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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 9/11-14

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, September 11

Friday, September 12

Saturday, September 13

Sunday, September 14

Monday, September 15

Tuesday, September 16

Wednesday, September 17

Thursday, September 18

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Pete's Pick: Explore Philpott Reservoir

Philpott ReservoirIf you're looking to explore a new area then look no further than Philpott Reservoir. It’s a slice of heaven right in our backyard, just check out the virtual tour.

Philpott Reservoir is a 2,880-acre lake located in southern Franklin County. You won't find any residential development along the shoreline, but you will find numerous facilities scattered throughout the reservoir such as boat landings, campgrounds, picnic areas, beaches, and hiking trails. It’s ideal for hiking, canoeing/kayaking, fishing, and camping.

If you're up for a truly unique overnight experience, then give some thought to camping on Deer Island, which is only accessible by canoe/kayak. You’ll park at the Salthouse Branch Park, load your gear, and paddle over to the island. Don’t worry, there’s water and a toilet on the island.

But if you prefer something that requires a little less time, then go for a hike on the Philpott Dogwood Glenn Trail. This 5-mile trail stretches from Salthouse Branch at Philpott Lake to Philpott Park and gives you a great glimpse into what Philpott has to offer.

Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!



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Save the Date: Anthem GO Outside Festival

Anthem GO Outside Festival It's that time of year again. We are on the far side of Labor Day, meaning the summer is officially over. While it may not feel like fall exactly, the mornings are a bit crisper, and you can feel the chill in the air during a stiff breeze. 

Yes, the seasons are changing, and autumn is right around the corner, bringing pumpkin spice, vibrant leaf colors, and all the mid-layers and puffy vests in the wardrobe.

It also means Anthem GO Outside Festival is within sight!

This year's GO Fest is taking place on October 17-19 at the River's Edge Sports Complex along the banks of the Roanoke River.  

The 2014 version of GO Fest is going to be bigger and better than ever, with more races, more activities, more new stuff to try out, and more entertainment. If you are into getting outside, GO Fest is the place to be in mid-October.

No need to purchase a ticket, the entire event (minus race entries, of course) is free! So mark your calendar, post a reminder on the fridge, send yourself an e-vite, or do whatever it is you do to remind yourself that GO Fest is happening over the weekend of October 17-19. 

See you there!

Find out more about what's going down at this year's GO Fest >>>

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Primitive Trails Releases New Shirt

It may only be September, but Primitive Trails is starting the drive for Christmas donations, and they are launching a new shirt to get the ball rolling. 

Primitive Trails, founded in Roanoke, VA, operates on a very similar model.  Instead of shoes, Primitive Trails donates a piece of clothing to a child in need with every sale. When you buy a shirt, they donate a shirt. When you buy a hoodie, they donate a hoodie.

“There are 2.6 million children living at or below the poverty level in rural America,” says founder Brain Marshall. “Our goal is to help cloth them one piece of clothing at a time.”

When you buy the new Primitive Trails t-shirt, you will not only be getting a great piece of clothing, you will also be donating a t-shirt to a child in need in rural Virginia for Christmas 2014. 

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Get Outside and Get Healthier

The outdoors makes you healthierIt may seem obvious, but getting outside makes you a healthier human. 

Duh, right?

Yes, you probably feel better both mentally and physically after some time outside. Even the worst days in the outdoors leave you feeling satisfied, but why?

Well, there is now scientific evidence of why the outdoors makes you healthier. Research shows that just the act of going outside can have major positive affects on your life, from making exercise easier, to aging more gracefully.

The benefits of outdoor play and living the active lifestyle are easy to attain; one does not have to be an extreme adrenalin junkie or polar explorer to achieve them. The simple act of taking a walk or going to your local park will have an immediate impact on your well-being. 

Don't just take our word for it, though, check out the research >>>

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Get Outside Weekend Update -- 9/4-7

Festivals, Events, & Outings

Thursday, September 4

Friday, September 5

Saturday, September 6

Sunday, September 7

Monday, September 8

Tuesday, September 9

Wednesday, September 10

Thursday, September 11

For even more events visit the Roanoke Outside calendar

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Pete's Pick: Raptor Rendezvous

Hanging Rock ObservatoryHere’s an outing that will take you to a few places you probably haven’t heard of before. The camping portion of this trip is optional, but highly recommended.

White Rocks Campground, located in Giles County, is in the middle of nowhere, and that’s why it’s one of my favorite spots. There are no showers, no electric hookups, no reservations, and campsites are just $4. There is a small creek onsite, a nature trail, and toilets. What I really like about White Rocks is its proximity to some great outdoor recreation opportunities.

The raptor fall migration season runs August through November, and the observatory tower at Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory, located about 15 miles from White Rocks, affords visitors the best chance to see eagles, osprey, hawks, and other raptors. Be sure to check out their privy, it’s listed as having the “best view from an outhouse” in the book Way Out in West Virginia. The hike to the tower takes about 30 minutes and there is no fee. Directions can be tricky, I recommend reviewing their directions page carefully.

If you’ve always wanted to check out a canopy tour, then set aside a half day of zipping at the nearby Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures. After a brief introduction, you’ll strap on a harnesses and climb into the trees where you’ll spend the next two hours traversing between trees via suspended bridges, cables, and zip lines. Guaranteed good fun.

Located a few miles from White Rocks is the New River, and Tangent Outfitters makes it easy for you to explore the second oldest river in the world. Pick your vessel (SUP, tube, kayak, canoe, or raft) and hit the water.

You’ve probably hiked to Cascade Falls, but have you made it to Barney’s Wall?  This hike is only for those who like getting lost…and have the ability to get un-lost. If you have a good sense of direction and are pretty good reading topography then go for it. Be sure to check out the upper falls while you’re up there.

Spend some time in Paint Bank, VA. This quaint little village was the final stop of the Potts Valley Branch train line of the Norfolk & Western Railway. The area was part of the iron ore mining boom in the early 1900’s.  The Depot LodgeSwing Bridge Restaurant, and General Store have all been renovated to maintain much of the original architecture. Be sure to schedule a tour of Hollow Hill Farm, a pure American Buffalo farm located a few miles outside of Paint Bank.


Check out even more activities in the Get Outside Weekend Update.

Pete Eshelman (friend me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter)
Director of Outdoor Branding
Roanoke Regional Partnership

Check out the Outdoor Calendar for upcoming events
you need to keep your eye on!



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Help the James Go Tire-Less

Tire-Less James Event The storied James River is one of the most historically significant waterways in the county, not to mention one of the finest fisheries and most scenic floats in Virginia. The Roanoke Region's Upper James River section is especially beautiful this time of year; and we need to keep it that way.

On Saturday, September 13, the James River Association will host the second annual "Tire-Less James" event to sweep car, truck, and trailer tires from the river. They are in need of volunteers to paddle a section of the river and pull tires - and only tires - from the river and transport them to a specific drop point where they will be hauled away for free.

Volunteers will need to provide their own water craft - preferably a canoe or other large vessel to carry the tires - or rent one from a local outfitter

Partnering with the James River Association on the Tire-Less James project are the Virginia Canals & Navigations Society and the Heart of Virginia Council Boy Scouts of America. The free hauling of the trash tires is being provided by Bridgestone through its Tires4Ward program

The James River Association has registration available on their website and at last check, the Upper James sections are still in need of volunteers. 

Get out to support the beautiful James River on September 13th! 

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PinkBike Roa-Stoked on Star City Trails

Roanoke Mountain Biking Featured in PinkBikeAnother major mountain biking publication has joined the chorus praising the trails of the Roanoke Region. The online MTB juggernaut recently published a trip report from Roanoke and gave the trails of the area high marks. 

In the PinkBike Storytellers feature titled, "East Bound and Down: Roa-Stoked," author Brice Shirbach is surprised and impressed with Roanoke's trail systems for both their abundance and their diversity. 

"Over the course of a few days, it became clear that the Roanoke Valley has a community and infrastructure in place that is begging to leap onto the radar of riders everywhere. Whether it's the plethora of built up singletrack and trails within the city limits, or the rustic sensory overload found in the hundreds of miles of backcountry trails throughout the region, there is virtually a lot of something for just about everyone. And there is a lot more of that coming."

Beyond the trails, Shirbach dives into the next level and talks about how the city and other public entities are stepping up and contributing to the movement. Speaking with our own Julia Boas and others, the author discusses how the region's trail infrastructure is a partnership between trail organizations, riders, and local governments. 

"The Roanoke Valley has been long held in high regard amongst locals, with trails and riders coming from these parts for decades. But only recently have the city and county begun to take notice and fortunately they appear to see an enormous amount of value in the vast networks of existing trails and the potential for quite a bit more. With the formation of a local IMBA chapter and a rapidly increasing number of riders getting involved, Roanoke has embraced the mountain bike community in a way that many other towns and cities are hesitant to: by putting dollars into the trails."

The story also features some great photography.

Check out the story on >>>

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Cool Gear: Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle

Guest review by Patrick Boas

Stand Up Paddleboarding, paddleboarind, SUPing, or whatever you want to call it is one of the all-time fastest growing paddlesports in the world, and for good reason. It’s a new way to experience water, your raised elevation gives you a different perspective, it’s a great workout, and it’s fun. I’ve had the opportunity to try out several different kinds of paddleboards - from inflatables to rigid - but I’ve always used the same paddle so I was excited to test the Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle.

Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle

The idea of standing up while paddling has been around for thousands of years, but modern stand up paddling (SUP) has its roots in Hawaii.  In the 1940’s surfers would take paddles with them and stand on their boards to get a better view of incoming waves. Over time the sport has evolved, technological advancements have allowed boards to evolve, and of course what naturally followed was the evolution of the paddle.Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle blade photo

For testing purposes, I used the Freedom paddle as part of a Learn to SUP (next one is Sept. 10) and SUP yoga (next one is Sept. 11) programs Play Roanoke puts on, as well as a few test paddles at Smith Mountain Lake.

Here’s why you’ll want your next paddle to be the Aqua-Bound Freedom SUP Paddle:

  • It’s light.  The carbon shaft and large reinforced fiberglass blade weigh in at only 28 ounces. Its lightweight nature means less muscle exertion on your part…so you can go farther without getting tired.  And the large blade makes every stroke count…you get more purchase.
  • It’s stiff. The shaft doesn’t flex…and that’s a good thing. It means you’re more efficient with each stroke.
  • It’s a four-piece paddle.  This means it breaks down into smaller pieces which makes it small and compact, and easy to throw in your trunk.

Try it yourself at the Roanoke GO Outside Festival.  The Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle, along with several stand-up paddleboards will be available for use in the demo pool October 17-19.

Aqua-Bound Freedom Stand-Up Paddle Roanoke Outside

Patrick Boas is the outdoor education coordinator for Roanoke Parks and Recreation. He is an avid paddler, biker, climber, and all around good guy.

DISCLOSURE: Roanoke Outside received a complimentary Aqua-Bound paddle for this review. The opinions stated above are our own and Roanoke Outside was not compensated for the review.

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