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8 Virginia Waterfalls for Your Fall Weekends

by Casey | Posted on October 7th, 2013

The colors of fall are coming through, but still patchy on the Blue Ridge mountains. That means you still have time to get out, catch the peak colors, and visit amazing waterfalls this season!

Falling Spring

Falling Spring

In Millboro, Douthat State Park is home to the Blue Suck Falls Trail, a three-mile moderate to difficult hike that includes a nice waterfall. One hiker proclaims, “Your long climb up the Blue Suck Falls is rewarded by one glorious vista after another.” Download the Trail Map

Falling Spring in Alleghany County is visible from the road, and an overlook provides information and a great view for photos. The spring waters keep this fall going year ’round, and its 80-foot drop is quite spectacular.

If you enjoy fall camping, reserve a space at Shenandoah Valley Campground in Verona before they close for the season in early November. They have their own on-site waterfall that pours into Middle River – a summer destination for tubing.

Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson has a waterfall along the Cabin Creek Trail. It’s a 1.8-mile hike  from the Massie Gap area of the park. Download the Trail Map

The Blue Ridge Parkway has its share of waterfalls. Try these two in Virginia.

1. Apple Orchard Falls is accessed from MP 78.4 at Sunset Fields Overlook, just north of Peaks of Otter. The trail is considered strenuous at a steep 1.4 miles downhill hike (uphill on the way back!), but the 200′ falls are calling …

2. Fallingwater Cascades can be accessed from MP 83.1 and is a moderate 1.6-mile out-and-back trail. It’s also designated a National Recreation Trail - a designation given to existing trails that contribute to health, conservation, and recreation goals in the United States.

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls

Crabtree Falls is a 1,200′ cascade and the highest vertical-drop cascade east of the Mississippi River. The lower falls is accessible to elderly and differently abled sightseers, making it an enjoyable outdoor experience for all. Over the course of the three-mile trail past the lower falls is a series of five major cascades and smaller ones. Access the trail from a fee-based lot at 11581 Crabtree Falls Highway, Montebello, VA 24464. And the view? Get a good glimpse from the top of the trail, or you can enjoy it from Crabtree Falls Highway up to/down from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

In the same vicinity of Crabtree Falls is the Campbell’s Creek Waterfall on the Mau-Har Trail. A hand-built swinging bridge delivers you across the Tye River, where the 1.5-mile hike will yield the 40′ waterfall. From Route 56 at Crabtree Falls, drive east for 3-4 miles; watch for the Appalachian Trail crossing and a parking lot on the left.

For more ways to enjoy this fall in Virginia, check out


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Show Off Your #FallinVA Pics!

by Casey | Posted on October 2nd, 2013

We can see that the colors are starting to show on the western side of the Commonwealth; keep ‘em coming!

If you’re not up to speed on what we’re looking for (and highlighting here), include #FallinVA as a hashtag on your Instagram photos to show off the view wherever you are in Virginia. We’re collecting our faves and displaying them here, on our Facebook page, and even in our Fall Foliage Reports. We can’t wait to see what you see!

Click the photo for more information about the location.

Pocahontas State Park by @daven10

Pocahontas State Park by @daven10

Crabtree Falls Trail by @samanthabrookephoto

Crabtree Falls Trail by @samanthabrookephoto

Depot Grille in Lynchburg by @jjriddick

Depot Grille in Lynchburg by @jjriddick

Lynchburg river view by @akpink

Lynchburg river view by @akpink

Red in Locust Grove by @dizzytaco

Red in Locust Grove by @dizzytaco

Early fall colors in Middleburg by @visitmiddleburg

Early fall colors in Middleburg by @visitmiddleburg

Shawnee Springs Market by @aponyrider

Shawnee Springs Market by @aponyrider

Be sure to follow us on Instagram, too, as we often re-share our favorites there!

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.
Virginia is for Lovers.

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230 Wineries and Counting

by Casey | Posted on October 1st, 2013

There is no shortage of great wine in Virginia with more than 230 wineries. Here are a few ideas to help you kick off your Virginia Wine Month adventure.

Jefferson Vineyards

Jefferson Vineyards

Sip the signature Virginia Viognier and Cabernet Franc from the leaders in its production – Barboursville, Keswick, Jefferson, Pollak, and Veritas – all in the greater Charlottesville area. Within easy driving distance of one another, you can easily make it a two-day excursion or spread it out to three. MAP

Why not pay a visit to recent recipients of the “Best of Readers’ Choice Awards” by Virginia Wine Lover Magazine to see which wines and wineries Virginians love most?

Best of … Central Virginia

  • Best Winery – Gray Ghost Vineyards, Amissville
  • Best Dessert Wine - 
  • Peaks of Otter – Pumpkin Pie
  • Best Fruit Wine – Peaks of Otter – Light Sweet Peach
  • Best Red Wine – Gray Ghost – Cabernet Franc 2011
  • Best Sparkling Wine – Barboursville – Brut
  • Best White Wine – Veritas – Viognier

Best of … Eastern Virginia

  • Best Winery – Chatham Vineyards
  • Best Dessert Wine – Williamsburg – Late Harvest Vidal Blanc 2009
  • Best Fruit Wine – Williamsburg – Raspberry Merlot
  • Best Red Wine – Chatham – Cabernet Franc 2009/2010 blend
  • Best Sparkling Wine – Ingleside – Virginia Brut
  • Best White Wine – Chatham – Church Creek Steel (unoaked) Chardonnay 2010

Best of … Northern Virginia

  • Best Winery – Sunset Hills Vineyard, Purcellville
  • Best Dessert Wine – Breaux – Nebbiolo Ice 2011
  • Best Fruit Wine – Mattaponi – Pow Wow Chocolate-Covered Strawberry
  • Best Red Wine – Barrel Oak – BOW Norton 2011
  • Best Sparkling Wine – Paradise Springs – Apres Sparkling Viognier
  • Best White Wine – Sunset Hills – Viognier 2011

Best of … Shenandoah Virginia

  • Best Winery – Cave Ridge Vineyard, Mount Jackson
  • Best Dessert Wine – Cave Ridge – Fandango 2010
  • Best Fruit Wine – Shenandoah – Raspberry Serenade
  • Best Red Wine – Cave Ridge – Red Silk 2007
  • Best White Wine – Bluestone – Beau

Virginia Wine MapBest of … Southern Virginia

  • Best Winery – Rosemont Vineyards and Winery, La Crosse
  • Best Dessert Wine – Rosemont – Lake Country Sunset
  • Best Fruit Wine – Bright Meadows Farm – BAG Wine (Blackberry, Apple, Grape [Concord])
  • Best Red Wine – Annefield – Cabernet Franc 2010
  • Best White Wine – Annefield – Viognier 2011

Best of … Western Virginia

  • Best Winery – Chateau Morrisette, Floyd
  • Best Dessert Wine – Chateau Morrisette – Frosty Dog
  • Best Fruit Wine – Attimo – Sweet Berry Sunset
  • Best Red Wine – Attimo – A.D. 325 2011
  • Best Sparkling Wine – Chateau Morrisette – Star Dog 2008
  • Best White Wine – Chateau Morrisette – Our Dog Blue

Finally, stretch your legs for a few days with a Virginia 48-Hour Fall Getaway that is riddled with wineries and great food.  Our two examples include wineries in Northern Virginia (Berryville to Delaplane) and Coastal Virginia (Eastern Shore to Williamsburg and beyond).

These are just a few ideas to get you started, but we have a handy-dandy wine map that might generate a few more ideas. Check it out, and use our other friendly tool, the Trip Planner, to make your own custom weekend complete with driving directions.

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14 Places to Enjoy Fall Foliage in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on September 27th, 2013

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you might have caught on that we ask “the locals” for recommendations every now and again. This group has been helpful in identifying the best BBQ joints, the best breakfasts, and more. Today, we present to you their suggestions for the best places to enjoy the fall foliage in their area.

Humpback Rocks

Humpback Rocks


Humpback Rocks – Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 6

- “360 degree views of the Shenandoah Valley. Migrating birds can often be seen here in the fall, especially hawks.”
- “Take the trail up from the Humpback Gap parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the rocky ledges above for amazing 360 degree views on top of the slanted rock. Just north at Milepost 5.8 is the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center with a mountain farm exhibit.”


Hiking Crabtree Falls Trail

Hiking Crabtree Falls Trail

Crabtree Falls – 11581 Crabtree Falls Highway, Montebello

- “Enjoy a 2 1/2 mile hike up along the falls, with 4 overlooks to the cascading falls. You can hike further to the Appalachian Trail or head back down to relax for lunch at one of the picnic tables available next to the parking lot or view the Tye River from an arched wooden bridge that crosses over it.”
- “Just a few miles west of Crabtree Falls on Rt. 56 West is the Montebello State Fish Hatchery, the Montebello Country Store and Montebello Camping & Fishing Resort, and then just a few miles further is the Blue Ridge Parkway for panoramic fall foliage views!”


The gorge at Balcony Falls

The gorge at Balcony Falls

Balcony Falls Overlook – Route 501, Glasgow, on the Rockbridge/Amherst County Line

- “Kayaking, Canoeing, Hiking, FISHING!! Confluence Outfitters offers guided fishing through the gorge here and it is the most beautiful place to see the leaves changing and catch fish at the same time!”
- “Devil’s Marbleyard is close by.” (Devil’s Marbleyard is a 3-mile round trip hike that highlights boulders the size of cars.)


North Mountain Trail – Fire Road 447 off I-64, exit 43 in Rockbridge County. Drive in 6.7 miles to the parking lot at Route 770.

- “The trail features stream habitats, interesting rock formations, varied forest types, opportunities for wildlife viewing and panoramic views as it rises in elevation from 1,700 feet to 3,200 feet. At mile 3, narrow rock stairs descend between huge boulders. Once on the crest of the mountain, there are excellent views to the east of Lake Robertson and the Peaks of Otter.”


Hungry Mother State Park

Hungry Mother State Park

Back of the Dragon – Route 16 between Tazewell and Marion

- “The 32 mile stretch of highway has several pull-over areas.”
- “The vistas are incredibly beautiful in the Fall. The colors are amazing. Wildlife is abundant.”
- “Watch for lots of sports cars and motorcycles. Dubbed “Back of the Dragon,” the winding curves extend over three mountains and 260 curves.”
- “On the north side of the Back of the Dragon (Route 16), the historic town of Tazewell is located. Travelers can enjoy the Historic Crab Orchard Museum, dine at places such as The Blue Dandelion, or Your Grate Escape is a treat. Cavitt’s Creek Park/Lake Jack Witten offers full service camping, fishing, paddle boat rides. On the south side of the Back of the Dragon is Hungry Mother State Park and the historic town of Marion, Virginia.”


Burkes Garden – Tazewell

The Channels Natural Area Preserve

The Channels Natural Area Preserve

- “Driving around the 12 mile “bowl,” there are several places to pull off. Public restrooms are located at the Community Center.”
- “Stop by the Lost World Ranch for a camel ride or sit on the Burke’s Garden General Store‘s front porch and enjoy a homemade piece of pie, or even have a sandwich with freshly baked bread. Go to the Appalachian Trail and take a hike.”


The Channels Natural Area Preserve – Route 80 on the Russell/Washington County Line

- “It is a fantastic hike with views for miles.”
- “The Channels itself is a sandstone rock formation.”
- “Near The Channels is Laurel Bed Lake, which sits atop the Clinch Mountain Range in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area. On the drive up to Laurel Bed there are numerous waterfalls along Big Tumbling Creek as well as foliage and Mountain Laurel.”


Patrick Henry's Red Hill - Quarter Place Cabin

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill – Quarter Place Cabin

Patrick Henry’s Red Hill – 1250 Red Hill Road, Brookneal

- “As you are driving down Red Hill Road, entering the National Memorial to Patrick Henry you will be immersed in the colors of Autumn. The 525 acres consists of thousands of trees and scenic views of the Staunton River Valley. We have the nation’s largest Osage Orange tree on the property that towers over the reconstructed home of Patrick Henry. Guests have the option to walk down two trails that showcases an abundance of trees in their Autumn splendor. The views are absolutely breathtaking at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill in the Fall.”
- “There is a great winery just up the road, Sans Soucy Vineyard that has a beautiful tasting room and charming vistas. A unique and delicious option for lunch, the Drug Store Grill, is in the town of Brookneal about 5 miles away.”


Devil's Bathtub & Waterfall

Devil’s Bathtub & Waterfall

Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens – 780 University Blvd. Harrisonburg

- “The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is a treasure in the fall. You can bring food and have a picnic, walk the trails, bird watch, spot stunning florals and fauna, enjoy the peaceful new fountain feature, and more.”
- The entire space is worth a view! It encompasses 125 acres of urban botanical preserve. It provides an ideal combination of naturalized botanical gardens and forest.”


Bark Camp Lake – Jefferson National Forest at High Knob, Scott County

- “Yes, there are trails to walk plus you can take non-motorized boats (canoes, kayaks) picnic area plus a small amphitheatre.”
- Nearby are “Devil’s Bathtub, Falls of Little Stony and Hanging Rock Park.”


Hidden Valley Lake – Routes 19 and 690 on the Washington/Russell County Line

- “This area is great for hunting and fishing during the fall. There is a boat landing to launch your boat.”
- “Hiking is wonderful in this area but there are some steep grades so it is not for all ages. The elevation level is perfect to take in the mountain scenery and enjoy the breath taking views of SWVA.”
- “This wildlife area is an attraction all together with lots of different options for an entire day trip. It is truly located in the middle of nowhere but peace and quiet.”


The Virginia Creeper Trail near Abingdon, VA

The Virginia Creeper Trail

Abingdon Vineyard and Winery – 20530 Alvarado Road, Abingdon

- “The Winery is a wonderful place for a tasting while enjoying the wonderful landscaping with trees and the creek.”
- “The Virginia Creeper Trail is located near the winery. You can ride your bikes over to the winery for a tasting and lunch.”
- “The Alvarado area is also great for kayaking and canoeing down the creek/river. There is also a small general store located next to the trail that serves ice cream and snacks. This area is a gem hidden along the VA Creeper Trail.”


Tobacco Heritage Trail – Town of Victoria

- “Take a picnic, hike, bike or ride a horse down the trail; geocache; visit the Brunswick Museum & Historic Society or downtown shops.”
- “The Colonial Center in South Hill. It is a beautifully renovated vaudeville theatre that has an art gallery and lots of great local talent starring in community theatre productions. Also, eat at the Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill. It got its name from being an old horse powered mill. Yummy twists on traditional diner food. Close to the Colonial.”


Old House Vineyards – 14706 Lee Highway, Culpeper

- “Wine tastings, fishing, picnicking, relaxing on the fire pit patio, outside brick pizza oven. Vineyard is nestled and surrounded by mountain views on all sides. Beautiful FALL sunsets!”


Looking for a weekend or longer getaway? See our series of eight posts detailing just that:

Part 8Part 7 - Part 6 - Part 5 - Part 4 - Part 3 - Part 2 - Part 1

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Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Locals, Outdoors | 3 Comments

48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 8 of 8

by Casey | Posted on September 26th, 2013

Absorb the rich history and heritage of Virginia this fall while being surrounded by flashes of orange and yellow. Most assuredly, a walk along cobblestone streets brings a piece of Virginia’s patriotic past to your present. Huzzah! These 48-hour getaways are made for those who thrive in beautiful surroundings with a story to tell.

In Richmond, History is Always in Season

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Architecture takes center stage in the capital city, and fall foliage makes it all the more breathtaking. Among your must-sees are Agecroft Hall, a 15th-century English Tudor-style home rebuilt in Richmond in 1925;  Virginia House, a 12th-century house transported from England to Richmond in 1925, redesigned and rebuilt with gardens by Charles Gillette; and Maymont, a Victorian estate and mansion furnished with rare, shiny things, and surrounded by lush gardens and stately trees.

As you admire the town, dine around and enjoy the tastes, too. The Dairy Bar is a milkshake hot-spot while Can Can Brasserie is a fine place for dinner in bustling Carytown. Just on the outskirts of downtown proper and on the banks of the James is The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing. Sunsets from the deck are breathtaking.

Rest for a while at Linden Row Inn, The Jefferson Hotel, or perhaps Grace Manor Inn. All have their own unique story to tell, and you’ll feel right at home.

The rest of your hours can be spent traversing beautiful places in greater Richmond, like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Meadow Farm Museum. Or, take a trip down plantation lane, or Route 5, as it’s more commonly known. Along the James River are the James River Plantations – Belle Air, Berkeley, Edgewood, North Bend, Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation, Shirley, Sherwood Forest, and Westover. Some are open to the public and others are not. Please call ahead if you’d like to make a visit.

Fredericksburg Fall Haunts

FoodE Courtyard

FoodE Courtyard

Loaded with Civil War history, as well as presidential history, the Fredericksburg area has fall fun in store with historic haunts. Touting several farm-to-table restaurants, you’ll have no trouble finding a great place to eat. It’s the decision that’s tough. Will it be Bistro Bethem, FoodE, or  maybe Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen?

Get down to serious shenanigans of a historic kind with the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour. It’s a 90-minute, leisurely paced walking tour complete with a costumed guide wielding a lantern.

Rest comfortably at Hampton Inn and Suites or Wytestone Suites, where the mulit-room accommodations allow the family to spread out. Shut-eye will be key for what lies ahead …

Hit the history hard, but in the daylight this time. In your midst is Fredericksburg Battlefield and National Cemetery, the Confederate Cemetery, St. George’s Church, and Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop. Sprinkle in stops along the way, like lunch at Virginia Barbeque and a sweet treat at Goolrick’s Pharmacy.

Looking to skirt around some history and add a dash of adrenaline-burning fun for the kids? Belvedere Plantation is your place. Pick your own pumpkins, enjoy a hayride, visit with the animals at the petting zoo, and even take a turn in the Maize Maze.

Heart of Appalachia Driving Tour

Breaks Interstate Park

Breaks Interstate Park

Get in touch with coal mining heritage, mountain music heritage, and the beautiful natural wonders of Southwest Virginia when you spend 48 hours driving through autumn’s color.

The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Tazewell County was an operational mine from 1882 to 1955 and is the only exhibition coal mine designated a National Historic Landmark. Swing through for photos or call to arrange a tour if you’re with 11 or more people.

Nearby, the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park shares their 14 log cabins to display life from the 1800s – when this area was considered the “wild, wild west.” Speaking of “the west” being here in Southwest Virginia, don’t miss Breaks Interstate Park, dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the South.” It’s right on the Virginia/Kentucky border and the overlooks will absolutely, unequivocally take. your. breath. away. In fact, settle in for the night in one of their luxury cabins, and enjoy dinner at the Rhododendron Restaurant on-site.

Tap into the music and arts heritage of the area with stops at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, the John Fox Jr. Museum (author of Trail of the Lonesome Pine and other novels), and the June Tolliver House & Folk Art Center in Big Stone Gap.

If you want to further extend your stay or add in some outdoor sites, consider Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Gap Caverns, Wilderness Road State Park, or Natural Tunnel State Park. Each is an immensely beautiful and important stop.

LOVE's a Trip - 48 Hour Fall Getaways


If you’re looking for more suggestions on places to spend 48 hours of your time this fall in Virginia, see these previous posts from our series of eight:

Part 7 - Part 6 - Part 5 - Part 4 - Part 3 - Part 2 - Part 1

LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.
Virginia is for Lovers.

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48 Hours, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, History | 1 Comment