Whether you love to hike or to learn more about nature from an auditorium seat, the Virginia Highlands Festival has an Outdoors event for you. The whole family can wade in a creek to discover the diverse life within our streams or see owls swoop over their heads at Wings to Soar’s raptor program. Gardeners can learn how to use native plants and see chestnut trees which have been brought back from near extinction. There’s an outdoor adventure for everyone at this year’s Festival.
“Those of us who live in this area know what treasures the Appalachian Trail, the Virginia Creeper Trail, and the Mt. Rogers Recreation Area are. There are other places less well known, such as the Channels and Pinnacle Natural Area Preserves. We try to share the ‘hidden treasures’ of these places with our Festival visitors,” said Outdoors Chair Merry Jennings.
Bike the beauty of the Virginia Creeper Trail. Take a stroll through a local vineyard and winery. Hike to the Channels to see unique geologic formations or walk with experts to learn how to identify birds or fungi, which are at their peak in August.
“The town of Mendota is our community focus this year. During our “Day in Mendota,” people can learn about this small town’s history, visit a family farm, walk the Mendota Trail along the North Fork of the Holston River, and kayak on the river,” said Jennings.
Our guides are passionate about what they do, whether it’s mushrooms, or chestnut trees, or edible plants, or whatever; I think that’s the secret to our success.” – Merry Jennings
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