Susan Mills, executive director of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, has been hosting a Christmas party for members and volunteers more than 16 years as a way to say “thanks” and to just have fun.
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Photos by David Hungate
Susan Mills, executive director of FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, hosts an annual holiday party at her home to celebrate the organization’s members and volunteers. In lieu of a Christmas tree, she decorates with paper white flowers and hangs ornaments from twigs for a unique look.
To join FRIENDS or to make a donation, call 772-2992 or visit friendsBRP.org.
EVER SINCE SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL Susan Mills has enjoyed hosting parties. Her parents even provided her with a party room, to which she would invite friends via postcard.
“Everyone’s parents loved for their sons or daughters to receive an invitation,” she recalls.
In the winter, Mills would plan sleigh-riding parties that also included a bonfire, hot chocolate, cider, popcorn and homemade cookies.
“It was so simple, but so much fun,” Mills says. “Great memories!”
These days, she continues the tradition of gathering friends for the organization FRIENDS of the Blue Ridge Parkway, for which she is executive director. Founded in 1988, FRIENDS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, promoting and preserving the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Growing up in southwest Virginia, it is all about family and community,” she says. “The Blue Ridge Parkway is a family affair; I wanted FRIENDS to reflect those values.”
To celebrate the members and volunteers of FRIENDS, Mills hosts an annual Christmas party at her home. Her goal is simple: to play, laugh and share the holidays. Guests are invited to bring a dish to share, the recipe for the dish and also to be ready to play. ...