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Meet local author Scott Bradley Hesson

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Local author Scott Bradley Hesson will be at the Royal Oak Bookshop, 27 S Royal Avenue, Front Royal, Virginia on September 20th, from 1 pm to 3 pm, to sign his book, “There Might Be Ghosts Inside Those Hills.” 

His book is about the personal experiences he had working in several of the caverns in the area. Here is a highlight.

Where some might find a cavern a dark and gloomy place, to me, there is no better, more relaxing place on earth, or in earth. Then again, I have been working in them since I was twelve-thirteen, officially. So I am more used to them than most people.

Over those years, I and a few of my friends have seen some pretty unusual things. Not just the beauty of the formations and the chambers, but things that might curl the hair of most. I have heard but never saw two little girls laugh. I have seen women from the last millennium dressed in their Sunday best turn into mist. I have made a Civil War soldier mad at me and watched him turn into a ball of black smoke. I have heard the scream of a woman in the dark. These experiences are some of the most vivid memories of my life.

Unlike some, I really find these things fascinating and consider myself fortunate to have experienced them. Here I tell of some of these experiences, and many others, including things that I have experienced with real people. I also relay some of the most unusual and, some might call intriguing, things about caves in general. After all, caves have been around for a long time and explored by thousands-in some cases, long before us. In all, I have to say I have lived a blessed life, and thank God for everything I have.

In this book, I tell of some things that he has let me see. I would like to see more unusual things, but I really don’t seem to have any kind of control over any of it. I do know that it has been fun getting there so far and really do hope it will continue. Only time will tell, and one day, maybe I will have enough for a volume two-that would be the ultimate. I do hope to have a couple of new books in the future, after all, I have dealt with the public most of my life. They are, in some cases, more fascinating than the apparitions that I have encountered.

Mark your calendar for September 20, 2020 to meet the author at his book signing, at Royal Oak Bookshop, 207 S Royal Avenue in Front Royal.

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This week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of September 25th

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Are you looking for the full movie-going experience without having to wait in the long lines that often accompany that experience? Then look no further because Royal Cinemas movie theatre is the answer. Get the whole gang together and enjoy a movie! We are continuing to practice “6 Foot Social Distancing” with 50% capacity reserved seating in all auditoriums.

Here is a list of this week’s showtimes at Royal Cinemas as of Friday, September 25:

• Friday: 6:45
• Sat & Sun: 4:00 & 7:10
• Mon – Thurs: 6:45
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 2 hour 30 min

• Friday: 7:00
• Sat & Sun: 4:10 & 7:00
• Mon – Thurs: 7:00
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 1 hour 53 min

• Friday: 7:15
• Sat & Sun: 4:25 & 7:20
• Mon – Thurs: 7:15
Rated PG13  |  Run Time: 1 hour 35 min


Ticket prices are as follows:

  • Adult: $9
  • Child (under 12): $6
  • Military: $7
  • Student (college): $7
  • Senior: $7
  • Matinees, All Seating: $6

Other movies coming soon to Royal Cinemas:

  • “Infidel”
  • “Black Widow”
  • “007: No Time to Die”
  • “Soul”
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Constitution Day at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility

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On September 17, 2020, the Colonel James Wood II Chapter of the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution gave a reading presentation to celebrate the birthday of the Constitution of the United States at Commonwealth Senior Living Facility in Front Royal.  Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam provided an oversight of the birth of the Constitution and an overview of what the original document means.

Dale Corey, Brett Osborn, Chip Daniel and Art LaFlam

The Articles of Confederation was the governing document for the federal government into the 1780s.  It was woefully inadequate.  It gave little power to the central government and lacked enforcement powers.  Decisions required unanimous approval of all 13 State legislatures.  Another problem was money.  They could print money, but it was worthless.  They borrow but couldn’t pay it back.  They had little ability to defend its sovereignty.  Many of the 625 man Army had not been paid, some were deserting and others were threatening mutiny.  There was  no international power to protect American interests from other nations.  Overall, it was a failed document.

In 1787, a convention was called at Philadelphia to propose a plan of government.  Original plans included 23 articles.  After considerable discussion and debate, a final draft was approved with seven articles.  By the end of July 1788, 11 States had ratified, and on September 13, 1788, a resolution was passed putting the new Constitution into operation.  The new government was in place effective March 4, 1789.  George Washington was inaugurated 8 weeks later as the first President of the United States.

There were 39 signers of the document, to include three from Virginia.  These were John Blair, James Madison and George Washington.  The Constitution with the Bill of Rights and the additional amendments are the basis of the governments structure and law and order in the United States of America.

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Able Forces Foundation hosting Department of Veteran Services

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Military and Veteran families are welcome to come by if you have issues with VA benefits, or need assistance or guidance on support.  Andre Miller, of the Department of Veteran Services, and Danielle Cullers, our area’s Homeless Advocate, will be at our office from 9 AM to Noon on Friday, September 25, 2020.  Please call for an appointment if possible: 540-631-9600.  Our office is located at 115 Chester Street, Suite B, in Front Royal.

Strict COVID protocols will be followed.

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2020 Hands & Harvest Festival offers a virtual event and in-person weekend to celebrate fall in the mountains

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Monterey, VA – Celebrate the beauty and bounty of fall with the annual Hands & Harvest Festival in Highland County, Virginia!  Held from Thursday, October 8, through Sunday, October 11, this year’s festival offers a unique hybrid of both virtual and in-person offerings.

The festival kicks off on Thursday, October 8, from 6 to 8 pm, with the first ever Virtual Hands & Harvest Festival, hosted by online event platform, BoothCentral.  Anyone in the world with an internet connection and email address has the ability to go online to discover, browse and shop with participating festival organizations and businesses.  The virtual event includes a video stream that highlights many aspects of the festival, including exclusive tours and special moments with the unique people and destinations of this rural, mountain community.  In addition, guests can directly interact with participating vendors at their own pace in their online vendor “booths.”  Tune in any time between 6 and 8 pm on Thursday, October 8, at this Virtual Hands & Harvest Link to learn all about what Highland County has to offer.  Preregistration is not necessary, although guests who register ahead of time will receive an email reminder on the day of the event.

In-person offerings will begin Friday, October 9, through Sunday, October 11, dispersed throughout Highland County.  See the full schedule and details at highlandcounty.org/hands-harvest-festival.  Here are some highlights of the sights, sounds and tastes of the season:

  • Activities for all ages include scaling over 100 steps on Sounding Knob Fire Tower from sunrise to sunset, watching the Valley AeroSpace Team’s amazing rocket launches, and visiting a mini equine sanctuary
  • Outdoor entertainment on Saturday at The Highland Center with their “Maple Tap Room” serving up craft and domestic beer and Big Fish Cider, followed by live music with Lynda Smith and 7th Street, an eight-piece party band that highlights Motown, disco, beach and classic rock
  • The freshly updated Highland County Barn Quilt Trail, including a chance to visit the barn quilt studio where many of these colorful quilt designs on wooden blocks are created
  • Several of Highland County’s Maple Syrup Sugar Camps will be open, with a chance to get your passport stamped after a tour as part of the new Virginia Maple Syrup Trail at participating camps.  If pure maple syrup isn’t enough of a draw, some camps will even offer delicious apple butter or cider, warm winter wear, pumpkins, BBQ, bluegrass music, hiking trails and more!
  • Instead of the Monterey Courthouse, arts and crafts vendors will be set up with one-of-a-kind gifts and treats at locations around the county like Monterey Presbyterian Church and The Church at the Old Oak.

“This hybrid event offers visitors the option to take part in the festival online even if they are unable to make it or if they feel uncomfortable with travel at this time,” says Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, Chris Swecker.  “Whether online or in person, people will get to experience what makes our rural community so special at this time of year.”

The 2020 Hands & Harvest Festival is sponsored by Big Fish Cider Co., the new HighlandCountyVA Blog, and The Highland Center.  The festival is brought to you by The Highland County Chamber of Commerce.

For both your safety and for the safety of others when traveling, please adhere to current CDC and Virginia Department of Health guidelines regarding the coronavirus.  To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please observe social distancing of at least six feet from other visitors, wear a face covering when indoors or when you are in close proximity to others outdoors, and wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or apply hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.  Please stay home if you are sick, if you have signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or if you have been in close contact with someone who has had COVID-19.  Prevention tips can be found at vdh.virginia.gov/coronavirus/prevention-tips/.


The Highland County Chamber of Commerce is a 501(c)(6) membership nonprofit organization with a mission to lift up local businesses and entrepreneurs, promote Highland County, and champion economic prosperity and quality of life.  For more information, please visit www.highlandcounty.org.

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Online auction to support St Luke Community Clinic

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Fundraisers have been difficult for our local non-profits this year. Please consider participating in St Luke Community Clinic – Online Auction starting September 21. Watch this video to learn more. Visit St. Luke’s site to see all items available!

Any items that would like to be viewed in person can be done in a private viewing by calling St. Luke Community Clinic at 540-636-4325. They will be happy to arrange a time for you to come look at any item you are interested in. The auction starts on Monday, September 21, 2020, at 7:00 am and ends on September 26, 2020, at 6:00 pm.

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Meet the local candidates Friday night at the Gazebo at 6 pm

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Meet our Mayoral and Town Council candidates (along with some current members) in a town hall forum setting outdoors.

Bring your questions! Let’s all get to know those who are making our decisions a little better. Friday, September 18th at the Gazebo at 6 pm.

** Rain venue will be the large tent behind the Virginia Beer Museum

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