Entertainment around RVA

A Romantic Getaway to Norfolk

A Romantic Getaway to Norfolk

Norfolk offers romance for every couple, from the beach lovers to the outdoor enthusiasts. Find your perfect romantic getaway in Norfolk, one of Virginia’s most stunning coastal cities.


Ocean View and East Beach

Picture this, you’re wrapped up in a blanket with your favorite person overlooking the bay, dolphins showing fin in the distance and the sun is kissing the horizon. Maybe you’ve picked up a sweet treat from Chocollage or have a bottle of champagne back at the room, either way, we invite you to sit back and enjoy a romantic sunset at Ocean View and East Beach.



Nauticus Pier

This hidden gem in Norfolk plays the perfect role for a quiet romantic spot. The Elizabeth River, locally painted benches, merman statue and mile marker zero (free and open to the public) make for the perfect backdrop for a sunset smooch.

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A classic @__d_w_p__ shot.

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Norfolk Botanical Garden

Spend your day roaming the Norfolk Botanical Garden, with 60 different gardens to explore we promise you’ll find the perfect one for that romantic photo she’s been dying to take. Enjoy foliage in the fall, roses blooming during the summer, Million Bulb Walk during the holidays and flourishing azaleas all spring long.

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My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” ~ John 15:12-13 Happy Friday ya’ll! We’re Andrew & Tianna. Husband and wife. Wedding Photographers together. Tianna a boudoir photographer and branding photographer. Andrew full time homeschool stay at home dad and rock climber extraordinaire. We’re weird. Both total homebodies. Comedy TV show lovers – The Office, Parks and Recreation, Superstore. CrossFit 6 days a week. Clean eating. Lovers of books and Jesus. We wanna someday have a family of 5 or 6 but are loving our two cray toddlers and this beautiful season of life and busyness. ❤ Go follow our other accounts @fearless_fatherhood and @yourstrulyportraiture for more behind the scenes looks at our crayness! Hair and Makeup @sarahsladebeauty #AndrewandTiannaBTS

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Elizabeth River Trail

Discover Norfolk’s 10.5-mile-long Elizabeth River Trail. The ERT parallels the water, romantic cobblestone streets of historic Freemason, Ghent & Chelsea neighborhoods. Hold your darling’s hand, stroll the seascape of Norfolk and stop along the path to grab a bite to eat, something sweet or a coffee to go. Check out Norfolk’s sweet treats here.


Hermitage Museum and Garden

Love is in the air year-round at the Hermitage Gardens, a popular wedding venue and the perfect backdrop to any photo. This 20th-century Historic house museum sits on twelve acres of luscious gardens and natural woodlands. Step inside to experience contemporary exhibition galleries and a world-wide art collection.



Naro Cinema

The Naro, as locals refer to it, first opened its doors in 1936. Ditch the jeans, pack your best dress and strut Granby Street like it’s the 1940s! Our busy lives can get the best of us so we recommend leaving the Netflix at home, sharing a bag of over-buttered popcorn and enjoy a film at the Naro, we won’t judge you for kissing during the previews.



Wells Theatre

Built in 1912, Wells Theatre is home to Virginia Stage Company, Norfolk’s premiere theatrical performers. This theater has kept its 1912 interior décor, some even claim that it’s haunted. Either way, indulge your honey to a night at the theater. After the performance check out Norfolk’s modern American wine bar Cork & Co. just steps away for delicious bites and wine.




Imagine outstanding service, unforgettable cuisine and a romantic atmosphere. Todd Jurich’s, Chartreuse Bistro and Four-Eleven York are amongst our local’s favorite dining options that will give you all the lovey feels.


Written by Visit Norfolk for VisitNorfolk.
Featured image provided by Photo Credit Kristin O’Leary Photography Instagram @kristinolearyphotography

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35+ Cozy Wine Tasting Rooms in Virginia

35+ Cozy Wine Tasting Rooms in Virginia


The chilly days in Virginia can seem to drag on forever when you’re ready for spring to arrive, but just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to stay home! Many of Virginia’s wineries keep you cozy with roaring fireplaces, large snuggly couches, and lots of award-winning wine to stay warm. Visit a few of these ultra-comfy tasting rooms to stave off the winter blues in Virginia.


Veritas Vineyards & Winery—Aftonveritas vineyard and winery fireplace

Upon arriving at Veritas Vineyards & Winery, head to the bar for a guided tasting of their incredible wines, then pick out a bottle of your favorite to enjoy with friends. Pair with a cheese plate or sandwich from the winery’s on-site kitchen and grab a seat on one of the large leather couches by their wood-burning stone fireplace for a little warmth and relaxation on even the dreariest days. Bonus perk: Veritas has an Instagram-worthy LOVEwork made from corks above their tasting bar. Be sure to snap a pic before you leave!


Early Mountain Vineyards—MadisonEarly Mountain Vineyards

Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Early Mountain Vineyards offers views of some of Virginia’s most picturesque landscapes, and with a massive fireplace warming the outdoor patio, you can take in the sights no matter how chilly it is. But if you’re avoiding inclement weather, the winery also has a second fireplace indoors. Unique metal chandeliers illuminate the white brick of the walls, casting a warm glow throughout the tasting room, and large comfy couches spaced throughout provide room to lounge as you savor a glass of wine.


Pollak Vineyards—GreenwoodPollak Vineyards

West of Charlottesville, Pollak Vineyards sits on a 98 acre farm surrounded by the famed Blue Ridge Mountains, with 31 acres of the land used to grow traditional varietals like Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Pinos Gris. The tasting room contains a simple, timeless wood fireplace flanked on either side with large comfy couches. Curl up with a glass of your favorite wine and order a cheese and charcuterie board from the winery’s kitchen for an upscale snack to go with your vino.


Good Luck Cellars—Kilmarnock good luck cellars fireplace

If you’re in search of a cozy winery in the Northern Neck peninsula, head to Good Luck Cellars. The winery features a fireplace inside the tasting room, as well as a second on the tasting room’s wraparound porch. Take a bottle to go and pick up some local oysters for a perfect Virginia dining experience.


The Winery at Kindred Point—Mount JacksonThe Winery at Kindred Point

A repurposed horse stable, the Winery at Kindred Pointe’s tasting room features rich wood-paneled walls and large stuffed couches, providing a sense of warmth that is noticeable long before you pull up a seat by the fireplace. Try a glass of their warm mulled wine on a cold winter day, and if you’ve brought the kids along, ask for one of the winery’s s’mores kits to roast marshmallows over the open fire puts right outside the tasting room.


Hamlet Vineyards—Bassetthamlet vineyards photo credit megan sheppard

Photo Credit: Megan Sheppard

Although only open for tastings on Sundays from 1-5pm, the tasting room inside the barn at Hamlet Vineyards is a must if you’re searching for winery coziness in Southern Virginia. Their award-winning wines are served with delicious lunch pairings in a setting that showcases Southern hospitality at its finest.


Stone Tower Winery—LeesburgStone Tower Winery

Leesburg’s Stone Tower Winery has something for every wine lover. Their Harvest Barn tasting room welcomes families with kids of all ages and well mannered, leashed dogs, with games, a spacious terrace, and a front lawn that allows for picnics in warmer weather. But if you prefer wine tastings away from the kids, their Tower View Tasting Room is 21+, providing an adults-only atmosphere to savor your wine. Inside the Tower View Tasting Room, a large gas fireplace adds endless warmth to guests seated at the leather couches positioned around the fireplace. Don’t miss out on a guided tour, where you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the luxury vineyard.


Old House Vineyards—CulpeperOld House Vineyards patio fireplace

Just outside of historic Culpeper, Old House Vineyards has about 24 acres of vines on their 75-acre farm, with pristine views of the mountains setting a gorgeous backdrop for the winery. While the renovated 19th-century barn is pretty cozy, the patio takes it to another level with a massive stone fireplace.


Barboursville Vineyard—Barboursvillebarboursville vineyards and winery tasting room fireplace

Barboursville Vineyard, located about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville, has two tasting rooms with fireplaces; for only $10, you can sample 17 of Barboursville Vineyard’s current vintages in the Tuscan Tasting Room, open seven days a week. The second tasting room, Library 1821, only open on weekends, serves their finest selection of vintages paired with small bites for $25. After your tasting, take a tour of the winery to learn about the process behind your vino, then grab a seat by one of their cozy fireplaces to relax and unwind.


Valhalla Vineyards—Roanokevalhalla vineyards tasting room

Built on a 2,000 foot mountain above the Roanoke Valley, Valhalla Vineyards utilizes underground barrel caves underneath the vines to age their wines (you can even tour these caves with a guide!). The large stone tasting room is constructed to reflect the winery’s Old World name, with large wooden beams and roughly hewn stones comprising the structure. The tasting room features a roaring fireplace at one end of the hall, and outside on the patio winery guests can warm up beside a second wood fireplace.


Saudé Creek Vineyards—LanexaSaude Creek Vineyards

Saudé Creek Vineyardsstunning tasting room sits at the top of a hill above the Pamunkey River in New Kent. The 3,000 square-foot tasting room was built using 160-year old timbers salvaged from nearby tobacco warehouses, and is surrounded by lush gardens, shady apple orchards, and acres of vineyards planted in the rich Tidewater soil. While the outdoor scenery may be lacking in the cooler months, you’ll find plenty of cozy comfort sipping wine around the tasting room’s towering stone fireplace, a centerpiece flanked by tufted leather couches and chairs.


The Virginia Tasting Cellar—Farmvillethe virginia tasting cellar patio fireplace farmville

While they don’t produce their own wines, The Virginia Tasting Cellar in Farmville serves up a carefully curated rotating selection of Virginia wines. Each of the eight tasting sections highlights a different winery, and they also serve an array of Virginia craft beers and ciders. Guests can order their own custom tasting of any ten wines, beers, or ciders, then cozy up with a glass, bottle, or pint on the covered heated patio, which overlooks the Appomattox River.



With over 300 wineries throughout Virginia, there is no way we could cover them all! Here are a few more suggestions for the coziest wineries to visit in Virginia, but please share your favorite wine tasting rooms for winter weather with us in the comments below.


Not a wine fan? Visit a cozy cidery instead!




The post 35+ Cozy Wine Tasting Rooms in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in March 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in March 2019

There’s a lot of new music coming to Virginia this March. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, celebrate the season with your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.


Over at Virginia’s many live music venues:

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting JJ Grey & Mofro (March 9), Dropkick Murphy’s (March 10), Dylan Scott (March 16), Kurt Vile and the Violators (March 17), Railroad Earth (March 21), Kip Moore (March 23), Gary Clark, Jr. (March 31) and others.

Also in Richmond, The Broadberry will be hosting Yarn (March 16), RDGLDGRN (March 21), Caamp (March 22), Anders Osborne (March 23) and more. The Altria Theater will have Travis Tritt on March 17, Joe Bonamassa on March 19 and Celtic Woman on March 22.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host Sara Evans (March 8), Jackyl (March 9), Winger (March 17), Todd Snider (March 20), Rodney Atkins (March 29), and more.

In Charlottesville, the Jefferson Theater will host artists like Mac Powell (March 14), Kendal Street Company (March 22), Caamp (March 23), and more.

The Norva

The NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Big Head Todd and the Monsters (March 5), Jawbreaker (March 29), and many others.

The Hampton Coliseum will be hosting the Millennium Tour featuring B2K, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Lloyd, Ying Yang Twins, Chingy, and Bobby V on March 16.

Phase 2 Club in Lynchburg will be bringing in acts such as Jason Michael Carroll (March 9), Dylan Scott (March 15), Lee Brice (March 30), and more.

Alabama will be performing at the Salem Civic Center on March 14.

The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount will host many acts including Dwight Yoakam (March 10), Little Feat (March 11), Walker Hayes (March 14), Blackberry Smoke (March 28-30), and more.

Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include The Montrose Trio (March 8), Mountain Man (March 29), and more.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will host shows including Madeleine Peyroux & Paula Cole (March 7), Del McCoury & David Grisman (March 15), Todd Snider (March 18), Jim Brickman (March 24), David Archuleta (March 27), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (March 28), 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 hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

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

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The Top Things to do in Virginia This March

The Top Things to do in Virginia This March


Whether you’re visiting Virginia for the first time or are looking for fun things to do in your home state, we’ve got plenty of suggestions for things to do in Virginia this March!


Floyd Mardi Gras Costume Ball—Floyd

When: Saturday, March 2, 2019floyd Mardi Gras Costume Ball

The 10th annual Floyd Mardi Gras Costume Ball combines the soul of New Orleans music, food, and décor into an evening of unforgettable fun. Get tickets to the ball and dress up in your most creative Mardi Gras-themed costume, where you’ll dance the night away to musical acts from six live performers. Benefitting Floyd’s Blue Mountain School, the fundraiser includes an exclusive Cajun dinner ending with a Mardi Gras tradition, the legendary King Cake.


Snow Moon Festival—McGaheysville

When: Saturday & Sunday, March 2-3, 2019Massanutten Resort Skiing

Massanutten Resort, one of Virginia’s biggest ski resorts, hosts the second annual Snow Moon Fest on the first weekend in March. Celebrating all things winter, the festival includes a chilly Polar Plunge and a torchlight slope parade that ends with a spectacular fireworks show above the mountains. Catch live music from Chase Payne, recently named Male Rising Star of the Year at the Josie Music Awards, at the festival’s Lodge Party.


Bryce Winter Fest—Bayse

When: Saturday, March 9, 2019Bryce Resort

Held at Bryce Resort in the Shenandoah Valley, the family-friendly Bryce Winter Fest starts with a pancake breakfast, followed (after time to digest, of course) by a polar plunge, a costume parade, pond skimming (think a mix between snowboarding and wakeboarding), and live music to finish the day. And the slopes are open all day long, so you can fill any down time with skiing, snowboarding, or tubing.


Early Mountain Oyster Festival—Madison

When: Saturday & Sunday, March 9-10, 2019early mountain oyster and wine festival

What better way to spend an afternoon in Virginia than sipping wine and eating oysters? You’ll have plenty of both at the Early Mountain Oyster Festival, an annual family-friendly event at Early Mountain Vineyards. And don’t worry if you’re not all about Virginia oysters; the festival will also feature other fresh foods from Virginia’s Eastern Shore, including crab cakes and clam chowder to pair with the large selection of wines served at the festival. Another highlight of the event is live music performances, with Nashville artists the Jacob Paul Allen Band playing on Saturday night and local favorite Paulo Franco playing on Sunday.


The Highland Maple Festival—Monterey

When: Saturdays and Sundays, March 9-10 & 16-17, 2019Highland Maple Festival

Celebrate Highland County’s tradition of crafting maple syrup at The 61st Annual Highland Maple Festival. Over 50,000 visitors attend this annual event, which has been designated a “Local Legacy” by the Library of Congress, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the rural American way of life. Sign up for one of the Sugar Camp tours, which explain the long history and the detailed process of making maple syrup in Highland County. Afterwards, make your way over to one of the maple syrup demonstrations for a firsthand look at the process. The festival features all sorts of maple-inspired foods, from buckwheat and pancake breakfasts smothered in the syrup to homemade maple donuts, as well as live music, locally made goods, and arts and craft tutorials.


St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations—All Over Virginia

When: Sunday, March 17, 2019 (Although event dates vary)Holiday Parade

You don’t have to be Irish to love a good Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, and Virginia is packed with holiday events to mark the occasion, including Saint Patrick’s Day festivals, parades, and pub crawls. For a family-friendly event on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, head to Chincoteague Island’s Search for Shamrocks, a free two-day scavenger hunt around the coastal community that includes additional games, Saint Patrick’s Day-themed food and drinks, and special prizes. Nestled in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Mountain Brewery hosts a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration complete with live Irish music, food, and of course, lots of fantastic Virginia beer.


Annual Virginia Festival of the Book—Charlottesville

When: Wednesday-Sunday, March 20-24, 2019

The 25th annual Virginia Festival of the Book celebrates the written word in many forms, ranging from children’s books to nonfiction works geared towards adults. There are over 200 programs happening during the five-day festival, and almost all are free to attend and open to the public.


STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway—Ridgeway

When: Sunday, March 24, 2019Martinsville Speedway

NASCAR drivers from the Monster Energy Cup Series come together in Southern Virginia for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, competing for the racetrack’s well-known Grandfather Clock trophy. Arrive early with plenty of food and drinks for NASCAR’s famed tailgating, a tradition that often lasts longer than the race itself. The drivers hit the track at 2pm, completing 500 laps in the hopes of emerging as the leader in this racing classic.


French Film Festival—Richmond

When: Thursday-Sunday, March 28-31, 2019Byrd Theatre

Held at theaters around Richmond like the historic Byrd Theatre in Carytown and auditoriums on the Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Richmond campuses, the 27th annual French Film Festival celebrates feature length movies, short films, and behind-the-scenes discussions with French film directors and authors.


Theme Parks Reopen for Daily Spring Hours—Williamsburg & Doswell

When: Starting Friday, March 29, 2019Alpengeist roller coaster ride at Busch Gardens

Virginia’s two most popular theme parks, Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion, open for their daily spring hours at the end of March: Busch Gardens on March 29th and Kings Dominion on March 30. At Kings Dominion, you can spend the day riding 60+ rides and attractions, including 12 high-speed roller coasters. Their newest coaster, Twisted Timbers, is a hybrid ride that fuses modern steel tracks with classic wooden supports, resulting in a thrilling journey complete with high-speed barrel rolls and breathtaking plunges. Busch Gardens’ European-themed park has over a dozen rides scattered in the different “countries”. Their latest ride, Finnegan’s Flyer, is situated in the Ireland section of the park. This ultimate swing tops speeds of 45 miles per hour, taking riders 80 feet off the ground for panoramic (albeit slightly blurry at that speed) views of the park.


What are your big plans for March in Virginia? Share some must-do events, festivals, and destinations with us in the comments below!

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The Complete Guide to Norfolk Festivals

The Complete Guide to Norfolk Festivals

Norfolk plays host to a plenty of extraordinary festivals and special events, providing entertaining, culturally enriched experiences for individuals and families alike. Many of these “signature” events draw thousands of visitors annually from across the world. Check out some of our favorite early spring and summer festivals!



VA International Tattoo, Scope Arena

It’s no secret Norfolk has a serious appreciation for our military; after all, Norfolk is home to the largest naval base in the world. In 1997 Virginia Arts Festival presented the city with what has now become a staple to Norfolk’s performing arts scene; The Virginia International Tattoo Festival. This once a year spectacular showcases inspirational military music, majestic massed pipes and drums, show-stopping drill team maneuvers, and hundreds of international performers! This display of Military talent is incomparable to any other event in the USA, so grab your tickets and I promise you will be astounded!


Virginia Beer Festival, Town Point Park
Did you know USA Today has named the Virginia Beer Festival one of the “Best Beer Festivals” in the country? Well now you do – how exciting! So let’s take a closer look at what makes this festival stand out. Situated at beautiful Town Point Park, the weekend festival features over 150 different types of your favorite IPAs, ales, ciders, sours, pilsners, lagers and stouts, just to name a few. Once you have that cold brew in hand, enjoy the live music as you plan your strategy for the next beer. And as any good festival knows, with beer, you must have food – good food – and the culinary selection from local restaurants, food trucks and chefs will be sure to satisfy those munchies. Once you have your fill of beer and food (pretzel necklaces to be exact), attend an on-site brew school seminar or stop by the tent dedicated to helping you learn how to brew your own beer at home – how many beer festivals can say that? To find out what other surprises and events await, you will just need to stop by for yourself.


Virginia Wine Festival, Town Point Park
Winter is over, the bees are buzzing and the locals are sipping; sipping their way through Wine Fest that is! What better way to spring into summer than with an all weekend event of sampling two-hundred plus Virginia vintages with the Elizabeth River as your backdrop. I’ll let you in on a local’s secret, pack yourself a picnic and attend the festival on Sunday; you’ll avoid the long lines. So sip, swirl, and enjoy the extraordinary taste of Virginia grapes! Click here to see our events calendar for spring and fall dates.


Stockley Gardens Arts Festival, Stockley Gardens
Nestled in the heart of Ghent, one of Norfolk’s most beloved neighborhoods lives Stockley Garden. This strip of land is home to the regionally famous Stockley Gardens Art Festival. This festival is free to the public and occurs twice yearly, featuring all medians of art imaginable! This one of a kind arts festival showcases true masterpieces of local talented artists, offers two dollar Cogan’s Pizza slices (arguably amongst the best pizza in town) and even encourages strollers and your furry best friend to tag along! The money raised contributes directly to housing, transportation, and medical care for those with developmental disabilities. Click here to see our events calendar for spring and fall dates.



Harborfest, Town Point Park

Norfolk Harbor

Tis’ the season for fireworks, boating & all things outside! Harborfest has become a must-attend event in Norfolk, this weekend is completely going to transform your expectations of a summer festival. I challenge you to complete every activity, see every show, eat all the food, tour every tall ship, see the real live mermaids, and watch every firework explode into color. The endless activities will keep you begging to come back!


Pride Fest, Throughout Norfolk
PrideFest has become a staple to Norfolk’s festival scene for over 30 years, making our city more dynamic, diverse and distinct than ever! This vibrant festival had a humble beginning at Lakewood Park, and has now grown into THE HOTTEST event of the summer! Pride Week starts on June 27 with events ranging from block parties to a night of dancing and LGBTini’s at the Chrysler Museum of Art to beer specials at O’Connors, rollerskating at MacArthur, live music and so much more. These events all lead up to the big day of Pride at Town Point Park!


Fourth of July Great American Picnic, Town Point Park
What better place to celebrate Independence Day than in the heart of Norfolk, just a stone throws away from where Christopher Columbus discovered our country! Town Point Park will offer American fare; hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, seafood, buttered corn on the cob, juicy watermelon, and lemonade! Fill up your plates, sit back and relax as you watch the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band kick off the holiday celebrations. Stick around until 9:30 for a spectacular fireworks display just over the Elizabeth River!


Norfolk Waterfront Jazz Festival, Town Point Park
Pull up your lawn chair to the longest running Jazz Festival in Hampton Roads! Chill on Norfolk’s waterfront while indulging in the tunes of sweet smooth Jazz and R&B. Jazz is arguably the truest art form of America, so let these talented musicians transform you into the era of the 1900’s. And don’t forget to snack, drink & shop at the festival’s marketplace!


Latino Music Festival, Town Point Park
Every summer Town Point Park transforms into one giant dance floor. We encourage you to grab your favorite dance partner and join us for an evening of the hottest salsa, meringue, and guaguanco dancing the East Coast has ever seen. Live explosive Latin music by local, regional and national recording artists will fill the park and have your feet dancing all night long. This cultural event will not only showcase contagious Latin beats but it will also deliver the best Latin cuisine Norfolk has to offer.


Bayou Boogaloo, Town Point Park

We’re bringing a taste of Louisiana to Norfolk, literally, more than 8,000 pounds of Cajun crawfish will be at your fingertips! Always wanted to visit Cajun country or just simply miss good ole Louisiana cooking? Then come eat your way through Town Point Park at the Bayou Boogaloo. From po’ boys to alligator sausages and all the beignets in between this foodie festival will be sure to satisfy your Cajun craves. Give your taste buds a quick break and take a ride on the 19th-century replica of a Mississippi paddle wheeler or possibly stop by Paddy’O’s for a frosted version of New Orleans famous Hurricane cocktail. Jam out to one of the many southern performers or admire the incredible artwork presented by the Louisiana craftsmen and I’m positive you’ll feel like you’re in New Orleans!



Opera in the Park, Town Point Park
Need a relaxing getaway after your hectic Labor Day weekend? Norfolk’s got just the perfect event for you! Pack yourself a picnic maybe a bottle of wine and join us for Opera in the Park! Let the Opera be the medicine you need to help unwind from the exciting summer months. Stroll through the Artist’s Market where you can browse and purchase paintings, jewelry, hand-crafted items and more! Watch the sunset over the Elizabeth River and I promise it will be an Instagram worthy opportunity for all!


Norfolk In-Water Boat Show, Town Point Park
The Norfolk In-Water Boat Show makes its return to our great city for the first time since 2008! This event is the only major in-water boat show in the Hampton Roads region and will boast hundreds of new and used power boats, including luxury motor yachts, sport fishing vessels, personal watercraft and inflatables. All boats come from locally- and regionally-based dealers who will help make your boating dreams come true. So bring the whole family down to the Waterside District and get ready to enjoy the aquatic experience!


Commonwealth Coastal Classic, Town Point Park
Named one of Virginias Tastiest Fall Food Festivals, the Commonwealth Coastal Classic (formally known as Ribtoberfest), is a southern collaboration waterside feast of barbecue, bourbon, and beer. It showcases our local chef’s favorite southern dishes; ribs, brisket, pulled pork and more! Bring your appetite, jam out to acoustic rock and celebrate like a local!


Children’s Festival, Town Point Park

Hampton Roads’ most beloved family festival is filled with more than 100 creative and interactive activities, storytelling, hands-on workshops and educational displays, cultural experiences, arts and crafts, costumed characters and more! Parents and children alike can frolic through the many imagination stations, shows and displays that will be on site. Then visit the multiple exhibitions and activities that are sure to get the creative juices flowing.



Holiday Yule Log Bonfire & Christmas Market, TowneBank Fountain Park
The sound of holiday caroling will echo through the city streets of downtown Norfolk emitting from TowneBank Fountain Park. The Annual Yule Log Bonfire and Christmas Market transform the park into a festive winter wonderland all ages can enjoy. The Making Spirits Bright Bar is back by popular demand! Jazz up your hot chocolate with whiskey, enjoy seasonal craft beers and mulled wine, sip on specialty cocktails or partake in our selection of adult cider! Cozy up to the fire carol the night away and patiently wait for Santa to make his grand entrance via water taxi!


Written by Visit Norfolk for VisitNorfolk.
Featured image provided by Visit Norfolk

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About FunRVA

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in February 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in February 2019

There’s a lot of new music coming to Virginia in February 2019. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, celebrate the season with your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.


Over at Virginia’s many live music venues:

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting Walk the Moon (Feb. 5), Coheed and Cambria (Feb. 6), Yonder Mountain String Band (Feb. 7), Drive-By Truckers and Lucinda Williams (Feb. 9), Joe Jackson (Feb. 10), St. Paul and the Broken Bones (Feb. 13), Car Set Headrest (Feb. 18), Metric (Feb. 21), Brothers Osborne (Feb. 22), and others.

On Feb. 15, The Broadberry will be hosting Rockn’ to Lockn,’ where four Virginia bands will battle it out for a chance to play the Lockn’ Music Festival in August. The night features Audacity Brass, Landon Elliott, VILLAGES, and Free Union

The Altria Theater will have Casting Crowns on Feb. 21 and The Piano Guys on Feb. 22.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host The Fabulous Thunderbirds on Feb. 8, 5th Dimension on Feb. 14, The Earls of Leicester on Feb. 28, and more.

In Charlottesville, Luke Combs will be performing at the John Paul Jones Arena on Feb. 23.

The Jefferson Theater will hosts artists like Mandolin Orange (Feb. 4), Dawes (Feb. 8), The Steel Wheels (Feb. 16), Houndmouth (Feb. 22), Anderson East (Feb. 26) and more.The Norva

The NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Young the Giant (Feb. 2), Coheed and Cambria (Feb. 5), Walk the Moon (Feb. 6), Sevendust (Feb. 9), Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness (Feb. 10), Vince Staples (Feb. 18), and many others.

The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount will host many acts including Keller Williams on Feb. 21, Aaron Lewis on Feb. 23 and 24, and more.

The Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg will be hosting Marsha Ambrosius on Feb. 16 and Keller Williams on Feb. 23 among other shows.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include The Dustbowl Revival & Hot Club of Cowtown (Feb. 2), Cherish the Ladies (Feb. 19-20), and more.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will host Kasey Chambers (Feb. 5), Drew & Ellie Holcomb (Feb. 6), Musiq Soulchild (Feb. 7), Arlo Guthrie (Feb. 8-9), Three Dog Night (Feb. 17), Matt Nathanson (Feb. 19), 10,000 Maniacs (Feb. 22), WAR (Feb. 27-28), 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 hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

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

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18 Relaxing Wellness Retreats and Getaways in Virginia

18 Relaxing Wellness Retreats and Getaways in Virginia

Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed with work, looking for a little extra pampering, or planning a relaxing girl’s getaway, Virginia’s wellness retreats are the perfect place for a reinvigorating, stress-free vacation. Unwind at a few of these 18 wellness retreats, natural spas, and health-centric festivals to keep yourself feeling calm and collected throughout the year.


Salamander Spa—MiddleburgSalamander Resort & Spa


A luxury hotel in the pristine small town of Middleburg, Salamander Resort & Spa offers the new Spa Destination Package, a package with two 50-minute spa treatments per night in addition to the resort’s exclusive activities, classes, and fitness facilities. The spa takes a holistic approach to wellness, integrating specialized treatments and targeted therapies into their spa menu. They also have seasonal treatments; to get over your winter blues, book the Winter Warming package, an 80-minute essential oil package that restores both body and mind with a detoxifying facial mask, hot stone massage, and scalp treatment.

Book Wellness Treatments at the Salamander Spa


The Williamsburg Salt Spa—Williamsburgwilliamsburg salt spa wellness retreat and massage

As the first salt spa on the East Coast, the Williamsburg Salt Spa has introduced an entirely new wellness treatment to Virginians. Built using 15 tons of therapeutic Polish and Himalayan salts, the salt cave improves your health and overall mood as you breathe in the mineral-rich air. Specifically, these salt caves help with sinus issues that arise due to allergies or during the dreaded cold and flu season. During your visit, you’ll spend 45 minutes relaxing in comfortable reclining chairs as soothing sounds echo off the salt walls. In addition to the restorative salt cave, The Williamsburg Salt Spa offers saltwater flotation tanks for a peaceful floating experience, an infrared sauna, and three different types of massage, including their signature Hot Salt Rock massage.

Book Wellness Services at The Williamsburg Salt Spa


Anahata Education Center—Floydanahata education center wellness retreat floyd

Anahata Education Center tailors their retreats to suit the needs of each guest, blending massage, Reiki, relationship counseling, heart alignment sessions, personal guidance, and other treatments to create a comprehensive wellness plan. Guests can bring and prepare their own meals or choose to have staff at the education center prepare health-conscious dishes that cater to personal preferences, including organic vegan, raw juice blends, and even precise dietary requests like omni meals.

Book Services at Anahata Education Center


The Salt Foot Sanctuary—Roanoke

The Salt Foot Sanctuary, located in the historic Hotel Roanoke, emphasizes the use of ancient minerals and herbs in their sumptuous foot soaks. Rest your weary feet in their locally made copper tubs, filled with essential oils, salts, and dried herbs that moisturize and detoxify skin, and enjoy a tasty beverage during the 45-minute pampering treatments. Book a targeted body massage during your foot treatment for even more relaxation, or reserve a full body or couples massage, which are provided in the privacy of your hotel room. The sanctuary plans to expand after opening, adding yoga and meditation classes to the existing wellness treatments.

Book a Treatment at the Salt Foot Sanctuary


The Retreat at Veritas—Aftonthe retreat at veritas farmhouse wellness center

Stay at the The Retreat at Veritas for a one day, four day, or weeklong wellness immersion experience that teaches healthy living practices. The program leans heavily on wellness practices like yoga and hiking, but there are a variety of other healthy activities like horseback riding, cooking classes, and rejuvenating spa services. The Retreat at Veritas believes that while the typical health and wellness treatments can help restore guests to a more tranquil state, the ultimate spiritual reset includes food, wine, and laid-back social interactions with staff and other guests.

Book a Wellness Package at The Retreat at Veritas


Yogaville—Buckinghamyogaville wellness retreat buckingham

Set against the backdrop of the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, Yogaville is a unique community focused on fostering spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health. The retreat has a mix of residential programs that allow you to immerse yourself into a yoga-centric lifestyle and personal retreats that range from three to ten days. Learn about the curative practices of yoga in the serene landscapes of the retreat, from the lush green lawns to the wooded hiking trails that encourage contemplative reflection.

Find Out More About Yogaville Retreats


Floyd Yoga Jam—Floydfloyd yoga jam

A four day annual festival in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Floyd Yoga Jam is part music festival and part yoga retreat, occurring this year from August 29-September 1, 2019. Surrounded by the rolling mountain landscape, the festival encourages art, community, and getting back to nature. Dozens of wellness-related artisans, food vendors, and healers attend, providing a restorative natural environment for attendees.

Get Tickets to the Floyd Yoga Jam


Eupepsia Wellness Center—Bland

Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains on the edge of the Jefferson National Forest, the Eupepsia Wellness Center provides essential health and wellness treatments in a luxurious setting. The retreat sits on a secluded 256-acre farm and contains shaded woodlands, rolling hills, and serene pastures. Book your stay in one of the 26 spacious rooms and then work with the staff on a personalized wellness treatments designed with your needs in mind. These unique plans are designed around whatever hurdles you are facing in your life, using wellness themes like rejuvenation, de-stressing, detox, weight loss, fitness, and simple relaxation. Their upscale facilities include a Himalayan Salt Chalet, Slimming Hydro Bikes, and a Sense Deprivation Flotation Room. The center prepares all meals on the premises, serving vegan and vegetarian farm-to-table dishes that contribute to your health-focused journey. Packages range from a weekend “taster” experience to a week or two-week retreat for weight loss and other wellness goals.

Book a Wellness Retreat at Eupepsia


Earthwalk Retreat—Fredericksburgearthwalk retreat and wellness center

Earthwalk Retreat, a spiritual retreat that sits along a remote portion of the Rappahannock River, provides personalized wellness workshops and classes in a pristine natural sanctuary. With a focus on connecting visitors to nature, the retreat has a range of outdoor therapy attractions, including a meditation path, a classical garden labyrinth, a sweat lodge, and an outdoor hot tub, and offers various meditation and yoga classes.

Get More Information About Nature Retreats at Earthwalk Retreat


Hop in the Spa—Roanoke

Only the second beer spa in America, Hop in the Spa uses hops and beer products in their signature wellness treatments. Try one of their hop soaks, a brew-based bath experience in a solid cedar tub that combines a blend of hops, herbs, and minerals for a relaxing and replenishing soak. As you enjoy the calming hop-infused waters, you’ll be treated to Deschutes Brewery beers, Bavarian pretzels, and a soothing musical selection. This unique wellness retreat is perfect for those craft beer lovers looking for a rejuvenating experience.

Book Wellness Treatments at Hop in the Spa


The Inn at Vaucluse Spring—Stephens CityThe Inn at Vaucluse Spring

Guests experience a combination of mindfulness and wellness treatments when they book a mindfulness program at The Inn at Vaucluse, a package aimed at teaching visitors to pay attention to what’s happening in the moment. The practice reduces stress, alieves tension, and resets your mental focus, allowing you to tap into your inner wisdom and strength for a more balanced life. Prior to opening this beautiful Virginia retreat, the owner of The Inn at Vaucluse was a practicing physician, specializing in mindfulness treatments. She uses this background to lead wellness-focused classes like the Introduction to Mindfulness, Mindful Mornings, Mindfulness for Couples, and Mindfulness Mini Retreats, but can also customized a program suited to your exact needs and areas of focus.

Book a Mindfulness Retreat at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring



More Wellness Retreats throughout Virginia:

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6 Romantic Getaways in Charlottesville & Albemarle County!

6 Romantic Getaways in Charlottesville & Albemarle County!

February is here and that means one thing – love is in the air! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, but your romantic celebrations don’t have to be limited to just this one single day. Here in the Charlottesville area, we celebrate love all year long! But since February is an especially love-centric month, we will focus on six hotels, inns, and B&Bs that are sure to provide you and your special someone with a romantic getaway you’ll remember for a lifetime!


—Keswick Hall—Keswick Hall

Located about 10-15 minutes east of Downtown Charlottesville, Keswick Hall is situated in a breathtaking setting, surrounded by rolling hills and a gorgeous golf course. Also home to Fossett’s, an award-winning restaurant, your taste buds are sure to be delighted by the chef’s masterful culinary creations. Experience the ultimate in relaxation at the Keswick Club Spa, which offers massages, facials, and more. Be sure to check out Keswick Hall’s special packages for even more romantic and luxurious vacation ideas! By the end of this getaway, you’re sure to be not only relaxed, but even more in love with your sweetheart! Click here to learn more about Keswick Hall and all of its romantic offerings.


—The Boar ‘s Head Inn—

Boar's Head Inn

The Boar’s Head Inn is located a few miles west of Downtown Charlottesville and offers everything you need for a perfect romantic getaway. Featuring a spa, a golf course, and the Old Mill Room, an intimate and cozy restaurant, you’re sure to find romance at this inviting inn. There’s even a “Love is in the Air” Valentine’s Day package available through February 10, which includes accommodations for one night, a Valentine’s dinner for 2 in the Old Mill Room, dinner gratuities, and sparkling wine with strawberries! To learn more about the Boar’s Head Inn and its plethora of amenities, click here!


—The Clifton Inn—Clifton Inn

The Clifton Inn is a quaint getaway east of Downtown Charlottesville and offers guests a lovely and charming escape from everyday life! The Clifton Inn has 17 luxurious, individually appointed rooms and suites, cozy fireplaces, and other amenities that are sure to add some extra spark to your romantic retreat! The Clifton Inn is also featuring a romantic Paris-inspired Valentine’s Day dinner, offered on several dates in February. This five-course meal starts with a champagne toast and then proceeds to offer decadent dishes that include lobster, duck breast, and even bittersweet chocolate with cherries! For more information about all of the lovely happenings at the Clifton Inn, click here!


—Albemarle Estate—Virginia Winery

This elegant and upscale bed & breakfast gives head-over-heels couples a romantic getaway like no other on this Valentine’s Day! Located adjacent to Trump Winery, Albemarle Estate features impeccably decorated rooms, fine amenities, and a Valentine’s Day package called “Vine and Dine” which is perfect for any couple looking for a little extra romance. The “Vine and Dine” package includes a welcome reception with an award-winning sparkling wine, a four-course dinner that is expertly paired with dazzling wines, a one-night stay at the estate, and a scrumptious breakfast the following morning. For more information about Albemarle Estate and its many romantic offerings, click here!


—Graduate Charlottesville—Heirloom Restaurant Graduate Hotel Charlottesville

Located in the heart of Charlottesville, just a few steps away from the University of Virginia is another romantic getaway idea for those who want to stay closer to the city. The Graduate Charlottesville is offering up a Valentine’s Day package featuring your choice of flower bouquet PLUS some sweet treats from the Heirloom Restaurant & Rooftop Bar – and this package is good through the entire month of February! You’re sure to fall in love again while enjoying the views from the rooftop bar area, and since this outdoor space is heated, you can still snuggle up and enjoy it, even if the weather is on the colder side! For more information about the Graduate Charlottesville, click here!


—The Inn at Court Square—Charlottesville Downtown Mall

The Inn at Court Square sits just steps from the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall and its quaint and charming atmosphere is sure to have you and your valentine feeling all warm & fuzzy in no time at all! Located in historic Court Square, this inn is comprised of ten rooms, each impeccably decorated and guaranteed to provide a truly unforgettable and romantic getaway. Be sure to stop by the dining room for a Southern-influenced breakfast that will fill your appetite and warm your heart. More information about the Inn at Court Square can be found here!


While this list features 6 of the most romantic hotels, inns, and B&Bs in the Charlottesville area, there are plenty of others from which to choose. When you’re planning a romantic getaway to Charlottesville & Albemarle County this month (or ANY month), be sure to visit our website www.visitcharlottesville.org for great ideas on lodging & accommodations, attractions, and so much more. Until then, we look forward to welcoming you to the Charlottesville area soon for a trip you and your special someone are sure to remember forever!


Written by Brantley Ussery for Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

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Things to Do INSIDE in Prince William, VA

Things to Do INSIDE in Prince William, VA

Don’t let bad weather “rain on your parade” – there are plenty of fun activities to enjoy inside. Prince William is full of indoor activities ranging from indoor sports & games facilities, top-notch museums, movie and planetarium complexes, and a variety of craft beverage locations to enjoy. So whether you’re taking cover from the rain, staying out of the snow, or trying to beat the summer heat – we’ve got you covered with our list of indoor attractions.



On a cold or rainy day, it is easy to want to stay in and curl up by the fireplace. But for those looking for an adrenaline boost, here are some ways to get active on your rainy day!

Satisfy Your Need for Speed


Located inside Manassas Mall, the Autobahn Indoor Speedway provides a premier indoor go-kart racing experience to hundreds of thousands of racers every year. From professional racers to novices out to try something new, we pride ourselves on offering a fast-paced thrill that is approachable for all.

Aim for 300


Uptown Alley is an exciting new entertainment and restaurant concept located in Manassas Mall. With lots to do, drink and eat, Uptown Alley is the perfect place for your unique social gathering, special event, corporate meeting or team-building excursion! Live music, restaurant and bar, billiards, bowling, arcade and laser tag!

Test Your Marksmanship


Test out your marksmanship at Elite Shooting Sports‘ 42 shooting lanes ranging from 25, 50 and 100 yards in distance.

Improve Your Handicap


Elite Golf is an indoor golf facility featuring Tru Golf Simulators which provide simulations of over 85 world-renowned golf courses and 36 modes of play.

Experience Zen

Warm up with Bikram Hot Yoga or find your zen with mindful meditation. Prince William’s Fitness and Wellness locations offer classes and levels for everyone.


Parents, grandparents, teens and kids are sure to enjoy finding their inner child at these Prince William attractions!

Soar Like an Aerialist


Skyzone is an awesome place for all ages and athletic abilities. From Toddler Times to Adult Fitness Classes, this indoor trampoline park is a great place to spend the day.

Tag Your Opponents


Hazy mazes, fun obstacles and bright laser beams – amounts to a fun time for all involved. LaserQuest, Team Tactics and JNJ Battlequest all provide lively laser tag entertainment in Prince William County.

Roll On Over


Lace up your skates and let the good times roll at Skate N Fun Zone in Manassas.

Slide On Down


Billy Beez is the ultimate indoor play park for kids and kids-at-heart! Their 20,000 square-foot play parks located in Manassas Mall offer a variety of features and activities, from slides to sports courts, tunnels to towers, ball blasters to bouncy trampolines. Or head on over to the Beehive in Woodbridge to enjoy moon bounces, bumper cars and activity centers.


Explore the nation’s past. Prince William features unique and world-class museums you won’t find anywhere else.

Experience US Marine Corps History


The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a state-of-the-art facility honors, preserves and narrates America’s story through the eyes of U.S. Marines. Experience the intensity of boot camp, test your rifle firing skills and bravely land on Iwo-Jima on D-Day in 1945 as part of the museum’s interactive exhibits. Situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, the museum is open daily and admission is free.

Discover Small Town History


The Haymarket Museum chronicles the story of a small, 19th-century town and its surrounding agricultural community. Haymarket was established in 1799 and was well known for the Red House Tavern, built along the historic Old Carolina Road, as well as the Jockey Club, an organization that sponsored horse races at the town’s track. In 1862 the town was almost completely destroyed by a Union patrol that, sent to uncover a suspected sniper, wound up setting fire to most of the homes. Decimated by the destruction of the Civil War, the town nonetheless rebuilt and many of the buildings from the reconstruction period survive, as do the only two buildings that survived the 1862 fire. The Haymarket Museum is located in the old Town Hall, originally built in 1883 as the town’s combined schoolhouse and town hall.

Understand Occoquan’s History


The Mill House Museum in the historic waterfront Town of Occoquan shares the story of the town’s unique history. Once used as a miller’s office, the museum is all that remains of the nation’s first automated grist mill. From Occoquan’s settlement by the Dogue Indians, its development as an 18th-century mill town and its Colonial and Civil War history – can all be found presented through exhibits, presentations, artifacts and memorabilia at the Mill House Museum. Open daily 11 am – 4 pm. Admission is free.

Uncover Colonial History


Travel through time at the Weems Botts Museum. as they tour the period rooms decorated in 18th, 19th, and 20th century styles while learning about how the property was used as a vestry by the colonial church, as a book depot by Parson Weems (George Washington’s first biographer and author of the cherry tree story), as a law office by Benjamin Botts (Aaron Burr’s youngest defense attorney during his 1807 treason trial) and as a home for nearly a century by the Merchant Family. Children and adults love the hands-on colonial store where visitors can touch and explore everyday items from the colonial time period! Seasonal schedules are in place so be sure to call ahead for open hours.


Take a break from the chaos – relax and unwind in DC’s Countryside.

Catch a Movie


Grab some popcorn and check out the latest blockbusters at the Alamo Drafthouse & Cinema, AMC Potomac Mills, Regal Manassas Stadium 14 & IMAX or Regal Virginia Gateway Stadium & RPX.

Escape Boredom


Choose from three cleverly-designed themed room while testing your puzzle solving skills at EscapeRoom Woodbridge! Discover secret combinations and decode ciphers to see if you have what it takes to complete your mission in 60 minutes or less.

Get Lost in a Book


Yes, you can get lost in a book and so much more at McKay Used Books. They have DVDs, audiobooks, video games, vinyl, cassettes, CDs and books in all types of genres to peruse at your leisure.

Discover the Stars


The Irene V. Hylton Planetarium in Woodbridge features a variety of laser and full-dome shows on their thirty-foot curved dome. Travel through the cosmos and observe the stars from the comfort of a cushioned seat or take in a laser show with surround-sound music.

Release Your Inner Artist


Spark your creative energy and unleash your inner artist. Whether it’s painting, drawing, pottery, mosaics or wood-working, Prince William, VA has a variety of classes and levels for everyone. Embrace your creativity at AR Workshop, Cheers Art Studio, Mix Colors Art Studio, Muse Paint Bar (Gainesville or Woodbridge) and Paint Your Heart Out.


Tempt your tastebuds along our Steins, Vines & Moonshine Trail.


Enjoy the flavors of DC’s Countryside along our Steins, Vines & Moonshine Trail. Featuring 20 craft breweries, wineries, distilleries and tasting rooms there is plenty to savor in Prince William County.


Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County.
Featured image provided by Prince William County.

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8 Exciting Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This February

8 Exciting Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This February


Looking for exciting things to do in Virginia this February? Check out these fun February events and festivals happening throughout the Commonwealth to stave off your winter blues!



When: Friday, February 8, 6:30pm-9:00pmTaubman Museum of Art

Part of the Tastings at the Taubman series, Bourbon + Bacon is a 21 and up event that combines two of our favorite things in a delicious winter event. Enjoy generous pours from noted distillers and tapas-style savory pork dishes prepared by local chefs as you browse the Taubman Museum’s stunning art collections, which remain open for the duration of the event. In addition to fantastic art, food, and bourbon beverages, the event includes live music performances and an educational talk by John Boyer, a senior instructor at Virginia Tech, about the whiskey-making traditions that shaped the spirit.



When: Friday, February 1 – Sunday, February 3, 2019

Since 1993, the Chocolate Lovers Festival has brought people from all over the country to Fairfax to share their true love of chocolate. The three-day festival has every type of chocolate imaginable, from cocoa-based beverages like hot chocolate and chocolate beers and wines at the Liquid Chocolate event to the festival’s signature event, the Taste of Chocolate, where you’ll have the chance to try hundreds of delicious chocolate cakes, candies, brownies, fudge, and more. Continue the indulgent weekend with a Chocolate Baking Challenge, cake walk, silent auction, and open houses held at some of Fairfax’s most historic buildings.



When: Friday, February 1 – Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Annual Winter Honey Festival is a ten-day community celebration in Virginia’s Heart of Appalachia, featuring an array of outdoor events and all things honey. During the weekdays, the festival schedule is filled with live music, wilderness walks, elk viewings, and other nature-based activities. You can also attend beekeeping classes to learn about how to maintain thriving hives and the importance of these small insects to our ecosystem. The main event occurs on Saturday, February 9th, with vendors selling bee-themed wares, craft beer, local food, wine, jewelry, art, and of course, plenty of fresh honey. End the festival on Sunday with a guided birding trip to scenic Burkes Garden.



When: Friday, February 8, 2019

The 14th annual Bacchus Wine & Food Festival at the Virginia Living Museum pays tribute to Bacchus, the God of Nature, Vine, and Wine, and supports the museum’s science education programs. Sample fine wines, small bites from local restaurants, and varied music, entertainment, and games during this tasty festival. Get the full experience when you sign up for the VIP Divine Reception, an hour-long event with exclusive samplings and priority access to all the featured restaurants. You’ll also receive full glasses of the highest rated wines (90 points or more) rather than just a tasting.



When: Monday, February 18 and Friday, February 22, 2019George Washington Birthday Parade, 2011

Pay tribute to the nation’s first president at George Washington’s Birthday Celebration, held at his Virginia estate, Mount Vernon. During the two-day event, admission to Mount Vernon is free and includes all sorts of signature events to mark the occasion, like Presidential tributes from honored guests, a wreathlaying at Washington’s tomb, and character performances from George Washington and other notable colonial figures. On Monday, Continental soldiers will conduct a marching drill, fire guns, and charge at their enemy as they give a demonstration of Washington’s impressive military force. Friday’s celebrations begin with a patriotic concert and a ceremony to honor new American citizens.



When: Saturday, February 23, 2019

Embrace the cold at Shiver in the River, an annual winter event that supports Keep Virginia Beautiful. The day starts with a cleanup effort along the banks of the James River, ensuring that this Richmond landmark will stay beautiful for the generations to come. Next, get your blood pumping during the festival’s 5K race. You don’t have to be an experienced runner to participate in this part of the event; it’s open to people of all ages and fitness levels, so you can walk or run at your own pace. Cool off after the race with the signature event, a chilly dip in the James River at Historic Tredegar. The annual festival wraps up with a Winter Fest celebration that features live music, local food, and craft beverages. And don’t worry about the cold; Shiver in the River provides heated tents to warm you up after the icy river plunge.



When: Saturday, February 23, 2019

Support a great cause when you attend the biggest party on the New River this winter, the New River Polar Plunge Fest. Over 200 people sign up for the annual event, which raises funds for the Special Olympics, and take the plunge in the frigid New River. Make your own crazy costume for the freezing swim and compete with others for prizes in a costume contest, then warm up with free hot chocolate and heated changing tents while you enjoy live music and great food and drinks from Virginia vendors.



When: Tuesday, February 26 – Sunday, March 3, 2019virginia wine expo event richmond

A national, six-day wine and food event, the Virginia Wine Expo celebrates the outstanding products of some of Virginia’s best wineries, as well as wines hailing from Chile, Southern California, the Central Coast, and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Not a wine fan? The expo also serves up Virginia spirits, ciders, and premium whiskey from around the world. Pair your wines and spirits with small bites of local Virginia flavors, as well as ethnic, southern, and New American Cuisine from some of Richmond’s top chefs. With a total of 34 curated special events, like A Noodle & Dumpling Affair, Rooted in Richmond Sparkling Brunch, Finding the Perfect Cider Pairing, and SMOKED!, the Virginia Wine Expo is a must for food and drink lovers.



Explore more events happening in February around Virginia to fill your calendar with special events that the entire family will love!


The post 8 Exciting Events & Festivals Happening in Virginia This February appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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The 8 Most Instagram-Worthy Pies From Virginia Bakeries

The 8 Most Instagram-Worthy Pies From Virginia Bakeries


Whether you’re celebrating National Pie Day (January 23), National Pi Day (March 14), or are simply in a pie state of mind, these eight Virginia bakeries offer some of the most mouthwatering, Instagram-worthy sweet slices.


The Pie Chest—Charlottesville

A cheerful Virginia bakery reminiscent of your grandmother’s kitchen, The Pie Chest serves a fresh selection of made-from-scratch pies daily.


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Happy Labor Day! We’re open 10:00 – 4:00, come see us.

A post shared by The Pie Chest (@thepiechest) on Sep 4, 2017 at 5:08am PDT



Woodruff’s Café & Pie Shop has been baking their homemade pies to the Monroe community for over 60 years. If you try only one slice of their delicious pie, go with their famous Apple Pie, which was featured by Southern Living magazine.


Mom’s Apple Pie—Leesburg & Occoquan

Baking preservative-free pies using fresh fruits grown at nearby Lost Corner Farm, Mom’s Apple Pie offers homemade slices like Chocolate Pecan Pie, Bourbon Walnut Pie, and of course, an entire array of apple pies.


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🍓fresh strawberry pie time 🍓

A post shared by Moms Apple Pie Co (@momsapplepies) on May 5, 2017 at 3:20pm PDT


Livin’ the Pie Life—Arlington

Owned by two Arlington moms that sold their pies at local farmer’s markets before opening a brick and mortar shop, Livin’ The Pie Life crafts sweet and savory pies, as well as other fresh-baked goods and desserts. Their Brown Butter Coconut Pie made the Washingtonian’s “Best Of” list in 2016 and 2017.


Blackbird Bakery—Bristol

Open 24 hours a day Monday-Saturday, Blackbird Bakery has garnered a reputation as one of the top bakeries in all of Southwest Virginia. While their pies are unquestionably yummy, they also have homemade donuts, pastries, cupcakes, and other baked treats from which to choose.


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Breakfast at one of the best places on earth! I’d drive to Bristol just to go here!

A post shared by Chris Shalter (@chris.shalter) on Apr 9, 2018 at 5:43am PDT


Red Truck Bakery—Marshall & Warrenton

While Red Truck Bakery began in a rural farmhouse building about an hour west of Washington, D.C., the bakery has quickly grown in reputation, earning accolades from the New York Times, Southern Living, the Washingtonian, and even former President Barack Obama, who fell in love with the bakery’s Pecan Pie. They have expanded to a second location in Warrenton, and even sell a selection of their pies, cakes, and baked goodies online, shipping to customers all over the United States.


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Tommy Hilfiger’s 1954 Ford farm truck sits outside of the charming Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton.

A post shared by Ryan Thompson (@dslryan) on Oct 23, 2017 at 1:11pm PDT


Proper Pie Co.—Richmond         

Started by a New Zealand couple in the heart of Richmond’s Historic Church Hill neighborhood, Proper Pie Co. is known for both their sweet and savory pies. Don’t miss sampling their Pumpkin & Salted Caramel Pie and the Coconut Cream Pie, which were favorites of professional chef and foodie Alton Brown.


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I worked out twice this month. I deserve this 🏃🏽

A post shared by kevin n (@kevin.ti.nguyen) on Sep 27, 2017 at 1:54pm PDT


What sweet slice spots in the Commonwealth do you visit for a sugar fix? Share your top Virginia pie destinations with us in the comments below!





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The 10 Most Instagram-Worthy Pizzas in Virginia

The 10 Most Instagram-Worthy Pizzas in Virginia

We’ve covered the most photogenic sweet slices of pie from Virginia bakeries, but there is another kind of slice we want to look at, and that’s the savory goodness of pizza, found at these ten Instagram-worthy pizza joints.



Located inside Farmville’s Historic Hotel Weyanoke, Effingham’s Restaurant specializes in artisan wood-fired pizzas, highlighting the freshest seasonal ingredients from local farms.


Crozet Pizza—Crozet

Crozet Pizza has been a community staple since 1977, using their secret family dough and sauce recipes to craft hand-tossed pizzas that are topped with locally sourced cheeses, meats, and produce.



While another PBR may spring to mind, this restaurant’s name is actually short for “Pizza & Beer of Richmond”, a popular combo for Virginia’s capital city residents. Try one of their creative brick oven craft pizzas, like the Hipster, piled high with roasted Brussel sprouts, bacon, cauliflower, roasted garlic, ricotta, caramelized onions, Fresno peppers, spicy honey, and mozzarella, or the Southern Belle, topped with pimento cheese, bacon, arugula, fried green tomatoes, and spicy honey. Pair your tasty pizza with one of their 48 draft brews, many of them local Virginia craft beers.


Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie—North Garden

Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie, shortened to Dr. Ho’s by diehard fans, believes in taking pride in their pizza, crafting everything from scratch. They start the process with a homemade dough, hand-tossing into a base crust before topping with local, fresh ingredients from farms in the region.


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Today at Dr. Ho’s… we made pizza. 🍕🍕🍕

A post shared by Dr. Ho’s Humble Pie (@dr.hoshumblepie) on Jan 13, 2018 at 12:13pm PST


Waterstone Pizza—Lynchburg

Serving up fire-roasted gourmet pies, Waterstone Pizza is located in downtown Lynchburg’s Historic Craddock Terry Hotel. Ranging from Classic Cheese to artisan blends like the Hot Roni (red sauce, double pepperoni, jalapenos, chili flakes, cheddar, and mozzarella), they have over a dozen crisp-crusted pizzas on the regular menu, with a Build Your Own option adding tons of additional variations.


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Yes. 😍 #pizza #happiness #waterstone #downtownlynchburg

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Dogtown Roadhouse—Floyd

One of Southwest Virginia’s most popular pizza places, Dogtown Roadhouse serves hand-tossed, wood-fired pizzas in the charming small town of Floyd. For a taste of local cuisine, try the Appalachian pizza, made with their unique Apple Butter sauce and topped with sausage, caramelized onions, aged white cheddar, and goat cheese.

The Bakehouse at Chelsea—Norfolk

The Bakehouse at Chelsea creates delicious wood-fired pizzas in one of their two custom built ovens. We recommend the Salami Arugula Pizza, topped with a blend of fontina and mozzarella cheeses, thinly sliced naturally cured salami, and fresh arugula, or stick with a classic and try the Pepperoni, shown in the photo below.


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Ghents got the goods

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Pupatella—Richmond & Arlington

Pupatella began in Arlington, but has since grown to include locations in Richmond and Glen Allen, with more Northern Virginia locations in the works. Founded by a native of Naples, Italy, the restaurant has been certified by the Verace Pizza Association, which recognizes authentic Neapolitan pizza.



Located near Charlottesville’s Historic Downtown Mall, Lampo is an authentic Neapolitan pizza restaurant, serving wood-fired pies with crisp, handmade crusts and high-quality toppings sourced from small-batch producers and local farmers.


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I love you, Lampo.

A post shared by Kym (@kymosaurusrex) on Jul 16, 2018 at 3:39pm PDT


Bella Luna—Harrisonburg

Bella Luna is Harrisonburg’s first farm-to-table pizza restaurant, cooking up Neapolitan-style, thin crust pizzas in their traditional wood-fired oven. Their Old-World approach reflects the style of pizza originally made over 200 years ago in Naples, Italy, and results in delicious, crispy pizza with flavorful toppings.



Got more suggestions for pizza places to try in Virginia? Tell us where to get the best slices in the comments below!

The post The 10 Most Instagram-Worthy Pizzas in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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The Ultimate Girlfriend’s Getaway: 21+ Things to Do in Shenandoah County

The Ultimate Girlfriend’s Getaway: 21+ Things to Do in Shenandoah County

Sometimes, you just want to enjoy some quality time with the girls. Leave responsibilities at home, let loose and have some genuine fun. However you most want to spend time with your gal pals, from challenging outdoor adventures to relaxing spas, tasty treats to incredible shopping opportunities, immersive art experiences and more, Shenandoah County has everything you need for a perfect getaway.

Shenandoah County is nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains, Allegheny Mountains, and Appalachian Mountains at the north end of the Shenandoah Valley. National Forests cover 26 percent of the county and the North Fork of the Shenandoah River meanders through with seven bends. Six historic towns are strung along U.S. Route 11, each with its own unique treasures.

Whether you and your friends are planning a bachelorette party, reunion, or simply looking for an excuse to escape routine, Shenandoah County invites you to unwind, play, and catch up. Here are some great ways to have fun.



Dazzling artistry can be found in abundance in Shenandoah County. Stroll Downtown Strasburg to see eight eye-popping murals by world-renowned muralists. The large-scale works use a stunning variety of colors, subjects, and artistic styles and are part of the Staufferstadt Mural Project. Tour the Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art’s biennial exhibit, a thought-provoking show curated by Rupert Ravens in three different locations in Strasburg. A wide range of works are on display, from paintings to sculptures to videos, including some interactive pieces. Explore the Shenandoah County Artisan Trail, a curated collection of over 75 artists’ studios, agri-artisan farms, art-related venues, restaurants, and points of interest that are locally owned and offer some authentic, artisan handcrafted ties to the area’s rural culture.



When traveling with your besties, take time to snap a memory or two. Strasburg has eight great backdrops with its murals. In Woodstock, pose with the LOVEwork installation knowing each letter has local significance: L is the town’s iconic Swiss Guard; O is a hot air balloon; the V vines reflect Tree City USA; and E is the famed Woodstock Tower. In Mount Jackson, the historic Meems Bottom Covered Bridge is a photogenic crossing over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River, originally built 1892-1893. If posting your selfies on social media, tag #loveva, #discoverwoodstockva, #woodstockartstock, and/or #visitshencova.



Play duckpin bowling at Shenandoah Bowling Lanes, Virginia’s oldest bowling alley. Nostalgic charm hovers over this six-lane, 1940s-era alley where pins are placed by antique mechanics, balls roll on wooden lanes and tracks, and scores are still tallied without computers. On the third Thursday of every month, bring your team to Trivia Night at Swover Creek Farms and Kitchen & Farm Brewery, which is located on a farm in Edinburg that’s been in continuous production by the same family for over 100 years. Test your knowledge in four categories in a relaxed, friendly competition over craft beer and artisan pizza.



Whether you plan to stick to your diet or splurge, we’ve got you covered. From Southern to ethnic, steaks to vegan, upscale coffees to sweet treats, Shenandoah County restaurants serve a wide range of fare to satisfy cravings. Farm-to-table is a way of life here, so expect to see local products on menus at new eateries like Chophouse as well as established favorites like Woodstock Café. Don’t miss Route 11 Potato Chips, a local institution that’s been proving not all chips are equal for more than 20 years. Small-batch quality shines through each flavorful crunch, from the flagship Lightly Salted to the fiery Mama Zuma’s Revenge to the tongue-tingling Appalachian Salt & Cracked Pepper. Sip your way along the Shenandoah Spirits Trail, a tasty collection of more than 40 breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries.



Honor the highs and lows of friendship with two unique experiences. For an eagle’s-eye view of Shenandoah County, climb Woodstock Tower in the George Washington National Forest. From that vantage point overlooking Woodstock you can see the seven bends in the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Don’t forget your camera! (If you snap a selfie, remember safety first!) Then venture underground at Shenandoah Caverns, the only caverns with elevator service in the state of Virginia. A steady 56 degrees year-round, these spectacular caverns are filled with formations including stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, flowstones, straws, columns and more. The hour-long guided tour covers one mile on crushed gravel paths and passes through 17 “rooms”, where lighting artfully illuminates key features.



Downtown Woodstock , the fourth oldest town in Virginia, boasts an eclectic mix of art galleries featuring local artists such as 7East and Cary’s Studio, one-of-a-kind boutiques, and antique shops like Three French Hens (art and antiques), Spring Hollow Antiques (18th, 19th, and early 20th century furniture and accessories) and Nate & Main (home, art and garden goodies). Downtown Strasburg has an impressive cluster of antique, retro and vintage shops within easy walking distance of one another, including Strasburg Emporium (collectibles and furniture), Vilnis Antiques (upscale American, English and Continental furnishings), and Clementine Vintage (quirky mix of old and new). Take your pick among the more than 75 stops along the Shenandoah County Artisan Trail to find treasures like ceramics at Laughing Orange Studio, woven goods at Posey Thisisit Llama Farm, paintings and drawings at Wolfgang Neudorfer’s studio and workshop, and much more.



Shenandoah County is a natural playground with 178 miles of trails and 100 miles of rivers and streams. From farmland to steep mountainsides, bendy rivers to rocky overhangs, we can challenge every sort of adventurer, from timid to daring. Want to jump out of a plane? Skydive Shenandoah specializes in first-time tandem jumps and also offers instructions for experienced daredevils. Prefer to keep your feet on the ground? Big Schloss is a popular 4.4-mile round trip trail in the Wolf Gap Recreation Area that offers amazing views and is rated a moderate challenge. Climb Mill Mountain and, once at the top, walk across a wooden bridge and scramble onto boulders for a 360-degree view of the area where Virginia and West Virginia meet. Want to split the difference? At the Bryce Resort Zip-line Adventure zoom up to 40 miles per hour as high as 85 feet above the ground traversing down ski slopes and through trees on a course connected by 11 stations. Or explore rough mountain terrain horseback riding at Fort Valley Ranch. Well-trained horses and expert guides do the hard work so you can enjoy the invigorating experience. Find more adventure ideas here.



Trust the pros at Spa 122 & Salon with your skin and muscles, no matter how sensitive and ticklish you may think you are. Products are all natural and plant based, and each esthetician and therapist customizes pressure to suit your needs and personal preferences. A wide range of services is available, including massage, facials, body treatments, nail services, waxings, and even medi-cosmetic services such as microdermabrasion, Botox, chemical peels and more. Seasonal treatments incorporate in-season scents and components, such as the fall radiance facial that includes exfoliation with pumpkin enzymes. Whatever service(s) you choose, you’ll leave feeling better than when you arrived.



From familiar national brand hotels to one-of-a-kind hideaways, Shenandoah County has overnight accommodation options to suit any budget and preference. To make the most of your time together, you and your girlfriends might share a vacation rental home like Slate Hill School House. This private retreat is located in Fort Valley, Shenandoah County’s valley within a valley amid the George Washington National Forest. Built in 1871 and used as a schoolhouse until 1939, the structure was renovated in 2013 and is now thoroughly modern (including Wi-Fi) with three bedrooms and two baths; up to seven people can sleep comfortably in the two-story retreat that also offers a formal dining room, living room/library and den. Cute décor nods to the structure’s history and the property offers singular views of Passage Creek and Massanutten Mountain. Find more lodging ideas here.


Written by Hope S. Philbrick for Shenandoah County.
Featured image provided by Shenandoah County

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The post The Ultimate Girlfriend’s Getaway: 21+ Things to Do in Shenandoah County appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Unearthing Virginia’s History at 7 Significant Historic Sites

Unearthing Virginia’s History at 7 Significant Historic Sites

The First Lady of Virginia, Pamela Northam, interviews Jon Meacham and Jefferson descendant Gayle Jessup-White to get their thoughts on Virginia’s historic sites.


Growing up in Virginia and knowing the amount of history that happened here is something I took for granted, as many do. School trips to places like Jamestown and Mount Vernon were never too far a drive, and even George Washington’s childhood home in Fredericksburg was only a stone’s throw away from my own.

Fortunately, I realized how special these places were sooner rather than later. I love the feeling of time and place that’s captured at many historic sites, and find comfort in knowing their landscape will go mostly unchanged for many years to come. But recently, significant changes have made way into some Virginia’s most prominent historic sites, changes that many believe were long-overdue.

Decades-long research and archaeology has uncovered facts and stories about the enslaved communities who once lived and worked here. These findings have led to many recreated structures and dialogue that better represent the lives of the enslaved. They have given me reason to visit again and often, but more importantly they’ve allowed the sites to tell a more comprehensive story of the past.


Notable sites telling the stories of their enslaved communities are featured below along with other new exhibits and helpful information for planning your next visit.


George Washington’s Mount VernonFairfaxMount Vernon, George Washington's Estate and Garden, overlooks the Potomac River.

Home of the first U.S. President and Father of Our Country. Mount Vernon is perched high above the Potomac River just outside of Washington D.C., where Washington lived from age 22 until his death in 1799. More than 300 slaves worked the 8,000 acres over his lifetime, and he was the only slaveholding founder to free his slaves in his will.

What’s New: Step into Washington’s shoes and make his challenging decisions through the Be Washington exhibit. Explore the personal stories of the enslaved and gain insight into Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery through the Lives Bound Together exhibit.

Know Before You Go: Ticketing and tours begin at the main entrance visitor center. Open 365 days a year, April to October from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and November to March from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. House tours begin every 15 minutes.


Thomas Jefferson’s MonticelloCharlottesvilleMonticello

An autobiographical masterpiece, designed and redesigned for more than 40 years, this mountaintop estate lets you glimpse into Jefferson’s life and many accomplishments, as well as the paradox he lived by illustrating “all men are created equal” while enslaving more than 600 people over the course of his life.

What’s New: Monticello underwent a multi-year restoration of Mulberry Row, once the industrial “main street” of the 5,000-acre agricultural enterprise. Learn more through a slavery tour and visit the Life of Sally Hemings – Jefferson’s concubine who not only bore several of his children but successfully negotiated their freedom as well.

Know Before You Go: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the first tour starting at 10:15 a.m. and the last at 4:10 p.m. Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled tour and park at the visitor center where you’ll take a short shuttle to the house. After your house tour, explore additional tours and exhibits on the grounds included in the price of admission.


Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest Lynchburg

Poplar Forest, Lynchburg

Jefferson owned several plantations, but only designed and built elaborate homes for himself at Monticello and Poplar Forrest. Poplar Forest was his personal retreat where he “came to indulge in the life of the mind and renew his personal creativity.” Explore its restoration and see how the neoclassical architecture of the octagonal house has been returned to Mr. Jefferson’s design.

What’s New: Learn about those who labored for Jefferson’s happiness through a guided enslaved community tour. Dig deeper through an Archaeology Behind-the-Scenes Tour or Barrels, Bottles and Casks Tour.

Know Before You Go: Poplar Forest’s more than 600 acres sits just outside of Lynchburg. Open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. for guided tours every hour from mid-March to December 30.


James Madison’s MontpelierOrangemontpelier travel guide cover

Learn about Madison and his critical role in drafting the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, as well as his conflict with the institution of slavery. The fourth U.S. President and Father of the Constitution did much of his research and writing at Montpelier, where his desk still sits in the library today.

What’s New: Archaeological research is returning the House and landscape to its original appearance. The Mere Distinction of Colour exhibition, located in the cellars and south yard, examines the paradox of America’s founding era, exploring slavery to connect the past to the present through the lens of the Constitution.

Know Before You Go: Located 30 miles northeast of Charlottesville, Montpelier is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with guided house tours every 30 minutes beginning at 10:00 a.m.


James Monroe’s HighlandCharlottesvilleAsh Lawn-Highland

Neighboring Monticello, Monroe was a close friend and student of Jefferson who urged him to move to the area to create a “society to our taste.” Monroe spent half of his 50 years of public service at Highland. Set on more than 500 acres, the house and gardens are nestled along a ridge with a landscape preserved much like Monroe would have known it.

What’s New: Archaeologists recently found Monroe’s Presidential Guest House built in 1818 and a new augmented reality tour brings it to life through a digital rendering.

Know Before You Go: Highland is open daily for guided tours April through October from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and November through March from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The Slavery at Highland program is offered April through October from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Colonial WilliamsburgWilliamsburgColonial Williamsburg

No place feels as alive and authentic as the streets of Virginia’s colonial capital. Step back in time with historical interpreters portraying real people who lived in 18th-century Williamsburg, such as Patrick Henry, George Washington and the young Thomas Jefferson, along with lesser known figures like Aggy, a slave fighting for her family’s freedom while entangled with her master.

What’s New:  Relive when Virginia said “yes” to American Independence through the thought-provoking play, Resolved: An American Experiment. Visit Market Square to shop the 18th-century market, dine at period taverns and enjoy happy hour in their colonial gardens.

Know Before You Go: Find free parking at the visitor’s center. Hop on a colonial carriage ride or explore by foot or shuttle bus. Check the daily event calendar and plan around your interests. The grounds and taverns are public, but an admission ticket is needed for events, performances and building entries.


Jamestown – Williamsburgjamestown

Virginia’s beginnings were established in 1607 at the first permanent English settlement in the new world. Explore the original settlement at Historic Jamestowne with onsite archaeology and exhibits telling the stories of its three cultures – European, Native American and African. Visit the adjacent Jamestown Settlement museum for more exhibits, films and recreated living history.

What’s New: Archaeology at Historic Jamestowne recently uncovered two important figures in America’s early history: the possible remains of George Yeardley, Virginia’s first governor, as well as the site occupied by Angela, the first recorded African to arrive in the new world.

A new exhibition at Jamestown Settlement, Tenacity: Women in Jamestown and Early Virginia, explores real women of Jamestown, their tenacious spirit and impact on a fledging society.

Know Before You Go: Plan to visit both Historic Jamestowne and Jamestown Settlement, adjacent to each other along the James River in Williamsburg. Both are open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


Visit Virginia.org/history to find more historic sites and discover commemorative 2019 American Evolution events and exhibits.

The post Unearthing Virginia’s History at 7 Significant Historic Sites appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Virginia Beach

Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Virginia Beach

If you followed us in 2018, the team at Virginia is for Lovers “Crushed Fridays” each month in a new destination, choosing the most entertaining activities in the area to fill 72 hours with delicious food, outdoor adventures, and plenty of award-winning craft beer, wine, and spirits. Our goal was to inspire you to take a single day off work and turn it into an affordable and approachable three-day getaway, relieving you of the stress that often comes with researching and planning a vacation. And after looking at the results for 2018, we are happy to report that it’s working!virginia beach mural in the vibe creative arts district of Virginia Beach

But while the short-term news is good, vacation days are still going unused for many Americans in the workforce. To keep you motivated in 2019, we’re wrapping up our Crush Friday series with a visit to Virginia Beach, a beachfront destination that offers nonstop fun, even in the off-season. So take a Friday off work and spend three days following our step-by-step guide to Virginia Beach, Virginia’s largest coastal city.



Stay at: Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, starting at $135 per nighthilton virginia beach oceanfront hotel

Virginia Beach has many hotels right on the beach, but few are as luxurious as the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront hotel. Located right next to Neptune’s Park, the Hilton property is convenient to many of Virginia Beach’s best attractions, and prices are incredibly affordable, especially during the off-season. The hotel contains two upscale restaurants, with indoor/outdoor seating options at both; Catch 31, serving fresh seafood, and Salacia, Virginia’s only AAA 4-Diamond Steakhouse, with menu selections like Wagyu Kobe Beef and prime filet mignon. If visiting during warmer months, head to the hotel rooftop for a drink at Sky Bar, where you can relax in the rooftop’s infinity pool as you look out onto panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Suggested Prior Reservations: Civil Libation, tours of Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, Becca at the Cavalier, and Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium


—FRIDAY—first landing state park virginia beach trail

Begin your Virginia Beach vacation at First Landing State Park, named for the first colonial settlers that stopped on these shores to wander the coastal wilderness before they continued on to the settlement of Jamestown. There are about 20 miles of walking trails (as well as Cape Henry Trail, a bicycle-friendly route) winding through the park, which is pet-friendly throughout the entire year. First Landing borders the Chesapeake Bay and includes over 200 beachfront campsites open seasonally, a handful of fully furnished cabins available year round, and opening in 2019, several brand new yurts on the waterfront. If you’re planning a weekend visit during the peak months of summer and looking for lodging options, consider renting a campsite along the park’s beach for an unforgettable experience.

Get a daily parking pass at one of the three entrances to First Landing ($5 during the week and $7 during the weekends for in-state residents, $2 more for out-of-state) and head out on the trails. We recommend the Bald Cypress Trail, a 1.5-mile loop through the hauntingly beautiful cypress swamps, and if you want to extend your hike (or cycle along the trails), connect to the Cape Henry Trail, which runs six miles past coastal forests, cypress swamps, and salt marshes.vibe creative district mural in Virginia Beach

Finish the hike and head over to the ViBe Creative District, Virginia Beach’s colorful hub for art and culture. Participating businesses in the area allow local artists to create murals on their building exteriors, and a 300-foot wall off 18th street includes 52 murals (and counting) from numerous artists in the region.prosperity kitchen and coffee shop Virginia Beach

Stroll through the neighborhood to take in the art and stop in to Prosperity Kitchen & Pantry for a quick cup of coffee. The community coffee shop and bakery is owned by the same people that own Commune, your upcoming lunch location. After serving baked goods out of the restaurant for several years, they outgrew the space and decided to move the bakery just across the street. In addition to coffee, you’ll find an array of mouthwatering baked treats, from cookies and muffins to freshly made cinnamon rolls dripping with homemade icing. Grab a few of these goodies to go and save them for a treat later in the day.north end bag company vibe creative district virginia beach

Stop into a few of the shops in the ViBe District, such as North End Bag Company, a small in-house production company that makes leather and canvas bags, purses, and accessories mere feet from where you browse. Be sure to say hello to Otis, the shop’s resident French bulldog, who will likely greet you with a slobbery kiss and a few tail wags.

Just next door to North End Bag Company, Igor’s Custom is a prime example of the creativity found in the ViBe District. Even if you aren’t in the market for purchasing hand painted wares, the shop showcases Igor’s enormous talent as an artist, both in the unusual décor (taxidermied wildlife, vintage memorabilia, and various other odds and ends) and in the countless current and past projects that fill the space.commune restaurant virginia beach

For lunch, walk over to Commune, a favorite local spot known for sourcing seasonal ingredients from local farmers and purveyors. They also pick fresh veggies and herbs from their own garden, taking the term “farm-to-table” one step further than most restaurants. Dishes change on an almost daily basis according to what’s available, but you can count on getting hearty fare made with only the best ingredients when dining at Commune.Chesapeake Bay Distillery

Stroll across Baltic Avenue to Chesapeake Bay Distillery to sample some of Virginia’s impressive spirits. For $7, they offer a flight of either straight spirits or a tasting of their house-made cocktails, like the Dirty Banana, Raspberry Zinger, or the Crabby Ghost Bloody Mary. Don’t miss out on trying the Dr. Stoner’s vodkas, one of their most unique products, made with fresh (and legal) herbs for a refreshing and light vodka, the Lemon Liqueur, made with eight fresh lemons in each bottle, or the Mutiny Island Vodka, the first and currently only vodka in the world made from breadfruit, a starchy superfood originating in the South Pacific and Caribbean. Owner Chris Richeson teamed up with Richmond chef Todd Manley to bring this island vodka to fruition (pun intended), and the duo will soon open a second tasting room on the island of St. Croix, where breadfruit is grown, harvested, and sold to the distillery by local residents.Virginia Beach Boardwalk

Drop by the Hilton Oceanfront hotel to check into your room, then enjoy a leisurely walk down Virginia Beach’s famous Boardwalk, a three-mile pathway that hugs the beach and allows for walking, biking, or even rollerblading along the expansive paved lane. If you’re traveling with a furry companion, the Boardwalk is the perfect place to take them for their walks. During the off season, dogs are allowed on the beach and boardwalk at any time, but in the summer season, pets can only visit these oceanfront destinations during specific hours, so be sure to check before heading out for your walks.aloha snacks virginia beach

Next, stop by Aloha Snacks for a fresh poke bowl, a Hawaiian dish made with raw, sushi-grade fish and Asian-inspired toppings like soy sauce and seaweed. The restaurant adds their own unique spin on this Pacific Island eat, incorporating ingredients like pickled beets, queso, and fried green tomatoes into their bowls. If raw fish isn’t your thing, go for one of their inventive snacks made with Spam; although it may seem strange for a Hawaiian-themed restaurant to serve this old-school canned meat, they somehow transform it into a culinary work of very tasty art.new realm brewing company virginia beach

Hit the road and head south several miles to New Realm Brewing Company, a Georgia-based brewery that opened their second location in Virginia Beach in mid-2018. With a rotating selection of over 20 craft beers on draft, the brewery has a pint for every beer lover, including IPAs, ales, sours, and wheat beers. Enjoy live music, hosted by the brewery every Friday and Saturday evening, and take a tour of the massive facility to discover the secrets behind the beer.civil libation restaurant virginia beach

Continue to Civil Libation for dinner, a Southern-fare restaurant that infuses a generous portion of creativity into every cocktail and dish on the menu. Start with one of the curated libations, cleverly illustrated in watercolor on the menu to give you an idea of exactly what you’re getting (if you’ve ever ordered a beautifully described beverage and received your drink served in what looks like a thimble, you’ll appreciate this!). For a starter, consider the Flamin’ Hot Mac & Cheetos, a creamy macaroni and cheese dish topped with Flamin’ Cheetos, and for the main event, dishes like the Wild Salmon, Ribeye Steak, and Spaghetti Squash pasta offer options for every diner, from the carnivore to the vegetarian.

End the night at the Hilton Oceanfront with a nightcap at either Catch 31 or, during the summer, the hotel’s stunning rooftop bar.


—SATURDAY—neptune statue sunrise on the boardwalk in Virginia Beach

Wake up before sunrise for a walk on the beach. While an early start on a Saturday may tempt you to hit snooze, you won’t regret watching the sun peek out over the ocean, and you might even get lucky and spot dolphins leaping through the morning surf.java surf coffee shop in the vibe creative district in virginia beach

Have breakfast at Java Surf, a local favorite coffee shop and restaurant in the ViBe Arts District. Don’t expect just an average cup of coffee at Java Surf; while they do offer fresh-brewed coffee, their specialty is crafting caffeine masterpieces like the Toasted Marshmallow Latte and the Salted Caramel Latte, as well as ingenious blends like the S’mores Latte and the Peppermint Patty. Pick from their diverse selection of breakfast wraps, bowls, melts, sandwiches, and scrambles…trust us, there aren’t any wrong choices at Java Surf. Prior to leaving, take a minute to admire the murals decorating the outside of the restaurant; the one on the back side of the restaurant was the first in the neighborhood, inspiring other artists to lend their creativity to the walls of the ViBe District.virginia aquarium in virginia beach

After breakfast, head to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, where you’ll get the chance to see over 10,000 fish, mammals, and reptiles, many that live in Virginia’s waters and some from exotic locations around the world. As you spend a few hours touring the museum, you’ll learn about these fascinating animals and the conservation efforts that the museum implements to support Virginia’s wildlife. In addition to a massive wildlife center, the museum has a 3D movie theater that plays outdoor documentaries, a children’s zone that changes themes every few months, and three on-site dining options for a quick snack or casual lunch. They also offer Virginia’s Sea Adventures boat tours, giving you the chance to spot whales, dolphins, harbor seals, and other local wildlife up close.the bee and the biscuit restaurant in pungo, virginia beach

Get back on the road and travel to The Bee & The Biscuit in Virginia Beach’s Pungo community. Housed in a cottage originally built in 1919, this historic eatery sources produce from the surrounding countryside farms, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch fare throughout the day. If you’re feeling the Saturday brunch vibe, we recommend the Papa Joe’s Breakfast Tostada, the Stuffed French Toast, or the Bay Crab Benedict, but the lunch menu is equally temping, featuring dishes like the Pungonian Shrimp & Grits, the Pungo Pork Biscuit, and the Fruity Chicken Salad Sandwich. Pair whatever you choose with their seasonal mimosa flight for a relaxing Saturday lunch/brunch experience.sawdust road coffee shop

If you’re in need of a caffeine fix, visit Sawdust Road a few doors down from the Bee & Biscuit. The charming coffee shop looks more like a rural Virginia residence than a place to grab a cup of Joe, but don’t be fooled by the homey exterior; they take intense pride in their coffee, whipping up impressive coffee concoctions that range from simple espresso shots to flavored lattes like the Honey Lavender Latte, made with house-made honey lavender syrup.back bay brewing company virginia beach

Leave Pungo and make your way to Back Bay Brewing Company, another exceptional craft brewery in the Virginia Beach region. Started by a few locals that were passionate about both hunting and craft beer, the brewery’s farmhouse-replica interior reflects their origins perfectly, with wooden decoy ducks adorning the walls and a menu filled with locally-inspired beers, from the False Cape Ale to the Atlantic Ave IPA. Order a flight to try out their extensive flight selection, consisting of both seasonal brews and flagship favorites. (Quick side note: If you love the beers at Back Bay, consider making time for a visit to their new sister brewery, Farmhouse Brewing Company, located about 25 minutes inland from Virginia Beach).tarnished truth distilling company at the cavalier hotel in virginia beach

Add a little luxury to your weekend getaway at The Cavalier Hotel, an iconic Virginia property that was recently renovated. One of the biggest changes to the Cavalier is the addition of Tarnished Truth Distilling Company, which took up residence in the lower level, becoming the first and only distillery inside a hotel in the United States. Book a tour to learn all about the distilling process, taste the resulting spirits, and hear the real story behind the distillery’s intriguing name. Afterwards, wander next door to the elegantly decorated Hunt Room to sample the spirits in a classic cocktail.becca restaurant at the cavalier hotel in virginia beach

Indulge in a once-in-a-lifetime level meal at Becca, one of the Cavalier’s on-site dining options. The restaurant effortlessly balances timeless and modern in their carefully curated menu and striking décor, creating a seamless dining experience. After dinner, walk across the lobby to catch live music performances, hosted in the Raleigh Room of the hotel on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings throughout the year.


—SUNDAY—american brew restaurant and coffee shop in virginia beach, chick's beach

On your last morning in Virginia Beach, pack up, check out of the hotel, and head to American Brew for breakfast. The restaurant and coffee shop is a community staple for the locals in the Chick’s Beach area. Start with a specialty coffee like the Matcha Latte or Dirty Chai or go with one of their freshly blended smoothies, then follow up with hearty fare like a Morning Hash, made with a cilantro, jalapeno, and lime quinoa mix, over-easy eggs, cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, and fresh salsa, or, our favorite, the Avocado Toast, topped with a basil aioli, salt, pepper, and oregano.The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium

Work off your morning meal at The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium, an outdoor tree climbing course designed for all skill levels and ages. Maneuver through the treetops along a series of platforms, zip lines, and cabled bridges to get a bird’s eye view of coastal Virginia. While it might seem slightly daunting, you don’t have to be an expert to work your way through the canopy course; there are fifteen different color-coded trails of increasing difficulty to ensure you stay within your comfort level.Commonwealth Brewing Co

Before leaving the beach and traveling homeward, grab lunch at Commonwealth Brewing Company. The brewery hosts a local food truck every day, rotating between fare like barbecue and southern favorites to German, Asian, and Mexican cuisine. Pair your lunch with one of the brewery’s artisanal beers, which lean towards hop forward Belgian Lagers and wild barrel-aged brews. If weather permits, snag a seat outside and enjoy your lunch in the outdoor Biergarten, savoring the final few minutes of your 72-hour getaway to Virginia Beach.


Previous Crush Friday Virginia Destinations: 


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Live Performances and Venues Will Have your Group Applauding for More

Live Performances and Venues Will Have your Group Applauding for More

From Broadway musicals and Shakespeare plays to folk music and opera, Virginia’s performing arts centers and theatres give visitors the chance to experience live entertainment of all kinds. National parks, century-old theatres and more bring an extra bit of charm to each performance. Some venues can be rented for special events or performances of your own.


The Historic Masonic Theatre—Clifton Forge

Circa 1905, The Historic Masonic Theatre was originally an opera house. Virginia’s oldest continuously operating theatre, it opened its doors to the public once again in July 2016 after a 6.5 million dollar renovation. A movie theatre and a performing arts venue, the four story building has a state of the art 545-seat auditorium, an underground cafe and lounge area, a balcony with seating and conference room and an upper level ballroom suitable for wedding receptions and gatherings.


Zeiders American Dream Theatre—Virginia Beach

Zeiders American Dream Theatre provides a unique professional venue in which upcoming artists and performers can showcase and develop their crafts in real time. Their 300-seat theater offers an intimate, interactive complement to larger venues in the area. Visitors get the opportunity to enjoy entertainment that they won’t get anywhere else.


Ashland Theatre—Ashland

Ashland theatre photo credit Diane Stoakley

After first opening its doors in 1948, Ashland Theatre served as a center of entertainment for the charming town of Ashland until 1998. The historic building went under renovation in 2014 and after four years of careful restorations, the theatre reopened in December 2018. A 300-person theatre on Route 54, the Art Moderne venue will host current and classic movies, live music, and theater performances.


Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts—Vienna

Situated in a majestic natural setting, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts is the venue for over 100 performances across all genres from pop, country, folk and blues to orchestra, dance, theater and opera, as well as innovative performance art and multimedia presentations. The Filene Center season usually runs May-September with an average of 90 performances each year. October-May, Wolf Trap’s 352-seat indoor venue, The Barns at Wolf Trap, continues to present a diverse line-up of artists in a casual and more intimate atmosphere.


Hylton Performing Arts Center—Manassas

Performances at the Hylton Performing Arts Center include everything from national and international touring acts like the Vienna Boys Choir, Clint Black, and the Reduced Shakespeare Company to the Moscow Festival Ballet, and the Shanghai Acrobats. The Hylton Center is also home to many regional artists. Custom a la carte performance options are available for groups. The center offers the perfect backdrop for any occasion — creating a truly memorable event! The opera house seats over 1,100 and the grand foyer, art gallery are available as well as cast rooms and conference rooms.


Barter Theatre—Abingdon

Showing family favorites such as “The Princess and the Pea” and “The Cat in the Hat”, along with comedy and live music, Barter Theatre invites you to laugh, scream, gasp and lose yourself in a world of adventure. Experience world-class entertainment and watch stories unfold at the nation’s longest running equity theatre. Student matinees, backstage tours and special group rates are offered. The Historic Gilliam Stage accommodates up to 506 patrons.


Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre—Wytheville

Watch Broadway-style professional productions in the 200-seat venue after enjoying a four-course plated meal customized to fit the theme of the production at Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theatre. Find the perfect souvenir in the Edelweiss Gift Shoppe featuring many German collectibles and theatre memorabilia. Fireside dining is also available in the Matterhorn Restaurant and Lounge and café-style dining in the beautiful outdoor Bier Garten. Group rates are available and the mainstage arena is the perfect place to host your next big event!


American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriar Playhouse—Staunton

The world’s only recreation of Shakespeare’s own indoor theatre, the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriar Playhouse is located in historic Staunton. Year-round performances are offered in the 300-seat Renaissance-style theatre. The space is intimate enough to experiences the plays in a fast paced, spirited style where the audience is always part of the show. Student performances and group packages are available.


Riverside Center for the Performing Arts—Fredericksburg

Enjoy a Broadway-quality production preceded by a three-course gourmet meal served by performers at Riverside Center Theatre. Noted for musical productions of the highest quality, Riverside now also features live music. Dinner theatre performances are offered Thursday through Saturday and matinee performances are available on Wednesday and Sunday.  The Children’s Theatre presents lively, shorter productions for children of all ages. Special rates are offered for groups of 12 or more.


The Lincoln Theatre—Marion

One of three Art Deco Mayan Revival-style theatres in the world, The Lincoln Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places. Originally built in 1929 as a vaudeville and movie house, the theatre has hosted entertainment legends like Roy Rogers and Ralph Stanley. Fully renovated and reopened in 2014, The Lincoln now hosts live music and musicals. With a seating capacity of 500, the venue can also be rented for concerts, theatre performances, weddings, and other special events.


Sandler Center for the Performing Arts—Virginia Beach

The 1,308 seat Sandler Center for the Performing Arts is the perfect setting for intimate concerts, Broadway performances, comedians, and more, with the furthest seat being 100 feet from the stage. The center also offers an outdoor venue able to accommodate up to 400 patrons for festivals, outdoor performances, and social activities. The Grand Lobby is a perfect setting for catered events featuring the dramatic chandelier and a grand staircase.


Read more…

Performance Venues for Student Groups

Theatres, Music and the Arts Trip Ideas

Theatres in Virginia

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Three Memorable Virginia Vacations for 2019

Three Memorable Virginia Vacations for 2019


Although the year has just begun, we have already started thinking about our travel plans for 2019. While planning vacations can easily become an overwhelming task, we have three suggestions based off of the 2019 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide covers to help you get started!


—CONQUER VIRGINIA’S GREAT OUTDOORSmountain biking travel guide cover 2019 dody ridge trail roanoke mountain biking

The Destination: Dody Ridge Mountain Biking Trails, Roanoke

In 2018, Roanoke became the first and only community on the entire East Coast to be designated by the International Mountain Bicycling Association as a Silver-Level Ride Center. The surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains have hundreds of miles of mountain biking trails for all skill levels, making Roanoke a prime destination for outdoor lovers in 2019. There are several key trails to take note of as you plan your visit. Dody Ridge Trail, located just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a challenging 14-mile singletrack course that only the experienced mountain bikers should attempt; trails are rocky and loose, but the spectacular views from the mountain are worth the effort. Carvin’s Cove Natural Reserve offers nearly 60 miles of trails and is known as one of the best places on the East Coast for mountain biking. For a less advanced mountain biking adventure, head to the Mill Mountain Star Trail, which begins at UnderDog Bikes, running along the paved Roanoke River Greenway before climbing up Mill Mountain to the iconic Mill Mountain Star and descending along the Ridgeline Trail back to your starting point.

In addition to mountain biking, many of the trails surrounding Roanoke are multi-use, welcoming hikers to explore the picturesque trails of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

Plan Your Roanoke Adventure


—RELAX ON THE SUNNY SHORES OF VIRGINIA’S BEACHES—virginia beach boardwalk travel guide cover 2019

The Destination: The Boardwalk, Virginia Beach

Located where the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean converge along the East Coast, Virginia Beach offers miles of sandy shores for you to explore in 2019. Whether you want to take the family for a quiet coastal vacation (book a rental home in Sandbridge) or want to be in the thick of the action (snag a reservation at a hotel right on the Boardwalk), a vacation to Virginia Beach offers something for everyone. Looking for a little luxury in 2019? Stay at the newly renovated Cavalier Hotel, which contains several upscale restaurants, a lavish spa, a stunning indoor pool, and the only distillery located inside a hotel in the United States. Craft beer lovers will find a wide array of breweries all within a few miles of the beachfront, giving visitors a refreshing taste of the Commonwealth’s impressive brew scene, and several notable state parks in Virginia Beach provide pristine hiking trails and a glimpse at coastal wildlife in its natural habitat.

Plan Your Virginia Beach Vacation


—LEARN THE WHOLE STORY AT HISTORIC VIRGINIA SITES—Monticello Charlottesville Travel Guide Cover 2019

The Destination: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Charlottesville

No matter where you travel in Virginia, history abounds. One of the most significant historic sites, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate, recently underwent a multi-year restoration of Mulberry Row, the 5,000-acre plot of land that once served as the estate’s industrial center. Tour the historic property and visit the Life of Sally Hemmings exhibit, a poignant display that tells the story of Jefferson’s African American enslaved mistress and the six children that she bore him. A fascinating and courageous woman, Hemmings would successfully negotiate the freedom of those children from Jefferson, saving them and their own offspring from the harsh life of slavery.

In addition to the special exhibits and restorations at Monticello, 2019 marks the 400-year commemoration of several pivotal historic events, including the first representative legislative group to assemble in the New World, the arrival of the first women and Africans to Colonial-claimed North America, and the first official English Thanksgiving in America. Acknowledging these important anniversaries, some of Virginia’s well known historic destinations will host special celebrations and exhibits in 2019, making it the perfect time to brush up on your American history with a visit to Virginia.

Plan Your Charlottesville Getaway


Want to find out more about these exciting Virginia travel stories? Order your 2019 Travel Guide to get the magazine mailed to your front door, providing you with even more helpful travel tips and unique trip ideas for the year!


Tell us, what Virginia destinations are on your travel bucket list for 2019?


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5 Places in Virginia for Holiday Treats, Sweets, & Cocktails

5 Places in Virginia for Holiday Treats, Sweets, & Cocktails


It’s the most wonderful time of the year…the time when calories don’t count and it’s acceptable to indulge in rich holiday dishes and desserts. Satisfy your sweet tooth this holiday season with decadent confections from some of Virginia’s finest bakeries, bars, and restaurants. Whether you’re looking for seasonal cocktail creations or desserts made with traditional Virginia flavors, these five dining destinations serve up a generous helping of holiday spirit.



Sugar Shack opened as a single store back in 2013, but now the famous donut shop has eleven locations throughout Virginia, with three more scheduled to open in 2019. Their donuts are hand-rolled and cut every single day, and they use fresh berries and apples rather than frozen fruits or dried ingredients to ensure the most authentic, delicious flavors. Sugar Shack has several tasty seasonal donuts, including Red Velvet donuts with cream cheese frosting, Gingerbread Glaze donuts, and Mint Hot Cocoa donuts. Order a few dozen, and while you’re waiting, sip on their Mint Mocha Latte, a heavenly holiday beverage that pairs perfectly with their donuts.



The desserts of Red Truck Bakery have been heralded by many notable publications, including the New York Times, Washingtonian magazine, and Garden & Gun, but the biggest endorsement came from former President Barack Obama, who raved about their pie in a handwritten letter (and even took a picture of him eating the pie in the Oval office!). The bakery has all sorts of incredible goodies to share with friends, family, and coworkers during the holiday season, like the Lexington Bourbon Cake made with fresh ginger, the Gluten Free Flourless Chocolate Truffle Cake, the Shenandoah Apple Cake, and the Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie. If you can’t make it to the Warrenton or Marshall bakery locations, you can order online and have your holiday desserts shipped to you anywhere in the country!



Offered daily through December 31, the Chocolate-Making Demonstrations at Mount Vernon teach visitors how the decadent dessert is made, from the cacao seed to the chocolate mills, as well as how it was used in Mount Vernon to make hot chocolate and other special treats when Washington presided over the historic estate. Mount Vernon has several other holiday food tours and classes offered daily throughout December, including a Holiday Time for the Washingtons Tour, where you’ll learn how food was grown, preserved, prepared, and served during the colonial holiday season, and a Pie Making Class, which focuses on both sweet and savory pies typically made in the 18th century.


EGGNOG FLIGHT AT GABRIEL ARCHER TAVERN—WILLIAMSBURGgabriel archer tavern at williamsburg winery eggnog holiday flight

The Williamsburg Winery’s on-site restaurant, Gabriel Archer Tavern, offers a homemade eggnog trio during the holidays, bringing seasonal ingredients to your glass. This delectable flight includes Toasted Cardamom eggnog, Falling Bark Farms Hickory Syrup eggnog, and Candied Cranberry eggnog. Afterwards, head over to the winery to sample their award-winning vintages and pick out a few bottles to take home for any upcoming holiday celebrations (or as gifts!).


THE MIRACLE ON CARY ST. AT THE JASPER—RICHMONDthe jasper miracle on cary st. pop up holiday bar carytown richmond

If holiday cocktails are on your wish list this season, stop by The Jasper in Richmond’s Carytown neighborhood, which is transformed for the holidays into The Miracle on Cary St. The holiday-themed pop-up bar is a member of a group based out of New York City that has pop-up bars throughout the world, but The Jasper has the distinction of being the first and only Virginia location. They offer an array of seasonal cocktails, with festive names like the Snowball Old-Fashioned, the Christmas Carol Barrel, and the Koala-La La La La, La La La La, which is served with a tiny toy koala gripping the glass.

In addition to the Miracle on Cary St., Rappahannock Oyster Company’s Rapp Session (also in Richmond) and 14 Loudoun, located in Leesburg, both transform into holiday pop-ups, becoming Christmas Session and Fa La La, respectively. Visit these magical bars throughout December for seasonally-inspired cocktails, festive decorations, classic Christmas music, and tons of holiday cheer.


These are just a few of the holiday-inspired foodie experiences you’ll find in Virginia this season. Tell us, what restaurant fills your heart (and stomach) with the spirit of the holidays?

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What’s New in Virginia for 2019 (& the Hottest New Destinations for 2018!)

What’s New in Virginia for 2019 (& the Hottest New Destinations for 2018!)


Virginia has lots to look forward to in 2019, from luxury boutique hotels featuring rooftop bars to brand new restaurants from critically-acclaimed chefs that serve up fresh and exciting flavors. But we also wanted to take a moment to look back on the best of 2018 and share our must-visit places for the year. Use this guide to the latest and greatest in Virginia to start making your upcoming travel plans for 2019!


—NEW HOTELS IN VIRGINIA—cavalier hotel swimming pool

For 2018:

  • The Cavalier—Virginia Beach: Iconic luxury resort renovated to include 85 opulent guest rooms and suites, two upscale restaurants, and a distillery.
  • The Blackburn Inn—Staunton: Historic boutique inn with modern, upscale amenities.
  • Hotel Madison—Harrisonburg: Full-service hotel connected to the Shenandoah Valley Conference Center in Downtown Harrisonburg with mountain views.
  • The Bristol Hotel—Bristol: 1925 structure renovated into a 65-room boutique hotel in downtown Bristol, featuring a rooftop bar with views of the Appalachian Mountains and two restaurants serving locally-sourced cuisine.
  • Western Front Hotel—St. Paul: Modern, outdoor-themed boutique hotel with a rooftop terrace bar and an upscale restaurant serving Appalachian cuisine.
  • The Clifton—Charlottesville: The boutique hotel, restaurant, and wedding venue was renovated in 2018.
  • Dover Hall—Richmond: Private estate was converted into luxury lodging suites and an upscale wedding venue.
  • The Williamsburg Lodge—Williamsburg: One of the hotels at Colonial Williamsburg, the hotel was newly renovated as a Marriott Autograph Collection property in 2018.
  • The Draftsman—Charlottesville: Vibrant boutique hotel opened on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.
  • Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa—Alexandria: In the heart of Old Town Alexandria, the boutique hotel was refreshed in 2018.
  • Hotel Weyanoke—Farmville: Historic boutique hotel in the heart of Downtown Farmville and across the street from Longwood University. Contains two restaurants, a coffee shop, and a rooftop bar.
  • The Virginian Lynchburg—Lynchburg: Historic Downtown Lynchburg hotel restored to include modern amenities and featuring several on-site dining options, a rooftop restaurant and bar, a coffee shop, and over 8,000 square feet of event space.
  • Stonewall Jackson Hotel—Staunton: The historic luxury hotel in Downtown Staunton was renovated in 2018.

Coming in 2019:

  • Glass Light Hotel & Gallery—Norfolk: Boutique hotel in Downtown Norfolk’s Historic District with a rooftop bar.
  • Element Hotel at Peninsula Town Center—Hampton: New property for the Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand opening with over 120 rooms, scheduled to open in fall 2019.
  • Moxy—Richmond: 104-room boutique hotel from Marriott brand slated to open in 2019.


—NEW RESTAURANTS IN VIRGINIA—bar solita restaurant richmond

For 2018:

  • Bar Solita—Richmond: Mediterranean tapas and brick oven pizza restaurant in the heart of the Art’s District.
  • Perch—Richmond: New restaurant in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood focusing on Pacific-inspired flavors.
  • Alewife—Richmond: Mid-Atlantic seafood restaurant inspired by the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia flavors.
  • Le Kon—Arlington: Mexican restaurant in Clarendon opened by former Top Chef star.
  • Rochambeau—Gordonsville
  • Hole in the Wall Waterfront Grill—Gwynns: Specializes in local seafood from William’s Wharf Oyster Company and Seafarms.
  • Adrift—White Stone: Community-focused restaurant in Virginia’s River Realm that serves local seasonal flavors in an upscale yet approachable menu.
  • The 606—White Stone: Restaurant complex with The Quays, an Irish restaurant and bar, and Walkabout Creek, specializing in Australian cuisine.

Coming in 2019:

  • Mama Chang—Fairfax: Newest concept for Chef Peter Chang, serving home-style Chinese cooking, opening early 2019.
  • Quarter Market—Arlington: 18-concept food hall featuring South American restaurant Maizal, Slapfish, a casual seafood restaurant, Sloppy Mama’s BBQ, and many more.
  • Dirt—Arlington: Florida-based health-centric restaurant opening its first Virginia location in the Ballston Exchange building. Menu features several vegan and vegetarian options as well as locally sourced organic meats and seafoods.


—NEW BREWERIES & CIDERIES IN VIRGINIA—buskey cider on the bay cape charles cidery

For 2018:

  • Buskey Cider on the Bay—Cape Charles: The second location for the Richmond-based cidery, this is the first cidery for Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
  • Farmhouse Brewing Co.—Virginia Beach: Eight-acre craft brewery and cidery from the owners of Back Bay Brewing Company in Virginia Beach.
  • Courthouse Creek Cider—Richmond: Courthouse Creek Cider opened their second location, with an outdoor patio and upstairs cider garden, in Richmond’s thriving Scott’s Addition neighborhood.
  • Bacova Beer Co.—Hot Springs: Five-barrel brewhouse just steps from the Omni Homestead Resort.
  • Cape Charles Brewing Company—Cape Charles: Family-owned brewery and restaurant located on the southern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
  • Black Narrows Brewing Company—Chincoteague: Brewery built in a converted historic oyster house on the northern end of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.
  • Basic City Beer Company—Richmond: Second satellite location for the Waynesboro-based brewery in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood.
  • 7 Dogs Brewpub—Wytheville: New brewery located in the Historic Carpender Building in downtown Wytheville, often features live music.
  • New Realm Brewing Company—Virginia Beach: Georgia-based brewery opened a new location in Virginia Beach.
  • Box Office Brewery—Strasburg: Craft brewery and restaurant housed in the Historic Strand Theatre of Strasburg.
  • Bingo Beer Company—Richmond: Brewery, full bar, game hall, and restaurant located in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood.
  • Settle Down Easy Brewing Co.—Falls Church: Newest nanobrewery for Northern Virginia.
  • Halcyon Days Cider Co.—Natural Bridge: Small farm and cidery in the Blue Ridge Mountains that grows their own apples for their hard cider.
  • Sly Clyde Ciderworks—Hampton: Tap room serving hard ciders made with 100% Virginia-grown apples.

Coming in 2019:

  • Skipping Rock Beer Co.—Staunton: Craft brewery outside of downtown Staunton, tentative open date of February 22, 2019.
  • Seven Sisters Brewery—Wytheville: Family-friendly brewery and restaurant in Southwest Virginia that plans to open May 2019.
  • Eastern Divide Brewing Company—Blacksburg: Slated to open early 2019.
  • Heliotrope Brewery—Lexington: Farmhouse-style brewery producing rustic ales and lagers, set to open early 2019.
  • Dogtown Brewing Company—Richmond: Craft brewery with rooftop views opening in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood in 2019.
  • Richbrau Brewing—Richmond: One of Richmond’s original breweries, Richbrau finds a new home in Shockoe Bottom and plans to reopen their brewery in 2019.
  • Old Ox Brewery—Middleburg: Second location for the Ashburn brewery, opening a tasting room and beer garden in Middleburg.
  • Twisted Knot Brewing Co.—Newport News: Opening spring 2019 on Canon Boulevard in Newport News.
  • Tabol Brewing—Richmond: Small-batch brewery coming to the Northside area of Richmond in early 2019.
  • Honor Brewing Company—Chantilly: Veteran-run brewery opening in early-to-mid 2019.
  • Nostrum Brewing Company—Fairfax: Northern Virginia brewery opening in 2019 focused on community, quality, and creativity.
  • Cedar Run Brewery—Nokesville: Farm brewery providing quiet and serene atmosphere with excellent Virginia beers.
  • Hillsborough Farm Brewery—Purcellville: Craft brewery run by the same owners and on the same site as Hillsborough Vineyards.
  • Lonesome Pine Brewing Company—Lebanon: Nanobrewery in Lebanon, Virginia.
  • Buggs Island Brewing Company—Clarksville: The brewery is expanding and moving to a downtown location on the waterfront in Clarksville.
  • Ditchley Cider Works—Kilmarnock: Produces unique ciders from roughly 60 varieties of apples on their 15-acre estate.
  • Sugar Hill Cidery—Norton: New hard cider production facility and restaurant opening in summer 2019.


—NEW WINERIES & DISTILLERIES IN VIRGINIA—tarnished truth distilling company cavalier hotel

For 2018:

  • Tarnished Truth Distilling Company—Virginia Beach: Only distillery in the U.S. to be housed inside of a hotel, Tarnished Truth resides inside the historic, recently renovated Cavalier Hotel. Produces rum, whiskey, vodka, gin, and bourbon.
  • Virago Spirits—Richmond: Rum distillery & tasting room that blends traditional techniques with New World creativity.
  • Three Crosses Distilling Co.—Powhatan: First legal distillery in Powhatan, distills rum, moonshine, whiskey, and vodka.
  • Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery—Hampton: Brewery, restaurant, and distillery that makes vodka, gin, single malt whiskey, and bourbon.
  • Ironclad Distillery—Newport News: Historic bourbon whiskey distillery that opened in early 2018.
  • Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery—Clarksville: The Nellysford winery opened a new tasting room in Downtown Clarksville.
  • Briede Family Vineyards—Winchester: New organic vineyard and winery that opened during the fall of 2018.

Coming in 2019:


—NEW EVENTS & ATTRACTIONS—Ashland theatre photo credit Diane Stoakley


Photo Credit: Diane Stoakley

For 2018:

  • Ashland Theatre—Ashland: The historic theatre reopens on December 26 with the new movie Mary Poppins Returns and offers adult beverages, expanded concessions, and VIP box seating.
  • Shenandoah Tough Adventure RaceMulti-day race in the Northern Shenandoah Valley that covers 250 miles with soloists and small teams navigating the challenging and beautiful terrain via foot, mountain bike, and boat.
  • Richmond Raceway Reimagined—Richmond: New infield fan section completed in 2018, bringing guests closer to the racing action.
  • VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art—Richmond: Modern art museum opened in 2018 on the Virginia Commonwealth University campus.
  • George Washington’s Ferry Farm—Fredericksburg: Recreated boyhood home of George Washington provides an interactive experience for guests, teaching them how the first President of the United States spent his formative years.
  • Historic Academy of Music Theater—Lynchburg: Reopened in Lynchburg after closing in 1958. The theater will seat more than 800 patrons.
  • Mountain Biking in Virginia’s Blue Ridge—Various Locations Around Roanoke: Virginia’s Blue Ridge, America’s East Coast Mountain Biking Capital, was designated a Silver-Level Ride Center™ by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Coming in 2019:

  • ShuckapaloozaFirst annual event happening April 12th that combines seven unique oyster experiences at seven different locations in Virginia’s River Realm.
  • Luray International DuathlonOlympic distance duathlon in the Shenandoah Valley near Luray in August 2019 that includes trail runs, road cycling, a 10k, and more.
  • The Salty Southern RouteSoutheastern Virginia’s new trail opens March 1st and showcases Virginia’s pork and peanut products.
  • Wytheville Wine Festival—First annual wine festival happening July 2019, featuring Southwest Virginia wines, cuisine, and music.
  • The  Arlington  House—Arlington: Fall 2019 brings the grand reopening of  The  Arlington  House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.
  • James Monroe Birthplace—Colonial Beach: The reconstruction of the birthplace of President James Monroe will include a rebuilt colonial home, a scenic walk (complete with granite historical markers along the trail telling the story of Monroe’s career), a bicycle trail, a canoe launch, and a picnic pavilion.
  • Fort Monroe Visitor & Education Center—Hampton: Will open August 23 as a legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution™.
  • This year Virginia’s 2019 Commemoration, American Evolution will commemorate 400 years of democracy, diversity, and opportunity through events and legacy projects taking place all over the state. Learn more about the historic events of 1619 Virginia and commemorative events happening this year.



The post What’s New in Virginia for 2019 (& the Hottest New Destinations for 2018!) appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Top Things to Do in Virginia This January

Top Things to Do in Virginia This January


January is only a few days away, and while you may be tempted to stay indoors and cozy up on the couch, there are plenty of exceptional events and winter getaways in Virginia to keep you busy during the month. Check out the following festivals, special events, and fun-filled vacations suited for all ages happening in the Commonwealth this January.


GardenFest for Fidos at Lewis Ginter—Richmond

Date: January 3, 2019gardenfest for fidos at lewis ginter botanical gardens richmond credit annie goldman

Photo Credit: Annie Goldman

Lewis Ginter’s GardenFest continues in the first week of January with GardenFest for Fidos, a pet-friendly winter event. Leashed, well-behaved pets that have current rabies vaccinations are welcome to explore the magic of Lewis Ginter’s evening light show for just $2 per pet (which benefits the Richmond SPCA).


Winchester on the Rocks—Winchester

Dates: January 13–19, 2019

If you’re a fan of fine dining in the Commonwealth, you’ve probably attended a special Virginia Restaurant Week, but if you’re looking to try something new in 2019, make reservations at a participating restaurant for Winchester on the Rocks. Rather than focus on food, this week-long event puts the spotlight on incredible cocktails. Participating restaurants in Winchester will offer special signature cocktails at $7 each or $5 mocktails for the teetotalers, showing off their bartending skills with a mix of traditional cocktails and experimental libations. Sample a few different options and then vote for your favorite specialty drink; judges will designate the winning restaurants with “People’s Choice” and “Judge’s Choice” awards after the seven-day showdown.


Winter Ice Fest & Mega Block Ice Carving Competition—Leesburg

Date: January 19, 2019

The 6th annual Winter Ice Fest and Mega Block Ice Carving Competition is as free event held at the Village at Leesburg. Eight internationally acclaimed ice carvers compete against one another as they sculpt frozen masterpieces in front of a live audience. The event also includes musical performances, an “iceless” ice skating rink, and interactive games and activities for the whole family. Warm up during the festival in the cozy igloo lounge areas, where you can dine on food and drinks from local Leesburg restaurants.


Free Entry into Virginia’s National Parks—All National Parks in Virginia

Date: January 21, 2019

Shenandoah National Park HikingAll National Parks in Virginia will waive their entrance fees on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, allowing you to experience the breathtaking beauty of Virginia’s Great Outdoors without spending a dime!


2019 Winter Wildlife Festival—Virginia Beach

Dates: January 25–27, 2019

Presented with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Winter Wildlife Festival is held at the Princess Anne Recreation Center in Virginia Beach, but there are also several outdoor nature walks and workshops held at nearby parks and wildlife refuges. Bring the kids to see live animals, participate in nature-based workshops, and learn more about the wildlife found in Virginia during the winter months, like harbor seals and migrating birds. Local food trucks will serve up some of Virginia Beach’s best cuisine outside the recreation center, and younger children can participate in kid-friendly activities next door at the Princess Anne Library. January is also prime time for migrating whales to pass the Virginia shores, so book a whale watching boat tour in Virginia Beach to spot these stunning animals up close.


International Wine Festival—Roanoke

Dates: January 27, 2019Taubman Museum of Art

Held at Roanoke’s Taubman Museum of Art, the International Wine Festival features 30+ of the best wines from around the world, paired hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and live musical performances. As you sip on an array of sparkling, white, and red varietals, you’ll learn about the wine tasting experience from seasoned wine guides, who will teach you about optimal food pairings, understanding regional wine flavors, and everything else you need to know about the art of wine tasting. Tickets are available ahead of time and include access to the art museum galleries.



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