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12 Classic Virginia Experiences

by Casey | Posted on December 12th, 2012

In honor of 12/12/12 we’ve put together a list of 12 classic, not to miss experiences in Virginia. If you’re following the Mayan calendar, you’ll need to fit them in by December 21. Good luck!

Humpback Rocks, milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Humpback Rocks, milepost 5.8 on the Blue Ridge Parkway

1. Hike the Appalachian Trail. No, not the whole thing, but a chunk of it would make you feel good. Start in Shenandoah National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Hey, did you know Virginia has more miles of the AT than any other state? Trivia and exercise. You’re welcome.

2. Find your way through the Triangle. Not the spooky Bermuda Triangle, but America’s Historic Triangle – Jamestown, Williamsburg and Yorktown. All of America is rooted in the happenings of this area, from the 1607 landing at Jamestowne to the new nation ideas bred at Williamsburg and the conclusion of the Revolutionary War at Yorktown. That’s a lot of historical action in a pretty tight radius.

3. If seeing sites that include words like biggest, endless, deepest or tallest are on your bucket list, we can help you mark them off. Virginia has eight caverns, including the largest in the eastern United States (Luray), one that has no end (New Market), the deepest (Natural Bridge) and one that has the tallest stalagmite in the world (Middlesboro).

McDonald's Holiday Lights at the Beach

McDonald's Holiday Lights at the Beach

4. For one key annual event, you’re welcome to drive the longest boardwalk in the country - the Virginia Beach Boardwalk. It’s the McDonald’s Holiday Lights on the Beach, part of Virginia’s 100 Miles of Lights connecting seven twinkling cities.

5. Walk on cobblestones! There’s nothing neater than cobblestone streets and you can still find them across Virginia. Check out Virginia’s Main Streets and then look in places you wouldn’t suspect, like Richmond‘s Shockoe Slip, the Freemason District of Norfolk and Old Town Alexandria.

6. Have a whale of a time on board a boat bound for winter wildlife viewing off the coast of Virginia. The team at the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach is happy to take you into the Atlantic for a chance to see the fin and humpback whales migrating this time of year. Of course, no one controls the whales and where they swim, so don’t get too upset if you don’t happen to spot one.

7. Visit the Mother of Presidents when you visit Virginia. Eight United States Presidents have hailed from the Commonwealth and you can visit their homes and libraries as well as the places they dined, studied and enjoyed the social scene.

8. Drink life in at your choice of more than 200 wineries, more than 40 craft breweries or a quickly growing number of cideries and distilleries. Designated drivers are mandatory, we said so.

9. Strike a chord in the birthplace of country music – Bristol - and travel The Crooked Road to see and hear music history and tradition at places like Carter Family Fold and the Ralph Stanley Museum.

F. Chan, Luray

Luray, VA

10. Walk in Steven Spielberg’s footsteps when you check out Lincoln – The Movie Trail. The cast and crew were on set in Virginia for 53 days filming the new movie LINCOLN. Go eat where they ate, see the film sites and enter for a chance to win a three-night Lincoln-themed vacation.

11. Zip line through a snowy winter wonderland at Wintergreen Resort. It’s 900 feet at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Don’t forget to wear a ski mask. Brrr!

12. At the end of everything, what really matters? We’d argue and bet many would agree that LOVE is the answer. Find the LOVEworks location nearest you and take a family photo for posterity’s sake.

So, what would be your 12 Virginia travel experiences not to miss before the end of the world?

We wish you the best and when the end doesn’t come on December 21, 2012, well, you’ll still be able to put LOVE at the heart of every Virginia vacation you ever take!  Go ahead and order a Virginia Travel Guide just in case we do make it to New Year’s Day.



Beaches, Beer, Destinations, Family, Filmed in Virginia, History, Outdoors, The Holidays, Winter | 3 Comments

Crazy for Patsy

by Casey | Posted on August 22nd, 2012

Virginia “Ginny” Patterson Hensley would be 80 years old this September 8. “Who is that?” you’re no doubt asking. It’s Patsy Cline, of course, and her home in Winchester, Virginia - the only tourist site in the country dedicated to the iconic singer – is now a museum open for touring and paying respects.

 

Patsy on the front porch of 608 S. Kent Street, now The Patsy Cline. Historic House

Patsy on the front porch of 608 S. Kent Street, now The Patsy Cline Historic House.

In Patsy’s Footsteps: Winchester

The Patsy Cline Historic House (608 S. Kent Street) opened to the public this year. She resided in the modest home with her mother and first husband from 1948 to 1953 and returned intermittently until 1957.

John Handley High School (425 Handley Blvd.) is where Patsy struggled to earn an education. She dropped out at age 16 to help support her family. Working the soda fountain at Gaunt’s Drugstore (S. Loudoun St. & Gerrard St.) was one of Patsy’s jobs during her teenage years.

WNC-92.5 FM Studio (520 N. Pleasant Valley Road) is where Patsy made her very first radio appearance.

The home you’ll see (but can’t tour) at 720 S. Kent Street is the one in which Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. You can also see the Winchester Star at 2 N. Kent Street, which is where Charles worked as a linotype operator.

Patsy’s parents, Samuel Lawrence Hensley and Hilda Virginia Patterson Hensley, are interred at National Cemetery (401 National Avenue). Shenandoah Memorial Park (1270 Front Royal Pike) is where you’ll find Patsy’s final resting place. Folks leave pennies on her headstone for good luck.

 

A glimpse inside The Patsy Cline Historic House.

A glimpse inside The Patsy Cline Historic House.

A Little About Patsy

Ginny took the stage name Patsy when a radio personality gave her a chance to tour regionally with his band, Melody Boys and Girls. When she married Gerald E. Cline in 1953, she became Patsy Cline.

Patsy’s first 45 single, released in 1954, was not successful, but in 1955 she was able to take the stage with Jimmy Dean on a 30-minute music variety television program in the Washington DC area. The spotlight moment launched her onto Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1957 where she took the prize with “Walkin’ After Midnight”. The beginning of her musical career met the end of her marriage.

In September 1957 Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. The birth of their first child put her career on hold for a time, but in 1959 the family moved to Nashville. In 1960 Patsy became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and in 1961 “I Fall to Pieces” topped the country charts and landed at number 12 on the pop charts.

An automobile accident critically injured Patsy in June 1961, but she made it back into the studio by August to record “Crazy” – a song written by Willie Nelson that would rise to number two on the country charts and number nine on the pop charts. In December, “She’s Got You” was recorded and would become her second number-one country hit.

Over Patsy’s career she was seen performing with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and George Jones. She landed appearances on American Bandstand and played Carnegie Hall. By 1963 she had more than 100 recordings under her belt.

March 5, 1963 was Patsy’s last day as the plane she was aboard crashed in Tennessee. Her remains were buried in Winchester.

Like many performers lost too soon, Patsy’s notoriety came after her death:

  • Country Music Hall of Fame, 1973 – first solo female elected
  • Virginia Folk Music Association’s Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, 1981
  • National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award, 1995
  • Grammy Hall of Fame, 1992 for “Crazy” and 2001 for “I Fall to Pieces”
  • United States Commemorative Stamp, 1993
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1999
  • “Crazy” is the number one jukebox hit of all time.

For more information or to pick up a map of the Winchester area, visit the Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1400 S. Pleasant Valley Drive.

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide



Destinations, History | 3 Comments

Classical Musicians Converge in Staunton

by Casey | Posted on July 27th, 2012

Staunton, Virginia is quickly garnering attention as a performing arts and cultural hot spot, and here are two more reasons why: Heifietz International Music Institute and Staunton Music Festival.

Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. Heifetz International Music Institute.

Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. Heifetz International Music Institute.

Heifetz International Music Institute is a unique program found only in Virginia. The Institute brings 62 advanced students of the violin, viola and cello to Staunton for six weeks of intensive lessons, practicing and performances. The students learn from the best musicians from around the world, including founder Daniel Heifetz,  who converge on Staunton to share their skills and perform as well.

Music lovers can enjoy student performances at the free Stars of Tomorrow Concerts. Take your seat at Mary Baldwin College’s Francis Auditorium July 28 at 3 p.m., August 1 at 7:30 p.m., August 4 at 3 p.m. or August 8 at 7:30 p.m.

In addition, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library will host free lunchtime concerts. Bring your lunch and listen to performances July 30 and August 6 at noon.

Finally, the world-renowned faculty of the Heifetz Institute take the stage August 2 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. at the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse, bringing Carnegie Hall to Staunton. Tickets are $25/adult and $20/senior and student. Buy Tickets

Staunton Music Festival

Staunton Music Festival Artistic Director Carsten Schmidt conducting Handel's Semele at Blackfriars Playhouse in 2007. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

When Heifetz wraps up, the Staunton Music Festival kicks off its 15th year, beginning August 17 and running through August 25. It’s a nine-day celebration of chamber music performed by 50 world-class performers in intimate settings — just the way chamber music was written to heard. Festival goers can expect works by the master composers, lesser known composers and perhaps new, challenging pieces.

Special Events:

Visitors to Staunton will quickly see why the National Trust for Historic Preservation named it “One of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations in the United States”. Plan your trip:

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 



Destinations, Events | 2 Comments

The Wild Pony Round-Up

by Casey | Posted on July 23rd, 2012

An annual event that occurs only in Virginia is the Chincoteague Pony Swim – a family friendly experience that creates memories for a lifetime.

Eastern Shore PoniesEvery year on the last Wednesday of July the wild ponies from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island make the swim over to Chincoteague as part of the small town’s annual Chincoteague Pony Swim festival and fundraiser. A team of volunteer firemen round-up the ponies and herd them across the channel during “slack tide” (between 7:30 and 10 a.m.). When the ponies emerge from the water, they graze and rest before parading down Main Street to the carnival grounds. The first foal to emerge from the water is named King or Queen Neptune and will be given away via raffle at the carnival that night.

On Thursday the annual auction is held to sell the current years’ foals. The ponies have been cleared by a veterinarian and may be transported via approved horse trailer anywhere in the United States. Arrive as early as 8 a.m. to position yourself for bidding.

Eastern Shore PonyOn Friday the remaining pony herd will swim back to Assateague Island.

If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps you read Marguerite Henry’s Misty of Chincoteague as a child. Henry traveled from her midwest home to attend the annual pony penning where she was inspired to write the book, based on a real pony named Misty. Misty of Chincoteague was published in 1947, and Misty the pony found a new home with Henry.

Today you’ll find Misty’s ancestors at the Chincoteague Pony Centre. The Centre is the oldest established breeder of Misty family ponies. The kids will enjoy a pony ride while you browse the gift shop.

> Download the Chincoteague Island Map
> Nearby Dining
> Nearby Lodging

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Request your free Virginia Travel Guide. 



Destinations, Events, Family, History, Outdoors | Comments Off

A Cool August Weekend in Bath County

by Casey | Posted on July 17th, 2012

Escape the heat of August with a weekend in Virginia’s cool Allegheny Mountains. August 4 is the 4th annual Wings and Wheels Car and Acrobatic Air Show in Hot Springs, Virginia.

Wings & Wheels logoThe Ingalls Field Airport will host a display of cars, trucks, motorcycles and tractors – all competing for the coveted Peoples’ Choice Award. In addition, airplane rides and two flight simulators put you in the cockpit while flying lawnmowers and aerial acrobat performances thrill the crowd. Bring a chair, kick back and relax with the music of Daryn Burkholder (country), The Announcers (gospel) and Moonshine Express (country). Food will be available, as will children’s activities.

All day admission to Wings and Wheels is affordable at $5 per car or $10 per van or bus.

Perhaps planes and automobiles aren’t your thing, or maybe it’s the country and gospel music that doesn’t suit your taste. If that’s you, turn to Garth Newel Music Center for Viola Extravaganza! on August 4 at 5 pm. Enjoy the compositions of Mozart, Granados, Lavenda, and Bach performed by six talented musicians.

The Homestead

The Homestead

Tickets for Viola Extravaganza! are $22 for adults, $10 for students 13-18, and free for children 12 and younger. If you’d enjoy dinner after the concert, the combination ticket is $75 for adults, $63 for students and $53 for children. Buy Tickets

Regardless of which event you choose to attend, The Homestead is the place to enjoy an overnight stay.

Check out their new activities including Allegheny Springs, a family fun water area with pools, slides, a lazy river and sandy beach. Two can stay one night, enjoy two tube rentals and access to Allegheny Springs for just $279. Book Now

See more Homestead packages.

 

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Order you free Virginia Travel Guide.



Destinations, Events | 1 Comment