BRINGING THE OUTDOORS CLOSER TO HOME

Helping you #LiveOutdoors in daily life

January Newsletter 2022

Winter Bucket List: Host an Outdoor Party

Instead of allowing the chilly temperatures and snow to shut us inside, embrace it by hosting an outdoor winter party! While outdoor spaces are mostly enjoyed during the summer months, you can make amazing memories that your friends and family will be talking about for years.

Here are a few easy ideas to make it fun and enjoyable:

Bundle up

When inviting guests, encourage them to dress warmly and according to the weather. Also provide a basket of extra hats, gloves or mittens, hothands and blankets, for guests to grab to keep them warm and comfortable.

Add festive lighting

With shorter days, a little extra light can help create a cozy ambiance. Light the way with tin buckets, white paper bags, or mason jars with candles inside. Add some extra light by stringing outdoor twinkle lights along the path or around your gathering area.

Light a fire

One of the best ways to stay warm when gathering outside during the cold months is to have a fire pit! This can be the main focal point where guests can gather and visit. Surround the fire with benches, outdoor chairs or even logs to provide a place for guests to sit. Add some blankets to help keep it comfy.

Soul warming food

Another way to keep you and your guests warm is through food! You can take advantage of the fire by roasting smores, hotdogs, or chestnuts. Bring out a crockpot to serve hot soups, ciders or hot chocolate. If you like cold drinks, you can also serve local craft beers or ciders and place them in a cooler, or right in the snow, for guests to enjoy.

Plan some fun

For fun that warms the soul, you can tell stories or plan conversation questions. You can play word of mouth games, like telephone or twenty questions. If you or any of your friends and family are musically talented, share some music and song! You can even break out the yard games; such as corn hole or spike ball! If there is snow, have a snowball fight or build snowmen. For an extra treat, bring out some sparklers or glow sticks.

By hosting an outdoor winter party, you can have some laughs, make memories, and catch up with those that are dear to you. It will create lasting memories of time together and perhaps become a yearly tradition.

Crowd Pleasing Recipe: Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Hosting a get together this winter and need a cozy warming dish for your guests, look no further than this simple and easy Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate. It’s easy for a crowd and delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together in a 6quart slow cooker. Cook on high for 1hour, stirring occasionally. Serve in festive mugs or cups. Top with marshmallows or add a peppermint stick. Makes 8 servings.

Slow Cooker Crock Pot Hot Chocolate

Local Spot: Blue Ridge Tunnel All-Year Round

Snowy Afton Tunnel Winter Hiking Blue Ridge Parkway

There is no shortage of amazing hiking spots here in the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains. However, during the winter it can be a challenge to venture out.  One of the coolest new additions to the area is the Blue Ridge Tunnel Trail.

The Blue Ridge Tunnel was constructed in the 1850s and functioned as a railway tunnel for many years.  In 2007, the tunnel was donated to Nelson County and has been converted into a walking trail for the general public.  The trail is roughly 2.25 miles long from start to finish and goes right through the heart of Afton Mountain.  For those willing to take the walk, the tunnel has no lights, so headlamps or flashlights are required.  The best winter feature is that the tunnel stays a steady temperature of roughly 50 degrees year-round despite the weather outside.

This winter, while looking for things to get out and do, bundle up and visit the Blue Ridge Tunnel trail. It is a perfect opportunity to enjoy an invigorating hike, soak up some history and enjoy the outdoors.

January 24th is National Compliment Day

Compliments can be great ways to brighten someone’s day! Giving a compliment can be encouraging someone that they can accomplish a daunting or new task or maybe acknowledging someone’s job well done. Compliments show other’s that you notice them, that you care about them and that you are in their corner.

A compliment can go a long way in positively increasing confidence and mood. Take time to reflect on what you uniquely like about someone or share something that comes to you spontaneously in the moment – vocalize things you appreciate about someone. You can complement their character or things you notice, like a new haircut.

As the giver of complements, you show that you are thoughtful and care about that person. Two tips when giving compliments. Always be sincere and think of compliments like salt and pepper. You want to always be genuine when giving compliments and not overstate them, so people know it’s meaningful.

While we certainly encourage you to give compliments any day of the year, find someone in your life to notice and encourage, support, and affirm this week!

Enjoy some Daily Odd Compliments to help you get ideas.

Project Highlight of the Month: Quick Deck with a Ramp

Our Nellysford homeowner wanted to install a quick deck patio to be a sitting area right outside their home with a ramp for wheelchair driveway access. We love the FiberOn Good Life composite decking in Cottage color that they selected for their deck to match the style of their home. Our homeowner will be able to enjoy quiet evenings and host friends on weekends while sitting together in this quaint and accessible outdoor space.

Find out more about FastTrack Quick Decks 

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