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  • Archive for the ‘Locals’ Category

    Donut Spots that Satisfy

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 18th, 2014

    If you have a breakfast time (or any time) sweet tooth, you’re going to want to swing by these donut shops that pack in unique flavors and toppings! You nominated and here they are:

     

    Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

    Beach-themed donuts from Paradise Donuts

    Paradise Donuts of Virginia - Norfolk 
    Paradise Donuts is a family-run donut shop, located in the heart of Downtown Norfolk. Their family friendly establishment serves not only incredible donuts but lunch as well. Donuts are baked fresh in-house on a daily basis. Paradise Donuts is famous for their Maple Bacon or Old Fashioned donuts!

    Pure Eats – Lexington
    Pure Eats donuts are legendary! Order a fresh, house-made donut and you’ll never want to leave! Coconut lover? Try out the Almond Joy. Other favorites include the decadent chocolate peanut butter and the light, but always delicious margarita-flavored! Pure Eats doesn’t have a set menu, so you’ll be surprised of the flavors each time you visit!

    The Apple House - Linden
    Good food, friendly staff and beautiful surroundings make The Apple House a landmark to visit in Virginia. Come visit for your gift needs and be sure to try out the famed apple butter donuts!

     O’Doodledoo’s Donuts - Suffolk
    Hand made, hand decorated, fresh, funky, one of a kind donut shop! This is a real “Hole in the Wall!”  O’Doodledoo’s makes more than 200+ flavors and rotate their menu daily.  Try the famous red velvet cream cheese donuts or a delicious sour cream old fashioned.  Known for gourmet donuts at budget prices, find out what everyone’s talking about! The Oreo extreme, peach cobbler, key lime pie, or chocoholic–yep those are all donuts too! Come quick– once the donuts are gone, so are they!

    O’s Donuts - Norfolk
    With 13 different types of donuts and eight different toppings, it’s easy to see why O’s Donuts are a Norfolk favorite. AND custom colors are available too! Try out a cool twist on a sundae, with the Uh O: A fresh, warm donut, tossed in cinnamon sugar, sliced open with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the middle. And topped off with hot fudge and whipped cream, of course!

    Carol Lee Donuts - Blacksburg
    Cake donut? Yes, please. Carol Lee Donuts boasts seven different types of cake donuts, including Devilsfood cake glazed and blueberry cake. Or try out one of their yeast-raised donuts, including maple iced with peanuts and toasted coconut. Grab a freshly brewed cup of coffee to wash it all down!

    Happy Day Donut custom creation

    Happy Day Donut custom creation

    Happy Day Donuts – Chesapeake
    The name says it all! Start your day off right with a Happy Day donut. They pride themselves on crafting their donuts with only the highest quality ingredients, so you can rest east knowing they’re always fresh and always tasty. Happy Day always has about 22 donut selections, including their 16 “daily flavors.” And don’t forget about creating your own masterpiece! Choose anything from Boston cream to cinnamon apple, to red velvet, samoa, snickers and more! You also get to choose your own toppings– from 45 possible combinations! Wash it all down with a cup of Happy Day’s custom roasted coffee, roasted to order.

    Sugar Shack Donuts – Richmond
    “I’m pretty sure we’ve found the Holy Grail, and this is it.” Sugar Shack Donuts prides itself on fresh, all nature and local ingredients. Seven house donuts are available, including the quintessential glazed and strawberry iced. They also have six specialty creations, caramel apple cake, anyone?! Try out their monster donuts, featuring peach fritters and Maggie Walker’s signature Dragon Tails. What’s the Dragon Tail? You’ll have to stop in and see for yourself!

    Blackbird Bakery – Bristol
    The Blackbird has become a favorite bakery shop for the locals in Bristol and has developed the reputation as one of the top bakeries in the tri-cities area. When you visit the bakery, you will feel as though you stepped back to a time when neighbors and shop owners knew each other on a first name basis. One of the first things you will notice is the pleasant, friendly and inviting atmosphere that awaits you when you step through the door. Baked fresh daily, when you take the first bite, you will realize that the products are handmade with only the freshest and finest ingredients.

    The Dunk & Deli Co. – Abingdon
    Known for their made fresh daily donuts, Dunk & Deli prides itself on freshness and quality, as well as efficient and friendly service. Join them in their comfortable, sit-down atmosphere and relax with friends and family or call ahead for convenient take-out service!

    Triple Oak Bakery – Sperryville
    Triple Oak Bakery is a dedicated gluten free bakery using local and organic products whenever possible.

    Spudnut Coffee Shop - Charlottesville 
    Spudnuts is an old school donut shop that makes donuts with potato flour, hence “spud”nuts. An institution in Charlottesville!

    Duck Donuts – Virginia Beach 
    Duck Donuts makes their donuts made-to-order and fresh as can be! Their base donuts are made with these key ingredients: wheat & corn flour, soybean oil, nonfat dry milk, egg yolks, and beta carotene. Rest assured when you come to Duck Donuts, you’re receiving the best! Ten coating choices are available, as well as five topping choices.

    Great Country Farms – Loudoun
    Great Country Farms is best known for their cider donut. These apple cider donuts, made with cinnamon and sugar, are baked fresh at the farm and melt in your mouth when you catch them hot. Visitors enjoy them year-round before visiting the farm’s animals, u-pick areas and fresh market.

    Emily’s Donuts & Cafe – Williamsburg
    Emily’s Donuts & Café is more than the new local face of great donuts. The yeast donuts are unlike anything else in town. The process of creation takes nearly three hours from start to finish. There are classic “ring” donuts — meant to be glazed and topped, and solid donuts, perfect for filling with out-of-this world combinations! Emily’s Donuts boasts baking 7,000 donuts every week! Clearly these donuts are in demand — especially with seasonal flavors, like their scrumptious Key Lime Donuts made with real Key Lime infused filling and topped with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.

    Country Style Donuts – Richmond
    “Deliciously addictive since 1968!” That’s the motto of Country Style Donuts in Richmond. Swing by early in the morning to grab some delicious holes before they run out! Try out the peanut-covered glazed, toasted almond or blueberry chip. Or why not try them all! Country Style has 38 varieties of donuts and is open 24 hours.

     

    Check out some more delicious nominations:

     

     

     



    Food, Locals | 0 Comments

    Local Brews and Local Oysters: A Match Made in Heaven

    by Stefanie | Posted on August 4th, 2014

    Ahhh, the oyster. It’s found its home in Virginia, quickly becoming the Capital of the East Coast. Now apply that “ahhh” to craft beer. They pair so well, don’t they? So guess what? It’s craft beer month! Get excited. Here’s some spots that are going to give you the best of both worlds.

    Rappahannock Restaurant

    Rappahannock Restaurant

    RAPPAHANNOCK OYSTER CO.
    Rappahannock Oyster Company is going to give you flavors from all over the Virginia coastline. The Rappahannock River Oysters are the most common, but have you ever heard of Stingray Oysters and Olde Salts? The oysters at these spots are going to give you three diverse flavors: sweet and buttery, sweet and crisp, and a bold, sea-side brininess. You’re going to find these babies at Rappahannock in Richmond, Rappahannock Oyster Bar, in D.C., and Merroir in Topping. And don’t forget, these restaurants are going to have some of Virginia’s best craft beer selections.

    99 MAIN RESTAURANT – Newport News
    The elegant 99 Main restaurant offers the sophisticated diner an exquisite dining experience with a creative French flair. Order the roasted oysters appetizer, topped with horseradish and house-made bacon. Pair it with Legend Brown Ale and you’ve got yourself a nice starter meal. Don’t be afraid to order a couple more brewskis.

    SMALL’S STEAKHOUSE & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk
    Small’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar has four different oyster options from its raw bar AND three additional options for an entrée! If you’re in the area, put Small’s on the list for a great oyster experience. Try out the oyster grits and quench your thirst with three local breweries on tap.

    The Shanty in Cape Charles

    The Shanty in Cape Charles

    SHANTY – Cape Charles
    Located on the Bay in Cape Charles Town Harbor, the Shanty focuses on fresh local seafood in a fun environment. Swing by on boat, car, golf cart or foot. There’s cornhole for the kids, live entertainment on weekends and amazing sunsets over the bay. Order some raw or steamed oysters, a fried basket, or an oyster po’ boy, and wash it down with Starr Hills’ the Love or five other Virginia craft beer options.

    BIG EASY GRILL & OYSTER BAR – Norfolk
    Big Easy Grill & Oyster Bar offers some of the biggest oyster selections around. Start off with Oysters Rockefeller, pick out some raw or steamed samplers or platters. And guess what? When it’s time for the main course, Big Easy features the O-Rock Burger, topped with bacon, spinach, parmesan and gouda. They have the oyster po’ boy and their house specialty: fried oysters. Take back an oyster shooter or their vast selection of craft brews. You have some serious oyster and craft options at Big Easy. So if you have an empty stomach and want to fill it up, head over to Big Easy.

    HANK’S OYSTER BAR – Alexandria
    Hanks’ menu changes daily, with fresh seafood selections throughout their menu. Hank’s Oyster Bar serves their oysters on the half shell, as a po’ boy sandwich and a fried oyster dinner. Hank’s Oysters are always served up fresh, so don’t forget you can get them raw or steamed! Try out the Port City Monumental IPA while you’re there.

    Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

    Legends Brewing Co. Brewery

    BERRET’S SEAFOOD RESTAURANT & TAPHOUSE – Williamsburg
    Berret’s Taphouse offers one of the largest selections of local microbrews in the area, including Wild Wolf and Legend. Pair them with unique raw bar selections, like spicy buffalo oysters on the half shell and daily chef’s choice items. The taphouse menu includes the po’boy sandwich and a seafood platter, which includes crab cakes and shrimp.

     

    Try out all the delicious oyster spots and craft beer/breweries Virginia has to offer!

     

     



    Beer, Family, Food, Locals, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

    Enjoy Local Shopping in Virginia’s Historical Districts

    by Stefanie | Posted on July 16th, 2014

    It’s hard to believe that summer is more than halfway over. But don’t fret! Now is the perfect time to score some great deals on everything from clothing to furniture. And with that also comes the unveiling of fall’s newest lineups. We’re not in primetime season yet, so there are deals out there to get a leg up on the latest trends. As we wallow through this transitional phase, take advantage of all the unique shopping districts around the Commonwealth.

    And don’t forget, TAX-FREE shopping weekend is Aug. 1-3!

    Carytown Shopping

    Carytown Shopping

    Carytown, Richmond
    Known as the Mile of Style, Carytown offers everything you need to eat, shop, and play. Its sidewalks are lined with unique boutiques, restaurants, specialty shops, spas and more. Enjoy the eclectic collection of award-winning, locally-owned businesses. Spend the day in the area voted “Best Shopping Neighborhood in Virginia” by the readers of Southern Living magazine. While you’re here, visit Carytown landmarks, including Cary Court, the oldest outdoor shopping center on the East Coast and catch a film at the Byrd Theatre, Richmond’s movie palace since 1928. Carytown hosts many festivals throughout the year, including the Watermelon Festival, Chalk up the Town, Craft Beer Festival, Food & Wine Festival, Carytown Fashion Show and more, of course!

    Old Town Alexandria
    The go-to D.C. destination for boutique shopping is Old Town Alexandria, with The Wall Street Journal praising, “The King Street area has some of the best stores and galleries in the region.” Nearly 80 percent of the restaurants and retailers in the King Street corridor are independently owned, including the chic shops of the Old Town Boutique District, while nearby, Del Ray’s Mount Vernon Avenue is another haven for eclectic, locally owned storefronts. Fashionistas flock to Alexandria for high end shoes and unique clothing finds, while home dĂ©cor shops and antique galleries burst with statement pieces. Delight in tasty treats from olive oils to award-winning hot chocolates, pick up pet friendly goodies, or peruse handmade jewelry at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. While you’re there, take in the sites and attractions of George Washington’s hometown and more.

    The Pink Scottie in Historic Petersburg

    The Pink Scottie in Historic Petersburg

    Old Towne Petersburg
    A devastating fire in 1815 wiped out the old towne of Petersburg, a collection of wooden warehouses and homes along the Appomattox River. Today, Old Towne is a district of antique galleries, boutiques, craft shops, restaurants, cafes and a mix of renovated residences. With cobblestone streets and national landmarks throughout, take in a truly unique shopping experience.

    Historic Roanoke City Market
    The Historic Roanoke City Market is the oldest such market in continuous use in Virginia, dating back to the 1800s. While you’re picking up from fresh, local produce, the Historic Market building also offers fantastic shopping opportunities. The entire Market District includes unique shopping, galleries, boutiques, restaurants, antique shops, museum shops and plenty more to discover.

    Shopping in Smithfield
    Smithfield’s Historic District, lined with Colonial, Federal and Victorian homes, offers antique collectors and shoppers a plethora of options. The Antiques Emporium, Heritage Antiques, Laura and Lucy’s, Olde House Antiques, Mansion House Art & Antique Gallery, and Wharf Hill Antiques offer everything from toys to treasures, furniture to fixtures, and memorabilia to music.

    Hugh Mercery Apothecary Shop in Historic Fredericksburg

    Hugh Mercery Apothecary Shop in Historic Fredericksburg

    Historic Downtown Fredericksburg
    Set foot into some of the most interesting periods in America’s past with a stroll among more than 350 original 18th and 19th century buildings in Fredericksburg’s 40-block National Historic District. While here, visitors can also step into over 100 shops, chef-owned restaurants and boutiques, concentrated in the downtown area and along a four-block “antique row” near the river.

    Leesburg Historic District
    Leesburg’s Historic District provides a charming backdrop for shopping, dining, walking tours, visiting art galleries and buying those one of a kind items or the stylish ‘must have’ accessories… handbags, jewelry, clothing and more. Antiques and home furnishing stores are plentiful. The streets are lined with brick sidewalks, authentic, historic architecture and wonderful flowering trees and flower baskets. Discover the charm and the great buys.

    Shockoe Slip, Richmond
    Shockoe Slip’s neighborhood has become a prime example of urban restoration and historic preservation. What was once the only trading area in Richmond is now the city’s most fashionable shopping and dining district. The Slip’s restored warehouses and taverns house a unique assortment of exclusive apparel stores, galleries, restaurants and hotels.

    Capo's Music Store in Downtown Abingdon

    Capo’s Music Store in Downtown Abingdon

    Abingdon Historic District
    Specialty shops, boutiques, art galleries and more line the streets of historic downtown Abingdon. Spend a day wandering the cobblestone sidewalks and discover historic landmarks like the State Theatre of Virginia, all the while browsing unique antique shops, music stores, the Abingdon Olive Oil Co. and more.



    Deals & Discounts, Events, Family, History, Locals | 1 Comment

    30 Freshwater Swimming Holes

    by Casey | Posted on July 14th, 2014

    Summer calls for a dip in the water, and we have fresh mountain streams and rivers that you’ll find most refreshing on a hot day. Our list has been compiled through various avenues of research, including tips from local residents. If they love these swimming holes, you’re sure to as well!

    Dismal Falls

    Dismal Falls

    If you are unfamiliar with mountain streams, let me tell you that they’re cold. Pack a picnic and refresh yourself in the Maury River at one of these public access points in Rockbridge County:

    Swim or wade at the base of a waterfall!

    Choosing your James River access point can be tricky, as this gem can roar mightily in certain areas, especially after a heavy rain upstream. Try these locations, but never swim alone.

    Splash around in the oldest river in North America, the New River.

    Blue Hole – many river towns have a special swimming hole they dub “Blue Hole.” Aforementioned Goshen Pass is sometimes known as Blue Hole by locals and here are two more:

    • A site James Madison University students and Harrisonburg locals call “Blue Hole” is located on Dry River off Rawley Pike (Route 33) in Rockingham County. A large boulder makes a fantastic jumping platform into this deep swimming hole.
    • University of Virginia students love their own “Blue Hole” on Moormans River near the Sugar Hollow Reservoir in Crozet. This swimming hole is within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath the renowned Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. When the water’s high enough, it’s a great place for a dip. Otherwise, dipping your toes works, too, at this beautiful, historic site.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Craig Creek Recreation Area is 130 acres in Botetourt County that’s available for camping, picnics, and of course, swimming! The water is gentle and perfect for families.

    Blackwater Creek at Hollins Mill in Lynchburg is shallow for wading in to cool off on a hot summer day and is also an access point for the Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Trail.

    While there’s no designated swimming area (like a beach) at Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park on the Shenandoah River in Warren County, you can wade out and splash around or tube to your heart’s content.

    Off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Rockbridge County at Petite’s Gap (milepost 71) is an unmarked gravel road (Petite’s Gap Road). Descend, winding, for several miles until you cross East Fork Elk Creek in Sulphur Spring Hollow. At the second crossing, pull off – your swimming hole is in that vicinity.

    St. Mary’s River is home to St. Mary’s Falls, which can be found in Saint Mary’s Wilderness in Augusta County. This swimming hole includes a rock slide, which can be great fun if the water level is just right.  It’s just south of the falls.

    Please enjoy Virginia’s swimming holes with a friend; never swim alone. Also, follow “leave no trace” practices when experiencing any part of Virginia’s outdoors.

    Which of these have you been to? Which do you love that aren’t listed here? Leave a comment to tell us all about it.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Family, Locals, Outdoors, Video clips | 3 Comments

    Best places to find an over-the-top hot dog

    by Stefanie | Posted on June 30th, 2014

    The hot dog is one of the quintessential American culinary staples. When you think of these delicious franks, nestled perfectly in their bun, ketchup, mustard and relish follow shortly behind. What about some pineapple or guacamole? Check out any of these hot dog joints, and you’re in a unique meat-lover’s dream.

    City Dogs

    City Dogs

    CITY DOGS, Richmond
    City Dogs, with two locations in Richmond, offers more than 10 unique dogs on its menu. As one frequent patron boasts, “The Santa Fe Dog, with fresh guacamole, fresh jalapeños and tortilla strips keep you coming back for more. The Honolulu Dog, with pineapple and rich BBQ, and the Carolina Dog with BBQ and coleslaw on top of the dog are also awesome picks. Plus the wait staff is friendly and very helpful.” And to wash down the hot dog, great drink specials are always available to enjoy. After getting your hot dog fix, Richmond offers countless historic excursions for visitors, from the Richmond Slave Trail, to breathtaking Maymont, and everything in between.

    DIPDOG, Marion
    A rags to riches and rags to riches again, DipDog Stand in Marion has been in business since 1957, powering through redirection of passing roads, management transition and more. The Stand stood the test of time, thriving off their unique, affordable menu. The family-owned business has hosted a number of events and has also had Aerosmith pass by! DipDog has been listed in Southern Living magazine and has also been voted best overall restaurant, best hotdogs, best service, and more. While you’re in Marion, take in a show at The Lincoln Theatre and spend a weekend at Hungry Mother State Park.

    THE GAP DELI, Fancy Gap
    As you’re making your way through the Blue Ridge Parkway, stop by The Gap Deli and try one of two hot dogs that veer off the beaten path. The General Lee Smack Down Dog is a quarter-pound, all-beef dog, wrapped in cheese and slices of bacon; topped off with chili, red onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, banana peppers, yellow mustard and coleslaw. Feel like a more traditional dog, but with a twist? Try the General Grant Chow Down Dog, topped with tomatoes, dill pickles, sweet relish, banana peppers, red onions, yellow mustard and sprinkled with celery salt. Both are served on a delicious toasted French roll.

    Goochland Drive-In

    Goochland Drive-In

    GOOCHLAND DRIVE-IN, Hadensville
    Have you ever heard of this one? The Gooch Dog, a hotdog topped with mac n’cheese, with a special/secret sauce piled on top. The Goochland Drive-In, a family-oriented, classic drive-in establishment, offers its patrons new release movies and unique American concessions, such as the Gooch Dog. It’s worth a visit for a night of family fun.

    HAUTE DOG & FRIES, Alexandria & Purcellville
    “Keep it simple. Everyone loves a hotdog.” That’s the motto of Haute Dog & Fries, located just outside Washington, D.C., as well as Purcellville. Choose from one of their 15 dogs on the menu, or make your own custom creation (including rainbow sprinkles!). Try out the District “D.C.” Dog, complete with bleu cheese, BBQ sauce, yellow mustard, chopped onions and a dill pickle. Or how about the classic Haute Dog? Dressed with homemade warm house onion relish, yellow mustard, mayo and celery salt. All hotdogs are natural, all-beef franks; as well as gluten, dairy and sugar-free. Pair your hotdog with Haute Dog’s signature fries and you’re good to go!

    DOUG’S HOT DOGS, Norfolk
    Doug’s Hot Dogs, located in Ocean View in Norfolk, is known for its BBQ hot dog, complete with authentic pulled pork BBQ. Arrays of other topping options are available, including the bacon-cheddar dog and their foot-long. 

    Skeeter's, E. N. Umberger Store

    Skeeter’s, E. N. Umberger Store

    SKEETER’S “WORLD FAMOUS” HOTDOGS, Wytheville
    Home of the Skeeterdog, Skeeter’s has served nearly nine million dogs since 1925. As one visitor boasts, “My favorite Skeeterdog is the “All the Way.” The All the Way dog comes buried under chili, mustard and ultra-creamy slaw that’s almost more of a sauce, and super finely diced fresh onions. The buns are steamed behind the counter and arrive at the table nice and soft. Skeeter’s has been named Hot Dog of the Week by seriouseats.com.

    DONKEY DAWGS, Virginia Beach
    If you’re visiting Virginia Beach, you have to take a stop to Donkey Dawgs, just a few miles from the coastline. Serving hot dogs, Carolina BBQ, burgers, salad, homemade soups and daily specials, there’s something that is sure to please any palate.

     



    Food, Locals | 12 Comments