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Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William

Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William

Temperature rising? No worries. Just add water!

Situated along both the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers, Prince William, VA offers a wide variety of recreational water activities for everyone to enjoy. Looking to cool off poolside, float along a lazy river, run amuck through splash pads or paddle through open waters? You’ll find all these and more in DC’s Countryside.

 

WATERPARKS

 

1) Splashdown Waterpark –  7500 Ben Lomond Park Dr. Manassas, VA (703) 792-8200

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Prince William County

Zoom down one of the four-story-tall slides on Pipeline Tower , prepare for launch down the Cannonball Slide or challenge a friend to a race down the Twister Slides. Prefer to relax while soaking up the sun? Splashdown Waterpark has a 770-foot-long Lazy River for unwinding. Bubblers, fountains and a wading area are perfect for young visitors. Enjoy a variety of food from the onsite eateries at one of the picnic pavilions. Splashdown Waterpark has something for everyone.

 

2) Waterworks Waterpark – Andrew Leitch Park, 5301 Dale Blvd. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8415

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Prince William County

Have fun in the sun all day at Waterworks Waterpark! Blast down the Enclosed Speed Slide , twist and turn your way through the Circular Open Slide or test out your balancing skills on the 3 J ungle Walk Features. The new Children’s Play Structure and Splash Pad are sure to keep the fun going for the little one. Enjoy a yummy snack from the Snack Bar beneath the shaded pavilion. Thousands of laughs and tons of memories are sure to be made at Waterworks Waterpark.

 

OUTDOOR POOLS

 

1) Veterans Park – Pool & Waterslide –  14300 Veterans Dr. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8794

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Prince William County

The 50-meter outdoor pool at Veterans Park features 2 two-story slides, graduated entry with water features for the little ones, a bathhouse and concessions nearby.

2) Hammil Mill Pool – 1721 Carter Ln. Woodbridge, VA (703) 491-1074

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Prince William County

Fun water features and various small water slides can keep little ones entertained for hours at Hammil Mill Pool.

 

3) Birchdale Pool –  14730 Birchdale Ave Dale City, VA (703) 670-5178

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Prince William County

Birchdale pool features a full-service concessions area, a diving board and a gated baby pool for little swimmers.

 

4) Graham Park Pool – 3511 Graham Park Rd. Triangle, VA (703) 221-7550

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– Prince William County

Graham Park is a charming outdoor pool featuring zero-depth entry, water spray and dumping water bucket features.

 

SPLASH PADS

 

1) The Interactive Splash Fountain at Virginia Gateway – 7524 Iron Bar Lane Gainesville, VA

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Prince William County

Virginia Gateway’s interactive splash fountain is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.

 

2) The Splash Pad at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center – 14900 Potomac Town Place Woodbridge, VA

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Prince William County

Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center’s splash pad is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.

 

WATER ADVENTURES

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Prince William County

Kayak along the Occoquan River, fish off the sandy shores of Leesylvania State Park or learn to sail on the Potomac. Prince William’s waterfront playground provides a variety of recreational activities for you to explore.

 

WATER EVENTS

 

Fish Seining on the Potomac @Leesylvania State ParkJune 29, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Watch a park ranger catch different kinds of fish using one of the oldest primitive fishing methods. Come for a chance to learn…

 

Pond Play! at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Frogs, turtles, and fish, oh my! Explore the animals that live in our pond. A ranger will use nets to catch animals…

 

Canoe Tour @Leesylvania – June 30, 2019 – August 11, 2019

Our canoe tours are designed to help those that are new to canoeing to learn the basics of paddling…

 

Occoquan Sunset Paddling Tour @ Penguin Paddling – July 7, 2019 – September 1, 2019

Occoquan Sunset Penguin Paddling Tour This guided trip is approximately two hours in duration…

 

NEABSCO CREEK PADDLE TOUR @ Penguin PaddlingJune 30, 2019 – September 22, 2019

Our Neabsco tour is a gem. Wildlife is abundant. Eagles, beavers, herons and all sorts of waterfowl can be seen on this tour…

 

Kids Fishing Tournament at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – September 7, 2019

Join our kids fishing tournament and see what you can catch. Ages 2-15 are welcome…

 

Potomac River Blockade Tour @ Leesylvania State Park & Prince William Historic Preservation – September 21, 2019 – October 19, 2019

Sponsored by the Prince William Historic Preservation. Cruise along the Potomac River shoreline and view sites…

 

Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Prince William County

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The post Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas

Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas

Get out and explore the natural beauty of Virginia. Outdoor recreation activities range widely from the beaches to the mountains in all four seasons. From riverboat cruises and wildlife safaris to whitewater rafting and mountain biking, there is something for everyone in Virginia’s great outdoors.

 

Abingdon Does the Outdoors

Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia, Abingdon is known for its artsy vibe, historic charm and close proximity to some of the most spectacular outdoor recreation in the state. Find world-class hiking and biking along the Virginia Creeper Trail and Appalachian Trail. Journey through the Jefferson National Forest, fish the trout filled lake at Mount Rogers National Recreation Area and more.  See full itinerary.

 

Chesapeake: An Outdoor Lovers’ Paradise 
Dismal Swamp

Chesapeake is an outdoor lovers’ paradise with plenty of activities for those who need to escape from life’s stresses. It is a sanctuary for birds and birdwatchers, home to more than 200 species including Bald Eagles, Hawks, Song Sparrows, and more and a great place for fishing or strolling at Elizabeth River Park. See full itinerary.

 

An Outdoor Adventure in Staunton

Nestled between Shenandoah National Park and George Washington and Jefferson National Forests lies the mountain-fringed town of Staunton. Discover your passion for the outdoors while taking in spectacular waterfalls, beautiful scenic overlooks and mountain views, all while enjoying the local food, brews and culture of the area. See full itinerary.

 

Byways, Barns, & BarbequeTazewell, God's Thumbprint

Tazewell County nurtures a special position in the majestic Appalachian Mountains of southwest Virginia. Take a ride on the Big Walker Scenic Mountain Byway and climb the lookout tower for a breathtaking mountain view. Visit “God’s Thumbprint’ or see the world’s largest collection of rare and endangered fresh water species at the Clinch River Basin. See full itinerary.

 

Outdoor & Eco-Adventure

Virginia Beach’s coastal terrain is perfect for all types of exploration. Outdoor and eco-adventure enthusiasts can take part in exciting dolphin cruises, wildlife safaris, oceanfront bike rides and much more. Enjoy the scenic view where the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean meets, take surf lessons or challenge yourself on a ropes course. See full itinerary.

 

By the Sea, By the Bay, By the Stars

Assateague Island

Located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, Chincoteague Island is the gateway to the Assateague Island National Seashore and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, biking, miles of pristine beaches, and eco-tours. Dine in waterfront restaurants or pack a picnic basket to savor on the sand. See full itinerary.

 

Here … Everyone is the Outdoors Type

With riverboat cruises, excellent fishing, beaches and canoeing opportunities and national, state and local parks, Prince William is an outdoor lover’s destination within a close proximity to Washington DC. The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is home to over 200 species of birds and 65 species of butterflies. Enjoy excellent fishing at Leesylvania State Park and much more. See full itinerary.

 

Is “Adventure” Your Middle Name?

Peaks of Otter

Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lynchburg is known as the “City of Seven Hills.” Enjoy scenic biking trails at Blackwater Creek and Liberty Mountain Biking Trails. Canoe, kayak or tube down the James River. Hike the Peaks of Otter for some amazing views or go skiing year-round at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Center.  See full itinerary.

 

Wander the Waters of Martinsville-Henry County

Trout-filled rivers, quiet lakes and gentle mountains surround this beautiful location that’s full of rich history. Visit trails, historic sites and scenic landscapes. Enjoy a day on the Smith River while floating, canoeing or kayaking. Enjoy the amazing scenery at Philpott Lake then dive in, or hike and bike the many trails around the lake. See full itinerary.

 

 

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Outdoor/Scenic Itineraries
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The post Group Friendly Outdoor Trip Ideas appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia In August

The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia In August

Planning to travel around Virginia this August? The month brings dozens of music festivals, craft beer tasting events, and seasonal celebrations that are perfect for weekend getaways.If you’re looking for things to do in Virginia this August, look no further; we’ve put together a collection of the top festivals and events happening throughout the Commonwealth this August! In addition to these top things to do, Virginia is for Lovers is celebrating 50 Years of Love, with special brewery releases, themed events, discounts, and more happening all summer long. 

 

Night Sky Festival in Shenandoah National Park—Luray 

When: August 9-11, 2019Greg Redfern skyline drive night skies

While hiking and other outdoor sports allow you to enjoy the beauty of nature, Shenandoah National Park wants to give you the chance to experience its beauty after dark. Attend the Night Sky Festival in Shenandoah National Park this August to view the clear dark skies over the park through constellation tours, solar scope and telescope viewings, audio-visual exhibits, and presentations by astronomy experts, Astronaut Tom Jones, a representative from NASA, and the National Park Service Rangers. The festival will take place at various locations throughout Shenandoah National Park and there are several lodging options for guests, including primitive and standard campsites with water and electrical hookups, Big Meadows Lodge, Skyland, and Lewis Mountain Cabins. Book your lodging quickly, as these options fill up fast during the Night Sky Festival weekend. 

 

The Smith River Fest—Axton

When: August 10, 2019Smith River Fest

The Smith River Fest is a celebration of all things associated with the scenic Smith River. Held each year in Martinsville at the Smith River Sports Complex, this free festival has guided paddle trips including on-site rentals and free shuttles, live demonstrations in fly fishing skills like fly-tying and casting, and all sorts of activities for kids such as a petting zoo and a Kid’s Village with inflatable bounce houses. Enjoy the great outdoors during the festival with a 5K Mud Run or the 4.8 mile river race, bike the nearly 20 miles of shared-use trails that run alongside the Smith River, or bring your pup along to try Puppy Yoga on the river. The festival will also have live music, a beer garden for the 21 and up crowd, and vendors selling all sorts of river-inspired gear. 

 

Virginia State Peach Festival—Stuart

When: August 16, 2019Chiles Peach Orchard

A time-tested tradition for over 30 years, the Virginia State Peach Festival pays tribute to the fresh locally grown peaches of Patrick County with all sorts of peach-themed foods and drinks, including peach ice cream, pie, and peach-flavored drinks. In addition to eating, the festival offers live music concerts, an arts and crafts fair, historical demonstrations, and tons of entertainment for kids. The festival has no entry fee, but parking is $5 per car. Don’t forget to bring a swimsuit to cool off during this annual August festival in the on-site pool! VW Loudoun 50 Years of Love bus

For even more peach-based celebrations, Northern Virginia also hosts the Peach Daze Fuzztival on August 4, 2019 in Loudoun County, which begins with a peach pancake breakfast, followed by a peach-eating contest, family-friendly games, and live music. Plus, Loudoun’s Summer of Love Tour Bus will be there to help celebrate 50 Years of Love in Virginia

 

Flying Circus Hot Air Balloon Festival—Bealeton

When: August 17-18, 2019Shenandoah Valley Hot Air Balloon, Wine & Music Festival

During the Flying Circus Hot Air Balloon Festival, the skies of Northern Virginia are filled with dozens of colorful balloons. This once-in-a-lifetime event is not only a stunning spectacle, but also a chance for you to experience the views from up above, as individual licensed pilots offer guided rides throughout the weekend. If you plan on attending the Hot Air Balloon Festival, arrive early, as gates open at 6am and lines to enter the field can stretch back to Route 17 in the afternoon hours. As with any flight activities, this festival is dependent on the weather and may be cancelled or rescheduled in the event of rain or extreme winds, so check the website for more details as the festival dates draw near. 

 

Lockn’—Arrington 

When: August 22-25, 2019Lockn' Music Festival

Held in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountain in Nelson County, LOCKN’ is a four-day festival that combines stellar music from nationally-renowned jam bands and musicians, outdoor activities, camping, and regional food, drinks, and artisan goods. This year’s lineup includes the Trey Anastasio Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros, and St. Paul & The Broken Bones. Get Tickets

—More Music Festivals in August—Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont

August is a month for music lovers in Virginia, with many other festivals and music performances happening in every corner of the state. For some toe-tapping bluegrass, attend the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention (August 5-10, 2019). If you’re looking for live music on the shores of Virginia, get tickets to the American Music Festival in Virginia Beach (August 30-September 1, 2019). The month also boasts two big jazz festivals, The Richmond Jazz Festival on August 8-11 and the Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival on August 23-24, where you’ll get to hear some of the biggest names in jazz, blues, and R&B. 

 

American Evolution Hampton 2019 Commemoration—Hampton

When: August 23-25, 2019 Fort Monroe

1619 was an incredibly important year in Virginia, marking the first arrival of women and African Americans, the first legislative body to gather and represent the New Colony, and the first official English Thanksgiving in America. This year, Virginia celebrates the 400th anniversary of all of these significant milestones with American Evolution, a historic series of special events, seminars, and exhibits throughout the year. In August, join the recognition of the first African arrivals to Point Comfort, present site of the national monument Fort Monroe, during the Hampton 2019 Commemoration. The event recognizes the centuries of uphill struggle that would await these enslaved Africans following their forced introduction to the Americas, and celebrates their spirit of survival, endurance, and strength in the face of adversity. 

 

Neptune’s Coastal Craft Beer Festival—Virginia Beach

When: August 24, 2019Neptune

Virginia Beach brings together the best of Virginia craft beer (and some national favorites, as well) during Neptune’s Coastal Craft Beer Festival. Now in its fifth year of operation, the festival features over 65 craft brews from 30+ breweries, nonstop live music, and local food trucks. Your ticket includes a commemorative beer-tasting glass and tastings throughout the day. Get TicketsAlpengeist roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens

Pair excellent beer with thrilling roller coaster rides at Busch Gardens Bier Fest, happening on weekends from August 16 – September 2, 2019. Try craft beers from around the world, sample hearty German dishes, and experience the spectacular Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest right here in Virginia this August during Bier Fest. 

 

Floyd Yoga Jam—Floyd

When: August 29-September 2, 2019Floyd Yoga Jam Festival

Head to the beautiful mountains of Floyd County for the Floyd Yoga Jam, a five day outdoor and yoga festival held over Labor Day weekend each year. You don’t have to be a yoga master to attend this event; seasoned yoga instructors offer classes tailored to all skill levels and ages at the Yoga Jam. Your weekend pass provides access to all of these classes, as well as workshops, dancing lessons, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities. Children under 13 get in free and can spend time in KidsVille, on the festival playground, or learning a wide variety of crafts and hobbies in the Arts Village. Showers and primitive camping are also free, while car, RV, or glamping sites are available for an additional fee. Get Your Tickets

 

Blue Ridge Buskerfest—Abingdon

When: August 31, 2019Main Street Busker Fest

Street performers fill downtown Abingdon during the Blue Ridge Buskerfest, an annual festival packed with everything from fire eaters and magicians to one-man bands and jugglers. From 11am-3pm, bring kids (or kids at heart!) to the Barter Green for Imagination Station, where they’ll learn about performing, improv, and puppet-making. For guests 21 and up, Buskers After Dark offers a full evening of untamed acts, giving you the chance to mingle with the buskers, get an up-close look at the magic, and enjoy adult beverages and music from a live DJ from 8-10pm. 

 

Find even more August events to add to your calendar, and look ahead to September and October to make more future vacation plans!

The post The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia In August appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in August 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in August 2019

Richmond Jazz Festival at MaymontFestival season in Virginia is still going strong all summer and throughout August, many big name musicians will be coming to Virginia. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.

 

—Virginia Music Festivals—

The Carter Family Memorial Music Festival is held the first weekend in August presented in honor of The Original Carter Family, the first family of country music, and commemorating the historic 1927 Bristol Recording Sessions.  Artists performing this year include Lorrie Carter Bennett & Ronnnie Williams, Jake Krack & the Bing Brothers, Mountain Park Old Time Band, Whitetop Mountain Band, and Tennessee Mafia Jug Band.

The City of Galax has the world tapping its feet as the Old Fiddlers’ Convention takes place in Felts Park Aug. 5-10. Musicians and fans from around the world travel to Galax to perform and hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A few hundred come with their instruments to show their skill, and compete for the cash prizes.

On Aug. 8-11, experience the world’s best jazz and R&B music at the Richmond Jazz Festival set against the beautiful rolling hills of Maymont. Acts performing this year include Jill Scott, Maze, Big Boi, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, and Cameo.

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has been bringing great music to the Shenandoah Valley for more than 50 years. Acts performing in August include The Oak Ridge Boys (Aug. 9), Home Free (Aug. 10), and Judy Collins (Aug. 31).

Hear 60 of the world’s most acclaimed musicians performing in more than 30 concerts in historic downtown venues at the Staunton Music Festival Aug. 16-25. The daily concerts range from eclectic and feature chamber music from the Middle Ages to world premieres, performed by vocalists and instrumentalists from across Europe and the U.S. There are also free pre-concert talks and special offers with numerous downtown restaurants and hotels.Lockn' Music Festival

The Lockn’ Music Festival is a four-day music festival taking place Aug. 22-25 at Infinity Downs Farm with an emphasis on music, camping, outdoor activities, regional food, beverages, and artisans. Many of the artists perform over multiple days, and be featured in unique and exciting artist pairings. Artists performing at this year’s festival include Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Tedeschi Trucks Band, St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Gary Clark Jr., The Revivalists, and many others.

The Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival is Hampton Roads’ longest-running outdoor jazz festival featuring a mix of Grammy award-winning artists and chart-toppers performing in Town Point Park on the downtown Norfolk waterfront. Artists performing this year (Aug. 23-24) include Sheila E, Michael Lington, Vincent Ingala, Lindsey Weber, Paul Jackson, and more.

The Appaloosa Festival is a roots music and outdoors experience Aug. 30-Sept. 1, set at the Skyline Ranch Resort among the beautiful backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hosted by Scythian, Appaloosa features more than 40 bands on five stages, including some of the most critically acclaimed up-and-coming artists from all over the country. This year features Steep Canyon Rangers, Dustbowl Revival, YARN, Fireside Collective, Humming House and more.

Lovers of music come together Aug. 29-Sept. 1 at Spirithaven Farm in Stuart for the Front Porch Fest as more than 30 local, regional and national musicians showcase their talent on three stages. It all takes place on Virginia’s front porch to the Blue Ridge Mountains.

 

—Over at Virginia’s Live Music Venues—

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting Guster (Aug. 2), Thievery Corporation (Aug. 8), Eli Young Band (Aug. 17), The Wallflowers (Aug. 22), Gary Clark Jr. (Aug. 23), and more.

Elsewhere in Richmond, The Broadberry will be hosting The Mountain Goats (Aug. 8), Reignwolf (Aug. 13), and more.

Shows at Richmond Raceway’s Virginia Credit Union Live! include Cody Jinks (Aug. 10), Skillet and Sevendust (Aug. 13), and Dark Star Orchestra (Aug. 15).

The Altria Theater will host The Temptations and the Four Tops on Aug. 22 and Dionne Warwick on Aug. 25.

Just outside Richmond, the Innsbrook After Hours concert series in Glen Allen will host John Butler Trio (Aug. 2), Brett Young (Aug. 8), Throwback Thursday featuring Montell Jordan, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, and Rob Base (Aug. 15), Boyz II Men (Aug. 21), and Chris Young (Aug. 31).

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will be hosting acts like Cinderella’s Tom Keifer (Aug. 8), The Oak Ridge Boys (Aug. 11), Sam Bush (Aug. 14), Pam Tillis (Aug. 17), and more.

In Charlottesville, the John Paul Jones Arena will host Willie Nelson & Family and Alison Krauss on Aug. 14. The Sprint Pavilion will feature The Flaming Lips on Aug. 6 and Dwight Yoakam on Aug. 24. Shows at the the Jefferson Theater will include The Cadillac Three (Aug. 17), Mipso (Aug. 30), and more. The Paramount Theater will be hosting Gladys Knight on Aug. 18 and Ronnie Milsap on Aug. 31.

The NorVa in Norfolk will be hosting acts like August Burns Red (Aug. 7), Black Flag (Aug. 13), Drake White (Aug. 15), The Wallflowers (Aug. 21), and more. Chrysler Hall in Norfolk will have performances from Dwight Yoakam on Aug. 16 and Gladys Knight on Aug. 17. The Constant Center at Old Dominion University will be bringing in Vampire Weekend on Aug. 30.

Keith Sweat & Monica will be coming to the Hampton Coliseum on Aug. 17.

The Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach brings in Joe Bonamassa on Aug. 1, Jimmy Buffett on Aug. 3, Rebelution on Aug. 10, Heart on Aug. 11, KISS on Aug. 13, Knotfest Roadshow featuring Slipknot, Volbeat, Gojira, and Behemoth on Aug. 14, and Breaking Benjamin on Aug. 21, Chris Young on Aug. 22, and Flogging Molly on Aug. 23.

Phase 2 Club in Lynchburg will be bringing in acts such as David Allan Coe (Aug. 8 & 9), Adam Rutledge (Aug. 17), Billy Currington (Aug. 22), and more.

Over in Rocky Mount, the Harvester Performance Center will be hosting a number of shows including Gin Blossoms (Aug. 4), Dawes (Aug. 7), Stephen Kellogg (Aug. 11), Jon Anderson of YES (Aug. 13), and many more.

Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band will perform at the Berglund Center in Roanoke on Aug. 13.

The Blue Ridge Summer Concert Series at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax will host Chatham County Line on Aug. 3, The Hot Seats on Aug. 17, Fireside Collective on Aug. 24, and J2B2 on Aug. 31.

The Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington will be hosting Steep Canyon Rangers on Aug. 3.

Celebrate Virginia After Hours in Fredericksburg will host Kool & the Gang on Aug. 3 and 38 Special on Aug. 17.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing ArtsAt Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include Lyle Lovett & His Large Band (Aug. 1), Sarah McLachlan (Aug. 3), Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band (Aug. 10 & 11), Stray Cats (Aug. 13), Tony Bennett (Aug. 17), Lenny Kravitz (Aug. 21), Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (Aug. 22), The Beach Boys (Aug. 25), and Sting (Aug. 26-28).

Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow will host a number of shows including Florida Georgia Line on Aug. 3, Brad Paisley on Aug. 10, KISS on Aug. 11, Bryan Adams & Billy Idol on Aug. 12, Alice Cooper & Halestorm on Aug. 13, Santana on Aug. 14, Breaking Benjamin on Aug. 22, Rascal Flatts on Aug. 24, and Zac Brown Band on Aug. 25.

Shows at Alexandria music hall The Birchmere include Howie Day on Aug. 3, Jon Anderson of YES on Aug. 5, Chris Isaak on Aug. 6, David Allan Coe on Aug. 10, Rufus Wainwright on Aug. 22, and many more.

 

 

For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/music. At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #vamusic.

The post Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in August 2019 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

We are FUN! We are RVA! We support local business and charities! Life is good!

8 Exclusive Luxury Retreats For a Pampered Virginia Getaway

8 Exclusive Luxury Retreats For a Pampered Virginia Getaway

Virginia is for Lovers has partnered with United Airlines and Dulles International Airport to offer you special luxury packages in Virginia. United Airlines customers and Virginia is for Lovers fans can take advantage of luxury vacation packages, offered exclusively through our website at Virginia.org/united.

 

Virginia offers distinctly elegant and historically relevant experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. Whether you’re looking for a romantic anniversary retreat to celebrate a big milestone in your marriage or simply in need of a relaxing spa day at an upscale resort, these eight Virginia trip ideas offer the ultimate in luxury and unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

 

Virginia Beach Oceanfront Luxury

Discover luxury on the shores of Virginia when you book a stay at the Cavalier in Virginia Beach.Cavalier Hotel Credit Ashley Lester

Luxurious Lodging: Recently reopened after a multi-million dollar renovation, The Cavalier evokes memories of the Roaring 20’s, with an old-world grandeur and southern charm that is absolutely timeless. Originally opened in 1927, the historic building now houses a bourbon distillery, the only hotel in the United States to have an on-site distillery. Additionally, the hotel has three upscale restaurants, a full-service spa, beautiful saltwater pools, and a private beach club and bar. The Cavalier is pet-friendly, allowing you to travel with your four-legged companions without sacrificing style or comfort.The Cavalier Hotel Indoor Pool Virginia Beach

Fine Dining & Drinks: Dine at Becca and The Hunt Room at The Cavalier, or nearby restaurants like Zoes, Salacia, Terrapin, and The Atlantic on the Pacific. For drinks, visit The Cavalier’s distillery, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, or grab a cocktail from the Hunt Room’s bar. There are also a wide array of  breweries in the Virginia Beach area if you’re looking to sample Virginia’s impressive craft beers.

Upscale Activities: Get a real taste of Virginia’s world-class oysters during the Pleasure House Oyster Chef’s Table Tour. This oyster experience is more than waterfront; the tour puts you knee-deep in the waters of the Lynnhaven River (wearing waders, of course) as you feast on oysters pulled out of the water only a few yards away. Hosted by the owner and oyster farmer, the three-to-four hour private dining event includes a picturesque boat ride to the oyster farm and an educational lesson in Virginia’s oysters. Bring a bottle of your favorite Virginia wine to pair with the succulent oysters for an unforgettable foodie experience.Pleasure House Oysters, Chef's Table Tour

Another option for outdoor luxury lovers is the kayak tours of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge or the Atlantic Ocean offered by Surf & Adventure. The wildlife refuge tours last approximately two hours and give you a chance to see the preserved waterways around Virginia Beach, where you may spot dolphins, loggerhead sea turtles, or other aquatic wildlife native to the region during the oceanfront tours.

Visit New Earth Farm in Pungo for a tour of the 21-acre sustainable and educational working farm. After touring the farm and perusing the brand new 2,000 square-foot market, attend one of the Farm-to-Table cooking classes, where you can learn culinary techniques from local chefs using local, seasonal produce that is both wholesome and delicious.

If relaxation is on your agenda, spend some time at The Cavalier’s Oceanfront Beach Club or Sea Hill Spa, where you can book massages, body wraps, facials, couples treatments, and a wide variety of soothing spa packages.the cavalier virginia beach oceanfront beach club

Find More To Do in Virginia Beach

 

Discovering Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay

The lesser-known waterfront region of Virginia’s River Realm is a decadent destination for travelers looking to explore the Chesapeake Bay area.  The Tides Inn

Luxurious Lodging: The Tides Inn sits on Carter’s Creek, an inlet off the Chesapeake Bay in Irvington, infusing the expected Southern hospitality of Virginia with the centuries-old traditions of watermen in the region. The resort offers pet-friendly room options if you’re traveling with your pup, but the hotel’s true luxury lies in the amenities and activities offered. Guests can rent boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards to explore the surrounding waterways themselves, or they can sign up for guided sunset cruises, mixology classes, oyster roasts, bike rides, jet ski rentals, and even sailing lessons. The inn has a disc golf course, tennis courts, a lavish spa on-site, and a stunning outdoor pool area where you can lounge in the summer sun. The Tides Inn

Fine Dining & Drinks: You’ll find lots of fresh seafood fine dining options around the Tides Inn, like ADRIFT, owned by a husband and wife team that both formerly worked in the kitchen at the Michelin-starred Inn at Little Washington restaurant, and Merroir, the original restaurant location for the Virginia oyster superstars, Rappahannock Oyster Company. Visit The Dog & Oyster Vineyard to try local Virginia wine along with some fried oyster tacos made at the winery’s high-end food stand. The Dog & Oyster Vineyards

Upscale Activities: Don’t miss the Tides Inn’s Virginia Oyster Academy, an immersive class that begins with a short lesson on the history of Virginia’ oyster industry, the ecology of the Bay that creates such fine oysters, and the tools used to harvest them. Once you’ve received a basic education on oysters, you’ll head out on a boat with a traditional Virginia waterman for a one-hour harvesting excursion. The waterman will let you hold the oyster tongs, feel live oysters right out of the beds, and show you how to choose the best oysters for fine eating. After returning to The Tides Inn, you’ll get a lesson in shucking, preparing, and pairing your oysters with flavorful sauces and complementary wines. The Oyster Academy takes place every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday during the fall season.Virginia Oyster Trail Opening Event

Another option for water enthusiasts is the Premier Sailing School at The Tides Inn. Opt for the four-day course and learn how to trim the sails, steer the boat, drop anchor, dock, tie nautical knots, and read the weather, after which you’ll receive a U.S. Sailing Basic Keelboat Certificate. If you’re only staying for a few days, the inn also offers a quick three hour sailing lesson that provides a less extensive albeit hands-on experience.Tides Inn Premiere Sailing School

 

A Full Throttle Racing Experience

Fulfill your need for speed in Southern Virginia with an absolutely extravagant getaway.Primland Resort

Luxurious Lodging: A pet-friendly secluded property in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, Primland Resort sets a high bar when it comes to luxury. In addition to the posh rooms in the main building and private cottages with every amenity you’d expect from a top resort, Primland boasts palatial yet rustic “treehouse” cabins that are built around the solid branches of the treetops, offering majestic views of the Kibler Valley and the mountains beyond. If you’re interested in reserving these awe-inspiring cabins, keep in mind that they are not pet-friendly, so your furry companions should stay at home or you’ll need to opt for alternate lodging at the resort.Golden Eagle Treehouse

Fine Dining & Drinks: Dine at Primland’s restaurants Elements, 9th Pub, and Stables Saloon. Elements has a “Resort Best” dress code, so you need to bring appropriate attire (think khakis or dress pants with a button-down shirt and jacket for men, dresses or dress slacks and a blouse for women), but the restaurant is a must for upscale dining. Kick things up a notch with the Chef’s Table experience, a seven-course tasting menu in the Lodge kitchen, where the chef and dining room staff will attend to your meal in a “behind-the-scenes” Chef’s Alcove. Primland Resort

Upscale Activities: The Primland Racing Experience is the ultimate experience for luxury lovers. Start with a private helicopter ride to Virginia International Raceway, where you’ll get behind the wheel of the most elite racing vehicles on the track, followed by a lunch with several racing pros, and then return to the resort via helicopter.Virginia International Raceway, Formula Experiences

Primland has plenty to do on the grounds as well. Try your hand at sport shooting on the range with clays, or hunt wild game with guides including turkey,whitetail deer, or Orvis-endorsed seasonal wingshooting for pheasant, quail, and chukar. If aquatic game is more your style, Primland offers fly fishing on the remote banks of the Dan River, which has large native populations of brown, brook, and rainbow trout, as well as three ponds stocked with trout, bass, and channel catfish. Fish cleaning is available for guests that wish to enjoy their fresh catch at dinner.Fly Fishing

More on-site activities include horseback riding and biking on over 20 miles of trails connected to the resort, an 18-hole disc golf course designed by George Sappenfield, a pioneer in the sport of disc golf, RTV trail riding, and kayak and paddleboard trips on the Dan River. Unwind at The Spa at Primland with pampering treatments like massage, body wraps, scrubs, and nail packages. In the evenings, head to the resort’s Observatory Dome for an epic stargazing experience, viewing the unusually clear night skies above the rural resort.

Play a spectacular round of golf on Primland’s 18-hole Audubon-certified bentgrass greens course, carved from the natural landscape of the mountains by renowned golf course architect, Donald Steel. The course was ranked by GOLF Magazine as one of the “Top 100 Courses You Can Play”, and is a can’t-miss course for passionate golfers visiting Virginia.Primland Resort

 

 

Digging Deep Into The Historic Roots of Virginia’s Wine Country

With over 300 wineries, many of them winning medals in international wine competitions, the Commonwealth is quickly becoming the premiere destination for wine enthusiasts on the East Coast.Barboursville Vineyards

Luxurious Lodging: Located on more than 500 acres of bucolic countryside on the outskirts of Charlottesville, Boar’s Head is in the heart of Central Virginia Wine Country. This quintessential Virginia resort offers exceptional service and world-class recreational opportunities, including squash, tennis, and several swimming pools in the Boar’s Head Sports Club, the Audubon-certified Birdwood Golf Course (re-opening spring 2020), an on-site spa, and a trail system for hiking throughout the property.Boar's Head Resort Charlottesville

Other Luxury Lodging Alternatives in Virginia Wine Country:

Fine Dining & Drinks: Dine at The Mill Room at Boar’s Head, 1799 At The Clifton, or nearby restaurants like The Alley Light, The Ivy Inn Restaurant, C&O Restaurant, Fleurie, and Palladio at Barboursville Vineyard.Boar's Head Inn

Upscale Activities: The Monticello Wine Trail contains over 30 wineries, so a self-guided tour is not advised if you plan on doing tastings at several vineyards. Instead, book a private tour with Monticello Wine Tour & Coach Co. These tours last about five hours and include stops at your choice of three or four wineries in the area, giving you about an hour at each vineyard to taste, tour, and enjoy the stunning scenery of the surrounding mountains. Several popular wineries in the region include Jefferson Vineyards, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards (pictured below), Barboursville Vineyards, and King Family Vineyards. Veritas Vineyards offers private Horseback Vineyard Tours, or if you’re a Dave Matthews fan, stop by Blenheim Vineyards, owned by the Charlottesville-based musician. We can’t guarantee you’ll get to meet Dave, but rumor has it that he occasionally stops by the tasting room.Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards

For a taste of inspiring American history, travel to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Start with a tour of the house, painstakingly designed and implemented by Jefferson, then take the Garden & Grounds Tour, where you can learn about Jefferson’s lifelong love of botany and gardening as you walk the restored grounds, planted to reflect Jefferson’s designs. After seeing Monticello, spend a few hours walking the grounds at the University of Virginia, the prestigious college founded and designed by Thomas Jefferson.Monticello

Get more presidential history at James Madison’s Montpelier, about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville. Plan your trip in early November to attend the annual Montpelier Hunt Races, now in its 84th year.Montpelier

Still looking for a little extra luxury during your Virginia Wine Country vacation? Boar’s Head offers hot air balloon rides that give you incredible views of the gorgeous countryside in and around Charlottesville.Boar's Head Inn

 

 

3 Star Michelin Dining in 18th Century Style

Savor the subtle flavors of Virginia at a prestigious 3-Star Michelin restaurant, located in a charming small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Inn at Little Washington

Luxurious Lodging: One of only 42 inns or restaurants in the U.S. to be named an esteemed Relais & Chateaux property, The Inn at Little Washington is located in Washington, another charming small town of Virginia that was surveyed and founded by George Washington in 1769. All of the 23 rooms and suites at the inn provide elegant accommodations, but for over-the-top opulence, book room six, which was inspired by the plush Ritz Hotel in Paris. All stays include a welcome cocktail upon arrival, afternoon tea, house breakfast, complimentary valet parking, and a guaranteed dining reservation each evening at the inn’s restaurant, which has been awarded three Michelin stars.The Inn at Little Washington

Other Luxury Lodging Alternatives:

Fine Dining & Drinks: The obvious choice for luxury dining is The Inn at Little Washington’s Restaurant, the only 3-Star Michelin restaurant in Virginia or even the greater D.C. area. Helmed by James Beard-winning chef Patrick O’Connell, the restaurant has been rated the number 1 inn in North America and number 2 in the world in Travel + Leisure Magazine’s World’s Best Awards. Other local upscale dining options include Griffin Tavern and Foster Harris House.The Inn at Little Washington

Upscale Activities: Traverse Skyline Drive, the winding scenic drive that runs through Shenandoah National Park. One of the park’s four entrances is only a few miles from the inn, giving you a prime access point to the route. Stop along the way to hike through some of Virginia’s most magnificent landscapes.Shenandoah National Park

Spend a day wine tasting when you visit The Inn at Little Washington. The Faquier County Wine Trail stretches north of Washington and has almost 30 wineries and cideries, including Linden Vineyards, Delaplane Cellars, Philip Carter Winery, and RdV Vineyards, an exclusive appointment-only winery where your visit entails an in-depth tour of the property and a tasting paired with locally-sourced cheese and charcuterie. RdV Vineyards. Photo by Jeff Mauritzen.

 

Historic Elegance in Virginia’s Colonial Capital

History comes alive during educational and hands-on tours at this famed destination.

Colonial Williamsburg

Luxurious Lodging: If you’re interested in getting a little extra luxury during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, stay at The Williamsburg Inn, an alluring inn just steps away from the Revolutionary City. This pet-friendly establishment offers world-class dining, recreation and amenities, such as a full-service spa, tennis courts, two outdoor pools (one of which is heated), and an indoor pool at the spa, as well as complimentary shuttle service around the grounds of Colonial Williamsburg. Child care services can also be arranged by request.Exterior of the Williamsburg Inn.

Other Luxury Lodging Alternatives:

Fine Dining & Drinks: Dine on-site in the Rockefeller Room, or at one of the local fine dining options like Fat Canary, Le Yaca French Restaurant, or Wedmore Place’s Cafe Provençal, where you can also sample Coastal Virginia wines at The Williamsburg Winery. Indulge in the Thomas Jefferson Wine Dinner at King’s Arms Tavern, a special historic dining experience offered multiple times throughout the year.Williamsburg Winery

Upscale Activities:Visit Colonial Williamsburg and wander the colonial streets just outside of the Inn. If you get tired, grab a carriage ride to explore the historic area in style. Book a Behind-The-Scenes Tour of Colonial Williamsburg for a private tour filled with little-known facts and secrets of America’s early leaders.

Golfers should fit in a round on the links of Golden Horseshoe Golf Club, which features three separate pristine courses to total 45 unique holes. The Gold Course at the club has been ranked as one of “America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses” in 2019 by Golf Digest.The Golden Horseshoe Golf Club

 

The Equestrian Experience in Virginia’s Horse Country

Virginia’s Horse Country is the true essence of luxury travel, containing everything you need for an elegant countryside retreat. Salamander Resort & Spa

Luxurious Lodging: Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia’s famed horse country, Salamander Resort & Spa is a countryside estate just 50 minutes west of Dulles International Airport. Book a deluxe room at the resort, or for special occasions, consider upgrading to one of their 17 lavish suites. The resort features an equestrian center with fully-equipped stables and practice ring, a pool and outdoor cafe, hiking and biking trails, archery, fishing, zip lining, tennis and basketball courts, a disc golf course, and even falconry lessons. Book treatments at the resort’s spa, an indulgent 23,000-square-foot facility that sees to your every comfort.Salamander Resort & Spa

Other Luxury Lodging Alternatives in Virginia’s Horse Country:

Fine Dining & Drinks: There are many farm-to-table fine dining options in the area, including L’Auberge Provencale’s French Restaurant, the Goodstone Inn Restaurant, and Hunter’s Head Tavern. For a more hands-on dining experience, Harrimans Grill at Salamander Resort has an adjoining cooking studio that lets you learn from the resort’s chefs during interactive cooking classes that utilize seasonal ingredients. Goodstone Inn Restaurant

Upscale Activities: Salamander offers an extensive list of on-site activities, so we recommend spending at least a day on the property to get the full experience. For the horse lovers, there are several equestrian programs that you can sign up for, whether you take in the pristine countryside during a trail ride, learn the basics of horseback riding during private lessons, or book a half- or full-day package that includes all of the above and more. Don’t miss meeting Cupcake, the resort’s resident celebrity (she was featured in People magazine!) miniature horse.  Salamander Resort & Spa

The charming town of Middleburg centers around the historic Main Street, lined with quaint boutiques and many well-established antique shops. Stop by The Red Fox Inn & Tavern for a little local history. Dating to about 1830, it is believed to be one of the oldest continuously running inns in Virginia. At The National Sporting Library & Museum, discover the rich history behind equestrian, angling, and field sports, including archery, shooting, steeplechasing, polo, and foxhunting.

While the region is widely known for its equestrian roots, the countryside is also home to several noteworthy wineries. Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, Boxwood Estate Winery, and Chrysalis Vineyards are all a short distance from Salamander Resort. In fact, Salamander hosts a Wine & Cider Bike Tour that takes you to Boxwood Estate and Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery, combining the beautiful scenery of Middleburg with the best of the region’s beverages.

 

An Iconic Stay in Virginia’s Capital City

Visit Virginia’s capital city and stay at the classic Jefferson Hotel for a memorable experience. Jefferson Hotel

Luxurious Lodging: Since 1895, Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel has been the epitome of luxury, with breathtaking architecture both inside and out. While the rooms offer plenty of amenities (think televisions built into the bathroom mirrors, Molton Brown shower products, and plush bathrobes), the real showstopper sections of the hotel are the lobby areas; the two-story Rotunda Lobby is lined with massive marble columns and adorned throughout with sumptuous furnishings, and the main entrance lobby, called the Palm Court, is illuminated by an expansive Tiffany stained-glass dome. Just off the hotel lobbies are two restaurants, a full-service salon, an indoor pool and fitness area, and even a florist.

Jefferson Hotel

Fine Dining & Drinks: Enjoy an upscale dinner at The Jefferson’s Lemaire Restaurant, and on Sunday mornings, don’t miss the hotel’s Champagne Brunch, an all-you-can-eat meal complete with custom-made omelets and waffles, fresh seafood, and tables full of seasonal fare. This isn’t your average buffet, it’s a lavish feast filled with every brunch menu item you could possibly desire. Richmond has no shortage of critically-acclaimed restaurants outside the hotel, too; L’Opossum, The Roosevelt, Shagbark, and Brenner Pass are just a few of the hot spots known for their culinary masterpieces. Follow up your meal with drinks at The Jasper, Can Can Brasserie, or one of the capital city’s rooftop bars. The Rooftop Bar at Quirk Hotel

Upscale Activities: Experience Richmond’s burgeoning food scene with a Real Richmond Food Tour. Centered around ten of the city’s biggest foodie neighborhoods, private tours can be customized to your taste and appetite.

First settled by colonists as a town in 1742, Richmond is teeming with historic sites. Visit the grand Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson in 1788, and St. Johns Church, a National Historic Landmark made famous by Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. Virginia State Capitol

Maymont, a 100-acre American estate bequeathed to the city by the affluent Dooley family, frames the history of the property within the picturesque grounds, which contain Japanese and Italian gardens, a Nature Center that showcases Richmond’s abundant wildlife, and a farm that offers VIP Animal Experiences.Maymont

Richmond also has outdoor activities in spades, including kayaking the James River, mountain biking on over 50 miles of trails, and biking or hiking along the Capital Trail, a 52-mile paved trail that connects Richmond to Williamsburg, with notable historic sites all along the way. Take the trail to a few of the historic plantations just east of Richmond, like Shirley Plantation, Berkeley Plantation, and Westover Plantation, then continue on towards the end of the trail to visit Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, and Colonial Williamsburg. Shirley Plantation

 

 

These eight luxury vacation ideas are just a small sample of what Virginia has to offer; where are your favorite getaway spots to celebrate those special, splurge-worthy occasions?

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20 Experiences for Hiking Lovers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

20 Experiences for Hiking Lovers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Attention #Trailsetters: We have an essential list for your outdoor explorations in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. These 20 experiences for hiking lovers are a mix of our most well-known trails, lesser-known trails, and exciting points of interest along the way.

From endurance testers to easy paths for families and slow-pace wanderers, these are our favorite hiking trails and experiences to soak in the best of what’s around.

Before you go: Familiar yourself with the Leave No Trace Seven Principles and do your part to help protect and preserve our natural assets in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

 

1. VIRGINIA’S TRIPLE CROWN

Comprised of three of Virginia’ most iconic peaks – Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs – Virginia’s Triple Crown sounds cool to accomplish. It’s a wink and a deep, wide notch in your walking stick. Get started at whichever point you like, but to conquer them all, you’re facing 32 miles and overnights in Appalachian Trail shelters. However, your effort is rewarded with impressive views, interesting geologic formations you can climb, and a story to share of the time you spent on the Appalachian Trail.

Learn more about the Triple Crown from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club.

 

2. WATERFALL HIKES

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Virginia’s Blue Ridge

We’ve never met anyone who didn’t love a waterfall, and to our pleasure, Virginia’s Blue Ridge offers several waterfall hikes. Some are easier to reach than others, but all of them are excellent backdrops for memorable moments with the people you love. Give these four a go:

Roaring Run Falls (pictured above) in Eagle Rock is accessed through the Roaring Run Recreation Area. Find the Roaring Run Furnace, a 19th century iron ore furnace that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Roaring Run is a popular swimming hole and fishing area.

Apple Orchard Falls can be reached from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 78.4 at Sunset Field. The hike down to the falls is approximately 1.5 miles and steep. Watch for wildflowers as you go. Trillium, bleeding heart, mountain fetterbush, and rhododendron are common finds. View the falls from the platform and beware of slippery surfaces.

Another Parkway-accessible waterfall hike is Bottom Creek Gorge on Bent Mountain. The falls rolling off the mountain are the second highest in Virginia at 200 feet. The loop trail is nearly five miles long and begins at a parking area for Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve on Route 669. Dogs are not allowed in the preserve and fishing is not allowed in the streams. According to The Nature Conservancy, Bottom Creek is “a hotbed for rare aquatic species, providing critical habitat for four native species of fish: the orangefin madtom, the bigeye jumprock, the riverweed darter, and the Roanoke darter.”

Stiles Falls can be found at Camp Alta Mons in Shawsville. As long as there aren’t any camps in session (especially during summer months), the trail is open to the public. The falls are the obvious focal point, and at 40-feet high, you understand why. Be prepared for some rock-hopping and creek-crossing along the three-miles that it takes to see the falls and get back to your car. Dogs are allowed as long as they remain leashed and cleaned up after.

 

3. GET YOUR HIKING GEAR

Make sure you’re well equipped for the hikes you plan to pursue. Our area experts will not only outfit you well, but they have experience in our wilderness. Ask them about certain trails of interest while you’re picking out the best pair of boots for the job. We recommend either of the Walkabout Outfitter locations – Downtown Roanoke or Valley View Mall – or Outdoor Trails located in Daleville.

 

4. HIKES & WINERIES

Sometimes a hike needs motivation. If wine is your motivation, try taking a hike and then making a winery stop your reward for an awesome day in the woods. For example…

Add Hoop Hole to your Roaring Run hike. It’s a second trail within the Roaring Run Recreation Area. Two wineries await your visit after a day on the trails: Blue Ridge Vineyard is less than 20 minutes away and Virginia Mountain Vineyards is less than 30 minutes away.

See other options for hiking trails near wineries.

 

5. HIKING AT VIRGINIA STATE PARKS

Short, long, easy, hard…there are trails for all hikers within Virginia State Parks. Some of our favorites are Claytor Lake Trail at Claytor Lake in Dublin, Little Mountain Falls Trail with its wet-weather waterfall at Fairy Stone in Stuart, Turtle Island Trail that leads to an actual island at Smith Mountain Lake in Huddleston, and Cedar Creek Trail at Natural Bridge State Park in Natural Bridge.

 

6. PEAKS OF OTTER

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Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Virginia’s most famous peaks are the Peaks of Otter near Bedford along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 86. The trio – Flat Top, Sharp Top, and Harkening Hill – are beauties to behold on the horizon, but the views from atop them are even more impressive. Tackling these way finders deserves a reward; luckily for you, Lake View Dining Room at Peaks of Otter Lodge is a delicious and beautiful place to catch your breath and fill your tummy.

Sharp Top (pictured above) is the most popular of the hiking trails at the Peaks of Otter, and the lodge also offers an option to purchase tickets for a Sharp Top Shuttle service that helps shorten the hike.

Peaks of Otter Trail Map.

 

7. POOR MOUNTAIN

Wind your way along four miles of trails on Poor Mountain within the Poor Mountain Natural Area Preserve. Some stretches are steep, so plan for several hours of exploration. Keep an eye peeled for piratebush (Buckleya distichophylla)if you’re hiking in the fall. The globally rare species is identified by its bright yellow foliage. Poor Mountain is the largest population of piratebush in the world.

Poor Mountain Fact Sheet & Trail Map.

 

8. BACKPACKING & DISPERSED CAMPING IN THE JEFFERSON NATIONAL FOREST

If you’ve never truly “roughed it,” you can get that authentic wilderness experience within Jefferson National Forest. Called “dispersed camping,” it’s camping outside of designated campgrounds. Essentially, it’s what everyone did before much of the land was privately owned or protected. Be a real #trailsetter when you get primitive, but do check a few guidelines before you pitch a tent all willy-nilly.

Maps of the Jefferson National Forest.

 

9. AUDIE MURPHY MONUMENT ON BRUSH MOUNTAIN

The Appalachian Trail is the only established trail on Brush Mountain in Craig County. The Brush Mountain East Wilderness is 3,700 acres of mostly steep mountain ridge that’s riddled with streams and features a cool rock outcrop toward the top. That’s where you’ll find the Audie Murphy Monument, a chiseled stone marker courtesy of Veterans of Foreign Wars to honor the most decorated veteran of World War II who died in an airplane crash on Brush Mountain on May 28, 1971. His decorations include the Medal of Honor, three Purple Hearts, Legion of Merit, and Distinguished Service Cross.

Brush Mountain East Trail Map.

 

10. HIKE MILL MOUNTAIN TO THE ROANOKE STAR

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Virginia’s Blue Ridge

When you want to see the Roanoke Star on Mill Mountain, try taking the Star Trail by parking in the lot off Riverland Avenue at the base of the mountain and hiking to the top. It’s approximately 3.25 miles round-trip with elevation gain of nearly 800 feet. The view from the Star is quite impressive, especially on a clear day.

Mill Mountain Park Trail Map.

 

11. MCAFEE KNOB & POST-HIKE DINNER AT  THE HOMEPLACE

Because one pay-off (the view from McAfee Knob) isn’t enough, The Homeplace rests at the bottom of the mountain for an incredible dining experience of home-cooked, family style goodness. It’s everything our southern grandmas used to make, including fried chicken, biscuits, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cobbler & ice cream. If your grandma didn’t cook like that, hen we’re quite sad and invite you to stop and eat what you’ve been missing. Our Homeplace is your Homeplace.

Info on Hiking McAfee Knob.

 

12. SMITH MOUNTAIN

Here’s your chance to enjoy a trail on your own. The little-used trails within the Smith Mountain Cooperative Wildlife Management Area (WMA) are short jaunts connected to WMA roads. The WMA borders the Roanoke River at the dam that creates Smith Mountain Lake. Do not enter the Safety Zone above the dam. Note that hunting is permitted within the WMA.

Smith Mountain Cooperative WMA Trail Map.

 

13. GRASSY HILL NATURAL AREA PRESERVE

More than 1,400 acres in Franklin County make up the Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve. Within the preserve are 6.6 miles of trails complete with a kiosk and signage. It’s important to call before visiting this preserve as it could be closed at any time for prescribed burns, deer population management, or resource protection.

Grassy Hill Natural Area Preserve Hiking Trail Guide & Map.

 

14. HIKING & OUTDOOR EVENTS

Hikers love a great outdoor festival and there are three to make note of for planning purposes.

Troutville Trail Days is held in June each year in Troutville, an AT Trail Town since 2012. The festival is free and features many local vendors, artisans, tubing trips, food, music, and guided hikes on the AT for those who have yet to take the leap. Camping is free all weekend.

GO Outside Festival is held every October in Roanoke (October 18-20, 2019). More than 125 outdoor activities and events are scheduled each year, including the exciting Air Dogs show, BMX stunt bikes, a lumberjack show, slacklining stunts, and more. Learn to fly fish, try out the latest models of mountain bikes … there’s tons to do, great music, and plenty of craft beer to go ‘round.

The Seven Summits Series is an annual challenge to climb seven peaks in seven weeks. You could certainly do that on your own, but if you want to join a local group to participate, the guided hikes are offered Thursdays and Saturdays in the fall.

 

15. READ MOUNTAIN PRESERVE

Encompassing 243 acres, Read Mountain Preserve offers five miles of trails from moderate to strenuous difficulty. Take the two-mile trail to Buzzards Rock at 2,180 feet for one of the area’s best views of the Roanoke Valley.

Read Mountain Area Preserve Trail Map.

 

16. HAY ROCK

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Virginia’s Blue Ridge

One of our favorite views of Carvins Cove Natural Preserve is from Hay Rock. Panoramic views and look-outs are available along the two-mile trail before and once you arrive to Hay Rock.

The Triple Crown may feature the three most popular Appalachian Trail hikes in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, but Hay Rock is another favorite among many locals and visitors.

The Outbound: Hike to Hay Rock.

 

17. EASY HIKES

Novice hikers and seasoned hikers alike enjoy the occasional easy hike, and we’ve identified six such trails to enjoy. Some have already been mentioned in this list and others are awaiting your discovery within our Six Easy Hiking Trails article.

 

18. DOGWOOD GLEN TRAIL – PHILPOTT LAKE

A great trail that will get your heart pumping while also serving up nice views is the Dogwood Glen Trail around a portion of Philpott Lake. At 4.5 miles, you’ll want to bring plenty of water and maybe a snack for your out-and-back adventure. Or, park a car on either end for shuttling. Access the trail from Salthouse Branch Park or from Philpott Dam.

Dogwood Glen Trail Map.

 

19. ROCK CASTLE GORGE AT ROCKY KNOB ON THE BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

Along the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 169 is Rocky Knob Recreation Area and its 10.8-mile Rock Castle Gorge Trail. A challenging path, the trail is a rollercoaster varying in elevation from 3,572 feet to 1,700 feet. When you climbed back to the trailhead, rest. There are picnic tables and plenty of space to relax.

Rocky Knob Trail Map.

 

20. DEVIL’S MARBLEYARD

Like nothing you’re ever seen, probably, are the huge Antietam Quartzite boulders that make up Devil’s Marbleyard. Truly, some of them are the size of a van…as in vehicle, not shoe.

Start this journey from the blue-blazed Belfast Trail to access the ‘yard. After you enjoy bouldering and snagging a few cool #selfies, continue upward to connect to the white-blazed Appalachian Trail. That dogleg off the primary journey rewards you with a wonderful 360° panoramic view. Retrace your steps back along the AT to pick up Gunter Ridge Trail to the right and continue back down to the trailhead, zig-zagging your way through 14 switchbacks.

All said, you will have conquered 11.3 miles.

Hiking Upward: Devil’s Marbleyard.


Get outside and be a #trailsetter in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Whether its hiking our favorite trails or hitting them on two wheels (we areAmerica’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, after all), we know you’ll love what awaits.

Written by Casey L. Higgins for Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Virginia’s Blue Ridge

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Creating Summertime Memories in Shenandoah County

Creating Summertime Memories in Shenandoah County

Get closer to nature and build family bonds with a visit to Shenandoah County. Attractions here are no-frills and not fancy, but are guaranteed to bring smiles and warm hearts. Hike in the woods, skip rocks on the river, feed llamas, pick berries and explore caverns are just a few ideas, but imagine a place that allows for together time, marveling at the views, enjoying farm-fresh foods and creating beautiful memories.

AGRICULTURAL EXPERIENCES

Once called the “Breadbasket of the South”, Shenandoah County has deep roots in agriculture with many family farms still in operation a hundred or more years after their original ancestor first put a shovel in the land. Nowadays, family farms are diversifying, and creating spaces for visitors to pick fruits and pet the animals. One “Century Farm” has even begun brewing craft beer and serving wood-fired pizzas made with ingredients sourced within a stone’s throw.

Here are some of our favorite farm experiences in the area:

Posey Thisisit Llama Farm

This 27-acre farm is home to over 30 llamas visitors can meet, pet, feed and, if you’re lucky, even share a llama kiss! The mission of the farm is to share their love of llamas with all who visit and they deliver on that promise. The owner’s love and enthusiasm for these charming animals is infectious. Open year round by appointment.

 

Swover Creek Farms

This Virginia Century Farm offering pick-your-own berries in several varieties including raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and black raspberries, and gooseberries. Their kitchen also offers wood fired pizzas, farm crafted sausages and home-made pretzels and well as farm crafted beers.

 

Woodbine Farms

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Shenandoah County Tourism

Woodbine Farms is a family owned and operated farm market offering a huge variety of fruits, vegetables, and herbs including peaches, plum, cherries, apricots, apples, tomatoes, green beans and much more. Their bakery also serves up some of the best cookies around as well as fresh baked pies, artisan breads, and apple dumplings. Enjoy local cheeses, jams, ciders and more inside the market or venture outside for their children’s play area complete with mining sluice.

 

RIVERS, CAVERNS AND OTHER OUTDOOR DESTINATIONS

Bryce Resort

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Shenandoah County Tourism

This four season resort offers a variety of summer activities including biking, zip-line, grass tubing, swimming and boat rental, rock climbing wall, and mini-golf. Beginner cyclists can take a lesson on their state of the art mountain bike trail which allows visitors to coast down the mountain and take in the spectacular views. Lake Laura is also part of Bryce Resort’s summer fun where the family can enjoy paddleboarding, canoeing and tubing or just wade in and swim. There is no lifeguard on duty, so no one under 16 is admitted without a parent or guardian.

 

Shenandoah Caverns Family of Attractions

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Shenandoah County Tourism

Beat the heat in an underground landscape- At a constant 56°F, the beauty and wonders of Shenandoah Caverns is a family experience like no other. Check out Shenandoah County’s beautiful scenery below the surface and learn the story of two young boys who discovered it over a hundred years ago and made it their secret hideaway. Shenandoah Caverns has working elevator service and is home to the famous “bacon formations” as featured in National Geographic Magazine. Included with your ticket to the Caverns there are several other attractions that are definitely worth seeing: Main Street of Yesteryear, the Yellow Barn and American Celebration on Parade. American Celebration on Parade is a favorite among families who enjoy seeing floats from the Rose Bowl Parades, Thanksgiving Day Parades and Presidential Inaugurals up close and personal. Many even come to life with the push of a button.

 

Strasburg Town Park and River Walk

This park offers a one of the most family/kid friendly river access points in the area suitable for canoes, kayaks and shallow aluminum boats. Fish for redbreast sunfish or small-mouth bass along the shores or enjoy a stroll along the gravel path running alongside the river. This park also features a wonderful playground for children.

 

Woodstock Tower

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Shenandoah County Tourism

Take a short 1/3 mile round-trip hike to one of the most spectacular views of the Shenandoah Valley. The Woodstock Tower was originally built as one of the first Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) projects now offers stunning 360 degree views of the Seven Bends of the Shenandoah![] River, the Town of Woodstock, and Fort Valley. It’s a perfectly short hike for little ones and the views are breathtaking. Note: The drive to the trail head is filled with switchbacks as it climbs over Massanutten Mountain. RV’s Trailers and buses are not allowed.

 

Hike to Big Schloss

For your tough-and-mighty trail warriors this 4 mile round trip hike offers a perfect day on the mountain with places to stop for a picnic. A beautiful rock outcropping at the end makes a perfect spot for a family photo. You can’t beat the views here! At the trail head are several places to set up a tent and campfire for the night. Memories made.

 

W.O. Riley Park

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Shenandoah County Tourism

Home to the summer concert series Woodstock R.O.C.S. and Kid’s R.O.C., this park also offers a newly renovated play area complete with traditional favorites such as slides and swings as well as a natural play area with kitchen, water features and willow tunnel.

 

ICE CREAM STANDS

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Katie’s Custard – Shenandoah County Tourism

No matter what part of the county you visit, there’s always a good place to stop and cool down with a sweet treat. After your adventures, on the rivers, trails or underground it’s easy to find a place to stop at one of the many ice cream stands around the County. Offering classic treats such as hand-dipped cones, custard and milkshakes as well as chillers filled with your favorite candy bars. Most places are open seasonally and are enjoyed by locals and travelers alike.

Ice Cream Depot 363 E King St. Strasburg, Virginia

The Sugar Shack 629 South Main Street Woodstock

Katie’s Custard– 870 S Main St Woodstock

Smiley’s Kustard– 1562 Orkney Grade Bayse (near Bryce Resort)

Pack’s Frozen Custard – 211 East Lee Highway, New Market

 

Written by Shenandoah County Tourism for Shenandoah County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.
Featured image provided by Shenandoah County Tourism

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The post Creating Summertime Memories in Shenandoah County appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Traveling with the Guys: The Best Mancations in Virginia

Traveling with the Guys: The Best Mancations in Virginia

Whether you’re planning a bachelor party or looking for a weekend getaway with the boys, Virginia has the perfect “mancation” destination for you and your guy friends.

 

—A Beer Lovers Getaway—Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

Rated as one of the top beer destinations in the world by outlets like VinePair, The Wall Street Journal and more, Richmond, Virginia is the perfect spot for a craft beer holiday. There’s over 30 craft breweries for you to enjoy, from national powerhouse Stone Brewing Company and their juicy IPAs to the classic ales of Legend Brewing.the veil

The perfect place to get things started is in historic Scott’s Addition. This neighborhood is home to rising star Matt Tarpey of The Veil Brewing Company and six other breweries, three hard cideries, a meadery and distillery all within 0.25 square miles – making it easy to hop around responsibly. And no Richmond beer trip is complete without a visit to Mekong, which has been named the nation’s Craft Beer Bar of the Year three times.richmond skyline

But it’s not all about the booze in the River City. For those looking to test their luck – Colonial Downs Racetrack is a half-hour drive East, complete with Rosie’s Gaming Emporium. Or if you’re looking to get a little exercise, give the Capital Trail a spin. With some incredible Southern cuisine, live music all over the city and dynamic outdoor recreation opportunities – there’s no shortage of things that’ll make you want to extend your visit.

 

—The Great Outdoors—

If you and your friends are more adventurous types, look no further than the world-class mountain biking opportunities in the Virginia’s Blue Ridge. The region is a designated Silver-Level Ride Center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association, making it America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital.Carvins Cove Natural Reserve

Less than 10 miles from Downtown Roanoke you can find Carvins Cove Natural Reserve and 60 miles of trails at your fingertips. It’s earned a reputation as one of the premier spots for mountain biking in the country, and is a bucket list spot for mountain biking enthusiasts of any skill level. Throw in other trails like Mill Mountain Park and the nearby “Mountain Biking Disneyland” in Douthat State Park, and you have a guy’s getaway that’s sure to please all the thrill-seekers out there.

For those looking for something a little tamer, there’s hundreds of miles of Rail Trails in the surrounding areas that offer some of the same stunning views at a more relaxed pace. Hop on the trail at New River Trail State Park and you’ll ride through cavernous tunnels, over steep dams, past the historical Shot Tower and over several trestle bridges. Journey a little further Southwest there’s the renowned Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34.3-mile trail ride that’ll take your breath away.mcafee knob appalachian trail

If you’d rather have both feet on the ground, payoff hikes abound in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and the nearby Shenandoah Valley. In addition to stunning 270-degree panoramic views, the iconic McAfee Knob has premier bouldering routes off of its 8.8-mile round trip hike. Looking for something a little more challenging? Dragon’s Tooth offers a five-mile rock scramble and views atop one of the state’s most interesting rock formations. Or for a different kind of pay-off hike, explore Cascades National Recreation Trail and cool off in the 66-foot waterfall at the end.

 

—A Fishing Expedition—Chick's Beach Kayaking & Fishing

Behind every great fish tale is an incredible place where it all (probably, mostly) happened, and Coastal Virginia has some of the best fishing spots on the East Coast. Located at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and within easy reach of offshore canyons, the prolific offshore waters of Virginia Beach are some of the most unique in the world.

Being where the northern and southern waters combine, you’ll find White and Blue Marlin, Redfish, Cobia, Striped Bass and Bluefin Tuna all in the same deep sea waters. It’s the stuff anglers dream of, and there’s no shortage of noteworthy charter tours in the area to take you and your friends out for a day in the Atlantic Ocean.Kiptopeke State Park

For a more intimate fishing experience, skirt across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to Virginia’s Eastern Shore for some incredible kayak fishing expeditions. Launch from Wise Point and explore the marshes of Holly Bluff Island, or check out Kiptopeke State Park and the legendary ghost fleet anchored in its waters.Virginia Beach Boardwalk

But don’t think all the fun is had on the water, as there’s plenty of entertainment ashore. The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is full of lively bars and restaurants featuring some incredible fresh seafood. You can go skydiving indoors at iFly Virginia Beach, or take the old driver for a test run at Topgolf as you enjoy golf, friends, drinks and a good time.

 

—The Guy’s Golf Trip—Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club

If you’re looking for a little more substantial golfing action, then Northern Virginia has got you covered. With greens nestled up against the scenic Potomac River and smattered across “D.C.’s Wine Country,” it’s an excellent destination for your next golf getaway.

The Potomac Shores Golf Club, the first public-access Jack Nicklaus Signature course in the region, is considered one of the most beautiful public courses in the country. The course winds through dramatic vistas and over 200 feet of elevation changes, while parties looking to play a quick round can take advantage of their lower afternoon rates.Stonewall Golf Club

The Tom Jackson-designed Stonewall Golf Club is another course that gives you the membership treatment without the fees. With a front nine that wanders alongside Lake Manassas, and a back nine that weaves its way in and out of wooded alleys and doglegs, this challenging course will put your group’s golf prowess to the test.

The 1757 Golf Club and their innovative Launchbox gives a new twist on an old classic. Through their partnership with Topgolf, they’ve introduced 10 furnished golf bays complete with ball flight tracking technology, automated scoring and range-side food and beverage service. It’s the perfect way to cap off a round on their par-70 course.King Street, Alexandria

Once your gang is all golfed-out, head out of the (Old) Town in Alexandria for some of the Capital Region’s best bars and restaurants. Named a Top-5 City in the United States by Conde Nast Traveler, the historic King Street has all the makings of a classic night out. Looking for something a bit more modern? The Clarendon neighborhood in Arlington is a short metro trip away and is especially known for an active nightlife scene.

 

—An All-Inclusive Retreat—virginia international raceway villas alton

If you’re seeking out a one-stop-shop for your guys’ getaway, look no further than VIRginia International Raceway. There’s 1,300 acres of fun around a 3.27-mile track named one of the top six road courses in the nation by Car and Driver Magazine.

Fulfill your need for speed with Formula Experiences, the racing school that set up shop on the property. Take the wheel of a high-performance sports car and fly through long straightaways into hairpin turns during one of their driving programs. Whether you’re looking to just “arrive and drive” or need a little more coaching behind the wheel, they’ve got all your bases covered.

virginia international raceway formula experience track racing alton in southern virginia

Had a chance to show up your friends in Mario Kart a time or two? Why not have a go at the real deal on VIR’s Kart Track. The state-of-the-art 5/8 mile course has karts that can run over 50 mph, some of the fastest speeds you’ll find for go-karts anywhere. Go head-to-head with your friends and see who the true karting king is.

While a lot of the action happens where the rubber meets the road, there’s so much more the property has to offer. The track has a wide array of shooting facilities, with seven ranges varying from 50 to 1,000 yards, a Tactical Training Complex that provides a simulated urban environment, live fire house and classroom along with two National Skeet Shooting Association-approved ranges.Virginia International Raceway

Best of all, VIR offers on-site lodging with Villas, Pit Lane Rooms and The Lodge at VIR, while the noteworthy Oak Tree Tavern and Connie’s Pub offer award-winning dining and beverage options. Meaning you’ll be able to spend your entire trip at one incredible place.

 

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50 Virginia Vacation Ideas to Celebrate 50 Years of Love This Summer

50 Virginia Vacation Ideas to Celebrate 50 Years of Love This Summer

Virginia is for Lovers turns 50 in 2019, and to celebrate this amazing milestone, we have put together 50 different trip ideas to help with planning the perfect summer getaway in Virginia. Use these suggestions to create your own memorable vacation, and be sure to tag #loveva to share your stories with us!

 

1. | Head to Virginia Beach for fun in the sun and a luxurious stay at The Cavalier Hotel. Make sure to stop by the hotel’s distillery, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, the only distillery located inside a hotel in the U.S., for a tour and tasting.

 

2. | Hike a few of Virginia’s 544 miles of the famed Appalachian Trail.mcafee knob appalachian trail

 

3. | Visit Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for a chance to glimpse the wild ponies made famous by the critically-acclaimed children’s book, Misty of Chincoteague.chincoteague national wildlife refuge wild ponies

 

4. | Learn about the earliest colonial settlers at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

 

5. | Travel with your pup to Middleburg’s Salamander Resort & Spa, a pet-friendly resort in Virginia’s Horse Country. The downtown area is known for their antique shops, but even if you’re not keen on going into the stores, the quaint streets provide an excellent place for window shopping.Salamander Resort & Spa

 

6. | Pack a cooler and bring some friends for a tubing adventure along the James River outside of Scottsville.

 

7. | Ride ATVs, dirt bikes, or mountain bikes along Spearhead Trails, a multi-use trail system that winds through hundreds of miles of Southwest Virginia.Spearhead Trails

 

8. | Score VIP tickets to Lockn’, a four-day music festival and in Nelson County. This year’s epic lineup will features dozens of noteworthy bands, including the Trey Anastasio Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bob Weir and the Wolf Bros., and Old Crow Medicine Show.Lockn' Music Festival

 

9. | Plan an overnight camping trip underneath a blanket of stars in Shenandoah National Park.Buck Hollow Overlook

 

10. |  Play a round of golf with a few buddies at one of Virginia’s pro-level golf courses.

 

11. | Follow the Crooked Road through Southwest Virginia, stopping at notable destinations like the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, Floyd Country Store, and the Carter Family Fold to learn about Virginia’s rich musical history.Floyd Country Store

 

12. |  Experience Richmond’s impressive craft beer scene with a brewery crawl through the historic Scott’s Addition neighborhood.Ardent Brewery Richmond

 

13. | Geek out on space travel at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the Wallops Island NASA Flight Facility Visitor Center, or the Virginia Air & Space Museum in Hampton.

 

14. | Take a road trip to some of Virginia’s most picture-perfect LOVEworks, capturing a memorable moment with your friends or family.farmville lovework

 

15. | Uncover Virginia’s Civil War history at the American Civil War Museum in Appomattox, then travel down the road to Appomattox Court House & National Historical Park, where Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union leader Ulysses S. Grant, beginning the long process of reunification for the United States.

 

16. | Get your thrills riding the coasters at Kings Dominion or Busch Gardens, Virginia’s two most intense theme parks. If rides aren’t your thing, there are also a few water parks where you can cool down with the entire family this summer.The Anaconda at Kings Dominion

 

17. | Walk through the ViBe Creative District of Virginia Beach, a cultural arts area filled with dozens of colorful murals that showcase a wide array of talented street artists.

 

18. | Tour Luray Caverns, the largest and most popular caverns on the East Coast. Don’t miss the Stalacpipe Organ, the only organ in the world made using natural stone formations to create haunting sounds that echo off the cavernous ceilings.Luray Caverns

 

19. | Bike the Virginia Creeper Trail in Damascus and Abingdon, a 34-mile rails-to-trail route that winds through the mountains of Southwest Virginia.virginia creeper trail

 

20. | Plan a summer vacation for the whole family to Sandbridge Beach, a quiet community along the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean just south of Virginia Beach.

 

21. | Groove in the Blue Ridge Mountains at Floydfest, a five-day music festival packed with outdoor activities, local artisans, and over 100 artists continuously playing on eight different stages.



22. | Fulfill your need for speed at Richmond Raceway, Martinsville Speedway, Virginia International Raceway, or Bristol Motor Speedway. Check their websites to get dates and times for future racing event in Virginia.

 

23. | Get an education on Virginia’s world-class oysters at The Oyster Academy, a hands-on class held at The Tides Inn in Irvington.tides inn oyster academy

 

24. | Find the freshest fruits of the season at Westmoreland Berry Farm, where you can pick your own strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, and more.

 

25. | Plan a girlfriend’s getaway to the beautiful mountains of Shenandoah.

 

26. | Attend a Virginia Pride Festival to support the LGBT communities of the Commonwealth.VA PrideFest

 

27. | Satisfy your foodie cravings at a farm-to-table restaurant, event, or festival.

 

28. | Enjoy the upbeat nightlife of Alexandria, spending an evening sipping creative cocktails and bar hopping along the city’s historic cobblestone streets.

 

29. | Rent paddleboards and set out on the serene waters of Clayton Lake in Southwest Virginia.New River Stand-Up Paddle Boarding

 

30. | Visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, an architectural masterpiece surrounded by pristine grounds and stunning gardens that were restored to the exacting specifications of the former Founding Father.Monticello

 

31. | Conquer the Virginia Capital Trail, a 52-mile bike trail from Richmond to Williamsburg.

 

32. | Take on the adrenaline-packed trails of Carvins Cove and Mill Mountain in Roanoke, a system of mountain biking trails that were recently given a Silver Level Status by the IMBA, becoming the first and only destination on the East Coast to achieve this ranking.

 

33. | Book a customized winery outing, Hop-On Wine Tour, or a historic trolley tour to wineries in Central Virginia for a trip to several vineyards without having to designate a driver from your friend group.

 

34. | Learn about the first President of the United States at Mount Vernon, Washington’s picturesque home on the banks of the Potomac River.Mount Vernon

 

35. | Indulge in a Michelin-star meal cooked by five-time James Beard award winner Patrick O’Connell at The Inn at Little Washington, and if you’re celebrating a special occasion, consider splurging on an overnight stay (the luxury hotel has two AAA Five Diamond Awards and became the first 5 Star country house hotel in America).Inn at Little Washington. ©2012 Gordon Beall.

 

36. | Explore the seaside town of Cape Charles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a charming coastal community where you’ll find upscale lodging, fresh seafood, locally-owned artisan shops, and a cidery, craft brewery, and distillery all within walking distance.

 

37. | Stay at the gigantic tipis (fully furnished with bathrooms and air-conditioning!) at Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort for a once-in-a-lifetime overnight experience.


 

38. | Speaking of Williamsburg, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is a must on any Virginia vacation checklist. This historic attraction allows you to discover a colonial-era village reconstructed to tell the story of Virginia’s earliest days.King's Arm Tavern at Colonial Williamsburg

 

39. | Pamper yourself with a few restorative treatments at the Primland Resort Spa.

 

40. | Drive all 105 miles of Skyline Drive, stopping at some of the 75 scenic overlooks to enjoy the breathtaking views.Scenic Skyline Drive

 

41. | Try your hand (or your feet, to be more precise) at wake boarding or wake surfing along the expansive waters of Smith Mountain Lake. Don’t have a boat? Bridgewater Marina offers hourly boat, Jet Ski, and watersports rentals for visitors looking to get out on the lake.

 

42. | Unwind in Virginia’s stunning Blue Ridge Mountains when you stay at either Wintergreen Resort or Massanutten Resort.Wintergreen Resort Condos spring

 

43. | Cast a line in Virginia’s well-stocked waterways with a weekend fishing expedition.

 

44. | Want an exotic outdoor experience without traveling thousands of miles? Hike to one of Virginia’s cascading waterfalls for jaw-dropping natural scenery.



 

45. | Book a romantic weekend stay with your significant other at a Virginia inn, resort, or bed & breakfast.

 

46. | Spend some time in the Great Outdoors when you travel to one of Virginia’s 38 state parks, located in every corner of Virginia, from the mountains to the sandy beaches of the Eastern Shore.Grayson Highlands State Park

 

47. | Discover the true flavors of Virginia along the Salty Southern Route, a food-inspired trail that contains peanuts, salt-cured hams, and other pork products that have roots in the rural fields of southern Virginia.

 

48. | From Picasso to Warhol, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond houses works from some of the most renowned artists in the world. With over 35,000 total pieces of art, you can easily spend more than a single day viewing the massive collections of European, American, Asian, and African art.Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

 

49. | Get a peek at Virginia from an entirely new point of view at a rooftop restaurant or bar!Instagram post of the Quirk Rooftop in Richmond

 

50. | Last but not least, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate 50 Years of Love in Virginia than by attending a 50 Years of Love themed event, happening throughout Virginia all summer long!

loveworks at Pippin Hill Winery

 

 

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Small Town Trip Ideas & Itineraries

Small Town Trip Ideas & Itineraries

Virginia’s Main Street Communities and small towns are recognized for their down-home hospitality, locally-owned businesses, family-style eateries, heritage events and nearby unique outdoor attractions.

Add a small town to your Virginia itinerary or visit multiple to create a special multi-day tour experience. See how Virginia’s small towns can make a big impact on your next group tour.

 

– All about Staunton: Two Day Trip –

Staunton

Voted one of “America’s Favorite Mountain Towns” by Travel + Leisure, Staunton is located in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. The city’s charming downtown is home to a vibrant arts and music scene, local dining, and a cool array of independent shops and galleries clustered along the historic Main Street. Outdoor adventure and scenic drives, a night of theater, a step back in time at the Frontier Culture Museum, and more await you in this small town. Read more.

 

– Small Town Fans Can Stroll Smithfield: A “Park & Go” Getaway –Sunset on the Pagan River in Smithfield

​Genuine Smithfield exudes the charm and graciousness of bygone eras while maintaining its quaint river-town feel. Known worldwide for its famous ham curing process, the town also boasts a rich history, picturesque Main Street, and a vibrant arts scene. Smithfield’s historic district is the perfect “park & go” walking destination. Read more.

 

– Abingdon’s Historic Charm – Barter Theatre

Don’t just learn about history, experience it in the charming town of Abingdon. When you stroll down Main Street, you think about the Civil War soldiers involved in nearby battles who were treated by nurses on the grounds of what is now the elegant Martha Washington Inn & Spa. Enjoy a live performance at the historic Barter Theatre (group rates available). Read more.

 

– Group-Friendly Mountain Town Itinerary Scenic Skyline Drive

Take in breathtaking views along Skyline Drive or enjoy flavorful local brews along the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail. Walk the streets of downtown Waynesboro and visit interactive museums and historic sites or see a live theatre performance. Round up your friends, this group-friendly itinerary will leave you cheering for more. Read more.

 

– By the Sea, by the Bay, by the Stars –

Assateague Island Lighthouse

Discover the spirit of Chincoteague Island with its unique island heritage, delicious food, shopping and beautiful neighboring Assateague Island for outdoor wonders, activities, and more! Visit the NASA Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, enjoy a pontoon cruise or take a leisurely beach stroll. Read more.

 

– Lose yourself in Louisa –

Take a peaceful escape to Louisa. Step back in time in this rural town while, at the same time, enjoying a multitude of modern experiences with a historical twist. Walk historic downtown Louisa and visit numerous historical landmarks, restaurants and shops. Take a break from the hustle and bustle and get lost in Louisa. Read more.

 

– Slip Away to Prince William –

Occoquan

Only a short drive from the nation’s capital, Prince William offers events and attractions for any kind of traveler. Stroll through the small town of Occoquan which features thriving artists, specialty gift shops and quaint restaurants, visit historic sites, enjoy a round of golf at pristine courses, sip wine with stunning views and more. Read more.

 

– Best of Lexington & Rockbridge: A Three-Day Tour –Natural Bridge Park

Visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World: The Natural Bridge at Natural Bridge State Park. Fun for all ages, nearby are the Caverns at Natural Bridge, Virginia Safari Park, Natural Bridge Zoo, and Dinosaur Kingdom II. Mix and match them to create your ideal afternoon of exploration. Enjoy tastings at local wineries and breweries. Take a carriage tour of historic Downtown Lexington and more. Read more.

 

– Fine Wines, Patsy Cline and Jefferson’s Design –

Downtown Winchester

Explore some of Virginia’s most charming small towns in this six day itinerary. Travel the fabulous Shenandoah Valley through scenic back roads and byways, stopping along the way to enjoy wineries, tour Patsy Cline’s home, and visit presidential homes including Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, James Madison’s Montpelier and the Woodrow Wilson House. Read more.

 

– Wise County… Mountains, Music and MoreScenic Overlook in Wise

Offering a taste of the first “Old West” in a setting of mountain splendor on The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, Wise is a music-lovers dream. Visit the home of Ralph Stanley, enjoy local wines or, if you are visiting on a Friday, check out local mountain music and dancing at Lay’s Hardware. Read more.

 

See more…
Suggested Trip Ideas
Virginia.org/Groups
Virginia’s Small Towns: Three-Day Vacation Guide to Lynchburg

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Beyond FloydFest: Your Three Day Guide to Floyd

Beyond FloydFest: Your Three Day Guide to Floyd

If you are anything like me, when you think of Floyd County, you think of FloydFest or “that place where my uncle was born.” FloydFest is amazing and epic and truly something every single person should experience at least one time.  But beyond that, Floyd is a surprising, magical small town filled with entrepreneurs, innovators, inspiring families, passionate people, lifelong friends, and great food and drinks!Floyd Country Store

My first stop was the Floyd Country Store (Trip Advisor rating 4.5/5 and #1 for shopping). I’ve known about their Friday night jam sessions – the traditions, music, flatfoot dancers and cloggers – but did you know their food is flavorful and delightful?  We had the grilled cheese and tomato soup and of course, a sweet tea.  My sandwich was ooey and gooey and just what your grandma makes you in the dead of winter or when you are fighting a cold.  After we ate, we picked up a few retro candies (the one-stop store has a collection of unique and quirky merchandise) and walked across the street.  The owner of the Floyd Country Store, Dylan Locke, just opened County Sales.  It’s the largest collection of bluegrass records and CD’s.  The store is captivating.  I could have spent 4 more hours in there.  It reminded me of my childhood, walking into my favorite music store (either Peaches or Plan 9 Records) and choosing the newest record or CD. Back then, that was the thing to do.  And now in Floyd, it will become the thing to do!floyd country store

After lunch, we had a hankering for some chocolate.  Grayson Rudd is one of those entrepreneurs that never thought he would end up in Floyd.  He’s lived and worked in many places and always thought he was going to open a wine shop.  He fell in love with Floyd and when you walk into his store, Cocoa Mia (Trip Advisor rating of 4.5/5 and #1 dessert in Floyd, $).  you feel like you are inside a corner boutique in Paris.  You have a sample of hot chocolate while you are browsing chocolates from all over the world.  Customers can even choose their own toppings and create custom chocolate bars! The flavors and choices of chocolate bars, too – crazy and interesting! Chocolate with shrimp?  Who knew!

We then made a quick stop at the Floyd Center for the Arts (Trip Advisor rating of 4.5/5)  It’s known as “the Jax” to the locals for its original name, Floyd’s Jacksonville Center.  There is a hayloft gallery that has exhibits year-round but you can also see performances, classes, festivals, and there is even a gift shop.  The best part is — it’s free admission!  The children displays tug at your heart strings.

Buffalo Mountain Brewery (Trip Advisor rating of 4.5/5, $) was our next stop.  You literally look like you are walking into a brick rancher-style home. Bill, the owner, greeted us, and told us that he bought a house that he turned into a brewery. Talk about innovation!  It is cozy, warm and welcoming.  The back door opens to a deck covered by a pergola for shade.  The fire pits and the corn hole are surprising and appealing, and the beer is delicious.  If you try nothing else, try the Far-Tar (Fire Tower)–Habanero Chocolate Stout.  It’s dark and a stronger stout than I’m used to but you will get some chocolatey tastes and then the heat!

What’s better than pizza and beer for dinner?  Dogtown Roadhouse  (Trip Advisor rating of 4/5, $$) has wood-fired pizzas (try “The Appalachian”) and a ton of drink options.  All of their pizzas can be made gluten-free, too.  If you aren’t a beer drinker, try the local Buffalo Mountain Kombucha, which is a non-alcoholic, fermented, probiotic tea.  I like the hot lime one! We listened to some great local music which happens a lot of the nights.  Make sure to visit the roadhouse Weds – Sunday though as they are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Hotel Floyd

That night we stayed at the Hotel Floyd (Trip Advisor rating 5/5).  It’s a boutique hotel located in the heart of town.  Each room and suite is artfully decorated – I’m going back to see room 104, the LOVE-themed for the rest of this year in celebration of Virginia is for Lovers 50 Years of Love.  The hotel encompasses all of the magic of Floyd.  The rooms are charming, well-equipped, and a great value.  Some have back porches that open to an amphitheater and some rooms are pet-friendly. The hotel is beautiful and is a Virginia Green property.

The next morning we had Red Rooster Coffee (Trip Advisor rating of 4.5/5, #1 coffee and tea in Floyd, $).  It is a Virginia-based, family coffee company that roasts beans from around the world.  The coffeehouse strives to operate sustainably in the daily operations so you feel good about the coffee you’re drinking.  This year, Red Rooster won the Good Food Award for coffee, one of only 15 coffee roasters in the US.  Somehow their coffee tastes even better knowing the owners have a true passion for making a positive social impact both at home and abroad.

After we were caffeinated, we started on our outdoor adventure.  We hiked a mile to the Buffalo Mountain Natural Area preserve summit (Trip Advisor rating 5/5) so in total a two-mile hike. One Trip Advisor review says “this is a beautiful spot to hike and it’s off the beaten path.” It wasn’t too hot or too cold.  Please note:  there is a small gravel parking lot and only a no-flush bathroom facility.  Great payoffs once you hike since there are so many calories to intake later on during the day.

Other hiking options:

  • Rocky Knob/Rock Castle Gorge-10.8 miles strenuous hike at MP 16
  • Black Ridge Trail-3.1 miles moderate hike at MP 169
  • Smarts View Trail-2.6 miles moderate hike at MP 154.5
  • Bottoms Creek Gorge-4.5 miles of moderate hiking trails
  • Dodd Creak Trail-1.25 miles moderate loop hike in town

 

If you prefer the water, head to the Little River outfitters On the Water in Floyd (Trip Advisor rating 5/5). You can fish or rent a kayak, canoe, or single tube.  They provide the equipment – a life jacket, paddle, etc.  Another option is bicycling along the 40 miles of scenic Blue Ridge Parkway surrounding Floyd.

Bicycling options (see image at bottom of article)

  • Town of Floyd, 2.5 – 6 miles, unpaved
  • Tour de Floyd, 62 miles, an annual signature road-bike route and event, ride just a section or the entire route
  • Rocky Knob Classis, 27.5 miles
  • Willis Loop, 33 miles, fully-paved loop
  • Laurel Ridge Loop, 32 miles, advanced level road bike, several big climbs
  • Tour de Dirt, 30-57 miles, mostly unpaved back roads

Link to Cycle Guide   –  County Map Side

Cycle Guide      Information Side 2

Mabry Mill

If you aren’t into hiking, water, or the outdoors, then jump in your car.  Drive the Blue Ridge Parkway (“experience America’s favorite drive) and catch all of its glory!  The scenery will blow your mind.  Check out Mabry Mill – located at MP 176.1 and about a 25-minute drive from downtown – where visitors can see the restored gristmill and sawmill.  The mill also has a restaurant and gift shop to visit so grab yourself a souvenir. Chateau Morrisette Winery

On the return trip, stop at Chateau Morrisette (Trip Advisor rating 4 .5/5). It’s about ten minutes from Mabry Mill and is the winery that overlooks Buffalo Mountain.  We dined al fresco on the beautiful outdoor patio with sweeping mountain views.  I highly recommend the winemaker’s platter and the Viognier, which uses fruit grown in Virginia. If you prefer red wines, try the Cabernet Franc.  Chateau Morrisette has a number of fruit wines, too, if you like something sweeter.  Take a 4-bottle sample pack to go!  The winery is open on most holidays and complimentary cellar tours are offered daily, lasting about 30 minutes each.

Our last day in Floyd we visited SustainFloyd’s Farmers Market across from the Floyd Country Store.  Farmers sell their locally grown produce while local artisans showcase their special creations. Last year the market had more than 20 full-time vendors.  Organic breads, pastries, microgreens, produce, meats, eggs, aromatherapy products, flowers, cheeses, jellies, granola, and more can be purchased while strolling.  Open Saturdays May through November from 9am to 1pm.  For me, an interesting find at the market was from Blakesnake Meadery (Trip Advisor rating 4/5).   Otherwise known as “honey wine,” this vendor had a ton of flavorful options.  My recommendation is the Sweet Virginia, a 2019 Governor’s Cup Silver winner.

After we stocked up at the Farmers Market, we spent time touring some of the local working farms.  There are so many to see.  These farms have everything from veggies, fruits, herbs, meat, eggs, honey, and grains.  Farmers like Zach Fisher, owner of Thomas Hill Angus, has a compelling story for why he chose Floyd to plant his seeds.  For a list of Floyd farms, their stories, and touring hours, please visit the SustainFloyd website.

Speaking of farms, Chantilly Farm is a beautiful venue for events and weddings.  They have full RV facilities, along with tent camping and other amenities.  When you’re there, you will see the acres of fields, woodlands, and wildlife.  It’s quiet, serene, and peaceful.  One of their most popular events is the Annual Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival.  It is usually Memorial Day weekend and is one of the region’s fastest-growing bluegrass events.  Additional events this year include an annual gospel jubilee and the cirque du Floyd event with renowned artist performances.

Our last night, we ate at Mickey G’s Bistro (Trip Advisor rating 4.5/5, #1 restaurant in Floyd, $$).  We sat outside and the staff was friendly and helpful.  This place has legit Italian food, y’all! The seafood has to be fresh from a local farm because the calamari was some of the best I’ve ever had!!!  The restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the winter so make sure to check the hours before you go. Downtown Floyd

Needless to say, Floyd was such a surprise beyond what I knew.  While music is their foundation, there is so much more to see and do.  Spend a few days taking it all in – the outdoors, the arts, the wineries, the food, breweries, farms and agriculture, the chocolate, and the annual events. It’s much bigger than FloydFest, in every sense.

In collaboration with Virginia is for Lovers anniversary celebrating 50 Years of Love, there are a ton of deals and discounts happening in Floyd, too.  Check this page out while you’re planning your trip. 

 

The post Beyond FloydFest: Your Three Day Guide to Floyd appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Your Guide to Some of Virginia’s Best Golf Courses for 2019

Your Guide to Some of Virginia’s Best Golf Courses for 2019

Riverfront Golf Club

Surrounded by native terrains such as luxurious rivers, impressive mountain ranges, and the stunning Atlantic Ocean, the state of Virginia has earned a reputation as one of the most beautiful places in America to take in a round of golf.

These natural wonders provide Virginia with the prime real estate to develop elegant golf courses that incorporate all of these majestic outdoor features to create layouts that are as entertaining as they are challenging to golfers of all skill levels.

We’ve pinpointed seven courses in the state that provide the best golfing experiences that Virginia has to offer. Here are our reviews of each course and why you should carve out a day in your schedule to play the location.

 

The Cascades at Omni Homestead—Hot SpringsThe Omni Homestead Resort

With a jaw-dropping view of the Allegheny Mountains, the Cascades golf course at the Omni Homestead resort is one of the best courses, not just in Virginia, but in all of America.

A few miles from Hot Springs, the Cascades is a historic course, fast approaching its 100th birthday. Even though the layout may be long in the tooth, the course plays as fresh and as fun as a golf club that has just opened.

With a combination of blind tee shots and narrow fairways, the course is for the weekend warrior who loves a bit of risk-versus-reward golf. The fairways and greens are smooth and well-manicured, but you better take some time to putt before your round, because the greens are slick and fast.

Surrounded by stunning beauty while delivering one of the biggest golfing adventures you can have in Virginia, the Cascades is a golf course worth the trip.

 

The River Course at Kingsmill Resort—WilliamsburgKingsmill

Along the James River, The River Course at Kingsmill Resort is another delightful course that provides postcard-worthy views while you appreciate exceptional golf. The scenery is so lovely, don’t be surprised if you pull your phone out to take snapshots as often as you remove a club from your bag to play a shot.

Formerly home to several professional tournaments, you’ll notice right away that the course delivers the goods worthy for the titans of the PGA and LPGA Tours. Even though those tournaments have moved on, the same high-quality course remains for amateurs to savor and enjoy.

Like the Cascades, The River Course has pristine fairways and greens to play upon, but the course will challenge your skill level and ask for your best.

With sparkling conditions that are surrounded by eye-popping natural attractions, the River course is an absolute must-play for residents and travelers alike.

 

Meadow Farms Golf Course—Richmond

Outside of Fredericksburg rests one of the best public courses in Virginia. Meadow Farms Golf Course offers outstanding value and wildly entertaining golf. What makes Meadow Farms one of the most enjoyable courses in the state is that golfers have 27 holes to choose from to create their perfect round of golf.

Throughout the course, golfers can expect to see elevated tees, rocks, and elevated railroad tie walls and island greens. If you are looking for one of the most unique holes in America, then play the signature par-six, an 841-yard hole at Meadow Farms. Recognized as the longest hole in America, the hole offers golfers of all skill levels the opportunity to bring home a birdie and an excellent story for their friends.

Meadow Farms is very affordable, making it a great place to bring the entire family for a great day at the course.

 

The Gold Course at Golden Horseshoe Golf Club—Williamsburg

Another top-notch golf course located in Williamsburg and close to the River Course is the Gold Course at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club. Although the Club has two extraordinary courses on its grounds, the Gold Course is the crown jewel for those golfers who seek championship golf.

What’s great about the Gold Course is the strategy found in the gameplay over the 18-hole layout. This course demands your best game, but that doesn’t mean it is for professionals only. Amateurs who choose to skip this course will be missing out on one of the real treasures of public golf in Virginia.

If you are still on the fence about the Gold Course, then go to experience playing the four par-3s, all featuring tee shots over water. Each hole has a unique design that requires a different shot, but each blast off the tee box will have you holding your breath until you see your ball land on the green.

 

Royal New Kent Golf Club—Providence Forge

For golfers who want a bit of the old country in their golf travels, then the Royal New Kent Golf Club, located east of Richmond, is the place for you. This links-style course is wide open, featuring shared fairways and the largest greens you’ve probably ever seen.

As a result of the design, golfers won’t worry so much about accuracy on the Royal New Kent as they do about just relaxing and having a great time on the five-star course. The fun you can have here is one of the biggest reasons why the Royal New Kent is perfect for large groups of golf-loving friends.

The course itself is truly authentic, with rock walls, tall fescue grass, and the same elevated grassy knolls that you’d experience in Scotland. At times, you’ll feel like you are playing on a course best suited for the English coastline. The course is just that good and too irresistible to miss on a trip to Virginia.

 

The Highland Course at Primland—Meadows of Danprimland

The Highland Course at Primland is another breathtaking golf course cut through the area’s dramatic mountain range. In the fall, the trees that line the fairways and shape the holes are multi-colored, giving you a kaleidoscope of Virginia’s natural elegance.

Players of all ages and skill levels love playing the Highland Course because it is another strong links-style addition to the state’s lineup of incredible courses. The grounds, kept at professional-grade levels, feature undulating fairways that offer peeks into the valleys that run throughout the course.

Elevation changes run along the fairways as the layout weaves through the mountains. Don’t forget to bring your camera for a picture on the par-three 8th, a hole that plays straight downhill leaving you to hit a towering tee shot.

One last tip, before you hit the course, take in the club’s terrific practice facilities while drinking in the gorgeous views that stretch for miles in every direction. It is an excellent introduction to one of Virginia’s most beautiful golf courses.

 

Spring Creek Golf Club—Gordonsville

Another picturesque “only-in-Virginia” golf course is the Spring Creek Golf Club in Gordonsville. What’s remarkable about Spring Creek is that it has been designed to challenge the professional but remain accessible to the amateur. For either level of golfer, the course plays to their game.

At Spring Creek, the course architects have made small adjustments that work to involve golfers of all skill levels. For example, the fairways are over forty yards wide until you get to around the 300-yard marker, which allows for example mid-handicappers golfers to perfect their craft. At that length, the typical landing zone for a professional golfer’s drive, the fairways narrow considerably.

What this unique perk ultimately means is that Spring Creek is a five-star golf course created for everyone. For those who make the trek to Spring Creek, they can expect world-class golf that captivates and dazzles with every shot.

 

These are just a few of the fun, challenging golf courses located in Virginia. With some of the best courses in the country, you’ll find a wide array of courses to help you hone your golf skills this year!

 

The post Your Guide to Some of Virginia’s Best Golf Courses for 2019 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia in July

The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia in July

 

Summer is in full swing here in Virginia, and there are so many ways to enjoy the month of July, from three-day festivals that bring together some of the biggest names in music to patriotic Fourth of July celebrations featuring massive fireworks displays. Mark your calendars and start making plans for an incredible July in Virginia this year!

 

Virginia is for Lovers 50 Years of LOVE Celebrations Continue—Various Locations Around Virginia

When: Throughout the monthMorais Vineyard

One of the most famous tourism slogans in the world, Virginia is for Lovers turns 50 in 2019, and to celebrate, there are countless special events happening around the Commonwealth! Dozens of breweries will be crafting limited-edition lagers this summer in honor of Virginia and serving them to visitors in commemorative glasses that you can take home. Many wineries will also have 50th anniversary glasses, as well as discounts on tastings during the 50 Years of Love summer celebrations. Participating restaurants around Virginia will offer special meal pricing and menus, and there are even giveaway contests to win free overnight stays and getaway packages to some of Virginia’s most spectacular hotels and resorts. Find dates and details at the Virginia is for Lovers 50 Years of Love page and join us in celebrating an historic milestone.

 

4th of July Celebrations—Various Locations Around Virginia

When: On and Around July 4, 2019Mount Vernon Fireworks

Celebrate America’s Independence this Fourth of July in Virginia, one of the most vital states when it came to the American Revolution. The Commonwealth will have all sorts of festivals, fireworks, and parades during the holiday, including monumental celebrations at historic sites like Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon.

 

Red Wing Roots Music Festival—Mt. Solon

When: July 12-14, 2019

The 7th annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival, held over three days at the scenic Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, is a family-friendly event that blends bluegrass and folk music, the Great Outdoors, and some of the best food and drinks in Virginia. Multiple stages allow a wide array of regional and national bands to continuously play toe-tapping music during the festival, and if you want to take a break from the live performances, there are tons of organized outdoor events like bike rides, hiking, fun runs, and interactive kids activities to fill your schedule. This year’s lineup includes Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, and The Steel Wheels. Get Tickets

 

Virginia Lake Festival—Clarksville

When: July 18-20, 2019Fishing in Buggs Island Lake

Now in its 42nd year, Clarksville’s annual Virginia Lake Festival (or LakeFest, as the locals call it) is a free event that has repeatedly made the list of “One of the Top 20 Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society, attracting nearly 100,000 people each year. Kids can take tethered hot air balloon rides above Buggs Island Lake beginning on Thursday evening, and Friday morning kicks off the sand sculpture contest, followed by live music and a sampling of food vendors throughout the day. As dawn breaks on Saturday, watch as balloonists skim the pristine lake waters, then head over to downtown Clarksville and shop goods, foods, and handmade gifts from over 200 local artisans and businesses. Once night falls, boats gather all around Buggs Island Lake to witness the extravaganza fireworks show, one of the biggest annual fireworks shows in all of Southern Virginia.

 

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival—Orkney Springs

When: July 19-20, July 26-27, August 9-10, and August 31-September 1, 2019Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

Held over summer weekends at the beautiful historic retreat and conference center of Shrine Mont, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has brought countless talented musicians to the region, with past artists including LeAnn Rimes, Bruce Hornsby, and The Temptations. This year’s lineup is no exception, with The Beach Boys headlining the July 26th show. Tickets range in price from about $40 to $85, depending on location (lawn, pavilion, or preferred pavilion) and the weekend. Order Your Tickets Here

 

Annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim & Auction—Chincoteague Island

When: July 24-25, 2019Chincoteague Pony Swim

Chincoteague Island’s Annual Pony Swim & Auction has become a Virginia tradition on the Eastern Shore, bringing thousands of people to the small waterfront community to see these gorgeous animals make the trek across the channel between Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Chincoteague Island. This July event raises money to support the town of Chincoteague while also keeping the wild pony population in check, which prevents damage to the fragile coastal ecosystem of the wildlife refuge. Attend this wondrous Eastern Shore event and get a rare up-close look at these wild beauties.

 

Floydfest—Floyd

When: July 24-28, 2019Floydfest

One of Virginia’s biggest and best music festivals, FloydFest is a five-day festival right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of Floyd. Camp in the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the festival, where you’ll discover outdoor adventure, local vendors offering everything from artisan-made goods and clothing to delicious food and beverages, and an inclusive sense of community, all within a few steps of your campsite. In addition to lots of live music (over 100 artists on eight stages), Floydfest includes workshops, healing arts seminars, and children’s activities. Get Tickets

 

Virginia Highlands Festival—Abingdon

When: July 26-August 4, 2019The Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia.

Held each year for the past seven decades in historic downtown Abingdon, The Virginia Highlands Festival has been named the “Best Art Event” in the region by readers of Virginia Living Magazine. The week-long festival features activities and entertainment that is suitable for kids and adults of all ages. Check out the antiques market and the award-winning juried arts and crafts show to shop local goods. Live music, historical re-enactments, art and photography competitions, guided nature hikes, creative writing workshops, and plenty of activities for the kids rounds out this Southwest Virginia festival, providing non-stop entertainment and fun.

 

The 400th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony of the First Representative Legislative Assembly—Jamestown

When: July 30, 2019jamestown

Head to Jamestown, the birthplace of American democracy, to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the First Representative Assembly in the western hemisphere. Sponsored by the American Evolution series, the event will take place at both Historic Jamestowne and the Jamestown Settlement, and will include archaeological exhibits and special events, guided walking tours of the grounds, living history reenactments, lectures by knowledgeable historians, hands-on children’s activities, and a free concert featuring the Richmond Symphony.

 

Find even more July events to add to your calendar, and look ahead to August and September  to make your vacation plans!

The post The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia in July appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in July 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in July 2019

Red Wing Roots Music Festival. Image by Ruby Sky Photography.

Festival season is well underway and throughout July, many big name musicians will be coming to Virginia. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.

 

—Virginia Music Festivals—

At the Red Wings Roots Music Festival, roots rock band the Steel Wheels hosts a 3-day event celebrating music and outdoors at Natural Chimneys Park in the scenic Shenandoah Valley July 12-14. The festival will include craft beer, cycling, multiple stages, camping and great music from some of the biggest names in roots rock including Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, Charley Crockett, Della Mae, and many more.

On July 13, Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell celebrates JoyFest, a Gospel music celebration featuring performances from the Mann Family, Tasha Cobbs Leonard, Travis Greene, Jonathan McReynolds, Koryn Hawthorne and more.

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has been bringing great music to the Shenandoah Valley for more than 50 years. Each summer, the festival presents eight to 10 concerts, featuring nationally recognized, award-winning artists. Acts performing this year include The Drifters, The Platters, and Cornell Gunter’s Coasters (July 19), The Beach Boys (July 26), and more.

Head to Floyd for Floydfest July 24-28 – five days of nonstop music, artisan workshops, demonstrations, and a whole lot of fun. The 80-acre festival campus is filled with everything you need to get the most out of this musical event, like a “Global Village” that encourages visitors to learn about the Blue Ridge region’s foods, artists, and lifestyle. Acts performing this year include the String Cheese Incident, Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers, Phil Lesh, and many more.

On July 17-20, sit back and enjoy the music of several renowned bluegrass bands at the Wayside Bluegrass Festival in Stuart. This year’s lineup features Bluegrass Brothers, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Sideline, Junior Sisk, Lonesome River Band, Wound Tight, The Country Boys, Jason Harris & Friends, Mountain Highway, Good-Fellers, Mickey Gaylean & Cullen Bridge, and Deer Creek Boys.

Come to the Tazewell Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention on July 12-13 for three days of live musical performances played with banjos, guitars, fiddles, and many other folk-inspired instruments. Taking place on the grounds of historic Crab Orchard Museum’s Pioneer Park, bands compete in their respective categories, including harmonica, autoharp, and bass, for more than $5,000 of cash prizes, pride, and recognition.

 

—Over at Virginia’s Live Music Venues—

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting Leela James (July 16), Avail (July 19 & 20), Nas (July 22), and more.

Elsewhere in Richmond, The Broadberry will be hosting Hop Along (July 17), Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers (July 18), The Get Up Kids (July 23), Between the Buried and Me (July 29), and more.

Performances at Richmond Raceway’s Virginia Credit Union Live! this month will include Big & Rich (July 8), Jojo Siwa (July 18), and Umphrey’s McGee (July 19). Gordon Lightfoot will perform at the Dominion Energy Center on July 24. Maymont will be hosting Carbon Leaf and Cris Jacobs on July 21 and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers and Amos Lee on July 20.

Just outside Richmond, the Innsbrook After Hours concert series at the Servpro Pavilion in Glen Allen will host Jonny Lang and JJ Grey & Mofro (July 17), Charlie Daniels Band (July 25), Earth, Wind & Fire (July 31), and more.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will be hosting the Bacon Brothers on July 18.

In Charlottesville, the John Paul Jones Arena will host Cardi B on July 31. The Sprint Pavilion will feature Gov’t Mule on July 10, Belle and Sebastian on July 11, Amos Lee and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers on July 21, and Chris Isaak on July 25. Shows at the the Jefferson Theater will include the Mountain Goats (July 23) and more.

The NorVa in Norfolk will be hosting acts like The Last Bison (July 13), Greensky Bluegrass (July 17), Big Something (July 20), The Marcus King Band (July 30), and more.

The Portsmouth Pavilion in Portsmouth will have performances from Lionel Richie (July 10), moe. and Blues Traveler (July 15), and Godsmack (July 19).

The Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach brings in Dierks Bentley on July 12, Train and Goo Goo Dolls on July 14, Sublime with Rome on July 18, Blink-182 and Lil Wayne on July 20, Mary J. Blige on July 21, Florida Georgia Line on July 25, Korn and Alice in Chains on July 30, and Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida on July 31.

Over in Rocky Mount at the Harvester Performance Center will be hosting a number of shows including Three Dog Night (July 6), Edwin McCain (July 11), Scott Stapp of Creed (July 17), and many more.

The Blue Ridge Summer Concert Series at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax will host The Virginia Luthiers on July 6, Sam Reider & The Human Hands on July 13, The Steel Wheels on July 20, and Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper on July 27.

The Thursday Jams concert series in Abingdon will feature music from Carolyn Wonderland (July 4), The Happy Fits (July 11), and John Paul White (July 18).

The Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington will be hosting Gary Ruley and Mule Train on July 6, JJ Grey & Mofro on July 18, and Molly Tuttle on July 20.

Celebrate Virginia After Hours in Fredericksburg will be hosting acts such as Lady Antebellum (July 6) and Brothers Osborne (July 18).

At Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include Earth, Wine & Fire (July 2), Jackson Browne (July 3), Josh Groban (July 7), Nas (July 14), Lionel Richie (July 15), “Weird Al” Yankovic (July 16), Tedeschi Trucks Band (July 17), Sheryl Crow (July 18), Jojo Siwa (July 19), SOJA and Sublime with Rome (July 20), Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers and Amos Lee (July 24), Reba McEntire (July 28) and Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington (July 30).

Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow will host a number of shows including the Disrupt Festival featuring The Used, Thrice, Circa Survive and more on July 9, Blink-182 and Lil Wayne on July 11, Dierks Bentley on July 13, Wiz Khalifa on July 19, Dave Matthews Band on July 20, Iron Maiden on July 24, Nelly, TLC and Flo Rida on July 30 and Korn and Alice in Chains on July 31.

Shows at Alexandria music hall The Birchmere include Colbie Callat on July 7, Billy Bob Thornton & the Boxmasters July 10, Jeffrey Osborne on July 12 & 13, Aimee Mann on July 18, The Bacon Brothers on July 19-21, and many more.

The Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg will be hosting Saving Abel on July 13 and Jackyl on July 26, among many other shows.

 

For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/music. At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

The post Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in July 2019 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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American Evolution Series: How the American Government Began in Virginia

American Evolution Series: How the American Government Began in Virginia

jamestown

Join us during the month of July in the birthplace of American democracy at Jamestown for special programs, exhibits, and performances marking the 400th anniversary of the First Representative Legislative Assembly in the New World.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

America’s first permanent English colony was founded at Jamestown in 1607. The colony was chartered by King James I and the Virginia Company of London made up of investors who hoped to profit from the venture. Soon after arriving at Jamestown, colonists were faced with a harsh reality of hardship, starvation, fatalities, and clashes with native peoples which ensued for many years.

During the early years, colonists were mostly upper-class Englishmen trying to establish a number of small industries in order to make a profit for the Virginia Company. All attempts had failed until the introduction of tobacco as a cash crop in 1613 by colonist John Rolfe, who later married Chief Powhatan’s daughter, Pocahontas. Tobacco farming required large amounts of land and labor, which quickly set the Virginia colony on a course to a successful and profitable enterprise.

As prosperity was realized, so was a growing sentiment that the colony should be more than just a commercial enterprise, and become a permanent settlement. To establish a permanent settlement, colonists wanted input in the laws governing them. Thus in April 1619, Governor George Yeardley arrived, announcing that the Virginia Company had voted for the abolition of martial law and the creation of a legislative assembly.  

Yeardley brought with him a set of instructions known as the “Great Charter”. The papers authorized Yeardley to oversee the selection of two male settlers from each of the eleven major settlement areas to attend a “General Assembly” with the purpose of passing laws and hopefully improving management in the colony. The representatives, known as the House of Burgesses, sat with the Governor and his appointed council as the Assembly.

Historic Jamestowne

The meeting of the first General Assembly took place from July 30 through August 4 in the church at Jamestown, likely because the church was the largest building at the time. It was unbearably hot during the six-day session, one Burgess even died, but the assembly managed to cover several items and adopt measures for governing the colony.

“After 1619, the General Assembly met only sporadically, and formal recognition of the Assembly by the English crown did not come until 1627. The Virginia Company continued to appoint governors and issue instructions, but representation of the will of the people had begun. The concept of parliamentary government was brought to Virginia, and the General Assembly gradually evolved into a two-house form of government in the 1640s. This bicameral legislature continues today as Virginia’s General Assembly. It became the model for other English colonies and eventually the basis for the democratic government of the United States of America.” (2019 Commemoration).

 

AMERICAN EVOLUTION – JULY PROGRAMS & EVENTS

Plan a trip to the Historic Triangle in Williamsburg to celebrate the American tradition of democracy.

Origins of American Democracy

When: July 1-30 at Jamestown Settlement

  • Month-long programs in July honoring the 400th anniversary of the 1619 first General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.
  • July 1 through September 30 – An exhibit featuring the original 1619 minutes of the first General Assembly — on loan for the first time in America from The National Archives of the United Kingdom — will be available for public viewing at Jamestown Settlement.
  • July 11 – “Leadership in Turbulent Times” (advance reservations required) lecture by Presidential Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin.

 

Democracy Weekend

When: July 27-28 at Jamestown Settlement

The weekend event features themed tours, interpretive programs, military exercises, and re-enactments of the first assembly of 20 “burgesses” who convened at Jamestown.

 

400th Commemorative Ceremony of The First Representative Legislative Assembly

When: July 30 at Historic Jamestowne

  • The public is invited to Historic Jamestowne to commemorate 400 years of democracy with day-long tours, ceremonies, archaeology exhibits, and reenactments. Bring your family and lawn chairs to enjoy the American Evolution Fanfare to Democracy FREE evening concert featuring the Richmond Symphony and presented by Riverside Health System.
  • Also on July 30, members of the Virginia General Assembly, along with representatives from the United States Congress, state legislatures nationwide, and international dignitaries will convene at Jamestown Settlement for the 400th Commemorative Session of the Virginia General Assembly. The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest continuous law-making body in the Western Hemisphere. The public can view this historic event via live stream online and at Historic Jamestowne.

 

“Forgotten Soldier” Exhibition

When: June 29, 2019 – March 22, 2020 at American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

American Revolution Museum at Yorktown

Discover personal stories of enslaved and free African Americans who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War through interactive elements and compelling art displays, including a new contemporary work by nationally acclaimed artist Titus Kaphar. Follow the forgotten stories of African Americans who enlisted as soldiers for the American cause for a free and independent nation and those who joined British forces with the promise of obtaining their own freedom. Related public programs feature a series of lectures, genealogy workshops and interpretive demonstrations with reenactors from African-American military regiments.

 

The 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™, highlights events that occurred in Virginia in 1619 that continue to influence America today. Featured programs, events and legacy projects will take place throughout the rest of 2019. American Evolution™ commemorates the ongoing journey toward the key ideals of democracy, diversity and opportunity.
 
Sources:

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20+ of the Best Donut Shops in Virginia

20+ of the Best Donut Shops in Virginia

Whether you’re celebrating National Donut Day (Friday, June 7, 2019!) or are simply looking to satisfy the sugary craving of a warm, fresh baked donut, there are more than a baker’s dozen worth of donut shops you need to visit. Check out these hot donut shops, then share your favorite spots with us in the comments below!

 

Hot Diggity Donuts—Richmond

 

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Located in Richmond’s Manchester District on the south side of the James River, Hot Diggity Donuts serves made-to-order sourdough donuts, coffee, cocktails, and desserts, as well as an array of sandwiches and salads for lunch.

 

B. Doughnut—Leesburg

 

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B. Doughnut is a family owned and operated donut shop in Northern Virginia. Try their Everything Bagel Donuts, which are filled with a cream cheese chive or bacon spread. Come early, as they close for the day once they sell out!

 

Mama Crockett’s Cider DonutsLynchburg

Formerly only sold out of a food truck, Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts has opened their first brick-and-mortar location in Lynchburg. While they bake a wide selection of donuts with homemade dips, coatings, and fillings, the shop is widely known for their apple cider donuts, which are some of the best you’ll find in Virginia (and quite possibly, the world).

 

Route 8 Donuts—Christiansburg

 

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If you’re in the Blacksburg area, be sure to stop by Route 8 Donuts and grab a couple dozen. Their menu includes traditional favorites like strawberry iced with rainbow sprinkles, chocolate glazed, or cinnamon sugar, but for the adventurous foodies, we recommend trying their specialty donuts, with flavors like red chocolate with dried diced apricots, Fruity Pebbles, and Cinnamon Toast Cruncher.

 

Sandy Pony Donuts—Chincoteague

 

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The donuts at Sandy Pony Donuts in Chincoteague are always made hot and fresh to order, customized to any combination of the toppings you want. Try one of their 24 unique flavor combinations when visiting Virginia’s Eastern Shore, such as the Porky Pony, a honey glaze cinnamon sugar donut topped with bacon, the Misty Mint, a mint glaze donut topped with mini chocolate chips, or the Yabba Dabba Doo-Nut, a honey glaze donut completely covered in Fruity Pebbles cereal.

 

Texas Donuts—Manassas, Centreville

 

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Don’t let the name deter you! Texas Donuts serves up some of the most creative and tasty donuts in Virginia. Get your basic donut fix with glazed or iced, try a few specialty donuts like fritters or cinnamon roll donuts, or go for the character donuts, made in cute shapes like puppies, pandas, or even llamas. They are also well known for their Big Texas donuts, with one equaling the size of about four to five normal donuts.

 

The Galactic Donut—Stuarts Draft

 

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For out of this world donuts in the Shenandoah Valley (excuse the pun), head to The Galactic Donut. Order the Tour of the Galaxy, a box of 17 signature donuts plus a seasonal donut, or a standard dozen, but don’t miss out on The Big Dipper, an incredible donut dessert consisting of your choice of signature donut topped with a scoop of Homestead Creamery ice cream, whipped cream, two toppings of your choice, and a cherry on top.

 

Pure EatsLexingtonPure Eats

The donuts at Pure Eats are legendary, served fresh and hot daily. While they carry the classic cinnamon-sugar donuts every day, they change up their donut flavors daily, allowing you to try something new every time you visit. Check their Facebook or Instagram to see the latest offerings.

 

The Apple HouseLinden

Another bakery known for crafting world-class apple donuts, The Apple House is a Virginia landmark off the northern entrance of Shenandoah National Park. Since 1963, their apple butter donuts have brought thousands of visitors to their restaurant, putting the small community of Linden on the map in a big way.

 

 O’Doodledoo’s DonutsSuffolk

 

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For handmade, hand-decorated donuts, visit O’Doodledoo’s Donuts, a Suffolk donut shop that rotates a selection of over 200 donuts in their daily menu, serving about 17-25 different flavor combinations each day. Previous flavors include Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Anything Cheesecake, Creme Brulee, Strawberry Milkshake, and Tootsie Roll.

 

O’s DonutsNorfolk

 

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With 13 different types of donuts and eight different toppings, it’s easy to see why O’s Donuts are a Norfolk favorite. Try out a cool twist on a sundae, with the Uh O, a fresh, warm donut tossed in cinnamon sugar,  sliced open and filled with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, then topped with hot fudge and whipped cream.

 

Carol Lee DonutsBlacksburg

Blacksburg’s Carol Lee Donuts boasts seven different types of cake donuts, including Devils food cake, regular glazed cake, and blueberry cake. Try out one of their yeast-raised donuts, with flavors like the maple iced donut topped with peanuts and toasted coconut. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee to wash it all down.

 

Sugar Shack DonutsRichmond

 

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Sugar Shack Donuts prides itself on using only fresh, all natural, and local ingredients in their donuts. The flavors rotate daily to highlight what’s in season, and while you can almost always get standard favorites like glazed, cinnamon sugar, or sprinkles, we think their creative donuts like the blackberry lavender, pineapple serrano, or caramel macchiato are what make this donut shop worth visiting. With over a dozen locations in Virginia, you’ll likely find a Sugar Shack close by no matter where you’re traveling.

 

Blackbird BakeryBristolBlackbird Bakery

Blackbird Bakery has become a favorite bakery shop for the locals in Bristol and has developed the reputation as one of the top bakeries in the tri-cities area. Open 24 hours a day Monday-Saturday, Blackbird has a friendly and inviting atmosphere that awaits as soon as you step through the door. Baked daily, the donuts are handmade with only the freshest and finest ingredients.

 

Duck DonutsVarious Locations Throughout Virginia

 

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Duck Donuts began in Duck, North Carolina, but their notoriety for creating warm, made-to-order donuts led them to eventually expand, bringing over a dozen locations to Virginia. They are famous for their Duck Donut, a freshly-made vanilla cake donut topped and drizzled any way you like, or you can get an assortment of their featured donuts, with seasonal flavors like lemon icing and shredded coconut, Key Lime icing with graham cracker crumbs, or maple icing with chopped bacon.

 

Great Country FarmsLoudoun

Great Country Farms is another Virginia bakery that is best known for their cider donut. These apple cider donuts, made with cinnamon and sugar, are baked fresh at the farm and melt in your mouth when you catch them hot. Visitors enjoy them year-round before visiting the farm’s animals, u-pick areas, and fresh market.

 

Emily’s Donuts & CafeWilliamsburg

 

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The yeast donuts at Emily’s Donuts & Café are unlike anything else in town, made using a special process that takes nearly three hours from start to finish. The bakery sells the classic “ring” donuts — meant to be glazed and topped — and solid donuts, which can be filled with all sorts of creative toppings, custards, and jellies. Emily’s Donuts bakes over 7,000 donuts every week in seasonal flavors like their scrumptious key lime donuts made with real key lime infused filling and topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

 

Country Style DonutsRichmond

 

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“Deliciously addictive since 1968!” That’s the motto of Country Style Donuts in Richmond, a bakery that serves donuts 24 hours a day. Swing by early in the morning to grab some delicious holes before they run out. In addition to the donut holes, choose an assortment of their creative fresh-baked donuts, like the apple crumb, peanut-covered glazed, or blueberry chip donuts.

 

More Delicious Donut Spots:

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VA Pride Festivals 2019 ~ Statewide

VA Pride Festivals 2019 ~ Statewide

LGBTQ+ PRIDE is hard to miss in Virginia, with 17 community PRIDE festivals and events, statewide in 2019.

Surrounding each PRIDE event are self-designated LGBT-friendly hotels, B&Bs, cabins and campsites to stay with friends and family. Wherever you land, surrounding are shops, restaurants, distilleries, meaderies, cideries, craft breweries, wineries, outdoor adventures, attractions.

Find them all at Virginia.org/LGBT.

Check out Virginia’s 2019 PRIDE Season below and share the Virginia you LOVE with the people you LOVE

» @VisitGayVA (Twitter) and @visitgayva (Instagram) all year-round.

April
13           Hill City Pride *Lynchburg
13 – 14   Roanoke Pride

June
1             Reston Pride *Lake Anne
9             Pride on the Peninsula *Hampton
15           Farmville Pride
15           Shindig Pride *Martinsville
16 – 22  
Hampton Roads Pridefest  *Norfolk
23           Pride at the Beach *VA Beach
29           Winchester Pride

July
18 – 21   Black Pride RVA *Richmond

September
14           C’ville Pride Festival  *Charlottesville
13 – 15   Petersburg Out & Proud
13 – 15   Eastern Shore Pride Festival  *Cape Charles
21           Shenandoah Valley Pride  *Harrisonburg
27 –29    Floyd Pride
28           VA PrideFest 2019 *Richmond
tbd          NOVA Pride  *Manassas


Hill City PRIDE

When: Sat. April 13
There was a GREAT turnout for Lynchburg’s 1st Ever PRIDE Festival held at Lynchburg Hillcats Stadium

Hill City Pride ~ Lynchburg

 

Roanoke PRIDE Festival

When: Sat. April 13 & Sun. April 14
Roanoke held it’s 29th annual PRIDE Festival, multi-day events with vendors, live music & entertainment at The Park Dance Club

Roanoke Pride

 

 

 

Reston VA Pride

When: Sat. June 1  
Reston’s 2nd annual Pride Festival | 2 PM – 6 PM 
Reston Town Center & Lake Anne Brewhouse ~ exits 289 & 234 from the Dulles Toll Road 
Free & family friendly ~ Featuring performers, 35+ exhibitor booths, local food and great music.

Posted by Reston Pride on Tuesday, May 7, 2019

 

PRIDE on the Peninsula

When: Sat. June 9 
City of Hampton’s 5th PRIDE party  | 6 PM – 8 PM 
Carousel Park in Downtown Hampton
Complimentary food & libations + free rides on the historic Hampton Carousel. Later, hop aboard the Miss Hampton II for the Second annual Drag Down the River Boat Cruise.

Posted by Visit Hampton, Virginia! on Thursday, May 9, 2019

Hampton Roads PrideFest

When: Sun. June 16 – Sat. June 22  
Reston’s 2nd annual Pride Festival |* times vary
Reston Town Center ~ exits 289 & 234 from the Dulles Toll Road 
Free & family friendly ~ Hampton Roads Pride 2019 is a series of special events that celebrate the Hampton Roads LGBT and allied communities in support of inclusion, dignity and equality of all people. The events culminate with the Pride Block Party on Friday night and with PrideFest on Saturday.

Posted by Hampton Roads Pride on Friday, March 22, 2019

 

PRIDE at the Beach

When: Sun. June 23  
First time event | 2 PM – 7 PM
Neptune’s Park, Virginia Beach
Free and open to all ~ 21+ to drink | A luxury, VIP, lounge experience with white linens and fabrics, couches, lounge beds, and exciting DJ Music at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront! Entertainment by TEZRAH and more!
◊  White beachwear strongly encouraged! Stand with Hampton Roads Pride and Visit Virginia Beach at Neptune’s Park!

Posted by Hampton Roads Pride on Wednesday, April 17, 2019


Winchester PRIDE

When: Sat. June 29
Winchester‘s 2nd annual Pride Festival | 12 PM – 5 PM
Harrisonburg Town Square ~ Local vendors, food, bevs, music and Drag entertainers, 
◊  Fri 5/25 ~ crowning the 2019 New Miss Winchester Pride that will be crowned on Saturday May 25th at the Bright Box. Hosted by DJ Skyhigh supplying the best beats!
◊  Sat 6/29 ~ Local vendors, food, bevs and Drag entertainers in Harrisonburg Town Square

It is up to all of you to make this Walking Parade a success!!! Be creative! Be colorful! And be larger than life! …

Posted by Winchester Pride on Monday, June 11, 2018

 
Black PRIDE RVA

When: Fri. July 18 – Sun. July 21  » 
Richmond‘s 2nd annual Black PRIDE Festival | * times vary
~ Free + family and pet friendly; Multiple events; times vary
◊  Thr  7/18 ~ Pre-event Party & Drag performances, great food, and fun
◊  Fri  7/19 ~ Dinner & Drag Show (7:00 pm) music & Drag performances, great food, and fun at Godfrey’s
◊  Sat  7/20 ~ “Day of Purpose” Pride event (9:30 am – 4:00 pm) will be held at Diversity Richmond
                      ~ Official Black Pride After Party (9:00 pm – 1:00 am) at the historic Hippodrome
◊  Sun 7/20 ~ Closing Worship Service (11:00 am) at the Third Street Bethel AME (614 N. 3rd St.). 

BLACK PRIDE RVA 2019 is fast approaching….. WILL YOU BE THERE ?? 👀👀

Posted by Black Pride RVA on Monday, April 8, 2019

 

Shenandoah Valley PRIDE

When: Sat. Sept. 21
PRIDE festival  | 12 PM – 6 PM
Harrisonburg Town Square ~ Downtown
Free & family friendly ~ The Shenandoah Valley is full of wonderful people who are proud of who they are whether it be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Transgender. Join us for local food, music, artist & craft vendors, and  the best of local and visiting, celebrity music and Drag entertainers. In the heart of the l Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop.

We still have some T-Shirts left but they’re selling out fast! Grab one while you still can!! http://www.shenandoahvalleypride.org/tshirts.html

Posted by Shenandoah Valley Pride Alliance on Sunday, August 6, 2017

 

Charlottesville Pride Festival 2019

When: Sat. Sept. 14 
Charlottesville’s 8th annual Pride Festival | tbd
Sprint Pavilion on the Downtown Mall
Free, family-friendly, children’s area, beer and wine garden, food trucks; vendors representing businesses and organizations with resources, special offers, and interactive activities; Pride merchandise; music, dance, and drag entertainment

Posted by Cville Pride on Monday, August 27, 2018

 

Petersburg Out & Proud

When: Fri. Sept. 13 – Sun. Sept. 15
Petersburg’s 3rd annual PRIDE Festival | * times vary
Historic Downtown Petersburg at DJ’s Rajun Cajun & Steakhouse
Free & family friendly ~
◊  Fri 9/13 ~ Pre-PRIDE festival event
◊  Sat 9/14 ~ Petersburg Out & PROUD festival
◊  Sun 9/15 ~ Pride Drag Brunch at Wabi Sabi  

Posted by Petersburg Out & Proud on Thursday, March 14, 2019


Eastern Shore Pride Weekend Festival

When: Fri. Sept. 13 – Sun. Sept. 15
The Eastern Shore’s 2nd Pride! | * Main Festival Saturday
At the newly renovated Chesapeake Bay KOA Campground & Resort and Jackspot Deck just south of Cape Charles
~ Free + family and pet friendly
◊  Fri 9/13 ~ S’mores on the beach + arts, crafts and family pick-up game
◊  Sat 9/14 ~ Sidewalk Chalk Competition & “Golf Card Pride Parade” + DJ Dance Party
◊  Sun 9/15 ~ DRAG brunch at the Jackspot Deck with Host Chicki Parm

Posted by Cape Charles / Chesapeake Bay KOA on Sunday, September 23, 2018

VA PrideFest 2019 (Richmond)

When: Sat. Sept. 28
Richmond’s Pride Festival | 11 PM – 9 PM
Brown’s Island in Downtown Richmond
Free, family-friendly day of festivities feature a variety of vendors, local eats, activities and entertainment for a day of fun in the sun!

Posted by VA Pride on Thursday, October 5, 2017


Floyd Pride 2019

When: Fri.  Sept. 27 – Sunday, Sept. 29
Floyd’s 6th annual Pride festival | * times vary
Downtown Floyd & Floyd Farmer’s Market

Fri 9/27      Cast-iron Cornbread Country Drag at Blue Ridge Café
Sat 9/28     Rebel Pride & music at the Farmers Market, downtown Floyd
Sun 9/29    Opera, multimedia art & dance at The June Bug Center

Posted by Jim Best on Monday, October 15, 2018

Northern Virginia PRIDE

When: Dates to be announced
Northern Virginia’s 5th annual Pride Festival | * tbd
Bull Run Park Special Events Center ~ Centerville

Posted by Northern VA Pride on Tuesday, November 27, 2018

 

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The Guide to Virginia’s Pet-Friendly Beaches

The Guide to Virginia’s Pet-Friendly Beaches

dog on the beach at sunset

Head off on vacation with your pup in tow this summer! Virginia offers several pet friendly beaches perfect for your four-legged friend. When visiting beautiful pet-friendly locations, make sure to check with your local beaches before packing up the dog. Some beaches allow dogs during off-season, but summer is a different story. Read on to learn all you need to know for a waterfront trip to Virginia with your pup! 

 

Rules for Any Pet-Friendly Beach in Virginia

dog

It’s important to find out whether or not your dog needs to be on a leash or if they can roam free. Bring a long leash no matter what, but know ahead of time if there will be an area where a leash isn’t necessary. If you’re pup is allowed to be off-leash, make sure they are under your voice control so they don’t stray too far. Keep in mind, some people on the beach will be less dog-friendly than others. Also, children can become easily frightened by dogs, so be mindful of who your dog is approaching. Never leave your dog unattended. Even the most well-trained dog can get distracted. Finally, pay special attention to your surroundings and any potential situations that may cause your dog to wander or run off.

Respect all of the rules set by the beach. Leave only footprints behind when you visit pet friendly beaches. Make sure to always be equipped with fresh water, doggy bags, and a leash when you venture out for a sandy day of fun. You don’t want to be the reason that dogs aren’t allowed at the beach anymore!

 

Virginia State Park Regulations

Pets are allowed in all Virginia State Parks. However, state regulations prohibit pets at designated swim areas and require pets to be confined or kept on a leash no longer than six feet and kept under supervision while at the park.

All beaches that are classified as “swimming beaches” do not allow dogs. If it is a lake or body of water that is completely contained within the park, then no swimming is allowed and can be enforced by the park staff.

Shorelines that are not swimming beaches allow swimming by dogs. This is often the case in riverfront parks, especially in the Tidewater region parks.

Lastly, in rivers and large lakes, dogs are be allowed in the water off the shoreline. Once back ashore, the dog must be on a leash under six feet and in the owner’s control.

 

First Landing State ParkVirginia BeachFirst Landing State Park

First Landing State Park allows dogs on their beach as long as it’s not a “designated swimming beach” but a multi-use beach.

 

Virginia Beach Public Beachesvirginia beach

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, pets are allowed on the North End of the beach above 42nd Street and the South End in the Sandbridge area before 10am and after 6pm.

During the rest of the year, dogs are allowed full access to the beach as long as they are on a leash. Walk, jog, or run along the surf with your dog at this dog friendly beach!

 

Chris Greene Lake Park—Charlottesville

Chris Greene Lake Park provides a one acre fenced-in area for dogs to run off leash, with roped water access for dogs to swim. Wiggling pooches abound at this dog friendly beach!

 

Ocean View Beach Park—Norfolk

From Memorial Day through Labor Day between the hours of 10am and 6pm, your pup is not allowed on the beach. Other than that, they are welcome to come on the beach on a leash. Your four-legged friend will love this dog friendly beach!

 

Mountain Lake Lodge—Giles CountyMountain Lake

All dogs are welcome at Mountain Lake Lodge. Pups are welcome to take a dip in the water  and do not have to be on a leash to enjoy the lake. Additionally, the lodge runs specific event weekends for dog owners. Read more here.

 

New River Water Trail—Giles CountyNew River Camping

Your four-legged friend will love New River Water Trail. Here, your dogs can roam around leash-free and can go for a swim in the river. Feel like exploring the river? Public boat landings are always open and are also pet friendly, as well as the campgrounds in New River Trail State Park

 

Deltaville Maritime Museum—Deltavilledeltaville maritime museum

This Museum at Holly Point Nature Park is pet friendly. You and your dog are welcome to the Nature Park just as long as your furry friend is on a leash. Pup are welcome in the museum as well; make sure to stop by the front desk and ask about the treat drawer!

 

James River—RichmondDog at Pony Pasture in Richmond along the James River

When visiting Richmond, bring your dog to Belle Isle, Pony Pasture, and Texas Beach! Your pooch will love a stroll through this beautiful riverside park, just as long as they remain on-leash.

 

York River State Park—Williamsburgyork river state park

Bring your dog to York River State Park in Williamsburg for a day of play. Meander along the river-side dog trails, but keep your pet on a leash under six feet. Pets are not allowed to swim at this beach.

 

Cape Charles Beach—Cape Charlescape charles beach

From April 1st through Labor Day, dogs are allowed on the beach before 9am and after 9pm. However, bring your pup to Cape Charles Beach at any time from September to April.

 

Kiptopeke State Park—Cape Charles

Kiptopeke State Park has a pet friendly beach next to their designated swimming beach. This special pet-friendly beach is open for leashed dogs and the camping area, lodges and cabins allow dogs as well. The park also features a network of dog-friendly trails, however, your dog must be on a leash no longer than six feet.

 

Chesapeake Bay KOA Resort—Cape CharlesThe Jackspot at Sunset Beach

 

This resort features a beach dog park as well as a regular dog park with play structures and water features. The Sandy Paws Dog Beach is an off-leash beach area, just make sure to accompany your pup at all times!

 

Haven Beach—Mathews

Haven Beach on the Chesapeake Bay welcomes all pooches to it’s shore! The beach has a sandy bottom shoreline, designated swimming areas, and ample parking. Just make sure your pup remains on-leash!

 

Widewater State Park—Stafford

This state park allows your furry friends, just as long as they are on a leash under six feet long. Here Aquia Creek and the Potomac River meet and Widewater provides access to both bodies of water. The park lies on non-contiguous parcels and is open for public access. Keep in mind, there is no swimming allowed but enjoy the hiking trails along the river!

 

Aquia Landing Park—StaffordAquia_Landing_Jan_2011_001

You and your pup can enjoy this popular beach on the Potomac River and even take a dip in the river together! Just make sure your dog is well behaved.

 

Lake Mooney—Stafford

Take your four-legged friend to Lake Mooney in Stafford County. Here there is no swimming allowed, but the small shore is a perfect spot to spend a sunny day outdoors.

 

Colonial BeachColonial Beach

Your four-legged friends are allowed on the shores of Colonial Beach anytime from October 1st through March 31st. From April to September though, you cannot bring dogs to Colonial Beach. Additionally, they must be on a leash at all times.  

 

Leesylvania State ParkWoodbridge

Your furry friend is welcome at the sandy strip in Leesylvania State Park just as long as they’re on a least that is no longer than six feet and are with a human companion at all times.

 

Tall Pines Harbor CampgroundTemperanceville

Visit Tall Pines Harbor Campground with your pooch in tow! This campsite has a pet-friendly beach and even allows for pets to be off of their leashes on the beach as long as everyone behaves.

 

Bear Creek Lake State Park—Cumberland

While dogs are not allowed at Bear Creek Lake State Park “swimming beach”, the park does offer a separate beach area that is signed as pet friendly. Your dog must remain on a leash, but is welcome to enjoy the sandy spot just for them. Additionally, your pup can join you on the park’s boat rentals, as long as everyone behaves!

 

Dog-Friendly Private BeachesDog on the Beach

If you rent a pet-friendly vacation home on a private beach on the Eastern Shore or along the Chesapeake Bay, you can relax with your dogs without worrying about public beach restrictions. Enjoy the sun, sand, and surf with your pooch this summer in Virginia!

 

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The Insiders Guide to Fishing Spots in Prince William, VA

The Insiders Guide to Fishing Spots in Prince William, VA

Prince William, VA is well known for having the largest amount of green space in the Washington, D.C. metro area ~ over 36 square miles (that’s 1.6 times larger than the island of Manhattan). But did you know there is plenty of fantastic fishing – as well as boating, sailing, kayaking and other water sports here also?

No boat? No problem. Prince William’s lakes, piers and ponds give fishermen (and women) on foot a good chance of reeling in some fish too.

Here are some of the best fishing-friendly spots to cast your line:

Lake Ridge Marina

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Fall Lake Ridge Park

Visit Prince William

Lake Ridge Marina provides anglers access to the Occoquan Reservoir and is the trailhead for the Occoquan Water Trail. The main fish available in the Occoquan Reservoir are largemouth bass , bluegill and crappie however there are also opportunities for catching channel catfish , flathead catfish , northern pike , and white perch.

Locust Shade Park

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Locust Shade Park

Visit Prince William

Locust Shade Park boasts an 8-acre pond that is regularly stocked with fish by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Anglers can enjoy fishing from the tree-lined banks of this secluded pond for trout from November to April and channel catfish in the Spring. Bluegill, largemouth bass and crappie are native and can be caught year round.

Advid sportswoman, angler and writer for Sporting Classics Daily, Gabriella Hoffman shares why she enjoys fishing at Locust Shade Park and Lake Ridge Marina in Prince William, VA.

“I like how close in proximity these fishing opportunities are to me in Northern Virginia. I can just hop in my car, drive down 95 or Highway 1 and boom, I’m at either of the two aforementioned locations. I’ve always been keen on finding outdoor recreation opportunities close to the city, and Prince William County certainly provides that. It can be challenging for us city folks to get outdoors, but Northern Virginia – including PWC – is full of hidden gems close to the city.”

“I primarily target trout at Locust Shade Park during the winter and have targeted panfish and catfish in Lake Ridge Marina,” shares Hoffman.

Leesylvania State Park

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Father and son fishing

Visit Prince William

Stretching out into the Potomac, the Pier at Leesylvania State Park is a popular spot for casting a line. The tidal river creates a freshwater fishing area, so you’re bound to see a variety of largemouth bass, striped bass, catfish and perch in the waters. Boaters can use the boat ramp and sailboat hoist to access the water. Planning a visit from March to October? Overnight fishing is available for those looking for a midnight catch!

Prince William Forest Park

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Prince William Forest Park

Visit Prince William

Eighteen miles of streams and waterways run through Prince William Forest Park, creating a tranquil and secluded setting for fishing. Here anglers will find some of Virginia’s most popular fish, including bluegill, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass , and channel catfish. Enjoy fishing along the banks of the South Fork and Quantico Creeks, or at one of the two small lakes.

Silver Lake Regional Park

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Silver Lake Regional Park

Visit Prince William

Surrounded by 230 acres of rolling meadows and pine forests, Silver Lake Regional Park is a 23-acre lake is an oasis for fishing. Fed by the waters of the Little Bull Run Stream, anglers can enjoy a peaceful day of bank fishing for bluegill and largemouth bass from sunrise to sunset.

Greenville Farm Family Campground

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Greenville Farms Pond

Visit Prince William

Located in Haymarket, VA, Greenville Farm is a 200-acre working farm with 43 wooded acres set aside for camping, picnicking and enjoying the great outdoors. Anglers can fish for bass, bluegill and channel catfish in one of the four large ponds on the property.

To learn more about fishing opportunities in Virginia or how to get your fishing license, visit TakeMeFishing.org or Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Visit Prince William

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The post The Insiders Guide to Fishing Spots in Prince William, VA appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Exploring Shenandoah County’s Great Outdoors with Youth

Exploring Shenandoah County’s Great Outdoors with Youth

As a 4-H Program Assistant, I spent the summer engaging youth in outdoor activities, making them more conscious of what recreational fun can be found locally in our area. Shenandoah County is a rural and agricultural area with so many opportunities readily available in our own neighborhood.

Spend time exploring Riverview Park located in Woodstock. Riverview Park has a Little League baseball field, as well as short trails through the woods and a picnic shelter. During their hikes through the woods, children can explore different trees native to this area and enjoy a glimpse of the Shenandoah River from the top of a hill.

Another great place to explore is the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. A tributary of the Potomac River, which is 55.6 miles in length, the Shenandoah River has two forks, each approximately 100 miles in length, the North Fork and South Forks, both running through the Shenandoah Valley. The North Fork of the Shenandoah River runs through Shenandoah County and contains seven bends.

paddlingShenandoah County

Kayak a portion of the river from the Toms Brook, VA area to Deer Rapids area of Strasburg, VA where there is boat landing access to the river. This is a great location for beginner kayakers. It’s amazing to see children’s confidence grow in ability to maneuver the kayak on their own as they proceed. Kayaking on the Shenandoah River has grown as a recreational activity during the summer months.

At the Deer Rapids boat landing, there is a high water, swinging pedestrian bridge crossing the river that gives you a birds-eye view of the immediate portion of the Shenandoah River.

Other great opportunities for youth include Fort Valley Ranch located in Fort Valley within the beautiful Massanutten Mountain Range, and adjacent to the George Washington National Forest. Fort Valley Ranch offers a variety of summer camps including a camp through Shenandoah County 4-H where participants learn basic horse care with hands-on grooming techniques, leading, and riding skills. Once again, camper’s confidence and skills grow over the course of a few days in being around these majestic animals. Youth will enjoy trail riding experiences through the forest.

Fort Valley Ranch has a herd of thirty or so head of horses and mules. In addition, the facility has cabins and horse stalls for overnight horse camping, restrooms, camp store, and a large covered picnic pavilion for entertaining. Wagon rides are also an option for non-riders or special occasions. Reservations for trail riding are also recommended, especially during the summer season.

Horse back riding
Shenandoah County

Shenandoah County is also fortunate to have many local community parks along Route 11 from Strasburg to New Market with Woodstock, Edinburg and Mount Jackson in-between. Each of these parks have a playground, swimming pool, and picnic shelters for starters.

The Shenandoah County Park, located in Maurertown, has an 18-hole disc golf game as well as a ball field and tennis court. Strasburg and Woodstock Town Parks have a soccer field, basketball courts, and tennis courts and Woodstock’s W.O. Riley Park offers a newly renovated state of the art playground. New Market Town Park has a fitness track to help promote a healthy lifestyle.

Another large and popular venue which also engages many youth is the annual Shenandoah County Fair held the week prior to Labor Day weekend. Being that Shenandoah County is an agricultural area, youth are proud to showcase their livestock projects that they have worked on all year. Vendors exhibit new farming equipment. Chickens, eggs, and rabbits can be found in the Poultry and Rabbit exhibit building and you can get up close and personal to the livestock in the livestock barns and exhibitors are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding their animals.

Down the mid-way, a variety of food vendors will tempt your palate. Many of the food vendors are from local restaurants whom are open year-round such as Shaffer’s BBQ, and Rutz’s BBQ. For the sweet tooth, Strites Donuts, and funnel cakes are readily available. For a cool treat in hot weather, hand-dipped ice cream is available at the Dairy barn. Many locals return year after year to the Shenandoah County Fair just for the food selections. The Shenandoah County Fair will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2017, making it the oldest County Fair in Virginia.

Down the mid-way as well are many opportunities to test your skills with games and take home a large stuffed toy for your favorite person!

Shenandoah County Fair
Shenandoah County Fairgrounds – Shenandoah County

For thrill-seekers, opportunities abound with various rides and challenges. In other exhibit buildings, educational booths provide information for the public. Craft vendors can also be found selling unique items and every evening, various entertainment such as tractor pulls, demolition derbies, and bands are offered with grandstand seating.

Shenandoah Downs is also situated on the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds and offers daily harness racing during fair week and on the weekends during the fall season.

 

Written by Susan St. Amand for Shenandoah County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.
Featured image provided by Shenandoah County

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The post Exploring Shenandoah County’s Great Outdoors with Youth appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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