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Archive for January, 2013

Dine Around the Town

by Casey | Posted on January 11th, 2013

Celebrate some of Virginia’s best chefs when you partake of their special “restaurant week” offerings.

Catch 31

Catch 31 is a participating restaurant for Virginia Beach Restaurant Week.

January 13-19: Blacksburg Restaurant Week highlights all of the diverse cuisine this college town has to offer. Expect to find great dining deals rather than flat rates.

January 13-20: Virginia Beach Restaurant Week yields the fresh seafood one would expect to find along the coast, but with 60+ participating restaurants, there’s something on the menu for everyone. Two-course lunches available for $10 or three-course dinners available at $20 or $30.

January 18-27: Alexandria’s Restaurant Week has a presidential flare this year as its right in the mix of President Obama’s Inauguration (January 21). More than 50 dining establishments will be offering three-course dinners for $35 or a dinner for two for the same price.

January 18-28: Old Town Fredericksburg Restaurant Week highlights a wide range of wonderful dining experiences. Two-course lunches are $10.13 and three-course dinners are $20.13.

January 20-27: Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week makes a promise to those who are hungry – “There’s an app, entree and dessert for that.” Select restaurants are offering a two-course lunch for $10 while more establishments have three-course dinners for $20 or $30.

January 21-26: Downtown Roanoke Restaurant Week boasts $10 lunches and $20 or $30 three-course dinners. Choose from comfortable familiars to fine dining, adventurous eclectic and authentic ethnic.

January 28 – February 3: Charlottesville Restaurant Week, take one! The January and July editions of this popular dining event showcase three-course dinners at the finest restaurants for $26. Go ahead and jot down July 8-14for take two.

Boar's Head Inn

Boar's Head Inn is a participating restaurant for Charlottesville Restaurant Week.

February 4-10: Northern Virginia/DC Restaurant Week gathers the best establishments from Alexandria, Arlington, Clifton, Fairfax, Falls Church, McLean, Reston and Vienna for a gourmet dine-around. Lunches are $20.13 and dinners are $35.13.

March 2-9: Downtown Hampton and Coliseum Central Restaurant Week delivers when “Good Taste Matters.” Two-course lunches for $10 and three-course dinners for $20 or $30 in a variety of restaurants between Downtown Hampton and Coliseum Central/Peninsula Town Center districts. Spread out and eat well!

March 16-23: Suffolk Restaurant Week lets you choose your price point – deluxe or premier. Deluxe lunch and dinner are $10 and $20, respectively. Premier lunch and dinner run $15 and $30, respectively. The participants and menus are still being worked out, but you’re promised a savory blend of the city’s signature flavors. Don’t miss it!



Additionally …

Mark your calendar for these dining events now so you won’t miss out, plus keep an eye out for those that are annual favorites but the dates have yet to be announced.

June 22-29: Lynchburg Restaurant Week is a cultural event spotlighting the city’s independent restauranteurs. Watch for special deals and prix-fixe menus.

October 14-20: Culpeper Downtown Restaurant Week promises three-course dinners for $25 at some of Culpeper’s best eateries.

April and October: Richmond Restaurant Week


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Food | Comments Off

Virginia’s Winter Hikes

by Casey | Posted on January 8th, 2013

The leaves are gone and the views are stupendous. Get out and exercise your legs and heart with a brisk hike.


Just southeast of Virginia Beach, five miles south of Sandbridge, lies False Cape State Park, one of few remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic Coast. False Cape offers a chance to experience unspoiled nature with a huge migratory bird population and a variety of wildlife, plants and trees. The park is accessible only by foot, bicycle, beach transporter, tram or boat. Between November 1 and March 31, access to the park is restricted to the beach or via the park’s beach transporter, the Terra-Gator. Call for Terra Gator reservations.

Humpback Rocks

Humpback Rocks


Cold Mountain Loop (also called Cole Mountain) is so beautiful at the summit with a wide open meadow on top of the mountain with gorgeous views as far as the eye can see. This hike is considered moderate and is a 5.7-mile loop that intersects with the AT on the mountain above Buena Vista. To get there, drive route 60 east out of Buena Vista, cross the Blue Ridge Parkway and continue about 4.5 miles to a left on route 634, followed by a right on route 755 / Wiggins Spring Rd (unpaved) to Hog Camp Gap. Continue less than half-a-mile to see the Mt. Pleasant Trail Head sign.

Humpback Rocks encompasses 800 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway between MP 5 and 9.3 just outside Waynesboro. This area is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor. The prominent rock outcrop was a landmark guiding wagon trains over the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. A portion of the historic trace still exists. Milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Download the Trail Map

The Peaks of Otter – Sharp Top, Flat Top, and Harkening Hill – are amazing peaks that have dominated the landscape of both the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia for centuries. Access Sharp Top and Harkening Hill at MP 86 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Park at the Visitor Center and take the Sharp Top Trail 1.5 miles. The elevation gain is 1,540′; a strenuous climb. Harkening Hill is accessible from the same parking lot and is a more moderate three-mile loop. Flat Top can be accessed between MP 83 and 84. You’ll see a parking area and the trail picks up to the south, winding upward 1,640′ over the course of about four miles. The trail continues to Abbott Lake or you can turn around and head back to your car. Download the Trail Map

Shenandoah National Park icecicles

Courtesy of Shenandoah National Park


A wildly popular Shenandoah National Park trail is the one leading to Whiteoak Canyon. Why so popular? Six waterfalls reward your effort, and we’re confident their icy beauty will be worth the trek (watch your step!). The falls range from 35 to 86 feet. Hike in one mile for the lower falls or on up another two miles (and steeper grade) to the upper falls. Park off route 600 at the Boundary Trailhead. Or, access Whiteoak Canyon from Skyline Drive at milepost 42.6. You’ll encounter the upper falls first on a 4.6-mile out-and-back hike. If you wish to go to the lower falls, know that it’s a steep climb back up and adds another 2.7 miles round trip. Download the Trail Map

Discover more great Virginia hikes and leave us a comment to tell us yours!

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 * Updated January 14, 2014.

Outdoors, Winter | Comments Off

New to See and Do

by Casey | Posted on January 4th, 2013

Happy New Year! Plan now to experience the new things Virginia has to offer in 2013, as well as be a part of significant milestones for key events.

Salamander Resort & Spa, Opening August 2013

Salamander Resort & Spa, Opening August 2013

Salamander Resort & Spa makes its much-anticipated debut this summer. Set on 340 acres near Middleburg, the resort will boast 168 luxury rooms and suites, 23,000-square-foot spa, full-service equestrian center, fine dining and 12,000 square feet of conference and event facilities.

Michelangelo Sacred and Profane, the touring exhibit of drawings of the master artist and architect, makes its only American stop at The College of William and Mary’s Muscarelle Museum of Art from February 9th to April 13th, 2013. The exhibit includes 26 original drawings preserved in the family home in Italy, some of which have never before been seen in the U.S.

Center in the Square, the home for Mill Mountain Theater, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia, will re-emerge after a $27 million do-over with refurbished exterior and redesigned interior, a 5,500-gallon living coral reef aquarium and a green rooftop facility.

The village of Waterford was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970. Many buildings still in use, were built before 1840.

70th Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Fair: The oldest juried crafts fair in Virginia celebrates 70 years in 2013. Talented crafters present their wares and visitors may also enjoy tours of historic homes, music and historical interpreters. The entire village of Waterford is a National Historic District.

Old Hill Cider is just one of a bushel of hard cideries recently opened or soon-to-open in Virginia in 2013. More than a dozen cideries can be found in settings from bucolic back roads to urban cityscapes. In Colonial times apple cider was allowed to turn “hard” in order to preserve it through winter. Today that tradition yields delicious ciders from Virginia’s bountiful annual apple crop.

The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester will host an exhibit in 2013 honoring one of its favorite citizens, Patsy Cline. Becoming Patsy Cline will focus on the early years of the legendary country singer and first female member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and will run from August 2013 through February 2014. The plane crash that took her life occurred 50 years ago in March. She is buried in Winchester’s Shenandoah Memorial Park and her home is now open as a museum.

80th Historic Garden Week in Virginia: “America’s Largest Open House” celebrates 80 years in 2013 with tours of more than 250 of Virginia’s finest historic homes and gardens.

The President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside the Oval Office, a National Geographic exhibition featuring dozens of rarely seen images of recent U.S. presidents through the eyes of their official photographers, will be on display at the Virginia Historical Society from March 4 – July 8, 2013. Featuring images taken in tense times and on joyous occasions, the exhibit explores the role of the president’s photographer, documenting for history every possible aspect of presidency.

The Virginia Governor's Mansion is the oldest continuously occupied governor's residence in the United States.

Craft breweries are springing up all around Virginia. Among the hot new places offering cold brews are Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Hanover, Beer Hound Brewery in Ruckersville, Charlottesville’s Champion Brewing CompanyLickinghole Creek Craft Brewery of Goochland and Three Brothers Brewing of Harrisonburg.

Kings Dominion will open the world’s largest Peanuts-themed children’s area Spring 2013 with its new Planet Snoopy. The 14-acre area will feature 12 new or re-themed attractions including a monorail, two live shows and an open-air marketplace.

Virginia’s Executive Mansion turns 200: Built during the War of 1812, Virginia’s Executive Mansion has set the tone for the hospitality for which Virginia is famous. The Marquis de Lafayette, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II have all been guests in America’s oldest governor’s residence still used for its original purpose. Special tours and events will mark the 200th birthday of this historic house which was also used as a film location for Steven Spielberg’s movie LINCOLN.

The LINCOLN Movie Trail is based on Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie filmed entirely in the Richmond/Petersburg area. The Trail pinpoints film locations as well as sites favored and frequented by stars such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and the producer/director himself. The real Abraham Lincoln visited both Richmond and Petersburg in the closing days of the Civil War.

50th Season Trail of the Lonesome Pine: When the curtain first came up on what is now Virginia’s official Outdoor Drama it is doubtful anyone imagined a run going on 50 years. The play shows no signs of slowing down as audiences continue to flock to the June Tolliver Amphitheater in downtown Big Stone Gap to experience a story of turn-of-the-century romance in the Appalachian Mountains.

Wine in Virginia continues to make headlines and win coveted national and world ribbons. New wineries such as The Winery at Bull Run  join established vineyards totaling now more than 220 in all. Look for new experiences at Virginia wineries as well including oyster pairings, personal blendings, workshops, overnight stays, special events and festivals.

There you have it! Don’t forget to check for events and discounts before making your travel plans. Oh, and plan your route to include a photo opportunity at one our LOVEworks. More of those coming soon!
LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.

Destinations, Events | 4 Comments