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  • Archive for April 25th, 2013

    The Destination is Worth the Journey

    by Casey | Posted on April 25th, 2013

    Hikers know the pay-off to a tough climb is sometimes what you find at the end. If you’re new to hiking or just looking for a great view to photograph, enjoy with a loved one or bask in, these are for you.

    Spy Rock

    Spy Rock

    Noted as possibly the best viewpoint in the central portion of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Spy Rock is a rock outcrop at 3,980 feet with 360 degree panoramic views. It’s a two mile hike from Montebello Fish Hatchery in Montebello up to the Appalachian Trail and onto Spy Rock.

    From atop Birch Knob Towers on Pine Mountain in Clintwood one can see Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee. On a clear day, Ohio is even in view. Get there by climbing 183 stairs for an elevation of 3,144 feet. While it’s not a true hike, it is an incredible reward for climbing stairs. Additionally, a two-mile trek from the parking lot leads to Jenny Falls.

    Fifty miles on a clear day. That’s how far you can see from Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve in Floyd County. The elevation is 3,971 feet but you can reach the summit with a half-mile hike. More unique than the views it yields are the rare plant and animal species in the natural area. The treeless summit is home to subalpine vegetation.

    Fern Lake from Pinnacle Overlook. Photo by Scott Teodorski.

    Fern Lake from Pinnacle Overlook. Photo by Scott Teodorski.

    Pinnacle Overlook affords quite a view. Take a peek when you visit Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Ewing. The view of Fern Lake in Kentucky (left) isn’t the only awesome thing about these 24,000 acres. Check out the waterfalls, Skylight Cave, Gap Cave and unique rock formations, too.

    Peaks of more than 5,000 feet have an alpine feel to them, not to mention breathtaking vistas. Where are they? Mount Rogers (5,728 feet) in Marion and Whitetop Mountain (5,520 feet) in Mouth of Wilson. They’re the highest and second highest points in Virginia, respectively.

    Serious hikers might be interested in tackling The Priest Mountain (4.063 feet) or Three Ridges, a rugged area with rewarding views. Both areas are deemed wilderness and are accessible by the Appalachian Trail in Nelson County.

    A different type of view is just as rewarding as the scenic views that are mentioned above, and that is of The Channels Natural Area Preserve. The Channels are a series of giant sandstone boulders with eroded crevices. As avid outdoorswoman and Virginia Tourism Corporation staffer Danielle Emerson puts it, “it’s the ultimate game of hide-and-seek.”

    What are your favorite Virginia hikes? See a list others have suggested at Virginia.org/Hiking.

    Related:

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    Outdoors | 1 Comment

    10 Acclaimed Virginia Inns

    by Casey | Posted on April 25th, 2013

    Virginia innkeepers have hospitality nailed, and they have bragging rights to prove it. Consider this your list for Virginia bed and breakfasts, then start marking them off in 2013.

    1. L’Auberge Provençale is a french country inn located in White Post, just one hour from Washington, DC. On site is La Table Provençale offering a three-course and five-course menu prifix or the seven-course tasting menu. The inn’s claims to fame include acknowledgements by USA Today, Wine Spectator, Fodor’s, TripAdvisor, OpenTable and Zagat. Book Now

    2. The Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington on the Chesapeake Bay has been hailed among the “30 Great Inns in the US” by Travel + Leisure, and one of the “Top 10 Coastal Inns in the US” by Coastal Living Magazine.  Why so great? The Hope and Glory Inn was an 1890s schoolhouse that has been transformed into six amazing rooms. Add on six garden cottages and four vineyard cottages (called tents) at The Dog and Oyster, plus an oyster boat for cocktail cruises, a garden bath, a bar, a spa … the list goes on and on. Book Now

    3. Located in Locust Dale, The Inn at Meander Plantation is featured in Fodor’s as “One of the South’s Best Bed and Breakfast Inns” and included among the “Most Elegant Bed and Breakfasts” by Arrington’s Book of Lists. The Inn is a 1776 reprieve surrounded by 80 acres of beautifully rolling hills, and features an on-site restaurant and vineyard. Book Now

    4. The Inn at Willow Grove in Orange has been described as “urban meets plantation” by Southern Living Magazine in their “Best of the South” article (April 2013), thanks to the fine linens and heated marble floors in the bathrooms. The Inn has also been mentioned by Travel + Leisure in their travel segments on The Weather Channel and CNN. Book Now

    5. Southern Living and Conde Nast Traveler have recognized Middleton Inn Bed and Breakfast, and so should you. Located in pastoral Washington, this historic estate is within walking distance of the famed Inn at Little Washington’s culinary delights. Middleton Inn is one of five Virginia bed and breakfasts honored with AAA’s 4-Diamond Award. Book Now

    6. Another AAA 4-Diamond Award winner is The Oaks Victorian Inn in Christiansburg. This 1889 Queen Anne Victorian is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers gracious warmth and elegance. So much so, it has graced the cover of three books, including The Travel Guide to Inns, published by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Inn was also featured in an episode of “Inn Country USA.” Inquire about the sweet garden cottage with loft and attached gazebo for a more intimate getaway. Book Now

    7. Clifton Inn is located in Charlottesville and has been garnering media attention for nearly a decade. Of note are Southern Living, Travel + Leisure and Food and Wine, along with nuptial nods from Modern Bride, Weddings Unveiled and The Knot. Known for the fine dining as much as the 17 stunning rooms and suites, Clifton Inn is a place you’ll want to enjoy again and again. Book Now

    8. The Inn at Warner Hall in Gloucester is a place you’d have trouble leaving the next day, just as Becky Krystal wrote in her Washington Post travel article in 2011. Steeped in American history, Warner Hall is named for George Washington’s great-great grandfather, Augustine Warner, the 1642 land grantee of the former plantation on which Warner Hall sits. Warner’s other descendants include Robert E. Lee, Meriwether Lewis and Queen Elizabeth II (no fooling!). The grounds at Warner Hall are astoundingly beautiful with the Severn River as a backdrop, and the food is great, too. Chef Eric Garcia was recently tapped as one of the Best Chefs of America 2013. Book Now

    9. Situated right in the heart of historic Old Town Fredericksburg is The Richard Johnston Inn. Accolades includes “One of the Best Bed and Breakfasts in the South” by Southern Living and one of the Best 15 Inns in the U.S. by Inn Traveler Magazine. Families with their pets are welcome here! Book Now

    10. Berryville’s Smithfield Farm Bed & Breakfast is in the hands of eighth generation beef cattle farmers. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the meals you enjoy at the 1824 Federal manor house are farm-fresh and gaining attention by the likes of Gourmet and Southern Living. These 400 acres provide a serene escape to clear your mind. Book Now

    With so many amazing inns and bed and breakfasts in Virginia, there’s no way a list of ten sums up the best of the best. Therefore, watch for another edition of great places to stay in Virginia. Let us show you the true hospitality and charm we have to offer. See more at Virginia.org.

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