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    Today's the day of the annual Pony Swim made famous by Marguerite Henry's "Misty of Chincoteague." Every year thousands of spectators gather from around the world to watch the #saltwatercowboys heard the wild ponies from #Assateague to #Chincoteague Island. This event is totally #bucketlist worthy! Photo props go to @cohennic. Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here! #repost #virginia #vatravel #wildponies #beach #photooftheday #cowboys #chincoteagueponyswim
    Do you recognize one of the oldest tourist destinations in the US? This beauty has been included on several "Seven Natural Wonders of the World" lists, was surveyed by George Washington in 1750 and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson as a personal retreat. While you're visiting don't forget to swing by the legendary Foamhenge, explore the Natural Bridge Caverns and get your photo taken with a baby tiger at the Natural Bridge Zoo. Photo credit: @takeiteasybee #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #naturalwonder #naturalbridge #howisummer #vatravel #virginiaisforlovers #photooftheday #fatherson
    #HappyBirthday to #NASA, launched 51 years ago in 1958. This is an awesome shot of the Minotaur V launch from #WallopsIsland, #Virginia last September by @_miancab. If you're interested in watching their next #launch, the Antares is scheduled for October of this year (date TBD). You can view from bleachers or the rooftop observation deck at the Wallops Island Flight Facility Visitor Center OR you can watch from Chincoteague or the Assateague Island beach. #rocket #loveva #space #stars #photooftheday #blastoff @nasa
    Is everyone excited for #Virginia #CraftBeer Month next month? It's time to put your game face on and visit a new local #brewery or get adventuresome on a #VA #beer trail. Find your way at Virginia.org/craftbeer and tag your photos with #vacraftbeermonth! This is glass of @ardentcraftales' #IPA, found on tap in Richmond. #rva #vabeer #drinklocal #locavore #ardentcraftales
  • Archive for November, 2013

    7 Last-Minute Thanksgiving Feasts

    by Casey | Posted on November 26th, 2013

    Behind the eight ball with regard to Thanksgiving dinner? Never fear. Here are seven places serving hot, traditional Thanksgiving meals for you and your family to enjoy. Reservations may be required; call in advance of your trip.

    Lansdowne Resort

    Lansdowne Resort

    Bedford – Peaks of Otter Thanksgiving Buffet - The Thanksgiving Day buffet will include fresh salad and homemade salads, turkey, honey glazed ham, hand-carved prime rib, seafood scampi medley, and herb roasted pork tenderloin. Traditional sides, desserts and bread included. $28.95/adult; $15.95 for children 12 and under. Menu

    Glen Allen – Thanksgiving at Wyndham Virginia Crossings – Treat your family to a special Thanksgiving of pine nut crusted pork cutlets, turkey, seared salmon, pomegranate and brown sugar glazed ham, roasted acorn squash soup, surry sausage cornbread stuffing, steamed prawns, and the “Holiday Beverage Extravaganza.” $42/adult; $21 for children 6-12. Menu

    Leesburg – Thanksgiving Lunch Buffet at Lansdowne Resort – This is a Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings! Herb-roasted turkey, rubbed prime rib, smoked fresh ham, duck breast, and many more favorites will be awaiting your arrival. Reserve Now

    Peaks of Otter

    Peaks of Otter

    Luray – Thanksgiving Day Buffet in Shenandoah National Park – Celebrate with a bountiful buffet. More than 12 relishes, soups, salads, starters and sides are available for five entree selections and seven dessert selections, plus bread and beverages. $29.95/adult; $14 for children 6-12. Menu

    Natural Bridge – Natural Bridge Thanksgiving Buffet – Give yourself a break this year. Make the afternoon with friends & family a relaxing, easy, memorable get together. Enjoy a scrumptious meal and live entertainment at the Natural Bridge Hotel. $25.95/adult; $12.98 for children 5-12

    Newport News – Thanksgiving at the Boxwood Inn – This historic inn is the perfect place to gather and enjoy a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. Come for the oven roasted turkey, beef tenderloin, sliced ham, traditional stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and so much more! $28.95/adult; $14.95 for children under 10. Menu

    Wintergreen – Thanksgiving on the Mountain at Wintergreen Resort – The holiday season of family traditions at Wintergreen Resort begins with Thanksgiving. Traditional feasts, the grand illumination of the courtyard, holiday workshops, and more.

    >> Thanksgiving Weekend Events
    >> Thanksgiving in the Mountains

    From our family to yours, have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

    Virginia is for Lovers



    Family, Food, The Holidays | Comments Off

    New for Christmas Town 2013

    by Casey | Posted on November 25th, 2013

    The lights glisten, dance and twinkle at Busch Gardens during their annual Christmas Town event. In a matter of three weeks the park is transformed to remove the frights of Howl-O-Scream and introduce merriment for Christmas Town, which just opened Friday, November 22. Here’s what you can expect and what’s new this year.

    Carolers in England. Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Carolers in England

    About Christmas Town

    Nearly seven million lights bring a holiday feel to the countries of Busch Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. and lighting the night through 9 or 10 p.m. (see schedule below)

    The tone is set by the carolers of England as you enter the park and then you’re on your way to The Polar Pathway. This area offers a moment of serenity. Pose on a polar bear as you by pass.

    Meander on toward Holiday Hills, a 1950′s retro area laced with big bulbs, plastic, and vintage-style Coca-Cola billboards. Take a whirl on Peppermint Twist or Snowman Summit. Dasher’s Diner serves up your childhood favorites if you find that you’re hungry.

    Holiday Hills, Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Holiday Hills

    Depart Holiday Hills for Italy where The Battering Ram, The Flying Machine and DaVinci’s Cradle are all operational. Ristorante Della Piazza is serving dinner and you can take in a beautiful show called “Miracles” at Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre. The ballerina in your midst will love this one!

    Soak in the moment as you cross the bridge and look to your left for the “Peace on Earth” art suspended from the train trestle. It’s perfect for a family photo.

    As you approach Oktoberfest you’ll notice that Mach Tower has been dubbed Nacht Tower for Christmas Town. Glide up and sail back down before or after your spin on Verbolten. Der Wirbelwind and Der Autobahn are operational in Germany, and you’re invited to a fantastic dinner and “Deck the Halls” show at Das Festhaus. Toy solders and Frosty the Snowman are just a few of the fun characters you’ll find inside.

    O Tannenbaum is a sight to behold as lights dance in animation on the 50-foot Christmas tree. If your timing is right, a choir will sing to you from the balcony of Das Festhaus. Find more gifts – many handcrafted by Virginia artisans – to take home from Mistletoe Marketplace.

    Ho, ho, ho! Santa’s near! The North Pole is home to Santa’s Workshop, of course, as well as the Kinder Karussel and gift shops. By the way, it snows at Santa’s workshop, making the experience all the more amazing.

    New France has fun shops for carved candles, metal art, and paint-your-own pottery, not to mention the comfort food of Trappers Smokehouse. Le Catapult is ready to give a spin, too. (Careful with eating and spinning!)

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    Tinted in blues and purples is France, and this is where you’ll find the Ice Palace: A Penguin Paradise. The penguins of Sea World San Antonio made their way to Virginia for your enjoyment. The line can get long to see these sweethearts, so plan accordingly. New to France are the King, Queen and Court Jester. They’re available for photo ops and interacting with them is a ton of fun!

    The walk to Ireland is a peaceful one complete with the nostalgic smell of Christmas trees. At Abbey Stone Theater you’ll find “Gloria!,” the re-telling of the first Christmas. Magi, a manger, and amazing musical and dance talent bring home the true meaning of Christmas. If you purchase the add-on for Santa’s Fireside Feast, Ireland is where you’ll rendezvous with the Jolly ol’ Elf.

    Highland Stables. Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Highland Stables

    Before you know it, you’re to Highland Stables where white and blue stars twinkle just out of reach and the famous Clydesdales are waiting.

    Christmas Town is nothing if not stunningly beautiful. Each country has its own flavor (literally), and as cliche as it sounds, there is absolutely something for everyone. Both secular and non-secular shows, fantastic dining, and some of your favorite Busch Gardens rides will make you want to come again.

    Visiting Christmas Town

    ADMISSION
    Single-Day: $30
    Christmas Town Fun Card (unlimited visits): $30
    Busch Gardens Annual Pass Holders: $20

    HOURS
    3 to 10 p.m.: November 29-30, December 6-7, 13-14, 16-23, 26-31
    3 to 9 p.m.: December 1, 8, 15, 24

    TRAVEL PACKAGES
    Colonies at Williamsburg:  Three nights, four tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and Christmas Town: $719.99
    Choose Your Own Hotel: Two nights, unlimited visits to Christmas Town: rates from $35/person/night
    Embassy Suites Williamsburg: Two-three nights, four tickets to Christmas Town, cooked-to-order daily breakfast: $529-$597

    Download a Christmas Town map!

    Have you been to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens? We’d love to hear your favorite experience! Leave a comment.

    Virginia is for Lovers



    Events, Family, The Holidays | Comments Off

    12 Places to Craft for Christmas

    by Casey | Posted on November 21st, 2013

    Some have green thumbs and others have fingers that can make something extraordinary from scraps. Is that you? I enjoy the challenge of crafting during the season of merriment and have identified 12 places for you to knock out some Pinterest inspiration and get your Picasso on.

    Let's Paint, Virginia Beach

    Let’s Paint, Virginia Beach

    Paint-your-own pottery is a hit for those who don’t own a potter’s wheel and a kiln. Walk in, pick the piece you’d like to paint, and get to it. Some studios offer a flat fee where the price tag on the piece includes firing. Others offer a flat firing fee that applies to all of the pieces you paint that day.

    • All Fired Up has three locations in the metro Richmond region – Midlothian, Carytown and Short Pump
    • Color Me Mine is another Richmond paint-your-own business.
    • You Made It! LLC in Harrisonburg is open daily for your painting pleasure.

    Keep your eye on art centers for class offerings geared toward adults or kids. You’ll find glass fusing, whittling, basketry, glass blowing, watercolor painting and more. You just need to know where to look!

    Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

    Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

    • Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center is located in Covington and has a Whittling Make-and-Take class for adults on November 23.
    • ArtSquare in Leesburg has many classes to offer, but of note is the Holiday Card Workshop for ages 10 and up on December 8.
    • Arts Depot in Abingdon has a Terra Cotta Angel workshop for all ages. Two dates: November 23 and December 7.
    • Bay School Community Arts Center is all about teaching. Sign up for a wide selection of upcoming classes: No-Sew Christmas Stocking, Christmas Tree Basket, Kids Gingerbread House and more.
    • Let’s Paint is located in Virginia Beach within Barclay Towers Resort on the oceanfront.
    • The Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center is offering an Ornament and Tile Workshop November 29 and 30.
    • Sunspots Studios & Glass Blowing in Staunton invites you to blow your own glass ornament daily, by appointment.
    • The Glass Palette in Charlottesville is a studio where people of all ages can come in and fuse their own glass creations every day of the week.
    • The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd has a wide variety of classes coming up: Needle Felting, Solid and Blown Glass Ornaments, Metal Ornament Experience and more.

      The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

      The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

     

    If you’re really not the crafty type but appreciate the art of others, explore our Arts Directory to locate an established painter, carver, potter, or other tradesperson for your holiday gift giving.

     

    Virginia is for Lovers.



    Events, Family, The Holidays | Comments Off

    6 Heartwarming Resort Getaways for the Holiday Season

    by Casey | Posted on November 20th, 2013

    If you’re looking for a break in the midst of the season or need an idea for gifting a weekend to a special person, here are a few resort destinations that might fit the bill.

    Salamander Resort

    Salamander Resort

    Love wine, beautiful countryside and amazing cuisine? You’re going to love spending time in Clarke and Loudoun Counties this Christmas season.

    • Stay: Salamander Resort
    • Dine: Village Square Restaurant, Grandale Farm Restaurant, Market Salamander, The French Hound
    • Visit: Veramar Vineyard, Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery, Piedmont Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Primland Resort

    Primland Resort

    Escape to a mountaintop in Meadows of Dan, far away from whatever troubles you. One-of-a-kind gifts are nearby, as is award winning wine and fantastic outdoor activities.

    • Stay: Primland Resort
    • Dine: Elements, Mabry Mill Restaurant, Lilly’s Lunch, Chateau Morrisette Winery Restaurant
    • Visit: Primland Spa, Mabry Mill, Greenberry House, Chateau Morrisette Winery, Primland Observatory, Lover’s Leap, Wood Brothers Racing Museum, Old Dominion Toy Shoppe
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    Tuck away into a valley of Bath County where pampering is an everyday occurrence and the fun is built for family.

    • Stay: The Omni Homestead Resort
    • Dine: The Main Dining Room, The Casino Restaurant, Sam Snead’s Tavern, Rubino’s at the Cascades
    • Visit: The Spa and Allegheny Springs Winter Wonderland
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Massanutten Resort

    Massanutten Resort

    Head to Virginia’s longest ski slopes for powdery fun this Christmas and winter.

    • Stay: Massanutten Resort
    • Dine: Woodstone Deli & Pizzeria, Fareways Restaurant
    • Visit: Spa at Massanutten, Indoor Waterpark
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Bryce Resort

    Bryce Resort

    Looking for the mid-Atlantic’s most family-friendly ski resort? You found it!

    • Stay: Condos and vacation rentals at Bryce Resort
    • Dine: Copper Kettle Bar and Lounge, Restaurant at Bryce Resort
    • Visit: Bryce Resort, Shenandoah Caverns, American Celebration on Parade, The Yellow Barn
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Wintergreen Resort

    Wintergreen Resort

    Ski under the lights at 4,000 feet and enjoy many fun activities high on the hill, too.

    • Stay: Wintergreen Resort
    • Dine: The Copper Mine, Black Bear Cafe, The Edge
    • Visit: The Plunge, Wintergarden Spa, Discovery Ridge Adventure Center, Wintergreen Winery
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    This is our third Heartwarming Getaways post. See the other two and be sure to leave a comment to tell us your favorite thing about Virginia’s resorts.

    Virginia is for Lovers.



    48 Hours, Family, The Holidays, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

    Thanksgiving in the Mountains

    by Casey | Posted on November 18th, 2013

    What do you say the whole family goes away for Thanksgiving and lets someone else do the cooking? I say it’s a fantastic idea. No one slaves over the stove and everyone has a great time. Where can you do such a thing? Virginia’s mountains resorts come to mind. Check it out.

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    The Omni Homestead Resort

    The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs will keep you plenty busy this Thanksgiving! In addition to the activities listed below, there are shopping opportunities, special movie showings in the historic theater, and the outdoor fun you’ve come to expect from this famed resort.

    • Children’s crafting classes
    • Wine Tastings
    • Tree Lighting Ceremony
    • Santa Claus
    • Thanksgiving Brunch and Dinner Buffets

      Wintergreen Resort

      Wintergreen Resort

    Wintergreen Resort welcomes families to enjoy their traditions of feasts, illuminations, workshops, and maybe even slope sports during Thanksgiving on the Mountain.

    • Turkey Day 5K
    • Thanksgiving Buffet at either Copper Mine Bistro or Devils Grill
    • The Plunge Tubing Park will be open (weather permitting)
    • Ski Swap – buy and sell used skis, boots, snowboards, ski clothing, etc.
    • Gingerbread House, Wreath and Ornament Workshops
    • Grand Illumination
    Primland Resort

    Primland Resort

    What goes with Thanksgiving better than Native American Month? Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan is embracing the heritage and history to offer “Long Night’s Time,” a weekend full of Native American-themed special events.

    • Celebration of Native American Month
    • Presentation of famous Native Americans
    • Little-known inventions of Native Americans
    • Food sampling of a traditional Cherokee feast
    • Face painting activity
    • Basket weaving and beading display and presentation

      Massanutten Resort Indoor Waterpark

      Massanutten Resort Indoor Waterpark

    Massanutten Resort offers comfortable accommodations, plus Thanksgiving dining at your choice of Fareways Restaurant & Lounge or Blue Ridge Buffet & Restaurant. The menus are all you’d expect of a traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey with stuffing and gravy, pumpkin bisque soup, apple pie … yum! If the temperatures are too warm for snowmaking, turn to the indoor waterpark! That’s a fun Thanksgiving for the kiddos!

    Just like Massanutten, Bryce Resort also offers a Thanksgiving Day lunch buffet with all the trimmings.  Stay in one of the resort condos or cabins and enjoy the holiday arts and craft show taking place on the 30th. It’s a great time to kick back and not do much at all or get out and shop the nearby towns.

    Whatever your Thanksgiving plans, have fun and enjoy being together!

    Virginia is for Lovers.



    Family, The Holidays, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off