best of blue ridge; new river valley; readers choice awards

NRV Wins Best of Blue Ridge Reader’s Choice Awards

New River Valley, VA – In the ninth annual Best of Blue Ridge Awards, readers voted on a variety of places in the New River Valley and several were featured as top picks.

Overall Winners

Chateau Morrisette – Best Vineyard/Winery
The Black Dog from Chateau Morrisette – Best Wine
FloydFest – Best Festival Overall
FloydFest – Best Kid-Friendly Festival

Runners-Up

Muddy ACCE Race – MudRun/Adventure Race
Floyd Yoga Jam – Retreat
Gillie’s Cuisine – Vegetarian Restaurant
FloydFest – Kid Friendly Adventure
Claytor Lake – Flatwater
In Balance Yoga Studio – Yoga Studio
FloydFest – Instagram Account
Cascade Waterfalls – Cascade
Shaena Muldoon, The Palisades Restaurant – Personality
Buffalo Mountain Ziplines – Zipline
Hotel Floyd – Budget Friendly Lodging
Blacksburg Pilates – Mind Body Studio

Find a full list of the Best of Blue Ridge categories and winners here.

Photo by Best of the Blue Ridge photographer winner Leslie Restivo.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Brush Mountain Unveils Early Plans for Trail Network

Blacksburg, VA – Draft plans for the network of natural trails on Brush Mountain have been released.

The New River Land Trust bought two properties on Brush Mountain, totaling 552 acres with the aid of a $1.2 million grant from the Virginia Outdoor Foundation’s Forest CORE Fund. The proposal added about 9 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding, among other recreational options. The trails will be located near the Huckleberry Trail connecting Christiansburg to the Jefferson National Forest.

The grant paid for the purchase and ecological enhancements of the land, however the New River Land Trust is now working to fundraise a total of $75,000 to build out the trails themselves. They have already received $25,000 in donations from the community and will be looking to the local businesses to donate the rest.

The properties that the New River Land Trust bought separately are 334 acres and 218 acres. The land trust plans to transfer 97 acres of the 334-acre property to the U.S. Forest Service and transfer the remaining 238 acres plus the other 218-acre property to the town of Blacksburg to become a public park. The first phase of trail work will begin in 2020.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Top Ten Posts of 2019

A lot of exciting things happened in Virginia’s New River Valley in 2019! Here are the top ten posts from the year. The following posts had the most page views online.

10.Virginia’s New River Valley Claims Top Trending Mountain Destinations

Two counties in the NRV were selected as the “Top Trending Virginia Mountain Destinations 2019” by Blue Ridge Country Magazine.

9.Blacksburg Mountain Bike Skills Park Now Under Construction

On February 18, Lynchburg-based Native Landworks began construction on the Blacksburg Rotary Mountain Bike Skills Park located on the back four acres of Brush Mountain, off Meadowbrook Drive. The park is expected to be finished by mid-April.

8.1901 Group Officially Breaks Ground on Blacksburg Expansion

The VTCRC will be building 1901 Group’s 45,000 square foot EITOC to provide a state-of-the-art Operations Center to support 1901 Group’s continued growth of cloud, cybersecurity, and managed services business.

7. Blacksburg Named Top Ten Safest College Town

SafeWise names Blacksburg ninth safest college town in America.

6.Pulaski Has 8th Lowest Cost of Living in Virginia

Pulaski comes in with the 8th lowest Cost of Living Index (COLI) at 86 in the state of Virginia.

5.Volvo Group to Create 777 New Jobs in Pulaski County Expansion

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that the Volvo Group will invest nearly $400 million to expand its Volvo Trucks North America New River Valley (NRV) assembly operation in Pulaski County.

4.NRV to Be Home of First Commercial Drone Deliveries in US

Christiansburg is the first town in the U.S. where residents can have drone deliveries to their homes.

Drone Deliveries

3.Blacksburg Has the Shortest Commute in VA

The numbers are in and according to Business Insider, Blacksburg has the shortest commute time in Virginia. The average commute in Blacksburg is 13.9 minutes.

2.The Palisades Wins Restaurateur of the Year Award

Shaena Muldoon, owner and manager of The Palisades, received the Jim Wordsworth Award for Restaurateur of the Year from the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging & Travel Association (VRLTA).

1.Christiansburg is 2nd Best City to Live in Virginia

Christiansburg is ranked as the second best city to live in Virginia by creditdonkey.com.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

virginia business; new river valley

Virginia Business Features NRV Leaders in ‘100 People to Meet in 2020’

New River Valley, VAVirginia Business released its inaugural list of Virginians you should get to know this year including innovators, builders, and educators in the NRV.

Innovators
Virginia has no dearth of creative, visionary entrepreneurs and businesspeople. Representing industries ranging from hemp farming to autonomous vehicles and blockchain, they’re moving the needle.

Steven Critchfield, President and CEO, MOVA Technologies; owner, West Main Development, Pulaski
Matt Hagan, Owner and farmer, Truharvest Farms, Christiansburg
Dan Larimer, Chief technology officer, Block.one, Blacksburg

Builders
Be it residential or commercial, historic renovation or new construction, from small-scale, mixed-use developments to massive interstate highway projects, these are some of the many professionals who are leaving their imprint on Virginia’s landscape.

Luke Allison, Entrepreneur, Pulaski

Educators
When Virginia regained the No. 1 ranking on CNBC’s annual Top States for Business list this year, one of the factors that put the Old Dominion over the top was our “wealth of colleges and universities,” lauded by CNBC as “the best in the nation.” These are some of the educators, researchers and administrators who helped the commonwealth earn that reputation.

Mark Blanks, Director, Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, Blacksburg
Tom Dingus, Executive director, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Blacksburg
Brandy Salmon, Managing director, Virginia Tech Innovation Campus; associate vice president for clinical and translational research, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg and Alexandria

Rainmakers
Through their outreach, marketing and incentives, these are people who attract and grow businesses, making the commonwealth wealthier.

Donna Gambrell, President and CEO, Appalachian Community Capital, Christiansburg

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

nrv holiday; things to do; new river valley; holiday bucketlist

NRV Holiday Bucketlist

New River Valley, VA – Tis’ the season in the New River Valley. The holidays are always a great time to explore the region and participate in all of the festivities going on. Whether you want to attend a tree lighting ceremony or just drink some hot cocoa outside, the NRV has something for everyone!

1. Go to a Christmas Parade

Pulaski Aglow – December 5th
Rich Creek Christmas Parade – December 5th
Blacksburg Christmas Parade – December 6th
Radford Parade – December 6th
Pembroke Christmas Parade – December 7th
Floyd County Christmas Parade – December 8th
Town of Christiansburg Christmas Parade – December 13th

2. Attend a tree lighting ceremony

Tree Lighting at Radford Public Library – December 3rd
Winter Lights Festival in Blacksburg – December 6th
Christmas at the Market in Christiansburg – December 13th

3. Look at holiday lights in Randolph Park

4. Check out the Festival of Trees

5. Drink hot chocolate at A Very Narrows Christmas

6. Watch a holiday movie at The Lyric theater

7. SeeThe Nutcrackerlive

food business; food processing; new river valley; virginia

Food Competition Aims to Support Food Processing & Agribusiness in the NRV

Blacksburg, VAMillstone Kitchen, the NRV’s only shared use kitchen, is hosting a Business Competition with $20,000 to give away in prizes and is seeking small food business participants. These could be aspiring or current business owners of small bakeries, catering businesses, value-added processing, food trucks, and more.

The business competition is scheduled to take place this January through April and seeks to prepare small food businesses to operate at shared kitchen facilities and to encourage socially- and environmentally-conscious entrepreneurship among them. The competition will prepare aspiring entrepreneurs to not only succeed financially, but to also recognize their roles in building sustainable communities.

Participants will be required to attend 6 workshops, deliver a pitch and product/menu samples, and submit a business plan. In addition to workshops, participants will have access to mentors: successful local business owners who want to help new entrepreneurs in the start-up process.

Awards will be based on the pitches, business plans, marketing strategies, and potential impact from social and environmental perspectives. There is $20,000 to award to winning businesses.

Applications are due December 16, 2019 by 5pm and can be downloaded on Millstone Kitchen’s website. It is FREE to apply and participate. Questions can be directed toward Jessica Schultz, Millstone Kitchen Manager at millstonekitchen@gmail.com.

Other partners include the Roanoke Regional Small Business Development Center, Virginia Community Capital, Virginia Cooperative Extension, VT Food Innovations Center, Floyd County Planning and Economic Development, and the NRV Regional Commission. The competition is made possible through a Department of Housing and Community Development Vibrant Communities Initiative Grant.

Millstone Kitchen is a shared use commercial kitchen located in Blacksburg, VA, and operated by the nonprofit Live Work Eat Gather, Inc. The mission of Live, Work, Eat, Gather, Inc. is to cultivate and nourish community through the support of local food and farms, the creation and growth of jobs, the security of a home, and the gathering of friends and neighbors.

More information on both projects can be found at our websites: www.millstonekitchen.org and www.oldschoolpricesfork.org.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Excella Extension Center Plans Expansion

Blacksburg, VA – The old ‘Catch 22’ – you can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job. For the past ten years, the Excella Extension Center located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center (VTCRC) has been training software engineering students to work on software development projects. Recently, Excella ranked #3 Best Tech & Engineering Internships and #6 Best Internships for Employment Prospects by Vault. Since 2009, approximately 80 students have already participated in their existing program, and 30 of them have accepted full-time employment within the company.

Excella co-founder and partner Steve Cooper will run a spinoff company, based on the Excella Extension Center model, set to open at the end of 2019. It will be located in the VTCRC and will provide talent and virtual workforce to Excella and other businesses. The program will benefit both businesses and students by allowing recent graduates to hit the ground running when they start working in the industry. Virginia Tech students will be the first to benefit, but Cooper has plans to expand the concept to other campuses, including Radford University.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Beliveau Estate; winery; blacksburg; nrv; montgomery county

Southern Living Features 5 Things to Do in Blacksburg

Blacksburg, VASouthern Living showcases five things to do in Blacksburg and describes it as “the perfect playground for those in search of outdoor adventure.”

While calling attention to the fact that Blacksburg is a college town, Southern Living also highlights that is so much more than that. They feature some of the top places to wine and dine, experience arts and culture, adventure outdoors, explore campus, and spend your afternoon.

“This relaxed small town promises abundant bursts of fall foliage, as the Blue Ridge Mountains serve as Blacksburg’s picturesque backdrop.”

Discover which spots around town were featured.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

vtti; Automated Driving System; unmanned systems

VTTI Receives Funding for Automated Vehicle Research

Blacksburg, VA Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) was awarded two U.S. Department of Transportation grants totaling $15 million to continue research on the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into U.S. roadways.

Out of the 73 proposals, seven grants were awarded by the Automated Driving System Demonstration Grants program. This program provides federal funding to projects in order to test how to safely integrate automated driving systems on U.S. roadways. VTTI was the only organization to receive two grants, each $7.5 million, to fund two separate projects: automated driving systems and public safety and automated trucks and mixed fleets. VTTI is the biggest transportation research institute in the U.S. with the largest group of driving safety researchers in the world and an infrastructure worth more than $110 million.

The first project, automated driving systems and public safety, will focus on showing how highly automated vehicles can safely adapt to encounters with public safety, which is very unpredictable by nature. VTTI is collaborating with stakeholders like Transurban, the Virginia Department of Transportation, public safety stakeholders, the Global Center for Automotive Performance, and a Consortium of Automotive Manufacturers organized through CAMP LLC. Testing of the public safety scenarios will take place on the I-95 Express Lanes which are operated by Transurban.

The second project, automated trucks and mixed fleets, is working with the trucking industry to provide clear guidelines on how to safely implement and benefit from trucks with automated driving systems. Along with the development of a fleet concept of operations, demonstrations will take place on public roadways.

“VTTI has assembled a world-class 17-member team that includes automated driving system technology developers, trucking fleets, six state departments of transportation, and other supporting organizations, to tackle this topic.”
– Martin Walker, VTTI Senior Research Associate

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

fall in the nrv

Fall Things to Do in the NRV

New River Valley, VA – Now that the weather outside feels like fall, here’s a list of fun things to do across the New River Valley to embrace the season of Fall. Adventure around the NRV with your friends or family and enjoy everything it has to offer.

Pumpkin Patches & Apple Picking

Sinkland Farms Pumpkin Festival
Thornspring Pastures Farm Fest
Crows Nest Greenhouse
Apple picking at Doe Creek Farm

Fall Festivals

Pearisburg Scarecrow Festival
Newbern Fall Festival
Draper Village’s Fall Festival
Narrows Annual Fall Festival
Randolph Park Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
Radford Highlanders Festival
Smithfield Halloween 2019

Oktoberfest

OktoberFest in Floyd takes place on October 12th at Chantilly Farm. This Oktoberfest Dinner Show provides an evening filled with traditional German music, great food, and brews! Family-friendly fun for all ages.

Halloween-Themed

Haunted House: Slayhouse
Halloween Spooktacular: 3-D Drive-In Movie
Backwoods of Terror
Hexed Haunted Attraction

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Virginia’s New River Valley: Virginia’s New River Valley is an eclectic mix of interconnected small towns that each offer their own unique vibe and appeal. The region provides an abundance of cultural and social offerings due to the presence of three world-class universities, while retaining the charm and benefits of small town living. The NRV is home to a diverse and innovative business community with companies that range from high-tech startups to foreign-based corporations to specialty agribusiness. These organizations benefit from the collaborative spirit of our region and a loyal, highly-skilled, and educated workforce. The scenic beauty of the region also fosters a deep connection to nature, which is deepened by access to outdoor recreation and the preservation of our natural environment. It’s clear why Virginia’s New River Valley is “A Natural Fit.”

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment, and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.