Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog

Archive for July, 2012

Cheer On Virginia’s Olympic Athletes

by Casey | Posted on July 27th, 2012

The Summer Olympics have officially kicked off in London and the hard work of athletes worldwide will be shown off over the course of the next two weeks. Virginia is proud to have quite a few athletes participating in the games, so here’s a little LOVE for your sweat, tears and dedication to your sport. Best wishes and bring home some bling!

Nina Ligon presents Butts Leon for first inspection Friday, July 27, 2012. Photo:

Nina Ligon presents Butts Leon for first inspection Friday, July 27, 2012. Photo:

Saturday-Tuesday, July 28-31 

Will Coleman with horse Twizzle and Nina Ligon with her horse Butts Leon will take to the ring in Individual Eventing competition.

Will was born in New York but Virginia-raised since the age of 6 when his family moved to the Charlottesville area.

Nina was born in Bangkok but grew up in Goochland County. She will be representing Thailand, making a historic name for herself – the first woman to ever represent an Asian nation in Olympic eventing.


Individual Dressage – 26th
Individual Cross Country – 46th
Individual Jumping – 37th
Team Dressage – 5th
Team Cross Country – 5th
Team Jumping – 7th

Individual Dressage – 41st
Individual Cross Country – 37th
Individual Jumping – 41st


Saturday, July 28 – Wednesday, August 1

Giuseppe Lanzone was born in La Punta, Peru, but grew up in Northern Virginia, graduating from McLean High School. Watch for him as a member of the US Men’s Eight rowing team.

  • July 28: Heat One – USA vs. Australia, Ukraine and Poland, 5:10 a.m.
  • August 1: Finals, 5:30 a.m. – 4th Place Finish


Saturday-Sunday, July 28 – August 5

Quanitra Hollingsworth is a name that many Richmonders will recognize. An academic prodigy from Chesapeake, Quanitra enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University at the age of 16 and owned the basketball court, too. She led the VCU women’s basketball program to their first NCAA tournament bid, is the third highest scorer and second for career rebounds. Quanitra plays professionally in Turkey and will be representing Turkey at the Olympics.

  • July 28: Turkey vs. Angola, 9:30 a.m. – WON, 72-50
  • July 30: Turkey vs. Czech Republic, 6:15 a.m. – WON, 61-57
  • August 1: Turkey vs. USA, 5:15 p.m. – LOST, 58-89
  • August 3: Turkey vs. China, 11:45 a.m. – WON, 82-55
  • August 5: Turkey vs. Croatia, 3 p.m. – WON, 70-65
  • August 7: Quarterfinals — Turkey vs. Russia, 3 p.m.
  • August 9: Semifinals
  • August 10: Medal Games


 Sunday, July 29 – Tuesday, August 7

Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas is from Virginia Beach and a member of the US Artistic Gymnastics team. Her accolades include becoming the Virginia State Champion at the age of 8.

  • Qualifying begins Sunday, July 29 at 4:30 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m.
  • July 31: Team Finals, beginning at 11:30 a.m. – GOLD MEDAL!
  • August 2: Individual All-Around Finals, beginning at 11:30 a.m. – GOLD MEDAL!
  • August 6: Uneven Bars Finals, 9:50 a.m. - 8th
  • August 7: Beam Finals, 9:50 a.m. - 7th


Sunday, July 29 – Sunday, August 12

Reid Priddy was born in Richmond but grew up in Florida where he discovered his volleyball talent. Priddy is a decorated Olympian, having brought home a gold medal from Beijing in 2008. He is a professional player in Russa but is a member of the US team.

  • July 29 vs. Serbia, 11:45 a.m. – WON, 3-0
  • July 31 vs. Germany, 11:45 a.m. – WON, 3-0
  • August 2 vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. – WON, 3-1
  • August 4 vs. Russia, 11:45 a.m. – LOST, 2-3
  • August 6 vs. Tunisia, 3 p.m. – WON, 3-0
  • August 8: Quarterfinals — vs. Italy, 11 a.m.
  • August 10: Semifinals
  • August 12: Medal Games


Sunday, July 29 – Friday, August 6

Claire Laubach, Caroline Nichols and Shannon Taylor are three of the 18 players that make up the US Women’s Field Hockey Team and all hail from Virginia!

Claire is a defensive player from Bristow. Caroline is from Virginia Beach, is also a defender and was a member of the 2008 Beijing team that finished eighth. Shannon is from Midlothian and is a striker. She coaches field hockey at the University of Massachusetts.

  • July 29 vs. Germany, 4:15 p.m. – LOST, 1-2
  • July 31 vs. Argentina, 2 p.m. – WON, 1-0
  • August 2 vs. Australia, 5:45 a.m. – LOST, 0-1
  • August 4 vs. New Zealand, 2 p.m. – LOST, 2-3
  • August 6 vs. Russia, 5:45 a.m. – LOST, 0-7
  • August 8: Classifications and Semifinals — vs. Belgium, 3:30 a.m.
  • August 10: Classifications and Medal Games


Tuesday, July 31

Matt McLean is from Sterling and will swim the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay. The heats begin at 6:02 a.m. and the finals will begin at 3:47 p.m. – GOLD MEDAL!


Thursday, August 2 – Friday, August 3

Kate Ziegler is from Great Falls and participated in the Beijing games in 2008. Watch for her in the 800m Freestyle. Heats begin at 5:19 a.m. and the finals start at 2:45 p.m. Kate is the world record holder of the 1,500m Freestyle but it is not an Olympic event. – FINISHED 8th IN HER HEAT


Friday, August 3 – Saturday, August 11

Francena McCorory, from Hampton, will compete in the Women’s 400 m and 4 x 400m Relay. Of note about Francena, she holds the indoor 400m record with a time of 50.54, breaking the previous record set in 1991.

  • August 3: 400 m Round One, 7 a.m. – 3rd
  • August 4: 400m Semifinals, 3:05 p.m. - 6th
  • August 5: 400m Finals, 4:10 p.m. - 7th
  • August 10: 4 x 400m Round One, 2:10 p.m.
  • August 11: 4 x 400 m Finals, 3:25 p.m.


LaShawn Merritt, Winner, 2012 Prefontaine Classic. Photo:

LaShawn Merritt, Winner, 2012 Prefontaine Classic. Photo:

Saturday, August 4 – Friday, August 10

LaShawn Merritt, Portsmouth native, enters the London games as the defending gold medalist in the Men’s 400m. Should he strike gold again, he’ll be the first to have back-to-back wins in the 400m since US Olympian Michael Johnson in 1996 and 2000. LaShawn is the fastest runner going into 400m, winning the Olympic trials with a time of 44.12.

  • August 4: 400m Round One, 5:35 a.m. – HAMSTRING INJURY; WILL NOT COMPETE
  • August 5: 400m Semifinals, 3:40 p.m.
  • August 6: 400m Finals, 4:30 p.m.
  • August 9: 4 x 400m Round One, 6:35 a.m. - HAMSTRING INJURY; WILL NOT COMPETE
  • August 10: 4 x 400m Finals, 4:20 p.m.


Sunday, August 5 – Wednesday, August 8

T’erea Brown, from Hampton, will compete in the Women’s 400m Hurdles. She was the NCAA champion in the 400m hurdles as a senior at the University of Miami. She enters the event with the third fastest time out of the Olympic trials.

  • August 5: Round One, 2 p.m. - 7th
  • August 6: Semifinals, 3:15 p.m. – 3rd
  • August 8: Finals, 3:45 p.m.


Monday, August 6 – Tuesday, August 7

Kellie Wells is a Richmond native who will be competing in the Women’s 100m Hurdles. Her most recent achievement was tying Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s American record for the 55m indoor hurdles.

  • August 6: Round One, 5:05 a.m. – 3rd
  • August 7: Semifinals, 2:15 p.m. - 1st
  • August 7: Finals, 4 p.m. – BRONZE MEDAL!


Thursday, August 9

Terrence Jennings of Alexandria endured a two-year qualifying process to make it to these London Olympics for Taekwondo competition. Watch for him on August 9 in the -68kg class. Prelims begin at 4:15 a.m. and the day culminates in the Gold Medal Finals at 5:30 p.m.


* Times are local, not London.
* Many thanks to Richmond Times-Dispatch for their coverage.
* We’ll be updating this page with results as we have them. Last Update: August 7 @ 4:19 p.m.


LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide.

Events | Comments Off

Classical Musicians Converge in Staunton

by Casey | Posted on July 27th, 2012

Staunton, Virginia is quickly garnering attention as a performing arts and cultural hot spot, and here are two more reasons why: Heifietz International Music Institute and Staunton Music Festival.

Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. Heifetz International Music Institute.

Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. Heifetz International Music Institute.

Heifetz International Music Institute is a unique program found only in Virginia. The Institute brings 62 advanced students of the violin, viola and cello to Staunton for six weeks of intensive lessons, practicing and performances. The students learn from the best musicians from around the world, including founder Daniel Heifetz,  who converge on Staunton to share their skills and perform as well.

Music lovers can enjoy student performances at the free Stars of Tomorrow Concerts. Take your seat at Mary Baldwin College’s Francis Auditorium July 28 at 3 p.m., August 1 at 7:30 p.m., August 4 at 3 p.m. or August 8 at 7:30 p.m.

In addition, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library will host free lunchtime concerts. Bring your lunch and listen to performances July 30 and August 6 at noon.

Finally, the world-renowned faculty of the Heifetz Institute take the stage August 2 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, bringing Carnegie Hall to Staunton. Tickets are $25/adult and $20/senior and student. Buy Tickets

Staunton Music Festival

Staunton Music Festival Artistic Director Carsten Schmidt conducting Handel's Semele at Blackfriars Playhouse in 2007. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

When Heifetz wraps up, the Staunton Music Festival kicks off its 15th year, beginning August 17 and running through August 25. It’s a nine-day celebration of chamber music performed by 50 world-class performers in intimate settings — just the way chamber music was written to heard. Festival goers can expect works by the master composers, lesser known composers and perhaps new, challenging pieces.

Special Events:

Visitors to Staunton will quickly see why the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it “One of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations in the United States”. Plan your trip:

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 

Destinations, Events | 2 Comments

The Wild Pony Round-Up

by Casey | Posted on July 23rd, 2012

An annual event that occurs only in Virginia is the Chincoteague Pony Swim – a family friendly experience that creates memories for a lifetime.

Eastern Shore PoniesEvery year on the last Wednesday of July the wild ponies from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island make the swim over to Chincoteague as part of the small town’s annual Chincoteague Pony Swim festival and fundraiser. A team of volunteer firemen round-up the ponies and herd them across the channel during “slack tide” (between 7:30 and 10 a.m.). When the ponies emerge from the water, they graze and rest before parading down Main Street to the carnival grounds. The first foal to emerge from the water is named King or Queen Neptune and will be given away via raffle at the carnival that night.

On Thursday the annual auction is held to sell the current years’ foals. The ponies have been cleared by a veterinarian and may be transported via approved horse trailer anywhere in the United States. Arrive as early as 8 a.m. to position yourself for bidding.

Eastern Shore PonyOn Friday the remaining pony herd will swim back to Assateague Island.

If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps you read Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague as a child. Henry traveled from her midwest home to attend the annual pony penning where she was inspired to write the book, based on a real pony named Misty. Misty of Chincoteague was published in 1947, and Misty the pony found a new home with Henry.

Today you’ll find Misty’s ancestors at the Chincoteague Pony Centre. The Centre is the oldest established breeder of Misty family ponies. The kids will enjoy a pony ride while you browse the gift shop.

> Download the Chincoteague Island Map
> Nearby Dining
> Nearby Lodging

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 

Destinations, Events, Family, History, Outdoors | Comments Off

Camping Along Cool Waters

by Casey | Posted on July 19th, 2012

The great outdoors bring families to Virginia to unplug, unwind and just be together. Take advantage of the remaining summer weekends – or plan a fall weekend – to escape to one of Virginia’s campgrounds or a Virginia State Park.

Lake Shore Campground, Abingdon

Lake Shore Campground, Abingdon

Virginia offers all types of camping in various climates and terrains. Beach and lake-based campgrounds are especially popular this time of year and often have great family attractions nearby.

  • First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach is Virginia’s most visited State Park. The beach you’ll find there is actually on the Chesapeake Bay, not the Atlantic, so it’s much calmer water for little swimmers.
  • Holiday Trav-L-Park is the closest campground to the Virginia Beach oceanfront. You can bicycle to the sand or there is designated free parking for campers.
  • North Landing Beach Campground & RV Resort in Virginia Beach is located on the North Landing River and offers a variety of camp sites, even primitive beach tent camping.
  • Cherrystone Family Camping Resort in Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore is 300 acres on the waterfront of the Chesapeake Bay where you can, indeed, see a beach sunset in Virginia.
  • Bethpage Camp-Resort in Urbanna boasts over 1,000 camp sites and an abundance of those are located on a peninsula in Robinson’s Creek – a tributary of the Rappahannock River and Chesapeake Bay. Also find a large lake, multiple pools and a waterpark here.
  • Christopher Run Campground in Mineral is located on Lake Anna – Virginia’s third largest lake. Families will enjoy the beach area, as well as marina and boat rentals.
  • Lake Shore Campground in Abingdon is situated on the South Holston River. You won’t find a long list of activities and amenities but you will find great fishing, a beach for relaxation, and a quiet, comfortable place to completly connect.
  • Indian Heritage RV Park & Campground in Martinsville offers camping right along the Smith River. Seventeen tent sites and 29 full hook-up sites are available. Take advantage of the on-site outfitter.
  • New River Campground in Independence sits right on the VA/NC border and has great sites on the New River. Tents and RVs are welcome; camping cabins are available.

    Outlanders River Camp, Luray

    Outlanders River Camp, Luray

  • Outlanders River Camp has wooded tent sites on the Shenandoah River in Luray. Nearly 100 acres back up to 3/4-mile river frontage. Pull in your RV for full hook-up or utilize electric or primitive tent camping sites.
  • More Virginia Campgrounds

If you need more inspiration or want a ‘best of the best’ list, see our post that includes 12 Virginia campgrounds that made the cut for ReserveAmerica’s Top 100 Family Campgrounds.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Order a free copy of the Virginia Travel Guide. 

Beaches, Family, Outdoors | 1 Comment

A Cool August Weekend in Bath County

by Casey | Posted on July 17th, 2012

Escape the heat of August with a weekend in Virginia’s cool Allegheny Mountains. August 4 is the 4th annual Wings and Wheels Car and Acrobatic Air Show in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Wings & Wheels logoThe Ingalls Field Airport will host a display of cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors – all competing for the coveted Peoples’ Choice Award. In addition, airplane rides and two flight simulators put you in the cockpit while flying lawnmowers and aerial acrobat performances thrill the crowd. Bring a chair, kick back and relax with the music of Daryn Burkholder (country), The Announcers (gospel) and Moonshine Express (country). Food will be available, as will children’s activities.

All day admission to Wings and Wheels is affordable at $5 per car or $10 per van or bus.

Perhaps planes and automobiles aren’t your thing, or maybe it’s the country and gospel music that doesn’t suit your taste. If that’s you, turn to Garth Newel Music Center for Viola Extravaganza! on August 4 at 5 pm. Enjoy the compositions of Mozart, Granados, Lavenda, and Bach performed by six talented musicians.

The Homestead

The Homestead

Tickets for Viola Extravaganza! are $22 for adults, $10 for students 13-18, and free for children 12 and younger. If you’d enjoy dinner after the concert, the combination ticket is $75 for adults, $63 for students and $53 for children. Buy Tickets

Regardless of which event you choose to attend, The Homestead is the place to enjoy an overnight stay.

Check out their new activities including Allegheny Springs, a family fun water area with pools, slides, a lazy river and sandy beach. Two can stay one night, enjoy two tube rentals and access to Allegheny Springs for just $279. Book Now

See more Homestead packages.


LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Order you free Virginia Travel Guide.

Destinations, Events | 1 Comment