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Spring Golf Gallery

by Tom | Posted on May 5th, 2014

Olde Mill Green at Dusk

So you just hit that one glorious tee shot in your round – the proverbial golf shot that keeps you coming back to the game (despite the frustrating 97 you will shoot). How much better will that shot be if it heads off into the sunset on a beautifully scenic course? One where you can spend as much time admiring the landscape and natural beauty around you as you do your shots (or much more, depending on your game). If the pollen is not your enemy, this time of year is ideal to enjoy a cool, comfortable round of golf among the Azaleas and Virginia Dogwoods.

Check out some of the great views you might see around the Commonwealth:

Old Hickory

Old Hickory Golf Club in Woodbridge is a great course for players of all levels. Check out the unique “19th” hole, the challenge hole that has nothing to do with the clubhouse watering hole, but might help settle a score!

 

Riverfront Golf Course

Riverfront is a semi-private course situated on the banks of the Nansemond River in Suffolk. Riverfront has an old-style layout that winds its way through the riverfront acreage, tidal marshes, huge oaks and pines, and vast rolling farmland.

 

Raspberry Falls Golf Club

Raspberry Falls in Leesburg, is an upscale, daily-fee golf course that holds the distinction of being Virginia’s only Gary Player Signature Design. The most dramatic and formidable feature of Raspberry Falls is its Scottish style stacked-sod bunkers.

 

Olde Mill Golf Resort

Olde Mill Golf Resort in Laurel Fork is one of the state’s most scenic mountain courses, just minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

 

The Golden Horseshoe is one of Virginia's most famous golf clubs. Two courses created by Robert Trent Jones Sr and Rees Jones offer a classic and beautiful challenge.

The Golden Horseshoe is one of Virginia’s most famous golf clubs. Two courses created by Robert Trent Jones Sr and Rees Jones offer a classic and beautiful challenge.

 

Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club

Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club is a championship eighteen hole golf course nestled in the tranquility of Virginia’s historic Shenandoah Valley. Blue Ridge was even ranked #4 Best Courses you can play in Virginia by Golfweek Magazine.

 

The Omni Homestead Resort

Another example of great Virginia mountain golf, the Cascades courses at the Omni Homestead in Hot Springs are where golf legend Sam Snead began his career.

 

Seeking more Virginia golf? Go to http://www.virginia.org/Golf/ for information on Virginia’s golf courses and special Golfing Deals and Travel Packages

 



Golf, Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

Culinary Madness Winner

by Tom | Posted on May 1st, 2014

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Peanut Butter Bang Sundae from Dippers Ice Cream in Ridgeway – winner of the Culinary Madness Challenge

Congratulations go out today to Dippers Ice Cream in Ridgeway, Virginia. This upstart two-year-old Virginia frozen treat emporium survived the Virginia Culinary Madness Challenge, defeating all comers. Beginning in early April, the field was narrowed from over 70 state wide culinary fan favorites to 16 finalists in a March madness style tournament. Dippers’ Peanut Butter Bang Sundae, an indulgent mountain of custom ice cream flavors and toppings, defeated the equally tasty Nana’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Cyprus Grille in Hampton to take the championship crown.

Dippers represents everything that’s great about Virginia’s culinary scene – small businesses and inspired creativity combined to offer an exceptional experience for local and travelling foodies alike. From humble beginnings selling a pre-made ice-cream brand from a mobile food trailer, Dippers now creates its own treats in small batches daily and prides itself on its customer service and love for its community. The relatively small eatery has come a long way in just a few years. And the winning entry provides a “bang” for sure, with chocolate cake, hot fudge and peanut butter sauces, all combined with Dippers’ own Peanut Butter & Brownie Explosion ice cream.

Not forgotten though are the other three members of the “Flavorful Four”, Nana’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, the Pimento Cheese BLT from the Horseshoe Diner in South Hill, and the Spring Harvest Virginia Faux at Landsdowne Resort in Leesburg.

Nana's Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Nana’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken from Cyprus Grille in Hampton

Runner-up, Nana’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken, from chef Kyle Fowlkes at the Cyprus Grille in Hampton, was inspired by a recipe belonging to the chef’s grandmother. With creamy mashed potatoes, crisp green beans, and perfectly fried light and crispy chicken, there’s no doubt this down-home classic really reflects the commonwealth’s southern heritage. Fowlkes even noted that the Nana’s Chicken creation wasn’t even his first choice. Another fan beat him to the punch entering the contest, but the incredible-sounding bacon-marmalade he mentioned sounds like it could be a tough competitor.

Support was high on social media and in the voting for the Fried Green Tomato BLT from the Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill. Owner and chef Scott Rogers has revived the classic diner in recent years, and the restaurant’s home-made pimento cheese is some of the best anywhere. If you’re up to the challenge, you can upgrade to the Clydesdale burger, a Fried Green Tomato BLT “enhanced” with a huge slab of beef. Not for the faint of heart but really, really tasty.

And last but not least, the Spring Harvest Virginia Faux at Landsowne Resort in Leesburg, represents the best of modern Virginia cuisine. The dish takes it’s name from traditional Vietnamese pho, and includes ingredients like rice noodles, miso, tofu and Sriracha. If you’re a visitor at Landsdowne resort, stop in to the Crooked Billet restaurant and try some of chef Robert Bradley’s interpretation of Artisan cuisine, filled with fresh local ingredients that showcase the region.



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Make Mine a Double! 12 Virginia Burger Favorites

by Tom | Posted on April 14th, 2014

Virginia has all your top-of-mind hamburgers, from the billion-served chains to the newer class of corporate-run, “gourmet” burger restaurants. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll run across some of the most unique patty places in the Mid-Atlantic, combining the best of Virginia with everything an experienced meat eater has come to expect in their ground sirloin sandwich. Check out the list below (in no particular order) and plan a visit if your travels take you nearby.

1. The Station Burger, aptly named for its home at Smithfield Station, compliments Angus beef with a slice of Smithfield ham and bacon, cheddar cheese, and jumbo lump crab meat. It’s the closest you’ll get to surf and turf on one bun.

The Wagyu Burger

2. The description of the Wagyu Burger from The Trellis Restaurant in Williamsburg reads like a who’s who of exotic ingredients. From Wagyu beef to house-made focaccia and truffle cheese, this masterpiece certainly wasn’t on the menu in Colonial times. Don’t forget the duck fat fries!

3. The Joel Lunchpail from George Bowers Grocery in Staunton was named for Virginia permaculture farmer Joel Salatin, and features grass-fed beef and bacon from his Polyface Farm in nearby Swoope, Virginia.

4. Crafted with local Timbercreek Organic beef and McClure Swiss cheese, The Citizen from Citizen Burger Bar in Charlottesville is topped with black onion, garlic aioli, iceberg lettuce, tomato, fried pickle, and served on house brioche.

5.From classic burger joint the Burger Bar in Bristol comes the Howlin’ at the Moon Chili Cheeseburger – a half pound slab with homemade chili and enough meat to satisfy the wolf in all of us.

6. The Apple Jack Burger at BabyCakes Unique Eats in Abingdon pairs fresh local grass-fed Angus beef with grilled Granny Smith apples, an Old Dominion staple.

7.For the adventurous burger fan, the Bison Burger at the Horseshoe Diner in South Hill might scratch that itch for something completely different. For starters, it’s locally-sourced Bison, but it’s topped with homemade pimento cheese, a house favorite at the Horseshoe.

8. If you’re near Smith Mountain Lake, stop in at Mango’s Bar and Grill in Moneta for the 8 oz cheeseburger topped with bacon, fried egg and chipotle mayonnaise. It’s an all-day burger to satisfy your breakfast, lunch and dinner cravings at one sitting.

9. The Fredericksburger from FOODE restaurant in, where else, Fredericksburg, certainly lives up to its lengthy name. It boasts local organic beef, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon aioli, and organic lettuce all on a freshly-baked Brioche bun. You’ll need a knife (or hinged jaw) for this one.

The Fredericksburger

10. The exotic sounding Wood-Grilled Teriyaki-Swiss Mushroom Burger brings together wide-ranging elements to down-home restaurant  Northern Neck Burger in Kilmarnock. Whether Italian, Swiss, or Japanese, these ingredients make for a distinctly Virginian take on a distinctly American food.

11. Harrisonburg’s Cuban Burger serves up the flavorful El Vaquero, A Burger topped with Vaca Frita (seared, crispy steak with citrus and garlic), rum-caramelized onions, swiss cheese and a house-made smokey aioli.

12. Last but not least, and in honor of all the meat-eaters who have reached the end of this list, is the Double BLT at the Barbecue Exchange in Gordonsville. This monster features bacon, pork belly and baconnaise on a homemade roll. Though this sandwich might be better suited for our 17 barbecue favorites list, it’s fair to say this is the only true ham-burger on the list (sorry – couldn’t resist).

A few of these burgers are still alive in the Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Madness challenge. Go to http://www.virginia.org/culinarymadness/ and VOTE for your favorite Virginia dish.

Each entry above was suggested by a loyal local fan. Leave a comment below in support of your favorite (and its restaurant home) and we’ll compile a list of some of the best nominations during Burger month in May.


And here are some more favorites:

Recommended by locals via Facebook and Twitter

(updated 5/14/2014)

  • With different signature burgers every day of the week, Jack Browns Beer and Burger Joint in Harrisonburg is offering some serious alt-patties. Try the Elvis or the Greg Brady!
Miss Thing and Fries

“Miss Thing” from Norfolk’s 80/20 Burger Bar.

  • Burgers with names like Redneck Wellington have to pique your interest. The
    80/20 Burger Bar in Norfolk is serving them up with natural, virginia-raised, grass-fed beef. The weight off your conscience just might offset the pounds you’ll add to your waistline. Ok, maybe not, but it’s a nice thought.
  • Burger Bach in Richmond (pronounced “Batch“) is another burger joint committed to environmentally friendly, humanely-raised livestock. At this New Zealand-inspired gastro-pub, you can claim your own little slice of Kiwi heaven by ordering an Auckland, Queensland or New Plymouth.
  • For the best burgers in Loudoun County Virginia (no really, they won the title) drop in to Melt in Leesburg. Try something like the Fire Roasted Green Chile Cheeseburger for a serious change of pace. And if you’re tired of beef (???), get a “burger” made with lamb, shrimp, crab, or bison.
  • Locally known as the “Roanoke Millionaire’s Club”, Texas Tavern, a classic lunch-counter diner open since the 30′s, serves up the Cheesy Western, a burger of local if not regional legend. Order a “bowl with” and a “cheesy” and you’ll be all set.
  • Although you might question the ingredients in the “Flying Squirrel” at Carytown Burgers and Fries in Richmond, rest assured it’s delicious. When you learn that the local baseball team is the Richmond Flying Squirrels, you’ll feel confident enough to order a Kojak or Pancho Villa too.
  • Another favorite burger hangout in Roanoke is Burger in the Square. Even though it’s no longer on the “Square”, or the downtown market, they’re still serving favorites like The Dreamer and The Texas Chili Burger.

 



Food, Virginia Destinations | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving Family Feasts

by Tom | Posted on October 22nd, 2012

Virginia has baskets of tradition for harvest season, but for those who crave amazing food experiences paired with a dose of history, the Thanksgiving season is an absolute bonanza.

Whether it’s an original feast at Berkeley Plantation, a meal fit for a king at the classic Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, or a lavish buffet to make Santa’s belly jiggle like mad at the Homestead Resort, turkey lovers and pumpkin pie fans won’t be disappointed.

Find your feast and bring the whole family along. Traditions have to start somewhere – make one today where you don’t have to do the cooking.

 

 

 



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Giant LOVE Corn Maze Opens Saturday

by Tom | Posted on September 28th, 2012

Fall in Virginia is all about LOVE – of the outdoors, the traditional Autumn harvest, and unique family-friendly experiences. So it’s no surprise that this year Virginia’s larger-than-life LOVE comes to Natural Bridge, with a massive corn maze nearly as wide as a football field that opens this Saturday, September 29th.

Natural Bridge Corn Maze

If you’ve never been corn “mazing” in the Fall in Virginia, you’ve missed out on an exciting experience. The Natural Bridge Corn Maze adds even more intrigue, with a unique interactive scarecrow game and the chance to win valuable vacation and admission prizes. Tickets also include hay-rides, a corn-kernel sand box, a hay-bale slide and beanbag toss.

Once you’ve navigated your way out of the maze, you and your family can marvel at The Natural Bridge, one of the country’s most iconic and historic natural attractions, just a short distance away.

And if distance makes it hard to get all the way to the Lexington area and Natural Bridge, you can easily find a Corn Maze, Pumpkin Patch or Orchard near your home. Put your town or zip code into our interactive activity map and instantly find a Fall activity near you. Or if you’re really excited to try a maze or pick a pumpkin, visit our Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch page for a complete rundown of where to go.

When you conquer that maze too, don’t forget to share your snapshots of triumph on www.Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter with the hashtag #LOVEVA.



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