What’s the antidote to buying cheap, plastic goods produced in countries with questionable human rights records that you know will end up in a landfill someday? Buy locally sourced, sustainably produced and durable products that can last for generations. Where do you find such mythical-sounding items? Check out the Alexander Brothers’ wares.
The Alexander Brothers are a company of four brothers working out of Timberville, providing Harrisonburgers and other Virginians with affordable, beautifully handcrafted, durable and sustainable goods. Trained in traditional craftsman’s trades, including blacksmithing, woodworking, and leather crafting, from a young age, the Alexander Brothers spent years honing their skills, which they view as art forms. One brother apprenticed at the Frontier Culture Museum as a blacksmith.
Items available for sale on their website, Facebook, and Instagram include kitchen ware, such as knives, cutting boards, bottle openers, and pizza cutters and leather goods such as journals, wallets, and tote bags. One of their newest items is the 8 inch chef’s knife. The knives’’ wooden handles are hand crafted from wood collected from trees during the brothers’ backpacking trips in West Virginia and Virginia. The wood used is specifically chosen for the presence of burls, which are abscesses or growths on a tree that produce a striking circular pattern in the wood’s grain. The wood is kiln dried, stabilized with an epoxy resin and slabs are created from it. The blades of the knives are forged from 15N20 steel. The knives are so popular that they’re almost sold out. The brothers are planning to produce a new trout and game knife hopefully in time for Christmas.
This blog’s authors were gifted by brother Shea Alexander with their award winning bottle opener. The bottle opener is produced with either walnut or maple wood and hand-forged iron. It’s small enough to fit on a keychain but has the heft of something substantial. Beautiful and rugged, the iron is subtly faceted and contains the company’s boldly classic logo. In Virginia Living’s forthcoming November issue, the bottle opener is receiving a Best in Virginia award.
In addition to their online venues, Alexander Brothers products can be found locally at Lineage in Downtown Harrisonburg and Randy’s Hardware, which has locations in Bridgewater, Timberville, and Mt. Jackson. Their products can also be found at Lost River Trading Post in West Virginia. More local opportunities to shop Alexander Brothers wares can be had this Saturday at Shenandoah Autumn Fest, at Spring Creek Roller Mills, Showalter’s Harvest Fest, and the Timberville Christmas Village. Supplies are limited, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to purchase some very special holiday gifts!
“Mashita” is Korean for “delicious” and the restaurant’s food lives up to its name. Slated to open at 105 North Liberty Street in downtown Harrisonburg the first week of October, Mashita will serve a wide range of Korean-inspired dishes as well as beer, wine, sake, and non-alcoholic beverages. Diners can take different approaches to the menu, whether they want a tapas-style experience with many small plates or a traditional meal. Mashita offers low prices in comparison to competitors, with many options priced at $10 or less. The space is clean and modern, but also colorful, with a bold mural and local art pieces as well as traditional Korean art and artifacts.
Owner and chef Mikey Reisenberg started the restaurant as a food truck, which is still in operation at 105 North Liberty St., six years ago. Mashita gained a local following for its Shenandoah Valley brand of cultural fusion. Take Korean comfort food as your starting point, apply French cooking methods to locally sourced ingredients, add a Valley spin, and the result is Mashita. Mikey describes his cuisine as a mashup, equal parts traditional Korean, urban American, and classic southern. It may come as a pleasant surprise to diners new to Mashita that Korea and the American South share some favorite comfort foods, including melt-in-your-mouth brisket and crispy fried chicken.
Mikey credits his Korean heritage, his adoptive American family’s competitive cooking, and his French culinary training at The Joshua Wilton House as sources of inspiration for Mashita’s food.
His journey started with his family’s foodie culture, where he first learned how to identify good food. With seven aunts and great aunts who cooked, he describes family reunions as a competition to see who could make the best food. Although he’s worked in independent restaurants since high school, cooking at The Joshua Wilton House was a formative experience for him. Current executive chef Tom French and former chef and owner Mark Newsom critiqued his food and introduced him to Korean American chefs, like David Chang, who were innovative in adapting Korean comfort food to American palates.
To those who have not yet experienced this relatively new fusion, Mikey describes Korean flavors as savory, acidic, and “funky”. The funkiness he refers to comes from pickled and fermented food like kimchi, or fermented vegetables. In addition to a brisket sandwich and chicken katsu, or Korean style battered fried chicken, house-made soft steamed buns stuffed with juicy meats are staples of the restaurant. This author was delighted by the flavor and texture combinations of the food. Mashita’s dishes satisfy Korean and American cravings, and their menu items cater to vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free diners as well.
Mashita’s Shenandoah Valley identity is embodied not only by locally sourced and house-made food, but by the decor of the restaurant and a mission to give back to the community. Mikey made the tables himself with rocks, live edge walnut, and food grade epoxy resin. The wood was sourced from Black Forest Saw Mill. Mike Arellano painted the restaurant’s striking mural, and Craig Snodgrass designed the logo. Even the succulents lining the windows are from David Sutton at the Harrisonburg Farmer's Market. Once the restaurant is in full swing, Mikey and the Mashita crew want to pay it forward by allowing diners to purchase five dollar tokens to give to those in need. The tokens can be redeemed for Mashita food, which Mikey points out is a very nutritious meal. Mashita has already found a home in Harrisonburg and in the Valley, now it's here to stay with a new location in downtown Harrisonburg that is sure to please regulars and newcomers alike.
A less exotic, but equally enjoyable activity that Massanutten Resort offers is golf. Massanutten Resort is home to two conventional golf courses: Woodstone Meadows Golf Course, and Mountain Greens Golf Course. Woodstone Meadows is an 18-hole course with 5,065 yards of golf, and a par of 65. Woodstone Meadows has generous fairways allowing for golfers of all capabilities. The Mountain Greens course is more challenging, and is generally recommended for intermediate to advanced golfers. It is an 18-hole course with a par of 72/73. A variety of different tees are available with the longest tees equating to 6,443 yards of true, mountain style, golfing. Apart from the two conventional courses, Massanutten also offers FlingGolf, a relatively new sport that essentially combines elements of golf and lacrosse. Instead of swinging a golf club, players use a FlingStick to fling or whip the ball down the fairway. Massanutten also has a driving range, lessons, and leagues available for those that are interested.
Official Page for Massanutten Golf
This blog is part of a Massanutten Blog Series
Massanutten’s Family Adventure Park is one of its most daring attractions. The adventure park is a one stop shop for climbing, tubing, ziplining, rappelling, and more. The largest of these features is the Mega Zip. The Mega Zip is an 800’ zipline fully capable of reaching speeds of up to 30 miles per hour. Another ziplining option is the Canopy Tour. The Canopy Tour incorporates four different ziplines in addition to a variety of other obstacles that takes up to an hour and a half to complete. The Ridge Rappel and Climbing Excursion is yet another great option for any daredevils. An enjoyable chair lift ride leads to a quick hike where participants are eventually able to rappel down two cliffs with the experience and guidance of a trained safety instructor. The largest of these two cliffs is an exhilarating 58 feet tall. After the cliffs, participants are guided through a rock climbing experience, based on physical ability and comfort level. If these options sound a bit intense, don’t fear. Massanutten also features a Kids’ Adventure Course targeted for ages 12 and below that still sparks fun and excitement, but in a well-controlled environment. Other great activities at the Family Adventure Park include a 16-30’ climbing wall, the QuickJump (a 30’ free fall sensation), summer tubing, and Kids Playland (play area complete with inflatable bounce houses and gem mining).
Official Page for Massanutten Adventure Park
This blog is part of a Massanutten Blog Series
Massanutten resort is a phenomenal option for interested mountain bikers. Whether you are a veteran biker, or a total novice, Massanutten has great trails for you! The Massanutten Bike Park is home to 7 different runs, with a descent of 1,100 feet. These 7 different runs host a pleasant mix of beginner to expert trails. The simplicity of two summer lifts makes the mountain very easy to operate. The convenience of having and using lifts also saves your legs from turning to jelly. Lessons, rentals, and affordable packages are all available for interested bikers.
The best thing about Massanutten mountain biking is the fact that the trails don’t end at the Massanutten Bike Park. Massanutten also has their Western Slope. The Western Slope has a total of 30 miles of cross country trail riding. While you do not get to use the convenience of the chair lift, the Western Slope provides a massive amount of trail riding for those interested. Plus, with the addition of Electric Assist Mountain Bikes to Massanutten’s rental fleet, you can take all the work out of climbing the mountain!
It should be noted that the Western Slope is recommended only for intermediate to advanced riders. 100 percent of proceeds resulting from the Western Slope are given to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition for further improvements to the trails.
Western Slope Map
Massanutten Official Mountain Biking Page
This blog is part of a Massanutten Blog Series
The Massanutten WaterPark is one of the best water park options in the east. It was voted the #2 indoor WaterPark in the United States by USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice in 2018. The indoor WaterPark has a variety of different attractions including but not limited to: a giant water-powered playhouse, adventure river, tube and body slides, a triple-jet FlowRider and surf simulator , hot tubs, and many other family friendly options. While the indoor WaterPark is truly amazing, the Outdoor WaterPark is also a great option for those hot Virginia days. The Rockingham Racer is a great thrill seeker. The Racer is a waterslide sitting at 40’ tall, with a length of 296’. The Outdoor WaterPark also has the White Caps Wave Pool, an area with three-foot waves to keep you cool all day long. And finally, Splash-A-Nutten, a great outdoor pool area with obstacle courses, basketball hoops, and other recreational activities to enjoy. So, whether it’s the middle of winter and you want to warm up in the large, indoor/outdoor hot tub, or a scorching sunny day where you need to cool off, be sure to take advantage of the fantastic Massanutten WaterPark!
This blog is part of a Massanutten Blog Series
Massanutten WaterPark Official Page
Massanutten resort is probably best known for being a ski resort. While resorts like Snowshoe and Wintergreen may get more snowfall, the convenience of Massanutten is unparalleled for Harrisonburg and surrounding residents. The ski resort boasts an impressive elevation of 2,922 ft. It has 7 lifts and 14 runs, including two terrain parks. The resort also has outdoor lights installed, making night skiing an enjoyable possibility. If you’ve never tried skiing or snowboarding, but are up for the challenge, you’ll be happy to hear that Massanutten is now a Terrain Based Learning (TBL) resort! By shaping snow features to naturally control speed and body position, it’s easier than ever to get out there and conquer the slopes!
If winter tubing is more your speed, Massanutten also has an impressive snow tubing hill. The tubing hill has up to 16 lanes, each 900’ in length with a drop of 120 feet. It is a great option for all ages. There are two conveyor belts ensuring short lines. So next winter, be sure to hit the slopes!
This blog is part of a Massanutten Blog Series.
Massanutten Official Snow Sports Page
One of the best aspects of living in Harrisonburg and the surrounding areas is the availability of recreational activities outdoors. While there are a plethora of hikes, mountain biking trails, golf courses, and some skiing options, there is one place that has them all: Massanutten Resort. Located 14 miles from downtown Harrisonburg, this resort is ideal for Harrisonburg families, students, or adventure pursuers. This series explores in depth the variety of activities that Massanutten offers all year round, for all ages.
This series incorporates five of the most common and exciting experiences one can enjoy at Massanutten resort. These activities are Winter Sports, Mountain Biking, The Massanutten WaterPark, Golf, and The Adventure Park.
It is important to note that Massanutten resort is open to the public. A common misconception is that the resort is only available for Massanutten homeowners, but this is not the case. Refer to links below for more information. Finally, this series is by no means all encompassing. Due to times sake we focused on several of their largest attractions. Links below will become active as posts are published.
Family Adventure Park
All info for series obtained from Massanutten Resorts Official Website, visit Resort Home link Here
Red Wing Music Festival is arguably the best annual local music festival in the greater Harrisonburg area. For annual attenders, the wait is nearly over. The festival kicks off its three day extravaganza tomorrow. The first show starts at noon! For those of you unfamiliar with the festival, Red Wing is a great local music festival held at Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon Virginia. They have a superb lineup this year including such headliners as: The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, The Steel Wheels, Mipso, Judy Chops, and many many more. Unfortunately, at this time most of the tickets are sold out, however, Sunday day passes are still available, as well as kids, and teens 3 day passes. Visit https://www.redwingroots.com/ for more information concerning the full lineup, tickets, camping and amenities, food vendors, volunteer opportunities, outdoor activities, and much more.
For last minute band cramming, or to get a sense of the style of alternative music played at the festival, feel free to take a listen to the playlists listed below via spotify.