What is Memorial Day?


Ten years ago we came to Dublin Virginia to take on the project of restoring the old family home Rockwood. While repairing everything I noticed the lower level plaster walls were covered in graffitti. Names, drawings, trains, horses, wagons and some dates. Facinating history. Like looking at a prehistoric cave wall.

One very elaborate signature stood out “Elliott Hampton Howe 1897” written in a giant scrolling script. I wondered who he was and why the signature was here. It wasn’t till years later I was given a book “Listen to the Mockingbird” written by Lt Col Daniel Dunbar Howe about the Howe, Hoge, Tyler familes and our  connections. I learned from this that Elliott was born 1880 and was 17 years old and our cousin visiting the home at the time.

Fast forward to World War One and young Lieutenant Howe was 38 , married with children, and serving our country in the great Battle of the Meuse -Argonne. Leading his platoon he was struck by a German artillary shell and died there in France.

Memorial Day is set aside to Honor our fallen soldiers who have given the greatest sacrifice for God & Country and I am proud to have learned of this unknown member of our family and what he did for the USA. Thank you Elliott for this.

There are a lot of family members who served in various wars and branches of service back to the French Indian and Revolutionary War and up through the current time. Some of these are being posted in our website.

Best Biking and Inline Skating in Virginia


The best biking and inline skating destinations in Virginia

Biking, hiking and inline skating are a fantastic way to enjoy time in the great outdoors, a fun activity that all the family can share and a good way to keep fit. More and more people are heading to Virginia to enjoy these activities, and if you want to know why, read on.

Why Virginia?

Framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, Virginia has a surprising variety of beautiful landscapes. Its rich forests are teeming with wildlife and it is home to several magnificent rivers. The coastal territory also presents a wide variety of fascinating places to explore.

The Huckleberry Trail

Built where the old Cambria to Blacksburg railroad used to run, the Huckleberry Trail has long been known for the abundance of huckleberries and blueberries that can be found beside it, so cyclists and skaters might find themselves stopping off from time to time to enjoy a good snack. It is just under six miles long and paved all the way, making it well suited to beginners and family groups. Wooden mile markers help you check your progress as you go.

The Washington and Old Dominion Trail

With a full 45 miles of high quality paved or asphalt trail, the Washington and Old Dominion Trail is one of the best choices for bikers and skaters who want a long distance challenge. It is built along the path of the now abandoned Washington and Old Dominion railroad and it traverses some of the most beautiful countryside in the state, taking in woods and fields and passing by old settlements. Splitting off from it is the Bluemont Junction Trail, a pleasingly shaded place to ride on hot summer days.

The Lower Cascade Falls

There are actually two hiking trails at Cascade Falls, but the lower one is generally considered the best, running alongside the creek bed and offering some stunning views, and when you reach the end you can stand under the waterfall itself to cool off. It is great for hikers young and old at only four miles long, but the uneven terrain means it is still a comparatively tough option, so you will need appropriate hiking gear to make the most of this photographer’s paradise.

Cape Henry Trail

At 7.5 miles in length, this well tended trail takes you right across First Landing State Park, where you can spot deer, foxes and all sorts of waterfowl, including ospreys. Despite varied terrain with sand, gravel, asphalt and crushed stone underfoot, it might sound challenging, but it is actually well suited to skaters and it will also appeal to bike riders who want a relaxing ride in beautiful surroundings. There is a small fee for use.

Go equipped

To take on Virginia’s challenging trails, you will need good walking boots, a sturdy mountain bike or a good brand of rollerblade inline skates, capable of navigating the many bumps along the way and coping with the occasional steep incline. You should also take at least a basic survival kit: a first aid kit, a knife, a torch, a lighter, a bottle of water and some high energy rations such as dried fruit or cereal bars.

Virginia is a thrilling place to explore and these great trails make it easy to find your way around the best bits.

First major snow of our season with 9 inches of powder.

Unlike our neighbors to the north we have had very little snow this season and it was a true pleasure to watch it fall yesterday. Rochelle and I put on our boots and hiked to the road and I did take some great pictures. I will add one shortly. Soft light powder with no wind. Unlike the blast from this past weekend. Cold I can deal with, Snow I Love, Wind is the worst. Dreaming of warm sunny beaches in Mexico with a cold Corona.

Our new Website is now here and LIVE!

After months of working on the new responsive website we have now taken it Live. Still items and bugs to work out but for the most part I am quite happy with the new look.All sorts of pictures but only a small part of what we actually have from years of happy occasions. I actually feel it finally does the home justice and we are actually updating and adding new content on ourselves and our wonderful Virginia Blue Ridge. This blog post is also a test of that in this new site. Thanks for following us a we grow.

Lessons Learned “Go Hokies”

Days come and go and as I grow older they do seem to past faster. One good thing about that though is the fact that I often recognize certain lessons learned.

So I thought it might be a good thing to actually write some of these lessons down just as my ancestors did even if it is in a form that probably will not last long.

Yesterday I learned that it is alright to be wrong and if you are wrong then admit it and see if there is a way to possible fix that wrong.

I did make a mistake in one of our bookings and I did take ownership of that mistake. I also tried to fix it in the only way I could and hopefully that will end up being


I also learned that we need to be flexible in whatever we do and that bending with the flow is much better than breaking. To be able to change is good.

We cannot always have what we want or expect and to recognize this and accept it is an important part of life’s lessons.

Just as we need to support those around us even if we disagree with their actions.

Take  VT Football for instance. Everyone Loves them when they win and Loves them not when they lose.

But as in Life no one is at the top of their game all of the time.

Yet they still need that support when they are losing and even more so than when they are winning.

Compassion is the way. But not to the extreme. Do not coddle but enable them to be themselves and grow.

Treat your family and friends  the same when they are up as when they are down and you too will be blessed with winning moments in this one life that we have.

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