By Matt de Simone
These days, it seems like Botetourt County locations have become the subject of articles in travel magazines and other publications. Recently, an author and teacher in Virginia published a travel/adventure book featuring the Town of Buchanan.
Tara Z. Fisher’s new travel book, Virginia is for Adventurers, takes readers across Virginia while discovering historical places and exciting features. Fisher’s family adventures exploring Virginia inspired the story told in her new book. Their outdoor adventures brought scavenger hunts for over 100 of Virginia’s “LOVE” signs.
For over 50 years, the iconic “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan can be seen on shirts, bumper stickers, and billboards across the country. In 2013, LOVE signs were constructed at Virginia’s welcome centers and state highways. One could say that the signs are “LOVE letters” built by different regions.
Adventurers is about a girl named Meg traveling with her friends as they compete in a 10-day scavenger hunt racing across Virginia.
Fisher designed Adventurers to complement the social studies curriculum taught to fourth grade students. For teachers using this book in class or as a summer reading option, Fisher provides writing prompts for their convenience. The book lists key locations, including Virginia State Parks, national historic sites, and presidential gravesites.
“I wrote this as a part-travel guide, part-‘making social studies fun,'” Fisher said in a recent interview. “Every fourth grader in Virginia has to meet the Virginia studies curriculum learning objective– meaning they have the entire school year devoted to Virginia studies. So, I took the textbook, I went through each region, and I asked myself what the students learned about– the fall line on the coastal plain, the forest in the west, etc.”
Each day (or chapter) starts with a clue sheet revealing a series of outdoor adventures they have to complete to stay in the race. Their journey includes hiking to Devil’s Bathtub, sliding down a natural water slide in Shenandoah National Park, discovering shark teeth at Fossil Beach, and kayaking through the Great Dismal Swamp.
“I tried to weave a story through the entire state that would bring to life a lot of these locations and allow the students and their families to plan trips accordingly,” Fisher continued. “They can maybe find other ‘LOVE’ signs that the book didn’t feature that are closer to places they want to explore.”
The competition heats up when Meg and her friends encounter two bullies who try to throw them off their game. Along the way, Meg and her friends explore several regional treasures and visit the gravesites of all seven U.S. Presidents buried in Virginia.
Fisher hopes that her book inspires readers to adventure around Virginia, creating their own scavenger hunts.
She is originally from Pittsburgh, Pa, and later graduated from the University of Virginia with an undergraduate and graduate degree in accounting. During her time at UVA, Fisher’s love for Virginia and its history flourished, and she spent many hours giving tours as part of the University Guide Service.
Fisher is now a business professor at American University and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband and three children.
To learn more about Virginia is for Adventurers, visit https://virginiaisforadventurers.com/. The book is currently available for purchase on Amazon, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble.
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