Entertainment around RVA

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in January 2019

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in January 2019

It’s a new year and there’s lots of new music coming to Virginia in January 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 Umphrey’s McGee (Jan. 11 & 12), Yung Bleu (Jan. 19), Badfish – A Tribute to Sublime (Jan. 20), August Burns Red (Jan. 25) and others.

The Broadberry will be hosting acts like Cracker & Camper Van Beethoven on Jan. 21, Big Something on Jan. 25 & 26, Mt. Joy on Jan. 27, and more.

The Dominion Energy Center will host An Evening with Three Dog Night on Jan. 17.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host MJ Live (Michael Jackson Tribute Show) on Jan. 11, Travis Tritt on Jan. 12, and more.

The Paramount Theater

In Charlottesville, the John Paul Jones Arena will be hosting Panic! At the Disco on Jan. 23. The Jefferson Theater will hosts artists like Eddie from Ohio (Jan. 12), Steep Canyon Rangers (Jan. 18), Phil Vassar (Jan. 26) and more. At the Paramount Theater, WNRN will present “Dead Air,” a concert spotlighting 22 bands from the Commonwealth and their unique versions of Grateful Dead songs. Artists performing include David Wax Museum, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Scott Miller, The Front Porch, The Steel Wheels, Rob Cheatham, Gold Connections, Andy Jenkins, Chamomile & Whiskey, and more.

In Lynchburg, Ashley McBryde will be performing at the Phase 2 Club on Jan. 11 along with Uncle Kracker on Jan. 18, and more.

The NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Lake Street Dive (Jan. 4), Lovelytheband (Jan. 11), Silverstein (Jan. 13), Court Street Company (Jan. 25) and many others.

In Roanoke, the Berglund Center will be hosting Kane Brown on Jan. 31.

The Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount will host An Evening With Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder on Jan. 10. Also performing in January are Junior Sisk (Jan. 11), Alejandro Escovedo (Jan. 13), Crash Test Dummies (Jan. 22), and more.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include The Verve Pipe (Jan. 12), Toots & the Maytals (Jan. 16), John Oates with the Good Road Band (Jan. 17 & 18), and more.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will be hosting The SOS Band (Jan. 10), Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Jan. 11 & 12), Travis Tritt (Jan. 15 & 16), Eddie From Ohio (Jan. 18-20), Angie Stone (Jan. 21), and 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 January 2019 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Holiday Cheers: Virginia Breweries, Wineries, & Distilleries for the Season

Holiday Cheers: Virginia Breweries, Wineries, & Distilleries for the Season

The holidays bring some tasty flavors to Virginia, so it comes as no surprise that many Virginia craft breweries, wineries, and distilleries are getting into the spirit of the season. Whether it’s with festive flavors, cozy tasting rooms, or over-the-top decorations, these drink destinations have plenty of holiday cheer.


—HOLIDAY CRAFT BEERS—redbeard brewing company holiday beer

Virginia is currently home to over 200 craft breweries, and many of these brew their own special seasonal beers. Infusing ingredients like holiday spice blends, peppermint, and gingerbread, these Virginia brewers concoct a wide variety of unique (often award-winning) craft beers. Check out our complete holiday beer guide, and then head to any of these Virginia craft breweries for a true taste of the holiday season.


—COZY VIRGINIA WINERIES—Barren Ridge Vineyards

Nothing says “Merry & Bright” like a glass of wine in front of a roaring fireplace at a cozy Virginia winery. And with almost 300 wineries in every corner of Virginia, you don’t have to go far to find your holiday cheer. Still haven’t found that perfect gift for your special someone? Consider turning a day trip to a winery into an overnight Virginia vineyard getaway to create a memorable holiday experience for you both.


—SEASONAL SPIRITS—Virginia Distillery Company

As the birthplace of American spirits, Virginia has a bourgeoning distillery scene, with dozens of distilleries now calling the Commonwealth home. Making spirits like bourbons, whiskeys, vodkas, and gins, these distilleries offer the perfect holiday gift for that cocktail-loving friend or family member. Pair it with a signature Virginia cocktail recipe and you’re sure to beat out Santa for the best gift of the holidays.


—FESTIVE POP-UP BARS—miracle on cary street the jasper holiday pop up bar carytown richmond

While there are hundreds of bars throughout Virginia that put up sparkling lights, Christmas trees, and the typical holiday décor, a select few go above and beyond, transforming during the holiday season into a veritable Winter Wonderland. In Richmond’s Carytown neighborhood, The Jasper has become Miracle on Cary St., the only Virginia location for the international Christmas pop-up bar group based in New York City. Enjoy creative holiday cocktails like the Snowball Old-Fashioned or the Christmapolitan. Also in Richmond, Rappahannock Restaurant’s Rapp Session turns into Tis the Session Christmas Bar Takeover, where seasonal spirits flow, holiday music fills the air, and festive decorations cover the walls. In Leesburg, 14 Loudoun decks the halls as they change to Fa La La, hosting holiday events and serving special Christmas cocktails throughout the season.  


As always, enjoy responsibly in Virginia and use a designated driver when traveling to Virginia craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, or cocktail bars. Happy holidays from Virginia is for Lovers!

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Holiday Finds in Irvington, VA

Holiday Finds in Irvington, VA

Do the holidays have you stressed? From a calendar of events to a long list of gifts to find and wrap, “overwhelmed” is a regular feeling this time of year for many. In the River Realm, we have the shorelines to keep us calm. We also have an abundance of easy and unique holiday gifts to put under the tree. On a stroll through the town of Irvington, you can discover all of these…

Hope & Glory Inn

Visit River Realm

The Hope and Glory Inn is all decked out with holiday decorations. Saunter in to enjoy the enchanting building and courtyard. Make plans to stay for dinner and indulge in farm-to-table and boat-to-table specialties at The Dining Hall, now available for $100 for two, usually $150. While you’re there, purchase the gift of travel!

Who on your gift list could use a true getaway to the River Realm? The Inn is offering a few deals right now. For starters, you can stay at Hope & Glory three Saturday nights in December at a $150 rate for a room and a $185 rate for a cottage. There are still a few spots remaining to take part in the annual New Year’s party, which includes dinner and champagne! Finally, if a December getaway isn’t in the cards, then you can purchase a gift card to be used sometime in 2018. A gift that is already paid for makes the decision to get away even easier. Find out more and reserve by calling 804.438.6053.

Visit River Realm

Objects & More

Visit River Realm

This local upscale gallery carries work from more than 200 artists from across the country. Get lost as you discover paintings and pottery inspiring by the River Realm. You’ll also find well-crafted jewelry, home decor, and even nightlights. Got a dog lover on your gift list? We love this dog sculpture made entirely of driftwood. Learn about Objects & More.

Dog & Oyster Vineyard

Visit River Realm

Fancy a glass of rose? The Dog & Oyster Vineyard is still open Saturdays and Sundays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.! Take a walk or short drive to the winery known for its giant corkscrews. The 6-acre vineyard grows four varieties of grapes: Chardonel and Vidal Blanc for white wines and Chambourcin and Merlot for its reds. Take a few bottles of the Virginia Wine home as gifts or to serve at your holiday gatherings. The vineyard is owned by the Hope & Glory Inn and has all the same great high quality and fun flavor. You can call Hope & Glory Inn to purchase a gift card that includes a stay at Hope & Glory and a visit to the vineyard.


Steamboat Era Museum

Visit River Realm

How about a splash of history? Swing into the Steamboat Era Museum to feed the curious kid in you. The museum brings landscapes to life from an era when revival camps, shucking houses and country stores dotted the river’s shores. The museum’s gift shop is stocked with holiday decorations and gifts for the entire family including hostess gifts, jigsaw puzzles based on pieces from the museum’s collections, note cards, posters, journals and stocking stuffers. For the history buffs and foodies on your gift list, we suggest the museum publications, “We Are Who We Are Because Steamboats Were” and “Dining on the Chesapeake Bay.”


More About Irvington

Want more inspiration for your visit to Irvington? We’ve got a three-day travel guide all mapped out for you. Learn where to stay, play and eat next time you can come visit us. Start planning now.

Happy Holidays from Virginia’s River Realm!

Written by Virginia’s River Realm.

Featured image provided by Visit River Realm

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Virginia’s Most Over-The-Top Holiday Decorations

Virginia’s Most Over-The-Top Holiday Decorations

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time to check off all the annual traditions, from tacky lights tours to a heartwarming breakfast with Santa himself. But if you’re looking to really immerse yourself in the spirit of the season, these festive destinations take decorating to the next level with millions of lights, unique seasonal themes, and enough holiday cheer to get you through the New Year. Head to one of these beautifully decorated seasonal sites for a concentrated dose of holiday spirit in Virginia.


OLD LUCKETTS STORE—LEESBURGold lucketts store leesburg holiday decorations

An 100-year-old Leesburg historical landmark, Old Lucketts Store is home to over 30 dealers that showcase antique, vintage, and new finds from all over the East Coast. During the holidays, they deck out the 6,000+ square-foot store with creative displays that the staff spends all year long dreaming up. After filling the shop to the brim with imaginative decorations and decor, they have expanded to the property farmhouse, adorning the home’s eleven rooms with beautiful decorations, all of which are for sale. Spend the day getting some holiday shopping done at Old Lucketts Store, then take your holiday photos at one of their many Instagram-worthy seasonal scenes, including three hand-painted murals, decorated vintage vehicles, and an authentic London cab packed with holiday cheer.



Photo Credit: Tom Hennessy

Now through January 7, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is blanketed by twinkling lights in all colors and designs for their annual Gardenfest of Lights, sponsored by Dominion Energy. Gaze at over one million holiday lights as you stroll through the 50+ acres of public gardens, voted one of the top four in North America by USA Today readers. The gardens offer family activities every night during Gardenfest, as well as model trains, holiday dinners, and snacks like s’mores and hot chocolate to warm you up on even the coldest nights. Tickets are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors 55 and up, $8 for children 3-12, and free for children under three.


BUSCH GARDENS CHRISTMAS TOWN—WILLIAMSBURGBusch Gardens Christmas Town holiday decorations

During select nights through January 5, Busch Gardens transforms into Christmas Town, a family-friendly holiday celebrations with over 10 million lights (more than any other holiday event in North America), six festive shows, photos with Santa, and a 50-foot Christmas tree illuminating the Germany region of the park. Ride in the Aeronaut Skyride to get views of the grandly-lit park from above, and get a grand tour of the decorations from the Christmas Town Express, a train decked out in lights that plays all the classic holiday songs for those on board to sing along. Head to the Highland Stables to see the Clydesdale horses, then take the kids to meet Rudolph and the rest of his reindeer friends in Rudolph’s Winter Wonderland.


DAK LIGHTS IN RANDOLPH PARK—DUBLIN  dak lights holiday light display randolph park dublin

A free event in Dublin, Virginia, DAK Lights is an annual holiday light and music show held every night from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve in Randolph Park. Hundreds of people travel to the New River Valley each year for this spectacular holiday show, which lasts roughly 20 minutes and choreographs over 20,000 brightly-colored lights to seasonal songs broadcasted on local radio channel 103.9FM. The show begins each night at 5:30, repeating in 20 minute intervals until closing, and visitors can enjoy the holiday tunes and flickering light displays from the comfort and warmth of their cars.



See the 24th annual Garden of Lights at Norfolk Botanical Garden, where visitors can walk through the wondrous displays featuring millions of holiday lights from November 9th to December 15th. Then, from December 16th to December 31st, the two-miles of illuminated pathways transform into a drive-through light show, allowing you to take in the stunning holiday decorations from your cozy car. Reservations are not necessary; general admission is $30 per car, or $50 for limousine and multi-passenger van group tours.


WINTERFEST AT KINGS DOMINION—DOSWELLwinterfest at kings dominion holiday decorations

This year, Kings Dominion announced the addition of Winterfest to their annual calendar. The park-wide holiday celebration runs select nights through December 31, with millions of shimmering lights, a 300-foot Christmas tree, 12 live shows, up to 21 rides open (weather permitting), and 34 performers spreading Christmas cheer to visitors throughout the park. There are plenty of hands-on festive activities and crafts for all ages, an artisan village open for your holiday shopping, and special seasonal dishes like smoked turkey and carved ham served in the park restaurants. Kids will love the live entertainment and seasonal shows, including Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular, the Coke Polar Party, and the Sounds of the Nativity scene, a petting zoo with 38 animals that tells the Christmas story of Bethlehem. Tickets start at $25 per person, with free admission for children 3 and under.



Although not quite as large as some of the other locations decked out for the holidays, Edgewood Plantation packs every square foot of the bed & breakfast with holiday decorations. This adorable inn is decorated with 18 Christmas trees, 10 roaring fireplaces, and candles and other décor throughout the home during the holiday season. Even if you don’t plan on staying overnight, you can see the extravagant decorations by booking a tour with Edgewood Plantation or get the full colonial Virginia holiday experience during the Candlelight Christmas Tour, which includes tours of nearby Berkeley and Shirley Plantations and ends at Edgewood Plantation for holiday refreshments.

While Edgewood goes above and beyond for the holidays, many hotels, resorts, and inns in Virginia also deck their halls in the finest holiday trim, welcoming visitors to come take their holiday photos as they bask in the beauty of the seasonal décor.


These are a few of the most incredible lights displays in Virginia, but you’ll find many more in virtually every corner of the state. Where are your go-to places to take in over-the-top holiday decorations? Share your favorite seasonal spots with us in the comments below!

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Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia!

Take the Train to a Holiday Tour in Virginia!

Historic Bristol Train Station

It’s the season when Virginia decks the halls and opens its doors to visitors, with historic home tours across the Commonwealth. Luckily, many of these tours are in places that are served by Amtrak, so you can skip the traffic jams and parking wars and pull right into town. Here’s a sampling of Virginia holiday tours and events that are within a short walk or Lyft ride from an Amtrak station:


December 1: Culpeper’s Historic Holiday Tour of Homes

Pull into this charming town via Amtrak and take a 7-minute walk to the city’s South East neighborhood, where seven historic homes are open for touring. The tour includes the Italianate style Hill Mansion, built in the 1850s. Tickets are available online for $20 or $25 cash in several locations.


December 2: Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand IlluminationGrand Illumination at Colonial Williamsburg

Take the train into Williamsburg, walk south a few blocks and enter the setting for an 18th century Christmas. During Colonial Williamsburg’s Grand Illumination, you can see the town dressed for the holidays, hear musical performances on stages throughout the historic area, and watch a spectacular display of fireworks. No event tickets are required to walk the streets, but you’ll need one to enter buildings.


December 8 & 9: Fredericksburg’s 48th Annual Holiday Candlelight Tour  

Just a 10-minute stroll from the train station, this tour winds through the picturesque streets of Fredericksburg, and into homes adorned by professional decorators, designers and artists. Evening tours on Dec. 8; daytime and evening tours Dec. 8th and 9th. Event tickets are $15-$30.


December 8 & 9: Richmond Fan District’s Holiday House Tour 2018

A quick Lyft ride takes you from either of Richmond’s two Amtrak stations to the beautiful Fan District. This year, you can tour 11 historic homes in a variety of architectural styles — and one of them was used in the filming of Homeland. Free trolleys will run along the tour route. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 the day of the tour.


December 9: The 2018 Historic Petersburg Holiday Homes TourPenniston's Alley Antiques and Collectibles

Petersburg’s Poplar Lawn Historic District is about an 8-minute Lyft ride from the Amtrak station — and this year, you can tour a number of this neighborhood’s beautifully decorated homes and public buildings. If you’re up for it after the walking tour, you can walk about 27 minutes (or Lyft it) to Battersea Villa for live music, a bonfire, historic re-enactors and holiday refreshments. Tour tickets are $20 in advance, $25 the day-of.


To book your train ride to any of these tours, go to the Amtrak website. You’ll get free Wi-Fi, a large seat and views of Virginia you can only see on Amtrak. And if it snows while you’re on board, well, that’s the perfect start or finish to any holiday tour.


Now’s the time to plan for a year of exploration.

The year 2019 marks the 400th anniversary of one of the most pivotal moments in American history. In recognition of this milestone year, the Commonwealth of Virginia and several key partners will launch American Evolution™, a statewide series of events, educational programs and summits that will build awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of our country. Learn more about American Evolution, and book your Amtrak tickets to the destinations for these enlightening events now. By booking at least 14 days in advance of each event, you can save 25% on your train ticket.


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Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Fredericksburg

Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Fredericksburg

For over 20 years, Americans have been failing at taking their paid vacation days, leading to a workforce plagued by high stress, anxiety, and a tendency to “job-hop” when they feel unfulfilled. But after spending the past year bringing awareness to the problem, we are seeing a bit of light at the end of the tunnel: paid time off is finally on the rise! Millennials in the U.S. have wised up to the serious problems that arise from overworked employees, subtly shifting the culture in American workplaces and taking more of their hard-earned paid time off.

While the outlook seems cautiously positive, there is still a lot of work to do (or a lot of work to not do, depending on how you look at it). The team at Virginia Tourism wants to help you avoid workplace burn-out, so each month we choose a new Virginia destination for a three-day getaway, creating a Friday-Sunday foolproof itinerary for you to easily plan your next mini-vacation.downtown fredericksburg

This month, we travel to Fredericksburg for our three-day Crush Friday adventure. Steeped in both Colonial and Civil War history, Fredericksburg is located roughly halfway between Richmond and Washington, D.C., providing the perfect weekend getaway for those in either capital city. While rich history is definitely available in droves, the city has a plethora of entertainment options, from award-winning breweries and restaurants to a wide assortment of shops in the downtown area. Take a Friday off work and use this step-by-step guide to Fredericksburg for a relaxing long weekend away from the office.



Stay at: The Kenmore Inn, starting at $135 per nightkenmore inn fredericksburg

The Kenmore Inn may be a historic property, but this charming bed and breakfast offers all the comfort of a luxury hotel. Choose from one of their nine unique guest rooms and suites, each with their own private en suite bathroom. In the mornings, head downstairs to the inn’s highly rated restaurant for your complimentary breakfast, included in your overnight stay. This isn’t your typical hotel complimentary breakfast of dried cereals and toast; the restaurant serves a full, made-to-order breakfast menu in their upscale dining room each morning. Try their famous French toast, homemade with a French baguette in vanilla bean custard that is grilled then lightly dusted with powdered sugar and a generous topping of fresh strawberries. And if you’re in search of a nightcap after a long day exploring Fredericksburg, grab a drink in the Kenmore Inn’s pub, tucked away in the lower level of the inn.

Suggested Prior Reservations: The Kenmore Inn, Historic Downtown Trolley Tours, Orofino, Kybecca, Old Towne Carriage Tours


—FRIDAY—george washington boyhood home ferry farm fredericksburg

Arrive in Fredericksburg and begin your day at George Washington’s Ferry Farm, the childhood home of our first president. Rediscovered after decades of research, the site is considered one of the biggest archaeological finds for American history. While the home was destroyed after Washington’s ownership, historians were able to recreate it at the original location using documents and letters that described the home in specific detail. Unlike many other historic sites, Ferry Farm encourages visitors to touch and interact with the reconstructed furniture and goods, allowing you to get a firsthand feel for colonial living.chatham manor fredericksburg

Drive back towards downtown Fredericksburg and make a quick stop at Chatham Manor, an historic home that also provides incredible views of the city over the Rappahannock River. Built in 1771, the estate played a key role in the Battle of Fredericksburg during the Civil War, and today operates as the local headquarters for the National Park Service. Snap a few pictures from the backyard’s prime vantage point to commemorate your trip before departing.FoodE restaurant fredericksburg

Grab lunch in downtown Fredericksburg at FoodE, a popular local restaurant that sources almost 90% of ingredients from nearby farms and purveyors. Chef Joy Crump is constantly inventing creative seasonal fare, but if you’re looking for a tried-and-true dish, you can’t go wrong with FoodE’s fried chicken.downtown fredericksburg

After lunch, walk around the downtown area of Fredericksburg, where you can browse local boutiques and specialty shops. Stop by Monkees of Fredericksburg for upscale women’s clothing and accessories, Ponshop Studio & Gallery for works from local artisans, and Sugar + Spruce to pick up homemade bath and body products in almost every scent imaginable (a few favorites were Tea & Ginger, Honeysuckle Kisses, and Sweet Roses).hyperion espresso coffee shop fredericksburg

Bolster your afternoon energy level at Hyperion Espresso, a favorite coffee shop haunt for Fredericksburg residents.

Downtown Fredericksburg

Board the trolley at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center for an historic tour. This 75-minute ride around Downtown Fredericksburg is narrated by a knowledgeable historian who shares stories of the battles that occurred in Fredericksburg during the American Revolution and the Civil War, famous residents who lived here (including a few U.S. Presidents!), and the historic properties along the city’s oldest streets.

Finish the tour back at the Visitor Center and continue to the Kenmore Inn, where you’ll check into your room for your weekend stay.potomac point winery fredericksburg

Hop in the car and drive north to Potomac Point Winery for a wine tasting. The Tuscan-style winery offers a Classic Wine Tasting or a Premier Wine Tasting option that lets you cater your tasting to your preferences. After finishing the tasting, head over to the D’Vine Lounge with a glass of your favorite wine. If you’re already feeling a little hungry, consider ordering one of their Artisan Cheese and Meat Platters, arranged to pair with either red or white wines.orofino italian restaurant fredericksburg

Return to downtown Fredericksburg and dine at Orofino Restaurant. This Italian bistro arranges the menu by the distinct regions of Italy but every pasta is homemade and absolutely delicious. We recommend trying the Spaghetti Carbonara, the Gnocchi al Pesto, or the Orecchiette Bari.

Finish the evening with drinks at Castiglia’s rooftop bar, where you can enjoy beautiful views of downtown Fredericksburg while sipping on a specialty craft cocktail.


—SATURDAY—mercantile restaurant downtown fredericksburg

Start your Saturday morning with breakfast at Mercantile, the second restaurant for Chef Joy Crump in Historic Downtown Fredericksburg. She brings her signature twists to Southern breakfast favorites, resulting in dishes like the Bacon-Jalapeno Pinwheel, filled with cheddar, mozzarella, and jack cheeses, or the Poached Stone Fruit Waffle, a buttermilk waffle topped with poached seasonal stone fruit, citrus ricotta, toasted hazelnuts, and an elderflower citrus syrup. Complement these mouthwatering breakfast selections with one of their cleverly-titled morning cocktails (or as they called them, “Pour Decisions”) or try one of their house made shrubs in seasonal flavors like Pineapple Jalapeno, Peach, or Blackberry Lime.a. smith bowman distillery lovework fredericksburg

Next, head to the A. Smith Bowman Distillery for a free tour and tasting. The oldest continuously-running distillery in Virginia, they produce an assortment of small-batch spirits, including vodka, gin, and rum, but the main focus of the distillery is artisanal bourbons; in back-to-back victories, their bourbons won the “World’s Best Bourbon” title at the World Whiskies Awards in 2016 and 2017. During your tour, you’ll learn about the history of the Bowman brand, the family behind the legacy, and the behind-the-scenes process that creates their world-class spirits. The tour ends in the tasting room, where you’ll sample their latest releases in a small flight. Before leaving the distillery, take a picture in front of their gorgeous spirits-themed LOVEwork.Hugh Mercery Apothecary Shop

Dive back into the rich history of Fredericksburg at Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, a restored 18th century structure that showcases the popular medical treatments that were practiced by Dr. Mercer, a former Fredericksburg doctor that treated many famous patients in the late 1700s, including Mary Washington, the mother of George Washington. The museum’s historical interpreters show a wide array of Colonial herbs used as medicines, most of which were surprisingly effective for the time period, as well as medical instruments and, creepiest of all, a collection of live leeches that were known to have been used by doctors in the Colonial era.Rising Sun Tavern

Continue the history lesson at the Rising Sun Tavern, built in 1763 as the home of Charles Washington, George Washington’s brother, then converted into a tavern in 1792. Tour the museum and get a look at how taverns functioned in the Colonial era (fun fact: tavern guests often slept over a dozen in one bed and typically only bathed during the months of July and August). Keep an eye out for any eerie activities, as the historic tavern is rumored to be haunted!sunken well tavern fredericksburg

If you’re craving juicy burgers or thick deli-style sandwiches in a more casual setting, head to the Sunken Well Tavern for lunch. While the décor creates a low-key atmosphere, the food stands out in a big way. We suggest the “Burger of Your Dreams” option, selecting five toppings that are piled generously atop a perfectly cooked patty, or the Classic Reuben, made with ½ pound of tender sliced corned beef, homemade Thousand Island dressing, crisp Sauerkraut, and melted Swiss cheese on toasted Rye bread. For your side, the onion rings are not to be missed.Spencer Devon Brewing

In addition to history, Fredericksburg has become known as a mecca for craft beer lovers. Begin your beer education at Spencer Devon Brewing, a community-centric restaurant and brewery that uses locally-sourced produce, meats, and ingredients in both the kitchen and the brewing process. If you didn’t dine at Sunken Well Tavern, Spencer Devon is a sound alternative for a top-notch lunch in Fredericksburg.highmark brewery fredericksburg craft beer

Next on your brew tour is Highmark Brewery, located a few miles outside of the downtown area. The brewery resides inside of a nondescript shopping center, with an interior that maintains a simple and rustic atmosphere. The brewers at Highmark aren’t afraid to get creative, constantly coming up with inventive new brews for their customers to try in the tasting room. If it just so happens to be the first Saturday of the month, stick around for their big community “Block Party”, which features live music and local food trucks.red dragon brewery fredericksburg craft beer

While there were many more to choose from, our final stop on the Fredericksburg brew tour was Red Dragon Brewing, whose name and logo reflect the owner’s Celtic heritage, particularly his ties to Wales. The brewery crafts a wide range of styles, including Red and Brown Ales, Imperial Stouts and Porters, Sours and Goses, and Barrel-Aged brews.kybecca restaurant downtown fredericksburg bar

For an upscale meal at one of Fredericksburg’s most critically-acclaimed spot, get dinner at Kybecca. The restaurant makes all their dishes in-house using seasonal ingredients from local farms, as well as designing an impressive craft cocktail menu that changes frequently. If you’re a Virginia oyster fan, start the meal with an order of their fresh oysters, sourced from the nearby waterways.old towne carriage tour witches, murder, and mayhem tour fredericksburg

End the evening with a leisurely ride through the streets of downtown Fredericksburg with Old Towne Carriage. Depending on the time of year, the horse-drawn carriage service provides several historic tour options, including a “Witches, Murder, & Mayhem” tour leading up to Halloween and a “Jingle Bells” tour during the holiday season.


—SUNDAY—eileen's bakery and cafe fredericksburg

Check out of the Kenmore Inn on Sunday morning before getting breakfast at Eileen’s Bakery & Cafe. Choose from their huge selection of homemade pastries, breads, and desserts, all baked fresh daily, and consider pairing your meal with one of their specialty coffees, made to order by their in-house barista.sunken road at Fredericksburg battlefield national historical park

If you’re looking to squeeze in just a little more history before leaving downtown Fredericksburg, walk down Sunken Road of Fredericksburg Battlefield, the site of one of the most gruesome battles of the Civil War. The stone wall running along the road provided a fortified position for Confederate troops, who fired upon the advancing Union army during a brutal battle, leading to heavy Union casualties.wilderness run vineyards fredericksburg

Continue to Wilderness Run Vineyard, a farm vineyard and tasting room located on the rural lands outside of Fredericksburg. The winery produces several unique lines of wines; the sweeter line of “country” wines that are made with fresh peaches and other seasonal fruits, the “Estate” series bottled only during the best crop years, and the “Historic” French-style line produced in partnership with local historians and museums.1781 brewing company fredericksburg

For those that prefer Virginia craft beer to wine, you’re in luck. Connected to the winery, 1781 Brewing Company is the latest venture from the owners of Wilderness Run. They focus on brewing Belgian, French, and German-influenced Farmhouse Ales, naming the resulting craft beers after historic figures of the Revolutionary War, like the Lafayette Saison, Washington’s Hare Honey Porter, and the Von Steuben Kolsch.


Follow the Virginia is for Lovers team next month for our final “Crush Friday” trip to Virginia Beach, where we’ll hit up a few distilleries, test our agility with an adventurous climb through the trees, and discover everything else there is to do during off-season along Virginia’s coast!


Previous Crush Friday Virginia Destinations: 

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Planning the Perfect Escape to Charlottesville & Albemarle County This Winter!

Planning the Perfect Escape to Charlottesville & Albemarle County This Winter!

Wintertime has finally arrived. The beautiful and dazzling leaves have all fallen from their branches. The nights are a little longer. The days are a little colder. But winter is still an absolutely ** picture-perfect** time to visit Charlottesville & Albemarle County! In fact, a trip to the Charlottesville area during the winter months can really pay off – quite literally! There are plenty of deals to be had during this time of year with regards to lodging and attractions (some even offering heavily-discounted rates or packages), which is just an added incentive to take a trip to Charlottesville & Albemarle County this winter season!

Winters typically tend to be on the milder side in Central Virginia, with major, disruptive snow and ice events rather uncommon. Since heavy snow is such a rarity, when the snowflakes do start to fly, they contain a sense of magic, wonder and excitement, while turning the already picturesque historic Downtown Mall and surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains into a winter wonderland! Visitors can expect cool and crisp temperatures during the day and slightly below freezing conditions during the overnight hours – perfect for relaxing by a roaring, crackling fireplace. Now that you’re up to speed on all of the essentials, here are some suggested things to do in the Charlottesville area this winter, which are guaranteed to leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside!

Light Snow on Charlottesville’s Historic Pedestrian Downtown Mall

Courtesy of Charlottesville and Albemarle County

Start your trip to Charlottesville & Albemarle County by taking a trip up the hill to visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Whether you choose a basic house tour or a more elaborate behind-the-scenes tour, you will marvel at our third president’s ingenuity, passion, and knowledge. Plus, this presidential home (prominently featured on the U.S. nickel) has received the prestigious distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located just a few miles away, you’ll find another presidential home – James Monroe’s Highland! Like Monticello, this home is also full of history and has a wonderful, constantly-evolving story to tell its visitors. Plus, if you visit around the holidays, you can even take special evening tours, which aren’t typically available at other times of the year. After your tours, you will have probably worked up a serious appetite, so your next stop should be at the historic Michie Tavern for an 18th century, hearty, and delicious midday meal by the fireplace. ( ** Pro tip: don’t pass up the fried chicken – it’s legendary!** ) After your meal, be sure to visit the museum at Michie Tavern as well as the beautiful shops filled with Virginia-related items (some edible, some not) to take home.

To burn off some of the calories you just consumed at lunch, how about a leisurely hike along the Saunders-Monticello trail? Again, with average high temperatures in the 40s and 50s during the winter months, a hike along this winding path can be quite delightful at this time of the year, especially on a sunny day! Totaling two miles in length each way, this easy, meandering path takes you from the intersection of routes 53 and 20 all the way up to the visitor center at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

After you check-in at one of the area’s fine lodging establishments, you can relax before heading out to grab dinner at one of the dozens of restaurants located on or near the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall. The Downtown Mall is an icon in the Charlottesville area and is one of the longest pedestrian malls of its kind in the entire country. In addition to restaurants, you will also find a wide variety of shops and boutiques. After dinner, you can catch a show at one of the many music venues also located on this pedestrian avenue, such as the historic Paramount Theater, the Jefferson Theater, The Southern Cafe and Music Hall, Miller’s, or The Whiskey Jar. The hardest part will be deciding which show to watch!

Historic Paramount Theater –

Brantley Ussery

After a night of rest and relaxation, it’s now time to explore Albemarle County’s spectacular wine, craft beer, artisanal cider, and spirits scene.There’s no need to worry about driving, as one of our local tour companies will pick you up at your hotel and take you to multiple stops where you can enjoy these delicious beverages, along with a scrumptious lunch which will be provided to you along the way.

At each stop, you will linger and relax (sometimes by a fireplace or fire pit) and you may even be able to strike up a conversation with the wine maker, brew master, or cider maker during your visit! After a day of enjoying your leisure beverage of choice and soaking in the pastoral landscapes and countryside, it’s time to cheer on the Hoos at the John Paul Jones Arena with a lively college basketball game! Wahoowa!

If you’re feeling adventurous, a short but beautiful drive through Nelson County to Wintergreen Resort will do the trick. There, you can enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, and much more. If extreme sports are not your cup of tea, why not visit one of Charlottesville’s fine museums such as the Fralin Art Museum, the Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum, the Lewis & Clark Exploratory Center, or the University of Virginia Small Collections Library, where historical documents are on exhibit. While you’re at the University of Virginia, don’t forget to stop by the recently renovated Rotunda for a tour of this iconic building, then head down a brick path to see the room where Edgar Allan Poe lived while he was a student there. Then right across the street, you can even see a large chunk of the Berlin Wall on display.

If you prefer to find your inner artist, an afternoon spent at The Glass Palette (to make beautiful glass art), at City Clay (to create your own pottery masterpiece), or at Wine & Design (to really let those creative juices flow!) are all fun and unique wintertime activities!

Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget about the shopping! Shoppers will be in total paradise in Charlottesville & Albemarle County. From the 120+ shops and stores located on and around the Downtown Mall, to malls such as the Barracks Road Shopping Center, the Shops at Stonefield, or Fashion Square Mall, there are options to fit everybody’s tastes. For even more unique shopping ideas, be sure to take a leisurely drive along the Monticello Artisan Trail, where you are certain to find items that are truly one-of-a-kind, hand crafted by some of the Charlottesville area’s finest local artisans. For even more artisanal treasures, swing by the Crozet Artisan Depot located a short and scenic drive west of Charlottesville, where you will find more unique and lovely arts & crafts for sale. In the very same building, you will find the Albemarle Tourism & Adventure Center, staffed with knowledgeable travel specialists, who can assist you with any questions you might have about what to do, where to go, and what to see while you’re in the Charlottesville area. And right across the street, don’t forget to stop by the famous Crozet Pizza for a cheesy, gooey slice of awesomeness, recognized by National Geographic as having some of the best pizza pies in the world.

Barracks Road Shopping Center

Courtesy of Charlottesville and Albemarle County

When planning your ultimate winter visit, be sure to check out the event calendar found on our website. Special events such as First Night Virginia, holiday concerts, or Restaurant Week all take place during the winter months, as well as other special events and festivals! Hopefully this list is a great starting point for your winter visit to Charlottesville & Albemarle County! There’s no way we could possibly touch on everything in just one blog article, so feel free to explore our website for other terrific ideas. Now all you have left to do is bundle up, pack up, and get ready for a terrific time in the Charlottesville area this winter!

Written by Brantley Ussery for Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Featured image provided by Courtesy of Charlottesville and Albemarle County

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About FunRVA

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10 Kid-Friendly Breweries & Wineries

10 Kid-Friendly Breweries & Wineries

Virginia’s wineries and breweries are quickly becoming a great place for a family outing. Parents can kick back and enjoy local craft beer, wine and spirits while the kids can run around, play games, visit farm animals, pick fruit and more.


Pack a picnic and bring the kiddos – and fur babies – out for an afternoon at Barrel Oak Winery or Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse. Play games, create paintings of the picturesque surroundings or grab a glass of wine – or juice – and sit by the fire.


Featuring a little buds room filled with books, toys bean bags and more, Potomac Point Winery is the perfect place to mom and dad to enjoy delicious wines in the tasting room, but also stay close to the kiddos.


Nestled on the eastern edge of Shenandoah National Park, DuCard Vineyards is pet-friendly with lots of room for dogs and family-friendly with kids’ games available. Bring a picnic and enjoy majestic mountain and vineyard views from their patios and stream-side deck.


Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Peaks of Otter Winery offers family fun in the way of pick-your-own apples, peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears in the fall, fishing ponds, walking trails and farm animals to pet.


Strangeways Brewing is a one-of-a-kind brewery with funky décor and hundreds of curious oddities throughout the bar. Their Biergarten is dog-friendly and they offer free juice boxes, fruit snacks and coloring pages for kids.


Wrap around porches, koi pond and a made-from-scratch restaurant – with a kids’ menu – make Wild Wolf Brewing Company a great place for the family to kick back and have a great time. Also enjoy live music, cornhole and trivia.


At Weston Farm Vineyard & Winery parents can enjoy their tasty wines and views of the vineyard, while the kiddos can enjoy the company of their resident French bulldog Lacie, horses and miniature donkeys as well as a display of historical items found at the farm.


Featuring a child’s menu, outside patio, fire pit and a small lake with mountain views, Ballast Point Brewing Company offers a relaxing and fun atmosphere for all ages. Pets are welcome on the patio and lawn and there are hiking trails nearby.


Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant has a kids’ menu, occasional live music and plenty of room for the kids to run and have a great time. They also have family-friendly events like the Family Pumpkin Fest and New Year’s Family Fun Fest.


Located on a true working farm, Stable Craft Brewing has entertaining activities for all ages – from tours of the hop fields to visiting their horse horses. They also host many family-friendly events and have a sand volleyball court and cornhole boards.


See more…

Family-friendly Wineries

Family-friendly Breweries

Drop your favorites in the comments section below.

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10 Trip Ideas for your Next Wine & Dine Getaway

10 Trip Ideas for your Next Wine & Dine Getaway

When planning your next trip to Virginia, be sure to bring your appetite. From abundant seafood to wonderful ethnic traditions and great barbeque, Virginia’s table is set for every taste and groups of all sizes. Virginia is a wine destination unlike any other, with more than 300 wineries, many of which offer tours. Virginia offers true local flavor at more than 200 craft breweries, restaurants and bars, all with local love on tap.


Culinary and Agriculture – Virginia Beach

The gifts of land and sea lend to the amazing foodie adventures you can have in Virginia Beach. Go on a farm-to-table adventure where you will meet local farmers, pick juicy strawberries and taste the local produce of the season. Enjoy waterfront dining and oyster tasting at Rockafeller’s or Chick’s Oyster Bar or enjoy an authentic Chesapeake Bay crab feast.


Calling all Foodies – Staunton Food Tour

Discover the home-grown side of Staunton. Enjoy made from scratch waffles, cuisine from around the world and indulge in homemade ice cream.  Visit one of many gourmet markets or feast on a locally-grown meal at a farm-to-table restaurant.


A Taste of Rockbridge County

Taste your way through Rockbridge County while taking in the views of rolling farmland. Sample award-winning wines at Rockbridge Vineyard, grab some exquisite hand-dipped chocolates from Cocoa Mill Chocolate Company, visit the largest organic pear farm in the country, Virginia Gold Orchard, and more.


Shenandoah Wine Trail

Shenandoah County is home to eight award-winning vineyards and the O Shenandoah County Artisan Trail. Enjoy a weekend away as you sip fabulous wine, savor the freshest of local cuisine and enjoy the breath-taking scenery of the Shenandoah Valley.


Fine Wines, Patsy Cline and Jefferson’s Design – Winchester, Charlottesville and Staunton

Spend a week winding through scenic back roads and byways of the Shenandoah Valley, stopping along the way to enjoy wineries, dine at local favorites, tour Patsy Cline’s home, visit Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and much more.


From Wine to Water – Loudoun, Prince William and Virginia Beach

Enjoy delicious wines with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Loudoun, DC’s Wine Country. Test you sommelier skills at the Winery at LaGrange, which has been in operation since the early 1900’s. Enjoy a 90-minute dolphin cruise, afternoon tea at the Historic Cavalier Hotel and more.


Wine through the Foothills – Martinsville

Taste delicious regional and local wines while enjoying the peace and beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wine and dine at Chateau Morrisette. Fish, bike or hike at Philpott Lake or stay the night in a cozy cabin at Fairy Stone State Park. Pair wine with fresh-baked breads and spreads at Hamlet Vineyards.

South Boston Foodie-Theatre Getaway

Spend a weekend in South Boston for a foodie and theatre experience. You can fill your weekend with antique shopping and quick trips to one of many wineries on the Southern Virginia Wine Trail or see a show at The Prizery – Fine Arts Theatre & Museum.


Just for Sips and Giggles – Norfolk, Prince William and Richmond

Enjoy wine tasting in an 18th-century home, snuggled into a chair by the fireplace. Stroll through lush Italian and Japanese gardens and tour Maymont, a gilded Victorian Mansion. See where the waffle cone was invented.  Paint your very own masterpiece, and maybe even a painted wine bottle to commemorate your delicious visit.


Wine, Dine & Have a Fine Time – Lynchburg

Discover Lynchburg during your next “Wine & Dine” getaway! Surrounded by award winning wineries, breweries and fine culinary experiences, Lynchburg hosts multiple wine festivals each year offering music, crafters, unique down-home Virginia food and delightful wine tasting opportunities.


See more…

Trip Ideas for the Food and Wine Lover

Unique Experiences for your Next Group Event

Wineries to Add Flavor to your Next Event

The post 10 Trip Ideas for your Next Wine & Dine Getaway appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

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

Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Virginia’s River Realm

Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Virginia’s River Realm


Whenever the subject of Millennials comes up, there’s a pretty good chance that the words “entitled”, “spoiled”, or even “lazy” will follow. But it’s time we set the record straight; this generation is actually trending towards work martyrdom, spending longer hours at the office and leaving paid vacation days on the table. More competition in the workplace means that these Gen-Yers feel the need to prove themselves as hardworking, stable employees, but the results are thousands of overstressed and overworked Millennials steadily losing their motivation.

To combat fatigue in the workplace, Virginia is for Lovers has implemented an easy plan of action: Take a Friday off work for a three-day getaway that will help you unwind, relax, and recharge. This month, we decided to Crush Friday in Virginia’s River Realm, comprised of the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck regions along the Chesapeake Bay. Known for world-class oysters, pristine coastal views, and waterfront activities, the River Realm is the perfect spot to forget about all the worries of the workplace.



Stay at: Bethpage Camp-Resort cottages in Urbanna, starting at $99 per night. Kilmarnock Inn in Kilmarnock, starting at $165 per night.bethpage camp resort urbanna

Located on the north shore of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula on the Rappahannock River, Bethpage Camp-Resort has one, two, and three-bedroom cottages available for rent, as well as RV and tent campsites, all pet-friendly. The cottages contain full kitchens and all have private patios and fire pits. For those looking to get out on the river, the resort offers boat ramps within the campgrounds, as well as kayaks and paddleboard rentals. During summer months, a luxury water park with a poolside cafe, miniature golf course, ice creamery, fishing pond, and swimming beach are open to guests. Special activities are offered throughout the year, including drive-in and dive-in movies, live music, pedal boat racing, and scavenger hunts. The campground store sells everything you need for your stay, from s’mores kits and snacks to towels, sunscreen, and apparel for the entire family.kilmarnock inn

For affordable boutique lodging on the Northern Neck, stay at the Kilmarnock Inn. The 16-room inn is centrally located, only steps from Downtown Kilmarnock’s charming Main Street, and is also a pet-friendly property. The main home dates to 1884, but the inn also has seven modern luxury cottages with Jacuzzis, fireplaces, and private decks that overlook the back courtyard. Your stay includes a full breakfast at the inn’s on-site restaurant, which also serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Suggested Prior Reservations: Bethpage Camp-Resort cottages, kayaks or paddleboards at Bethpage Camp-Resort, Kilmarnock Inn, Urbanna Cruises, Crabbe’s Charter Fishing and Oyster Farm Tours, Adrift Restaurant


—FRIDAY—kayak bethpage camp resort chesapeake bay

The first stop on your River Realm getaway is Bethpage Camp-Resort, where you’ll check out your rental kayaks or paddleboards from the camp store before setting out from the boat launch behind the store. For a shorter paddle through the inlet, head left when you hit open waters, or if a longer exploration of the Rappahannock is your goal, turn right and paddle out of the inlet.urbanna seafood and raw bar

Paddle back to the boat launch after your paddling journey and grab lunch right down the road at Urbanna Seafood & Raw Bar. This local dining staple serves the freshest catch, and if you arrive during the lunch hour, you’ll most likely spot several boats stop by the docks to drop off oysters, fish, and other sea fare caught mere hours before. Eat on the patio if the weather allows, where you can enjoy a waterfront view as you dine on dishes from the raw bar like steamed mussels, crabs, or shrimp and local oysters, entrees like the Chesapeake Bay Crabcakes, or sandwiches like the Market Fresh Fish Sandwich.urbanna museum

For an afternoon of adventure and history, three local museums team up to provide a scavenger hunt with the chance to win both prizes and money. Start at the Urbanna Museum and ask staff about the scavenger hunt; they can help you download the app to your phone and create a login to participate. Built in 1766, the museum is one of the oldest surviving mercantile stores in America, and exhibits share the history of the store and its importance to the surrounding area in the 18th century. Tobacco and locally grown crops were traded at the store for cash and credit that then went towards the purchase of imported goods. The museum also features an exhibit on the region’s oyster history and houses an original 1755 John Mitchell Map, a map that was used to decide borders after the Revolutionary War and referred to as “the most important map in American history”.middlesex museum

The second museum along your scavenger hunt is the Middlesex Museum in Saluda. Start in the Visitor’s Center next door (there are several clues inside) before browsing the museum, which covers more than 400 years of local history, including fossils, artifacts from Indigenous peoples, tale of local military heroes like Lt. General “Chesty” Puller, the most decorated Marine in corps history, and a 1930’s General Store with authentic ledgers and goods from the era.deltaville maritime museum

Finish the scavenger hunt at Deltaville Maritime Museum, about 20 minutes down the road from the Middlesex Museum. Dedicated to preserving the history of the Chesapeake Bay, the watermen who make their living on the water, and the boats and tools used in their profession, the museum has a large indoor facility with exhibits and 36 acres of woodlands, parks, and gardens along the Rappahannock River. After perusing the dozens of boat replicas inside the museum, head outside to see the replica of John Smith’s boat, the Explorer, and the Nationally Registered restored oyster buyboat, the F.D. Crockett.

Drive back to Urbanna and take some time to explore the downtown, stopping in at shops like Cydny’s Bynn and The Fin & Pearl, which carry women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, and home goods, Lowe Tide, a high-end boutique with women’s, men’s, and children’s clothing, accessories, and décor, and Bristow’s, the oldest surviving general store in the region that has been selling home goods, women’s and men’s apparel, and locally made goods since 1876. If you need a little pick-me-up, stop by Grounded Coffee Shop for a caffeine boost.marshall's pharmacy drug and soda fountain urbanna

While in the downtown area, satisfy your sweet tooth at Marshall’s Soda Fountain and Drug, an old-fashioned soda counter, gift shop, and pharmacy. Sit at the round Formica counter on the old-fashioned barstools and order a fresh limeade or handmade milkshake, made with vintage appliances like a juice presser and milkshake mixer.

Embark on a relaxing ride along the coast with Urbanna Cruises. If possible, book a sunset cruise, as the dramatic evening colors create a breathtaking reflection off the water’s surface.something different restaurant urbanna

Head back into downtown Urbanna for dinner at Something Different . The restaurant is a favorite spot for locals and if you’re interested in getting the “local” experience, try the barbecue, voted best in River Country by Pleasant Living Magazine readers. Save room for dessert, as their seasonal sweets are made in-house daily.

Return to your cottage at Bethpage Camp-Resort and spend the rest of the evening on the patio or beside your private fire pit.


SATURDAY—big oak cafe urbanna

Start day two of you River Realm getaway with breakfast at Big Oak Café, where you can fuel up with one of their huge breakfast platters like the French toast (made with their homemade French bread) or the Chipped Beef over Toast Points. With breakfast entrees ranging from $7-$10 and served with two sides of your choosing, you’ll get a hearty meal without breaking the bank at Big Oak Café.fat and happy oysters northern neck

Travel north about 45 minutes to Crabbe Charter Fishing, also the home of Fat & Happy Oyster Company. You can either choose a charter fishing trip or opt for a Waterman Heritage Tour; each waterfront ride is led by Captain Danny Crabbe and begins at his dock on the Little Wicomico, a small river inlet that leads out to the Chesapeake Bay. We chose the Waterman Heritage Tour, and as we cruised along the scenic river, Captain Danny and his wife, herself an experienced water(wo)man, taught us about the history of oyster farming and crabbing in Virginia. A short ride brought us to the oyster beds, where the Captain raised up a cage and gave us a closer view of the beautiful bivalves.fat and happy crabs crabbes charter fishing

As we headed back to the docks, we made a short pit stop at the crab pots to pay a visit to some vibrant Chesapeake Blue Crabs. Back on dry land, the Captain served us a few of his Fat & Happy oysters before we hit the road for Kilmarnock.carried away cuisine kilmarnock

First stop in Kilmarnock is Carried Away Cuisine to get some lunch. Choose from their daily options of homemade soups, quiche, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and specialty entrees. As you wait for your lunch to be prepared, you can browse their expansive selection of high quality olive oils and balsamic vinegars, all available for tastings. They also carry upscale grocery items like local honey, premium pastas, and all sorts of spreads and foodie items. If you’ve still got a little room after eating, order one of their homemade desserts to finish off your meal.the wild bunch florist kilmarnock main street

Take a few hours and explore Downtown Kilmarnock, stopping in to a few of the shops along the way. Right next door to Carried Away Cuisine, The Wild Bunch floral shop connects to Papeterie, a stationery store that also carries all sorts of creative home décor goods, including aquatic-themed ornaments, embroidered pillows, and serving bowls.northern neck popcorn kilmarnock

Right off Main Street, Northern Neck Popcorn is a must. While you may not be very  hungry after your lunch, you should at least sample a few of their wildly imaginative popcorn blends, with flavors ranging from your basic White Cheddar and Movie Theater-style popcorns to the more creative blends of Birthday Cake, Northern Neck Ginger Ale, Cotton Candy, and Dill Pickle. The specialty shop carries over 50 flavors, so you’re practically guaranteed to find at least a few that you love.front porch coffee kilmarnock main street

Back on Main Street, head north to Weekend Fashions, an upscale boutique that sells men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories, then walk next door to Front Porch Coffee for a little afternoon caffeine indulgence.historic christ church weems river realm

The River Realm area has a lot to offer when it comes to scenic beauty, delicious oysters, and cute downtown areas, but it also boasts a rich history that should be explored. Learn a little about early Colonial life in the region at Historic Christ Church, recognized as the best preserved parish church from the Colonial era. Start your tour at the museum and visitor center, where you’ll discover the history behind the church and its importance in everyday life for colonists, then head over to the church to explore the awe-inspiring building.dog and oyster vineyard kilmarnock

A few miles from Christ Church, The Dog & Oyster Vineyard is the next stop on your River Realm experience. You’ll notice two massive corkscrews flanking the entrance as you turn into the vineyard. Owner Dudley Patteson claims these are the largest corkscrews in the world (although they don’t actually open bottles, which was the Guinness Book of World Record’s requirement). Take a few pictures by the corkscrews before continuing to the “Sip” tasting room, where you can sample all of their award-winning wines and pair them with a variety of local oysters from the “Slurp” food stand beside the tasting room. Before departing, be sure to stroll over to the vines and say hello to the vineyard dogs, which protect the grapes from deer and other wild animals.kilmarnock brewhaus brewery

Return to downtown Kilmarnock and check in to the Kilmarnock Inn, where you can relish a little down time before walking over to Kilmarnock Brewhaus. The brewery often has live music performances during the evenings, so grab a seat, order a flight, and kick back while listening to local artists. You may need a little snack to tide you over until dinner, so if Byrd’s Seafood Truck is outside, order up some of their famed oyster tacos or a cup of their oyster stew to pair with your brews.adrift restaurant kilmarnock white stone

Continue to Adrift, one of the newest additions to the River Realm food scene. Chef and Owner Devin Rose is a Northern Neck Native who studied at Culinary Institute of America and worked in the prestigious Inn at Little Washington, a Five Diamond and Two Michelin Star Restaurant, before moving to the west coast to work at an upscale restaurant in California. A decade after originally leaving, Rose has returned with his wife (and business partner) to open a fine dining establishment that highlights the flavors of Virginia’s coastal regions. While he prepares an incredible seasonal menu, his wife Kati is out front, greeting guests and sharing her extensive knowledge of the culinary industry, also gained from her time working at the Inn at Little Washington. Their partnership makes for an impeccable dining experience; it’s well worth it to splurge on this dinner and go for the three-or-five course Prix Fixe menu.

Head back to Kilmarnock Inn and turn in early for a good night’s rest.


SUNDAY—sunrise hike at hughletts point nature area preserve

Set your alarm to wake up before dawn and travel to Hughlett Point Natural Area Preserve, about 15 miles from the inn. Be sure to wear layers during the off-season, as the first hours of the day can be chilly and windy along the water. Follow the hiking trail through the woods to the first fork; if you want a short trip to the water, head left, or if you want to stretch your legs, take the one-mile trail to the right of the fork. Both trails end at pristine beaches with tranquil views of the Chesapeake Bay, which provides the perfect backdrop for catching an unforgettable sunrise in the River Realm.car wash cafe kilmarnock

Hike back to the car and set out to Car Wash Café for breakfast. Another popular spot for locals, the restaurant can get quite busy on the weekends, but it is worth the wait. Generously-sized dishes like Huevos Rancheros, Crabcakes Benedict, and Biscuits & Gravy ensure you’ll be full until lunch.good luck cellars winery kilmarnock river realm

Check out of your room at Kilmarnock Inn and spend a little more time browsing the shops of downtown Kilmarnock, or drive over to Good Luck Cellars if you want to do a little more research into the wineries of the River Realm. Their tasting consists of about a dozen red and white wines, including a Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, a Bordeaux-style blend named “Interitage”, Vidal Blanc, and a crisp Traminette.dug in farms kilmarnock river realm

Pick up some fresh produce and locally made goods to take home with you from Dug In Farms, a small farm and food stand that sells their own farm produce as well as an array of goods from local farmers and artisans. We were lucky enough to be greeted by the mascot of the market, Doug, a very energetic Australian cattle dog, as we perused the current stock of items, from cider made just up the road at Ditchley’s Ciderworks to bouquets of enormous sunflowers artfully displayed in tasteful arrangements.Willaby's Restaurant

Get lunch (or brunch!) at Willaby’s Restaurant, a waterfront establishment that incorporates fresh local seafood into various dishes throughout the menu. For those that aren’t feeling seafood, they also offer a huge selection of sandwiches, burgers, breakfast items, and several daily specials. On sunny days, ask for a seat on the patio to enjoy one last meal beside the waterfront before wrapping up your River Realm vacation and heading home.


Follow the Virginia is for Lovers team next month as we “Crush Friday” in Fredericksburg, a city full of history, craft beer, and delicious food conveniently located off of Interstate 95 between Richmond and Washington, D.C.


Previous Crush Friday Virginia Destinations: 


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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in November 2018

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in November 2018

There’s a great amount of music coming to Virginia in November. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch 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 The Psychedelic Furs (Nov. 2), Young the Giant (Nov. 4), Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (Nov. 6), GWAR (Nov. 10), Dawes (Nov. 13), Slightly Stoopid (Nov. 15), New Politics (Nov. 16), Atmosphere (Nov. 17), Pusha T (Nov. 24), Dark Star Orchestra (Nov. 28 & 29), and others.

Also in Richmond, The Broadberry will be hosting acts like Saves the Day (Nov. 6), Cris Jacobs Band (Nov. 10), and J. Roddy Walston and the Business (Nov. 23 & 24).

Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds: The Final Performances at the Dominion Energy Center on Nov. 2.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host The Marshall Tucker Band on Nov. 15 and Warrant on Nov. 16.

In Charlottesville, Chris Stapleton will be performing at the John Paul Jones Arena on Nov. 3. The Jefferson Theater will hosts artists like Guster (Nov. 3), Brett Dennen (Nov. 6), The Infamous Stringdusters (Nov. 16), and more.

The NorvaThe NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox (Nov. 7), Iron & Wine (Nov. 9), Blue October (Nov. 14), Hobo Johnson & The Lovemakers (Nov. 17), Reel Big Fish (Nov. 28), Dark Star Orchestra (Nov. 30), and many others.

Phase 2 Club in Lynchburg will be bringing in acts such as Warrant (Nov. 17), Silverstein (Nov. 21), Reel Big Fish (Nov. 27), and more.

Over in Rocky Mount, the Harvester Performance Center will be hosting a number of shows including Cowboy Mouth on Nov. 2, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on Nov. 13, The Black Lillies on Nov. 16, and more.

The  Berglund Center in Roanoke will have TobyMac performing on Nov. 1 and Bob Dylan on Nov. 10.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include The Lone Bellow (Nov. 6), Nicole Atkins (Nov. 14), Maggie Rose (Nov. 16) and more.

Boney James will play at Alexandria music hall The Birchmere on Nov. 19. Also on the Birchmere’s schedule are Melissa Etheridge’s Holiday Show (Nov. 26-28), Shawn Colvin (Nov. 29), Pure Prairie League (Nov. 30) and more.

The Nighthawks will play at the State Theatre in Falls Church on Nov. 23 among many other shows.

At the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg, acts like George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic (Nov. 1), Everlast (Nov. 15), Kix (Nov. 17), and more will be performing.


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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All Aboard for a Fall City Walking Tour in Virginia!

All Aboard for a Fall City Walking Tour in Virginia!

**This post is written in partnership with Amtrak Virginia and Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation.**


Virginia’s cities are thriving – and Amtrak takes you right to the heart of them. So put on some comfortable shoes, take in the crisp fall air, and experience one of these awesome destinations — all without a car.


Fredericksburg’s Historic Town CharmDowntown Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg’s Amtrak station is set right in the city’s historic downtown. From there, you can stroll to accommodations like the 1890 Caroline House (a 2-minute walk), the Courtyard by Marriott (3 minutes), the Richard Johnston Inn (5 minutes), or the Kenmore Inn (8 minutes). The Fredericksburg Visitor Center is two blocks from the train station. There, you can jump on a trolley for a tour of the historic area — or venture out on foot. You’re an easy walk to attractions like the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, Rising Sun Tavern, Fredericksburg Area Museum, James Monroe Museum, Mary Washington House, Historic Kenmore Plantation & Gardens— and about 40 restaurants. Here’s a walking tour map.


Williamsburg: Take the Train to the 18th CenturyColonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg’s Amtrak Station is a beautiful 10-minute walk to the Colonial Williamsburg Historic Area. The station is right next to Colonial Williamsburg’s budget-friendly Governor’s Inn (or, if you stay in any of Colonial Williamsburg’s other official hotels, they’ll pick you up from the train station.) From the train station, walk south to buy your tickets at the Merchant’s Square ticket office. (Note: Before you head into colonial times, you may want to grab a bite at the Fat Canary, the Cheese Shop or the popular Trellis Bar and Grill.) Learn more about this 18th-century experience on the Colonial Williamsburg website. And while you’re in the neighborhood, take a stroll over to William & Mary, the second oldest college in the nation, alma mater to Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler and many other prominent Americans.


Charlottesville: Home to UVA (and Some Pretty Great Shopping!)Planning the Perfect Escape to Charlottesville & Albemarle County This Winter!

Take Amtrak to Charlottesville, and you’ll be a 15-minute walk to Downtown Charlottesville, a pedestrian outdoor mall with unique stores, movie theatres, more than 50 restaurants and music venues that attract national acts. Or, if you want to see one of the most breathtaking campuses in the country, walk 15 minutes west to the University of Virginia, featuring the Jefferson-designed Rotunda and Edgar Alan Poe’s dorm room. Within a luggage-toting walk to the station: the Hampton Inn & Suites (an 8-minute walk), the Draftsman Hotel (10 minutes), the Graduate Hotel (12 minutes — it’s right on the campus hotspot “The Corner”), Residence Inn (7 minutes), and Courtyard by Marriott (11 minutes).


The Star City of Roanoke

Amtrak pulls into Roanoke’s vibrant downtown — appropriately, right next to the Virginia Museum of Transportation. Within a few blocks, you can tour the Taubman Museum of Art, the must-see O. Winston Link Museum (amazing train photography!) and the History Museum of Western Virginia, the historic City Market and the Roanoke Symphony. And the seven-story Center in the Square houses the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the  Science Museum of Western VirginiaMill Mountain Theatre, the Roanoke Pinball Museum, the Living Coral Reef Aquarium and the Kids Square Children’s Museum. Also in walking distance: the elegant Hotel Roanoke (a 6 minute walk from the Amtrak platform) and the Hampton Inn and Suites (6 minutes).


Richmond Rocks!Libby Hill Park

Richmond has just restored its 1901 Main Street Station, located in the city’s downtown — and they’ve turned it into a multimodal hub. So after you step off the train, you can hop on a bus, bike or rideshare to explore a city filled with stories. There’s an official Virginia is for Lovers Welcome Center right in the station. And right in the neighborhood, you can walk the mural-lined canals surveyed by George Washington, see the church where Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death,” go to Unhappy Hour at the Poe Museum, or rent a bike and take on the 52-mile Virginia Capital Bike Trail. For lodging, look into the Berkeley Hotel (7 minute walk from the station), the Courtyard by Marriott (4 minutes), the Residence Inn and the Omni (9 minutes).


Book your Virginia city escape today — and remember, if you book 14 days or more in advance, you’ll save 25% on your ticket (some restrictions may apply).

The post All Aboard for a Fall City Walking Tour in Virginia! appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Small Town Love: Visit Irvington in Virginia’s River Realm

Small Town Love: Visit Irvington in Virginia’s River Realm

There are a lot of great reasons to visit Irvington, VA. From festivals like the Chesapeake Wine Trail Oyster Crawl to Taste by the Bay, there are enchanting events all year round that will help you relax, unwind, and pamper your soul. Whether you’re headed down for one of these foodie fests or just planning a getaway with your favorite travel buddy, we’ve put together an easy guide to map out your trip to this small town.

Here is our list of quirky and romantic spots to eat, drink, shop and explore…

Day 1

The Works

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

You’ll feel as if you’re walking back in time as you roll your bags into the Hope & Glory Inn. This boutique hotel was once an elite boarding school in 1890. Now, the luxurious getaway has been recognized by Travel+Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, The New York Times and more for its refined quality and character. It is conveniently located within walking or biking distance to all of our Irvington favorites.

For dinner on this first night, we suggest staying in, however. Indulge in farm-to-table and boat-to-table specialities created from locally sourced vegetables and seafood. Locals and foodies often travel to the Hope & Glory’s Dining Hall just for the food.

Day 2


Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

Put on your walking shoes and head down the road to the Tides Inn for an Oyster Academyexperience. The Oyster Academy team will meet you for coffee at 9 a.m. to kick off three hours of history, fun, and food with a presentation about the Virginia Oyster. You’ll be amazed at how this mollusk has woven in and out of American’s history. Then, you’ll hop on a traditional deadrise boat with local watermen Capt. William Saunders. You’ll help him pull oysters and other seafood right from Carter’s Creek. Stories and epic views will abound. Head back to solid land for an oyster roast led by Tides Inn Chef TV Flynn. Tides Inn Sommelier Samir Dhir will show you how to perfectly pair each style of oyster.

After a morning of adventure, head back to theHope & Glory Inn to unwind. Here, you can take a shower or bathe alfresco in the garden, which is full of chameleon and lavender. If bathing al fresco isn’t for you, visit the Hope & Glory’s Spa, Recess, for pampering. Wide awake? Head downstairs to the Detention Bar for a classic cocktail to keep the party going.

Yankee Point Marina

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm
Sample a few of our signature dishes.

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm
Eat fresh-caught seafood along the waterfront.

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm
dog and oyster vineyard

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

After you’ve recuperated enough, hop on your bikes or take a long walk to the Dog & Oyster Vineyardfor wine and oyster tacos from Byrd Seafood. Snap an Insta-worthy photo in front of the giant corkscrews and rub the bellies of the friendly rescue dogs that keep the vineyard safe. While you’re tasting the award winning wine, make sure to place an order for a local seafood treat from Bryan Byrd. Expect a bit of a caribbean twist in all of his creations. Head home for rest after a day well spent.

Day 3

Oyster Festivals

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

Rise and shine! Take a walk to The Local for a simple breakfast like freshly baked muffins and locally roasted organic coffee. Sit inside or outside as you soak up the morning sun. When you’re caffeinated and full, get back on your feat for a meander around town.

Start off at Objects Art and More. The upscale gallery represents more than 200 artists from across the country. Discover paintings, pottery, glass, sculpture, jewelry, home decor, and whimsical nightlights.

Eat Like a Local

Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

Need to upgrade your wardrobe? Dandelion Boutique is the house to shop. The house-turned boutique is filled corner to corner with hats, cashmere sweaters, elaborate belts, dresses for every shape, candles, quirky gifts and more. Get lost and find something just right.

Make your final stop at the Steamboat Era Museum to feed the curious kid in you. The museum brings landscapes to life from an era when revival camps, shucking houses and country stores dotted the river’s shores.

Complete your visit with dinner and drinks at Trick Dog Bar & Bistro. Start off with a specialty martini or a glass of wine. Enjoy casual bites like oysters on the half shell or decadent entrees like crab stuffed flounder. Don’t forget to pet the Trick Dog for good luck!

Share your Adventures!


Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

Don’t forget to share your awesome photos with us! Tag @virginiasriverealm in photos on Instagram and use the hashtags #virginiasriverrealm, #loveva and #findyourshoreline.

Written by Virginia’s River Realm for Virginia’s River Realm.

Featured image provided by Courtesy of Virginia’s River Realm

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in December 2018

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in December 2018

The holidays are here and there’s a great amount of music coming to Virginia in December. 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 Judah and the Lion (Dec. 2), Old 97’s (Dec. 6), Turnpike Troubadours (Dec. 12), Carbon Leaf (Dec. 15), Fighting Gravity (Dec. 26) and others.

The Broadberry will be hosting acts like Every Time I Die on Dec. 9, Hiss Golden Messenger on Dec. 13, Snail Mail on Dec. 20, Yarn on Dec. 29, Tauk on Dec. 30, and more.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra will ring in the holiday season at the Richmond Coliseum on Dec. 19. Also on Dec. 19, Lindsey Stirling will perform over at the Altria Theater. Charlie Wilson will be at the Altria Theater on Dec. 21. The Dominion Energy Center will host Ghost on Dec. 4 and Chris Tomlin on Dec. 6.

University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts will be having Josh Ritter perform on Dec. 1 and The Mavericks on Dec. 6.

The Beacon Theatre in Hopewell will host Bill Anderson on Dec. 9, BJ Thomas on Dec. 21 and Delbert McClinton on Dec. 29.

In Charlottesville, the John Paul Jones Arena will be hosting Dave Matthews Band on Dec. 14 and 15. The Jefferson Theater will hosts artists like Eddie from Ohio (Dec. 9), Billy Strings (Dec. 20), Hiss Golden Messenger (Dec. 21) and more. At the Paramount Theater, Rufus Wainwright will be performing on Dec. 10.

In Lynchburg, Killswitch Engage will be performing at the Phase 2 Club on Dec. 4 along with P.O.D. on Dec. 11, and The Devil Wears Prada on Dec. 13.The Norva

The NorVa in Norfolk will be bringing in Underoath (Dec. 11), Turnpike Troubadours (Dec. 13), Breaking Benjamin (Dec. 15), DJ Pauly D (Dec. 27), Fighting Gravity (Dec. 28), GWAR (Dec. 31) and many others.

Migos will be at Old Dominion University’s Constant Center on Dec. 6.

In Williamsburg, Hanson will perform at Williamsburg Winery on Dec. 9.

In Roanoke, the Berglund Center will be hosting Chris Tomlin on Dec. 14. On Dec. 9, the Salem Civic Center will host Newsboys.

Over in Rocky Mount at the Harvester Performance Center will be hosting a number of shows including Delbert McClinton on Dec. 1, Folk Soul Revival on Dec. 8, Kenny G on Dec. 11, and The Hackensaw Boys on Dec. 14.

At the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg, acts like Eddie From Ohio (Dec. 6), Edwin McCain (Dec. 20), and more will be performing.

Alexandria music hall The Birchmere will be hosting Justin Townes Earle (Dec. 2), Lissie (Dec. 6), Sara Evans (Dec. 8), Carbon Leaf (Dec. 13 and 14), Judy Collins (Dec. 18 and 19) and more.

At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include Red Baraat (Dec 1), and Eileen Ivers (Dec. 2).


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 December 2018 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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The Complete Guide to Holiday Beers at Virginia Craft Breweries

The Complete Guide to Holiday Beers at Virginia Craft Breweries

starr hill snow blind doppelbock holiday beer

Fresh seasonal flavors aren’t just found on your plate during the holidays in Virginia; craft breweries around the Commonwealth are putting their favorite holiday ingredients in your glass, as well, offering flavors like gingerbread, pumpkin, and holiday spices to brighten up the season. Whether you’re buying as a gift for a craft brew-loving friend or stuffing your own stockings, these holiday craft beers will make your season bright!



2 Silos Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale—Pumpkin/Yam beer with spiced aroma and a bright orange hue. Made with raw pumpkin.

6 Bears & A Goat Brewing Company Pilothouse Pumpkin Porter—Brewed with pumpkin pie spices.

Adroit Theory Brewing What Evil Lurks—Pumpkin Ale set to be released around December 12.

Adventure Brewing Company The Pumpkining—Pumpkin Porter made with real pumpkin and spices.

Adventure Brewing Company Runaway Pumpkin Ale—Lighter pumpkin beer made with real pumpkin and local malts.

Alewerks Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale—Inspired by the brewer’s mothers’ pumpkin pie recipe and made with fresh ingredients like nutmeg, brown sugar, and cinnamon.ardent sweet potato and sage beer

Ardent Craft Ales Sweet Potato & Sage—Fall seasonal farmhouse-style saison. Sweet potato balances with the fragrant aroma of fresh local sage.

Back Bay Brewing Company Witch of Pungo—Pumpkin and yam beer made with pumpkins and squash grown on their farm.

Backroom Brewery Peter Peter Pumpkin Drinker Porter—Lightly spiced seasonal pumpkin porter.

Barnhouse Brewery Good Gourd O’Mighty Pumpkin Ale—Seasonal pumpkin ale with cinnamon and fresh ginger, moderately hoppy but well balanced.

Benchtop Brewing Company Grammy’s Famous—Sweet potato toasted marshmellow gose with orange zest. Made with real marshmallows, sweet potatoes, and orange zest. Releasing mid-November.

Brew Republic Bierwerks The People’s Pumpkin—Gose brewed with pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and sea salt.

Brew Republic Bierwerks Power to the Pumpkin—Tart Pumpkin Gose with pumpkin spices, oats, and sea salt.

Brothers Craft Brewing Fairgrounds Fall Ale—Pumpkin spiced ale.

Chaos Mountain Brewing The Legless Horseman—Pumpkin ale brewed using locally grown pumpkins and a secret blend of fall spices.

Commonwealth Brewing Company Pumpkin Juice—Pumpkin Cream Ale made with a selection of fall spices.

Dirt Farm Brewing Pumpkin Ale—Mildly spiced pumpkin ale made from roasted neck pumpkins grown on their farm.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Farmhouse Pumpkin—Farmhouse Ale made with Virginia-grown sugar pumpkins, whole nutmeg, clove, allspice, and fresh ginger root.

Highmark Brewing Company Fall Into Winter Ale—Pumpkin gingerbread brown ale made with 70 pounds of locally grown pumpkins.

Home Republic Brewery Oh My Gourd! Pumpkin Ale—Traditional seasonal pumpkin ale.

James River Brewery Sunkin Punkin—Pumpkin ale with subtle notes of nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon.lake anna brew house pumpkin holiday craft beer

Lake Anna Brew House Pumpkin Porter—Malty dark ale with roasted pumpkin and a hint of cinnamon.

Loose Shoe Brewing Company Headless Horseman—Pumpkin and yam ale with subtle spices.

Mad Fox Brewing Company Stingy Jack Pumpkin Saison—Fall pumpkin ale made with real pumpkins and spiced with their house pumpkin pie blend.

New District Brewing Company Fashionably Late—Autumn ale made with real pumpkins.

O’Connor Brewing Company Punkelweisse Pumpkin Wheat—German Dunkelweisse dark wheat ale blended with fall spices and lots of pumpkin.

Old 690 Brewing Company Wicked Old Lady Pumpkin Ale—Seasonal ale made with over 20 pounds of pumpkin and classic pumpkin pie spices.ono brewing company jack-o pumpkin ale

Ono Brewing Company Jack-O Pumpkin Ale—Light bodied ale with caramel and red malts brewed with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and 100 pounds of pumpkin.

Origin Beer Lab Pumpkin Head—Oat-based “whip” brewed with heaps of pumpkin and a touch of cinnamon and ginger.

Pleasure House Brewing Tricks Pumpkin Spice Saison—French saison made with cinnamon, ginger, and other pie spices.

Quattro Goomba’s Brewery Infatuation Pumpkin Spice Saison—Saison made with fresh pumpkin puree and pie spices like ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and allspice.

Reaver Beach Brewing Company Jolly Roger Pumpkin Porter—Porter brewed with fresh sugar pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Red Dragon Brewery Pumpkin Harvest Ale—Brown ale made with real pumpkin.

Solace Brewing Company She Made Me—Honey pumpkin common beer with subtle pumpkin spice flavor.

Spencer Devon Brewing Company Snead’s Squash Harvest Ale—Dark English mild ale made with Georgia Candy Roaster squash, grown at nearby Snead’s Farm.

Sweetwater Tavern Ghost Town Pumpkin Ale—Lightly spiced ale made with real pumpkin amber.

The Craft of Brewing Imperial Pumpkin Stout—Imperial stout with graham cracker pie crust and pumpkin pie spice.

The Farm Brewery at Broad Run Disturbed Pumpkin Ale—Pumpkin pie-flavored brown ale with hints of caramel malt and graham cracker crust.three notchd brewing company pumpkin spiced latte craft beer

Three Notch’d Brewing Company Pumpkin Spiced Latte—Pumpkin Spiced Amber Ale made with fresh coffee from Rostov’s Coffee & Teas. Brewed in collaboration with the University of Richmond Brewing Program.

Tin Cannon Brewing Company Punk’Tin Ale—Amber ale brewed with five pounds of pumpkin per barrel and seasonal spices.

Tradition Brewing Company Persnickety Witch Pumpkin Ale—Pumpkin ale with subtle notes of cloves, cinnamon, and caramel.

Twin Creeks Brewing Company Imperial Pumpkin—Imperial pumpkin beer.

Wild Wolf Brewing Company Howling Pumpkin—Pumpkin ale made with molasses, pumpkin, squash, and pumpkin pie spices.



Adventure Brewing Company Mary Washington’s Gingerbread—Collaboration with the Washington Heritage Museum and the Mary Washington House. Based off Mary Washington’s famous gingerbread recipe.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Gingerbread Stout—Imperial Milk Stout made with fresh ginger and wildflower honey.hardywood park brewing company christmas morning beer

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Christmas Morning—Imperial gingerbread stout with spices and coffee.

Hardywood Park Craft Brewery Christmas Pancakes—Imperial gingerbread stout refermented on maple syrup.

James River Brewery Gingerbread Brown Ale—Holiday brown ale made with ginger, molasses, and cinnamon.

Mountain Valley Brewing The Gingerbread Man—Gingerbread imperial stout brewed with biscuit and chocolate malt, fresh local honey and ginger, and cinnamon.

Strangeways Brewing Gingerbread Gourd of Thunder—Imperial Gingerbread Pumpkin Porter made with fresh picked local pumpkins, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, and clove spices.

Tin Cannon Brewing Company Ginger Snap Amber Ale—Holiday ale with caramel malts, ginger, molasses, and spices.


—HOLIDAY SPICED BEERS—alewerks brewing company fun old fashioned family christmas ale

Alewerks Brewing Company Fun, Old-Fashioned Family Christmas Ale—Ale with cinnamon, clove, ginger, vanilla bean, sweet orange peel, nutmeg, and allspice.

AMMO Brewing Two Pixies Winter Ale—Winter ale made with sour Montmorrency cherries boiled with Bath County maple syrup, then fermented with Madagascan vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. Releasing close to Thanksgiving.

Back Bay Brewing Company Nut Quacker Almond Cream Stout—Limited Edition holiday cream ale brewed with lactose to create a smooth, slightly sweet creamy brew.

Bedlam Brewing Holiday Ale—Releasing in December. Traditional English ale loaded with cinnamon and allspice.belly love brewing company auld resolutions holiday beer

Belly Love Brewing Company Auld Resolutions—Spiced winter ale made with ginger, orange, and cinnamon. Released in early December.

Black Hoof Brewing Company Turkey Call Maple Brown Ale—Made with real Virginia maple syrup from Highlands County.

Blue Mountain Brewery Lights Out—Holiday malted ale with hopped spiciness made with rolled oats.

Brew Republic Bierwerks Commonwealth Christmas Ale—Seasonal spiced Christmas ale with cinnamon sticks, fresh ginger, and honey. Released during Black Friday weekend.

Brew Republic Bierwerks Beer Nog—Oatmeal stout with rich spiced eggnog flavor. Released around December 1st.

Caboose Brewing Company Vanilla Hobo Imperial Stout—Roasted coffee and chocolate stout with vanilla, hints of dark fruit, and caramel sweetness.

Castleburg Brewery & Taproom Dark Ages—Imperial maple brown made from their award-winning Bishop’s Brown Ale and brewed with Vermont Maple Syrup and Cinnamon. Released mid-November.

Center of the Universe Brewing Company Jesus—Mexican hot chocolate spiced stout.

Champion Brewing Company Santa’s Cookies—Imperial spiced oatmeal stout made with real ginger and cardamom.

Commonwealth Brewing Company Eggnog Riot—Bourbon barrel imperial cream ale spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla bean.creek bottom brewing mistress claus stout holiday beer

Creek Bottom Brewing Mistress Claus Stout—Holiday imperial chocolate stout that has been aged on cacao nibs.

Deschutes Brewery Jubelale—Spiced winter ale with warming spices and notes of toffee.

Final Gravity Brewing Company Pablo’s Stash—Holiday stout with chocolate, habanero, cinnamon, and vanilla.

Fine Creek Brewing Company Spiced Mild Ale—Sessionable ale made with cardamom and orange peel, flavor reminiscent of a spiced cake. Released around Thanksgiving.

Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works White Oak Winter Ale—Spiced ale with a subtle blend of ginger, cinnamon stick, and dried orange peel. virginia

Intermission Beer Company All Hallows Ale—Amber harvest ale made with dark maple syrup and cinnamon.

James River Brewery Belgian Holiday Ale—Belgian amber ale made with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and coriander.

Mad Fox Brewing Company Festivus Ale—English-style winter warmer ale spiced with cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice, mace, cardamom, star anise, and orange zest.midnight brewing company christmas at midnight holiday beer

Midnight Brewery Christmas at Midnight—Spiced English mild with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mountain Valley Brewing Fall Into Winter—Brown ale spiced with chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Old Bust Head Brewing Company Apple Cinnamon Winter Wheat—A blend of Belgian wit and Chinquapin chestnut porter conditioned on apples, cinnamon sticks, and spices.old ox brewery keg nog holiday beer

Old Ox Brewery Keg Nog—Imperial spiced ale with flavors of nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Ono Brewing Company Honey & Spice—Holiday ale made with honey, cinnamon, and ginger.

Origin Beer Lab Whipperdoodle—Snickerdoodle-inspired beer brewed with cinnamon and oats.

Pleasure House Brewing Snatch You Baldheaded Belgian Quad—Classic quad brewed with mulling spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and citrus.

Port City Brewing Company Tidings Ale—Belgian strong golden ale that is gently spiced with coriander, cardamom, fresh ginger, and grains of paradise.

Rip Rap Brewing Company Heart’s Content—Holiday-inspired Peppermint Stout

Spencer Devon Brewing Company Center House Association Ale—Pale ale brewed with locally-harvested spruce boughs. Brewed for the Center House Association, which maintains the oldest officer’s mess hall in the Marine Corps.

Starr Hill Brewery Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale—Classic English brown ale made with real Virginia maple syrup.starr hill snow blind beer

Starr Hill Brewery Snow Blind Doppelbock Lager—Full-bodied winter doppelbock lager with caramel aromas and a lightly toasted malt flavor.

The River Company Brewery Chill Chaser Spiced Chocolate Stout—Milk stout made with chocolate, cinnamon, chipotle, and Cayenne peppers.

The Virginia Beer Company Evil Santa Spiced Milk Stout—Milk stout with hearty additions of flaked oats and lactose and dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Tradition Brewing Company “Oh Nutcracker” Belgian Dubbel—Christmas dubbel with hints of orange, holiday spices, and a light toffee aroma.

Water’s End Brewery Uncle Sam Wins the Caber Toss—American Scotch ale with a smoked malt finish. Due to be released the week before Christmas.

Wolf Hills Brewing Company Auld Magnus Winter Warmer—Big winter beer made with ginger, orange peel, and cranberry.

Young Veterans Brewing Company Truce in the Forest—Imperial white holiday IPA brewed with German malts and America hops.



Ballad Brewing Company Cranberry Sour—Sour style beer sold only on draft in the brewery, released mid-November.ballast point brewery spruce tip sculpin holiday beer

Ballast Point Brewing Company Spruce Tip Sculpin—IPA brewed with Oregon spruce tips has flavors of red berry, lemon, and wine grapes.

Beale’s All the Berry Bear—Sour beer with blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries, and boysenberries.

Brick & Mortar Brewing Company Sweet Cherry Pie—Blonde ale combined with sweet cherries.devils backbone brewing company cran gose holiday beer

Devils Backbone Brewing Company Cran-Gose—Tart cranberry ale that is light but holiday-focused.

Devils Backbone Brewing Company Feliz Navidad—Smoked Mexican-inspired lager with lime, agave, and corn flavors. Although the flavors are not traditional holiday ingredients, the beer is a charitable collaboration with Three Notch’d Brewing Company that will provide meals for local families and raise up to $20,000 for the brewery’s chosen charities during the holiday season.

Jack’s Run Brewing Company Cranberry Dreams—Wheat beer made with cranberry puree for a slightly tart finish.

Mountain Valley Brewing Choc. Full O’ Cherries—Chocolate porter made with chocolate and caramel malt, real cocoa nibs, tart cherries, and vanilla.

O’Connor Brewing Company Winter Pecan Porter—Full-bodied English porter infused with toasted pecans.

Old Bust Head Brewing Company Chinquapin Chestnut Porter—Rich Chinquapin chestnut porter made with real chestnuts and dark malts.

The Vanguard Brewpub Namur the Merrier Belgian Quad—Bold Belgian-style strong holiday ale made with dark fruit, raisins, and spice.

Trapezium Brewing Company Lucky 51 Maple Pecan Wheat—Collaboration with Richard Bland College. Imperial American wheat beer brewed with maple syrup and pecans grown on the Richard Bland campus.



Beale’s Spiced Apple Ale—Handpicked blend of spices fermented with local apple cider. Taste like fresh apple pie.

Brother Craft Brewing Blonde Betty—Collaboration with Bold Rock Cider. Imperial American blonde ale with fresh pressed apple juice and apple pie spices.

Chaos Mountain Brewing How ‘Bout Dem Apples—Limited release apple ale brewed in collaboration with Bold Rock Cider.coelacanth brewing caramel apple pie porter holiday beer

Coelacanth Brewing Caramel Apple Pie Porter—Collaboration with Parkway Brewing Company using apples from Bold Rock Cider.

Old Trade Brewery Malum Apple Beer—Crisp twist on their pilsner beer blended with juice from regionally-sourced apples.

The Oozlefinch Craft Brewery Smoked Apple Apple Smoked—Collaboration with Mustang Sally Brewing Company. Smoky and sour beer made with smoked apples and Applewood chips.

The River Company Brewery Apple Brown Ale—Fall harvest beer made with 60 pounds of crushed Fuji apples and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

The post The Complete Guide to Holiday Beers at Virginia Craft Breweries appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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8 Reasons Why We LOVE Fall in Virginia

8 Reasons Why We LOVE Fall in Virginia

fall in Shenandoah National ParkShenandoah National Park

It’s hard to choose a favorite season for traveling in Virginia, but with bright leaves covering the rolling mountains, a crisp feeling in the air, and delicious autumn flavors available at every restaurant, craft brewery, and cider, we can’t help but feel like Fall in Virginia is a top contender. Read on for our favorite things to do in Virginia in the fall!


1. Taking in The Colorful FoliageVirginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon

The fall foliage in Virginia is spectacular, blanketing the Commonwealth in fiery hues of orange, red, and yellow. You’ll catch these colors earlier in the fall in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, but as the days advance, the foliage begins to move eastward, eventually ending along the coastlines of Virginia. Keep an eye on the Fall Foliage Report to get an idea of where the best leaf-peeping is happening.

Where to Go: The Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon flaunts extraordinary colors in the fall, and cycling the 34-mile paved trail gives you the chance to pause along the way to take in the vibrant foliage. To experience the fall colors on foot, head to one of the hiking trails in Shenandoah National Park, where you’ll get expansive views of the storied Blue Ridge Mountains. Finally, if it’s a little too chilly for outdoor activities, hop in the car and travel along Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway to get a peek at the changing leaves.

Find More Fall Foliage Destinations


 2. Tackling the Challenge of a Corn Mazeliberty mills corn maze

Puzzle lovers will enjoy conquering a corn maze at a Virginia farm during the fall. With varying difficulties, you can find a corn maze that suits your skill, from the easiest routes with the kids to the most challenging field labyrinths that take 4-5 hours to complete.

Where to Go: The largest corn maze east of the Mississippi River, Liberty Mills Farm Corn Maze spans 32 acres and contains four different trails of increasing difficulty, making the corn maze ideal for visitors of all ages. Each year, the maze has a unique theme that can be seen from above; the 2018 theme is dinosaurs. Complete one or all four of the corn maze trails, then jump on to the hay wagon for a ride to the pumpkin patch, where you can pick your own pumpkin to take home and carve into a frightful Jack-o’-lantern.

Find More Corn Mazes


3. Celebrating Halloween at a Virginia Theme Parkbusch gardens howl o scream halloween

Virginia’s theme parks are all decked out during fall for their signature Halloween events. Spend the day riding roller coasters, eating seasonal fare, and browsing spooky Halloween shops at Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion. For family-friendly Halloween fun, visit Busch Gardens before 6pm and Kings Dominion on weekends until October 28, 2018.

Where to Go: The European countries of Busch Gardens Williamsburg are transformed for Howl-O-Scream, turning into fear-themed Terror-tories like Ripper Row and Sideshow Square. In addition to terrifying creatures lurking around the grounds, the park offers seven haunted houses, two party zones, six bars with Halloween-themed beverages, and two escape rooms.

Kings Dominion’s Halloween Haunt features eight haunted mazes with themes like the Cornstalkers, Zombie High, and Blood on the Bayou, five scare zones including Nercopolis, The Lair, and Cleaver Brothers Carnival, and four horrifying live shows.


4. Picking-Your-Own at An Orchard or Pumpkin PatchScenic Winchester Apple Orchard

Pack up the family for a fall adventure to a local pumpkin patch, where they can pick their own from the vines or purchase already-picked pumpkins directly from the farmers, or head to an apple orchard to pluck fresh fruit that can be used in homemade apple cider, pie, or a variety of other fall treats.

Where to Go: Located next to historic Monticello and Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, Carter Mountain Orchard has everything apple, including pick-your-own orchards, apple cider for the kids and Bold Rock cider for the adults, fresh-baked pies and cookies, and of course their famous Apple Cider Donuts. After exploring the orchard and sampling some of the apple foods and drinks, peruse their country store for jams and jellies, local crafts, and gourmet food products. The weekends are always busy at Carter Mountain, so consider visiting during a weekday for a more relaxing experience.

Westmoreland Berry Farm in Colonial Beach has both pick-your-own apple orchards and pumpkin patches, as well as friendly goats that the kids will love.

Find More Pumpkin Patches & Apple Orchards


5. Getting Spooked at Countless Historically Haunted DestinationsColonial Williamsburg Grand Illumination

There isn’t a corner in the Commonwealth that doesn’t have some historical significance, so it’s no surprise that there are dozens of supposedly “haunted” destinations. And what better time to visit these spirited spots than around All Hallows’ Eve?

Where to Go: As one of the oldest settlement areas in America, Colonial Williamsburg is packed with creepy history that comes to life during the Colonial Ghosts Tour, ranked one of the top 10 “Bone-Chilling Haunted Tours in the US”. The walking tour takes you to over a dozen haunted locations in the Williamsburg area, and for the bravest visitors, they offer an extended tour with six additional locations, including haunted sites within William & Mary College, the second oldest college in America.

Find More Haunted Sites


6. Tasting the Delicious Results of Harvest SeasonScenic Warsaw Barn

Fall is harvest time in Virginia, and from vineyards releasing their annual vintages to farms gathering the last produce of the growing season, you’ll find fresh flavors throughout the Commonwealth. Sample these Virginia-grown products at a farm-to-table restaurant, winery or cidery, or from a local farmer’s market.

Where to Go: One of the leaders of the farm-to-table movement of Virginia, Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview serves Neo-Appalachian Cuisine that is made from local produce, grass-fed meats, and handmade cheeses. In addition to buying these ingredients from nearby farms, Harvest Table also has their own four-acre farm, ensuring that everything they serve is fresh and only the highest quality.

Find More Fresh Farm-To-Table Restaurants


7. Attending Fall Festivals That Combine the Best Parts of Autumncox farms fall festival

Hayrides, corn mazes, apples, cider, and pumpkin patches all in one place…need we say more?

Where to Go: Cox Farms Fall Festival in Centreville is Northern Virginia’s largest fall festival, so you’ll get all of the above and more at this annual autumn event.

Find More Fall Festivals


8. Relaxing on a Quiet Coastal GetawayThe Cavalier Hotel Virginia Beach

Virginia’s coasts bring thousands of visitors during the peak season of summer, but the beaches are just as enjoyable during the fall. In addition to less crowds, many of the beaches are dog-friendly during the fall, and Virginia Beach even has guided horseback riding available in the off-season. With milder temperatures, affordable prices, and peaceful scenery, Virginia’s beaches are our favorite hidden gems when it comes to travel in the fall.

Where to Go: Stay at the recently renovated Cavalier in Virginia Beach for a luxury fall getaway at a fraction of the peak-season price. The iconic hotel was built in 1926 and was one of the most renowned hotels of the eastern seaboard during the era, bringing famous guests like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor…the list goes on and on. Learn about the glamorous history while experiencing the modern luxuries at this lavishly renovated coastal hotel.

Find More Coastal Fall Vacations



What makes you most excited for Fall in Virginia? Share your autumn activities with us!


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Film Festivals In Virginia This Fall

Film Festivals In Virginia This Fall


A wide variety of film festivals are taking place across the state this fall. From screenings of Academy Award contenders and conversations with world-renowned filmmakers to discussions lead by Native American filmmakers and screenings of local student films, there’s a unique experience for everyone to enjoy. Four of Virginia’s largest film festivals are highlighted below along with things to do nearby. To find more,  visit the  Virginia Film Festivals page.


Middleburg Film Festival – Middleburg

October 18-21, 2018

The Middleburg Film Festival offers four days of fantastic films in a beautiful setting, only 30 minutes from Dulles International Airport and just one hour from Washington, D.C. A carefully curated selection of narrative and documentary films will screen in an intimate theatre environment, followed by Q & A’s with world-renowned filmmakers and actors. The films include festival favorites, premieres, and Academy Award contenders.

While visiting Middleburg, festival attendees can also experience the beauty of the surrounding horse-country, farm-to-table dining, wine-tastings at local vineyards, strolling through the historic town, and engaging in casual conversation with filmmakers. Find local offerings below and visit the festival website for the list of 26 screenings, master classes, panel discussions, and much more. (Distance in parenthesis from Middleburg’s Historic Downtown).

Places to Stay:

Nearby Restaurants:

Things to Do:


Washington West Film Festival  – Arlington & Reston

October 25-29, 2018

The Washington West Film Festival invites film lovers to experience world-class, premiere, and award-winning films along with talented filmmakers at various locations in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Believing one great story should lead to another, the week-long festival is committed to giving 100% of its box office proceeds each year to a charity project that helps alleviate childhood hunger, illness, and poor education in the U.S. and around the world.

The eighth annual festival features more than 40 films across eight venues in Arlington and Reston. Find local offerings near select venues below and visit the festival website for a schedule of screenings and events.

Bob Woodward being interviewed after a 40th anniversary screening of All The President’s Men.

Places to Stay:

Restaurants Nearby:

Things to Do:

  • Reston Town Center (venue) – outdoor shopping venue offering more than 50 retailers, 35 restaurants, and multi-screen cinema.
  • Shop in the Village at Shirlington – Arlington’s European-style promenade with fun shops, restaurants, nightlife and art-house theater.
  • Arlington National Cemetery – The final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families, the impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest.
  • W&OD Trail – Built on the roadbed of the former Washington & Old Dominion Railroad, the 45-mile long paved trail runs from Purcellville in Loudoun County to Shirlington in Arlington County.


Virginia Film Festival – Charlottesville

November 1-4, 2018

The Virginia Film Festival at the University of Virginia has been celebrating the magic of the movies and inspiring audiences for over 30 years. Every autumn, the Festival showcases celebrated new features and documentaries, fresh perspectives on timeless classics, and local filmmakers from right here in Virginia. The Festival brings in a fascinating selection of guests, from internationally acclaimed directors and actors to professors and leading cultural experts who lead discussions that stimulate, educate, and engage. Today, the Festival stands as one of Virginia’s most important cultural landmarks, and one of the most respected regional destination film festivals in the United States.

The annual Virginia Film Festival will take place on the Grounds of the University of Virginia, on Charlottesville’s historic Downtown Mall, and throughout Charlottesville. Find local offerings below and visit the festival website for a schedule of screenings and events. (Distance in parenthesis from the Downtown Mall).  10 Places to Enjoy Dazzling Fall Foliage in the Charlottesville Area!

Places to Stay:

Restaurants Nearby:

Things to Do:


Pocahontas Reframed Storytellers Film Festival – Richmond

November 15-18, 2018

The 2nd annual Pocahontas Reframed: Storytellers Film Festival is held at the historic Byrd Theatre in Richmond and features three days of film and live performances celebrating Native American stories and storytellers. Organized to foster greater awareness and exposure to indigenous languages, cultures and societies, the festival brings together artists, authors, filmmakers, and actors to share, teach, and explain their creativity and history. Find local offerings in proximity to the Byrd Theatre and visit the festival website for a schedule of screenings and event. 

The festival is a signature event of the 2019 Commemoration, AMERICAN EVOLUTION™, a three-year tribute to Virginia’s history and heritage. Featuring events and activities that inspire travelers from around the country and the world to engage in the themes of democracy, diversity and opportunity. AMERICAN EVOLUTION™ positions Virginia as a global leader in education, economic development and tourism. (Distance in parenthesis from the Byrd Theatre).

Places to Stay:

Richmond’s Carytown Restaurants:

Things to Do:

  • Shopping in Carytown (0.0 miles) – Eight blocks of unique boutiques, restaurants, and gift shops in Richmond’s downtown.
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (0.7 miles) – Ranks as one of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States, attend the Pocahontas Reframed panel discussion here on Thursday before the festival.
  • Virginia Museum of History & Culture (0.7 miles) – One of the oldest and most distinguished history organizations in the nation, you’ll find permanent and special exhibits that showcase Virginia’s rich history.
  • Maymont Grounds and Gardens (1.5 miles) – Stroll the gardens, tour the mansion or visit the nature center on this beautiful 100-acre American estate in the heart of Richmond.


Afrikana Independent Film Festival – Richmond

POSTPONED – September 13-16, 2018

Afrikana Independent Film Festival, founded in 2014, is a multi-day festival featuring a dynamic blend of film-centric events throughout the Richmond arts district and beyond. Afrikana showcases the cinematic works of people of color from around the world and strives to present stories that celebrate the diaspora and encourage people to connect.

The 3rd Annual Afrikana Independent Film Festival has been postponed due to Hurricane Florence. Visit their website for a new date announcement.  

Richmond’s Art District Restaurants:

Things to Do:

  • The Valentine Museum (venue) – Located in the heart of historic downtown Richmond, the Valentine collects, preserves and interprets Richmond’s unique stories through exhibitions, programs, and guided tours.
  • 1708 Gallery (venue) – a non-profit arts organization founded by artists in 1978.
  • Maggie Walker National Historic Site and Memorial Plaza – Commemorates the life of a progressive and talented African American woman. Despite many adversities, she achieved success in the world of business and finance as the first woman in the United States to found and serve as president of a bank. The site includes her residence of thirty years and the memorial plaza includes a 10-foot bronze statue surrounded by inscriptions tracing her life.
  • Black History Museum & Cultural Center of Virginia (venue) – Presents the complex experiences of peoples of Africa and the African Diaspora, with an emphasis on Virginians, by collecting, preserving, and interpreting historical and cultural artifacts.
  • VCU Institute for Contemporary Art (venue) – Presents the art of our time and provides an open forum for dialogue and collaboration across the region and throughout the world


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Dig into Archaeology Month in Virginia

Dig into Archaeology Month in Virginia

**Co-Authored with David Rotenizer, Franklin County Office of Economic Development – Tourism**

Every October, Virginia celebrates archaeology at libraries, museums, historical societies, clubs, and at active archaeological sites. Below are some sites with active digs or special exhibits you can visit to celebrate Archaeology Month in Virginia. October 20 is International Archaeology Day. Keep a look out for special events across the Commonwealth.

Please call the attraction ahead of time for full details on current programs.

At Historic Jamestowne, explore the first permanent English colony in America. Jamestown Rediscovery offers many exciting opportunities to explore the island’s history and archaeology. Join archaeologists for a walking tour or visit the laboratory and see some of the 2-million artifacts recovered from the site.

Check out Road Scholar’s six-day hands-on program.

George Washington’s boyhood home, Ferry Farm, houses artifacts from colonial times and the Civil War that were found on the property. See archaeologists at work in the lab on weekdays. Visitors can also speak to a construction interpreter about the Washington house replica, enjoy the hiking trails and do some bird-watching in the Wild Meadow.

Mount Vernon’s archaeological assets are extremely valuable in the study of the Chesapeake region’s 18th century plantation life. Major excavations include the house for families slave quarter, Washington’s Distillery, and currently the Slave Cemetery. You can visit the site or volunteer to help, June – October.

Colonial Williamsburg Archaeology excavates 17th and 18th century sites in Williamsburg’s historic area to. Take a guided tour of the Archaeology Labs or view archaeological objects and hear about current research, excavation techniques, curatorial efforts, and the functions of different labs.

Excavations at Poplar Forest are currently centered on the northern corners of Jefferson’s retreat house looking for the remains of two ornamental tree clumps and two oval flower beds planted in 1812 and 1816. Additionally, archaeologists will continue field school excavations southeast of the main house near an antebellum slave cabin and Jefferson’s ornamental plant nursery.

The USS Monitor Center at The Mariners’ Museum is home to one of the most famous ships in Civil War history, the ironclad USS Monitor. Experience interactive exhibits and see remarkable artifacts like the iconic rotating gun turret. Publicly viewable, treatment tanks at the Batten Conservation Complex hold the Monitor’s largest artifacts. The Complex is home to the world’s largest marine archaeological metals conservation project.

Experience an 18th century house like never before at Menokin. See, touch and feel its internal make-up as over 80% of the original parts of this collapsed house still exist. Become part of the process as The Menokin Foundation undertakes the restoration of this National Historic Landmark in an innovative way using original fabric and architectural glass.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History curates millions of artifacts, fossils, rocks, and biological specimens to research and add to their collection. They also curate more than a million archaeological artifacts. Their facilities include an archaeology lab with reference collections for zooarchaeology. Visitors view the lab from a large observation window.

See archaeologists at work at Alexandria Archaeology Museum. The Museum displays the results of recent digs and interprets the results of research through exhibitions, tours and more. Artifacts include a 13,000-year-old Clovis point, centuries-old pottery and Civil War items. Over the past few years, the museum staff have been involved with the recovery of historic ship wrecks along the waterfront.

James Madison’s Montpelier hosts two 5-day immersive Archaeological Expedition Programs for the public where participants work side-by-side with professional archaeologists to discover and recreate the Madison plantation. Participants live on the historic grounds and experience history hands-on by digging for artifacts and taking part in recovering President Madison’s home with museum professionals.

Monticello’s Archaeology Department will host its annual open house on Oct. 20, featuring displays and exhibits on recent discoveries in the field and the lab, as well as walking tours of the vanished Monticello Plantation landscape. Displays and exhibits are found in the Woodland Pavilion and the Visitors Center.

Mead’s Tavern, a 1763 building in the Campbell County community of New London, is undergoing intensive archaeological and architectural investigation ahead of a planned restoration by Liberty University. Archaeologists studying the tavern’s basement have uncovered evidence of a colonial- era hearth and extensive floor deposits containing domestic artifacts. Join them on Oct. 27 for a tour.

Germanna Foundation recently broke grond for the new Hitt Archaeology Center. The facility will have space for cleaning, cataloging, and storing artifacts from archaeological work at the four Germanna Foundation properties.

Kittiewan Plantation is home to the Archeological Society of Virginia. Some of filming for mini-series Turn took place there. The 18th century home and grounds are available for tours. Regular open house tours from April to November, but other times by prior appointment. Archaeological and historic collections available for viewing.

Like so many other things, Virginia is host to a range of archaeological sites and resources available for visiting and often an opportunity to participate. To learn more, visit www.VirginiaArcheology.org or follow Facebook page @Virginia.ASV.


Do you know of any other active archaeological digs or treasures? Drop them in the comments below.

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Your Dining Guide to Southwest Virginia, Part 2

Your Dining Guide to Southwest Virginia, Part 2

Burke's Garden

When traveling through Southwest Virginia, you can’t help but be in awe of the picturesque landscape of the mountainous region, but in addition to being a stunningly beautiful backdrop, the land also provides fertile grounds for farming. This lends to a rich culinary scene in Southwest Virginia, where chefs utilize locally sourced ingredients to craft historically-rooted Appalachian cuisine. We have already highlighted dozens of restaurants, breweries, and wineries in Part 1 of our Southwest Virginia Dining Guide, but there are many more hot spots to dine and drink within the area. Read on to discover the best places to get a true taste of Southwest Virginia.



The Front Porch on Main, Tazewell—Located in a historic Victorian-style home in Tazewell, breakfast menu includes regular fare like pancakes, French toast, and Eggs Benedict, as well as specialty ‘morning snacks’ like Grilled Banana Bread and Cinnamon Fried Apples.  

Restore Community Coffee, Lebanon—Community-focused coffee shop and restaurant that brews locally roasted coffee beans from Dark Hollow Roaster. During breakfast, they offer homemade sandwiches on bagels or English muffins and a daily selection of pastries made fresh in-house.

Mountain Grounds Coffee & Bake House, Wise—Coffee shop and bakery with locally roasted coffee and fresh baked goods like scones, cinnamon rolls, and pastries.

More Breakfast Places:


—FOR LUNCH—Cuz's Uptown Barbeque

Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque, Pounding Mill—Eclectic restaurant inside an old dairy barn and silo. While the barbecue is the main attraction, they also have fresh fish, lobster, crabcakes, and steaks. Closed for winter, November through March.

New Graham Pharmacy, The Last Soda Fountain, Bluefield—Open since 1935, an old-fashioned soda fountain known for their traditional diner breakfasts and lunches with fountain drinks, milkshakes, and root beer floats.

Frosty Bossie, Coeburn—Casual takeout-style restaurant famous for their burgers, chili, shakes, and ice cream.

More Lunch Locations:


—FOR DINNER—Milton's at Western Front Hotel

Milton’s, Saint Paul—Located in Saint Paul’s new boutique hotel, the Western Front Hotel. Modern Appalachian cuisine including fried catfish and apple stack cake. Open for lunch and dinner.

Seven Restaurant, Tazewell—Nostalgic restaurant decorated with handmade Amish wooden furniture, creating a cozy ambiance with repurposed wood walls and a rustic stone bar. Open for lunch and dinner, they serve elegant yet approachable fare with craft cocktails, craft beers, and a curated wine list.

Rhododendron Restaurant, Breaks—In Breaks Interstate Park, Rhododendron has large windows that provide breathtaking views of the mountains.Menu changes seasonally, focusing on country-style dishes like fried chicken, country fried steak with homemade gravy, and fresh vegetable sides.

More Dinner Spots:


—FOR SWEET TREATS—family bakery gate city

The Family Bakery, Gate City—Family bakery serving a daily selection of seasonally-inspired desserts, including donuts, cakes, cupcakes, pies, cake pops, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate-dipped strawberries.

860 Park Ave Bake-A-Deli, Norton—Gourmet bakery in downtown Norton serving beautifully decorated cupcakes, cake pops, cookies, cheesecakes, pies, and cakes for special events as well as hand-dipped ice cream.

Sweet Thang Pastries & Restaurant, Clintwood—From-scratch restaurant, bakery, and coffee shop that makes cookies, cinnamon rolls, donuts, pies, and various other desserts.


More Bakeries & Dessert Destinations:


—FOR LOCAL CRAFT BREWS—Sugar Hill Brewing Co.

Sugar Hill Brewing Company, Saint Paul—Family-owned and operated restaurant and brewery in historic downtown Saint Paul. Have at least a dozen of their seasonal craft brews available on tap at all times. Regionally-made wines available.

Painted Peak Brewing Company, Tazewell—Craft brewery on Tazewell’s Main Street that specializes in Pale Ales, IPAs, and Ambers. Restaurant within the brewery serves Appalachian cuisine and tap room food like nachos for lunch and dinner.



Mountainrose Vineyards, Wise—Winery built on former coal lands, creating rich wines from grapes grown in the distinct soil, from reds and whites to blush wines and a hard apple cider. Offers tours and tastings 7 days a week.

Plum Creek Winery, Tazewell—Appointment-only winery in Tazewell that produces 14 fruit-flavored wines like plum, peach, pineapple, strawberry, blueberry, and apple.

Vincent’s Vineyard, Lebanon—Quaint farm winery in the foothills of the scenic Clinch and Beartown Mountains. Free wine tastings and tours of the vineyard and winery.



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Nine Places to Savor Fall Flavors in the Shenandoah Valley

Nine Places to Savor Fall Flavors in the Shenandoah Valley

Fall brings not only crisp air and gorgeous foliage, but also some of the best flavors. Virginia’s apples, pears, pumpkins and vegetables make for the perfect fall flavored dishes to excite every palate. Below are some places to savor some fall flavor.


The Apple House, Linden – Check out their homemade Apple Spice Cinnamon Donuts. Enjoy the friendly atmosphere and beautiful surroundings – and maybe take home some of their famous BBQ sauce or some extra donuts!

– Apple Spice Cinnamon Donuts –


Old School Burgers at Valley Pike Farm Market, Weyers Cave – Old School Burgers has a Pumpkin Spice Burger on their menu! Valley Pike Farm Market is home to over 300 local Virginia wines and craft beers. Also enjoy locally roasted coffees and homemade pastries, fine candies, baked goods and more.


Food.Bar.Food, Harrisonburg – Enjoy a taste of fall with a Spiced Cider Caipirinha. This tasty concoction includes limes muddled with Masala Chai syrup and Cachaca (Brazillian Sugar Cane Rum) with Ryan’s Fruit Market Apple Cider.

– Spiced Cider Caipirinha –


Montpelier Restaurant and Bar at Hotel Madison, Harrisonburg – Can’t decide between Pecan and Pumpkin Pie? No worries, Montpelier has you covered with their Pumpkin-Pecan Pie with Whiskey Butter Sauce. Locally sourced, the pumpkins are from Ryan’s Fruit Market, butter and cream are from Mt. Crawford Creamery and the eggs are from Monrovia Farm.


Southern Kitchen, New Market – Peanut Soup is a southern tradition and a favorite to warm the soul on a cool autumn day.  This family recipe comes straight from the owner’s mother.


Southern Inn Restaurant, Lexington – Enjoy Virginia Gold Asian Pear Bread Pudding served with savory butternut squash ice cream. The Asian pears are grown locally at Virginia Gold Pear Orchard.


Down Home Comfort Bakery, Front Royal – Savor the tastes of fall with their Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls, Pumpkin Woopie Cookies, Granny’s Pumpkin Patch Loaf and more. Pies are homemade and available in personal or family size.

– Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls, Photo Credit: Front Royal Office of Tourism –


Haywood’s  at The Georges, Lexington – Delight in a new twist on some traditional fall entrees and desserts. Check out their Pumpkin Crème Brûlée or Apple Crisp. Every Wednesday for the month of October there will be a different fall, chef-inspired pasta special paired with a featured cocktail or wine.


Natural Bridge Historic Hotel, Natural Bridge – The Chef has put together a myriad of new dishes and wine pairings to take advantage of the fall harvest. Sweet potatoes, squash and fall vegetables bring the fall feeling to their duck, salmon and sirloin dishes.


What is your favorite fall dish? Share some of your favorites in the comment section below.

The post Nine Places to Savor Fall Flavors in the Shenandoah Valley appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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