Chosen by the Independent Jewelers Organization as a member of the elite group of Master Jewelers, Kent Jewelers stocks an assortment of fine diamonds and head-turning jewelry. Slip on a selection of sterling-silver jewelry from renowned French designer Frederic Duclos ($70–$300), or dazzle onlookers with a variety of 14-karat gold, diamond, and gemstone jewelry ($300+). Kent Jewelers also carries hand-enameled Virginia Tech football pendants ($99) and Virginia Tech charms ($45). For jewel aficionados seeking a custom piece, Kent Jewelers' goldsmith collaborates with customers to bring their design ideas to life, whether they want a diamond ring or a chocolate coin covered in real gold. Additionally, the expert staff is trained to do insurance appraisals in-store at their IJO-certified gem lab, and every piece of jewelry in the store is hand-selected instead of randomly acquired out of a gumball machine.
At Mosaic Yarn Shop, a community of knitting enthusiasts equips for upcoming projects with supplies including skeins of yarn from more than two-dozen brands. Yarns from Malabrigo, Cascade, and Berroco accommodate a wide range of budgets with a rainbow of needle-ready bundles ready to transform into sweaters, caps, and ineffective football helmets. The shop's brick walls, brick-patterned floor, and sunny skylight evoke a homey atmosphere, encouraging patrons to relax as they peruse wares or ask the staff for tips on bartering with alpacas for their wool.
A bearded and scruffy Shawn Hash launched his outfitting business 20 years ago with a spartan collection of four bicycles, two canoes, and a pickup truck. Tangent Outfitters now oversees a small flotilla of aquatic craft as it leads guests to all the outdoor adventures the New River and its surrounding valley have to offer. Tubing trips afford a leisurely 1- to 2-mile jaunt down the river, with plenty of pit stops at sunny beaches, swimming holes, or riverside nail salons.
Instructors bring a slice of Hawaiian watersports to Virginia with standup paddleboard lessons or teach guests to snag unsuspecting smallmouths with guided fishing trips. The surrounding mountainous trails invite bikers to speed through their dirt-stained paths, and the riverbeds host seven different types of kayak and canoe day trips. Adventurers can stock up on excursion rations at Tangent's onsite deli.
Giovanni Guarini and Nancy Jurek both bring culinary practice in Italy to each creation on The Bank's brunch menu of fresh Mediterranean cuisine. Their carefully curated list of local and organic ingredients includes house-made bread, fair-trade chocolate, and eggs from their own hens as well as local, free-range farms. Transport restless tongues to a scenic villa in the Italiano, a croissant packed with pastry cream and jam, local honey, and fresh fruit ($14.50). The Munch plants sprouted-seed granola in a succulent bed of fresh fruit, nuts, and yogurt, coupled with two gourmet cheeses and a glass of dessert wine or orange juice ($22.50). A host of à la carte items offer smaller portioned plates such as bruschetta ($6.50) and a german pancake ($9.50).
Trained by national paddling champion Luke Hopkins, Stride Stand Up Paddleboard's professional instructors impart the secrets of their waterborne craft in two-hour lessons held on calm waters. After outfitting students with a Stride Airlite HD paddle board, which can also turn into a kayak, and a trusty paddle, instructors cover basic safety precautions and show how to board the vessels in kayak position and using stand-up, seated, and kneeling paddling positions. Afterward, plastic flotillas make their way out to aquatic pastures, where students can practice mounting boards in deeper waters and learn on-water balance all while participating in a guided tour of part of the lake. Supportive instructors treat all students as if they walk on water, imparting privileged tips to develop graceful strokes and effective directional paddling.