Entertainment around RVA

Tickets Available: IYKYK (if you know you know) 2019 Fall Senior Project Concert

Tickets Available: IYKYK (if you know you know) 2019 Fall Senior Project Concert

VCUarts Department of Dance and Choreography will present IYKYK  (if you know you know), the 2019 Fall Senior Project Concert, on Saturday, November 16th at 7:30PM at The Anderson (907 ½ W Franklin St.) and Saturday, November 22nd and 23rd at the Grace Street Theater (934 West Grace Street) Richmond, VA. Tickets are $15/$10 students with valid I.D. and free to VCU students with valid I.D.

Tickets are available now at Showclix.com or by calling 804-828-2020.

The performance on November 16 will feature a site-based work by senior Jenna Beardsley at The Anderson (no admission required), located at 907 ½ W Franklin St. The work will be performed three times between 7:30-8:30 pm, with 10 minute intermissions between the showings, followed by a one-hour dance party. The stage works, performed at the Grace Street Theater, will begin at 7:30 pm on November 22nd and 23rd.

IYKYK is a professionally-produced capstone experience that serves as the culmination of senior dance majors’ time creating and researching in the VCUarts Dance + Choreography Department. This show acts as a celebration of the individual artists’ voices, and serves as the official commencement of their future careers and influences as members of the global dance community.


Hello, and welcome to our IYKYK (If you know you know)page! This page will give you information and teasers for our upcoming show on November 16th (one week intermission), November 22nd and 23rd. We are also raising money to make everything happen, so please support us! Link is in the description. Here is our promo video, which includes the choreographers for each piece. Follow our page for more details!!!!!Our choreographers included are :Chaunci HannibalJenna BeardsleyOlivia AlsamadiElizabeth DrakeKasey GrigsbyTaylor BonadiesJulia Turgeon

Posted by VCU Dance Presents: IYKYK on Saturday, October 12, 2019

Through the lens of a Palestinian directly affected by the Israeli occupation, Olivia Alsamadi highlights the experience of being displaced in and from one’s homeland. A movement language derived from traditional Arab dance forms illuminates the resilience and community of Palestinian women facing the hardships of existing in a land that has been stolen and destroyed. In this work, Alsamadi uses the various textures of human connection to map new and old pathways within an occupied space.

You are invited! Come out and experience a queer utopian future that will be created and destroyed around you in The Anderson, transformed into an underground dance world. Serving you an immersive dance theatrical event, Jenna Beardsley has worked in collaboration with the performers to reveal their ephemera through playful movement vignettes where they will engage, dance, feel, build, and get lost, reorienting themselves as well as their audience. Come out and together we will contradict ourselves, conceive new worlds, and live fantasies.

In a process-oriented excavation of performance, Taylor Bonadies facilitates an opportunity and landscape for self-discovery through performative agency. Time slows and expands as the audience is drawn to participate in the energetic evolution of the performers; they each construct and articulate their distinct embodiment of performance. Their innermost intricacies are woven into the work through structure, texture, and embodiment as dancers draw the audience into their channel to taste the electricity themselves.

In what do we trust? Does faith mean we blind ourselves to conflicting truths? Do we linger in the dimness of ignorance, simply because it is the only light that others have shown us? These are the questions Elizabeth Drake is posing in Nodus Tollens. Set in Plato’s allegorical Cave, a community of nine dancers experiences a disruption in their group dynamic as one of them goes on a journey of spiritual self-discovery that leads to a clash between  individual and groupthink.

We make connections every day but how many of them sit with us? How many moments do we let ourselves pause and authentically connect with the people around us? Kasey Grigsby, in Unraveling Connections, investigates authentic connections through willingness and vulnerability. By sifting through the layers of life, she asks performers to cultivate a space and energy in which strength in softness draws out these moments.

Through empirical analysis, potentiality is not attained, but through investigation it will be explored. Within this 10 minute segment, certain humans will encounter a level, where their abilities will be pushed. Chaunci Hannibal’s work takes the form of the Human Experiment of Potentiality:
Scenario 1) Potential — Advantage + Privilege+ Fear=?
Scenario 2) Potential + Advantage+ Privilege — Fear =?
Scenario 3) Potential — Advantage — Privilege — Fear=?



  1. Does privilege without advantage bring a sense of complacency that blocks ones’ advancement?
  2. Does privilege and advantage without fear give the rest of humans a sense of insecurity that inhibits them from reaching their abilities?
  3. Does disadvantage in life motivate or hinder the potentiality of a human being?

In Julia Turgeon’s A Tender Reflection, a multigenerational cast of dancers investigates the energetic connection between women and their maternal ancestors, pulling on the tether that connects them to their pasts and their futures. The dancers discover the circular nature of history as they fall through a time and space of simultaneity, their movement supported by the echoes of the women who have come before them.

Look for event updates on Facebook & Instagram

IYKYK is the fifth event in the VCUarts Dance + Choreography 2019-2020 performance season. Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.

The post Tickets Available: IYKYK (if you know you know) 2019 Fall Senior Project Concert appeared first on Grace Street Theater.

VCUarts Dance Presents 1st Annual Student Film Screening

VCUarts Dance Presents 1st Annual Student Film Screening

Rough Cut 2020 Features New Films by VCUarts Students From Many Disciplines, January 24 at 7:30 pm

VCUarts Dance is pleased to present ROUGH CUT 2020, the first annual student film screening, Friday, January 24, 2020, 7:30 pm at the Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Admission is FREE and open to the public. Call 804-828-2020 or visit the event page for more information.

Rough Cut includes a fantastically diverse range of films created by VCUarts majors from both the Kinetic Imaging and Dance + Choreography departments. Dr. Kate Sicchio, Assistant Professor of Dance and Media Technologies,  facilitated curation of the screening with a panel of students and faculty.

Love On Tap, by Phil Archer, is a multimedia animation featuring a tap dance routine to Beyonce’s “Love on Top.” This piece showcases a wide variety of animation techniques and materials, including felt puppets, yarn, collage, and many others. The bright colors and feel-good vibes paired with the upbeat music result in a positive, uplifting viewing experience.

Taylor Colimore’s Arrival & Departure is a performance piece about being away from all the people you love and the moments when they arrive to visit and moments when the depart after visiting.

In Break, Michelle Dominado has created a 2D frame-by-frame rotoscoped animation of a b-boy.

In the Dark of Night, by Angie Gan is an expression of who we are when are truly alone. It is a dance that represents the freedom to live our deepest fantasies.

Anna George’s Interstellar Love is a sweet, fun love story of two stars dancing through space

What would you do if a million dollars appeared in your bank account? Kyana Harris’s film Money Goodt explores a baddie adventure that she and her girls take on when some extra zeros in their account cause them to go from drab to fab!

Unraveling Connections

Directed by Alexiana James and choreographed by Kasey Grigsby, Unraveling Connections investigates authentic connections through willingness and vulnerability.

tercet, created by Michael Shea and Chaunci Hannibal, explores the differences in tonality and movement quality that arise when three directors work with the same subject matter, environment, and material constraints. Each chapter of the film arose from a differing emotion; when viewed subsequently they form an abstracted glimpse into human consciousness and the cathartic power of dance.

Megan Siepka’s I Was Walking / Heap of Testimony depicts rage, discomfort, and reclusive behavior in the face of violation.

“Alone in the woods and a desire to capture the moments they decide to document their world.” Tay Williams’s film offers a dance rendition of Billie Eilish’s song everything i wanted.

Rough Cut is the sixth event in the VCUarts Dance + Choreography 2019-2020 performance season. Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.

The post VCUarts Dance Presents 1st Annual Student Film Screening appeared first on Grace Street Theater.

Tickets Available: VCUarts Dance NOW

Tickets Available: VCUarts Dance NOW

VCUarts Dance is pleased to present VCUarts Dance NOW, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday February 6th-8th at 7:30pm nightly plus a 2pm Saturday matinee at the Grace Street Theater, 934 West Grace Street, Richmond, VA. Tickets are now available online from our ticketing page or by calling our box office at 804-828-2020.

$15 General Admission
$10 Students (with valid I.D.)/Seniors
FREE for VCU students with valid I.D.

*VCU students: Email gracestreet@vcu.edu NO LATER THAN 12PM ON WEDNESDAY, FEB. 5 to request your free ticket. Be sure to use your VCU email address and include your V number in your email. Bring your mobile/printed ticket and valid VCU ID to be checked at the door. 1 free ticket per VCU student, only to be used by student. 

For 2020, this concert in two programs features new works by VCUarts Dance faculty, students, and guest artist Christopher K. Morgan.

Program A: Thursday 7:30pm + Saturday 7:30pm
Julian Kevon Glover, iCubed Visiting Scholar
Cristopher K. Morgan, Guest Artist
Scott Putman, Faculty
Eric Rivera, Faculty
Dr. Kate Sichhio, Faculty
Megan Siepka, Student
Sydney Wiggins, Student

Program B: Friday 7:30pm + Saturday 2pm
Joi Brown, Student
Sinclair Emoghene, Faculty
Michelle Knight, Student
Christopher K. Morgan, Guest Artist
Trebien Pollard, Faculty
Judy Steel, Faculty
Noah Zaner, Student

Recognized by professional dancers and choreographers as “a place where things are happening,” Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Dance and Choreography offers a vibrant and stimulating atmosphere where students prepare for careers in dance.

For more information about the Department of Dance and Choreography, please visit: www.arts.vcu.edu/dance.

For ticketing assistance please call The Grace Street Theater Box Office at 804-828-2020.

The post Tickets Available: VCUarts Dance NOW appeared first on Grace Street Theater.

Three Memorable Vacations in Virginia for 2020

Three Memorable Vacations in Virginia for 2020

These stories are part of the 2020 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide. Order your FREE COPY today!

Visit Some of the 200+ LOVEworks

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As a single mother balancing work, school and family, Latisha Boone wanted a budget-friendly getaway with her daughter. What better way to explore Virginia than with a LOVEworks journey for quality family fun and adventure? Latisha and Jai have now “Love Toured” the entire state three times, visiting more than 200 LOVEworks! We sat down with the mother/daughter duo to ask them about their Virginia travels. Read More…

Unplug & Unwind During a Relaxing Retreat

Virginia has long been acclaimed for its history and outdoor beauty. But tucked among these iconic sites and sweeping vistas is a lesser-known wellness scene where visitors and Virginians alike can unplug and unwind. Follow this guide for your ideal getaway to relax, re-center, and reconnect. Read More…

Take A Trip With Your Four-Legged Friends

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graduate hotel dogs barkbox

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Traveling with your pet has become more and more acceptable, and Virginia has tons of pet-friendly spots that are fun for both you and your four-legged friend! Check out a few of the most dog-loving locations in the Commonwealth to plan your next getaway with your pet. Read More…

Want to learn more about all there is to do in Virginia? Make 2020 your year to discover why Virginia is for Lovers; order your FREE Virginia Travel Guide today!

The post Three Memorable Vacations in Virginia for 2020 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

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

Following a LOVEworks Family Tour

Following a LOVEworks Family Tour

This story is part of the 2020 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide. Order your FREE COPY today!

As a single mother balancing work, school and family, Latisha Boone wanted a budget-friendly getaway with her daughter. What better way to explore Virginia than with a LOVEworks journey for quality family fun and adventure? Latisha and Jai have now “Love Toured” the entire state three times, visiting more than 200 LOVEworks! We sat down with the mother/daughter duo to ask them about their Virginia travels.

<img data-attachment-id="57875" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/12/following-a-loveworks-family-tour/lovework-in-middlesex-county/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/30110417/CB19093001P_015.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,975" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"1.7","credit":"Latisha Boone","camera":"SM-G960U","caption":"In keeping with our long maritime history the LOVEwork was created using boat building techniques with wood, steel and fiberglass.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"1508774650","copyright":"u00a9Latisha Boone","focal_length":"2.92","iso":"40","shutter_speed":"0.00087642418930762","title":"LOVEwork in Middlesex County","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="LOVEwork in Middlesex County" data-image-description="

Holiday LOVEwork inside the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

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Q. What prompted you to start visiting the LOVEworks?

A. Our #LoveVA journey started in February 2017. Valentine’s Day was approaching and I recalled always wanting to stop to take pictures with the LOVEwork at the East Coast Gateway Welcome Center in New Kent; we’d driven past it several times in our travels, but never had time to stop. I looked up its address for a future visit and discovered there were many other LOVEworks all over the state. Our first LOVEwork road trip, nicknamed “Love Tours,” started with a local tour of several LOVEs near our home in Hampton Roads. From there, we visited each region until we eventually explored the entire state.


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Holiday LOVEwork inside the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City.

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A. Meeting locals has been our favorite part of this journey because they’ve taught us so much about their communities. Everyone we’ve encountered along the way has been welcoming and intrigued by our journey. We’ve met fellow LOVE travelers through social media who have been part of our journey from the start and become like family to us, sharing a love of our beautiful state.


Q. Have you discovered anything unexpected while visiting a LOVE?

A. Visiting LOVEworks has uncovered many hidden gems around the state. As a “Mountain Lover,” my favorite is Powell Valley Overlook. It is one of the most beautiful mountain overlooks – and doesn’t require a hike or driving up a mountain! I always plan a stop there when I’m in Southwest Virginia. Jai’s favorite is definitely the delicious popcorn at Northern Neck Popcorn in Kilmarnock. She’s the “Food Lover” in our family.


Q. What are your three favorite LOVEs?

A. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm (Wytheville), Silver Hearth Lodge (Bent Mountain) and Liberty Mills Farm (Somerset) will always be our favorite LOVEworks. We cherish our time spent at these LOVEworks the most because of their amazing owners. We were welcomed with open arms and spent hours chatting with them. Each owner made our visit memorable and we will always appreciate their kindness. We left those visits feeling as if we have friends for life in Ellen, Bob and Farmer Kent. Not only did we find LOVE at their locations, but we also experienced it through them.


 Q. How have you and Jai grown as a result of your travels?

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The LOVEwork was designed by well-known Roanoke artist Eric Fitzpatrick and was inspired by Roanoke’s rail heritage.

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A. Jai and I developed a stronger bond over the past two years as a result of our #LoveVA journey. We’ve discovered more of each other’s interests and aspirations through our explorations of Virginia. LOVE encouraged us to take risks and be adventurous. Now we feel we can take on any challenge that comes our way!   Q. Last summer, you took a week-long trip to visit more than 30 LOVEs. What were some highlights from this trip? A. The scenic mountain views, friendly and welcoming locals, stunning lodging accommodations and kindness of LOVEwork owners! I highly recommend taking a week or more of vacation to Love Tour in Southwest Virginia. Every visit to a LOVEwork there will inspire you to experience more of that well-known Virginia charm.



Want to learn more about all there is to do in Virginia? Make 2020 your year to discover why Virginia is for Lovers; order your FREE Virginia Travel Guide today!

The post Following a LOVEworks Family Tour appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

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

Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro

Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro

Recreation is a way of life in Waynesboro, Virginia. Residents and visitors to this beautiful Appalachian Trail Community have countless options for enjoying nature year-round. And Waynesboro is proactive in expanding its Outdoor Recreation Network to provide easy, interconnected access to the hundreds of miles of trails, routes, and waterways running through and around the city. Whether you like to walk, bike, run, or paddle, you’re only a step away in Waynesboro!


Walk the Greenway

Waynesboro’s South River Greenway gives walkers a beautiful 1.2 mile stretch along the river from the YMCA near Rife Park, north through Constitution Park and on to the Port Republic Road Historic District.

Get walking with this route that will guide you from the Waynesboro Public Library to Constitution Park and back. If you’d prefer a loop, take the Waynesboro Walkabout, a 2-mile route that includes both a long section of the South River Greenway and parts of the Historic Downtown District. The city is currently expanding the Greenway to extend to North Park with plans to later add connections to Ridgeview Park, Basic Park, the future Sunset Park, and the Crozet Tunnel.

Bike the Valley

Biking in the Shenandoah Valley
Visit Waynesboro

There’s nothing quite like exploring Waynesboro and the Shenandoah Valley by bike. Historic neighborhoods, unique points of interest, rolling landscapes, and tasty watering holes make every ride a fresh adventure.

Bike the Valley lists over 40 on-road and off-road routes to start you off. And whether you prefer to tour and rack up the miles or are more interested in a family ride, Waynesboro can be your hub. A newly rebuilt Main Street Bridge includes two 6-foot bicycle lanes and sidewalks to improve access to the downtown district and park network, making it that much easier to shop the farmers’ market, catch a festival, or explore the city’s historic districts. And if all your adventuring requires some bicycle repairs or a tune-up just pop over to Rockfish Gap Outfitters.

Run the Valley

Running in the Shenandoah Valley
Peak to Park Half Marathon Norm Shafer

Waynesboro Parks & Recreation is a driving force in destination races. Their Run the Valley Race Series brings runners from near and far to compete in challenging and fun events throughout the year, from February’s Mad Anthony Mud Run to October’s Fall Foliage Race.

And Waynesboro Parks & Recreation’s course maps are available online so you can get out there and hit the pavement today, no matter the season. Two of our favorite courses are the Summer Extravaganza 5K route that begins and ends at Ridgeview, and the Fall Foliage 5K that begins at Constitution Park, runs past Rife Park, and loops back to Constitution Park via the South River Greenway.

Paddle the Waynesboro Water Trail

Paddle the Waynesboro Water Trail
Visit Waynesboro

With the South River flowing through Downtown Waynesboro, it’s no surprise that the city has become a destination for anglers, water enthusiasts, and paddlers. And with the Waynesboro Water Trail, it’s never been easier to get out on the water!

With access points at Ridgeview Park, Rife Park, Constitution Park, and Basic Park, the Waynesboro Water Trail gives paddlers 4 miles of scenic waterway. The full trip takes about 2-3 hours. Kayaking alone or have only one transport car? No problem. Waynesboro Parks & Recreation offers some suggestions on how to tackle the water trail.

If you want to extend your paddle, simply continue north along the South River to Port Republic and then merge onto the South Fork of the Shenandoah River towards Front Royal.

If you didn’t pack your kayak, have no fear. Rockfish Gap Outfitters offers kayak rentals (shuttle service not included). They also carry over 7,000 square feet of gear for the outdoor enthusiast and are a great source for suggestions on places to explore in the area.




The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel

Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel
Visit Waynesboro

After current restoration is complete, the Crozet Tunnel at Rockfish Gap will serve as a recreational gateway through Afton Mountain, connecting the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia Piedmont. A universal access trail through the 4,264-foot-long tunnel will link to existing trail systems, providing hikers, walkers, and bicyclists easier access to Shenandoah National Park, the Appalachian Trail, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and U. S. Bicycle Route 76.

Sunset Park

Plans are underway to develop a public park at the tallest point in Waynesboro. Visitors to Sunset Park will be able to enjoy a 360 degree view of the Shenandoah Valley. Land that was once an active municipal landfill will be transformed with miles of forested hiking and mountain biking trails and a scenic overlook. Virginia Tech’s Community Design Assistance Center has developed a conceptual design that includes possible connections to the Crozet Tunnel and a pedestrian trail that would link proposed mountain biking trails.


6 public parks. 4 miles of water trail. 2 National Parks. 1 super-charged Parks & Rec. Hundreds of miles of trails on our doorstep. The only piece that’s missing in Waynesboro’s Outdoor Recreation Network is… YOU! Take that step and plan your getaway today!

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The post Good Nature is Only a Step Away in Waynesboro appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

About FunRVA

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

Small Towns, Big Character: Virginia’s Vibrant Communities

Small Towns, Big Character: Virginia’s Vibrant Communities

Written by Mary & Bill Burnham for the Virginia Travel Guide

This story is part of the 2020 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide. Order your FREE COPY today!

The phrase “small town” evokes nostalgia, authenticity and heartfelt warmth in many of us. What’s not to love? They are authentic, accessible, friendly and stocked with locally-owned businesses. These are communities where you can get off the crowded highway, park the car and walk, ride a bike or even kayak through downtown. Small, family-run businesses offer one-of a-kind handmade items, from jewelry and art to craft beers and wine. Farmers markets offer locally-grown produce and seafood spring through fall.  With almost 200 incorporated towns, dozens more villages and hamlets, plus nearly 30 designated Virginia Main Street Communities, the hard part is deciding which Virginia towns to visit. 

Here are some of our favorites, starting in southwest Virginia, and ending with a shameless plug for our hometown on the Eastern Shore.


<img data-attachment-id="16902" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2015/06/mountain-parks/southwest-virginia-museum/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/16115742/HA14050601V_207.jpg" data-orig-size="700,400" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Jason Barnette","camera":"","caption":"Dedicated in 1948, the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap chronicles the exploration and development of the region. It houses a collection of items from the region and was started by C.B. Slemp, President Coolidge's personal secretary.nnVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"1349222400","copyright":"Jason Barnette","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Southwest Virginia Museum"}" data-image-title="Southwest Virginia Museum" data-image-description="

Dedicated in 1948, the Southwest Virginia Museum in Big Stone Gap chronicles the exploration and development of the region. It houses a collection of items from the region and was started by C.B. Slemp, President Coolidge’s personal secretary.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

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Southwest Virginia’s coal-mining history comes to life in the “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” Virginia’s longest-running outdoor drama, performed Thursday through Saturday nights, late June through August. Before you go, be sure to read the Big Stone Gap novels by Adriana Trigiani, or watch the Hollywood film by the same name starring Ashley Judd and Whoopi Goldberg. Upon arrival, you can visit places featured in the film, such as Mutual Pharmacy, the Book Mobile, the Farmers Market, as well as the outdoor drama. Fine, well-preserved period homes house The John Fox Jr. Museum, the Southwest Virginia Museum and the June Tolliver House. Cozy B&Bs, cafes and a variety of antique and curio shops round out this small town gem.

Fun Festival:  100th annual Tri State Singing Convention, June


<img data-attachment-id="16608" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2013/06/a-t-hikers-find-warm-welcome-in-virginia-communities/luray/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/16115748/SV09123001V_005.jpg" data-orig-size="700,400" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Cameron Davidson","camera":"","caption":"Luray, located in the Shenandoah County region, is situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Massanutten Mountains to the west and bounded by Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest. nnVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"1255910400","copyright":"CAMERON DAVIDSON","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Luray"}" data-image-title="Luray" data-image-description="

Luray, located in the Shenandoah County region, is situated between the Blue Ridge Mountains on the east and the Massanutten Mountains to the west and bounded by Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/16115748/SV09123001V_005.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/16115748/SV09123001V_005.jpg” class=”wp-image-16608″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/16115748/SV09123001V_005.jpg” alt=”Luray” />

Luray is known as “Cabin Capital of Virginia” due to hundreds of cabins and home rentals in the area. Luray is home to the spectacular Luray Caverns, the largest caverns in the East, and is a gateway town into Shenandoah National Park and George Washington National Forest. Spend a week in a cabin and have your pick of day trip options with more than 500 miles of National Park hiking trails, local paddling outfitters along the Shenandoah River, and underground wonders at Luray Caverns. Enjoy leisurely biking around town on the Hawksbill Greenway. If you’re looking for a more luxurious overnight stay, book a room at the historic Mimslyn Inn, and if you’re interested in Virginia’s wine, spirits, and craft beer industry, follow the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop.


<img data-attachment-id="52254" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2018/05/crush-friday-farmville-appomattox/lovework2/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/17103526/lovework2.jpeg" data-orig-size="997,696" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="farmville lovework" data-image-description="

farmville lovework

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/17103526/lovework2-300×209.jpeg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/17103526/lovework2.jpeg” class=”wp-image-52254″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/17103526/lovework2.jpeg” alt=”farmville lovework” />

This formerly industrial town has been reinvented for recreation, craft beverage and shopping lovers. The Appomattox River that once carried tobacco barges is now a designated Scenic River carrying paddlers in search of whitewater or the calmer four-mile Farmville Blueway. The railroad that once carried coal now carries hikers, bikers and equestrians on the 30-mile-long High Bridge Trail State Park. Repurposed tobacco packing houses and lumber warehouses are reincarnated to house Appomattox River Company, Green Front Furniture and the Third Street Brewing Company, serving up local beer, live music, games for the kids and a pet-friendly beer garden. Together with the Virginia Tasting Cellar and the soon-to-open second location of James River Brewing, Farmville is fast becoming a destination for craft beverage lovers.  

Fun Festival: Heart of Virginia Festival, May/June


<img data-attachment-id="46862" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2016/10/virginias-mountain-towns/james-madison-university/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114817/SV11032901U_103.jpg" data-orig-size="1000,727" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Courtesy of Virginia Tourism Co","camera":"","caption":"James Madison University was originally founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1908. In 1976, the name was changed to JMU in honor of the fourth president of the United States. It is a public institution with the campus quadrangle located on South Main Street in Harrisonburg. A view of the quad.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"James Madison University","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="James Madison University" data-image-description="

James Madison University was originally founded in 1908 as the State Normal and Industrial School for Women at Harrisonburg in 1908. In 1976, the name was changed to JMU in honor of the fourth president of the United States. It is a public institution with the campus quadrangle located on South Main Street in Harrisonburg. A view of the quad.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114817/SV11032901U_103-300×218.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114817/SV11032901U_103.jpg” class=”wp-image-46862″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114817/SV11032901U_103.jpg” alt=”James Madison University” />

Set amidst the vast playground of the idyllic Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg has been called “one of the best mountain bike towns in America” by National Geographic. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs and artisans have blended the past with the present to create a lively melting pot that is distinctive to this college town. Named Virginia’s first Culinary District in 2014, Harrisonburg’s cultural diversity serves up fare from around the world, while taking advantage of locally sourced farm-to-table ingredients. Food. Bar.Food features “global comfort food,” while a mother-daughter team creates soul-soothing pastries at Heritage Bakery & Café.  The arts scene is equally diverse, epitomized by the Agora Downtown Market, a community of small businesses under one roof in an historic building. Named for James Madison, fourth president and the “Father of the Constitution,” are the stunning Hotel Madison and James Madison University (JMU), where nearly 20,000 students lend a youthful vitality to this historic town.  

 Fun Festival: Harrisonburg International Festival, September


<img data-attachment-id="46899" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2016/10/7-small-outdoor-towns/fishing-in-buggs-island-lake-4/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114813/clarksville.jpg" data-orig-size="1450,501" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Scott K. Brown Photography. Virg","camera":"","caption":"With more than 50,000 acres of freshwater and over 800 miles of beautiful shoreline, Buggs Island Lake is Virginiau00d5s largest manmade lake. It is home to many fishing tournaments, and with the addition of lights on the local bridge, is a premier location for nighttime fishing activities.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a92010 Scott K Brown Photography, inc.","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Fishing in Buggs Island Lake","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Fishing in Buggs Island Lake" data-image-description="

With more than 50,000 acres of freshwater and over 800 miles of beautiful shoreline, Buggs Island Lake is VirginiaÕs largest manmade lake. It is home to many fishing tournaments, and with the addition of lights on the local bridge, is a premier location for nighttime fishing activities.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114813/clarksville-300×104.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114813/clarksville-1024×354.jpg” class=”wp-image-46899″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/16114813/clarksville-1024×354.jpg” alt=”Fishing in Buggs Island Lake” />

Immerse yourself in Virginia’s Lake Country at Virginia’s only lakeside town. Buggs Island Lake, also known as Kerr Reservoir, draws anglers to dozens of fishing tournaments yearly, and the annual Hydroplane Challenge fast boat race. Stay in style at Cooper’s Landing Inn and Traveler’s Tavern, or a bit more rustic in a lakefront cabin at Occoneechee State Park. The craft beverage scene is brewing with Buggs Island Brewing Company. At Three Sisters of Shiney Rock Vineyard, the three Powell sisters are reviving Native American grape-growing such as Muscadine and Scuppernong. (Open Saturdays only and by appointment other days.)  

Fun Festival: Virginia Lake Festival, July


<img data-attachment-id="51085" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2018/02/small-towns-swva/floyd-country-store-5/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/16131046/BR11090701V_028.jpg" data-orig-size="1168,779" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"unknown","camera":"","caption":"The 100 year old Floyd Country Store is an authentic country store filled with barrels of old-fashioned candy, hand-dipped ice cream, hard-wearing bib overalls, and a great collection of hard-to-find Old-Time and Bluegrass CDs and music accessories. It is a stop on the Crooked Road, Virginiau0092s Heritage Music Trail.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Floyd Country Store","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Floyd Country Store" data-image-description="

The 100 year old Floyd Country Store is an authentic country store filled with barrels of old-fashioned candy, hand-dipped ice cream, hard-wearing bib overalls, and a great collection of hard-to-find Old-Time and Bluegrass CDs and music accessories. It is a stop on the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/16131046/BR11090701V_028-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/16131046/BR11090701V_028-1024×683.jpg” class=”wp-image-51085″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/16131046/BR11090701V_028-1024×683.jpg” alt=”Floyd Country Store” />

Back-to-the-earth bohemian blends with traditional bluegrass in this town of less than 500, but with so much to offer. Along Virginia’s Crooked Road Music Trail, The Floyd Country Store hosts jam sessions and performances. Just like in days gone by, the Country Store is the heart of town, hosting Friday Night Jamborees and clogging sessions and selling all the things you’d expect from a country store (and some that you wouldn’t!), from local preserves to suspenders. Surrounding town is the expanse of the Blue Ridge Plateau where hiking, biking and scenic drives await along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway.

Fun Festival: Floydfest, July


<img data-attachment-id="51324" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2018/03/small-towns-eastern-shore/onancock/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/02155658/onancock.jpg" data-orig-size="1198,799" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"","camera":"","caption":"","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="onancock eastern shore" data-image-description="

onancock eastern shore

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/02155658/onancock-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/02155658/onancock-1024×683.jpg” class=”wp-image-51324″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/02155658/onancock-1024×683.jpg” alt=”onancock eastern shore” />

With five miles of sheltered waterway leading to the Chesapeake Bay, it’s no wonder Onancock has been an active port on the Eastern Shore since 1680. Today you can take a sailing or motorboat excursion, rent a kayak or paddleboard or hop on the ferry to Tangier Island, 12 miles out in the Bay. With just 1,200 people and shaded streets lined with shops and galleries, Onancock is the perfect walking or biking town. Slow down with lunch at The Wharf or an outdoor patio café, or sit on the

Liar’s Bench to watch  the fishing boats come and go and the osprey and great blue heron feed. Visit the artist studios at the Historic Onancock School, the Federal-period Ker Place House Museum or the newly opened Samuel Outlaw Blacksmith Shop.

Elegant B&Bs housed in Victorian beauties, an eclectic dining scene, from Irish pub fare to Thai fusion, live theatre and an old-fashioned movie house showing first-run films promise that Onancock will not disappoint.

Fun Festival: Ice Cream Social and Patriotic Band Concert, July

BONUS: Notable Neighborhoods

Within Virginia’s larger cities, find pockets of uniqueness that make you feel like you’re in a small town!


This walkable urban village is eclectic and family-friendly at the same time. Spend Saturday morning at the Community Market, dine on an outdoor patio, shop independently owned boutiques and take in a first-run or classic film at the 1930s Grandin Theatre.


A running trail and dog park, summer concert series and live theater, an Irish pub and a cheese and wine shop, all within walking distance to a Hilton Garden Inn. Shop charming Campbell Avenue, an eclectic pedestrian friendly area packed with local shops and eateries. 


<img data-attachment-id="51421" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2018/03/crush-friday-richmond/blue-bee/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/16144730/blue-bee.jpg" data-orig-size="1000,666" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"4.5","credit":"","camera":"Canon EOS 5D Mark III","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1520447849","copyright":"","focal_length":"35","iso":"250","shutter_speed":"0.008","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="blue bee cider richmond" data-image-description="

blue bee cider richmond

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/16144730/blue-bee-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/16144730/blue-bee.jpg” class=”wp-image-51421″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/16144730/blue-bee.jpg” alt=”blue bee cider richmond” />

One of the hottest, newly revitalized neighborhoods in the state capital. Warehouses converted to breweries, cideries and distilleries, bold street murals, a cinema and a retro bowling alley make this a happening night scene.


Arguably Virginia’s quintessential historic neighborhood within Virginia’s port city, Ghent boasts an amazing span of architecture from Colonial to Victorian to Frank Lloyd Wright-era homes. Antiquing, eclectic dining and the arts galore can be found in this waterfront community along the Hague.


<img data-attachment-id="55964" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/06/mancations-in-virginia/king-street-alexandria/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/17132458/NV19013004P_008.jpg" data-orig-size="1240,789" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Kristin Summerer","camera":"","caption":"Shopping in Old Town Alexandria.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9 Kristin Summerer","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"King Street, Alexandria","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="King Street, Alexandria" data-image-description="

Shopping in Old Town Alexandria.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/17132458/NV19013004P_008-300×191.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/17132458/NV19013004P_008-1024×652.jpg” class=”wp-image-55964″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/17132458/NV19013004P_008-1024×652.jpg” alt=”King Street, Alexandria” />

Just across the river from the nation’s capital, American history comes alive as you walk in patriots’ footsteps on cobblestone streets to trendy boutiques and international eateries. Four-legged travelers will find Alexandria truly is for the dogs, with water dishes outside the shops, upscale pet boutiques and restaurants that allow pups to dine with their masters.

Want to learn more about all there is to do in Virginia? Make 2020 your year to discover why Virginia is for Lovers; order your FREE Virginia Travel Guide today!

The post Small Towns, Big Character: Virginia’s Vibrant Communities appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Miyazaki ponders future of Earth in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”

Miyazaki ponders future of Earth in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”

The Byrd Theatre’s repertory theme for January is “The Future Is Now.” Personally, I spend a great deal of time worrying about the future. Not only my own, but the future of Earth. Humans have already destroyed so much of this planet, is it even possible to repair our home? 

I can tell this is a question that is also on Hayao Miyazaki’s mind. The Japanese writer and director is known for “My Neighbor Totoro,” “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” and “Howl’s Moving Castle”, amongst many other animated classics. Miyazaki is a known environmental activist and the majority of his movies showcase his distrust in technology and manmade advancements, and feature spellbinding depictions of the natural world. 

Miyazaki's Sea of Decay from Nausicaa of the Valley o the Wind
The Sea of Decay

Released in 1984, “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” is Hayao Miyazaki’s second film. It tells the story of battle on a planet on the verge of death. A thousand years ago, a global war called “Seven Days of Fire” has wiped out most of humanity and civilization. Toxic plants and gigantic mutated insects grow and form the Fukai, a sort of swamp of life and death. However, humanity still exists in scattered, small pockets. The film centers around Princess Nausicaa, a skilled, nature loving young warrior who reigns over The Valley of the Wind, a small island where the strong gusts of air from the ocean nearby serve to protect its inhabitants from the spores spread by the poisonous plant life and fauna within the Fukai. 

Nausicaa on her glider from Miyazaki's Naussicaa of the Valley of the Wind
Nausicaa on her glider

Miyazaki drew influence from Homer’s “The Odyssey” for his protagonist. When Odysseus shows up shipwrecked on the coast of Scheria, Nausicaa, native to the land and daughter of King Alcinous and Queen Arete, discovers him and invites him to their home to recuperate. When Odysseus bids her adieu, she tells him, “Never forget me, for I gave you life.” Miyazaki based his Princess Nausicaa off of a Japanese translation of The Odyssey by Bernard Evslin, in which she is portrayed as a lover of nature. In this film, Nausicaa too creates life. She spends her time cruising on her glider into the toxic jungle, where she studies the growing plants and beings there and collects samples to grow in her lab for study. She has a way with animals, and can tame the feistiest of creatures. “What a mysterious power she has,” one warrior wonders to himself. Nausicaa can also communicate with Ohmu, giant caterpillar-like creatures who guard the Sea of Decay. 

Nausicaa in the battle scene from Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

In an article entitled “Nature and Asian Pluralism in the Work of Miyazaki Hayao,” Sugita Shunsuke writes; “By conventional human standards, the Sea of Decay is neither idyllic nor lovely to behold, yet Princess Nausicaä pronounces it beautiful. In Miyazaki’s view, there is far more to nature’s wonder than pretty flowers and trees. In the Sea of Decay, which continues to thrive and evolve amid discarded metal and ceramic objects and radioactive waste, Princess Nausicaä perceives a higher order of beauty, the sublimity of nature’s ever-changing vitality.” 

Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind landscape

Miyazaki wants to show us that the natural world is more powerful than humankind and everything we could possibly invent combined. In fact, his current project is the creation of a nature sanctuary. In 2016, Miyazaki announced he will be designing and opening “The Forest Where the Wind Returns,” a 10,000 square meter park within the Zendo Forest Park in Okinawa, Japan. It will be devoid of food courts, gift shops, and all capitalist ventures, and will instead be a dwelling where children can explore and grow enchanted with the natural world. It will also include a large library and sleeping quarters. The design will have little impact on the land and will outsource local labor and talent to make it all come to fruition. 

Miyazaki can effortlessly combine awe with social commentary. In movies like “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” he is simply reminding his audience of the magic around us. We cannot ignore our dying planet. We must recaptivate ourselves with the wonder that Miyazaki sees, and calls on all of us to see. 

“Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” will be shown at the Byrd Theatre on Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 10 am as part of the Family Classics Series. 

The post Miyazaki ponders future of Earth in “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” appeared first on The Byrd Theatre & Foundation.

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in February 2020

Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in February 2020

<img data-attachment-id="44759" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2016/03/12-summer-festivals-add-2016-calendar/lockn-music-festival-5/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16115413/locknmusicfest.jpg" data-orig-size="1348,899" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism C","camera":"","caption":"Lockn' Music Festival, held at Oak Ridge Farm, is a four day music festival with an emphasis on stellar music, camping, outdoor activities, regional food, beverages and artisans.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9Virginia Tourism Corporation","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Lockn' Music Festival","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Lockn’-Music-Festival" data-image-description="


” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16115413/locknmusicfest-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16115413/locknmusicfest-1024×683.jpg” class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-44759″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/16115413/locknmusicfest.jpg” alt=”Lockn’-Music-Festival” width=”100%” height=”100%” />So many new live music shows are coming to Virginia in February 2020. 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.

NOTE: This is not a complete list of shows and certain schedules may change. Please check with the individual venues for the most up to date details.



The National will be bringing several big-name artists throughout the month, including:

  • Jan. 31 & Feb. 1 – Lotus
  • Feb. 7 – Cold War Kids
  • Feb. 12 – The Wood Brothers
  • Feb. 14 – Falling in Reverse
  • Feb. 21 – The Legwarmers: The Ultimate 80s Experience

At The Broadberry

  • Feb. 1 – Beach Fossils
  • Feb. 9 – Big Something
  • Feb. 15 – Rockn’ to Lockn’ – four Virginia bands will battle it out for a chance to play the Lockn’ Music Festival in June.
  • Feb. 18 – flor
  • Feb. 20 & 21 – Hot Water Music
  • Feb. 25 – Garza (featuring Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation)

At the Altria Theater

  • Feb. 15 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban™ in Concert featuring the Richmond Symphony Orchestra
  • Feb. 18 – Tedeschi Trucks Band

At the Dominion Energy Center

  • Feb. 1 – Richmond Symphony: Laura Jackson and Julian Schwarz
  • Feb. 7 – National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine
  • Feb. 8 – Legends on Grace: The Magical Music of Burt Bacharach starring Susan Greenbaum
  • Feb. 29 – Richmond Symphony: The Apollo Hall of Fame

At the Modlin Center for the Arts at University of Richmond

  • Feb. 8 – The Steeldrivers
  • Feb. 28 – Takács Quartet


At the Beacon Theatre

  • Feb. 1 – Masters of Metal 4: Tribute Series featuring Creeping Deth (Metallica), Metal Priest (Judas Priest), For Those About To Rock (AC/DC) and PoisonousCrue (Motley Crue)
  • Feb. 7 – Lonestar
  • Feb. 8 – Don Felder – Formerly of the Eagles
  • Feb. 13 – Arrival From Sweden (The Music of ABBA)
  • Feb. 26 – Arlo Guthrie
  • Feb. 28 – Todd Snider
  • Feb. 29 – The Ultimate Queen Celebration


At the John Paul Jones Arena

  • Feb. 7 – KISS
  • Feb. 16 – The Lumineers
  • Feb. 21 – Jason Aldean
  • Feb. 22 – MercyMe

At the Jefferson Theater

  • Feb. 12 – The Wailers
  • Feb. 15 – Amanda Shires
  • Feb. 16 – Galactic
  • Feb. 19 – Drive-By Truckers

—HAMPTON ROADS—<img data-attachment-id="55576" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/05/june-2019-events/hampton-coliseum-2/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/14152420/HR19031301V_046.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,868" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"11","credit":"Jordan Childs","camera":"NIKON D610","caption":"In the 7,000 to 12,999-seat category, the Hampton Coliseum is one of the three largest convention facilities in Virginia. From the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus to an evening with James Taylor, the venue offers an impressive year-round entertainment roster.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"1508806923","copyright":"u00a9Jordan Childs","focal_length":"24","iso":"320","shutter_speed":"30","title":"Hampton Coliseum","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Hampton Coliseum" data-image-description="

In the 7,000 to 12,999-seat category, the Hampton Coliseum is one of the three largest convention facilities in Virginia. From the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus to an evening with James Taylor, the venue offers an impressive year-round entertainment roster.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/14152420/HR19031301V_046-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/14152420/HR19031301V_046-1024×684.jpg” class=”alignright size-full wp-image-55576″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/14152420/HR19031301V_046.jpg” alt=”Hampton Coliseum” width=”100%” height=”100%” />

At the Hampton Coliseum

  • Feb. 8 – Big Jam 2020 featuring DaBaby, Gunna and Pop Smoke
  • Feb. 14 – Hampton Roads Valentine’s Jam featuring Musiq Soulchild, Marsha Ambrosius, Rahsaan Patterson and Vivian Green
  • Feb. 28 – 7 City Blues Festival featuring TUCKA, Pokey Bear, Sir Charles Jones, Lenny Williams, Nellie “Tiger” Travis and Theodis Ealey

At the NorVa in Norfolk

  • Feb. 7 – Raphael Saadiq
  • Feb. 13 – Thrice
  • Feb. 18 – Kamasi Washington
  • Feb. 19 – The Allman Betts Band
  • Feb. 22 – The Legwarmers: The Ultimate 80s Experience
  • Feb. 29 – Old Crow Medicine Show

At the Chrysler Hall in Norfolk

  • Feb. 25 – Virginia Symphony Orchestra: Mahler Symphony No. 4

At the Harrison Opera House in Norfolk

  • Feb. 7 – Black Jacket Symphony presents Led Zeppelin

At Elevation 27 in Virginia Beach

  • Feb. 1 – Nighttrain (The Guns N’ Roses Experience)
  • Feb. 6 – A Tribute to Bob Marley featuring Mighty Joshua
  • Feb. 7 – The Nighthawks
  • Feb. 12 – Jason Boland and the Stragglers
  • Feb. 13 – Kendell Marvel
  • Feb. 20 – Summer Salt
  • Feb. 22 – Carbon Leaf


At the Berglund Center in Roanoke

  • Feb. 4 – The Simon & Garfunkel Story – Using huge projection photos and original film footage, featuring a full live band performing all the hits including ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ ‘Homeward Bound’ and many more.
  • Feb. 8 – Black Jacket Symphony presents Led Zeppelin
  • Feb. 28 – The Temptations and The Four Tops

At 5 Points Music Sanctuary in Roanoke

  • Feb. 14 – Eric Gales
  • Feb. 21 – Rockn’ to Lockn’ – four Virginia bands will battle it out for a chance to play the Lockn’ Music Festival in June.

At the Salem Civic Center in Salem

  • Feb. 1 – Brantley Gilbert
  • Feb. 19 – Railroad Earth

At the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount

  • Feb. 10 – Joan Osborne
  • Feb. 11 – Art Garfunkel
  • Feb. 21 – The Seldom Scene
  • Feb. 22 – Mike Doughty
  • Feb. 23 – Trampled By Turtles


At Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts in Vienna

  • Feb. 5 – Tanya Tucker
  • Feb. 7-9 – Art Garfunkel
  • Feb. 22 – The Last Bandoleros
  • Feb. 25 & 26 – Cherish The Ladies
  • Feb. 29 – Kiran Ahluwalia

At The Birchmere in Alexandria

  • Feb. 7 – Three Dog Night
  • Feb. 9 – Blue Öyster Cult
  • Feb. 20 – Drew & Ellie Holcomb
  • Feb. 23 – Jeffrey Osborne
  • Feb. 27 – Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives
  • Feb. 28 & 29 – Arlo Guthrie

At the State Theatre in Falls Church

  • Feb. 14 – The Stranger: A Tribute to Billy Joel
  • Feb. 21 – Hollywood Nights: A Tribute To Bob Seger

At the Tally Ho Theatre in Leesburg

  • Feb. 1 – Cowboy Mouth
  • Feb. 7 – Cris Jacobs
  • Feb. 8 – Trial By Fire (Journey Tribute)
  • Feb. 13 – The Wailers
  • Feb. 14 & 15 – Eaglemania: The World’s Greatest Eagles Tribute Band
  • Feb. 21 – UFO 50th Anniversary Farewell Tour
  • Feb. 22 – Soul Asylum
  • Feb. 28 – Uncle Cracker
  • Feb. 29 – Carbon Leaf

At EagleBank Arena in Fairfax

  • Feb. 14 – Valentine’s Love Jam featuring Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, En Vogue and Be’la Dona



Are we missing any big concerts? Let us know in the comments below. For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/music.

At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.


The post Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in February 2020 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Ideas for Dinner & A Show in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Ideas for Dinner & A Show in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Whether you find yourself in Virginia’s Blue Ridge as a visitor or a resident, you need ideas for dinner and a show. Date night or just traveling through, these are excellent options that beat a night at home or laying low in a hotel room all evening.



5 Points Music SanctuaryAthens Corner Grill, Lews | Roanoke

A non-profit focused on music therapy, music education, and hearing loss advocacy, 5 Points Music Sanctuary (pictured above) offers live entertainment multiple nights of the week. The best part of 5 Points is their dedication to making sure those who are deaf or suffer from hearing loss can experience all of the entertainment in a variety of ways.

They strive to have American Sign Language interpreters at each show and save the best seats for those who can best enjoy them. Multiple Subpac Tactile Bass Systems are available to such guests as well. A Subpac is a worn device that delivers low frequencies that your body can feel. It gives “a new physical dimension to the music experience.”

Before the show at 5 Points, consider great food at Athens Corner Grill, an authentic Greek and Mediterranean restaurant offering a full menu of homemade deliciousness guided by generations’ old recipes. Or, cozy up with a sub, pizza, pasta, or salad at Lews Restaurant. It’s a laid-back place to hang out.

More Info: 5 Points Music Sanctuary Events > | Athens Corner Grill Menu > | Lews Restaurant Menu >



Mill Mountain TheatreTable 50, Wasabi’s, 202 Social House | Roanoke

When it’s a musical, comedy, or drama you’re looking for, Mill Mountain Theatre is one of the first places to look. Multiple stages offering multiple types of shows means there are plenty of options most times of the year.

To kick off the night, find dinner nearby in the Market Square area. We like Table 50, Wasabi’s, and 202 Social House. Table 50 is fine dining of local ingredients and excellent wines; reservations are available. Wasabi’s is the hot spot for sushi lovers in downtown Roanoke. Diners at 202 Social House can expect delicious soups and salads, pastas, and steaks. Their gelato flight is a wonderful way to cap off the meal.

More Info: Mill Mountain Theatre Events > | Table 50 Menu > | Wasabi’s Menu > | 202 Social House Menu >

Mill Mountain Theatre
Virginia’s Blue Ridge 

Attic ProductionsPomegranate Restaurant & Gathering Place | Botetourt County

“Dinner and a show” doesn’t have to be a couples only event. Choose a night at Attic Productions for a “presentation of family entertainment that reinforces and upholds…community values.” Plan a family night out to see “Miracle on 34th Street” in December.

Pomegranate is nearby for dinner with or without children. Their menu is flexible, offering chicken tenders, burgers, and chicken sandwiches that can easily accommodate a younger eater. For us older folks, beautiful options like crab cakes, salmon, risotto, and a filet will delight the palate.

More Info: Attic Productions Events > | Pomegranate Menu >

Harvester Performance CenterRocky Mount Burger Co. & Twin Creeks Distillery | Rocky Mount

The Harvester Performance Center brings nationally known performing artists to Virginia’s Blue Ridge and gives fans one of the most intimate concert experiences around. Fall and winter performances from Michael Franti & Spearhead, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Embers, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, and Trampled by Turtles, to name just a few.

Rocky Mount Burger Co. is the perfect choice for dinner before or after a show at The Harvester, because it’s also about great music paired with delicious food & drinks. As the name suggests, you’ll also find some of the best burgers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. And it’s also right across the street from the venue!

Add to the fun with pre-dinner drinks at the nearby Twin Creeks Distillery, carrying on Franklin County’s legacy of being The Moonshine Capital.

More Info: Harvester Performance Center Events > | Rocky Mount Burger Company Menu > | Twin Creeks Distillery Spirits >

Jefferson Center – Food Fanatics, Tuco’s, Beamer’s | Roanoke

There are a variety of events at Jefferson Center with performances weekly across the Jefferson Center Presents, Star City Series, Jazz Series, Family Series, and Jazz Club. Through the fall and winter season guests will be treated to performances by The Wood Brothers with Nicole Atkins, Ruben Studdard, The Del McCoury Band, The Steeldrivers, Squirrel Nut Zippers and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, for starters.

Pre- or post-show dinner ideas are easy. Choose your favorite food region and go from there. We like Food Fanatics Kitchen “serving Rustic Italian Cuisine” for their wood-oven pizza and house-made pastas.

For Latin flare, Tuco’s Taqueria Garaje is the place to be. House tacos and salads share the menu with an impressive array of tequila and agave. Flights of both are available. Burger and beer? Beamer’s 25 has fast become a tradition for both.

More Info: Jefferson Center Events > | Food Fanatics Menu > | Tuco’s Menu > | Beamer’s Menu >

Virginia's Blue Ridge
Virginia’s Blue Ridge 

Salem Civic CenterLydia’s Italian Kitchen, Blue Apron Restaurant & Red Rooster Bar | Salem

Weekly performances are available for the picking at Salem Civic Center. Seasonal shows by the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra are calendared alongside Slayer, Primus, Chris Jansen, Mandolin Orange, and Brantley Gilbert. It’s a great place to see your favorite radio artists as well as regional favorites.

Lydia’s Italian Kitchen (formerly Pizza Pasta Pit) is a casual restaurant with an attention to scratch-made menu items. Bite off a piece of heaven when you try a wood-fired pizza or dive into a beautiful baked ziti or Stromboli. For a bit of fine dining and amazing cocktails, head to the modern Blue Apron Restaurant. Their menu changes often but offers bits of everything, like wahoo, duck breast, flank steak, and salmon.

More Info: Salem Civic Center Events > | Lydia’s Menu > | Blue Apron Menu >

Showtimers Community TheatreWildwood Smokehouse, Ichiban, Remini’s | Roanoke County

One of Roanoke’s local community theaters is Showtimers, a 1950s mainstay. The season is comprised of shows given a two-week run every other month. To close out the season, Mark Twain’s “Is He Dead?” takes the stage December 5-15.

Lovers of Memphis style barbeque will be right at home at Wildwood Smokehouse. Whether your BBQ love comes on a bun, a platter, or by way of a rack of ribs, Wildwood can fix you up. For another focus on meat, look to Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse for their hibachi dinner. Sushi is also plentiful at Ichiban!

Green and Italian is at hand at Remini’s Café. Start with a savory spanakopita or light bruschetta before your main course. Sandwiches, salads, soups, and wraps are perfect for light dining or there’s “Remini’s Family Room” of favorites like chicken parm, spaghetti and meatballs, and cheese ravioli.

More Info: Showtimers Events > | Wildwood Smokehouse Menu > | Ichiban Menu > | Remini’s Menu >

Virginia's Blue Ridge
Virginia’s Blue Ridge 

The Spot on KirkLucky & Fortunato | Roanoke

The Spot on Kirk is an intimate venue where you can experience everything from local album releases to full-blown concerts from the genres of rock and rap to blues and Americana.

Make a reservation for Lucky and you’ll feel lucky with your menu choices. It’s perhaps our favorite place in Roanoke for Virginia oysters. Don’t worry, there’s also comfort food like buttermilk fried chicken with mashed potatoes and pork shoulder with buttermilk grits. Wonderfully, authentically Italian is Fortunato. Spoil yourself with calamari, olives, sweet Italian sausage, and salumi and formaggi plates. Both spots also feature some of the best cocktails in the region.

More Info: Spot on Kirk Events > | Lucky Menu > | Fortunato Menu >

Star City PlayhouseRed Jasmine, FarmBurguesa | Vinton

A small, non-profit theater, Star City Playhouse seats about 40 guests and offers great shows from the past. Enjoy dinner before the show at Red Jasmine, an authentic Thai restaurant featuring duck and chicken entrees with all the curry your heart desires.

At FarmBurguesa the menu is all burgers all the time. It’s an intimate 13-seat restaurant with a diner feel. Sit at the bar and watch your beef or veggie burger come together.

More Info: Star City Playhouse Facebook > | Red Jasmine Menu > | FarmBurguesa Menu >

Berglund Center – Downtown Restaurants, New Yorker Deli | Roanoke

When you couple the Salem Civic Center’s calendar with that of the Berglund Center, you can easily fill a calendar with nationally known acts. This season features Cirque du Soleil, John Prine, REO Speedwagon, Alice Cooper, and Manheim Steamroller.

Given its convenient location, you have all of downtown Roanoke at your disposal when it comes to dinner arrangements, as well as the variety of great restaurants on Roanoke’s historic Williamson Road. For years, frequent guests of the Berglund Center have made it a priority to eat at The New Yorker Delicatessen before a show. Their sandwiches are easily shareable.

More Info: Berglund Center Events > | New Yorker Menu >

Virginia's Blue Ridge
Virginia’s Blue Ridge 

Restaurants with Live Music

Sometimes “dinner and a show” happens all in the same place. We like that option, too. In downtown Roanoke, try Martin’s for scrumptious signature offerings like the fried chicken mac and cheese, Big Kahuna tacos and lobster crab cakes. Free live entertainment can be found at Martin’s nearly every night of the week.

At Blue 5, it’s just the same with regard to the music scene, but the menu is distinctly Southern with mainstays like ribs, shrimp and grits, and dirty rice. You can also enjoy great live music and food specials nearly every weekend at Wall Street Tavern in Roanoke’s City Market Building.

Corned Beef & Co. Bar and Grill offers weekly dinner specials as well as a robust menu of salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. Their entertainment is less frequent than that of Martin’s and Blue 5, but their range includes comedy acts and full-fledged parties.

Depending on where you are, you can enjoy Awful Arthur’s seafood in either Roanoke or Salem. They describe themselves as “beach vibes meets Sports Bar atmosphere,” so check out their raw bar and join in the fun of karaoke, trivia, or Bingo, or shake what ya mama gave ya when the DJ spins his rad beats.

Who’s ready to git up? Sidewinders Steak House and Saloon features country music for its live entertainment and the man behind the “git up challenge” is coming for the fun on October 23. Other acts for this season are Rodney Atkins and various regional performers. As for the food, load up on potato skins, wings, chopped steak, Alaskan snow crabs, a variety of burgers, or a very fine sirloin.

Out on the water of Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta is Mango’s Bar & Grill where you can easily find yourself in “a tropical state of mind,” as they like to say. DJs and live local bands bring the entertainment every weekend. All you need to bring is your appetite. A variety of seafood is available, of course, but you’ll also find hearty treats like smothered chicken and grilled meatloaf.

Menus: Martin’s > | Blue 5 > | Wall Street Tavern > | Corned Beef & Co. > | Awful Arthur’s > | Sidewinders > | Mango’s >

If you want, share your experiences on social media. You know, make us jealous with your food, your fun, and the beautiful people with whom you surround yourself. Be sure to add _ #Trailsetter _ and we’ll keep an eye out.


Featured image provided by Virginia’s Blue Ridge

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About FunRVA

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

Welcoming to All │ Local Virginia Favorites

Welcoming to All │ Local Virginia Favorites

Like many destinations, urban areas have traditionally been the most popular for Queer leisure and business travel. Virginia is no exception to that rule. Our cities close to large metro areas, such as Alexandria and Arlington near Washington D.C., have been long-standing popular destinations for LGBTQ+ travelers for decades. Similarly, Virginia’s capital city of Richmond has a long history of notable Queer figures and a contemporary OutRVA life and culture. Less than two hours east of Richmond, Norfolk, and nearby coastal cities Hampton and Virginia Beach, have a centuries-long military histories, bringing with them Queer travelers from around the world. Traveling westward, Charlottesville has distinct and OUT local communities, with popular pride events and year-long social and cultural programs.

About FunRVA

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

Fun With Fido in Virginia

Fun With Fido in Virginia

Written by Ginger Warder, Author of “Fido’s Virginia”, for the 2020 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide

This story is part of the 2020 Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide. Order your FREE COPY today!


Traveling with your pet has become more and more acceptable, and Virginia has tons of pet-friendly spots that are fun for both you and your four-legged friend! Check out a few of the most dog-loving locations in the Commonwealth to plan your next getaway with your pet.

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Chateau Morrisette Winery

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Long summer days are perfect for exploring the Monticello Wine Trail in Virginia’s Piedmont region near Charlottesville, and Sundays are fun days for Fido. Include a stop by Keswick Vineyards for its Sunday Yappy Hour, where the fenced, off-leash dog park makes it easy for both you and your pooch to socialize. Or head to Southwest Virginia to Chateau Morrisette – literally called the winery that dogs built – where pups are welcome in the tasting room, on the restaurant balcony and in the courtyard for the winery’s free Sunday music series.

While you’re in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, pop into Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke for a little upcycle shopping and meet the human and canine stars of D.I.Y. Network’s Salvage Dawgs.

To cool off, I like to head for the water. In Alexandria, dogs ride free on the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Canine Cruise, a great way to see the city from a different perspective. Or if you’re craving sand between your toes – and paws – head to Virginia Beach. Dogs can play on the north end of Virginia Beach before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. during the summer season and are allowed on the public beaches and boardwalk at any time after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore offers the Sandy Paws off-leash dog beach, as well as a beachside dog park.


Cozy Cabins for Canines<img data-attachment-id="54882" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/03/pet-friendly-cabins/img_0860/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/22120123/IMG_0860.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,975" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"2.8","credit":"","camera":"iPhone 7 Plus","caption":"","created_timestamp":"1549298825","copyright":"","focal_length":"6.6","iso":"50","shutter_speed":"0.016666666666667","title":"","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="pet friendly cabins fariss farms" data-image-description="

pet friendly cabins fariss farms

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If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure with your pooch, Virginia has you covered! All of our state parks are pet-friendly, and many offer camping and other accommodations. In addition to park cabins, however, some unique hidden gems can be found all across the Commonwealth.

One of my favorite “secret” pet-friendly cabins is located in one of Virginia’s only terrace-style vineyards at Delfosse Winery in Nelson County. The chestnut log cabin — more than 100 years old — was the original tasting room and now gives overnight guests a taste of the lush vineyard scenery from the cabin’s spacious deck. Although you can’t take your pup in the tasting room, you and your leashed pal are welcome to explore the grounds. Grab a bottle of their award-winning Viognier or Petit Verdot and kick back amongst the grapes.

Located in the Meadows of Dan — about two miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwest Virginia — A Blue Ridge Haven has several Appalachian-style log cabins that welcome you and your furry family. Take advantage of nearby hiking trails, relax by the fireplace or visit popular wineries in the area.

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Smith Mountain Lake offers over 500 miles of shoreline and offers breath taking backdrops and a wealth of sailing, marinas, golf courses, resorts, fine restaurants, professional sporting events and arts.

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If you need to cool off during your travels, check out the pet friendly cabins at the 1,248-acre Smith Mountain Lake State Park in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Located in Bedford County, the lake is the second largest body of freshwater in Virginia, and in addition to a wide range of water sports, the park offers hiking trails, a visitor center and an array of special programs.

Adjacent to the Mount Rogers Recreation Area — home to Virginia’s highest mountain peak — Highland Hideaways offers two charming pet-friendly cabins in an authentic country setting, with wildlife from guineas to goats roaming the property. While there are no size restrictions, the owner requests canine guests with good “company manners” who won’t disturb the other four-legged tenants.


Best Dog Walks

For history hounds – both the two-legged and four-legged species – Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Historic Triangle combine great dog walks with the rich history of our country.

Founding father George Washington was a dog lover – and the inspiration for choosing the American Foxhound as Virginia’s state dog – so it’s no surprise that his historic estate at Mount Vernon welcomes canine guests on the grounds. You and your pal can literally “smell the roses” in the four gardens on the estate, visit the animals on Pioneer Farm or take a stroll along the river and the wharf. On Saturdays in May and October, Mount Vernon offers a special guided walking tour called All the President’s Pups. The 1.25-mile tour gives detailed insight into canine life on the plantation, Washington’s great love of dogs and his breeding program to improve the quality of his hunting hounds.

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Hollywood Cemetery, named for its holly trees, is the burial site of President Monroe and Tyler, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart, along with more than 18,000 Confederate soldiers, buried beneath the 90 foot pyramid.

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Richmond is not only the capital of Virginia, but also a capital city for canines. The Valentine offers guided History Hounds tours through various city neighborhoods like Church Hill – home to Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech – and my dogs love the garden-style Hollywood Cemetery along the banks of the James River. Check out the local legend of the black cast iron dog that has guarded the Reese family for more than a century.

For a glimpse into the beginnings of our country, head to the Historic Triangle. A stroll down Colonial Williamsburg’s Duke of Gloucester Street – appropriately nicknamed Dog Street – will make you feel like a time traveler, while a stroll through the archaeological digs at Historic Jamestowne will transport you to the early days of the first permanent settlement in the New World.

<img data-attachment-id="45369" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2016/05/hiking-breathtaking-virginia-sunrise/sharp-top-mountain-3/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/16115237/peaksofotter.jpg" data-orig-size="1161,774" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism C","camera":"","caption":"Sharp Top was long thought to be Virginia's tallest mountain, when in fact, it's not even the tallest of the Peaks of Otter. A three mile hike, or bus-ride, leads visitors to a 360 degree overlook.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9Virginia Tourism Corporation","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Sharp Top Mountain","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Sharp Top Mountain" data-image-description="

Sharp Top was long thought to be Virginia’s tallest mountain, when in fact, it’s not even the tallest of the Peaks of Otter. A three mile hike, or bus-ride, leads visitors to a 360 degree overlook.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/16115237/peaksofotter-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/16115237/peaksofotter-1024×683.jpg” class=”alignright size-full wp-image-45369″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/16115237/peaksofotter.jpg” alt=”Sharp Top Mountain” width=”100%” height=”100%” />

If your dog is an “outward hound” who prefers mountain trails, head to Shenandoah National Park or try the challenging hike to Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter. Take a leisurely drive down the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, where you’ll have an array of opportunities to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail or stop for a picnic at photo-worthy spots like Mabry Mill.

If your pooch prefers hiking on flatter ground, head to the Eastern Shore to Kiptopeke State Park for miles of hiking trails and a special dog beach that allows leashed pups.


Five-Woof Stays

Nicknamed the “mother of presidents,” Virginia offers presidential-worthy stays for its furry visitors too, from elegant urban hotels to country estates and river retreats.

In Northern Virginia, rest your paws at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria. With no size, weight or breed restrictions, this luxury boutique hotel welcomes its visitors with pet pillows and beds, food and water bowls, and other pet perks. The hotel’s motto is “all pets that fit through the front door are welcome,” including cats, birds and even reptiles.

<img data-attachment-id="56023" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/06/luxury-experiences/jefferson-hotel-2/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24160210/CN19032801P_076.jpg" data-orig-size="1300,753" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Jamie Hayes","camera":"","caption":"Since 1895, The Jefferson Hotel has been recognized by discerning travelers as Richmond's grandest hotel and one of the finest in America. Known for its genuinely friendly service, luxurious guestrooms, breathtaking architecture and elegant decor, The Jefferson is reminiscent of a more gracious era.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9Jamie Hayes","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Jefferson Hotel","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="Jefferson Hotel" data-image-description="

Since 1895, The Jefferson Hotel has been recognized by discerning travelers as Richmond’s grandest hotel and one of the finest in America. Known for its genuinely friendly service, luxurious guestrooms, breathtaking architecture and elegant decor, The Jefferson is reminiscent of a more gracious era.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24160210/CN19032801P_076-300×174.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24160210/CN19032801P_076-1024×593.jpg” class=”alignright size-full wp-image-56023″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24160210/CN19032801P_076.jpg” alt=”Jefferson Hotel” width=”100%” height=”100%” />

For Gilded Age luxury combined with stellar service and gracious Southern hospitality, you can’t go wrong with a stay at the opulent Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond. For decades, this historic Beaux Arts grand dame has been awarded both five stars and five diamonds, hosting the glitterati from presidents and movie stars to “The King of Rock and Roll.” There is no weight or size limit and the front desk always has gourmet treats on hand for their special furry guests. Need a dog walker or groomer? No problem! The concierge can arrange it for you.

Located in the heart of horse and wine country in Middleburg, the Salamander Resort & Spa not only welcomes dogs – you can even bring your horse! In fact, the estate’s mascot is a miniature horse named Cupcake, who welcomes guests for cocktails in the Living Room during happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays. This 340-acre elegant country estate features an equestrian center, luxurious spa and an array of onsite activities. Pets’ welcome amenities including comfy beds, food and water bowls and organic treats – and the resort literally rolls out the red carpet for canine guests, with a “pup-arazzi” area at the entrance for photo ops.<img data-attachment-id="55992" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2019/06/luxury-experiences/the-tides-inn-8/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24152630/CB15111201V_025.jpg" data-orig-size="1382,921" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism C","camera":"","caption":"The Tides Inn is highlighted by well-manicured grounds and gardens and provides an unsurpassed quality of hospitality and service excellence. Recreational activities include golf, tennis, croquet, a full service spa, along with three unique restaurants.rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"0","copyright":"u00a9Virginia Tourism Corporation","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"The Tides Inn","orientation":"0"}" data-image-title="The Tides Inn" data-image-description="

The Tides Inn is highlighted by well-manicured grounds and gardens and provides an unsurpassed quality of hospitality and service excellence. Recreational activities include golf, tennis, croquet, a full service spa, along with three unique restaurants.

” data-medium-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24152630/CB15111201V_025-300×200.jpg” data-large-file=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24152630/CB15111201V_025-1024×682.jpg” class=”alignright size-full wp-image-55992″ src=”https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/24152630/CB15111201V_025.jpg” alt=”The Tides Inn” width=”100%” height=”100%” />

Relax on the Rappahannock River at the Tides Inn, where you can take a sail, play croquet on the lawn or explore the charming Northern Neck town of Irvington. A favorite summer retreat for locals, the Tides Inn’s Pampered Paws program greets four-legged guests with beds, bowls and a doggie biscuit barrel – the “pawfect” way to recharge while exploring Virginia’s River Realm.

The historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Staunton within walking distance of the shops, restaurants and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. The beloved president grew up with a greyhound named Mountain Boy and brought his love of animals to the White House, where he kept a herd of sheep to keep the lawn trimmed. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel also loves animals and welcomes dogs with no weight or size limits to enjoy this elegantly restored 1928 gem.



Want to learn more about all there is to do in Virginia? Make 2020 your year to discover why Virginia is for Lovers; order your FREE Virginia Travel Guide today!

The post Fun With Fido in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Coming Soon: New for Virginia in Spring 2020

Coming Soon: New for Virginia in Spring 2020

Looking for new restaurants, exhibits, and experiences to kick off 2020 in Virginia? We’ve compiled a list of the latest and greatest opening around Virginia this spring, helping you start off the year in a fresh and exciting way! 



  • Abingdon’s first ever Restaurant Week will kick off at the Barter Theatre on Wednesday, March 4 with Southwest Virginia native and celebrity Chef Sean Brock. Chef Brock will sign copies of his new cookbook South: Essential Recipes and New Explorations, and discuss his career, his philosophy and his Abingdon roots.  
  • A new cycling event, The Appalachian Journey, will take place April 11 in Floyd County, one of the least populated and highest mountain plateaus east of the Mississippi. Three cycling trails, ranging from 36 miles to 110 miles, will suit any rider. 
  • In spring 2020, GearHead Moto Tours will be offering all-inclusive adventure motorcycle tours throughout Southwest Virginia.
  • The Virginia Highlands Festival and William King Museum of Art are hosting a special opportunity for artists April 23-25 in Abingdon. “Plein Air Abingdon” is a plein air paint-out and pop-up gallery for creating new work, selling work and networking with fellow artists and creators. 
  • Opening in spring 2020, Snow’s Fine Meats & Provisions is Abingdon’s first whole animal butcher shop and delicatessen. Located on Main Street, Snow’s Fine Meats & Provisions will offer pastured local meats, deli items and grab-n-go sandwiches, as well as cooking classes. 
  • Nicewonder Farm, located on 400 acres in Southwest Virginia, offers award-winning Nicewonder Vineyard wines and Appalachian cuisine at Taste, a wood-fired kitchen restaurant. In February 2020, Nicewonder Inn & Spa and Hickory, a fine dining restaurant, will open.  


  • The Virginia Museum of History and Culture is promoting the following exhibitions:
    • Determined – The 400 Year Struggle for Black Equality – Through March 29, 2020.
    • Agents of Change – Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today – March 7, 2020 – September 27. 2020.
  • Fredericksburg will welcome a new semi-pro baseball stadium in Spring 2020.
  • The Looking Glass opens January 18, 2020 at the IX Art Park in downtown Charlottesville, and it will be the first fully immersive art space in Virginia. Inspired by the growing trend of immersive, interactive and hands-on art,  the Looking Glass is a 3000 square foot enchanted forest designed and built by 14 Virginia artists. Visitors will be able to relax in a jungle hammock, travel through a 50 foot caterpillar, engage with augmented reality vignettes, play music on golden goddesses, get to know a friendly family of gnomes and more.
  • The Quirk Hotel will open its second location in Charlottesville in early 2020.


  • A “Military Through the Ages” event takes place March 21-22, 2020 at Jamestown Settlement. This one-of-a-kind event features a re-enactors presenting a military timeline, from the Vikings and Roman period through the Virginia Army National Guard. 
  • In February 2020, Portsmouth Living History will roll out a Living History program dedicated to Black History, with several actors portraying notable figures from Portsmouth’s past.  
  • Busch Gardens Pantheon®, the Fastest Multi-launch Coaster in North America, debuts in 2020.
  • The “Forgotten Soldier” special exhibition at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown runs through March 22, 2020. The exhibit features the contemporary artwork by Titus Kaphar and tells often-overlooked stories of African Americans on both sides of the war, free and enslaved. 
  • Marriott Virginia Beach Oceanfront Hotel will open in March 2020, offering a breathtaking oceanfront venue for lodging, meetings and events.


  • In Rockingham County, Horizons Edge Sports & Event Campus is set to open January 18, 2020. The field house will consist of approximately 90,000 sq. ft. and include four basketball courts, six volleyball courts, a multipurpose/indoor soccer field and a family entertainment center. Outdoor facilities will include a regulation size multipurpose/soccer lighted artificial turf field.
  • The best BMX racers across the country will be performing at The BMX Blue Ridge Nationals at the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington January 24-26, 2020.
  • Opening March 2020, the Stonewall Jackson House Museum’s new orientation center will be showcasing artifacts owned by the Jackson family and rarely seen by the public. 
  • Shenandoah County will welcome its first cidery in March 2020. The Sage Bird Ciderworks will be located in Harrisonburg, and will use locally-sourced fruit and flavor to produce small-batch, hand-crafted hard cider.



<img data-attachment-id="18128" data-permalink="https://blog.virginia.org/2013/11/9-must-see-virginia-landmarks/arlington-national-cemetery/" data-orig-file="https://d2y0su6ixv655t.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/16115710/NV14040801V_013.jpg" data-orig-size="700,400" data-comments-opened="1" data-image-meta="{"aperture":"0","credit":"Keith Lanpher, Virginia Tourism","camera":"","caption":"Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. A shrine to the thousands who have died in foreign wars and domestic to keep our country free. Established as a national cemetery in 1864 by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, it was the ancestral home of Robert E. Lee. rrVirginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org","created_timestamp":"1349222400","copyright":"u00a9Keith Lanpher","focal_length":"0","iso":"0","shutter_speed":"0","title":"Arlington National Cemetery","orientation":"1"}" data-image-title="Arlington National Cemetery" data-image-description="

Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. A shrine to the thousands who have died in foreign wars and domestic to keep our country free. Established as a national cemetery in 1864 by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, it was the ancestral home of Robert E. Lee.

Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

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  • January 2020 brings the reopening of Arlington House: the Robert E. Lee Memorial. Located at the top of Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington House has been closed since mid-2018 for a $14M renovation project. When the project is completed, visitors will see Arlington House as it was in 1860, with rooms restored to their historical appearance. Additionally, the  quarters for the enslaved people of Arlington House will be restored to better represent and tell their stories. As visitors move between the mansion and the new museum and bookstore, they will pass along accessible paths that stretch through the restored grounds, including heirloom gardens. People who cannot visit in person will enjoy a robust experience through virtual tours, complete with detailed displays of the rooms and objects that belonged to George Washington and the Lee family.
  • Alexandria’s biggest story is happening at the waterfront. In March 2019 the City opened a new park at the foot of King Street, seamlessly connecting Old Town’s historic retail corridor with the water. At Waterfront Park , visitors enjoy Adirondack chairs overlooking the Potomac, swings, a rotating public art series and special events like the Portside in Old Town Festival, occurring in the fall and summer. In March 2020, the next temporary public art installation in Waterfront Park will be unveiled. Brooklyn-based artist Olalekan Jeyifous, recognized for his 50-foot-tall installation at Coachella 2017 and currently designing a monument to Shirley Chisholm in Brooklyn with Amanda Williams, is the 2020 artist. His work, which will be up until November, will capture Alexandria’s cultural, architectural and merchant history.
  • Coming in 2020, visitors can learn more Alexandria’s African American heritage through expanded interpretation and experiences presented by the Office of Historic Alexandria, including expanded interpretation along the Duke Street corridor, a series of film screenings and lectures, expanded programming at Freedom House Museum and special tours such as the African American Cemetery Tour in April. 
  • The Workhouse Arts Center, once a DC prison that notoriously housed incarcerated members of the National Women’s Party, will open the Lucy Burns Museum in early 2020, which will focus on the Party’s efforts to win the right to vote. 
  • A new hotel is coming to King Street in Alexandria. The Hyatt Centric Old Town Alexandria, Hyatt’s first hotel in the city, will open in January 2020. The hotel will include 124 guest rooms and a French, southern inspired restaurant.



  • Bringleton’s Coffee House will open in early 2020 in South Hill.
  • Lily Pad Campground & RV Park opens in the Spring of 2020, offering pads for recreational vehicles and tent camping as well as amenities to complement a camper’s stay. Built in phases, the site will eventually offer 191 spaces for RVs and 50 for tents. The RV pads will be a mix of both concrete pads and pull-throughs and will include water, sewer and electrical hook-ups. Additionally, the park will include a bathhouse, kayak/canoe rentals, walking trails and more. An on-site convenience store will offer camping supplies and basic equipment, as well as a short-order grill. Future plans also include a large meeting space. The majority of the park will be for guests only; a small portion, including the store, will be open to the general public. The site of Lily Pad is roughly 15-18 acres, with over 60 additional acres surrounding it. Campsites are nestled between the Smith River and a small creek, giving the park access to the water and creating a tranquil atmosphere that is sure to attract visitors.


The post Coming Soon: New for Virginia in Spring 2020 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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The Polar Express and the Era of Motion Capture

The Polar Express and the Era of Motion Capture

“The Polar Express” is an early 2000s hit turned Christmas classic. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, it tells the story of a young boy who takes a journey to the North Pole during the holiday season and learns that the Christmas spirit, and really the wonder of life in general, never fades if you believe.

It’s a beautiful story and includes some great songs/ musical numbers (“Hot Chocolate” is my personal favorite), but many have dubbed the film “a little creepy” because of it’s hyperrealism. The movie premiered in 2004, and it was still jarring to see such “real” animation. “The Polar Express” was the first movie ever made entirely with performance captured technology. Also
referred to as motion capture or “mo-cap,” this technological technique had been used before, in movies such as “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” but never for an entire film.

Motion capture actually dates back to 1915. According to an article by Jessica Conditt for engadget, “Max Fleischer, the animator behind “Betty Boop” and “Popeye,” invented a technique called rotoscoping, wherein animators would film an actor, project that performance onto a transparent plane, and then trace over their movements frame by frame.” This development set the wheel in motion, and later on, in the 1960s, “The Animac” was invented. Dubbed “the grandfather of modern mo-cap,” this machine utilized analog circuits and cathode ray tubes, so when performers were hooked up to the machine, the animators were able to record movement in real time. The actors essentially wore an early, more primitive version of a body suit similar to the sensor-studded ones that spring to mind when we think of mo-cap today. Movements were able to be recorded much more fluidly, and motion capture was forever changed.

Today, motion capture is achieved by using a combination of advanced cameras, body sensors, and various software tools to create uber lifelike movements and facial expressions for characters in animated films and video games.

There’s probably a good chance you have used motion capture before on your phone! “Memojis” – a popular tool on the new apple ios software is a very simple form of motion capture technology. By using your front facing camera, you can animate your own digital character. It simply copies the facial expressions you make and takes an audio recording of your voice, and viola! You have a motion captured avatar. We are living in the digital age, and with so many technological advancements launching all around us, it’s extremely easy to forget that this same technology was being used by the top animators, filmmakers, and video game makers just a few years ago. I personally think the “Memoji” feature is pretty creepy, partly because of how simple it is. It also seems invasive to me, and I constantly worry about what the cameras on our phones are receiving and doing…but alas, that’s a different story.

However, and I am glad that this tech is becoming more and more accessible, as that can only mean a new wave of animators and artists growing up with the tools they need to produce their work, and not having to worry about the cost of creation being exorbitant. That is extremely

Tom Hanks actually performed six different roles in “The Polar Express,” including the Hero Boy, the Conductor, and the Father. The animators were able to create multiple vastly different characters in the design process, but relied on Hanks to bring them to life using exaggerated facial expressions and movements. Fifteen years ago, the sensors were not as strong, so the
motion captured performers had to be…animated themselves. Nowadays, sensors can record the slightest movement, so these more “theatrical” performances are no longer necessary.

The most difficult part of animating “The Polar Express” was creating realistic looking hair. You can’t attach motion sensors to hair, so the artists behind the film actually had to illustrate and create each and every strand from scratch, then animate it to move and fall in a realistic way. This process was extremely difficult and time consuming, but because the creators behind “The Polar Express” refused to neglect a single detail, the movie itself is so lifelike. It’s a real wonder.

“The Polar Express” will be shown at The Byrd Theatre on Saturday December 21, 2019 at 10am as part of the Family Classics Series.

The post The Polar Express and the Era of Motion Capture appeared first on The Byrd Theatre & Foundation.

Best Experiences for Shopping Lovers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Best Experiences for Shopping Lovers in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Think outside of the big box stores and online giants this holiday season to seek out the perfect gift offered by a small, locally-owned business in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

There are great upcycled gifts, quirky items you won’t find on the shelves of national retailers, delicious flavors that are true to this part of Virginia, lovely handcrafted gifts, and boutique name brands offered by our retailers.

Shop around to see what you’ve been missing. Your recipients are sure to be pleased with your creative thinking skills.

Here are some of our favorite shopping experiences in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Black Dog Salvage

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

One of the niftiest places in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is Black Dog Salvage. The folks at Black Dog recover architectural details and fixtures from historic buildings, industrial spaces, and old home and barns before they’re lost to time or demolition.

Shoppers are welcome to purchase these items as they are or discover something that has taken on new life as a reimagined piece of furniture or décor, including many items that have been featured on the popular _ Salvage Dawgs _ TV show.

Visit the Black Dog Salvage Memorial Bridge Marketplace to see what other artisan vendors have to offer as well.

Book a Stay at Black Dog Salvage’s Stone House >

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Farmers Markets

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Believe it or not, some of the farmers markets of Virginia’s Blue Ridge are open year ‘round and offer far more than seasonal produce. The market is a great place to pick up flavorful gifts like jams and jellies, as well as linens, baskets, jewelry, soaps, and much more.
Salem Farmers Market – Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. through December
Grandin Village Farmers Market – Special Winter Market December 21, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Vinton Farmers Market (pictured above) – Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through December
Historic Roanoke City Market – Daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
West End Community Market – Tuesdays 3 to 6 p.m.

Learn More: Farmers Markets in Virginia’s Blue Ridge >

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Antique Shops

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Complete someone’s special collection or simply add a new old treasure to their décor when you visit an antique shop in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, such as Harris Hall of Antiques pictured above. From collectible items and rustic or fine furnishings to vintage toys and vinyl, you never know what you’ll find.

Get a jump-start with our 10 Spots for Antique Shopping article >

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Outdoor Gear & Apparel

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Adventure with us in Virginia’s Blue Ridge and equip someone you love to do the same. Seek assistance from our top outdoor retailers to choose the best shoes, clothes, and accessories for whichever journey is their favorite. Bicycles, kayaks, and other large equipment can also be found at these retailers.
Walkabout Outfitter has two VBR locations:
o Downtown Roanoke – Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
o Valley View Mall – Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Outdoor Trails in Daleville – Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Downshift Bikes & Brews (pictured above) in Roanoke – Open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Roanoke Mountain Adventures in Roanoke – Open Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 4:30 p.m.
Back Country Ski & Sport in Salem – Open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals at Smith Mountain Lake – Open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Monday & Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Learn More: Roanoke Outside’s Guide to Gear Stores >

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Food & Drinks

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Delicious local tastes are giftable, and here’s where to look. We love Eli’s Provisions at the Historic Roanoke City Market for their selection of craft beer and wine. Steps away, chocolatepaper has the cure for a sweet tooth with cases of truffles, barks, caramels, and more. You’ll also find delicious local dairy products and sweet treats at Homestead Creamery’s Farm Market in Franklin County.

Find local organic foods at Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op, the largest cooperatively owned natural foods grocery store in Virginia. The Co-Op also has a surprising selection of locally-themed t-shirts and stickers! If you’re looking to pair a recipe with a great wine, visit Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar to seek the assistance of a Sommelier, Mr. Bill.

Wine to meet (or exceed) any budget can be found at Wine Gourmet, where many wines less than $15 mingle with high end wines worthy of an extended pinky finger. When you want to try before you buy, consider Barrel Chest (pictured above) in Roanoke. They’re the only retailer offering beer and wine on tap by the glass, and perhaps you’ll taste something you want to share.

Learn More: Beer & Wine Shops in Virginia’s Blue Ridge >

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Shopping Areas

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Park the car and stroll shopping areas to easily check off your list.

Market Street in Roanoke is where you’ll find the vendors of Roanoke City Market as well as great dining and shopping. Gather gifts at Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe, Walkabout Outfitter, chocolatepaper, La De Da, The Little Gallery, Eli’s Provisions, and others.

Within Grandin Village – a neighborhood of Roanoke – you’ll also find lunch or dinner along with your gifts. Try Too Many Books for the book lover, Urban Gypsy for boho styles, accessories, and fun stuff for pets. Grandin Village is also a short walk or ride from the aforementioned Black Dog Salvage.

For the die-hard mall shopper, head to Valley View Mall where nearly 100 stores and kiosks are available for shopping, including Walkabout Outfitter as an exterior store in The District of Valley View. At Tanglewood Mall you’ll find popular anchor stores and specialty shops.

Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke is home to 50 dining and shopping entities including locally owned businesses like A Little Bit Hippy and Present Thyme.

Downtown Salem is easily walkable and local shops are readily at hand. Try Charlotte’s Web Antique Mall and Sports Haven before seeking lunch and circling back to Grandma’s Attic for more vintage and primitive finds.

Rocky Mount is a great place to find artisan gifts. Visit The Grainery (pictured above) to explore a variety of gift options by local artists and perhaps see work in progress. Then hop over to The Artisan Center Along The Crooked Road for more great art. Extend your stay with a show at the Harvester Performance Center and inquire about giving the gift of an experience at the Harvester with a gift card for a future show.

Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake is a great place to find a gift for the southern girl in your life. Gifts Ahoy offers popular Southern apparel, soaps, tumblers, candles, and some of the best fudge you’ve ever eaten. You can also find some great gear to help you get on the water at Smith Mountain Wake Company, as well as at the Dockside Store for Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals.

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Locally Made

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Give a gift that is made right here in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. We love the following ideas:
Satan’s Snot Habanero Hot Sauce from Scratch Biscuit Company and The Village Grill
Heart & Spade Forge (pictured above) – carbon steel skillets forged in downtown Roanoke
Appalachia Press – letterpress stationery – available at Black Dog Salvage, Bread Craft, chocolatepaper, and Eli’s Provisions in Roanoke; Floyd Country Store in Floyd; and Reclaimed in Moneta
Caldwell Mountain Copper – copper kettles, buckets, and other vessels handcrafted in Fincastle
The Appalachian Craftsman – authentic heritage wares for home and farm, including wood pieces and copperware, crafted in Eagle Rock
The Grainery in Rocky Mount features artisans from around Virginia’s Blue Ridge – pottery, stained glass, mixed media, weaving, photography, and more
• Local Spirits from Twin Creeks Distillery & Franklin County Distilleries
Belle’s Place Soap Co. – handcraft goat’s milk soaps and lotions for people and dogs – Roanoke City Farmer’s Market

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Gift Shops & Stores

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Many area museums and attractions have gift shops, if you’re looking for a specifically themed item for someone special. Consider the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center at Explore Park for themed gifts from local artisans and craftspeople, Taubman Museum of Art for the art lover, Mill Mountain Zoo for animal-themed gifts, and the Virginia Museum of Transportation for those who appreciate planes, trains, and automobiles.

To find gifts reflective of Virginia’s Blue Ridge, peruse the shopping area at front of The Roanoker Restaurant across from Towers Shopping Center or The Gift Niche or chocolatepaper on Market Street.

Learn More: Where to Find Local Souvenirs in Virginia’s Blue Ridge >

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Art Galleries

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Gift a lovely work of art this season. You’ll find wonderful photography and paintings at Gallery by the James (pictured above) in Buchanan and The Little Gallery at Smith Mountain Lake. Blown glass and pottery are also offered at The Little Gallery.

Unexpected and exciting is 2nd Helpings Gallery, which is a café and gallery in Roanoke. Eating and shopping 2nd Helpings Gallery supports the Roanoke Rescue Mission for the homeless and families in need.

Learn More: Art Galleries in Virginia’s Blue Ridge >

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Clothing Boutiques

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Trendy, vintage, boho, traditional…whatever your style, you’ll probably find it at a clothing boutique in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

In Roanoke, consider 310 Rosemont for upscale clothing for both men and women. In addition to clothes, you’ll also find hats, belts, notebooks, drinkware, bags, bracelets, shoes, and outerwear. Next door, La De Da (pictured above) focuses on flirty feminine fashion and home décor. Across the way, BitterSweet has everything to outfit your fashionista from top to bottom and accessorize her to the max. One block away on S. Jefferson Street is Davidsons, a men’s fine clothier outfitting the gentlemen of Roanoke for more than 100 years.

Go for one-of-a-kind fashion for your one-of-a-kind gal when you shop Urban Gypsy in Grandin Village. Their stock is limited in colors and styles to ensure originality.

The Bird Cage in Salem is a great place to find organic and socially responsible items fit for a day in the office or a night on the town, complete with jewelry to compliment.

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Jewelry Stores

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Add to your jewelry collection with some beautiful items from local jewelry stores in Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Shops like Fink’s Jewelers, Frantz Diamonds & Jewelry, Haywood’s Jewelers, Penelope, R.M. Johnson & Sons Jewelers, and others specialize in a variety of pieces that will help you create the perfect look.

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Major Annual Events

Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Special events in Virginia’s Blue Ridge are great places to score gifts. Keep these in mind for the future and perhaps try to catch Dickens of a Christmas in downtown Roanoke one of these next three Fridays to find something special. Dickens of a Christmas is December 6, 13, and 20, 2019 and it’s everything the name brings to mind: costumed carolers, roasted chestnuts, and a nostalgic atmosphere. During Dickens downtown Roanoke retailers are open later to welcome revelers for holiday shopping. Some also offer deals or refreshments.

Olde Salem Days (pictured above) is held mid-September each year and features hundreds of artisans and crafters. Save the date for September 12, 2020.

The Stocked Market is another huge vendor event held annually at Berglund Center in mid-November. You can expect to see not just artisans but many of our locally-owned businesses with some of their stock. Save the date for November 13-15, 2020.

The Taubman Museum of Art hosts a Sidewalk Art Show each may putting fine art from many artists at your fingertips. Save the date for May 30-31, 2020.

The Anthem Go Outside Festival is a huge weekend event that is all about the outdoors. A climbing wall, bike and kayak demos, a lumberjack show, air dogs, BMX, and live music stage are just key attractions, but the vendors are top-notch for all things an outdoor lover may enjoy. Keep an eye peeled for October 2020 dates.


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

LOVEworks Decorated for the Holiday Season

Virginia’s over 200 LOVEworks are always a great place to take family pictures, but during the holidays, many of them are decked out in the most beautiful seasonal garb, donning lights, garland, and bows for the holidays. Visit a few of these LOVEworks decorated for the holidays, take a picture, and tag us on Instagram and Facebook with #LOVEVA to share them with us!


Newport News – City Center at Oyster Point beginning
Dec. 7

700 block of Town Center Drive, Newport News

Covington – Humpback Bridge

Midland Trail, Covington

Photo Credit: Darren Seay

Patrick County – Stuart

116 W Blue Ridge Street Stuart

Photo Credit: Beverly Smith, Smith Farm Photography

Lancaster County – Kilmarnock

17 North Main Street, Kilmarnock

Photo Credit: Town of Kilmarnock

Chincoteague – Robert N. Reed Downtown Waterfront Park

4083 Main Street, Chincoteague Island

Photo Credit: Chincoteague Chamber of Commerce

Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility

800 Waterloo Road, Warrenton

Photo Credit: Town of Warrenton Parks & Recreation

Liberty Mills Farm

9166 Liberty Mills Road, Somerset

Photo Credit: Evie Woods

Downtown Manassas – Harris Pavilion

9201 Center Street, Manassas

Fashion Centre at Pentagon City

1100 South Hayes Street, Arlington

Photo Credit: Latisha Boone

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond

Photo Credit: James Loving

Christmas Village in Timberville

325 American Legion Drive, Timberville

Photo Credit: Joshua Gooden


173 W Spotswood Avenue, Elkton

Photo Credit: Joshua Gooden

The Market at Grelen (Through Dec. 22)

15091 Yager Road, Somerset

Photo Credit: Tabatha Wilson

South Boston/Halifax County Visitor Center             

South Boston/Halifax County Visitor

Photo Credit: Halifax County Tourism

Hopewell/Prince George LOVEwork

4100 Oaklawn Boulevard, Hopewell

Photo Credit: Hopewell/Prince George Chamber of Commerce

The Jefferson Hotel

101 West Franklin Street, Richmond

Photo Credit: The Jefferson Hotel

Yorktown – Riverwalk Landing

331 Water Street, Yorktown

Photo Credit: York County Tourism Development

Luray-Page County Visitors Center

18 Campbell Street, Luray

Photo Credit: Stephanie Lillard

Harrisonburg – OASIS Fine Art and Craft beginning Dec. 14

103 South Main Street, Harrisonburg

Chesapeake – Courtyard Square Park

306 Cedar Road, Chesapeake

Photo Credit: Chesapeake Convention & Visitors Bureau


Clear Brook Welcome Center

I-81 South at the Virginia/West Virginia

Fredericksburg Welcome Center

 I-95 South near Fredericksburg

New Church Welcome Center

US 13 at the Virginia/Maryland border

Skippers Welcome Center

I-95 North at the Virginia/North Carolina

Bracey Welcome Center

I-85 North at Virginia/North Carolina border

Lambsburg Welcome Center

I-77 North at the Virginia/North Carolina

Bristol Welcome Center

I-81 North at the Virginia/Tennessee border

Rocky Gap Welcome Center

I-77 South at the Virginia/West Virginia

Northern Virginia Gateway Welcome Center

I-95 North, Caroline County

Photo Credit: Latisha Boone

Covington Welcome Center

I-64 East at the Virginia/West Virginia border

Main Street Station Welcome Center

On Main Street in Shockoe Bottom, Richmond

East Coast Gateway Welcome Center

I-64 East in New Kent toward Virginia Beach

Manassas Welcome Center

I-66 West near Manassas


Bedford Welcome Center – “Celebrate Love” event through Jan. 3: 31 trees inside the visitor center are decorated with a LOVE theme to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Virginia is for Lovers slogan.

816 Burks Hill Road, Bedford

Photo Credit: Michelle Crumpacker

The post LOVEworks Decorated for the Holiday Season appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Holidays on the River: Our List of Holiday Events in the River Realm

Holidays on the River: Our List of Holiday Events in the River Realm

Que the road trip carol sing-alongs! It’s time to get out of the city for some classic holiday frolicking, shopping, eating, and laughing. We’ve got a full calendar of holiday happenings here in the River Realm. Take your pick: waterside festivals, house tours and parades.

Click here to view a full list of River Realm events. Pick your favorites, mark your calendars, grab your gang, and hit the road! Here are a few of our favorites:


Deltaville Christmas Lights

Deltaville Christmas Lights
Virginia’s River Realm

December 1-31 5 – 11 p.m. 16598 General Puller Highway, Deltaville

We’ll light the way to the holidays! Join us on the first day of December through the end of 2019 for a magical spectacle only found in Deltaville. Take it in by car or hop out and see it on foot. Either way, you’ll witness 130,000 lights twinkling and a 36,000-bulb, computer-controlled light show that dances to Christmas music. If you opted to see it on foot, step into the 20-foot tall walk-in interactive tree and 1,600-square-foot light maze.

Be sure to check Facebook for inclement weather closings.

Learn more.


A Traditional Carol Sing: “The Holly & The Ivy”

December 9 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Historic Christ Church 420 Christ Church Road, Weems

If you’re looking for a wholesome holiday moment, save the date for this nostalgic event at Historic Christ Church & Museum. Cozy up in warm clothes and bring your girl friends or family to listen to traditional songs, carols, and music performed by the Chesapeake Chorale and the Christchurch School Cantorion. The backdrop will be the beautifully “greened” Christ Church, one of our River Realm landmarks. Bring along two non-perishable items per person for the Northern Neck Food Bank to enter.

Learn more.


Christmas Fashion Show and Luncheon

Christmas Fashion Show and Luncheon
Virginia’s River Realm

December 6 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The Chesapeake Inn 250 Virginia Street, Urbanna

It wouldn’t be the holidays without a little outing with the ladies. Bring your girls to the Chesapeake Inn for a festive fashion show and luncheon. You’ll see timeless and trendy styles from our favorite Urbanna boutiques including Cyndy’s Bynn, Lowe Tide, Bristow’s Store, and ReSail Boutique. Find something for your holiday parties and for the deserving ladies on your Christmas list. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door.

Learn more.


Kilmarnock Trolley Express

Kilmarnock Trolley Express
Virginia’s River Realm

December 6 -7 6 – 8 p.m. Kilmarnock Town Centre Park 150 N. Main Street, Kilmarnock

Ride into the holidays in Kilmarnock. The Town Centre Park will be transformed into the North Pole. Here, you can board the magical holiday trolley. Ride through a Winter Wonderland, listen to a story read by an enchanted princess, and breathe in the fresh air. When you return from your ride, visit the North Pole! Entry is $15 for adults and $10 for children under the age of 10.

Learn more and buy tickets.


Urbanna Harbour Christmas House Tour

Urbanna Harbour Christmas House Tour
Virginia’s River Realm

December 7 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. United Methodist Church 221 Marston Avenue, Urbanna

House by house, soak in the holidays in Urbanna. This unique waterside village is charming every day of the year, but during the holiday season, residents transform their homes to a scene of enchantment. This year, you can visit six homes on Urbanna Harbour. Each one is decorated for the season with a little River Realm flare. Along the way, stop and shop at a variety of boutiques and enjoy decadent foodie finds. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 the day of when you check in at Urbanna United Methodist Church. Proceeds benefit the Urbanna Beautification Committee.

Learn more.


Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade

Kilmarnock Lighted Christmas Parade
Virginia’s River Realm

December 13 5:30 – 8 p.m.1 North Main Street, Kilmarnock

Santa on a boat covered in Christmas lights? It doesn’t get more River Realm than that! Join us for some small town fun during the 41st Annual Lighted Christmas Parade. It’s the oldest of its kind in Virginia. Come early with the family to visit with Santa at the local volunteer fire department. Settle in by 7 p.m to see more than 100 floats and boats and cars ride down Main Street. The entire event is free.

Learn more.


Urbanna Polar Express

Urbanna Polar Express
Virginia’s River Realm

December 20 – 21 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Town of Urbanna

Put on your PJs and channel your family’s holiday cheer on the Polar Express! On board the Urbanna trolley, your children can enjoy the storybook classic “The Polar Express.” Let their imaginations carry them away as you create long lasting memories and traditions. There are two departure times available each day at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for each adult and free for children who are lap riders (2 years and under). Tickets will go on sale December 2 at Urbanna.com

Learn more.


Stay and Play

Happy Holidays in Virginia's River Realm
Virginia’s River Realm

Make it a multi-day affair by staying the night. Click here to view a full list of our inns, hotels and resort options.

Be sure to see and taste more of the River Realm when you’re here. Visit our blog for a variety of travel guides, foodie finds, and travel tips. Click here.


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The Best Indoor Activities For an Unforgettable Winter in Virginia

The Best Indoor Activities For an Unforgettable Winter in Virginia

Sometimes a simple “dinner and a movie” just doesn’t cut it, especially during those frigid winter evenings that are on the horizon for Virginia. To help you stave off the boredom that inevitably comes from being cooped up inside all winter, we’ve compiled a few of the most exciting and unique activities around Virginia to keep things interesting. Whether you’re planning an evening out with friends or a romantic date night, these indoor activities will ensure the fun lasts beyond the holiday season in Virginia.


Alamo Drafthouse—Winchester, Charlottesville, & Woodbridge Locations

Ok, hear us out; we said beyond the standard “dinner-and-a-movie”, and Alamo Drafthouse delivers on that promise. The state-of-the-art movie theater frequently hosts special events such as theme nights, sing-alongs (a theatrical Rocky Horror Picture Show performance around Halloween is a must), stand-up comedy, and more. And their in-house restaurant and cocktail bar means you can have dinner and drinks without ever leaving the theater. With locations in Winchester, Charlottesville, and Woodbridge, there are multiple places to enjoy this step up from your typical movie night.


Topgolf/Drive Shack—Ashburn, Alexandria, Richmond, & Virginia Beach Locations

Unlike your average golf course, Topgolf and Drive Shack aren’t miserably cold during the winter. These Virginia golf range locations all have heated bays to keep you comfortable even during the chilliest nights. Plus, they offer cocktail and food service directly to your bays, where you can play a variety of interactive golf games and courses to compete with friends or play solo. Inside these high-tech winter golf destinations, you’ll discover bars surrounded by multiple televisions to watch your favorite sports teams, full-service restaurants, and indoor games including table games like pool and retro arcade video games. While Topgolf has locations in Ashburn, Alexandria, Richmond, and Virginia Beach, Drive Shack has just opened their first Virginia location right outside of Richmond near Short Pump.


Tang & Biscuit—Richmond

Richmond’s first shuffleboard hall, Tang & Biscuit, is located in the Scott’s Addition neighborhood close to numerous breweries, cideries, meaderies, and distilleries. The social venue contains ten regulation-size shuffleboard courts, a bar that spans nearly the entire length of the establishment, a huge collection of board games, and an interactive game station featuring favorites like corn hole, ping pong, and giant Jenga. Add to it that they often host live music and you will find that there is always something to do at Tang & Biscuit. Their innovative kitchen serves up all sorts of fresh fare, from biscuits like the Memphis Pig, topped with pulled pork and coleslaw, to flatbread pizzas like the Chicken Bacon Ranch.


The Circuit Arcade Bar—RichmondThe Circuit is an arcade bar in Richmond's Scotts Addition. They also feature 40+ craft beers on their self-despensing, by-the-ounce tap.

Another exciting destination in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood, Circuit Arcade Bar has over 50 classic arcade and pinball machines, offering hours of entertainment for those most frigid days in Virginia’s capital city. In addition to games, Circuit has a full kitchen serving made-to-order dishes and a fifty-tap self-serve craft beer and wine section, allowing you to sample a wide variety of beverages without having to order a full pour.


Rosie’s Gaming Emporium—Richmond, New Kent, and Vinton Locations (Hampton Location Coming Soon)Rosie's Gaming Emporium Colonial Downs

Full-scale gambling is not currently legal in Virginia, but if you’re looking for the closest thing, Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is your best bet. With a game floor holding dozens of HHR (Historical Horse Racing) machines, each Virginia location has casino-like thrills and a range of price points, from the economical machines for those looking to dabble in the games to the high-stakes section for the more experienced player. And each location has several bars and restaurant areas to serve dinner and drinks along with your evening’s entertainment.


Ruby’s Arcade—HarrisonburgRuby's Arcade

A sprawling restaurant and game room combination, Ruby’s Arcade pairs creative wood-fired pizzas with duckpin bowling, pool tables, dart lanes, and foosball. The Harrisonburg venue also has two full bars and a lounge area, where they host weekly events including live music from acoustic performers on Tuesday night and DJ dance parties Thursday through Saturday.


Hotel Greene Indoor Putt Putt—Richmond

It may be called Hotel Greene, but you can’t stay here overnight; the vintage hotel-themed business is actually an indoor miniature golf course. “Check in” at the front desk to get your clubs, balls, and score cards, play a round through the Wes Anderson-esque hotel lobby and rooms, then end your mini golf game at the hotel’s restaurant and bar, where you can sip, dine, and unwind.



A 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art indoor kart racing facility, Autobahn is the largest completely indoor go-kart facility in all of Virginia. Race your friends in Italian pro-karts that reach speeds of up to 50 MPH on this exciting track. Twelve laps on the weekend start at just $21.99 per person, but they offer several race packages (all under $100) that let you fulfill your need for speed. The Northern Virginia attraction also has an indoor axe-throwing facility, providing even more entertainment for those cold-weather days.


Bad Axe Throwing—Fairfax, Richmond (Coming Winter 2019)

The world’s biggest urban axe throwing club, Bad Axe Throwing, has one location in Northern Virginia and plans to open a second Virginia location in Richmond by the end of 2019. Skilled axe throwing staff will teach you the traditional Canadian backyard pastime in a safe environment, providing you and your friends with a unique activity for a winter outing.


Beachside Social—Virginia Beach

Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the beach! Come to Beachside Social in Virginia Beach for a classic game of shuffleboard as well as a bevy of board games including Trivial Pursuit, Taboo, and Scrabble. And what’s a visit to the beach without a refreshing drink in hand? Head to their coastal-themed bar for a seasonal cocktail, craft beer, or a glass of vino to relax while you game.


River City Roll—Richmond

Bowling used to mean putting on smelly shoes and snacking on an array of fried food options while hefting a ball down ancient wooden lanes, but River City Roll has redefined the popular pastime. Elegant tufted leather couches frame each lane, providing a comfortable place to sit while you wait your turn to bowl, and their upscale dining menu includes truffle fries, pork belly steamed buns, and a selection of gourmet brick oven pizzas delivered to your lane. And forget warm pitchers of discount beer; River City serves a full lineup of craft brews, flavorful cocktails, and carefully selected wines from around the world.


Punch Bowl Social—Arlington

Punch Bowl Social


A veritable “fun factory,”  contains three entire floors and 24,000 square feet of entertainment, including four bars, a scratch-to-craft restaurant, both mini and full-size bowling, ping-pong, billiards, karaoke, and old-school arcade games. Rent a private karaoke room for you and your friends to belt out your favorite hits without the judgement of a public karaoke bar, or share your talents with everyone at Punch Bowl Social by singing something on the main stage.


Bingo Beer Co.—Richmond

Yet another attraction to visit in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition, Bingo Beer Hall is a craft brewery that also serves food, hosts live music, and has endless games to keep you entertained for hours, from twelve classic arcade games to pinball, ping pong, and all the boardwalk classics.


And of course, if the weather makes you want to stay indoors, consider spending the afternoon at a local winery, craft brewery, cidery, or distillery, where you can keep warm with some of Virginia’s most delicious drinks!


Where are your favorite places to go when the days get shorter and the temperatures? Share a few of your go-to spots with us in the comments!


The post The Best Indoor Activities For an Unforgettable Winter in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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