Tuesday, November 8, 2011

50 FREE things to do in Franklin County Virginia

Simple and Enjoyable Free things to do during your visit to help stretch your dollar - to get off the beaten track
50 FREE things to do in Franklin County VA - it only costs the fuel to get here! 
  1. Treasure Hunt for Fairy stones 
  2. Hike, Bike, Walk, (on the Blue Ridge Parkway, near Philpott Lake, near Smith Mountain Lake, near The Pigg River at Waid Homestead – Original site of The Carolina Road)
  3. Picnic  (brown bag your lunch. Instead of going out to eat, take your own lunch.)
  4. Blue Ridge Institute & Farm Museum – Exhibits featuring local yet far reaching themes
  5. Booker T Washington National Monument, guided tours, farm animals and also weekend NPS Ranger led interpretive programs
  6. Blue Ridge Antique Mall – stroll hand in hand and reminisce about some of the things your grandmother or mother used that are found there (don’t bring your credit cards)
  7. Birding and Wildlife Trails (loop after loop of these state scenic drives)
  8. Walk the Appalachian Trail
  9. Local Music – Johnathon Dillon (multitalented award winning ‘kid’) performs locally in a little garage wing ding a few miles from The Claiborne House B&B
  10. Hold hands on the porch or steal a kiss by the pond – seduce your spouse – rum pum pum…the next is free
  11. Visit the Franklin County Historical Society Museum
  12. Barber Shop Chorus practice – SML Harmeneers - Mondays at 7 p.m.-9pm in Moneta – they love visitors
  13. EarthCache (Discover some amazing natural caches)
  14. Savor the sunrise or sunset at the Lake
  15. Take a history drive and discover historical sites in our county or neighboring counties
  16. Woods Racing Museum in Stewart VA (Famous Nascar racing and also where they build Dodge Ram racing engines) Congrats Wood Brothers for winning the Daytona 500 again in 2011! 
  17. Go Fish - If you already have rod, reel and fishing license – fly fish our rivers, cast from the dock or shoreline at our two lakes
  18. Photography – no film required with your digital camera - Go ahead and take your best shot!
  19. Visit the Historic Farmer’s Market downtown Roanoke
  20. Read an entertaining book – an adventure in itself!
  21. Visit our county library that is chockfull of history and interesting things – free internet, books on tape (cd) plus meet interesting locals (the end of our street)
  22. YMCA (B&B guests always are granted free admission to use the Y – work out, indoor pool etc)
  23. Start a natural collection or an observation notebook. In other words, spend some time in nature collecting items of interest (like particular rocks) or observations of things. Perhaps you’ll want to look for birds, or maybe your passion is rocks or feathers. Whatever it is, get your hiking boots on, get out there, and see what you can find. Here’s some advice on how to get started.
  24. Take a nap. Seriously. Most people do not get adequate sleep during the week. Why not just kick back and take a snooze for an hour or two.  Go ahead and cuddle, you are allowed. Napping the ultimate free energy refreshing technique - talk about recycle and reuse!
  25. Work some puzzles, play some board games (visit our games cupboard in the parlor for a large selection)
  26. Attend a religious service. Even if you’re not a believer, attending a religious service can be a worthwhile educational experience. I really enjoy attending services of different faiths, as the varieties of religious experience are quite fascinating and incredibly insightful. Plus, most religious services – if you pay careful attention – offer a ton of intellectual food for thought no matter what your beliefs are. Here in Franklin County we have everything from Roman Catholicism to Primitive Baptist – hear southern Shape Note Singing – no music just voices in harmony, or go to an old timey revival meeting (which are mostly summer time events and are oftentimes followed by a watermelon social). Oh yeah then there is that - Salvation is free.  (Hey I had to say that, it went with the theme)
  27. Go swimming – the state park beaches cost $4-5, but Ryan’s Branch at Philpott Lake is free. July water temps in the low to mid 80’s
  28. Play with a pet – even one not your own (hm, wonder who that would be here?  Junie would love a morning walk or jog)
  29. Morning Jog or walk – we have a very hilly town – be warned.  Go on a wandering walk. Just head out our front door and go in whichever direction looks the most interesting. Your innkeeper can provide a to-go cup for your walking pleasure.  Along the way, who knows what kind of interesting stuff you might find?
  30. Attend a free community class – Franklin County Parks and Rec - check out what our town’s parks and recreation has to offer.  We have several wonderful parks, free basketball and tennis courts, free disc golf, trails, and lots of other stuff just there waiting to be used.
  31. Send Free Postcards – send your photos out for free – beautifully printed and postage on us (VA Tourism) website here
  32. Take a stab at writing poetry (or other forms of creative writing). The basics of poetry are easier than you might think – just try writing down what’s on your mind. Whatever you’re thinking about, just write it down. Then, just read through the stuff you’ve written down, choose the words that seem beautiful to you, and assemble them until the whole work means something. This can be a deeply enlightening and personal experience, actually, and one that really stirs the creative juices especially while sitting atop a Virginia mountain or near a waterfall or bubbling brook.
  33. Turn off the television (this is free and can really enhance your life)
  34. Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff from the store (When out for a hike or walk along the Blue Ridge Parkway, A pet rock? They used to be cool!)
  35. Don’t spend money just to de-stress. Quite often, we spend money just to wind down from a stressful day at work.  Instead, quite often you will feel much better by taking some quiet time just to stretch and then meditate. End up feeling much more together, happy, and ready to face the dragons back in the workplace.  Instead of spending to de-stress, try some basic quiet time techniques, stretching, or relaxing and see how you feel.
  36. Conversation - talk to your love ones about what your dreams are. This seems like an odd way to save money, but think about it. If you spend time with the people you love the most and come to some consensus about your dreams, it becomes easy for you all to plan for it. If you’re all planning and working together towards this dream, it becomes easier to stay focused on it and reach it. Spend some time in genuine conversation away from the chaos of home and work and TV news and the big bad commute.
  37. Give a gift of a service instead of an item.  These are always spectacular gifts– I know that probably more than any “stuff” I might receive, a backrub from the one I love would be more appreciated. hint hint
  38. Join up with a volunteer program It’s a great way to meet people, get some exercise, and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirit. It also comes without a cost to you and can provide a lot of entertainment and a fulfilling day when you’re in the right mindset.  Example:  Creek Freaks – if you have a kayak or canoe?  They head out to do river clean ups  and some fun with our local Creek Freaks group, and the cost is free – just a little elbow grease)
  39. Canoe or Kayak our Franklin County Blueways if you own a vessel and paddle – (you will need a vehicle to drop off and pick up from a river ride, just a reminder, or put in at one of our lakes)
  40. Don’t go to stores or shopping centers for entertainment get outside and enjoy the natural resources that are abundant in Franklin County (leave the $ temptations to the malls)
  41. Eat a hearty breakfast. Eating a healthy  and hearty breakfast fills you up with energy for the day and also decreases your desire to eat a big lunch in the middle of the day.  We gotchya covered on this one.
  42. Don’t fear leftovers – Many people dread eating leftovers. (We have a guest fridge and microwave at The Claiborne House for your use)
  43. Keep an idea notebook in your pocket.  Wasted countless amounts of time and money simply because we’ve forgotten things.  Instead of relying on our memory - or lack thereof, keep a small notebook with you to jot down ideas and things you need to remember.  Dollar stores have great notebooks or grab one you have laying around at home.
  44. Dig into our community calendar. There are often tons of free events going on in our town that we don’t even know about. Stop by the local library or by city hall and check out their bulletin board, local paper or ask your Innkeeper – Shellie will try to keep track but there is always so much going on around here!
  45. Don’t speed. (This falls under free advice section to help save money on your trip.) Not only is it inefficient in terms of gasoline usage, it also can get you pulled over and cost you a bundle. It’s highly cost-efficient to just drive the speed limit, keep that gas in the tank, and keep the police off your tail.  Roanoke County is notorious on Route 220 for pulling over speeders – consider yourself warned.  They are ruthless.
  46. Drive a different route – the road less taken. This is an especially powerful tip if you find yourself “automatically” hitting the interstate.  Blue Highways bayyyyby– take the scenic route it is always more interested, and makes all the difference.
  47. Antique & Classic Boat Show – walk the docks at Smith Mountain Lake and see some of the classics!
  48. Pet the Llamas – baby llamas are born year-round, not just in the spring – there is a llama farm in nearby Callaway.
  49. A Day at the Farm event – free farm and dairy exhibits including milking a cow, making butter and hay rides! (seasonal)
  50. Leaf Peeping - when the leaves die in grandeur
In an effort to drag myself away from this computer I did not post links to all the FREE ideas – if any of them interest you, please drop me an email from our website contact page (www.ClaiborneHouse.net)   

*Some events may have specific start/finish times or may be seasonal.  This list is an idea generator to help give you a memorable getaway off the beaten track.  If you have any ideas to add to the list – please shoot 'em on over to me.


Life is too short for bad coffee... Shellie @ The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast in Rocky Mount Virginia http://www.claibornehouse.net  We are 15 miles to The Blue Ridge Parkway y'all and 25 minutes to downtown Raonoke!

Oak leaf pic thanks to creative commons  http://www.flickr.com/photos/peasap/1559815054/

Some ideas courtesy of http://www.thesimpledollar.com