I’m checking in to see how everyone is doing in these unusual and exceptional times. I realize that coronavirus affects people to incredibly different extents – some of us may be working safe at home, while others are on the front lines or find themselves without work. While COVID-19 is not affecting folks equally, I want to share a few things that have brightened this down-time for me.
While many aspects of society are no longer accessible to us, I’ve tried to find a few ways to keep life fresh. I began a few new and exciting projects and prioritized getting out of the house and getting in the woods once in a while (in a socially-distanced manner) – and supporting local businesses along the way! Some of these ideas are Cville specific, but the essence of them can be recreated anywhere.
Banff Mountain Film Festival (FROM YOUR COUCH!)
Ok – starting with a bang here. My soul swelled with joy when I learned that the Banff Mountain Film Festival shared their list of films to be streamed for free from home! It’s hard to believe that just a month ago, Nick and I were at the Charlottesville showing. Netflix and Hulu are wonderful – but this feels like a special quarantine treat. Check out the list of films and their web addresses here (it’s not the friendliest PDF – you gotta type in that url and work for it a little – but it’ll do just fine – it’s in the spirit of Banff)!
Learn Something New: Fender for Free
Fender – a guitar and ukulele online learning platform – is offering three free months of lessons! My mom sent this tip my way. Happy strumming 🙂
Keep getting out to explore
Under normal circumstances, my ideal Saturday would include a solid hike in the great outdoors – maybe followed by a stop at the local brewery or winery. Although national and state parks are shutting down by the minute, Nick and I have gotten out for a few short hikes in the past several weeks (as restrictions allow). Last weekend’s outing included a hike at Mint Springs Valley Park and the fresh air was incredibly rejuvenating. Star Hill Brewery was on the way home, to top it all off. Other areas that seem to be open for enjoying socially-distant fresh air are Walnut Creek Park, and Ivy Creek Natural Area. If you’re looking to more seriously get out in nature, check the national park websites to see what’s accessible. All access to the Shenandoah National Park is closed, but access to the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests is limited. Do your homework and utilize these broad tips for safely enjoying nature during our current circumstances.
If it felt good to shop local before, it feels wonderful to shop local now. Last weekend, Nick and I went for a bike ride and picked up a few pints of Cville’s best ice cream from Chap’s on our way home. The owners are so kind. Pre-social distancing, Nick and I went for ice cream and couldn’t leave before being handed sample after sample! They’re proud of their product, and rightfully so. As long as I live in Cville, I’m never buying Breyer’s again!
If you’re one to feel refreshed by a drive in the country, make Stone Mountain Winery your destination and pick up a bottle or two of wine! This winery is situated on an amazing piece of property about an hour’s drive from Charlottesville. If paved roads are more your style follow the directions on Stone Mountain’s website. If you like gravel and a little adventure, follow Google maps and enjoy the drive! You’ll be rewarded with a full 180 degree view and some cute boxer pups – not to mention a delicious selection of wine to go. If it’s not a weekend, call ahead to ensure the owners will be there.
Lastly, with people spending more and more time in their gardens, it’s a great time to shop for plants. Last week, I hit a sale at Ivy Corner Garden Center Gift Shop and nearly everything was 50% off! This weekend, they are offering 50% off petunias.
Endorphins are everything.
Get out and sweat. Find a way to get in those 10,000 steps once again (as impossible as it may seem on some days!) Do a handstand in your living room. To lunges down your street. It doesn’t matter – just move! The new normal for Nick and I has been transportation via bikes, and post-work jogs!
There is a stunning video produced in Auckland, NZ that highlights a positive externality of this coronavirus. Be prepared to feel the feels.
Keep it fresh in the kitchen and fresh all around.
Lean into the things you love. Let’s make this time of social distancing sizzle 🙂