Oil-Rich Nigeria Looks to Renewables to Meet Massive Electricity Needs

first_imgOil-Rich Nigeria Looks to Renewables to Meet Massive Electricity Needs FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Faced with a population boom that has sent carbon emissions soaring and stretched power supplies to breaking point, oil-rich Nigeria is turning to renewable energy in a big way.Africa’s most populous country needs more than 10 times its current electricity output to guarantee supply for its 198 million people—nearly half of whom have no access at all, according to power minister Babatunde Fashola. Nigeria has set a target of expanding electricity access to 75 percent of the population by 2020 and 90 percent by 2030.It aims to generate 30 percent of its total energy from renewable sources by 2030, Fashola said in a recent speech in London, a major commitment for an economy that depends heavily on fossil fuels. Oil and gas production account for around 35 percent of Nigeria’s gross domestic product and about 90 percent of total exports revenue, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).Over the past year, the country has invested more than $20 billion in solar power projects, seeking to boost the capacity of the national grid and reduce reliance on it by building mini-grids in rural areas without mains electricity. [For example,] a $350 million World Bank loan will be used to build 10,000 solar-powered mini-grids by 2023 in rural areas, bringing power to hospitals, schools and households, said Damilola Ogunbiyi, managing director of the Rural Electrification Agency.The government [also] is investing in hydropower, with several projects close to completion. The largest is the Mambilla Power Station in central Nigeria, a $5.79 billion project due to be completed in 2024 with most of the financing coming from Chinese lenders. It will be able to generate 3,050 MW of renewable energy in the rural region, and is scheduled to be completed in 2024.More: Oil-Rich Nigeria Turns To Renewable Energy As Population Boomslast_img read more

U.S. coal analysts say sector’s current woes to continue through 2020

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:No end to the bearish sentiment in the U.S. utility coal market is expected through 2020, according to analysts at Seaport Global, as a result of low domestic natural gas prices and a weak export market.The utility coal “market started the year in good shape, but has gotten materially worse ever since,” driven by a low front-month gas futures price, Mark Levin, senior analyst, and Nathan Martin, senior associate analyst, wrote in the Seaport note Tuesday.The CIF ARA coal market has been “obliterated,” with the front-month price falling $26.70 to $59/mt between the start of the year and Monday, as a result of mild weather, cheap gas prices, high carbon allowance prices and plentiful Russian supplies. “The net result was significantly weaker coal prices in key US export basins like Northern Appalachian and the Illinois Basin,” the analyst said, noting price falls of 27% and 19% over the period, respectively.And the analysts said most investors expect the US utility coal market will be worse in 2020 than it is in 2019. “Investor negativity toward the steam market rests on two somewhat obvious factors: (1) low natural gas prices eating into coal demand; and (2) weak API2 prices causing US steam coal exports to get cut anywhere from a third to a half,” they wrote.The latter factor is putting additional pressure on US utility coal prices as tonnes previously intended for the seaborne market will be forced to remain at home, creating an even larger imbalance given what is already a tepid demand environment. “If these tons can’t find a home, bears argue that coal producers must cut their sales figures, creating a triple whammy effect – lower coal prices, lower coal volumes, and higher costs due to less operating leverage,” the analysts added.While API2 prices for the full-year 2020 period had their best week since the start of the year last week, driven by a 5% on a rise in US gas prices, “US producers are still far out of the money,” the report noted, adding that concerns over IMO 2020 sulfur regulations causing a fuel oil surplus and pressure on NAPP exports to India are growing. “In short, negativity toward thermal coal is everywhere,” they wrote.More: Bearish U.S. utility coal market sentiment unlikely to lift before end of 2020: Seaport U.S. coal analysts say sector’s current woes to continue through 2020last_img read more

Indian ratings agency lowers outlook for country’s coal-fired power sector

first_imgIndian ratings agency lowers outlook for country’s coal-fired power sector FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Economic Times:Capacity utilisation of coal-fired power plants is set to decline in FY20, following a slowdown in power demand growth from 6.4 per cent in the first eight months of FY19 to 1.2 per cent during FY20 and higher generation from hydro and renewable sources, according to estimates by ratings agency ICRA.It has prompted the agency to revise its year-end outlook for the power sector from stable to negative. The rating is driven by critical factors like a slowdown in energy demand growth, sluggish progress in the resolution of stressed thermal assets and; less than expected improvement in [distribution company] finances.According to ICRA Research, demand growth turned negative since August 2019, which declined by 12.9 per cent in October 2019 and 4.3 per cent in November 2019 on a Y-o-Y basis. This can be attributed to lower demand from household and agriculture segments following higher than usual rains in August 2019 to October 2019 and; moderation in demand from the industrial segment.A slowdown in power demand growth coupled with higher generation from hydro, nuclear and renewable sources led to a decline in capacity utilisation to 56.6 per cent in the first seven months of FY2020 from 60.2 per cent in the corresponding period of the previous year.Sabyasachi Majumdar, group head & senior vice president, ICRA, said: “ICRA expects subdued energy demand growth coupled with higher generation from hydro, nuclear and renewable sources to suppress average capacity utilisation of coal-fueled power plants to about 59.0 per cent in FY2020 from about 61 per cent in FY2019. Nonetheless, the same is expected to show a gradual recovery over the medium term with decommissioning of older thermal projects, slow pace of new capacity addition and expectations of recovery in industrial energy demand. Further, the absence of fresh long-term power purchase agreements over the last few years and the delays in implementation of medium-term power purchase agreements as awarded in the last one year, under the central schemes remain the areas of concern for the IPPs.”ICRA notes that the progress on stressed asset resolution also remains slow, with only about 10 per cent of the 40 GW stressed coal-based capacity, achieving resolution. This is because of the long lead time to achieve a sustainable resolution, limited progress in signing of new long-term power purchase agreements and still subdued thermal PLF levels. Given the slowdown in demand growth and lack of visibility on long-term power purchase agreements, the resolution of stressed assets may remain slow in the near term.[Debjoy Sengupta]More: ICRA revises year-end outlook to negative for conventional power sectorlast_img read more

Florida utility Tampa Electric to add 600MW of solar in next three years

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Florida Politics:Tampa Electric Company (TECO) announced Wednesday it would invest about $800 million to add another 600 megawatts of solar power in the next three years.When complete, the solar expansion will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 500,000 tons every year, which is roughly equal to removing 100,000 cars from the road.With this expansion, TECO will have a total of more than 1,250 megawatts of solar power — enough to power more than 200,000 homes — with about 14% of the utility’s energy fueled by the sun, the highest percentage of solar power of any utility in the state.The solar expansion will also prove less expensive to customers than if TECO kept its fleet as it is today. This expansion will significantly change the company’s generation mix, as the utility continues to reduce its use of coal. In the past 20 years, Tampa Electric has reduced its use of coal by 92% and has cut its carbon footprint in half.TECO’s investment in solar power has also saved more than 1.4 billion gallons of water — significantly helping an area of the state that has critical concerns over water use.More: Cleaner and greener: TECO announces major solar expansion Florida utility Tampa Electric to add 600MW of solar in next three yearslast_img read more

MHI Vestas planning super-sized offshore wind turbine

first_imgMHI Vestas planning super-sized offshore wind turbine FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Recharge:MHI Vestas will by early next year at the latest unveil a new turbine platform that will compete with supersized models already announced by rivals GE and Siemens Gamesa, said CEO Philippe Kavafyan.Without specifying a nameplate capacity Kavafyan told Danish media the platform will be “very powerful” and a “leap rather than evolution” from the current V164/V174 machine that rates up to 10MW.That has started to be left behind by the 15MW and 13MW machines already under development by Siemens Gamesa and GE respectively, and Kavafyan said “now is the time to take the next step in size”.“Some months will pass before we present it. It will either be late this year or in the beginning of the next. We’re talking about turbines ready for commercial installation by the mid-2020s,” said the MHI Vestas CEO.The new platform will still be based on technology from wind OEM Vestas, co-owner of the manufacturer with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kavafyan told EnergyWatch. That means it will be a geared machine in contrast to the direct-drive technology used by competitors. The V164 has led the move up in ratings in offshore wind and is currently the most powerful machine operating commercially with turbines of 9.5MW up and running.Recharge revealed today how developer Vineyard Wind, which originally had the V174 9.5MW lined up for its pioneering US project, is now considering a larger turbine from a competitor.[Andrew Lee]More: ‘Very powerful’: MHI Vestas poised for ‘leap’ beyond V164 with new offshore wind turbinelast_img read more

Blue Ridge All Stars

first_imgMeet five all stars who left a lasting impact on the outdoor scene in 2008.Lady in the WaterKATIE SPOTZInstead of celebrating her college graduation with parties and a carefree summer, Katie Spotz became the first person to swim the entire 352-mile Allegheny River. The month-long swim through upstate New York and Pennsylvania benefited Blue Planet Run Foundation, a charity that works throughout the world to help communities gain access to clean drinking water.Spotz has already proven she is up for an adventure. In 2006 she biked across the U.S. to benefit the American Lung Association in memory of her grandmother.“I’m always looking for new ways to challenge myself,” she says. “I love the mental challenge of any endurance sport.”For her latest endeavor, which started on July 22 and ended on August 21, Spotz took inspiration from Martin Strel, who swam 2,360 miles of the Mississippi River in 2002.Spotz had to walk the Allegheny’s first 27 miles, because the water was too shallow. For the next 325 miles, she swam for six to eight hours a day. The first three weeks were relatively peaceful, but during the last 70 miles she had to contend with a lot of boat traffic and minimal currents, which slowed her pace. She also scuffled with downed trees and shallow sections that banged up her knees.“My wetsuit was pretty rugged by the end of the month,” she says.Her friend James Hendershott followed her for safety and support in an inflatable kayak that was big enough to hold gear and food. Nights were spent camping on the Allegheny banks.Before setting off on the epic swim, the longest distance Spotz had previously swum was four miles. Despite a lack of experience and no training, her body adjusted quickly. She attributes her success to mental perseverance, something that is required to be able to stare into cloudy water eight hours a day for a month.“The first week there were some major endorphin highs and energy-depleting lows, but after that, my body easily adjusted,” she says. “I have this kind of animal drive. When I want something, I don’t see anything else. It’s a peaceful and fulfilling thing to know that your body can endure. People are not aware of what their bodies are capable of because life is so easy. I don’t think I am special. Anyone can do these things if their mind accepts the challenge.”To follow up the Allegheny, Spotz has an even bigger body of water in her sights. Next year she plans to row across the Atlantic Ocean as another benefit for Blue Planet. With a spirit for endurance and a heart for charity, it seems there is little to stand in her way.“It’s mind-boggling that 1.1 billion people right now don’t have access to clean drinking water,” says Spotz. “That’s the most basic human need.”Cycling SaviorWILL FRISCHKORNWith the lack of Lance and the shame of Landis, Americans had little to be excited about heading into this year’s Tour de France. But in stage 3, the red, white, and blue was given a day of exciting headlines thanks to Will Frischkorn, a 27-year-old utility rider on the outspoken, daily-tested anti-doping squad Garmin-Chipotle. Frischkorn, who grew up in Charleston, W.Va., and trained extensively as a high school student in Charlottesville, Va., was in 122nd place going into stage 3. But by the end of the day he was in third, the result of a gutsy performance that earned worldwide buzz and found him leading for more than 200 kilometers before just being edged out at the end by veteran French rider Samuel Dumoulin. Frischkorn, a strong all-around support rider, ended up helping two of his teammates finish in the Tour top 20. But for one day, he stood on the podium and was donned the day’s Most Aggressive Rider.“The Tour is the dream, and to be a part of a team that played an active role in the race was really exciting,” he says.Man on the RunMICHAEL WARDIANMichael Wardian spent the year dominating the professional ultra-running scene. The Arlington, Va.-based runner won three USATF titles, including the 50-mile Trail Championship and the 50K and 100K Road Championship titles. At the 50K in Crystal Mountain, Wash., he set a championship record with a 2:55:05. His performance at the 100K in Madison, Wis., earned him a spot on the World Team and a chance to compete for the U.S. at the 100K World Championships in Italy this month.The amazing thing about Wardian is not only his consistent winning (he hasn’t lost an ultra that he’s entered in over a year), but also his tireless running ethic. In addition to competing in a total of six ultras this year, he also ran 13 marathons—including two on consecutive days in March. He won the National Marathon in Washington, D.C., with a 2:24:59, and then he hopped on a plane to Tennessee and ran the Knoxville Marathon in 2:29:50, placing third after leading for 24 miles. This year in total he ran over 50 races of varying distance. Critics wonder how fast Wardian could be if he actually tried to take some proper recovery time, but he is more interested in just testing his limits.“I like to see how far I can push myself and see what I can accomplish,” he says. “People think it’s crazy, but now they’re not trying to curb what I’m doing as much because I’ve had good results. What works for me doesn’t work for everyone.”Wardian also likes an unconventional challenge. He previously held the fastest time for a marathon on a treadmill, and last year he set the record for running a marathon with a stroller—a feat he shares with his son, who was along for the ride at just 10 months old. Wardian’s only big disappointment this year came when he was trying to recapture the treadmill record. He was on a 2:18 pace for 22 miles, but he ended up in the hospital with exhaustion before he could finish.“I wasn’t taking in enough fluids,” he says. “You have to take your body seriously, so it was a good learning experience.”Next year Wardian, who works full-time as a ship broker for Potomac Marine International, will look to win the Marathon des Sables, the 150-mile stage race through the Sahara Desert, and the Comrades 54-mile ultra-marathon in South Africa. He’ll also be looking to defend his USATF championship titles. One thing that might decrease his race traveling is the birth of his second child this December.“I promised my wife I would scale it back,” he says. “But I like to show people that you can compete on an elite level with a full-time job and a family.”Best of the BarkleyBRIAN ROBINSONThe Barkley Marathon is ultrarunning’s underground nightmare. Heading into 2008, only six runners in 21 years had finished the 100-mile course that bushwhacks through the rugged mountains of Tennessee’s Frozen Head State Park. The 100-miler consists of five 20-mile loops and a total elevation change over 100,000 feet. Sections of the course are so steep that runners often have to pull themselves up by trees. Other sections are overgrown with thorn bushes. Then there’s the quirky sadism of race director Gary Cantrell, who makes runners tear pages from books left along the course to prove they’ve covered all 20 miles. Last year Cantrell put one of the books at the opening of a rattlesnake den. These collective obstacles get the best of some of the world’s toughest ultrarunners; many don’t make it past the first loop.But this year Brian Robinson became the seventh person to finish the Barkley. He also set a new course record—finishing in 55 hours and 42 minutes.The third time was the charm for Robinson. During his first Barkley attempt two years ago, he ran in the 60-mile “fun run” category and finished seven minutes past the cut-off time. Last year he was the only racer to start a fifth and final loop, but sleep deprivation forced him to call it quits.“I couldn’t move fast enough to stay awake,” he recalls. “I got into zombie stumble mode and had to quit a quarter of the way into the loop.”But this year Robinson learned from his mistakes and came into the race with a new strategy—sleep. He forced himself to take two hour-and-a-half naps, even when he wasn’t tired. The rest made him more efficient on the rugged course.“The sleep strategy was key, because I was able to go faster in the later loops,” Robinson says. “The time I lost was paid back with interest.”Six years ago Robinson left a high-paying job in Silicon Valley to have more time to pursue his endurance passion. In 2001 he became the first person to finish the Triple Crown of hiking, which included completing the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail, a total of 7,400 miles, all in one year. He now seeks out some of the toughest ultra-marathons and endurance challenges.“I basically took a plan B life—left a high-stress job and walked away from a big paycheck,” he says. “I’m satisfying the wanderlust in me. I’m taking the path less traveled, and it’s making all the difference.”Paddling ProdigyLAUREN BURRESSAt just 12 years old, Lauren Burress already has her sights on the Olympics. This year the whitewater wunderkind from east Tennessee won the Freestyle and Slalom Kayaking Junior Nationals.Burress was drawn to freestyle paddling at age 6. She was on a whitewater rafting trip with her mom on the Elkhorn River in Kentucky, and her dad was paddling nearby with friends in play boats. During a break, Burress ran over to the kayakers and jumped into one of the boats with her dad’s friend—experiencing her first surfing hole. By age 8 she was running the Big South Fork River in Tennessee, and at 9 she participated in her first Teva Mountain Games.“We would get a lot of heat from people for letting her paddle the Big South Fork at such a young age,” says Lauren’s mom, Kathleen. “But we always had big groups of experienced people with us, and she easily progressed.”Not yet a teenager, she is already competing on the professional level. She recently finished second in the pro women’s category of a paddling comp in Glenwood Springs, Colo.“It’s a sport where you can be yourself,” says Burress, when asked what she likes about paddling. “I like that you can still progress at any level from beginner to expert.”In one competition this year, she was too good for her age. Her performance at the Slalom and Freestyle Junior Nationals qualified Burress to compete at the World Cup in Europe. But four days before she was supposed to get on a plane, she was notified that she had to be 15 to compete in the junior division.Burress, who just moved to paddle full-time in Colorado, will focus on pro categories next year, because—strangely—they don’t have a minimum age requirement like junior categories. She’s looking to compete in the U.S. Team Trials at Glenwood Springs in May. While it’s currently being debated whether freestyle paddling will be an Olympic event in London in 2012, Burress is keeping her fingers crossed.“I really want to be an Olympic medalist,” she says. “Hopefully freestyle will get in and that will work out.” last_img read more

Weekend Picks: Red Wing Roots Music Festival, Mt. Solon, Virginia

first_imgStepping it up with a bold line-up for its second year, headliners performing at the 2014 Red Wing Roots Music Festival — hosted by The Steel Wheels at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Va., July 11-13 — include Trampled By Turtles, The Devil Makes Three, Hayes Carll, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, The Steel Wheels, Peter Rowan, Pokey LaFarge and Sarah Jarosz.The family-friendly festival features 40 bands on four stages, community dances, kids’ activities, food and craft vendors and access to a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.After a successful inaugural, accomplished Virginia-based string band the Steel Wheels are bringing back this new festival close to their Harrisonburg hometown at Natural Chimneys Park in the Shenandoah Valley. It’s a family friendly fest with scenic camping and plenty to do in the Kid’s Zone, which includes special band performances for younger audiences.The Steel Wheels have occasionally ditched the touring van and done some regional stints on bikes. Since the band members are big two-wheel enthusiasts, the festival features organized road and mountain bike rides on Saturday. You can also take a hike in the nearby North River Ranger District of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests or bring your rod and cast for largemouth bass and bluegill in Elkhorn Lake.For tickets, full lineup and other information, visit www.redwingroots.com.steel-wheels-2014last_img read more

Daily Dirt: Road Kill, Fittest City, and National Park Record

first_imgRoadkill CompostCar-struck animal carcasses may soon become compost in the Commonwealth. According to the Associated Press, Virginia is testing a new program to turn roadkill into plant food. The effort includes a special system that accelerates the decomposition process while also reducing odors. It can also apparently break down animals in as little as six weeks. Currently the Virginia Department of Transportation buries roadkill or disposes it at landfills at an estimated cost of $4 million a year. D.C Named the Fittest City in the U.S.The nation’s capital is the fittest city in the United States, according to a recent set of rankings released by the American College of Sports Medicine. The D.C. metro area came out on top in the organization’s annual American Fitness Index, which was developed as a data-driven study to measure the health and fitness of the country’s 50 most populous metropolitan areas. In addition to having a large number of residents who frequently exercise, the District also scored high for numbers of parks, recreation centers, and farmers’ markets per capita, as well as relatively low death rates for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Record Year for National ParksLast year saw record attendance in America’s national parks. A report that came out earlier this year tallying 2014 numbers reported a record 294 million park visitors. According to a piece in National Parks Traveler that’s a jump of more than 20 million visitors from the previous year. In the South the Blue Ridge Parkway saw a big uptick, hosting 13.9 million people in 2014, approximately a million more than the previous year. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was up 744,276 for a total 10 million park guests.last_img read more

48 Hours in Lexington, Virginia

first_imgCradled between the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests to the east and the Central Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, the city of Lexington, Va., hosts a wealth of outdoor adventure, culture, and history. With two campuses just a short walk from downtown, Virginia Military Institute and Washington and Lee University, the vibe in this otherwise quaint community is young and fresh.Bucolic farms litter the countryside just outside of town, indicative both of Lexington’s agricultural roots and its ever-growing farm to table movement. Mild weather year round makes Lexington the perfect destination for any season’s vacation. Hikers and equestrians, foodies and artists, come one, come all! There’s a little something for everyone in Lexington, Va.Downtown Lexington Virginia at NightCradled between the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests to the east and the Central Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, the city of Lexington, Va., hosts a wealth of outdoor adventure, culture, and history.Day 1Wake up those legs with a hike to Devil’s Marbleyard, a unique geological field of boulders and rocks that range in size from marbles to houses. Located in the James River Face Wilderness off of Milepost 71 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this three-mile out-and-back can easily be completed in a few hours. If you’re looking for a longer hike, and a bigger challenge, return via the Gunter Ridge Trail for a total loop length of 8.3 miles.DevilsMarbleYardLocated in the James River Face Wilderness off of Milepost 71 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, this three-mile out-and-back can easily be completed in a few hours.After your hike, take a tour of one of the area’s greatest natural wonders—the Caverns at Natural Bridge. Guided tours (adults: $18, kids: $12) run every half hour for 45 minutes each and take visitors 34 stories belowground to an otherworldly landscape of stalactites and stalagmites, of course, but also dripstone, flowstone, draperies, and pools.M245_BGuided tours (adults: $18, kids: $12) run every half hour for 45 minutes each and take visitors 34 stories belowground to an otherworldly landscape.Make sure to see the Natural Bridge itself, once called “The Bridge of God” by the native Monacan Indian tribe. You can see its holy glory via the Cedar Creek Trail, a one-mile trail that winds past its namesake, Cedar Creek, and ends at the 30-foot Lace Falls.Day 2Short of outdoor adventures and Civil War-age history, Lexington is also home to the nationally renowned Virginia Horse Center, a testament to the area’s rich equestrian scene. On your second day in Rockbridge County, you’ll experience those picturesque farms that passed by your window the day before from a different perspective, the way early settlers would have seen the countryside—between the ears of a horse.NaturalBridge_LexingtonRockbridgeTourism_hiresMake sure to see the Natural Bridge itself, once called “The Bridge of God” by the native Monacan Indian tribe.Tish Vest is the local go-to for guided trail rides and lessons. Her property, located in Natural Bridge, is not only a textbook example of Virginia’s beauty, but is also uniquely joined with the Bodhi Path Buddhist Center. Don’t be surprised when you come upon a Buddhist temple during your trail ride.If you prefer to hop in a saddle of a different sort, check out Shenandoah Rides and Rentals for all of your touring, shuttle, and bike rental needs. Owners Dave & Tasha Walsh can suggest routes, help with shuttle, and even assist you with long-distance ride logistics. For a casual, yet scenic, afternoon ride, ask the Walsh’s about Goshen Pass—they’ll set you up with a ride that’s mostly downhill and overlooks the Maury River.FoodVegetarians and vegans will find their new haven at Kind Roots, a small, family-owned restaurant located in the Lexington YMCA. It’s like a deli, with a unique and local twist that’s winning the hearts of customers one sweet potato burger at a time.Part grocer, part restaurant, the Blue Phoenix Café & Market is a hit no matter your dietary preferences. Vegetarians will delight with classic menu items like the TLT (that’s tofu, lettuce, and tomato) and the Grilled Cheese with sundried tomato aioli, while even the most carnivorous of carnivores will find their savory weekly specials something to Yelp about…in a good way.For a taste of the Shenandoah Valley itself, The Red Hen is a must. As Lexington’s first farm-to-table restaurant, The Red Hen has well-established relations with the area’s best farmers and caters its menu each day to the bounties of the valley. When in doubt, go for the risotto. This is fine dining at its best.Savor the charm of southern eats and atmosphere at the Southern Inn Restaurant. Opened in 1932, this restaurant still maintains much of the same design and infrastructure from its early years. You can get standard southern goodies like fried pickles and fried pimento cheese here, and they are to die for, but don’t take our word for it. Get some yourself.southern innOpened in 1932,The Southern Inn still maintains much of the same design and infrastructure from its early years.Libations & NightlifeIn the summertime, the Lime Kiln Theater is the place to be. The outdoor venue is breathtaking, the line-up is always killer (last year’s events featured Ben Sollee, Steep Canyon Rangers, Chatham County Line, Mandolin Orange, and The Infamous Stringdusters, just to name a few), and the vibe is downright groovy. It’s the perfect way to spend a summer evening.Craft beer fans will want to stop in at Blue Lab Brewing Company, which opened in 2010. While Blue Lab offers five standard brews year round, the adventurous palette will want to explore beers like the Green Chile Ale and the Coffee Chocolate Stout.How would you like to spend your next Sunday under the sun, lounging on a deck with an uncorked bottle of wine beside you and music in your ear? Who wouldn’t!? At Rockbridge Vineyard’s Uncorked and Unplugged series, that’s exactly what goes down two Sundays of every month, April thru October. Bring the family, the lawn chair, the picnic basket, the dog, the hula-hoop, and your dancing shoes for this pickin’ good time. Like a cherry on top, their wine is pretty fabulous, too.11794178_1595696370692882_4908742565182401316_oBrew Ridge Taps has 18 beers on tap and 199 bottles of beer on the wall.Brew Ridge Taps. 18 beers on tap. 199 bottles of beer on the wall. Appetizers, wafflewiches (that’s a sandwich, with a waffle instead of bread), open mic nights, chalkboard tables. Need we say more?Looking for a place to hunker down for the evening with a craft cocktail in hand and a fire crackling in the hearth? Look no further than TAPS, located in The Georges. TAPS also serves locally inspired soups, salads, and sandwiches, making it a perfect place to host events.Love Devils Backbone brews but can’t make it out to Nelson County? Check out the brewery’s Outpost in Lexington, where 45,000 barrels of beer were brewed in the Outpost’s first three years of operation.LodgingFor a boutique inn experience, check out The Georges on Main Street. One part history, one part luxury, and one part convenience, this place is sure to make you feel like royalty.Submerge yourself in the farmland surrounding Lexington at Applewood Inn and Llama Trekking. That’s right—llama trekking. Aside from the environmentally friendly, cozy, bed and breakfast style accommodations here, you can also sign up for a guided llama trek around the property.TheGeorges_home1For a boutique inn experience, check out The Georges on Main Street.A stay at the House Mountain Inn is like going back in time. The rustic log cabin is situated against a backdrop of picturesque mountains on the 1,000-acre Allegheny Mountain Preserve. The back deck overlooks the painting-perfect landscape, and with a two-story fireplace, gourmet meals, and a daily complimentary wine and cheese hour, we won’t blame you if you decide to stay forever.Find peace along the banks of the James River at Wilderness Canoe Company, where primitive, riverside camping complete is status quo for every site. Camping is reserved for those looking to paddle the river, so make the most of your stay by renting a canoe or inner tube. You can tackle the James yourself or hop on a guided tour ranging from flatwater to class III rapids, level pending.Upcoming EventsApril 2: 10th Annual Rockbridge Bull & Oyster FestAugust 12 & 26, September 9 & 23: Music in the Garden SeriesSeptember 5: Labor Day FestivalSeptember 9-10: Mountain Music & Dance FestivalSeptember 10: Rockbridge Beer & Wine FestivalSeptember 22-24: Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival[divider]Check out More from our 48 Hours Series below[/divider]last_img read more

10 Kayak Fishing Tips for Beginners

first_imgIt’s been over two years since this kayak fishing journey began. I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. I decided to list some of kayak fishing tips. This by no means will be an exhaustive list, and I’ll compile a more technical one soon. But if you’re just starting out kayak angling, hopefully some of these will help you out. Kayak fishing is a fantastic, soulful way to spend some time.I started working at Appomattox River Company in May of 2012. That fall I had moved into a marketing-digital role and begun looking for ways to increase our brand awareness. Appomattox River Company already had a good name in the paddle-sports industry, and I wanted to find more people and draw them into the fun. I paddled some canoes as a kid, and I’d paddled a little whitewater, but there were so many long-time canoeists and whitewater paddlers in the company here in Farmville, that I decided to tackle a different scene.I decided to try kayak fishing. I’d fished as a kid, on occasion as a teen, but hadn’t done much in my adult life. So I started casting lines from a used kayak in April of 2013. I got into kayak fishing thinking that it would be a good marketing angle, to pick up some skills, and to relate to that portion of the paddle-sports market. I also thought it wouldn’t hurt to appeal to the larger fishing market. I had no idea that this motivation would quickly turn into an absolute obsession, and that within me lay dormant a passion that exploded with that first cast and that first kayak caught bass.Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.46.11 AMBy June of 2013, the addiction was firmly entrenched. I had caught my first saltwater fish from a kayak while in North Carolina.Kayak Fishing Tips:1) You do not need to buy a top of the line kayak, but you do need to talk to some experienced people about the best kind of kayak for the water you plan to be fishing, combined with your height/weight and paddling ability. I see articles stating that you can start with a $200 kayak. That’s true, for some folks. But I’ve fielded a lot of phone calls from people who bought big box store kayaks that can’t carry their weight. It helps to talk to people who know kayaks, before you buy.2) Don’t bring your most expensive rods on the kayak your first few times on the water. You will probably flip (or turtle) once or twice, better to lose or break cheap rods than to watch your favorite ones float to the bottom of a deep lake. If anyone ever finds my 3 nice Abu Garcia rods at the bottom of Summersville Lake in WV, let me know. I did rescue my daughter’s hat though before turtling. 🙂3) Kayak fishing is distinctly different than fishing from a boat. You must be self-reliant and prepared to handle any situation, on your own. It’s both the beauty and risk associated with the activity. Wear your PFD. There have been a lot of drownings lately due to kayak fisherman going in the drink without flotation. I carry a lot of essential items in my PFD that I need. It’s a tool that I do not fish without. Fishing PFDs have come a long way. These aren’t the 1970’s banana colored, camp lifejackets.4) Speaking of bananas. Don’t show up to the boat launch, on tournament day, or any day, eating a banana. People will yell at you. Seriously, it’s a thing. Google it. I made the mistake once. Never again.5)  Try not to hassle people for fishing spot info. Have a sense of adventure. Read fishing reports, look at Google Earth, scour old forum posts and investigate. You can learn a lot about patterns, good fishing holes, etc from just a wee bit of effort. As I stated before, kayak anglers are pretty self-reliant folks, and most of the good ones put in a lot of hours honing skill and finding good spots. Don’t expect them to just turn around and hand that info over to you if you’re not going to show any initiative. But do your homework and get after it and you’ll quickly be welcomed into a great community of giving people.6) Want to get a great shot of your catch? Get a mount for your camera (Yak Attack or Yak Gear). Attach some fish grips to a T-Reign retractor tether. When you catch that big’un, slap it on the tethered fish grips and let it chill in the water while you get your camera all set up. Press the timer setting and when the camera gets ready to shoot, pull your fish up and it will be fresh for the photo.7) Which brings me to this tip for action cam users. GoPro cameras have many settings, but few buttons. Learn to navigate them quickly and correctly, because if you accidentally hit “Burst” instead of “Time Lapse” you end up with 20 of these shots and none of the full fish. “This was a good 3-4 pounder I swear…”Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 9.42.54 AM8) If you’re going to be out all day, invest in some sun protection clothing. It’s to difficult to remember to lather up sunscreen throughout the day. With SPF clothing you don’t need to, and you can pretend you’re a kayak fishing ninja. Burn your shins enough, you’ll layer up.9) Hydrate. Remember that kayak fishing all day is exercise, much more so than sitting on a boat. If you go out all day, bring enough water. Nothing disorientates me like a lack of water. It’s hard to focus on figuring out a pattern for catching fish, when your brain is shriveled up like a raisin. Dehydration will make you grumpy and will just compound your frustration if the fish aren’t biting.10) The most important lesson for those of you who come from fishing to kayak fishing is this: A bad day kayak fishing is still a good day kayaking. I struggle sometimes to remember this one. But studies show, exercise makes us happier people. So get out there, paddle and fish. Don’t be scared to put in some work. Some of my most rewarding days involve lots of paddling to find the fish. And when it pays off, I feel like a warrior.last_img read more