Thursday, October 8, 2015

2015 Fall Reading List from The Claiborne House

Some recommended reading from our area this fall from The Claiborne House B&B:

Blue Wide Sky: A Smith Mountain Lake Novel by Inglath Cooper
Sixteen-year old Gabby Hayden wasn’t the kind of girl who gave a hoot about boys. She had a few real loves. Water-skiing, going out on Smith Mountain Lake with her dad and her dog. Anything else ranked a distant second. Until the summer smart, caring, gorgeous Sam Tatum gave her his heart. It had been the most wonderful time of her life, lazy days hanging out at the dock, skinny-dipping at midnight, staring up at the stars from the back of Sam’s truck. 

They are planning their future together when Sam’s father is transferred to South Africa. Devastated, Gabby and Sam promise to wait for each other during the two years before he returns for college. But lonely and angry, Sam makes a mistake that will change the course of both their lives. 

Years later, an unexpected diagnosis brings Sam home to his parents’ house on Smith Mountain Lake where he believes he can find peace and acceptance. What he finds, however, is the girl he once loved, now a woman unwilling to lose him again, a woman who will make him realize that both love and life are worth fighting for.

Philpott Stories by Nancy Bell
Nancy Bell writing for the Dan River Basin Association tells stories about the people from prehistoric times until today who lived along the Smith River and today, Philpott and Fairystone Lakes in Patrick and Henry Counties in Virginia.

The Keeper by David Baldacci
Master storyteller David Baldacci is back with Vega Jane, the heroine with the iron will from his instant #1 global bestselling and award-winning fantasy debut, The Finisher.

Vega Jane was always told no one could leave the town of Wormwood. She was told there was nothing outside but the Quag, a wilderness filled with danger and death. And she believed it — until the night she stumbled across a secret that proved that everything she knew was a lie.

Now just one thing stands between Vega Jane and freedom — the Quag. In order to leave Wormwood and discover the truth about her world, Vega and her best friend Delph must find a way to make it across a terrifying land of bloodthirsty creatures and sinister magic. But the Quag is worse than Vega Jane’s darkest imagining. It’s a living, breathing prison designed to keep enemies out and the villagers of Wormwood in.

The Quag will throw everything at Vega Jane. It will try to break her. It will try to kill her. And survival might come at a price not even Vega Jane is willing to pay.

Orlean Puckett: The Life of a Mountain Midwife, 1844-1939 by Karen Cecil Smith
Orlean Puckett was a midwife who lived from 1844 to 1939 in Carroll County, Virginia. Aunt Orlean delivered thousands of babies in the mountain region of Virginia. 

She herself, however, lost 24 children of her own. She is commemorated on the Blue Ridge Parkway by a marker which was put up the National Park Service. 

Smith Mountain Dam and Lake (Images of America) by James A Nagy
The construction of a dam in the gap of Smith Mountain in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, had been considered as early as the 1920s. However, the dams construction did not begin until 1960. Smith Mountain Dam closed the gap completely in 1963, and Smith Mountain Lake began to fill and form behind it. The hydroelectric dam consists of 175,000 cubic yards of concrete and has the capacity to generate 605 megawatts of electricity for up to 11 hours. Smith Mountain Dam is part of a two-dam system on the Roanoke River, and its companion dam, the Leesville Dam, is a smaller structure designed to pump water back to Smith Mountain Lake and to also generate hydroelectric power for American Electric Power (AEP) customers. Smith Mountain Lake covers 20,000 acres and has a 500-mile shoreline, which borders Franklin, Pittsylvania, and Bedford Counties.

Over the years, development near and around Smith Mountain Lake has exploded, and this has presented both opportunities and challenges in regard to stewardship of the areas natural resources.

Factory Man: How One Furniture Maker Battled Offshoring, Stayed Local - and Helped Save an American Town by Beth Macy

The instant New York Times bestseller about one man's battle to save hundreds of jobs by demonstrating the greatness of American business.

The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas.

One man fought back: John Bassett III, a shrewd and determined third-generation factory man, now chairman of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, which employs more than 700 Virginians and has sales of more than $90 million. In FACTORY MAN, Beth Macy brings to life Bassett's deeply personal furniture and family story, along with a host of characters from an industry that was as cutthroat as it was colorful. As she shows how he uses legal maneuvers, factory efficiencies, and sheer grit and cunning to save hundreds of jobs, she also reveals the truth about modern industry in America.

John Sevier had not taken much interest in the American Revolution; he was too busy fighting Indians in the Carolinas and taming the wilderness. But when an arrogant British officer threatens his settlement, the war becomes personal. That officer is the charmingly antagonistic Patrick Ferguson, whose mission is to recruit wealthy Southern planters to the British cause--and who along the way finds himself a devoted lover to a Tory washerwoman.

The British aristocrat on a fine, white horse becomes the antihero to Sevier's American pioneer spirit, as Sevier raises a volunteer militia of more than one thousand men. When the two sides clash, these Overmountain Men triumph in a battle that Thomas Jefferson would later call the turning point of the American Revolutionary War.

An elegant saga crafted with heart and depth, replete with harrowing battle descriptions and gripping family histories, King's Mountain celebrates one of Appalachia's finest hours, as McCrumb once again shares history and legend like no one else.

Making moonshine, working blue-collar jobs, picking fights in bars, chasing women, and living hardscrabble lives . . .

Clayton and Saford Hall were born in the backwoods of Virginia in 1919, in a place known as The Hollow. Incredibly, they became legends in their day, rising from mountain-bred poverty to pickin’ and yodelin’ all over the airwaves of the South in the 1930s and 1940s, opening shows for the Carter Family, Roy Rogers, the Sons of the Pioneers, and even playing the most coveted stage of all: the Grand Ole Opry. They accomplished a lifetime’s worth of achievements in less than five years—and left behind only a few records to document their existence. 

IF TROUBLE DON'T KILL ME paints a loving portrait of a vanishing yet exalted southern culture, shows us the devastating consequences of war, and allows us to experience the mountain voices that not only influenced the history of music but that also shaped the landscape of America.

A time-warp, historical, and ghost novel full of local color, set in a small town in Franklin County, Virginia, known by all as the "moonshining capital" of the world.

Through the eyes, and keys, of a young realtor new to town, times past and hidden secrets come to light. A love story set in layers of history, this novel is chock-full of fun and answers. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Another day at the office

Some of the things I enjoy most about owning The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast and being an innkeeper is finding neat things for our guests to see and do, and around here there's plenty. 

I love to take photos, hike, blog and share them with you online.
Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast Rocky Mount Virginia Romantic Picnic package
A photo from this evening at a local river here in Franklin County Va (about 8 minutes from The Claiborne House B&B)
Learn more about our Romantic Picnic Package here. 

BYOB as we cannot provide it, but we can provide the wine glasses and opener and an awesome picnic for two. 

Learn more about Franklin County Virginia here.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Random Ramblings from an Innkeeper: Mountain Top Adventures

Claiborne House bed and breakfast in blue ridge foothills of virginia rocky mount franklin county va
Mountain top adventures
We saw the movie Everest on the big screen reminded me that the journey is indeed getting there AND getting back home. 

Many movies or books talk about the mountain top experience and adventure of a lifetime, as another item on the bucket list checked off. They usually fail to report getting back home, safely.

You may eventually meet your goal, the mountain top, but you can't stay there... A slight change in the weather and what was seen as magnificent is now instantly deadly. The altitude of the mountain top, like on Everest will kill you if you plan to stay very long. 
                         We simply were not made to live on the mountain top. 

The beautiful attractions in life— those are intended to be moments of inspiration. We all need goals, and strive to reach the pinnacles in our lives.

Preparation is important

Consider the sky diver. Planning, training and preparation are utmost. If you have never jumped out of an airplane at 3000+feet unassisted, but did a tandem jump strapped to an instructor, you are trusting them to have the correct training in place, number of successful jump hours, packing experience so that parachute opens not only on time, but properly. 

A poorly packed parachute can mean death to a skydiver. A secondary chute won't make an ounce of difference if your main chute is a tangled mess. Skydiving looks like freewheeling fun, but it is carefully planned out to be safely executed.

Experience as encouragement

 We are not made for the mountain peaks, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration.

Speaking with a friend recently, we discussed those traumatic experiences in life that make us want to curl up and block out the world. 

Experiences such as loss of a baby, unfaithful spouse, failing health, aging parent, rebellious child, etc. and we both agreed that if we keep it all concealed inside, and refuse to allow that experience to touch others, then it has been for naught, and a waste.

I do not wish to ever have anything go to waste, especially something that could possibly help someone else. Something that came at a great cost.

No one is immune to heartache, no matter what you think you see on the outside, each one of us struggles and lives through difficulties in this life. As the saying goes, it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when.  Importantly to note, you may not know when another is going through this difficult time, their life in the valley. You may not realize how they are feeling alone and a simple word, smile or touch from you may make all the difference. 

Don't let your peaks and valleys go to waste, someone needs your encouragement today.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Have Some Fun - Happy October

Brought to you by The Claiborne House B&B of Virginia where "all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average."