What is it like to live, work, and play in the Roanoke Region of Virginia? See it through the eyes of some of the region’s young professionals in their own words.
Jeff and Bethany Todd recently bought Roanoke Mountain Adventures, which offers gear rentals and has an outdoor gear consignment shop. The full-service outfitter has guided and self-guided outdoor adventures for mountain biking, road cycling, paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking, tubing, and other activities.
Jeff and Bethany have been living and working in the Roanoke Region for a while.
Jeff is a lawyer turned baseball writer who works from home, so he likes to get off the computer and on his feet as soon as possible. He is the vice president of the Wasena Neighborhood Forum and recently joined the Mill Mountain Advisory Board.
Bethany is an educator by training and is doing coursework toward eventually becoming a school administrator while serving a second term as Wasena Elementary PTA president.
5 Questions with Jeff and Bethany Todd
What made you decide to purchase Roanoke Mountain Adventures?
We truly loved and appreciated the business Jim and James Revercomb created and the community that grew up around it. More than anything, we wanted to ensure that Roanoke Mountain Adventures would continue to flourish and further the same goals as it always had: Outdoor accessibility, sustainability, and community.
RMA is a staple of the Roanoke outdoor community for a reason.
More than ever, outside is the place to be. And we want to do our part to empower as many people from as many corners of the community as possible to get there.
What changes can people expect to see, either now or in the future?
RMA has from the start been a business with a fixed core belief and a flexible and adaptive approach to expressing it. The business grew organically and has morphed over time. When I first visited the shop, all the rental equipment occupied the floor and consignment was in its infancy. Now, the space is largely dedicated to retail, as befits the growth of the consignment business.
So … will there be change? Yes, there will be some. But it will be in the nature of continued evolution. And we will be working from the same original animating purpose.
More than just supporting specific outdoor activities, we want to be a part of an affirmative vision for the whole Roanoke community that gets as many people outside as possible. Our amazing access to nature here is such an opportunity. We want to help provide people with the skills and confidence (and, if needed, the equipment) to push their personal limits and discover the value of doing things away from screens and air conditioning.
When you have free time, what is your go-to-outdoor activity and favorite spot?
Bethany: My go-to activity is running. It’s flexible, quick and easy, which as a mom is a necessity. My favorite is a classic greenway outing, although running the Chestnut Ridge Trail is a more recent addition that I have enjoyed.
Jeff: It is easy to overlook, but our number one outdoor activity is just being in and roaming the Wasena neighborhood as a family, whether that is gardening or going on walks or bike rides or tubing or wading in the Roanoke River. But when I’m able to get out on my own … so many choices, but right now, more than anything, I relish the ability to do a truly awesome mountain bike ride from my own house. Carvins Cove is great – my favorite is probably the descent on Buck – but having Mill Mountain adjacent to the city makes Roanoke unique.
Will running RMA be a full-time job, or do you still have “day jobs”?
We intend to be active with the business while continuing our preexisting undertakings. We want to serve our clients and make our own imprint; we also want to provide an opportunity for new employees and give them a chance to contribute to the scene.
So far, we both have enjoyed the change of pace of being down at the shop. Involving our kids in the business has been both added fun and added challenge.
Ultimately, we know we will need to be flexible and adaptive to make this work. But we trust that our intentions and hard work will shine through (as it did for our predecessors in the business) and that the community will continue to love and support the business (and vice versa).
If someone is considering a move to Roanoke, what would you tell them?
We came here four years ago, having previously lived in larger metropolitan areas. We found just what we were hoping to discover when we moved here: A strong and inclusive community with ready access to and respect for nature. It’s a wonderful place to raise a family, particularly if you value those things.
But we have come to find that there’s so much more to it. There are so many outlets for contributing to the greater good, including through outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship. Local institutions and small businesses are accessible and caring. There is an immense spirit of voluntarism and so many people who go above and beyond because they aren’t just content with enjoying their slice of the city … they want to improve it for everyone else.