Date Archives: March 2018

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Virginia Festival of the Book

Each year Charlottesville and Albemarle County hosts the annual Virginia Festival of the Book, a program of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH). The Virginia Festival of the Book is an annual five-day celebration of books, reading, literacy, and literary culture. The Festival is the largest community-based book event in the Mid-Atlantic region and has attracted audiences of more than 20,000 from more than forty states for each of the past twelve years. Held in Charlottesville each March, the festival features readings, panels, and discussions, as well as a StoryFest day of children's literature. All programs are open to the public; apart from a few ticketed events, programs are free of charge.

Totaling more than 300 authors, illustrators, and publishing professionals, the list is comprised of speakers with new books that span all genres. While each year features a new and exciting list of authors, below includes just of few of the highlights from the 24th annual Virginia Festival of the Book, held March 21-25, 2018.

  • Thi Bui, author of The Best We Could Do, one of The Washington Post's Ten Best Graphic Novels of 2017
  • S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass, one of Amazon's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2017
  • Lyndsay Faye, author of Jane Steele, nominated for the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel
  • Monica Hesse, author of American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land, one of 100 Notable Books of 2017 from The New York Times
  • Lisa Ko, author of The Leavers, the inaugural selection for the Carol Troxell Reader in the Festival and one of the Best Fiction of 2017 according to Los Angeles Times
  • Carmen Maria Machado, author of Her Body and Other Parties: Stories, one of Chicago Review of Books' Best Fiction Books of 2017 and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle 2017 John Leonard Prize
  • Charles Mann, author of The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow's World, and a three-time National Magazine Award finalist
  • David Barclay Moore, author of The Stars Beneath Our Feet, one of Amazon's Best Children's Books of 2017 and one of Time magazine's Top Ten Young Adult and Children's Books of 2017
  • Alisha Rai, author of Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts, one of Amazon's Best Romance Books of 2017

The full list of featured speakers is available at where it is searchable by genre and name.  Plan ahead for next year's literary treat by visiting early in the year to learn about featured speakers to come!


About VFH: The mission of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) is to connect people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. VFH reaches an estimated annual audience of 23 million through Community Programs, Digital Initiatives, Scholarship, and the Virginia Center for the Book. For more information, visit

This event is one of many festivals hosted in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia. To find more special events visit:


Are you beginning your new home purchasing journey? Consider the following key factors when choosing the right location for your family, as well as for optimizing the property's resale potential. 

Aerial Google Map photo of a Charlottesville neighborhood


Consider the option of renting before purchasing. This is a very good idea, especially when moving a long distance or to an unfamiliar city or region, and it will likely help in making a more informed home-purchasing decision.


It's important to research the local taxes and additional home-purchasing expenses. Even if you're renting to start, property taxes can have a strong influence on housing costs and on the overall cost of living. Don't forget about the additional expenses of living in a certain neighborhood. If you're moving into a country club development or a condo, you may be responsible for a costly homeowner's association fee. A change in the tax rate can also affect monthly payments, so by having an idea of how rates have moved over the past several years can offer a view of what they might do in the future.


Another very important aspect of a home-purchasing decision is the local crime rate. Crime statistics and neighborhood stability go hand in hand. While a less safe area may have lower rents and home prices, making it cheaper to locate there, it may also come with greater risk of property damage or theft. Your real estate agent will be able to offer sound insight on local statistics.


The quality of the school system will affect property resale values. On the other hand, if you're renting and do not have children, good schools in the area may not be a priority, with the exception of resale value.

Local amenities are also a key factor in choosing where to buy a home. The availability of neighborhood parks, libraries, bike trails, local business and shops all affect property values.


A quiet, private neighborhood with dense tree cover may sound ideal to a prospective homebuyer, but for developers, it means more opportunities to expand. It's important to find out what other developments are planned the area, as the supply pipeline—and construction process—can impact the resale value of a property.

Our Montague Miller & Co REALTORS® are familiar with these factors and will help guide you in finding the right neighborhood for you and your family. Ready to move forward?  Contact one of our agents in your area to help with your journey! 





Photography provided by Tod Cohen Photography

The Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) announced the induction of 57 REALTORS® into the 2017 class of the CAAR Professional Honor Society during a ceremony on Thursday, March 1st at the Glenmore Country Club.

This prestigious accolade has been a long-standing award program at the state level and was instituted by CAAR in 1996 to recognize standards of industry excellence. A total of 180 different REALTORS® have reached this pinnacle achievement in the local program's history. The 2017 class marks the 22nd year for six CAAR members and the first year for nine members.

The selection process for each year relies on fulfilling four core areas: association involvement, professional development, leadership and volunteer participation, and the success in either production of sales or ability as a managing Broker.

Montague Miller & Co congratulates and is proud to be represented by first year members Errin Kardos-Searcy and Josh White; 10 year members Brad Conner and Sasha Farmer; 16-19 year members Pat Crabtree; Pat Sury and Barbara McMurry; 20 year member Rives Bailey; and 20+ year members Anita Dunbar and Trish Owens.

Montague Miller & Co members pictured above are Anita Dunbar, Rives Bailey, Pat Sury, Pat Crabtree. Not pictured are Errin Kardos-Searcy, Josh White, Brad Conner, Trish Owens, Sasha Farmer, Barbara McMurry and Percy Montague.

This event was sponsored by: Stony Point Design/Build, LLC., CAAR Real Estate Weekly, SunTrust Mortgage, Stanley Martin Homes, Student Services & Moving Company, UVA Community Credit Union / Member Options, HMS Home Warranty, and George Mason Mortgage. Photography provided by Tod Cohen Photography



Photo by Steve Zamek

Invite a Family of Bluebirds to Share Your Yard

A peaceful farm in the country, just minutes east of Charlottesville, is home to our horses and an ever growing population of deer, squirrels, foxes, groundhogs, beaver, rabbits and just about every bird native to Central Virginia.  Even Canada geese who fly to and from neighboring ponds call it home, as well as titmice, house wrens, chickadees, and nuthatches, woodcocks, woodpeckers and especially our good friends, Eastern Bluebirds.

This seasonally warm first weekend in March beckoned bluebird scouts back for a brief visit in quest of making sure last year's nest boxes had been cleaned and readied for their return migration from North Carolina later this month.

But you don't have to live on a farm or even have much acreage to invite a family of bluebirds to share your yard, even if you live in town. Birds adapt quite well, in fact, "If You Build It, They Will Come"!

In more developed areas, bluebirds are likely to be found around large open lawns, quiet roadways, old railroad paths, parks, cemeteries, golf courses, new housing developments, and neighborhoods on the edge of cities. They usually don't hang out in heavy woods or city centers. So, rest assured, your yard will do just fine! But beware… your invited guests may return year after year!

When installing a bluebird house, consider:

  • Location: While scattered trees or shrubs are fine, choose a fairly open spot away from woods.
  • Mounting: A pole or fence post is ideal, especially if you can add a baffle to keep out predators such as cats, snakes, and raccoons. Mount the house at around 5' high, so that you can easily reach it to monitor and clean.
  • Orientation: Ideally, face the opening toward a safe perch, such as a small tree or fence. Also try to face it away from prevailing winds, and away from midday sun in hot climates. If you are installing the house near a road, face it parallel to the road, so the birds won't fly out directly into traffic.
  • Spacing: Bluebirds are competitive and usually claim two or three acres, so be sure their houses are widely spaced. Ideally, Eastern bluebird houses should be 100-150 yards apart.
  • Organic Garden: Since bluebirds eat insects, they can provide natural insect control, but avoid areas with heavy application of pesticides.

 The Challenge of Competitors:

One of the biggest challenges for bluebirds is the threat of other birds competing for the nesting space. European starlings and house swallows pose the largest threat to bluebird nesting, and these non-native birds will attack bluebird nests and destroy the eggs.

You can reduce the risk by making sure your bluebird house has the right size opening by purchasing (try Tractor Supply, Lowes or Amazon) or making it yourself using bluebird specific dimensions. Here is a link to How To Build Bluebird boxes by Audubon's specifications.

These gorgeous birds are so sweet and charming, swooping from tree to post to guard their nests and checking you out. And if their stunning beauty weren't enough, they're also great for natural summer insect control!

Enjoy your new neighbors and many thanks for helping reestablish our Eastern bluebird's diminishing natural habit! 

By Carol Solis, Montague Miller & Co. When not assisting REALTORS® with their marketing needs, Carol can be found "on the farm" with her family enjoying everything country living has to offer.