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    #Downtown #Staunton is filled with amazing #architecture including the Romanesque-Revival Marquis Building seen here. It was designed by T.J. Collins in 1895 (he designed nearly 200 buildings throughout the city in various styles during the #Victorian Era). Note the large umbrella fixed to the corner of the turret! #loveva #virginia #vatravel #mainstreet #vais4lovers #oldschoolva
    Check out this awesome #aerial of the CSX A-Line #Train #Bridge (circa 1919) you've probably seen when driving on the Powhite Parkway crossing #JamesRiver! Props to @vintage_rva for the incredible capture. Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVa for a chance to be featured here! #trainbridge #drone #flyinghigh #rva
    Sip away the end of #summer at North Gate #Vineyard in Pucellville before the crush begins! They have live music every Friday evening (TGIF: Thank Grape It's Friday), making it an ideal time to stop by for a taste. Next month is #Virginia #Wine Month, when a lot of vineyards across the state will be harvesting their #grapes. Photo props to @emkittie! #VAwine #howisummer #winetime Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to get featured here.
    Here's a beautiful shot of @castlehillcider in Keswick posted by @merchcolony_cville. This is currently the only #cidery in the world to be fermenting and aging in buried terra cotta amphorae called kvevri. Plan a trip to try some of the world's finest right here in #Virginia. #loveva #vacider #drinklocal #cville #vatravel #castlehillcider #vaweddings
  • Archive for May, 2010

    Zoos Are Original Family Fun

    by Casey | Posted on May 25th, 2010

    Wild times are calling! For families with children under 12, zoos are great places to spend the day. Pack a picnic, sunscreen, a few bottles of water, and you’re well on your way to a happy day in Virginia!

    Traditional Zoos

    Metro Richmond Zoo

    Metro Richmond Zoo

    • The Metro Richmond Zoo in Chesterfield County is home to more than 1,500 animals. There are new additions to the zoo family since last year. See the critically endangered Diana monkey born April 3rd, and a new giraffe born December 31st!  You’ll be surprised to learn that African penguins make two feeding appearances each day. For a view from on high, take a ride on the Safari Sky Ride!
      • Admission: Children under 2 are free; 2-11 are $26; 12-60 are $32; 60+ are $29
      • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • At Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke you’ll find 88 animals, including endangered species like the Snow Leopard, Red Panda, and Andean Condor.  Have you ever seen a Wallaby or a Wolverine? You can here! For $2, you can take two trips around the zoo grounds on the ZooChoo!
      • Admission: Children 2 and under are free; 3-11 are $5; Adults are $7
      • Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    • See Virginia’s first colony of breeding flamingos at Natural Bridge Zoo in Natural Bridge. This is also the place to take a ride on an African Elephant ($5 fee) and have your photo taken with tiger cubs!
      • Admission: Children 2 and under are free; 3-12 are $8; Adults are $12; 65+ are $10
      • Hours: Varies by season, but generally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • In Norfolk you’ll find the Virginia Zoo, a Virginia Green certified attraction and home to more than 350 animals. “Willow,” a giraffe, was born in October 2009 along with three rare Bongo calves delivered between August and October. Also fairly new are four tiger cubs born this time last year. Take a ride on their Zoo Train ($2) to hear interesting animal facts.
      • Admission: Children under 2 are free; 2-11 are $6; Adults are $8; 62+: $7
      • Hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Drive-Thru Zoos

    Virginia Safari Park

    Virginia Safari Park

    • The Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge is a 180-acre free-roaming animal preserve. Also on-site is a giraffe feeding station, where you can get eye to eye with those big beauties, a petting area, a tiger exhibit, and a free-flight aviary. Take a drive through the park in your own vehicle or climb aboard a tractor-drawn wagon.
      • Admission: Children 2 and under are free; 3-12 are $10; Adults are $14; 65+ are $13
      • Hours: Varies by season, but generally 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Fort Chiswell Animal Park in Max Meadows invites you to climb aboard their safari bus for a ride to see animals who want to see you!
      • Admission: Children 2 and under are free; Children are $10; Adults are $12
      • Hours: Varies by season, but generally 10 a.m. t0 4 p.m.

    Alpaca Farms and Zoos for Little Ones

    • Hunt Club Petting Farm in Virginia Beach offers pony rides and opportunities to get to know sheep, llamas, donkeys, zebu cows, pigs, and others.
      • Admission: Children under 2 are free; all others are $3
      • Hours: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • In Ridgeway, a visit to Infinity Acres Alpaca Farm & Petting Ranch yields a guided tour to meet each of the animals.
      • Admission: $5 per person
      • Hours: By Appointment

    Discover more close encounter opportunities in Virginia through this link!

    Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

    Cheers to Heroes

    by Casey | Posted on May 24th, 2010

    Memorial Day. It’s the official start of summer and a day when all Americans should give a special “thank you” nod to those who sacrificed everything for our freedom. Plan a weekend getaway in Virginia that includes the recognition of heroes.

    Newport News Victory Arch

    Newport News Victory Arch

    In the Hampton Roads area your family can stay three nights and get the fourth free at Point Plaza Suites in Newport News. In doing so, you’re close enough to enjoy the oceanfront fun of Virginia Beach and take in some history at the nearby Virginia War Museum for a Memorial Day Remembrance and tour.

    Stay at Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange, where the  third night is 20% off and well-mannered children are welcome. About 30 minutes nearby is Lake Anna Winery in Spotsylvania. Enjoy a night of appetizers, wine, and live music on May 28th for a relaxing start to the weekend. Lake Anna State Park with its swimming beach is in that neck of the woods, too. The kids will love it!

    If a natural wonder is on your bucket list, this is the weekend to mark it off. Stay a few nights at The Natural Bridge Hotel and see the National Historic Landmark that is the bridge. Take a short jaunt on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Bedford where you can taste the fruity wines of Peaks of Otter Winery. (Their Light Pear wine is one of  my favorites!) Also plan to visit the National D-Day Memorial for their Moonlight Serenade on May 29th. The Serenade includes back-in-the-day music made famous by Tommy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, and the like.

    Other notable events across Virginia:

    • 15,300 candles light the Fredericksburg National Cemetery for the annual luminaria to honor those who have given their lives for their country.
    • Annual Veterans Memorial Day observance in Rocky Mount honors fallen veterans in all wars and military conflicts from the Franklin County area.
    • The Town of Shenandoah 13th Annual Memorial Day Festival and Parade offers a unique blend of events including a Memorial Service, car show, Volunteer Firemen’s Carnival with rides, food, and games, and more!
    • In Alexandria, the “Friends of Rocky Versace” (CPT HR Versace, USMA 1959, posthumous Medal of Honor Recipient and Ranger Hall of Fame Inductee) will host a Memorial Day program to honor the 67 Alexandrians who were KIA/MIA during the Vietnam War. Honorees include 4 USMA Graduates, 3 USAFA Graduates and the 6 men who are still MIA from that conflict.

    These suggestions are just a start to what you can find happening Memorial Day weekend in Virginia. See Virginia Memorial Day events here.

    Events, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    The Great American Road Trip

    by Casey | Posted on May 19th, 2010

    Paddling along the Upper James River in Botetourt County

    Paddling along the Upper James River adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Looking for a great American road trip?

    Condé Nast Traveller tapped Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway as such during their recent TODAY Show interview. Editor-in-Chief, Kate Maxwell, suggests hopping on at Shenandoah National Park, camping along the way in one of nine camping areas, and riding the Parkway all the way down to Great Smoky Mountains. Maxwell also notes that the 59 species of birds found within the Parkway is more than all of Europe has to offer bird-watchers.

    Interested in this favorite American drive? Enter to win the Blue Ridge Parkway 75th Anniversary Sweepstakes. It’s a six night excursion for four that includes lodging, airfare and a hybrid rental car.

    Discover all that’s waiting for you on the Blue Ridge Parkway at

    Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

    A Shenandoah Valley Weekend

    by Casey | Posted on May 14th, 2010

    Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is a picturesque 200-mile stretch of Virginia loaded with historical sites – Native American, migration period, Civil War, and presidential – as well as lots of antiquing, amazing culinary opportunities, and of course, award-winning wines.

    Battle of New Market Reenactment

    Battle of New Market Reenactment

    If you’re in the area this weekend, check out a couple of key events and add on others as you wish!

    For more information about traveling through the Shenandoah Valley, see

    Events, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

    The Perfect Mountain Retreat Since 1766

    by Casey | Posted on May 7th, 2010

    The Homestead

    The Homestead

    Welcoming guests a full decade before the American Revolution, The Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia is a pristine four-season resort tucked into the rolling Allegheny Mountains. A National Historic Landmark noted for legendary healing springs, elegance, and distinctive Southern charm, The Homestead offers championship golf courses, horseback riding, fly-fishing with Orvis-endorsed instructors, and other seasonal activities.

    You’ll feel like a dignitary when you stay in the traditional appointments of The Homestead. Some of the 483 guest rooms and suites offer fireplaces for winter coziness and sun porches for breathing in the fresh mountain air. Being in the Alleghany Mountains is like being a world away …

    The Cascades Golf Course

    The Cascades Golf Course

    Even though The Homestead is a classy resort, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your kids or even your pet. The award-winning KidsClub offers games, hikes, arts and crafts, water fun in the summer, ice skating in the winter, and even in-room babysitting services for your smaller children. For pets, a special fee is added to your room, of course, but there is a play area near the Garden Wing for your furry friend to stretch and run off energy.

    There are many dining options at The Homestead; certainly something for every taste. For at least one dinner, you’ll want to make a reservation for The Dining Room. It’s your chance to experience the best of this historic resort, enjoying acclaimed southern American cuisine paired with wines from around the world. It’s a special occasion, so gentlemen and young men 12 and older are required to wear a coat and requested to wear a tie as well. A children’s menu is available.

    Plan your Homestead getaway with a travel package.

    –> DEAL: Book two nights of the Unlimited Activities Package and get the third FREE when you book by June 1st!

    Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments