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Archive for June 28th, 2011

Celebrating the Fourth in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

Independence Day is one of the most awaited holidays of the year. It’s the centerpiece of summer, a long weekend, a time of delight for children, and the cornerstone of many vacations. Why not celebrate America’s 235 years of independence from Great Britain in the state where America’s history begins?

Fireworks over Busch Gardens by Scott K. Brown

Fireworks over Busch Gardens

Independence Day and Virginia

  • The Declaration of Independence was proposed by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia in June 1776.
  • Thomas Jefferson was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. His home was Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. Jefferson’s secluded retreat, Poplar Forest, is the venue for an Independence Day Celebration that includes a reading of the Declaration.
  • Thomas Jefferson died on July 4, 1826 – the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Visit Independence, Virginia, a small town that celebrates in an old-fashioned way.

Ways to Celebrate

  • Festivals - From Revolutionary reenactments in Yorktown and fireworks choreographed to the 1812 Overture in Fairfax, to free birthday cake at George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens, an Independence Day festival is near you and way cool.
  • Parades – Such an occasion as independence requires pomp and circumstance. Line the streets for parades across the Commonwealth!
  • Sip Wine – Relax with a glass of vino, patio scenes, and a refreshing dinner at a nearby winery. Virginia has around 200, so you shouldn’t have to look far.
  • FIREWORKS – They’re statewide and plentiful, so just look up! User our Fireworks Finder to locate the sparks closest to you.
  • Day Time Fun – Check out July Jubilee at Wintergreen Resort – chairlift rides, movies under the stars, and lots of family fun. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond offers free admission! A waterplay area is just the beginning of the fun your kids can have. (see more)
  • Get Away!
    • Save 10% when you book a villa in Warm Springs. Lake Moomaw and Douthat State Park are nearby.
    • Save 20% at Point Plaza Suites in Newport News – so many attractions, so little time.
    • Our military personnel deserve a break and huge thanks. Check out the many discounts available and plan a freedom-filled weekend of family fun!



Deals & Discounts, Events | 1 Comment

Starlight, Starbright … Snoopy Lights Up the Night!

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

Snoopy's Starlight Spectacular logoKings Dominion has a new nighttime glow about it. The switch was flipped June 18 for Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular – a bright experience of more than 1.2 million LED lights.

Intimidator™305Set to a family friendly Top 40′s soundtrack, the lights dance from the Eiffel Tower to The Grove – from the trunks of trees to 80 feet off the ground.

Joe Cool Driving SchoolSo just what do those 1.2 million+ lights equate to? Stretch the 25,449 strands end to end, and they’d run from KD to Virginia Beach! Forty trees are wrapped (from 20 to 80-feet tall), and more than 4,000 bulbs add a bit of dazzle to the iconic Eiffel Tower.

More than tree-wrapping, families can expect to see the notable PEANUTS™ characters illuminated, too. Four of them stand up to ten feet tall near the Eiffel Tower, not to mention new PEANUTS™ comic strips – 14 of them – are aglow, too.

Of course you want to see this million-dollar addition to Kings Dominion, but there’s more! Make a day of it. The park opens at 10 a.m. and here are a few other items that might make it onto your to-do list.

  • Intimidator™305 – Voted 2010′s Best New Coaster by Amusement Today Magazine – tallest and fastest coaster on the East Coast; North America’s second Giga-coaster ever-built. Debuted in 2010.
  • The Dominator – It’s the world’s longest floorless coaster and includes interlocking corkscrews, cobra rolls, and the world’s largest loop (4,210 feet) as it zooms off to speeds of 67 mph. Introduced in 2008.
  • Big Wave Bay – Beat the heat in 650,000 gallons of tidal wave action! Waves can crest at 4-feet high and fall to a gentle lap on the “beach”. Chairs and umbrellas invite you to settle in.
  • Lazy River – A 1/4-mile meandering chillaxin’ machine – that’s the Lazy River. Grab a tube and leave your cares behind … for a short while, anyway. The only downside? It’s only a 1/4-mile.
  • Carousel is a classic, and it’s just one of the rides the entire family can enjoy. What’s not to love about hobby horses?
  • Planet Snoopy – The perfect destination for the wee ones of the bunch. From Joe Cool Driving School – where your kid gets behind the wheel – to Snoopy’s Splash Dance – a place to cool off with water even without a swimsuit – this is a great place to hang out.
  • Nights of Fire - Fireworks set to music! They are the encore of Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular and send you home with a bang.

The best way to save big on Kings Dominion tickets is to purchase them directly from KD at their website. The incentive? Purchase your tickets no less that three days in advance and save $16! Plan your Kings Dominion trip now, or book a travel package to include a room night:



Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 3 Comments

Southwest Virginia Artisans are Home at Heartwood

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway

Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway

Today is the grand opening of the long-awaited Heartwood Center in Abingdon. It’s Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway, meaning visitors will be enticed to explore the local music, crafts, food, and overall culture with a stop at this state-of-the-art facility.

Expect to browse and purchase one-of-a-kind gifts, as well as see videos and interactive exhibits about regional artisans (such as those associated with ‘Round the Mountain) and musicians from The Crooked Road. From time to time these artisans and musicians will be on-hand to speak with visitors about their work.

Take a load off at the coffee and wine bar; you’ll want to soak a spell in this place.

About Heartwood:Heartwood Logo

  • The term ‘heartwood’ refers to the oldest, hardest wood in the center of a tree – the core. Southwest Virginia’s core includes the local music, art, food and drink.
  • Heartwood includes the works of 200+ Southwest Virginia artisans.
  • The facility is 28,000 square feet and includes barn-like architecture.
  • Leaning on the ‘core’ thought, the offices for both ‘Round the Mountain and The Crooked Road are housed at Heartwood, as is the Abingdon Tourism Office, making it the center of community outreach.
  • Performance space has been included in the design for concert-hosting.
  • An on-site restaurant offers local food, as well as local wines and ciders.
  • Visit daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; just off I-81 near Virginia Highlands Community College in Abingdon, VA.



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Thanks, Dad!

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

If you have yet to plan a big splash for Dad this weekend (it is Father’s Day, you know), here are a few events that might cause a grin or, dare I say it, a full-blown smile!

Bear Creek Lake State Park

Bear Creek Lake State Park

  • Orange – Saturday, June 18 – Annual Big Damn Bike Show – You don’t need a motorcycle to enjoy this event! Fun for the whole family.
  • The Plains – Saturday, June 18 – Capital Hospice Polo Cup – Celebrity players, and incredible food and drink complete this fabulous event.
  • Woolwine – Saturday, June 18 – Virginia Covered Bridge Festival in Patrick County – Live bands, artists, craftsmen, and food vendors. Wagon rides, tractor-pulled hay rides and antique car rides. Kids’ activities, petting zoo, moonwalk, face painting and more!
  • Natural Bridge – Sunday, June 19 – Natural Bridge Father’s Day BBQ – A spread of freshly grilled chicken, ribs, and sausage, jalepeno cheese cornbread, corn on the cob, salad bar, apple cobbler, and more of the chef’s specialties!
  • Warrenton – Sunday, June 19 – Annual Father’s Day Car Show – Classic and antique cars, hot rods and motorcycles. Crafters, family games, live music and food vendors.
  • Wineries all across the state are offering Father’s Day events, so check those out, too!
  • More Father’s Day Events

Not thinking that direction? How about the good ol’ standbys? You know, Busch Gardens, Kings Dominion, a state park, the beach? Whatever you get into, have fun!



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Experience Juneteenth

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

Legacy Museum of African-American History, Lynchburg

Celebrate Juneteenth in Virginia, one of 26 states granting state holiday observance to June 19th as the day slavery was abolished.

In 1865 slavery was common practice in Texas even though President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclomation had been in effect since January 1, 1863. On June 19, 1865 Union General Gordon Granger and his 2,000 troops released Galveston, TX slaves into freedom – some of the last slaves to realize their destiny.

Hardy – Jun 18 – Juneteenth Celebration – Booker T. Washington National Monument celebrates Juneteenth – the commemoration of the release of approximately four million people of African descent from the bonds of slavery after the end of the Civil War.

Gloucester – Jun 19 – Juneteenth Celebration in Gloucester County – Join us for an afternoon of storytelling, picture sharing and oral history about Gloucester’s 32 African-American sailors who took part in the Union blockade along the entire Atlantic seaboard.

Manassas – Jun 18 – Juneteenth at the Lucasville School - Experience what a school day might have been like in the tiny building and participate in games and crafts that the children might have played.

Henrico – Jun 18 – Juneteenth Spectacular – The celebration will incorporate both the past and present of African-American culture. Begin the celebration with an opening ceremony by Ezibu Muntu African Dance Company followed by an Apollo style showcase to highlight local talent.

Martinsville – Jun 17-18 – June German Ball & Juneteenth Festival Weekend – Fayette Area Historical Initiative (FAHI) and the NAACP have joined together to sponsor the 2011 Juneteenth Festival.

Montross – Jun 18 - Juneteenth: Traditions and Songs of Emancipation and Freedom – An ongoing celebration with presenters and music to highlight community history and traditions of emancipation and freedom through songs and storytelling.

Discover more at Virginia.org.



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