About

Posts by :

The Best of Virginia: Cities & Towns

The Best of Virginia: Cities & Towns

When you love a place, you rally behind it to make sure everyone knows how great it is. Vote-offs like “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel are annual favorites, and Virginia towns have been included in two of the last three votes. A real pride of place, however, takes over when a publication names the town or city closest to your heart as “best” or “favorite” without any public input. The accolades that these Virginia towns and cities have garnered are well deserved. Do add them to your travel bucket list to see the sweet gems you’ve been missing out on.

Old Town Historic Alexandria. ©Cameron Davidson

Old Town Historic Alexandria. ©Cameron Davidson

Abingdon

  • Best Performing Arts Town -The South’s Most Creative Small Towns, Garden and Gun, 2011

Alexandria

  • Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S., Amazon.com, 2014
  • Prettiest Little Escapes, Huffington Post, 2013
  • Best Small Cities for Art Lovers, Nerdwallet, 2013

Blacksburg

  • #14, The South’s Best College Towns, Southern Living

Bristol

  • Best Music Town, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2013
Cape Charles. ©Cameron Davidson

Cape Charles. ©Cameron Davidson

Cape Charles

  • #4, Perfect Little Beach Town, Southern Living

Charlottesville

  • #1, Happiest American Cities, Harvard Gazette, 2014 (per National Bureau for Economic Research)
  • #1, Top 5 College Towns in America, Travelers Today, 2014
  • Top Five Destinations Every American Should Visit, Orbitz Worldwide, 2014
  • #9, America’s Favorite Mountain Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2014
  • #1, America’s 5 New Foodie Cities, Wine Enthusiast, 2014
  • #2, America’s Best College Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013
  • #1, America’s Best Small Towns for Food, TheDailyMeal.com, 2013
  • #14, America’s Favorite Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013
  • #1, Top College Towns, TravelChannel.com
  • #2, The South’s Best College Towns, Southern Living

Chincoteague

  • #1, America’s Happiest Seaside Towns, Coastal Living, 2014
  • #6, 8 of the Best Small Town Getaways in the U.S., WallStCheatSheet.com, 2014
  • #2, America’s Best Little Beach Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013

Culpeper

  • One of America’s Top 10 Small Towns. Crampton, Norman. The 100 Best Small Towns in America.
Downtown Harrisonburg. ©Elisabeth Bixby

Downtown Harrisonburg. ©Elisabeth Bixby

Floyd

  • 50 Great American Places to Visit this Summer, Men’s Journal, 2013

Fredericksburg

  • #9, America’s Best College Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013

Galax

  • The Next Great Mountain Towns, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2011

Harrisonburg

  • Best Beer Town, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2013
  • #5, America’s Best College Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013

Lexington

  • Best Small Towns to Visit, Smithsonian Magazine, 2013
  • #14, America’s Best College Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013
  • 10 Coolest Small Towns in America, Budget Travel, 2009

Luray

  • The Next Great Mountain Towns, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2011

Lynchburg

  • 50 Best Places to Live & Play, National Geographic, 2007
Downtown Middleburg. ©Virginia Tourism Corporation

Downtown Middleburg. ©Virginia Tourism Corporation

Middleburg

  • Best Small Town Weekend Getaways, Southern Living
  • #6, 20 Best Day Trips in the U.S., Fodor’s Travel, 2014

Richmond

  • Frommer’s Top Destinations for 2014, Frommer’s, 2014
  • Best Town Ever, Outside, 2012

Roanoke

  • Top 10 Valentine’s Day Getaways, WorldPropertyChannel.com, 2014
  • 10Best: Bike-Friendly Cities, USAToday.com, 2014
  • Best Trail Town, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2013
  • Best Mid-Sized Mountain Town, Blue Ridge Outdoors, 2012

Smithfield

  • #41, America’s Happiest Seaside Towns, Coastal Living, 2014
Virginia Beach. ©John Henley

Virginia Beach. ©John Henley

Staunton

  • America’s Best Main Streets, Fordor’s Travel, 2014
  • America’s Favorite Mountain Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2014
  • America’s Greatest Main Streets, Travel + Leisure, 2012
  • Best Small Towns in America, Smithsonian Magazine, 2012

Virginia Beach

  • Top 10 Summer Destinations, Priceline.com, 2014
  • Top 20 Destinations for Fourth of July Travel, Priceline.com, 2014
  • Best Cities for Summer Drives, NBCNews.com, 2013
  • Top 10 Art Beaches, Huffington Post Travel, 2013
  • 8 Great Labor Day Weekend Getaways, Budget Travel, 2013
  • 7 Most Beautiful and Underrated Cities in the U.S., EscapeHere.com, 2013

Williamsburg

  • #2, Best Historic Destinations in the USA, US News & World Report, 2014-15
  • #3, 10Best: Best Historic Cities, USAToday.com, 2014
  • #3, 10Best: Places to Explore American History, USAToday.com, 2014
  • 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in Virginia in 2014, Smithsonian Magazine
  • #4, America’s Best College Towns, Travel + Leisure, 2013
  • These Old Towns are the Prettiest Little Escapes, Huffington Post, 2013 (Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement)
  • #7 Best Weekend Getaways, US News & World Report
  • #8, 8 Affordable Family Vacations, US News & World Report

Which Virginia city or town is your favorite and why? Leave a comment to let us know!

Related

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide or download the mobile guide!

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Peach Time: Festivals and Pick-Your-Own Orchards

Peach Time: Festivals and Pick-Your-Own Orchards

It’s peach time! We’re in primetime peach-picking season, which means festivals, pick-your-own days at orchards and plenty of peach goodies to go around.

Peach Ice Cream Days at Chiles Peach Orchard – Aug. 3-4
Spend a day (or two) in Crozet at Chiles Peach Orchard’s Peach Ice Cream Days. Fresh, homemade peach ice cream is available at the orchard these dates only! Made by the Crozet Lions Club, this event is a fundraiser for their community service activities. Enjoy this special treat after picking your own peaches (or choosing from their fresh-picked selections). Peaches, nectarines, and local produce are also available.

Winchester Peach Festival – Aug. 9
Come to Marker Miller Orchards with an empty stomach and enjoy a day of sweets: peach cobbler, peach pie, peach turnovers, peach ice cream and of course, fresh peaches galore! Enjoy music from 1-3 p.m. while sitting on the front porch or in the picnic pavilion.  A variety of food will be available at the food building. Don’t forget to let the kids enjoy the cow train and the peaceful scenery during the wagon ride around the farm.

Dog Days Peach Festival – Aug. 9-10
Spend a weekend of peaches and pooches at the Dog Days Peach Festival at Great Country Farms in Bluemont. It may be the hottest part of the summer, but the Dog Days at Great Country are all about fun with the family and canine companions! Bring the whole family for a romp in the play area and to u-pick peaches in the orchard at the peak of perfection. Enjoy the Doggie Olympic Games and demonstrations that will keep tails a-waggin’!

Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival – Aug. 17
Peaches, peaches everywhere! Bring the family out to Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival in Middletown for a day of peachy fun. Haywagon rides, barrel train rides and all the jumps you can handle on the bouncy-bounce, plus music and a petting zoo, and peaches, of course! Peach ice cream, milk shakes, sparkling cider, smoothies, pies, muffins and more! Fresh from the farm food for sale includes our own burgers and plenty of tasty treats!

The Peach Way, Delaplane
The largest concentration of peach orchards in Northern Virginia, The Peach Way features five orchards within five miles: Virginia Perfection/Valley View Farm, Hollin Farms, Hartland Orchards, and Stribling Orchard. The Peach Way is near several wineries, Sky Meadows State Park and more—perfect for a day or weekend trip.

Freestone Peaches at Saunders Brothers Farm Market, Piney River
In response to market demands, Saunders Brothers started growing super tree-ripened peaches; including sub-acid white-fleshed peaches, many of which get great size, color, and flavor. These peaches complement the yellow-fleshed varieties and extend the season from June 15 until late September. The Farm Market offers a fun place for the whole family to enjoy. Not only can you find a variety of peaches, apples and vegetables from May through November, they also offer ciders, jams, relishes, and salsas. Be sure to try out the amazing peach ice cream and check out the on-site museum; one of the largest privately-owned collections of farm antiques in the state of Virginia.

Ayers Orchard, Cana
Ayers Orchard is located at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and offers pick-your-own peaches, as well as cherries, apples, nectarines and plums. The orchard also offers fresh-picked and picked-to-order. Hiking and picnicking are encouraged; all ages are welcome at the orchard.

Additional Orchards and Markets for Peaches:

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Virginia: Bon Appétit Appalachia!

Virginia: Bon Appétit Appalachia!

Virginia’s Appalachia is ripe for the tasting, and Bon Appétit Appalachia! maps out fresh, local flavors for your road trip indulgences. Please your palate at 65 sites within Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands, Heart of Appalachia and Shenandoah Valley. For the ultimate tasting adventure (a bucket list by itself, really!), eat your way through the entire 205,0000-square-mile region along the Appalachian Mountains (Mississippi to New York).

Cuz's Uptown Barbeque

When you spend three days along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Floyd, you can indulge in a delish dish from Bon Appétit Appalachia! farm-to-fork restaurant Oddfella’s Cantina, as well as the restaurant at Chateau Morrisette Winery. Extend your stay or mix in tastings from additional Appalachian wineries, including Abingdon Vineyard and Winery and MountainRose Vineyards.

When in Lexington be sure to see the historic Natural Bridge as you sip and savor your way around. Rockbridge Vineyard, Lexington Valley Vineyard and Southern Inn Restaurant are all Bon Appétit Appalachia! stops.

The Bon Appétit Appalachia! initiative is vast. Forks up and napkins down for all of the fantastic flavors that await!

The Palisades Restaurant

A SAMPLE OF FARM TO FORK RESTAURANTS

A SAMPLE OF CRAFT BREWERIES & SPIRITS

A SAMPLE OF WINERIES & VINEYARDS

Additionally, the map outlines farm tours, festivals, and farmers markets that deliver fresh tastes and first-hand culinary experiences. Download the map (22 Virginia sites) or navigate online to see all 65 Virginia sites.

Virginia: Bon Appétit Appalachia!

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Local Brews and Local Oysters: A Match Made in Heaven

Local Brews and Local Oysters: A Match Made in Heaven

Ahhh, the oyster. It’s found its home in Virginia, quickly becoming the Capital of the East Coast. Now apply that “ahhh” to craft beer. They pair so well, don’t they? So guess what? It’s craft beer month! Get excited. Here’s some spots that are going to give you the best of both worlds.

Rappahannock Restaurant

RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER CO.

Rappahannock Oyster Company is going to give you flavors from all over the Virginia coastline. The Rappahannock River Oysters are the most common, but have you ever heard of Stingray Oysters and Olde Salts? The oysters at these spots are going to give you three diverse flavors: sweet and buttery, sweet and crisp, and a bold, sea-side brininess. You’re going to find these babies at Rappahannock in Richmond, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, in D.C., and Merroir in Topping. And don’t forget, these restaurants are going to have some of Virginia’s best craft beer selections.

99 MAIN RESTAURANT – Newport News

The elegant 99 Main restaurant offers the sophisticated diner an exquisite dining experience with a creative French flair. Order the roasted oysters appetizer, topped with horseradish and house-made bacon. Pair it with Legend Brown Ale and you’ve got yourself a nice starter meal. Don’t be afraid to order a couple more brewskis.

SMALL’S STEAKHOUSE & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk

Small’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar has four different oyster options from its raw bar AND three additional options for an entrée! If you’re in the area, put Small’s on the list for a great oyster experience. Try out the oyster grits and quench your thirst with three local breweries on tap.

The Shanty in Cape Charles

SHANTY – Cape Charles

Located on the Bay in Cape Charles Town Harbor, the Shanty focuses on fresh local seafood in a fun environment. Swing by on boat, car, golf cart or foot. There’s cornhole for the kids, live entertainment on weekends and amazing sunsets over the bay. Order some raw or steamed oysters, a fried basket, or an oyster po’ boy, and wash it down with Starr Hills’ the Love or five other Virginia craft beer options.

BIG EASY GRILL & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk

Big Easy Grill & Oyster Bar offers some of the biggest oyster selections around. Start off with Oysters Rockefeller, pick out some raw or steamed samplers or platters. And guess what? When it’s time for the main course, Big Easy features the O-Rock Burger, topped with bacon, spinach, parmesan and gouda. They have the oyster po’ boy and their house specialty: fried oysters. Take back an oyster shooter or their vast selection of craft brews. You havet some serious oyster and craft options at Big Easy. So if you have an empty stomach and want to fill it up, head over to Big Easy.

HANK’S OYSTER BAR – Alexandria

Hanks’ menu changes daily, with fresh seafood selections throughout their menu. Hank’s Oyster Bar serves their oysters on the half shell, as a po’ boy sandwich and a fried oyster dinner. Hank’s Oysters are always served up fresh, so don’t forget you can get them raw or steamed! Try out the Port City Monumental IPA while you’re there.

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

BERRET’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & TAPHOUSE – Williamsburg

Berret’s Taphouse offers one of the largest selections of local microbrews in the area, including Wild Wolf and Legend. Pair them with unique raw bar selections, like spicy buffalo oysters on the half shell and daily chef’s choice items. The taphouse menu includes the po’boy sandwich and a seafood platter, which includes crab cakes and shrimp.

Try out all the delicious oyster spots and craft beer/breweries Virginia has to offer!

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Ten Great Resorts for Team Building

Ten Great Resorts for Team Building

Virginia is home to several great resorts for group retreats and outdoor team building exercises. Grab the crew and visit some of the following places that are sure to raise morale and productivity. Below is just a sampling of all there is to choose from:

1. Mountain Lake Lodge, Pembroke

From their Treetop Adventures Aerial and Zip Line Course; 20 miles of hiking and biking trails; disc golf course; to orienteering courses with GPS as well as off mountain activities on the New River, it’s a great place to meet and develop team skills. The newly reopened Mountain Lake Lodge is a getaway featuring cottages; a stone lodge; luxury cottages with fireplaces; and a grand historic Hotel built in 1936 out of native sandstone. The hit movie “Dirty Dancing” was filmed at Mountain Lake in 1986. Enjoy hiking, biking, tennis, wagon rides, outdoor recreation, family entertainment and educational programs for children.

2. The Tides Inn, Irvington

Located in the charming, picturesque community of Irvington, Virginia, the Tides Inn is a destination beyond compare. Nestled on a private peninsula overlooking Carter Creek with a view all the way to the Chesapeake Bay, the Tides Inn is highlighted by lush, manicured grounds and gardens.  The Tides Inn offers a wide variety of unique activities to build camaraderie, improve communications and create cohesion within your organization or group. Team-building activities include sailing race, Carters Creek treasure hunt, GPS geocache, glow in the dark golf challenge, horse racing, build-a-boat and more.

3. Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs

The Omni Homestead is a luxury resort and spa surrounded by the four-season splendor of the Allegheny Mountains. The Homestead offers an array of indoor and outdoor activities including two championship golf courses, tennis, shooting club, horseback riding, hiking, fly fishing, archery, falconry, mountain biking, Jefferson Pools and carriage rides. Winter activities include skiing, tubing, ice skating, snowboarding and snowmobile tours. A variety of team building activities are also available including a ropes course, fire quest, and Homestead Scavenger Hunt.

4. Primland, Meadows of Dan

Spectacular views, mountain-top chalets, elegant dining, conference facilities, and a wide array of recreational activities await you at Primland Resort, located on a beautiful estate in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The activities offered at Primland include fly-fishing, ATV tours, horseback riding, disc golf, geocaching and more. New at Primland Resort is an 18-hole championship golf course.

5. Bryce Resort, Bayse

Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains, Bryce Resort is a 400-acre member-owned resort that is open to the public and is known throughout the mid-Atlantic region as being the most family-oriented resort in Virginia. Bryce Resort offers an exciting ride, consisting of 10 zip line platform stations, connected by more than 3,500 feet of cable traversing down the ski slopes and through the woods. With speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, riders will experience the thrill of flying through the trees and sailing across the open ski slopes, as high as 80 feet above the ground, as they work their way from the top to the bottom of the mountain.

6. Camp Roanoke, Salem

Nestled within 700 acres of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, Camp Roanoke is conveniently located off Interstate 81. Available for corporate retreats, outdoor adventure and team building activities; Camp Roanoke is the perfect place for your next meeting. The camp features a high and low ropes course; a 44-foot climbing tower; presentation-ready meeting rooms for up to 300 guests; and heated/air conditioned overnight accommodations for up 80 guests. On-site meal preparation and off-site outdoor trips are available. Staff members are university graduates with accreditations in outdoor recreation programming, wilderness first aid and CPR.

7. Wintergreen Resort, Wintergreen

Wintergreen Resort is a four-season mountain retreat on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This beautiful hideaway is the ultimate vacation and conference spot, with 45 holes of championship golf, seasonal skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more. For your team-building needs, Wintergreen Resort also offers activities such as The Amazing Race Scavenger Hunt, Wintergreen Golf Race, Midnight Madness – Night Light Golf Putting Contest and Cardboard Boat Regatta.

8. Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg

Lansdowne Resort is a full-service resort located eight miles from Washington Dulles International airport and 35 miles from Washington, DC., in scenic and historic Loudoun County. The resort offers team building activities such as cooking challenges, scavenger hunts, corporate Olympics, volleyball, horseshoes, racquet ball and more. They also offer options for off-site activities such as go-kart racing.

9. Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing Retreat, Conference & Teambuilding Center, New Castle

Wilderness Adventure is totally surrounded by the national forests, with a beautiful 360 degree view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They cater to hundreds of groups 12 months of the year; including school groups, church youth groups, corporate retreats, family reunions and more. They offer activities including a high ropes adventure trail; team building and problem solving course; group dynamics workshop; 50′ climbing wall and rappel tower; canoeing; instructional pond kayaking class; river kayaking; off-site rock climbing; caving; mountain biking; fly fishing; outdoor living skills and adventure classes; a giant’s ladder; tubing on Craig Creek; a natural water slide and waterfall hike; and a 900′ zip line.

10. Salamander Resort & Spa, Middleburg

Set on 340 acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains amid Virginia’s famed horse country and lush vineyards, Salamander Resort & Spa features 168 luxurious rooms including 17 suites; a 23,000-square-foot lavish spa and unique “treehouse” treatment rooms; a full-service equestrian center with a 22-stall stable and practice ring; and more. They have many exciting group activities from which to choose, including a Tree Top Zip Tour, Survival 101, The Great Cook-Off and various lawn sports including croquet, chess, horseshoes, bocce, and a putting green.

Additional Venues for Team Building

Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat, Rice

This tree-top adventure park is the largest and first of its kind in central Virginia. Participants independently traverse obstacles suspended between trees. There are 52 obstacles including 13 zip lines, separated into four different courses/trails, similar to those found on a ski mountain. The courses are different levels of difficulty, ranging from beginner to challenging.  Each trail consists of elements like rope bridges, logs, cargo nets, swings, ladders, and zip lines.

The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium, Virginia Beach

Located in the majestic trees of the Aquarium, between the Marsh Pavilion and the Bay & Ocean Pavilion, you will find an amazing “aerial forest park.” You’ll see a series of platforms in the trees connected by cable, wood, rope and zip lines to form bridges. Each bridge presents a different challenge of how to get to the next platform. Experience “adventure in the trees” on your own or with friends, family, coworkers and parties.

The EDGE, Prince William

A variety of team simulation obstacles and ropes courses help promote a memorable team building experience when guided by The EDGE’s trained program coordinators. They work on a “Challenge By Choice” model so those who are uncomfortable doing certain activities do not have to, yet can still be a part of the group experience.

Newport News Park Ropes and Initiatives Course, Newport News

This course is designed to provide organized groups with an exciting way to discover more about themselves, others and their environment. Defined as “an obstacle course type adventure that provides both the individual and their group with exciting physical and mental challenges,” the Course offers both low and high event programs and is specifically designed to help your group think outside the box and communicate as one cohesive unit.

Prince William Forest Park, Prince William

Tucked away from all distractions the rustic setting at Prince William Forest Park helps focus the attendees on organizational goals instead of checking email or calling clients. Athletic fields are nearby for a friendly game of kickball, softball or races too.

Treetop Zoofari Zip Line and Adventure Park, Moseley

Travel tree to tree over 4000 feet and through 42 obstacles including 16 zip lines above the Metro Richmond Zoo.  Experience the zoo and outdoors from a whole new level. Courses are self guided and require participants to complete an orientation training before proceeding onto the course. Participants can traverse all of the elements of the course at their own pace while always in view of Treetop Zoofari staff.

DISCOVER MORE

Zip Line, Canopy and Ropes Course Tours

Wellness Retreats

Resorts and Spas

© Stephanie Kenney for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Experience primitive tent camping

Experience primitive tent camping

There is no other way to get back to nature than to pitch a tent and take on wilderness the primitive way. You’ll find hundreds of camping facilities around the state, but how about taking a trip to some tent-only campgrounds? They’re worth the experience.

Virginia Camping

Virginia Camping

CAMP OUTBACK – LURAY
Take in the breathtaking views of the mountains encompassing Luray. A strictly tent-only campground, Camp OutBack has 25 wooded camp sites, each accommodating up to 10 campers, offering a picnic table, charcoal grill and fire pit. Take a hike to the Shenandoah River or a 10-mile trip into Luray. A fishing lake is available nearby, as well as Shenandoah River Outfitters, offering canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing. Essential amenities are available, such as restrooms, shower, and available firewood for purchase.

BLUECAT ON THE NEW – DRAPER
Bluecat on the New offers Tipi rentals and primitive camping sites. The tipis have river rock floors and can have up to 4 single or 2 double cots (which are provided). Six campsites are equipped with grills and picnic tables. All sites are located on the scenic New River and have river access, as well as canoe, kayak and tube rentals. For those who are looking for a day of fishing, guided services are available. Also close by is the New River Trail State Park, perfect for those who would like to do some hiking, biking or horseback riding during their stay. A bath house with men and women’s showers is located on the grounds.

CAMP KARMA CAMPGROUND – BEDFORD
Check out the upscale camping experience at Camp Karma Campground in Bedford. The campground, located on 42 acres in the southwestern region of the state, offers 36 campsites, which are primarily for tent campers. The property offers hiking trails, a recreation field and visitors can swim and fish is Goose Creek. Standard amenities are available on the grounds.

OUTLANDERS RIVER CAMP – LURAY
Enjoy primitive camping along the Shenandoah River at Outlanders River Camp. The camp offers activities ranging from kayaking to hiking, and everything in between. Primitive sites, as well as electric tent sites are available on property. Looking to spend a day outside the grounds? Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest are just 15 minutes away.

Greenwood Point Campground

Greenwood Point Campground

GREENWOOD POINT CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
Those who enjoy the solitude of an isolated and remote location will be drawn to Greenwood Point Campground. With no road access, the adventure is just getting there! Strap on that pack and take the 3.3 mile hike, or paddle a canoe directly to the shores of the campground. Wooded campsites encircle an open and grassy common area, and lakeside views make this a popular private and quiet camping destination.

ED ALLEN’S CAMPGROUND & COTTAGES – LANEXA
Ed Allen’s offers a tranquil, 85-acre shaded retreat, featuring some of Virginia’s finest camping, fishing, recreation and wildlife. Try your luck on our two fully stocked ponds located in the campground, or one of Virginia’s greatest fishing retreats, the Chickahominy Lake. Peaceful evenings around the fire, fishing, boating, canoeing, or kayaking will make for enduring memories.

NEW RIVER TRAIL STATE PARK – FOSTER FALLS
New River Trail State Park has four primitive campgrounds: Cliffview, Millrace, Baker Island and Double Shoals. If you’re looking for a most unique tent-camping trip, this is the place to visit. Enjoy the amenities and adventures of the state park and retreat to a peaceful campsite to take in the serenity of nature. There is no vehicular access to the campsites and any showers or bathhouses. Access to the campground is hike-in or boat-in.

Shenandoah National Park Camping

Shenandoah National Park Camping

BLOWING SPRINGS CAMPGROUND – WARM SPRINGS
Offering both sunny and shaded camping sites, visitors to Blowing Springs Campground will be amazed by the phenomenon for which this site is named. A unique geological feature creates a duct that blows air out of the rocks at a constant 58 degrees, which may feel warm or cool depending on the season. Direct access to trails leading to swimming holes, and a stream stocked with trout are a few of the many reasons to visit this campground.

BURKE LAKE PARK CAMPING – FAIRFAX STATION
Take a camping trip to remember at Burke Lake Park. The campground, which offers nearly 100 campsites, is surrounded by acres of forest and one of Virginia’s most popular fishing holes. Fairfax Station offers convenient access to the Metrorail, which can put you in our nation’s capital within minutes. Enjoy the primitive tent-camping experience, and the excitement and history D.C. has to offer.

NORTH CREEK CAMPGROUND – ARCADIA
Located along the edge of North Creek, this campground offers shady campsites and a relaxed atmosphere. Prop your feet up and listen to the stream as it gurgles past, or take advantage of the fishing just outside your tent. The nearby trails include Whitetail, Cornelius Creek and Apple Orchard Falls. Enjoy a large expanse of National Forest land for hunting and hiking.

LEWIS MOUNTAIN CAMPGROUND – LURAY
Lewis Mountain, located within the Shenandoah National Park, is the smallest campground in the park. This site especially appeals to those who want a little more privacy without venturing deep into the back-country, yet it is within seven miles of the popular Big Meadows area of the park.

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Best places to find an over-the-top hot dog

Best places to find an over-the-top hot dog

The hot dog is one of the quintessential American culinary staples. When you think of these delicious franks, nestled perfectly in their bun, ketchup, mustard and relish follow shortly behind. What about some pineapple or guacamole? Check out any of these hot dog joints, and you’re in a unique meat-lover’s dream.

City Dogs

City Dogs

CITY DOGS, Richmond
City Dogs, with two locations in Richmond, offers more than 10 unique dogs on its menu. As one frequent patron boasts, “The Santa Fe Dog, with fresh guacamole, fresh jalapeños and tortilla strips keep you coming back for more. The Honolulu Dog, with pineapple and rich BBQ, and the Carolina Dog with BBQ and coleslaw on top of the dog are also awesome picks. Plus the wait staff is friendly and very helpful.” And to wash down the hot dog, great drink specials are always available to enjoy. After getting your hot dog fix, Richmond offers countless historic excursions for visitors, from the Richmond Slave Trail, to breathtaking Maymont, and everything in between.

DIPDOG, Marion
A rags to riches and rags to riches again, DipDog Stand in Marion has been in business since 1957, powering through redirection of passing roads, management transition and more. The Stand stood the test of time, thriving off their unique, affordable menu. The family-owned business has hosted a number of events and has also had Aerosmith pass by! DipDog has been listed in Southern Living magazine and has also been voted best overall restaurant, best hotdogs, best service, and more. While you’re in Marion, take in a show at The Lincoln Theatre and spend a weekend at Hungry Mother State Park.

THE GAP DELI, Fancy Gap
As you’re making your way through the Blue Ridge Parkway, stop by The Gap Deli and try one of two hot dogs that veer off the beaten path. The General Lee Smack Down Dog is a quarter-pound, all-beef dog, wrapped in cheese and slices of bacon; topped off with chili, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers, yellow mustard and coleslaw. Feel like a more traditional dog, but with a twist? Try the General Grant Chow Down Dog, topped with tomatoes, dill pickles, sweet relish, banana peppers, red onions, yellow mustard and sprinkled with celery salt. Both are served on a delicious toasted French roll.

Goochland Drive-In

Goochland Drive-In

GOOCHLAND DRIVE-IN, Hadensville
Have you ever heard of this one? The Gooch Dog, a hotdog topped with mac n’cheese, with a special/secret sauce piled on top. The Goochland Drive-In, a family-oriented, classic drive-in establishment, offers its patrons new release movies and unique American concessions, such as the Gooch Dog. It’s worth a visit for a night of family fun.

HAUTE DOG & FRIES, Alexandria & Purcellville
“Keep it simple. Everyone loves a hotdog.” That’s the motto of Haute Dog & Fries, located just outside Washington, D.C., as well as Purcellville. Choose from one of their 15 dogs on the menu, or make your own custom creation (including rainbow sprinkles!). Try out the District “D.C.” Dog, complete with bleu cheese, BBQ sauce, yellow mustard, chopped onions and a dill pickle. Or how about the classic Haute Dog? Dressed with homemade warm house onion relish, yellow mustard, mayo and celery salt. All hotdogs are natural, all-beef franks; as well as gluten, dairy and sugar-free. Pair your hotdog with Haute Dog’s signature fries and you’re good to go!

DOUG’S HOT DOGS, Norfolk
Doug’s Hot Dogs, located in Ocean View in Norfolk, is known for its BBQ hot dog, complete with authentic pulled pork BBQ. Arrays of other topping options are available, including the bacon-cheddar dog and their foot-long. 

Skeeter's, E. N. Umberger Store

Skeeter’s, E. N. Umberger Store

SKEETER’S “WORLD FAMOUS” HOTDOGS, Wytheville
Home of the Skeeterdog, Skeeter’s has served nearly nine million dogs since 1925. As one visitor boasts, “My favorite Skeeterdog is the “All the Way.” The All the Way dog comes buried under chili, mustard and ultra-creamy slaw that’s almost more of a sauce, and super finely diced fresh onions. The buns are steamed behind the counter and arrive at the table nice and soft. Skeeter’s has been named Hot Dog of the Week by seriouseats.com.

DONKEY DAWGS, Virginia Beach
If you’re visiting Virginia Beach, you have to take a stop to Donkey Dawgs, just a few miles from the coastline. Serving hot dogs, Carolina BBQ, burgers, salad, homemade soups and daily specials, there’s something that is sure to please any palate.

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

A Toast to Great Views! 18 Virginia Wineries for Outdoor Sipping

A Toast to Great Views! 18 Virginia Wineries for Outdoor Sipping

Virginia’s vineyards are beautiful, especially this time of year when the vines are heavy with luscious grapes. Savor the view while you also savor the vintage at these wineries boasting impeccable views. Their patios and decks are perfect for summer evening unwinding.

Early Mountain Vineyards

Early Mountain Vineyards

Virginia Tourism staff were asked their favorite wine tasting room and tasting experience, but the responses exited the tasting room in favor of the outdoors …

“The outside views from Barboursville tasting room are beautiful with the mountains in the distance. We also enjoyed walking the trail to the ruins of the Barboursville Mansion, which are on the vineyard property.” (Barboursville, VA)

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

King Family Vineyards. I love the range of the wines, the beautiful vistas at the winery, and you even catch a polo match on summer Sundays!” (Crozet, VA)

“King Family not only has an excellent patio/outdoor situation, but on Sundays during spring/summer they host Polo games on-site. I recently went and was blown away by the huge numbers of people out there attending the games. Everyone had lawn chairs, pop-up tents, huge tailgating spreads, dogs, kids, etc. It was a great Sunday afternoon activity. The view is great right next to the mountains and the polo games were really exciting—especially while enjoying some great VA wine!”

Chateau Morrisette, of course. The setting right off the Blue Ridge Parkway is wonderful … Best scenic ride winery in the western region, in my opinion.” (Floyd, VA)

Pippin Hill. Their tasting room is really pretty but the lounge areas on the porch are even better.” (North Garden, VA)

West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery

West Wind Farm Vineyard & Winery

“We went to a winery last Sunday with an incredible view … Pippin Hill.”

Early Mountain. They have beautiful indoor and outdoor seating.” (Madison, VA)

Glass House has a tropical conservatory, patio with a view, and they also serve locally made chocolates.” (Free Union, VA)

Afton Mountain has an outdoor porch with scenic mountain vistas.” (Afton, VA)

Little Washington Winery

Little Washington Winery

“A favorite of mine is the West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery … a dreamy rural setting in the Wytheville hills, this family owned and operated winery provides a most appreciated respite that includes local foods, their wines and soulful local musicians to further enchant the spirit.” (Max Meadows, VA)

Little Washington Winery. Great view from their deck. It was raining when we were there but they let us take Lucy, our dog, in too.” (Washington, VA)

These Wineries Were Also Mentioned:

With more than 260 wineries to choose from all across Virginia, there are most certainly dozens more wineries with outstanding scenic views. Sound off by leaving a comment! We want to know which one(s) you flock to on a summer evening.

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide.

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

12 Beautiful Virginia Resorts

12 Beautiful Virginia Resorts

Looking for luxury? Family fun? Maybe a little of both? Choose from these 12 Virginia resorts that boast plenty of activities to keep families busy or deliver top-notch amenities for couples.

For Kids to LOVE

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort is a four season mountaintop haven. This time of year is perfect for the waterpark! Line the kids up on Rockingham Racer to see who can make it to the bottom first, ride the waves at White Caps or get your aquatic play skills on at Splash-a-Nutten. After you’ve gotten a good soak, head to the Family Adventure Park for zip lining, summer tubing, and wall climbing. Accommodations

 

Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort is situated on 11,000 acres of the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spaces dedicated to family fun include Discovery Ridge and Ridgely’s Fun Park. The activities included are zip lining, summer tubing, bungee trampoline, a climbing wall, miniature golf, and great indoor arcade and gaming outlets. Archery has been recently been added as a family activity, too!

Something for Everyone

Mariners Landing

Mariners Landing

Some of the family loves the beach and some love the mountains. Mash those two worlds together when you stay waterside at Mariners Landing on Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston! The 1,000-acre resort community includes beaches, three pool complexes, gaming center, and of course, water sports for those who wish to rent or bring their own equipment.

The Tides Inn

The Tides Inn

 

Situated along Carter Creek near the Chesapeake Bay in Irvington is The Tides Inn. Families love the swimming pools, beach, and the “learn-to” water sports that the marina affords, while couples can partake of golf, the spa, a Cove Cruise, and the serenity of a peaceful waterside reprieve.

 

Kingsmill Resort

Kingsmill Resort

 

Spanning 2,900 acres along the James River is Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg. A full-service spa, 54 holes of golf, tennis, various eateries, and a full-service marina are all at your fingertips. Families will enjoy the lazy river at the River Pool and access to paddle boards, sea bikes, kayaks, and fishing poles.

 

Lansdowne Resort

Lansdowne Resort

Lansdowne Resort in Leesburg is a AAA Four-Diamond Award winner, and it’s a great choice for families or couples. Amenities include elegant rooms, a luxurious 12,000 square foot destination spa, and 45 holes of golf, courtesy of designers Robert Trent Jones II and Greg Norman. Families can spread out and splash about in the five-pool aquatic complex or sign the kids up for a day camp.

 

Cozy for Couples

Boar's Head

Boar’s Head

 

Southern hospitality reigns supreme at Boar’s Head in Charlottesville. Recently renovated, the AAA Four Diamond resort is known for its Old Mill Room dining and spa.

 

 

Primland Resort

Primland Resort

 

High up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan is Primland Resort, boasting truly spectacular views. Outdoor enthusiasts will be especially pleased with the Orvis endorsed wingshooting opportunities, hunting expeditions, ATV tours, and more. Primland also has 18 holes of golf and an American Indian inspired spa. Stargazing is quite romantic, and if you’d like to get a better look, head to the Primland Observatory.

Keswick Hall

Keswick Hall

 

Keswick Hall is a Charlottesville area mainstay that will soon boast a brand new Pete Dye-designed golf course. Fossett’s is the signature restaurant that will certainly be your destination after a relaxing spa treatment. Keswick is a two-time Conde Nast “#1 Small Resort in Mainland U.S.” honoree.

 

Salamander Resort

Salamander Resort

 

Salamander Resort in Middleburg is pure extravagance with lavish suites, an opulent spa with a couples spa suite and poolside cabanas, a full-service 22-stall equestrian center, delectable dining with a nearby cooking studio, and more.

 

The Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead Resort

 

 

The quintessential Virginia destination for couples is The Omni Homestead in Hot Springs, called “the birthplace of Southern hospitality.” Nestled into the Allegheny Mountains, this National Historic Landmark is enhanced with two championship golf courses, shooting, horseback riding, falconry, Jefferson Pools, spa with exclusive adults-only spa garden, Allegheny Springs water recreation area, and carriage rides.

The Berry Hill Resort

The Berry Hill Resort

 

The 1728 National Historic Landmark known as The Berry Hill Resort is found in South Boston. History, tradition and charm are abundant at this luxury resort. Book one of the mini mansions for ultimate privacy! Blackberry Spa will be a delicious treat for a weary body.

Which resort destination tops your list? Stay at each one for a different flavor of Virginia hospitality and fun!

 

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Travel Guide.

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Helmets On! Virginia Biking Resources to Get You On Your Way

Helmets On! Virginia Biking Resources to Get You On Your Way

Pump up the tires and secure your helmet for great biking around Virginia. Whether you’re into the challenges of mountainous terrain or are more of a bike path easy rider, these resources will help you roll out for the day.

Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail, Henry County

Dick & Willie Passage Rail Trail, Henry County

Mountain Biking Trails for Everyone – Take it easy with a rental and custom tour or hit it hard on single tracks.

7 Most Bike Friendly Cities and Towns – Bike lanes and trail rides through scenic cities.

Hikes, Bikes & Brews – Quench your post-ride thirst with a pint of Virginia craft beer.

Mountain Biking in Virginia – Get acquainted with various places to ride and the outfitters who can assist you in your quest.

Bicycling in Virginia – Cycling the Commonwealth – Get the map, ride the roads. Did you know that 838 miles of US Bicycle Routes 1 and 76 run through Virginia?

Looking to get out on the bike this weekend? Check out the Bike Virginia Tour traveling from Chesterfield to Williamsburg June 20-25. The Tour takes a different route each year, offering you a laid back way to experience the beauty of the Commonwealth. Registration required.

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide.

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Hot? 26 Places to Chill Out with a Great Milkshake

Hot? 26 Places to Chill Out with a Great Milkshake

It’s hot and getting hotter, so where can you find the best milkshakes in Virginia to help you cool off? Our trusty locals have come through again, this time with 26 appealing shake spots across Virginia.

Fenderz

Fenderz

Have an affection for peanut butter? So do our locals, it seems. When evaluating the favorite flavors and specialty shakes offered across the Commonwealth, peanut butter rose to the top. Here’s what our friends had to say …

“Chocolate Peanut Butter- Just the right mix of sweet and salt,” wrote Tonya of Abingon’s Ellis Soda Shoppe. She also noted, “The shop is in an old drugstore and much of Abingdon’s history is told on the original oak shelving and on the tables.”

Stacy’s favorite at Fenderz in Collinsville is the “Peanut Butter Hot Fudge milkshake made with Homestead Creamery chocolate soft serve ice cream and peanut butter hot fudge.”

Brian gives a word of caution, but this shake from George Bowers Grocery in Staunton sounds like it was made especially for men. Or any bacon lover, for that matter. He writes, “Calorie counters be forewarned … The Heartbreaker! Artisan vanilla gelato is blended with local Polyface bacon and Falling Bark Farm hickory.”

Hob Nob Drive-In is located in Gate City. Penny gives a nod to the Nob and her favorite shake, “Reese’s … Thick, rich, and good! The Hob Nob has been a locally family owned drive in since the 1950′s. They are one of the oldest drive-ins in our region. The Hob Nob is THE place to go.”

The Burger Bar in Bristol received several mentions for their milkshakes. Dave, James and Carol all enjoy the Chocolate Peanut Butter shake. Carole wrote, “the almost-sinfully flavorful choices are beyond your imagination and worth every spoonful!”

Gail let us know of Front Royal’s Facebook vote for their favorite milkshake, writing, “Spleunker’s won hands down. Peanut Butter was the favorite.” If an entire town rallies behind a milkshake, you know it has to be the bomb.

Summertime calls for fruity shakes. Oranges and berries are the cream of the crop when considering traditional summer milkshake flavors.

Anne wrote “it tastes like summer,” when describing the strawberry shake at Carl’s Frozen Custard in Fredericksburg.  ’Nough said.

In Kilmarnock, Stevie’s Ice Cream offers delicious fruit shakes, making it hard to choose just one. Susan wrote, “Black Raspberry gets the nod for its fruity taste. It’s so ultra thick, you’ll pull the straw shut getting it out!”

 Noelle has a favorite at Kline’s Dairy Bar in Harrisonburg. Her recommendation? “The best shake on the menu is the Orange Creamsicle. It tastes just like the old days of an orange cream float.” Thomas picked “Black Raspberry. It’s made with a thicker, creamier ice cream is really just to die for.”

Doumar's Cones and Barbeque

Doumar’s Cones and Barbeque

Wright’s Dairy Rite in Staunton has an orange offering of its own. Sheryl wants you to try a drink freeze, which is “your favorite drink blended with rich vanilla ice cream. It’s much like a milkshake but they use soda instead of milk. The Orange Fanta tastes like a dreamsicle.”

Along the same lines, Anthony suggests you try the Orange Freeze at Doumar’s in Norfolk, which also tastes like a dreamsicle. He adds, “All the ice cream is handmade and has been for 100 years.”

Richmond Magazine rated The Dairy Bar as offering the Best Local Milkshake. Julianna wrote, “The Dairy Bar Restaurant uses ice cream from Blue Bell Creameries as the base for their milkshakes, and they offer over 20 different flavors!” Dreamsicle is one tasty flavor, but then also try the Cookies N’ Cream or the Rum-Raisin.

Adult milkshakes. Have you considered one? These might pique your interest …

Station 2 in Richmond has a Girl Scout reference on their shake menu, and Juliana recommends it! She wrote, “For the adults: Naughty Girl Scout – made with vanilla ice cream, Irish cream, creme de menthe, creme de cacao and chocolate chips! Station 2 has fantastic regular milkshakes, but they are really known for their popular ‘adult’ milkshakes.”

Patty had a few recommendations for Lexington’s Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe, but the one that caught our eye (a la Station 2, above) was the Chunky Irish Girl Scout, which Patty described as “Thin Mint cookies mixed with Bailey’s Irish Cream.” Sign me up!

Another suggestion for Kline’s in Harrisonburg is Shami’s favorite, the “Coffee Malt Shake – custard style ice cream without the egg! It’s deliciously good and refreshing on a hot summer day!”

Maureen wrote to us, “Residents and visitors alike flock to the iconic ice cream cone sign at Colleen Drive-In in Arrington.” One of the favorites is the Mocha milkshake.

An anonymous tip was received about Bristol’s Blackbird Bakery‘s milkshakes. Our tipster wrote, “Blackbird Bakery’s new milkshakes are made from over 15 ounces of Homestead Creamery ice cream. Blackbird offers six base flavors and two seasonal flavors, all of which can be turned into one of their fantastic milkshakes … wonderful sauces and syrups [are] available [and] Blackbird’s coffees can be added to your shake.”

Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe

Sweet Things Ice Cream Shoppe

So what about classic milkshake flavors? Get ‘em here …

Danelle keeps it simple when mentioning Goolrick’s Pharmacy in Fredericksburg. “Chocolate milkshake. [It] has been around since 1863.”

Though we’ve mentioned Doumar’s for their Orange Freeze, Julie loves the chocolate shake in particular. She wrote, “Chocolate milkshake: real milk, real ice cream, plenty of chocolate — yummy!”

Walton & Smoot Pharmacy in Woodstock has a claim to fame, which Barbara pointed out when she wrote, “Jackie O (Onassis) had a chocolate shake there!!” Barbara’s favorite, however is the “Vanilla shake!” Josh also likes Walton & Smoot, but recommends the Strawberry. He adds, “All are good because they come from a vintage fountain.” Heather votes for the Chocolate shake, while Jenna calls it “very nostalgic!!”

Christina found a nostalgic spot in Mathews – Richardson’s Cafe. She wrote, “The best shake on the menu is the Mint Chip! Sweet, cold and refreshing. I love to enjoy it while sitting at the old soda pop counter watching reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’ in this former Rexall drug store.”

In Williamsburg you’ll find Shorty’s Diner and Retro’s Good Eats, both serving delicious shakes. Vivian said of Shorty’s, “Chocolate is my favorite. They also offer their old fashioned malts.” She added of Retro’s, “For me, Chocolate is the best! They also offer their real custard milkshakes in Vanilla, Swirl Chocolate Cherry and Dreamsicle.”

Looking for more great shakes? Consider these as well.

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide.

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Virginia Music Venues Worth the Visit

Virginia Music Venues Worth the Visit

Try something new! These unique modern and historic music venues are worth the visit.

Galax Old Fiddlers Convention

Galax Old Fiddlers Convention

The Crooked Road is Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Extending 333 miles throughout the southern part of the state, the trail opened in 2004. Along the trail, you’ll find eight different venues showcasing the roots of America’s music. The songs and tunes of the region told the stories of early pioneer life, immigrant experiences and the day-to-day trials and tribulations. The ballads of the early Scots-Irish and settlers of the British Isles are evident, as are their instruments, such as the fiddle.

Travel to Galax and you’ll find the Old Fiddlers Convention, the oldest and largest such convention in the world! The area’s rich musical heritage has earned Galax its status as the “World’s Capital of Old Time Mountain Music.” Along the trail, tourists can explore communities along the way, offering a fun way to learn about local music, history and heritage. Also included is the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, where its famous Music Sessions took place in 1927 – the “big bang” for country music recording. The Birthplace museum, now under construction, will immerse visitors in the sounds and stories of Bristol’s music history. Bristol’s music continues most nights in restaurants and clubs along State Street and swells to fill the city during the Rhythm and Roots Reunion in September, when three days of concerts, jams and performances bring thousands of music lovers to more than 20 stages up and down Bristol’s main street. Stop along any of the venues and enjoy the many concerts, festivals and jam sessions the trail has to offer.

Check out the nTelos Wireless Pavilion to experience the architecturally striking entertainment venue on Portsmouth’s waterfront.  It has already become a landmark and a premier regional attraction. As part of the lush new five-acre Harbor Center Festival Park, the nTelos Pavilion is unlike anything in Hampton Roads – or anywhere else for that matter. With 6,500 seats, the nTelos Pavilion is large enough to attract a wide variety of incredible acts, shows, and performers, yet intimate enough so that every seat is awesome. The intimacy of this venue is one of its greatest assets.

The Virginia Beach Amphitheater is a 20,000 seat outdoor concert venue located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There are 7,500 reserved seats under the pavilion roof and room for 12,500 on the “festival lawn”. Under cover or under the stars on the lawn, it’s a good place to hear a concert. Since opening its doors in 1996, the Verizon Wireless Virginia Beach Amphitheater has hosted such performances as: Coldplay, Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, 311, Aerosmith, Rascal Flatts, Mary J. Blige, Gwen Stefani and tours like Warped Tour and Ozzfest.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

As America’s National Park for the Performing Arts, Wolf Trap plays a valuable leadership role in both the local and national performing arts communities. Through a wide range of artistic and education programs, Wolf Trap enhances our nation’s cultural life and ensures that the arts remain accessible and affordable to the broadest possible audience. A typical season at Wolf Trap includes something for everyone with performances ranging from pop, country, folk, and blues to orchestra, dance, theatre, and opera, as well as innovative performance art and multimedia presentations. A facility with a rich history dating back as far as 1632, Wolf Trap is not only a place to experience music, but also a place to receive a great history lesson.

The Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall & Arts Center in Alexandria will treat audiences to a premier performance space with its state-of-the-art acoustics, striking architecture, and wood paneled stage shell complementing the rich burgundy furnishings. Community-wide discussions between the college and local arts groups in the early 1990′s led to the concept for a premier performing arts center on the Virginia side of the Potomac River. As plans for the Center developed, details were added to the design so that the building could accommodate large performance groups and off-Broadway theater companies, yet remain affordable for local non-profit groups.  Fundraising for the Schlesinger Center began in 1993 and was led by the Campaign Management Committee for the Alexandria/Arlington Cultural Center. Among the leaders of the Campaign committee was Rachel M. Schlesinger, a violinist and board member of the Arlington Symphony. Mrs. Schlesinger worked tirelessly to raise money for the Center, but never saw the dream become a reality. It was not until 1996 that Schlesinger’s husband made a $1 million donation in his wife’s name, bringing the center to life.

The Garth Newel Music Center in Hot Springs provides an intimate, informal music experience with a twist. Its name, a Welsh phrase meaning New Home, was the name given to the property in the 1920s. Enjoy music from classical to jazz all the while sipping a glass of wine, or perhaps enjoying a five-course meal. As one of the most active chamber music organizations in the country, Garth Newel’s mission has always been to share, explore and celebrate the infinite variety of chamber music in a setting of natural beauty. In addition to public concerts, educational programs are available, as well as on-site lodging. The Garth Newel Music Center has gone from a half dozen concerts in the 1970s to more than 50 today.

The Washington, D.C. area attracts national acts from around the world. If you’re looking for a musical experience in a more natural environment, travel about an hour northwest to Purcellville and you will find Franklin Park Arts Center. A process more than 10 years in the making, the Arts Center opened in 2008 on the site of Franklin farm, which burnt to the ground in 1997. Today, Franklin Park Arts Center boasts a 263-seat, timber-framed facility. The Center hosts local, regional, national and international artists from all genres of music. The Arts Center strives to promote individual creativity and expression by presenting quality performing, visual and literary arts in an accessible, affordable manner.

The City of Hampton holds one of the true musical landmarks in Virginia, The American Theatre. Originally opened in 1908, the Theatre was designed to provide “clean, wholesome amusement” to the town’s residents and visitors. Tragically burning to the ground barely a year after opening its doors, the Theatre’s owner rebuilt the facility in less than a year. It enjoyed a century of growth and change, all the while becoming The Lee for a while, then The Lee Adult when Phoebus (the town which was incorporated into Hampton) was enjoying its reputation as “little Chicago.” During the 1980s, the Theatre became The New American Theatre, where beer and pizza accompanied a movie and local bands played. Closing in the 1990s, it’s been reopened since 2000 and now hosts more than 50 acts a year, with many well-known artists performing on its stage.

Another rocky story, The State Theatre in Falls Church opened in 1936 and operated as a movie theater until the late 1980s. In November 1988, the State closed its doors. After a multi-million dollar restoration in the late 1990s, The State turned into one of the Washington Metro area’s favorite new venue for live music, hosting dozens of well-known local and national artists.

If you find yourself in the Commonwealth’s capital city, taking in a show at The National is a must. Built in 1923, the now historic venue was a hotspot for the thriving downtown scene in Richmond. At that time, The National was a place for fans to enjoy vaudeville acts on its stage, silent movie screenings and boasted the largest orchestra pit in the state. Today, The National lives up to its name, bringing in dozens of international and nationally acclaimed artists, while providing fans with great views of the stage from any angle. The venue’s original brick walls and hardwood floors will treat fans to the nostalgic feel of the concert hall the way it was more than 90 years ago. Music acts from all genres step on its stage each year, ensuring fans will be in for a great experience.

Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder at The Lincoln Theatre

Adam McPeak and Mountain Thunder at The Lincoln Theatre

A member of the League of Historic American Theatres, The Lincoln Theatre in Marion is one of three existing Art Deco Mayan Revival-style theaters in America. The Lincoln is a Virginia Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Theatre opened in 1929 to nearly 1,000 patrons who experienced the first talking picture. Thousands of motion pictures flickered across the screen unil 1973, when it closed its doors. The Lincoln Center reopened in the mid-‘70s only to close again in ’77. The Theatre sat neglected until the 1990s, when the initiative was revived. The Lincoln Theatre reopened in 2004, now offering year-round musical events for both groups and individual artists.

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Canoeing and Tubing Adventures to Try Out

Canoeing and Tubing Adventures to Try Out

NEW RIVER JUNCTION – CANOEING | Blacksburg
Experience New River Junction, as the New River will draw you, gently and peacefully, as you float over small riffles in your tube. About a mile downstream, the rapids are splashing. Ride the rapids a few times then visit Big Falls Park, where the park grills will be hot and ready for cooking. The free shuttle bus will be available when you decide to go back for another trip down the river. A lazy, inner tube drift down a mile of pristine river cupped in a tree-lined mountain valley provides the perfect escape from a hot summer day.

Canoeing down the New River with Tangent Outfitters

Canoeing down the New River with Tangent Outfitters

TANGENT OUTFITTERS – GUIDED CANOEING | Radford
Experience the second oldest river in the WORLD, the New River, as you paddle alongside the natural scenery. Varying from flat, slow-moving water to Class III rapids, the historical river provides an enjoyable adventure for canoers of all skill levels. Trips with Tangent Outfitters range from 5-10 miles, so pack a lunch to take a break along any of the river’s beaches!

NEW RIVER’S EDGE – TUBING | Giles
Bring your family and relax while tubing the gentle waters and Class I rapids of the New River. The 20-minute adventure is something you’ll love to take again and again. Tubing from the Pembroke Boat Landing through the shoals and back to New River’s Edge is fun for all ages! New River’s Edge provides a great, refreshing way to cool off this summer.

CLINCH RIVER ADVENTURES – TUBING/CANOEING | St. Paul
Visit Mother Nature’s waterpark at Clinch River Adventures and spend the day floating down the most bio-diverse river in the country! Rent or bring your own canoe and experience one of the many trips available for the whole family; the facility offers trips from 45 minutes to 7 hours. Looking for a more relaxing day on the water? Spend some time tubing for a peaceful float down the river.

JAMES RIVER REELING & RAFTING – CANOEING | Scottsville
James River Reeling & Rafting offers great flexibility for those seeking excitement or relaxation. Choose from Class I, II or III rapids, spanning more than 50 miles! Each canoeing trip offers Smallmouth Bass fishing, so be sure to pack the fishing pole and cooler as you spend the day on the James!

TWIN RIVER OUTFITTERS – CANOEING | Buchanon
Twin River Outfitters runs trips on the Upper James, Cowpasture, Jackson and Maury Rivers. The outfitter offers its customers fun and safe river trips that range from lazy river to whitewater paddling experiences with true mountain views. Known as the oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James, Twin River has been safely running paddle trips since 1978. Why spend just a day on the water when you can spend a week? A variety of single day and multi-day river-based camping trips are available, where visitors can experience the historic Natural Bridge and more.

Riverside Outfitters

Riverside Outfitters

RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS – GUIDED RAFTING/CANOEING | Richmond
Riverside Outfitters offers three distinct rafting experiences: the falls of the James, the Upper River white water and the Lower River white water trips. Take an adventure trip down the Falls of the James in Richmond’s James River Park System—the only Class II-IV white water rapids running through a major U.S. city. For a more relaxing trip, the outfitter offers guided rafting and canoeing trips, where guests can spot bald eagles, great blue herons, egrets, osprey and other wildlife.

DOWNRIVER CANOE CO. – CANOEING | Bentonville
Downriver Canoe Co. offers great canoe and tube floats on the legendary Shenandoah River. The South Fork of the Shenandoah River has long been recognized as one of the premier canoeing rivers in the East. A steady current of normally crystal clear water flows over a solid rock bottom creating many interesting riffles and pools, and even some beginning white water making it an ideal river for novice and experienced paddlers alike. The river is legendary for spectacular mountain scenery and abundant wildlife.

HARPERS FERRY ADVENTURE CENTER – TUBING/CANOEING | Purcellville
Remember the lazy river ride at the water park? The one where you could float away the afternoon in the summer sun? Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is the original Harpers Ferry tubing company and the adventure company who has water tubing down to a science. The Adventure Center has white water or flat water options for both tubing and canoeing. You can bring a cooler or rent one and spend the whole day on the river tubing Harpers Ferry. Tubing is the Center’s most popular river activity and is the perfect way to soak up the sun, laugh with family and friends, and cool off on a hot summer day.

HOWARDSVILLE CANOE LIVERY – CANOEING | Scottsville
Canoe the James River in Virginia or water levels permitting, the Rockfish River. Bring your fishing pole and explore the small mouth bass waters in a canoe from the Howardsville Canoe Livery. The Livery is ready with canoes for you and your family!

OUTDOOR ADVENTURE EXPERIENCES – TUBING | Dayton
Pack your lunch, drinks and sunscreen, and enjoy a day with Outdoor Adventure Experiences tubing down the Shenandoah River. Guests will begin the journey on their own tube, while guides bring a giant tube for all to play on as they float down the deeper, slower sections of the river.

THEODORE ROOSEVELT ISLAND – CANOEING | Arlington
Canoe the Potomac around Theodore Roosevelt Island and take in the natural beauty of this 88-acre bird sanctuary. This easy, flat paddle round the island is the best way to see how the Potomac River shapes its physical form and influences its wildlife. The island is dedicated to our nation’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.

POHICK BAY REGIONAL PARK – GUIDED CANOEING | Lorton
Imagine skimming along the smooth waters of an uncommonly beautiful wetland. A kingfisher chatters as it whizzes by you, a Bald Eagle turns a broad circle overhead and a deer gazes at you from the shore. A breeze covers the water with silky ripples. Where are you? On a guided canoe trip on the marshes of Pohick Bay Regional Park. Head out on your adventure and check out the wildlife, also including osprey and great blue herons.

FRONT ROYAL OUTDOORS/SHENANDOAH RIVER TRIPS – CANOEING/TUBING | Front Royal
Come experience the “Legend”.  Front Royal Outdoors offers self-guided canoe, kayak, raft, and tube trips on the South Fork of the legendary Shenandoah River. The trips are perfect for the individual, family, or group. River trips flow north between the Shenandoah National Park and the George Washington National Forest and are designed for your enjoyment on novice to intermediate class waters. Whether you want to lazily float down the river in a tube or just paddle away for an hour or a couple of days, Front Royal Outdoors can provide the expertise and knowledge to help you plan your Shenandoah getaway.

MATTAPONI CANOE & KAYAK – GUIDED CANOEING | Aylett
Mattaponi Canoe & Kayak provides guided paddling excursions on both tidal and non-tidal reaches of the Mattaponi, Pamunkey and Chickahominy Rivers, and Dragon Swamp. The trips are geared to take advantage of the rich natural history of the region, giving the participant much more than just another float down the river. Guides will lead guests on an adventurous journey through very remote, wilderness-like passages of the upper Mattaponi River. Or if you’re looking for something a little more leisurely, try a sunset paddle at the Pamunkey Indian Reservation, where wild rice marshes, waterfowl and Native American and Colonial history flourish.

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

7 Unexpected Ways to Experience Historic Virginia

7 Unexpected Ways to Experience Historic Virginia

Everyone knows that Virginia is a state steeped in a rich history. After all, the Commonwealth is home to Jamestown, Williamsburg, Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields, and is known as the “Mother of Presidents,” as eight United States presidents were born right here in Virginia.

Stone Mansion Ruins at The Winery at Bull Run

Stone Mansion Ruins at The Winery at Bull Run

You probably learned all about Virginia’s history through textbooks and in the classroom – you may have even visited a site or two before. However, Virginia isn’t all Colonial garb and historic homes—if you look closely, you just might find that historic Virginia has an edgy – dare we say it?—cool side that you might never have suspected.

Here’s our guide to experiencing Virginia’s history in an unexpected, fresh, and new way:

Sip Virginia wine…on a national battlefield at the Winery at Bull Run. Enjoy a taste of Virginia past and present at this Fairfax County winery, which adjoins over 5,000 countryside acres of the historic Manassas National Battlefield Park, providing you with a beautiful vista of preserved 19th century farmland. Not only will you get to sip on delicious Virginia wine, but you’ll also get a glimpse into Virginia’s rich heritage with winemaking techniques from the Civil War-era, historical buildings and artifacts.

Play a Revolutionary War spy game – just like on AMC’s TURN—by visiting RevQuest in Williamsburg, Virginia. The thirteen colonies are on the verge of declaring their independence from Great Britain, and fighting has already begun. The fledgling American nation has no professional army or navy while the British have the greatest military force in the world. We must have a strong ally! Does the old saying, that “the enemy of our enemy is our friend” hold true?

Carter Family Fold

Carter Family Fold

Channel your inner Johnny Cash at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons. The Carter Fold is a rustic, 1,000 seat music shed offering traditional music every Saturday night. Johnny Cash (who married Carter family member and country music darling June Carter) played at the Fold many times – in fact, he played his very last concert there in 2003. The Carter Family was discovered in 1927 by Victor Recording Studio in Bristol and recorded 300 songs between 1927 and 1942. Playing traditional Appalachian music, the family has often been credited as forerunners of modern-day country music. Today, A.P. Carter’s old general store acts as a museum. Recent additions include the newly moved and reconstructed original A.P. Carter Homeplace.

Are you a fan of The Following? See where it all began in Richmond. Though the FOX television hit series was not filmed in Richmond, the show’s first season took place in downtown Richmond and featured all things Edgar Allen Poe, the muse of the show’s villain, Joe Carroll. Visit the Edgar Allen Poe Museum in downtown Richmond if you’re looking for a sinister way to explore Virginia’s capital city.

Drive by the home of the REAL Scarlett O’Hara in Mecklenburg County. Civil War-era author Myrta Lockett Avary penned two books: A Virginia Girl in the Civil War and Dixie after the War, and was one of the major influences for Margaret Mitchell when she wrote Gone with the Wind. This sassy antebellum belle resided at Lombardy Grove just off Route 58 in Mecklenburg County.

See the hoof print of the real Misty of Chincoteague. Remember reading Misty of Chincoteague when you were little? Well, Misty was a real horse, and you can see her actual hoof print in front of the Island Theater in Chincoteague! The premiere of the movie “Misty” on Chincoteague was in 1961, and Misty was led down Main Street  by her owner Ralph Beebe. In front of the Island Theater, Misty put her front hoof prints in the cement, and author Marguerite Henry wrote Misty’s name in the cement underneath. Misty’s hoof prints can still be found in the sidewalk in front of the newly renovated Island Theater. A bronze statue of Misty is located at Robert Reed Waterfront Park in downtown Chincoteague. Today, you can find direct descendants of Misty at the Chincoteague Pony Center.

Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve

Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve

Enjoy modern cuisine in Old Town Alexandria: The historic district known as Old Town Alexandria takes you back to the time when our nation’s early leaders strolled the streets and partook of grog at pubs and taverns. Today, Alexandria is known for its exquisite culinary scene and its chefs are getting national recognition. Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve has become a foodie darling, earning a nod from the James Beard Foundation earlier this year.

© clogan for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Circuit hikes to check out this summer

Circuit hikes to check out this summer

There certainly isn’t a shortage of hiking trails throughout the state; and for those who are looking for a trail that offers ever-changing scenery and terrain, there’s plenty of circuit hikes available for all hikers. Circuit hikes vary in many degrees of difficulty, making for unique experiences around the loops. Here’s some of the trails around the state, with many more to discover along the way.

Tell us about your favorite circuit trail!

OLD RAG MOUNTAIN
Old Rag Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Shenandoah National Park—it is also the most challenging and dangerous. Recommended for experienced hikers only, a day on the Old Rag is one of Shenandoah’s premier experiences. The circuit is approximately nine miles, with significant elevation changes and rock scrambles. Hikers should allot about 7-8 hours to complete the loop.

MASON NECK WILDLIFE REFUGE LOOP & BEACH WALK
This family and pet-friendly refuge offers an easy 2.3-mile trail, covering the length and flatness of the shore along Belmont Bay. Spotting bald eagles and other bird species, as well as other wildlife make for a great hike! Pack a lunch and take a break at one of the trail’s shelters or snack on the beach! Plan for 1-3 hours for the hike along the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge and experience the serene undisturbed land of the refuge.

STRATFORD HALL
Stratford Hall’s nature trails are as varied as they are scenic, providing leisurely strolls for the amateur hiker and challenging treks for veterans. Hikers have six trails to choose from, including the Spring House Trail loop. The short and easy hike, approximately a quarter-mile, passes through a natural spring and is home to many species of wildlife—in particular the American Bald Eagle. A bald eagle can be spotted regularly and in rare instances, hikers may see a pileated woodpecker. The pileated woodpecker is the only woodpecker that can carve out a nest cavity in a living tree.

SKY MEADOWS STATE PARK
Sky Meadows State Park offers more than 17 miles of hiking trails that are accessible for the novice to expert hiker. The park’s long circuit trail is a moderate hike, about 8.5 miles long. Much of the loop meanders across or skirts the edges of rolling meadows and offers up to four vistas along the way. This circuit is a great hike for the entire family.

Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

STONY MAN TRAIL
The Stony Man Mountain Trail is one of the most scenic circuits in Shenandoah National Park. Although Stony Man is the second highest peak in the park, the grades are not difficult. The trail offers outstanding panoramas of neighboring mountains and totals 3.4 miles in length.

FIRST LANDING STATE PARK
Take a step back in time at First Landing State Park. More than 19 miles of trails wind through the park, where English settlers established the first elective government in 1607. The South Loop trail allows hikers to explore the rich history of the area, including lagoons, large cypress trees and rare plants.

LAURAL RUN TRAIL
In the heart of Goshen Pass, the Laurel Run Trail makes for a good hike along a beautiful small native trout stream. The trail boasts waterfalls, seasonal rhododendron and mountain laurel displays. The beautiful scenery makes this 3-mile round trip hike most enjoyable. The moderate skill-level trail is great for the beginner hiker who is looking to get a more challenging experience out of their journey.

LEWIS FALLS
Located within the Shenandoah National Park, Lewis Falls Trail is a 3.3-mile circuit hike from the Big Meadows amphitheater to the observation point, or 2 miles round trip from Skyline Drive. It boasts an 81′ waterfall, streams and more. The hike is moderate, with steep rocky areas and different variations of terrain throughout.

LOCHER TRACT
Locher Tract is an easy, 1-mile loop along the James River, which used to be the site of an old family farm. The U.S. Forest Service now maintains the area for wildlife watching. While you’re trekking the loop, look for beaver, deer, herons, quail, turkey and more. The trail loops past an active beaver swamp, piney woods and grassy openings.

Family hikes along South River Falls trail

Family hikes along South River Falls trail

SOUTH RIVER FALLS
Hiking South River Falls and Pocosin Mission is a long, historic trek, measuring about 8.5 miles. Venture to the third-highest waterfall in Shenandoah National Park, with a drop of 83 feet. The total climb is about 1,830 feet and hikers should allow 7.5 hours to complete the loop. The hike also includes views such as settler ruins, a cemetery and more.

HUMPBACK ROCKS
Humpback Rocks, located within the Blue Ridge Parkway, features three trails (along with the Appalachian Trail) that make great circuit hikes. The complete circuit includes both blue-blazed spur trails and the rerouted Appalachian Trail, which totals just under 6 miles. Enjoy some truly amazing panoramic views of the valley on top of the slanted rock.

LIMBERLOST TRAIL
Limberlost Trail, also located within Shenandoah National Park, is often enjoyed by people with mobility challenges. The trail was originally constructed to meet ADA accessibility standards; however, the requirements have recently been revised. Shenandoah National Park has plans to upgrade Limberlost to meet the new standards. This circuit hike of 1.3 miles is for people of all ages and has a 5-foot-wide crushed greenstone walkway on a gentle grade with frequent benches, a boardwalk, and a bridge. The trail passes through forest and a stand of mountain laurel – stunningly beautiful when it blooms in June.

ROCK CASTLE GORGE NATIONAL RECREATION TRAIL
This trail starts easy at the entrance to the Rocky Knob campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Then descends over three miles into the backcountry camping area in the bottom of the gorge. The strenuous and rugged nature of the trail reveal part of the reason this pathway was given National Recreational Trail status. In the springtime to early summer, nearly 200 varieties of wildflowers are visible along the trail area. The rest of the trail is a 7.3-mile ascent back out of the gorge on the return trail. You’ll see tunnels of rhododendron and other thick mountain foliage, a splashing stream, and high open meadows. The entire loop is 10.8 miles and the elevations range from 1,700 to 3,572 ft. A few small historic structures are visible along the trail, including a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK
Grayson Highlands offers five loop trails throughout the park, ranging from 0.3-1.8 miles in distance. These trails lead to panoramic vistas, scenic waterfalls and a 200-year-old pioneer cabin. The park also offers access to the Appalachian Trail and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest.

STRICKLER KNOB
This 5.5-mile moderate loop into George Washington National Forest is not maintained and not suitable for dogs or young children. Strickler Knob does, however, reward with challenging rock scrambling and stunning 360-degree views of New Market Gap and the Luray Valley.

LAKE KEOKEE LOOP
The Lake Keokee Loop Trail circles Lake Keokee, which is a popular fishing lake near Big Stone Gap. The 3.7-mile, moderate loop features both land and water wildlife.

ROARING RUN LOOP TRAIL
Two trails lead to the falls creating a 1.5 mile loop trail. Most visitors use the Streamside Trail on their way up to the falls and return on the Woodland Trail. On the Streamside Trail, hikers are treated to rustic stone bridges, sheer rock faces and the sound of tumbling water as they walk alongside Roaring Run Creek up to the falls. The trail junctures with the Woodland Trail just shy of Roaring Run Falls. A short, 0.10-mile spur trail leads to the falls. The woodland Trail travels through the forest, passing a scenic overlook and the iron furnace before returning to the picnic area. Both trails are easy with relatively little elevation gain.

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Kayaking Adventures To Explore This Summer

Kayaking Adventures To Explore This Summer

Discover nature as you’ve never seen it before. Kayaking is one of the best ways to explore unique wildlife and much more—and we have some of the best adventures in the country.

SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

SouthEast Expeditions at Onancock Wharf

For instance, SouthEast Expeditions (SEE) in Cape Charles has been featured in Chesapeake Life magazine, Washington Post and the Denver Post, and everywhere in between. SEE offers a unique kayak winery tour, where it teams up with Chatham Vineyards and each pair of participants receive a bottle of their choosing. SEE also offers tours for first-timers, as they are guided through shallow, sheltered waters. They are perfect for family outings and are a wonderful introduction to both the sport of sea kayaking and the beautiful coastal ecosystems of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Trips are also available for the intermediate and well-seasoned kayaker.

For those looking to get a rise out of their trip to Cape Charles, spend a weekend in a century-old working waterman’s cabin, courtesy of SEE. Recently featured in Garden and Gun magazine, take your winery trip to the cabin, once dotted the Eastern Shore’s marshlands, which were outposts for oystermen guarding their grounds. Upon arrival, dive into a feast of local oysters and steamed clams; and of course, a glass of Chatham’s Chardonnay to pair.

Did you know the second oldest river in the world lies right in our back yard? Contrary to its name, the New River flows through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, beginning in West Virginia, drifting to its end in northern North Carolina.

New River Camping & Kayaking

New River Camping & Kayaking

New River Campground Canoeing and Kayaking, located in Independence, gives visitors a perfect opportunity to explore diverse wildlife. Whether you are interested in a leisurely day of paddling, riding some rapids or an overnight trip on the river, the company can create custom outings for a trip like no other.

Take an eco-tour at Bay Country Kayaking in Williamsburg, where the family owned and operated company’s mission is to educate kayakers on Virginia’s ecological, cultural and historical significance; all while enjoying tours on the James, York or Piankatank Rivers, or Mobjak Bay and the Eastern Shore. Bases are positioned on both the mainland and Eastern Shore.

Head to Kayak Nature Tours in Virginia Beach and experience a trip out to sea. Featured in Southern Living magazine, the company boasts tours for newcomers, all the way to expert level, including a dolphin adventure tour.

Also near the Atlantic, Adventure Kayak Tours feature trips off Virginia Beach and the Eastern Shore. Personalized trips are available, meeting the unique needs of its clients. Exclusive tours include fishing and geocaching, as well as a paddle under the stars and full moon. For those who are looking for a little something extra, a kayak camping adventure is perfect. Take a two-day, one-night guided tour of the Great Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond. Adventure Kayak Tours has won the Virginia Green Travel Leader award and also offers guided eco-tours for PITO—Paddle In Trash Out—an excellent opportunity for those who a looking to help keep coastal Virginia clean.

Located on the Potomac Shore, Algonkian Regional Park is an ideal spot for a kayak trip. Flow through the upper reaches of the scenic Potomac River and paddle among the islands that are stretched out on this beautiful section of the river. Learn about the natural world around you and the general ecology of the area.

The mighty James River begins its majestic journey in Botetourt County, winding through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains on its way to the Chesapeake Bay. The unspoiled beauty of the river is more accessible than ever through the Upper James River Water Trail. Paddlers, anglers and families can get back to nature and enjoy the sights and sounds of 45 miles of the Upper James, including 14 pristine miles designated as a Virginia Scenic River. See the mountains like you’ve never seen them before on the Upper James River Water Trail. The Upper James River Water Trail was created by Botetourt County to encourage residents and visitors to experience the beauty and history of one of the county’s greatest natural treasures. Class I and II rapids are part of the journey, as the Jackson and Cowpasture Rivers converge to form the James.

Buggs Island

Buggs Island

Visit Virginia’s largest lake! John H. Kerr Reservoir/Buggs Island Lake is more than 50,000 acres of fresh water with more than 800 miles of beautiful shoreline. Surround yourself with natural beauty by heading out on the kayak and see where it takes you. Quiet coves are waiting to be explored.

At Great Falls National Park, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. The Patowmack Canal offers a glimpse into the early history of this country. Kayaking in this whitewater area is meant to be used by very skilled kayakers.

Also nestled along the shores of the Potomac River, Leesylvania State Park offers many water-related activities, more specifically, kayaking. Listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, take in the history of the grounds, while enjoying the tidal, freshwater river.

Massanutten Adventures Canoe and Kayak provides kayaking services to the Shenandoah Valley and Harrisonburg areas. Explore the Shenandoah River and take in the natural wildlife. The facility is a part of the popular Massanutten Resort, with plenty of camping and lodging available to spend a weekend on the water.

White water kayaking at Harpers Ferry Adventure Center is the ideal place for guests in good physical condition, looking for a more challenging adventure. You will explore Class I-III (sometimes I-II+) rapids on this seven-mile stretch of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers near Harpers Ferry, W,Va., where two rivers (the Shenandoah and Potomac) and three states (Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia) come together for a thrilling Shenandoah and Potomac kayak experience. For a more relaxing experience, try out the Flat Water tour. Kayakers will enjoy the scenic stretches of the Potomac and paddling at their own pace.

 

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Beach Activities to Keep Your Toes in the Sand and Water

Beach Activities to Keep Your Toes in the Sand and Water

Virginia’s beaches offer a wide variety of activities and adventures to experience this summer. Whether it’s a relaxing getaway or a journey for the adrenaline junkie, now is the perfect time to plan a trip.

Virginia Beach, offers the best of both worlds for its visitors. Head 15 miles south of the resort area of town and you’ll find Sandbridge Beach. Sandbridge is a peaceful, secluded area, making it a wonderful spot for travelers who are looking for some R&R without the hustle and bustle of Virginia Beach’s resort areas.

Virginia Beach

Family time spent at the beach

Sandbridge is a fantastic area of Virginia Beach, but let’s not knock the resort area! Toss around a beach ball, kick around the soccer ball. Take in the sounds of laughter and portable radios. It’s a great spot to bring the kids and experience the ultimate family vacation.

Looking for a day of excitement? Swing by Rudee Inlet and take a ride out to sea on a banana boat. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A banana-shaped boat. Rudee offers other traditional water rentals, but why pass up a piece of fruit to wander around?

Paddle boarding is one of the best cardio workouts in the water, all while offering an awesome, yet spiritual experience. Rudee’s offers everything from lessons to floating yoga, catering to all skill levels. Beginners can journey to the calm inland water for instruction, while those more experience can head out to sea to enjoy the ocean wildlife.

While you’re in the area, venture over to False Cape State Park and experience the beach in its most primitive state. The park boasts a 7.5-mile trail, with views of beaches, dunes, maritime forests of oak and pine, wooded swamps, marshes, and the bay—all in one journey. Pitch a tent or rent a cabin and take in the tranquility of nature, gazing under the stars.

Head east to Portsmouth and find the Chesapeake Diving Center. Go below the surface for some scuba diving expeditions. The Diving Center offers 10 different diving options, from boat and night diving, to digital underwater photography, and wreck dives. The Center offers equipment rentals and all the necessary training to head out on an exhilarating adventure.

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

The Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail is a driving trail with loops off the main trail, linking some of Virginia’s best wildlife-watching areas with walking and biking trails. One of those is the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. A premier birding and wildlife site, the 1200-acre refuge provides viewing access to significant stretches of salt marsh, grasslands, loblolly pine forests, bayberry thickets, barrier islands, and freshwater and brackish ponds. The refuge has a bird list that comes close to 300 species.

The Eastern Shore is full of unique experiences, from spots of pure relaxation, to extreme water sports. Kiteboarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the country and Cape Charles’ SouthEast Kiteboarding School (S.E.E.) is the only full-service kiteboarding center in Virginia. The Cape Charles beachfront is an ideal learning environment, with flat, shallow water and consistent side shore breezes. For more experienced riders, S.E.E. offers kiteboarding expeditions through the shallow bays and barrier island breaks of the seaside of the Eastern Shore. Discover the spot that the Kiteboarder magazine calls “the best kept secret on the East Coast!”

Live the Dream! If you are looking for one of the most exciting things to do, want to fly like a bird, and see some of the most beautiful scenery on the east coast, then take a Discovery Hang Gliding Flight at the Eastern Shore Hang Gliding Center. No experience is necessary and all ages 4+ are able to enjoy this pure form of flight. The Center offers Discovery Flights up to a mile high. You and your USHGA certified instructor will soar over the Eastern Shore of Virginia, where you will learn the basics of controlling a hang glider. Your “dream” of flying will come true!

With so many unique experiences available, it’s easy to plan a perfect seaside escape this summer.

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Take on some Thrilling Zip Line, Canopy and Roping Tours this Summer

Take on some Thrilling Zip Line, Canopy and Roping Tours this Summer

Got an adrenaline junkie on your hands? Give them an experience like no other through Virginia’s many zip line, canopy and roping tours. Whether you’re just starting out or a self-proclaimed expert, these adventures feature an exhilarating experience for those who are up to the challenge!

 

Virginia Aquarium Adventure Park

Virginia Aquarium Adventure Park

VIRGINIA AQUARIUM ADVENTURE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va. 

The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium is an eco-friendly zip line and aerial adventure experience in the trees above the scenic Owls Creek, where kids, teens and adults can all enjoy the Adventure Park. Perfect for families or groups, participants will soar through the trees of the Owls Creek Path and will see wooden platforms at different heights. They are connected either by zip lines that climbers “zip” across or fun challenge bridges that climbers navigate in order to get from one platform to the next. The Adventure Park has zip lines for the beginner to expert, as well as an impressive jungle gym, perfect for parties.

 

BEAR MOUNTAIN – Luray, Va.

Go ahead, get carried away…at Bear Mountain Zip Lines.  The Mama Bear zip line tour includes 7 zip lines, for a total of 2,700 ft. line racing through the forest canopy at up to 35 miles per hour. Perfect for all ages, Bear Mountain offers safety gear, training and procedures. Looking to give the kids a challenge? The Baby Bear High Ropes course is designed for children 5+ that will guarantee a fun and safe adventure. And while you’re there, don’t forget about the Bear Scramble climbing wall!

 

MASSANUTTEN RESORT – Rockingham, Va.

Nestled within Massanutten Resort, lies one of the most thrilling adventures on the property. Located at the Family Adventure Park and Peaked Mountain Express Tube Park, the Zip Line/Canopy Tour boasts a Burma bridge, hanging vines crossing and four zip lines ranging from 90 to 450 feet long. Race down the mountain on a 750 foot-long Mega Zip Line with a friend or family member and experience high-flying on this rope’s course adventure! Located at the Family Adventure Park, Massanutten Resort’s Kids’ Adventure Course and Zip Line features a Burma plank, log crossing, swinging vine bridge, missing plank bridge, net traverse and a 100’ zip line that is sure to thrill!

 

ADVENTURE PARK AT SANDY RIVER RETREAT – Rice, Va.

The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat’s ropes course & zip line park is designed with family fun in mind. The park is built on a 16-acre, self-sufficient farm in the town of Rice, just outside Farmville. The Park’s mission is for its guests to enjoy their time, laugh, scream, cheer and build confidence on their challenging course obstacles, while enjoying the exhilarating ride on the zip lines. The Adventure Park includes 16 zip lines and 52 obstacle high ropes.

 

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

Go Ape Treetop Adventure

GO APE TREETOP ADVENTURE – James City, Va. 

Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is an outdoor experience that provides participants 2-3 hours of outdoor fun and exercise. The course allows participants to explore the park from an otherwise unobtainable vantage point, while navigating through the treetops using zip lines, obstacles and Tarzan swings. Located just minutes from downtown Williamsburg in the historic Freedom Park, Go Ape is a unique and highly interactive treetop adventure.

 

RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS – Richmond, Va.

Choose from high-ropes challenges like vertical climbs into the tree canopy, limb walks, high-elevation zip lines, canopy rope bridges, plunging tree swings and much more! The level of challenge can easily be fit to climbers from ages 5 to adult, and from the beginner to the expert. Riverside Outfitters’ mission is to significantly and responsibly increase recreational use of Richmond’s natural landscape by guiding outdoor experiences and inspiring a return to natural fun.

 

VIRGINIA CANOPY TOURS – Bentonville, Va.

During the Zip the Park tour, participants will enjoy stunning views of the Massanutten Mountains and the gorgeous hardwood forest of the Shenandoah Valley. Guests will learn the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley, native plant species and the wild inhabitants who make the woods their home. Participants will soar through the Shenandoah hardwood forest at speeds which can exceed 40 miles per hour and at heights reaching 90 feet above the forest floor– all while attached to two steel cables.  The Tour finale is an adrenaline-pumping 1,035’ zip down the face of the ridge to their rappel.

 

TREETOP ZOOFARI ZIP LINE & ADVENTURE PARK – Moseley, Va.

The Treetop Zoofari at the Richmond Zoo is designed for the entire family.  As you traverse the canopy walk, plus multiple high stakes challenges and large zip lines at 40 feet above the ground, there will be choices given along the route. These choices are the difference between easier and more challenging routes.  Fly more than 600 feet across the zoo’s lake and zip by tapirs, rheas, and toucans. Those afraid of heights, balanced challenged and younger kids can enjoy the Junior Explorer course. Participants will be pushed to the limits as they pass over tightropes and Indiana Jones bridges, through barrels and nets, only to top off their adventure with a 60-foot zip line. The challenges are all tree to tree and range from 5-12 feet in the air.

 

Zip Line at Bryce Resort

Zip Line at Bryce Resort

BRYCE MOUNTAIN ZIP LINE ADVENTURE – Basye, Va. 

Bryce Resort offers an exciting ride, consisting of 10 zip line platform stations, connected by more than 3,500 feet of cable traversing down the ski slopes and through the woods. With speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, riders will experience the thrill of flying through the trees and sailing across the open ski slopes, as high as 80 feet above the ground, as they work their way from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The resort’s adventure features 10 different zip lines. While you’re there, be sure to take an evening cruise down the lines to take in some of the most breathtaking views Virginia has to offer.

 

LURAY CAVERNS ROPE ADVENTURE PARK – Luray, Va.

This is your invitation to strap on a harness, step out of your comfort zone, and soar to new heights. The Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns includes three different levels of ropes course challenges. While fun is always the main focus, Luray’s Adventure Park also wants you to have complete peace of mind by using a sophisticated safety system of belay devices and harnesses, with trained personnel supervising every participant.

 

MOUNTAIN LAKE TREETOP ADVENTURE – Pembroke, Va.

Ready for an adrenaline kick? Virginia’s newest ropes adventure course is located in the forest canopy at Mountain Lake. Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures is a fun way to get outside, challenge yourself, and experience the exhilaration of climbing through the tree canopy and riding zip lines through the forest.  Sky bridges, swings, rope ladders and zip lines offer a range of challenges that are fun for both the novice, the super adventure seeker and everyone in between. The Adventure Park offers a kids course and two adult courses, all varying in height and challenge levels.

 

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Mountain Biking Trails For Everyone

Mountain Biking Trails For Everyone

Liberty Mountain Trail System

Liberty Mountain Trail System

Mountain biking season is here! It’s time to bring out the “Hurt Enforcer.” Or at least that’s what my bike’s nickname is. Check out some great biking trails this summer that welcome novice and experts alike. What’s your bike’s nickname? Find out here.

 

SHENANDOAH MOUNTAIN TOURING – Harrisonburg, Va.

Offering rentals and custom tours, Shenandoah Mountain Touring boasts beautiful scenery and trails for all skill levels. You might want to pack a swim suit under your biking gear; swimming holes are located throughout the trails and are perfect for taking a break from the heat. Special events are held throughout the year, including backcountry mountain bike races. Both mountain bike and road rides are available on the tours.

 

THE HOMESTEAD – Hot Springs, Va.

The Omni Homestead is located in one of the country’s most scenic settings. That’s good enough reason to take advantage of the 100 miles of hiking and biking trails all within steps of the resort. The resort is home to 100 miles of biking and hiking trails throughout the resort. That is certainly enough options to cover bikers of all skill levels. Covering 3.5 miles, the easiest trail takes a little over one hour to complete. The resort offers bike and helmet rentals.

 

BRYCE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Basye, Va.

Perfect for a weekend getaway or vacation, Bryce Mountain Bike Park has six life-accessed trails, suitable for beginners and those who are learning terrain biking, and advanced difficult terrain. The Park offers a learning center for those who are wanting to learn proper biking techniques, as well as classes for the advanced biker who is looking to upgrade their style and performance. Rentals are available, including all the pads and equipment you will need for your day. TRAIL MAP

 

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort

MASSANUTTEN RESORT – McGaheysville, Va.

It no longer has to be ski season to enjoy the terrain at Massanutten Resort. Riders of all ability levels may rent mountain bikes to explore the mountain. The resort has mountain biking for every level of rider. The blazed trails are recommended for intermediate to advanced riders, perfect for those who are looking for a challenging mountain biking experience. TRAIL MAP

 

RADFORD MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Radford, Va.

If you’re looking for a serene day on the trails with the family, Radford Mountain Bike Park offers 12 trails spanning 8-10 miles, with plenty of wildlife and scenic views to match. TRAIL MAP

 

POCAHONTAS STATE PARK TRAILS – Chesterfield, Va.

Featuring 52 miles for biking and hiking, Pocahontas State Park’s trails have several single-track mountain bike trails ranging from easy to expert levels. Included in the trail is the Spillway Trail for those with disabilities. TRAIL MAP

 

DOUTHAT STATE PARK – Millboro, Va.

At any one time of the year, Douthat State Park’s trails are open to more than 40 miles of wooded trails, perfect for bikers of all ages and skill levels. TRAIL MAP

 

LAKE ANNA STATE PARK – Spotsylvania, Va.

With 11 trails spanning 15 miles, Lake Anna State Park’s trails are the perfect option for those bikers who are planning to bring the kids along. All trails within the park are designated as “easy,” with the exception of the Big Woods, Pigeon Run and Gold Hill trails. TRAIL MAP

 

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL – Abington, Va.

Ride along the 34-mile Creeper Trail, from Abingdon to just before the North Carolina border. During the ride, you will pass through Damascus, along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point, Whitetop Station, near the trail’s North Carolina border. The scenic and historic trail is an easy ride that offers food, lodging and shopping along the way. TRAIL MAP

 

HUCKLEBERRY TRAIL – Blacksburg, Va.

Huckleberry’s paved, 6-mile, relatively flat trail reaches points such as the Blacksburg Library, River Valley Mall and the Virginia Tech Campus. Perfect for an afternoon family ride or for those who use the trail for transportation. Huckleberry Trail is in the process of expansion, with a completion date of 2015. TRAIL MAP

 

BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Tazewell, Va.

Breaks Interstate Park offers breathtaking scenery. The trail is a stack loop trail system offering up to nearly 12 miles of riding, from moderate to difficult. Depending on the route chosen, bikers may plan rides of varying length, with the possibilities of good climbs and long downhill runs. TRAIL MAP

 

FALSE CAPE STATE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va.

False Cape State Park offers five trails, including the Barbour Hill self-guided interpretive trail, total 15.3 miles. The park’s location on a barrier spit allows visitors to observe beaches, dunes, maritime forests of oak and pine, wooded swamps, marshes and the bay all in one visit. TRAIL MAP

 

KIPTOPEKE STATE PARK – Cape Charles, Va.

With more than four miles of trails, bike through upland hardwood forest along Baywoods Trail and look for tracks of foxes, deer and many birds. The upland Baywoods Trail and southern beach are connected by extensive boardwalks so that visitors may explore Kiptopeke’s dune formation. Bicycle trails are available along the park’s entrance road and the Raptor, Songbird, Chickadee and Mockingbird trails. TRAIL MAP

 

OCCONEECHEE STATE PARK – Clarksville, Va.

A one-mile self-guided interpretive trail takes visitors through a terraced garden and land where Occonneechee Plantation once was. The park has a 15-mile round trip multi-purpose linear trail for biking, which is relatively flat—perfect for the whole family to enjoy. TRAIL MAP

 

LIBERTY MOUNTAIN TRAIL SYSTEM – Lynchburg, Va.

The Liberty Mountain Trail System includes 65 miles of cross country and gravity-fed trails spanning nearly 5,000 acres through Liberty University’s Camp Hydaway. Conveniently located trail guides and directional signs make the trails easy to navigate for all visitors. TRAIL MAP

 

Check out some additional biking in Virginia, including state park trails.

For more resources on mountain biking, visit the International Mountain Bicycling Association website.

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Mountain Biking For All Ages

Mountain Biking For All Ages

Mountain biking season is here! It’s time to bring out the “Hurt Enforcer.” Or at least that’s what my bike’s nickname is. Check out some great biking trails this summer that welcome novice and experts alike. What’s your bike’s nickname? Find out here.

 

Shenandoah Mountain Touring

Shenandoah Mountain Touring

SHENANDOAH MOUNTAIN TOURING – Harrisonburg, Va.

Offering rentals and custom tours, Shenandoah Mountain Touring boasts beautiful scenery and trails for all skill levels. You might want to pack a swim suit under your biking gear; swimming holes are located throughout the trails and are perfect for taking a break from the heat. Special events are held throughout the year, including backcountry mountain bike races. Both mountain bike and road rides are available on the tours.

 

BRYCE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Basye, Va.

Perfect for a weekend getaway or vacation, Bryce Mountain Bike Park has six life-accessed trails, suitable for beginners and those who are learning terrain biking, and advanced difficult terrain. The Park offers a learning center for those who are wanting to learn proper biking techniques, as well as classes for the advanced biker who is looking to upgrade their style and performance. Rentals are available, including all the pads and equipment you will need for your day!

 

RADFORD MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Radford, Va.

If you’re looking for a serene day on the trails with the family, Radford Mountain Bike Park offers 12 trails spanning 8-10 miles, with plenty of wildlife and scenic views to match.

 

POCAHONTAS STATE PARK TRAILS – Chesterfield, Va.

Featuring 52 miles for biking and hiking, Pocahontas State Park’s trails have several single-track mountain bike trails ranging from easy to expert levels. Included in the trail is the Spillway Trail for those with disabilities.

 

DOUTHAT STATE PARK – Millboro, Va.

At any one time of the year, Douthat State Park’s trails are open to more than 40 miles of wooded trails, perfect for bikers of all ages and skill levels.

 

LAKE ANNA STATE PARK – Spotsylvania, Va.

With 11 trails spanning 15 miles, Lake Anna State Park’s trails are the perfect option for those bikers who are planning to bring the kids along. All trails within the park are designated as “easy,” with the exception of the Big Woods, Pigeon Run and Gold Hill trails.

 

Virginia Creeper Trail

Virginia Creeper Trail

VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL – Abington, Va.

Ride along the 34-mile Creeper Trail, from Abingdon to just before the North Carolina border. During the ride, you will pass through Damascus, along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point, Whitetop Station, near the trail’s North Carolina Border. The scenic and historic trail is an easy ride that offers food, lodging and shopping along the way.

 

HUCKLEBERRY TRAIL – Blacksburg, Va.

Huckleberry’s paved, 6-mile, relatively flat trail reaches points such as the Blacksburg Library, River Valley Mall and the Virginia Tech Campus. Perfect for an afternoon family ride or for those who use the trail for transportation. Huckleberry Trail is in the process of being expanded with a completion date of 2015.

 

BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Tazewell, Va.

Breaks Interstate Park offers breathtaking scenery. The trail is a stack loop trail system offering up to nearly 12 miles of riding, from moderate to difficult. Depending on the route chosen, bikers may plan rides of varying length, with the possibilities of good climbs and long downhill runs.

 

FALSE CAPE STATE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va.

False Cape State Park offers five trails, including the Barbour Hill self-guided interpretive trail, total 15.3 miles. The park’s location on a barrier spit allows visitors to observe beaches, dunes, maritime forests of oak and pine, wooded swamps, marshes and the bay all in one visit.

 

KIPTOPEKE STATE PARK – Cape Charles, Va.

With more than four miles of trails, bike through upland hardwood forest along Baywoods Trail and look for tracks of foxes, deer and many birds. The upland Baywoods Trail and southern beach are connected by extensive boardwalks so that visitors may explore Kiptopeke’s dune formation. Bicycle trails are available along the park’s entrance road and the Raptor, Songbird, Chickadee and Mockingbird trails.

 

OCCONEECHEE STATE PARK – Clarksville, Va.

A one-mile self-guided interpretive trail takes visitors through a terraced garden and land where Occonneechee Plantation once was. The park has a 15-mile round trip multi-purpose linear trail for biking, which relatively flat—perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

 

Discover more mountain biking throughout Virginia.

 

© Stefanie for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2014

Back to Top