5 Things To Be Thankful For in Western Virginia

With Thanksgiving approaching we wanted to share what we’re thankful for here in Western Virginia. With so many wonderful things to offer it was hard to choose only 5.

1) Cultural Centers

Western Virginia is lucky to be dotted with museums, theaters, historic sites, galleries, event centers, attractions, etc. As you drive up and down interstate 81 there are constant temptations to take a side trip to one of the many cultural centers. It is easy for one to forget how culturally rich our area truly is and how rare it is to live in an area with so many opportunities to experience art, music, history, and nature.  Here’s a few sites to be sure you visit, but of course there are plenty more: Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, American Shakespeare Center,  The Natural Bridge, Virginia Horse Center, Frontier Culture Museum, Luray Caverns,  O. Winston Link Museum, Mill Mountain Theatre,  Center in the Square, Blue Ridge Institute, The Birthplace of Country Music Museum

2) Blue Ridge Parkway

blue-ridge-parkway-mapLife is busy, that is a commonly accepted fact. But sometimes it is worth it to take a little time and enjoy your surroundings. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers Virginians, and those passing through, an excellent opportunity to escape the hustle and get a breath of fresh air. The Parkway offers beautiful views and near silence. Next time you’ve got a free afternoon take a drive up there and see for yourself.

 

3) Climate

Climate might seem like an odd thing to be thankful for as the days grow colder and the nights grow longer, but Virginia has a wonderful climate. There are not many places that offer a full range of seasons. Want a little bit of everything? Move to Virginia. The summers are warm, the winters are cold, fall offers beautiful leaves and crisp days, and spring is always alive with an abundance of blooming flowers.

4) Community

Western Virginia has a strong sense of community, offering ample opportunities to attend community events. Each weekend there are several festivals, openings, and events throughout the area. These events offer guests the ability to meet new people, enjoy the company of good friends, and support their local economies.
Events and Festivals in Roanoke: Visit Roanoke
Events and Festivals throughout Virginia: Virginia is for Lovers
Events in the Shenandoah Valley: Shenandoah Valley Calendar
Visit Shenandoah: Upcoming Festivals and Events

5) Good Food

Virginians like food. And with such a rich Appalachian culture it is no wonder why-we make good food. With a fairly substantial growing season Virginia has been able to provide a variety of local food options for the many emerging cooks. If your family is from Western Virginia you know that no one makes food quite like Grandma.
Culinary Events in Virginia: Virginia is for Lovers
Wineries and Breweries in Virginia: Virginia is for Lovers
More Food: Virginia is for Lovers
Roanoke Food Tour: Discover Roanoke Food Tours
Cooking Class: Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op
Classes and Workshops: Staunton ,VA

Have a few things you’re thankful for in Western Virginia? Let us know in the comments!

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Happy 100th to the McGuire Building

Happy 100th Birthday to the McGuire Building, home of Center in the Square and its tenant organizations, including us the History Museum of Western Virginia. Construction on the building started in 1913 by J.F. Barbour and Sons, a major Roanoke contractor. The building designed by architect Hutcheson was completed in 1914. The building was commissioned by William E. McGuire, John W. Woods, and D.S. Meadows. They bought the lot where the McGuire Building still stands in 1904 and operated their business, The Farmers Supply Co. which the men had been founded in 1895, out of that temporary building until the McGuire Building was finished.

The Farmers Supply Co. sold buggies, wagons, seed, and fertilizer in the 81,500 square-foot building. Margaret, McGuire’s daughter recalls “My father, I don’t know how he managed, but he had the whole building jam-packed with things to sell. Papa cut it up and used it all…an auto dealer was on the first floor, he had an office on the second floor, seed was on the third floor and whatever he had to store was on the fourth and fifth floors.”

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Fun Facts about the McGuire Building (1914)

  • 1913-1914 excavate the site
  • F. Barbour and Sons, a major Roanoke contractor, built the sturdy concrete structure at 29 East Campbell Avenue. The Building was designed by Architect, Mr. Hutcheson.
  • According to his daughter Margaret Cutshall, William E. McGuire was born near Burnt Chimney in Franklin County. He was raised by his half-brother and his wife after his mother died when McGuire was a baby.
  • According to historian Raymond Barnes, the Farmers Supply Co. was founded in 1895 by McGuire, John W. Woods and D.S. Meadows. They bought the lot where the McGuire Building stands in 1904 and operated their business out of that building until the McGuire Building was finished.
  • The McGuire Building is 81,500 square-foot structure built to house William E. McGuire’s Farmers’ Supply Co., which sold buggies, wagons, seed and fertilizer.
  • Margaret, McGuire’s daughter recalls “My father, I don’t know how he managed, but he had the whole building jam-packed with things to sell. Papa cut it up and used it all…An auto dealer was on the first floor, he had an office on the second floor, seed was on the third floor and whatever he had to store was on the fourth and fifth floors.”
  • According to his daughter, McGuire met his wife Mary Margaret Harris when she came to town to meet her uncle. She ran into McGuire at Stuart’s Furniture Store. At the time William and Mary were both engaged to other people. However, they broke of their engagements and married each other.
  • Almost from the beginning the McGuire Building housed small restaurants and farmers’ booths on the first floor. One such place became a Roanoke staple, the Roanoke Weiner Stand, then called the Roanoke Weinnie Stand started there in 1916.
  • William McGuire died in 1923 and his son, William E. McGuire Jr. kept the business for several years. Afterwards through the 1970s McGuire Building was home to several smaller businesses including the Roanoke Wiener Stand, Waldrop Price Hardware, Rocky’s market, Whitten-Martin Furniture Company and the restaurant Famous Lunch.
  • Renovated in 1983 to house Center in the Square and its cultural organizations.
  • Renovated again 2012 to 2013.
  • Currently partnered with Center in the Square: History Museum of Western Virginia, Science Museum of Western Virginia, Harrison Museum of African American Culture, Mill Mountain Theatre,  Opera Roanoke, O. Winston Link Museum, Roanoke Ballet Theatre, and the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra.

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If you would like to see the newly renovated Center in the Square the building is open 10-5 Monday-Saturday and 1-5 Sunday.