On August 15, 1969, Sri Swami Satchidananda spoke at the opening ceremony of the Woodstock music festival, calling music ?the celestial sound that controls the whole universe.? Devoting his life to the pursuit of unity, he founded Satchidananda Ashram - Yogaville, located on the banks of the James River with a distant view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Encompassing more than 600 acres of wooded landscape, the community provides a retreat for practitioners of varied skill levels who join one another to relax and practice the tenets of Integral Yoga, a synthesis of six branches of yoga developed by Sri Swami Satchidananda. At the center, the Satchidananda Ashram houses five sacred sites, including the Light of Truth Universal Shrine, or LOTUS, in which altars for every major religion let visitors of all faiths discover their personal enlightenment. Committed to the harmonious teachings of Sri Swami Satchidananda, the ashram?s instructors carry on the founder?s legacy by leading everything from workshops to multiple-day retreats.
Throughout the centuries, Virginia's James River has served as a home to native Powhatan, Monacan, and Haudenosaunee peoples, followed by early English settlers. Today, the river's waters host leisure and thrill seekers. James River Float Company's experienced guides lead these thrill seekers, plying the waters between Lynchburg and Richmond on a range of aquatic excursions. They embark on whitewater-rafting and standup-paddleboarding trips on specialty crafts designed for the river, and teach classes in basic or advanced sit-in kayaking; during which they teach turning to avoid rocks and rolling to avoid owl rush hour at midnight. On four types of canoe or kayak excursions, paddlers drift past old stone walls, Civil War encampments, waterfalls, and bubbling currents. Guides also pilot flat, handcrafted white-oak bateaus—each up to 60 feet long and 8 feet wide—on guided and overnight trips. On many overnight boating trips, Float Company staffers furnish all tents, sleeping pads, and sleeping bags, as well as meals.
For almost three decades, the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra has harnessed the melodious power of strings, horns, woodwinds, and percussion to re-create classical pieces and vivify modern works. Shows speckle the schedule throughout the year, welcoming duos for “Date Night!” performances, delighting the senses with songs by local choirs, and celebrating snowmen’s birthdays with classic holiday tunes.
When the swirls of smoke clear, the 22nd century appears in all its neon glory. Well, not the actual 22nd century. But FunQuest certainly evokes the future with its multi-level laser tag arena, where players clad in vests dodge incoming beams while firing their own. Colorful obstacles glow in the dark and provide cover throughout the space, which is big enough to fit 20 competitors.
The rest of FunQuest contains equally family-friendly attractions, including a hardwood maple skating center. After optional lessons for all ages, visitors glide along to upbeat tunes on quad or inline skates, and participate in classic games like the limbo and hokey pokey.
Even more games can be found at the arcade. These ones dispense tickets, and once players have collected enough, they can exchange them for prizes, such as an oversized bow for the family giant who had to wait in the parking lot.
Finally, for youngsters under the age of 10, the PlayQuest indoor playground has plenty of slides to ride, bouncy floors to traverse, and tubes to crawl through.
Dan Hague is something of an expert on the sport of rock climbing. He even co-authored a book on the subject, The Self-Coached Climber, that lays out how amateur climbers can improve their skills on their own. Of course, if beginners and intermediate climbers want some help learning the ropes, he's more than happy to offer his expert guidance to them as well at his own facility, Rise Up Climbing. The 6,000-square-foot space houses roped climbing and bouldering walls that tower as high as 40 feet in certain spots. Lest beginners shake in their harnesses at the sight of the towering wall, the half-hour Basic Skills course teaches small groups the fundamentals of climbing, such as how to properly don a harness, belay for a partner, and talk trash to a conquered route.
The chefs at Bull Branch marry local and international ingredients in a menu of salads, shareable tapas, and entrees that strikes a balance between succinct and eclectic. Served in a intimately lit Bohemian setting that The Washington Post describes as "that perfect blend of casual and sophisticated, elegant and honky-tonk," dishes such as hummus, curries, and pulled pork harness the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East, Southeast Asia, and down-home America. Occasional live music in the evenings complements the pan-continental cuisine, as does a serving staff of UN delegates who, upon request, sprinkle borders of salt and pepper to delineate your entree and sides.