Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog
ShareRSS  
  •  

    Where is the LOVE?

    Click for a map of the LOVEwork locations.

    Take a photo with LOVE.
    Tag it #LOVEVA and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

    See LOVEwork Photos

  • Create your own digital photo reel. 

  • Instagram

    Latest Posts
    Listen to this #Virginia #toad! This is a great #springtime capture by @grinbob. Cute #dog, too. #repost #loveva #visitvirginia #videooftheday #wildlife #vaoutdoors #vais4lovers #va #pet
    St. John's #Church in Church Hill, known especially for Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty, or Give Me #Death" speech, is also the burial place of Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold #Poe. She was a prominent stage actress in her day, and has shown to have great influence on her son's writing. #latergram #rva #edgarallanpoe #cemetery #history #grave #loveva #virginia #vais4lovers @adventuredame @rvais4lovers @vintage_rva
    #Cherryblossoms framing the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly as recently posted by @airandspacemuseum. Love the pink blossoms contrasting the bright blue sky. Great shot! #loveva #repost #virginia #museum #cherry #photooftheday #visitvirginia #spring #picoftheday
    The #love #bench is waiting for you at the #marina in Belle Haven. Has anyone been here for a selfie or portrait? Looks like a cool spot! #heart #loveva #sunset #harbor #virginia #visitvirginia #repost #photooftheday photo credit: @astralmagik
  • Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

    New for Christmas Town 2013

    by Casey | Posted on November 25th, 2013

    The lights glisten, dance and twinkle at Busch Gardens during their annual Christmas Town event. In a matter of three weeks the park is transformed to remove the frights of Howl-O-Scream and introduce merriment for Christmas Town, which just opened Friday, November 22. Here’s what you can expect and what’s new this year.

    Carolers in England. Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Carolers in England

    About Christmas Town

    Nearly seven million lights bring a holiday feel to the countries of Busch Gardens beginning at 3 p.m. and lighting the night through 9 or 10 p.m. (see schedule below)

    The tone is set by the carolers of England as you enter the park and then you’re on your way to The Polar Pathway. This area offers a moment of serenity. Pose on a polar bear as you by pass.

    Meander on toward Holiday Hills, a 1950′s retro area laced with big bulbs, plastic, and vintage-style Coca-Cola billboards. Take a whirl on Peppermint Twist or Snowman Summit. Dasher’s Diner serves up your childhood favorites if you find that you’re hungry.

    Holiday Hills, Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Holiday Hills

    Depart Holiday Hills for Italy where The Battering Ram, The Flying Machine and DaVinci’s Cradle are all operational. Ristorante Della Piazza is serving dinner and you can take in a beautiful show called “Miracles” at Il Teatro di San Marco Theatre. The ballerina in your midst will love this one!

    Soak in the moment as you cross the bridge and look to your left for the “Peace on Earth” art suspended from the train trestle. It’s perfect for a family photo.

    As you approach Oktoberfest you’ll notice that Mach Tower has been dubbed Nacht Tower for Christmas Town. Glide up and sail back down before or after your spin on Verbolten. Der Wirbelwind and Der Autobahn are operational in Germany, and you’re invited to a fantastic dinner and “Deck the Halls” show at Das Festhaus. Toy solders and Frosty the Snowman are just a few of the fun characters you’ll find inside.

    O Tannenbaum is a sight to behold as lights dance in animation on the 50-foot Christmas tree. If your timing is right, a choir will sing to you from the balcony of Das Festhaus. Find more gifts – many handcrafted by Virginia artisans – to take home from Mistletoe Marketplace.

    Ho, ho, ho! Santa’s near! The North Pole is home to Santa’s Workshop, of course, as well as the Kinder Karussel and gift shops. By the way, it snows at Santa’s workshop, making the experience all the more amazing.

    New France has fun shops for carved candles, metal art, and paint-your-own pottery, not to mention the comfort food of Trappers Smokehouse. Le Catapult is ready to give a spin, too. (Careful with eating and spinning!)

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    Tinted in blues and purples is France, and this is where you’ll find the Ice Palace: A Penguin Paradise. The penguins of Sea World San Antonio made their way to Virginia for your enjoyment. The line can get long to see these sweethearts, so plan accordingly. New to France are the King, Queen and Court Jester. They’re available for photo ops and interacting with them is a ton of fun!

    The walk to Ireland is a peaceful one complete with the nostalgic smell of Christmas trees. At Abbey Stone Theater you’ll find “Gloria!,” the re-telling of the first Christmas. Magi, a manger, and amazing musical and dance talent bring home the true meaning of Christmas. If you purchase the add-on for Santa’s Fireside Feast, Ireland is where you’ll rendezvous with the Jolly ol’ Elf.

    Highland Stables. Busch Gardens Christmas Town. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    Highland Stables

    Before you know it, you’re to Highland Stables where white and blue stars twinkle just out of reach and the famous Clydesdales are waiting.

    Christmas Town is nothing if not stunningly beautiful. Each country has its own flavor (literally), and as cliche as it sounds, there is absolutely something for everyone. Both secular and non-secular shows, fantastic dining, and some of your favorite Busch Gardens rides will make you want to come again.

    Visiting Christmas Town

    ADMISSION
    Single-Day: $30
    Christmas Town Fun Card (unlimited visits): $30
    Busch Gardens Annual Pass Holders: $20

    HOURS
    3 to 10 p.m.: November 29-30, December 6-7, 13-14, 16-23, 26-31
    3 to 9 p.m.: December 1, 8, 15, 24

    TRAVEL PACKAGES
    Colonies at Williamsburg:  Three nights, four tickets to Colonial Williamsburg and Christmas Town: $719.99
    Choose Your Own Hotel: Two nights, unlimited visits to Christmas Town: rates from $35/person/night
    Embassy Suites Williamsburg: Two-three nights, four tickets to Christmas Town, cooked-to-order daily breakfast: $529-$597

    Download a Christmas Town map!

    Have you been to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens? We’d love to hear your favorite experience! Leave a comment.

    Virginia is for Lovers



    Events, Family, The Holidays | Comments Off

    12 Places to Craft for Christmas

    by Casey | Posted on November 21st, 2013

    Some have green thumbs and others have fingers that can make something extraordinary from scraps. Is that you? I enjoy the challenge of crafting during the season of merriment and have identified 12 places for you to knock out some Pinterest inspiration and get your Picasso on.

    Let's Paint, Virginia Beach

    Let’s Paint, Virginia Beach

    Paint-your-own pottery is a hit for those who don’t own a potter’s wheel and a kiln. Walk in, pick the piece you’d like to paint, and get to it. Some studios offer a flat fee where the price tag on the piece includes firing. Others offer a flat firing fee that applies to all of the pieces you paint that day.

    • All Fired Up has three locations in the metro Richmond region – Midlothian, Carytown and Short Pump
    • Color Me Mine is another Richmond paint-your-own business.
    • You Made It! LLC in Harrisonburg is open daily for your painting pleasure.

    Keep your eye on art centers for class offerings geared toward adults or kids. You’ll find glass fusing, whittling, basketry, glass blowing, watercolor painting and more. You just need to know where to look!

    Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

    Blow your own ornament at Sunspots in Staunton.

    • Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center is located in Covington and has a Whittling Make-and-Take class for adults on November 23.
    • ArtSquare in Leesburg has many classes to offer, but of note is the Holiday Card Workshop for ages 10 and up on December 8.
    • Arts Depot in Abingdon has a Terra Cotta Angel workshop for all ages. Two dates: November 23 and December 7.
    • Bay School Community Arts Center is all about teaching. Sign up for a wide selection of upcoming classes: No-Sew Christmas Stocking, Christmas Tree Basket, Kids Gingerbread House and more.
    • Let’s Paint is located in Virginia Beach within Barclay Towers Resort on the oceanfront.
    • The Portsmouth Arts and Cultural Center is offering an Ornament and Tile Workshop November 29 and 30.
    • Sunspots Studios & Glass Blowing in Staunton invites you to blow your own glass ornament daily, by appointment.
    • The Glass Palette in Charlottesville is a studio where people of all ages can come in and fuse their own glass creations every day of the week.
    • The Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd has a wide variety of classes coming up: Needle Felting, Solid and Blown Glass Ornaments, Metal Ornament Experience and more.

      The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

      The Glass Palette, Charlottesville

     

    If you’re really not the crafty type but appreciate the art of others, explore our Arts Directory to locate an established painter, carver, potter, or other tradesperson for your holiday gift giving.

     

    Virginia is for Lovers.



    Events, Family, The Holidays | Comments Off

    Halloween at Virginia Theme Parks

    by Casey | Posted on October 25th, 2013

    If you have yet to experience the haunted parks of Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion this month, you need to go this weekend. It’s your last chance! Eeek!

    Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

    Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens

    Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens is in its 15th year and spookier than ever with four themed Terror-tories™ and killer food and drink options:

    • Ripper Row® in England
    • Vampire Point™ in Germany features Blood Banquet™
    • Demon Street™ in France features Demon Drinks
    • Ports of Skull™ in Italy features Pirate Baarrrgh™
    • Cut Throat Cove™ in Festa Italia features Buccaneer Galley

    Buy Now | $62-$72

     

    Halloween Haunt

    Halloween Haunt

    Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion has more than 450 monsters roaming the park as shrieks and screams fill the night.

    • 10 haunted mazes including to new ones – Miner’s Revenge and Zombie High
    • 5 spooky shows
    • 6 scare zones
    • Planet Snoopy transforms to Planet Spooky for daytime family fun – treasure map adventure, hay maze, pumpkin painting and more.

    Buy Now | $38.99-$64.99

     

    Find more Halloween fun!

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Free Travel Guide
    Subscribe to receive the Fall Foliage Report.

     



    Events, Fall in Virginia | Comments Off

    10 Free Things to Do this Fall in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on September 9th, 2013

    One of Virginia’s most beautiful seasons is upon us, and you must get out and enjoy the view. Take your scenic drive, but also incorporate one or two of these 10 free things to do this fall. Your weekends are going to be amazing!

    Callands Festival

    Callands Festival

    1. What a destination Waterford, Virginia is. Founded in 1733, the entire village is a National Historic Landmark and a majority of the buildings predating 1840 are still in use today. October 4-6 is the 70th Annual Waterford Homes Tour & Craft Exhibit. This should be a bucket list item for those who enjoy a walk through history. There are plenty of fun activities for kids, traditional music and dance, Colonial militia encampments, a fife and drum corps, and much more.
    ** Note: We’ve learned that there IS a fee for this event: $16 in advance; $20 at the gate. In light of that, an additional freebie!

    1B. The Callands Festival in Callands, Virginia was named a Local Legacy of American Folk Life and Culture by the Library of Congress in 2000. Join in the fun with reenactors representative of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, musicians, artisans, and guided tours of the historic buildings. Traditional foods will be available, as will beautifully handcrafted items. It’s happening October 5!

    2. The Booker T. Washington National Monument in Hardy marks the birthplace, early life and emancipation of educator, esteemed orator and presidential advisor, Booker T. Washington. September 21 is a special event, Harvest Time of 1863, which will portray tobacco plantation life during the harvest. Interpretive programs, craft demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides and fun for the children are all included in this free event.

    Fall Farm Fest on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Fall Farm Fest on the Blue Ridge Parkway

    3. Visit Westmoreland Berry Farm in Colonial Beach. Acres of Rappahannock River frontage are perfect for picnics and bird watching. The kids will enjoy a play area just for them, as well as the antics of the skywalking goats. Give the goats a nibble from the pulley feeder system; they love it! Westmoreland is a pick-your-own farm offering fall raspberries and pumpkins. Hitch a ride on the hay wagon to head to the fields. The only fee incurred at the farm is the rate for pick-your-own products or any cafe purchases you choose to make.

    4. A beautiful drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway delivers you to the Fall Farm Fest at Humpback Rocks Visitor Center and Pioneer Farm on September 15. The fun begins at 10 a.m. with mountain crafts workshops and live music.

    5. Day at the Point is a free fall festival now in its 16th year. Held October 5 in Lynchburg at Point of Honor, an 1815 Federal style mansion, the festivities include living history, kids games and activities, craft vendors, period music, candle making, beekeeping, blacksmithing, open hearth cooking, farm animals, and free tours of the 1815 historic home. Delicious food will be available for purchase, including Brunswick stew, barbecue, hot dogs, and homemade baked goods. Green thumbs may want to purchase special Point of Honor bulbs ready for fall planting.

    Richmond Folk Festival

    Richmond Folk Festival

    6. It’s rare to find a free three-day music festival, but Richmond has one. Check out the Richmond Folk Festival October 11-13. Seven stages will host more than 30 music and dance groups – ballet, reggae, bluegrass, Vietnamese, Scissors Dance, polka, salsa, gospel, Cajun … the list goes on. And there’s a place for kids with make-and-take crafts and special performers.

    7.  How about a hayride? The 60-acre Bluebird Gap Farm in Hampton offers the Bluebird Country Hayride once a month at noon. For fall, head that way on September 14, October 12 or November 9. It’s a leisurely ride around the farm, the pond, through the woods and back again. Before or after your hayride, find a picnic area to enjoy lunch, walk the nature trail or let the kids loose at the playground. 150 domestic and wild animals are on site; bring your quarters to feed farm animals. Hayride is weather dependent.

    Bluebird Gap Farm

    Bluebird Gap Farm

    8. Burke’s Garden is often referred to as God’s Thumbprint thanks to its aerial appearance – a giant thumbprint on the landscape of southwest Virginia. Visit this beautiful mountaintop valley during the Burke’s Garden Fall Festival on September 28, an annual event dating to 1987. “Handmade, homegrown and hands-on” is the feel of this festival that reflects farm living in the Heart of Appalachia.

    9. The next opportunity for you to enjoy Virginia’s National Parks for free is September 28. Not all of the National Parks charge a fee, but there are some very popular ones that do. Mark this date to visit Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Manassas National Battlefield Park, Shenandoah National Park and five others for free!

    10. Check out the two-day Culpeper Harvest Days Farm Tour through Virginia’s beautiful Culpeper County on October 5 and 6. Take your time touring through 18 farms and farm related businesses to get involved with some hands-on activities and demonstrations, as well as mingle with llamas, horses, cattle, and buffalo. Expect to see both traditional and unique farm experiences during this free weekend that really does have something for everyone – even wine and moonshine!

    Find more free ways to LOVE Virginia this fall: 40 or More Free Things to Do in Virginia

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Sign up to receive our weekly Fall Foliage Report.*

    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.

    ——————————————————————

    Related Articles:



    Events, Fall in Virginia, Festivals, Outdoors | Comments Off

    15 Fall Festivals for Family Fun

    by Casey | Posted on September 6th, 2013

    The kids are back in school and already longing for a break. What to do? Head to one of these golden opportunities we call fall festivals, of course!

    In no particular order, here are 15 of Virginia’s best fall festivals for families. Get out your calendar and let’s go.

    Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon

    Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon

    1. October 26-27 – Don’t miss the Fall Harvest Family Days at Mount Vernon for wagon rides, a straw bale maze, corn husk doll demonstrations, apple roasting, and plenty more 18th century shenanigans. Festival is included with Mount Vernon admission: Adults $15; children 6 to 11 $7 and children 5 and under are free. Buy Now

    If you think you’d like a riverboat ride with that, the Potomac River sightseeing cruises are half price during this time, too! Purchase your tickets through the Potomac Riverboat Company and admission to Mount Vernon (and the festival) is included!

    2. October 5 – The AT&T Virginia Children’s Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary in Norfolk, and you should be part of the fun! Geared completely toward kids ages 10 and younger, this festival includes more than 100 activities, storytelling, lots of hands-on fun, costumed characters, and fun shows. Food vendors are on hand. $3 per person.

    Belvedere Plantation Harvest Festival

    Belvedere Plantation Harvest Festival

    3. Sundays September 21 – November 3 – Head to Fredericksburg for the Belvedere Plantation Harvest Festival, featuring acres of pick-your-own pumpkins, hay rides, a maize maze, zip lines for little ones, a jumping pillow, pig races, barnyard animals and more. Fresh cider, pies, local honey and other wares are available, too. Children under two are free. Friday nights: $12/person. Weekends: $17/person. All-You-Can-Carry Pumpkins: $29.99 Buy Now

    4. September 21 – If you love apples, you’re going to love the Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park. From hot pots of boiling apples and apple foods to apple crafts, this is your place to be. Both you and the kids will enjoy live music, cloggers, face painting (yes, even you!), crafts and pony rides (okay, maybe not you). The event is free, but Skyline Drive access fee is $15 per vehicle.

    New Town Art Festival

    New Town Art Festival

    5. September 21 – The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville is hosting the Reptile Day Family Festival that will include more than 200 snakes and other reptiles. It’s the perfect place for kids who like to see and learn about cobras, rattlesnakes, alligators and other cool critters. $5/adult and $3/child.

    6. September 28 – Have a budding artist in your midst? Head to the New Town Art Festival in Williamsburg. $10 will get you the 4×4 creative space and sidewalk chalk, too! Prizes will be awarded for the theme “Take Flight.” It’s a great place to browse accomplished artists’ creations as well as create your own as an individual or family.

    7. October 10-13 – The Suffolk Peanut Festival is celebrating its 36th anniversary this year and it promises to be bigger and better than ever. Check out the demolition derby and tractor pulls in addition to the amusement rides, fireworks and, of course, peanuts. Free admission; $10 parking.

    Harrisonburg International Festival

    Harrisonburg International Festival

    8. September 28 – Give your kids a sense of appreciation for diversity when you attend the Harrisonburg International Festival together. Harrisonburg is comprised of many ethnic groups, bringing their traditions to you through dance, culinary arts, language and hand-crafted treasures. Taste foods from Ethiopia, Mexico, India, Thailand, Europe, Puerto Rico, and Central America, while performing arts are representative of the Aztec, Filipino, Indian, Irish, Chinese, and Kurdish communities. Free admission; plenty of food and crafts available for purchase.

    9. October 11-13 – The Richmond Folk Festival brings more than 30 diverse performing groups to seven stages over the course of three days. Check out the family area that boasts special characters and performers of its own, not to mention unique pirate-themed craft stations. Make-and-take an eye patch, a pirate hat, a telescope, a pirate flag, and maps. Free admission.

    Bland County Festival of Leaves

    Bland County Festival of Leaves

    10. October 11-13 – Have a knight or princess in your house rather than a pirate? If so, go to Newport News for the Harvest Faire. Medieval-themed family fun awaits! Visit the 15th century encampment, witness combat between knights, watch archers master their mark, and participate in pumpkin tossing and other period games. Feel free to come in costume! $15/adult Saturday, $10/adult Sunday or $20/adult for the whole weekend. Kids 6 to 12 are $10 for the weekend or $5/day. Buy Now to save on admission. Camping available.

    11. October 19 – The Harvest Festival in the Village of Aldie was Loudoun County’s Tourism Event of the Year in 2010 and it’s a great event for families. Historic Aldie Mill is the gorgeous backdrop for face painting, moon bounces, pony rides, blacksmith demonstrations, and the highly anticipated Firequacker Duck Race. Civil War reenactors from the 17th Mississippi Regiment will be on hand, and you can also look forward to grinding demonstrations inside the mill. This is a free event with an optional $5 parking donation recommended.

    12. October 12-13 – The Bland County Festival of Leaves is a free event that spreads across the fairgrounds and Court House lawn in Bland. It’s everything you’d expect a fall festival to be – great food, beautiful crafts, hayrides, entertainment, and many opportunities for kids to have a great time.

    Arborfest

    Arborfest

    13. October 12-13Arborfest is the annual fall festival of the State Arboretum of Virginia in Boyce. The grounds will be absolutely stunning (photo op!), but a cool draw or two for the kids? Make their own scarecrow ($5) and enjoy hay rides. For you? Nearly 40 vendors will be on hand with native plants for sale, as well as home and garden decor. Free guided tours. Admission is $10/vehicle.

    14. October 19 – Head to another beautiful arboretum – the Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens at James Madison University – for the Children’s Harvest Festival in Harrisonburg. Built for kids, the entertainment includes dance exhibitions and lessons, crafts, singers, instrument performances and lessons, story time, trail tours, seed collection activities, free horse-drawn wagon rides and more!

    Ashland Train Day

    Ashland Train Day

    15. November 2Ashland Train Day is a railroad destination event for the whole family. Expect railroad music and songs, a miniature children’s train ride, games, tons of model trails from LEGO to wooden and electric, model train racing, a moon bounce, and a whole lot more. Feel free to wear your engineer bibs and a bandana! This is a free event.

    It was hard to pick just 15 festivals for this list, so I encourage you to see the full festival directory to discover more.

    Here’s to a fantastic fall for your family from ours!

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Sign up to receive our weekly Fall Foliage Report.*

    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.

    —————————————————————————-

    Related Fall Articles:



    Events, Fall in Virginia, Family, Festivals | 3 Comments