November 6, 2019
Written by Maria Campanella
As I’m sure anyone who attends Liberty University has noticed, the Enneagram is a constant topic of discussion. For those of you that don’t know, it is a set of nine personality types and meant to help people understand themselves and others better. The Enneagram Institute has far more information on each type, the correlation between all the types, and how to determine what number you are. It can be beneficial in relationships, the workplace, and to know yourself better to help you grow as a person.
The outdoors are more appealing to some types rather than others, but I feel that the Outdoor Recreation department has something to offer every enneagram type. Hopefully this will give you a better idea of what we do as a department and how you can utilize what we have available.
Type One – Ones have a very strong sense of right and wrong and strive for perfection. The Reformers are known for wanting to change the world, and they have goals and visions for how to make a difference. They are wise and discerning and, at their best, know what is best in every situation. Ones often like to have an escape and a way to “blow off steam” which is why I think that our trail races and trail running in general would be a beneficial thing for them to utilize at Hydaway. We have two races left this semester, the Valley View 5-miler and the Reindeer Run. We’ve also got two races set for the spring semester!
Type Two – Twos are the most generous and kind people you will meet. They are warm-hearted and driven to please others and love the people around them. They are titled The Helper because of their constant desire to help and love others. That being said, Hydaway can be a great escape and every two I have asked said that they just enjoy relaxing in and being in the presence of the outdoors, so the beach and lake would be a perfect relaxing escape for a two to soak in to the moment.
Type Three – Known as The Achiever, threes are competitively driven, and goal oriented. They desire to impress others and to be admired. They are self-motivated and good at encouraging others. I think that threes have the potential to really enjoy our challenge course. The challenge course is very goal oriented and is a whole team activity. This would be a great time for a three to help encourage and motivate others on their team or in their workplace to do their best and achieve their goals as well.
Type Four – Type fours are individualistic, creative, and sensitive. They are known as The Individualist and like to have an identity different from everyone else. Fours appreciate beauty and their surroundings and tend to enjoy time to themselves to be alone with their emotions so Fours would really like our kayaks or paddleboards which provide time to themselves in nature and beauty – especially this time of year as nature begins to quiet. It gives a great opportunity to enjoy their surrounding and have time to think.
Type Five – The type five loves to learn. They are perceptive and innovative which is why they are titled The Investigator. The main desire of the five is to be competent and to be knowledgeable on useful things. Something that the investigator could definitely enjoy and find useful through our department is the NOLS Wilderness First Responder course. It happens every other spring semester, so it will be taking place this spring! It is a useful course that will provide you with an extreme amount of knowledge – learn more about what the course will teach you.
Type Six – The Loyalist; six’s are security oriented and stability craving. They are very trustworthy and loyal friends. They are worrisome and suspicious, so they crave reassurance and support. This tends to be found in people, once a six trusts and draws close to someone, they don’t let go easily. Sixes thrive in situations with people closest to them, so camping at Hydaway would be a fun way for them to relax and enjoy the company of those around them. They can also plan and prepare before they go, taking away worries they may have. If you are interested in renting a campsite, you can call the Outfitter (434-592-6284) to reserve a site.
Type Seven – Sevens are known for being outgoing, optimistic, and spontaneous. They enjoy trying new things and experiencing new activities and are commonly referred to as The Enthusiast. This is why one of our many trips would be something that a type seven would enjoy. We have a variety of off-site trips that go out each semester – caving, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, white water rafting, and overnight camping. There are many experiences to choose from and they could have the opportunity to meet new people as well.
Type Eight – At their best, The Challengers have great, “go get ‘em” attitudes. They are passionate and take initiative on making important things happen. They have the power to effect change and gain followers in all they do. They can command attention and prompt people to feel what they are feeling. Something new to the Outdoor Recreation department is the Outdoor Club. This is an experience and opportunity for eights to make a change and affect the environment in a positive way and gives them leadership opportunities. If you would be interested in helping us get the Outdoor Club going at Liberty, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Type Nine – The Nine, also known as The Peacemaker, are easy-going, laid back, and supportive. They tend to see the positive side of things and all sides to each story. They have a calming presence and are go-with-the-flow kinds of people. As a Nine myself, I find that hammocking is my favorite thing to do at Hydaway. It is a peaceful and calming activity that pulls together those aspects of my personality and makes me feel at peace. Fellow nines, I would advise you try it!
Of course, this is general and will not be completely accurate for every person, but either way, Hydaway has so much to offer for people to enjoy. The Outdoor Recreation department strives to engage with all of the community by providing diverse experiences for everyone! We hope to see you soon!
November 1, 2019
Written by Joe Frey
November is here and fall is in full swing. At outdoor recreation we are enjoying the beautiful display God’s creation has given us these past few days. The vibrant colors that the trees are showing off, and the cool crisp morning air that goes perfectly with a hot cup of coffee. However, there is one downside that I have noticed with November rolling in and that is the decreased number of people in the outdoors. Now don’t get me wrong, plenty of people still make sure to get their fall pictures taken for their Instagram, but it is clear the decrease in people getting outside at this point in autumn. The fall is one of the perfect times to enjoy the outdoors in Virginia, the cooler weather allows you to be active without overheating, and nature is displaying its true colors. With this being said, here are six ways all of us keep your activities rolling through November!
- Visit Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center! Now clearly this one had to make the list, but it really is a great resource to get outside and enjoy fall. The facility is open until Nov 22nd, as is the 50+ miles of trail system on Liberty Mountain. We will be hosting our fishing derby and we have stocked our lake with hundreds of rainbow trout! Also coming up we do have the Mike Donahue 5 Miler trail race on Nov. 9th. For more information on Hydaway visit our website!
- Biking. In Lynchburg alone we have so many great biking locations. Downtown there is the Blackwater Creek trail which is 3 miles of paved trails built along an abandoned railway. To read more about the Blackwater creek trail and other trail connecting to it visit Lynchburg Parks and Rec website! If you are into mountain biking, then there are some great opportunities for you right off LU campuls. The trail system on Liberty Mountain hosts an abundance of trails that were built specifically for mountain bikes some of which include rock beds, jumps, banks, and more. If you want to try something new you can also visit the Bedford bike park at Falling Creek which is completely free open dawn to dusk.
- Hiking. As many of you know our area hosts some of the best hikes in Virginia. In my personal opinion hiking to an overlook on a clear day to see all the colors the trees have to offer is one of the best. Our “Hike Safe” campaign is all about promoting safe hiking while enjoying some great trails! One of the hikes we feature is Spy Rock. This beautiful hike is within an hour from campus and is a comfortable 3.1 miles out and back. This is a beautiful hike within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
- Drive the Parkway. While this might not scream outdoors it is truly a great way to appreciate the Blue Ridge Mountains during fall. The parkway has plenty of access points and lookouts where you can pull of to enjoy views of the valleys surrounding it or access to great hikes as well.
- Visit Local Parks/Monuments. Visiting local parks and monuments is a great activity in the fall. Once school is back in session these places attract a lot less tourists, even on the weekends. Near us is the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford. Everyone should go and experience this memorial as it documents such an important moment from our nation’s history. Make sure to call ahead and schedule a tour guide as well so you get the full experience.
- Camping. In my personal opinion this is one of the best times of year to get out and do some camping. It’s not too hot that you can’t sleep at night and it not too cold where you are freezing. One of my favorite places to camp this time of year is Cole Mountain. It is a hilltop meadow offer great view of the surrounding valleys. You can camp at the bottom of the hike or go all the way to the top and on the other side you will see some firepits campers set up.
While I could go on and on about the great opportunities there are to experience this fall, there are too many to count. This time of year doesn’t last long so I encourage everyone to take advantage of it while it’s here!
October 18, 2019
Written by Elijah Stanley
Liberty University Outdoor Recreation’s fall break whitewater kayaking trip was a perfect blend of tranquil, fireside mornings and intense whitewater action on the New River.
To kickoff this amazing weekend, we drove through the meandering mountaintops of the Appalachians leading us to the beautiful Babcock State Park. Thursday night, we pitched up camp, started a fire and enjoyed the cooling mountain air as we roasted marshmellows. On Friday, after our morning coffee and bacon, the group was in for a special afternoon in the heart of the park. Paddling lessons on Boley Lake led into a relaxing lunch and leisure time among the new fall colors. Friday evening was filled with more s’mores and excitement considering the extreme whitewater that was awaiting us the following morning.
Whitewater kayaking is no “walk in the park”. This electrifying sport can be one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a weekend in the great outdoors. A majority of the group had never experienced the rush of weaving through a class III rapid. With that said, LU Outdoor Recreation prides itself in giving new outdoor experiences to all participants, no matter their skill level. Wave after wave of class II and III rapids kept the group’s adrenaline levels high while the lunch break helped with our morale. Although kayaking is enjoyable, it is tiring as well. Saturday night was full of exceptional food and much needed rest.
Sunday’s sun rose per usual and our trip was unfortunately coming to an end. The famous New River Gorge Overlook was our final stop. While taking our last-minute pictures of the river cutting through the steep, tree-covered hills, it was clear that there is no better place than the New River Gorge for a camping and kayaking combo.
Outdoor Recreation offers an extensive list of trips and excursions similar to this one. Don’t miss out on the next!
October 10, 2019
Written by Luke Whitmire
Fall is here, and it’s our last chance to soak up the warm weather before the cold arrives! One great way to get out and enjoy the changing seasons is to go out and do some fishing! Central Virginia has some great opportunities to go after many different species of fish! If you’re into bass fishing, grab a canoe and head to the James! The James River provides great opportunities for both smallmouth and largemouth bass. If you’re really hardcore, grab the biggest streamer you can find, throw some salt over your shoulder, and go hunting for some muskies! Always be sure to pick up your fishing license when heading to public waters, this is a great way to support conservation and save yourself from some trouble, if you happen to see a game warden.
Another great spot for canoe and kayak fishing is to located at Clemmons Lake in Ivy Creek Park. They stocked over four-hundred pounds of trout and catfish last November and you can catch and keep up to four catfish or trout a day, so whether you’re a spin fisherman or a fly fishermen, head on over and try to catch some dinner! If you’re a fly fisherman looking for trout streams, take a drive and head out to some public streams. Due to lower water levels in the late summer, try to adjust your tactics to the conditions. Consider using a lighter tippet and being even more careful on your approach to the stream to combat the easily spooked fish. If you’re looking for more tips, or needing to stock up on some lures, stop by our friends at Angler’s Lane or Taletellers Fly Shop and get their tips and favorite lures for fishing this time of year!
Another great way to go after some trout this fall is to come to the Fishing Derby at Hydaway on Saturday, November 2nd. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout just prior to the derby, and you can catch and keep up to five trout! Food will be provided, and awards and prizes will be given to the anglers with the most total inches, highest average overall, and the largest fish.
Angler’s Lane will be there to help us run the event and provide tips or answer any questions you may have! If you’re an experienced fisherman, come out and show us how it’s done! If you are new to fishing, this is a great way to meet some new prospective fishing buddies! Fishing is a great way of bringing people together, and there is no better way to learn than under the wing of an experienced fishermen. No matter how much knowledge I have learned from watching videos and reading articles, some of the best tips I’ve ever gotten was going out with some of my friends who knew what they were doing!
Click here to register and always feel free to call or email us with any questions. We’d love to see you there!
September 17, 2019
Written by Katy Ward
Have you ever thought to yourself: “I would like to spend more time outdoors, but I don’t know where to start?” Well now is the perfect opportunity to try some new things and find your niche in the outdoors! Liberty University Outdoor Recreation is participating in the AORE Campus Challenge, and we want to help you get active outside.
What is the Campus Challenge?
The AORE Campus Challenge is a “March-Madness-meets-Mother Nature” competition in which 98 universities compete to see who can get the most people outside.
Sounds cool! How do I get involved?
We tried to make it all clear and easy on our website. First, you need to download the Campus Challenge app and create an account. When creating your account, make sure to select Liberty University as your sponsor school so the hours get logged into our group. Second, log all of your outdoor activities on the app. The contest runs September 16 until October 13.
What kind of activities can I log?
Almost any activity outside can be logged! Kayaking, hammocking, running, caving, hiking, gardening, skateboarding/longboarding, and many other activities can be logged for points towards Campus Challenge. All activities must be participated in for a minimum of 30 minutes and you can log up to 5 activities per day.
Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! Anyone and everyone is invited and encouraged to participate. Even your parents and your parents’ friends can join in the fun. Our goal is to get as many people outside as possible, our focus is the Liberty community, but all are welcome. Plus, you get bonus points if you log a group activity!
Where can I participate in these activities?
As long as you are outside, it does not matter where you complete them. Around Liberty, you have lots of options! There’s Hydaway, where you can hike, bike, hammock, swim, kayak, paddleboard, play volleyball, and much more. We also offer outdoor adventure trips through Outdoor Recreation, such as white-water rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, and other options. Even with those options, there are plenty of opportunities around Lynchburg for these activities to take place.
Are you looking for a trip to take this weekend and log some activity? How about a short little overnight out to the Peaks of Otter Campground? This campground is located close to Sharp Top and Flat Top, two of the most popular hikes around Lynchburg, and there is also a lake nearby the facility, providing even more opportunities for activities to log. An overnight camping trip to Peaks of Otter Campground could go a little something like this:
3:00pm – Leave after class, head for campground
4:00pm – Get to campground and set up camp. Explore the campground for a little while, go bird-watching or look for wildlife.
6:30pm – Hike Sharp Top and watch the sunset from the peak.
8:00pm – Get back to campsite and start a fire, roast some marshmallows and play some card games
10:00pm – Quiet hours start, so find a cozy place to look at the stars for awhile
11:00pm – Retire to tents for a great night’s sleep
8:00am – Get up, start a little fire, cook breakfast, and drink some strong coffee to start the day
9:00am – Check out Abbot Lake for a couple hours. Play some games, chill in a hammock, go fishing.
1:00pm – Go for a bike ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway
3:00pm – Clean up camp and get ready to head out.
6:00om– Back to LU for dinner with friends.
This trip alone will give you the opportunity to log 37 points on Friday and 42 points on Saturday, that could be 79 points, per person! We would love it if you would participate with us and help encourage everyone to get outside and learn new things!
August 28, 2019
Written by Tim Lewis
Fall trips are underway! We have been hard at work providing diverse and exciting outdoor experiences! We have already put on 4 trips, but have a whole lot left to facilitate. Are you looking for a bit more information on each of our trips? Look no further, I am sure that we have one that may interest you.
9/6-8 Beach Camping
Every year we venture to First Landing State Park to enjoy one last beach trip before the end of summer! This accessible yet secluded park offers private access to the beach as well as many hiking and biking trails. Our weekend will consist of campfires, hammocking, SUPing, biking, and relaxing on the beach with all meals provided for $50!
9/14 Horseback Riding
Each semester we enjoy a trip to Reba Farm Inn & Saddle Soar in Bedford, VA. This privately owned farm offers students a unique chance to ride rescued and rehabilitated horses in a beautiful mountain setting. This unique Western riding experience also allows for a chance to run your horse and learn confidence by leading your horse on the trail. Register for only $25!
9/20-21 Whitewater Rafting
Fall is Gauley season in West Virginia! This world-class whitewater mecca is only available for a few weeks out of the year and we take advantage of it. Alpine Ministries provides us with expert instruction and facilitation down the river and provides us with a delicious lunch and devotional on the river bank. Spots fill up quickly, so be sure to secure your spot as soon as possible! Register for only $60!
We are a river loving crew at Outdoor Rec! This classic paddle will take us to the Upper James River where we will paddle 6 miles from Buchanan to Arcadia. This classic trip features several Class I-II rapids and mountain views. Transportation, food, and instruction for only $10!
9/28 Rock Climbing
This is the first year we have booked an all-day rock climbing trip! This trip will take us to Wintergreen Mountain where we will sport climb with Urban Mountain Adventures! Transportation, food, and instruction for only $25!
9/28 Mountain Biking Trip
We will be heading to Falling Creek Park in Bedford, VA for a fun day of mountain biking on trails and testing your skills on their obstacle course! This beautiful park offers a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities and is a great location for both beginner and experienced bikers. Transportation, lunch, and instruction all provided for $10!
10/3-6 Fall Break: Whitewater Kayaking
Looking for a multi-day adventure in the outdoors? This trip will take to West Virginia to paddle the New River where you will encounter rapids up to Class III! We will be paddling and training for the river by day and camping in nearby Babcock State Park and enjoying good food and campfires by night. If this sounds up your alley, sign up today! Transportation, food, and instruction for only $60!
10/3-6 Fall Break: Wilderness Canoe Camping
This year we are dusting off an old classic! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to travel by water with enough camping supplies and food for several days? You will learn how on this trip. Starting at Horseshoe Bend on the James River, we will canoe by day and camp along the river by night, travelling 30 miles by the time we reach our destination of Glasgow, VA! Transportation, food, and instruction for only $60!
10/12 Fly Fishing
Come enjoy a full day of professionally guided fly fishing on the Piney River at Rivenridge Lodge. Angler’s Lane hosts LU each semester at this pristine lodge and teaches us how to cast, select the right flies, and catch beautiful native trout. This trip got me started in the sport years ago and it can for you as well. Transportation, food, and instruction for only $25!
10/26 Sunrise Hike
Be the first to see the sunrise from beautiful Cole Mountain! This trip features a short hike to an open mountain meadow where eastern and western views can be observed. Transportation, food, and instruction for only $10!
11/12 Moonlight Horseback Riding
We love it when we get to visit Reba Farm Inn & Saddle Soar twice in one semester! This time we are going at night to enjoy the full moon. Slip into the fall spirit and come enjoy a moonlight ride followed by a cozy bonfire at the foot of the Peaks of Otter. Transportation, food, and instruction for only $25!
For this trip we will be exploring Tawney’s Cave near Blacksburg, VA! The James River Grotto is kind of enough to lead us into the underground labyrinth of the cave and show us a new way to adventure. We will provide headlights, food, and transportation. All you need to bring is your sense of adventure and a change of clothes. Transportation, food, and instruction for only $10!
August 28, 2019
Written by Luke Whitmire
Conservation is a topic that is coming more into the limelight as we continue to realize that our actions are negatively impacting the environment around us. As the conversation continues to escalate, it naturally gravitates towards the bigger issues, such as large-scale manufacturers and consumer habits. While these conversations are important, they can often distract us, as individuals, and what we can do in order to further conservation efforts.
One way to get involved and make a difference in conservation is to change your daily habits and consumer practices in order to favor environmentally friendly pursuits. How do you decide what clothes you buy? What food you are going to eat? Every time you make a purchase, you are “voting” with your money. Just as you should be conscious in the political sphere with your vote and know what a politician stands for, you should be conscious with your money, and support businesses and purchasing practices that support values that you care about.
Here are a few things that you may want to consider:
- Buy local, in-season, organically grown produce. It increases nutrients, biodiversity, promotes a connection to food, and local farms often pursue farming habits that are more friendly to the soil, crops, insects, and your produce. Check out the documentary Sustainable.
- Animal agriculture, mainly red meat sources such as cattle, are responsible for the second most greenhouse emissions in the world, including 18% of global CO2 emissions, as well as 37% of methane emissions. Reducing your red meat intake by eating more chicken, fish, and considering plant-based protein alternatives can all help to reduce your environment impact. Check out these articles on a sustainable food future.
- Take time to research companies before you buy gear, clothing, cars, and so on. Look for companies that have green initiatives and release reports on their environmental impact and sustainability efforts. Support companies that are open about the impact they have and their vision for sustainability. Here are just a few great examples: MSR, Ford, Starbucks.
Businesses and manufacturers pay attention to your purchasing habits. Companies spent $76 billion worldwide on market research in 2017. They want to listen to what we have to say. Let us leave complacency behind and make conscious decisions to use our voices and our money to move together towards conservation and being better stewards of our beloved earth.
July 11, 2019
Written by Joe Frey
I was not always an outdoors enthusiast. Sure, I loved being outside playing catch or going for a swim, but when it came to going on a hike to an overlook or kayaking in the bay I began thinking of excuses for why I “couldn’t go.” If I’m being honest it wasn’t for a lack of motivation, it just didn’t really sound fun.
Fast forward a few years and I am in high school. I had various social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and noticed my friends posting amazing pictures and awesome things in the outdoors. So that Christmas I asked for a GoPro. An indestructible camera that magically motivated me to go explore and seek out the next post for my Instagram. Many of you who are reading this may have experienced this same drive. I found myself seeking the next adrenaline rush simply to capture the video or picture. Regardless of whether the desire was for status or for excitement, I wasn’t exploring to appreciate God’s incredible creation. I just wanted to snap the perfect photo.
Looking at the pictures I have taken over the years, it was clear that I broke many rules to capture more than a few of them. I was oblivious to the “No Trespassing” and “Danger” signs that are posted, much like many other adventurers. But why do we lose our ability to process risk? Are we trying to better appreciate God’s creation? Or are we just trying to gain social clout? The reason I am writing this blog is to call many of you out, as I wish somebody would have called me out years ago on my ego-driven, dangerous, “gram-worthy” decisions. Pictures circulate the internet of people cliff jumping, sitting at the top of waterfalls, and hanging off cliffs. All of these are extremely dangerous and often illegal. By posting them yourself, you are encouraging others to take these unnecessary risks as well.
Recently the National Park Service has been conducting research to determine why so many young people are dying in the outdoors and one of the main reasons is to take pictures. Nearby us at Liberty University they have been doing this same research at Crabtree Falls which continues to see a high rate for incidents. The 1,200 ft waterfall is infamous for the many lives that it has claimed.
Next time you want to #betheadventure, leave the camera at home. Appreciate creation for its beauty, not for your own fame. Enjoy the moment and process the experience. A story for your close friends carries more weight than a hundred momentary likes. There is no need to put your life in danger for a few followers on your account.
Stories continue to surface of hikers climbing the fences to capture a one of a kind pictures, but at what price? In my opinion, this epidemic needs to stop. It’s not just a problem at Liberty, it’s a problem everywhere. So, let’s create awareness, at Liberty we are starting a “Safe Hiking” campaign where we are featuring some of the most popular hikes in the area and giving detailed instructions on how to be safe and enjoy God’s creation. Join us in communicating this culture and help us promote the #hikesafe mentality. I would encourage everyone to leave the camera at home next time you enjoy this amazing world we live in.
July 1, 2019
Running through college
Written by Danielle Ledgerwood
We take pride in the fact that our Liberty Mountain Trail Series provides a way for new runners from the community to learn and gain a sense of familiarity with the sport of trail running. But we also love that the series gives Liberty students an outlet to use their competitive high school running careers in college.
At only 18 years old, Marina Iodice was our youngest LMTS finisher this past year. In her first year as a residential student at Liberty studying American Sign Language Interpretation, she ran all five races in our trail series in addition to Harvest After Dark, our short distance, Halloween-themed fun-run.
Her results in each of the 5 LMTS races were as follows:
Deep Hollow 5K: 4th in Female age group 14-19
Valley View 5 Miler: 3rd in Female age group 14-19
Reindeer Run: 3rd in Female age group 14-19
Arctic 5K: 4th in Female in age group 14-19
King of the Mountain: 5th Female in age group 14-19
Marina has been running for most of her life, and she started seriously competing around 5 years ago, when she ran track and field and cross country in high school. “I personally think running is fun,” she said. “What motivates me to run is the feeling of accomplishment after I finish a workout or race. I never found the time in college to be consistent with it, but the races gave me an opportunity to do that.”
She enjoys both the tough competition at LMTS races and the less competitive, casual events, like the Turkey Trot in her hometown on Thanksgiving Day. “This race helps raise funds for cancer research and also allows people to make room for Thanksgiving dinner.”
Her advice for anyone just getting into running would be to find their own pace and start slow. “Many professional runners have been training for years, so you shouldn’t compare yourself to other runners,” she encouraged. “Don’t focus on the number aspect of your time. Just be aware of that number and try to improve it slowly each time you practice.”
For more experienced athletes, she offered some advice for when your workout routine feels like it’s stuck in a rut: “Try to expand their drills and techniques. Maybe add more distance than usual, or try shorter distances at a faster pace. The internet is full of running videos with new ideas to try. Don’t be afraid to push yourself because you can always do more than you think.”
June 25, 2019
Written by Carter Brackman
I love Virginia.
The first memory that I have of myself enjoying the beauty of Virginia was when I was six years old. My family and I drove up from Charlotte to visit my grandparents. I remember my granddad taking my brother, my golden retriever (Bunker), and I to the Peaks of Otter. The eight hours that we spent driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, jumping into swimming holes, and exploring seemed to pass in an instant. This day is still one of my favorite memories as I reflect on my life. Even as a six year old, I saw that this world was meant to be enjoyed and loved. If there was ever a single state that make this clear, Virginia is it.
If you’ve spent any significant amount of time in the state, you will create meaningful experiences and utter these 3 words of sentiment. “I love Virginia”. It is literally the slogan for our state. Virginia is for lovers! Virginians are not just proud of this idea, but use it as their main promotion as it can be seen entering the state on every welcome sign.
LOVEworks around Virginia
So the question arises, “how does Virginia plan to show this concept for all people to see? Well it is obvious, look for the signs. I don’t mean the dramatic, intangible signs that you would look for when diagnosing a cold. I mean literal, massive love signs! If you have driven through different parts of Virginia you may have seen these “love signs”. They are unique, handmade signs that spell out “L-O-V-E”.
There are two primary purposes for the love signs:
- To show what makes that specific area of the state unique.
- To encourage people to explore parts of Virginia that they may never visit apart from searching for the sign.
For those of us who reside in Lynchburg, you may have seen the love sign near Percival’s Island in downtown Lynchburg. The L has foot cut-outs for walking/hiking. The O has bicycle wheels for the bike trials in the area. The V has two canoe paddles attached to highlight water activities on the James River. The E has skateboard wheels for the skate park right down the street. There is story to be told with each sign and it is up to the traveler to find their tale.
Plan your LOVE Trip
If you are the type of person who enjoys discovering new things and experiencing new places, this is a great opportunity to explore new places! It is an extremely fun activity to do with a group of friends on a free day. Now you may be thinking, “wow this sounds fun but it seems pointless to drive all those miles just to see a sign.” Just let me stop you right there. The beauty and joy is that destination is not the only goal. The goal is to see new places which occurs primarily on the journey there, not just the destination. Some of the most beautiful parts of Virginia are found in the most unexpected towns and places. These love signs just gives you a reason to stop and come back home.
Virginia.org makes it super easy to plan your trip! I recommend choosing a love sign as your final destination and trying to hit as many other signs as you can on the way there.
But remember, it’s not about hitting all the signs! Stop and eat at a unique little restaurant, take pictures at that beautiful overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway. And most of all, soak in every new adventure. Act as Greg Anderson once said, “focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”