Sip & Scribble: A Fall Writing Retreat at the Iris Inn 1 Jul 2015, 1:00 am
Do you find yourself scribbling down bits of writing projects in your spare time? Maybe you’ve always considered yourself a wordsmith with a need for some skill sharpening. If you have any interest in writing, bed & breakfast relaxation, wine tasting, and new friendships, then our upcoming fall writing retreat is perfect for you!
On the weekend of November 20-22, 2015, we will be hosting Sip & Scribble: A Writing Retreat, right here at the Iris Inn. Under the guidance and expertise of writing coach, M. Shannon Hernandez—known to many as The Writing Whisperer—you will try your hand at writing exercises with a focus on the preservation of your family memories.
Whether you have a family legend handed down through generations, war stories from grandparents, or tales of the “old country,” this retreat will help you record such memories while polishing your skills as a writer. Shannon will guide you along the entire way, helping your family members evolve from memory to memoir. Your writing will culminate in a beautiful family album, perfect for a gift or a keepsake.
So, what sort of writing exercises and activities can you expect at this retreat?
– Photo voice writing
– Shared examples
– Optional critiques
– Developing the first-person narrator
– Showing vs. telling
And of course, no retreat at the Iris Inn would be complete without wine tasting! On the Friday or Saturday evening of the retreat, you’re invited to enjoy a complimentary wine tasting in the Great Room, starting at 5:30 p.m. Along with the wine tasting, your writing weekend also includes a picnic lunch, and a hot, delicious B&B breakfast. Space is limited, so be sure to make your reservation today! (To sign up for the writing weekend, reserve your room, and then add on the “Sip & Scribble” package during the reservation process.)
Dates: November 20-22, 2015
Cost: $459/person, plus room cost
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Sip & Snap: A Photography Weekend at the Iris Inn 1 Jul 2015, 1:00 am
Calling all photography enthusiasts! Whether you find yourself constantly snapping Instagram shots with your iPhone or setting up the tripod to capture that perfect digital picture of you and your friends, then you may be interested in a special upcoming package at the Iris Inn—the Sip & Snap Photography Weekend.
Picture yourself on a Shenandoah Valley adventure, scoping out the lush scenery, mountaintop views, vibrant sunsets, radiant waterfalls and more. All of these have the potential to become the subjects of your most prized images.
As part of our Sip & Snap Photography Weekend, photographer Scott Thomas of Scott Thomas Images will offer photo instruction for photographers of all levels of experience, taking you to local venues and teaching you in a classroom setting right here at the Iris Inn.
Date: August 21 – 23, 2015
Lodging: The Iris Inn (To sign up for this event, book your room, and then add the Sip & Snap Photography Weekend Package during checkout.)
Be sure to bring the following items:
– Charged camera batteries
– Memory cards
– Waterproof camera case
– Walking shoes
Food/Drink: Lunch on Saturday will be included, and you will also have the opportunity to enjoy a complimentary wine tasting in the Great Room at 5:30 p.m. on Friday or Saturday.
We look forward to seeing all of you photographers in a truly photogenic Virginia location!
Charge Your Electric Vehicle with the Tesla Destination Charging Program 15 Jun 2015, 1:00 am
If you didn’t catch our press release this past May, you may not know about the new amenity that we’re offering free to Iris Inn guests. We have recently teamed up with Tesla Motors and Select Registry to provide an increasingly sought after amenity—a Tesla Destination Charging Station—in order to keep up with the growing movement of environment awareness, particularly in the area of electric vehicles.
The primary benefit of offering charging equipment right onsite at the Iris Inn is that it’s a great convenience for you, our electric vehicle-driving guests. You can hit the road all day, stop at our B&B for a mountainous getaway, charge your vehicle, and then be on your way with great memories in mind. We provide an 80A Tesla Wall Connector, as well as a charger for other, non-Tesla electric cars.
(Also, while guests enjoy these chargers for free, they’re not the only ones who can use them; non-guests also have the opportunity to take advantage of the charging station for a $15 fee.)
You may be wondering what inspired us to install this electric vehicle charging station. It started in California, where we were meeting our second granddaughter for the first time. When found ourselves driving by the Tesla plant and then began to notice Teslas on the road as we continued our vacation.
We eventually decided to add a charging station to the B&B’s other high-end amenities (like our cabins’ screened-in decks with hot tubs, heated bathroom floors, and oversized couples’ shower!).
So if you’re an electric vehicle driver, but you’re hesitant to
go on long getaways because of charging uncertainty, then you can
rest easy on your next Shenandoah Valley getaway;
the Iris Inn has you covered!
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Celebrate the Fourth of July at Monticello 8 Jun 2015, 1:00 am
“It is the flag just as much of the man who was naturalized yesterday as of the men whose people have been here many generations.” –Henry Cabot Lodge
As you are well aware, July 4th is coming up soon. If you’re like many Americans, you probably plan to spend the day with friends and family, enjoying a barbecue, some cold brews, and colorful display of fireworks. May you’d like to do something a bit different this year, and if that’s the case, then you’ll enjoy the Fourth of the July at Monticello, where a number of individuals will take their oath of citizenship to become members of the United States. After all, what better place is there to celebrate Independence Day than at Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence?
The 53rd Annual Monticello Independence Day Celebration and Naturalization Ceremony has seen over 3,000 people take the oath since 1963, and it is such a hugely inspiration event that Monticello even provides a live stream of the ceremony. (If you can’t make it to Monticello on July 4th, the live stream will start online at www.monticello.org at 9:00 a.m.) Join fellow attendees for musical performances, patriotic displays, and a word from Governor Terry McAuliffe. (After the ceremony, you’re also invited to enjoy free tours of the Jeffersonian Open House.)
The Iris Inn is only a 30 minute drive from Monticello, so book your room now, and get ready to celebrate July 4th in an area overflowing with U.S. history.
The Green Valley Book Fair 1 Jun 2015, 6:19 am
“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.” — Anne Lamott
There is no better time to indulge in a good book than when you’re on vacation, and if you’re a bit of a book-buying fiend, then you know the cost can quickly add up. The Iris Inn just so happens to be near an affordable bookstore alternative—the Green Valley Book Fair. Whether you prefer science fiction and fantasy, the latest New York Times bestselling novel, autobiographies, or selections from a variety of genres, the Book Fair is at your service: “Located just south of Harrisonburg, Virginia, in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the Green Valley Book Fair is a discount book outlet store featuring over 500,000 new books at incredible bargain prices. Save up to 90% off retail on over 30,000 different titles in more than 60 different categories” (Green Valley).
Check out the Book Fair, then bring your newly purchased reading material back to the Iris Inn. Here you can indulge in your literary lore from the comfort of your own room, in our cozy library overlooking the Great Room, or on a porch chair with the Valley view to set the scene.
2015 Book Fair Dates:
June 27 thru July 18
Aug. 15 thru Sept. 7
Oct. 3 thru 25
Nov. 27 thru Dec. 16
Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon – 5 p.m.
Crunch Your Way Through Route 11 Potato Chips 19 May 2015, 8:05 am
America loves potato chips. Whether it’s Lay’s Ruffled Chips, Cool Ranch Doritos, or Frito-Lay Sunchips, most people indulge every once in a while in these crispy, crunchy morsels. Here in Virginia, we are lucky enough to have our own fantastic brand of potato chips, made by the the company Route 11, which is located in Mt. Jackson, Virginia.
According to Route 11’s official website, their chip recipe is “simple,” including only “good potatoes, high quality oil and unusually delicious seasonings,” and this company certainly succeeds in the quality of their snacks! Not only are the chips delectable, but they have different flavors for different preferences (meaning that all you picky eaters out there have a wide variety from which to choose)! You’ll have check out their complete list of flavors, but here’s a hint of what they offer: Chesapeake Crab, Dill Pickle, Garlic and Herb, Mixed Vegetable, and Sweet Potato.
Did you know that you can also visit Route 21 and feast your eyes on a frying demonstration? Indeed you can, though they recommend calling beforehand to make certain of their cooking hours.
Celebrate Spring with an Annual BBQ at King Family Vineyards 11 May 2015, 7:23 am
King Family Vineyards in Crozet is known primary for two things—its premium wine and its exciting polo matches. On a warm, Sunday afternoon, perch along the polo field alongside your loved ones, and take in the sights and sounds of these mallet-wielding competitors on horseback. King Family wine is always available at these events, so take the opportunity to enjoy a glass of Crose 2013, Chardonnay 2012, or 3, a collaborative wine produced by the efforts of King Family Vineyard, Veritas Vineyard, and Grace Estate Winery. (Also, if you’re a fan of Meritage, then a King Family Vineyard Meritage Vertical Tasting is a must.)
Polo isn’t the only event that the vineyard hosts, however! Coming up this Saturday, May 17, 2015 is King Family Vineyard’s Annual Spring BBQ, which will include everything you could want at an event of its kind—live entertainment, wine tasting, and of course, hot, juicy barbecue. Let’s talk a bit about the barbecue. From noon to 5 p.m. on the day of the event, the Gordonsville, VA-based Barbecue Exchange will be serving their hickory-smoked, slow-roasted pork, dry-cured and then prepared in their wood-burning cookers. Grilled chicken, cole slaw, pumpkin muffins and more will complete the pulled pork meal. Pair it with some King Family wine, and your taste buds are in for one delicious treat.
Tickets to the Annual Spring BBQ are only $16/person and are available for purchase here. (Reservations are required, so don’t miss out on this fun event!) Furthermore, King Family Vineyards is only 15 minutes from the Iris Inn, so it’s a beautiful and convenient drive to the event. We look forward to seeing you!
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Fridays After Five Concert Series 4 May 2015, 6:27 am
Charlottesville, Virginia’s nTelos Wireless Pavilion is well-known for hosting concerts, shows, and tours of all musical genres. The list of upcoming performers for the Pavilion’s ever-popular Fridays After Five Concert Series, now in its 28th year, has recently been released, and whether you’re a die-hard fan of bluegrass, a lover of rock, or an admirer of world rhythms, you will most certainly find a band to suit your tastes.
All of the performers are local artists from central Virginia, and you will be delighted to know that all the performances in this concert series are free. Also, part of the proceeds from concession sales will go towards local non-profit organizations. (How great does this concert series sound?)
If you aren’t able to make any of the shows during the first half of this 2015 concert series, have no fear. A list of musicians for the second half will be released sometime towards the end of June.
May 8- American Aquarium (with Kendall Street Company)
May 17- Adrian Duke (with Born Crooked)
May 22- The Bootsie Daniels Band (with Moon)
May 29- Abbey Road (with Kairos Effect)
June 5- The Gladstones (with Rockafellers Acoustic)
June 12- Superunknown (with Disco Risque)
June 19- Lord Nelson (with Circus Mutt)
June 26- The Kokomotions (with Tom Robbins & Fulton Patrick)
July 3- Keith Morris & The Crooked Numbers (with Her Checkered Past)
Book your room at the Iris Inn, and start planning your Fridays After Five activities!
Take a Hike: Trails Near the Iris Inn 15 Apr 2015, 5:00 am
One could argue that spring is the ideal season for hiking. The chill of winter has departed and the intensity and humidity of the summer heat has not yet arrived. Everything is bursting with new life, and there is an overall sense of well-being in the springtime (other than the allergies of course!)
There are numerous hiking options within a short distance from the Iris Inn, and the imminent shift to fall if the perfect time to start planning an outdoor excursion. Peruse the list of trails below, and make sure to book your room at the Iris Inn!
Crabtree Falls– Hike a four-mile loop, comprised of neatly-kept trails, breathtaking scenery, and the “highest cascading set of falls east of the Mississippi.” Dogs are also welcome, so long as they are leashed.
Appalachian Trail to Spy Rock-Spy Rock is is one of the tallest mountains in the area with a “360-degree panoramic view.” The hike begins at the Montebello Fish Hatchery, proceeds across two-miles of the Appalachian Trail, and then continues to Spy Rock.
Wintergreen Nature Foundation Trails– There are nearly 30 miles of marked trails around Wintergreen, with four of them being the main trails. They cover “an array of distances and difficulties over the five-mile loop that leads you by the breathtaking Shamokin Falls to the easy one-mile trip through Allen Creek Preserve.”
Blackrock Summit Trail– This is a simple, beautiful one-mile hike located in Shenandoah National Park. The rocks for which it is named is a unique sight that supposedly resembles “the terrain of a foreign planet.”
Humpback Rocks Trail– This trail is “short, steep, but immediately rewarding,” and the “rock outcrop on top provides one of the best views of the Shenandoah Valley.” (This hike also happens to be the person favorite of the Iris Inn blogger!)
Sharp Top– Sharp Top is a strenuous three-mile hike that can take at least two-hours to finish. The effort is definitely worth it, as it overlooks the remains of a World War II bomber aircraft, as well as a panoramic view from the Piedmont to the Alleghany Mountains.
EarthCaching in Shenandoah National Park 7 Apr 2015, 2:00 am
Geocaching has become an increasingly popular activity, and for those unfamiliar with it, it is a sort of high-tech treasure hunt: “For the traditional geocache, a geocacher will place a waterproof container containing a log book (with pen or pencil) and trade items then record the cache’s coordinates. These coordinates, along with other details of the location, are posted on a listing site” (Wikipedia). Other geocachers will use their GPS to find the hidden caches, sign their names, take any available trinkets, and then leave an item of their own.
Similar to geocaching is an activity called EarthCaching, which, instead of having a physical cache, results in locating a feature of the natural world: “Instead of leaving or removing anything from the site, EarthCachers document their observations and answer questions as a learning experience, and then report their discoveries on the EarthCache website.” Shenandoah National Park offers a beautiful place to go EarthCaching, with no fee other than admission into the park.
So, how do you go about starting an EarthCaching adventure at Shenandoah National Park?
- Set up a geocaching membership (basic membership is free).
- Check out the available EarthCaches at Shenandoah National Park, and choose which hike you’d like to do. (The Blackrock EarthCache is the closest to the Iris Inn. It’s only a 45-minute drive away and is a relatively easy hike in a beautiful area!)
- Have a GPS device or GPS app on your phone.
Both EarthCaching and geocaching are fun ways to explore different areas, and the biggest benefit is that anyone can participate. (Make sure to not leave any traditional caches at Shenandoah National Park. The park only allows EarthCaching.)
Happy hunting from the Iris Inn!