Thursday, December 12, 2019

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Valentine’s Day is truly upon us. I’m not much on the “mushy stuff,” as I call it, but in our hectic lives, I do believe in taking moments to remind those we love that we love them. Days like Valentine’s Day can give us pause to reflect on the love that we have in our lives and what we love about who we are and where we live.

Since I offered seven things to love about the Lake Gaston region in last week’s Chamber Talk, I want to offer seven more this week for a total of 14 in honor of February 14th:

8. Delicious Food – The Lake Gaston region is blessed with many creative restaurants whose dishes are as unique as the chefs who prepare them. Many times I have reflected on the fabulous meals I have enjoyed around the region. One of the other wonderful aspects of dining around the Lake Gaston region is that there is incredible ambience to accompany the food. You might find yourself dining in a colonial-era home, a countryside café with a lovely front porch, by the waterside looking out at an amazing sunset, in a vineyard surrounded by grape vines or a place that just feels like home.

9. Water, Water, Everywhere – We couldn’t talk about the Lake Gaston region if we did not talk about this amazing 350 miles of shoreline and 20,000+ acres of water. This water not only generates power for the region and beyond, but provides drinking water to other communities. Lake Gaston is a magnificent habitat for all sorts of creatures – the majestic Bald Eagle, the Osprey, Great Blue Herons, Egrets, Kingfishers, a variety of ducks, catfish, Striped Bass, Large Mouth Bass, Crappie, and so much more. The water is what draws people here to enjoy swimming, boating, floating, tubing, skiing, fishing…the ultimate in Lake Gaston living!

10. Brunswick County, VA – I would be remiss if I did not talk about each of the region’s counties individually. Alphabetically, we arrive at Brunswick County, VA, first, and there is so much to love in Brunswick County, namely Brunswick Stew! What about the wonderful Valentines Post Office with the one-of-a-kind cache? On my way back to the office after a recent meeting, I followed the signs to explore Fort Christanna and loved it!

11. Halifax County, NC – Halifax County, NC, is the Birthplace of Independence where the Halifax Resolves, the first document by any colony declaring independence from England was signed on April 12, 1776 (one of the dates on the NC flag). You can explore this history at Historic Halifax State Historic Site. Don’t miss Sylvan Heights Bird Park, the largest collection of waterfowl in the world. Medoc Mountain State Park offers camping, hiking, educational programs and so much more! The Roanoke Canal Museum & Trail is essentially a 7.5-mile indoor/outdoor museum with interpretive signs along the trail and interactive exhibits in the building.

12. Mecklenburg County, VA – I was fortunate enough to take a tour around Mecklenburg County with their dynamic tourism director Justin Kerns soon after I began work here. Mecklenburg County is blessed to have ample water recreation in both Lake Gaston and Kerr Lake. There are also many historic points of interest like Prestwould Plantation and Boyd Tavern. Occoneechee State Park is absolutely amazing! Don’t miss the doll, train and tobacco farm life museums in South Hill.

13. Northampton County, NC – I love Northampton County! There is plenty of rolling farmland to enjoy via biking or motorcycling. Stop in the many small towns and explore the mom and pop businesses. Canoe on the mighty Roanoke River. Enjoy a walking tour and Northampton County Museum in Jackson or visit the Veterans Memorial in Conway.

14. Warren County, NC – There is no way that you can visit Warren County and not love it. Warrenton has created an amazing downtown environment with unique businesses and restaurants. I love the antique shop in Norlina. When you get a moment, find out why they named the community Wise. There is very much an historic and cultural vibe all around the county.

I hope you feel the love from this article and, more importantly, have a renewed love for the Lake Gaston region. Since this is Valentine’s weekend, exercise your Shop Lake Gaston 1st efforts by conducting a business blitz in one of our many romantic eateries! Take your sweetheart for dinner out at Tammy’s Place, WatersView, The Pointe, Pea Hill Creek Café, or Chef’s Korner, share a sub at Subway or Quizno’s at Bracey Slip-In, a milkshake and fries at Highway 55, or take your sweetie to breakfast at Huddle House. Valentine’s Day is all about being kind to those you love, no matter what form that takes! So let’s get out there and show the love to one another in the Lake Gaston region!

Although it seems that I just finished packing up the holiday decorations and reflecting on the past year in preparation for the new, here we are with Valentine’s Day right around the corner. Now, I’m not one of those who has ever been all that into Valentine’s Day, as I believe you should show your loved ones that you care on a daily basis. However, I do think that days like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and the like provide moments of pause where the entire world seems to be fixated on love and appreciation (at least for a 24-hour period).

Therefore, I would like to use a portion of this week’s Chamber Talk to reflect on the many reasons why we love the Lake Gaston region, reasons that we celebrate and share with others all year long. In fact, as there are 14 days from the beginning of February to Valentine’s Day, we will share 14 things that are special to our region (7 this week and 7 next week):

1. Unique Local Businesses – Of course, we here at the Chamber celebrate entrepreneurship every day, and the Lake Gaston region is blessed with creative and top-notch businesses. Whether a one-man landscaping business or a large corporation, we find that our Lake Gaston regional businesses are invested in growing and supporting our region.

2.Hard-Working Non-Profits – There has never been a time in my life when I was not in some way involved with a non-profit organization. I am truly amazed at the active non-profits in the Lake Gaston region, making life here better for all via blood drives, toy drives, water safety, weed control and so much more. I thank them for their service and hope to partner with them this year.

3.Active Churches – What an amazing variety of church families we have in the Lake Gaston region! These churches are not only active on Sundays for worship but throughout the week. In fact, many churches are greatly involved in their local communities by supporting non-profits, operating food banks, providing youth activities, investing in the arts and more! We also want to partner with our churches and help spread the word of their good works around the region.

4.Giving Volunteers – The Chamber itself, the non-profits and the churches would not exist without a pool of generous volunteers. Once again, I am in awe of the funds that are raised, the playgrounds that are built, the toys that are collected, the weeds that are identified, the trash that is picked up, the people who are fed and on and on by these wonderful volunteers! Thank you all for your service.

5.Talented People – My goodness, where to begin? We have some amazing talents in the region – musicians who give us their voices and their notes, actors and actresses who delight us on the stages of our local theatres, artists who paint and photograph and sculpt and create images of Lake Gaston and beyond, speakers who wow us with their thoughts and many retirees whose skills carry over into new endeavors.

6.Special Events – We love the signature events around the Lake Gaston region like Battle of the Barbecue, the July 4th fireworks, the Littleton-Lake Gaston Festival, the Brunswick Stew Festival, the Holiday Boat Parade and so much more!

7.Supportive Media – Thanks to our local newspapers and radio stations for being so good to the region by promoting our organizations and our events and creating awareness of all that the Lake Gaston region has to offer.

Well, that’s enough love to spread around for now. I’ll share more next week. Back to the business at hand…or the Shop Lake Gaston 1st Business Blitz at hand! In preparation for Valentine’s Day, this Saturday, February 8, from 9 a.m. to Noon, everyone who can please shop at Lake Gaston Flower Shop with the lovely, talented and creative Terri. You will find something that your sweetheart will absolutely love! Don’t wait until the last minute to place your order for fresh-cut flowers or a potted plant. In fact, everyone who places their order on or before this Saturday will receive a 5% discount off their order! Terri’s shop is decorated from top to bottom with everything you need to make your Valentine’s Day special! Business Blitz – Lake Gaston Flower Shop – THIS Saturday, February 8, 9 a.m. to Noon…Don’t miss it!

The impending winter weather reminds me that we need to be as prepared as possible. I hope that the message of Shop Lake Gaston 1st is hitting home when you are thinking of preparing your home and yourself for cold, icy conditions.

Whether your heating system operates on gas or electricity, there are plenty of Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce members ready to serve you. We are blessed in this region to have Dominion Power, Duke Energy, Halifax Electric Membership Corporation, Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative, Progress Energy and Roanoke Electric Cooperative providing electricity to “light the lake,” keep us warm and our appliances running. Our gas and oil companies like AAA Gas & Appliance, Daughtridge Gas Company, New Dixie Oil Corporation, Newsom Oil & Gas Company, and Parker Oil Company provide the means to heat our homes, as well as prepare meals in times of power outages due to ice.

We want to make certain that our heating systems are functioning properly. Use a service technician in the Lake Gaston region like AirBoss Heating and Cooling, Comfort Zone Heating and Air, Price’s Refrigeration & Heating Service, and Southern Comfort Heating & Cooling. Their trained staff can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter as efficiently as possible. Of course, if your home isn’t well insulated, then your home won’t be heated properly. Call Smith Insulation to keep your home wrapped in warmth.

Make sure that there are no dangerous limbs overhanging your home or power lines. Contact Northstar Industries for tree trimming services or check with other home maintenance services like Bobby Talton Lawn Services, Comfort Zone Handyman Services, Corey’s Lawn Service, Eagle Landscaping and Lawn Care, P&P Home Maintenance, Philip Lawn Care & Landscaping Services, Top Gun Enterprises or WJ’s Lawn Maintenance and Landscaping to see if they trim trees as well. You might also want to trim back larger shrubs and protect certain plants from freezing temperatures.

If something happens to your home, don’t forget to call your insurance company. There are many wonderful insurance agents in the Lake Gaston region ready to serve you – Accounting Etc., A.M. Newsom Agency, Farm Bureau Insurance of Halifax County, Maddrey Insurance Agency, Nationwide Insurance-O.L. Meek, Roanoke Valley Insurance & Financial Services, State Farm Insurance-Chris Canady, Triangle Financial Group, Virginia Asset Management, and Watkins Insurance Agency.

No matter what, be smart in colder, icy weather. Take good care of yourself and your home, so that everything and everyone will be healthy and ready to welcome Spring! For more Lake Gaston regional service providers, please visit

I hope that 2014 has gotten off to a good start for everyone. The Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce has jumped in on starting our New Year’s resolutions. As part of our new year’s efforts, we are eager to continue our Shop Lake Gaston First campaign to encourage everyone in the five-county region to keep their dollars within the region when they shop for goods and services.

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