The view from Northstar Church’s Lancaster House as Virginia Tech students and their families pack up along Washington Street

I have a love/hate time with this season of the year in Blacksburg. Even as the weather changes from winter to spring (finally!), it’s also a time of transition for students and families.

In May, both undergrads and grad students graduating and/or leaving for the summer from different schools in the area: Virginia Tech, Radford University, and the medical school. Blacksburg’s hustle and bustle will ebb to a more quiet mountain town pace over the summer. The energy level (and noise) drops dramatically, and those of us left emerge from our dens and declare “eight weeks of summer!” We’re like Punxsutawney Phil, only we’re right.

Summer in Blacksburg is several things, but let me take a stab at describing it:

  • No waiting in line at Chipotle
  • Free, nice furniture in every apartment dumpster in town, first-come, first-served
  • Windows-down weather
  • Neighbors emerge from their cocoons, and backyard cookouts scent the landscape daily.
  • You can take Main Street through downtown without resorting to back roads and side streets to avoid traffic. (The stoplights are still mistimed, causing a linger wait than necessary on side streets, but just turn right.)
  • Camping, hiking
  • If you don’t own a bicycle or scooter, go home.
  • The pace of life slows perceptibly as if the New River Valley takes a deep breath.
  • You can attend newly-released movies the night of.
  • Speaking of movies, the Starlite Drive-In opens in Christiansburg!
  • Parking spaces? No problem.
  • The New River – floating, fishing, etc.
  • In some churches across the community, families meet each other for the first time in the summer as their student population exits and congregations use the summer as a time of unity-building and fellowship. (If you’re a family in the NRV looking for a church, summer is an excellent time to visit!)
  • City maintenance and garbage collection workers breathe a sigh of relief. Cleanup after Thursday nights is reduced significantly.
  • Daily fro-yo, no lines

For those of you familiar with summers in the NRV, what would you add?

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