Best of the Blue Ridge 2020

first_imgGet your fill of bouldering, top rope, and lead climbing with Climbmax’s two locations in Asheville. When you’re ready to take your skills to the next level, their mountain guides can take you out into Pisgah National Forest for a day on the rocks.  DISCLAIMER: We are not affiliated with any company offering plaques or trophies. If you are contacted by people offering this, it is a scam. All winners can contact BRO for a certificate free of charge. 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards For over 20 years, the adventure enthusiasts at Water Stone Outdoors have been providing visitors to the New River Gorge area with gear and advice to get the most out of their trip.  Photo courtesy of Farm to Feet Environmental Organization Runners-Up WildManDan Beercentric BnB (Afton, Va.) New River Yoga (Fayetteville, W.Va.) Educational Outdoor Rec Program Runners-Up Spa/Healing Center Buffalo Trail Cabins (Bluefield, W.Va.) —Greenbrier Resort (White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.)—Lafayette Flats (Fayetteville, W.Va.) Runners-Up “We realized that while there are some camp opportunities in the area, we live in an outdoor mecca and we don’t really have a lot of outdoor adventure summer opportunities for kids who are local,” said Veronica Crosier, the camp’s first director. “Many families bring their kids here from out of state for vacation, but we realized there is a huge gap in opportunities for kids growing up right here in West Virginia.”  Summer Camp/Program WVU Tech Adventure Recreation Management (Beckley, W.Va.) Fly Fishing the Smokies (Bryson City, N.C.) Run the New River and Gauley River with the whitewater rafting guides at Adventures on the Gorge. Families will enjoy the scenic views on the Upper New trip while those looking for an adrenaline rush will want to check out the Class V rapids on the Upper Gauley.  Locally Made Gear Runners-Up ­—South River Fly Shop (Waynesboro, Va.)—Albemarle Anglers (Charlottesville, Va.) Blue Ridge Cyclery (Charlottesville, Va.) Photo courtesy of WVU Tech University Relations Located in downtown Fayetteville, New River Yoga offers a wide range of classes for all abilities. Take your practice further with workshops, private sessions, and group events.  At the center of town, the warm springs of Berkeley Springs State Park have drawn visitors to the area for centuries. At a constant 74 degrees, visitors can enjoy the water year-round. Beyond the state park, this spa town features an additional half dozen spas that use the same waters for a full range of treatments, including saunas, bathhouses, and massages. Berkeley Springs (Berkeley Springs, W.Va.) Runners-Up The Subaru Outback was built for adventures, featuring all-wheel drive for off-roading, raised roof rails to hold your gear, and driver-assist technology to keep you safe.  Runners-Up On top of their coursework, students are required to complete an internship to help them get real world experience in the industry.  —Rocky Top (Charlottesville, Va.)—Peak Experiences (Richmond, Va.) You can spend all day on the slopes at Snowshoe as you try out 60 different runs and five terrain parks. At 1,500 feet, Cupp Run and Shay’s Revenge feature the highest vertical drop in the region.  Outdoor Startup —ACE Adventures (Minden, W.Va.)—RVA Paddlesports (Richmond, Va.) Runners-Up Runners-Up Since opening their doors in the spring of 2019, Alleghany Outdoors offers several ways to get outside and enjoy the Jackson River. Take to the water by kayak, canoe, raft, or tube with a variety of trip lengths. Rent a bike to ride the Jackson River Scenic Trail, a converted railroad bed of gravel that follows the river. Take advantage of their shuttles to get back to your car.  Discover some of the best trout fishing waters in the region with Fly Fishing the Smokies. From Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Tuckasegee and Nantahala Rivers, choose from several different wade and float trip options.  Runners-Up Yoga Studio —In Balance Yoga Studio (Blacksburg, Va.)— Asheville Community Yoga (Asheville, N.C.) Outdoor Company to Work For Ragged Mountain Running (Charlottesville, Va.) —Wintergreen Resort (Nellysford, Va.)—Cataloochee Ski Area (Maggie Valley, N.C.) Runners-Up Bike Shop New River Mountain Guides (Fayetteville, W.Va.) Alleghany Outdoors (Covington, Va.) Wintergreen Resort (Nellysford, Va.) —Champion Brewery Run Club (Charlottesville, Va.)—Outdoor Access (Richmond, Va.) Trail Sisters (Asheville, N.C.) Photo courtesy of Blue Ridge Cyclery Runners-Up Runners-Up Runners-Up Fly Fishing Outfitter The Omni Homestead Resort offers an exclusive getaway with luxurious accommodations, spa treatments, skiing, golf, ziplining, and more.  Kick back and relax in comfort at the WildManDan BnB. Enjoy delicious farm-to-table cooking, a welcome beer tasting, and a fire pit. While you’re there, sign up for a class on how to judge beer on Saturday mornings.  A degree in adventure recreation management from WVU Tech is about more than the technical skills students learn to go into guiding rock climbing, mountain biking, or whitewater paddling. It’s about building managers and investing in the next generation of outdoor leaders.  —Blue Ridge Mountain Guides (Nellysford, Va.)—Seneca Rocks Climbing School (Seneca Rocks, W.Va.) Mind/Body Studio Take a ride through the trees at Adventures on the Gorge. Choose from the adventure park with tree-based obstacles, a canopy tour with sky-bridges, and a 1.5-mile zipline course for an adventure off the ground. Climbmax (Asheville, N.C.) —barre.[d] studio (Charlottesville, Va.)—Blacksburg Pilates & Fitness Studio (Blacksburg, Va.) —Hotel Floyd (Floyd, Va.)—Massanutten Resort (Massanutten, Va.) Luxury Lodging With its two locations, Blue Ridge Cyclery can handle all of your cycling needs, from rentals and repairs to fitting you for your next ride. Their mobile service will meet you out on the road if you need a quick fix. Fayetteville is a recreation hotspot, bringing in climbers, whitewater kayakers, and hikers from all over. With so much to do in the surrounding area, the staff at the New River Gorge Learning Cooperative recognized they were in a unique location for a summer camp. “Where we are is world class,” said professor Dave Bernier. “Our classroom ends up being in those places. We’re climbing in the New River Gorge. We’re working with different whitewater operations on the New River and Gauley River.”  —Wintergreen Spa (Wintergreen, Va.)—The Spa at Massanutten (Massanutten, Va.) —Rockfish Gap Outfitters (Waynesboro, Va.)—Great Outdoor Provision Co. (N.C. and Va.) Runners-Up —The Gorge (Saluda, N.C.)—Buffalo Mountain Ziplines (Floyd, Va.) Homestead (Hot Springs, Va.) Running Shop Photo courtesy of Travel Berkeley Springs Runners-Up Climbing Guide Company Water Stone Outdoors (Fayetteville, W.Va.) Inn/Bed & Breakfast Adventures on the Gorge (Lansing, W.Va.) Trail Sisters started to encourage women to get out on the trail, whether it’s hiking, running, or wogging (walk/jogging). Although it’s a national organization, the Asheville chapter hosts two meet-ups a month for women to get together and hit the trails as a group. Mindy Bayless, one of the chapter’s co-leaders, said they are expanding to offer volunteer opportunities like doing trail maintenance and working aid stations.  Runners-Up Ragged Mountain provides more than just shoe fittings and other running gear. Since 1982, the shop has provided a community for competitive and recreational runners in Central Virginia. Donate a pair of shoes to be distributed throughout the community and receive a 10 percent discount.  Outdoor Shop  —Two River Treads (Ranson, W.Va.)—Fleet Feet (Roanoke, Va.) Businesses —Blue Sky Fund (Richmond, Va.)—Muddy Sneakers (Brevard, N.C.) Zip Line Across the Southeast, the Southern Environmental Law Center is fighting to protect the water, air, mountains, forests, and coasts that you enjoy. From advocating for cleaner energy resources to opposing offshore drilling, they are currently working on more than 200 cases across six states.  Runners-Up Conveniently located just down the road from the New River Gorge area, New River Mountain Guides provide beginners and experts with the tools and resources to help you meet your goals on rock.  Whether you’re looking for a cabin, treehouse, full hook-up RV site, or a campsite, Buffalo Trail has something to fit your budget and your adventure.  Southern Environmental Law Center (Charlottesville, Va.) Farm to Feet (Mount Airy, N.C.) Climbing Gym Budget-Friendly Lodging —New River Bikes (Fayetteville, W. Va.)—The Hub (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) Outdoor Club  From gentle yoga and meditation groups to Reiki sessions and massages, the Gaia Den is a place for healing, reflection, and gathering.  Camp Drift-a-Bit (Fayetteville, W.Va.) Gaia Den (Princeton, W.Va.) The sun rises over Grandfather Mountain. Photo by Best of the Blue Ridge photographer winner Leslie Restivo. —Skylark Hammocks (Waynesboro, Va.)—XOSKIN (Frederick, Md.) Runners-Up Working at the scenic four-season resort in the Virginia Blue Ridge, Wintergreen employees enjoy opportunities to lead a variety of outdoor activities from skiing and snowtubing to ziplining and archery.   Socks for hiking. Socks for running. Socks for fishing. Socks for wearing around the house. From the materials to the workers, Farm to Feet socks are 100-percent made in the United States. With the Appalachian Trail and Mountains-to-Sea Trail Collections, a portion of the proceeds go to the organizations that help maintain those trails for future users.  Runners-Up —Adventure Treks (Hendersonville, N.C.)—Peak Experiences and Passages Adventure Camp (Richmond, Va.) Runners-Up —High Tor Gear Exchange (Charlottesville, Va.)—Namaste in Nature (Asheville, N.C.) Adventures on the Gorge (Lansing, W.Va.) —Adventure Treks (Hendersonville, N.C.)—Wander North Georgia (Clayton, Ga.) Adventure Vehicle The weeklong program introduces kids to activities like rock climbing, mountain biking, gardening, and animal identification. As the program continues to grow, there are plans to add an outdoor survival camp for a more intense experience. Full and partial scholarships are available for students in need.   Raft Guide Company Ski Resort Our region is full of inspiring athletes, cultural hubs, and wild and wonderful spots to explore. In our ninth annual Best of the Blue Ridge Awards, we asked you to cast your votes for your favorite places, races, and faces in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Read on to learn about who you picked in this year’s contest. Runners-Up Runners-Up Snowshoe Resort (Snowshoe, W.Va.) Runners-Up Subaru Outback —Inn at Gristmill Square (Warm Springs, Va.)—Iris Inn (Waynesboro, Va.) —MountainTrue (Asheville, N.C.)—James River Association (Richmond, Va.) —Jeep Wrangler—Toyota 4Runner 1 2 3 4 5last_img read more

3 keys to rethinking member service

first_imgTimes are changing quickly when it comes to member services. It’s no secret that mobile has changed everything… Mobile has forced a rewriting of the rules. Credit union members today have become more empowered than ever to get what they want when they want it, and waiting is a thing of the past. We live in an age of personalization. According to Accenture, 11% of retail banking customers and 18% of millennial banking customers have completely switched banks in the past year. Mobile has enabled your members to immediately turn to a device to know, go, do and buy. This includes quickly finding new banking options. But mobile is just the beginning. Is your credit union preparing for the next revolution?Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home are examples of what credit unions should be preparing for in the next wave of member service technologies. Not because these technologies will change member behavior, rather members will become increasingly comfortable with allowing technology to assist in the management of their lives, including banking with your credit union.Alexa, the voice of Echo, was developed by Amazon’s Machine Learning Team as the beginning of their goal to make voice interfaces ubiquitous. This shouldn’t be unfamiliar to credit unions. After all, credit unions were among the leaders in interactive voice response (IVR) adoption in the 1980’s. IVR systems were once viewed in the realm of technology marvels. Ironically, member account management using an IVR today feels outdated. Understand, I’m not making a case to bring back or invest in new IVR software and hardware, rather drawing the connection between mobile and machine learning that will become critical to member service moving forward.The difference today with voice interfaces is their ability to answer questions and remember patterns. Machine Learning as a term sounds intimidating, however, think of it as data mining because that is exactly what it is. If you’re like most people, Apple’s Siri is a quick way to gather information, answer questions and get directions. As members begin to adopt new smart devices and embrace more natural ways to interact with them (like voice commands), their desire for instant information will only multiply. How can we as an industry possibly scale member experiences across all devices and ensure those messages are personalized?Here are three things to focus on as the technology revolution continues:Raise the bar on mobile. Credit unions need to deliver fast, relevant, meaningful member experiences. It’s important to lay the groundwork with mobile experiences that meet expectations. There are a lot of mobile app providers in the credit union space that sell on price and not necessarily technology. First, ensure meaningful, then consider cost. A poorly executed mobile solution might as well be a non-solution, forcing members to look elsewhere.Be smart with data. A better understanding of your members, coupled with automation, will enable personalization. Many technology providers will enter your credit union hoping to sell you solutions but remember their systems generally don’t contain the most important input to the member equation – data. Your credit union core software system is becoming increasingly important. It’s no longer just a transactional system, it is now a data warehouse. The ability to connect to this data and return relevant results will be foundational to your credit union’s success.Embrace the omnichannel. The leading credit unions will be those that can bridge the online and offline. A seamless experience across the member journey will be critical in building member loyalty and trust. Think about your favorite brands and how you interact with them; position your credit union to connect with your members on their terms.Technology, if implemented and positioned correctly, can help credit unions deliver the most useful member services. And as technology trends and member behavior change, be prepared to pivot to meet those needs. In most cases, your ability to incorporate new technologies will depend greatly on your technology partners. Choose wisely. Technology is changing the way we approach life and I like it. I believe the future is going to be very exciting, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of this industry with all of you. 45SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Preston Packer Preston Packer is the Director of Sales & Marketing for FLEX. Preston has been with FLEX since 2000 and has worked in various sales management roles over that time. Preston’… Web: Detailslast_img read more

BLOG: Governor Wolf Wishes Pennsylvanians a Happy Thanksgiving (VIDEO)

first_img By: Governor Tom Wolf The Blog,  Videos November 26, 2015 SHARE Email Facebook Twittercenter_img As one of the original thirteen colonies in America, Pennsylvania has a long history of firsts for our nation. For example, as many folks know, both the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation were signed in our commonwealth, and the American Constitution was drafted here. However, what many Pennsylvanians may not realize is that Thanksgiving was first proclaimed in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania.Today, as Americans and Pennsylvanians, we continue to hold our independence as one of our proudest values, and we continue to work towards peace in our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, state, and nation. It is as true today as it was in 1777 that we are grateful for these American principles.This year, Frances and I are thankful for the opportunity granted to us by Pennsylvania’s voters to lead our state into a bright, successful future. My administration remains committed to upholding the principles for which our founding fathers fought and said thanks in our commonwealth almost 250 years ago.Today, I’d like to wish all of the people of Pennsylvania a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.Thank you.Governor Tom WolfTo read Governor Wolf’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation, click here.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: BLOG: Governor Wolf Wishes Pennsylvanians a Happy Thanksgiving (VIDEO)last_img read more

Lakers’ Summer League sours with loss to Cleveland, injury to Larry Nance Jr.

first_img“It couldn’t have been good,” Lakers second-year guard D’Angelo Russell said. “He was mad and a little upset. I don’t know. All we can do is pray for him.” It appears that’s all the Lakers could do against Cleveland as they coughed up a 19-point lead. Cavaliers guard Jordan McRae posted a team-leading 36 points. The Lakers shot only 14 of 28 from the foul line. The Cavaliers outrebounded the Lakers, 49-34. And the Lakers had inefficient nights from Russell (19 points on 7-of-20 shooting, four assists) and Brandon Ingram (13 points on 4-of-12 clip). “We ran out of gas,” Russell said. “I felt we fought, scratched and did what we could do. But we ran out of gas and they rebounded more and missed free throws at the end. Just couldn’t make shots and get shots at the same time.” Lakers summer league coach Jesse Mermuys also partly blamed himself for not calling more timeouts as the lead dwindled. Yet, the Lakers’ lack of consistent ball movement emerged even through their three victories. “They’re picking it up. As far as applying it, that’s a different story,” Jesse Mermuys said. “Everyone has a general sense of an idea of what we’re looking for, and they’ve shown a flash here or there.” Those flashes did not last long against Cleveland. The Lakers posted only 13 assists on 28 field goals, which became a concerning theme amid Russell’s early heroics. Russell may have averaged 22.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting through the first three games. He may have made a game-winning 3-pointer last week against Philadelphia. He may have appeared more comfortable with the Lakers’ positive reinforcement than Byron Scott’s stern approach. Yet, those things also masked some concerns. He entered Thursday’s game averaging more turnovers (five) than assists (four). Mermuys also indicated he needed to “rein” Russell in to ensure more team play. “In the summer league, the ball sticks a lot and teams lose that way,” Russell said. “We don’t want to lose so just getting the ball movement and keeping it flowing is the best way to win.”The Lakers would know.They finished with a franchise-worst record of 17-65 last season partly because of their poor offense. The Lakers ranked 30th out of 30 NBA teams in both points per game (97.3) and assists (18). The Lakers’ young core struggled adjusting with Kobe Bryant’s ball-dominant presence. Even when he missed games due to injuries, the Lakers encountered a leadership dynamic with Russell, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson often needing the ball to thrive. In other words, the Lakers are preaching patience before they can replicate Golden State’s league-leading offense last season that averaged 114.9 points on 28.9 assists per game. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to apply that for a while,” Mermuys said. “It’s going to take into our regular season and how long that takes. It’s a process. We’ve seen some flashes. They kind of understand the vision.” That did not happen on Thursday. Instead, an unexpected loss and injury occurred, souring the Lakers’ initial enthusiasm with their summer excursion. The Lakers lost, 88-80, to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at Thomas & Mack Center, denying them both a chance for further postseason advancement. Instead, the Lakers (3-1) will play the Utah Jazz in a consolation game on Friday at 7 p.m. at Thomas & Mack Center.Meanwhile, Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. suffered what the team called a “probable fracture” to his right hand. He took a nasty fall with 35 seconds left in the game after driving to the basket. Lakers trainer Marco Nunez then escorted Nance to the locker room before receiving X-rays and ice to treat his hand. He finished with 12 points on a 5-of-9 clip and 10 rebounds.“I’ve seen his condition,” Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac said. “He says it’s broken.”The Lakers would not go that far. Nance will return to Los Angeles and see a hand specialist on Friday. Then, the Lakers will provide an update on his condition and estimate on his recovery. At least for the Lakers, Nance has a full summer to rehab before training camp begins in late September. LAS VEGAS — The experience seemed similar to the adrenaline rush tourists feel when they first arrive here. Instead of enjoying pleasant days at the pool and rich earnings at the casino, the Lakers became excited with both the wins and their promising young core.Then everything became as dreadful as when tourists leave Sin City.Instead of feeling broke and hung over, the Lakers nearly capped the end of their Summer League experience both with an unexpected loss and an unexpected injury. center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more