Entertainment around RVA

20+ Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Virginia

20+ Vegan and Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Virginia

When you’re trying to stick to a vegan or vegetarian diet, dining out can be pretty difficult. But while vegetarian-only dining options are hard to come by, Virginia has several vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants that offer more than a few meat-free alternatives on their menu. So whether you’re a lifelong vegan or an open-minded diner just looking to sample some veggie-based fare, these vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants are worth a visit.


Gillie’s Restaurant—Blacksburg

Gillie’s has been a favorite dining spot for Blacksburg residents and Virginia Tech students alike since 1975. The restaurant blends your classic down home cooking with progressive vegan and vegetarian fare, using the freshest ingredients to craft healthy, casual cuisine. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with each menu having several vegan, vegetarian, and even gluten-free options clearly marked. Vegan lunch options include the Hummus Salad, Tempeh BLT (vegan), and Gillie’s Burger, made with a black bean patty. For vegetarians, there’s the Tofu Reuben, Mushroom Burger, and the Peanut Tofu Wrap.


Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market—Richmondellwood thompson's local market richmond

Since 1989, Ellwood Thompson’s has served the Richmond community as a locally owned grocery store, bringing organic produce and products from local farmers, artisans, and businesses, but in the past decade, they have expanded their in-house kitchen, offering a wide array of vegan and vegetarian prepared foods. Vegan chicken nuggets, tempeh mock chicken salad, and veggie wraps are just a few of the vegetarian and vegan friendly dishes at this community staple.


Brown Chicken Brown Cow—Hampton

While Brown Chicken Brown Cow is primarily a burger place, you can substitute a falafel patty for the beef, allowing all of the burgers to be vegetarian. We like the Nostradamus – topped with caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese, Creole mustard, and arugula, or the Aristocrats – heaped high with caramelized onions, goat cheese, cabernet-blueberry glaze, and arugula, but you can also build your own burger. Another vegetarian option is the Chick-A-Pea sandwich – a falafel sandwich with Tzatziki, spinach, and tomato.


Hidden Julles Café—HaymarketHidden Julles Cafe Haymarket

Specializing in local, organic, and natural dishes, Hidden Julles Café offers colorful culinary masterpieces with unique ingredients. For breakfast, vegans can try the Vegan Breakfast Burrito, filled with home fries, guacamole, pico de gallo, black beans, spinach, and quinoa, while vegetarians have the option of Stuffed French Toast, the Haymarket Breakfast Burrito, Avocado Toast, and Florentine Eggs Benedict. Lunch menu items include the Veggie – available in a wrap, salad, or sandwich, or the Vegan Wrap – with spinach, quinoa, hummus, pico de gallo, cucumbers, black beans, guacamole, and lemon vinaigrette. In addition to vegan and vegetarian food, the restaurant prepares Paleo and gluten free dishes.


NuVegan Café—Richmond

NuVegan Café transforms all your favorite comfort foods into tasty vegan alternatives that pack plenty of flavor into their meatless dishes. Served cafeteria-style, their 100% vegan menu includes vegan macaroni and cheese, warm gooey cinnamon rolls, fried “chicken” drumsticks, and even crab cakes. The restaurant strives to change the perception behind vegan food, proving that it can be healthy and sustainable without sacrificing flavor.


Loving Hut—Falls Church

Loving Hut is an international vegan fast food chain that offers healthy, Asian-inspired meals made with sustainable plant-based ingredients. While the vegan restaurant is considered a chain, each location has a unique menu crafted by the in-house chef. The menu at the Falls Church location has over 50 different dishes, including soy Beef & Broccoli, General Tso’s made with soy protein, and a Vietnamese Vegan Sandwich, as well as more American dishes like the Vegan Hot Dog, Crispy Burger, and Club Sandwich, all meat-free.


Taaza Indian Cuisine—RoanokeTaaza Indian Cuisine Roanoke

If you’re looking for vegetarian and vegan friendly options in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, consider dining at Taaza, an Indian restaurant in Roanoke. They offer about a dozen different options for the vegetarian and vegans, like the cocktail samosas appetizer, filled with spiced potatoes, green peas, chickpeas, and a mint and tamarind chutney, or the Channa Pindi, a traditional Indian entrée made of chickpeas, onions, tomatoes, and fresh herbs served over Basmati rice. Their menu even features a separate Vegan and gluten-free section, with creative, flavorful entrees including Tandoori grilled Portabella mushrooms with curried lentils and Roasted Eggplant Bartha.


Fresca on Addison—Richmond

Fresca on Addison offers a full vegetarian menu, including brick-oven pizzas, sandwiches, soups, salads, and other entrees, but almost everything on the menu can also be made for vegans, as well as the gluten-free folks. For dessert, their vegan cupcakes are a must. The restaurant avoids processed foods and additives, serving only foods that are local, organic, fresh, and healthy. After dining at Fresca, check out their in-house market area, where some of their specialty ingredients are available for purchase.


Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant—Vienna

One of Northern Virginia’s most popular vegetarian spots, Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant serves inventive Asian-inspired fare, creating mock-meat dishes that are incredibly delicious. Start with the Teriyaki Mock Sesame Eel or the Fried “Chicken”, then order one of their meatless entrees, like the Veg Shrimp in your choice of General Tso’s, Lemon, or Sweet & Sour Sauce, or the Adventure of Tempeh Land – a marinated baked tempeh sautéed with red pepper, snow peas, asparagus, baby corn, and white mushrooms in a Thai curry sauce. Finish off the meal with one of their vegan desserts, such as the Tiramisu (both vegan and gluten-free!) or the Avocado and Lemon Pie.



Other Vegan/Vegetarian-Friendly Restaurants in Virginia:


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St. Patrick’s Day Events in Prince William, VA

St. Patrick’s Day Events in Prince William, VA

St. Patrick’s Day** has a way of bringing out the ☘ Irish ☘ in all of us. Whether you’re local, new in town or just spending the weekend with us, you’ll be sure to find St. Patrick’s Day events in Prince William, VA that pique your interest.

St. Patrick’s Day Events

St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at Out of the Blue, March 15, 2019 – March 17, 2019

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at Out of the Blue Seafood + Crabs. Green Bud Lights, 50¢ wings, $6 Irish Red drafts, $7 crab stuffed spuds.


St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at The Farm Brewery at Broad Run, March 15, 2019 – March 16, 2019

Let the Shenanigans begin. Come and enjoy Beer, Food , and Live music. March 15 at 12pm – March 16 at 10pm.


History of Cooking: St. Patrick’s Day at Ben Lomond Historic Site, March 16, 2019

Join the Prince William County Historic Preservation team and the Pat White Center at Ben Lomond as they make traditional Irish cuisine…


Goitse at Hylton Performing Art Center, March 16, 2019

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with “music that’s brimming with energy and creative zeal” ( Irish Music Magazine ).


Lucky Leprechauns & Pot o’ Gold Hunt at Silver Lake Park, March 16, 2019

Join Cabela’s and Parks as we search for Lucky Leprechauns and their pot of gold!


St. Patrick’s Day 5K at Old Hickory Golf Club, March 16, 2019

Come out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, March 16, with a unique 5k experience running through the award winning Old Hickory Golf.


Celebrate St Patrick’s Day Weekend at Grafton Street, March 16, 2019 – March 17, 2019

St Patrick’s Eve 3/16 – party begins at 2pm live music irish dancers guinness toast irish menu specials St Patrick’s Day 3/17 – party…


Shamrock & Shenanigans St. Paddy’s Day Weekend Celebration at Brew Republic, March 16, 2019 – March 17, 2019

It’s St. Patrick’s Day… Éirinn go Brách! Join us on Saturday, March 16th AND Sunday, March 17th, starting at 9am (in the morning)…


St. Patties Day Weekend Bash at Club Eclipse, March 16, 2019 – March 17, 2019

We will start celebrating Saturday , March 16 doors open at 11 AM Come and get your shamrock on!! All day long live music & drink…


Kegs & Eggs! at Eavesdrop Brewery, March 17, 2019

Join us for our first ever Kegs & Eggs event at the Brewery!! Topps Kitchen will be slinging some yummy brunch food and we’ll be…


Crown Royal St Patricks Day Party at the Electric Palm, March 17, 2019

St Patricks Day, Sunday, March 17th from 1pm – 5pm at The Electric Palm in Woodbridge for the Crown Royal Apple Day Party Bar Pong…


Stormin’ Norman St. Patty’s Par-tay at Brittany’s!, March 17, 2019

St. Pats is on a Sunday this year, SO WHAT!! We’ll still be rocking out and having the time of our life. JOIN US!


One Hot Mess St. Paddy’s Day Bash at City Grille!, March 17, 2019

One Hot Mess is looking forward to getting the show back on the road. Their first performance of 2019 will be at City Grille in…


Get Lucky w/Yoga & Beer at Eavesdrop, March 17, 2019

Well, aren’t you a lucky leprechaun, because you stumbled across the most fun St. Patrick’s Day self-care event in Northern Virginia!…


Beer & Brunch, St.Paddy’s Day at Rockwood, March 17, 2019

Green beer, green mimosas, and all your Irish favorites! This is the place in Gainesville to be for one of the most fun days of the…


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

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The Complete Guide to Bourbon & Whiskey Distilleries in Virginia

The Complete Guide to Bourbon & Whiskey Distilleries in Virginia

bourbon whiskey cocktail at the Hunt Room at the Cavalier. Tarnished Truth Distillery Bourbon

Whether you prefer it neat, on the rocks, or blended into a traditional cocktail like an Old Fashioned or a Mint Julep, Virginia’s bourbon and whiskey distilleries have what you need to make a world-class drink. Head to one of these distillery tasting rooms to sample their selections of bourbons and whiskeys, then take home a bottle (or two!) of your favorite artisanal spirits to craft the perfect cocktail in the comfort of your home.


Catoctin Creek Distillery—PurcellvilleCatoctin Creek Distilling Company

The first family-owned distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company produces high quality organic spirits and liqueurs. Their flagship product, Roundstone Rye, is made using old-world production methods and has been awarded gold medals at spirits competitions around the world, including the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.


Tarnished Truth Distillery—Virginia Beachtarnished truth distilling company the cavalier virginia beach distillery

Housed in the lower level of the historic Cavalier Hotel, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company makes a High Rye Straight Bourbon Whiskey (aged 3 years for a warm amber look with notes of oak, honey vanilla, clove, and cinnamon) and an Old Cavalier Straight Bourbon Whiskey (aged 9 years, aroma of sweet baked apples and taste of buttery toffee with hints of black pepper and cinnamon). Take a tour of the distillery, which ends with a tasting in their barrel room, and try their whiskey products in cocktails next door at The Hunt Room, one of the Cavalier Hotel’s luxurious bars.


Virginia Distillery Company—LovingstonVirginia Distillery Company Virginia highland whiskey series

Photo Credit: Tom Daly

There are several slight differences between “whisky” and “whiskey”, but one distinction is that “whisky” is made in Scotland, whereas “whiskey” is distilled in Ireland and America. The Virginia Distillery Company may be the only distillery in the Commonwealth to correctly call their product “whisky”, as they marry whiskeys made at their distillery with whisky from Scotland, then age it for at least another 12 months in barrels sourced from local breweries, wineries, and cideries. Their whisky line includes Brewers Batch Virginia-Highland Whisky, Chardonnay Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky, Cider Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky, and Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky. You can learn all about the history of distilling in Virginia at the distillery’s on-site museum, then sample all of their current whisky products at the tasting room, located about 30 minutes outside of Charlottesville in the Blue Ridge Mountains.


A. Smith Bowman Distillery—Fredericksburga smith bowman distillery john j bowman bourbon whiskey fredericksburg distillery

The oldest continuously-running distillery in Virginia, A. Smith Bowman has become known for their internationally acclaimed bourbons, which have won the “World’s Best Bourbon” at the World Whiskies Awards for several years. The Fredericksburg-based distillery offers free tours and tastings on the hour during opening hours, walking visitors through the history of the distillery, sharing the meticulous process of creating their signature spirits, and finishing with a tasting of the products discussed during the tour. They offer several Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskeys named for their historic distilling family, including John J. Bowman, a Single Barrel Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Bowman Brothers, a Small Batch Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and Isaac Bowman, a Port Barrel Finished Straight Bourbon Whiskey.


Belmont Farm Distillery—Culpeperbelmont farm distillery whiskey and bourbon products kopper kettle

While Belmont Farm Distillery mostly focuses on crafting authentic moonshine, they also produce their signature Kopper Kettle, a 92-Proof Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Visit the distillery, located on a 189-acre farm about six miles south of Culpeper, to try the whiskey and get a behind-the-scenes look at how they make their whiskey and moonshine products.


Blue Sky Distillery—Smithfieldblue sky distillery whiskey triple deuce

An award-winning micro distillery in the quaint Coastal Virginia town of Smithfield, Blue Sky Distillery produces their 90-Proof Triple Deuce Whiskey Small Batch Reserve from 100% wheat. Tastings and tours of the distillery are free to visitors 21+, and afterwards you can purchase the whiskey and other distilled spirits on-site to enjoy at home.


Copper Fox Distillery—Sperryville & WilliamsburgCopper Fox Distillery

American Single Malt Whiskeys, Single Malts, Ryes, and Bourbon Mash Whiskeys make up the whiskey offerings at Copper Fox Distillery. The small batch whiskeys are crafted from locally grown grains, pot-stilled in small batches, then barreled, aged, and sampled over time to ensure the highest quality. Purchase a barrel kit at the tasting room to further age your own bourbon or whiskey at home, creating a batch of spirits that is truly unique.


Falls Church Distillers—Falls ChurchFalls Church Distillery Bourbon whiskey products

Falls Church Distillers produces several premium spirits, including two bourbon whiskeys, the Church Bourbon Whiskey (aged in medium char American Oak barrels) and the Church Whiskey (a sweeter whiskey made with a mash blend of corn and wheat that is aged 6 months in a bourbon barrel). While the distillery emphasizes quality, their products are affordable and approachable, creating bourbon whiskeys that beginners will love and experienced whiskey drinkers will appreciate.


Ironclad Distillery Company—Newport Newsironclad distillery newport news bourbon whiskey

Named for the iron ships that made their debut off the coast of Virginia during the Civil War, Ironclad Distillery Company is known for their Small Batch Bourbon, made with Virginia corn, wheat, rye and malted barley and aged for one year in American Oak barrels. The bourbon balances sweetness from the caramelized oak sap of the barrels with a dry spice finish. In addition to their signature Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey, their bourbon lineup includes bourbons finished in secondary barrels like coffee barrels, maple syrup barrels, and honey casks. They round out their offerings with the Straight Bourbon, distilled with corn, wheat, rye, and malted barley, then aged for two years in American Oak barrels. Visit the tasting room to try their products straight or mixed into bourbon cocktail samplers, take a free tour of the distillery, then peruse the distillery shop for bourbon-inspired goods and products.


Springfield Distillery—Halifaxspringfield distillery scratch whiskey products

If you’re traveling to Southern Virginia, don’t miss stopping by Springfield Distillery to taste a few of their Scratch whiskeys, named for their from-scratch origins. While the Scratch Corn Whiskey (made with Virginia-grown corn and malted barley) and Bourbon Whiskey are the standards, they also make an array of flavored whiskeys, ranging from fruit-inspired blackberry, orange, and apple whiskeys, as well as inventive flavors like butterscotch, sweet heat, brown sugar cinnamon, and honey. The rustic tasting room serves straight up pours of the whiskeys or offers small flight tastings, which combine the whiskeys with simple bar ingredients for easy-to-recreate cocktails. Make an overnight trip out of your visit and stay at the distillery’s cabins (hand built by the owners!), blending rustic exteriors with all the modern comforts inside the cabins.


The Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery—Hamptonvanguard 757 brewpub and distillery caiseal bourbon whiskey products

Housed within the historic Hampton Armory, The Vanguard Brewpub & Distillery caters to both craft beer lovers and spirits drinkers. Unlike most others, both their Caiseal Single Malt and Caiseal Whitestone Spirit are clear, as they skip the barrel aging process that adds color to the spirits. The clear spirits showcase sweet corn and subtle spice, resulting in a drinkable bourbon whiskey product that mixes easily into cocktails.



Looking for more distilleries crafting bourbons and whiskeys in Virginia? Add these to your checklist!


Not a whiskey or bourbon fan? There are plenty of distilleries in Virginia crafting gin, vodka, moonshine, brandy, and even absinthe!


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Be A River Realm Foodie: Irvington

Be A River Realm Foodie: Irvington

We all love good food and there is a culinary explosion in Virginia’s River Realm. It’s not just about the food. We have some of the best chefs around, cooking up everything from long-standing, traditional coastal Virginia fare, to Irish, Australian, Thai, Caribbean, Mexican and even a taste of Southern Florida.

Take for example Irvington, a sleepy little village of around 450 people is quickly becoming one of the centers of the local food scene and boasts some of the best new restaurant hubs in the area. Irvington’s restaurant buildings are as interesting as the cuisines they serve. From an old school house to a historic store building, a dental office to a vineyard… a little something for everyone, you might say.

Virginias River Realm/Hope and Glory Inn

Hope and Glory Inn

65 Tavern Road, Irvington, VA 22480, 804-438-6053

Love brought Chef Meseret Crockett to Irvington when she fell in love with a local man and then became the Executive Chef and Manager at the Hope and Glory Inn and Vineyard, as well as an American Citizen! Chef Meseret was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and, educated in French schools. She is a graduate of the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She is known to the producers of the Food Network and has hosted them for dinner at the Hope and Glory Inn. Earlier this year, she was invited to New York to attend a Food Network Cooking School event for her fellow Ethiopian Chef Marcus Samuelson. Samuelson last year was the honoree at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne event.

Virginias River Realm/Hope and Glory Inn

When asked to define a Hope and Glory customer, Meseret replied, “Anyone interested in an upscale fine dining experience. Many think our dinners are only for our overnight guests. Not true – we find our best guests are those who live right here.” She added, “They (Locals) have a sophisticated palate. They expect the best; and I strive every evening to exceed their expectations. The people who live here are genuine; and, I am grateful every day to all those who put their trust in me and accept me, as their Chef, though I came from a foreign continent.”

Expect the unexpected in the Hope and Glory dining hall where this January-March you are offered a pre-fixe dinner that includes the best of the local catch, their signature GLORYfied Oysters and Rappahannock Rockfish. The Chef’s favorite part of her multi-course meals is her desserts. She notes, “Every evening we take our dinner guests on a culinary journey and “my desserts” are my finale.” A culinary journey worth the travel!

Virginias River Realm/Hope and Glory Inn –

And who wouldn’t want to go to Detention in this historic school house Inn? Detention is a cozy full bar, a fun place to repent your misdeeds for the day along with a refreshing Vodka and Tonic!

Ethiopian food in Irvington this winter! Keep in mind, on the third Thursday of each month; Chef Meseret will be creating an Ethiopian meal experience for her guests to taste the flavors of her homeland.

Virginias River Realm/Hope and Glory Inn –

Winter Menu is served at the Hope and Glory Thursday-Saturday, reservations required. $55 PER PERSON–plus tax, gratuity. Bottles of wine of your choice will be offered at half price. Sounds like a deal to us!



Virginias River Realm/SLURP Dog and Oyster Vineyard –

The Hope and Glory Inn also owns the Dog and Oyster Vineyard. The Vineyard is open for wine tastings during the winter months, but when spring arrives, so does SLURP. SLURP is the outdoor restaurant an outdoor café that matches locally grown oysters with locally grown wines, both capturing their distinct flavors from the terrain (grapes) and sea (oysters) in which they grow.

Chef Stuart Tyson spent his childhood summers in Deltaville sailing, fishing and crabbing on Fishing Bay. After a successful career in Miami in the healthcare industry, he returned to his roots to pursue his passion for good food and good spirits. He has developed and managed popular restaurants as well as planned and catered special events including intimate dinner parties, sassy soirees and grand wedding receptions. His dishes have graced tables in the most distinctive homes of Virginia. You can enjoy his hospitality and his boat-to-table seafood creations at his whimsical outdoor Rappahannock River oyster stand “SLURP,” located at The Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Irvington.

Virginias River Realm/SLURP Dog and Oyster Vineyard 

Savor fresh off the boat oysters and softshell crabs, overstuffed Po’ Boys and his much-loved Virginia Slider; which features both Virginia golden fried oysters and Smithfield country ham. Stuart will also tempt you with his decadent sweet treat that is shipped in from his beloved Key West: frozen key lime pie dipped in dark chocolate and served on an ice cream stick. Decadent at its best!

Virginias River Realm/SLURP Dog and Oyster Vineyard 

Stuart encourages friends and soon to be friends, locals and come-here’s alike to enjoy the perfect pairing made on the River Realm. Stay tuned for more when SLURP opens this spring.

Sip. Slurp. Savor.


Vine-Wine, Beer and Provisions

77 King Carter Drive Irvington, VA 22480

Virginias River Realm/Vine –

The next stop in Irvington is Vine, a spirit lovers delight. Vine, opened less than a year, offering patrons a quiet, reflective patio and indoor dining in a neighborhood NYC bistro setting. The restaurant/wine store has a great local vibe, where friends and neighbors meet to enjoy a glass of chardonnay or a new IPA. If you are from out of town, you too will fit right in with the locals at this amazingly cozy wine venue, relaxed but elegant in its own right. Sit at the bar and watch the chef as he creates his signature petite plates and cheese boards that are as beautiful to look at as they are to taste. The small plates are selected to compliment the wine and beer menu. “We will always be serving traditional small plates such as cheese boards and charcuterie but also love to switch things up and serve adventurous plates like Vietnamese pork cheek Bahn Mi sandwiches,” says the new Chef Josh Killian.

Virginias River Realm/Vine –

Josh also found his way to Virginia’s River Realm through LOVE. He met a young lady who happened to grow up in White Stone. Josh said, “She always wanted to return here and make this area her permanent home, after spending time here I quickly agreed it is an amazing place to call home.” Good for her and good for us that Josh caught the River Realm fever and moved to Irvington with his new wife, Emily! He adds, “You can design your own life here, it is easy to achieve a quiet country life, but there is enough in the area to have an eventful social life.”

Virginias River Realm/Vine –

Chef Killian, from Richmond, started his culinary career at age 16, working his way up the restaurant career path, training under some of the most talented chefs in Richmond. He believes that the most flavorful cuisine is made simply with the highest quality ingredients. Being the Chef at Vine allows him to practice his viewpoint about food. Josh has a menu favorite, “Currently my favorite thing on our menu are the mussels in a tomato and white wine broth. I enjoy how it’s a dish that takes only a few simple ingredients that create such an amazing meal.” He notes, “We constantly change our menu with the season and availability of seasonal products throughout the local area. In the future, we are planning on having cooking classes and other interactive events.”

Virginias River Realm/Vine –

There is something special at Vine almost every day of the week. Monday’s are half-priced wine bottles for dining customers. Mark your calendars for not to be missed Wednesdays, because on Wednesdays you, your friends and neighbors can enjoy a wine tasting at the Vine (5-7 pm). Thursday night is French Bread pizza and beer night. Vine is open for lunch and dinner every day except Tuesday.

While you are there, you may want to pick up a bottle of your favorite wine to take home for later.


The Office Café

4346 Irvington Rd., Irvington, VA 22480 804 438-8032

Virginias River Realm/The Office Café 

The Office Café is a new American restaurant that recently opened in Irvington. Housed in a former dentist office, the casual restaurant can be recognized by its dental artwork throughout, matching the giant toothbrushes on the outside of the building. But wait, at least half of the restaurant seating is even more casual on the heated porch, where you can pretend it is Spring all year long! The restaurant name was chosen as the favorite between many tongue in cheek options such as Floss’s and Colgate’s.

Chef Mike Knapik began his career at the exclusive Key Largo Anglers Club completing a culinary apprenticeship under Executive Chef Michael Duncan. Soon after, he began his career in the industry learning the business from the bottom up working at various resorts under numerous accomplished Chefs. With more than 15 years of experience, he was appointed Executive Chef at a trend-setting new start-up restaurant in Fort Lauderdale which served over1,000 patrons a day. Wanting to expand his knowledge and creativity, Chef Mike joined the ultra-exclusive yachting industry spending four years as head chef aboard private yachts. After visiting the Northern Neck several times, he fell in love with the area and especially Irvington. As Chef Mike quotes, “I love the small-town charm, the change of the seasons, and watching the wildlife run through my front yard every evening”. On a personal note, the country cobb salad is recommended by one of the waitstaff and it did not disappoint. The Pow Pow appetizers features flash fried shrimp or oysters tossed in a spicy Thai chili sriracha sauce. Chef Knapik notes, “Everything is prepared from-scratch including marinades, seasonings, sauces and salad dressings to keep emphasis on quality and freshness.”

Virginias River Realm/The Office Café –

The menu will vary based on the season, but features artisan salads, flatbreads, and sandwiches along with new and exciting specials such as a modest dinner entrée offering and a Thursday Night Social where beer flights, and wine specials will be offered along with Napoli Style Artisan Pizzettes baked right in their fire-oven. A Sunday brunch menu features some of the daily favorites plus a breakfast-inspired array of bowls, flatbreads, sandwiches, and shrimp and grits. Online ordering at theofficeirvington.com is also available for quick and easy ordering featuring all eco-friendly to-go packaging.

Virginias River Realm/The Office Café 

If you want to impress someone special on their birthday, order the famous birthday shake. No need to buy an expensive birthday cake, this shake makes quite an impression with fancy sprinkles and birthday cake included. The birthday girl or boy will not easily forget this celebration in a mug!

The Office Café is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner Thursday – Saturday.

In addition to offering incredible food, the Office Café is now offering an apprenticeship program where motivated students can become fully trained chefs. The program will include studies in food safety regulations and culinary skills that cover the gambit of becoming a Super Chef!


4357 Irvington Rd, Irvington, VA 804 438-6363

Virginias River Realm/Dredge 

We are patiently waiting for the grand opening of the newest restaurant in town called Dredge, located in the former Trick Dog Café building. Bryan Byrd, the owner and executive chef, is one of our local culinary heroes with strong roots to the seafood business in the area. Ironically, Bryan at age 16 worked at the former Trick Dog Café when the restaurant initially opened and bartended there after he finished high school. He began his restaurant business ownership as the first chef of the outdoor grill at the Dog and Oyster. From there he moved on to his famous food truck where you could find him at events and street side selling his seasonal specialties like his oyster stew, crab quesadillas and famous oyster tacos.

Chef Byrd brings a taste of Key West/Cuba to the palate from his years in the restaurant business, many miles south of Irvington. It is all about fresh out of the water to your table with Bryan—just like his grandma taught him. Gordon Slatford, a well-missed Irvington legend has this to say about Bryan, “Bryan Byrd has rapidly become an icon in the Irvington area. He has worked tirelessly to be seen at every show and event for a number of years with his show stopping food and eye-popping flavors.” Spot on, we all agree!

There are actually people that follow Bryan’s truck from venue to venue to sample his culinary creations! We have seen Brian’s work from his food truck, can you dare try and imagine what he can do with a full kitchen at his disposal? We can hardly contain our excitement!

Virginias River Realm/Dredge –

According to Chef Byrd, Dredge will serve the freshest seafood, much of it provided by Miss Mary Seafood in White Stone, a business owned and operated by people that actually catch seafood for a living. Lisa Rose from Miss Mary seafood has been working with Bryan for a few years commented, “Bryan’s got grit, love, dedication, passion and most importantly integrity. He is well respected in our seafood industry. His palate is beyond our small- town living, that’s for sure!” she added, “Bryans diners will walk out of Dredge instantly craving their next meal there!” assures Lisa.

Here is a peek at what is in store for us at Dredge:

In addition to the food we have grown to love from Bryan, he has a number of new ideas for Dredge. Kellum’s wild oysters will be a regular feature at Dredge, but he will add oysters from other regions showcased on a rotating basis. Favorite farm-raised oysters will include local Windmill Point oysters and Shooting Point Salts from the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Byrd says, “We will offer seafood from all over the East Coast and other regions with a Caribbean influence” he adds “We will not forget what made our business thrive with our “fresh from boat to table” local oysters.

Virginias River Realm/Dredge 

Overall restaurant décor will be nautical with a catering room available for events and special parties. Chef Byrd is currently working with a Sommelier consultant to develop his wine and beer menu to provide a complete pairing experience with the food he serves at Dredge.

Specials will be available nightly with $1 oysters available on Thursday nights, Pizza nights on Wednesday and Tacos and Tequila specials on Tuesday nights.

We have been watching Bryan grow and prosper with his food truck and now we are anticipating a grand entrance into the restaurant scene with his new restaurant that will no doubt impress us more than ever. Dredge is expected to open its doors to the public mid-February. As we said, we can hardly wait!

The Tides

480 King Carter Dr. Irvington, VA 804 438-5000

Virginias River Realm/The Tides –

The Tides Inn offers a variety of dining options to overnight guests, boaters and just plain hungry people. Since 1947, the Tides has been providing the perfect getaway and dining option for folks that want a relaxing retreat from the rest of the busy world. The Inn offers four unique dining experiences including fine dining in the Chesapeake Room, small plates on the Chesapeake Terrace, incredible. Sunsets and scenic water views from the Overlook dining room and relaxed, casual poolside dining at the Commodore Restaurant. Your choice for an amazing meal.

The resort also offers culinary adventures along with their fine cuisine including an Oyster Academy where visitors can learn about oyster history, harvest and wine pairings as well as taste the freshest oysters caught straight from the River.

Virginias River Realm/The Tides –

Signature drinks include the Lancaster Lemonade and private label bourbon that can only be found at the Tides. The signature bourbon was a collaborative effort between the Tides culinary staff and A. Smith Bowman Distillery, located in Spotsylvania County near Fredericksburg.

Don’t forget the Taste of Spring hosted by the Tides. The signature event will offer guests an opportunity to enjoy local seafood, brews and wines as well as outstanding entertainment.

Virginias River Realm/The Tides

The Tides is currently interviewing candidates for the position of Head Chef for the resort. Each Chef brings their flavors from their careers in other regional kitchens. We look forward to tasting the culinary treasures of the new chef at the Tides. More to come!

The Grill at the Golden Eagle

364 Clubhouse Road, Irvington, Virginia 22480, (804) 438-6740

Virginias River Realm/ The Grill at the Golden Eagle

Don’t forget the southern charm of the Grill at the Golden Eagle. The casual restaurant has a real New Orleans feel to the interior and a local feel to the menu. Owned by the Tides Resort, this café is not just for golfers, even though it is mighty convenient for those playing the award-winning 18-hole golf course surrounding the restaurant. The Grill and the golf course are operated with the same husband and wife team that have been running the place for the last eight years.

The Oyster Caesar Salad is always a crowd pleaser. Kellum’s oysters are served on a bed of romaine lettuce, shaved Parmesan cheese and just the right amount of dressing. A lump meat crab cake sandwich is also a recommended menu choice, as well as the oyster Po’boy, both served on a toasted Kaiser roll. The Grill menu may change once the new chef is hired at the Tides Inn.

Virginias River Realm/ The Grill at the Golden Eagle –

The outdoor porches are a dining option when the weather is cooperating and even if the Golden Eagle Golf Course is closed for rain you will find the Grill open every day but Tuesday from 11:00-3:00, rain or shine.

The Local

4337 Irvington Rd, Irvington, Virginia 22480, (804) 438-9356

Virginias River Realm/The Local –

Speaking of breakfast and lunch choices, you won’t regret a stop at The Local for some amazing specialty coffee and healthy salads, wraps, sandwiches and even ice cream. The shop seems to radiate a fresh feeling when you walk in the door. Go and see for yourself. New energy is there, and it’s not just the caffeine…you can feel it.

A young family, Anthony and Joanna Marchetti and their close friend Jack Geier have recently purchased the Local and have made a few changes to make the place a little cozier and a bit more “local.” Anthony and Joanna Marchetti have lived and worked in the Northern Neck for more than ten years. During that time, they’ve enjoyed becoming deeply involved in many aspects of the community. They’re raising their two (and a half!) children in Irvington and couldn’t pass up this unique opportunity to create a place of community and gathering in their neighborhood.

Virginias River Realm/The Local –

A Lancaster native, Jack Geier, as well as his family, have been and continue to be an integral part of the local business community. His roots in- and love for- the area run deep, and he’s passionate about contributing to the economic growth of the Northern Neck.

“In a small town such as ours, it’s really exciting to know that you can be the one to bring something special to the area for others to enjoy. It’s our opportunity to enhance one’s experience of the Northern Neck, whether you’re a local or a visitor. Our fantastic staff work hard to make the shop look good and feel great for every person who walks through the door,” comments Joanna.

When asked who creates the menu items, Joanna responds, “The menu is very much a collaborative effort involving requests and suggestions from friends/the community, staff, and ultimately- me.” Joanna’s the food lover and says she could happily spend all day in the kitchen. She adds, “We aim to respect the tradition of The Local, while trying to incorporate some new healthy and unique offerings. A large part of our interest in owning and operating the business is the ability to introduce things that may otherwise be missing from our neck of the woods, so creating healthy and convenient (and fun!) options is a priority.”

The Local is about great coffee and they serve specialty coffee, crafted by Ironclad Coffee Roasters based in Richmond, the Captain’s Blend is the most popular brew, created especially and exclusively for The Local. Favorite and best-selling menu items include a longtime fan favorite, now called “The OG” (formerly The Taylor), is a chicken-pesto-bacon panini, while new favorites include Avocado Toast and The B-Triple-C.

Virginias River Realm/The Local 

Joanna mentions, “As food lovers, we are ALWAYS dreaming up new culinary offerings we can bring to the shop, with a focus on transitioning to as many healthy, fresh and local ingredients as we can. We have a lot of things currently in the works!”

Joanna’s personal favorite choices are Crab muffins! A delicious local crabmeat mixture warmed on a toasty English Muffin- it doesn’t get more local than that! Another Joanna recommendation, the Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwich, is hand crafted in Richmond, VA, and may even require a knife and fork to eat! “These gourmet frozen treats are out of this world. We change up the flavors from time to time, but so far, my vote goes to the Chocolate Espresso-chocolate espresso ice cream sandwiched between chocolate brownie cookies with the perfect amount of crunch!”

Because they CARE, the new owners of The Local have completed many eco-friendly initiatives, with many more to go! They have an aggressive goal to reduce our waste drastically and have already accomplished several goals to date. These include switching to paper straws, eliminating Styrofoam products (switching to microfiber to go packaging), eliminating plastic ramekins and coffee stirrers and incorporating more reusable items such as utensils and cups, and encouraging the use of mason jars and mugs for in-house beverages.

Uncle Jay’s Soul and Sweets Food Truck

Corner of Weems Rd and Irvington Rd.

Virginias River Realm/Uncle Jay’s Soul and Sweets Food Truck –

When a waterman tells you that he has found the best crab cake around, number one you believe him, and number two you immediately travel to that restaurant to see for yourself. Uncle Jay’s crab cake sandwich or crab cake dinner is one of the best crab cakes around. Chef Jason Hendricks serves homemade entrees and desserts from his white truck a couple of days a week parked at the old Zooms parking lot. Other days you may find him in the town of Kilmarnock serving his authentic homecooked recipes. The menu varies from day to day, so you never know what he’s got cooking, but you know it will have lots and lots of soul flavor!

Jason’s fond childhood memories of his trips to Kilmarnock to visit his grandmother brought him back to Virginia’s River Realm from Ohio. No doubt his grandmother had a strong influence on his county coastal style of soul food cooking. He has now come back to his family home to create even more memories for his children, but this time centered around some tasty food creations.

Standard menu items include breakfast, lunch and dinner and almost always come with hand cut French Fries. Entrees for the day could be mouthwatering barbeque or a J burger with a bacon and egg topping, fish and chips, crab cakes or chicken tenders. Pick up a dinner on your way home from work and it is enough food for two!

Virginias River Realm/Uncle Jay’s Soul and Sweets Food Truck –

And if you are just looking to treat yourself to something special, we hear is desserts are equally as incredible as the rest of his flavorful dishes.

Virginia’s River Realm is a partnership between Lancaster and Middlesex County Governments, promoting tourism venues throughout the two counties.

Written by Virginia’s River Realm.

Featured image provided by River Realm

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Virginia’s New Sports Venues

Virginia’s New Sports Venues

Virginia is quickly becoming a go-to destination for sports tournaments of all types. With diverse terrain from mountains to beaches, and all the valleys in between, state-of-the-art venues continue to develop and boast championship soccer fields, football fields, ice skating and hockey rinks, Olympic regulation swimming pools and more. Below are some of Virginia’s newly opened or soon-to-open sports venues.


Virginia Beach Sports Center—Virginia Beach

The city of Virginia Beach broke ground for the Virginia Beach Sports Center in August 2018. The new 285,000-square-foot complex will have space for 12 basketball courts convertible to 24 volleyball courts and flexible floor space. The center also features a 200 meter, indoor hydraulically banked track, seating for 5,000 spectators and more of the latest facility features. The expected opening is November 2020.


The St. James—Springfield

The St. James, a new 450,000-square foot sports complex in Springfield, VA, offers the most comprehensive combination of sports and wellness venues including a FIFA regulation-sized turf field, two NHL regulation-sized ice rinks four NBA-regulation basketball courts that convert into nine volleyball courts, 50-meter Olympic regulation pool, six batting cages, eight international regulation singles squash courts and seven golf simulators. A premium health club, spa, medicine center, as well as an entertainment center, training center an indoor water park, shops and cafes/restaurants are also available on-site.


Glover Park—Henrico

Glover Parka brand new 88-acre, tournament-quality athletic complex in Henrico County, features an eight-court premium sand volleyball facility. Opened in March 2018, the man-made volleyball courts are sized and spaced based on NCAA standards and feature the highest quality sand that is washed, screened and well rounded. In addition, Greenwood Park features four lighted multi-purpose organic infill synthetic athletic fields.


ION International Training Center—Loudoun

Opening spring 2019, the ION International Training Center will be a year-round, two-rink ice center and the county’s first indoor arena with stadium seating. The 100,000-square-foot center will house two National Hockey League-size rinks serving recreational and professional ice sports, and will also contain a multi-functional floor that will allow the arena to be used for non-ice-related events, including school graduations, sporting tournaments and concerts.


Jackson River Sports Complex—Covington

The Jackson River Sports Complex totals 75 acres, with 50 developed acres offering five lighted multi-use athletic fields/press box, lighted tennis courts, basketball courts, 20 acres for open turf sports (soccer, flag football), walking area, restrooms, gazebo, covered shelters with electricity, concession areas, playground equipment, ample parking and the River Rock Amphitheatre. The complex offers bleacher and festival seating – allowing fans to feel like they are part of the action.


APEX Center—Wytheville

Serving as a premier exposition and civic center west of Roanoke, the Appalachian Regional Exposition (APEX) Center plays host to a multitude of community, regional and national events. The center includes a 200’ X 300’ indoor arena with seating for up to 5,000 for rodeos, indoor soccer events, motocross, equine events and dozens of other competitions. Conveniently located in Southwest Virginia off I-81 and near I-77 intersection, the APEX Center will also include outdoor multipurpose athletic fields, an outdoor horse ring, classroom & training facilities and office space.


Ali Krieger Sports Complex—Prince William

Opened March 2018, the Ali Krieger Sports Complex sits on 29.7 acres adjacent to St. John Paul the Great Catholic High School and includes seven rectangular, multi-purpose fields, softball field, playground, concessions and parking area.


Virginia’s Blue Ridge IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center™

Virginia’s Blue Ridge has been designated as a Silver-Level IBMA Ride Center™ by the International Mountain Bicycling Association! The Ride Center designation recognizes progressive trail communities that value mountain biking and have a trail-forward approach that serves their community members alongside recreational tourism. Carvins Cove, Explore Park and Mill Mountain Park are all easily accessible and offer some of the best trails for experiencing Virginia’s Blue Ridge.


Richmond Volleyball Club—Chesterfield

Richmond Volleyball Club opened its new 55,000-square-foot facility at Stonebridge. The building has eight volleyball courts and a mezzanine viewing area. Chesterfield County’s Parks and Recreation department will occupy 5,000 square feet for its Stonebridge Recreation Center.


Liberty University Shooting Compex—Lynchburg

Liberty University Shooting Complex includes a pistol range, a rifle range, an instructional area, and a three-gun competition range, skeet and trap, 5 stand area, outdoor archery, sporting clays, and biathlon course.


See more…

What’s New in Sports

Sports Venues

Top Reasons to Hold your Next Event in Virginia

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Seven Historic Wedding Venues in Northern Virginia

Seven Historic Wedding Venues in Northern Virginia

Discover your “something old” at one of these seven picturesque historic wedding venues in Prince William.


—Bristow Manor—


Tucked away in the peaceful, historic countryside of Northern Virginia, Bristow Manor Golf Club seamlessly merges traditional Southern roots with a beautiful golf course. Located in Bristow, Virginia this Colonial Revival Manor House coupled with the countryside charm and serenity offers a variety of spectacular indoor and outdoor event venues guaranteed to make your wedding day truly unforgettable.


—Effingham Manor Winery—


Effingham Manor Winery provides a unique backdrop of beauty and history – perfect for your wedding ceremony and reception. Whether you’re hosting a small intimate affair or a large celebration, your guests will enjoy the exquisitely landscaped grounds, English gardens and historic Manor House.


—Foxchase Manor—


Looking for timeless elegance? A grand Jefferson Manion, Foxchase Manor features classic architecture, rich Italian marble floors and luxurious ballrooms. Accommodating up to 1,500 guest Foxchase is an ideal location for indoor celebrations.


—Heritage Hunt—


Truly enchanting, Heritage Hunt emulates the style of a grand Colonial Virginia plantation. Couples can host their wedding ceremony outdoors beside flowering gardens or inside the stately clubhouse. Vibrant Cherry Blossom trees make Heritage Hunt a top contender for spring weddings in the D.C. area.


—Rippon Lodge—


With beautiful views of the Neabsco Creek, consider the rustic Rippon Lodge for a wedding with a waterfront view! The 43-acre historic site was founded in 1747 and has become a historic landmark in Woodbridge. The outdoor venue features a gorgeous wrap around porch, which makes the colonial house a perfect backdrop for any wedding. The sprawling green yards can host a tent for up to 150-200 people with either the river or the building as the backdrop.


—Sweeney Barn—


Sweeney Barn began its history circa 1939 as a one-story dairy barn with a hayloft. Couples looking for an effortless chic celebration will love this newly restored venue. Sweeney Barn’s rich history, original architecture, modern design and technology will have your guests swooning.


—National Museum of the Marine Corps—


Look beyond the traditional wedding location. Host your ceremony in the exquisite Semper Fidelis Chapel located in a woodland setting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA. Afterwards, you and your wedding guests can enjoy your reception in the Leatherneck Gallery amidst some of the nation’s most historic and treasured artifacts.




With multiple national and international airports in the D.C. area, Prince William, VA offers you and your wedding guests an easily accessible destination. For more information on planning your wedding in Prince William, VA please click here.

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

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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!




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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.

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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!

The post The Top Things to do in Virginia This March appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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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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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

A post shared by Armand DeNuzzio Jr. (@djarmandva) on Dec 2, 2017 at 9:02am PST


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

A post shared by Austin morganwilson (@misguidedmisfit) on Jul 7, 2018 at 8:05am PDT


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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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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