Whether your palate makes you a gourmand or not, there are fun food and drink experiences for everyone this year.
1. Slurp up the favorite delicacy of the Chesapeake Bay - Crassostrea virginica (eastern oyster) – during this, the 40th anniversary of its shell being named the official shell of Virginia. Seven oyster regions yield a variety of flavors, pushing Virginia to become the Oyster Capital of the East Coast.
Texas Tavern in Roanoke, VA is famous for their hot dogs. Ask for a “hot, with.”
2. It’s been 20 years since Legend Brewing Co. in Richmond began handcrafting their legendary lagers and ales, making it Central Virginia’s oldest microbrewery. Their patio overlooking the James River boasts a great view of downtown Richmond and is an awesome place to be on a sunny day.
Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.
4. If you’re a connoisseur of fine Virginia wines, you’ll be elated to learn that 2014 potentially ushers in EIGHT new wineries in locations such as Delaplane, North Garden, Orange, Amissville, Barhamsville, Berryville, Lovettsville, and Purcellville. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Wineville!
Ready to travel green in Virginia? There are now more than 1,400 certified Virginia Green travel partners in Virginia that have made commitments to implement green practices in their operations, and you can find them by searching for Virginia Green throughout Virginia.org/green.
But be sure to consider these award-winning Virginia Green Travel partners, all of whom received Virginia Green Travel Star awards in 2013.
The Westin Richmond makes green a central focus of the entire guest and meeting experience; and it implements new projects every year to reduce its environmental footprint, such as energy efficient lighting and air conditioning systems.
The Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Richmond composts all of its food wastes, supports recycling projects in local schools, and collects used soaps for recycling in support for international mission projects.
The sun provides for heating and air-conditioning at Oak Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast in Cluster Springs; and the new solar panels and monitors offer a chance to learn firsthand about the potential for renewable energy.
Want to plan or attend a green conference or meeting? The Virginia Beach Convention Center is a certified LEED-Gold facility that composts food wastes, recycles and reduces wastes, and has decreased their energy use by 27% since 2008.
Solar panels provide 100% of the power at North Gate Vineyard.
North Gate Vineyard in Purcellville is off the grid! Actually, they are not off the grid, but they do produce more energy than they use from their solar panel roof and sell the rest back to the power company. Monitor how much energy they are producing while you taste award-winning wines.
Maple Avenue Restaurant in Vienna is a small, nine-table restaurant that focuses on local and sustainably-produced food and beverages and is challenging the local businesses and the town council to embrace and implement green practices.
The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach composts all of its kitchen food wastes, and it received an EPA grant to coordinate a Restaurant Food Waste Composting Pilot Project that has now diverted more than 53,350 pounds of organics from the landfill.
Green practices are evident everywhere at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, especially in the case of the new solar panel system, one of the largest solar panel arrays on a tourist attraction in the state.
The 2013 LPGA Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg was a “zero waste” event as all food wastes and disposables were either recycled or composted.
The ASAE Foundation’s 31st Annual Springtime DC Invitational Golf & Tennis Tournament made green conferences and meetings the theme of the entire event with recycling and environmental education stressed throughout, including every hole of the golf tournament. Plus, the event was held at Lansdowne Resort, a certified Virginia Green conference center.
Want to recycle and enjoy green amenities while on vacation? Sandbridge Blue Vacation Rentals focuses on its own business operations and encourages their rental properties to recycle and consider additional green practices and upgrades.
Additional Green Travel Choices
The following Virginia Green partners received the Virginia Green Travel Leader Award for 2013.
Our guest blogger today, Tom Griffin, is the Director of Greener Results Consulting, and has been the driving force of the Virginia Green program for Virginia’s tourism and hospitality industry. Industry partners can learn more about the program at VATC.org/VirginiaGreen. Consumers can learn more about Virginia Green travel opportunities at VirginiaGreenTravel.com.
Let 2014 be your year of travel, and let us inspire you! This is the first of a four part series showcasing things to do in Virginia for 2014. Let’s go!
Outdoor enthusiasts, families, kids, most everyone will enjoy these quests for fun in Virginia’s great outdoors this year.
New River Kayaking
1. The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach is expanding to include a new Aquarium Adventure Park. The park is due to open by summer and will feature zip lines and ropes courses. It will be the largest aerial forest park in Virginia, and will be suitable for ages 5 and older.
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2. Rugged cyclists traveling to and living in southwest Virginia will appreciate the new Mill Creek Nature Park mountain biking trails in Narrows. The two miles will connect with 16 more miles of national forest trails and the Appalachian Trail. Expect beautiful sights along the way like the Cascades waterfall.
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4. Get your mud on! Sections of the Spearhead Trail system in the Heart of Appalachia continue to open to ATV and OHV enthusiasts. Are you a novice rider? Outfitters in the town of St. Paul have embraced the new community of riders and offer rentals and guidance.
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5. Extreme paintball wars are possible with a trip to PEVS Paintball Park in Aldie. Just 30 minutes from Washington, DC, players will find 48 acres of courses, including a life size town with more than 25 buildings. Bring your own equipment or rent theirs.
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1. Virginia Beach - With the Atlantic Ocean and 38 miles of shoreline, Virginia Beach is always a favorite of visitors to Virginia. Don’t miss the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, First Landing State Park, and the three-mile boardwalk!
2. Luray - The Luray Caverns are the largest and most popular caverns east of the Mississippi. Luray is also a great destination for outdoor recreation with Shenandoah National Park access and hundreds of cabins to choose from.
3. Richmond - A wealth and variety of history, culture and outdoor recreation give Richmond its vibrant, eclectic vibe. See why Outside Magazine dubbed Richmond the “Best Town Ever”.
1. Cool Places for Kids - This list, broken down by age, includes 70 amazing spaces and places for children to explore and thrive in Virginia. See what’s too cool for school for your little angel, grade schooler, tween or teen.
2. Cozy Virginia Cabins - If you’re looking for a place to chill, relax, unwind, and otherwise get some alone time, this is a great resource. Find your perfect “cabin in the woods” for overnight, weekend or week-long escape.
3. Virginia’s Beaches - Big or small, bustling or private, coastal or inland, sandy or coarse, Virginia has a beach you’re going to love.
What will you be searching for in 2014? Get started now at Virginia.org and check out our handy Trip Planner while you’re there. Save your finds to the Trip Planner, then organize, map, share or print. Cheers to your travels!
As the season of holidays creeps ever closer, find ways to make the most of your time together and make it memorable. Why not consider an overnight or two in a Virginia destination known for its merriment and cheer?
The Barter Theatre, Abingdon
Spend the holidays in Abingdon! This picturesque small town will fill your heart with holiday joy. World class art venues, cultural events and historical sites are all wrapped up in Christmas lights.
Stay: The Martha Hotel & Spa, Copper Lantern Inn, River Garden Bed and Breakfast
Looking for more great holiday getaways? This is the first in a series! Be sure to subscribe to our posts so you don’t miss the next edition. In the mean time, leave a comment to tell us your favorite Virginia destination for the holidays.