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Archive for June, 2012

Gentlemen of the Road: The Crooked Road to Bristol Sweepstakes

by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2012

Follow Virginia’s Crooked Road for a once-in-a lifetime chance to see Mumford & Sons perform in the heart of downtown Bristol, the Birthplace of Country Music.

Mumford & Sons. Credit Kyle Dean Reinford.

Mumford & Sons. Credit Kyle Dean Reinford.

Mumford & Sons have chosen Bristol as one of only four small towns in the country for their Gentlemen of the Road Tour. This is your chance to be a VIP at this SOLD OUT concert which will fill the streets of Bristol with amazing music inspired by the old-time mountain music style found throughout Southwest Virginia.

The history and culture of Appalachia is celebrated in Southwest Virginia along The Crooked Road, a 350-mile driving route that connects some of the most poignant and authentic traditional country and mountain music venues together on an unforgettable road trip.

Enter for your chance to see Mumford & Sons in concert on August 11, 2012.

Bristol Stop OverOne Winner Will Receive:

~ Two tickets to the Gentlemen of the Road Concert
~ Two nights lodging
~ Access to a VIP party bus to enjoy all day long on August 11
~ A 1927 Bristol Recording Sessions Box Set
~ A $500 gas card

If you share with your friends after entering, you can have extra chances to win!

>> ENTER TO WIN <<

Official Rules

Sweepstakes begins 12 a.m. June 28, 2012 and ends 11:59 p.m. July 18, 2012.
Open to U.S. residents only. Entrants will receive a Virginia Travel Guide. 



Arts, Destinations, Events, Sweepstakes, Video clips | Comments Off

Everyone Loves a Baby

by Casey | Posted on June 25th, 2012

Admit it. You love baby animals and your kids do, too. So where can you go to see baby animals? In addition to the zoos in Virginia, there are other places to spot new sweet faces.

Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton

Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton

At the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton you’ll visit working farms each with buildings moved from its country of origin and reconstructed on site. “Visit” 1600s England, 1700s Ireland, Germany and West Africa, and America from the 1700s through the 1850s, including rare breeds grazing along with their new young ones.

Visitors to Busch Gardens in Williamsburg will find more than great roller coasters and performances. Beautiful animals call the park home, like the Gray Wolves of Wolf Valley, or the Black Clydesdales and Scottish Blackface Sheep of Highland Stables.

The Stables welcomed a new member to the Clydesdale family in April. Aidan was born to mother Panola and father Dakota on April 20.  At just over a month old Aidan weighed in at 250 lbs. Once fully grown, he will weigh up to 2,000 lbs.

Also born this spring at Busch Gardens were five Scottish Blackface lambs – Lia, Coara, Bryce, Lily, and Rhosyn. See the clip below from the Inside Busch Gardens blog of the lambs at play. Additionally, two African Pygmy Hedgehogs were born at BG this spring, and good golly are they cute (pic)! If there could be anything cuter, it’s that baby hedgehogs are called hoglets!

Baby animals in the wild are not hard to find in Virginia. Any day trip across Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway will yield families of wildlife living their lives.

Bears on Skyline Drive and Deer at Peaks of Otter

Bears on Skyline Drive and Deer at Peaks of Otter

To the right are a bear and her three cubs on Skyline Drive, as well as a doe and her fawn at Peaks of Otter.

You’ve heard about the wild ponies in Virginia, yes? You can see them on Chincoteague IslandAssateague Island, and even on Mount Rogers in southwest Virginia.

The annual Chincoteague Pony Swim and Auction in July is unique to Virginia and should be on everyone’s bucket list. Perhaps you’ll want to take one home with you.

REMINDER: Do not disturb, feed, or try to approach any wild animals you may see, but feel free to photograph from your car.

- 95 Places to Find Wildlife in Virginia

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Family, Outdoors, Video clips | 3 Comments

Be a VIP at the Richmond Jazz Festival

by Casey | Posted on June 22nd, 2012

August 10-12, 2012 marks the third year for the Richmond Jazz Festival, an event that is quickly becoming the premiere concert festival of its kind. Situated at an ever serene Maymont, the Festival’s smooth, soulful sounds blend sweetly into the laid back summer setting.

Richmond Jazz Festival

Richmond Jazz Festival

Richmond Jazz Festival attendees can expect to enjoy more than 20 local, national and international artists appearing on two stages, including George Benson, Dave Koz, India Arie, Trombone Shorty, and Robert Cray. However, the lucky winner of the Richmond Jazz Festival VIP Weekend Sweepstakes can expect a great deal more.

 

One winner will receive an exclusive VIP experience to include:

  • A two-night stay at The Jefferson Hotel or the Hilton Garden Inn
  • Four Richmond Jazz Festival tickets – two for Saturday and two for Sunday
  • Transportation to and from the Festival
  • Breakfast both Saturday and Sunday
  • Corporate Hospitality VIP Tent Access
  • VIP Artist Meet & Greet (photo and autograph opportunity)
  •  Jazz Festival Care Package

Enter Now
Official Rules

Sweepstakes ends July 18, 2012 and is open to U.S. residents 21 years of age and older. Travel is required August 10-12, 2012. Each entrant will receive a Virginia Travel Guide.



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150th Anniversary of “Taps”

by Casey | Posted on June 21st, 2012

You know it when you hear it, even if you don’t know its name. It’s a somber bugle cry of a mere 24 notes customary at military funerals and remembrance ceremonies. The somber song is called “Taps” and it was composed in 1862 at Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, Virginia.

Taps by Sidney King. Original on display at Berkeley.

Taps by Sidney King. Original on display at Berkeley.

General George McClellan’s Union troops occupied Berkeley Plantation during the Civil War, and it was in July 1862 that General Daniel Butterfield composed “Taps” as a “lights out” call to the soldiers. The first bugler of “Taps” was Oliver Willcox Norton.

To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the composition, Berkeley Plantation is hosting a weekend-long event beginning this Friday, June 22 and concluding Sunday, June 24.

This weekend, visitors to Berkeley can expect to walk into a living history environment, including a re-creation of the aftermath of the Seven Days’ Battles, President Abraham Lincoln reviewing the troops, a re-creation of the birth of “Taps”, and a rededication of the “Taps” monument.

The “Taps” commemoration event is free, but visitors who wish to tour the 1726 mansion will pay $11/adult, $6/child aged 6-12, and $7.50/student aged 13-16. Also be sure to visit and tour the Civil War 150 HistoryMobile which will be on site for the duration of the event.

Berkeley Plantation is Virginia’s most historic plantation. Its legacy includes being the site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619. Berkeley is also the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and fifth Governor of Virginia, and William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States whose grandson, Benjamin, became the 23rd President of the United States.

To learn more about Virginia’s rich history visit Virginia.org/HistoricSites.

 

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Summer in the Great Outdoors: Tubing

by Casey | Posted on June 20th, 2012

Author’s Note: This blog was updated August 2, 2013 to reflect rate changes and include a couple new outfitters.

Back in May we highlighted awesome waterways for kayaking and canoeing. Tubing isn’t a far stretch from those two water-loving pastimes, other than the pace is quite a bit more relaxed and you probably don’t want the big rapids to throw you off your game.

James River Reeling and Rafting

James River Reeling and Rafting

James River Reeling and Rafting departs from Scottsville, just 25 minutes south of Charlottesville. Trips are self-guided and cooler tubes are available for rental as well. Kick back and enjoy the slow float. Reservations are required. Shuttles leave on the hour during the week and on the half-hour Saturday and Sunday. Tube, shuttle and rope is $23/person. Groups of 25 or more are $21/person. No children under six and no pets.

James River Float Company, we noted, is a leader in SUP (stand up paddleboarding) on the river, but as their name implies, they’re a source for a nice float, too. The “local float” is $22/person and basically keeps you in the Lynchburg vicinity. Pull your friends together for a party float – even your cooler can go downstream with you.

River City Rafting is centered in Virginia’s urban whitewater hub of Richmond. A whitewater guide will accompany you and five or more of your friends aged 9 and older as you leisurely while away the day. $30/person. If you’re brave enough to go it alone, ask about The Half Shuttle at $25/person.

James River Float Company

James River Float Company

If you choose to float with Outdoor Adventure Experiences out of Dayton, you choose an awesome family day out on the water. Not only do you get your own tube, but you also get a giant tube made for group play in the deeper, slower spots on the river. Trips with OAE include (and require the use of) a safety helmet and life vest. If you’re looking for a freer, more casual float, this one might not be for you. Half-day trip $35/person; full-day trip $45/person with a trip minimum of $120 and $180, respectively.

The Shenandoah River is one of Virginia’s top picks for a relaxing float, meaning more nearby outfitters are ready to rent you a tube.

The headwaters of the James River are pretty tame compared to the whitewater you’ll find near the fall line downriver in Richmond. For that reason, exploring the Upper James River Water Trail might be advantageous to tubing lovers.

Tangent Outfitters

Tangent Outfitters

Twin River Outfitters in Buchanan is eager to serve your Upper James River needs at an affordable rate. You can take a tube down one trip (about a 90-minute float) for $15, or you can spend the day floating the route time and again for $20. The fee includes tube, life vest, safety orientation and shuttles from the shop up to the put-in point. Want a quick run at the end of the day? “Last call” floats depart at 4 PM and only cost $10!

The New River is the second oldest river in the world, geologically speaking, and it’s pretty unspoiled and pristine. Sounds like a peaceful, serene float, huh? Put in at Bisset Park in Radford with Tangent Outfitters. The 2-mile float (which can vary from 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on water levels) is $15/tube on weekdays or $20/tube Saturday and Sunday.

>> More Rafting/Tubing Options
>> Virginia’s Rivers

Check the real-time water levels through the National Weather Service prior to getting on the river. Tubing with a guide is the safest option to enjoy your river experience.



Family, Outdoors | 1 Comment