Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog
ShareRSS  

Archive for March, 2012

Celebrating Virginia’s Naval History

by Tom | Posted on March 30th, 2012

Virginia’s sailing history goes back as far as its founding, so when an opportunity comes to showcase that sailing heritage, we’re all in.

Opsail Virginia 2012 logoThis summer visitors can get on board for OpSail 2012 Virginia‚ĄĘ, a week long commemoration of the War of 1812 and celebration of the world’s great tall ships. From June 1st to June 12th, numerous sailing vessels, including current U.S. Navy ships, will ply the waters around Norfolk and Hampton Roads. Many of these ships hail from foreign ports and will bring with them their cultures and international experience to share with guests.

Piggybacking on Norfolk’s annual Harborfest¬ģ, events will include the traditional Parades of Sail, ship tours, fireworks, concerts and festivals, educational events and even more programs.

Here’s just a sampling of some of the major events in and around the Hampton Roads/Eastern Shore of Virginia:

Norfolk – June 9 – Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will play a free concert at Town Point Park on the waterfront.

Hampton – June 1-3 – Blackbeard Pirate Festival

Virginia Beach – June 1-3 – Blue Angels Air Show – Patriotic Festival

Yorktown – June 1-3 – Yorktown Maritime Weekend

Norfolk – June 6 – Virginia Arts Festival Finale & OpSail 2012 Opening Night Gala

Norfolk – June 8-11 – Norfolk Harborfest¬ģ

Cape Charles – June 8-12 – Tall Ships Cape Charles

Tall Ship Sunset

 

 



Events, Family, History, History | Comments Off

Spring Break Theme Park Savings

by Casey | Posted on March 27th, 2012

Perhaps a little spring escape is in order while the kids take a break from school. If that’s what your family has in mind, we bring you good news of great savings!

Kings Dominion

Kings Dominion

Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion are always top-of-mind for families looking for ready-made entertainment. Take advantage of these savings:

  • Busch Gardens Sesame Street Forest of Fun Preschool Pass – Children aged 3 to 5 can go to Busch Gardens free when parents secure this park pass online. Children receive unlimited admission through October 28, 2012.
  • Busch Gardens Spring Deal for Children 6 to 9 – Purchase one adult pass and get a free pass for a child in this age range. Use promo code BGWPAMPERS. The pass is good for one visit only.
  • Kings Dominion Everyone’s a Kid Price – Choose a day this spring to play at Kings Dominion and pay the kids ticket price of $37.99. Valid April 6-May 31, 2012.
  • Kings Dominion tickets are $10 cheaper when purchased through their website. If you wait until 3 days before your visit, save $15 per ticket.
  • Busch Gardens Open Dates: Daily March 30-April 15; Weekends April 20-May 20; Daily May 25-September 3
  • Kings Dominion Open Dates: Daily April 6-15; Weekends April 21-May 20; Daily May 25-September 3
Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens

Save on your accommodation near the theme park of your choice with these deals from our partners.

Enjoy your time together in Virginia. Happy Spring Break!



Family | Comments Off

Gary Sinise Concert Will Honor Virginia Marine

by Casey | Posted on March 21st, 2012

Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band

Gary Sinise and The Lt. Dan Band

Award-winning actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise, best known for his portrayal of Lt. Dan in “Forrest Gump,” is coming to Martinsville next Saturday, March 31, with ¬†The¬†Lt. Dan Band to play a concert at Martinsville High School in honor of Cpl. J.B. Kerns, USMC of Ararat, Virginia. ¬†The concert starts at 7 p.m.

100% of ticket sales from the show will go toward funding a specially-equipped smart home for Kerns, who lost both legs and his right arm last April in Afghanistan. Kerns was the victim of an improvised explosive device (IED). 

General admission to the concert is $25. A limited number of VIP tickets are available at $75 which include a ticket to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500¬†NASCAR Sprint Cup race¬†and a Sunday morning meet-and-greet with Sinise at Martinsville Speedway.

Cpl. J. B. Kerns in Afghanistan

Cpl. J. B. Kerns in Afghanistan

Tickets may be purchased online at PiedmontArts.org or by calling 276.632.3221.

Can’t make it to Martinsville for the concert but want to help Cpl. Kerns? Buy a ticket online and note in the comments box, “Donate to a Veteran” and a local veteran will be given the ticket to go in your place! Again, 100% of the proceeds from this event goes to building a special home for Cpl. Kerns.

 

 

 



Events | Comments Off

Beautiful Spring Experiences

by Casey | Posted on March 20th, 2012

Happy Spring! While it’s felt like the warm-up season for quite a while now in Virginia, today is the first official day of spring and we’re celebrating with great experiences. Plot your course of action and roll the windows down. These are winding, beautiful, and perfect for a day out of the office … or a Saturday excursion.

Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls Trail

Take to the mountains and traverse four scenic byways when you pick up the Nelson Scenic Loop. Begin the Loop at Spruce Creek Gallery and then enjoy the 50 miles that include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Tye River Valley, and Rockfish Valley around Nelson County. In the area are Crabtree Falls and numerous orchards, wineries, and breweries.

For those who are interested in encountering wildlife, check out one of the regional trails of the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail. No doubt, you’ll want to exit the car at some points along the way to stretch your legs and take a quick hike.

  • The Coastal Area features untouched barrier islands, cypress swamps, great stands of pine forest, and bayside salt marshes. 18 loops.
  • The Mountain Area features great vistas, endless forest trails, large inland reservoirs and a taste of the western piedmont. 34 loops.
  • The Piedmont Area features expansive grasslands, large forested tracts, pineland savannahs, several large reservoirs, and an abundance of rich history and culture. 13 loops.
Tangier Island

Tangier Island

A great coastal drive with history, natural areas, and fantastic water views is the Chesapeake Bay Driving Tour. Highlights include the Caledon Natural Area (famous for Bald Eagles), Stratford Hall¬†(Robert E. Lee’s birthplace), and a few places to hop aboard a cruise:

  • If an day cruise sounds delightful, hop aboard a Tangier Island Cruise from Buzzard Point Marina in Reedville.¬†The Cruise departs at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. $27/adult; $15/child.
  • Other cruise-goers might enjoy a jaunt with¬†Rappahannock River Cruises¬†aboard the Capt. Thomas. Expect to see the Bald Eagle habitat from the water as you make your way to Ingleside Vineyards for a tour, tasting, and lunch. Capt. Thomas departs Tappahannock at 10 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. $27/adult; $15/child. Add lunch for $13/adult and $8/child.

If the mention of a winery got your attention, Virginia has more than 15 winery trails you can explore. One includes whiskey with the wine, another boasts tremendous Civil War history with the wine, and yet another includes the birthplace of winemaking in Virginia. Check out the wine events calendar to coincide your drive with something fun.

Families who forego the cruises and avoid the wineries will find their fun when they park the car and enjoy a tour. Don’t yawn – there are great tours crafted especially for you.

  • Polyface Farm in Swoope has an open barn door policy. Arrive anytime Monday through Saturday and take a look around. If you’d like a guided tour, call and reserve your family’s place on the haywagon for a Lunatic Tour (children 13 and older; offered twice each month). They promise it’s “more fun than a theme park roller coaster ride,” and being the country girl that I am, I would tend to agree.
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about Fredericksburg – from all periods of history – can be learned while riding along with the narrated Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg.¬†However, what I look forward to most comes after¬†the tour … Carl’s Frozen Custard.
  • Discover more family fun!

Whatever you choose to do this spring, do it in Virginia where you can completely connect with the ones you love. Click here to order your free Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide or call 1-800-Visit-VA.



Couples, Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Wine | Comments Off

Spring Break at a Virginia State Park

by Casey | Posted on March 15th, 2012

Spring Break is a time for families to recharge, reconnect, and relax. Virginia’s 35 State Parks are the perfect place to escape and have a truly laid-back break. If the solitude of natural surroundings and the beauty of spring isn’t enough to attract you, here are a few key events that might entice your family.

Bear Creek Lake State ParkVenture to Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland – less than an hour west of Richmond – to try your hand at archery, enjoy a big campfire, or take a canoe tour. Archery classes are scheduled for April 7 & 14 at 1 p.m. The canoe tours are scheduled April 5 & 12 at 11 a.m. The campfire will be held April 7 & 14 at 6:30 p.m.

If you’ve wanted to learn the ins and outs of geocaching, spend some time this Spring Break at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster. The seven miles of Rappahannock River shoreline are a scenic backdrop for Geocaching 101 on April 11 at 9 a.m. Registration is suggested and each GPS unit rental requires a $6 fee.

For the geocaching pros, check out The Bear Necessities multi cache in the mountains of Douthat State Park in Millboro.

Eagles are the celebrated bird of Caledon Natural Area along the Potomac River in King George, but it’s the owls that get the glory for the Owl Prowl Hayride on April 13 at 7 p.m. Learn a little about the owls at the Visitor Center and then hop aboard a hayride to call them in. Reservations required. $3 per person or $8 per family.

Families with older children might enjoy the Moonlight Canoe at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry. Reserve your spot for $18 per person to take a canoe out onto Lower Chippokes Creek and experience the nightlife in the full moon light. Ages 13 and up.

Learn to fish at False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach on April 14 at 9 a.m. You’ll be introduced to rods, reels, bait, and tackle. Reservations are required and the fee is $10 per person.

Families finding themselves drawn to Virginia Beach will also find a plethora of activities at First Landing State Park.

  • April 9, 10 a.m.: April Showers Rain Gauge Workshop
  • April 9, noon: Bald Cypress Hike – one mile guided hike
  • April 10, noon: A Turtle Tale – meet one of the turtle inhabitants
  • April 12, 11 a.m.: Create a Wind Chime Workshop
  • April 12, 1 p.m. and 14th at 11 a.m.: Swamp Stomp – dip your buckets and explore the life you’ll pull from the swamp
  • April 13, 11 a.m.: Bring May Flowers – decorate a flower pot and plant some seeds
  • April 13, 3 p.m.: Sesquicentennial Civil War Touch Table – explore Civil War artifacts
  • April 13, 5 p.m.: Beach Safari – talk a walk on the Bay shore and explore what lives there
  • April 14, 1 p.m.: Once Upon a Truffala Tree – hear a reading of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and make a Lorax craft
  • April 14, 4 p.m.: Seaside Creations – create a seashell masterpiece
  • April 14, 5 p.m.: Spring Creations – create spring crafts and explore the wildlife of First Landing
  • April 14, 7:30 p.m.: Night Hike – leave your flashlight behind! Discover sensory awareness and nocturnal animals on this hike.

Because there are THIRTY-FIVE Virginia State Parks, there’s no way this post could ever be complete with all of the events and other things to do. I hope this is a good start for you and at least gets your mind going on a unique train of thought for Spring Break. To learn more about Virginia State Parks, please see¬†http://www.virginia.org/stateparks/. For more events, please see¬†http://dcrintra.dcr.virginia.gov/dcr_public/events/vieweventpublic.cfm.



Family, Outdoors | Comments Off