Blog Archives

Virginia Quilt Museum hosts reception for the Floyd Quilt Guild Artists

virginia quilt museumA reception for the quilt artists of the Floyd Guild’s “A Potpourri of Quilts” exhibition will be held at the Virginia Quilt Museum, 301 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, on Saturday, October 8, at 11:30 a.m.

The quilt artists from Southwest Virginia will take guests on a behind-the-scenes tour of their exhibit.  The exhibit features two challenge groupings, Black and White and Red allover – with a Modern Twist and Tulip Mania.  A grouping of four quilts that spell out the word LOVE were created for the Virginia Tourism initiative “Virginia is for Lovers”.  These four quilts were a true group project and are visiting from their permanent home, the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd, Virginia.

Light refreshments will be served.  Guests are invited to browse the three other collections in our current exhibit phase, “Midnight in the Garden of Quilts” and “Treasures from the Vault: Crazy Quilts”.  Our newest addition, “Treasures from the Vault: New Arrivals” is a celebration of several of the unique quilts that have come into the Virginia Quilt Museum’s collection in the last year.  The reception is free to members and guests with paid admission.  Exhibit Phase III will continue through December 17.

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.

Shenandoah National Park sponsors Centennial Celebration Concert

shenandoah national parkShenandoah National Park is sponsoring the final concert in the series celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. Performances will be held both in Shenandoah National Park and in Waynesboro.

The featured musicians have created original compositions especially for the NPS Centennial to celebrate national parks as places for inspiration, recreation, and renewal.

National Park Soundscapes, Jill Haley

  • Saturday, October 1, 1:30 p.m., Big Meadows Amphitheater, Shenandoah National Park (mile 51 Skyline Drive)
  • Sunday, October 2, 3:00 p.m., The Wayne Theatre, 521 West Main Street, Waynesboro, VA,

National Park Soundscapes is a concert program celebrating the centennial year of the formation of the National Park Service. Composer Jill Haley will be joined by guitarist David Cullen in an instrumental concert of music written about 12 National Parks, including Shenandoah National Park. The music will be performed on oboe, English horn, guitar and keyboard, and will include selections that also feature Mesa Verde National Park and Badlands National Park. National Park Soundscapes CDs will be available for purchase at the Byrd Visitor Center.

The Big Meadows Amphitheater is located in the Big Meadows Picnic Grounds (mile 51 Skyline Drive). The Saturday, October 1 concert will be moved indoors to the Byrd Visitor Center (mile 51 Skyline Drive) in case of inclement weather.

Garth Brooks is coming to Richmond Coliseum Nov. 12

garth-brooks-300x300Garth Brooks will make his first appearance in Richmond in 19 years with a concert at the Richmond Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 12.

Brooks will appear with Trisha Yearwood at the show. Tickets go on sale on Friday, Sept. 30, at 10 a.m.

There is an eight-ticket limit per patron.

Tickets, including taxes, facility fees and service charges, are $74.98.

Tickets are available online at and at Ticketmaster Express 1-866-448-7849 or 1-800-745-3000.

The presidents are coming to the Wayne Theatre

A three-part series at the Wayne Theatre beginning Tuesday, Sept. 27, will bring the third, fourth and fifth presidents of the United States to life.

Historical interpreters William Barker, Dennis Bigelow and John Douglas Hall will portray Central Virginia’s own Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe as part of the Signature Speaker Series: The Founding Fathers this fall at the Historic Wayne Theatre/Ross Performing Arts Center in Waynesboro.

“It’s like taking a trip back in a time machine to the 19th century. Each of these men do just a wonderful job bringing the past to life,” said Tracy Straight, the executive director of the Wayne Theatre.

“We’re fortunate to have them add an element of historical interpretation to our successful Signature Speaker Series. Their presentations will be lively and interactive, and we’re looking forward to having the presidents on our stage,” Straight said.

The opening event in the Founding Fathers series, set for Tuesday, Sept. 27, will be presented by Bigelow, a historical interpreter who portrays Monroe and who teaches a class on the fifth president through UVA’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

On Tuesday, Oct. 25, the focus turns to Madison with a lecture presented by Hall, a historical interpreter who has been portraying the Father of the Constitution for more than 30 years.

The final event in the Founding Fathers series is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 22, on Monroe and Jefferson, featuring Dennis Bigelow as Monroe and William Barker, a historical re-enactor who has been portraying Jefferson since 1984.

All three events in the Signature Speaker Series: The Founding Fathers begin at 7 p.m. Admission is pay what you will. No advance tickets are required.

The Wayne Theatre/Ross Performing Arts Center is located at 521 West Main Street in downtown Waynesboro.

For more information, call (540) 943-9999 or visit

Annual Grape Harvest Festival in the Shenandoah Valley

Rockbridge Vineyard in Raphine, VA is the place to be on Saturday, October 1, 2016. The Shenandoah Valley will be celebrating the advent of fall colors and harvest fun. At Rockbridge Vineyard, the 24thAnnual Harvest Festival will offer wine tasting and LOTS of other fun.

The celebration begins at noon and runs until 6:00 pm. The $5.00 admission includes wine tasting and a souvenir wine glass. If you are a member of the D’Vine Wine Club, admission is free! Admission is only $3 for “non-tasters”.

A photo by Jassy Onyae.

Grapes, ready for harvest.

Lunches will be available to purchase. You can also bring your own picnic lunch. Either way, you will want to have energy for all the events of the day.

This event is meant to celebrate the grape harvest. And the grapes will be used to make wine. SO of course there will be GRAPE STOMPING! Roll-up your pants legs and take off your shoes to stomp to the music! Speaking of music, there will be live bands playing all during the celebration.

To complete a Harvest Festival, hayrides will be available. Ride out through the vineyards over the 17 acres and see how the “fruit of the vine” is grown.


Flavor of Virginia grapes

Rockbridge Vineyard is owned by Shepherd Rouse and his wife, Jane Millott-Rouse. They purchased land in 1988 to start the vineyard and begin making wine. The vineyard now covers 17 acres of land. Shep uses grapes from other growers in Virginia to produce wines which satisfy a broad range of individual tastes. He uses “small batch” methods to produce wines that capture the local flavor of Virginia with hints of from his work experiences in Germany and California too!

Rockbridge Vineyard is located just two miles from our B&B at Steeles Tavern and we visit there frequently. The 24th Annual Harvest Festival will be a fun day, set in a beautiful location, during the beginning of fall foliage season. That all adds up to a wonderful getaway weekend!

Is the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library worth a visit?

bysideThe 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, hails from historic Staunton, VA. Learn about Wilson’s road to the presidency by spending a few hours at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. The library, which is a short drive from Harrisonburg, VA, offers many great exhibits for history buffs of all ages. Guided and self-guided tours provide an exploratory look back into history.

You can find out about all of the fun things to do near the By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages when you download our free Vacation Guide. It’s full of the best recommendations for things to see and do like enjoying a day at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

Historical Exhibits Worth a Stop

Take an inspiring journey through seven galleries that explore Wilson’s early years, his busy presidency, suffrage, prohibition, and World War I. The President’s original 1919 Pierce-Arrow limousine transports you back in time as you venture through the museum’s annals seeing history come to life again. Walk through the state-of-the-art World War I trench reproduction to experience what life was like for soldiers of the Great War. Throughout the museum, you will come upon authentic weapons and uniforms from the era. There you can see what life was like for the doughboys (Marines) of the War. Children even have a chance to learn about the President’s life in the Kids’ Corner!

Woodrow Wilson’s Birthplace Just Next Door

The museum opened in November of 1990 just next door to Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace. This is unique compared to many other presidential libraries. The two buildings join forces to form an entire city block’s worth of history with a beautiful boxwood garden courtyard in between. The museum will guide you through Wilson’s public life taking you from his time at Princeton to his peace efforts during World War I. Various artifacts, photographs, and documents detail his life and presidency.

Wilson’s birthplace is full of furnishings from the period, household belongings, and the boxwood garden outside. Take a guided tour to learn the unique details about Wilson’s childhood and upbringing.

The museum and library are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Get directions and check it out for yourself!

Don’t Forget the Gift Shop

Before you go, commemorate your time at Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential Library by stopping by the gift shop. Featuring an array of gifts and collectibles, you will be sure to find something to take with you. The gift shop also boasts a variety of books covering the life of Woodrow Wilson, World War I, and era-specific nonfiction. All sales from the gift shop help to support the educational programs that the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library facilitates.

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Just Minutes Away from the Perfect Accommodations

Staunton, VA, is firmly entrenched in historically-rich Northern Virginia. Just minutes away from Harrisonburg, VA, it’s just one of many things to do in the area. If you’re looking for the perfect place to stay during your Shenandoah Valley getaway, look no further than By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages. We are eager to accommodate you and help you design the perfect getaway, vacation, or romantic stay. For more ideas, download our free Vacation Guide.

Laughter is Sacred Space highlights Fall Spiritual Focus at Bridgewater College

swartz_ted_listeninggrace_large1Ted Swartz of Ted & Co. will present Bridgewater College’s Fall Spiritual Focus on Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the Carter Center for Worship and Music.

Swartz will present “The Big Story” at 9:30 a.m. and “Laughter is Sacred Space” at 7:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Office of Spiritual Life and Bridgewater College Active Minds respectively, both performances are free and open to the public.

In the morning, Swartz uses thought-provoking humor to tell “The Big Story” of the whole Bible in 60 minutes or less.

In “Laughter is Sacred Space,” Swartz walks the audience through his relationship with friend and business partner, Lee Eshleman, who took his own life in 2007. Using multi-media, Swartz explores the paradox of working with a comedic partner struggling with bipolar disorder, as well as the challenge of writing and performing stories about God while experiencing the absence of God following Eshleman’s death.

Swartz, a writer and actor who combines theater and a seminary education, has been in the business for more than 20 years. He is owner and creative director of Ted & Co., a professional touring company based in Harrisonburg, Va.

Swartz is the creator or co-creator of more than a dozen plays, which he performs across the United States and around the globe.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to nearly 1,900 students.

Smith Center exhibit shows elections past were sometimes not like elections today

2016The U.S. is in the prolonged throes of a contentious presidential election.  It may be messy, but it’s all part of how we’ve always picked our leader.

Or is it?

On September 23, the Augusta County Historical Society will open a new exhibit that provides a detailed look at the evolution of elections and voting, across the nation, in Virginia, and right here in Augusta County.  “The Verdict of the People: The Evolution of Elections in Augusta County and the Nation” will fill the R. R. Smith Center History Gallery from September 23 through Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

The display will use local poll books, ballot boxes, campaign, paraphernalia, and political cartoons to demonstrate how elections – and how we see them – have changed over the centuries.  “The Verdict” exhibit will open with a reception in the History Gallery from 4:30 – 6:30 Friday, September 23.  Both display and reception are free and open to the public.

The new exhibit will show how, during the post-colonial years, elections in the new United States were reserved for the elite, and voting was restricted to white male property owners.  But the right to vote began to expand.  Slowly and with great effort, immigrants, African Americans, women, Native Americans and eighteen-year-olds gained the vote.

Elections evolved to embrace the secret ballot, and the concept of referendum appeared to give voters a say directly on major issues.

The new exhibit will feature several prints by Augusta County native George Caleb Bingham.  A nationally-known artist in the mid-19th century, his most important works revolved around elections with his painting “Verdict of the People” capturing the quintessential character of the unruly local election.

Another local native, Fannie Bayly King was an important figure in the statewide passage of the 19th Amendment that gave women the vote.  She is also included in the exhibit.

The exhibit will also feature political cartoons by Jim McCloskey, a talented and award-winning editorial cartoonist who worked for the Staunton newspaper and donated his collection to the society. His creative and striking work frequently focused on campaigns and elections.  Some of the more recent included the 2008 Obama-Clinton primary contest, and several on Senator – now vice president hopeful – Tim Kaine’s political career.

The new exhibit will be highlighted by an actual mechanical voting machine used in Augusta County elections from the 1960s until the early 2000s.  Visitors may actually get to vote on the machine.

The ACHS was founded in 1964 to study, collect, preserve, publish, educate about, and promote the history of Augusta County and its communities. More information is available online at

Shenandoah National Park features Monarch butterflies, milkweed on National Public Lands Day

ShenandoahLogo_Outlined_Black_VerticalMonarch butterflies and milkweed seeds will be the focus for the 23rd National Public Lands Day volunteer event in Shenandoah National Park. National Public Lands Day is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands.

This event will be held Saturday, September 24, at Byrd Visitor Center, mile 51 on Skyline Drive. The event begins at 9:00 a.m. and is open to the public. Park entrance fees are waived on this special day.

Here is a brief schedule of activities for this year’s National Public Lands Day in Shenandoah:

Milkweed Seed Collection Volunteer Event, 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. – Join us to collect the seeds and pods of the poke milkweed,Asclepias exaltata, and common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, in Big Meadows. Participants will learn to identify the milkweed plant and the differences between the fruit of these two species. Park botany staff will lead groups at collection points. Collected seeds will be used in various plant restoration projects throughout the Park to re-establish native habitat, especially helpful in places where invasive plants are removed. More milkweed plants in the Park mean more food for Monarch butterflies!

Volunteers of all ages are welcome. Volunteers must register at Byrd Visitor Center between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes, apply sunscreen and bug spray, and bring plenty of water.

  • Interpretive Table & Children’s Activity Table, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. – Learn all about Monarch butterflies, their biology, and migration, with butterfly activities and coloring pages for kids of all ages. Come color and tag your own paper butterfly!
  • Wild Side of Shenandoah Ranger Talk, 11:30 a.m. – Join Ranger Mara for her talk on butterflies and the important role the Park plays in protecting their habitat. 20-30 minutes.
  • Monarch Tagging Demonstration, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. – Park Rangers will demonstrate and describe the hows and whys of Shenandoah’s first-ever Monarch tagging project. Tagged butterflies will be tracked as they migrate south to overwinter in Mexico. Data gathered will help scientists determine Monarch migration patterns, survivorship, and population trends. The Monarch tagging program is being presented in conjunction with the University of Kansas Monarch Watch.
  • Monarch Butterfly Release, 3:00 p.m. – Watch as we release the tagged Monarch butterflies!

National Public Lands Day is a great day to visit Shenandoah National Park, because it’s your chance to help with a Park-improving volunteer activity while learning how to help even more in the future.

This event is possible because of a generous donation from the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). NEEF works to connect people to public lands in their community, inspire environmental stewardship, and encourage use of public lands for education, recreation, and general health.

Blackfriars Playhouse celebrates 15 years

american-shakespeare-centerFifteen years ago the American Shakespeare Center opened the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre.

It has since been the home of an ambitious sixteen-title artistic year, a training ground for the next generation of Shakespeare scholars, and the host of the bi-annual Blackfriars Conference. The American Shakespeare Center, an internationally acclaimed authority on Shakespeare performance and scholarship, will celebrate the fifteen years of accomplishments at the Blackfriars Playhouse throughout the month of September.

The American Shakespeare Center rounded out its Summer/Fall Season with the opening of The Rise of Queen Margaret (King Henry VI, Part 2) on September 9. Margaret is the second installment of the Wars of the Roses Ride, a four-part series beginning with last year’s Shakespeare’s Joan of Arc (Henry VI, Part 1) and continuing in 2017 with The Fall of King Henry (Henry VI, Part 3) and in 2018 with Richard III.

The company also launches its nine-month national tour the second week of September with the new Discovery Space touring set designed by ASC Props Master Chris Moneymaker that will bring the Blackfriars Playhouse experience to theatres across the nation. The 2016/17 Hungry Hearts Tour is an inspiring tour, with 44 tour stops and 76 performances planned throughout the east coast, south, and midwest.

As a thanks to the community which embraced the American Shakespeare Center and helped build the Blackfriars Playhouse fifteen years ago, the ASC is offering $15 tickets to the evening performance of The Rise of Queen Margaret (King Henry VI, Part 2) on September 21, the official anniversary. Tickets can be purchased online at with discount code SEPT21.

On September 24, the ASC puts Shakespeare on Trial at the Annual Benefit Celebration sponsored by Union Bank and the Stonewall Jackson Hotel and Conference Center. The Benefit Celebration will include a Facebook Live Red Carpet Event, one-night-only performance, and three course meal at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel.

The ASC concludes its month-long celebration on October 2nd with a staged reading of The True Chronicle History of King Leir and His Three Daughters featuring the ASC administrative staff. The True Chronicle… is an anonymous play often considered a source for Shakespeare’s King Lear.

For more information on ASC events and the Blackfriars Playhouse, visit  Tickets can be purchased online, by phone at 1.877.MUCH.ADO or by visiting the Blackfriars Playhouse on 10 South Market Street in Staunton.

Ticket prices start at $26. Residents of Staunton and Waynesboro or Augusta County can take advantage of $18 local rush tickets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Student, Senior, Military, and AAA discounts are available.