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April 12th a Day of Firsts

150 years ago the first shot of the Civil War was fired. The first Russian Cosmonaut  50 years ago. First space shuttle was launched 30 years ago. Also the first visit by Homer Hickam here at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast. The auther of the Rocket Boys/ October Sky and now The Dinosaur Hunter which I just started reading. Interesting how the NASA Engineer who started life changes with his facination of Sputnik crossing the October Sky is here on this anniversary of so many accomplishments.

The Rocket Boys

Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast welcomes our newborn calves

It is such a pleasure to continue the working farm tradition here at Rockwood Manor. Our family forefathers came from Scotch Irish roots and raising cattle was second nature to them. What better business to start here in the New World. Following in the footsteps of these various frontier families where  many of their fortunes were based on the cattle industry. Cloyd’s , Kents, McGavocks, Buchanans, and others built up considerable wealth and we often tell our guests that it was the cows that built Rockwood.

Frances Bell was an adept cattle trader and as such traveled the Valleys of Virginia bringing cattle back to his home farm in Swoope, Augusta County, Virginia which he ran with his brother Samuel  Hays Bell. In his travels to the New River Valley he met and learned from master trader James Randal Kent who was married to Mary Cloyd and lived at Buchanans’ Bottom ( now known as Kentland and owned by Virginia Tech)  J.R. Kent was the wealthiest man in Montgomery County. He had five daughters and Frances (b1820) married Sarah James Kent (b1824) in 1855.

In a wonderful book “Virginia’s Cattle Story”   The First Four Centuries by Katherine Brown & Nancy Sorrells the real story of cattle in American  history outlines  the bringing of the cattle to Jamestown and Williamsburg. From there various breeds were imported and some cattle were actually first  exported back to England by great grandfather Frances Bell and sold as “Pulaski Beef”.  His sons escorted shiploads of cattle  and that sounds like a  job to me. A picture of Rockwood Manor  and story of “Fat Cattle” can be found on page 147-8.

The home here went from strictly raising beef to become a dairy in the early 1900’s and now we are back to raising beef again. The cows are very curious creatures with a wonderful herding instinct and our guests really enjoy their presence. You will too.

Newborn Hereford Calf

Homer Hickam guest at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while presenting the McGlothlin Awards at Radford University

The Dinosaur Hunter comes to Radford Uninversity

One of my heros is coming to visit us at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast while he presents “The McGlothlin Awards” at Radford University. Growing up in a small town in the West Virginia coalfields he and a group of his friends formed a small club that became  later in  life a book the “Rocket Boys: A Memoir” . This grew into another book about The Coalwood Way” and that was turned into a Hollywood Movie called October Sky.

As a writer and an adventurer he has continued on with multiple stories and has become accomplished as a speaker and presenter. Check him out at

www.HomerHickam.com

The McGlothlin Awards are a blessing to the teachers of Southwest Virginia and given once a year to the outstanding teachers of the year.  We would like to thank Tom McGlothlin and his family foundation for these honors.

(Roanoke, VA)- The  McGlothlin Awards for Teaching Excellence are awarded at Radford University, granted in the amount of $25,000 each to two outstanding teachers. These awards are tied with the nation’s largest awards to teachers-the Milkin and the Disney awards-but are only offered to teachers from communities in the Blue Ridge regions of Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.


The purpose of these awards, now in its 12th year, is to “find the best teachers working in today’s classrooms around our region. We want to recognize their fine work, reward them for it, and by so doing inspire others to the high qualities they exemplify. This award recognizes in a rather significant way what we consider one of the most important professions-and one with so many unsung heroes.”

NRCC Fiddle, Banjo and Dance Club presented Dailey & Vincent in Concert

My wife Rochelle and I are fans of the New River Community College’s Fiddle, Banjo and Dance Club and for years this group has been putting on shows next door in the wonderful Edwards Hall once a month. Usually they are free to the public and donations are asked for the Bands. We rarely get to enjoy these events as our events and weddings are on almost the same schedules. On our 4th Anniversary this past weekend (April 2nd) we did obtain tickets ( the last four)      to see the “Cracker Barrel sponsored group Dailey & Vincent. A sold out show and I can see why!!! WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                        We were simply blown away. What a group of fine musicians and their harmonies were amazing. The Bassman (Christian)

New River Community College Fiddle, Banjo and Dance Club Present Dailey & Vincent

was absolutely incredible.  And the show was not only a mixture of Bluegrass and Gospel but a great comedy routine too. I cannot stress the fact that if you have the opportunity to see these guys in action you must take it. I am already planning to be there next year when they return on April 28 2012. Which will be the Reenactment of the Battle of Cloyd’s Mountain weekend too. TOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!! Come and see both of these and have a wonderful stay at Rockwood Manor too.

Rockwood Manor on cover of The Wedding Planner Magazine

Last year we were blessed to have Laura Matney of Laura’s Focus Photography have a great story run in “The Wedding Planner Magazine”. This season we have another great photographer Michael Keyes of Photographic Dreams get us on the Front Cover with a shot of our Bride Jordon McAllister Aldrich. We cannot thank either of these artistic people enough for what they do in helping us promote the home at Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast. We would also like to Thank The Wedding Planner Magazine for their recognition of us.

Rockwood Manor Bed and Breakfast

A Beautiful Bride at a Beautiful Home

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