Highland County is healing. Those who live here, visit here, and (most importantly) RECOVER here, can’t deny it. If you’re at a point in your life where you feel stuck, uninspired, or just plain, old burnt out, a getaway to the refreshing, wide open spaces of Highland County can be invigorating, uplifting, and sometimes even lift-changing.
At Blue Grass Cabin, we can offer you a tranquil getaway to calm down, collect yourself, cool off, take a break, kick your boots off, put your feet up, or whatever relaxation phrase is right for you. Additionally, we recommend these local activities or services that will aid in your restorative, mountain therapy:
Of course, the go-to when it comes to rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation is massage therapy. Licensed Massage Therapist Nicole Frye at Heart & Soul Massage in Monterey can quickly tell just what your body and mind (and heart and soul!) need to be repaired. Therapeutic massage, deep-tissue massage, hot stone massage, and Reiki are just a few services she offers. However, one huge thing Nicole gives to each and every client is her open ears, full attention, and compassion. She can tell what you need almost from the moment you walk through the door. With her years of experience and knowledge, she will, no doubt, leave you feeling much lighter, less knotted, and refreshed when you leave. (Just make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards! Also, plan for some post-massage nap time, too, just in case!)
To book an appointment, call Heart and Soul Massage at (540) 292-0568.
Originally from Germany, retired clinical psychologist Annette Naber now lives at her Emerald Mountain Sanctuary, a 58-acre farm home that consists of pastures, forests, and a few small ponds. Given her professional history, desire to empower women, and passion for helping others, Annette along with her husband, Dan, have opened their little slice of Highland heaven to guests as a retreat and small conference center. Together, the couple offers workshops in self-care, stress management, life simplification, forest bathing, nature walks, journaling for self-therapy, backyard foraging, individual and group coaching sessions, and Yoga classes.
If you’re feeling lost with no direction, Annette is an absolute treasure that will provide valuable insight to experiences and methodology that could greatly help you gain significant clarity.
For more info on her services, visit the Emerald Mountain Sanctuary website!
HOT TIP: For the motorcycle enthusiasts out there, Annette’s husband, Dan, also owns and operates Allegheny Motorcycle Tours, which offers guided rides throughout Highland County and surrounding areas! He is in the process of building a motorcycle campground, which should be open to the public in spring of 2020.
Many come to Highland County for outdoor recreation. While there are several hiking trails in the area, most options are remote and out of cell service range. For those who just want a quick, relaxing stroll, check out the Monterey Walking Trail, which loops through the charming town and past our LOVEworks sign. (One can park at the Highland Pool Complex to start walking. The entrance to the complex can be found off Route 220 heading south out of Monterey.) The trail is equal parts nature, community, and quiet neighborhood and offers an approximate mile to mile-and-a-half stroll.
Once you’re done walking the loop, step through the rest of the town. Shop through thrift stores and flower and gift shops. Stop by the Walk of Honor and pay respects to Highland County’s veterans, and take in the view of our historic courthouse. (History Factoid: The current courthouse building is the second structure which was rebuilt after a fire JUMPED THE STREET(!!!) from a two-story store, which was formally situated on the current Summit Community Bank lot.)
Have you ever had a pain in the neck? Like an actual, serious, legit pain in your neck? Or your back? Hips?? As we all probably know, stress can physically manifest itself throughout our bodies. Yoga is a tool that can absolutely help with that!
No, it’s not about being flexible or finding inner peace (although it doesn’t hurt that either). It’s about postures and movement that will allow your muscles to loosen. It’s also about incorporating proper breathing techniques, which, let us tell you, can help stress and physical health tremendously. What’s more, this class, located at Sundance Studios & Productions, is for all levels – beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
Instructor Sage Tanguay starts each session by checking in with her class to determine what specific needs they have that day. She, then, progresses the customized lesson to her clients’ needs. As a result, her students are able to clear their minds, use their breath to relax, and walk away from her class feeling light and refreshed.
For a complete class schedule, visit the Sundance Studios & Productions website.
Imagine… Crusing along the back roads of Highland County with a kind-of treasure map. What are you in search of? Colorful, locally-created barn quilts. Like bright blooms popping from a green garden, these delightful pieces of artwork are creatively scattered throughout the countryside for travelers to enjoy on the first and largest barn quilt tour in Virginia (to our knowledge).
Not only can you enjoy local artwork, but you can also experience Highland County’s scenic back roads and spectacular views while doing it!
Our beloved Blue Grass Cabin features a fully-furnished kitchen perfect for meal prep. With its open concept, one can prepare a locally-sourced meal in the kitchen while visiting with family and friends who may be perched at the adjacent dining room table or kicking it back on the couch.
Now the question is: In a county so plentiful with local foods, where is the best place to find the succulent selections? Pick one (or a combination of!) our six picks for locally-sourced food and find all you need for a homegrown meal while you’re visiting our Blue Grass Cabin!
The Highland Farmers’ Market opens in late-May and runs through mid-October. (Usually the last market of the season is Hands & Harvest weekend.) So that means, on Friday evenings from 3:30 to 6:00 pm, you can drive to The Highland Center on Spruce Street in Monterey to shop a selection of seasonal produce, meats, baked goods, maple syrup, and other locally-raised and locally-made foods. (And sometimes there’s even an arts and crafts vendor or two sprinkled in!)
To stay up-to-date with Highland Farmers’ Market news, follow them on their Facebook page, which also features the occasional fun giveaway or a delicious recipe!
Big Fish Cider Co. is a microcidery located on Spruce Street in Monterey, Virginia. (If you get lost in the complex town of Monterey, just look for the BIG trout behind the Monterey Courthouse!) Local Cidermaker Kirk Billingsley and his crew create uniquely-flavored ciders using locally-grown apples and traditional techniques. Additionally, their cider is available in a range of off-dry to semi-sweet blends and seasonal offerings. (One of our favorites is Church Hill Blush!)
The Big Fish Tasting Room is open Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 pm and Saturdays from 2:00 to 7:00 pm. Stop by and see which selection tickles your taste buds the most! (And if you happen to be free on a Friday, visit between 5:00 and 7:00 pm. There’s usually a jam session featuring local bands and musicians!)
In the mood for a sweet treat? The Curly Maple has you covered! In addition to carrying locally-sourced products, such as meats and maple syrup, this former general store turned coffee shop/eatery/grocery stop is also home to one of the county’s most beloved bakers – Melissa Moyers, who is famous county-wide for her culinary talents.
On any given day, you can handpick your favorites from a selection of cookies, cakes, and candies. Recent creations are presented with rustic elegance in an old antique display, which was donated by Dorothy Colaw Shepherd, a cherished 92-year-old lady who visits the establishment for coffee every morning. (Sit down and talk with her. She doesn’t know a stranger, and she can tell some great Highland County stories! As do her compadres that sit with her! )
One thing Highland County is know for besides that iconic maple syrup is their delectable Allegheny Mountain Trout, which is available at the Virginia Trout Company on route 220 north approximately 4-5 miles from Monterey. Here you will find a selection of whole, filleted, or smoked trout that you can bring back to Blue Grass Cabin and pop in the oven or throw on the grill.
While you’re there, gander at the fish swimming in ponds fed by a natural stream that flows right out from under the mountain. This is a great activity for kids and families! You can even feed the fish or toss in a line and catch your own! (Just bring your own pole.) The guys at the Virginia Trout Company will even clean your catch for you!
Alleghany Meats is located just a couple miles north of the Virginia Trout Company. So you can get your fish and meats in two close, conveniently-located locations! Customers can visit the facility and market from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and shop a rotating stock of frozen beef, bison, hog, goat, and lamb from local producers. You can call ahead to see what’s in stock and even place an order for pick-up.
Established in 2012, Alleghany Meats is a USDA-inspected, Animal Welfare Approved, value-added slaughter and processing facility that bridges a gap between local meat producers and their customers. This facility works with local meat producers to offer the finest quality USDA-inspected and custom meat processing options, including smoked products. For more info about Alleghany Meats, visit their website!
Sugar Tree Country Store and Sugar House is a small retail and wholesale store located just off route 250 in the village of McDowell. Owned and operated by Glenn and Fern Heatwole and family, the store stocks a variety of pure maple products, jellies, honey, candles, hand-crafted toys, baskets, pottery, and many other products (including homemade Apple Butter!) If you love old general stores, this is a great one to explore!
The Heatwoles gather “sugar water” from local sugar maple trees growing at elevations of 3,000 to 4,000 feet. After collection, they bring the “water,” or sap to the sugar house, which is located behind the store, for boiling and syrup creation. Want to know more about the process? Ask them! They love answering maple questions! (Just don’t plan your visit on a Sunday as they close to observe a day of rest and spend time with their family.)
An Extra Tip! Sugar Tree Country Store is located next to the Highland Historical Society! Visit two attractions in one trip!