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    Road trippers and warriors may recognize the Hampton Roads #Bridge Tunnel at sunset, though it looks different when you're not behind the wheel of a car. Beautiful shot by @slayerlovnhippy! Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #repost #dusk #photooftheday #bridgetunnel #vatravel #moon #hamptonroads
    Picking #blueberries at Mount Olympus Farm in Ruther Glen. If you visit soon, you'll be able to pick your own blueberries (end of season) AND blackberries (beginning of season). Pull out those homemade #pie and #muffin recipes and get cookin'! Tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #eatlocal #pickyourown #blueberry #summer #vatravel #locavore #vafood
    Even your best friend is bound to enjoy the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway! Here's Aspen and @samanthabrookephoto taking advantage of the #DogDays of #summer. #repost #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #photooftheday #BlueRidgeParkway #vatravel #goldenretriever
    #Virginia #oyster shuckin' at #Merroir with Rappahannock River Oysters. If you haven't visited this sea-to-table restaurant in Topping, VA, they've got another location in Richmond: Rappahannock #Restaurant. #loveva #vafood #eatlocal #locavore #rva #vaoyster
  • Archive for the ‘Travel Ideas’ Category

    Take on some Thrilling Zip Line, Canopy and Ropes Course Tours this Summer

    by Stefanie | Posted on May 21st, 2014

    Got an adrenaline junkie on your hands? Give them an experience like no other through Virginia’s many zip line, canopy and ropes course tours. Whether you’re just starting out or a self-proclaimed expert, these adventures feature an exhilarating experience for those who are up to the challenge!

     

    Virginia Aquarium Adventure Park

    Virginia Aquarium Adventure Park

    VIRGINIA AQUARIUM ADVENTURE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va. 

    The Adventure Park at Virginia Aquarium is an eco-friendly zip line and aerial adventure experience in the trees above the scenic Owls Creek, where kids, teens and adults can all enjoy the Adventure Park. Perfect for families or groups, participants will soar through the trees of the Owls Creek Path and will see wooden platforms at different heights. They are connected either by zip lines that climbers “zip” across or fun challenge bridges that climbers navigate in order to get from one platform to the next. The Adventure Park has zip lines for the beginner to expert, as well as an impressive jungle gym, perfect for parties.

     

    BEAR MOUNTAIN – Luray, Va.

    Go ahead, get carried away…at Bear Mountain Zip Lines.  The Mama Bear zip line tour includes 7 zip lines, for a total of 2,700 ft. line racing through the forest canopy at up to 35 miles per hour. Perfect for all ages, Bear Mountain offers safety gear, training and procedures. Looking to give the kids a challenge? The Baby Bear High Ropes course is designed for children 5+ that will guarantee a fun and safe adventure. And while you’re there, don’t forget about the Bear Scramble climbing wall!

     

    MASSANUTTEN RESORT – Rockingham, Va.

    Nestled within Massanutten Resort, lies one of the most thrilling adventures on the property. Located at the Family Adventure Park and Peaked Mountain Express Tube Park, the Zip Line/Canopy Tour boasts a Burma bridge, hanging vines crossing and four zip lines ranging from 90 to 450 feet long. Race down the mountain on a 750 foot-long Mega Zip Line with a friend or family member and experience high-flying on this rope’s course adventure! Located at the Family Adventure Park, Massanutten Resort’s Kids’ Adventure Course and Zip Line features a Burma plank, log crossing, swinging vine bridge, missing plank bridge, net traverse and a 100’ zip line that is sure to thrill!

     

    ADVENTURE PARK AT SANDY RIVER RETREAT – Rice, Va.

    The Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat’s ropes course & zip line park is designed with family fun in mind. The park is built on a 16-acre, self-sufficient farm in the town of Rice, just outside Farmville. The Park’s mission is for its guests to enjoy their time, laugh, scream, cheer and build confidence on their challenging course obstacles, while enjoying the exhilarating ride on the zip lines. The Adventure Park includes 16 zip lines and 52 obstacle high ropes.

     

    Go Ape Treetop Adventure

    Go Ape Treetop Adventure

    GO APE TREETOP ADVENTURE – James City, Va. 

    Go Ape Treetop Adventure Course is an outdoor experience that provides participants 2-3 hours of outdoor fun and exercise. The course allows participants to explore the park from an otherwise unobtainable vantage point, while navigating through the treetops using zip lines, obstacles and Tarzan swings. Located just minutes from downtown Williamsburg in the historic Freedom Park, Go Ape is a unique and highly interactive treetop adventure.

     

    RIVERSIDE OUTFITTERS – Richmond, Va.

    Choose from high-ropes challenges like vertical climbs into the tree canopy, limb walks, high-elevation zip lines, canopy rope bridges, plunging tree swings and much more! The level of challenge can easily be fit to climbers from ages 5 to adult, and from the beginner to the expert. Riverside Outfitters’ mission is to significantly and responsibly increase recreational use of Richmond’s natural landscape by guiding outdoor experiences and inspiring a return to natural fun.

     

    VIRGINIA CANOPY TOURS – Bentonville, Va.

    During the Zip the Park tour, participants will enjoy stunning views of the Massanutten Mountains and the gorgeous hardwood forest of the Shenandoah Valley. Guests will learn the rich history of the Shenandoah Valley, native plant species and the wild inhabitants who make the woods their home. Participants will soar through the Shenandoah hardwood forest at speeds which can exceed 40 miles per hour and at heights reaching 90 feet above the forest floor– all while attached to two steel cables.  The Tour finale is an adrenaline-pumping 1,035’ zip down the face of the ridge to their rappel.

     

    TREETOP ZOOFARI ZIP LINE & ADVENTURE PARK – Moseley, Va.

    The Treetop Zoofari at the Richmond Zoo is designed for the entire family.  As you traverse the canopy walk, plus multiple high stakes challenges and large zip lines at 40 feet above the ground, there will be choices given along the route. These choices are the difference between easier and more challenging routes.  Fly more than 600 feet across the zoo’s lake and zip by tapirs, rheas, and toucans. Those afraid of heights, balanced challenged and younger kids can enjoy the Junior Explorer course. Participants will be pushed to the limits as they pass over tightropes and Indiana Jones bridges, through barrels and nets, only to top off their adventure with a 60-foot zip line. The challenges are all tree to tree and range from 5-12 feet in the air.

     

    Zip Line at Bryce Resort

    Zip Line at Bryce Resort

    BRYCE MOUNTAIN ZIP LINE ADVENTURE – Basye, Va. 

    Bryce Resort offers an exciting ride, consisting of 10 zip line platform stations, connected by more than 3,500 feet of cable traversing down the ski slopes and through the woods. With speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, riders will experience the thrill of flying through the trees and sailing across the open ski slopes, as high as 80 feet above the ground, as they work their way from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The resort’s adventure features 10 different zip lines. While you’re there, be sure to take an evening cruise down the lines to take in some of the most breathtaking views Virginia has to offer.

     

    LURAY CAVERNS ROPE ADVENTURE PARK – Luray, Va.

    This is your invitation to strap on a harness, step out of your comfort zone, and soar to new heights. The Rope Adventure Park at Luray Caverns includes three different levels of ropes course challenges. While fun is always the main focus, Luray’s Adventure Park also wants you to have complete peace of mind by using a sophisticated safety system of belay devices and harnesses, with trained personnel supervising every participant.

     

    MOUNTAIN LAKE TREETOP ADVENTURE – Pembroke, Va.

    Ready for an adrenaline kick? Virginia’s newest ropes adventure course is located in the forest canopy at Mountain Lake. Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures is a fun way to get outside, challenge yourself, and experience the exhilaration of climbing through the tree canopy and riding zip lines through the forest.  Sky bridges, swings, rope ladders and zip lines offer a range of challenges that are fun for both the novice, the super adventure seeker and everyone in between. The Adventure Park offers a kids course and two adult courses, all varying in height and challenge levels.

    harpers_ferry_zip

    Harpers Ferry Adventure Center

    HARPERS FERRY ADVENTURE CENTER – Loudoun, Va. 

    Harpers Ferry Adventure Center has been introduced as the best zip lining in Northern Virginia! Located near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and only one hour from Washington DC and Baltimore metro regions, this tour boasts the best views in the area! This 1.5-2-hour tour is complete with 7 zips and a Sky Bridge!  You’ll fly through the tree tops along the Potomac River. Experience 8 elements: Stairway to Heaven, One and Done, Pucker Up, Blue Ridge Bridge, Dew Drop In, Geronimo, Last Stand, and Hunter’s Landing. With heights up to 40 feet, zips up to 425 ft, and a 100 ft Sky Bridge, this is an experience you won’t want to miss!

     

     



    Destinations, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    Mountain Biking Trails For Everyone

    by Stefanie | Posted on May 19th, 2014

    Liberty Mountain Trail System

    Liberty Mountain Trail System

    Mountain biking season is here! It’s time to bring out the “Hurt Enforcer.” Or at least that’s what my bike’s nickname is. Check out some great biking trails this summer that welcome novice and experts alike. What’s your bike’s nickname? Find out here.

     

    SHENANDOAH MOUNTAIN TOURING – Harrisonburg, Va.

    Offering rentals and custom tours, Shenandoah Mountain Touring boasts beautiful scenery and trails for all skill levels. You might want to pack a swim suit under your biking gear; swimming holes are located throughout the trails and are perfect for taking a break from the heat. Special events are held throughout the year, including backcountry mountain bike races. Both mountain bike and road rides are available on the tours.

     

    THE HOMESTEAD – Hot Springs, Va.

    The Omni Homestead is located in one of the country’s most scenic settings. That’s good enough reason to take advantage of the 100 miles of hiking and biking trails all within steps of the resort. The resort is home to 100 miles of biking and hiking trails throughout the resort. That is certainly enough options to cover bikers of all skill levels. Covering 3.5 miles, the easiest trail takes a little over one hour to complete. The resort offers bike and helmet rentals.

     

    BRYCE MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Basye, Va.

    Perfect for a weekend getaway or vacation, Bryce Mountain Bike Park has six life-accessed trails, suitable for beginners and those who are learning terrain biking, and advanced difficult terrain. The Park offers a learning center for those who are wanting to learn proper biking techniques, as well as classes for the advanced biker who is looking to upgrade their style and performance. Rentals are available, including all the pads and equipment you will need for your day. TRAIL MAP

     

    Massanutten Resort

    Massanutten Resort

    MASSANUTTEN RESORT – McGaheysville, Va.

    It no longer has to be ski season to enjoy the terrain at Massanutten Resort. Riders of all ability levels may rent mountain bikes to explore the mountain. The resort has mountain biking for every level of rider. The blazed trails are recommended for intermediate to advanced riders, perfect for those who are looking for a challenging mountain biking experience. TRAIL MAP

     

    RADFORD MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK – Radford, Va.

    If you’re looking for a serene day on the trails with the family, Radford Mountain Bike Park offers 12 trails spanning 8-10 miles, with plenty of wildlife and scenic views to match. TRAIL MAP

     

    POCAHONTAS STATE PARK TRAILS – Chesterfield, Va.

    Featuring 52 miles for biking and hiking, Pocahontas State Park’s trails have several single-track mountain bike trails ranging from easy to expert levels. Included in the trail is the Spillway Trail for those with disabilities. TRAIL MAP

     

    DOUTHAT STATE PARK – Millboro, Va.

    At any one time of the year, Douthat State Park’s trails are open to more than 40 miles of wooded trails, perfect for bikers of all ages and skill levels. TRAIL MAP

     

    LAKE ANNA STATE PARK – Spotsylvania, Va.

    With 11 trails spanning 15 miles, Lake Anna State Park’s trails are the perfect option for those bikers who are planning to bring the kids along. All trails within the park are designated as “easy,” with the exception of the Big Woods, Pigeon Run and Gold Hill trails. TRAIL MAP

     

    Virginia Creeper Trail

    Virginia Creeper Trail

    VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL – Abingdon, Va.

    Ride along the 34-mile Creeper Trail, from Abingdon to just before the North Carolina border. During the ride, you will pass through Damascus, along the Whitetop Laurel River and up to its highest point, Whitetop Station, near the trail’s North Carolina border. The scenic and historic trail is an easy ride that offers food, lodging and shopping along the way. TRAIL MAP

     

    HUCKLEBERRY TRAIL – Blacksburg, Va.

    Huckleberry’s paved, 6-mile, relatively flat trail reaches points such as the Blacksburg Library, River Valley Mall and the Virginia Tech Campus. Perfect for an afternoon family ride or for those who use the trail for transportation. Huckleberry Trail is in the process of expansion, with a completion date of 2015. TRAIL MAP

     

    BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Breaks, Va.

    Breaks Interstate Park offers breathtaking scenery. The trail is a stack loop trail system offering up to nearly 12 miles of riding, from moderate to difficult. Depending on the route chosen, bikers may plan rides of varying length, with the possibilities of good climbs and long downhill runs. TRAIL MAP

     

    FALSE CAPE STATE PARK – Virginia Beach, Va.

    False Cape State Park offers five trails, including the Barbour Hill self-guided interpretive trail, total 15.3 miles. The park’s location on a barrier spit allows visitors to observe beaches, dunes, maritime forests of oak and pine, wooded swamps, marshes and the bay all in one visit. TRAIL MAP

     

    KIPTOPEKE STATE PARK – Cape Charles, Va.

    With more than four miles of trails, bike through upland hardwood forest along Baywoods Trail and look for tracks of foxes, deer and many birds. The upland Baywoods Trail and southern beach are connected by extensive boardwalks so that visitors may explore Kiptopeke’s dune formation. Bicycle trails are available along the park’s entrance road and the Raptor, Songbird, Chickadee and Mockingbird trails. TRAIL MAP

     

    OCCONEECHEE STATE PARK – Clarksville, Va.

    A one-mile self-guided interpretive trail takes visitors through a terraced garden and land where Occonneechee Plantation once was. The park has a 15-mile round trip multi-purpose linear trail for biking, which is relatively flat—perfect for the whole family to enjoy. TRAIL MAP

     

    LIBERTY MOUNTAIN TRAIL SYSTEM – Lynchburg, Va.

    The Liberty Mountain Trail System includes 65 miles of cross country and gravity-fed trails spanning nearly 5,000 acres through Liberty University’s Camp Hydaway. Conveniently located trail guides and directional signs make the trails easy to navigate for all visitors. TRAIL MAP

     

    Check out some additional biking in Virginia, including state park trails.

    For more resources on mountain biking, visit the International Mountain Bicycling Association website.

     



    Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

    Discover Eight Natural Wonders of Virginia

    by Stefanie | Posted on May 14th, 2014

    No need to grab the passport for tours of the Seven Wonders of the World. We’ve got you covered. Virginia is home to many of the most well-known and sought-after outdoor landmarks in the country. So pack up the car and discover some of the Commonwealth’s eight  natural wonders.

    LURAY CAVERNS – Luray, Va.

    Looking for the ultimate underground experience? Known as “Geology’s Hall of Fame,” Luray Caverns is the largest and one of the most popular caverns in Eastern America. Founded in 1878, the Registered Natural Landmark reaches peaks up to 10 stories high and has more natural wonders within its caverns than any other in Virginia. Check out Giant’s Hall, filled with towering columns and crystal clear pools or The Stalagpipe Organ, home to the world’s largest instrument. There’s always more to discover from the state’s eight caverns.

    VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE – Natural Bridge, Va.

    The Natural Bridge

    The Natural Bridge

    The Virginia Natural Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists. Although mostly on the lists from the 19th and early 20th centuries, its natural wonders still remain today. Formed when a cavern collapsed, legend holds that a young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. Today, landmarks remain of the work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials. Just before the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land, including the Natural Bridge, from King George, III of England for 20 shillings. Today it is privately owned. At the end of the day, unwind to view the Drama of Creation show, created in 1927 by then-president, Calvin Coolidge.

    NATURAL TUNNEL STATE PARK – Duffield, Va.

    Natural Tunnel was once described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The tunnel, which was naturally carved through a limestone ridge for more than a thousand years, is more than 850 feet long and reaches a height of up to 10 stories. One of Virginia’s 36 state parks, Natural Tunnel offers cave tours and canoe trips on the Clinch River.

    WESTMORELAND STATE PARK – Montross, Va.

    Head to the northern neck of the Potomac River and you’ll find Westmoreland State Park. Take in the breathtaking views atop Horse Head Cliffs or stroll along the river’s shore and hunt ancient shark teeth. The park’s amenities include something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from the Olympic-sized pool to boating and fishing. Take in the great outdoors by doing some bird watching; the region is widely known for spotting American bald eagles, kingfishers, great blue herons, ospreys and more.

    BURKE’S GARDEN – Tazewell, Va.

    Burke’s Garden is the Commonwealth’s highest valley and largest rural historic district. Described as “God’s Thumbprint,” the bowl-shaped valley will take visitors back to a simpler time when agriculture, religion and education were the main focuses of its settlers. Today, the Garden offers breathtaking scenery, peaceful hiking and biking, bird watching, and more. Head to the cemetery at the Central Lutheran Church to discover gravestones dating back to the 1700s or follow the Appalachian Trail for scenic overlooks into the Garden.

    BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Breaks, Va.

    Head west to the state border and you’ll find the “Grand Canyon of the South.” Historic Breaks Interstate Park was discovered in 1767 by Daniel Boone and offers all the beauty you’d expect from the mountainous land, where you can take a tranquil hike or bike ride. Go for a canoe ride on Laurel Lake or take the family out for a day of geocaching. The park is open year-round and boasts motel, cottage and cabin accommodations.

    Lake Drummond

    Lake Drummond at the Great Dismal Swamp

    GREAT DISMAL SWAMP – Suffolk, Va.

    The National Wildlife Refuge is the largest remnant of a habitat that spanned more than one million acres over southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. In 1973, the Great Dismal Swamp was donated to The Nature Conservancy, making it a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974. If you’re looking to hunt or just take in the beauty of the habitat, the Great Dismal Swamp has activities from hunting and fishing, to photography and environmental education classes.

    GREAT FALLS PARK – McLean, Va.

    Just 15 miles from DC sits one of the most historic natural wonders in the U.S.: Great Falls Park, located on the Potomac River. A unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the park’s origins date back to 10,500 BC. Today, the Patowmack Canal and Carousels of Great Falls Park are two of the most notable natural landmarks in the country, where visitors can stroll along the river and take in the sights of the falls, and its abundant wildlife. For the little ones, children 5 and older can attend the Junior Ranger Program to explore, learn and protect the park.



    Travel Ideas, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

    10 Places to Saddle Up in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on March 28th, 2014

    The vantage point is a little different and the experience is entirely different from the back of a horse. Saddle up and explore Virginia’s countryside and seaside with these unique opportunities.

    Marriott Ranch

    Marriott Ranch

    Offering the only service of its kind in Virginia and seemingly, the country, Virginia Beach Horseback invites you to the Virginia Beach oceanfront for a horseback ride on the sand or a swim with the horses. Corralled at 31st Street, come down between noon and 6:30 p.m. until June for a ride down to the pier and back. In summer, try their new Swimming on Horseback option Wednesday through Thursdays at North Bay. All riders are prepped on how to control the horses; no experience required. Rates from $40 to $100. Reservations are not required, but suggested.

    The 4,200-acre working cattle farm known as Marriott Ranch is located in Hume, not far from Washington, D.C. Make a reservation for their popular 90-minute trail ride offered every day except Monday or take advantage of their special rides and overnight packages, such as the City Slicker package that includes horsemanship skills, cattle handling techniques, meals, and overnight at The Inn at Fairfield Farm (from $385/person). Or perhaps the Dinner Ride of a 90-minute trail ride and a cowboy steak dinner ($99/person) sounds nice? Additional rides include day-long rides, river and mountain rides, and cattle drives.

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    In South Boston you’ll find tucked away the Shangrila Guest Ranch, an all-inclusive horseback riding destination. Couples and families alike will appreciate the variety of accommodations (a three-bedroom homeplace, a sweet little log cabin, or the packhouse lodge). The ranchers at Shangrila will also work with you for corporate retreats at The Rusty Spur, and there’s a special Cowgirls Week in May that may be perfect for a bridal or reunion retreat. If you don’t have long to stay and play, reserve your spot for an hour-long ride or the full day; they’re happy to oblige. Rates from $40/hr for a trail ride to $125/person for a daytime excursion with lunch. Inquire for lodging rates and other opportunities.

    Additional Places to Saddle Up:

    More Information:

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    8 Scenic Drives for Virginia History

    by Casey | Posted on March 25th, 2014

    It can be argued that any drive through Virginia is a historical one, but perhaps these eight drives are extra loaded with historical attractions and beautiful scenic opportunities.

    Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

    Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

    In Central Virginia you can pick up routes that take you north to south and east to west,  highlighting a great amount of history along the way.

    A trek down US Route 15 will put you on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, one of the most historically significant drives in America.  All said, the drive covers ground from Gettysburg to Monticello, and is considered a National Heritage Area. Trail Map

    The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail highlights the life and times of Patrick Henry, the great orator and Virginia’s first Governor. The trail covers a wide expanse of Virginia in the Richmond region and spreads into Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the trail you’ll see St. John’s Church in Richmond, the site of Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” oration; Red Hill in Brookneal, Henry’s last residence and burial site; Hanover Courthouse, the launch site of Henry’s political career; Studley in Mechanicsville, Henry’s birthplace; and 17 other sites. Trail Map

    Dip into Southern Virginia from Richmond to explore the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Centered around the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, the trail covers 300 miles and 41 sites that touch on the civil rights in education struggles of African Americans, Native Americans and women from the 18th to 20th centuries. Trail Map

    Also from Richmond, but headed east, is the Jamestown Discovery Trail that follows US Route 5. Sites along the way include plantations, presidential homes, Native American settlements, and ends at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

    Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

    Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

    If you find yourself in Southwest Virginia, you could be easily traversing multiple trails at once.

    The Coal Heritage Trail incorporates seven counties and the city of Norton to take in 300 miles of coal industry related historical sites and the additional locations that demonstrate the influence of coal on the region. The town of Appalachia is can be considered somewhat lost in time as it has preserved its place as a hub for eight surrounding coal camps dating from the 1800s to early 1900s. See coal equipment and related articles at places like the Harry W. Meador Coal Museum in Big Stone Gap and the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Pocahontas. Trail Map

    The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail winds through this area, too, and focuses on the musical history of the region. Nearly 100 attractions invite you to come tap your toes and get in the know. Trail Map

    The Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route captures the primary route taken by western settlers as they moved down the Shenandoah Valley and into the Southwest Virginia area. A total of 23 localities on this trail down US Route 11 and into the Blue Ridge Highlands gives you plenty of options for a weekend trip. Trail Map

    Across all of Virginia are the Virginia Civil War Trails. Branching off this way and that, the trails follow different campaigns of the American Civil War.  Hundreds of miles to conquer and plenty of time to do it, we hope!

    Make your plans to get on the roads and see something new this spring and summer! Use our Trip Planner to map out the details and throw in some extra fun and food along the way.

    Virginia is for Lovers. Request a Travel Guide.



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