Ring in a Fresh Start to 2020 in the Shenandoah Valley


Ringing in a fresh Start to 2020 in the Shenandoah Valley


“One kind word can warm three winter months.”

                                                   Japanese proverb


Welcome to January, the month of new beginnings. This is the time of year most of us stop to take stock of our lives- a good practice to do more than once every twelve months.  Besides ushering in a new year full of opportunity, January also ushers in the coldest, most blustery time of year in a large portion of the United States, including the Shenandoah Valley. Folks who aren’t fans of cold weather and the outdoor winter sports and activities it brings, tend to hunker down and burrow under blankets, around a roaring fire with a good book or a favorite playlist. This quasi hibernation is associated with the phenomenon of a “snow day.”  Have you noticed how busy weekends are when you are home from work? There’s laundry and grocery shopping to catch up on, along with all the errands pushed aside during the week; not to mention a multitude of scheduled weekend activities that fill your calendar. When Mother Nature gifts you an unexpected day off from work, the world outside your window comes to sudden halt, like highway traffic on a holiday weekend.  You are the recipient of 24 wonderfully unstructured hours to cocoon inside your home. It’s the perfect time to grab the book you’ve been meaning to read, along with a hot drink and a blanket, and settle in for a leisurely day of snow day bliss. 


The list of top books from 2019 is long. To give you a nudge to begin reading what could become your new favorite book, I’ve compiled a short list of last year’s must-read books.  There is sure to be one that will keep you enthralled and wishing for another day “stuck” at home!


Before you run out to purchase the book that sparks your interest, stop by one of Page County’s  wonderful local libraries, Page Public Library, Shenandoah Community Library  or Kibler Library, to see if they have the book in circulation.

 “The Silent Patient” by Alex Michaelides-The debut literary thriller of the year. It’s a fun twisty read with a surprise at the end.  

“Once More We Saw Stars” by Jason Greene-An emotional memoir shines a beacon of light in the darkest of places.

“Mrs. Everything” by Jennifer Weiner- A sweeping personal and political fictional point of view traces how far women have come and how far they have yet to go.

“The Night Tiger” by Yangsze Choo-A gripping historical tale where destinies collide.

“Daisy Jones & the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid- A captivating fictitious novel about a singer who comes of age in the late ’60s/early ‘70s.

“Underland: A Deep Time Journey” by Robert Macfarlane- A richly rewarding exploration of the world beneath our feet.

“The Unwinding of the Miracle” by Julie Yip-Williams-This book deals with how to come to terms with one our greatest fears, dying before we are ready.

“Cari Mora” by Thomas Harris, author of “The Silence of the Lambs”-A novel of greed and survival that will get under your skin and into your head.


The start of a new year is the optimum time to take stock of your health and wellbeing. It’s time to make that health appointment that you’ve been putting off for way too long. Page County is home to fantastic local healthcare providers who will guide you on the road to better health- County Road Family Medicine & Acupuncture,  Page Memorial Hospital/Family & Internal Medicine,  Page Free Clinic,  Luray Family Dental,  Valley Eye Clinic, Hearing at Home,  and Judith G. Weaver, E.Ds.- Licensed Professional Counselor. While you’re making that appointment for the humans in your family, don’t forget to call Blue Mountain Animal Clinic to set up an appointment for your four legged family members.


Scheduling a health and wellness exam is just the first step towards a healthier you and a healthier 2020. Don’t let the cold, dreary weather and shorter days get you down. The benefits of exercise and physical activity are essential to your health and wellbeing, more so during the winter months than any other time of year. Exercise helps your body release chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. Studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit from a positive boost in mood. Regular exercise reduces stress, wards off anxiety and depression, boosts self-esteem, induces a good night’s sleep, lowers blood pressure, increases energy, strengthens the heart, improves muscle strength and strengthens bones. To help you achieve your new health goals, visit Downtown Studios Unlimited, LLC. The exercise fitness studio, conveniently located in downtown Luray, offers group exercise classes in Cycling, Yoga, Booty Barre, Interval Training, Kickboxing and Dance. If you’re looking for a more personalized program with your very own Certified Health and Wellness Coach to help you achieve your healthy goals, Helen Philips-Cockrell, an independent Certified Health and Wellness Coach with Optavia and Optimal Health Solutions, LLC., will guide and support you on your journey towards optimal health and wellbeing. If you would like to pamper yourself after working out and are ready to rejuvenate your tired and sore muscles, visit Healing Oasis & Bella Donna Skincare or Integrated Bodywork, Inc and enjoy a soothing massage.


Folks looking to explore and improve upon their spiritual wellbeing are welcome to visit any of our wonderful churches, Christ Episcopal Church, Luray Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Luray United Methodist Church, Morning Star Lutheran Church, Mount Carmel Regular Baptist Church, and St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church. Studies show that belonging to a church is beneficial to a person’s wellbeing. In today’s high-tech world and with families scattered, church membership offers a sense of community with close friendships, fellowship, volunteer opportunities and social events.


However you decide to usher in the new year, the staff of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center wishes you a healthy and happy 2020! Here’s to a wonderful year ahead!