What do you say the whole family goes away for Thanksgiving and lets someone else do the cooking? I say it’s a fantastic idea. No one slaves over the stove and everyone has a great time. Where can you do such a thing? Virginia’s mountains resorts come to mind. Check it out.
The Omni Homestead Resort
The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs will keep you plenty busy this Thanksgiving! In addition to the activities listed below, there are shopping opportunities, special movie showings in the historic theater, and the outdoor fun you’ve come to expect from this famed resort.
Thanksgiving Buffet at either Copper Mine Bistro or Devils Grill
The Plunge Tubing Park will be open (weather permitting)
Ski Swap – buy and sell used skis, boots, snowboards, ski clothing, etc.
Gingerbread House, Wreath and Ornament Workshops
What goes with Thanksgiving better than Native American Month? Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan is embracing the heritage and history to offer “Long Night’s Time,” a weekend full of Native American-themed special events.
Celebration of Native American Month
Presentation of famous Native Americans
Little-known inventions of Native Americans
Food sampling of a traditional Cherokee feast
Face painting activity
Basket weaving and beading display and presentation
Massanutten Resort Indoor Waterpark
Massanutten Resort offers comfortable accommodations, plus Thanksgiving dining at your choice of Fareways Restaurant & Lounge or Blue Ridge Buffet & Restaurant. The menus are all you’d expect of a traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey with stuffing and gravy, pumpkin bisque soup, apple pie … yum! If the temperatures are too warm for snowmaking, turn to the indoor waterpark! That’s a fun Thanksgiving for the kiddos!
Just like Massanutten, Bryce Resort also offers a Thanksgiving Day lunch buffet with all the trimmings. Stay in one of the resort condos or cabins and enjoy the holiday arts and craft show taking place on the 30th. It’s a great time to kick back and not do much at all or get out and shop the nearby towns.
Whatever your Thanksgiving plans, have fun and enjoy being together!
Last week we offered you Five Heartwarming Destinations for Your Holidays and this week we continue with five more for you to ponder. If you love the idea of taking a break to get some shopping done or to just break away and enjoy the moment, you might like these.
Christmas in Orange
Getting away to the country is quite relaxing, especially during the Christmas season. Sparkling storefronts and lamp poles induce memories of simpler times. Find such places when you spend a few days in Orange County.
Stay: The Inn at Willow Grove, Holladay House Bed and Breakfast, Inn at Westwood Farm
Dine: Elmwood at Sparks, Pomme, Stonefire Kitchen, Palladio Restaurant
Visit: James Madison’s Montpelier, The Market at Grelen, Four County Players, Barboursville Vineyards
Locally-owned shops reign supreme in Richmond, but if you’re seeking big-name stores, those are nearby, too! You’re going to love the cobblestones, the unique shops and vintage boutiques, and an amazing flare for food that only Richmond can offer.
Stay: The Jefferson Hotel, The One Bed and Breakfast, The Berkeley Hotel
Dine: Fresca on Addison, Sine Irish Pub & Restaurant, Tobacco Company, Pasture, Comfort, Can Can Brasserie
Visit: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Maymont, Segway of Richmond, Children’s Museum of Richmond, Ice Skating, Carytown
Bring on the glitz and add the cheer when you take in a little shopping and a little history in Fairfax County.
Stay: a wide choice of top hotel brands are available
Dine: Clyde’s, Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant, Härth
Visit: Reston Town Center, Wolf Trap, Mount Vernon, Gunston Hall, Woodlawn Plantation, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, Workhouse Arts Center, Tysons Corner Center, Tysons Galleria, Fairfax Square
If you love the nostalgic feel of Currier & Ives, Little Washington is your destination. A thriving arts community and the world renowned Inn at Little Washington are the claim to fame in this little slice of heaven in Rappahannock County.
Stay: Gay Street Inn, Heritage House Bed & Breakfast, Middleton Inn Bed and Breakfast
Dine: The Inn at Little Washington, The Blue Rock Inn Restaurant
Visit: Geneva Welch Gallery, The Theatre at Washington, Virginia, the five Artisanal Wineries of Rappahannock
This is the second post in our Heartwarming Getaways series. Be sure to subscribe to our posts so you don’t miss the next edition. In the mean time, leave a comment to tell us your favorite Virginia destination for the holidays.
Camping can be about getting away from it all, but it can also be about thrifty travel. If you save money on your accommodation, that savings can then be applied to nearby attractions and dining. Give it a try at one of these campgrounds that have great fun nearby.
Williamsburg KOA was built for family fun with many on-site special events and tons of fun nearby, too. The campground can accommodate RVs and campers of all sizes, but boast deluxe cabins with linens provided, too.
Ed Allen’s Campground and Cottages in Lanexa rests along the shores of Chickahominy Lake. It’s 85 acres of hardwoods, which equals stunning foliage. The lake sunsets rival the best you’ve seen anywhere, and the fishing is good, too.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
13. October 12-13 – Arborfest 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
15. November 2 – Ashland 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.