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Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Virginia’s Craft Beer History

by Casey | Posted on August 22nd, 2013

In recent years Virginia’s craft beer industry has seen a major resurgence. August Virginia Craft Beer Month was born in 2012 with nearly 40 breweries. It’s now a year later and that number has jumped to over 60. Plus, we know of at least two more opening this fall.¬†So when did this craft beer movement start in Virginia?

All the way back at the beginning of exploration …

According to BeerAdvocate.com, the History of American Beer begins in 1587 as “Virginia colonists brew ale using corn,” and then in 1607 the “first shipment of beer arrives in the Virginia colony from England.” Apparently the English beer didn’t last long, as the history goes on to reflect “American ‘Help Wanted’ advertisements appear in London seeking brewers for the Virginia Colony” in 1609.

Beer & Founding Fathers

George Washington's Gristmill

George Washington’s Gristmill

Beer can be traced through Virginia’s history with asterisk moments like George Washington’s beer recipe[1] and evidence that beer and ingredients to produce it were forms of payment to his Mount Vernon employees.[2]

Or how about Thomas Jefferson? In 1812, a retired Jefferson successfully crafted his first home brew from local hops and malt. He had a fine teacher in his wife, Martha, a small-batch brewmaster during their early years of marriage. By 1814 Jefferson was malting his own grain in his own brewhouse at Monticello. Others, including James Madison, began to take notice and sent their staff to Monticello to learn the trade.[3]

Shop Local

Today we’re all about buying and shopping locally. That’s not a new concept, as George Washington wrote to the Marquis de Lafayette on January 29, 1789, “I use no porter or cheese in my family, but such as is made in America; both these articles may now be purchased of an excellent quality.”[4]

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

Handcrafted beer has been in Virginia since the beginning, though breweries have come and gone along the way. Virginia’s first modern day microbrewery was Chesbay – Chesapeake Bay Brewing Company – in Virginia Beach (no longer operational). Chesbay Double Bock won gold at the very first Great American Beer Festival in 1987. That’s quite an acclaim and a legacy for Virginia craft beer.

Though not old by my standards, Virginia’s oldest craft brewery is Legend Brewing Company in Richmond, which was established in 1994. If you’re quick on your math, you’ll note that 2014 will be Legend’s 20th anniversary. Mark that down and plan to pay a celebratory visit.

Suds on the Rise

Virginia is making frothy waves across the beer industry with acknowledgements from the likes of Travel Channel as one of the “Top 7 Beer Destinations.”¬†Explore for yourself with our handy Beer Map, or check out our recent articles for inspiration:

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[1] Washington, George.¬†“To Make Small Beer.”¬†1757.
[2] Thompson, Mary V. Research Historian, Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens.
[3] Lucas, Ann. 1995. Adapted from an essay originally published in Spring Dinner at Monticello, April 12, 1995, in Memory of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville, Va.: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1995).  References added by Kristen Lochrie, May 2012.
[4] “George Washington to Marquis de LaFayette, 29 January 1789“¬†The Writings of George Washington Vol. 30:154.



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RevQuest at Colonial Williamsburg. What is it?

by Casey | Posted on July 25th, 2013

I’ve heard of RevQuest: Save the Revolution! at Colonial Williamsburg and noticed that it’s presented each year with a different tagline. However, I have never taken the time to learn what it’s all about. What do you say we learn together?

RevQuest at Colonial Williamsburg. Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

RevQuest in action. Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg.

RevQuest is an online/onsite alternate reality that’s built for families to become immersed in the history of the Revolution. By participating in RevQuest, we can have a new appreciation for our history. Had different choices been made in the 18th century, the direction our nation took could be vastly removed from what we know today.

Each RevQuest player (Quester) is challenged to save the revolution by deciphering codes found throughout the Historic Area … via text message. (THIS is why kids [and their parents] love RevQuest. It’s a 21st century treasure hunt!) Questers must also avert crises along the way that could change the course of history.

RevQuest is now in its second year and third iteration. Prior episodes were Sign of the Rhinoceros and The Lion and the Unicorn. Knowing that the game changes every year (or twice a year) is all the invitation you need to try to save the Revolution again and again.

The current RevQuest challenge is The Black Chambers. The setting is 1781, nearly five years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Join the spy ring – the “Crossbones Club” – to solve the enemy’s secret messages and help save the Revolution.

 

 

What You Need to Know:

  • RevQuest: The Black Chambers is included with your paid admission to Colonial Williamsburg. Buy Tickets
  • RevQuest: The Black Chambers continues through September 1, 2013, so don’t miss out!

Next Steps:

  • After purchasing tickets online or in person, go to the Colonial Williamsburg Regional Visitor Center to pick up your orders.¬†
  • The first mission begins at 9:30 a.m. and the last at 2:30 p.m. Solving the mystery should take around two hours if you play it straight through.
  • Get a head start online to obtain the location of secret instructions for a side mission when you visit.

Need help with making your travel plans? Check out this¬†Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free Offer¬†from Colonial Williamsburg. The deal is¬†valid through August 29¬†and requires a minimum three nights’ stay. Rates are from $78 per adult per night at the¬†Williamsburg Woodlands Hotel & Suites. You’re welcome!

Reviews about RevQuest:

Stay at Colonial Williamsburg

Stay at Colonial Williamsburg

Now that I’ve explored RevQuest online and am inching ever closer to finding the location for my side mission, I’m ready to pay a visit to Colonial Williamsburg. Not only has this sparked my interest, but it will surely entice my children.

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Family, History, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

Book Now! 15 Summer Travel Deals & Packages

by Casey | Posted on July 22nd, 2013

If you have a few days to get away and are looking to save a few bucks, too, this list is for you. Happy travels!

Accommodation Deals

SpringHill Suites, Virginia Beach

SpringHill Suites, Virginia Beach

Lynchburg – Care to make a deal? Email The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast, pitch them an offer they can’t refuse and within 48 hours they’ll reply to say ‘deal’ or ‘no deal.’ They’re looking for a per night rate for a stay of two nights or longer. Good luck! Valid through December 29.

Newport News РStay at the Marriott Newport News at City Center and your kids (up to four of them, ages 12 and under) eat free Рbreakfast, lunch and dinner.  Valid through September 8.

Pearisburg – Book two nights at the Inn at Riverbend and take 50% off your third night. The Inn overlooks the New River and Appalachian Mountains. Don’t miss this offer! Valid through July 31. Book Now¬†with offer code IARBSSM13.

Stephens City – Book a stay for any Sunday through Thursday (non-holiday) between now and December 19 at The Inn at Vaucluse Spring and receive 20% off the regular rate.

Virginia Beach – SpringHill Suites (oceanfront) invites you to stay three nights or longer and they’ll knock $25 off the daily rate. Breakfast is included.¬†Book Now

Warm Springs – Celebrate your birthday by going away! Stay at the Meadow Villas at Warm Springs ON your birthday and get a second night for 30% off. Call 717-951-3955 to make a reservation. Valid through December 20.

Waynesboro – Receive 20% off your second and/or third night when you stay midweek (Tuesday-Thursday) at Tree Streets Inn. Valid through August 29.

North Mountain Outfitters, Swoope, VA

North Mountain Outfitters, Swoope, VA

Attraction Deals

Charlottesville – Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello should be on everyone’s history #bucketlist. If it’s on yours, you’re going to love this. Teenagers (ages 12 to 18) receive a 33% discount on their ticket between now and September 2. Adult rate: $24; children 6 to 11: $8; children 6 and under: free.

Manassas – Civil War enthusiasts (or those just getting started with Civil War history) will appreciate a $15 Civil War Experience Pass that gives you entrance to six historic sites. It’s a 50% savings over single admissions for each site. Valid through December 31.

Swoope – North Mountain Outfitters is offering half-day guided trail rides for two for 50% off between now and September 30. Whether it’s your first time or you’re an accomplished rider, you’ll love what you find. Reservations required. Call 540-886-7768.

Williamsburg – Boo! Creep along on a Spooks and Legends Original Haunted Tour of Williamsburg a bit cheaper. Tell them you saw their deal on Virginia.org and they’ll discount each ticket by $2. Note, this tour is is geared toward adults. Call 757-784-6213¬†to make your reservation. Valid through December 31.

Packages: Stay and Enjoy!

Lynchburg – August is Virginia Craft Beer Month and the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival will be held August 24. Want to go? Need a place to stay? The Craddock Terry Hotel is offering a two-night stay for two with festival admission, tasting glasses, tasting tickets, and transportation to and from the festival. Must be 21 or older. Package starts at $249. Valid August 23-25. Book Now

Pembroke – Stay three nights at Mountain Lake Lodge and get the fourth night free, but better than that is you’ll also receive a $100 activities credit to enjoy all of the family fun Mountain Lake has to offer. BRAND NEW: Treetop Adventures Aerial Adventure Course * Harvest Restaurant * Stony Creek Tavern * Mountain Lake Outfitters
Valid through September 7. Book Now

Richmond – Love jazz? Stay at The Jefferson Hotel August 9-11 and enjoy the Richmond Jazz Festival as part of your stay. Two tickets for each day of the festival, a traditional Southern breakfast for two each morning and three nights in luxury for $305/night. Book Now

Virginia Beach – Stay at The Oceanfront Inn and receive the pin that gets you into all of the American Music Festival concerts during Labor Day weekend. A three-night stay is required. Valid August 30 through September 2.

And these aren’t all! Find dozens more deals at Virginia.org.

 



Arts, Beaches, Beer, Deals & Discounts, Family, Festivals, History, Outdoors | Comments Off

8 Virginia Caverns to LOVE

by Casey | Posted on June 18th, 2013

Connect the dots down the Shenandoah Valley this summer when you visit all eight Virginia caverns. Each has very unique features and its own story to tell.

Luray Caverns

Stalacpipe Organ at Luray Caverns

A constant 50-something-degree temperature makes each cavern a welcome reprieve on a hot summer day. Set your course from north to south along US Route 11 or Interstate 81 to hit these in order.

1.¬†Skyline Caverns¬†* Front Royal – Skyline is famous for its rare Anthrodites which radiate spike formations resembling flowers. They’re called the Orchids of the Mineral Kingdom. Other cool formations here are The Shrine and Fairyland Lake.

2.¬†Shenandoah Caverns¬†* Quicksburg – Shenandoah is the only cavern system in Virginia with elevator service to its 17 underground rooms. A can’t-miss is Rainbow Lake with iridescent drip formations of bright colors. Other cool formations are Diamond Cascade, Beyond the Veil and Grotto of the Gods.

Diamond Cascade at Shenandoah Caverns

Diamond Cascade at Shenandoah Caverns

3.¬†Luray Caverns¬†* Luray – Luray is the largest cavern on the East Coast and includes a Stalacpipe Organ. The organ pipes are stalactites stretching 3.5 underground acres. The most impressive structure at Luray is Giant’s Hall – expansive chambers decorated by golden, 10-story-high columns. Other cool formations of Endless are Titania’s Veil, Frozen Fountain and Empress Column.

4.¬†Endless Caverns¬†* New Market – Endless is called endless for a reason. Numerous expeditions have failed to find the end of this cave system, which is already mapped at more than five miles. Another awesome claim to fame? A fossilized woolly mammoth’s tooth resides here. Cool formations here include Fairy Land, the Lodge Room, and Fresh Bacon Slices.

5.¬†Grand Caverns¬†* Grottoes – Grand is indeed grand with breathtaking panoramic subterranean beauty. It is also the oldest show cave in the United States, having originally opened in 1806 as Weyers Cave. Parade¬†ranked Grand Caverns number two in the nation based on physical aspects like room size, paths, ratio of growth formations to dormant formations, and overall beauty. Don’t miss the Rainbow Room.

Anthrodites at Skyline Caverns

Anthrodites at Skyline Caverns

6. Natural Bridge Caverns * Natural Bridge РThis cavern is the deepest on the East Coast at 34 stories down. Collosal Dome is the prize formation here, but also look for Flowstone Cascade and Wishing Well.

7. Dixie Caverns * Salem РDixie was discovered in 1920 by a boy and his dog, just as Endless Caverns were found by boys and a dog in 1879. Dogs have a knack for sniffing out big caves, huh? The Magic Mirror Room is where the magic happens at Dixie. Other cool formation here include the Wedding Bell, Turkey Wing and Fairy Land (fairies sure are popular in the underground world).

8. Gap Caverns * Ewing РLocated in Cumberland Gap National Park and west of Interstate 81, Gap Caverns is home to one of the tallest stalagmites in the world РPillar of Hercules. Tours are given by lantern light here, so expect  a very pioneering, adventurous feel when you enjoy Gap Caverns.

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Crazy … for Patsy Cline

by Casey | Posted on April 4th, 2013

Winchester, Virginia was the home of Virginia Hensley, the woman the world knows as country music legend Patsy Cline.

Patsy Cline on the porch of her Winchester home.

Cline was the first solo female member of the Grand Ole Opry (1960) and the first female Country Music Hall of Fame inductee (1973). Her hit song, “Crazy,” was written by Willie Nelson and is still the number one jukebox hit of all time.

Patsy Cline’s home, now the Patsy Cline Historic House, is where she lived, slept and spent her “prime years” (1948-53) while pursuing her career. Visitors enter her home, rather than a museum, to find the cupboards stocked with Quaker Oats and other staples in vintage containers.

A 30- to 45-minute guided tour shows off Cline’s clothes, jewelry, newspaper articles and more in rooms with original furnishings, set up just the way any home would be. Purchase a souvenir from the gift shop and be sure to take a seat on the front porch glider for a photo reminiscent of Patsy’s (above).

To explore and learn more about Patsy Cline, check out Crazy for Patsy Cline – an itinerary for those wanting to explore all things Patsy in Winchester.

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History, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment