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
    This is the #sunset from the #dock at #Merroir restaurant in Topping, VA last Friday evening. #Tranquility on #Virginia's #ChesapeakeBay. Swing by this weekend and get some #VAoysters in your belly! And tag your VA #oyster photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #photooftheday #latergram #eatlocal
    @rbuck65 recently hiked Bearfence #Mountain off of #SkylineDrive, and this was the reward! This #hike is fairly short with a nice payoff. The trail head is near mile marker 56.4 on the Skyline Drive. #photooftheday #repost #epic #hiking #mountaintop #sunset #blueridgemountains #vaoutdoors Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here!
    Have you hiked Roaring Run Trail in Eagle Rock, #VA? An excellent family #hike, the trail passes rock walls, cascading water, five foot bridges and even a natural water slide before ending at Roaring Run Falls. At the head of the trail is Roaring Run Furnace, ruins of a 19th century furnace operation. Roaring Run #Creek is also known for trout fishing. #VAOutdoors #waterfall #loveva #repost #roaringrun #virginia #perspective #photooftheday Kudos to @spezzaroo for the beautiful photo!
    Hot diggity dog! It's National Hot Dog Day, so we thought we'd share this beef brisket, apple jicama slaw, poblano #BBQ #footlong #hotdog from the Continental Westhampton for #lunch. Grab a hot dog at your local joint and celebrate! #loveva #vafoood #nationalhotdogday #rva #craftbeer #vabeer @rvanews
  • Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

    22 Places to Eat Like a Local

    by Casey | Posted on August 16th, 2013

    We’ve asked and received recommendations for the most amazing Virginia breakfasts, highly acclaimed BBQ, comfortable patio dining, best places to enjoy a craft beer and favorite ice cream spots. All of these recommendations came from locals in the know. Yet, there was one more thing we had to ask:

    Where is the best place to eat like a local, regardless of the time of day or menu specialty?

    It turns out that some familiar names popped up. In addition, local pride and loyalty made appearances. Read on.

    Central Virginia

    Millie's Diner

    Millie’s Diner

    By a wide margin, Millie’s Diner in Richmond was the most recommended place to eat like a local. What’s more, Millie’s was also one of the most recommended establishments for a great breakfast. Why so hot? “One word — scallops — the best in the U.S.” Or more words, if you’re not a fan of scallops:

    - “The most delicious place to eat in all of Richmond, hands down. I have ordered things there that I never would have tried anywhere else, just because I know that there is NO WAY it wouldn’t be absolutely delicious coming from Millie’s kitchen.”
    - “I live in Reston, VA and make it a point to eat at Millie’s EVERY time I am in Richmond.”
    - “It was the place I chose to pop the question a couple years ago.”
    - “I ate there every Sunday for two years … they saved a stool for me at the end of the counter. Now THAT is local.”

    So what’s good to eat at Millie’s?

    - “Thai Shrimp! I ordered it every Friday night the first year Millie’s was open, then decided the rest of the menu was probably good as well (and it is). We have been eating there for 25 years.”
    - “Any one of the messes, though my favorite is Castro’s Mess.”
    - “Devil’s Mess, Cajun Mess, or anything really. Especially the Bloody Mary.”
    - “Love their vegetarian selections!”

    Other great places to eat like a local in Central Virginia:

     

    Southern Virginia

    The Horseshoe Restaurant's Pimento Cheeseburger

    The Horseshoe Restaurant’s Pimento Cheeseburger

    The Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill is a classic diner operating since the 1930s. Southern eats like pimento cheese and fried pickles are daily offerings, as are stories of Roy Kelly (“Second Machine Gun Kelly”) and his arrest at the restaurant. The front page of the South Hill Enterprise dated December 31, 1938 stretches across one wall of the restaurant and features Kelly peering from behind bars. It’s just one of the cool pieces of this historic establishment that feeds the locals and travelers alike.

    What to eat at The Horseshoe?

    - “The Fried Green Tomato BLT is the best sandwich. Peanut Butter Pie and Chocolate Walnut are both out of this world.”
    - “Everything on the menu is awesome.”

     

    Blue Ridge Highlands

    Burger Bar

    Burger Bar

    Wytheville loves their skeeterdogs. What’s a skeeterdog? A “World Famous Hot Dog” from Skeeter’s Restaurant, operating in historic downtown since 1920. Skeeter’s shares space in a building that was also the birthplace of First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson. Presidential hot dogs, perhaps?

    Burger Bar is an authentic Bristol original. A mainstay since 1942, it’s been long-said that Hank Williams enjoyed his last meal here. Pair your country music history with a classic burger and you get menu items like “Hey Good Looking,” in honor of one-time devoted customer Ernie Ford. The locals love “Oh My Cheese!,” two grilled cheese sandwiches with a burger between them.

    Other great places to eat like a local in the Blue Ridge Highlands:

     

    Coastal Virginia

    Ham is a typical Virginia staple and you can enjoy a fresh ham biscuit on the front porch at Edwards Ham Shoppe in Surry. One local suggests you “wash it down with a cold, old-fashioned bottled soda” for a true local experience.

    Smitty’s Better Burger has been a local favorite in Hampton since 1956. A true drive-in with car hops, Smitty’s is a classic Old School experience that one local says is used “to impress visitors from out of town.” We do like to show off the things that are quintessentially “ours,” don’t we? Recommended menu item is the Better Burger, of course, “with cheese, fries and a drink!”

     

    Northern Virginia

    Tim's Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse

    Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse

    It’s a neat little historic tavern, but what you really want to know about Amy’s Cafe in Fredericksburg is what one local said: “The ribs are to die for!” Find Amy on West Cambridge Street and tell her someone really loves chef’s baby back ribs.

    Waterside dining at Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse is beautiful. Find Tim’s in Dumfries. The restaurant sits at one of the widest points of the Potomac River, offering sweeping views that are incredible from inside or out. The tiki bar is a great place to hang out and enjoy a beer with your seafood, burger or sandwich.

    Don’t be deterred by the name. Old Town Caterers & Deli in Manassas offers a diverse menu with international flair. The local favorite is the shrimp bisque.

     

    Shenandoah Valley

    Texas Tavern

    Texas Tavern

    Have you ever heard of a Liars Table? I had not and so inquired with our local about his recommendation of Hi Neighbor Country Restaurant in Strasburg. He mentioned the Liars Table as one of the main draws and I had to know why. He wrote, “The Liars Table is one of those things that really make a small town local restaurant.” He elaborated, naming names, to tell me that groups of “local characters” keep one particular table full all day long from about 5:30 a.m. until closing. One group coming in after the next, shooting the breeze, talking “local politics, news, etc.”

    I imagine that Hi Neighbor, a community staple since 1949, serves great food along with warm hospitality. What to eat? Our local says the “homemade biscuits with homemade sausage or chipped beef gravy are awesome,” but notes that the burgers and sandwiches are, too.

    In Roanoke, the name Texas Tavern dates to 1930. This love-worn establishment has been in the same family for four generations and is acclaimed for “Best Chili,” “Best Hot Dogs,” “Best Local Hamburgers,” and “Best Late-Night Dinner” by readers of  Roanoker magazine. Saunter up to the counter and enjoy home-cooked food 24 hours a day.

    Sal’s Italian Bistro in Edinburg is best summed up by the local B&B owner who wrote, “Sal, the owner, is the ‘real deal’ from Naples, Italy. The food is authentic and fabulous. Huge portions. We send all our B&B guests there.”

    Staunton’s Mill Street Grill offers a variety of menu items, but the one thing our local raved about was the ribs (look out Amy!). “Ribs are fall off the bone excellent. I’ve yet to have something that wasn’t excellent.”

    Other great places to eat like a local in the Shenandoah Valley:

    Where is your favorite place to eat like a local? Leave a comment to let us know!



    Food, Locals | 6 Comments

    Five Can’t-Miss Virginia Craft Beer Events

    by Casey | Posted on August 8th, 2013

    Craft beer lovers are invited to converge upon several festivals and special events this month – August Virginia Craft Beer Month.

    Saturday, August 10 is Microfestivus at Roanoke’s Elmwood Park. More than 100 beers from 40 Mid-Atlantic micro and craft breweries will be on tap for 4 oz. and 8 oz. tastings. The event is rain or shine and a valid ID must prove you’re 21. Admission is $5 plus the cost of tastings. Purchase tickets in advance for discounts. Virginia has 19 participating craft brewers for Microfestivus. Festival Map and Beer List

    Virginia Craft Beer Week at Boar's Head Inn

    Virginia Craft Beer Week at Boar’s Head Inn

    Monday through Friday, August 12-16 is Craft Beer Week at Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville. Burgers are the main menu item and a different craft beer or cider will be suggested as an optimal flavor enhancement for each.

    Need an example? Ask for the Boar’s Head Sirloin Burger covered in aged cheddar, Applewood-smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle, and served with handcut fries. The suggested beverage is Starr Hill’s Jomo Lager, described by Starr Hill as “a crossover beer that appeals to the broadest spectrum of brew aficionados.” Burgers are $16 to $22 and beers are $5.75 per bottle. Available for lunch and dinner. Beer and Burger Week Menu

    Saturday, August 17 is Three Brothers Brewing Co.’s Beer Month Celebration in Harrisonburg. Enjoy live music from three different bands, as well as fantastic local food from Jack Brown’s and Log Cabin BBQ, plus iced coffee from Lucas Roasting Co.

    Virginia Craft Brewers FestSaturday, August 24 is the Second Annual Virginia Craft Brewers Festival hosted by Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland. The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday night camping is offered for a fee of $15 per person, $10 per car and $50 per RV.

    The Virginia Craft Beer Cup presented by Virginia is for Lovers will be awarded to the best overall beer as selected by certified judges. Festival-goers will enjoy live music from five different bands, craft beer from 29 Virginia craft breweries and great local food. Admission is $10 for designated drivers and non-drinking attendees ages 13 and older (soft drinks and water included in admission). Purchase a $35 tasting package in advance to save $10, or a VIP tasting package for $45 that is available in advance only. Children 12 and under are free.

    Looking for the lastest brew to be tapped? It just might be Exquisitely Evil Ale, a Double IPA that will be released Thursday, August 29 at Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford. Come out at 5 p.m. for a brewery tour prior to sampling Exquisitely Evil, and stay for paired food specials until 9 p.m.

    In addition, consider these opportunities:

    Looking for more on Virginia Craft Beer? Look no further than Virginia.org/CraftBeer/ for a map of brewery locations and more upcoming events.



    Beer, Events, Food | Comments Off

    Eat Up! August is National Peach Month!

    by Casey | Posted on August 2nd, 2013

    Fresh, juicy peaches are unbeatable, if you love peaches. And if you love peaches, you’re going to LOVE August! August is National Peach Month and here are all the fun things you need to know to capitalize on the peach harvest.

    Chiles Peach Orchard

    Chiles Peach Orchard

    Where to Pick

    Cana – Ayers Orchard – Right at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains is this beautiful pick-your-own orchard and century farm. Available varieties of peaches and nectarines are China Pearl, Red Skins, Alberta, Jersey Queen, Jefferson and Georgia Belles. By next week Yellow Hale should be ready to pick.

    Crozet – Chiles Peach Orchard – Check out the farm market and ice cream parlor where amazing treats await. Hot, fresh donuts, pies, fudge … it’s a heavenly place! This Saturday and Sunday, August 3 & 4, is the annual Homemade Peach Ice Cream Days. Grab some and then pick your own yellow Freestone for $1.39/lb. or Donut peaches for $1.99/lb.

    Crozet – Henley’s Orchard – For more than 75 years Henley’s has been growing and sharing peaches, nectarines and more. Fresh preserves and homemade peach ice cream is waiting for you here!

    Saunders Brothers Farm Market

    Saunders Brothers Farm Market

    Piney River – Saunders Brothers Orchard & Farm Market – The first peaches of the season are now available! All varieties are $2.99/lb or go all out and pick a peck or a bushel. As the month goes on, expect the Loring, Sugar Giant, Blake and Mr. Carson varieties to be ready. Spend some time this Saturday, August 3, enjoying the antique farm equipment display.

    MORE Farms & Orchards

     

    Peach Festivals

    Winchester – Peach FestivalAugust 10, 2013 – Probably every peach dish you can imagine can be found at this festival. Peach cobbler, pie, turnovers, ice cream … the list goes on! Enjoy the live music from 1 to 3 p.m. and load the kids up on the cow train.

    Meadows of Dan – Annual Meadows of Dan Folk FairAugust 17, 2013 – Musicians, crafts, fun activities for the kids, and plenty of peaches in various edible forms — even peach butter made like apple butter!

    Middletown – Richard’s Fruit Market Peach FestivalAugust 18, 2013 – It’s a day of family fun with haywagon and barrel train rides, plus a petting zoo and all the peaches you care to eat.

    MORE Festivals

     

    A Peach Recipe for You

    Easy Fresh Peach Preserves by  Karla Jones Seidita of Cheesecake FarmsEasy Fresh Peach Preserves from Karla Jones Seidita of Cheesecake Farms in Sumerduck.

    • 8 to 10 ripe peaches (about 3 1/2 lbs.)
    • 3 T. lemon juice
    • 1 1/4 c. sugar

    Peel and pit peaches. Remove any bruised spots and discard. Coarsely mash. Stir in lemon juice. Measure peahces and juice – you should have about five cups.

    Put mashed peaches and juice in a large skillet (not cast iron). Add sugar and cover the pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for one minute with the lid on, then remove lid. Reduce heat so peaches bubble but don’t boil over.

    Cook, stirring, until mixture reduces in volume by half (about eight minutes). Do not overcook. Preserves thicken as they cool.

    Remove from heat and skim away any foam. Immediately ladle into a heat-proof container. Cool uncovered at room temperature for about an hour, then cover and refrigerate. Stores refrigerated for up to one week.

    Have a peach recipe you’d love to share? Leave a comment!



    Food | Comments Off

    10 Virginia B&Bs with a Notable Breakfast

    by Casey | Posted on July 30th, 2013

    Recently we rolled out 22 Great Breakfast Spots in Virginia - as nominated by locals – and the response has been fantastic. In that same spirit of morning delights and food that’s worth the drive, we present to you 10 Virginia B&Bs with a Notable Breakfast.

    Innkeepers Sam and Sharon Elswick in the kitchen at Holladay House B&B.

    Innkeepers Sharon and Sam Elswick in the kitchen at Holladay House B&B.

    The innkeepers of Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange take their breakfast seriously. Organic, locally-sourced ingredients are key to their morning preparations. The innkeepers are dedicated to supporting local farms and businesses, and you’ll find a list of their food partners here. In addition to the freshest breakfast possible (and made to your dietary specifications), Holladay House serves Holladay House Signature Coffee in cooperation with Orange County Coffee Roasters. It’s a custom roast that you can take home.

    Chestnut Cove B&B in Farnham is your choice bed and breakfast for hands-on stained glass creations, but don’t stop there. Guests have raved that the “scones at breakfast are worth the drive alone,” and that the innkeepers offer an “absolutely yummy breakfast burrito with beautiful presentation.”

    Ivycrest Inn B&B in Christiansburg is a grand Victorian with multiple spaces in which to enjoy your buffet-style hot breakfast each morning. One guest wrote of Ivycrest, “… woke up to a wonderful smell. We had a breakfast casserole and apple dumplings.” I’m imagining those hot apples on the porch during fall, myself.

    *Holladay House, Chestnut Cove and Ivycrest Inn were all nominated to be included in the 22 Great Breakfast Spots in Virginia post, but we felt this post was a much better place for you to find them.

    Channel Bass Inn on Chincoteague Island was recognized in May 2013 by The Daily Meal as one of the Top 50 US Bed and Breakfasts for Food. Fresh baked breads, fruits, warm compote, farm-fresh eggs and then some make the Channel Bass breakfast a “very full breakfast.” After you’ve enjoyed a great breakfast and whiled away the day, a three o’clock four-course tea affair awaits you, complete with scones and quite a variety more.

    The Magnolia House Inn in Hampton received attention from Essence in 2010, as innkeeper Joyce Blair’s Croissant French Toast was highlighted in a healthy living article. The intro to the article reads, “Four innkeepers at African-American-owned B&Bs share delectable recipes that will have your brunch guests wanting to stay the night.” Why not stay with Joyce, enjoy her french toast to see how it’s really supposed to taste, and then whip them up at home?

    Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles has a farm-to-table philosophy for their breakfasts, making the preserves and jams from scratch, and serving a delicious meal using backyard and local ingredients. In addition, Bay Haven serves a personalized, micro-roast coffee by Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Company. If available, ask for their signature sweet potato biscuits with Virginia country ham!

    Bay Haven Inn's signature sweet potato biscuits with Virginia country ham.

    Bay Haven Inn’s signature sweet potato biscuits with Virginia country ham.

    At the Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Lynchburg, you can expect a wide variety of three-course breakfast offerings, but also a special of the month. As fall approaches, let the idea of pumpkin waffles topped with apples and walnuts dance in your head, or maybe a gingerbread waffle in December? Dietary restrictions can be met with 48 hours’ notice.

    Cedar Springs Inn in Charlottesville boasts beautiful porch seating with expansive mountain views for their big country breakfasts. Each guest is served a personal loaf of coffeecake or sweet bread, plus fruit, choice of meat or fish, and choice of two savory and one sweet entree. There’s no reason to skip this breakfast.

    The White Pig Bed and Breakfast in Schuyler specializes in vegan breakfasts and is an oasis for rescued animals. White Pig has been honored as a winner of the Veggie Awards (2004) by VegNews, and by PETA with a Proggy Award (2004). Expect to find delicious offerings on their breakfast menu, including organic Belgium waffles with fresh strawberries.

    Williamsburg Sampler Bed and Breakfast in Williamsburg was honored with a proclamation from the Mayor of Williamsburg in 2008 in part for their US Registered Trademark SkipLunch® Breakfast. That term came to be, as their website explains, when the innkeepers were worried a guest who happened to be a college football player with a big appetite wouldn’t be satisfied with his breakfast. They served him a hungry man’s style breakfast and the player said, “Thanks for the Skip Lunch Breakfast.” And the breakfasts at Williamsburg Sampler have never been the same.

    Without a doubt there are dozens more amazing B&B breakfasts in Virginia and we want to hear about them! Simply leave a comment so we’ll know and others will, too.

    In the mean time, head over to Virginia.org to find more bed and breakfast inspiration to plan your next trip. LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers!

    RELATED: 10 Acclaimed Virginia Inns



    Food, Locals | 5 Comments

    23 Great Breakfast Spots in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on July 18th, 2013

    You’re traveling through or vacationing in Virginia and you’re looking for the best breakfast in town. Who might know where to find it? The Locals. When we decided to create a list of the best breakfasts in Virginia we asked none other than … the locals. With that, we present to you 23 favorite breakfast hangouts across Virginia.

     

    Shenandoah Valley

    Little Grill Collective is a 1940s Harrisonburg mainstay that has been worker-owned since 2003. Their menu is diverse with the usual breakfast options plus vegan and vegetarian delights, too. Little Grill has been voted the best breakfast in Harrisonburg six times over. One local suggests, “Try their breakfast burrito or their made from scratch pancakes. They have a new seasonal pancake flavor every month!” Another local said, “Best pancakes – especially the chai.”

    The Roanoker Restaurant's famed biscuits.

    The Roanoker Restaurant’s famed biscuits.

    How well-known is Roanoke’s The Roanoker Restaurant? Both Southern Living and The Today Show have recognized The Roanoker for making some of the best biscuits in America. Our insider said, “The ham biscuits and biscuits & gravy are two very popular dishes among locals.”

    We’re creatures of habit and like to hold onto our great finds. This is true for a Front Royal local who loves L’Dee’s Pancake House. He wrote, “I have tried their omelets, pancakes and waffles (both w/pecans) and have become a regular visitor. Since 1988 L’Dee’s has been a staple in the community and they treat their patrons like an extended family.”

    Stauntonians love Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery - a certified gluten-free restaurant that uses locally-sourced ingredients. Of note on the menu is the waffle delight, which one local described as “topped with fresh fruit and real whipped cream, it is delicious and nutritious!”

    Additional Recommendations:

    Harvest Table Restaurant, Meadowview, VA

    Harvest Table Restaurant

     

    Blue Ridge Highlands

    Some of our local insiders refuse to dance around the subject of favorite breakfast destination. Rather, they come right out and challenge you to challenge them. An example is the local who suggested Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview. Of this restaurant he said, “The Harvest Table has the most fresh brunch menu in Southwest Virginia. They have a small menu, but everything is great! One of their best creations is the Quiche of the Day, usually featuring mushrooms, sweet onions, goat cheese and meat from a local farm.”

    The Blue Ridge Restaurant in Floyd offers a traditional country breakfast with homemade biscuits and gravy.  The biscuits are so phenomenal, in fact, that one local insists The Blue Ridge Restaurant has “the best biscuits in the state!”

    Abingdon’s Babycakes Cupcakery and Dunk and Deli received nods for their breakfast wares. The waffles at Babycakes are made with cupcake batter and you can choose whichever flavor you like. Donuts are an art and well made homemade donuts simply can’t be overlooked. Head to Dunk and Deli where one local says their donuts “are the best around!”

    Mabry Mill Restaurant's buckwheat pancakes.

    Mabry Mill Restaurant’s buckwheat pancakes.

    If you’ve ever traveled the Blue Ridge Parkway (and probably, even if you haven’t), you’ve heard of Mabry Mill. It is, after all, the most photographed site on the Parkway. That aside, the Mabry Mill Restaurant has an appeal all its own, and one local shared her favorite breakfast: “Buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup, country ham and all the fixings.”

    Additional Recommendations:

     

    Central Virginia

    Millie’s Diner is a locally owned restaurant in Richmond. One dedicate patron gave us a great commercial for Millie’s stating, “It has built a long-standing reputation on the goodness and variety of its menu.” So what’s good to eat at Millie’s? “What’s not?” might be the better question. Their brunch is renowned. Go for an open-face omelet smothered with goodness. They call it Devil’s Mess and you can even get it veggie style.

    Another diner Richmonders flock to is Perly’s. Plain and simple, our local said, “Awesome breakfast. From Grandma’s hearty oatmeal with raisins, nuts, cinnamon and brown sugar to create-your-own three-egg omelet, you can’t go wrong.” We’re saddened to note that Perly’s has closed.

    Additional recommendations:

     

    Coastal Virginia

    If you love breakfast all day, any time of the day, d’Egg Diner in Norfolk is for you. The local we heard from weighed her favorite menu items, stating, “As far as a favorite dish, there are just too many to choose from. The traditional eggs cooked to order with all the sides or a grand omelet” are her picks.

    Mmm, mmm, those ham biscuits are something else! Be sure Old Chickahominy House in Williamsburg is on your to-eat list when visiting the area. The plantation breakfast is Virginia ham and eggs, cured country bacon, sausage, grits and coffee.

     

    Northern Virginia

    Baby Jim’s Snack Bar in Culpeper has been serving breakfast and lunch since 1947, and they’re well known for their breakfast sandwiches. A cool addition to the food is the original red, white and blue steel neon sign that points the way.

    Let YOUR voice be heard. Leave a comment to tell us (and the world!) about your favorite Virginia breakfast hangout.

    Upcoming: Great Virginia B&B breakfasts!



    Food, Locals | 25 Comments