Charlottesville Breaking News

Trendless summer: Uncovering fun in Central Virginia

Every good townie knows his or her stuff when it comes to summer sunning and funning. Looking for live music? Stop by the nTelos Pavilion for the free Fridays After Five show. Craving a relaxing afternoon with friends? Head down to Scottsville's James River Runners to tube the day away. Want kid-friendly joy to include in your summer repertoire? The Downtown Mall's Discovery Museum always has an action-packed summer schedule.

But you know all this, as trendy attractions such as these are already on your calendar and have been, summer after summer. What about events that don't advertise themselves? We decided to break down 25 must-dos for the ultimate warm-weather Charlottesville experience. Welcome to a summer where you can really live off the beaten path.

1) The Blue Ridge Tunnel
Originally conceived as part of the Blue Ridge Railroad and built in 1856, the Blue Ridge Tunnel currently lies unused– but that doesn't mean adventure-seeking hikers aren't antsy to check out all 4,263 feet of it. The tunnel's two entrances pop out in Waynesboro and Afton, giving C'villians access no matter which direction they're headed. To use the tunnel's Waynesboro entrance, insiders recommend parking either alongside Route 250 at the train bridge between Waynesboro and Rockfish Gap, or at the animal hospital just off 250 after you pass Interstate 64. A dirt trail off the overpass leads up to the tunnel, although at times it's overgrown. In Afto...

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Well, this Bonnaroo ticket giveaway is certainly our biggest contest ever

<355"http://www.stubhub.com">StubHub are just dead set on starting your summer off properly, aren't they? This month they're sending pop-savvy blues-rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals out on the road with up-and-coming country-rock quintet Futurebirds and a few other folks for what they're calling the "Bonnaroo Buzz" tour, essentially a 13-show lead-in to whip up excitement for the enormous music festival, which takes place 6/9 through 6/12 on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee.

Grace & Co. will hit the Jefferson Theater on 6/8, and we have three pairs of tickets to give away to that show; two of these pairs will also come with some sort of backstage artist meet-and-greet thing (so please wear something nice for once!).

BUT WAIT– THERE'S MORE.

One lucky winner will a...

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Ready Preddy: County opens new park

Despite slimmed down budgeting, Albemarle County will open two new parks this year. On May 19, it cut the ribbon on Preddy Creek Trails Park, the first to allow horses to canter along with hikers, bikers, and runners on its 571 acres and nearly nine miles of trails,

"We know we're getting a lot of equestrian use because horses leave more than footprints," quipped parks and rec director Bob Crickenberger at the park's Thursday morning dedication. Whether horse droppings will become a problem is TBD. As for dog walkers: bring along a plastic bag.

One way to deal with sliced budgets is to recruit free labor, and Crickenberger and Supervisor Ken Boyd paid tribute to the volunteers who put in more than 1,700 hours clearing 8.6 miles of trails. The cost to the county for the park was $332,990, according to Crickenberger.

Albemarle bought the parcel in 1969 to use as a reservoir, but a 1977 study determined its capacity wouldn't suffice, said Boyd. The nearly 600-acre tract sat untapped for years.

"In 2003, when I first ran for the board, I was walking door-to-door around the neighborhood, and I was asked what we were going to do with that Preddy property we owned," recalls Boyd, who was unaware the county held such a large tract, which includes 104 acres in Orange C...

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Tackles to traction: Kids playing football a recipe for trouble

When people see my son, because of his large size they often say he’s going to be a linebacker. Many parents would be thrilled to hear such a prediction about a son, but I'm not many parents.

Before my son was born I decided he wouldn’t play football. Baseball, yes. Basketball, yes. Tennis, lacrosse, track: yes, yes, yes. But football, no. 

The more we learn about football, the harder it is to justify allowing people to play it, especially children. When I was in middle school, a boy on our JV team had his femur snapped during a game. The sight made us turn away in horror. It was nearly a year before the boy could walk, and he never played football again. At the time it seemed the worst injury the sport could inflict. If only that were the case.

In 2009, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, concluded a study on concussions in high school athletes that made a protruding femur look as serious as an ingrown toenail. As many as 40.5 percent of high school athletes who sustain concussions return to action prematurely; 16 percent of football players reported returning to play the same day they lost consciousness (remember not every concussion causes a blackout).

The study’s director “conservatively” estimated that high school athletes sustained more than 130,000 concussions in 2008, and the CDC reported that for kids ages 15-24, sports are second on...

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What do you know about Lyme disease?

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