Blog Archives

Ash Lawn Opera live at The Paramount

paramountAsh Lawn Opera returns to The Paramount Theater for another summer series of live musical performances with acclaimed artists from the Metropolitan Opera.

The summer season kicks off with Così Fan Tutte, one of Mozart’s most memorable operas. The witty and heartfelt story begins with a game of love and seduction when two young men decide to test their fiancées’ fidelity, only for both couples to discover the fickleness of attraction. This comedic classic, full of mistaken identities, deceptive servants, jealous lovers, and sublime music, is a production you won’t want to miss.

The summer Ash Lawn Opera season then concludes with South Pacific, an ever-topical story of love in the time of war, and one of the most heralded musicals of all time. Since its premiere in 1949, it has won countless awards, including the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Awards both for its original run and its 2008 revival. Featuring some of the greatest songs in musical theater history, including “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy,” and “A Cockeyed Optimist,” this remarkable production will stay with you for years to come.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at The Paramount Theater’s Box Office, by phone (434) 979-1333, or online at Tickets for all events start at just $25.00. All ticket holders are invited to an educational and enlightening lecture 45 minutes before every performance.

Space is limited and patrons will be accommodated on a first-come-first-serve basis.



  • Così Fan Tutte, July 10, 2PM
  • Così Fan Tutte, July 13, 7:30PM*
  • Così Fan Tutte, July 15, 7:30PM
  • South Pacific, July 23, 7:30PM
  • South Pacific, July 24, 2PM
  • South Pacific, July 27, 7:30PM*
  • South Pacific, July 29, 7:30PM
  • South Pacific, July 30, 2PM

New BBHSV member: MiddleRidge Bed and Breakfast

middle ridgeWelcome to the newest member of Bed and Breakfasts of the Historic Shenandoah Valley, MiddleRidge Bed and Breakfast in Staunton.

MiddleRidge is a 1920’s home, nestled amidst a wooded surround, yet with magnificent views from the balcony. The rooms are tastefully appointed, offer private baths, wifi, T.V.,refridgerators and robes. There is an indoor heated pool available upon request. A 1/2 mile walking nature trail meanders around the property- walk slowly so you won’t miss anything!

From the balconies, we often watch Virginia wildlife grazing or searching for something, and this seems to happen when the sun is setting, casting off beautiful hues. Our yard can seem magical at this time of day.

MiddleRidge offers a relaxing, quiet, country getaway within 10 minutes of historic Staunton with its great restaurants and close to so many area activities. The best of both worlds!

WEDDINGS are individual and very special at MiddleRidge. We strive to make your day truly unforgettable and the event of a lifetime with our wedding coordinator, ASHLEY HARRIS, always available to answer questions and offer very helpful suggestions.

Call her at 425-444-4807 for information. We also encourage you to make an appointment for a tour. Whether your wedding is small and intimate or larger and more opulent we hope you will give us an
opportunity to help you make your day a success, whether your theme is rustic, plantation or other.

Shenandoah National Park reflects on history of gliders at Big Meadows

ShenandoahLogo_Outlined_Black_VerticalShenandoah National Park is hosting a special presentation on the history of gliders on July 15 and July 16 at 1 p.m. in the Byrd Visitor Center auditorium (mile 51 Skyline Drive).

Presenter Lt. Col. Hulstrunk, a WWII glider pilot, will speak about his experience of attending and assisting with the glider competition held at Big Meadows in the 1930s.  He will discuss the search for better aircraft and flying sites during the 1930s, the methods of getting a glider into the air, and the unique experimental gliders of the time period.  He will also touch on how the pilots who competed for aviation records quickly found themselves on opposite sides during World War II.

In addition, visitors are encouraged to stop by and view a modern day glider on the lawn at Byrd Visitor Center from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. both days, weather permitting.  The German built 2003 Schleicher ASW 27 B, a 15 meter high performance glider, can reach a maximum speed of 177mph. Pilot Shane Neitzey will be available to answer questions on the glider plane.

In 1934, the Soaring Society of America held a glider meet where the nation’s foremost pilots and glider planes assembled in the heart of Shenandoah National Park.  The glider center at Big Meadows was said to rival the world-renowned German Camp in Wasserkuppe. The pilots competed for world records while gliding from the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Mr. Hulstrunk’s passion for aviation was inspired at an early age by his parents.  His parents directed a model airplane club for 40 years and were avid glider fliers with Aero Club Albatross.  During WWII Mr. Hulstrunk served as a combat glider pilot.  After leaving the military he received an undergraduate degree in Science Education and a graduate degree in Biology.  To mention just a few of his accomplishments, he worked for the American Geographical Society in Antarctica as a Glaciologist; the Atmospheric Sciences Research Center (ASRC) as an Atmospheric Physicist for over 30 years; and currently, he does research in Paleobotany.

Mr. Neitzey is a member of the Skyline Soaring Club operating at Front Royal/Warren County Airport located in Front Royal, Virginia.  Mr. Neitzey has 38 years of flying experience.  He is a cross-country competition pilot, FAA flight instructor, and tow pilot.

Wilbur Wright stated, “It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.”

Please take this opportunity to join us for this special event, to gain knowledge about one of our Park’s lesser-known stories of our place in aviation history.

Lime Kiln Theater presents an Evening with Turnpike Troubadours

lime-kilnThe Lime Kiln Theater Summer 2016 concert series continues onSaturday, July 16, as Turnpike Troubadours take the stage. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8.

Advance tickets are sold out. Please visit www.limekilntheater.orgon the day of the show for ticket details and show location updates.

Lime Kiln Theater’s summer concert series is sponsored by Devils Backbone Brewing Company and Charles W. Barger & Son Construction. Devils Backbone beer, Kind Roots Café food, and Rockbridge Vineyard wine are available for purchase at all shows. An Evening with Turnpike Troubadours is presented by Spencer Home Center and State Farm.

If Turnpike Troubadours are playing in your town, you’ll know it. A block or two from the venue, you’ll see the crowds lining up. Get closer and you’ll start to hear the music – rockin’ hard, lashed by burnin’ fiddle and guitar, maybe a little rough on the edges but with a deep-rooted soul that’s impossible to resist. And if you make it through the door, you’ll witness one of the best shows you’ll ever see.

Audiences in their home state of Oklahoma and down in Texas have known this for years. It’s no longer news when they draw 5,000-plus at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, sell out three nights in a row at Gruene Hall or turn several hundred away at the legendary Stubb’s Bar-B-Q in Austin. Word has spread, though: Their shows in Chicago, St. Louis and elsewhere have pulled in more than 1,000 fans. And they’ve drawn full houses at Joe’s Pub in New York and The Troubadour in L.A., among many other nightspots from coast to coast.

Lime Kiln Arts, Inc. is a non-profit (501c3), operating at Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington. It opened in 1984 and is rooted in and inspired by the magic of a natural, outdoor theater. After a brief hiatus that started in 2012, Lime Kiln Theater is thrilled to present its third straight summer season of live music featuring local, regional and national acts.

For more information, visit Lime Kiln on the web at, or check out our Facebook page

Art is the human work: Nature is everything else

virginia-quilt-museumWhen you think about the National Parks, do you think of quilts?  You would if you have seen any of the 177 art quilts made by people across the country in honor of the National Park Service Centennial.

Each small quilt represents flora, fauna, or landscape of one of the 59 National Parks and they are coming to the Virginia Quilt Museum July 26!  But there is no need to wait, because the museum is celebrating the NPS 100th Birthday with Arts and the Parks all month long!

The kickoff – The “Art” of Storytelling, First Friday, July 1 – a free event for all ages, featured retired game warden, outdoor humorist, and author Frank Mundy.

On two Wednesdays, July 13 and 27 at 10:30, youth services librarian Bly Brown will host “Craft Your Own Adventure” children’s story time and craft mornings, for ages 3-7.  National Park-themed stories will be paired with a craft option, linking outdoor adventure (the natural world) to art (the human-made).

Court Square Theater is the venue on Monday evening, July 25 at 7 pm, when Stace Carter will present “Sharing Your Outdoor Adventures:  Digital Storytelling 101”. Stace is an Apple Distinguished Educator, a guest lecturer at UVA, and was the 2015 Artist-in-Residence for Shenandoah National Park.  His presentation will focus on tips and techniques for capturing and sharing park experiences in photos and videos.  Beginners are welcome; just bring your phone or camera and your $5 fee.

The soft opening of the quilt exhibit “Inspired by the National Parks” takes place at the museum on Tuesday, July 26 from10:00 to 4:00.  The day is in partnership with Walkabout Outfitter and reciprocal outdoor-lover giveaways will get you a prize at the outfitters, free admission at the museum, plus a chance in a drawing for cool gear.  (The quilts will remain on exhibit through September 10.)

The July “Arts and the Parks” grand finale will be Saturday, July 30, 10:00-4:00 at the museum and St. Stephens United Church of Christ.  On this day, free with museum admission, the “Gallery Opening” will focus on our own Shenandoah National Park.  Local artists will join us with a SNP-inspired Community Art Show featuring a variety of art forms.  SNP’s traveling display will be on hand, along with the 177-quilt exhibit.  At St. Stephens, 1:30, Shenandoah National Park Ranger Mike Punches will present “A Brief History of the National Park Service”.  (The lecture is free; donations are appreciated.)  From 3:00-4:00 at the museum, an Artists’ Reception will be held, featuring exhibit curator, Donna DeSoto and musician, Mike McCray.  Ms. DeSoto will sign books available for purchase or pre-order.

Arts and the Parks is hosted by the Virginia Quilt Museum in partnership with Arts Council of the Valley.  It is an official Shenandoah National Park NPS Centennial Event.

More info:

The Virginia Quilt Museum was founded in 1995 and exists to celebrate quilting in Virginia.  The Museum is a 501(c)3 non-profit funded solely through private donations, memberships, and revenue from admissions and museum shop sales.  The Virginia Quilt Museum receives no federal or state funding.

Book reading featuring animal/environmental activist Cynthia Fain

cynthia-fainAnimal/environmental activist Cynthia Fain will be reading from her book, “Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak,” at Cranberry’s Grocery and Eatery in Staunton on Saturday, July 9.

The event begins at 2 p.m.

In this collection of true stories about animals and nature we meet a flightless duck, a domineering black squirrel, a feline ambassador, a family of mischievous ground hogs and many other sacred creatures that brought healing, wisdom and joy to our community.

Fain, a Charlottesville area resident, has published “Mystical Animals of Ancient Oak”. A civically active, environmental and animal protection advocate, Cynthia writes about true stories that reflect the healing that comes with time spent in nature – honoring all animals on their life’s journey.

As our planet’s forest habitat and green space is lost to development, the importance of finding nature and parks became vital to people and animals.  There is a wisdom that nature brings us, and in our modern world, those hidden powers are often lost.

Fain served on the Board of Directors of the West Montgomery County Citizen’s Association from 2009-2011. She was an active member of the Montgomery Village Foundation’s Environment Committee and Wildlife Rescue Committee from 1992-1995.  And she worked and volunteered for non-profit animal protection organizations.

The book is now available on in both Kindle and paperback versions.    

Red Wing Roots Music Festival

RedWingRoots_Photo-by-SoulaPefkarosPhotographySingle day and 3-day passes for the fourth annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival are available online or at the gate, until they have sold out.

The event is held from July 8-10 at Natural Chimneys Park in Mount Solon. The Steel Wheels host the festival and perform several times during the weekend. This year they welcome the following headliners: Dawes, Shovels and Rope, The Lone Bellow, Aoife O’Donovan, Steep Canyon Rangers, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and many more.

To see the full lineup

Held in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the family-friendly festival will feature more than 40 bands on four stages, over three days of music, surrounded by the great outdoors. Incredible camping, an impressive list of kids activities, bike rides organized and led by the Shenandoah Valley Bike Coalition, fun runs organized by VA Momentum, and a group of food vendors that set a high bar for delicious, unique food set this festival apart from many others.

The Steel Wheels’ Trent Wagler explains, “there is a momentum that is comfortable and yet, many times has surprised us all with collective beauty and joy. In our first three years we’ve had the opportunity to define what Red Wing is and it’s nice to start feeling the consistency and dependability of traditions seeping into this gathering. This year we hope to maintain that richness, but make no mistake, we still have some tricks up our sleeves!”

The festival is environmentally aware with attendees encouraged to use their own reusable beverage containers or souvenir steel cups which can be purchased on site. Drinking water is available for free and craft beer, wine, and hard cider are sold in the South Street Beer Garden.

Last year’s third annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival was wildly successful with approximately 2,750 attendees who raved about the music, the beauty of the setting, and the intimate and friendly atmosphere. Festival organizers are determined to retain that atmosphere and are limiting availability to 3,000 tickets this year. With sales running ahead of last year, fans are encouraged to purchase tickets soon, while they are still available.

National Park Service announces Shenandoah Valley history events

newspaper-headerCedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park and its partners will offer a series of special National Park Service ranger programs and other events this July to highlight various stories related to the history of the Shenandoah Valley.

“These programs will give visitors a chance to explore important events of the Valley,” said Eric Campbell, the park’s chief of interpretation. “We will cover a variety of subjects, including critical moments of the Battle of Cedar Creek, the constantly changing landscape of the park throughout history, a study of the Bowman-Hite farmstead, anniversary reenactments and also a special exhibit on Virginia and the American Slave Trade.”

These special presentations include both the popular “History at Sunset” programs and also the new “Battlefield Series” programs.  All of these programs are free and last between 90 minutes to two hours.

* July 9Battlefield Series: “Battling in the Streets” Middletown and the Battle of Cedar Creek (2:00 pm)Middletown constantly found itself in the middle of war.  At no time was this truer than on October 19, 1864 during the Battle of Cedar Creek when fighting raged through the town’s streets both during the morning Confederate assault and the afternoon Union counterattack.  Join Ranger Jeff Driscoll as he explores this critical, but often overlooked action.  Meet at the Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main Street, Middletown).

* July 15 —History at Sunset: A Diamond in the Rough: The Forgotten Story of the Bowman-Hite Farmstead

Join Ranger Kyle Rothemich as he explores the history of the Bowman-Hite Farmstead. This farmstead stands as a unique example of a 19th century Shenandoah Valley agricultural landscape. Learn about the families who called this place home, structures that shaped their experiences and soldiers who marched by during the Battle of Cedar Creek.  This will be the first time in the park’s history that visitors can access this property on a ranger led program. Meet at 621 Bowman’s Mill Road (Warren County) Middletown, VA 22645. NPS signs will mark the site.

* July 22-24 —155th Anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas Reenactment Reenactments, sutler’s row, symposium tent and more. Sponsored by the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation.  Fee.  For more information or tickets see ( or call (540) 869-2064.

* July 26 — “To Be Sold” Virginia and the American Slave Trade: A special exhibit from the Library of Virginia will open at Belle Grove.  The exhibit examines the impact of the domestic slave trade on African American families. Exhibition runs through September 25th.  For more information call (540) 869-2028.

* July 29 —History at Sunset: An Every-Restless Landscape: Change, Continuity and the Creation of Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (7:00 pm) For thousands of years people have changed the landscape that became Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Native Americans burned fields to grow crops, early settlers built mills, and roads were built to connect town and country. Over time various groups preserved certain aspects of the landscape, eventually leading to the creation a National Park. Join Ranger Kyle Rothemich as he asks visitors to experience the landscape of the park to learn about: past cultures, community values, technological change, and historic preservation.  Meet at the National Park Service Visitor Contact Station (7712 Main St. Middletown, VA). This program consists of both a car caravan tour, plus moderate walking.

* July 30— Battlefield Series: “An Appalling Spectacle of Panic” The Collapse of the Army of the Shenandoah(2:00 pm) The amazingly successful Confederate surprise attack on the morning of October 19, 1864 at Cedar Creek caused the near total collapse of the Union Army of the Shenandoah.  Park Volunteer Guy Young will examine this attack through the perspective of the three Union corps who bore the brunt of the Southern assault.  Meet at the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation Headquarters (8437 Valley Pike, Middletown).  Visitors will then car caravan to various locations on the battlefield.

For details and updates, call (540) 869-3051 or see:

Visit Widow Kip’s Country Inn

widowBetty and Bob Luse are your hosts, and they welcome you to Breakfast at the Widow Kip’s Country Inn – Bed and Breakfast, their 1830 restored Victorian homestead. It is nestled up on 7 rural acres that offers a birds-eye view of the Shenandoah River – just 50 yards away. Many splendors of the Shenandoah Valley, George Washington – Jefferson National Forest, the Massanutten Mountains are within minutes of this serene hideaway.

There are five guest rooms in the main house, where you will discover exquisite antiques throughout the interior. The appealing decorations capture the Victorian era. All bedrooms have original “fireplaces” and private bath. Children and pets are welcome in our two restored cottages that create a charming Williamsburg style courtyard by the house.

The friendly family style breakfast includes juice, fresh fruit, homemade cakes and syrups with entree including, breakfast meats, stuffed French toast, apple crisp pancakes, etc.

More online: click here.

King Lear opens at the American Shakespeare Center

shakespeare-newThe American Shakespeare Center is getting ready to open the third show in its Summer/Fall Season, William Shakespeare’s King Lear, an exploration of family betrayal, human frailty, and the meaning of life.

Following her direction of last year’s The Winter’s Tale, the ASC was delighted to welcome back Jenny Bennett to guest direct King Lear.  The story, which traces the collapse of King Lear’s kingdom, his family, and his own mind, can seem unnervingly contemporary. “Our world’s also full of wise fools, men and women of astonishing service, and radiant moments of quiet peace with our dearly beloved ”  notes Bennett, finding in King Lear a “lifting of burdens in a mad 2016 world.”

For ASC Artistic Director Jim Warren King Lear is the perfect companion piece to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI, Part 2) this election year.  “These plays about power-hungry politicos can offer insight on current events and provide a cathartic outlet for election year angst.”

“Fortune, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel.”  As the characters of King Lear find their way through storms both political and meteorological, they also discover the necessity, sanctity, and strength of human love.  Redemption, reunion, and reconciliation make for a stunning counterpoint to the play’s bloody resolution.  René Thornton Jr. plays the fallen King; Lauren Ballard, Allison Glenzer, and Jessika Williams his daughters; and Chris Johnston is the King’s fool.

The American Shakespeare Center has four shows as part of their 2016 Summer/Fall Season. Shakespeare’s heartwarming comedy Twelfth Night, and the rock’n’roll epic Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, are currently playing at the Blackfriars Playhouse. The politically-charged second installment of the Wars of the Roses Ride, The Rise of Queen Margaret (Henry VI Part 2) opens later this summer on September 9.

Audience members may “Pay What You Will” for King Lear tickets to the 7:30pm opening performances onThursday, July 7th and Friday, July 8th by arriving at the theatre, choosing any previously unreserved seat, and making a donation after the show (for more information on Pay What You Will, please call 1.877.Much.Ado).

Tickets for King Lear can be purchased by calling 1.877.Much.Ado (540.682.4236), at the Blackfriars Playhouse Box Office on 10 South Market Street in Staunton, or online at

Best seats start at $49.  Residents of Staunton, Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  Student, Senior, Military and AAA discounts also are available.