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Staycation Vacation!

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By Nicole S. Johnson,
Director of Tourism
Bedford County

    As the longest-running and premier travel publication in this part of the country, Blue Ridge Country  celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year.
    Their May/June issue is built around reader-poll results for the “Best of the Mountains,” saluting favorites in the realms of people, places and much more. These such polls are conducted only every five years, giving readers a chance to voice their opinions about the mountains they love so much. 
    Readers from not only Virginia, but also the Carolinas, Tennessee, Georgia and Kentucky weighed in.  We are proud to announce that Bedford won the following in the 30th Anniversary “Best of the Mountains” reader polls:  1st Place: Best Fishing Lake or River – Smith Mountain Lake; 1st Place: Best Hiking Trail (non-Appalachian Trail) – Sharp Top, Peaks of Otter; and 2nd Place: Best Couples Getaway Lodging – Peaks of Otter Lodge. 
    That list includes three of our area’s top attractions.  How many of us take for granted the beauty, recreational opportunities, history, and food, wine, art and culture scene that is all right here for the taking?  People come from all over the country, even the world, to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway (“America’s Longest Scenic Drive”), stay at Smith Mountain Lake (“Jewel of the Blue Ridge” and named a top freshwater lake in the country by BoatU.S. Magazine, the largest circulating recreational boating magazine in the country), tour the National D-Day Memorial (the nation’s only monument to D-Day), walk in the footsteps of Thomas Jefferson at Poplar Forest (Jefferson chose to make his summer home in Bedford to “relax”), and to explore all that makes Bedford unique.  
    As vacation season is here, have you ever considered making a “staycation” part of your plans?
    I know that along with summer comes the urge to get away and leave the day-to-day behind, but consider the upside to a staycation, which could include everything you’re looking for in another destination - relaxation, fun, and quality time with family.  Spend time reconnecting and less time driving/flying/planning/packing!  And a staycation can be just as fun as traveling, at a fraction of the cost. 
    I have taken two staycations in the past year and a half and truly felt I was experiencing something new and was completely relaxed and rejuvenated after only a couple of days.  It was a chance to visit and stay at places I wouldn’t otherwise get to with my normal schedule, and to see things from a different perspective.  And the best part? Leaving wasn’t so sad because I knew I could return again very easily.  I urge you to experience what others travel for hours to experience!  We have so much right here! I haven’t even mentioned the Bedford Wine Trail and Bedford Artisan Trail.  Both were recently featured on WSLS10’s Daytime Blue Ridge – check out the videos at visitbedford.com/what-to-do/wineries/ and visitbedford.com/what-to-do/artisans-and-crafters/. 
    If your question is, “What is there to do in Bedford?”, stop by the Welcome Center and let our friendly staff and volunteers help you.  Or browse the brochure racks and event flyers – you will likely discover something you never knew Bedford had!  I also encourage you to check our online event calendar and  sign up for our e-newsletter.  You can do both at www.VisitBedford.com.  And please follow us on Facebook and Instagram at Visit Bedford Virginia.
    Lastly, I’m excited to announce that the Welcome Center now has a rack card!  The Welcome Center should be the first stop for anyone visiting Bedford, and to help get the word out, we ask that if you offer any kind of overnight accommodations for visitors, or see a lot of visitors in your place of business, stop by the Welcome Center and ask for a supply of rack cards.  Thanks for all you do to support tourism in Bedford, and I wish all of the Bulletin readers a happy and safe summer!