Incredible Summer Experiences: Tall Ships & Steam Locomotives

Summer 2015 is the summer for ship and train lovers as special events dot the Commonwealth, bringing exclusive experiences to visitors and residents alike.



Lafayette’s Hermione Voyage 2015 began on April 18, 2015 from the River Charente in Port des Barques, the same departure point from which the Marquis de Lafeyette exited on March 10, 1780 on his voyage to provide French support to George Washington during the American Revolution. The replica tall ship was made of native French oak by craftsmen from France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Construction began in 1997 using 18th century techniques with a few modern exceptions.

The Hermione will sail up the East Coast with ports-of-call along the way.

Virginia Schedule:

Hermione. Francis Latreille image.

The Hermione. Francis Latreille image.

At the same time Hermione is docked in Yorktown, the annual Norfolk Harborfest® will be in full swing at Town Point Park in Norfolk, less than an hour away. For three days (June 5-7), Norfolk’s waterfront becomes a festival of tall ships with the Parade of Sail, Virginia craft food, wine and beer experiences, 32 performing artists on three stages, and the largest fireworks display on the East Coast. All events are free! Harborfest® is the largest, longest-running, free maritime festival in the United States.

Norfolk Harborfest

Norfolk Harborfest®

Just a week later and a day after Hermione is berthed in Alexandria, the annual Tall Ships at Cape Charles Festival will kick off with two days of fun (June 13-14) at Cape Charles Town Harbor. See the 179-foot Barque Picton Castle of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia along with a fleet of several other tall ships and vessels. Tall ships are available for free public deck tours, and kids’ pirate sails aboard the Schooner Serenity will be offered daily for a fee of $35 (reservations required). Looking for romance? Sunset and three-hour sails on the Chesapeake Bay are also available. Fees vary by ship and reservations are required.

Virginia Sailing Experiences:


Picton Castle courtesy photo.

Picton Castle. Courtesy photo.


It’s not uncommon to find a special train excursion through Virginia’s mountains and countryside, but it is uncommon to see a dedicated tour like the Norfolk & Western 611.

The N&W 611 is a streamlined steam locomotive owned by the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke. The engine was recently restored after two decades of retirement, and this is a grand experience for passengers to feel the force of the most powerful passenger steam locomotive ever built.


>> More about Virginia’s Trains

Norfolk & Western 611

Norfolk & Western 611

© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2015. |

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Casey Higgins

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