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    #Downtown #Staunton is filled with amazing #architecture including the Romanesque-Revival Marquis Building seen here. It was designed by T.J. Collins in 1895 (he designed nearly 200 buildings throughout the city in various styles during the #Victorian Era). Note the large umbrella fixed to the corner of the turret! #loveva #virginia #vatravel #mainstreet #vais4lovers #oldschoolva
    Check out this awesome #aerial of the CSX A-Line #Train #Bridge (circa 1919) you've probably seen when driving on the Powhite Parkway crossing #JamesRiver! Props to @vintage_rva for the incredible capture. Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVa for a chance to be featured here! #trainbridge #drone #flyinghigh #rva
    Sip away the end of #summer at North Gate #Vineyard in Pucellville before the crush begins! They have live music every Friday evening (TGIF: Thank Grape It's Friday), making it an ideal time to stop by for a taste. Next month is #Virginia #Wine Month, when a lot of vineyards across the state will be harvesting their #grapes. Photo props to @emkittie! #VAwine #howisummer #winetime Tag your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to get featured here.
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  • Archive for August 20th, 2014

    It’s Time for a Celebracation! Six Ideas for a Celebratory Vacation in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on August 20th, 2014

    Milestones are worth celebrating. They’re also on the rise as a top reason to travel. Have you considered a celebration vacation? Anniversaries – yours, your parents – are a perfect example of a celebration worth vacationing for. Here are six ideas for a monumental memory-making getaway.

    1. POUR ON THE ROMANCE with a lavish escape at one of Virginia’s premier luxury destinations. Your style and ideal view or location will dictate your choice among these highly rated stunners. Newly rated and added to the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotels list are Clifton Inn, which Forbes calls “Virginia’s All-American Inn,” The Lodge and Cottages at Primland Resort, and The Williamsburg Lodge at Colonial Williamsburg.

    Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Hotels

    Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Hotels

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    2. BE THE COWBOYS AND GIRLS you always wanted to be with an all-inclusive ranch stay. You bring the chaps, hats and boots; these wranglers will do the rest, including manning the chuck wagon.

    Shangrila Guest Ranch. ©Todd Wright

    Shangrila. ©Todd Wright

    Shangrila Guest Ranch in South Boston offers trail riding, and all drinks and food are included in your rate. Check out their multi-day trail ride. The first night will be spent in a secluded cabin or glamping tent. Evening two will find you under the stars in a handmade tipi, and evening three concludes at a rustic lodge. The multi-day escape is offered at select times each year, so plan ahead for this special excursion.

    Reba Farm Inn

    Reba Farm Inn

    Reba Farm Inn in Bedford is a 300-acre resort-like escape that does offer horseback riding, but isn’t quite as “whole hog” as Shangrila, if you want a more tame experience. Inquire about their anniversary package and ask for the Spring House Cottage upgrade with a trail ride to make it a truly memorable time. One night with the upgrade and 90-minute trail ride is $275 and includes a four-course dinner and three-course breakfast.

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    Waterman's Cabin. Courtesy SouthEast Expeditions.

    Courtesy SouthEast Expeditions.

    3. ACCESSIBLE BY KAYAK ONLY, the authentic 100-year-old waterman’s cabin off the Eastern Shore is unlike any other Virginia experience. It’s the perfect situation for a couple who wants solitude and to remain undisturbed, though your guide will come cook your breakfast, if you like! The cabin is only available a few weekends per year, so the opportunity to stay here is pretty exclusive. From $595 per person for two nights.

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    4. COOK WITH SOME OF THE BEST chefs when you book a package the includes a cooking class. What’s more gratifying than cooking for and with someone you love?

    Chef's Garden at Salamander Resort.

    Salamander Resort.

    Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg has a cooking studio and hosts a Visiting Chef Series, bringing chefs from New York City, Washington, D.C. and other vibrant foodie locations. Ask about their Dreaming of a Culinary and Wine Experience package which includes a cooking class plus two recipes to take home, a wine flight, and of course, a luxurious overnight at Salamander. Rates from $452 per person.

    The Inn at Meander Plantation in Locust Dale offers a Cooking School package with Chef Suzie Blanchard. Enjoy the comfortable accommodations of the inn, plus get your hands in the flour. You’ll stay two nights, cook up something fabulous, receive a recipe book, and take home an apron, too. A delicious wine-paired dinner will be the highlight of your last day. Rates from $1050 per couple.

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    ©Jeff Greenough

    ©Jeff Greenough

    5. CONQUER A MOUNTAIN when you set off on one of Virginia’s great hikes. The pay-offs are tremendous and you’ll be enamored to have done it with the one you love.

    You’ll find the General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion to be a fantastic home base for your Mount Rogers excursion. Mount Rogers is the highest peak in Virginia at 5,729 feet, and the Appalachian Trail runs across it. It’s high enough that there’s an alpine feel to it, with minimal vegetation. The views are stupendous.

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    6. SLEEP WHERE PRESIDENTS HAVE SLEPT for a real historic getaway. While the most well-known homes are not available for overnight stays, some of the others and associated properties certainly are.

    Belle Grove Plantation. Courtesy Rich Johnson Photography.

    Belle Grove Plantation. Courtesy Rich Johnson Photography.

    Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast in King George is the birthplace of President James Madison. The mansion sits along the Rappahannock River, dates to 1791 (the plantation dates to 1670), and boasts four master suites. It’s a popular wedding venue thanks to both its history and its beauty.

    North Bend Plantation in Charles City dates to 1801 and was the home of William Henry Harrison’s sister, Sarah Harrison, and the current owner is Sarah’s great nephew. Beyond that, Mr. Copland is the great, great grandson of Edmund Ruffin, the man who fired the first shot of the Civil War on behalf of the South. Many of the furnishings are original; a stay here is a special treat.

    To lay your head where modern day presidents have rested theirs, try The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, previously mentioned for its Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Hotel rating. According to their website, “Twelve US Presidents, including Harrison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Taft, both Roosevelts (Theodore and Franklin Delano), Truman and Reagan, both Bushes (George H. W. and George W.) and Obama have been guests at The Jefferson Hotel.”

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    Just what would your ideal celebration vacation look like? Leave an idea or two in the comments section!

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