Thursday, July 30, 2009

Daniel Boone slept here - well, near here...

The Wilderness Road is an epic saga about the early migration and settlement of America. As the colonies were thriving along the east coast in the late 1600s, the Appalachian Mountains remained a formidable barrier to the interior of the nation.

The paths that did exist were created by the American bison as they migrated through the highlands and valleys in search of food and salt licks.

Native Americans traveled what they called the "Great Warrior Path" hunting for food, trading with other groups, and creating seasonal villages along the valleys and rivers.

In the early 1700's, long hunters used the path to develop an early fur trade and explore the land through western Virginia. Before the Revolutionary War, the path had become a major trail through this picturesque Valley of Virginia.

Frontier forts were established along the route to provide shelter to early settlers. Soldiers, long hunters, and early settlers spread the news that land was plentiful and the small path became a major migration route.

The Wilderness Road led settlers to the Daniel Boone Trail which led through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky or they traveled south along the Great Warrior Path into Georgia.

The Palatine Germans and then the Ulster-Scots began pouring into the ports of America seeking land. These new immigrants entered through the port of Philadelphia and many chose to move southward along the Wilderness Road into Virginia and beyond.

The route has been known by many different names, such as the Great Road, the Great Philadelphia Road, and the Valley Turnpike, just to name a few. From 1775-1810, the 500 miles of Wilderness Road opened the door to nearly 300,000 settlers moving south through Virginia, some settling along the way, others moving on to the interior of the nation.

Early travelers made the trek on foot or horseback. Later the Conestoga wagon became the favorite manner of transportation. These wagons were filled with commerce and the belongings of families traveling west-ripe with the hope of land and opportunity. Today's travelers along the road will learn of such well-known pioneers as Dr. Thomas Walker, Joseph Martin, and Daniel Boone, who blazed the path to a new nation and opened the first frontier to the early settlers.

Historic downtown centers, museums, living history interpretive villages, schools, agricultural farms, galleries and forts provide a glimpse into the skills and values of the first pioneers who settled along Virginia's Wilderness Road.

Some perished along the hard journey; many turned back or stopped before they reached their destination. Yet today, over 43 million Americans can trace
their heritage to the families that migrated along the Wilderness Road.

We invite you to blaze your own trail of discovery along the Wilderness Road and relive America's unique history and heritage.

View the ROAD here.

View the historical TIME LINE here.

Virginia GENEALOGICAL information here.

Article information taken from

From the Roanoke Times:
On the path of patriots in Franklin County
"There stood two tall brick chimneys, ruins of an old Revolutionary War-era stagecoach stop. Opposite them was old barn where a blacksmith shod travelers' horses and fixed wooden-wheeled wagons. With a bit of imagination, you could almost hear horses' hooves clacking, mules huffing and wood joints of Conestoga wagons groaning.

These were fixtures on the famed Carolina Road, about 4,000 feet of which passes through the burgeoning county park.

The rutted, Colonial-era turnpike was considered the I-95 of its day, and according to history books, George Washington and Daniel Boone were among the people who journeyed on it. Later the property was known as the Waid tobacco farm." By Dan Casey

(Shellie your Innkeeper is happy to give you directions to Waid Homestead where she took that photo, it is only 4 minutes from The Claiborne House B&B. This is the ORIGINAL WILD WEST!)

Waid Park has over 7 miles of hiking, walking and biking trails. These trails travel through rivers, over hills, across farm lands, and atop abandoned dirt roads and follows along the Pigg River - famous for its annual canoe float/race and trophy trout!

Over 43 million Americans can trace their heritage to families that traveled the Wilderness Road and NO GPS!!! Visit our Franklin County Page on here


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sam Neill: ‘You Can’t Beat a Flat Bed’

The Kiwi actor, best known for his roles in “The Piano” and “Jurassic Park,” recently shared some funny and thoughtful travel reflections with the Independent.

Among the highlights? Neill looks for “a sense of enquiry and wonder” in his travel companions, he finds grand old hotels “uncomfortable, patronising and with hideous furniture,” and he firmly believes that a first-class reclining seat is worth it on the red-eye: “You can’t beat a flat bed. It’s hardly a profound thought, but if you can sleep on a plane, you can function at the other end ... I know I should be waxing lyrical about other
cultures, but the bed takes precedence, I’m afraid.”

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast - also half KIWI owned (Tony is your Kiwi/Aussie innkeeper here) provides comfortable flat beds. We guarantee not to be uncomfortable, patronizing with hideous furniture. :)

Article taken from Photo from


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

O Brother! A Man of Constant Sorrow

Man of Constant Sorrow performed by The Soggy Bottom Boys from O Brother Where Art Thou - is actually sung by our Dan Tyminski of Franklin County Virginia - he lived in Ferrum Virginia just 8 miles from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast. Dan went on to fame and toured with bluegrass legend Allison Krauss and Union Station (See video at bottom).

Visit our Music Events page for a list of us local wing dings with flat footin' in the area. Or venture a 50 minute scenic drive up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Floyd Virginia to experience the Floyd Country Store Friday Night Jamboree -where 4 generations dance together to the same beat. Visit their website here.

We are the start of
The Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail right here in Rocky Mount VA. Visit the Crooked Road website here.

This song is a Traditional American folk song, made popular by the Stanley Brothers in the early '50's. In 1918 it was published by Cecil Sharp as "In Old Virginny" and since then has been performed and recorded by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, Rod Stewart, Waylon Jennings, Denny Laine, Peter Paul and Mary, Patti Lovelace and Mountain Soul, Jackson Browne and even Jerry Garcia. Performed by Donna the Buffalo (Raggae version), Country Hip Hop band Battlestar, and Chris Daughtry did a rock version. Whowouldathunkit?


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Inn-stant Romance Add ons & Special Packages - Virginia is for Lovers!

  • Fresh fragrant flowers and sparkling cider $43.00 (like above, shh! I took this pic and the guests aren't here yet)
  • Bouquet of fresh fragrant flowers $33.00
  • Sparkling cider for two $15.00
  • Fresh fragrant Flowers, Chocolates and Sparkling Cider. $64.00
  • One Dozen Roses $50-$80
Please give us 48 hours notice and these will be set up in your room for your arrival. You can add these onto your reservation if you book online.

Virginia is for B&B Lovers - ROMANTIC GETAWAY AND DINNER: Leave the hustle and bustle behind as you spend a relaxing evening together at The Claiborne House B&B. Surprise your sweetheart with fresh flowers and hold hands as you stroll to Red Clay Restaurant. Cost is $225 per couple. Package Includes:
  • One Night Stay (any room of your choice)
  • Sparkling cider and fresh fragrant flowers in your room upon arrival
  • $50 gift certificate for Red Clay Restaurant
  • Inn-credible breakfast in the morning
  • Smooching near the ponds under the Giant Pecan Tree – FREE!
Cost is $225 per couple (includes all tax) Add on a 2nd night at regular room rate for a two night package.

40th Anniversary - Virginia is for Lovers Mountain Cruise & Schmooze Getaway Package - Spring, Summer, Fall

With over 500 Miles of shoreline and 23,000 acres of water, Smith Mountain Lake is the Jewel of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Cost is $285 per couple. Package Includes:
  • Friday or Saturday night stay (any available room)
  • Sparkling cider and fresh fragrant flowers in your room upon arrival
  • Sunset Sail for 2 aboard a side-wheel paddle cruise boat. (2 hour cruise and lunch or dinner included)
  • Inn-credible breakfast in the morning
Cost is $285 per couple (includes all tax) Add on a 2nd night at regular room rate for a two night package.

Please give us a call to book any of these packages. Payment in full will be charged to your credit card upon booking so we can make the reservations and arrangements for you 540.483.4616

No combined discounts for packages or add-on specials with room rates, not valid with gift cards.

Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Monday, July 13, 2009

Shrew, Mole and The Weasel

No these aren’t Mob names, just a few mammals you will find on The Blue Ridge Parkway

While many people think of the Blue Ridge Parkway just as a motor road, it is also a place of varied and significant natural resources. The Parkway follows the high crests of the central and southern Appalachians for 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

Along this route an unsurpassed diversity of climate zones, vegetation zones, physiographic zones, and geological feat ures are traversed. The more than 81,000 acres of Parkway lands pass through a highland area of five degrees longitude and approximately 3 degrees latitude, making it the third largest unit of the National Park Service in terms of area covered. Park resources include 400 streams (150 headwaters), 47 Natural Heritage Areas (areas set a side as national, regional or state examples of exemplary natural communities), a var

iety of slopes and
exposures, and possibly 100 different soil types. With an elevation range of 5,700 feet the Parkway provides a home for both southern species at the lower elevations and northern species on the mountaintops.

Taking advantage of this diversity are 14 major vegetation types, about 1,250 vascular plant species (50 threatened or endangered), and almost 100 species of non-native plants. Nearly 100 species of trees grow along the Parkway, about as many as are found in all of Europe. Added to that are estimates of almost 400 species of mosses and nearly 2000 species of fungi.

Not to be outdone by the plants, many species of animals make their homes along the Parkway. Fifty-four different mammals, more than 50 salamanders and 40 reptiles can be found on Parkway lands. One hundred fifty-nine species of birds are known to nest here with dozens of others passing through during fall and spring migrations.

As part of a Service-wide effort, the Blue Ridge Parkway has established more than 250 inventory and monitoring plots. Researchers and park staff will use these plots over the next several years to inventory plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fish. As the data are collected the Parkway's list of species will surely grow.

The Parkway's strikingly different vegetative life zones, successive floral displays, autumn foliage, geological features, and animals are major attraction
s each year for 20 million visitors (the highest visitation in the NPS system). For them the Parkway is indeed more than just a road.

Std. Scientific Name Std. Common Name(s) Animalia - Mammal
  • Odocoileus virginianus White-tailed deer
  • Canis familiaris Domestic dog
  • Canis latrans Coyote
  • Urocyon cinereoargenteus Gray fox
  • Vulpes vulpes Red fox
  • Felis catus Feral Cat
  • Lynx rufus Bobcat
  • Puma concolor couguar Eastern cougar
  • Mephitis mephitis Striped skunk
  • Spilogale putorius Eastern spotted skunk
  • Lutra canadensis River otter
  • Mustela frenata Long-tailed weasel
  • Mustela nivalis Least weasel
  • Mustela vison Mink
  • Procyon lotor Raccoon
  • Ursus americanus American black bear
  • Corynorhinus (=Plecotus) townsendii virginianus Virginia big-eared bat
  • Eptesicus fuscus Big brown bat
  • Lasionycteris noctivagans Silver-haired bat
  • Lasiurus borealis Red bat
  • Lasiurus cinereus Hoary bat
  • Myotis keenii Keen's myotis
  • Myotis leibii Small-footed myotis
  • Myotis lucifugus Little brown bat
  • Myotis sodalis Indiana bat
  • Nycticeius humeralis Evening bat
  • Plecotus rafinesquii Rafinesque's big-eared bat
  • Didelphis virginiana Virginia opossum
  • Blarina brevicauda Northern short-tailed shrew
  • Blarina brevicauda kirtlandi Lake states mole shrew
  • Cryptotis parva Least shrew
  • Sorex cinereus Masked shrew
  • Sorex dispar Long-tailed shrew
  • Sorex fumeus Smokey shrew
  • Sorex hoyi Pygmy shrew
  • Sorex longirostris Southeastern shrew
  • Sorex palustris Northern water shrew
  • Order: Insectivora - Family: Talpidae
  • Condylura cristata Star-nosed mole
  • Parascalops breweri Hairy-tailed mole
  • Scalopus aquaticus Eastern mole
  • Sylvilagus floridanus Eastern cottontail
  • Sylvilagus obscurus Appalachian cottontail
  • Sylvilagus transitionalis New England cottontail
  • Sus scrofa Wild boar
  • Castor canadensis Beaver
  • Napaeozapus insignis Woodland jumping mouse
  • Zapus hudsonius Meadow jumping mouse
  • Clethrionomys gapperi Southern red-backed vole
  • Microtus chrotorrhinus Rock vole
  • Microtus pennsylvanicus Meadow vole
  • Microtus pennsylvanicus pennsylvanicus
  • Microtus pinetorum Pine vole
  • Mus musculus House mouse - EXOTIC
  • Neotoma floridana Eastern woodrat
  • Neotoma magister Appalachian woodrat
  • Ochrotomys nuttalli Golden mouse
  • Ondatra zibethicus Muskrat
  • Peromyscus leucopus White-footed mouse
  • Peromyscus leucopus noveboracensis Northern white-footed mouse
  • Peromyscus maniculatus Deer mouse
  • Ochrotomys (=Peromyscus) nuttalli Golden Mouse
  • Pitymys pinetorum Pine vole
  • Rattus norvegicus Norway rat - EXOTIC
  • Rattus rattus Black rat - EXOTIC
  • Reithrodontomys humulis Eastern harvest mouse
  • Sigmodon hispidus Hispid cotton rat
  • Synaptomys cooperi Southern bog lemming
  • Synaptomys cooperi stonei Stone's southern bog
  • Glaucomys sabrinus Northern flying squirrel
  • Glaucomys sabrinus coloratus Carolina northern flying
  • Glaucomys volans Southern flying squirrel
  • Marmota monax Woodchuck
  • Sciurus carolinensis Gray squirrel
  • Sciurus niger Fox squirrel
  • Tamias striatus Eastern chipmunk
  • Tamias striatus fisheri Fisher's eastern chipmunk
  • Tamiasciurus hudsonicus Red squirrel
List taken from here. For the rest of the list:

Fish Species List

Reptile Species List

Amphibian Species List

Bird Species List

Visit our Blue Ridge Parkway page here The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is 15 minutes to THREE exits/entrances to The BRP. For more information on the BRP go to:

For our Inn to Inn recommendation - Blue Ridge Style click here

Life is too short for bad coffee...
Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What About Bob was filmed at our Smith Mountain Lake "Take a vacation from your problems"

That's when I decided to follow Dr. Leo Marvin's advice" from What About Bob and "take a vacation - from my problems!"
This innkeeper's all time favorite funny movie. Shellie can tell you where Dr Leo Marvin's house is located in Moneta, it is of course privately owned now.

"Take a chill pill" skipping vacation can actually be hazardous to your health, according to this article. We have plenty of recreation around here to keep you active: hiking, biking, skiing, swimming, wakboarding, sailing, the list is endless. There is plenty of outdoors recreation within a short drive from The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast. See our Sites of Interest page for ideas.


Definition: the desire to sit inside and be entertained by electronic devices instead of getting into the great outdoors. Your innkeeper's new catch phrase - “Geo-travelers – hike bike swim or paddle” whichever you choose get out here to Virginia, she's a real beauty!

Read the full article here.

Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Anyone for a round of golf at an award winning course?

Mariners Landing - Smith Mountain Lake's Premier Golf and Country Club

“It is a great layout that allows you to score and at the same time offers a challenge. What makes it special are the holes along Smith Mountain Lake that take you away from your golf and make you admire nature. The recent renovation was a first class job and will take the course up a notch because it is always in great condition. — Tommy Joyce, Hidden Valley head professional

5. Water’s Edge Country Club
Hey, any venue that’s good enough for Michael Jordan ought to be good enough for most. A couple of years ago, the retired NBA superstar showed up in secluded Penhook with a couple of his buddies and had the place all to themselves for a couple of days. When you’re Michael Jordan, you can throw that kind of party. Sir Michael would love the place even better now that ‘The Edge’ has been completely remodeled with newly redone greens. A lot of trees were removed to enhance golfers’ views of the bordering lake. Grand Opening is May 29. It wasn’t bad as it was, as the panel attested. The 20-year-old course, designed by the late Buddy Loving, always has been in splendid condition and a challenge to beat. Features an island green — the par-3 seventh — you’ll forever remember.

Mariners Landing is an 18 hole championship golf course with an original design by world-renowned architect, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The par 72 course has five different sets of tee boxes, offering fun and challenging golf to all levels of golfers, from beginner to professional.

This semi-private facility offers a clubhouse with a grill that is open to the public and a lounge area for members and their guests. The practice facility offers a full driving range and a chipping and putting practice green. Mariners Landing offers a variety of affordable membership options and welcomes public play as well. Our membership rates and public fees are the best golfing values in the region. Click on membership information icon for more details.

Contact information: Mariners Landing Golf, 2052 Lake Retreat Rd, Huddleston, VA 24104 Local: 540-297-7888 Toll Free: 888-297-7888 Directions: Click here

Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia

Sunday, July 5, 2009

When innkeepers go on vacation

First Landing State Park: camping with indoor plumbing and A/C

When you have kids you do family things like book a week in a rustic cabin at a state park. As Robert Benchley once said "In America, there are two classes of travel: First class, and with children."

You envision quality family time - making s'mores, swimming, kayaking, riding bikes, waking up to the smell of bacon and eggs.

Our journey began as we loaded up the Dodge Ram Hemi 4x4 (Tony said I had to put Hemi in there) with bikes, kayaks, board games, beach chairs and anything else we could cram under the canopy. We hit the road with one curious dog, one wide eyed cat, two eager to hit the surf kids, one overexhausted mom, one ready to rumble Dad; all eager to swim and get sand between our ears.

A necessary stop at The Peanut Outlet on the way (the other side of Emporia VA). This is the only tourism/educational part of this story - Did you know Virginia grows the finest peanuts? (Info here)

It was 99 degrees outside the truck and 200 inside as the "Stupid Woman" as she is lovingly referred to (aka GPS) tried to send us reeling over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and pummeling under the tunnel. We quickly caught on to her scheme and veered off in time to head toward First Landing State Park/VA Beach. The Aussie in the big rig with the kayaks stickin' out the rear and 5.7 litre Hemi with Dual Exhausts (again, Tony made me put that in there) were safely enroute to our destination.

I have discovered something - a GPS is good for two things and two things only:

#1 To take the heat off the "Nagigator" as a guest once referred to his wife - pre-Satellite Navigational Systems era...and...

#2 Locating Super WalMarts in any city, state or area across this fine land.

My opinion is that all GPS lead to WalMart. Okay so maybe I am a bit conspiratorial, but they certainly do not follow the easiest, most direct or time efficient route.

We checked into the hovel, ahem cabin, unloaded everything and begged off to the beach. By this time it was only a mere 96 degrees, and should be nice in the water!

The Chesapeake Bay - the largest bay in the United States and richest in the world was gorgeous. Water temp was 79.1 degrees while nearby
Va Beach Atlantic Ocean was a brisk
68. Gentle swells, ships passing (USN,
Freightliners, Tall Sailing Vessels, Fishing boats) our kind of place.

We all went for a cool refreshing dip, even Junie seemed to be enjoying this cool down after the 6 hours drive to get here. Ahhhh we're finally here - a week at the beach, time to relax.

Wait! What's that? A crying teenager? That's my teenager! She comes running up and out of the water holding her neck with tears shooting from her eyes, screaming out in pain.

"A jellyfish stung me! A jellyfish!" She muttered in between sobs.

She was hit on the neck and down one arm as she tried to pull the squishy monster off her. Her neck and shoulder and arm welted up like she had fallen into a wasps nest and could't get up!

Poor child, at the beach finally and she gets attacked! After immediate help and applications of Melaleuca (Australian Tea Tree Oil) and antihistamine she had some rough days ahead in the forecast. This was not a moon jellyfish, maybe a Man of War or Sea Nettles. The sting was so severe, nothing like a casual sting of a usual jelly.

Now what? Do we pack up and leave and drive the 6 hours back home? Will she go back in the water after this? Will any of us go back in the water?

Well I am pleased to announce after a morning swim, that Tony and the girls are riding the trails happily on their bikes. Junie is here with me on the porch chasing skeets, skanks, skedoodles - whatever those salamander-like-lizards are called and all is well.

When they get back we'll apply another layer of calladryl on the sting site, which now includes part of her face, and see what tonight brings.

PS Did you know Little Debbie's Nutty Bars have recipes on the box? I wonder how I can turn THAT into a breakfast dish? The things you learn when you rough it.

--That's what these innkeepers did on vacation.

Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia