Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lovely drive from Mountain Song Inn to Smith Mountain Lake

Looking for a different view of Fall Foliage, check out this article: Mountain Song Inn is a wonderful place to stay for Fall colors, just sit on the porch, drive the byways or The Blue Ridge Parkway, or go to Smith Mountain Lake as outlined below for a water view of fall color. Better yet do all the above. Make you reservation today.

Your Mode of Transit: A Riverboat
The reflections of fall colors ripple in the blue water of Smith Mountain Lake as the Virginia Dare (800/721-3273) leaves the dock. Captain Gary Fisher slowly turns the 63-foot-long, 38-ton 19th-century replica of a side-wheeler toward the center of the lake, bound for a two-hour tour. "I've been boating for more than 40 years, and used to sail charters in the Virgin Islands," Gary says. "I just like being out on the water."
This morning Gary takes the Virginia Dare up to the Smith Mountain Dam on the Roanoke River, and back again. Along the way he gives a narrated tour of the state's second biggest lake (formed in 1966 when the dammed river spread a 22,000-acre body of freshwater across three Virginia counties), while his passengers sit down to a lunch of herb-roasted pork loin, green beans, and French onion rice. Later in the day, the Dare will leave on a dinner cruise that offers views of the autumn splendor as the sun goes down. "We head up to the Blackwater River at night," Gary says. "I really like that cruise beacuse you see the sunset. And then the lakeside houses turn on their lights, and they shine all the way up the banks and reflect in the water. Nowthat's a pretty sight."
More Local Color
If you're cruising on the first Wednesday of October, sign up for a Wildlife Wednesday tour. The special lunch cruise features narration by a Smith Mountain Lake State Park ranger who describes the various wildlife, such as white-tailed deer and osprey, found along the lake.
Getting There
Cruises depart from the Virginia Dare Cruises & Marina, 3619 Airport Rd., Moneta, Virginia. Lunch cruises are at noon Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. Dinner cruises are Friday-Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Sightseeing cruises with no meal included are also offered.

Mountain Song Inn: A Better Way to Stay

 Here at Mountain Song Inn  everything is included, gourmet breakfast, wifi, pool
 table, free movies in the library with pop corn if you like, and welcome tea and  
cookies, we don't want your nickels or dimes. We just want to give you a "better
way to stay". Come for a visit soon.
Posted: 20 Sep 2011 07:25 AM PDT
BetterWayToStay.com | The more you pay for a hotel the less you get
I was amazed to read recently in an article on
CNN.com entitled Internet Fee Irritates Hotel Guests, that three quarters of the
“luxury” or upper scale hotel chains charge for Internet access, a fee that rubs
travelers the wrong way.  “It’s something that drives me and a lot of my clients
relatively insane,” said Janice Hough, a travel agent who writes for the blog
 Consumer Traveler.  According to the CNN story, Janice says “They feel nickled
and dimed. They feel frustrated. If you’re paying $500 for a hotel room, you can
probably afford $15 or $20 a day for the Internet. But it leaves a bad taste in
people’s mouth.”  Studies by BedandBreakfast.com and Professional Association
of Innkeepers International have shown that more than 92% of inns and B&Bs
in the United States offer free wi-fi access to guests.  In fact, when coupled with
complimentary breakfasts (often gourmet), free afternoon or evening refreshments,
beverages, and parking, the amenities add up to as much as $150 per day savings
at properties equivalent to the luxury hotels.
The CNN.com article goes on to explain that most travelers — business or otherwise
 — view Internet access in their room as essential to their stay as a comfortable bed
to sleep in and a hot shower in the morning.  In fact wireless Internet access is one
of the top five “must-have” amenities for hotel guests, according to the
J.D. Power and Associates 2010 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study,
also outlined on CNN.com.
Ironically, breakfast is in the same category as free wi-fi.  The more you pay for the
hotel room, the less likely you are to find breakfast included in your room rate.
According to a second CNN.com story entitled Appetite Grows for Free Hotel Breakfast,
only 4 percent of the properties in the higher end hotel category offer a complimentary
breakfast. “They have a restaurant, and they want you to pay for your breakfast,” said
Daniel Mount, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University’s School of
Hospitality Management to CNN. “And at places like that, I don’t think free breakfast
is necessarily important.” Yet travelers who’ve heard from their Mom that breakfast is
the most important meal of the day want that free breakfast and are willing to choose
a lodging property that’ll offer it.  When asked what they like most about inns and
B&Bs in BedandBreakfast.com surveys, inngoers have consistently answered that the
complimentary breakfast is among the top reasons they choose to stay at a B&B.
Recently, when staying in a boutique hotel (which will go unnamed) which did not
offer a complimentary breakfast, the waitress asked if we’d prefer REAL maple syrup
to imitation. Of course we answered we’d like the real maple syrup, only to find an
additional $2 charge on the breakfast bill.  This inngoer, accustomed to enjoying
real maple syrup on my complimentary breakfast at every inn and B&B she travels to
felt particularly nickeled and dimed there.
Yet it’s these added fees that have travelers rubbed the wrong way, and which have the
same travelers looking to discover a better way to stay.  According to arecent study by 
Peter Yesawich of the Y-Partnership, 79 percent of travelers are interested in visiting
an inn or B&B in the upcoming year.  They are looking for a better way to stay and
they’re finding it when they visit inns or B&Bs.
We know we’re preaching the B&B advantages to the choir here.  Help us to spread
the word.  Pass this on to your hotel-going friends and family who are looking for
distinctive hospitality, delicious breakfasts and complimentary wi-fi, snacks and
beverages when they travel.  Show them the better way to stay is also the value way
to stay.
BetterWayToStay.com - Experience Today's Inns and B&Bs

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Plan Accordingly...Fall comes early to the Blue Ridge

Mountain Song Inn Bed and Breakfast is preparing for a very busy end of September and October don't miss the opportunity to come for a visit. Make you reservation today. 

Blue Ridge Parkway Wildflower Report for September 13th, 2011

September 13, 2011

Additional Resources :: [ Listen Online ]   [ Bloom Schedule ]   [ Wildflower Gallery ]
We're approaching mid-September, and depending on your location, you may find that a few signs of fall color are on thetrees along the Parkway.  This is just a reminder to a fall that's display always arrives here in the mountains in about a month, the middle of October. 
Generally fields on the Parkway are full this time of year with Black-eyed Susan, Joe-Pye Weed, Queen Anne's Lace, Iron Weed, Goldenrod, and in some places you'll see great displays of Cardinal flower, especially in moister wet areas.  The staff at the Peaks of Otter in Virginia is reporting Iron Weed, Jewel Weed, Woodland Sunflower, and Pink Turtlehead, in addition to the above species. 
The meadows and agricultural land in the Rocky Knob/Mabry Mill area are showing nice displays of Joe-Pye Weed, Black-eyed Susan, Goldenrod, and a few early signs of fall color here and there.  If you're in North Carolina around the Cone Estate, Spotted Jewel Weed is nicely in bloom around Trout Lake.  Yarrow is also common along with Bee Balm and Bellflower.  Look for nice Purple-Headed Coneflower just around the visitor's center at the Linn Cove Viaduct
From Linville Falls through Gillespie Gap at the Mineral Museum, Ox-eye Daisy, Phlox, Angelica, Jewel Weed, Yarrow, Iron Weed, Coreopsis, and Black-eyed Susan are all common.  Some purple Aster should be in bloom through the Craggy Gardens area and Mountain Ash is coming on.  Everything seems to be gearing for a splendid fall showing.  Tall Coneflower, Fleabane, Ox-eye Daisy, Asters, and White Snakeroot can be found on the Craggy Gardens trail as well. 
As always, we will remind you to drive carefully while on the Parkway.  Keep your eyes on the road as you enjoy the view.  In a few weeks, more indications of fall color will be coming with the peak commonly coming mid to early October.
Regular updates for color reports will be posted to our web site home page. You can also use the National Park Service information line at 828-298-0398 to keep informed of what's being reported on the Parkway.
For more nature and science information, visit our virtual resource center,http://www.virtualblueridge.com/parkway/general/nature.asp, which will provide you with much more information.
Have a safe Parkway visit! Enjoy the view, but watch the road.
Motorcycle Safety Sign

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mountain Song Inn is the Perfect Fall Destination

Read Ms. Goldsmith's article, it will make you want to travel Virginia Byways, if you find yourself on the Blue Ridge Parkway, make sure you have a reservation at Mountain Song Inn Bed and Breakfast. A real fall treat.

updated 9/5/2011 11:03:22 AM ET 
Crisp air, panoramic views, brilliantly colored ash and poplar trees: the exhilarating route to North Carolina’s Mount Mitchell State Park — the highest peak in the Eastern United States — is a destination in itself. The scenic 75-year-old Blue Ridge Parkway is just one of the country’s great autumn drives.
The fall foliage season, when the changing palette of deciduous trees is in blazing bloom, is now starting. And the way to maximize your intake of color is to map out a driving route. In September, October, and — in some spots — even November, color seekers can visit 31 states and drive more than 3,000 miles of national scenic byways, plus thousands of other scenic roads.
Some nature lovers, like former Shenandoah National Park guide Hazel Mills, can’t wait to buckle up and get up close and personal with the purple dogwoods and deep burgundy leaves of the Virginia creepers. “It’s like a basketful of fall chrysanthemums in every color,” she says. “Red and yellow, purple, and deep burgundy. When the afternoon sun hits the hickory, it looks exactly like gold, absolutely breathtaking.”

Video: Travel prices discounted for Fall travel (on this page)

Others, like Mike Boutin, owner of Maine-based Northwoods Outfitters, like to take country drives surrounded by mountains bursting with yellow beeches, scarlet maples, and purple witch hazel around Moosehead Lake. He also loves one of the season’s biggest local adventures — back-road moose safaris. “It doesn’t get better than pulling over to see a huge brown male moose crash through a riot of bright red and yellow leaves,” says Boutin.
Certain areas of the country — the Northeast corridor, the Southeast, along the Appalachian Mountains, and much of the Midwest — produce the most striking and vibrant colors because of mild autumn days and cool (but not freezing) evenings. If daytime temperatures are too warm for an extended period of time, colors are less intense.
If you’re planning a fall foliage trip, choose your route based not only on the timing of nature’s fiery color display, but also around available activities. Horseback ride through the orange hickory trees in Shenandoah National Park. Or stand beneath a quivering golden aspen at Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierra while peering through a dusty window in Bodie, the best-preserved ghost town in California.
But no matter where you are, the way to cover the most ground — and take in the biggest eyeful of color — is behind the wheel. Here are some of our favorite fall color drives.
More from Travel + Leisure

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Ranger's Blog on Protecting our Parkway

Floyd County, VA has some of the most beautiful parts of the Blue Ridge as it's border.
Don't forget to stop here when you travel this wonderful road.  Mountain Song Inn Bed and
Breakfast is a scenic 17 miles drive off the parkway, make reservations at this unique inn when you pass through Floyd County.


Illegal Trails On the Blue Ridge Parkway

by Bruce W. Bytnar
The Blue Ridge Parkway winds through over 469 miles of mountain scenery and habitats in Virginia and North Carolina.  When originally built this road was in what many would consider the middle of nowhere providing access for new populations to experience Southern Appalachian natural and cultural environments.  In many cases visitors fell in love with the region and its charms.  As a result the number of homes and communities along the edges of the Park has grown.  Over time many adjacent home and property owners have wanted their own piece of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  The National Park Service has identified approximately 400 illegally built trails within the park providing access to the Parkway road.  More than 40 of these trails exist in the Roanoke area alone and are being used by pedestrians and bicyclists.

Most users of these trails do not see any problem with cutting trees and brush and in some cases constructing steps on park lands since it makes it personally convenient for them to gain access to the park from their home.  In some other areas trees have been topped and even removed within the park to open up views for home owners.  I have even seen these accesses and views used as an enticement for real estate sales. 

Approximately five years ago the Park Service attempted to close off several of the illegally cut trails in the Roanoke area.  People immediately started contacting their Congressional representatives, local politicians, and the news media to paint a dark picture of evil park rangers stopping their fun.  As a result the Blue Ridge Parkway has spent several years studying the situation and developing a proposed trail management plan for the Roanoke area of the Park.    A lot of time, expense, and effort have been spent by the Park Service just in planning to deal with this problem.

Granted my opinion is tainted by more than 32 years as a park ranger dealing with many similar issues.  I guess the points I keep coming back to are these:

The trails were built illegally in violation of federal regulations without permission from the Park Service.  Were the park staff to build such a trail there are numerous requirements for cultural and natural resource impact studies to be completed and approved to ensure such construction does not damage valuable or irreplaceable plants, habitats, or archeological sites.  Considerations are required as to the safety of the trail and its access point into the roadway.  None of the builders of these trails went through this process or even considered such impacts on public lands.

The construction of the trails impacted resources that the Park Service is charged with protecting.  Cutting limbs, trees, and shrubbery are all violations of regulations within National Parks.  Many of these trails also cause eventual issues with erosion of sparse and valuable soils in mountain areas.  This erosion further damages root systems of other plants and trees adjacent to the trails.

The placing of these trails and the reaction of the public to attempts to close them are examples of how many have become more interested in what can benefit them as an individual than on how their actions will affect others.

It would be interesting to see what the reaction would be from these neighboring land owners if someone came onto their property without permission and started cutting vegetation to open a short cut to another house.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Floyd Fest X was the best yet!!

 Don't forget to book your room early for Floyd Fest XI at Mountain Song Inn Bed and Breakfast

FloydFest X Proved to be eXceptional Celebrating 10 years and Record Sales

August 22, 2011


FloydFest, the multi-genre music and arts festival held along the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Virginia, eXploded with fun and eXcitement this year as it celebrated its 10th anniversary and witnessed record breaking sales. The event, which is put together by local promotion company, Across-the-Way Productions, boasted premier performances by its best of a decade line-up including Taj Mahal, David Grisman, Del McCoury Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 and more. The weekend comprised of 17,000 total attendees over the course of the festival, the most ever recorded.

"We actually sold-out on Friday and Saturday, reaching 14,000 attendee capacity on those days," notes Svetlana Nikic, VP of Sales and Marketing for FloydFest. "This was a first for us and it is really rewarding to receive all the wonderful feedback from our patrons over the past few weeks."

New for FloydFest X was free drinking water to all festival goers. With the support of Klean Kanteen, Across-the-Way Productions installed a commercial well to help attendees save money and the environment. Patrons were also able to purchase a Klean Kanteen reusable stainless steel pint emblazoned with the logo of this year's FloydFest for water, beer, and wine. These pints eliminated the use of more than 64,000 single-use plastic cups throughout FloydFest.

FloydFest included an array of eXtraordinary offerings, which made the festival so unique. In addition to the music, the 80-acre mountain plateau offered a progressive 'Global Village' area of workshops and demonstrations, free trapeze lessons, over 100 artisans and crafters, incredible food selections from pulled-pork BBQ to fresh sushi, organic pizza, and hand-churned ice cream, a comprehensive healing arts area, and a Children's Universe. It is the family-friendly atmosphere and these original offerings that bring in new and veteran attendees year after year.

FloydFest frequenter, Jim Hughes of Port, Virginia, shared these praises with the Across-the-Way Productions team, "Thanks for FloydFest and all you and your dream team do to promote such a wonderful, glorious, magnificent, warm, loving and happy musical experience!  FloydFest to me is like a kid in a musical candy store with hungry eyes and limits on what can be consumed on so many stages (with something for everyone) and each year the benchmark keeps growing higher and higher.  My goal is to keep attending until I'm taken from this earth, so keep doing what you're doing cause it sure feels right!"

As another FloydFest has come and gone, the Across-the-Way Productions team is already prepping for next year and is committed to making the next ten years of FloydFest even more eXciting while staying true to its roots.

For more information please visit the FloydFest website or call 1.888.VA.FESTS.
Motorcycle Safety Sign
Motorcycle enthusiasts flock to the Blue Ridge Parkway by the thousands.
Show off your Parkway pride and your love of two-wheeled adventure in the Blue Ridge Mountains with these great products - including the popular Motorcycle Safety Sign!