Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Shopping Locally in Virginia

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011


There are many, many benefits to buying locally, especially during the holiday season, and Virginia has no shortage of small businesses from which it would be advantageous to make your purchases. Many of the art-related establishments such as 16 Hands in Floyd, VA, Sunspots Studios in Staunton, VA, and Glenfiddich Farm Pottery in Leesburg, VA even feature local artisans who display and sell their beautiful pieces of artwork.

It would take an abundance of time and energy to research every single small business in Virginia, not to mention that it would be a very long, increasingly dull blog entry. Thus, I would encourage you to do a google search for downtown shopping in Virginia, and I guarantee that you will find a vast amount of small, eclectic shops that will fulfill all of your gift-giving needs.

If you have read any of the BBAV’s previous blog entries, you know that I, your humble blogger, love a good list. Therefore, enjoy yet another list, this one presenting you with a few reasons as to why you should shop and buy locally:

1. Obviously, by buying locally, you are supporting your local economy which is an indirect benefit to yourself because of the re-circulation of money and all that jazz. See? It’s good for you!

2. Small, local businesses provide a wide range of unique holiday gifts. From jewelry to artwork to random trinkets, downtown shops offer any type of item that you can think of, and gifting someone with something unique is sure to make you the most celebrated gift-giver of them all.

3. You avoid the crabby crowds that infest big retail stores during this time of year. I mean, really, who wants their toes run over by cart-pushing grinches and line-cutting scrooges?

You know what? Those three reasons pretty much sum it all up, so Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping!

 

Photo by Patrick Neil

 

By Tara Stoll

BBAV Gift Certificates

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011


The usual holiday gifts include such dull items as a tie for Dad, a scented candle for Mom, sets of lotion and bodywash for the girlfriends, and moderately pleasant aftershave for the boyfriends. While these are not necessarily bad gifts, they’re not particularly memorable and certainly not personalized enough to express how meaningful a relationship you have with these individuals.  (Although, if you’re not terribly fond of these acquaintances, a bodywash set might be appropriate.)

Instead of the usual generic gift sets, how about presenting your friends and family with Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia gift certificate? You can buy them in $25 increments between the prices of $25 and $500. They are redeemable at any inn that is a current member of the BBAV. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. ANY INN!

Besides the fact that these gift certificates would make wonderful presents to the holidays, you might be wondering why else you should purchase one. I like a good list, so I’ve decided to present to you a list of three reasons why you should pick up a BBAV gift certificate:

1. You will undoubtedly be the most envied of all gift-givers at your holiday party.

2. You don’t have to fight the Black Friday crowds to buy your gift. In fact, you don’t have to fight any crowds, since the gift certificates are available for purchase online.

3. BBAV gift certificates have no expiration date. Much like that fruit cake that you’re thinking about giving the neighbors. But a BBAV gift certificate is much more appealing than fruit cake.

Photo by Kelvin Kay

By Tara Stoll

Giving Back for Thanksgiving in Virginia, 2011

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

The word “Thanksgiving” has come to be synonymous with “turkey dinner.” The name of this holiday conjures images of a cozy family meal, a well-furnished table of food and autumn décor, and perhaps even a blazing fire in the hearth. But in all of the hustle and bustle of Thanksgiving preparations, the meaning becomes lost in the labor.

So focused are we on preparing that perfect, Norman Rockwell-worthy dinner that we often disregard those who are not fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving with family, friends, and an overabundance of food. We are surrounded by the homeless, the hungry, and the lonely, and how much of an impact on their lives would it make to invite them to our Thanksgiving meals? I can see the skepticism on your faces, and unfortunately, most will label the notion of extending an invitation to strangers as little more than an interesting idea.

But you’re not off the hook yet, because there are many other ways to support the less fortunate during this holiday season. How about the Central Virginia Food Bank? Or the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia? Or Feeding America: Southwest Virginia? One only has to do a quick Google search for “Virginia food banks” to see that there are so many establishments in the commonwealth in need of your assistance whether it be through donations of money or a few hours of your time.

And so, we here at the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving while encouraging you not only to appreciate all that you possess, but also to give back to the community in which you make your home.

The First Thanksgiving by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

(This blog entry was inspired by a young boy named John, who decided that for this Thanksgiving, he was going to collect food for those in need. Thank you, John, for your kind-heartedness and your inspiration.)

By Tara Stoll

Veterans Day in Virginia, 2011

Monday, November 7th, 2011

 

November 11 is Veterans Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, commemorating the end of World War I and honoring all the men and women of the armed forces.

Woodrow Wilson was the first to declare a November 11th celebration of Armistice Day, and he did so with the proclamation, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

 

Joseph Ambrose, 86-year old World War I veteran

There will be celebrations, free museum admissions, and military discounts all over the United States on Veterans Day, and Virginia will be no exception:

Mount Vernon, VA- free admission for active duty, former, and retired military personnel; free community concert by The Harmony Heritage Singers.

Grey Swan Inn, Blackstone, VA- 10% discount to military personnel

Montpelier, Orange, VA- free admission to all military personnel

Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum, Staunton, VA- free Veterans Day Program

Besides these specific events, there are a number of national parks that are offering free admission to everyone on Veterans Day:

  •     Colonial National Historical Park
  •     George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park
  •     Manassas National Battlefield Park

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” –John F. Kennedy

By Tara Stoll