It’s peach time! We’re in primetime peach-picking season, which means festivals, pick-your-own days at orchards and plenty of peach goodies to go around.
Peach Ice Cream Days at Chiles Peach Orchard – Aug. 3-4
Spend a day (or two) in Crozet at Chiles Peach Orchard’s Peach Ice Cream Days. Fresh, homemade peach ice cream is available at the orchard these dates only! Made by the Crozet Lions Club, this event is a fundraiser for their community service activities. Enjoy this special treat after picking your own peaches (or choosing from their fresh-picked selections). Peaches, nectarines, and local produce are also available.
Winchester Peach Festival – Aug. 9
Come to Marker Miller Orchards with an empty stomach and enjoy a day of sweets: peach cobbler, peach pie, peach turnovers, peach ice cream and of course, fresh peaches galore! Enjoy music from 1-3 p.m. while sitting on the front porch or in the picnic pavilion. A variety of food will be available at the food building. Don’t forget to let the kids enjoy the cow train and the peaceful scenery during the wagon ride around the farm.
Dog Days Peach Festival – Aug. 9-10
Spend a weekend of peaches and pooches at the Dog Days Peach Festival at Great Country Farms in Bluemont. It may be the hottest part of the summer, but the Dog Days at Great Country are all about fun with the family and canine companions! Bring the whole family for a romp in the play area and to u-pick peaches in the orchard at the peak of perfection. Enjoy the Doggie Olympic Games and demonstrations that will keep tails a-waggin’!
Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival – Aug. 17
Peaches, peaches everywhere! Bring the family out to Richard’s Fruit Market Peach Festival in Middletown for a day of peachy fun. Haywagon rides, barrel train rides and all the jumps you can handle on the bouncy-bounce, plus music and a petting zoo, and peaches, of course! Peach ice cream, milk shakes, sparkling cider, smoothies, pies, muffins and more! Fresh from the farm food for sale includes our own burgers and plenty of tasty treats!
The Peach Way, Delaplane
The largest concentration of peach orchards in Northern Virginia, The Peach Way features five orchards within five miles: Virginia Perfection/Valley View Farm, Hollin Farms, Hartland Orchards, and Stribling Orchard. The Peach Way is near several wineries, Sky Meadows State Park and more—perfect for a day or weekend trip.
Freestone Peaches at Saunders Brothers Farm Market, Piney River
In response to market demands, Saunders Brothers started growing super tree-ripened peaches; including sub-acid white-fleshed peaches, many of which get great size, color, and flavor. These peaches complement the yellow-fleshed varieties and extend the season from June 15 until late September. The Farm Market offers a fun place for the whole family to enjoy. Not only can you find a variety of peaches, apples and vegetables from May through November, they also offer ciders, jams, relishes, and salsas. Be sure to try out the amazing peach ice cream and check out the on-site museum; one of the largest privately-owned collections of farm antiques in the state of Virginia.
Ayers Orchard, Cana Ayers Orchard is located at the foot of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and offers pick-your-own peaches, as well as cherries, apples, nectarines and plums. The orchard also offers fresh-picked and picked-to-order. Hiking and picnicking are encouraged; all ages are welcome at the orchard.
When you love a place, you rally behind it to make sure everyone knows how great it is. Vote-offs like “America’s Coolest Small Town” by Budget Travel are annual favorites, and Virginia towns have been included in two of the last three votes. A real pride of place, however, takes over when a publication names the town or city closest to your heart as “best” or “favorite” without any public input. The accolades that these Virginia towns and cities have garnered are well deserved. Do add them to your travel bucket list to see the sweet gems you’ve been missing out on.
Make your dollars go further when you can mix in some affordable fun with your family vacation! The attractions mentioned within this post are priced at $10 or less for admission (parents, too!). Enjoy!
LOVE at Maymont. Photo by Casey Higgins.
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Parks and wilderness areas are go-to destinations for nature lovers, but consider some of Virginia’s cooler community parks, like Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. It’s 165 acres and offers a street course skate park with a deep bowl and competition-sized vert ramp for your skater dudes. While free, a pass application must be completed and submitted when you come to the park. Details
Buzzing through the metro Richmond area? Have a picnic lunch at Three Lakes Park and Nature Center in Henrico. The Nature Center includes a 50,000 gallon aquarium along with live exhibits of native wildlife.
Maymont is another fantastic Richmond destination. At 100 acres, the gardens are extensive. Do visit the Children’s Farm. Find a LOVEwork there!
Bluebird Gap Farm is a 60-acre farm in Hampton. It’s home to about 150 animals and includes a picnic area with charcoal grills, a nature trail and large playground.
A genuine Old School Virginia roadside attraction is Dinosaur Land in White Post. More than 50 dinosaurs have graced this attraction for 50 years. Great #selfie opportunities! $6 per person aged 11 and older; $5 per person 2 to 10.
Regardless of the season, Snowflex in Lynchburg is a fun destination for those who love to ski and snowboard. Seriously! Ski or snowboard for $5-$7 per hour. If you require equipment, the rental fee is $12 per person, per day. Complete a waiver before your arrival. Details
Speaking of a winter sport, why not ice skate year ’round, too?
The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville always has something fun and creative going on – something to keep your child’s attention. Watch for “Night at the Museum” sleepover opportunities! Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child.
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth includes state-of-the-art interactivity that’s built for family fun. Check out the Hall of Fame inductees and play a bit of their sports while you’re there! $7 per person; children 2 and under are free.
The 18-hole Perils of the Lost Jungle miniature golf course in Herndon is one the Top 5 Miniature Golf Courses in America as rated by Newsweek, Men’s Journal has called them one of the Best Miniature Golf Courses in America, and The Putting Penguin rated them #1 in the country! You can experience this adventure for just a couple coins on top of $10 (what’s 50 cents?). Adults are $10.50 and children 12 and under are $9.50.
Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park in McLean lets your kids get hands-on with history in a pre-American Revolutionary War setting (a small, low-income 1771 farm). Special events include the heritage animals that call the farm home, harvesting tobacco, tidying up with autumn chores, and more. Farm site admission is $3 per adult and $2 per child. Admission for Market Fair (a special event with select dates) is $7 per adult and $3 per child.
When in Lynchburg, check out Amazement Square: The Rightmire Children’s Museum, home of the Amazement Tower, the tallest indoor, interactive climbing structure in the United States. Admission is $9 per person unless you plan to visit on a Family Fun Night (second Saturday of each month), in which case the fee is just $3 per person!
Who doesn’t love a zoo? Head to Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo to see more than 175 animals. Inquire about the special Breakfast with the Animals experience (additional fee). Admission is $7.50 per adult and $5 per child.
National accolades for everything from ice cream to small towns, hot dogs and whatever else you can think of keep rolling in for Virginia areas and businesses. While it’s hard to keep up with all that’s fabulous and acclaimed, we thought we’d give it a shot by sharing the more recent accolades. This post, The Best of Virginia’s Outdoors, is the first in a series you can look forward to. Be sure to subscribe to our posts to avoid missing the upcoming articles.
As the summer winds down, a short getaway at the end of the season is always a great way to wrap things up. Include some of these cool culinary spots around.
SKYLINE WINE, DINE, RECLINE TRAIL
Did you know that 27 wineries, a whiskey distillery, incredible restaurants and the highest concentration of B&Bs in the State of Virginia are tucked into the edges of Skyline Drive? As you’re spending the weekend cruisin’ through 105 miles of natural scenic beauty, hop off for a break to take in a winery or two, check out one of the amazing restaurants, and don’t forget to make reservations at one of their many quaint B&Bs.
ASPEN DALE WINERY AT THE BARN
Located in Delaplane, Virginia on one of the most exciting wine trails in the Washington, D.C. area, Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn is a boutique winery that offers a unique experience for wine lovers. The legacy of Aspen Dale’s revolutionary-era agricultural experience drives the winery’s stewardship. Aspen Dale has endeavored to capture the best of Colonial and European wine making techniques and blendings, while the ambience of the 200 year-old barn winery and thoroughbred horse farm inspires. Aspen Dale’s passion for history, horses and wines is profound, as their dreams have been brought to life, providing the mellowness of a boutique winery experience that lingers long after the glass empties.
211 SCENIC VINO WINE TRAIL
What a Daytrip! Hop on Route 211, one of the prettiest scenic drives in Virginia. Getting to the premier wineries of the 211 Scenic Vino Wine Trail is half the fun! The gorgeous rolling hills on the route lead to Shenandoah National Park, America’s favorite drive, Skyline Drive, and the quaint village of Little Washington … the town George laid out in 1749 (just an hour from Big Washington DC)! Along the way you’ll find five (soon to be seven) of Virginia’s best wineries, a whiskey distillery, unique boutiques, art galleries, antique shops, and the approaching majesty of the Blue Ridge Mountains! Drive up to Skyland for some blueberry ice cream pie. Hike to a waterfall. Do the ziplines. Stay and enjoy the many Inns and gourmet eateries along the way, you’ll get to taste Virginia’s best award-winning wines. Our tip: go backwards! Take the gorgeously scenic drive first to Sperryville, the quaint town named DC’s best weekend getaway by Huffington Post. Enjoy the approaching Blue Ridge vistas. Then slowly work your way home!
COASTAL VIRGINIA ALE TRAIL (Taste Tidewater Tours)
Taking that last trip to Virginia Beach? If you’re a beer enthusiast, the Coastal Virginia Ale Trail is definitely something to put on the to-do list. Dedicated to all things local, let Taste Tidewater take you to the best craft beer the Virginia Beach/ Norfolk area has to offer. Taste and tour up to three venues based on availability. The tours generally last about four hours and include local history and lore, as well as tips on tasting and pairing beer with food.
Catoctin is the first family-owned distillery since before prohibition. Co-owner Scott Harris talks about the distilling process.
LOUDOUN WEST BREW BUS / CREEK CROSSING FARM BED & BREAKFAST
Built in 1773 by the Quaker Edward Thompson, Creek Crossing Farm was one of three plantations and several large tracts of land owned by him in early Colonial Loudoun County. Located in Virginia’s Hunt Country, in a secluded valley just outside of the present day village of Lincoln, there are more than 25 acres of open fields with cattle, woods with wild turkey, pheasants and deer, and a creek that waters the entire farm, feeding organic blueberry and raspberry fields. Venture over to Loudoun and take a trip on the Loudoun West Brew Bus. Make stops at historic Corcoran Brewing, Adroit Theory brewery and Catoctin Distilling, and relax as you get a taste of the Loudoun brew scene without worrying about driving.
BELIVEAU ESTATE B&B AND WINERY
Treat yourself to a stay at Beliveau Estate, a premium B&B and Winery. The estate’s winery has received more than 30 awards since opening in 2012, including 2013 Silver Best Winery by the readers of Blue Ridge magazine. It has a beautiful tasting room, a covered outside veranda, picnic spots, on-site hiking, and in the cooler months a warm fireplace to sip wine around. Enjoy a weekend of true ambiance enjoying all the amenities the estate has to offer.
WINE LOVERS PACKAGE – Arcady Vineyards Bed & Breakfast and Wine Tours
Enjoy two nights at the only Charlottesville Wine Country B&B with a working vineyard! The luxury accommodations offer a whirlpool tub for two, wine fridge with sparkling wine, heated tiled bath floor, free Wifi, Bose CD/radio, TV/VCR and port, and local chocolate turn down. Package includes a full farm fresh breakfast each morning, bottle of sparkling wine chilled in your suite, and a wine and cheese social at check in. You will enjoy a personalized, all-inclusive wine tour with the oldest owner-operated tour company in Charlottesville. Visit four wineries with a deluxe local cheese/fruit/local chocolate platter, and bottled water. The wine tour also provides transportation to downtown Charlottesville for dining.
CULINARY DELIGHTS – SMITHFIELD STATION
Smithfield is world famous for Smithfield Ham, but that is only half the story. Additionally, Smithfield is a quaint coastal town with access to some of the freshest seafood on the Eastern Seaboard. This package focuses on the two hallmarks of dining in Smithfield, ham and fresh local seafood and includes: one-night stay in their Deluxe Lodge Rooms, Boardwalk Rooms or Cottages, or the Lighthouse; dinner for two in the award-winning restaurant. Dinner includes soup, appetizer to share, entrée, dessert, coffee or tea, and a bottle of house wine. Get your getaway started right with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries in your room upon arrival. And don’t forget to stop by Virginia’s largest winery, the Williamsburg Winery!
DOWNTOWN BEER TRAIL PACKAGE – Stonewall Jackson Hotel
Staunton is now home to two Craft breweries, RedBeard Brewing and Shenandoah Valley Brewing. With intimate taprooms and a fine selection of beers all produced on property, come on down and sample some of the Valley’s finest. All within a short walk of our front door, no driving needed! Your package includes: Overnight accommodations, breakfast for two and parking, 6 beer flights (4 oz. pours) from Redbeard, 2 pints from Shenandoah Valley Brewing, a free tasting at Hops retail store, and a $15.00 Gift Certificate to Shenandoah Pizza (and their huge beer list!)
FOODE EXCLUSIVE CULINARY EXPERIENCE – Various Fredericksburg Locations
Experience a delectable 5 course meal especially prepared for you with locally sourced fresh ingredients. Meet your chef and learn the inspiration behind your dishes during your culinary delight! This package includes: One night at a Fredericksburg-area hotel (price varies by lodging tier selection) and especially prepared 5-course meal for two.
SHARED WINES & TREASURED TIMES – Landsdowne Resort
This is a comprehensive wine and culinary adventure in the heart of DC Wine Country as this Virginia wine country tour takes two adults from vineyard and back to the Virginia winery resort. You will be whisked away by a private car for a five-hour winery tour to experience as many wine tours and tastings as your heart desires. Choose from our partner wineries: Breaux Vineyards, Corcoran Vineyards, Doukénie Winery and Sunset Hills Vineyard. Package Includes: luxurious overnight accommodations (double occupancy), private car for a total of 5 hours, $100 Dining Credit, and breakfast buffet for two adults.
BASIC CHEESEMAKING AT CORNERSTONE FARM
Getaway and learn something new together! Learn the basic art of making cheese from scratch. Basic cheese instructions concentrate on “farmers” cheese, ricotta and mozzarella. Easy to make when you get back home. In the individualized 1-day, 2-night getaway, you will learn how to make simple basic cheese from scratch. The day will be spent learning and making a couple basic cheeses, with each person bringing home with them what they prepared. When not cheesemaking, enjoy strolling around the farm, sitting on the deck’s in lounge chairs and rockers, or watching the farm animals. So grab your friends or family and come down to the farm for some fun-filled time away! Package includes cheesemaking, 2-night stay, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all cooking supplies.
SHENANDOAH WINE TRAIL – By the Side of the Road Bed & Breakfast
Get a true taste of Shenandoah with this valley getaway package including: Two nights in one of three luxurious cottages, a romantic dinner for two at BEYOND ($60 Value), complimentary red or white Virginia wine upon arrival, a light version of their gourmet picnic to carry to the Valley Wineries of your choice (includes gourmet cheeses, French bread, fresh fruits & dessert), hot gourmet breakfast basket delivered to your cottage door each morning or served in the Common to Main House guests. Wineries nearby include: Cave Ridge Vineyard (10% Discount on cases), Wolf Gap Vineyard & Winery, Shenandoah Vineyards (10% discount on cases), North Mountain Vineyard & Winery, and BlueStone Vineyards.
The Boar’s Head Inn
VIRGINIA WINE PACKAGE- Boar’s Head Inn
Experience Love by the Glass with the Boar’s Head Virginia Wine Package, which combines Four Diamond accommodations and dining with impeccable Virginia wines. Virginia’s quintessential escape, Boar’s Head, offers a warm, intimate ambiance, exceptional service and unparalleled Southern hospitality. Package includes: two night’s accommodations, a welcome gift of one bottle of Virginia wine with an artisan fruit and cheese platter, daily breakfast in the Old Mill Room, a self-guided tour to a local winery (including house credit for two tasting passes), a special three-course Virginia wine dinner for two in the Old Mill Room.
WINE OR BEER LOVERS TOUR – Belle Hearth Bed & Breakfast
Spend two relaxing nights, Tuesday thru Saturday, in any of the tranquil rooms and enjoy a welcoming wine or beer basket stocked with goodies. Then be treated to the vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains while being chauffeured to three of Virginia’s finest wineries and/or micro-breweries only minutes from the Belle Hearth. All of this libation, plus a three-course gourmet breakfast each morning.
VIRGINIA IS FOR CRAFT BEER AND BARBEQUE LOVERS ESCAPE – Oceanfront Inn, Va. Beach
Celebrate your love and passions in life with our exclusive package in honor of the Virginia is for Lovers award-winning slogan. Complete your experience with our Virginia is for Beer & Barbecue Lovers’ Basket including 2 bottles of Green Flash beer, an Oceanfront Inn bottle opener, two Oceanfront Inn pint glasses, and a gift certificate to locals’ favorite, Beach Bully Barbeque.