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  • Archive for August, 2014

    Pork-fect places to celebrate International Bacon Day (or any day)

    by Patrick Evans-Hylton | Posted on August 29th, 2014

    Virginia has always loved its pork; look no further than the country ham, one of the state’s culinary calling cards, for evidence of that.

    But it was more than ham that was eaten. In the first salvo of the Snout To Tail movement in English-speaking America, colonists ate just about every part of the pig they could, and what wasn’t eaten fresh was salted and smoked to preserve for a future meal.

    Like bacon.

    Bacon was no stranger to early Virginians; the cut is one of the oldest in meat history, and the English who came here in 1607 (pigs came to the Jamestown Colony, too) were already intimately knowledgeable with it. Bacon was meat for the masses as it was easy to produce and affordable.

    And it is still loved today. In fact, since 2000 the Saturday before Labor Day has been observed as International Bacon Day.

    We can’t think of a better occasion than to plan a trip across the commonwealth to try some bacon-centric dishes (some of our favorites are listed below) and grab a rasher or two from folks who cure their own to take back home and enjoy.

    —   —   —

    THESE RESTAUANTS ARE MAKIN’ BACON

    Looking for a bacon fix? Here are some of our favorite dishes which incorporate that sinful, sultry, salty flavor in the mix:

     

    APPLE BUTTER & BACON MILKSHAKE

    A creamy concoction of complimentary flavors like rich and complex apple butter and salty, savory bacon

    3Way Café
    216 Plume St., Norfolk
    757-625-3929

     

    Bacon Wrapped Tater Tots from The Public House!

    Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots from The Public House!

    BACON-WRAPPED TATER TOTS

    Cheesey housemade tater tots are wrapped in bacon and served up sizzling hot with housemade chili ketchup.

    Want to try these at home? Still chef/owner Mike Farrell shares his recipe with us below.

    Still Worldly Eclectic Tapas
    50 Court St., Portsmouth
    757-332-7222

    also offered at Still’s sister restaurant, The Public House:

    The Public House Victuals & Libations
    1112 Colley Ave., Norfolk
    757-227-9064

     

    This pig fits in nicely at Jackson 20.

    This pig fits in nicely at Jackson 20.

    B. E. L. T.

    This bountiful brunch sandwich features bacon, an over-easy egg, lettuce, and a fried green tomato on toasted brioche

    Jackson 20
    480 King St., Alexandria
    703-842-2790

     

    CHICKEN ‘N WAFFLE

    Crispy fried chicken topped with a fried egg adorns a bacon-studded waffle and a dressed bed of salad greens, then served with Kim Kim Hot Sauce (a Virginia’s Finest product) and maple syrup

    Brookville Restaurant
    25 W. Main St., Charlottesville
    434-202-2791

     

    GRILLED CORN & CRAB BISQUE

    A rich bisque made with grilled corn, crab and hickory-smoked bacon from Virginia artisan butchery The Rock Barn

    Zynodoa Restaurant
    115 E. Beverley St., Staunton
    540-885-7775

     

    Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint

    Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint

    THE ELVIS BURGER

    Decadent is an understatement; burger topped with peanut butter, mayonnaise, applewood-smoked bacon and cheese

    Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint
    80 S. Main St., Harrisonburg
    540-433-5225

    and

    210 Market St. Roanoke
    540-342-0328

     

    HELL SANDWICH

    This fiery sandwich features bang bang bacon, fried mac-and-cheese, Thai dragon pepper salad and ghost pepper sauce

    BBQ Exchange
    102 Martinsburg Ave., Gordonsville
    540-832-0227

     

    THE HOG DOG

    Bacon-wrapped jumbo beef hot dog, deep fried, and topped with hand-pulled pork, barbecue sauce and cole slaw

    HogsHead Café
    9503 West Broad St., Richmond
    804-308-0281

     

    HOUSE MADE NOODLES

    A brothy dish of housemade noodles with house-cured bacon lardons, mustard greens and a potlikker broth comprised of greens, vinegar and pork; topped with freshly-grated pecorino cheese.

    Pasture Restaurant
    416 E. Grace St., Richmond
    804-780-0416

     

    MAC DADDY SPECIALTY PIZZA

    Oven baked mac-and-cheese topped with cheddar and bacon and olive oil parmesan sauce

    Fork in the Market
    32 Market Square, Roanoke
    540-400-0644

     

    OVER-THE-TOP MAPLE BACON CUPCAKE

    This tall, cylindrical sweet is comprised of a Virginia maple syrup cake stuffed with a maple cream filing and topped with milk chocolate icing and bits of caramelized brown sugar-pepper bacon. It is available on Saturdays and Sundays.

    Extraordinary Cupcakes
    1220-C Richmond Rd., Williamsburg
    757-645-2122

     

    OYSTERS ROCKAFELLER

    A classic rendition of the venerable favorite: oysters in the half-shell topped with a rich mixture of bacon, cheese and spinach then baked until golden crowned and bubbling

    Rockafeller’s Restaurant on Rudee Inlet
    308 Mediterranean Ave., Virginia Beach
    757-422-5654

     

    PIG CANDY

    A sweet and savory addictive snack of bacon coated and cooked in maple syrup, cayenne and raw sugar

    Primland
    2000 Busted Rock Rd., Meadows of Dan
    276-222-3800

    Station 2

    Station 2

    CLASSIC STATION 2

    This wonderfully crafted burger starts with 100 percent Virginia-grown beef from Buffalo Creek Beef in Lexington chargrilled to order and placed atop an artisan bun baked with spent grain from Virginia brewer Devils Backbone. Garnished with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle chips and a choice of cheese, the icing on the cake is – you guessed it, crispy bacon.

    Station 2
    2016 East Main St., Richmond
    804-249-4702

    —   —   —

    BRING HOME THE BACON

    Here’s a list of places to bring home the bacon; the Virginia bacon, in fact.

    These smaller producers craft their edible works of art right here in the Old Dominion.

    Some places you may just have to go in and order right from the counter, while others ship. Some produce a good amount of quantity, while others do so on a smaller scale, meaning supplies may be limited.

    -

    Belmont Butchery
    15 N. Belmont Ave., Richmond
    804-422-8519

    From this artisan butchery comes –

    BB Bacon: house-cured and slow smoked over hickory

    Beef Bacon: house-cured, slow smoked boneless rib plate

    Canadian Bacon: a brined and smoked cut from ham

    -

    Blue Ridge Meats of Front Royal
    2391 Guard Hill Rd., Middletown
    540-636-6050

    Using no-hormone meat locally-grown and house processed comes –

    House smoked bacon

    -

    Crabill’s Meats
    3149 Riverview Dr., Toms Brook
    540-436-3884

    Producing meats in the Shenandoah Valley since 1962 comes –

    Crabill’s bacon

    -

    Edward's Virginia Ham Shoppe

    Edward’s Virginia Ham Shoppe

    Edwards of Surry
    11381 Rolfe Hwy., Surry
    800-222-4267 | 757-294-3688

    A number of bacons in various cuts and styles are offered, including –

    Sliced Berkshire Bacon: dry-cured by hand from pasture-raised, Berkshire hogs

    Bacon Steak: extra-thick hickory smoked bacon

    Jowciale: smoked and peppered hog jowl

    Assortment boxes: The Big Bacon Box, Virginia Bacon Sampler

    -

    RM Felts Packing Company
    35497 General Mahone Blvd., Ivor
    757-859-6131

    Under the brand name Felts Genuine Southampton comes –

    Country-cured bacon

    -

    Kite’s Hams
    3957 Wolftown-Hood Rd., Wolftown
    540-948-4742

    From this Blue Ridge meat packer comes –

    Thicker-sliced country-cured bacon

    -

    The Rock Barn
    2387 Oak Ridge Rd., Arrington
    434-263-4222

    From this field-to-fork artisan butchery comes –

    Hickory-smoked bacon

    —   —   —

    Bonus Recipe:

    Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tots with Chili Ketchup

    Are you licking the computer screen yet? We thought so.

    Sate your Virginia bacon desire immediately with this pork-fect recipe from Executive Chef Michael Farrell of Still Worldly Eclectic Eats in Portsmouth; they are a staple on his menu.

    Ingredients

    4 medium-to-large potatoes

    2 cups grated cheddar cheese

    1 tablespoon granulated garlic

    1 tablespoon salt

    1 tablespoon white pepper

    16 strips bacon

    Method

    Preheat oven to 425F. Thoroughly wash potatoes and prick with the tines of a fork.

    Place potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for about 1 hour, or until tender. Set aside to cool completely.

    Once cool, grate them using a medium grater and mix in cheese, garlic, salt and pepper.

    Lay out a long piece of plastic film wrap and place potato mixture in the middle and press to form a log. Roll the film over the log tightly to form a cylinder. Let the mixture set and rest about 45 minutes.

    Unwrap the potato cylinder and cut into 1-inch pieces about an inch or so in diameter.

    Lay out the bacon and cut each strip in half. Place one tot on the bacon and wrap, then secure with a skewer.

    Cook tots in a fryer with oil at 350F (or in hot oil in a skillet on the stove top) until the bacon is crispy and the potatoes are golden, about 3-5 minutes. Serve with Chili Ketchup.

    Makes about 32 pieces.

    Chili Ketchup: in a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup ketchup, 1/2 cup Asian chili garlic paste (like Sambal), 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 3/4 cup brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Asian chili hot sauce (like Sriracha), 1 tablespoon soy sauce and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Let chill in the refrigerator about an hour before serving. Makes about 1 cup.

    Patrick Evans-HyltonPatrick Evans-Hylton, a Johnson & Wales University trained chef, is a Norfolk, Va.-based food journalist, historian and educator. His work has appeared in print, television, radio and social media since 1995. Evans-Hylton calls his cookbook, Dishing Up Virginia, his love letter to the state’s foods and foodways. He blogs at PatrickEvansHylton.com.

     

     

     

     

     

     



    Food | 0 Comments

    Rip It & Grip It! Epic Mountain Biking Trails

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 28th, 2014

    Rotor Meltdown at Carvins Cove

    Rotor Meltdown at Carvins Cove

    Experiencing the great outdoors is one of the best things to do in Virginia. How about experiencing the great outdoors on a mountain bike? We’re not talking about a leisurely stroll through the woods. We’re talking about rampin’ tree stumps, mud in your face, rocky terrain mountain biking. There’s epic mountain biking trails all over, so if you’re a mountain biker looking for some new tracks, check out some of these!

    Virginia Mountain Biking Trail
    After a decade of exploring, preparing and linking sections of trail together, guides with Shenandoah Mountain Touring, with encouragement from the IMBA, have made Virginia’s first permanent long distance backcountry trail a reality. The continuous off-road Virginia Mountain Biking Trail spans the length of Virginia’s Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains from Strasburg to Damascus. It links eight major trail systems in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, consists of primarily singletrack trails, covering 480 miles and climbing 65,000 feet. Hard-core mountain bikers can be one of the first to tackle this new epic trail that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine recently said is “poised to be the South’s sweetest stretch of singletrack.”

    Southern Traverse Trail – Harrisonburg
    Ride into history on the Southern Traverse Epic trail located in Virginia’s George Washington National Forest. The trailhead is near the Confederate Breastworks, an army camp created to stop Union troops from reaching Shenandoah Mountain. With 3,000 feet of climbing over 32 epic miles, this ride promises to test your courage and endurance. The backbone of the Southern Traverse is the south end of the Shenandoah Mountain Trail, an 11-mile singletrack ridge-ride. The ridge is accessed by a doubletrack climb that ascends 1,800 feet through a picturesque hardwood hollow. The snaking trail follows the ridge south and is an amazing melody of smooth and fast downhills, and technical rock gardens.

    Carvins Cove Natural Preserve – Roanoke
    Carvins Cove has a wide variety of single track trails, ranging from fast, smooth flowing trails to technical, rocky terrain. The Appalachian Trail follows the park boundary along the northern half of the park. The short, but difficult singletrack trail features bench-cut areas that run along the steep hillsides, which require special attention. There are two double black diamond trails and 5 black diamond tracks throughout the Natural Preserve.

    Fountainhead Regional Park Mountain Bike Train – Fairfax Station
    Often described as a rollercoaster for mountain bikes, the Fountainhead Regional Park Mountain Bike Trail System offers mountain bikers one of the most popular trails in the region. For an advanced mountain biker, the abundance of fast single track, banked turns, bridges, ledges, steep climbs, and fast descents will keep your eyes locked on the trail ahead of you. Once you have completed one loop, or all three loops, you will be hooked and begging to do it again.

    Freedom Park – Williamsburg
    Choose “Trail C” of the six mountain biking trails at Freedom Park and experience the premiere Freeride Trail, boasting dozens of TTFs (Technical Trail Features), including dirt rollers, berms, log skinnies, teeter totters, A-frames, table-tops, gap jumps, gravity pits and more. “Trail D” is the park’s most difficult trail at five miles long and is the most overall technical cross-country terrain. Be prepared for sudden changes through hardwood and pine forests, several sets of switchbacks, and many short but twisty (and rooty) uphill sections with sharp turns.

    George Washington National Forest
    There’s certainly no shortage of epic biking in the George Washington National Forest. Offering 24 black diamond and two double-black diamonds, this place is a mountain biker’s mecca. Try out the short, painful ascent to the Blue Ridge line with the 0.9-mile Blue Loop Trail or the 1,2-mile Upper Torry Ridge Trail, a Rocky Ridge Ride with stunning views. Both are going to give you the double-black diamond experience on a short track. BE CAREFUL! Of the 24 single black diamond trails, riding the Virginia Endurance Series is a must! This 44.3-mile epic ridge showcases three phenomenal trails, including Lookout Mountain Loop, Wolf Ridge Loop and Narrowback Mountain Loop. The series includes back country, ultra-mega, hand crafted, all day joy rides. Slightly over half of the trail is single track with heights reaching 3,287′.

    Bryce Mountain Bike Park (Bryce Resort) – Basye
    The fairly new Bike Park at Bryce Resort features seven lift-accessed trails. The new Quad Lift eliminated the need to paddle uphill, allowing maximum time for downhill thrills. Or take ride up and taking in the scenery of the surrounding mountains. The Park’s advanced trails reach up to two miles, with one black diamond and three double black diamond trails.

    Virginia Creeper Trail

    Virginia Creeper Trail

    Virginia Creeper Trail – Damascus
    There are several single-track trails along the Virginia Creeper Trail and if you’re looking for some epic thrills, take the Iron Mountain Trail. Along the trail is Beech Grove, also known as the “Motorcycle Trail.” This is one of the more technical trails on the mountain, starting out as a smooth, buff, single track, with a couple of nice switchbacks near the top. After about a quarter mile it turns into a gnarly rock garden, with some larger rocks and water bars, as well as a couple of creek crossings. After you cross a “French drain,” the last 100 yards is a wide open double track with some nice opportunities to catch a little air!

    Dragon’s Back Trail – Salem
    This 12-mile, single track, black diamond trail sounds like a mountain biker’s dream. The trail system includes three different trails, all boasting different terrains and qualities. Beginning at Turkey Trail, bikers will pedal the rocky, gravel roads to the bottom of the Deer Trail, which is a very steep, very narrow, single track grunt to the top of the ridge line. The 2.5-mile Grouse Trail features rocky to switchback terrain. As you climb closer to the top, the trail becomes extremely rocky, making it very difficult to climb. Located less than 20 minutes from downtown Roanoke, Dragon’s Back takes riders on a back country journey. This spiny ridge trail is very technical and often requires some hiking with your bike, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

    York River State Park – Williamsburg
    York River State Park 16 miles of designated single-track trails, as well as 15+ miles of double-track, multi-use trails. The Marle Ravine Trail is the original 6.5 mile, single-track loop at the park. This trail runs counter-clockwise and it is the most challenging trail at the park. The trail offers challenging roots, switch backs, short, steep ascents, flowing descents, and four wooden bridge crossings. The John Blair Trail is the newest trail in the YRSP trail system. This bi-directional trail traverses eastward crossing the park’s existing fire roads, allowing single-track access to some of the most beautiful areas of the park.

    Upper County Park (James City Co.) – Toano
    The 3.7-mile loop trail at Upper County Park is a technical one, with tight turns and off camber sections. Aerobically, this trail is one of the most challenging around, where many climbs come one after the other with few flat areas to recover. You will find it hard to take you hands off the bar to grab a water bottle or even your hydration pack hose. The trail sees little use, so expect a few sticks and branches and a narrow tread through low bush, which covers much of the forest floor along the trail.

    Pocahontas State Park – Chesterfield
    The Lakeview I, II & III trails in Pocahontas State Park, are nothing to approach lightly! Expect to experience a creek crossing, lots of small logs, some expose rocky shelves, some basic rock gardens and a lot of climbing and descending.  Expert offshoots add more rocky features, log skinnies, jumps and some technical, bouldered sections. Without including the red offshoots, Lakeview 1 is roughly a six mile loop from the parking lot.  Lakeview II extends this to about 8.5 miles and Lakeview III extends it to a total of 11.5 miles.

     

    boasts a 13.7-mile loop. The trail is an extensive, difficult loop of connected trails with additional loops to explore. The trail incorporates portions of the Old Mill Bicycle Trail and connects to many other trails in the park. This trail circumnavigates the entire portion of the park north of State Route 655. For most of its length the Fendley Station Trail passes through mixed hardwood forest and some of the more remote park areas. Pocahontas also boasts a single and double diamond each. With the single-diamond Morel Ravine Trail, expect many rock gardens, uphill log crossings and other technical features. The double-diamong Lil’ West VA Trail is the hardest in the park, with advanced man-made features like teeters, skinnies, narrow wooden bridges and extensive rock gardens.

    expect to experience a creek crossing, lots of small logs, some expose rocky shelves, some basic rock gardens and a lot of climbing and descending.  Expert offshoots add more rocky features, log skinnies, jumps and some technical, bouldered sections.  Without including the red offshoots, Lakeview 1 (blue on this map) is roughly a six mile loop from the Heritage Center parking lot.  Lakeview 2 (green on this map) extends this to about 8.5 miles and Lakeview 3 (red on this map) extends it to a total of 11.5 miles.

    Douthat State Park – Clifton Forge
    Douthat State Park  is pure mountain splendor. Located in a remote pocket of the Allegheny Mountains, it features a pristine lake as its centerpiece. Fat tire enthusiasts come for the 40 miles of singletrack with challenges for all levels. Experts find favor with many of the long sustained climbs and payoff screaming descents, but there is plenty of variety for everyone to make this one of the best mountain biking destinations in Virginia.

    Elizabeth Furnace

    Elizabeth Furnace

    Elizabeth Furnace – Strasburg
    This is a tough ride. If you’re new to the sport, you’ll probably hate it unless you turn around at Strasburg Reservoir and stay away from Signal Knob and the Green Mountain climb. People come here all the time to tame the steeps and conquer the rocky descents on their high-end full suspension bikes. They usually fail. So why do so many cyclists keep coming back year-round, winter, spring, summer and fall? Simply put, Elizabeth Furnace is home to some of the best all-around mountain bike trails in all of Northern Virginia. It’s steep. It’s dangerous. It’s long. It’s fast. It’s a blast. Trail Surface: Mountainous, rocky singletrack and forest roads.

     

    For more trails and resources, check out these sites:

     

    There’s plenty of epic mountain biking trails around the Commonwealth. What’s your favorite? Share!

     

     



    Destinations, Outdoors, Outdoors, Tour & Travel, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations | 0 Comments

    15 Places to Sip and Savor Virginia Craft Beer

    by Casey | Posted on August 28th, 2014

    Vibe is everything. Vibe is the mood, the company, and even the flavors. If you’re looking to experience great Virginia craft beer in an ultra-cool setting, you might check out this list – and please – add to it with your opinion of what makes a great sip-and-savor craft beer experience.

    Breweries with Outdoor Seating and Great Views

    1. Legend in Richmond is situated on the south side of the James River. Their deck has umbrella patio tables and an unobstructed view of the downtown Richmond skyline. Evenings are beautiful.

    Wild Wolf, Nellysford

    Wild Wolf, Nellysford

    2. Blue Mountain in Afton also has umbrella patio tables, but their view is reflected in their name. Settle in with a pizza of fresh local ingredients and a cold Full Nelson Pale Ale to appreciate the blue mountains on display.

    3. Devils Backbone Basecamp is in Nellysford, just down the road from Blue Mountain, thus sharing a very familiar view. The grounds at DBB are expansive, as they play host to festivals and other large events from time to time. And they have an awesome bar area, too.

    4. Also in Nellysford is Wild Wolf, but their set up is like a little town square. The biergarten has a koi pond with a waterfall and a gazebo overlooking it, all situated beneath a magnificent old tree. The on-site restaurant serves up scratch-made delights that you can enjoy on the wrap-around porch, if you desire. The mountain views are outstanding; just see the photo above!

    5. Old Bust Head in Vint Hill has a brand new beer garden – complete with a pergola for shade – to go with their brand new tap room. It’s a happenin’ place, with live music and a lively crowd, plus you never know when beautiful macaws or baby goats may drop by. Be sure to read the label on your bottle as each beer name is tied to a local tale, which the label explains. I wonder if Vixen Irish Red’s story might make me blush …

    Restaurants with a Great View Serving Virginia Craft Beer

    6. Bubba’s Restaurant and Crab House is a waterfront restaurant just off the Lynnhaven Inlet in Virginia Beach. It’s situated such that you can enjoy the sunset on one of the decks and sip a Virginia craft beer with your delicious straight-from-the-sea fare.

    7. Catch 31 is also a Virginia Beach restaurant, and you’ll find it right on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. Toes in the sand? They can be within just a few steps.

    Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservatory

    Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservatory

    8. The Waterfront Market in Old Town Alexandria is perched right on the Potomac River. The views are immense and Port City is cold on tap!

    9. Stony Creek Tavern at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke has Virginia craft beer on tap, sweet views, and quite the story to tell, too. Did you know the beloved film, Dirty Dancing, was filmed at Mountain Lake Lodge? Now you know.

    10. In McGahyesville, Massanutten’s Fareways Restaurant and Lounge offers a Tuesday night Beer Lovers’ Dinner, a five-course pairing that includes details from the chef as well as from the resident beer expert. If you’re not into beer tasting at quite that level, you can still enjoy a craft beer anytime at Fareways with a view of the Mountain Greens Golf Course.

    11. Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill offers a great view of the Clarendon / Courthouse neighborhoods of Arlington, and the rooftop truly is a fun place to be. At least two Virginia brews are on tap for your sit-sip-savor enjoyment.

    12. Supper is a brand new Southern restaurant located in the trendy neighborhood of Ghent in Norfolk. The comfort food will beckon your return, but it may be the knowledge of rooftop dining that draws you in. The Norfolk skyline glistens not too far away and the tapped Virginia craft beer is cold.

    13. Continuing with the rooftop theme, try Postbellum in Richmond. Don’t go for the view on this one, but the overall feel. The space includes a long bar, TVs, pub and patio tables, booths (!), and lights strung above. There’s plenty of room and an unobstructed view of blue skies or stars, whichever your preference.

    James River Brewing, Scottsville

    James River Brewing, Scottsville

    Breweries Cloaked in History and a Story to Tell

    14. James River Brewing in Scottsville is located in a 19th century tobacco factory alongside Mink Creek, a tributary to the James. The tasting room has a rustic, down-home feel with timber accents and barrels for tables. Out back, by the creek in the beer garden, you’ll find a wooden swing in the shade, waiting for you to linger with a Green Eyed Lady.

    15. Jefferson Street Brewery is housed in the same Craddock Terry shoe factory as the Craddock Terry Hotel in Lynchburg. Learn a little something about the history of the facility while sampling the latest suds.

    So where do you go for a great Virginia craft beer? Leave a comment to tell us about the best vibe you’ve found and why it’s great.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a Travel Guide or see the eGuide.



    Beer, Travel Ideas | 0 Comments

    The Crooked Road: Far from Straight & Narrow

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 27th, 2014

    You don’t have to stay on the straight and narrow to get to The Crooked Road. This 333-mile trail of pure Virginia Heritage Music is going to take you on a journey through the history of the origins of country, bluegrass, gospel and more.

    “A place of beauty, a place of song. This is The Crooked Road.”

    As you travel, pull of at any of the 26 Crooked Road wayside exhibits, where you can learn more about the music and musicians who have made their mark in each location.

    Home of the Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol brings musicians, scholars and fans alike to pay homage to country music’s past. The familiar melodies of the historic Bristol Sessions in 1927 still echo through the only city that can celebrate its unique title of the Birthplace of Country Music.  The Bristol Sessions were not the first country music recordings, but they were the first country music recordings to be mass produced and distributed. Because of the influence these sessions had on the music industry, the 1927 Bristol Sessions are also known as the ‘Big Bang’ of country music.

    Johnny Cash once said, “The Bristol Sessions is the single-most important event in the history of country music.”

    The Carter Family Fold is a rustic, 1,000 seat music shed offering traditional Appalachian music.

    The Carter Family Fold is a rustic, 1,000 seat music shed offering traditional Appalachian music.The Carter Family Fold is a rustic, 1,000 seat music shed offering traditional music.

    There’s nine major venues throughout the trail, each telling the story of The Crooked Road’s history.

    Jams are abound throughout the trail. Stay the night around one of the venues and take in the excitement of the music.

    Plan a trip around some of the eclectic annual festivals along The Crooked Road, including:

     

    Heartwood Artisans Center

    Heartwood Artisans Center

    Experience The Crooked Road’s treasure that is Heartwood. It’s the gateway to Southwest Virginia, homeplace of traditional music and serves up the best of regional craft.

    Explore the rich musical heritage of Southwest Virginia at Heartwood – and glimpse the frontiers of fusion with other traditions and instruments. Heartwood is also a performance place for the frontiers of this music, as performers explore new instruments, fuse with other musical traditions or push their horizons toward new forms of expression in special concerts and other events. Every Thursday night, enjoy live music and Heartwood’s special BBQ menu. Its restaurant serves up lunch, Thursday BBQ, Sunday breakfast, and a coffee and wine bar.

    Shop at The Crooked Road store for artisan crafts, apparel, handmade instruments, music and more.

    Nine major venues, more than 60 affiliated venues and 26 wayside exhibits. The Crooked Road will lead you on an adventure through the history of country music.

     

     

     



    48 Hours, Arts, Destinations, Events, Festivals, History, History, Outdoors, Tour & Travel, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | 0 Comments

    Five Ideas for Traveling in September

    by Casey | Posted on August 27th, 2014

    September is a busy month for families, but just another day in the life for those who are child-free. Here are some broad travel ideas to suit each crowd.

    Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach

     

    1. The Beach. The crowds have diminished and the weather is still warm enough for a dip or sunbathing, not to mention the rates begin to scale back, which means you can maybe stay a day or two longer.

    Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park

    Dark Hollow Falls, Shenandoah National Park

    2. The Mountains. Autumn foliage won’t peak in the Blue Ridge until mid-October, but if you travel ahead of time, you can scope out the perfect look-out points to watch those colors creep across the Alleghenies and into the Valley. Regardless of fall’s hues, the mountains are just plain beautiful and perfect any time of the year.

    Shopping in Alexandria

    Shopping in Alexandria

    3. Shopping. Families who have put off back-to-school shopping will find end-of-summer deals everywhere, not to mention the extra savings that outlets yield. Additionally, those in search of furniture must consider a trip to Green Front Furniture Company in Farmville.

    Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg

    4. History. You choose your style, speed, and which period you’d like to explore. Virginia has many historical touch-points of interest, and September is a nice weather month to be out exploring.

    State Fair of Virginia

    State Fair of Virginia

    5. Festivals and Fairs. Speaking of nice weather, get on your walking shoes for a stroll around a festival, or dust off the lawn chair for a music festival. Oh, and the State Fair of Virginia is this month!

     

    See the events calendar for September to further round out your plans.

     

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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