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    This is the #sunset from the #dock at #Merroir restaurant in Topping, VA last Friday evening. #Tranquility on #Virginia's #ChesapeakeBay. Swing by this weekend and get some #VAoysters in your belly! And tag your VA #oyster photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #photooftheday #latergram #eatlocal
    @rbuck65 recently hiked Bearfence #Mountain off of #SkylineDrive, and this was the reward! This #hike is fairly short with a nice payoff. The trail head is near mile marker 56.4 on the Skyline Drive. #photooftheday #repost #epic #hiking #mountaintop #sunset #blueridgemountains #vaoutdoors Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here!
    Have you hiked Roaring Run Trail in Eagle Rock, #VA? An excellent family #hike, the trail passes rock walls, cascading water, five foot bridges and even a natural water slide before ending at Roaring Run Falls. At the head of the trail is Roaring Run Furnace, ruins of a 19th century furnace operation. Roaring Run #Creek is also known for trout fishing. #VAOutdoors #waterfall #loveva #repost #roaringrun #virginia #perspective #photooftheday Kudos to @spezzaroo for the beautiful photo!
    Hot diggity dog! It's National Hot Dog Day, so we thought we'd share this beef brisket, apple jicama slaw, poblano #BBQ #footlong #hotdog from the Continental Westhampton for #lunch. Grab a hot dog at your local joint and celebrate! #loveva #vafoood #nationalhotdogday #rva #craftbeer #vabeer @rvanews
  • Archive for May, 2013

    17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

    by Casey | Posted on May 31st, 2013

    We’re always on the hunt for the best of Virginia – everything from hikes and drives to wines and eats. The list that follows includes 17 great BBQ joints for those who travel with their taste buds. Note that these are not ranked, recommended by locals and we invite you to leave a comment below to give a shout-out to your favorite.

    The Checkered Pig

    The Checkered Pig

    1. In Virginia’s motorsports hotbed sits the family owned and operated Checkered Pig Barbecue. You might have seen this Martinsville gem on Food Network, the Travel Channel or Versus, or tasted their award-winning ribs and sauces at a festival. No? Consider this the drop of the green flag for you to put your pedal to the metal.

    2. Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ is a deceptive delight. A converted shipping container sits on the corner of 5th and Bollingbrook Streets in Petersburg. It’s there that you’ll literally walk up and order some of the most delicious homemade barbecue pork, chicken and ribs in Virginia. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Southern Living found it to be noteworthy, so …

    3. Hailed as the best pulled pork, chicken, ribs and brisket in the New River Valley, Due South BBQ in Christiansburg is indeed an award-winning establishment with quite a few first place claims to fame. Don’t miss out on their Tuesday night all-you-can-eat deal or their Wednesday night “kids eat free” opportunity.

    The BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville

    The BBQ Exchange, Gordonsville

    4. The Northern Virginia and Washington, DC crowds LOVE Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Company with their Alexandria and Arlington locations. Rocklands uses red oak and hickory to smoke their meats – a little cooking strategy that has garnered them “Best of DC” acknowledgements five years in a row.

    5. If St. Louis style ribs and Memphis style BBQ are your weakness, The Galax Smokehouse in Galax is the place to be. In fact, everyone wants to be there. It didn’t take long after its 2003 opening for this BBQ joint to become a magnet for locals and tourists alike. When you’re good, you’re good.

    6. Old-school, slow-cooked, open-flame barbecue-you’re-going-to-LOVE comes from BBQ Exchange in Gordonsville. The Hartman’s have spent more than 30 years perfecting their hickory-smoked pork and chicken. You’re in for an amazing treat when you look up this whitewashed gem in Orange County.

    7. Smitty’s Better Burger - An authentic 1950′s drive-in and Hampton Landmark.

    8. Dixie Bones - Named one of the Top 100 Restaurants by Washingtonian Magazine. Woodbridge

    9. Log Cabin Barbecue - Enjoy your down-home barbecue in a 200 year old log cabin in Elkton.

    10. Buz and Ned’s Real BBQ - Man v. Food and Throwdown with Bobby Flay have embraced Buz and Ned’s in Richmond.

    11. Monk’s BBQ - Have a little Corcoran craft brew or wine with your southern-style barbecue in Purcellville.

    12. Q Barbeque - “So good it won barbecue competitions across the country.” We’ll take that as good. Find it in Midlothian.

    13. Pierce’s PITT Bar-B-Que   - Pierce’s hickory-smoked, Tennessee-style Bar-B-Que made with “Doc” Pierce’s Original Bar-B-Que Sauce brings you the flavor and taste that’s a true American original. Located in Williamsburg

    14. The Barbeque Grill - “Ribs must be served fresh from the smoker,” is the philosophy of this Vinton joint, so come get a fresh, hot rack Fridays after 5.

    15. Allmans BBQ in Fredericksburg – Serving BBQ since 1954. Vicki says “I have never found any better than Mama’s pulled barbeque – as well as her slaw – yum! and the sauce – oh my!”

    16. Alamo BBQ – Alamo specializes in authentic Texas style BBQ, including an award winning beef brisket. Southwest influenced. Try the jalapeno mac-n-cheese!

    17. Extra Billy’s Smokehouse – Great barbecue and an on site brewery!

    Updated: May 7, 2014

    Go ahead and start your food tour this weekend.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Food, Locals | 23 Comments

    Get Outside for National Trails Day in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on May 30th, 2013

    June 1 is National Trails Day and the official kick-off to Virginia’s Great Outdoors Month. Below, find plenty to do and LOVE the outdoors.

    Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

    Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

    National Trails Day Events

    • Haysi – The town of Haysi in the county of Dickenson invites you to a 3K trail event along with their annual Mile Long Yard Sale & Scavenger Hunt. The 3K is a run/walk/bike event open to all ages, and it’s pet-friendly, too. Prizes will be awarded for the best dressed, cutest, ugliest and more, so get creative. A simultaneous kids’ trail event will also offer prizes for the best decorated wagon, bike or kid.
    • Mouth of Wilson – Hike with a park ranger through alpine fields, a boreal forest and stunning rock formations to the summit of Virginia’s highest peak – Mount Rogers. Be sure to pack your lunch, water and sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes.
    • Farmville – The Life is Complicated, Running is Simple 5K starts at Main Street Plaza and follows an out-and-back course that includes High Bridge Trail State Park. If you’ve been eyeing that soaring 160′ high train trestle, this is a great excuse to check it out. Another good excuse? The top overall mail and female finishers will be awarded with a free weekend cabin stay at a Virginia State Park. #Winning
    • Montebello – Convene on the Montebello Fish Hatchery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a nature walk. Appalachian Trail hikers and an AT Ridge Runner will be on hand to answer your questions about hiking Spy Rock, Crabtree Falls, Priest Wilderness and the AT itself. Photo displays, maps and more will be available.
    • Coeburn – Camp out with Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost to enjoy National Trails Day activities all weekend long. Venture off on your own
      • Pitch your tent Friday any time after 1 p.m.
      • Saturday Fun:
        • 8 a.m.: Hike Chief Benge (RSVP: clinchcoalition@gmail.com)
        • 10 a.m.: Trail Ride Little Stony with the Scott County Regional Horse Association
        • Anytime: Bike Guest River Gorge (shuttles and limited rentals available)
        • Dusk: Bonfire on the Hill
      • Sunday Fun:
        • 10 a.m.: Cowboy Church
        • 11:30 a.m.: Nature walk and photo session (RSVP: crd98@vci.net)
        • 12:30 p.m.: Float the Clinch River (RSVP: crd98@vci.net)
    • Woodbridge – Lend a hand as Leesylvania State Park combines National Trails Day with Clean the Bay Day. It’s a day to remember the importance of the environment and preserve the park trails to keep the Chesapeake Bay protected from watershed pollution.

    Want to enjoy National Trails Day on your own? Here are a few destinations for maximum Virginia beauty (click a photo for more info on the destination).

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    Virginia’s Quirky Roadside Photo Ops

    by Casey | Posted on May 23rd, 2013

    You’ve found, photographed and LOVEd our LOVEworks, but have you found and also fallen in love with our quirky roadside wonders? Make it your mission to discover Virginia’s old school vibe.

    The Wytheville Office Supply is found quite easily on Route 21, but in case you just don’t see the big yellow sign, there’s a giant 30′ pencil pointing the way.

    A classic icon of the ’70′s and 80′s is the roller skate, and we happen to know where you can find a gigantic one. Head to Bealeton on Route 17 to Rollerworks Family Skating Center, where you’ll find the skate right out front by the road.

    Here’s a great natural wonder that is also a roadside wonder AND a road-over wonder. Did you know that Route 11 crosses over the Natural Bridge? Now you know. Purchase the online ticket deal to save $6 on the Bridge and Caverns combo ticket.  It’s a great way to spend a few Saturday hours with the kiddos.

    While you’re in the vicinity of the Natural Bridge, you have to stop at Foamhenge. It’s a replica of Stonehenge, only made of foam. Just go see it. It’s awesome.

    The Dog and Oyster is a winery associated with the renowned Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington. Upon entering, you’re greeted by two humongous corkscrews. Wouldn’t you like to see the wine bottles those fit?

    Longing for more old school goodness? Head over to Virginia.org/OldSchool. Feel free to also share your funky old school Virginia pics there, too! We’ll take Instagrams, Hipstaprints … whatever ya got that’s cool and digital. Happy Sharing!

    Related: Weird and Wacky

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Destinations | 2 Comments

    9 Summer Wine Festivals to LOVE

    by Casey | Posted on May 22nd, 2013

    Cheers to summer! If wine festivals strike your fancy, we have quite a list for you – one you’re sure to LOVE.

    ValleyFest - Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival

    ValleyFest – Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival

    Get your weekend started at ValleyFest – Shenandoah Valley Beer & Wine Festival at Massanutten. The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 25. Sample the wines and microbrews of the Valley while live entertainment sets the atmosphere.

    If you find yourself on the other end of the Valley, check out the Cork &  Blues Fest at Glen Maury Park in Buena Vista Saturday from 4 until 9 p.m. Six wineries will be on hand with blues bands setting the tone for relaxation.

    The Vintage Virginia Wine and Food Festival in Centreville is a weekend chock full fantastic cuisine, food trucks, food and wine seminars, and 40 Virginia wineries. It’s all happening June 1 & 2.

    Historic Lee Hall Mansion hosts the Summer Celebration Wine Festival in Newport News on June 8. Live music, exquisite food, unique craft vendors and the finest wines from Virginia wineries make this one of the most memorable events on the Peninsula.

    Does Dad like wine? He’ll certainly like the venue of the Reynolds Homestaed in Critz when you take him to the Bushels & Barrels Local Food, Wine & Beer Festival June 15. Free wine glass and wine and beer samples with admission. Beverages also available for purchase by the glass or bottle.

    More wine on Father’s Day? Yep. The Manassas Wine and Jazz Festival is June 16 on the Manassas Museum Lawn. Starting at noon, it promises to be an intimate, relaxing afternoon.

    Stroll around the Alexandria Food and Wine Festival for free on June 22 from noon until 7 p.m., but if you want to taste, you’ll need a ticket. Eight food samples for $15 and unlimited wine tasting with a $10 Wine Garden ticket.

    The Frontier Culture Museum welcomes you to the Shenandoah Valley Wine & Jazz Festival June 29 from 2 until 8 p.m. Your festival tickets allows you to browse this one-of-a-kind museum, too.

    The Horse and Hound Wine Festival at Johnson’s Orchard in Bedford is always a big draw. The festival centers around horse and hound events, of course, but Virginia wineries are pouring their best bottles all day long. It’s happening July 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    Looking to round out the rest of your summer? Find more festivals at Virginia.org. Want to chime in with your favorite wine festival? Do it! Comment below.

     LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Couples, Food and Wine, Wine | 2 Comments

    Great Virginia Patio Dining

    by Casey | Posted on May 17th, 2013

    Warm Virginia evenings are perfect for a number of things, but patio dining is one of the best. Find a place that has just what you want to eat along with a good view, and you’ve got a pretty nice thing going. Check out these hot spots, then comment below with a few recommendations of your own.

    Sunset at Bubba's

    Sunset at Bubba’s

    A favorite of my colleagues and myself is Bubba’s Marina and Seafood Restaurant on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. It’s a 20-something-year mainstay that promises and delivers the freshest seafood in Virginia Beach. Besides that, you’ll love their double-decker on-the-water patios, and the sunsets are unreal.

    If you’ve never been to Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm in Ashburn, you’re not only missing out on great dining, but a very interesting attraction, too. Clyde’s is an amazing collection of Americana housed in four 1700s-1800s buildings from Vermont and Virginia. After you’ve glanced around, head to the garden where your seat will be just as amazing. The pond and waterfall are super relaxing.

    The pastoral countryside of Neersville in Loudoun County is your scenic beauty for outdoor dining at Grandale Farm Restaurant. Twice this special place has been mentioned in Travel + Leisure, so there’s pretty much all you need to know. Just go.

    Note: Nine more Loudoun County dining establishments with outdoor seating are included at VisitLoudounBlog.com.

    Härth

    Härth

    Dine outside 365 days a year at Tysons Corner’s hottest new restaurant, Härth, which features cozy fireside dining. Traditional American comfort foods are prepared with the farm-to-table philosophy top-of-mind.

    You’ll find Cafe Deluxe in McLean to be a charming neighborhood tavern atmosphere that bustles with the energy of a European bistro. Check out the eclectic menu that includes items like Grilled Meatloaf with Creole sauce.

    The Local Chop & Grill House in Harrisonburg is a farm-to-table restaurant situated in the old City Produce Exchange building. You’ll find the covered patio a delightful place to dine on locally sourced foods.

    Also in Harrisonburg is the Joshua Wilton House, an upscale experience in a beautiful Victorian. Dinner on the patio is quite fitting, given the in-season menu.

    The Boathouse

    The Boathouse

    Waterfront view? Try oceanfront. Waterman’s Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach is a family owned restaurant with oceanfront patio dining and a boardwalk bar. Choose a nice lunch or dinner of seafood, salads, steak, ribs, chicken, burgers or pasta.

    The Boathouse in Midlothian overlooks a 1,700-acre lake in a quiet residential community. Terraced decks provide ample seating and the sunset on the lake is something to see. The menu includes raw bar items, flame-kissed meats, Wood Stone fired pizzas and fresh seafood.

    If you’re dining with kids and those kids happen to love railroads, head to Depot Grille in Lynchburg. The large patio overlooks the train track and the James River is just beyond that. The American menu will suit any eater and Amazement Square is just a block away – perfect for a family day out.

    Rappahannock County’s own Chef Jim McCullough is at the helm at The Blue Rock Inn in Washington. You won’t be disappointed in his eclectic menu of farm-fresh entrees. Take to the patio at the restaurant’s Blue Horse Pub with the Blue Ridge Mountains serving as a fine backdrop.

    Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant

    Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant

    In Downtown Richmond’s Shockoe Slip sitting perfectly on one-half block is Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant. The outdoor seating area is every bit as big as the first floor inside. Descend from the deck to market umbrella seating for some sunshine.

    An incredibly extensive list of Richmond area patio dining can be found at Richmond.com.

    A few seats are available in front of Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery in Staunton. Enjoy a world-class espresso or fresh-squeezed juice with your choice of entree off their very accommodating menu (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and meats served here!).

    The gang’s all here at The Luna in Callao! The covered veranda overlooking golf course vistas seats 70, so come one, come all. Enjoy the menu of steak and seafood served with an Italian flare.

    Tell us your favorite patio dining location in the comments below or find more fantastic dining options at Virginia.org.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.



    Food | 4 Comments