It’s not too early to start planning for some of the biggest events of the fall.
Save the dates for these events, which are put on and managed by the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside Foundation.
Outdoor amenities and immense livability were two reasons Deschutes Brewery selected the Roanoke Region for its East Coast operations.
The value of the region’s soft assets is not all anecdotal; new research from the Gallup-Healthways partnership suggests the Roanoke Outside model is right on target.
Communities that invest in bike paths, parks and recreational assets, as well as in infrastructure that improves walkability have demonstrably better outcomes in important areas of health for their residents, according to the Gallup-Healthways report “Active Living Environments in U.S. Communities.”
The Roanoke Region is doing just that by actively investing in greenways, bike paths, bike amenities, parks, and working to activate the outdoor infrastructure of Roanoke through unique events such as the Blue Ridge Marathon and Roanoke GO Outside Festival and new amenities such as the downtown kayak launch.
The report found that increasing an area’s bike-friendliness and/or investing in parks and recreational programs were significantly correlated (with 99% confidence) with lower obesity, lower diabetes, lower rate of high blood pressure, lower rate of heart attack incidence, lower smoking rate, daily healthy eating, and active and productive feelings.
The communities that scored highest in active living environments (walkable, bike-friendly, investments in parks) had an average Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Score of 62.1, placing them all in the top 40 percent of community rankings. The Roanoke Region has a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score of 62.5, better than 75 percent of the communities studied.
Roanoke Outside, as it works to enhance the outdoor community of Roanoke, is contributing to better health for residents and the workforce. As the message of all the great things going on in the Roanoke Region spreads, individuals who are health-conscious increasingly will be attracted to the area.
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When it comes to cost of living, Roanoke offers the best value of any metro in Virginia.
Annual numbers released by the Council for Community and Economic Research for 2015 rank the Roanoke metro area as 58th lowest cost metro in the nation with costs lower than 75 percent of participating metros. With an index of 90, costs in Roanoke are 10 percent lower than the national average of 100.
The Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services. The composite index is based on six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care, and miscellaneous goods and services. This is where the overall ranking comes from.
But how do we know what things cost? Roanoke Regional Partnership staff members collect this data each quarter and submit it to the council so that you can see how our region fits into the larger picture. It is based on more than 90,000 prices covering 60 different items for which prices are collected quarterly by chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and universities in each participating urban area.
Cost of living information is an important tool for individuals and businesses. It provides a baseline comparison for how far a dollar will go. And in the Roanoke Region your dollar stretches further.
The numbers put Roanoke well below the national average for costs and ahead of similarly sized metro markets in the South such as Richmond (94.9), Asheville (97.5), and Chattanooga (95.1). New York City (Manhattan) ranked highest in cost of living with an index more than twice the national average (227.4), followed by Honolulu, HI in second (188.2).
The secret is out.
The Appalachian Trail, McAfee Knob, and the Roanoke Region are the stars of “A Walk in the Woods,” which opens in theaters nationwide this week.
The movie features actors Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in a comedy adventure based on the bestselling book of the same name by Bill Bryson.
The story behind “A Walk in the Woods” is based on the real adventure of Bryson (Robert Redford), a travel writer. Upon retirement he hopes to find peace and tranquility by hiking the unspoiled, spectacular, and rugged Appalachian Trail. He’s joined by a friend (Nick Nolte) who has other motives and different ideas about what “adventure” means.
The movie is bringing major attention to the Appalachian Trail, and while the plot line has charm, the scenery steals the show, making you want to retrace some of the best footpaths in the world. Of the nearly 2,200 miles of Appalachian Trail, 544 miles pass through Virginia and the iconic McAfee Knob is center stage in the movie as well as the official movie poster.
Winding through the Roanoke Region, the A.T. offers dozens of short and long hikes, from easy to strenuous and includes loops that peak at waterfalls and cliffs with spectacular views. McAfee Knob is the most photographed site along the trail, and a favorite hike for people living in, and visiting, the Roanoke Region, but you’ll find many more adventures:
“A Walk in the Woods” is already showing in Roanoke. A special showing with the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Conservancy is scheduled for Friday at the Grandin Theater. Before the movie, Conservancy members will talk about their role in the filming of the movie and what the organization is doing to protect the trail. The talk and reception begins at 6 p.m. at the CoLab; the film showing begins at 7:15 p.m.