The Appalachian Trail stretches from Georgia to Maine, running 2,180 miles over mountains, rocky slopes, and deep valleys. Since it was established in 1925, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has cared for the trail, maintaining 250,000 acres of public land. The organization educates hikers on Leave No Trace camping and why it's not a good idea to challenge a bear to a hugging contest.
Volunteers and trail crews build and repair shelters along the footpath and engage youth and community members in outdoor activities. In addition to these human-oriented services, the ATC works to protect endangered species living along the trail and to preserve the land's watershed streams and migratory corridor.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley includes 6 acres of lush gardens and a purpose-built museum facility designed by architect Michael Graves. Visitors can marvel at the exterior of the Glen Burnie Historic House as they explore the unique design and languid paths of the public gardens, which knit together the stately Grand Allée, the mini Hidden Garden, and a tranquil water garden that flooded the original garden of old chia pets. The museum showcases four main galleries, displaying Valley memorabilia, a Civil War exhibition, and a collections of miniature houses and rooms, paintings, furniture, and portraiture dating to the mid-eighteenth century to the formerly private collection of benefactor Julian Wood Glass Jr.
Two former preschool teachers banded together to create Explore & More Hands-On Children's Museum, a space designed to engage visitors?specifically, those between the ages of 2 and 8?with educational play. Located in a vintage 1810s house, the museum consists of seven themed rooms. Guests can glimpse into the past by entering the 1860s room, which houses a historical general store, or learn about hermit crabs, frogs, and other creatures in the nature area. Children experience the power of magnets first-hand in the exploration room, where they can also stand inside a giant soap bubble.
The paranormal investigators and tour guides of After Dark Investigations specialize in small-group tours that provide customers with hands-on experience and equipment. Ghost tourists utilize EMF detectors, dowsing rods, and infrared-video cameras to capture any potential appearance of apparitions. The tours stretch to locations such as cemeteries or abandoned amusement parks near the location of the Battle of Gettysburg.
With an interest in fine art and a dream of owning his own business, Rick Turner felt like he didn’t quite belong at his job with the federal government. So, in 1973, Rick left his office gig behind and took a risk by opening his own shop. Settling into a quaint historic building, Rick enlisted his sister Lorraine to work in the shop. When the two started feeding large frame mouldings through a back window, they realized they needed a bigger space.
Today, at Turner Framing locations in Sterling and Seneca Square, the certified picture framers preserve children's artwork, needlepoint pieces, photographs, diplomas, and hole-in-one golf balls with museum-quality materials similar to those used in protecting King Tut's vacation photos.
The Heritage Farm Museum edifies and entertains visitors with its exhibits and collections on agrarian life in Loudoun County. Families of two adults plus children, grandchildren, and all imaginary friends under 18 receive free admission for one year plus eight free guest passes, allowing them to explore the many hands-on displays with as many hands as they can round up. Play customer or storekeeper in the authentic collections of the Waxpool General Store exhibit, or pay a visit to the children's farm exhibit where youngsters can milk a lifelike cow, collect eggs from virtual chickens, and tool around on miniature farm vehicles.