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5 Food and Drink Experiences for 2014

by Casey | Posted on January 29th, 2014

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.

- Virginia Oysters
Oyster Festivals

Texas Tavern

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.

- Virginia Craft Beer

3. Eat cheap but really well when you take a tip from Southern Living. Their January 2014 issue includes “The South’s Best Cheap Eats Under $10″ and we weren’t surprised to find Pasture‘s Pimento Cheese (Richmond), Peter Chang China Cafe’s Dan Dan Noodles with Beef (Richmond), Sally Bell’s Kitchen‘s Boxed Lunch (Richmond) or Texas Tavern‘s “Hot, With” (Roanoke) among the recommendations.

- 10 Pies Worth the Drive
22 Places to Eat Like a Local
- 22 Great Breakfast Spots
- 17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

Fresh vegetables create a beautiful primavera at Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, VA.

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!

- Virginia Wine

5. Love the local flavors. From farmers’ markets to five-star restaurants, the taste of what’s real, authentic, and right out the back door simply can’t be beat.

- Farm to Table Dining
- Culinary Virginia

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Beer, Food, Food and Wine, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

2013 Virginia Green Travel Award Winners

by Guest | Posted on January 27th, 2014

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.

1. Green Hotels

The Westin Richmond

The Westin Richmond

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.

2. Green B&Bs

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.

3. Green Conference / Convention Centers

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.

Solar panels provide 100% of the power at North Gate Vineyard.

4. Green Wineries

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.

5. Green Restaurants

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.

 6. Green Campgrounds

Williamsburg KOA heats their pool with a converted heat system that uses wood from fallen trees and branches. Green camping education and practices are part of the whole camping experience.

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center

7. Green Attractions

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.

8. Green Conferences and Events

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.

9. Green Vacation Rentals

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.

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Tom Griffin, Director, Greener Results ConsultingOur 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.



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5 Outdoor Adventures to Conquer in 2014

by Casey | Posted on January 8th, 2014

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

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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3. See the waterfalls of the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Park. They’re especially beautiful after a rain, so plan accordingly. A spring walk will yield wildflowers, making the trek all the more memorable.
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Spearhead Trail Mountain View Trail System

Spearhead Trail Mountain View Trail System

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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What’s on your 2014 outdoor to-do list? Leave us a comment!

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The Best of 2013 on Virginia.org

by Casey | Posted on December 13th, 2013

What was everyone looking at in 2013? Here’s the run-down, and we believe you’ll find these “top 10′s” just as valuable for 2014 travel planning.

 

Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

Top Blog Posts

1. 17 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to Love (now 19!) – The locals responded and shared many great places to enjoy barbecue throughout Virginia. Did any of your favorites make the list?
2. Five Virginia Glamping Destinations  - What is glamping? This article answers that question and just might inspire you to try it.
3. 10 Free Things to Do This Fall in Virginia – Fall is a great time to visit Virginia and this article was extremely popular for its “free” theme. Many of the ideas offered here are available year ’round, so check it out.

4. Eight Incredible Virginia Summer Music Festivals
5. 22 Great Breakfast Spots in Virginia
6. 14 Places to Enjoy Fall Foliage in Virginia
7. Five Hidden Outdoor Gems of Virginia
8. Five Heartwarming Destinations for the Holidays
9. Nine Must-See Virginia Landmarks
10. Rain Equals Fantastic Virginia Waterfalls

 

Most Visited Destinations on Virginia.org

Colonial Williamsburg

Colonial Williamsburg

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”.

4. Williamsburg
5. Hampton
6. Fredericksburg
7. Charlottesville
8. Norfolk
9. Natural Bridge
10. Newport News

 

 

Most Viewed Articles on Virginia.org

Cascades Waterfall in Pembroke

Cascades Waterfall in Pembroke

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.

4. Summer Festivals
5. Virginia’s Waterparks
6. Go Camping and RVing
7. Virginia’s Caverns
8. Scenic Fall Drives
9. Colonial Williamsburg
10. Cool Places for Grade Schoolers

 

Top Search Terms on Virginia.org

1. Richmond
2. Williamsburg
3. Virginia Beach
4. Roanoke
5. Natural Bridge
6. Waterfalls
7. Apple Picking
8. Beaches
9. Camping
10. Norfolk

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!

Virginia is for Lovers.



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5 Heartwarming Destinations for Your Holidays

by Casey | Posted on November 6th, 2013

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

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
  • Dine: Babycakes Cupcakery and Abingdon Tavern
  • Visit: Barter Theatre, Holston Mountain Artisans, Wolf Hills Brewery, Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Escape to a cozy winter weekend in Harrisonburg, where holiday events on Main Street highlight the beauty of the season.

  • Stay: Joshua Wilton House, Stonewall Jackson Inn, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages
  • Dine: Shank’s Bakery, Clementine Cafe, Corgans’ Publick House
  • Visit: You Made It!, Winter Farmers’ Market, Forbes Center for Performing Arts
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria

From charming King Street in Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon, the area presents lively, entertaining holiday opportunities for the whole family.

  • Stay: Morrison House, Lorien Hotel and Spa, Hotel Monaco
  • Dine: Fish Market Restaurant, Hard Times Cafe, Caboose Cafe & Bakery
  • Visit: Torpedo Factory Art Center, Woodlawn, Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria Black History Museum
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Downtown Culpeper

Downtown Culpeper

Enjoy the spirit of a classic Virginia Main Street when you and the girls make it a shopping weekend in Culpeper.

  • Stay: Thyme Inn, Suites at 249, Hazel River Inn B&B
  • Dine: Hazel River Inn Restaurant & Pub, Raven’s Nest Coffee House, Foti’s
  • Visit: Mount Pony Theatre, Belmont Farm Distillery, Old House Vineyards
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Living Museum

Capture the memories as you indulge your senses and rejuvenate your soul in Newport News, the heart of Coastal Virginia, this holiday season.

  • Stay: Newport News Marriott at City Center, Boxwood Inn, The Pequod Inn
  • Dine: Crab Shack on the James, The Lunch Bell
  • Visit: Virginia Living Museum, 100 Miles of Lights, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

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.

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48 Hours, The Holidays, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations, Winter | 12 Comments