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.
New Tech Aviation Inc.'s squadron of flight instructors and Cessna 172L aircrafts whisk aspiring pilots into the wild, blue yonder for introductory and advanced flight lessons. Their seasoned airmen explain to students the many advantages of owning a pilot’s license, describing the ability to fly as a gateway to career opportunities and a means of collecting golden eggs laid by geese in tall trees. The company's certified pilots guide students toward earning their licenses through on-ground instruction and regular scheduled flying excursions.
Carved into the rolling landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Auburn Hills Golf Club's 18-hole course features 6,534 yards of elevated tee boxes and breathtaking views of the Southwest Virginia countryside. Throughout the course, players encounter tantalizing high-risk-and-high-reward shots straight from the architectural mind of Algie Pulley, such as the par-4 13th hole, which dares big hitters to drive for a half-visible green hiding 306 yards in the distance. More straightforward challenges await at the 190-yard, par-3 17th, where duffers must calm gun-shy golf carts before sending tee shots somersaulting over two large ponds that stand sentry in front of the green. The pristine par-72 opens its arboreal arms to golfers of all ages and experience levels with four tee options.
PGA instructor Werner Riemer uses Auburn Hills' sunlit green as a classroom, where the master dispenses his golf wisdom to students. Werner’s teaching techniques have bolstered the talents of LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Handy, and also earned him special PGA certification in golf instruction, a feat obtained by only 1% of PGA members and 3% of computer simulators.
Course at a Glance:
At Adventure World Skate & Fun Center, kids and adults alike entertain both muscle and mind-matter in through a variety of heart-pounding activities. In the laser tag arena, players strap on receivers, holster a laser-emitting gun, and re-enact the galactic phase of the Crimean War on a phosphorescent battlefield. Competitors have the option of playing the four 10-minute games consecutively or spacing them out to fuel grudge matches or plan for potential roommate border disputes. With an additional admission fee ($3–$6), zapped compatriots can take backward victory laps around the skate rink ($3 skate rental) or purchase tokens to conquer the arcade room.
Floating is the number-one activity at this small-town fitness center, which boasts three pools. A two-story water slide ushers guests into the leisure pool via three slick loops, and a zero-depth beach entry lets them ease into the water at their own pace without getting drenched. Guests can hone their butterfly strokes in four 20-yard lap lanes or existentially ponder the nature of water in the deep end, which is heated to 86 degrees. Visitors may also dive into an Olympic–size competition pool from 5-, 7.5- and 10-meter platforms, then speed through 9-foot lanes. Those with sore joints can ease into the therapy pool, which pampers sore joints with soothing 94-degree water.
Swimmer-specific fitness equipment fills a nearby cardio room, where Vasa trainers help guests to perfect front crawls and backstrokes with body-weight exercises. Treadmills, ellipticals, and recumbent bikes bolster cross-training regimens, along with Magnum strength trainers designed to tone the entire body. The facility also boasts a wet classroom that hosts scuba trainings, a kitchen, and shower-equipped locker rooms.
The festival masterminds of Across-The-Way Productions are experts in the art of fun. By pairing meticulous planning with celebrated vendors, delicious food, and lots and lots of music, the production company makes every one of their outdoor festivals an unforgettable event. For the past three decades, The Vintage Virginia Wine Festival has highlighted vintages from the state’s most acclaimed winemakers amid cooking demonstrations and other entertainment. The company also hosts the three-day FloydFest, a family-friendly music festival in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains that features folk musicians, bluegrass bands, DJs, performance art, and food.