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    #Grape harvesting has begun in some parts of #Virginia and will continue through October, Virginia's #Wine Month. @orecul13 gathered this bounty for #canning purposes. Anyone for some locally made juice or jelly? #loveva #vawine #waynesboro #countryliving #photooftheday #jelly #vafood
    Is everyone excited for the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion next month? Some of the performances will be taking place here, at the Paramount Center for The Arts on State Street. This #theater was built in 1931 and restored to its original splendor in 1991. #oldschoolva #loveva #virginia #vatravel #theatre #photooftheday
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    If you haven't notice, fields of #sunflowers are in bloom throughout the state. This one calls Lickinghole Creek Craft #Brewery it's home in Goochland. This is both an awesome photo and tasting op. ūüėČ #loveva #virginia #vabeer #vacraftbeermonth #sunflower #photooftheday #drinklocal #craftbeer Photo creds to @lickingholecreekcraftbrewery
  • Archive for June, 2013

    5 Hidden Outdoor Gems of Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on June 11th, 2013

    Sometimes we need to get away to a place that’s kind of magical. If I were you, I’d go to one of these places on a weekday to have a better chance at solitude.

    White Rock Falls

    White Rock Falls

    Below are five hidden outdoor gems of Virginia, not that there are¬†only five, but because five seemed like a good number to get your imagination going. Chime in through the comments below to share your favorite hidden gem (that is, if you don’t mind sharing it!).

    1. White Rock Falls should be roaring right along after the amount of rain the Blue Ridge Mountains have experienced in the past week. To get there, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to park at MP 18.5 and look for the White Falls trail marker. Blazed yellow, the trail descends to run alongside White Rock Creek, then crosses it after about 1.4 miles. If it’s a hot day, dip your feet in here! To continue on, carefully rock-hop the creek and continue on the steep switchbacks that run along the 35-foot falls. From here, you can turn back or continue up the trail. If you continue, you’ll cross the Parkway to Slacks Overlook, watching for the blue-blazed Slacks Overlook Trail. Careful, this trail is shared with mountain bikers. Be sure to turn right at White Rock Gap Trail to get back to your vehicle. Turning left will lead you to Sherando Lake Campground.

    2. The Channels Natural Area Preserve in Saltville is home to the Great Channels of Virginia, impressive formations of sandstone outcroppings. They’re large enough to play a glorious game of hide-and-seek, if you’re willing to make the trek along the 5.5-mile Channels Trail to get to them. Download the Map

    Deer Island Park

    Deer Island Park

    3. Deer Island Park is located in Philpott Lake in Franklin County. It’s only accessible by boat and you’re welcome to pitch a tent on the island for an overnight stay (first come, first served). A permit is required for camping; no more than six people and two tents per site. Download the Brochure

    4. The Devil’s Bathtub sounds ominous, doesn’t it? It’s located in Scott County and considered difficult to get to via the 7.2-mile ¬†Devil’s Fork Loop Trail. Plan to get your feet wet as you criss-cross the water and scramble over boulders. The Devil’s Bathtub is a naturally smooth swimming hole, complete with a water slide rock. See the Map

    5. False Cape is a treasure of a Virginia State Park and only accessible by foot, bicycle, beach transporter, tram or boat. Why? It’s one of the few remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic and boasts an incredible migratory bird population and variety of wildlife. The park is bordered by Back Bay, Back Bay Wildlife Refuge, the Atlantic Ocean and North Carolina. Campers must hike, bike or boat their supplies in as the transporter and tram are not available to those guests. The pay-off is huge if you’re into complete solitude and six miles of private, pristine beach. Download the Brochure

    So where’s your hidden gem? Explore and LOVE Virginia.

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

    The Trail of the Lonesome Pine Celebrates 50 Years

    by Casey | Posted on June 7th, 2013

    If you’re looking for a little bit of heritage and nostalgia, as well as a way to be included in something as notable as the 50th anniversary of the longest continually running outdoor drama in Virginia, head to Big Stone Gap this summer.

    The Trial of the Lonesome Pine logoThe Trail of the Lonesome Pine is an outdoor drama based on the novel by John Fox, Jr. that tells of a sweet Appalachian girl and a handsome miner. As the brochure puts it,

    “This is a musical drama that depicts the story of the great boom in Southwest Virginia when the discovery of coal and iron ore forced the lusty, proud mountain people into making many drastic changes in their way of life.”

    Mark one weekend this summer (maybe June 21, opening weekend?) to adventure to the June Tolliver Playhouse for this, the official Outdoor Drama of Virginia.

    • Rates: $15/Adult; $12/Senior 55 and older; $8/child aged 6-12; $8/person in a group of 15 or more
    • Show Times: Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings with the box office opening at 7 p.m. and pre-show performances from 7:15 to 7:45 p.m.

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    Arts, Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    9 Bald Eagle Hot Spots in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on June 6th, 2013

    This post was updated June 23, 2014.

    Virginia is an amazing place for nature lovers. For some, rare birds and shy wildlife are literally right outside their back door. For others, a quick five minute drive to a park offers the reward of the cardinal’s song or playful squirrels scampering about. Ultimately, you have to decide how serious you are about wildlife watching and either enjoy what’s naturally abundant and evident in Virginia or make it a mission to seek out the treasures that are well hidden.

    Discover the James. Credit: Marlene Frazier

    Discover the James. Credit: Marlene Frazier

    Let’s seek out the treasure – ¬†America’s treasure.

    The bald eagle is the symbol of our nation and unique to North America. In recent years the bald eagle has surged off of the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Species and has grown boldly in population to an estimated 9,789 breeding pairs. That being said, one does not often see a bald eagle. This American treasure hides well, but there are a few river hot spots that are known for bald eagle action.

    1.¬†Caledon State Park in King George on the Potomac River is known for its old growth forest. It’s also the summer home to the one of the largest concentrations of bald eagles on the East Coast. To protect the giant predator, access to the river and marshes is very limited. Rather, join along for eagle sightseeing excursions.

    Sundays from 9 to 11:15 a.m.: Kayak with the Eagles. $19 solo or $25 tandem. Reservations required. Call 540-663-3861.
    Select Dates at either 10 or 11 a.m.: Eagle Tours. $3/person or $8/family. Reservations required. Call 540-663-3861.

    2. Also along the Potomac River is the Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge in Lorton. The sole purpose of the refuge is to protect bald eagle nesting, feeding and roosting habitats along the river. A rookery of great blue herons offers additional interest with more than 1200 nests.

    Day use only with four miles of established nature trails. Download the Bird Checklist.

    3. An additional state park located on the Potomac River and a great eagle spotting site is Westmoreland in Montross. In addition to the eagles, Westmoreland is known for ancient shark teeth that can be found along the river.

    4. Mason Neck State Park in Lorton (not to be confused with the refuge), also lies against the Potomac River.

    5. Hop aboard a Rappahannock River Cruise departing from Reedville to cruise along 100′ cliffs that protect eagle nests. The cruise includes a stop to tour, taste and enjoy lunch at Ingleside Winery.

    6. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia Beach encompasses more than 9,000 acres. More than 300 bird species call Back Bay home, with 10,000 snow geese and other waterfowl visiting at peak migration (December-January). Expect to find osprey and bald eagles here. Sign up for the tram to enjoy an interpretive tour of the refuge and False Cape State Park.

    Day use only. $2-$5 fee required April 1 through October 31 for hikers, bikers or vehicles. No pets. Download the brochure.

    Caledon State Park

    Caledon State Park

    7. The very exclusive Presquile National Wildlife Refuge is actually a 1,329-acre island in the James River south of Richmond. Like others mentioned here, it’s primary purpose is to act as a refuge for migrating fowl. Due to the nature of the refuge, visitors may not simply “stop by,” but must make a request for permit in advance or attend an event. Three miles of trails and boardwalks are available, as are canoe/kayak launch sites for the water trails.

    Available by advance permit or during refuge-sponsored events. Call 804-829-9020.

    8. If you like a little history with your eagle watching, try the¬†History & Nature Pontoon Boat Tours of the James River¬†from Henricus Historical Park in Chester. It’s a 45-minute tour narrating 17th century to modern day history and exploring the habitats of the bald eagles.

    Select Weekends at 1 p.m. $25/person. Reservations strongly suggested. Call 804-318-8728. < This tour will not be offered in 2014.

    9.¬†Discover the James is a tour company focused on revealing the old James River environments that are still visible today … if you look and listen hard enough. Sign up for one of Capt. Ostrander’s five-mile bald eagle tours to experience the bald eagle habitats of the James River like you didn’t know you could.

    Two-hour tour available select dates or request a private tour. Rates from $45. Reservations required. Call 804-938-2350.

    Share your bald eagle hot spots with a comment below!

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

    Five Virginia Glamping Destinations

    by Casey | Posted on June 5th, 2013

    First thing first: What is glamping? Glamping is the desire to be in and experience “the outdoors” but not really roughing it with tents, campers and equipment. Indeed, an equipped cabin could be considered glamping, as it’s an upgrade from a tent, but more on tent glamping in a bit. For now, go ahead and be enlightened and inspired by these ¬†Virginia glamping destinations.

    Rose River Farm Yurt

    Rose River Farm Yurt

    1.¬†Rose River Farm in Syria leads the way in Virginia glamping with their luxury cedar-and-glass yurts. A former Miss Virginia is just one of the glampers who have enjoyed the pristine 20 acres shadowed by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The yurts (there are three) are spacious at a little more than 1,100 square feet with the dome reaching 17 feet. Every amenity you’d hope to find in an upscale, five-star hotel suite can be found here, with a highly prized additional amenity – PRIVACY. Choose your yurt based on the view – pond, meadow or mountain.
    Rates: $250/night; $1,500/week  |  BOOK NOW

    2. A great Blue Ridge Mountain lookout is the two-story, well-appointed Rock-N-Creek Cabin in Montebello. The cabin offers porches overlooking the Tye River and four ponds; the wildlife is abundant. Amenities include a stone fireplace, all the television and entertainment you desire, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, and a chef. Yes, a chef. Chef Richard Christy has cooked for President Gerald Ford and he can certainly fix you a plate, too.
    Rates: $195/night for two with additional guests over the age of 12 charged $40 each  |  BOOK NOW

    Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

    Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

    3. Primland Resort is perched atop the mountains of Patrick County in the Blue Ridge Highlands in the Meadows of Dan. If you can stand to, skip the stunningly beautiful lodge and fairway cottages for the unsurpassed views of the mountain homes or the treasure of the resort – the Golden Eagle Tree House.

    A stay in the tree house should be on every bucket list (it’s on mine). It’s literally built around the limbs of a sturdy old oak tree and is the most private accommodation in the resort. Keurig, robes, slippers, 2,700′ overlook of the Dan River from the deck, nightly turn-down, soaking tub … Is there anything else we can get for you? Oh, a Ford Explorer to travel to and from the lodge? Coming right up. I. Am. Serious.
    Rates for Golden Eagle Tree House: $550-$650/night  |  Call 866-673-7802 for Reservations

    4. Camp Karma in Moneta is an upscale primitive campground that has introduced a, well, primitive idea of glamping. They provide the tent Рall set up for you Рwith everything you need to enjoy a basic camping experience. Dishes, utensils,  camp chairs, wood, ice, and cots with mattresses are all provided. That means the only things missing are you, your sleeping bag and pillow, and some hot dogs for the fire.
    Rates: Call. Regular you-bring-your-stuff camping site is $25/night, to give you an idea. 540-297-KRMA

    5. As we’ve decided, glamping has a wide range of ideas associated with it. Therefore, I refuse to pick a fifth property. Rather, I give you this – Virginia’s Cottages & Cabins. Through this link you’ll find sweet bayside cottages, unique stays, large lodges for family togethering and mountain cabins. Your choices are abundant, but book something soon before the summer passes you by!

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | 6 Comments

    5 Ways to Enjoy National Fishing and Boating Week

    by Casey | Posted on June 3rd, 2013

    June 1 – 9, 2013 is National Fishing and Boating Week and we have five fun ways you can enjoy the water this week in Virginia.

    Buggs Island Lake / John H. Kerr Reservoir. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

    Buggs Island Lake / John H. Kerr Reservoir

    1. Free Fishing Days - June 7-9 are designated Free Fishing Days in Virginia, where you are welcome to fish without a license in any freshwater or saltwater environments except designated stocked trout waters, which are marked with signage. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce your children to fishing.

    2. Go Big – Head to Virginia’s largest lakes for plenty of coves ¬†that are sure to be full of fish. The boating and watersports are awesome, too!

    Largest: John H. Kerr Reservoir / Buggs Island Lake in Clarksville includes more than 50,000 acres of fresh water and over 800 miles of shoreline. Try either Occoneechee or Staunton River State Park for the best public access.
    Second Largest: Smith Mountain Lake is so large (500 miles of shoreline) that it can be accessed from three counties РBedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania. Try Smith Mountain Lake State Park for the best public access.
    Third Largest: Lake Anna also reaches into three counties РLouisa, Orange and Spotsylvania. The lake offers more than 200 miles of shoreline and 13,000 surface acres of water. Lake Anna is noted for being one of the best lakes on the eastern seaboard for fishing large mouth bass. Head to Lake Anna State Park for the best public access.

    Blue Marlin.

    Blue Marlin caught from “Flat Line” with AquaMan Sportfishing Charters.

    3. Cruise – Step onto a harbor cruise if you’re not quite ready to slip out into the Atlantic on a charter. Try the Carrie B. out of Portsmouth (a Mississippi river boat replica), Miss Hampton II out of Hampton, American Rover out of Norfolk (a sailing schooner) or¬†Victory Rover,¬†also out of Norfolk. A harbor cruise out of Norfolk would be especially fun this weekend as Norfolk Harborfest is going on and there will be many ships to see, not to mention fireworks!

    4. Cast a Long Line – Hop aboard a charter and head out into the Chesapeake Bay or Atlantic Ocean for stellar offshore and¬†deep sea fishing. Captains of Bay Fisher II,¬†Catchin’ Up, Final Pursuit,¬†Flat Line, High Hopes, Key Dreams,¬†Lemon Twist, Long Time Com’n, Matador,¬†Matty J, Net Profits, Obsessed, Ocean Eagle,¬†Rock Hound, and Wave Runner will help you land croaker, flounder, sea bass, tautog, cobia and possibly a blue marlin, among others.

    5. River Runs – Virginia’s rivers are ripe for a variety of freshwater fish, and there are plenty of guides on standby to help you get started.

    New River Trips

    New River Trips

    New River

    Shenandoah River

    Matt Miles Fly Fishing, LLC

    Matt Miles Fly Fishing, LLC

    James River

     Rappahannock River

    Are you all set with great ideas and contacts for a week on the water? Comment below to share your experiences and tell what’s biting where.

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    Related Information:

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    Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment