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21 Influential Virginia Women

by Casey | Posted on March 12th, 2014

March is Women’s History Month and we’re proud to shine a light on some of the women who have made huge impressions, leaving¬†their mark on Virginia.

Please note that this list is in no way comprehensive. How could it be? To give us a hand, please leave a comment to honor the Virginia women you find most influential.

Pocahontas 1994 by Mary Ellen Howe

Pocahontas 1994 by Mary Ellen Howe

Pocahontas (1595-1617) daughter of Indian Chief Powhatan; married John Rolfe.

Mary Elizabeth Bowser (1839-unknown) Richmond; Union spy working as a servant for Varina Davis, wife of the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Inducted into the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame (1995).

Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934) Richmond; First woman bank president in America, Advocate of black women’s rights.

Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945) Richmond; fiction writer in early 1900s, Pulitzer Prize winner (1942).

Nancy Langhorne Astor (1879-1964) Danville; first woman seated in the British House of Commons.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. Image by Casey Higgins.

Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Ann Spencer (1882-1975) Henry County; African-American poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

Sara Carter (1898-1979) Copper Creek; country singer.

Maybelle Carter – (1909-1979) Nicklesville; country singer.

Ella Fitzgerald (1917-96) Newport News; “The First Lady of Song;” Grammy Award-winning Jazz singer (13 times).

Maybelle, A.P. and Sara Carter

Maybelle, A.P. and Sara Carter

Pearl Bailey (1918-90) Newport News; Actress, Singer and Author; Tony Award (1967); Medal of Freedom Award (1988).

June Carter Cash (1929-2003) Hiltons; country singer, married to Johnny Cash.

Patsy Cline (1932-1963) Winchester; country singer.

Shirley MacLaine (1934- ) Richmond; stage and screen actress, Academy Award winner.

Barbara Johns (1935-1991) New York City, but grew up in Farmville, Prince Edward County. Sixteen year old junior at Robert Russa Moton High School who organized a student strike for a new school building (1951). The NAACP advised the students to sue for integration. The Farmville case was one of the five eventually rolled into the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case that declared segregation unconstitutional (1954).

Kylene Barker (1955 – ) Pipers Gap; 1979 Miss America – Virginia’s first Miss America.

Katie Couric¬†(1957- ) Arlington; television news personality; host of “Katie,” ABC; global anchor, Yahoo News.

Wanda Sykes (1964- ) Portsmouth; Comedienne and actress. Film and television credits include “The Wanda Sykes Show,” “Evan Almighty,” “Monster-in-Law,” “Nutty Professor 2;” Emmy Award Winner (1999, 2002, 2004, 2005).

Missy Elliott (1971- ) Portsmouth; Songwriter, Producer, Arranger, Talent Scout, Record Mogul. Considered the top female hip-hop artist of all time. Four-time Grammy Award Winner (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005).

Whitney Hedgepeth (1971- ) Colonial Heights; Three-time NCAA Champion, Gold and Silver Olympic Medalist (Atlanta 1996).

Caressa Cameron (1987- ) – Fredericksburg; 2010 Miss America.

Gabrielle Douglas (1995- ) Virginia Beach; Gymnast. Olympic Gold Medalist (London 2012). First African-American all-around gymnastics champion.

 

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On the Big Screen: 8 Oscar Winners Filmed in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on February 24th, 2014

While we eagerly await the Academy Awards this Sunday to see how Virginia-filmed Best Picture nominee¬†Captain Phillips fares, let’s take a look back at other films shot wholly or in part in Virginia that were honored with an Oscar.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in LINCOLN.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN.

Argo was filmed in McLean and Fairfax County, Virginia in 2011. The film starring and directed by Ben Affleck received the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Achievement in Film Editing.

During that same 2013 awards presentation LINCOLN won for Production Design, and Daniel Day-Lewis, whom portrayed Abraham Lincoln, took home the Bests Actor award. LINCOLN was filmed in the Richmond region, including Petersburg, Virginia.

The Bourne Ultimatum, the final piece of the Bourne Trilogy, was filmed in Fauquier County, Virginia in 2007 and starred Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. The film won three Oscars in 2008 РBest Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.

Renee Zellweger won the Oscar in 2004 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Cold Mountain alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Cold Mountain was filmed in Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia in 2002.

Filmed in Quantico, Virginia in 1990, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The 1992 Academy loved the feature film, awarding five Oscars for the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Writing.

Mountain Lake Conservancy & Hotel, film location for Dirty Dancing in 1986.

Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke, Virginia served as “Kellerman’s” in the 1986 hit “Dirty Dancing.”

A steadfast darling on the list of Virginia filmography is Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Filmed in Giles County, Virginia in 1986, the flick received an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

Wise County, Virginia was the setting for the 1980 filming of Coal Miner’s Daughter, a biography of Loretta Lynn, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. In 1981 Spacek won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

In 1956 Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean starred in Giant, a western love story that included filming in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won one – Best Director – in 1957.

Learn about the latest major film projects in Virginia at www.Virginia.org/FilmedInVirginia/ or peruse the filmography log for a list of feature films, TV series, commercials, and more filmed in Virginia.

>> 2014 SNEAK PEEK! <<

AMC is currently filming their new series¬†TURN,¬†a layered, character driven spy thriller that unravels the untold story of America‚Äôs first spy ring. Filming locations include Richmond, Petersburg, Hanover County, and¬†plantations along the James River¬†. Don’t miss the premiere Sunday, April 6, 2014.

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6 Things for History Buffs to Do and See in 2014

by Casey | Posted on January 22nd, 2014

“Does Virginia have a lot of history?” should never be a question. Of course Virginia is loaded with history, and here are a few events for you to experience this year if you’re eager for a fresh look or a different vantage point.

Historic Jamestowne

Historic Jamestowne

It’s not every day that a 400th wedding anniversary is celebrated, so you might want to mark this one down. Visit Historic Jamestowne the weekend of April 4-6, 2014 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the marriage of Pocahontas to John Rolfe¬†with a reenactment of the ceremony. Stand at the original church site, uncovered in 2010 by archaeologists, inside James Fort.

Part of the fun is the new exhibit, “The World of Pocahontas,” at the Voorhees Archaearium, which reveals new details about the material world of Virginia’s native people and their adaptation and social interaction with the English colonists.

~ Getaway to the Historic Triangle

 

Simulated bullets strike the water at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.

Simulated bullets strike the water at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia.

Commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a day that marked the beginning of the end of World War II, at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford during the weekend of June 6-8, 2014.

Allied Forces invaded Normandy in the largest land, sea and air operation in history on June 6, 1944.¬†The D-Day Memorial pays tribute to those fallen during that invasion, but the city of Bedford is home to the Memorial because its loss per capita was the highest in America. During the June weekend events, the new sculpture, “Homage,” will be dedicated, and you will have the chance to meet and thank veterans.

~ Getaway to Bedford of the Blue Ridge

 

Robert Russa Moton Museum, Farmville, VA

Robert Russa Moton Museum, Farmville, Virginia

2014 marks 60 years since the decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court for Brown v. Board of Education (1954), a case that desegregated schools and had a 16-year-old Farmville, Virginia girl at its roots.

Visit the Robert Russa Moton Museum to learn how a leaky, cold, overcrowded Robert Russa Moton High School pushed Barbara Johns and her peers to fight for equality in education (75% of the plaintiffs in Brown v. Board of Education were students in the 1951 Moton Student Strike). The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998 and is called the student birthplace of America’s Civil Rights Movement.

~ Fall in Love with Farmville

 

How about some non-traditional history excursions?

  • The Mill Mountain Star in Roanoke, Virginia turns 65 this year. It’s the reason Roanoke is often called the “Star City of the South,” as its six-story stature and 2,000 feet of red, white and blue neon tubing illuminate Mill Mountain at night.
A view of Mill Mountain Star from Roanoke, Virginia.

A view of Mill Mountain Star from Roanoke, Virginia.

  • Fifty years ago on January 29, 1964 one of the nation’s oldest lighthouses was designated a National Historic Landmark – Cape Henry Lighthouse in Virginia Beach. Celebrate this 1792 octagonal icon authorized by George Washington.
  • If you’ve ever driven the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, you’ve experienced “one of seven engineering wonders of the world.” The Bridge-Tunnel opened in April 1964 and spans 18 miles across the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay to connect Norfolk with Cape Charles, Virginia. The stretch will take you through two mile-long tunnels and over two high bridges, not to mention across four man-made islands. Stop at one of them to enjoy the view and a bite to eat at Chesapeake Grill.

Need more Virginia history? Right this way to our Historic Sites.

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Historic Home Tours for the Holidays

by Casey | Posted on December 4th, 2013

Virginia’s historic homes are beautifully decorated this season. Truly, this is one of the key times to see your favorite historic home in all its period glory. Candlelight, fresh swags of greenery, pineapples, and really stunning Victorian spreads await.

Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon

Saturdays and Sundays in December George Washington’s Mount Vernon¬†opens for candlelight mansion tours between 5 and 8 p.m. Fireside caroling and other festivities make it an appealing family affair. $22/adult and $15/child 11 and younger.

“Roaring 20′s” is the Christmas theme at Oatlands in Leesburg, so expect to see plenty of glitz along with the greenery and numerous Christmas trees in this 1804 mansion. Tours are offered every 30 minutes daily through December 30. $12/adult; $10/senior; $8/child 6-16.

Special candlelight tours are offered December 15, 20, 21, 22 from 5 to 7 p.m. Cookies, cider and musical performances are included.  Rates are the same as the daily tour.

Celebrate the season at Maymont in Richmond and revel in Victorian holiday splendor! Major & Mrs. Dooley’s spectacularly decorated Gilded Age home brings the wonders and festivities of Christmas past to life. Tours are offered every half-hour daily (except Mondays) through January 5. $5 suggested donation.

December 6 – Come to Richmond to find out how people celebrated Christmas during the Victorian Era. Take a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy, specially decorated for the holidays!$5 admission.

December 6, 7, 13, and 14 – Experience centuries of Christmas traditions at James Madison’s Montpelier during the Christmas candlelight tours.¬†Visitors are greeted by the gracious hostess Dolley Madison in the Mansion’s Drawing Room as she speaks about early 19th-century Christmas customs. Linger in the duPont Gallery, enjoying light refreshments, wine, and wassail while listening to harp music and Christmas carolers. $25 in advance; $35 at the door; $10 for children ages 6 to 14.

Monticello

Monticello

December 7 – Get a glimpse of Christmas from the Colonial period through World War II when you experience Rippon Lodge in Woodbridge. Candlelight tours on the half-hour with a visit from Santa in the cabin. Santa is free for everyone; tours are $10/person with the exception of children younger than 6, who are free.

December 7 – Celebrate the holidays at¬†Bacon’s Castle¬†in Surry to learn about 17th century English Christmas traditions and decorations. Guided tours of the mansion and hot mulled cider will be offered all day. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $8/adult; $6/senior; $5/student; children 6 and under are free.

December 7, 13, 14, 20-23 and 26-30 – Head to Charlottesville to take advantage of the unique opportunity to explore Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello after dark with a special small-group house tour. The¬†tours, which include the Dome Room, offer visitors an intimate look at how the holidays were celebrated in Jefferson’s time, plus the rare opportunity to experience Monticello after dark. Tours begin at 5:30, 5:45 and 6:00 p.m. $45 in advance. Reservations required. Not recommended for children younger than 6. Portions of the tour are not handicapped-accessible.

Avoca

Avoca

December 7 and 8 – Seasonal holiday decorations and local entertainment will be featured at Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg as part of their annual holiday open house. Refreshments will be served. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

December 7 and 8 – Don’t miss the annual Christmas weekend at Walton’s Mountain Museum in Schuyler. They’re decorated inside and out, with cookies and cider for your warmth and joy. These two days are the only two of the year when visitors are permitted to go beyond the roped areas.

December 7, 8, 14 and 15 РSee the lavishly decorated Victorian house, Avoca Museum in Altavista, celebrating Christmas memories with light refreshments and hot cider, Santa on Saturday afternoons, and a silent auction to benefit education programs. $5/adult; $4/senior.

Liberia Plantation

Liberia Plantation

December 14 РEnjoy holiday candlelight, music and refreshments at Liberia Plantation in Manassas, the 1825 house that hosted both Confederate and Union forces, as well as President Lincoln. The house will be decorated as it would have been in the 1860s when the Weir family occupied it. Tours begin at Manassas Museum where guests will be bussed to Liberia. $15/adult; $7.50/child 12 and younger.

December 14 - Take a candle lit tour of the main house and slave quarter at Ben Lomond every half-hour between 5 and 7 p.m. to learn how the enslaved community celebrated the holidays and how they resisted the institution that kept them enslaved. $7/person; free for children younger than 6. Reservations suggested.

December 14 and 15 – Celebrate an 18th century Christmas holiday at Patrick Henry’s Scotchtown¬†in Beaverdam. Enjoy the decorations, food, and holiday surprises. $5/person.

Poplar Forest

Poplar Forest

December 14 and 15 – Historic Berkeley Plantation in Charles City welcomes you to learn how the Harrison family celebrated Christmas during the 18th century. Partake in the festive atmosphere created by colonial music and decorations of fresh greenery and natural arrangements from Berkeley’s gardens. Costumed guides will add a special treat to your holiday season with stories about Christmas hospitality over 200 years ago. Holiday refreshments will be served. $11/adult; $7.50/student; $6 for ages 6 to 12. Reservations required.

December 15 – Enjoy period inspired holiday decorations and music, living history interpreters in the kitchen, storytelling, various children’s activities and demonstrations from craftspeople when you visit Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest retreat in Forest. Free with non-perishable food donation.

 

For more festive events and opportunities, visit Virginia.org/HolidaysInVirginia.

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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

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