Posts filed under ‘Meredith Webber’

Kelly’s Knob in the Snow

Greetings everyone! I hope you had a happy and healthy holiday season. The weekend before Christmas, Ryan Somma and I headed to my old stomping grounds in Blacksburg, Virginia for a five day visit. There I got one of the best early Christmas presents a girl could hope for– a reunion with the mountains! : )

On Sunday, December 19th, we got to hit the Appalachian Trail with the dogs and our friends Tony and Meredith. We went from the Rocky Gap/VA-601 trailhead up to Kelly’s Knob. It’s about a 3.8 mile round trip. It starts off steep with a roughly 500-600 foot ascent in the first half mile (Source: Elevation Map from weaselworks). Don’t let the beginning fool you though, once you make it up to the intersection of the John’s Creek Mountain Trail, it is all ridgeline and smooth sailing.

I’ve done Kelly’s Knob a number of times (see my other Kelly’s Knob posts), but this time was by far the snowiest. When we started our hike, there was a lone set of footprints already in the snow. Apparently that hiker was fooled by the steep beginning because surprisingly soon the footprints disappeared. That left us with fresh snow to hike in.

Kelly's Knob - Pristine Trail
Appalachian Trail En Route to Kelly’s Knob

The top was as gorgeous as usual. As I have written before, you can see the Virginia Tech campus from Kelly’s Knob. That particular day, we didn’t take advantage of it. None of us were courageous/foolish enough to climb out onto the snow-covered rocks. Luckily, what we could see from the security of the trail was quite striking.

Kelly's Knob - Blue Sky and Frosted Tree Tops
Frosted Tree Tops

Kelly's Knob - Snow Covered Rocks and View (Far)
Snow Covered Rocks at Kelly’s Knob

Kelly's Knob - Snow Covered Rocks and Ridges
Rocks and Ridges at Kelly’s Knob

Kelly's Knob - Tree Hole and Ridgeline
The Knotty Kelly’s Knob Tree and Ridges

I didn’t see any American chestnut trees as we hiked (there are a whole bunch of them south of Rocky Gap) but I did spy an American Chestnut leaf in the snow!

Kelly's Knob - Possible Chestnut Leaf in Snow
American Chestnut Leaf in the Snow

The most trecherous part of our journey (for the humans) was actually driving home. With intentions I’m certain were good, someone had attempted to plow the gravel VA-601. Unfortunately the efforts had produced a formidable sheet of ice. We had 1.5 miles back down to paved and cleared road. 1.5 miles of a steep icy road with particularly unnerving dropoffs in lieu of shoulders. Ryan, Meredith and I all agreed Tony would be the most qualified to get us off the mountain. He did not let us down! In 4WD low and in first gear, with occassional brake pumping and steering the vehicle onto exposed gravel or loose snow, he slowly but surely got us down.

My heater in my car was broken which proved to be advantageous to our trusted driver.

“It’s a good thing [the heat’s broken]” Tony pointed out. “Otherwise, I’d be sweating balls right now.” : )

Thanks to Tony’s patient driving, we all got to go home with untainted memories of another great adventure.

Kelly's Knob - Jimmie, Tony, Henry, Meredith, Vicky on Trail
Jimmie, Tony (The Hero!), Henry, Meredith and Vicky

Kelly's Knob - Henry, Jimmie and Ryan Descend
Ryan Descends with Henry and Jimmie

More pictures of our hike to Kelly’s Knob can be found on my Flickr site.

Rocky Gap to Kelly’s Knob
(Appalachian Trail from VA-601 to Kelly’s Knob and back)

Mileage: 3.8 miles round trip

Elevation Difference: Est. 800 feet

4WD Requirements: The last 1.5 miles of VA-601 is a gravel hill, but it is well maintained and I have seen non-4WD vehicles make it up in non-icy conditions.

Trailhead Parking: The VA-601 trailhead has a small parking area to the left. On busy days, cars park on the side of the gravel road.

Driving Directions:
(from Blacksburg, Virginia)
Take 460 West and turn right on VA-42.
Bear right to stay on VA-42
Shortly afterwards, turn left on VA-601
When VA-601 turns to gravel, you have about 1.5 miles to the top.
Once there, AT Southbound is to your left and AT Northbound is on your right.

Along the way, you’ll pass by Sinking Creek Bridge, a covered bridge built in 1916.

January 10, 2011 at 1:00 am 5 comments

Weekly Winners – April 5, 2009 – April 11, 2009

This week’s Weekly Winners come from Carrollton, Virginia where I attended my friend Meredith’s bridal shower. It also doubled as a wine tasting. The bride and groom are both wine enthusiasts and they wanted help deciding on the final selection for the wedding. We tasted and ranked three different red wines, three different white wines and a sparkling wine.

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Meredith and Peter Talk
The Bride and Groom Talk about Tasting Wine in South Africa

The wine was great and the food was excellent, but it was the children in attendance that really made the event memorable.

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Maya's Daughter
Contemplating Cupcakes

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Hugs and Happiness
Everyone Enjoys a Hug

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Jocelyn, Liam and Jill
Jocelyn, her little brother Liam, and Matron of Honor Jill

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Peek a Boo
Peek a Boo

Meredith's Bridal Shower - Eating Cupcake
After Coveting All Afternoon… Finally. A Cupcake

More pictures of Meredith’s Bridal Shower are on my Flickr site.

Also, be sure to check out more of this week’s Weekly Winners out at Sarcastic Mom!

April 12, 2009 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

All Things Olive Festival

A couple of years ago, my friend Meredith took me to a wine tasting at Villa Appalachia off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed our wine sampling and then moved upstairs for lunch. While we waited for our food, we snacked on bread and some nearby olive oil. It was the BEST olive oil I’ve ever had in my life. It was easily the highlight of my day– Better than all the wines combined! It turns the olive oil was freshly pressed, using olives from the owners’ property in Italy.

So earlier this year when I saw an advertisement for the “All Things Olive Festival” at the same winery, featuring olives and olive oils from various regions, I was committed from the start. In fact, I made sure to work both Trail Days and All Things Olive into one weekend.

So the Sunday after Trail Days, Sean, Lud and I headed down the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. We enjoyed a series of tastings – olive oils, olives, balsamic vinegars (including one that was 25 years old) and wines. We got to enjoy the beautiful scenery and finally, we had a nice lunch provided by the folks at Zeppoli’s. I thought it was a good day and well worth the $15 dollar fee.


Beautiful Villa Appalachia in Floyd County


Olive oils waiting for me to taste


Sean tastes an olive


Lud gets a sample of balsamic vinegar


Wine tasting!!!


The aftermath – oil stained sheet and plate full of pits.


Clematis at the winery


Beautiful Rock Castle Gorge from the Blue Ridge Parkway

I thoroughly enjoyed this event and would highly recommend it to almost everyone. You probably should like olives before signing up to go. For example, based on one of his Flickr comments, I venture to say that Clint is not the optimal attendee:

I actually think they are just about the worst taste in existence (especially the green ones) — out of edible food. Obviously I’m not including feces, rotten milk, and non-edible/non-food. But I have drank egg nog so rotten that it had chewy chunks in it (And then proceeded to finish Carolyn’s) – infinitely more edible than olives. The thought of martinis with olives sickens me.

And the only way to make an olive taste even worse? Put a pimento in it! They managed to one-up themselves!

If, on the other hand, you do not think chewy, chunky, rotten egg nog tastes “infinitely” better than olives… you might want to give the festival a try in the coming years. 🙂

More pictures of the All Things Olive Festival are available on my Flickr site.

May 27, 2008 at 7:15 pm 9 comments

Early Birthday Cake

This past weekend, Sean’s parents (Barbara and Ted) visited.  Barbara surprised me by presenting Sean and I with a homemade co-birthday cake.  If I thought about it, I would have expected a cake for Sean.  His birthday was in January.  But I would never have expected cake honors for me– my birthday is still over a month away! 


Happy Birthdays, Sean & Vicky

Turns out, Barbara’s gesture was even more thoughtful than it appeared! 

“I checked the calendar and Lent hadn’t started yet,” she said.

Smart lady.  I may not attend Mass every Sunday (or…ahem…every month), but one thing I am religious about is Lent.  I won’t eat meat on Fridays and each year I pick something to give up.  I’m actually quite fond of the exercise.  Quote from an email to Ryan Somma during last year’s Lent:

…I get the opportunity for a similar affirmation each year. It’s called Lent. I used it to test my resilience to my own addictions—most notably TV and desserts. I appreciate the trials I give myself and find pride in my successes. Truth be told, I look forward to Lent and discovering will power I didn’t even know I had.

The most common item I give up is desserts.  As a non-smoker and a pretty rare drinker (wine during football games is about it), my biggest weakness is desserts.  Even when I give up something else, desserts usually earn a spot on the list as well.  For example last year, I gave up beef and desserts.  One year I gave up desserts… and credit cards. 😉 

Anyway, since my birthday always falls during Lent, I haven’t had a birthday cake for quite some time.***  I don’t even remember the last time I ate a birthday cake for me.  So it was a very nice and thoughtful treat Barbara provided me!


***This isn’t to say I don’t get special birthday treats.  I am very lucky to have supportive (and creative!) friends.  Last year, Meredith Webber threw me a birthday dinner.  The dinner fell on a Friday so she made a vegetarian lasagna.  Instead of a dessert, Tony Airaghi provided some freshly sliced mangos.  They were just as fulfilling as any cake!  And each year for my birthday, Ana Sanchez makes me a batch of her divine taco salad (it is DELICIOUS!!!).  Last year, she thoughtfully made her recipe with ground turkey to accomodate my beef restriction.  With friends like this, who needs cake?

February 12, 2007 at 7:38 pm 3 comments

Memories of Meredith – Still Going Strong

In June, my friend Meredith moved from nearby Christiansburg, all the way to California. Here’s a journal excerpt about her going away party. It’s from my June 25, 2006.

When we first arrived – Bill and I walked over to a large grounp standing outside watching one of their friends swinging wildly at a pinata.

I realized I had forgotten the card for Meredith — so I made a trip back to my car. As I walked down the gravel driveway in the dark dusk, I could hear Meredith’s voice above all the others. It made me smile– at her party and her moment, she was shining. However, as I got further and further away from the party and closer to my car, her voice started to fade away. My smile dropped, realizing the same thing may happen to my memories of her. They are loud and clear now and prevalent above the others — but eventually they may fade away.

Well, five months has past and so far so good. My memory of Meredith is still going strong, especially this past week! It seems all week I had little brushes with a Meredith Memory:

  • Friday
    Phifer organized a surprise birthday dinner for Bret. So at 10 PM, Bill, Andy, Phifer, Bret, Larry, Lindsay, Sean and I convened on Kabuki for the traditional gorging on high sodium foods. Kabuki did make me think of Meredith as I accompanied her there often and I believe we had two seperate going away feasts there.
  • Saturday
    Saturday was the tailgate, so I had some wine– a cabernet sauvignon. It was Meredith who helped fuel my love of wine– taking me to Villa Appalachia and inviting me to wine tasting parties at her house. Plus I learned I liked cabernet sauvignon by copying Meredith. At restaurants I would cheat and just order whatever she ordered! 🙂
  • Monday
    Monday on a whim, I took off early and spent the afternoon hiking with Mike E. Daylight is scarce nowadays. Luckily I was able to expose Mike to a nearby gem– the Falls Ridge Nature Preserve in Ellett Valley. Meredith’s memory is strong there. She was the one who first introduced me to the spot. She and I visited on a number of occassions– including the day before my wedding (it proved to be a great way to relax before nuptials)! Frequently while Mike and I explored yesterday, I’d mention Meredith. “Meredith and I once climbed to that rock!”, “Meredith and I walked down that way.”, etc.
  • Tuesday
    Today, Mike E, Tony Airaghi and I tried out Sushi Factory. It’s a new sushi place in University Mall. Once again, I thought briefly of Meredith. She was there when I first tried sushi and she organized a number of the subsequent sushi gatherings I attended.

So perhaps if I keep on eating, drinking wine and hiking– Meredith’s memory will never fade away.

Unless, of course, I take the wine drinking part of the equation a little too seriously. 🙂

November 14, 2006 at 8:35 pm 2 comments


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