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Funkhouser Blog


According to the newly revised Virginia Outdoors Plan, the state is calling for a solid focus on the expansion of tourism and economic opportunities through projects of outdoor recreation and land conservation.

The “Virginia is for Outdoor Lovers” proposal suggests putting several projects into motion that will protect and strengthen the natural resources of the central Valley. A key element to the plan is to carry out the remaining steps of the Linville Creek Greenway plan to provide extensive opportunities for fishing and boating to residents and visitors along with a link to nearby commercial, residential and public sites.

Several hikers that are part of the Southern Shenandoah Valley chapter of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club feel this project should be fully executed since it will greatly benefit the community. By providing a closer commute to outdoor recreation, the area will receive a wider range of outdoor enthusiasts hiking and biking the greenways.

In addition to the Linville Creek Greenway plan, the program calls for regional and local organizations to increase water access on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River as well as create a “blueway” to connect Broadway, Timberville and New Market along the North Folk of the river.

The plans also suggests the creation of new trails to connect the George Washington Forest, Jefferson National Forest, Shenandoah National Park and the Appalachian Trail to the neighboring areas of Elkton, Grottoes, Waynesboro and Buena Vista.

This year, the Garden Club of Virginia will kick off its 8-day statewide premiere event from April 26th to May 3rd.

With the annual spring event dating back to 1927, Historic Garden Week has been a long-standing tradition welcoming visitors from all over to tour 250 of Virginia’s most extravagant gardens, homes, and historic landmarks. During “America’s Largest Open House,” the Garden Club of Virginia welcomes guests to view outdoor gardens at the height of the springtime season as well as take a peek inside the historic homes of Virginia covered with countless handmade floral arrangements.

Harrisonburg and Rockingham County will be featuring their garden tour on April 30th from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.  The tour will feature a look into the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum as well as a glance into some private homes and gardens around the area. The 125-acre botanical preserve houses several signature plants including woodland wildflowers and azaleas from the mid-Appalachians, an Oak-History Forest, and an herb and rose garden. Advanced tickets for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County Tour can be purchased here for $20 a piece or for $25 the day of the tour at all tour properties.

The Augusta Garden Club will also host a tour in Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft on May 3rd from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The “From Colonial Expansion to Colonial Revival” themed tour will first feature a newly renovated 200-year old brick residence and 240-acre farm that was part of a land grant from King George II. The tour will then shift to a private in-town bed-and-breakfast surrounded by gorgeous gardens near Waynesboro’s Fishburne Military School. Advanced tickets for the Waynesboro and Stuarts Draft Tour can be purchased here for $20 a piece or for $25 the day of the tour at all tour properties.

For the garden enthusiasts interested in attending all of the tours throughout the state, statewide passes can be purchased here for $175 a piece.


MLS Photo

The Highland of Rawley Springs is a subdivision consisting of 2-10 acre lots are located in a historic area adjacent to the George Washington National Forest.    Each lot offers breathtaking views, underground utilities, and are located in the Turner Ashby School District, 9 miles west of Harrisonburg.

Since 1800, Rawley Springs has been a destination for visitors seeking relaxation and a taste of the medicinal waters. In 1810, Benjamin Smith built the first cabin for his mother who had an incurable disease.  She recovered fully after spending her first summer in the area. The resort soon flourished and more cabins were built. In 1825, the area was named Rawley Springs after a farmer who lived near the resort.By 1880 three hotels were built on the property accomodating 800 guests. Visitors enjoyed bowling alleys, stables, and music from the bandstand. The resort suffered a loss in 1886 when the Virginia and Washington houses were burned down. Both were rebuilt in 1892 and again burned in 1915.

Recently, Rawley Springs has been a recreation and leisure spot for visitors looking to cool off in Blue Hole or fish in Dry River.

Click here for available lots for sale!


valley aids networkIn an effort to further promote the “buy fresh, buy local, eat fresh, eat local” movement in the Valley, the Valley AIDS Network is working on a new movement titled “share fresh, share local” to ensure that local families in need are receiving healthy foods.

Through this new program, the organization is requesting help from avid gardeners to grow and deliver fresh produce and fruits to low-income individuals and families. With the network’s food bank fund recently cut, director Alexandra de Havilland believes that this is the perfect solution to ensure that their clients receive nutritious foods for the next couple of months.

Havilland is also hoping that this small program becomes the start of something big. While the Valley AIDS Network works to partner growers with clients, their ultimate goal is to build a strong relationship between the two groups and encourage others in the community to lend a helping hand and participate in the movement. With the great and continuous success of the “buy fresh, buy local, eat fresh, eat local” movement in the area, many are hopeful that this new program will take off in the snap of a finger.

If you or someone you know is interested in participating as a gardener for the “share fresh, share local” movement or just interested in volunteering with the Valley AIDS Network, please call 568-8838 or visit their website here for more information.


three notched brewBy late fall, Harrisonburg will no longer be home to just one brewery. Locals Tim Brady and Jamie Long are proud to announce that they will be setting up shop in the Ice House where they will be selling custom craft beer.

Plans for the Pale Fire Brewing Company include a spacious tasting room as well as two types of standard-issued beers that will be available for purchase year-round. As the business continues to grow, the men behind the operation also plan to release a selection of seasonal beers that can be expected to have a “hop-forward American style”.

In addition to the opening of Pale Fire Brewing, the town is also set to welcome a nano-outpost of Three Notch’d Brewing in May. The brewery will be housed in the Urban Exchange building and will have numerous beers by the bottle including their Mosaic Imperial Red Ale and Oats McGoats Oatmeal Stout.

With rates of beer tourism spiking high and a community full of avid beer lovers, Brady and Long felt that Harrisonburg was the perfect destination to open their brewery. At first, it was the restaurants and specialty stores of Harrisonburg that sparked a beer culture in the city. Now with the combination of Three Brother’s Brewing, Three Notch’d Brewing, and Pale Fire Brewing, Harrisonburg is on it’s way to becoming the prime beer destination in the Shenandoah Valley.


Closeup of a contractors clipboard as he writes up an estimate f

Are you looking for a home and only finding properties that need improvements?  Don’t be discouraged there are financing options available for people like you!  Whether you want to replace the carpet, paint the whole house, upgrade appliances, remodel the kitchen, or finish the entire basement they can all qualify under the for a renovation loan purchase possibilities.  Below are some facts and the steps for a “renovation loan,” if you have any questions about this process or would like more information don’t hesitate to ask your Realtor to explore this option for you









  1. Work with your Realtor and qualified lender to obtain a pre-qualification for a renovation loan.
  2. Identify a property you want to purchase.
  3. Schedule required inspections as applicable, such as well, septic and termite, and verify necessary permits can be obtained.
  4. Select a HUD approved contractor to fill out an contractor’s packet of information
  5. The scope of work is reviewed and accepted by all parties
  6. The approved scope of work is sent to an appraiser who inspects the property and determines its after improved value.
  7. Final loan approval is issued after the scope of work, appraisal and loan commitment conditions are reviewed and approved.
  8. You obtain the homeowner’s insurance, the title is received, final figures are established and the closing documents are signed.
  9. Renovation typically must begin within 30 days of closing and must be completed within the agreed-upon time frame (usually less than 6 months).
  10. Enjoy your home!



  • For purchases of primary residences only
  • You must include special verbiage in your contract to purchase
  • As work is completed, inspections are made by the lender-assigned inspector, funds are requested and disbursed.
  • Not all mortgage lender and bank offer a product like this



flyfishing festivalThis year the annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, 2014 on the banks of South River in Waynesboro.

With over 50 scheduled onsite exhibitors, beginner and expert anglers can explore the latest and hottest fly-fishing equipment and watch as professionals give demonstrations and share secrets about the best places to fly fish in the Mid-Atlantic.

After attending the demonstrations, visitors are more than welcome to put their new skills to work and throw a line out in the South River where they may catch rainbows, browns, and smallmouth bass.

The event will also feature Virginia Wine tastings from vineyards such as Rebec Winery, Hunt’s Vineyards, Cardinal Point Winery, Barren Ridge Vineyards, Sans Soucy Vineyards, and Knights Gambit Vineyard. In addition, select beers from Bold Rock Cider, Starr Hill Brewery, and SweetWater Brewing Company will serve as the perfect compliment to the various flavors of Mediterranean and Louisiana cuisine.

So take a day with family and friends to spend by the water as we welcome the spring season with open arms. Tickets can be purchased online here for admission, classes, the Foundation dinner, and merchandise. Single day tickets can be purchased for $20.00 and weekend passes can be purchased for $35.00. If you have any questions or would like to receive more information, please call 540-241-5054 or click here to be directed to the Virginia Fly Fishing and Wine Festival website.


brocks gap

photo courtesy of:

On Saturday, April 12th residents from all parts of the Shenandoah Valley will come together at Fulks Run Elementary School to celebrate the 24th Annual Brocks Gap Heritage Day.

This long lasting tradition serves as a day for the community to come together and celebrate the numerous families that have lived in or ventured through Brocks Gap over the last 250 years.

Attendants have the chance to step back in time through an exhibit of over 130 photo displays that highlight past families, communities, churches, and schools in the early years of Brocks Gap as well as a collection of hundreds of library books holding stories and research from that time period. The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Historical Society will also be present at the event selling new books.

The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. with three main programs. Smithsonian conservator Fran Ritchie will start off the event at 11:00 a.m. with her presentation of the best methods for storing, displaying, and preserving family heirlooms. Virginia General Assembly delegate Joe T. May will then discuss the history behind local soldiers who were killed in action during World War II. The event will then come to a close after a final presentation from Tony Hinkle and Gerald Crider as they share tales about their experiences bear hunting.

So even if you don’t have deep roots connecting you to Brocks Gap, stop on by and learn more about a piece of fascinating history from the historians of the Shenandoah Valley!


On March 18th, the Harrisonburg City School Board decided to dismiss their previous plan of building a new middle school. Instead, members of the school board are now developing a new plan to build an elementary school.

Originally, the board proposed plans to use Thomas Harrison Middle School as an elementary school and construct a new building to house Harrisonburg middle schoolers. The proposed 1,100-student middle school would have been built across the street from Harrisonburg High School off of Garbers Church Road. The school would have had a capacity of 900 students for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, as well as a capacity of 200 students for Harrisonburg High School students participating in programs that would link the two schools together.

The newly approved plan however focuses on building a new elementary school to accommodate about 750 students in kindergarten through fifth grade, as well as a separate preschool center that would hold approximately 250 students from the Harrisonburg area in an effort to provide more space at other local elementary schools. The new school is projected to be open by 2017, giving the Harrisonburg City Public Schools enough time to come up with a new plan to redistrict students evenly.

In addition, even though Thomas Harrison Middle School will no longer be used to accommodate elementary students, all of the board members agree that immense renovations to the building are a must if it is going to continue to house middle school students, especially to the heating and cooling system.

Although the school board firmly believes in their immediate need to build a new elementary school, some members are unsure of how this decision will accommodate the growth of the student population in the future, especially fearful that it may lead the board down a path of more costly decisions.


main street


Along with nine other semifinalists, Harrisonburg was selected into the next round of the 2014 Great American Main Street competition.

Over the past few weeks, members of the National Main Street jury discussed and determined which ten competitors out of twenty would precede to the next level in the competition. The jury claimed that it was very difficult to narrow down the competition this year due to the quantity and overall quality of all the applicants. However, they were thrilled to see such a spike in the number of applicants that applied and have participated in the Main Street movement.

According to the National Main Street Center Inc., much of success of Main Streets around the country is due to their Main Street Four-Point Approach that “helps communities to organize themselves for success, improve the design of their neighborhoods, promote their district, and enhance the economic base of a community.”

It is no wonder then as to how Harrisonburg was selected to continue onward in the competition. With Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance being named “The Best Use of Taxpayer Money” for the past four years by residents, the organization has logged over 85,000 volunteer hours as well as produced $55 million in private investment.

In addition to the Great American Main Street Competition, Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance and the City of Harrisonburg also recently received a Virginia Main Street Milestone Achievement award for the vast amount of volunteer hours put into revitalizing the downtown district.

To check out the article and receive updates in the competition from the National Main Street Center, please click here.