Artist Retreat on the Blue Ridge Parkway

The breathtaking scenery of the Shenandoah Valley has inspired generations of artists, from the blooming wildflowers of spring, sunshine-drenched views along hiking trails during summer, the stunning foliage of autumn, and winter’s pristine beauty. We’re proud to showcase the work of four local Virginia artists in our rooms, each offering a unique take on the wildlife and nature surrounding Love Ridge. Whether on an artist retreat, getting outside for some plein air painting, or casually snapping nature photography during your stay, their work will stir your creative side when you escape to our Blue Ridge Mountain cabins, glamping rooms, and campsites

Richard Averitt

Richard Averitt, a tech entrepreneur with an impressive resume, is also a lifelong photographer. His passion for photography dates back over thirty years, with formal study at the San Francisco Art Institute. As a local Virginian, he now focuses his camera lens on the lovely sights of our Shenandoah Valley, capturing landscapes on nearby farms and incredibly detailed shots of hummingbirds. Following his lead, watch for ruby-throated hummingbirds as you explore the trails near Love Ridge. Their distinctive emerald green undercoat and fluttering wings make for phenomenal shots. Birders often spot them as they spend the spring and summer months here before migrating to South America for the winter. His photos of locally grown blueberries, apples, and lavender give a glimpse of the homespun charm of the numerous family farms spread throughout the fertile valley.

Kate Knott

Kate Knott, a board member of the Living Earth School which champions outdoor education, finds solace in the wild outdoors of Virginia through her photography. Many of her photos depict the renowned panoramas of the Blue Ridge Parkway, with a different overlook around every bend of the scenic byway. Her winter solstice sunrise scene from Humpback Rocks is just as spectacular as her photo of the sun setting over the Shenandoah Valley from Raven’s Roost (just six miles north of our location). Knott’s nature photography is equally impressive, including her shots of the Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly – the state insect of Virginia, which is easily recognizable with its bright yellow body interspersed with black “tiger” stripes.

Stephanie Gross

Stephanie Gross points her camera wherever the action is, from portrait photos and tropical seascapes to Virginia landscapes in our backyard. Her pictures of fall foliage near Love Ridge are particularly lush, capturing the waves of color that blanket the Shenandoah Valley every autumn, best viewed from the countless overlooks along the Blue Ridge Parkway and trails winding through the massive George Washington and Jefferson National Forest. Gross is also masterful at nature photography, shown in her up-close shots of the intricate patterns on a moth’s wings or the shell of an Eastern box turtle. One of Gross’ most captivating photos features the cascading waters of Crabtree Falls – one of our favorite local hikes during every season – framed by sunlight reflecting off the falls, which reach their peak flow during the spring snowmelt.

Salena Hitzeman

Running a working farm just down the road, Salena Hitzeman sees nature’s bounty daily, including the variety of plants that make up her “Wildflowers of Virginia” poster. She paints different versions for the changing seasons, with her current one highlighting our state’s bright and bold blooms of spring and summer. One of Virginia’s most magnificent wild-growing flowers is the pink lady’s slipper, an orchid with soft pink petals that is relatively rare but thrives in hardwood forests throughout the Eastern seaboard, ideal for capturing with a paintbrush or camera if you’re feeling inspired. During your stay at Love Ridge, plan a day trip to visit Hitzeman at her Lost Point Farm, nestled near the flowing waters of the Tye River, where she grows herbs and bakes sourdough bread using locally milled flour. She welcomes visitors on Wednesdays or by appointment. On the weekends during the summer, you can also find her at the Lovingston Farmers Market, just a relaxed 30-minute drive from Love Ridge. You can also check out an online portfolio of her art projects, ranging from watercolors of insects and birds to paintings of various fish and plants.

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