry Detergent Recipe That Works Best

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Highways and Byways and Beauty

fag0q2zevskrmyujyvvsimage: Allen Cressler

Growing up as a child of the 70s meant that much of our travel involved riding in cars. Some people traveled by bus or train, and fewer people traveled by air, but traveling by car was the way to really see your surroundings. Even when we weren’t heading away on a trip we still spent considerable time in the car, especially on the weekends.

We might have been heading to a ball game on a Friday or Saturday. And, on Sundays, we would drive to church and afterwards take a drive through the country to my paternal grandparents home for lunch and family time. Many Sundays we would leave those grandparents to drive toward the river and visit with our other grandparents before going home for Sunday evening activities and preparing for the week ahead.

But, if we had some down time, my father loved to get in the car and hit the open road for leisurely drives through the country or to the mountains for some scenery. I grew up in North Carolina which is not so different from Virginia. Both enjoy gorgeous scenery from Coast to mountain range.

So, if you like to hit the open road on occasion, why not head to the Shenandoah Valley for some breathtaking views? Here are some great stopping points as compiled by blog,virginia.org:

The Top 5 Scenic Drives In The Shenandoah Valley (And Where To Stop Along The Way)

by Visit Staunton | Posted: Feb 17, 2018 | Updated: Mar 1, 2018


Cradled by the Blue Ridge and the Allegheny Mountains, Virginia’s 140-mile Shenandoah Valley is laced with some of the most spectacular thoroughfares in state. One of the most historic corridors in Virginia, the valley features everything from colonial-era towns to Civil War battlefields, providing a portal to some of the state’s best outdoor recreational opportunities and access to the Shenandoah National Park, the George Washington National Forest, and the Shenandoah River. Today’s Shenandoah Valley is a diverse place, sprinkled with charming towns, wineries, craft breweries, and infinite outdoor adventures. So load up the car and explore Virginia’s most stunning landscapes with one of these epic road trips.

Blue Ridge Parkway

One of the most spectacular motorways in America, the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway runs through mountainous corridors of Virginia and North Carolina, linking the Shenandoah National Park with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Shenandoah Valley’s portion of the parkway stretches between Waynesboro and Natural Bridge, and includes a number of iconic highlights.

Stock up for your tour at the Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft—and then hit the parkway. South of the Waynesboro, visit the Humpback Rocks Recreation Area (milepost 5.8). Tackle the quad-burning, mile-long ascent of Humpback Rocks for sweeping views of the northern Blue Ridge from atop the 3,080-foot greenstone pinnacle. Next, continue to one of the parkway’s gems—the sandy swimming beach at 25-acre Sherando Lake. Cap off the day with a wine tasting at any of the vineyards around the parkway’s northern entrance, like Barren Ridge Vineyards, in Fishersville, or the Ox-Eye Vineyards in downtown Staunton.

Skyline Drive

Take in the view from 3,514 feet at Mary’s Rock.
Take in the view from 3,514 feet at Mary’s Rock.

Adam Fagen

Bisecting the 200,000-acre Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive showcases one of Virginia’s most spectacular natural wonders. The 105-mile roadway features endless Blue Ridge panoramas, including 75 scenic overlooks. Stop the car and you’ll find more than 500 miles of hiking trails to explore on foot. Chances are good that you’ll spot some of the park’s resident wildlife—black bears, red fox, coyotes, and more than 190 different birds—that regularly appears near the roadway.

Hop on Skyline Drive at the park’s northern entrance, just outside Front Royal, and head south. For a quick, 2.6-mile out-and-back hike to one of the park’s most iconic vistas, stop along the first third of the drive, at the Meadow Spring Trailhead (milepost 33.5), and head for 3,514-foot Mary’s Rock, a panoramic promontory scalable by linking the Meadow Spring Trail and the Appalachian Trail. Next, stop near the drive’s halfway point, at Big Meadows (milepost 51). Stretch the legs with a short loop around the deer-grazed lea, and then grab lunch at the New Market Taproom inside the Big Meadows Lodge.

End the day in Waynesboro, just 5-miles from Skyline Drive’s southern terminus. The town is home to three of the breweries along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail—Basic City Beer, Seven Arrows Brewing Company, and Stable Craft Brewing.

Route 11—The Wilderness Road

Running from Winchester south to Roanoke, Route 11 meanders through the heart of the Shenandoah Valley parallel to Interstate 81 linking charming towns and natural wonders. The roadway is one of the most historic thoroughfares in Virginia: It began as a hoof-forged pathway used by migrating bison and the Native American hunting parties in pursuit of the lumbering herds. In the 18th century, the thoroughfare was dubbed the Wilderness Road, and used by audacious settlers striking out for the frontier from cities across the East Coast.

For the ultimate Route 11 road trip cruise the 50-miles from Natural Bridge to Staunton. Begin at Natural Bridge State Park and hike to the recreation area’s namesake 215-foot sandstone—making sure to tack on a trip to 30-foot Lace Falls on the Cedar Creek Trail. Next, head to Lexington. The college town features a charming Main Street, loaded with farm-to-table restaurants, boutiques, and galleries. It’s also home to attractions like the Stonewall Jackson House, the Miller’s House Museum, or Virginia Gold Orchard, which specializes in Asian pears. Grab lunch at the vegan-friendly Kind Roots Café, offering an array of gourmet sandwiches and smoothies. On the way out of town, head for the award-winning Devil’s Backbone Brewery, located directly on Route 11. Cap off the day in Staunton, exploring the town’s collection of closely concentrated breweries – Shenandoah Valley Brewing Company, Redbeard Brewing Company, and Queen City Brewing.

Route 39 – Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway

Stop at the Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve for an eyeful of the breathtaking gorge.
Stop at the Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve for an eyeful of the breathtaking gorge.

Alan Cressler

Route 39, aptly dubbed the Appalachian Waters Scenic Byway, links five counties in Virginia and West Virginia, extending from Lexington westward to Summersville, West Virginia. In Rockbridge County, the roadway showcases a picturesque corner of the Shenandoah Valley, paralleling one of the best whitewater rivers in the state—the Maury. Pick up grab-and-go picnic fixins at Blue Phoenix Café in Lexington before hitting the road.

Make the first detour at the world renowned Virginia Horse Center, just outside town. The 600-acre facility is a pivotal part of the state’s equine economy, and hosts 115 different events annually, the majority free and open to the public. Next, head for the highlight of the 23-mile stretch between Lexington and Goshen—a stunning 3.7-mile gorge carved by the roaring Maury River dubbed Goshen Pass. Stop at the Goshen Pass Natural Area Preserve for an eyeful of the breathtaking gorge. The 937-acre natural area is woven with hiking trails, including riverine routes ideal for scoping out tranquil swimming holes. The area is best accessed via the swinging bridge over the Maury River next to the parking area along Route 39. End the road trip with a wine tasting at beautiful Rockbridge Vineyards in Raphine.

Daughter of the Stars Loop

Head for the 1,600-acre Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville along the Daughter of the Stars Loop.
Head for the 1,600-acre Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville along the Daughter of the Stars Loop.

Virginia State Parks

One of Virginia’s official Birding and Wildlife Trails, the Daughter of the Stars loop ribbons from Front Royal south to Mount Jackson running along the edge of the Shenandoah National Park before finally veering west toward vast George Washington National Forest. Named for a Native American creation legend describing the Shenandoah Valley as “the stars placed the brightest jewels from their crowns in the river,” the route meanders past magnificent scenery and a plethora of recreational opportunities. Stock up for the day at Blue Wing Frog, a picnic market offering salads, sandwiches, and tasty portable snacks located in Front Royal, the town dubbed Virginia’s “Canoe Capital.”

Paddlers already anxious to hit the water can pick from over a dozen public river access sites around Front Royal, like Eastham Park, which also features multi-use trails and a dog park. Unequipped paddlers can rent boats, tubes, or arrange shuttles through the town’s outfitters: Down River Canoe Company, Front Royal Outdoors, or Skyline Canoe Company. Or head for the Shenandoah River State Park in Bentonville. Want to see the beauty from a different perspective? Then stop at Virginia Canopy Tours where you can fly through the forest reaching speeds up to 40 mph and soar at heights ranging from 15 to 90 feet above the forest floor. The 1,600-acre recreation area is bisected by a stunning stretch of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River. It also features 24 miles of trails, including the wildflower-studded Bluebell Trail.

Explore the Shenandoah Valley’s vast network of subterranean wonders at Luray Caverns, the largest series of caves in the eastern United States. When it’s time to recuperate at the end of the day—choose from whiskey, wine, or craft beer via the Shenandoah Spirits Trail. In Luray, swing by the River Hill Distillery (open for tastings Saturday), producing aged bourbon whiskey, or opt for locally sourced beers at Hawksbill Brewing Company. Rather sip a fine wine? Continue toward Mt. Jackson and detour to one of the area’s many vineyards including Cave Ridge Vineyard, Winery at Kindred Pointe, Third Hill Winery and Wolf Gap Vineyards.

Originally written by RootsRated for Staunton.