“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.” — John Ruskin
The reawakening of the natural world is one of the most welcomed parts of spring, particularly in regards to the vivid splash of color of newly bloomed flowers. While the progression of springtime greenery is a slower process, flowers seem to leap forward in their urgency towards warm weather.
Coming up on May 4-5, the Shenandoah National Park will be celebrating the flora of the area with its 27th Annual Wildflower Weekend: “Take a day or two to appreciate the diversity of wildflowers growing here in the Blue Ridge. More than 1,300 species of plants thrive in Shenandoah National Park, a mountain island surrounded by farmland, towns, and expanding developed areas.” (NPS). Because Wildflower Weekend is held in early May, you can expect to see wildflowers like hepatica, violets, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild azaleas, and numerous other floral wonders.
If you’d like to learn as well as look, the park is offering programs led by biologists, park rangers, guest naturalists, and professional photographers, and topics will include everything from wildflower identification to bird-watching. (Click here for a full list of the scheduled programs.)
Reminders from the Park:
- “Wear sturdy shoes and bring water on all hikes.” (We’re sure they don’t want any half-dehydrated, high-heel wearing participants…)
- “Evaluate your personal fitness and health to choose an appropriate program.” (We’re pretty sure none of the park rangers will carry you if you get tired while hiking.)
- “Come prepared for wet weather. Walks may be conducted in light rain, but will be canceled in case of thunderstorms.” (After all, no one wants to get struck by lightning.)
This is a great opportunity to explore the native and exotic wildflowers that take root among our mountains, so go out on an adventure, then return to relaxation at the Iris Inn!
Photo Credit: Stolz Gary M, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The weather may still be reminiscent of winter, but spring has arrived, and Virginia’s Historic Garden Week is fast approaching: “Every April, visitors are welcomed to more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during “America’s Largest Open House.’”
The first garden tour nearby the Iris Inn is on April 20, 2013 at Morven Estate in Charlottesville: “Morven, a three-story brick manor house built in the late-Georgian/Federal Style, dates to 1820. The land on which it sits was part of the original Carter family land grant and was known to Thomas Jefferson as ‘Indian Camp.’” The estate was passed from Jefferson to his adoptive son William Short. It was then passed on to others until it was finally owned by John Kluge, who generously gifted the estate to the University of Virginia.
Another tour destination that takes place on April 20, 2013 is the Staunton-Augusta Tour, which explores five properties, including two 18th century homes and gardens. “Another home showcases new construction based on historical design and is the site of Mount Airy Vineyard which is included on the tour. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum showcases a Garden Club of Virginia restored garden, and will also be included. The Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, which began as a Chapel in 1895, will be open and serve as the lunch venue for this tour.” On April 24, 2013, one can partake in an “intimate house and garden tour” in Harrisonburg, VA: “Highlights of these properties include: a home with black wood floors, a working artist’s studio, heirloom antiques to salvaged architectural details, and a property owned by a Master Gardener.”
Click here for a complete list of 2013’s 80th Historic Garden Week tours and locations.
“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” –Herbert Hoover
There’s still a bitter chill in the air here in Waynesboro, Virginia, but the warm weather is soon to come, bringing with it the 13th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival: “Held on the banks of the South River in Downtown Waynesboro, this festival is the largest outdoor fly fishing event in the Mid-Atlantic. Casting class with instructors, over 40 exhibitors with the latest gear, children’s fishing pond and some of Virginia’s finest vintners are just some of the activities offered over the weekend!” –Visit Waynesboro
Take classes for beginners, chat with fellow sportsman, taste Virginia wine, and visit the many different vendors. Also, if you are interested in obtaining a fishing license, you’ll be able to purchase one right onsite: “[The festival is] proud to announce that attendees will be able to purchase their fishing licenses and check on their driver’s licenses at the festival this year! That’s right: A partnership between Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries means one-stop shopping for anglers.”
This year, we here at the Iris Inn are offering a Fly Fishing Festival Package for our guests. This includes tickets to either day of the event as well as lunch at a fantastic nearby restaurant, the Greenleaf Grill. Pricing includes the cost of your room plus $75. If you’re interested in booking a room for this fun, warm-weather package, click here.
Montpelier, as you may know, is a National Historic Landmark and also the lifelong home of former U.S. president James Madison. The estate is comprised of 2,650 acres in Orange County, Virginia, and it was built in 1723 by James Madison’s grandfather Ambrose, who called the property Mount Pleasant. Nowadays, Montpelier is a popular tourist attraction that boasts three annual festivals—the Montpelier Hunt Races, the Fiber Festival, and the Montpelier Wine Festival.
You will be quite delighted to learn that the Montpelier Wine Festival is only a month away. May 5-6, 2012, you will have the opportunity not only to visit and tour the beautiful grounds of Montpelier, but also to sample wine from 24 local wineries, indulge in delectable dishes prepared and served by festival vendors, and enjoy a variety of live events.
Want to bring the kiddies with you? Don’t be dissuaded by the “wine festival” title! There are plenty of children-friendly activities as well, including a free ride in the barrel train, face painting, kite-making, and a kite-flying contest. Instructions, stunts, and demonstrations will be provided by the Wings Over Washington Kite Club.
Book your room at the Iris Inn, and immerse yourself in wine and history!
Spring has entered with a fanfare of warm weather and early blooms, and now is the time to once again enjoy outdoor events and festivals. One such festival that is soon to take place in dear old Waynesboro is the 12th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival: “Want to get started in fly fishing but don’t know where to begin? The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is the ideal place to get your feet wet in the sport. Are you an avid fly angler looking to take your skills to the next level? The festival is your one-stop shop for gear, expert advice, and even instruction. Be a part of the largest fly angling event in the Old Dominion!” –Visit Waynesboro
On April 21-22, 2012, make your way to Waynesboro’s South River and partake in a host of free lectures and tips. The two-day schedule includes such lectures as “Casting Tactics for Trout in Tight Cover,” “Getting Into Saltwater Fly Fishing,” and “Fishing the Best Waters of the Mid-Atlantic.” If you’re a fly fishing beginner, have no fear. There will be experts available to answer all of your questions and to teach you the how, when, and where of this sport.
Perhaps you are asking yourself, “What if I don’t have a fishing license? Must I rush to buy one in time for this magnificent event so that I can partake in the merriments of my fellow fishermen?” If that is indeed your question, then you will be happy to know that the Fly Fishing Festival will have licenses for sale. (Make sure you have a picture ID and cash or a credit with you in order to purchase your license.)
Fly Fishing Festival Quick Facts:
DATE: April 21-22, 2012
LOCATION: South River, Waynesboro, VA
COST: $20 for a day, $35 for a weekend pass, children ages 16 and under free.
“But each spring…a gardening instinct, sure as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground.” — Lewis Gantt
Nothing proclaims the arrival of spring quite like the sight of budding flowers and the gradual shades of green that seep in the landscape. The Shenandoah Valley is a lovely place to watch spring emerge, and as a result of such an ideal location, there are specific places that commemorate this coming season.
Historic Garden Week in Virginia takes place April 21-28, 2012, and it includes around 250 gardens, historical landmarks, and homes all over the Commonwealth. We at the Iris Inn are lucky enough to be located near several of the Garden Week participants:
Morven Farm, Charlottesville, VA- This beautiful property was open during the first Historic Garden Week in 1929, and “it has been open for every Garden Week since” (Virginia.edu). When you tour Morven Farm, know that you will be experience a piece of history laden with the flora of spring.
Monticello, Charlottesville, VA- Garden Week at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello includes a Revolutionary Garden Tour on April 21 and April 23 as well as a National Book Launch on April 23.
Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, Staunton, VA- On April 21, 2012, take a tour of the historic boxwood garden next to the birthplace of former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson. Sponsored by the Augusta Garden Club, the tour also includes both the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and the Woodrow Wilson Museum.