If you’ve ever wanted to learn country line dancing, check out The Banque in Norfolk where the lessons are free every Wednesday through Friday night. Already know how? Go join the fun and shake what your mama gave ya.
Watch for your favorite national artist to arrive at Virginia’s larger indoor venues:
Virginia’s scenery, history, climate and geography all make each running opportunity unique. With those qualifiers in mind, check out these great runs for 2013.
1. Lush and mysterious, the Dismal Swamp Stomp Half-Marathon & Children’s 1/2-Mile Cub Run in Chesapeake runs parallel to the historic Dismal Swamp Canal. Runners can expect their paved pathway to be highlighted by the forested wetlands and be anything but ‘dismal’. Every participant that crosses the finish line will take home a finisher’s medal. April 13, 2013. $70 registration fee.
2. Elevation change can present a real challenge to runners. Are you game for the more than 7,000 total feet of elevation change the Blue Ridge Marathon has in store? Kicking off in downtown Roanoke, the event also includes five-person relays, a half-marathon option and a YMCA kids’ marathon. April 20, 2013. $75-$85 registration fee for the marathon.
Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run at Dominion Riverrock, Richmond
3. The Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run is one of the first events of weekend-long Dominion Riverrock, the East Coast’s premier outdoor lifestyle festival held annually in Richmond. Those who have endured mud runs will likely find this one to be among – if not THE – toughest. Expect to trudge through the James River, rock hop and be thrown more natural obstacles than just a few roots and branches. The massive mud pit at the end is all that stands between you and an ice cold frothy beverage. May 17, 2013. $40-$55 registration fee.
4. Beautifully rolling fields, historic farms and canopied country lanes are the scenery you can expect when you run the Virginia Wine Country Half-Marathon from Doukenie Winery in Hillsboro. The post-race activities include a full-blown Wine & Music Festival with great food, entertainment and wine, of course. June 1, 2013. $115 registration fee.
5. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon is centered on the breezy Virginia Beach oceanfront. It’s flat and fast, an appealing feature to any runner, which must be why more than 20,000 show up each year. Or maybe it’s due to the largest half-marathon prize purse in the United States that awaits the fastest one at the end. September 1, 2013. $85-$150 registration fee.
6. Up for an evening run? The Harvest Moon Run is a 10K in Martinsville with a 7 p.m. start. Run your race and then enjoy the TGIF after-party. September 6, 2013. Fees have not yet been announced.
Fall Foliage 5K & 10K in Waynesboro
7. Who doesn’t love amazing fall foliage? You might find yourself day dreaming instead of focusing on your run when you register for the Fall Foliage 5K or 10K in Waynesboro. The races are a part of the Fall Foliage Festival Art Show, so be sure to meet the dedicated artisans after your run. October 12, 2013. $25-$40 registration fee.
8. March 27 should be circled on your calendar if you’re anxious to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington. That’s registration day and this race was full in under three hours last year. It’s a memorable run because it begins and ends at the Marine Corps Memorial (Iwo Jima) and affords views of the Pentagon, Capitol, and Lincoln, Jefferson, Korean and Vietnam Memorials. This marathon is the 5th largest in the nation and the 8th largest in the world. Don’t miss out! October 27, 2013. Fees have not yet been announced.
9. Which race is “America’s Friendliest Marathon”? It’s the Anthem Richmond Marathon, according to Runner’s World. Take to the historic streets of Richmond, traversing the diverse neighborhoods and enjoying the unique stops along the way. Hot pizza and a massage await you at the finish line. November 16, 2013. $80-$130 registration fee.
10. Skip the big Thanksgiving dinner and go for a Thanksgiving run instead. The Turkey Day 5K and Family Fun Run through Martinsville typically features Thanksgiving-themed costumes and fabulous prizes, too (aka turkey basters and whatnot). November 28, 2013. $20-$25 registration fee.
There are many more where these came from, so check out Virginia.org/RunVirginia to complete your run calendar for 2013.
Some art adventures are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. I mean, who doesn’t want to see an authentic Michelangelo? While we can’t move the Louvre to Virginia, we can certainly bring a little bit of Louvre-level, iconic art here.
Madonna and Child by Michelangelo, Florence, Casa Buonarroti
Between now and April 14, Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane is on display at the Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. It’s a rich and varied collection of 26 drawings straight from his family home in Florence, Italy, Casa Buonarroti. Several pieces of this collection are on display for the very first time in the United States; be one of the first to see the master’s work for just $15 per person.
Of Michelangelo’s piece to the right, the Muscarelle Museum of Art writes, “Throughout his career, Michelangelo (1475-1564) alternated between interpretations of the divine and the worldly, or profane. The master’s powers to evoke the sacred are fully displayed in the large drawing “Virgin and Child,” which is one of Michelangelo’s most admired images. The statuesque figures of the child is contrasted to the expressive freedom of the Madonna’s face, which appears to see the future with foreboding.”
Virginia is a Commonwealth of wine with more than 200 wineries statewide, making for great winter getaway spots. If you’re looking for a place to cozy up with a glass of wine, our friends in Loudoun County have identified their 17 wineries with a fireplace.
Whether it’s a Valentine’s Day outing or your sweet tooth that motivates you to seek out coveted cocoa creations, this is THE week for chocolate lovers to converge on Virginia.
Paradise Springs Winery in Clifton is offering their signature chocolate and wine pairing daily for $25 per person through February 17.
Hickory Hill Vineyards & Winery in Moneta welcomes you with Wine and Chocolate Drop-Ins Thursday and Friday from 2 until 8 p.m. Three Hickory Hill wines will be paired with local chocolates from Stacy’s SweetSpot. $15 per person or $25 per couple.
For a festival atmosphere brimming with sweet smells, head to the Annual Chocolates Galore & More event in Leesburg this Friday, February 15 from 7 until 11 p.m. Taste and vote for your favorites across various categories. $75 per person includes free-flowing champagne.
Fox Meadow Winery in Linden is hosting Chocolate Daze this weekend – a belated Valentine’s Day opportunity where every paid wine tasting receives a box of truffles and a rose. Couples can taste for $15 or a single tasting is $8.
Along the same lines, Gray Ghost Vineyards and Winery in Amissville invites you to their 19th Annual Irresistible Chocolates and Cabernet this weekend, in honor of Valentine’s Day. Be treated to more than 25 decadent chocolate desserts and award winning cabernet. $20 per person includes a souvenir Valentine’s glass and unlimited tastings.
Choose this weekend or next to visit Loudoun Valley Vineyards in Waterford to take advantage of their Valentine’s Tasting event. You choose chocolate or cheese to pair with your wine. $12 per taster.
Boxwood Winery in Middleburg welcomes you this weekend, February 16 and 17, for a tasting for two that includes chocolate pairing from MC2 Confections, a photograph to capture your visit and a bottle of Boxwood 2010 take home. $50. Visit between noon and 4 p.m. either day.
Find yourself too busy this weekend to take advantage of these delicious chocolate events? Don’t fret. The Chocolate Lovers’ Festival is coming to Fairfax March 2 and 3! Two full days of chocolate tastings, chocolate for purchase, chocolate used as art and so much more.