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Salamander puts adventure business on the line in Middleburg

Brittany Staker glides across the canopy Tree Top Zip Tour at Salamander in Middleburg. - Courtesy Photo/Empower
So there you are ... suspended from a cable 60 feet above craggy terrain, traveling 35 miles per hour straight at a tree. Just before the end of nearly 700 feet of line, you put the handbrake on a gentleman reaches out a hand to bring you onto a tree house platform.

Whew. You've made it.

Joe DeRing, an Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran, and owner and co-founder of Tree Top Zip Tour by Empower, which operates out of the Salamander Resort, hopes this is the kind of adventure which will fill the spaces between visitors' horse rides, massages and wine tastings.

"It's a unique adventure offering built for kids, families, adults," said DeRing, whose Middleburg iteration opened July 4.

DeRing says he is one of the few businesses which truly doesn't have a demographic talking about the zip line as an all ages and ability levels activity.

In fact on the first day the zip line was open Chris Keen, one of the guides for the tours, said a 75-year-old woman took to the zip line, and a majority of clients are taking the zip tour for the first time.

Some groups are just looking for a shot to the adrenal gland, while other groups come to the zip line for leadership and team building lessons, says DeRing.

Both seem to fit into the vision Salamander has for its resort: Leisure customers who enjoy outdoor adventures and groups of sales reps on a company retreat.

The company's original Connecticut location is called Empower Leadership Sports and Adventure Center.

Using his experiences as an Army captain and Army Ranger, he positioned the original Zip Tour as a way to grow leadership and team building.

After DeRing came back to America in 2007 with uncertainty about what his future might hold he says he and his wife made the decision to build a zip line tour and high ropes course in his hometown of Middletown, Conn.

The business did well and in 2012 Salamander came to DeRing with a proposition: Design, construct and ultimately manage a zip line course out on our property in Middleburg.

He loved the idea. Empower leases a 20 acre parcel just off trails behind the resort.

Just a month into operations, DeRing feels the connection Middleburg has to the resort and to his business is essential.

"Marketing to the local community is going to be critical," said DeRing.

Realizing the importance of the local community, some of the zip tour's guides go into Middleburg to hand out free passes and discount cards to drum up business.

Reservations for individuals who aren't staying at the resort are available, but they must be made through Salamander.

Basic Info:
Where: Salamander Resort
Cost: $163 per person
What: Guided Zip Tour
For reservations email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 800-651-0721
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