How to Live With Bears

Tim Merrick’s Fall Newsletter 2016
How to Live With Bears

There have been a lot of sightings of bears this past year. Encounters between bears and humans are rare but it is important to know how to react when you encounter one. There ARE bears in the neighborhood.Eastern Black Bear

Many years ago when we were living on the mountain, when Will was an infant in the early 1980’s, Judy and I had several encounters with bears one summer. We chased bear cubs off our deck several times a week. As you may know, bears have a keen sense of smell. They were attracted to Will’s diapers in addition to the garbage. We emptied our trash bins at the dumpster daily to keep them away.

These same three youngsters, a bit older, are pictured below taking a dip in the late Ted Cooper’s hot tub at the end of Brimstone.

Relaxing in a Hot TubUninvited Guests

My friend and colleague, Peter Farley, left the slider unlocked to his deck and one very large male came in his kitchen and decided not to wait for Pete to fix breakfast. All the cabinets and refrigerator were opened and all the contents were all over the kitchen and dining room floors. The mess took most of a day to clean up and the bear had to be trapped and relocated to West Virginia.

Judy Jumper from California, who has a house on the mountain, had the interior of her new Mercedes SUV torn up when a bear managed to open the door and crawl inside in search of goodies and snacks in the console.

Ever wonder why there are signs to lock and bear proof the dumpsters? In the Laurelwood Condo area one of our owners was a bit fuzzy a few years ago after a fun night of partying with friends and slid open the access panel before latches were installed and inches away was a black bear standing nose to nose, dining on last night’s appetizers. Adrenaline is a quick fix for a hangover.

These stories and cautionary tales about bears need to be taken seriously as they live and wander throughout our community both on the mountain and in the valley at Wintergreen.

The following excerpts are courtesy of the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries

A basic understanding of bear biology and implementing a few preventative measures will go a long way to helping make all encounters with bears positive.

Of the three bear species (black, brown, and polar bears) in North America, only the black bear lives in Virginia. Shy and secretive, the sighting of a bear is a rare treat for most Virginians. However, bears are found throughout most of the Commonwealth, and encounters between bears and people are increasing. Adult black bears are approximately 4 to 7 feet from nose to tail, and two to three feet high at the withers. Males are larger than females. Black bears have small eyes, rounded ears, a long snout, large non retractable claws, a large body, a short tail, and shaggy hair. In Virginia most black bears are true black in color unlike black bears found in more western states that can be shades of red, brown or blond.

Depending on the time of year, adult female black bears commonly weigh between 90 to 250 pounds. Males commonly weigh between 130 to 500 pounds. The largest known wild black bear was from North Carolina and weighed 880 pounds. The heaviest known female, from northeastern Minnesota, weighed 520 pounds. The American black bear is found only in North America. Black bears historically ranged over most of the forested regions of North America, and significant portions of northern Mexico. There are approximately 900,000 black bears in North America. Black bears reside in every province in Canada except for Prince Edward Isle, and in at least 40 of the 50 states in the US. In the eastern United States, black bear range is continuous throughout New England but becomes increasingly fragmented from the mid-Atlantic down through the Southeast.  

Incredibly adaptable, black bears occupy a greater range of habitats than any other bear in the world. Bear home ranges must include food, water, cover, denning sites and diverse habitat types. Although bears are thought to be a mature forest species, they often use a variety of habitat types. Bears may live up to 30 years in the wild. The oldest documented wild bear in Virginia was 26 years of age when it was killed. Black bears are generally solitary, except sows caring for cubs. Adult bears may be seen together during the summer breeding period and occasionally yearling siblings will remain together for a period of time. Bears may also gather at places with abundant food sources. Black bears are typically crepuscular (active at dusk and dawn), but can be active any time of day. Female black bears have smaller home ranges (1 to 50 square miles) than males (10 to 290 square miles). A male’s home range may overlap several female home ranges. Bears may move further in times of less food like early spring. Dispersing yearlings, especially males, looking for new home ranges may also travel a great distance.

Female black bears mature as early as three years old. Breeding occurs from mid-June to mid-July, but in the eastern deciduous forest, mating season can extend into August. Female black bears usually breed every other year. Cubs are born from early January to mid-February weighing ½ to ¾ lbs. Anywhere from 1-4 cubs are born at a time and are raised by their mother for about 1½ years. First-year cub mortality rates are about 20%, primarily due to predation (foxes, coyotes, dogs, bobcats, other bears) or abandonment by their mother. Adult bears do not have natural predators except humans.

When the mother is ready to breed again, she will send her yearlings to fend for themselves during the summer months when food is usually abundant. Always hungry, these yearling bears, particularly the males, will seek easy sources of food. The ability to access human related food sources can spell trouble for these bears.

Bears may feed up to 20 hours per day, accumulating fat (energy) prior to winter denning. An adult male can gain over 100 pounds in a few weeks when acorn production is heavy. Depending on weather and food conditions, black bears enter their winter dens between October and January. Bears will not eat, drink, urinate or defecate while denning. Bears are easily aroused and may be active during warm winter days. They emerge from their dens from mid-March to early May. In Virginia, most bears den in large, hollow trees. Other den types include fallen trees, rock cavities, and brush piles in timber cut areas, open ground nests, and man-made structures (culvert pipe).

Black bears have a very diverse diet. They consume herbaceous plant parts, woody plant parts, flower/nectar/ pollen, fruit, terrestrial insects, juvenile and small mammals, juvenile and adult amphibians, and carrion. Bears are omnivorous and opportunistic feeders, eating mostly plants in the spring, berries and insects in the summer, and nuts and berries in the fall. Carrion (dead animals) is often a part of a bear’s diet. Although not typically and an active predator, rare occurrences of livestock predation is reported each year.

Spring Foods

  • Grasses/Forbes
  • Insects/Larvae
  • Skunk Cabbage
  • Squaw Root

Summer/Fall Foods

  • Berries
  • Hard mast (Acorns, Other tree nuts)
  • Autumn Olive
  • Dogwood
  • Wild Grapes
  • Serviceberry
  • Mountain-ash
  • Hawthorn
  • Chokecherry
  • Pokeberry
  • Sassafras

From Linda Masterson Living with Bears: A Practical Guide to Bear Country.

There are many reasons we are seeing more bears this year. From a great article in one of our local papers, Waynesboro’s The News Virginian, GWNF Park Biologist Mark Gubler, said that this was an abnormal summer, with a spring freeze that delayed and/or damaged the blackberry, raspberry and other berries that are a critical food source for bears in late spring and early summer. “This sent the bears in search of alternate food,” said Gubler. “If you add that fact to an increased number of people visiting our area plus an increased number of bears, then there is a better chance of people and on bears coming into contact.” Bears are opportunity feeders. DO NOT FEED THE BEARS. How many times have you seen that sign?

What do you do if you have a close encounter with a bear?

The first rule is DO NOT RUN. Bear can easily out run a human. Your flight can trigger a prey response in the animal. Gubler advises to “MAKE THE BEAR AWARE of your presence by speaking in aloud assertive voice, and yelling or clapping your hands or making other noises. Try and back away slowly while making eye contact”. If you are hiking in a remote area around Wintergreen, I recommend that you wear bear bells and carry BEAR Spray, a strong cayenne pepper spray or a large caliber hand gun. (Just kidding about the gun, it only makes them angrier unless the first shot is perfect. You better be accurate and few people are.) Gubler says, “If a bear starts to come at you, scream, wave your arms, and throw rocks or sticks at it.” “Aim that bear spray at its eyes, nose or any soft tissue on the face,” he says. “In almost every instance, bears are going to want to flee. But, if it ever come to a struggle, fight with everything you’ve got.”  Out west, where there are big Grizzlies (a subspecies of the Brown bears) they used to say get against a log and cover the back of your neck with your hands and hope they take only a couple of swipes and then leave. Those Grizzlies and Brown Bears are far more aggressive and dangerous! Understand that our local bears have become “food conditioned”. You need to be “Bear Smart”. Make sure trash containers are closed and secured. Don’t leave temptations where bears can find them. Lock your doors and windows.

Be safe.

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Tim Merrick’s Winter 2015-16 Newsletter

Contributed by Tim Merrick

John and Will Merrick

Our boys, home for Christmas. John (with rod) in from San Francisco and Will Merrick in from Washington, D.C., trout fishing on Stoney Creek Christmas Day.

The winter certainly got off to a slow start but as we approach President’s Weekend, everything seems to be on track with regard to ski operations with a good base and all slopes open. The skiing is now excellent.

Real estate sales last year finished up better than expected on the mountain. Home sales in Stoney Creek showed no improvement over 2014. Lot sales were off both on the mountain and in Stoney Creek.

Wintergreen Sales Comparison 2014-2015
Mountain 2014 2015
Homes 42
($185K-$1,300K)
51
($150K to $1,350K)
Condos 54
($43K-$389.9K)
80
($46.5K-$325.5K)
Townhomes 1
($290K)
3
($143K-$290K)
Lots 20
($12.5K-$94K)
11
($12.5K-$105K)
Stoney Creek 2014 2015
Homes 19
($219.5K-$681K)
19
($200K-$625K)
Townhouses 2
($240K-$300K)
3
($301K-$350K)
Lots 13
($18K-$175K)
8
($14.5K-$135K)

The Pipeline Issue

Two days ago in most of the newspapers in the Commonwealth an article appeared regarding the Dominion Pipeline and how it will affect Wintergreen. Here is a link in the event you have not seen it.

http://www.wintergreenrealestate.com/Mailings/PipelineRichmondTimesDispatch.pdf

You have probably been getting information from Friends of Wintergreen, a property owner organization within our community who has been raising money to fight the current route.  You may also have heard that there is resistance from The U.S. Forest Service and others as to the current proposed route through the entrance to the mountain.

My guess is that it will be moved farther south given the negative economic and environmental impact and general resistance of the community and our Nelson County neighbors. The pipeline is affecting the rate of sales in the area in addition to the lack of direction of the resort in general. Marketing and advertising and capital expenditures being on hold are also factors. Some of the area Realtors had a brief meeting with the general manager of the resort and the representative of The Pacific Group after the annual WPOA meeting and we are still in the dark as to the long range plans and goals of the new owners. There was a brief discussion of the possibility of a new hotel on the mountain but no commitment. If I gather any information about their plans, I will contact you immediately.

Fun Tidbits

Nick Moga, one of my friends, has a house on the mountain and a monthly newsletter with great links. I stole these links for you with his permission and yes, they are safe to open and worth seeing. If you are looking for great deals on computers and computer gear and accessories, etc. Contact Nick. PCSS, LLC in Covington, VA. pcss@pcss4u.com

When you get snowed in again, tell the kids to try this google game of trivia and geography:  Google Maps | Smarty Pins

Planning your summer vacation (anything to not think of cold weather or snow!)  Here is a fun and great guide to traveling from one place to another:  Rome2rio: discover how to get anywhere

Ready for music that isn’t on the radio (or Pandora, or Spotify)?  Try this site:  Hillydilly – Free Music Discovery

If you are a photographer or just a photograph enthusiast, this site is the bee’s knees:  Maptia · A World of Stories

Craft beer is taking over in our area as you know. There are five breweries within 10 to 15 miles of Wintergreen.  Here is the site that supports it all:  Celebrating the Best of American Beer | CraftBeer.com

Summary

To end on a high note, I am seeing an active first quarter in spite of the pipeline dilemma. I also expect to hear some good news soon from the new owners in regard to their plans. They did say in the Realtor meeting that they generally do not make any changes until they have owned a property for a year, and their purchase was a year ago this month.

All the best in the New Year,

Tim

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Tim Merrick–Fall 2015 Newsletter

Contributed by Tim Merrick

Mason with  Mason with the UVA Football Center, Jacson Matteo and QB, Matt Johns last week on a hospital visit to the Pediatric Cancer Center

Mason with Mason with the UVA Football Center, Jacson Matteo and QB, Matt Johns last week on a hospital visit to the Pediatric Cancer Center

Although it is rare that that I ask for your financial help, this is an appropriate exception. Our office colleague, Leigh Ann Hensley and her husband Greg have one young son, a wonderful and beautiful little three year old named Mason. He had been feeling poorly off and on for the past couple of weeks, so Greg and Leigh Ann took him to the doctor for a checkup to see what was wrong. His white blood count was off. When they took him to UVA for further diagnosis, they discovered Mason has Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Mason is your typical energetic, fun loving little boy, and this news has devastated his family and all of us. Mason underwent surgery a few days ago and has started chemo therapy.

His treatment is going to be expensive, so all of us are trying to help them out financially. We are having a fund-raiser for them this coming Friday November 6 at the Massie’s Mill Ruritan Hall, with a silent auction in hopes of raising some money for his treatment. I ask you to send whatever you can to help fund his recovery to: Mason Hensley Recovery Fund c/o Wintergreen Real Estate Co. P.O. Box 747, Wintergreen, VA. 22958. Although the Hensleys have insurance, Leigh Ann and Greg will still need financial support. Your donation will be deposited directly to the recovery account at the UVA Credit Union. Please note on your check that it is for Mason’s benefit and recovery. I will personally send you a thank you letter which you can have for the end of the year taxes. Many, many thanks and blessings for your thoughtfulness and generosity.

The Pipeline

As you have seen in recent communications, the proposed pipeline is still planned to come through the only entrance to Wintergreen. I am told it will come under the BR Parkway north of Reeds Gap and under Rt. 664 below the entrance of the resort and then up Fortunes Mountain. The tunnel will be about a mile long and will house a 42 inch gas pipe. One of the members of the Nelson Co. Board of Supervisors said that all construction will occur to the west of the western tunnel entrance, meaning less disruption to the entrance of Wintergreen since construction material will be removed on the other side of the mountain. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation floating around and there also seems to be dissention among the groups fighting the proposed pipeline. I am not sure what is true, but there is great passion everywhere. It is interesting however that the official application Dominion Resources is submitting to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) states in one of the reports within the application that Dominion Resources does not have a contingency plan if the underground drilling under the parkway cannot be done. Dominion wants the application approved based on current projections. Should they find that the tunneling cannot be done then they only have to revise the approved application, leaving the door open for Dominion to come across the George Washington National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail if needed. Dominion expects to start work by December of 2016.

I assume you have seen the recent plans and maps just released from The Wintergreen Nature Foundation and others. Read their recent emails, as they contain important information. I have not seen any other location proposed at this point, however several groups such as Friends of Wintergreen, Friends of Nelson and others are working hard and raising money to discourage the current route. Support their efforts. You should have been sent all the recent emailed information but if you need more details, contact me and I will share what I am told.

We need to convince them and FERC to find a better route. Dominion Resources is going to build the pipeline because there is so much money to be made and there is political support for the route. It will be devastating on many levels if the pipeline is allowed to proceed as planned.

Real Estate Sales Statistics

Sales are up for this past quarter.

Mountain and Stoney Creek Sales
Mountain Sales
2014 Year To Date 2015 Year To Date
28 HousesPrice range $211,000 to $1,350,000 38 HousesPrice range $150,000-$1,350,000
41 CondosPrice range $34,000 to $389,900 64 CondosPrice range $55,000 to $327,500
1 TownhouseWestwood 4BR $290,000 2 TownhousesWestwood $143,000 (foreclosure)

Trillium Place $288,000

Stoney Creek Sales
2014 Year To Date 2015 Year To Date
12 HousesPrice range $229,000 to $681,000 13 HousesPrice range $336,000 to $625,000
Mountain and Stoney Creek Pending (Under Contract) Sales
Mountain Houses 7 under contract ranging in price $215,000 to $549,000
Mountain Condos 9 under contract ranging in price $49,500 to $225,900
Stoney Creek Homes 7 under contract ranging in price $209,900 to $619,900

 

With the sales pending, the numbers are up considerably in regard to houses and condos this year over last year.

Lot sales are down on the mountain. Eighteen lots sold in January-October 2014 and only 10 so far this year with one pending sale. In Stoney Creek, 2 lot sales are pending and there have been 6 sales so far this year as compared to 12 last year from January to October.

Four of the six jurisdictions within our MLS experienced year-over-year sales gains in Q3, led by a 37.3% increase in Louisa and a 24.7% jump in Fluvanna. Nelson (+15.7%) and Albemarle (+4.9%) also saw more Q3 sales than 2014. Nelson’s 59 sales had a median price of $270,000, declining 6.9%, or $20,000, from last year’s level for the previous quarter, according to the C.A.A.R. MLS.

Sales are improving in spite of the uncertainty about the pipeline and the new owners.

New Resort Ownership

We have heard nothing from the new owners of Wintergreen since they bought the resort in February. However, Mark Fischer from the Wintergreen Pacific Group will speak after the annual WPOA property owners meeting on Saturday, November 14th. The annual WPOA meeting starts at 1000 AM. Plan to attend and ask questions. Positive news will help the sales effort of all the companies working in the Wintergreen market. A new commitment to improve Wintergreen makes a compelling story for new prospects as well as owners.

The Sales Process Explained

Almost every person we meet who are looking for property at Wintergreen or in this part of Virginia goes through three buying stages. Whether they’re aging and looking to retire in our area, or hoping to find the perfect second home to enjoy with their families and friends, or just maturing in their tastes and looking for a larger or smaller home, each potential client goes through a cycle.

That cycle puts buyers into three categories: 1. The buyers who are starting out and are truly just looking. 2. The ones who have decided they are definitely going to do something, but haven’t decided what or where yet. 3. The ones who have a clear idea of what they want, including their price range and other requirements. Our job as salespeople is to recognize those cycles and guide them and help them achieve their goals.

In Stage One buyers are just thinking of making a change. We must win their trust and business by taking on the role of adviser and asking them questions that move them forward mentally and psychologically. But, it is crucial that we make sure they are well educated and completely understand the relative values within our community and the surrounding rural areas.

In Stage Two, buyers have decided to make a change. They’ve made a commitment to buy something. They don’t know exactly what they want, but they do know they want something. Our job is now is to help them narrow the choices.

In Stage Three, our customers come to the realization of knowing what they want — their price range, the features they want, and an idea of the location and of the type of property and/or floor plan that meets their needs. They are definitively in the market and ready to buy. Sometimes this process takes a few hours and sometimes years and even decades. I have seen all those situations over the past 40 years at Wintergreen.

All of this takes time and we must ask the right questions to understand the buyers’ needs or wants. When agents aren’t aware of what their potential buyers are thinking, they are wasting their own time and wasting the time of the potential buyers as well, and they have wasted the opportunity to help with the sale. On the other hand, when agents find out which stage buyers are in and react to their needs and educate them within that specific stage, there is a much better chance the prospect will purchase.  Price is the last consideration in the early stages. Prospects haven’t even decided whether or not they need or want a change. They are gathering information. Buyers don’t need to hear a lot of specifics about a property but need to first understand the how their lives will improve if they make a change. In stage three, they understand that a change will improve their lives. They already know the motivations and that’s why they came to our area and Wintergreen.

The reason I explain this is that the buying process takes time. It’s important for us to spend time with buyers in all stages of the buying process. Often sellers will expect an immediate response from someone looking at their house and it may be the buyer’s first visit. If we as agents are willing to commit the time and energy, we will have a healthy pipeline of prospects as potential clients moving through the various stages. It all helps absorb the substantial inventory of homes, condos and lots we have for sale. There are currently 110 homes, 83 condos, 15 townhouses for sale on the mountain, with 19 houses for sale in Stoney Creek. We have years of inventory so pricing a home or condo is critically important if it is to be competitive.

Golf Ball Hunting

Since Judy and I moved to Stoney Creek last fall, I have been trying to teach our Jack Russell, Maxine, the art and science of golf ball hunting. It has become a great form of exercise for us. While Max pretends she is the deadly Canine Ninja Squirrel Assassin, I walk along the edges of the fairways in search of the elusive once hit Titleist Pro V or other top brands. If you have not priced a dozen Titleist Balls lately you will discover golf balls have gotten expensive so it is worth the quick look even when playing a casual round late in the afternoon when no one else is out playing But, I have found it is still much harder part is trying to find your own ball after you have hit the classic banana slice or a duck hook. Most players are too upset with the shot where the ball might have gone than concentrating on where it did go. Finding another good golf ball is never a consolation for losing the one you just hit but, at least after submitting to the penalty, finding a brand new top brand ball somehow eases the pain. If you are looking in a strange area, be careful. Yes, I am talking about snakes and even bees.  I am not afraid of snakes or bees but if I suspect an area where there might be a Copperhead or a Rattlesnake or there is poor visibility, I whistle a merry tune and keep walking.  The best time for finding balls on the mountain is early and mid-October. They really stand out amid the dying ferns. Anytime in mid-October is good for the valley courses before all the leaves come down and again I like to look again in early spring.

I saw an article in Triangle Golf Today recently while playing in Pinehurst a couple of weeks ago and will pass on these tips in addition to my own:

  • If there is trouble to the right of the first hole, always look there. Players beginning their round generally are not adequately warmed up so they do not rotate and the tendency is for the ball flight to go to the right. Most folks won’t look for them because there are probably other foursomes behind them waiting to tee off.
  • If you are looking to the left, most of the balls will be closer to the fairway because hooks generally come in at lower angles and get stopped by the brush. Slices will come in higher and will generally be deeper in the woods.
  • Balls tend to be grouped when lost. If you find one ball there will probably be others since the area probably has not been searched. Another suggestion is to look at the fairway from within the woods and not the reverse. Look from dark to light. Vegetation grows toward the sunlight and it blocks your view when looking outside in.
  • Learn where balls are lost on your home course. Chances are it is where you lose yours. Skip the places where rarely land and concentrate on the hot spots. Creeks are gold. Golfers think their ball went in the water and let them go, but sometimes they get hung up on the bank. When looking in a creek look at it from different angles so reflection does not block your view.
  • Pace is important. Don’t rush and get careless. Concentrate and be positive and alert. No need to “walkover” good balls because you are in a rush or are not focused. Visualize seeing a ball everywhere you look. If you anticipate finding a ball and it is there, you will see it even if only a few dimples are visible. The ball will literally jump out at you. If your imagination and concentration are focused, you will not walk past any balls.
  • The last rule is really about attitude. If you find trash, pick it up and put it in your bag. Don’t trample the vegetation, throw deadfall into the woods; leave the course better than you found it.

Finally, if you are hunting and see a golfer lose a ball, throw it to him. Most golfers are not anxious to discuss a bad shot so I just call out and pitch them their ball, or sometimes in addition a new one I just found.  I like to think they would do the same for me.

In Closing

Not much more to report this fall but I hope to see you at the annual WPOA meeting or around the valley or mountain this fall. Stop by and see us on Bellflower and if you have friends thinking about Wintergreen please think of me and drop me a note.

All the best,

Tim

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Wintergreen Performing Arts Summer 2015–You Can Help

Summer Music Festival
One of the things that makes Wintergreen such a unique, wonderful place to vacation is its spectacular diversity. In addition to the better-known amenities, Wintergreen offers world-class fine arts. This year, the Wintergreen Performing Arts Society 2015 Wintergreen Summer Music Festival runs from July 6 through August 2, 2015.

Wintergreen Orchestra

Wintergreen Orchestra

Wintergreen Performing Arts Society Orchestra In Concert
The theme for the 2015 season is: Cheers! Toast 20 Years of Music in the Mountains. Celebrate their 20th Anniversary with them, recognizing the anniversaries of musical artists and events spanning both time and types of music. Beethoven, the Beatles, Mozart, and Frank Sinatra are but a few. Join us and attend a wide range of events, including concerts, lectures, rehearsals, master classes, and even cooking classes. Click here for a festival brochure.

2015 Brochure

2015 Brochure

A Special Opportunity
We at Wintergreen Real Estate are proud to be a long-term sponsor of the Summer Music Festival. We would like to invite you to attend the festival. In addition, however, we ask those who have homes in the area to consider hosting one or more musicians during the festival.

“For the past 20 years musicians have been housed in homes and condominiums generously donated by WTG property owners. Many of our host families have provided housing for several years. This certainly speaks to the positive experience that this opportunity has to offer and the lasting connections that develop,” says Kelly Berrang, Housing Coordinator for Wintergreen Performing Arts.

“We are specifically looking for fully-furnished homes or condominiums with one to two bedrooms, a bathroom and perhaps a little refrigerator space. We are also in particular need of three or four larger homes (3-4 bedrooms) to house our Fellowship Quartet, invoke, and some of our older Academy students. For seasonal homeowners, even if you can’t be there, someone can tend to your empty home. Many homeowners provide housing for musicians for the duration of the Festival, while others may only host for one to two weeks, or even just a weekend.”

Do you have an extra bedroom and bathroom to share, or an empty house or condo available for the month of July? Please help. Consider providing housing for a musician for the month, one or two weeks, or even just a weekend. And, in addition to the unique opportunity to interact with these talented professionals, each host or host family will receive 2 free tickets to a Festival concert and an invitation to a picnic celebration for hosts and musicians during the Festival, and possibly, a tax benefit. Wintergreen Performing Arts will provide house cleaning prior to the arrival or following the departure of the musicians.

For More Information
Learn more about the festival and housing by visiting the offices of Wintergreen Performing Arts or their website (www.wintergreenperformingarts.org). If you think you can provide housing, click here, or call (434-325-8292) or email (kelly@wintergreenperformingarts.org) Kelly Berrang, housing coordinator. Kelly has also provided us with a housing application form-click here for a copy.

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New Farmers Market Video

One of the many vendors at the farmers market in Nellysford

One of the many vendors at the farmers market in Nellysford

Follow our interviewer as he tours the farmers market behind our office in Nellysford. Tim talks to a few of many vendors who offer produce, meat, bread, drink, and artwork each Saturday. Watch the video, and come see for yourself.

Stop in to see us when you come.

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You’re Invited! The Blackburn Gallery in Nellysford

You’re Invited!
Wintergreen Real Estate Company is proud to be a supporter of local arts and businesses. We are excited by the recent opening of The Blackburn Gallery in Nellysford (located next Wild Wolf).The Blackburn Gallery opened April 2015 and showcases and sells exceptional art from select regional artist and artisans. We are proud to share that one of our own agents, Gina Carroll, is a resident artist at The Blackburn Gallery.
The Blackburn Gallery will be offering regular “meet the artist” events with resident and guest artists, offering a variety of classes and workshops for the community, as well as working with area schools to keep art alive and thriving for our youth and our future artists.

We are proud to partner with The Blackburn Gallery in sponsoring a gathering full of fine arts, friendly folk and hors d’oeuvres… not to mention a glass of wine or two. You are invited to join us and meet guest artist Heidi Tickal during the first exhibition of her work SEASONS OF THE SHENANDOAH. A special artist reception is being held
June 13th, 2015 from 6 – 8 pm at The Blackburn Gallery
PLEASE RSVP by Wed. June 10 so we can be sure to have enough food and drink. If you forget, don’t worry, we still want to see you there!

Invite-Card (1)

Invitation-Back

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Useful tips for home buyers

The most important tips for homebuyers to know, as recommended by real estate agents

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Spring is Here. Don’t Miss It!

It’s Time for Spring!

After almost 40 inches of natural snow this season, we are ready for Spring. If you limit your visits only to Summer or Winter, you are missing at least half of what our area has to offer. While the Rockfish Valley and Wintergreen are spectacular any time of year, Spring offers a special charm. Redbuds and Dogwoods contend for glory. The meadows and mountains advance from black and white to more shades of green than you would have thought possible. Wildflowers welcome hikers. Clear, crisp days welcome golfers and tennis players. And the Farmer’s Market opens. Come and see for yourself.

FarmersMarketNelson County Farmer’s Market is Open

This is great time to visit Wintergreen, and it lasts for such a short time. We have myriad opportunities for visitors, rarely found in combination anywhere else. Consider:

Tennis–Courts open on May 1
Golf at Wintergreen and surrounding area courses
Winery, Micro-brewery, and Cidery Tours
Music–Derby Day at Wintergreen Performing Arts
Spring Wildflower Symposium, Nature Foundation at Wintergreen
Bird watching–Where’s The Birdie, Nature Foundation at Wintergreen
Memorial Day Weekend featuring Blues, Brews & BBQ
Cliffhanger Mountain Bike Challenge & Trail Run
Craft Shows and Antiques
Photography and Painting
Hiking and Mountain Biking
Trout fishing, Archery, and Shooting (including area sports schools)

Click here for the Nelson County events calendar, or go to our website.

SpringFlowersCrawford’s Knob Viewed From a Field of Flowers

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Project

If you own land in Nelson or Augusta counties, it’s likely that you have heard about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal for a 42-inch natural gas pipeline running through Augusta and Nelson counties. There are several route alternatives. As you can see from the map below, one of the alternatives comes close to Wintergreen, passing immediately in front of the gate house at the entrance to the Mountain Resort.

PipelineMap

Route planning will continue through June, 2015. The pipeline, to be constructed in 2017 and 2018, requires clearing a 125-foot strip of land along the pipeline. After construction, the strip is narrowed to 75 feet and seeded with grass.

The project has generated extensive controversy. Our primary interest is to make sure our clients are aware of the project and its potential impacts. We will actively keep you informed on our Facebook and Twitter pages and in our blog.

You may also want to consult the following information resources:

Nelson County News

http://www.nelsoncounty-va.gov/pipeline-information-and-updates/

http://www.newsplex.com/home/headlines/Atlantic-Coast-Pipeline-Identifies-Potential-Alternate-Routes-Through-Nelson-Co-293670331.html

Official Dominion Pipeline Site

https://www.dom.com/corporate/what-we-do/atlantic-coast-pipeline

Maps of the Alternatives That Most Affect Wintergreen

https://www.dom.com/library/domcom/pdfs/gas-transmission/atlantic-coast-pipeline/area-maps/acp-abn-sheet-index.pdf

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First Quarter 2015 Update

Resort News

As you know, Wintergreen was acquired by EPR Properties in February, 2015. EPR and their operator the Pacific Group are hard at work on the transition and on completing a successful ski season. While it is too soon to expect significant changes, the Resort is operating smoothly. The staff and property owners appear to be looking forward to improvements as the year unfolds. We anticipate that the new ownership adds stability, increased marketing and advertisement, and the capital funds needed for cosmetic upgrades and new amenities—all of which benefit property owners and lead to increased property values. You can go to the sites below for more information about the new owners and operators.

EPR Properties: http://www.eprkc.com/
The Pacific Group Resorts: http://www.pgri.us/resort.php

First Quarter Real Estate Update

The Resort had another excellent ski season—the third in a row since major investments in ski equipment, which is leading to increased condo and mountain home sales, especially for properties near the slopes. However, it takes time for an event such as the Resort sale to reflect itself in overall real estate results, and the results for the First Quarter 2015 are no exception.

1Q15-NumberofSales

The number of sales is up slightly compared with First Quarter 2014, but the average time to sell, the median sales price, and the percent of sales price to list price have decreased compared with First Quarter 2014. The uncertainty generated by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline proposal is not likely to help the market (see below for more information).

1Q15-MedianPrice

On the other hand, Wintergreen is a mature and respected community. Wintergreen is one of the most carefully developed, beautiful, and unique communities in America. There is a tremendous opportunity at Wintergreen for the right owner. The area continues to grow, with many new businesses and activities increasing its attraction as a recreational or retirement area.

1Q15-PriceRatio

With the Resort ownership question settled, the area growth, properties available at good prices, and the likelihood that interest rates will increase in the not too distant future, this seems a good time to buy.

1Q15-DOM

Note that the Percent Sales to List Price and Average Days of Market for Stoney Creek Residences are anomalies. Only one Stoney Creek home sold in 1Q2015, and it had been listed at too high a price. However there are currently five houses pending or sold as I write this, all within 5% of the asking price.

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