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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

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

Mouth-Watering Wood Fire Pizza Spots

by Stefanie | Posted on August 26th, 2014

Just thinking about the ooey, gooey, melty, cheesiness that is a pizza pie is enough to make the mouth water. And if it’s not, check out the following  spots that will do the trick.

And don’t forget! It’s craft beer month, so while you’re digging into some great wood-fired pizza, wash it all down with a nice cold one.

 

Pizzeria Orso – Falls Church
Once hailed as Washington’s best pizza by the Washington Post, Pizzeria Orso specializes in authentic Neapolitan pizza. Featuring an enormous custom-made volcanic brick oven, handcrafted in Italy by Forno Napoletano, the restaurant boasts 14 specialty pies, including classic options like margherita or their Orso pie. Feeling like something different? How about the Smashing Pumpkin: cream sauce, bufala mozzarella, smoked blue cheese, roasted pumpkin, pear, garlic, arugula and shaved grana. Or The Fun Guy with wild mushrooms, mozzarella, fontina and parmesan. The excellent wine and beverage program introduces exceptional, value-oriented Italian wines as well as a number of craft beers– including nine that are brewed right here in Virginia.

One of many Thyme Market's specialty pizzas

One of many Thyme Market’s specialty pizzas

Thyme Market – Culpeper
Bringing a taste of the traditional European market to the heart of historic downtown Culpeper. Thyme Market is an oasis of gourmet prepared foods – both to go or to be enjoyed on their patio. The kitchen is centered on their wood-fired pizza oven, which turns out delectable thin-crust pizzas with tasty toppings such as chorizo, artichoke, peppadew, shiitake mushrooms and goat cheese.

Venture Kitchen & Bar – Hampton
Placing in the top three among Coastal Virginia Magazine’s Best Of Awards 2014, Venture Kitchen & Bar won the bronze for best new restaurant, bronze for best overall restaurant and silver for best signature drink. Their pizza and bread dough are made fresh, in house, and boasts a not-quite-Neapolitan pie. Not only do they make their own bread and pizza doughs, Venture smokes their own sausage. So what’s good on the menu? How about the vegetarian Eggplant pie, with caramelized eggplant & onions, tomato sauce, seasoned ricotta, fresh thyme and mozzarella. And of course, their most popular Everybody’s Pizza (it’s not called that for nothin’!) topped with basil pesto, artichoke hearts, bacon, mozzarella and parmesan. Venture offers eight draft beer options– four are local craft– and more than two dozen bottled.

Dogtown Roadhouse – Floyd
Dogtown Roadhouse has six classic, but with a twist!, wood-fired pizzas on its menu. An interesting pie to try is The White, with fresh grapes, almonds, gorgonzola cream sauce and house cheese blend. Prepared in a ceramic oven and bubbling with cheesy goodness, Dogtown’s pies have become a mainstay in Floyd. Craft brews from around the country accompany the crispy pies.

Mad Fox Brewing Co. – Falls Church
Featuring  gluten-free crust options, Mad Fox Brewing Co. accommodates any palate. Some favorites on the menu include the Eye of the Tiger: zucchini, ricotta, caramelized onion, garlic base, oregano and pecorino. And there’s the Almost Famous: ham, pineapple, pepperoni and jalapeno… yum. Wash it down with their own Mad Fox Beer.

Fire Works Wood Fired Pizza – Leesburg
With pies called the Guadalajara and Black Sheep, those along should pique your interest about Fire Works Wood Fired Pizza. Fire Works uses the freshest ingredients possible, while supporting six different local growers and producers. Still need some convincing? Fire Works pizza is free-formed– the dough is made daily with fine milled Italian “Caputo” flour, filtered water, sea salt and yeast. They burn oak and use nitrate-free pepperoni and sausage. Whichever you choose, rest easy knowing when it arrives on the table, it’s going to be a fresh, wood-fired pizza you’ll be coming back to for more. Check out their Tap Takeovers in September and October, as well as 12 different craft beers on draft– four Virginia-made.

Check Auckerman at Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza

Check Auckerman at Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza

Bella Luna Wood-Fired Pizza – Harrisonburg
Did you know Bella Luna is Harrisonburg’s first farm-to-table pizza restaurant? Well, it is! Neapolitan-inspired, thin-crusted pizza is baked at 900 degrees in a traditional wood-fired oven, just as it was over 200 years ago in Naples, Italy. Dough is hand-made fresh daily, using only four ingredients: flour, water, salt and yeast. Guests may watch as pizza chefs press out the dough, top it with artisanal ingredients and slide it into the wood-fired oven. Bella Luna’s handmade pizzas feature seasonal produce, cheeses and meats, delivered daily from family farms in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia.

Monza – Manassas
They’ve got a mind of their own! When Monza‘s wood-fired pizza come out of the oven, they come out. Monza serves up something for everyone. Try the Seafood: mozzarella, calamari, shrimp, scallops and rose cream sauce. Or the Buffalo Chicken with hot sauce, blue cheese, mozzarella and chicken. You have 10 to choose from, so choose wisely! Or just come back to try them all. Monza has several big screen TVs for watching sporting events and more than 100 craft beers available.

Fork in the Market – Roanoke
DEATH BY CHEESE. Just one of their nine gourmet pizzas on Fork in the Market‘s pizzas. How about a spin on the classic Philly Cheese Stake sandwich? The Philly pie serves up all the greatness that is the Philly sandwich, right on a pizza… it’s like two worlds collided to create this amazing concoction. Eyes are immediately drawn to the final item on the menu, the Mac Daddy. Yes, it exactly what it sounds like, sans a father. This amazing pie is topped with oven-baked mac and cheese and topped with cheddar and bacon, with olive oil parmesan sauce. If that doesn’t entice the palate, what will?

The Brick at Black Bear Bistro – Warrenton
The Brick at Black Bear Bistro rolled out onto the pizza scene in merely a year ago and has taken it by storm! The pizzeria’s owners achieved their dream of perfecting the crust that is prevalent in Italy and away they went. Eleven eclectic pies are on the menu, including the Fattoria with vodka sauce, farm-fresh eggs, shredded mozzarella, arugula, then tossed in olive oil. The Brick features gluten-free and vegan cheese options, as well as seven local craft beers on tap.

Blue Mountain Brewery Restaurant – Afton
How does hand-rolled thin crust infused with herbs, olive oil and honey sound? That’s the foundation of Blue Mountain Brewery‘s delicious wood-fired pizzas. You may think five measly options on the menu isn’t much, but try these on for size… Our Famous Veggie is topped with cilantro pesto sauce, zucchini, squash, roasted mushrooms, caramelized red onions, goat cheese, mozzarella and fresh cilantro. Or how about this one? The Bratwurst with Apples and Onions pie comes with Double H Farm bratwurst (from Nelson Co.), caramelized onion, apples, mozzarella, fresh marinara and balsamic reduction. And of course, wash down the deliciousness with one of their 20 seasonal drafts.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza – Charlottesville
It says it in the name! Brixx Wood Fired Pizza has 23 amazing pizzas on their menu. How do you choose just one?! Brace yourself… some of these unique pies are going to get the stomach growling. First in line, the Mexican: black bean spread with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, wood-roasted chicken, roma tomatoes and sliced fresh jalapenos topped with sour cream. Feeling like some Asian cuisine? Done. The Sweet Thai Chicken pie has wood-roasted chicken, tossed in a sweet chili sauce, goat cheese and mozzarella, roasted red peppers, pistachios and drizzled with Thai satay dressing. Not only is the pizza outstanding, the restaurant has the Brixx Masters of Beer Appreciation program. Who doesn’t love that? There’s 24 craft beer options from around the world, and of course, Virginia!

Stuzzi Pizza Napoletana

Stuzzi Pizza Napoletana

Stuzzi – Richmond
Stuzzi is a restaurant that brings a slice of Italy to you! Their Neapolitan recipe follows all the standards required for their wood oven goodness to come straight to you. And of course, wash it down with some local brews, like Hardywood.  Stuzzi also has gluten free options for both their pizzas and pasta.

Rivermont Pizza- Lynchburg
If you’re looking for a great pizza, fantastic craft beer, authentic wood-fired pizza, AND a thriving live music scene, Rivermont Pizza is for you! The menu is locally-sourced and changes seasonally. You’ll love the housemade mozzarella!

Aziza’s on Main – Richmond
Try this on for size… not only are there fantastic wood fire pizzas, Aziza’s on Main serves up a menu of Lebanese and Mediterranean fare as well. Visitors sing the praises of their wood-fired pizzas, topped with the freshest possible ingredients. Try out their Red pie, complete with red sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms and basil. It’s no wonder Style Weekly honored Aziza’s as the 2013 Restaurant of the Year!

There’s so much deliciousness to choose from! No matter where you are, or where you travel, there’s always a great pizza spot to try out.

What are some of your favorites?

 

 

 



Food, Locals | 0 Comments

Blue Ridge Parkway 101: Cruisin’ Through the Heart of Virginia

by Stefanie | Posted on August 19th, 2014

It’s often called one of the most scenic byways in the world. Spanning 469 miles along the Appalachian Mountains, the Blue Ridge Parkway extends from Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee. Planning a trip to the Parkway? Here’s some things to explore along the way.

Cruisin' the Blue Ridge Parkway

Cruisin’ the Blue Ridge Parkway

With 15 entry points to the Parkway, hopping on it is easy, and once you’re on there are more than 30 visitor information stops to guide to your destinations. There are developed sites along the Parkway to make it easy to stop, park, stretch, visit restrooms and exhibits, hike and get a bite to eat.

Beginning at Waynesboro, the start of the Parkway, the exploring begins. Stop by the Plumb House Museum, where you can tour the streets of the Battle of Waynesborough, home to many Civil War artifacts and more. Also check out the Waynesboro Heritage Museum.

Devil's Backbone Brewing Co. along the Nelson 151 Trail

Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. along the Nelson 151 Trail

Venture a little further south to Nelson, where you’re going to need to plan some time to explore all it has to offer. Hop on the Nelson 151 Trail– your destination for Virginia wine, craft beer, local food, and of course– outdoor recreation. The Trail features seven wineries, three breweries/restaurants, all the while providing easy access to and from the Parkway.

The Red, White and Brew Trail, also located in Nelson, boasts 10 wineries, four breweries, one hard apple cidery and one distillery.

Stay nearby at Orchard House Bed & Breakfast or Wintergreen Resort.

Swing by the Jefferson Heritage Trail and explore where Thomas Jefferson left his mark on the arts, architecture, education, and of course, wines of Virginia. Inspired by his contribution to the growth of the modern American wine industry, the Jefferson Heritage Trail honors his legacy while creating an exciting journey for all who visit.

Experience the wonder that is the Natural Bridge. This National Historic Landmark has a rich history, dating back hundreds of years and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson. The caverns of Natural Bridge descend 34 stories into the deepest caverns on the East Coast.

Roanoke/Vinton hangs along the Parkway, with four entrances to the area. If you want to get a taste of a metropolitan-esque area, make a stop in Historic Roanoke for plenty of lodging, shopping a farmers’ market and cultural tours.

HIKING

There are more than 50 hiking trails along the Parkway, so no matter where you are, there’s something nearby. From easy to strenuous, to 0.1 – 19 miles. While you’re on your hike, be sure to check out the natural landmarks along the way. White Rock Falls Trail is a 2.5-mile hike, where the highlight is the impressive gorge, which has a waterfall and natural wading pool.

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls

Looking for some more hiking spots with waterfalls?

The James River is the Parkway’s lowest elevation (650′ above sea level) and is a historical transportation route through the mountains and represents a major geological and cultural component of the Blue Ridge section. The 3.5-mile Otter Creek Trail follows the creek from the Otter Creek Campground down to the James River Visitor Center. At the visitor center, the James River Canal Trail will take you to the restored James River and Kanawha Canal Lock that was built between 1845-51. When completed, the canal had 90 locks and went from Richmond to Buchanan, Va..

LODGING
Two sites along the Parkway provide opportunities for overnight accommodations from spring through the fall foliage season. Many visitors also enjoy the various camping sites along the Parkway and a chance to sleep under the stars.

Peaks of Otter Campground off milepost 86 offers 132 sites, nestled between the bases of two dominating mountains, with Abbott Lake being one of the main attractions. The lake is always stocked with small mouth bass and bluegill. Set up a tent in the shade below the trees and roast some hot dogs and marshmallows. marshmallows around the fire– a perfect way to enjoy a relaxing evening under the stars

A historical must-see along the parkway!  This is the place you want to stay to get the full experience of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  These are charming little cabins, in a beautiful, natural setting. Located at Milepost 174 near Meadows of Dan, Rocky Knob Cabins has small, rustic cabins built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the early days of Parkway construction.

Check out more lodging opportunities along the Parkway, including camping, bed & breakfasts, hotels and more.

Take a break at milepost 176 for some spectacular views, mountain-top chalets, elegant dining and a wide variety of recreational activities at Primland Resort. Primland also offers fishing, hunting, golf and so much more to take advantage during your stay.

Humpback Rocks encompasses 800 acres along the Blue Ridge Parkway between MP 5 and 9.3 just outside Waynesboro. This area is perhaps the best representation of the varied combination of natural and cultural resources anywhere along the Parkway corridor. The prominent rock outcrop was a landmark guiding wagon trains over the Howardsville Turnpike in the 1840s. A portion of the historic trace still exists. Stop by the Visitor Center and mountain farm exhibit at MP 5.8. The farm includes a single-room log cabin and a series of outbuildings that represent elements of regional architecture of the late 19th century. Costume interpreters provide demonstrations of weaving, basket making and gardening.

Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill

Mabry Mill in Meadows of Dan is not to be missed! With a blacksmith shop, wheelwrights and a whiskey still. Demonstrations are available through the fall and enjoy old-time bluegrass music on Sundays.

These gems give visitors a glimpse of traditional mountain life in the early days of settlement.

 

OVERLOOKS

Wine tasting at Chateau Morrisette

Wine tasting at Chateau Morrisette

 

WINERIES/VINEYARDS
Two are along the Parkway in Virginia, each boasting unique selections. Chateau Morrisette Winery in Floyd is nestled above the Rock Castle Gorge Wilderness Area and is known for some of Virginia’s most popular wines. Enjoy their timberframe winery, while sipping their wines and enjoying their savory cuisine. Chateau offers seasonal events, including the Black Dog Concerts and Winemaker’s Dinners, all in an elegant, old world atmosphere. Find the winery off MP 171.5.

Peaks of Otter Winery & Orchards, ironically located at the foot of the Peaks, grow many fruits for their wine, where apples are their main crop. The winery turn their fruits not only into wine, but ciders and butter as well. You will find many types of fruit wines and blends, and may remind you of “grandma’s wines”. These wines are excellent with snacks, as an after dinner wine or just sipping. The apple cinnamon heated is great for the holidays. The winery also features a party wine with hot peppers and a mellow pear selection.

Milepost Services

The Blue Ridge Parkway is an American treasure located right here in the Commonwealth. Where else are you going to find so much to do on one parkway? History, hiking, scenic views, wineries, breweries and much more. The Parkway is the perfect way to experience Virginia and all it has to offer.



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

Donut Spots that Satisfy

by Stefanie | Posted on August 18th, 2014

If you have a breakfast time (or any time) sweet tooth, you’re going to want to swing by these donut shops that pack in unique flavors and toppings! You nominated and here they are:

 

Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

Paradise Donuts of Virginia - Norfolk 
Paradise Donuts is a family-run donut shop, located in the heart of Downtown Norfolk. Their family friendly establishment serves not only incredible donuts but lunch as well. Donuts are baked fresh in-house on a daily basis. Paradise Donuts is famous for their Maple Bacon or Old Fashioned donuts!

Pure Eats – Lexington
Pure Eats donuts are legendary! Order a fresh, house-made donut and you’ll never want to leave! Coconut lover? Try out the Almond Joy. Other favorites include the decadent chocolate peanut butter and the light, but always delicious margarita-flavored! Pure Eats doesn’t have a set menu, so you’ll be surprised of the flavors each time you visit!

The Apple House - Linden
Good food, friendly staff and beautiful surroundings make The Apple House a landmark to visit in Virginia. Come visit for your gift needs and be sure to try out the famed apple butter donuts!

 O’Doodledoo’s Donuts - Suffolk
Hand made, hand decorated, fresh, funky, one of a kind donut shop! This is a real “Hole in the Wall!”  O’Doodledoo’s makes more than 200+ flavors and rotate their menu daily.  Try the famous red velvet cream cheese donuts or a delicious sour cream old fashioned.  Known for gourmet donuts at budget prices, find out what everyone’s talking about! The Oreo extreme, peach cobbler, key lime pie, or chocoholic–yep those are all donuts too! Come quick– once the donuts are gone, so are they!

O’s Donuts - Norfolk
With 13 different types of donuts and eight different toppings, it’s easy to see why O’s Donuts are a Norfolk favorite. AND custom colors are available too! Try out a cool twist on a sundae, with the Uh O: A fresh, warm donut, tossed in cinnamon sugar, sliced open with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. And topped off with hot fudge and whipped cream, of course!

Carol Lee Donuts - Blacksburg
Cake donut? Yes, please. Carol Lee Donuts boasts seven different types of cake donuts, including Devilsfood cake glazed and blueberry cake. Or try out one of their yeast-raised donuts, including maple iced with peanuts and toasted coconut. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee to wash it all down!

Happy Day Donut custom creation

Happy Day Donut custom creation

Happy Day Donuts – Chesapeake
The name says it all! Start your day off right with a Happy Day donut. They pride themselves on crafting their donuts with only the highest quality ingredients, so you can rest east knowing they’re always fresh and always tasty. Happy Day always has about 22 donut selections, including their 16 “daily flavors.” And don’t forget about creating your own masterpiece! Choose anything from Boston cream to cinnamon apple, to red velvet, samoa, snickers and more! You also get to choose your own toppings– from 45 possible combinations! Wash it all down with a cup of Happy Day’s custom roasted coffee, roasted to order.

Sugar Shack Donuts – Richmond
“I’m pretty sure we’ve found the Holy Grail, and this is it.” Sugar Shack Donuts prides itself on fresh, all nature and local ingredients. Seven house donuts are available, including the quintessential glazed and strawberry iced. They also have six specialty creations, caramel apple cake, anyone?! Try out their monster donuts, featuring peach fritters and Maggie Walker’s signature Dragon Tails. What’s the Dragon Tail? You’ll have to stop in and see for yourself!

Blackbird Bakery – Bristol
The Blackbird has become a favorite bakery shop for the locals in Bristol and has developed the reputation as one of the top bakeries in the tri-cities area. When you visit the bakery, you will feel as though you stepped back to a time when neighbors and shop owners knew each other on a first name basis. One of the first things you will notice is the pleasant, friendly and inviting atmosphere that awaits you when you step through the door. Baked fresh daily, when you take the first bite, you will realize that the products are handmade with only the freshest and finest ingredients.

The Dunk & Deli Co. – Abingdon
Known for their made fresh daily donuts, Dunk & Deli prides itself on freshness and quality, as well as efficient and friendly service. Join them in their comfortable, sit-down atmosphere and relax with friends and family or call ahead for convenient take-out service!

Triple Oak Bakery – Sperryville
Triple Oak Bakery is a dedicated gluten free bakery using local and organic products whenever possible.

Spudnut Coffee Shop - Charlottesville 
Spudnuts is an old school donut shop that makes donuts with potato flour, hence “spud”nuts. An institution in Charlottesville!

Duck Donuts – Virginia Beach 
Duck Donuts makes their donuts made-to-order and fresh as can be! Their base donuts are made with these key ingredients: wheat & corn flour, soybean oil, nonfat dry milk, egg yolks, and beta carotene. Rest assured when you come to Duck Donuts, you’re receiving the best! Ten coating choices are available, as well as five topping choices.

Great Country Farms – Loudoun
Great Country Farms is best known for their cider donut. These apple cider donuts, made with cinnamon and sugar, are baked fresh at the farm and melt in your mouth when you catch them hot. Visitors enjoy them year-round before visiting the farm’s animals, u-pick areas and fresh market.

Emily’s Donuts & Cafe – Williamsburg
Emily’s Donuts & Café is more than the new local face of great donuts. The yeast donuts are unlike anything else in town. The process of creation takes nearly three hours from start to finish. There are classic “ring” donuts — meant to be glazed and topped, and solid donuts, perfect for filling with out-of-this world combinations! Emily’s Donuts boasts baking 7,000 donuts every week! Clearly these donuts are in demand — especially with seasonal flavors, like their scrumptious Key Lime Donuts made with real Key Lime infused filling and topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

Country Style Donuts – Richmond
“Deliciously addictive since 1968!” That’s the motto of Country Style Donuts in Richmond. Swing by early in the morning to grab some delicious holes before they run out! Try out the peanut-covered glazed, toasted almond or blueberry chip. Or why not try them all! Country Style has 38 varieties of donuts and is open 24 hours.

 

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