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    Listen to this #Virginia #toad! This is a great #springtime capture by @grinbob. Cute #dog, too. #repost #loveva #visitvirginia #videooftheday #wildlife #vaoutdoors #vais4lovers #va #pet
    St. John's #Church in Church Hill, known especially for Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty, or Give Me #Death" speech, is also the burial place of Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold #Poe. She was a prominent stage actress in her day, and has shown to have great influence on her son's writing. #latergram #rva #edgarallanpoe #cemetery #history #grave #loveva #virginia #vais4lovers @adventuredame @rvais4lovers @vintage_rva
    #Cherryblossoms framing the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly as recently posted by @airandspacemuseum. Love the pink blossoms contrasting the bright blue sky. Great shot! #loveva #repost #virginia #museum #cherry #photooftheday #visitvirginia #spring #picoftheday
    The #love #bench is waiting for you at the #marina in Belle Haven. Has anyone been here for a selfie or portrait? Looks like a cool spot! #heart #loveva #sunset #harbor #virginia #visitvirginia #repost #photooftheday photo credit: @astralmagik
  • Archive for the ‘Travel Ideas’ Category

    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore in Coastal Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 27th, 2014

    Undoubtedly you know about the fantastic beaches of Coastal Virginia, but look beyond the warm sandy shores and check out the not-so-obvious attractions and things to do along the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Virginia region, comprised of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

    Air Power Park, Hampton, Virginia

    Air Power Park, Hampton, Virginia

    1. Air and space is big business in Coastal Virginia with sites like the NASA Wallops Flight Facility near Chincoteague Island and the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton, but these additional sites have a few tricks up their sleeves, too.

    • Air Power Park in Hampton is a free city park that happens to have aviation on display, front and center, with jets, missiles and rockets. Pack a picnic and enjoy the playground and floating dock on Newmarket Creek.
    • Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk offers a daily 45-minute tour for $10 per adult and $5 per child aged 3 to 11. The Naval Station is home port to more than 78 ships of the Atlantic Fleet, making it the world’s largest naval installation. It’s also one of the busiest airfields in the country. Cash only; photo ID required for adults. Schedule
    Vantage point from Fort Boykin in Smithfield, Virginia.

    Vantage point from Fort Boykin in Smithfield, Virginia.

    2. Fort Boykin‘s presence dates to 1623 when the Castle fort on the bluff above the James River in Smithfield was built to protect Jamestown colonists from Native Americans and Spainards. Having been used during and restructured for the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and finally the Civil War, Fort Boykin is a preserved and mostly intact as a Civil War site depicting military architecture of the time. An additional note to the site is the black walnut tree, believed to be the second largest in Virginia and at least 200 years old. It’s on the list with the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project. Brochure

    3. Paddle or fish the calm waters of the Mathews Blueways Water Trails. Five routes offer unique points along the way, like the New Point Comfort Lighthouse which is only accessible by water. The trails range in distance from 10.7 to 22.1 miles. Outfitters are available for equipment rental.

    Tangier Island, Virginia

    Tangier Island, Virginia

    4. The gardens of Eyre Hall in Cheriton are among the oldest in the nation, dating to 1800, but simply getting to them will take your breath away. A cedar-lined lane brings you onto the 1760 Eyre Hall estate. The Eyre family actually dates to 1623 on the Eastern Shore, however, as Thomas Eyre arrived to Jamestown in 1622. Do seek out the 1819 orangery ruin on site.

    5. You can’t get much more out of the way than Tangier Island, a lost-in-time island in the Chesapeake Bay that takes up only 1.236 square miles and is only accessible by ferry or your own watercraft. Taste the bay as the watermen bring their harvest to shore, and do converse with the locals. You’ll delight in their Elizabethan speak. Take a day trip with Tangier Island Cruise out of Reedville, Virginia.

    Enjoy your explorations!

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    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore Off Interstate 81

    by Casey | Posted on February 19th, 2014

    Threading its way through the Shenandoah Valley and into the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia is Interstate 81, a major thoroughfare that carries a daily average of up to 67,000* vehicles north and south. From I-81 visitors can experience a wide variety of history that includes woolly mammoth and mastodon, the Drama of Creation, westward migration into the first frontier, battle sites of the Civil War, and important pieces of agricultural revolution. History isn’t the only thing this part of Virginia has to offer. Get off that very well beaten path and see what you’ve been missing.

    Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

    Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

    1. The Camera Heritage Museum in Staunton is the East Coast’s largest privately owned, open to the public collection. And it’s free to visit! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see - daguerreotypes, wooden cameras, spy cameras … more than 2,000 cameras and lenses total. Especially unique pieces (at least to this author) are the Magic Lantern Projector (c. 1900), Suzuki Optical Echo 8 (1951-56), and the Chelsea Flash Pistol. In addition to the camera collection, check out the photograph collection. More than 2,500 historical images of the Staunton area are available for viewing.

    2. While you might have visited Luray Caverns already, you might have skipped touring the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. If so, go back. This museum is home to the country’s oldest automotive in operating condition, the 1892 Benz Vis-a-Vis. Alongside this treasure are an 1840 Conestoga Wagon, Rudolph Valentino’s 1925 Rolls Royce, a 1914 Ford Model-T Milk Wagon, a 1913 Stanley Steamer, and more. The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum is included with Luray Caverns admission. $24 per adult, $12 ages 6 to 12.

    3. In White Post you’ll find Dinosaur Land, an old school Virginia roadside attraction that’s more than 50 years old and has more than 50 dinosaurs to pose with. Everyone needs a pic with T-Rex! Opens for the season March 1. Admission is $6 per guest aged 11 and older; $5 ages 2 to 10.

    Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

    Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

    4. If want a nostalgic, romantic feeling to wash over you, just visit the covered bridges in Patrick County. Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges date to 1921 and 1914, respectively, and are celebrated annually in June during the Virginia Covered Bridge Festival.

    5. The heritage of the Appalachians is preserved at the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park in Tazewell, which is also the site of a 500-year old Native American village. Conflicts of all kinds occurred on this land, including Revolutionary and Civil War skirmishes. Fourteen 1800s log cabins give a glimpse of what pioneer life in the original wild west was like. Overnight pioneer camps and other special opportunities are available. Admission is $5 per adult; $3 for ages 7 to 12.

    Do you know of five others you’d add to this list? Please leave a comment to let everyone know!

     

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    *I-81 Corridor Coalition



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    14 Things to Bring with You on Vacation in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 18th, 2014

    Every corner of Virginia offers an experience that you might be surprised to find. Don’t be caught off guard! Here’s your list of 14 things to bring with you on vacation in Virginia.

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    1. Cork Screw – Virginia has more than 230 wineries and quite a few wine trails. You’re sure to come across more than a few in your travels, so stop and taste the best of what’s around. Have a cork screw with you for picnics or wherever your path may lead.

    2. Guitar Pick – Even if you don’t play, you’ll have the chance to strum a note or two when you travel The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Traversing nearly 300 miles through the Blue Ridge Highlands and Heart of Appalachia, the Crooked Road is your go-to destination for authentic old-time, bluegrass and folk music, not to mention some of the finest handcrafted instruments in the world.

    3. Oyster Shucking Knife – Virginia is a hot destination for oyster lovers. So much so, that it’s becoming known as the oyster capital of the East Coast. Taste the distinct difference seven oyster regions bring to the table when you attend an oyster festival or simply dine locally.

    Pierce's Bar-B-Que

    Pierce’s Bar-B-Que

    4. GrowlerCraft beer has exploded in Virginia with more than 60 breweries serving their finest ales in on-site tasting rooms and local restaurants. A couple of trails exist or you can try our suggested Howlers & Growlers tour.

    5. Binoculars – Bird watching is especially enjoyable in Virginia as much of the state is part of the Atlantic Flyway, a major migratory route. Read more about Virginia’s Birding and Wildlife Trail.

    6. Ear Plugs – Virginia is fortunate to have two major NASCAR tracks and one major road course, all hosting multiple national events annually. In addition, Arena Racing USA is the only indoor stock car league in the country, and you can see these half-scale stock cars speed around Richmond Coliseum.

    7. Moist Towelette – People who are serious about barbecue will no doubt sample and argue over which BBQ Joint is the best in Virginia (our list is up to 20!).  From Food Network and Southern Living to simple local acclaim, these dining destinations won’t let you down.

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    8. Hiking Shoes – Miles and miles and miles of hiking trails lead to waterfalls, amazing panoramic vantage points, and sheer Virginia solitude. See Hiking in Virginia, a compilation of Facebook and Twitter fan feedback about favorite hikes.

    9. Rain Suit or Bandana – Big boy toys are meant for girls, too. Everyone loves ATVing once they let loose and try it. Bring a rain suit in case your ride occurs during the rainy spring season (mud, anyone?!), or a bandana to cover your mouth and nose during drier conditions. Get dirty at one of 8 Virginia ATV Destinations!

    10. Water Bowl and Leash – Have a pet? Come on and travel Virginia. An increasing number of accommodations are welcoming pets into their environment. Check out Virginia is for Pet Lovers for pet-friendly travel info.

    New River

    New River

    11. Fishing Pole – Sink your line deep into the Atlantic or cast a fly into a freshwater stream. There are all kinds of fish biting year ’round in Virginia. Buy a fishing license.

    12. Helmet – Helmets can and should be used for a variety of experiences in Virginia – bicycling, horseback riding, kayaking and tubing, rock climbing, and ziplining, for starters.

    13. Swimsuit and Sunblock – Be ready to dive in a lake, splash around a waterpark or sunbathe on the beach this summer.

    14.  Camera App – What vacation would be complete without memories captured and shared on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook? We want to see your amazing time, so tag your fun vacation photos with #LOVEVA!

    Can you think of other things to bring for a uniquely Virginia vacation? Name it! We invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide.

    One last thought … 14 souvenirs to bring home from Virginia:

    1. Chincoteague Pony (yes, you can!)
    2. NASCAR lug nut
    3. Corks from conquered bottles of wine
    4. Empty oyster shell
    5. Photo of you on a roller coaster
    6. Growler, shot glass or wine glass from your liquid adventures
    7. Video of you flatfootin’ at Floyd Country Store
    8. Bag of peanuts
    9. Sea glass from Tangier Island
    10. Bottle of Virginia moonshine
    11. A cooler of fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crab
    12. Freshly harvested Highland County maple syrup
    13. Craft beer bottle caps
    14. Any officially branded Virginia is for Lovers™ merchandise! Find a retailer.



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    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore in Central and Southern Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 11th, 2014

    Get off the beaten path to see the lesser-known attractions from Richmond to Danville and Bedford and Petersburg. You’ll be delightfully surprised to find these “hidden” gems!

    Shug the Grizzly Bear at Bear Path Acres

    Shug the Grizzly Bear at Bear Path Acres

    1. Bear Path Acres in Franklin is a non-profit animal sanctuary and the only place in Virginia where you’ll see a grizzly bear up close and personal (aside from your own mountain run-in). Not exotic enough for you? Leonard the Black Leopard is a beautiful, unexpected gentleman who also calls Bear Path home.  This animal education center is open March through November, weather permitting. $10 per adult; $5 per child age 4 to 12. Group rates available.

    2. Visit the 100-acre Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Territory in Courtland to see Cattashowrock Town, a replica of the Native Palisade Fort/Village that William Byrd I of Westover documented during his visit in 1728. The Cheroenhaka (“People at the Fork of the Stream”) were the first to make contact with the English settlers in 1607/1608 in what is now Nottoway County, and are a state recognized Iroquoian Speaking Tribe. Walk the tribal interpretive trails, powwow grounds, and see the native sweat lodge. Cattashowrock Town is open Fridays and Saturdays from March 20 through November 15, 2014, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    Annual Events:

    • July 26, 2014 – Cattashowrock Town “Green Corn Dance” Powwow
    • November 15 – Cheroenhaka (Nottoway) Indian Inter-Tribal Fall Festival

    3. It’s a simple thing, really, but will bring much joy to those who haven’t experienced it. The last hand-poled ferry in the United States operates Saturdays and Sundays, April through October in Scottsville. It’s the Hatton Ferry and it crosses the James River south of Charlottesville every Saturday and Sunday, so long as water levels permit. Free to cross, but donations are encouraged. See the video below!

    4. Boys big and small, young and old will fall in love with the American Armoured Foundation, Inc. Tank Museum in Danville. It’s the most extensive collection of tank and cavalry artifacts in the world with more than 115 tanks and artillery pieces, 15o mid-size weapons, and more than 1,800 uniforms, headgear, pins, patches, and more. The collection dates from 1509 to present day with all nations represented. Open Saturdays only through March, and then Wednesdays through Saturdays April through December. $12 per adult and $10 for ages 5 to 12.

    MacCallum More Museum and Gardens

    MacCallum More Museum and Gardens

    5. MacCallum More Museum and Gardens in Chase City is listed on both the Virginia Landmark Registry and National Historic Register. Statues and plaques from around the world are found within the gardens – the rose garden, pink garden, herb & wildflower garden, joy garden, and a future children’s garden. The museum is home to five permanent exhibits including the Arthur Robertson Arrowhead Collection, the largest public display of arrowheads in the United States. Pieces date from the Archaic to Woodland Period; the collection is approximately 50,000 pieces strong.

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    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore in Northern Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 6th, 2014

    Let’s say you’ve visited the bigger attractions in Northern Virginia and now want something out of the ordinary to do. Got it. Let’s go …

    Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

    Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

    1. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary  Museum in Alexandria is a quirky place straight out of 1796. As one of Alexandria’s oldest continually run businesses, the Apothecary has a remarkable collection of medical equipment, herbal botanicals, handblown glass, and archival materials (i.e. journals, diaries, prescription and formula books, etc.), many with famous names included. Certainly you’ve heard of Martha Washington, Nelly Custis and Robert E. Lee?

    Beyond taking a 30-minute guided tour, sign up for the special Behind the Counter Tour that allows you to get up close and personal with the objects that aren’t typically displayed. The tour is 90 minutes for no more than eight people at $15 each. The standard 30-minute tour is $5 per adult and $3 for ages 5 to 12. $1 off coupon

    Upcoming Events:

    • March 16 – Wonders of Science - Discover curious objects, from poison bottles to dragon’s blood, and find out how they were used–and if they worked.
    • April 6 – Mad Science - Meet the museum’s very own mad scientist, bringing to life some crazy concoctions and the science behind them.

    2. Bugs are so cool to so many kids. Let them get a really good look at exotic insects, spiders, crustaceans, a pet snake, turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and more when they visit the quaint Bug Box in Fredericksburg. You’ll all have a story to tell when you join the “I Ate a Bug Club.” To join, just eat a chocolate covered cricket! Bug Box is a perfect day time activity for spring break, summer, or for families with preschoolers, as the public hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $3 per person.

    Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park

    Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park

    3. The pre-Revolutionary War Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park in McLean is a delightful surprise. Once you’re on the grounds, consider yourself in 1771. Period interpreters perform the chores and work the farm as was conducted in the 18th century by the Thornton family.

    Think your children would like to give the chores a try? The Farm Skills Program  allows them to pound corn, card wool, dip candles, and more. Reservations are required, and the program is available select Thursdays throughout the year. Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park opens for the season April 2, 2014. Admission is $3 per adult, $2 per child, and $2 per senior over age 60.

    Riverfront view of Gunston Hall

    Riverfront view of Gunston Hall

    4. Beyond Virginia’s presidents, there are many other famous figures to learn about through their preserved Virginia homes. George Mason IV and his Gunston Hall Plantation is but one example. Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the document upon which the United States Bill of Rights was based. His home was constructed between 1755 and 1759 on 5,500 acres overlooking the Potomac River in Lorton. The corn and tobacco plantation now sits at 550 acres. Tour this grand estate daily, including the stately home, outbuildings and hiking trails. Admission is $10 per adult, $5 per child 6 to 18, and $8 per senior 60 and older. $1 off coupon

    5. Little train lovers (and maybe big train lovers, too) will enjoy a Saturday morning visit to the Railway Workers’ Museum in Fredericksburg. Take a self-guided tour of the restored rail cars, the artifacts that lie within, and if crew is available, a ride on the Little Yellow Train! Rides are dependent upon weather and commercial rail activity, but offer a feel of how 1900′s rail workers commuted to their work site. Open mid-March through mid-November. No admission fee.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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