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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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10 Romantic Destinations in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on February 3rd, 2014

Valentine’s Day is approaching and we have a great list of destinations for you and your sweetheart to spend a night or weekend. Make your getaway reservations as soon as possible.

A great dining experience is an integral part of a destination’s appeal, and I was happy to find that OpenTable recently sifted through 19,000 restaurants’ five million reviews to name the 2014 Most Romantic Restaurants in America. Wouldn’t you know it? Virginia has several nods on the list, which are included in the first four destinations below.

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant

1. Middleburg – The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant sits in the midst of Virginia’s hunt country and offers a fine farm-to-table menu of French Country cuisine.

Stay and Play:

Goodstone Inn itself offers six distinctive dwellings.
~ Salamander Resort opened in August 2013 and can easily be described as lavishly luxurious.
~ Salamander Spa
~ Barrel Oak Winery Fine Art Gallery & Tasting Room

More about Middleburg

2. BoyceL’Auberge Provencale French Restaurant is ZAGAT rated and holds AAA Four Diamond status.

Stay and Play:

~ L’Auberge Provencal Bed and Breakfast has been recognized by USA Today as one of Seven Irresistible Country Retreats.
~ The Shenandoah Valley Wine Trail

More about Boyce

Keswick Hall

Keswick Hall

3. Vienna/Fairfax CountyCafe Renaissance blends French with Italian and gives it a modern twist.

Stay and Play:

~ The Ritz-Carlton caters to your needs with a full service spa and upscale dining.
~ Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts

More about Fairfax County

4. Virginia Beach – Boasting two recommendations on the OpenTable list, Virginia Beach is a fantastic romantic destination any time of year. The Cellars is located in an authentic 1860′s farmhouse cellar, making it a truly unique experience. The menu is described as French County with a Southern flare.

The second Virginia Beach restaurant on the list is Salacia, the only AAA Four Diamond steakhouse in Virginia.

Stay and Play:

~ Church Point Manor Bed and Breakfast is the historic farmhouse in which you’ll find The Cellars. It’s full of beautiful antiques and only a mile from the Chesapeake Bay.
~ Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront is home base for Salacia and is one of the most upscale resort hotels in Virginia Beach. Check out the Sky Bar, too.
~ Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art

More about Virginia Beach

5. Charlottesville – Livability offers a list of Top 10 Romantic Cities and this historic area of Virginia happens to sit at number four.

Stay and Play:

~ Clifton Inn is a luxury boutique hotel of Relais & Chateaux esteem. Fewer than 20 uniquely appointed rooms and suites are available, and world-class dining is at your fingertips.
~ Keswick Hall is a “country house hotel” with 48 rooms, and is part of the Southern Living Hotel Collection.
Jefferson Vineyards
~ Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Lorien Hotel and Spa

Lorien Hotel and Spa

6. Alexandria – Amazon has released its annual list of Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S., including Alexandria at number five.

Stay and Play:

~ Morrison House is a romantic, small hotel with big acknowledgements: Mobil four-star and AAA Four Diamond.
~ Lorien Hotel and Spa is a luxury boutique hotel that is sensibly sophisticatd. Adjacent dining at BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier is a delight.
~ Potomac Riverboat Company

Additional romantic destinations you might consider:

7. Richmond: The Jefferson Hotel and Lemaire Restaurant
8. Washington: Inn at Little Washington and Inn at Little Washington Dining
9. Williamsburg: The Williamsburg Inn and Cafe Provencal
10. Orange: The Inn at Willow Grove and Elmwood at Sparks

What’s your romantic style? Leave us a comment!

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Couples, Virginia Destinations | 3 Comments

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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6 Heartwarming Resort Getaways for the Holiday Season

by Casey | Posted on November 20th, 2013

If you’re looking for a break in the midst of the season or need an idea for gifting a weekend to a special person, here are a few resort destinations that might fit the bill.

Salamander Resort

Salamander Resort

Love wine, beautiful countryside and amazing cuisine? You’re going to love spending time in Clarke and Loudoun Counties this Christmas season.

  • Stay: Salamander Resort
  • Dine: Village Square Restaurant, Grandale Farm Restaurant, Market Salamander, The French Hound
  • Visit: Veramar Vineyard, Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery, Piedmont Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Primland Resort

Primland Resort

Escape to a mountaintop in Meadows of Dan, far away from whatever troubles you. One-of-a-kind gifts are nearby, as is award winning wine and fantastic outdoor activities.

  • Stay: Primland Resort
  • Dine: Elements, Mabry Mill Restaurant, Lilly’s Lunch, Chateau Morrisette Winery Restaurant
  • Visit: Primland Spa, Mabry Mill, Greenberry House, Chateau Morrisette Winery, Primland Observatory, Lover’s Leap, Wood Brothers Racing Museum, Old Dominion Toy Shoppe
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

The Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead Resort

Tuck away into a valley of Bath County where pampering is an everyday occurrence and the fun is built for family.

  • Stay: The Omni Homestead Resort
  • Dine: The Main Dining Room, The Casino Restaurant, Sam Snead’s Tavern, Rubino’s at the Cascades
  • Visit: The Spa and Allegheny Springs Winter Wonderland
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort

Head to Virginia’s longest ski slopes for powdery fun this Christmas and winter.

  • Stay: Massanutten Resort
  • Dine: Woodstone Deli & Pizzeria, Fareways Restaurant
  • Visit: Spa at Massanutten, Indoor Waterpark
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Bryce Resort

Bryce Resort

Looking for the mid-Atlantic’s most family-friendly ski resort? You found it!

  • Stay: Condos and vacation rentals at Bryce Resort
  • Dine: Copper Kettle Bar and Lounge, Restaurant at Bryce Resort
  • Visit: Bryce Resort, Shenandoah Caverns, American Celebration on Parade, The Yellow Barn
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort

Ski under the lights at 4,000 feet and enjoy many fun activities high on the hill, too.

  • Stay: Wintergreen Resort
  • Dine: The Copper Mine, Black Bear Cafe, The Edge
  • Visit: The Plunge, Wintergarden Spa, Discovery Ridge Adventure Center, Wintergreen Winery
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

This is our third Heartwarming Getaways post. See the other two and be sure to leave a comment to tell us your favorite thing about Virginia’s resorts.

Virginia is for Lovers.



48 Hours, Family, The Holidays, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving in the Mountains

by Casey | Posted on November 18th, 2013

What do you say the whole family goes away for Thanksgiving and lets someone else do the cooking? I say it’s a fantastic idea. No one slaves over the stove and everyone has a great time. Where can you do such a thing? Virginia’s mountains resorts come to mind. Check it out.

The Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs will keep you plenty busy this Thanksgiving! In addition to the activities listed below, there are shopping opportunities, special movie showings in the historic theater, and the outdoor fun you’ve come to expect from this famed resort.

  • Children’s crafting classes
  • Wine Tastings
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony
  • Santa Claus
  • Thanksgiving Brunch and Dinner Buffets

    Wintergreen Resort

    Wintergreen Resort

Wintergreen Resort welcomes families to enjoy their traditions of feasts, illuminations, workshops, and maybe even slope sports during Thanksgiving on the Mountain.

  • Turkey Day 5K
  • Thanksgiving Buffet at either Copper Mine Bistro or Devils Grill
  • The Plunge Tubing Park will be open (weather permitting)
  • Ski Swap – buy and sell used skis, boots, snowboards, ski clothing, etc.
  • Gingerbread House, Wreath and Ornament Workshops
  • Grand Illumination
Primland Resort

Primland Resort

What goes with Thanksgiving better than Native American Month? Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan is embracing the heritage and history to offer “Long Night’s Time,” a weekend full of Native American-themed special events.

  • Celebration of Native American Month
  • Presentation of famous Native Americans
  • Little-known inventions of Native Americans
  • Food sampling of a traditional Cherokee feast
  • Face painting activity
  • Basket weaving and beading display and presentation

    Massanutten Resort Indoor Waterpark

    Massanutten Resort Indoor Waterpark

Massanutten Resort offers comfortable accommodations, plus Thanksgiving dining at your choice of Fareways Restaurant & Lounge or Blue Ridge Buffet & Restaurant. The menus are all you’d expect of a traditional Thanksgiving meal – turkey with stuffing and gravy, pumpkin bisque soup, apple pie … yum! If the temperatures are too warm for snowmaking, turn to the indoor waterpark! That’s a fun Thanksgiving for the kiddos!

Just like Massanutten, Bryce Resort also offers a Thanksgiving Day lunch buffet with all the trimmings.  Stay in one of the resort condos or cabins and enjoy the holiday arts and craft show taking place on the 30th. It’s a great time to kick back and not do much at all or get out and shop the nearby towns.

Whatever your Thanksgiving plans, have fun and enjoy being together!

Virginia is for Lovers.



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