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    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.
    Here's a beautiful shot of @castlehillcider in Keswick posted by @merchcolony_cville. This is currently the only #cidery in the world to be fermenting and aging in buried terra cotta amphorae called kvevri. Plan a trip to try some of the world's finest right here in #Virginia. #loveva #vacider #drinklocal #cville #vatravel #castlehillcider #vaweddings
    A #bushel of #bluecrabs for the pot! @aklshnkovj and her #Virginia self-caught #seatotable meal courtesy of the Chesapeake Bay. 👍 #loveva #seafood #crabs #vafood #eatlocal #vacrabs
  • Author Archive

    13 Notes About Virginia’s Music Heritage

    by Casey | Posted on September 16th, 2014

    What do you think of when you consider Virginia’s music scene? You may not realize just how robust and varied the genres are that originated here, or which big names got their start in Virginia.

    Fife and Drums Corp at Colonial Williamsburg.

    Fife and Drums Corp at Colonial Williamsburg.

    In honor of September being declared Virginia Music Heritage Month, consider these music notes.

    1. The first musician came to Jamestown in 1618. Apparently he fiddled up quite a storm as it was in that year that dancing, fiddling and cards were banned on the Sabbath.1

    2. Eighteenth-century Williamsburg indeed incorporated music into their everyday lives. According to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, “It is not surprising to search the inventories of these early citizens and find listed among other effects spinets, flutes, guitars, violins, violin-cellos, fifes, French horns, drums, harpsichords, organs, harmonicas and pianofortes.”2

    3. Speaking of Colonial Williamsburg, have you seen and heard the signature Fifes and Drums in person?

    Carter Family Fold.

    Carter Family Fold.

    4. Bristol, TN/VA is known as the Birthplace of Country Music thanks to the 1927 Bristol Sessions, which the legendary Johnny Cash called, “the single most important event in the history of country music.”

    5. Speaking of Johnny Cash, did you know that his wife’s family (June Carter Cash) were the pioneers of country music? The Carter Family Fold, an acoustic-only venue honoring A.P. Sara and Maybelle, is located in Hiltons, Virginia, and you may visit for live concerts. Also check out the A. P. Carter Museum for artifacts and memorabilia.

    6. Patsy Cline was born in Winchester and you can visit her home, as well as her grave, where you’ll find sweet mementos and pennies left for her.

    7. 2014 was the year of Happy and “24 Hours of Happy,” the world’s first 24-hour music video by Pharrell Williams, the hip hop artist and producer from Virginia Beach.

    8. Regarding Coastal Virginia talent, Williams’ Neptunes production team sidekick, Chad Hugo, hails from Virginia Beach, too, while hip hop queen Missy Elliott is from nearby Portsmouth and rapper/producer Timbaland is just a stone’s throw away in Norfolk.

    9. Old time and bluegrass listeners readily know the name Ralph Stanley. He and his brother, Carter, are perhaps the best-known recorders of Man of Constant Sorrow, a track made popular by the film O Brother Where Art Thou, starring George Clooney.

    Virginia is for Music Lovers®

    10. If you ever “listen to the Mandolin Rain,” you’re listening to Williamsburg son Bruce Hornsby, a popular easy-listening/pop artist most renowned among baby boomers.

    11. “The Most Awarded Act in the History of Country Music” is Staunton’s The Statler Brothers. They sang backup for Johnny Cash before breaking out with Flowers on the Wall.

    12. The most recognized military bugle call is Taps, the resounding call to extinguish light at the day’s end. In 1862 while encamped at Harrison’s Landing (Berkeley Plantation), Union General Daniel Adams Butterfield with the help of bugler Oliver Willcox Norton, wrote Taps. 3, 4

    13. Ella Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song,” was a jazz singer from Newport News who garnered 13 Grammy Awards over her career, as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 1992.


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    1 “Was There Music in Jamestown in 1607?” The Colonial Music Institute.
    2 Eighteenth-Century Music and Dance. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
    3 “24 Notes that Tap Deep Emotions: The Story of Taps“. Villaneuva, Jari.
    4 “How Taps Became Associated with Funerals“. Villaneuva, Jari.

    History | 0 Comments

    13 Places to Satisfy Your Buckwheat Craving

    by Casey | Posted on September 3rd, 2014

    Buckwheat is considered a superfood, as it’s packed with more protein than corn, rice or wheat, and it’s gluten free. Like many things, Virginia and buckwheat go way back. Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew the crop in rotation on their respective farms at Mount Vernon and Monticello.1,2

    Mabry Mill Restaurant Buckwheat Cakes

    Mabry Mill Restaurant Buckwheat Cakes

    While buckwheat is no longer one of the more common crops of Virginia, it is still celebrated, available on the menu in select restaurants, and packaged for mixing at home.



    Monterey - The Highland Maple Festival is held two consecutive weekends annually in March, and buckwheat pancakes are the perfect recipient of the sweet maple syrup. Now celebrated for nearly 60 years, the festival was designated a “Local Legacy” by The Library of Congress in 1999, and designated the Official Maple Festival of Virginia in April 2014. The sugar camp tours, maple donuts, and buckwheat cakes draw roughly 50,000 visitors to the Allegheny Highlands each year.

    Meadows of Dan – Pancake Days is an annual celebration held the third and fourth Saturdays of October at the Volunteer Fire Department. It’s an all day breakfast feast with regular pancakes, buckwheat cakes, sausage, and more! 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.



    Fontaine Caffe & Creperie

    Fontaine Caffe & Creperie

    Not only is Mabry Mill the most photographed site on the Blue Ridge Parkway, their restaurant has some of the most famous buckwheat cakes, too. Even better, you can order them all day! Buckwheat flour is available for purchase as well.



    Woodson's Mill

    Woodson’s Mill

    Raphine – Wade’s Mill is a working mill producing stone-ground grains for your at-home consumption. Visit to get a package of Jim and Georgie’s Wade’s Mill Buckwheat Poundcake Mix, or other buckwheat mixes.


    Where in Virginia do you like to eat and buy buckwheat? Comment to share.

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    1. Jefferson and Soil Improvement, Part 2. Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden. March 13, 2011.
    2. FAQ > Mount Vernon, Virginia. The Papers of George Washington.

    Food | 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.

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    Beer, Travel Ideas | 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.


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    Travel Ideas | 0 Comments

    Eight Boutique Hotels & Vintage Stays in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on August 26th, 2014

    Attention to detail, upscale finishes, and impeccable customer service are all things you’d expect to find in a boutique hotel, and according to online reviews and media, these Virginia stays excel.

    The Craddock Terry Hotel is quickly recognized by the large red heel on the front. Once a shoe factory producing nearly 100,000 pairs per day, this brick warehouse is now a very fashionable, 44-room luxury accommodation in downtown Lynchburg. The urban, industrial feel is not lost. Each room boasts incredible mountain or river views thanks to the 9-foot-tall windows, and exposed brick and beams serve as sturdy, beautiful reminders of the buildings’ past. As a finishing touch, you’re going to love receiving your complimentary continental breakfast  in an old-fashioned wooden shoeshine box. Whimsy is in style at Craddock Terry!

    >> Travel Packages

    Morrison House

    Morrison House

    Nestled off King Street in Old Town Alexandria is Morrison House, a well-appointed Kimpton property graced with Federal Period reproduction pieces. Acclaim for the hotel includes a four-star rating from Mobil, four-diamond rating from AAA, and it was named one of the “Top 30 Hotels in the South” by readers of Conde Nast Traveler in 2013. Morrison House has 45 guestrooms and suites, and a bed and breakfast feel to its intimate atmosphere. Complimentary wine, coffee and tea are served daily. “Elegant” is perhaps the best word to describe this gem of Old Town.


    The Charlotte Hotel & Restaurant

    The Charlotte Hotel & Restaurant

    The Charlotte Hotel in Onancock is a sweet find on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. With just eight rooms, you’ll have plenty of peace in this 1907 reprieve. Trip Advisor reviewers have called it “delightful,” “charming,” and “a tiny slice of paradise.” To add to the comfortable stay, a restaurant featuring house-made menu items gives you a true taste of the Shore.


    General Francis Marion Hotel

    General Francis Marion Hotel

    The Roaring Twenties are all the rage at the General Francis Marion Hotel in Marion, Virginia. While “thoroughly modern” for today’s travelers, the General Francis does indeed date to 1927 and boasts the period ambiance one would expect. Pieces of its historical past include the original terrazo floors, the registration desk, and switchboard. The hotel was honored with the Gabriella Page Historic Preservation Award by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Do be sure to enjoy a libation at The Black Rooster, their on-site restaurant that gives a wink back to the black rooster being code for “drinks served here” during Prohibition.


    Linden Row Inn

    Linden Row Inn

    Richmond seeps history and the 1840s Linden Row Inn embodies it, from its architecture of seven integrated Greek Revival row houses to its garden, where a young Edgar Allen Poe played, courted, and perhaps named the “enchanted garden” in his poem To Helen. The Parlour Suites and the Main House Rooms have fabulous old 12-foot ceilings with windows just as high, while the Parlour Suites also boast pocket doors, gasolier lighting, and marble fireplaces. The Garden Rooms are located in the carriage houses, spaces the Inn calls “cozy and intimate enclaves.” Without a doubt, your authentic Richmond experience begins at Linden Row Inn.

    >> Travel Packages


    The Georges. Photo by Gordon Gregory.

    The Georges. Photo by Gordon Gregory.

    Newly opened but historically preserved and treasured is The Georges in historic downtown Lexington. Named for George Washington and George C. Marshall of Washington and Lee and Virginia Military Institute fame, The Georges is an 18-room boutique hotel occupying two buildings across from one another on Main Street. An on-site restaurant and casual piano bar are just the beginning of how scrumptious this property is. Guests will be delighted with a breathtaking view as distinct as the room in which they find themselves. Luxury linens and bath necessities add to the desire to linger that this retreat will certainly impose.


    Suites at 249

    Suites at 249

    The Suites at 249 are found in the historic district of Culpeper inside renovated row buildings, but just like the aforementioned properties, the six Suites embrace the history they lie within. Exposed brick and hardwood floors make these modern, expansive suites a very comfortable home base from which to explore. The one thing that makes the Suites different from the others is the lack of concierge or bellhop to call upon. Once you check in, you come and go as you please by way of coded, keyless entry for both the front door and your room. This could be the perfect place for the couple who wants nothing more than to be left alone.


    Bolling Wilson Hotel

    Bolling Wilson Hotel

    In Wytheville is the newly renovated Bolling Wilson Hotel, a 30-room gem set to open Fall 2014. Named after Wytheville-born Edith Bolling Wilson, President Woodrow Wilson’s wife, the property is a contributing building on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests can expect to find beautifully restored and preserved architecture in the lobby with classic high ceilings, arched windows, and intricate moulding. Additionally, an on-site southern restaurant with outdoor dining and a rooftop patio promise a memorable experience.

    There’s nothing like a place that has a great story to tell, and these eight properties are just a tip of the iceberg. Discover more lovely places to stay through the links below.

    Couples, History, Travel Ideas | 0 Comments