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Archive for March, 2013

Spring Festivals in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on March 29th, 2013

Spring is officially here with the trees budding and flowers blooming. Festivals are one thing we LOVE about Spring in Virginia.

Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom and Gloucester has them by the thousands for their 27th annual Daffodil Festival, April 6 and 7. Take a tour of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs in between the parade, entertainment and vendors. It’s the perfect event to draw you out of the house and into the Spring season. There are plenty of activities for the kids – pony rides, clowns, face painting and games. The fun is from 9 to 5 Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday.

Burnside Farms Festival of Tulips - the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country!

Burnside Farms Festival of Tulips – the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country!

Tulip lovers will want to head to Haymarket anytime between April 10 and 28¬†for the¬†Festival of Tulips: Holland in Haymarket at Burnside Farms. Walk through the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country – 90,000 blooms from 50 varieties at only $1 per stem. It’s a beautiful opportunity for kids’ portraits, so bring your camera. $3 per person to enter the tulip field. NOTE: Due to the cold weather the opening date was pushed back from April 5 to April 10. Weekday visits are suggested.

Spring is also the time Virginia wineries pop their corks and take the fun outside of the tasting room.

April 13 is a good day for wine lovers. Choose from two festivals – Beaverdam Wine Festival or Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest.

The Beaverdam Wine Festival¬†will be held at Pop’s Country Store Museum, just 30 minutes north of Richmond. The festival¬†will include four wineries – James River Cellars, Lake Anna, Grayhaven and Mattaponi. Live music will set the atmosphere and up to 50 food, arts and crafts vendors will round out your day. Festival organizers state the fees as “$10 for designated drivers; $20 for imbibers.” Have fun and drink responsibly.

Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest

Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest

The Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest¬†will be held at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. Participating wineries include Lake Anna, Cooper, Naked Mountain, Belle Mount, Horton, Rosemont and Saud√©¬†Creek. Virginia craft breweries include O’Connor, Smartmouth, St. George, Legend, Star Hill, Williamsburg AleWerks, Bold Rock and Devil’s Backbone.

The day is quite an extravaganza. The 2012 inaugural Wine & Brew Fest sold out and this one appears to be on its way. Tickets are $35 in advance for tasters with both wine and beer available for purchase by the glass, and Virginia wine available by the bottle. Designated drivers are $15, but tickets are available at the gate only. Ages 21 and older. Get your tickets now.

Ready to fly a kite? March 30 through May 5 is “National Kite Month,” and several fields of green are awaiting your lift-off.

The annual Kite Flying Festival in Stephens City is April 6. Don’t worry if you don’t have a kite because free kites will be given away while supplies last. The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. Expect to see members of the Richmond Air Force Kite Club discussing the science of kite flying and demonstrating some awesome kite tricks.

The Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Flying Festival is held in Nellysford, just 30 miles west of Charlottesville, on April 14. This fifth annual event includes instructions, demonstrations by the Richmond Air Force Kite Club, a Duck Race, games, and a free kite to the first 150 children. Bring a picnic or enjoy food from the vendors on site. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

See more upcoming festivals at Virginia.org/SpringFestivals.

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8 Reasons to LOVE Historic Garden Week

by Casey | Posted on March 27th, 2013

New blooms and fresh, sparkling homes and historic sites are on display for one week only, beginning April 20 for the 80th Annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

Garden Week is a time when local garden clubs put away their trowels, gloves and wheelbarrows to welcome aficionados of beauty and sweet smells. If the mere idea of touring beautiful historic – as well as private – homes and gardens isn’t enough to get you out for a stroll, here are eight distinct reasons you’re going to LOVE Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

1. Dubbed “America’s Largest Open House,” the 8-day event includes various tours highlighting¬†more than 200 homes and gardens.

2. The tours are spread across 32 Virginia locations reaching from Cape Charles to Staunton and Alexandria to Danville, so there’s probably a tour not too far from you.

Morven, Charlottesville

Morven, Charlottesville

3. Visit a billionaire’s home. Morven, circa 1820, was on the inaugural Historic Garden Week tour. The original gardens were restored in the 1930s and one can expect to see unusual Osage orange trees, the state champion Chinese Chestnut tree and a dove tree. The brick manor home is situated on a 7,378-acre estate that was given to the University of Virginia Foundation by the late billionaire John Kluge. Morven is located less than two miles from President James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville.

4. Tour the first federal war-housing project established during World War I when you embark on the Newport News-Hampton tour on April 24. The beautifully manicured neighborhoods featured on this tour make for an enjoyable walk.

5. Warrenton has supreme appeal. Walk in the footsteps of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall as you tour the property he acquired and the home he had built for his son. Also on this tour is the 1833 stagecoach stop for Wells Fargo at Glen Gordon Manor, as well as gardens in the midst of restoration and those professionally landscaped. See them all Рopen for the very first time Рon April 25.

6. Hit a wide swath of homes and gardens by spending a few days in Richmond. April 23-25 offers a different set of Richmond area neighborhoods to tour each day, with more than 20 sites for your viewing pleasure. Included are ornate gardens, sweeping lawns and mature trees. It is said that some of these neighborhoods are so well hidden, they defy their urban address. You be the judge.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

7. Get the best of two worlds with the Virginia Beach tour on April 24. Opening the doors of mansions, duplexes and beach cottages, this tour displays both oceanside and landside properties for a “formal to flip-flop” appeal.

8. If you only have one day to tour and it happens to be Saturday, April 27, consider the Gloucester-Mathews tour where the largest one-day concentration of sites is available – nine. The oldest home on this tour is circa 1800, but also included is Rosewell Ruins, dating from 1725.

Walking shoes are requested to avoid damage to the floors of the homes you’re touring. Boxed lunches may be available with some tours. Purchase tickets per tour, of if you plan to participate in multiple tours across the state, a $175 statewide pass is available for one person or $300 for two. Individual tours vary from $15 to $40.

A few policies …

  • No smoking
  • No pets
  • No photography inside the homes
  • Children 17 or under must be accompanied by an adult

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Looking Ahead to Summer in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on March 26th, 2013

Love to be one of the first to experience something new? Fortunately, there are quite a few new things you can look forward to in Virginia this summer. Which ones will make your must-do list?

Geocaching

Geocaching

Kings Dominion¬†has completely revitalized and expanded their kids Planet Snoopy area. Your family will now find nearly 14 acres of fun that includes 18 rides. It’s¬†the world’s biggest PEANUTS themed children’s area¬†and you can be among the first to give it a whirl. KD is located in Doswell and opens this Saturday, March 29.¬†Get Tickets

The geocaching craze is spreading to families like wildfire and¬†Virginia State Parks¬†have a brand new Tree-mendous Adventure for 2013 ¬†- one you won’t want to miss. This year’s quest is all about Virginia’s native trees. Visit five parks and then register on¬†Virginia Outdoors¬†to receive a special prize. Hit all¬†34 caches¬†and there might be another special surprise. Don’t have a handheld GPS? No worries. All Virginia State Parks have them available for rent.

LOVE our LOVEworks? There are more than 15 coming soon, and they stretch across the entire state. We’ll have the full list for you as soon as we’re able to share, but for now, catch a glimpse of the LOVEwork Richmond International Raceway is building. One thing is for sure – those who have made a game out of “finding the LOVE” have their work cut out for them!

ATV enthusiasts, rejoice! Finally, the Spearhead Trail in Southwest Virginia is opening this summer! Phase one – The Mountain View Trail System – opens in June. Permits will be available for sale in May. The Mountain View Trail highlights the best of southwest’s outdoors – amazing views from the mountains and lush, forest-lined creeks. Additionally, watch for 20 miles of the Leeman Field System to open sometime this year.

More to LOVE:

See what else is new in Virginia and make your summer plans soon.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Motorsports Heat Up Spring in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on March 25th, 2013

For those who have the need to feel the heat of stock cars rushing past them and the surface beneath their feet rumble, Virginia is the perfect destination. You’re going to LOVE the dirt tracks, road course, NASCAR Home Tracks and two of NASCAR’s toughest Sprint Cup Series venues this spring.

Introduce your little one to the love of NASCAR.

Introduce your little one to the love of NASCAR.

With a racing history that actually pre-dates NASCAR, Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, hosts two races each year. The spring race – STP Gas Booster 500 – is the highlight of a weekend full of events that kick off April 6 with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Kroger 250 race.

Martinsville Speedway’s claim to fame is that it’s the shortest of all the tracks NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series runs. Dubbed “the paperclip,” Martinsville’s straightaways are only 800′ long and the turns are a shallow 12 degrees. Fans who turn out for races here are treated to plenty of beating and banging, which tends to result in terse words and fisticuffs.

Richmond International Raceway is located in Richmond, Virginia. Since its first NASCAR race in 1953 the track has operated under three names, five configurations and two surfaces. RIR is the only track to host all of its major events “under the lights,” and it’s the only track that all three Petty drivers – Lee, Richard (The King) and Kyle – have won.

Racing at RIR reconvenes April 26 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in the ToyotaCare 250. Kids 12 and under are free for this race and the Kroger 250 at Martinsville, making it easy to introduce your child to motorsports. The following night at RIR the big boys of NASCAR take to the 3/4-mile “D” shaped track for the Toyota Owners 400. A night race under the lights is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Both Martinsville and RIR host NASCAR’s top echelon of drivers twice each year giving Virginia four races total. Within no other state can Sprint Cup fans choose from four races at two tracks just 180 miles apart. If you include Bristol Motor Speedway, as we ¬†often do thanks to the VA/TN border splitting the downtown, that’s six races with Bristol just 170 miles from Martinsville. Yep, Virginia is a haven for NASCAR fans.

For a down-home race feel, check Virginia’s dirt tracks and NASCAR Home Tracks:

Learn more about NASCAR in Virginia and Virginia motorsports.

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LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Virginia Food Tours

by Casey | Posted on March 21st, 2013

Does your love of food lead you to new destinations? Several Virginia cities offer food tours that highlight the best flavors and most memorable dining experiences to be had.

Arcadia

Arcadia

Real Richmond Food Tours¬†are two and a half hours of culinary goodness. Hear from the chefs and owners as you dine and walk¬†the town. Inquire about Lincoln Legs: Brunch & Brushes with History. It’s their latest tour that includes brunch at Arcadia (where Daniel Day-Lewis was photographed dining in full make-up for LINCOLN), as well as a tour of historic sites¬†and filming locations.

DC Metro Food Tours integrate history with great tastes from restaurants, markets and distilleries. Inquire for a wide range of tour locations, including Manassas, Old Town Alexandria and Leesburg. Tickets are $60 or less per person and tours last three to three and a half hours.

Norfolk’s maritime history is incorporated into¬†three days of¬†food exploration. Visit a battleship, enjoy a homemade ice cream cone from the people who invented the ice cream cone, check out a bakery highlighted by Food Network and adored by Paula Deen … the list goes on and on. The “tour” is simply a list of suggestions to¬†sample on your own, so do as much or as little as you like.

Experiential Food Tour in Alexandria

Have a group of friends who would love to spend the weekend touring history and food? Maybe the Experiential Food Tour in Alexandria is up your alley. Site include George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Distillery, a waterfront dining experience, a chocolate appreciation class and more. Customize it however you like.

When in Roanoke, take the southern food route. Included in this suggested tour is The Regency Room at Hotel Roanoke, The Roanoker, Texas Tavern and chocolatepaper.

Your tastebuds will thank you for touring Virginia’s foodie hot spots. Check out more dining options.

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Couples, Food | 1 Comment