You remember those places you loved back in the day? You know – that diner that’s been serving the best BBQ since your grandma was a teenager, piling up into the bed of the truck to watch a flick or two at the drive-in movie theater, or the handmade ice cream cones that the franchises still can’t beat? Yeah. Those were the days …
Why let those awesome memories stay memories? Make some new ones and share those experiences with your kids. I certainly am!
Love by the Glass: Virginia Wine & Dine Month is a celebration that showcases Virginia wines at more than 500 participating restaurants and wine shops across the Commonwealth. Special wine and food pairings along with wine travel packages make March an ideal time for wine lovers to visit Virginia.
With more than 200 wineries Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for wineries and grape production, and the world is starting to notice …
One of the 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations for 2012 – Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2012
One of the Top Five Up-and-Coming Wine Regions – Travel + Leisure, 2007
So how can you get in on this wining and dining action? More than 500 opportunities await. From special events, participating restaurants, and the wineries themselves, Virginia wine is yours to be had. Here is a sampling.
Alpengeist is just one of the thrilling coasters at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.
If you’re crazy for coasters and lament the loss of Busch Gardens’ Big Bad Wolf in 2009, no worries. Verbolten is a brand new thrill ride through the Black Forest of Germany that you’re sure to love.
Busch Gardens writes …
“A German tourist center serves as the ride entrance and as the launching point for an exciting autobahn touring experience where an unexpected detour launches riders into the verboten Black Forest. Set in the re-envisioned Oktoberfest section of the park, this all-new multi-launch, indoor/outdoor roller coaster utilizes electromagnetic technology to propel riders through a high-speed thrill packed with twists, turns and plunges. This exhilarating new coaster will feature many ‘firsts’ when it debuts.”
The last piece of Verbolten’s track was installed on January 17, 2012, completing the 2,835 feet of the ride. With special effects and thematic to-do’s left to complete, look for Verbolten to open late spring. Get a flavor for the ride by watching the clip below.
Kings Dominion in Doswell has a couple of fun new things to show you this season as well – most notably, WindSeeker, a 301′ spinning tower of swings. Take a friend up with you to enjoy the two-person swing, and hold on tight. Kings Dominion writes …
“WindSeeker is a ride that is fun, thrilling and relaxing at the same time, making it an attraction that families enjoy riding together. It’s also one of the best night ride experiences around.”
WindSeeker at Night, Kings Dominion
At 25-30 mph, tilting at a 45-degree angle, and more than 300 feet in the air, I’m not sure that I would call WindSeeker relaxing. (If I try it out, I’ll let you know.) One thing KD claims and I feel confident in, is this …
“A ride on WindSeeker will provide riders with a birds-eye view of the park and surrounding countryside. On a clear day, riders will be able to see 18 miles out into the region. Incredible!”
The view from on-high must be epic. With an 18-mile view, you just might be able to see Richmond’s skyline.
Reality TV loves Virginia, in case you haven’t noticed. Guy Fieri has shown off and sampled some awesome eats on his Food Network Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives episodes (get the scoop here), and the ball has continued to roll from there.
Carla Hesseltine of Just Cupcakes
In the past year Virginia has cheered on two Food Network Cupcake Wars contestants, one of which finished second in their challenge.
Just Cupcakes is a Virginia Green certified cupcake shop with three locations – two in Virginia Beach and one in Norfolk. Owner Carla Hesseltine and her staff bake several fresh batches of cupcakes each day. With names like “Frankly Scarlett” and “Puckerup Buttercup,” how can you pass up these treats?
Just Cupcakes was included in the Season 3 premiere “Kentucky Derby” episode which aired on June 14, 2011. See Carla’s audition.
Wicked cupcakes from Frostings
Most recently, Frostings in Glen Allen appeared in the Cupcake Wars “Wicked” episode of Season 4. You can see Matt Fraker and Jessica Jones compete during these upcoming encore presentations: January 12 at 11 PM, January 13 at 2 AM, and January 14 at 1 PM. The original air date was January 1, 2012. See Matt and Jessica’s audition.
Stop by Frostings through the end of January to have a taste of their Wicked creations - Dark Chocolate Port Wine, Tiramisu, Hummingbird, and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
If you would, take a step back from Virginia’s sweet treats and admire the rolling countryside.
Now in its 5th season, Ax Men, a series you’ll find on the History Channel, is branching out. Previously focused on big timber logging in Alaska and swamp logging in Louisiana, Ax Men is bringing in a new type of logger. The season premiere aired Sunday, January 8, bringing regular viewers up to speed with the loggers they’ve been following for several seasons. However, on March 4th you can expect to be introduced to the Rutledge men of H. H. Horse Logging Healing Harvest Forest Foundation in Floyd, Virginia. Tune in at 9 p.m. EST!
H. H. Horse Logging
If you’d care to actually meet the men, walk the woods, and maybe be introduced to the horses, give 24 hours’ advance notice and kindly bring a tax-deductible donation for Healing Harvest Forest Foundation, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit founded by Jason Rutledge.
Until your visit, we pose a question for you to ponder. Does your work provide you with a “dignity dividend?” Hear how H. H. Horse Logging’s Biological Woodsman Chad Miano defines it in this video clip from Restoring the Americas.
From chopping down trees to hiding behind them, take a glimpse of the illegal art of making moonshine. Keep in mind, this is not an endorsement for moonshining, but another view of how Virginia is capturing reality TV. Dive in …
Discovery premiered a brand new series December 6, 2011 that just concluded January 4, 2012. Perhaps you saw Moonshiners?
The show follows a third generation Pittsylvania County, Virginia moonshiner (Tim) and his apprentice (Tickle) as they fire up the still to produce and sell white lightning (shine, hooch, corn liquor, rot gut, creek water, squeezin’s, mountain dew, etc.). Also included is a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agent (Jesse), who is out for a big take-down. For Tim and other ‘shiners, money is the prize, but is it worth the heat of being chased?
See an encore presentation of the season finale of Moonshiners on January 16 at 10 PM or January 17 at 12 AM.
Should you care to see the production of legal Virginia liquor and perhaps purchase a bottle, visit one of Virginia’s distilleries. Tim paid a visit to Stillhouse Distillery in Culpeper to learn what it takes to legally produce moonshine. Tours are available during normal business hours of Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM, April 1 through December 24.
Discovering something unexpected is over-the-top fun, and a foursome tired of their ho-hum days of normalcy have set out to do just that.
Sure, I can tell you all the awesome ways to Get Lost in Loudoun, but why not sit back and enjoy seeing how Andrew, Jolyn, Haley, and James get lost instead?
Six episodes of nine have aired so far, and here, in a nutshell, is what you might have missed:
Episode One includes an adrenaline-pumping paintball battle at Pev’s Paintball Park, one of the top 12 paintball parks in the world.
Episode Two finds the cast being coached through a pot-off with a surprise guest, Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley, at Glenfiddich Farm Pottery.
Episode Three is set at Great Country Farms, a 200-acre agritainment farm. Yes, they have successfully married agriculture and entertainment in Bluemont! Don’t believe me? I challenge you to a round of cow pie putt-putt.
Episode Four tingles your spine as cast members take on an individual challenge at Oatlands Plantation - a challenge of paranormal proportions. Hey, what happened to James??
Episode Five is a cook-off at Goodstone Inn, a sprawling estate with amazing history and farm-to-table cuisine by chef William Walton. Can the teams please the palates of local Loudoun foodies?
In Episode Six, the most recent of the Get Lost in Loudoun series, Andrew, Haley, Jolyn, and James hit the rapids of the Potomac River with guides from BTI Whitewater. Um, they’re kind of a big deal.
Now you’re up to speed and ready for next week’s episode, and you’ve got a leg up on just a few of the great gems of Virginia’s beautiful Loudoun County. Go watch the episodes and make a plan to visit and get lost for yourself.