Virginia's Travel Blog Travel Ideas and Stories Thu, 11 Feb 2016 18:59:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1's Travel Blog Virginia is for Lovers: 11 of the Most Romantic Destinations in Virginia Wed, 10 Feb 2016 21:38:27 +0000 ]]>

We have always thought that Virginia is the most romantic place around, and now we have proof to back it up! According to Amazon’s list of the Top 20 Most Romantic Cities in the U.S., Alexandria is the most romantic city in the country. The large-scale retail company compiles data from their website’s sales of romantic items to create this annual list. Check out what makes Alexandria so romantic to us and explore ten other destinations that know how to set the mood.


1. Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria

Close to the nation’s capital, Alexandria has scenic waterfronts, impressive fine dining, historic monuments, and some of the most luxurious lodging options in Virginia. If you are looking for romance, stroll the streets of Alexandria with your loved one and see why Amazon named it the most romantic city in the U.S. for the fifth year.

Romantic Options in Alexandria:

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 sophisticated. Adjacent dining at BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier is a delight.
Potomac Riverboat Company


2. Virginia Beach

Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront

OpenTable named Virginia Beach the most romantic city on their list of the Top 25 Most Romantic Cities in America for 2016. Enjoy a walk on the beach at sunset to see why the Virginia coastline is one of the most romantic places in the U.S.

Romantic Options in Virginia Beach:

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


3. Middleburg


Although the town of Middleburg isn’t a bustling destination, it offers elegant resorts, scenic vineyards, and some much-needed peace and quiet to visitors looking for a romantic getaway.

Romantic Options in Middleburg:

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


4. Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park

Shenandoah National Park covers a wide region of Virginia, but the beauty of this park made it a top destination on our list for couples looking for romance.

Romantic Options in Shenandoah National Park:

~Big Meadows Lodge

~Skyland is a resort in Shenandoah National Park that offers breathtakingly romantic views for guests.

~Whiteoak Canyon has six waterfalls with swimming holes at the bottom of each waterfall.


5. Vienna/Fairfax County


Visitors looking for romance in the Northern Virginia area should plan a trip to Vienna. The region is brimming with romance throughout the year and has plenty of fine dining, five-star stays, and both indoor and outdoor activities for you and your valentine.

Romantic Options in Vienna and Fairfax:

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

~Cafe Renaissance blends French with Italian and gives it a modern twist.

~Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is the perfect place to take your sweetheart on a scenic stroll.


6. Charlottesville

Keswick Farm in Charlottesville

Livability offers a list of Top 10 Romantic Cities and this historic area of Virginia happens to sit at number four. Bordered to the West by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville’s backdrop is the epitome of romance in Virginia.

Romantic Options in Charlottesville:

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


7. Richmond


Virginia’s capital city has history, luxury shopping, and critically acclaimed restaurants. Oh, and did we forget that Richmond also offers plenty of romance?

Romantic Options in Richmond:

~The Jefferson Hotel is a historic luxury hotel in the heart of the city.

~Lemaire Restaurant is the romantic restaurant located inside the Jefferson Hotel.

~Maymont is a public landmark in Richmond that has a nature center, wildlife exhibits, Japanese gardens, and many more attractions open to the public year-round.

~Can Can Brasserie is a Parisian-style restaurant in the Carytown area of Richmond that serves delicious French cuisine, along with an impressive selection of wines and beers from around the globe.


8. Washington

Little Washington

Washington is a secluded paradise where you can celebrate romance at the highest rated lodging in Virginia. Within this small town, you’ll find quality cuisine, luxury shopping, and plenty of charm that will make you fall in love all over again.

Romantic Options in Washington:

~Inn at Little Washington is AAA Five Diamond Winner, a Forbes Five Star Hotel, and a Relais & Châteaux member.

~Inn at Little Washington Dining

~Skyline Drive, a National Scenic Byway, is especially romantic during the autumn months. Drive through the region to see the bright colors of the fall foliage.


9. Williamsburg



One of the oldest settled areas in America, Williamsburg has a way of transporting you to simpler times without removing the modern conveniences of your life.

Romantic Options in Williamsburg:

~The Williamsburg Inn

~Colonial Williamsburg explores the history of America through restored artifacts, buildings, and stories told by employees dressed in traditional colonial-era clothing.

~Cafe Provencal

~The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg


10. Orange

Barboursville Vineyards

Orange is a charming town about a half hour northeast of Charlottesville, and like its nearby neighbor, there are plenty of romantic wineries in the region. Visit Orange for a quiet yet intimate stay at one of the inns or bed and breakfasts in the area.

Romantic Options in Orange:

~The Inn at Willow Grove

~Elmwood at Sparks

~Montpelier is the historic home of James Madison.


11. Abingdon

Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon

If you’re in southwest Virginia and looking for romance, there is no better place than Abingdon. This town offers stunning Virginia scenery, romantic bed and breakfasts, and plenty of outdoor activities for couples basking in love.

Romantic Options in Abingdon:

~Martha Washington Inn & Spa is a four-star retreat that is full of romance and beauty.

~The Virginia Creeper Trail is great for those active couples looking for some outdoor adventure.


Tell us, where is your favorite romantic spot in Virginia?



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]]> 1 Old Town Alexandria Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront Goodstone Inn & Restaurant Shenandoah National Park Vienna Charlottesville Richmond Kayaking The Blue Rock Inn Kingsmill Resort Orange Abingdon
13 of the Best Brunch Spots in Virginia Fri, 05 Feb 2016 21:30:52 +0000 ]]>

Every weekend, many Virginians love to sleep in just a little bit later, but they face a very difficult decision when they wake: Where is the best place to go get brunch?

It is time to start getting answers to that question! We have picked a few of the most highly praised brunch spots from all over Virginia, helping you find the places with quality food, service, and atmosphere (and if you’re like many Virginians, quality cocktails) to start your weekend off right. Plan a weekend getaway to one of these destinations and add an awesome Virginia brunch to your itinerary.


Millie's Diner

Millie’s Diner—Richmond

Saturday 10am-3pm, Sunday 9am-3pm

This popular Richmond spot has been around for over 25 years, but their tasty brunch menu never gets old. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, Richmond residents flock to Millie’s Diner for one of the best brunches in the city. Although the wait can sometimes be over an hour to get in, the food is more than worth it. Plus, the bartender will fix you up with mimosas or Bloody Marys that will make the time seem to fly by.

Local Favorites: Devil’s Mess, Huevos Rancheros


brunch jefferson

The Jefferson Hotel—Richmond

Sunday 10:30am-1:30pm

If you’re planning on eating brunch at The Jefferson Hotel, make sure you are ready to “tuck in”, as they say. Sunday Champagne Brunch at this historic Richmond location has seemingly endless tables of some of the finest food imaginable, including a platter of smoked salmon and a full seafood raw bar, an impressive ham carved to order, an omelet station manned by several chefs, a lavish dessert display, and so much more (Including bottomless mimosas and coffee!). We could go on and on about this brunch, but you need to experience it yourself to understand why every Richmonder will recommend The Jefferson as a must-visit brunch destination.

 Local Favorites: Raw Seafood Bar, Omelet Station


babcock house

The Babcock House—Appomattox

Sundays 11am-2pm

Under new ownership as of 2015, the Babcock House restaurant has been transformed into one of the best brunch spots in Appomattox County. If you are a fan of traditional Southern fare, this hidden gem inside the Babcock House Bed & Breakfast should be on your list of brunch spots to try out in Virginia.

Local Favorites: Shrimp ‘n Grits, Eggs Brennan


old mill

The Old Mill Room Restaurant at Boar’s Head—Charlottesville

Sunday 11am-2pm

The Old Mill Room Restaurant at Boar’s Head is always at the top of the list when it comes to food, and their brunch menu is no exception. The restaurant has an extensive selection of both breakfast and lunch items, making it hard to narrow down the choices. The good news? You won’t have to pick just one! The brunch at Old Mill Room is an all-you-can-eat buffet for just $34 per person (cocktails are extra). Splurge on a beverage if you can; your meal won’t feel complete without a pick from the new Bloody Mary menu!

Local Favorites: Eggs Benedict, Bread Pudding, Bloody Mary Bar


bills prime steaks

Bill’s Prime Steaks and Seafood—Chincoteague Island

Sundays 11:30am-2:30pm

Bill’s Prime Seafood & Steaks is not new to the Virginia food scene. They have been serving fabulous food since 1960. Their brunch is a favorite for locals, but the restaurant is also a prime spot for tourists visiting the Eastern Shore. The brunch menu offers a variety of sweet and savory choices in portion sizes that guarantee you don’t leave hungry. If you are so inclined, be sure to try one of their signature Bloody Marys.

Local Favorites: Chesapeake Breakfast Casserole, Chicken & Waffles, Seaside Mary



Venture Kitchen & Bar—Hampton

Sunday 10am-2pm

At Venture Kitchen & Bar, brunch is serious business. Not only does the restaurant have a regular brunch menu that is reliably tasty, but they also have a rotating menu that changes every week so that you can try something new. When it comes to Sunday brunch cocktails, you’ll find some “old faithfuls” like mimosas, but there are many intriguing options as well, like the French 75 and the Queen’s Cousin.

Local Favorites: Fried Eggs Benedict, Orange Blossom Cocktail, Corned Beef Hash



Joe’s Steakhouse—Winchester

Sunday 10am-2pm

Meat-eaters will love the brunch at Joe’s Steakhouse in Winchester. This amazing buffet features a Prime Rib carving station where you are welcome to go back for seconds (okay, probably thirds or fourths, too). And the buffet options don’t stop there. You can craft your own omelet, waffle, and even brunch cocktail at the specialty drink bar. There is also a full buffet line that includes brunch favorites like Eggs Benedict, pancakes, and sausage. If you still have room after all that, return for a visit to the dessert bar, where you can fill your plate with tons of homemade delights.

Local Favorites: Eggs Benedict, Prime Rib


Mason Dixon Cafe

Mason-Dixon Cafe—Fredericksburg

Saturday 8am-2pm & Sunday 9am-2pm

The Mason-Dixon Café is where you’ll find all the locals in Fredericksburg eating brunch on Saturday and Sundays. Although there is sometimes a bit of a wait for a table, you’ll forget all about it once the food arrives. The top notch brunch dishes are the epitome of fine Southern cooking. If you are looking for light fare and healthy options, this is not the place for you. The portions are more than generous, and like all great Southern food, the dishes at Mason-Dixon are not for the calorie-counting diner.

Local Favorites: The Breakfast Club, Shrimp & Grits


lyon hall

Lyon Hall—Arlington

Saturday & Sunday 9:30am-3pm

Lyon Hall’s brunch has French and Belgian influences, with a seasonally-refreshed menu that uses a wide variety of carefully selected ingredients. While the main menu may change, the fresh donuts are always a great way to start your dining experience at Lyon Hall. Their attention to detail, attentive service, and reasonable prices make the brunch here a can’t-miss experience.

Local Favorites: Fresh Donuts, Braised Pork Poached Eggs, “Breakfast Bohemian”




Saturday 10:30am-3pm & Sunday 9:30am-3pm

The Carlyle is a frequent brunch list-topper in Virginia, and rightfully so. Their Bloody Marys and award-winning baked goods alone put them down as a repeat winner in our book. The restaurant is spacious and has several levels for seating, making it relatively easy to get a table, even during prime brunch hours on the weekends.

Local Favorites: BBBC Brioche French Toast, Steak & Eggs Benedict, Bloody Mary


bay local

Bay Local Eatery—Virginia Beach

Brunch Served Every Day, 7am-3pm

Why should brunch be relegated to only one or two days a week? The Bay Local Eatery serves up savory brunch dishes all day, every day. Their menu is inspired by tried and true family recipes and local culinary delicacies, like Virginia Beach’s legendary Lynnhaven oysters, fresh from the Lynnhaven River that is literally right around the corner. And did we mention that they offer a soft-shell crab Bloody Mary?

Local Favorites: “Just Right” Shrimp and Grits, Jamaican Dark Rum French Toast, Signature Bloody Marys


Frost Cafe

Frost Café—Culpeper

No Set Brunch Hours; Typically Open 7am-8pm

Frost Cafe is a classic 50’s diner that makes you feel almost compelled to order a good old-fashioned malt with your meal. Here you’ll find a fun nostalgic atmosphere, reasonable prices, and those dependably hearty meals that remind you of mom’s home cooking. Breakfast is served all day long so you can get your fill of brunch at any time! A quick reminder: Bring cash, as this is the only form of payment this old-school diner accepts. If you forget, an ATM is available, but charges a service fee.

Local Favorites: Steak & Eggs, Fried Bologna and Eggs, Corned Beef Hash



Restaurant Pomme—Gordonsville

Sunday 11:30am-2:30pm

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Restaurant Pomme serves French-style food that will have you believing the French countryside is right outside the front door. Feel free to pair their exquisite brunch selections with a glass of wine. The house Sommelier is the chef’s son, and since he knows the menu inside and out, he will give you some excellent suggestions for the perfect glass to complete your French-inspired brunch.

Local Favorites: Eggs Eccosaise, Poulet Française


Whether you are looking for a classic Southern brunch or a European-style meal, these Virginia brunches will satisfy your appetite. Where are your favorite Virginia spots for a weekend brunch?

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]]> 18 Millie’s Diner brunch jefferson babcock house old mill bills prime steaks venture joessteakhouse Mason Dixon Cafe lyon hall Carlyle bay local Frost Cafe pomme
2016 Virginia is for Food Lovers Culinary Challenge Fri, 05 Feb 2016 20:05:54 +0000 ]]>

Culinary Challenge Logo 2016

The 2016 Virginia is for Food Lovers Culinary Challenge will begin soon and we need your help.

In the past decade, the culinary bar in Virginia has been drastically raised. Consumers want to know their food is locally grown, ecologically conscious, and most importantly, absolutely delicious! We know you expect great things from your dining experiences. So tell us who has the best!

This year’s challenge we will segment the nominations into FIVE areas of interest and have a single vote-off to name the champion in each category.

  • Small Bites – Serving Mini Versions of Favorite Dishes – Voting: Mar 7- Mar 10
  • Burgers and BBQ – Serving great sandwiches – Mar 14-Mar 17
  • Oysters, Seafood, Fish – Serving Virginia Fresh Catch – Mar 21- Mar 24
  • Bakeries & Deserts – Serving amazing sweets –  Mar 28- Mar 31
  • Eat Like a Local – Local hot spots and best kept secrets – Mar 4-Mar 7

What Virginia restaurants have the best culinary offerings?

Leave a comment below with your favorite restaurant ** that has a strong Virginia influence, utilizes local ingredients, or is a favorite of locals.  Be sure to include the location of the restaurant and what category you would like to nominate them for.


* Dates are subject to change
** Not all nominations will be in the final vote-off. A panel of judges will narrow the nominations to the top 15-20 for each category dependent upon the total number of nominations.



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Save the Dates: Spring Virginia Festivals Wed, 03 Feb 2016 19:39:52 +0000 ]]>

Spring is on its way! Celebrate the impending thaw with one of the upcoming spring festivals in Virginia. Although there are dozens of festivals to choose from, each with its own unique atmosphere, tastes and vibe, we have picked 17 festivals that have a storied history, are rising stars in their genre, and were popular with visitors in 2015. Plan a weekend around one of these festivals to get the most out of your 2016 spring in Virginia.

Want to see all upcoming Virginia festivals? Check out our complete list to plan a season full of fun!



The 58th annual Highland Maple Festival includes delicious treats from local vendors, arts and crafts tutorials, live entertainment throughout the festival, and plenty of maple-infused goodies! Learn about the rich history of maple syrup in Highland County during the Sugar Tour and attend demonstrations that teach visitors about the process of making maple syrup. Attend this popular festival to get a true taste of how sweet Virginia can be!


The Franklin County Moonshine Festival in downtown Rocky Mount teaches visitors about the history of moonshining in Franklin County. Enjoy live music, tastings of locally-distilled moonshine paired with foods made by local chefs, moonshine folk history, a car show, and vendor displays during this “spirited” festival weekend.

tom tom founders festival


Held in Charlottesville, the 5th annual Tom Tom Founders Festival includes block parties, live concerts, workshops, local food, public art, competitions, and talks from startup innovators. Community built and led, this event focuses on bringing together the residents of Virginia to celebrate creative ideas and inspire community leadership.


At Virginia Beer Festival in Norfolk, visitors can sample over 125 beers served by more than 80 breweries from around the world. Participating breweries teach lessons on home brewing, give presentations about their craft, and serve up their best tasty beverages. Local vendors provide small food bites and goods available for purchase. Stay tuned to the website, as live musical acts will be announced closer to the event. TICKETS

daffodil festival


A true harbinger of spring, Gloucester’s Daffodil Festival is an annual floral extravaganza held in early April, just as the beautiful yellow blooms make their appearance. Kick off the festival on Friday evening with a tour aboard the 105-foot tall ship named “The Alliance” and take a historic sail on the North River. The river tour guide explains the history of how Gloucester became a daffodil hotspot in Virginia.

On Saturday morning, come out to watch the Daffodil Festival Parade, with giant floats gliding through the main streets and the crowning of the Daffodil Queen.

If you have a four-legged friend, bring them along as a spectator, or get them involved with the “Pawsatively Cool Canine Show.” Your participating pup can show off their unique talents and photogenic qualities, or dress them up in costume to represent the spirit of the Daffodil Festival!

The remainder of the festival is what you’d expect – magicians, face painting, artisans, live music, and tons of food. Saturday only, you’re invited to take a tour of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs to take place your order for genuine Gloucester Daffodil bulbs!


For 20 years, The Virginia Arts Festival has been bringing together a variety of artists to showcase the best of Virginia’s talent and culture. While this festival takes place in nine Virginia cities throughout April and May, the biggest event is the Virginia International Tattoo. This all-American show of patriotism and pride includes acts from Virginia marching bands, drill teams, dancers, choirs, and other large-scale performances. In 2016, the Virginia International Tattoo has the honor of being award the Number One Event in the United States by the American Bus Association.


The 10th annual Spring Town Point Virginia Wine Festival takes place in early May in Norfolk. With more than 200 wine samples from over 20 of the best wineries in Virginia and educational “Somm-inars” where you can learn about Virginia wines, this event brings together the best aspects of wine during one spring weekend. While sampling wines, you can also feast on gourmet foods from local chefs and enjoy live entertainment. TICKETS

Dominion Riverrock

Dominion Riverrock


Held annually in May, Dominion Riverrock is a three-day festival of outdoor sports, live music, and plenty of local craft beers and food from Virginia vendors that is held at Brown’s Island in Richmond. The event brings together athletes, spectators, performers, and even dogs together to experience a multitude of outdoor activities. Kayaking, rock climbing, bouldering, trail running, cycling, slacklining, and stand up paddleboarding are all on the agenda for these three days of fun. Want to let your pet participate in the fun, too? Sign your dog up for the dog jumping contest!



A fairly new festival is the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg. Now in its fourth year, this festival celebrates craft beer from Virginia and beyond. Each brewery (30 so far) will have a representative on site serving their flagship beer as well as a rare or seasonal craft brew. Expect great food from the burgeoning restaurant scene of Harrisonburg, as well as fantastic live music to round out this spring day in late April. TICKETS

Chincoteague Seafood Festival

Chincoteague Seafood Festival


Salivating for fresh seafood? Wipe your mouth and head to the Chincoteague Seafood Festival in early May! Signature seafood dishes will be prepared for your consumption, including the famous Little Neck Clams that the festival is known for. Drinks are included with admission; beer is additional. Stay all day and graze while live beach music sets the vibe. TICKETS


One of Virginia’s largest and oldest festivals is the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, held over 10 days at the end of April and into early May. Entering its 89th year, the festival has grown to include a wine festival, a carnival with midway rides, a golf tournament, apple pie baking contest, a fun run and 10K, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, the Queen’s Ball, fireworks, the world’s largest firefighters’ parade, and the official Grand Feature Parade, among many other events with live music and food involved. TICKETS



hot glass festival


The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is held annually in Staunton and hosted by SunSpots Studio. Not afraid to share their spotlight, SunSpots invites other glass blowers from around the region to demonstrate and show off their talents for these two late April dates. Take home a piece of jewelry, art glass marbles, or other hand blown glass item just after the artist has put the finishing touches on it. For the kids, a fire-breathing dragon and ray gun demonstration will be key highlights, along with the challenge the kids can present to the artists: create a blown glass rendition of a kids’ drawing. The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is the only festival of its kind in Virginia.


The middle of May is the perfect time to treat yourself (or mom for Mother’s Day!) to a day overlooking the Potomac River with a glass of wine at the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Sixteen Virginia wineries will be on hand for your tasting pleasure while the rarely opened wine storage of George Washington will be open for your viewing pleasure. This festival is very popular and often sells out in advance. Tickets available beginning March 28th.


Southerners love their fried chicken and no community knows that better than Gordonsville! Dubbed the “Chicken Leg Center of the Universe,” Gordonsville offers to you its annual Famous Fried Chicken Festival. The story of their fried chicken goes way back to the 19th century women who would greet passengers on the train as it stopped in Gordonsville, all while carrying platters of chicken on their heads. The hospitality of serving great fried chicken has never stopped and you can enjoy the flavors prepared by participants or offer your own at the cook-off. Wineries and artisans will be on hand to complete the festival environment.

Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Martinsville


If you love multi-day music festivals, don’t wait until summer to get your groove on. Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival is four days of live music over Memorial Day Weekend. There are currently 16 bands that have been announced, including Lettuce, the Sam Bush Band, and Perpetual Groove, but many more with be added as the festival date approaches. Held at Pop’s Farm in Axton, this festival will include delicious food, children’s activities, and arts and crafts. Camping is available. TICKETS


Portsmouth invites you to the Annual UMOJA Festival in late May. It’s the 25th year for this three day festival promoting cultural diversity and unity, and will open with a traditional African drum call and ceremonial processional. Great ethnic foods and artisans’ wares are a highlight along with a famed musical act. This year the UMOJA Festival welcomes nationally-acclaimed R&B artists Peabo Bryson and Jazmine Sullivan.


The three day Clinch River Days Festival is held annually in St. Paul and celebrates the river life, heritage and culture of Southwest Virginia. Whatever your outdoor pleasure, you can likely enjoy it during this weekend of fun. Taste the food and wine flavors of the region as you learn about the railroad and river influence on this area.

Looking for more activities to occupy your upcoming spring weekends? Find more fun festivals and events.


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Virginia is for Chocolate Lovers: 100+ Chocolate Craft Beers Wed, 27 Jan 2016 20:43:56 +0000 ]]>

Admit it, chocolate in most any form is acceptable. In Virginia, you’ll find more than 100 craft beers that are either made with the finest chocolate or have strong chocolate notes. While most are available in limited quantities due to seasonal demand, some of these beers have become so popular that you can buy them year-round! Try a few of these chocolate brews to satisfy your sweet tooth in a whole new way.


  • Richmond Area Breweries


—Raspberry Stout: Chocolate Stout Brewed with Local Red Raspberries


—The Bribe: Oatmeal Porter with notes of coffee and chocolate

—Choosy Mother: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Porter with hints of chocolate

Lickinghole Creek—Goochland

—Heir Apparent: Imperial Stout with caramel and chocolate flavors

—Virginia Black Bear: Bold Russian Imperial Stout with notes of dark chocolate and coffee

—Chai Tea Virginia Black Bear: Russian Imperial Stout blends the spiciness of Indian Chai Tea with dark chocolate flavors

—Vanilla Virginia Black Bear: Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout flavored with dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla

Midnight Brewery—Rockville

—Not My Job: Southern English Brown Ale with notes of toffee and chocolate

—Midnight Granite: Rich Oatmeal Stout with a subtle roast and smooth chocolate notes

Center of the Universe—Ashland

—Orange is the New Stout: Imperial Chocolate Stout crafted with oranges and sea salt

—Shut Up 2015: Belgian Dark Strong, aged in bourbon and port barrels, has a delicate chocolate finish

—El Duderino: White Russian milk has flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and espresso


—Legend Chocolate Porter: Rich Porter with caramel and chocolate malts

Rusty Beaver—Ruther Glen

—Roy’s Big Bad Brown Ale: Brown Ale with deep chocolate notes

—Quake Stout: Imperial Stout with pale, black, and chocolate malt

Ardent Craft Ales—Richmond

—Dark Rye: American Imperial Stout with a dry, chocolaty finish

Ardent Brewery Richmond


—Woodbooger Belgian-Style Brown Ale: Brown Ale with hints of chocolate, caramel, and fruits

Triple Crossing Brewing—Richmond

—Vanilla Night Lands: Spiced Imperial Stout with vanilla beans and cacao nibs


  • Charlottesville Area Breweries

Beer Hound—Culpeper

—Fang: Oatmeal Stout with aromas of coffee, dark unsweetened chocolate, and biscuit

—Archie: English Brown Ale featuring hints of citrus and baker’s chocolate

Devil’s Backbone—Roseland

—Danzig: Baltic-Style Porter blends chocolate, coffee, and hints of caramelized sugar

—Skull Crushing Ape: Blend of Swarz, Weisen, and Dopple Bock has chocolate, banana, and spice notes

—Dead Bear: English-Style Stout with rich notes of chocolate

Wild Wolf—Nellysford

—Strawberry Schwarzcake: Fruity Schwarzbier is extremely light with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a touch of strawberry

—Dry Stout: Medium-bodied Stout with chocolate aroma and medium hops


—Pavilion Porter: Session Porter with big notes of chocolate and coffee


—Black Me: Stout with wheat and chocolate malt

Starr Hill—Crozet

—Little Red Roostarr: Coffee Cream Milk Stout with chocolate and caramel notes

—Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout: Full-bodied Imperial Stout filled with cherry and dark chocolate flavor

—Debut Double Chocolate Stout: Full-bodied Imperial Stout with aromas of dark chocolate, mocha, and vanilla

—Bourbon Barrel Shakedown: Imperial Chocolate Cherry Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Vanilla, toasted coconut, bittersweet chocolate, and subtle fruit hints

Three Notch’d—Charlottesville

—No Veto: English Brown Ale with notes of caramel and toffee has a touch of chocolate and espresso

—Oats McGoats: Oatmeal Stout with a flavor of semi-sweet baking chocolate

—Biggy S’mores: Imperial Stout made with graham crackers has a rich, chocolate finish

—Hysteria: Imperial Hoppy Brown Wheat has a complex malt flavor of chocolate, caramel, and nuts

—Elated Coconut: Porter brewed with cocoa powder and shredded coconut

—Choc D: Chocolate Dunkelweizen has a heavy dose of chocolate malt and organic cacao nibs

Blue Mountain Brewery—Afton

—Dark Hollow Chocolate & Coffee Aged: Imperial Stout has notes of chocolate, oak, vanilla, bourbon, and coffee

South Street Brewery—Charlottesville

—Satan’s Pony: Amber Ale with caramel, wheat, and chocolate malts

—Anastasia’s Chocolate Fantasy: Russian Imperial Stout with heavy body, strong cocoa, and chocolate malt


  • Roanoke Area Breweries

Apocalypse Ale Works—Forest

—6th Seal: Chocolate Stout with hints of orange, toffee, and coffee

—6th Seal Imperial Stout: Seal Chocolate Stout with a stronger flavor and double the hops

—6th Seal Snack: Chocolate Stout enhanced with oatmeal, orange peel, raisins, and cinnamin

Apocalypse Ale Works

Chaos Mountain—Callaway

—Cocoborealis: Triple Chocolate Stout with strong flavors of chocolate and coffee

Big Lick Brewing Company—Roanoke

—Champurrado: Imperial Stout aged with cacao, vanilla beans, cinnamon, and Ancho chiles

Parkway Brewing Company—Salem

—Raven’s Roost: Baltic Porter has notes of chocolate, caramel, and toffee

Roanoke Railhouse—Roanoke

—Track1: Signature Lager with chocolate bitter notes and a light malt character

Soaring Ridge—Roanoke

—Trailhead: Nut Brown Ale with hints of nut, chocolate, and hops

—Switchback: India Pale Ale is highly hoppy with chocolate malt

—Twisted Stump Porter: Classic Porter with notes of chocolate, caramel, and nuts

The River Company—Fairlawn

—Neopolo Milk Stout: Milk Stout with cacao, vanilla, and strawberry flavors

—Chill Chaser Spiced Chocolate Stout: Milk Stout with flavors of chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, chipotle, and cayenne peppers

—Dumpster Dog Porter: Complex Porter with a chocolate/coffee flavor

—Timber Brown Ale: Northern English-Style Brown Ale with malt chocolate and hoppy notes

Sunken City Brewing Company—Hardy

—John Henry’s Hammer Stout: American Imperial Stout with a mixed aroma of roast, coffee, and dark chocolate

—Nachthexen: Traditional German Wheat-Bock with caramel and chocolate flavors

Callaway Brewing Company—Callaway

—Blackwater Porter: Rich Porter has chocolate and coffee character


  • Virginia Beach/Williamsburg Area Breweries

Brass Cannon Brewing—Toano

—Smoothbore Stout: Full-Bodied Stout has strong flavors of coffee and dark chocolate, with hints of toasted bread and vanilla

Smartmouth Brewing Co.—Norfolk

—Cowcatcher Milk Stout: Milk Stout has aromas of rich cocoa and dark-roasted coffee beans

St. George Brewing Company—Hampton

—St. George Porter: Traditional English-Style Porter with flavors of caramel and chocolate

Williamsburg Alewerks—Williamsburg

—Washington’s Porter Ale: American Porter with aromas of chocolate, caramel, and roasted barley

—Tavern Ale: American Brown Ale has a nutty, chocolate aroma with flavors of caramel and pecans

Young Veterans—Virginia Beach

—Night Vision: American Stout has notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate

—Goat Locker: Breakfast Stout brewed with coffee, oatmeal, and chocolate


  • Alexandria/Arlington Area Breweries

Capitol City—Arlington

—Prohibition Porter: Traditional English-Style Ruby Brown Ale with chocolate malt flavor

—Fuel: Imperial Coffee Stout with oats, chocolate malt, roasted coffee, and barley

—Dunkelweizen: German Wheat Beer with chocolate, wheat, banana, and clove elements

—A Canny Lass: Scottish Ale with crystal, wheat, and chocolate malts

Forge Brew Works—Lorton

—Oatmeal Stout: English-Style Stout with oatmeal, chocolate, and caramel notes

Mad Fox—Falls Church

—Mason’s Dark & Mild: English-Style Session Ale accented with toffee and chocolate

Fair Winds Brewing Company—Lorton

—Flemish Stout: American Imperial Stout has light coffee and bitter chocolate notes

Port City Brewing Company—Alexandria

—Port City Porter: Porter with bittersweet dark chocolate and roasted coffee flavors

Caboose Brewing Company—Vienna

—Vanilla Bean Hobo Imperial Stout: Imperial Stout with chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and toffee notes

—Caboose Brown Ale: American Brown Ale with full-bodied chocolate and caramel flavors


  • Leesburg Area Breweries

Belly Love—Purcellville

—Eye of Jupiter: Oatmeal Stout with hints of dark cocoa and roasted coffee

—Boom Choco LoCo Boom: Robust Porter with dark cocoa, cinnamon, ancho, guajillo, and chipotle peppers

—Bust A Coconut: Porter made with chocolate and fresh coconut

Adroit Theory Brewing Company—Purcellville

—Black as Your Soul: Imperial Stout aged in Tequila Barrels has flavors of chestnut wood, hazelnut, and baker’s chocolate

—BLVCK Celebration: Imperial Porter with roasty and chocolate notes balanced with sweet maple and molasses

Corcoran Brewing Company—Waterford

—Slainte Stout: Stout has a smooth, chocolate finish

Crooked Run Brewing—Leesburg

—Biscotti Stout: Imperial Stout with chocolate, almond, and hazelnut flavors

Lost Rhino Brewing Company—Ashburn

—Woody Stout: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout has a blend of spicy chocolate, vanilla, and coffee notes


  • Shenandoah Valley Breweries

Blue Lab Brewing Company—Lexington

—Coffee Chocolate Stout: Chocolate Stout made with organic French Roast coffee and bittersweet chocolate

Blue Lab Brewing Company

Seven Arrows Brewing Company—Waynesboro

—The Witching Hour Black Lager: Black Lager has strong flavors of caramel and chocolate

—Deadfall Porter: Brown Porter has notes of caramel, chocolate, toffee, and nuts

—Sundog Milkstout: Milk Stout has aroma of chocolate with hints of coffee and mocha

Brothers Craft Brewing—Harrisonburg

—Elementary: Robust Porter with coffee, caramel, and dark chocolate notes

—Resolute: Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout with flavors of chocolate, espresso, oak, and vanilla

Pale Fire Brewing Company—Harrisonburg

—Lucille Oatmeal Stout: Oatmeal Stout brewed with oats has flavors of roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, and toasted bread

—MOMO™ Belgian Chocolate Stout: Belgian Chocolate Stout infused with dark fruits and chocolate


  • Manassas/Warrenton Area Breweries

Old Bust Head—Warrenton

—Gold Cup Russian Imperial Stout: Russian Imperial Stout with a dark berry sweetness and roasted tones of bittersweet chocolate and espresso

—Covert h’Ops Black IPA Dry-Hopped: Black IPA with pine and grapefruit notes that compliment dark chocolate and espresso flavors

—Nitro Oatmeal Stout: Oatmeal Stout has flavors of honey, oats, and light milk chocolate with a light coffee finish

—Chinquapin Chestnut Porter: Porter with flavors of cocoa, roasted malts, coffee, and chestnuts

—Chocolate Chili Gold Cup: Limited Release Russian Imperial Stout flavored with chipotle peppers and cacao nibs

—Cherry Chocolate Gold Cup: Limited Release Russian Imperial Stout with tart black cherry and dark chocolate notes

Heritage Brewing Co.—Manassas

—Sovereign Stout: Dry Irish Stout with flavors of chocolate and coffee


  • Abingdon Area Breweries

The Damascus Brewery—Damascus

—Reason: Irish Stout with dark complexion, creamy finish, and chocolate flavors

—Beaver Fever Porter: Porter with coffee and chocolate flavors

Damascus Brewery


Wolf Hills Brewing Co.—Abingdon

—American Stout: Light Stout with hints of chocolate

—Stonewall Heights Stout: Stout has chocolate, biscuit, and caramel flavors

—Long December Oatmeal Stout: English-Style Stout brewed with fresh oats has a chocolate and coffee bitterness, along with a slight taste of hops


  • Fredericksburg Area Breweries

Blue & Gray—Fredericksburg

—Stonewall Stout: Dry Stout with strong coffee notes and hints of dark chocolate

—Temporary Insanity: Russian-Style Imperial Stout with flavors of dark fruits, malts, and chocolate

—Chocolate Raspberry Stout: Chocolate Raspberry Stout made with natural raspberry and roasted chocolate barley malt

Adventure Brewing Company—Fredericksburg

—Stiletto Stout: Stout with hints of chocolate and coffee

—Chocolate Orange Wheat: Hefeweizen made with cocoa nibs, wheat, and orange peels

—My Sweet Love Chocolate Cherry Stout: Chocolate Stout with sweet cherry and chocolate flavors

—Cool Love Cocoa Mint Stout: Chocolate Stout with hints of cool mint and strong roasted chocolate flavors

Spencer Devon Brewing—Fredericksburg

—Rocko’s Milk Stout: Milk Stout has a chocolate finish with hints of coffee

—Rye Porter: Full-bodied Porter has bold aromas of dark chocolate and coffee


Before you visit the brewery for that chocolate beer, make sure to give them a call to see what they have available.

What’s your favorite chocolate-flavored brew? Let us know which Virginia beer you turn to for a quick cocoa fix!


See these other craft beer flavors we’ve highlighted:

Need more chocolate in your life? Satisfy your sweet craving with these other top chocolate choices in Virginia:





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]]> 2 ardent-chrisjohnson The outdoor patio at Ardent Craft Brewery in Richmond, Virginia. Apocalypse Ale Works The end of bad beer is here! Apocalypse Ale Works is the first brewery in Forest since Thomas Jefferson was brewing in the 1800's just around the corner at his home, Poplar Forest. In additaion to their state of the art brewery, they feature a taproom and outdoor beer garden. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Blue Lab Brewing Company Blue Lab Brewing Company is a handcrafted micro-brewery in downtown Lexington., Virginia Tourism Corporation Damascus Brewery A local brewery located in Damascus, offering through hikers and Creeper Trail Riders a refreshing beverage. Virginia Tourism Corporation,
Where to Stay During Your Romantic Virginia Getaway Wed, 20 Jan 2016 22:05:35 +0000 ]]>

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, romance is in the air in Virginia. But you don’t have to wait for an amorous occasion to plan a romantic weekend getaway. Virginia is for lovers all year round, and whether you are looking for a country cabin or a luxury resort, there are plenty of destinations you should consider for a weekend away. Find a couple’s vacation spot to suit your lifestyle and start planning your trip today.


Cabin Fever

If you prefer a stay closer to the Great Outdoors, these cabin-style lodgings are right up your alley.

Mountain Lake Lodge—Pembroke

Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservatory

You might recognize some of your surroundings at the Winter Cabins at Mountain Lake Lodge—scenes from the 1987 classic Dirty Dancing were filmed here! Several of the lodge’s charming cottages and cabins were built as far back as 1912, but the interiors reflect more modern times. The lodge offers many activities for adventurous couples, including geo-caching explorations and trails for mountain biking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or hiking in the surrounding picturesque landscape.


Royal Oaks Retreat—Love

Located in aptly named Love, Virginia, Royal Oaks Retreat is the perfect place for an intimate trip for two. Book one of the cozy cabins or reserve a sprawling chalet for a more lavish hideaway. Royal Oaks provides canoe rentals and hosts frequent campfires for guests to socialize. This rural destination is located on the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail and is a popular spot for avid bird watchers. Fly fishing in nearby creeks is also prevalent in the area.


Shadow Mountain Escape—Luray

Shadow Mountain Escape borders the Shenandoah National Park and provides exquisite views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Stay in one of the four oak cabins, decorated with traditional antique furniture. Take a walk along the woodland trail, relax beside the mountain stream, or just enjoy the scenery at the fish pond, all located on the resort’s 51-acres of property.


The Lodge & Cottages at Primland Resort—Meadows of Dan

Golden Eagle Treehouse

The Lodge & Cottages at Primland Resort have scenic treehouses perched on the edge of the mountains. Surrounded by nature, you can take in the sweeping panoramic views and enjoy sunsets over the pristine mountain ranges from your private deck. These treehouses have all the amenities of a resort, but add a rustic charm that you won’t find at most upscale hotels.


Feels Like Home, with an Upgrade

Foxfield Inn—Charlottesville

The Foxfield Inn is located in Virginia’s horse country right outside of Charlottesville. This tasteful bed & breakfast has five uniquely decorated guestrooms that each have a fireplace and two-person Jacuzzi tub. Get away from the hectic pace of everyday life at this peaceful country inn.


Salamander Resort—Middleburg

Just an hour outside of Washington, D.C., Salamander Resort is situated on 340 acres of equestrian countryside. The estate surrounds visitors with the best that nature has to offer, including rolling wild flower meadows and expansive views of the adjacent Bull Run Mountains. Each room features a gas fireplace, marble shower with body jets, pedestal tub, and a private balcony with vast countryside views. Visit the Salamander Spa and book the Couple’s Suite for relaxing spa treatments with your sweetheart or stop by the world-class stalls to try your hand at horseback riding.
Clifton Inn—Charlottesville

Clifton Inn

Clifton Inn is a boutique hotel that recalls the appeal of an elegant Virginia mansion. Fewer than 20 uniquely appointed rooms and suites are available, and world-class dining is at your fingertips at the Clifton Inn. The inn sits on 100 acres of manicured grounds that are often used for weddings throughout the year. If you’re looking for romance, the Clifton Inn should be on your radar.


Keswick Hall—Keswick
Keswick Hall is a “country house hotel” with 48 rooms and is part of the Southern Living Hotel Collection. Guests can get in 18 holes at the brand-new golf course or tour one of the wineries and vineyards along the nearby Monticello Wine Trail. The hotel’s restaurant, Fossett’s, has been award Four Stars by the Forbes Travel Guide.


L’Auberge Provencal Bed & Breakfast—Boyce

L'Auberge Provencale

The L’Auberge Provencal Bed and Breakfast has been recognized by USA Today as one of Seven Irresistible Country Retreats. This French-style country inn is located in Virginia’s Wine Country and offers guided tours to the region. The L’Auberge Provencale French Restaurant is ZAGAT rated and holds AAA Four Diamond status.


Goodstone Inn & Restaurant—Middleburg

The Goodstone Inn & Restaurant sits in the midst of Virginia’s hunt country. The sophisticated lodgings bring to mind a feeling of a romantic bygone era where life was much simpler, yet still luxurious. The on-site restaurant has a fine farm-to-table menu of French Country cuisine.


Time-Tested Retreats

The Jefferson Hotel—Richmond

The Jefferson Hotel

Built by renowned millionaire and Richmond resident Lewis Ginter in 1895, The Jefferson Hotel was the most extravagant hotel in America at the time. This historic building is still known for its grandeur and breathtaking architecture. The hotel has been recognized by the AAA organization as a Five Diamond Award Winner for 18 years in a row and by Mobil with the highly sought-after Five Star award. Only a few hotels in the U.S. have been awarded these prestigious titles. When planning your visit, make sure you book reservations at the hotel’s fine dining establishment, Lemaire Restaurant, for an unforgettable meal that highlights Virginia-grown products.


The Ritz-Carlton—Tysons Corner

The Ritz-Carlton caters to your needs with a full service spa and upscale dining. Located beside the well-known Tyson’s Corner shopping area, guests can experience luxury without sacrificing location. End your day with an indulgent bubble bath in the room’s marble bathtubs and take in the Virginia mountain scenery or Washington, D.C. skyline views from your windows.


The Omni Homestead—Hot Springs

The Omni Homestead Resort

The Omni Homestead has over 45 acres filled with endless activities that keep guests busy during their stay. The grounds have two mineral hot springs for a restorative and relaxing soak. During the winter, visit nearby Snowshoe resort during your stay for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing. This huge hotel has everything you could ever want to make your romantic getaway unforgettable: Indoor and outdoor pools, a bowling alley, an ice skating rink, a movie theater, and a first-rate spa.


Mod but Not Modest


Quirk Hotel

In the heart of downtown Richmond, Quirk is the perfect destination for those looking for a more contemporary hotel. Refinished hardwood flooring and original modern artwork give the bright, airy rooms a sophisticated appeal. Dine at Maple & Pine, the hotel’s signature restaurant, and try dishes created using locally sourced products.


Lorien Hotel & Spa—Alexandria

Lorien Hotel and Spa in Old Town Alexandria is a luxury boutique hotel that is sensible yet stylish. Sip on elegant cocktails at the hotel’s brick bar, then make dinner planners at BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier, the Lorien Hotel’s on-site Belgian restaurant.


Hotel Cape Charles—Cape Charles

Is there anything more romantic than watching a Virginia sunset with your special someone? Get a front-row seat to one of the best sunset scenes in Virginia when you plan a stay at the Hotel Cape Charles. This contemporary Chesapeake Bay hotel blends modern accommodations with classic Virginia taste.


Historic Hideaways

Inn at Little Washington—Washington

The Inn at Little Washington

On the highly esteemed Relais & Châteaux list, the Inn at Little Washington has been an essential romantic Virginia destination since 1978. But the history of this charming inn goes back much further than that. The town of Washington dates back to 1749, when founder George Washington surveyed and planned out the original village streets. The Inn’s dining rooms have been granted the Five Diamond Award by the American Automobile Association for 28 consecutive years and rated Five Stars by the 2015 Forbes Travel Guide for 24 years in a row.


The Martha Hotel & Spa—Abingdon

Built in 1832 as a residence for General Francis Preston’s family, The Martha Hotel & Spa still has much of the original architecture. The home was sold and converted into the Martha Washington College in 1858 and operated well through the Civil War, eventually becoming a hotel in 1935. The hotel’s rich history makes it a prime location for history buffs looking for a romantic destination.


Stonewall Jackson Inn—Harrisonburg

Make reservations for a trip with your true love to Stonewall Jackson Inn. This historic B&B was built in 1885 and gives a forgotten view at the once world-renowned Southern hospitality. Book a romance package at the Inn for a few extra special touches, including flowers, a couples’ massage, wine, and locally crafted chocolates.


Berry Hill—Halifax

The Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center

Sitting on 650 acres of a former antebellum plantation estate, Berry Hill Resort has been a premiere destination for guests looking for romance since 1728. The mansion has been renovated many times since then, but it still retains all the charm and elegance of the previous plantation. Guests can join in a variety of outdoor activities on the grounds, including horseback riding, biking, fishing, and lawn games such as horseshoes or croquet.


The Inn at Willow Grove—Orange

The Inn at Willow Grove is an 18th century plantation house that has been renovated into a beautiful inn. The bucolic 37-acre estate is the perfect setting for an afternoon stroll for two. After a refreshing night of sleep in one of the inn’s gorgeous rooms, wake up to locally-roasted Fresh Press coffee and homemade beignets brought directly to your room by the full-service staff.


Which romantic style fits you and your significant other? Leave us a comment to let us know which of these stunning Virginia destinations you plan to visit!


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]]> 2 Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservatory Mountain Lake Lodge is a getaway featuring cottages, a stone lodge, luxury cottages, and a grand historic hotel build in 1936. Mountain Lake Outfitters offers a variety of outdoor activity rentals and several Treetop Adventure courses. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Golden Eagle Treehouse Named after the Golden Eagle, a legally protected species in the United States, the Treehouse is a lodge is overlooking the Dan River gorge and Primland's award winning golf course. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Clifton Inn L’Auberge Provencale The Jefferson Hotel Since 1895, The Jefferson Hotel has been recognized by discerning travelers as Richmond's grandest hotel and one of the finest in America. Known for its genuinely friendly service, luxurious guestrooms, breathtaking architecture and elegant décor, The Jefferson is reminiscent of a more gracious era. Virginia Tourism Corporation, The Omni Homestead Resort Surrounded by the splendor of Virginia's Allegheny Mountains, The Omni Homestead Resort offers travelers acres of incomparable panoramic views, luxurious suites, dining outlets, shopping boutiques, and outdoor activities. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Quirk Hotel Quirk Hotel is in an ideal location in the heart of downtown RichmondÕs dynamic arts and design district, surrounded by small galleries, unique boutiques, inspiring architectures and an explosive culinary scene. ItÕs a special neighborhood thatÕs convenient to downtown offices and close to all the cityÕs historic attractions, making Quirk Hotel a perfect base to explore the cityÕs rapidly expanding cultural scene. Virginia Tourism Corporation, The Inn at Little Washington The Inn at Little Washington offers accommodations as well as fine dining featuring Patrick O'Connell's inspired American cuisine., Virginia Tourism Corporation The Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center The Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center is a National Historic Landmark, and welcomed it's first guests to the beautiful Virginia countryside in 1728. Virginia Tourism Corporation,
22 Places for Winter Family Fun in Virginia Wed, 20 Jan 2016 14:39:36 +0000 ]]>


The weekend is coming and your kids are tired of being stuck indoors. Or maybe you’re tired of them being cooped up with too many hours of technology and gaming systems. Let’s solve that conundrum with a variety of ideas, including indoor water parks, museums, and winter sport destinations, to spark the family fun you’re after.

Dive in to Indoor Waterparks

Waterparks. Yes, you read that correctly. Water. Parks. There are two indoor waterparks in Virginia that are perfect for a wintry Saturday or an entire weekend away.

1. Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg is 67,000 square feet of splashing good times. How does a four-story treehouse, 1,000 gallon tipping bucket, four pools, eight slides, two giant hot tubs, and a wave pool sound? Stay the night and enjoy the waterpark all you want; passes are included. Arrive early to maximize your park fun time!

Massanutten Resort

Massanutten Resort

2. Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville has a 50,000 gallon centerpiece called The Flow Rider – an indoor surfing attraction with a five-foot incline. In addition, an adventure river, eight slides, a frog pond for little swimmers, water cannons, and a giant tipping bucket make this a fun place for any age to hang out. An overnight stay is not required.

Explore Virginia Museums

Bring your family to Virginia museums to learn, explore, and get creative while having lots of fun!

Science Museum of Virginia

Science Museum of Virginia

3. The Children’s Museum of Richmond is a great places to escape and let the kids get hands-on in a  fun learning environment.

4. At the Richmond Science Museum of Virginia, you can discover all the wonders of the universe in one place. Check the museum’s iMax theater schedule for a list of entertaining yet educational films.

5. The Virginia Discovery Museum in Charlottesville is a great place to take younger children to learn and develop a healthy sense of curiosity. There is even a transplanted house from the 1700s that gives kids insight into the lives of the first Virginia settlers.

6. Amazement Square, The Rightmire Children’s Museum in downtown Lynchburg fosters creativity and learning for both children and adults through hands-on activities. The “Amazement Tower” structure connects all the exhibits and is the tallest indoor, interactive climbing structure in America.

7. Bring your Flyboys (and girls!) to the Virginia Aviation Museum located near the Richmond International Airport to see and learn about more than 30 different aircrafts.

8. For an experience that both adults and children can enjoy, make plans to visit the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach. There are even two touch pools where you can reach in to feel horseshoe crabs stingrays, sea stars, and other water creatures.

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center hosts over 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats focusing on Virginia’s diverse and unique marine environment. With more than 300 hands-on exhibits, a nature trail, an aviary, two animal touch pools and a 3D IMAX® theater, a visit to the Aquarium can be fun and educational. Virginia Tourism Corporation,

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center


Goof Off at Indoor Entertainment Parks

Kids’ indoor amusement opportunities have exponentially grown in Virginia in the past decade. Now there’s laser tag, bounce warehouses, indoor karting, and trampoline parks!

9. Skyline Laser Tag in Winchester offers a huge indoor warehouse laser tag field, video games, and cornhole to keep kids and adults of every age playing for hours on end. Bundle the kids up to join in on an outdoor paintball game.

10. Peak Experiences Indoor Rock Climbing Center is located in Richmond and is the largest indoor rock climbing facility on the East Coast. Beginners can take introductory classes and children of every age learn the basics of rope typing and climbing skills from the staff at Peak Experiences. This huge indoor climbing location has over 100 climbing routes for climbers of every experience level.

11. Come to Panther Family Laser Tag in Sterling for a revolutionary style of Capture the Flag. Kids can strategize with a team for a competitive game of laser tag, explore the arcade arena, or play a one-on-one game of air hockey.

12. Bring the family to Shadowland Laser Adventures in Chantilly for 6,000 square feet of laser tag fun!

13. Richmond’s G-Force Karts has plenty of indoor entertainment options that are an absolute blast all year round. Kids can hone their skills at Laser tag, or Archery tag, the latest competitive game at G-Force Karts. And don’t forget about the go-karts! G-Force Karts has karts made for kids 8-15 years of age and a two-seater options so the younger kids can ride along with a more experienced driver.

14. Take your kids to The Playroom in Chester for all-day fun! There is a play area for toddlers, inflatables for children of every age to bounce around in, and 14-foot slides for the thrill-seekers. Imagination stations also encourage creativity and thoughtful play.

15. Rebounderz in Sterling is an indoor trampoline arena where kids can get out all that extra energy in a safe indoor environment. There is a trampoline basketball arena, dodgeball trampoline court, and an open jump stadium where they can practice their special moves.

16. In addition to the dodgeball, basketball, and open jump areas, the Rebounderz in Newport News has a jumping foam pit and a high tower where the bravest kids test their nerves of steel. See if you have what it takes to be a Ninja Warrior champion on their obstacle course, which has three levels of course difficulty and a “warped wall” for those that like a challenge.

17. If you have ever wanted to try skydiving, iFly in Virginia Beach is a great place to start. The indoor wind tunnel lets flyers from age three to 103 experience the thrill of skydiving in a safe, contained zone.


“Putter” Around Town

Indoor putt-putt courses allow families to play a little golf no matter how bad the weather is.

18. Play a round of putt-putt with the family at Putter-A-Round Mini Golf in Harrisonburg. Come on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evenings for Blacklight Mini Golf, where the cups, balls, and artwork all glow in the dark!

Get Involved in Winter Sports

Wintergreen Resort


Winter sports improve coordination and keep kids active during the freezing winter months. Whether your family enjoys skiing, snowboarding, or just likes to have fun tubing down the mountain, these resorts offer plenty of family fun in the snow.

19, 20, 21, & 22. Finally, the obvious places for families to play in winter are Virginia’s four mountain resorts – Bryce, Massanutten, The Omni Homestead, and Wintergreen. Each has its own personality and special offerings (snowtubing, anyone?), so check out Winter Sports for the details on each.


Have a great suggestion for family activities during the winter season? Please let us know what you and your family do for fun during the coldest months of the year.


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]]> 3 Massanutten Resort Massanutten is a four season mountain resort where you can enjoy snow sports, golf, our new indoor/outdoor waterpark, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, and numerous other recreational opportunities. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Science Museum of Virginia The Science Museum of Virginia is the premier center for hands-on science education in Virginia. The Museum has permanent exhibitions on health, energy, and natural science and includes hundreds of interactive exhibits, fascinating artifacts, live animals, and an IMAX dome. It also offers overnight adventures, lectures, demonstrations and summer camps. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center hosts over 800,000 gallons of aquariums and live animal habitats focusing on Virginia’s diverse and unique marine environment. With more than 300 hands-on exhibits, a nature trail, an aviary, two animal touch pools and a 3D IMAX® theater, a visit to the Aquarium can be fun and educational. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Wintergreen Resort Snowtubing on the Plunge at Wintergreen Resort.
Colleges & Universities with Meeting & Event Space Tue, 19 Jan 2016 16:38:32 +0000 ]]>

Virginia’s campuses of higher learning provide spacious meeting and event spaces, dining and lodging options in serene natural surroundings and also the latest technologies. Here are a few of the many options available across the Commonwealth.

University of Virginia Inn at Darden Conference Center, Charlottesville
The Darden School and Abbott Center boasts 69,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, complimentary Wi-Fi, excellent customer service and Jeffersonian décor accented with modern business amenities including equipment rental and AV. Choose from multiple meeting areas including classroom, lounge, auditorium and banquet room configurations. Attendees can stay at The Inn at Darden, an on-grounds home for individuals, groups and conferences – close to shopping, downtown Charlottesville and many local attractions.


University of Virginia Inn at Darden Conference Center

University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg
The main campus in Fredericksburg provides a unique setting for daytime meetings, conferences and special events during the summer season. Venues include Dodd Auditorium, a 1,300 fixed-seat theater, athletic fields, classrooms and on-campus residence halls.

Jepson Alumni Executive Center – University of Mary Washington
The Executive Center combines up-to-the-minute technology with the décor and ambience of a by-gone era. The facility boasts a number of venues from the 3,400 square foot Rappahannock Grand Ballroom, which will seat 220 guests, to the Minor Board Room to two outdoor venues, the Mayo Courtyard with central fountain and the BB&T Terrace.

University of Mary Washington – Dahlgren Campus
The 42,000 square foot facility features classrooms, computer labs, offices and an executive conference room. University Hall is a 2,800 square foot auditorium seating up to 220, with full AV capability and a warming kitchen. The LEED-qualified, Virginia Green-certified campus includes large open spaces with private and group study areas, outdoor seating, native landscaping and a vegetative roof.

University of Mary Washington – Stafford Campus
The Stafford Campus features the 2,700-square-foot University Hall, 23 classrooms, seven computer labs, a videoconferencing theater featuring IP-based connectivity, two conference rooms and wireless access throughout the complex. All classrooms are equipped with tables and chairs, computer, projector, screen, and whiteboards. Catering is provided by the University catering services.

University of Mary Washington Professional Studies Building 2University of Mary Washington, Stafford Campus

College of William and Mary Campus Center, Williamsburg
The Campus Center, located on the campus of The College of William and Mary, has two versatile meeting spaces within it as well as dining space. The Little Theatre can be used for small scale performances or meetings and events. Trinkle Hall is a large, classic hall with high ceilings and a ceramic tile floor. Small lounges and outdoor patio space are also available at the Campus Center.

College of William and Mary Alumni House
The William and Mary Alumni House offers rooms and outdoor areas with considerable character and architectural interest. The House’s many spaces may be combined in a number of ways, making it a distinctive location for events as varied as a large reception for 180 or, a formal dinner, an executive retreat or an informal outdoor barbecue for 50.

The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center
Whether your group needs a lounge to seat a few people, or a ballroom for 700, The Inn has you covered with 23,705 square feet of conference space, including a 700-seat ballroom, ten dedicated conference rooms, amphitheater style meeting room for 135 and 147 hotel rooms and suites. Also available on campus are classrooms, banquet halls, a garden and gazebos – among other sites well-suited for music, entertainment or keynote speakers. Squires Student Center offers a variety of spaces including standard meeting rooms, dividable rooms, reception-style rooms, and major programming spaces. Affordable dorm accommodations are also available from late May to early August.


The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center

George Mason University Science and Technology, Prince William
Choose from four breakout rooms, a 300-person main lecture hall (Verizon Auditorium), a reception venue (Bull Run Hall lobby), two computer labs, electronic classrooms and a large function space at Beacon Hall for your event. In addition, food and beverage service is available on-campus. If additional space is needed, planners can also book the Hylton Performing Arts Center which is across the street from Beacon Hall.

Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg
During the summer months, the beautiful 90-acre campus of Eastern Mennonite University is made available to a variety of groups and special events. Some spaces are also available year round for meetings, dinners and weekend conferences. EMU is situated in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. They provide efficient coordination of food service, lodging and scheduling of facilities for external groups.

James Madison University, Harrisonburg
James Madison University provides auditoriums, ballrooms, boardrooms, classrooms, computer labs, meeting rooms, outdoor facilities and theaters. Rooms are fully equipped with the latest technology. Designed to provide a wide array of services, staff can arrange the meeting rooms to fit your needs, whether you need classroom, theater or banquet style. JMU’s Special Events Catering can provide catering and banquet service to any of JMU’s locations. Summer housing and meal plan options are available during the summer conference season.


SV11012301V_014James Madison University

See more…

Universities and Colleges with Meeting Space
Unique Meeting Venues

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]]> 0 AerialDardensml_medium University of Mary Washington Professional Studies Building 2 ivt_entrance_purple SV11012301V_014
Fine Dining on a Budget: Restaurant Weeks around Virginia Thu, 14 Jan 2016 20:29:18 +0000 ]]>

Boar's Head Inn

The beginning of restaurant week season is here, and we can’t wait to try all the gourmet goodies that Virginia chefs are preparing for the occasion. Mark the dates for your region’s Restaurant Week and get ready to chow down on the finest Virginia food. Want to explore the cuisine scene in another part of Virginia? Make your trip a complete weekend getaway to get the full regional experience and try the tasty ingredients for which each Virginia district is famous.

Find out more about the participating restaurants, dates, and prices for the Restaurant Week in your area:


Downtown Roanoke Restaurant Week – Friday, January 15th– Sunday, January 24th. Some notable participants this year are the Regency Room, Billy’s Restaurant, Frankie Rowland’s Steakhouse, and Table 50. Lunch price options are either the Restaurant’s Choice Lunch for under $10 or a complete lunch with a side and a drink for $10. Three-course dinners are either $20 or $35, depending on the restaurant.

Create a Complete Roanoke Getaway


Fredericksburg Restaurant Week — Friday, January 15th– Monday, January 25th. A few of the restaurants that are taking part in the 2016 Fredericksburg Restaurant Week are FoodE, La Petite Auberge, Kybecca, and Brock’s Riverside Grill. Two-course lunches are $10.16 and three-course dinners are $20.16.

FoodE's Chicken & Waffles with Maple Syrup

Joy Crump of FoodE in Fredericksburg with her Chicken & Waffles.

Create a Complete Fredericksburg Getaway


Newport News Restaurant Week – Friday, January 15th– Saturday, February 6th. Some of the restaurants participating in the 2016 Newport News Restaurant Week are Second Street, Circa 1918 Kitchen & Bar, and Fin Seafood. Two-course lunch prices are either $7.16 or $10.16, and three-course dinner prices are $20.16 or $30.16.

Create a Complete Newport News Getaway


Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week – Sunday, January 17th– Sunday, January 24th. 456 Fish, Norfolk Seafood Co. & Big Easy Oyster Bar, Gershwin’s, and the Monastery Restaurant are a few of the Downtown Norfolk restaurants that are included this year. Participating restaurants serve $12 lunch and/or a three-course dinner for $25, $30, or $40.

Create a Complete Norfolk Getaway

Blacksburg Restaurant Week – Sunday, June 26th– Sunday, July 2nd. Details have not yet been announced.

Create a Complete Blacksburg Getaway


Charlottesville Restaurant Week – Friday, January 22nd– Saturday, January 30th / Friday, July 15th– Saturday, July 23rd. A few of the participating restaurants are C&O Restaurant, Maya Restaurant, Aberdeen Barn, Ten, and the Old Mill Room at The Boar’s Head. Three-course menu prices are $19, $29, or $39.

Create a Complete Charlottesville Getaway

Alexandria Restaurant Week
– Friday, January 29th– Sunday, February 7th. Choose from more than 60 restaurants in the Alexandria area, like Mackie’s Bar & Grill, City Kitchen, and Bistrot Royal. Two dozen restaurants have lunch specials for $10, $15, or $20 per person as well as the $35 three-course meals or dinner for two options.

Create a Complete Alexandria Getaway

Smithfield Restaurant Week – Friday, January 29th– Saturday, February 6th. The Smithfield Inn, Wharf Hill Brewing Co., and Smithfield Station are a few of the fine dining establishments that are participating in the 2016 Smithfield Restaurant Week. Prices have not been announced, but each meal includes an appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

Create a Complete Smithfield Getaway


Virginia Beach Restaurant Week – Monday, February 22nd– Sunday, February 28th. Features over 90 participants. Some of the restaurants include Lucky Oyster Seafood Co., Terrapin Restaurant, Tautog’s Restaurant, and Waterman’s Surfside Grille. A two-course lunch is $12 and a three-course dinner is $22.

Create a Complete Virginia Beach Getaway

Williamsburg Restaurant Week – Sunday, January 24th- Sunday, January 31st. Eat at some of the finest restaurants in the Williamsburg area for a fraction of the cost. Participating restauraunts include Le YaCa, Second Street, Opus 9, and Fat Tuna Grill & Oyster House. Select restaurants will serve lunch for $10.16 and dinner for either $20.16 or $30.16.

Create a Complete Williamsburg Getaway

Winchester Restaurant Week – Monday, February 29th– Saturday, March 5th. Restaurants will serve a $25 lunch for two or a three-course dinner menu for $30 a person. Although the event has just been announced, Violino Ristorante Italiano and Village Square Restaurant have both signed on for the 2016 Winchester Restaurant Week.

Create a Complete Winchester Getaway


Northern Virginia Restaurant Week – Monday, March 7th– Monday, March 14th. No restaurants have been announced for the 2016 Restaurant Week yet. Last year’s prices ranged from $20.15-$35.15 for a three-course dinner.

Create a Complete Northern Virginia Getaway


Historic Manassas Restaurant Week – Monday, March 7th– Monday, March 14th. Two-course meal for $25 or three-course meal for $35. Participating restaurants have not yet been announced.

Create a Complete Historic Manassas Getaway


Suffolk Restaurant Week – Saturday, March 19th– Saturday, March 26th. No restaurants have been announced yet for the 2016 Suffolk Restaurant Week, but there will be two tiers for price points: Deluxe options are $10 lunch and $20 dinner, while Premier options are $15 lunch and $30 dinner.

Create a Complete Suffolk Getaway


Lynchburg Restaurant Week – Saturday, June 18th– Saturday, June 25th. Participating restaurants and prices for 2016 not yet announced. Make it an Overnight Stay

Create a Complete Lynchburg Getaway


Culpeper Restaurant Week – Monday, October 10th– Sunday, October 16th. Restaurants have yet to be announced for the 2016 Culpeper Restaurant Week. Three-course dinner is $25 per person.

Create a Complete Culpeper Getaway


Lexington Restaurant Week – Although the 2016 dates have not yet been announced, Lexington’s Restaurant week is typically held in late July, early August.

Create a Complete Lexington Getaway


Harrisonburg Restaurant Week – The 2016 Restaurant Week dates have not been finalized, but Harrisonburg’s Taste of Downtown festival is always held biannually in March and November. More than 30 restaurants participate, showcasing local flavors in unique, inspired dishes.

Create a Complete Harrisonburg Getaway


Richmond Restaurant Week – The 2016 Richmond Restaurant Week has not yet been announced, but is traditionally held biannually in April and October.

Create a Complete Richmond Getaway

Save the date for the 2016 Restaurant Week in your area to try some of the most delicious dishes and raved-about restaurants in Virginia.

© pkeppel for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2016. | Permalink | One comment |
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]]> 1 Boar’s Head Inn Experience the relaxing comfort of first-class accommodations on a picturesque 573-acre estate with 170 guest rooms and suites creating an inviting retreat in tune with natural Southern heritage. Virginia Tourism Corporation, FoodE’s Chicken & Waffles with Maple Syrup One of the four finalists in the 2015 Culinary Madness challenge was Joy Crump of FoodE in Fredericksburg with her Chicken & Waffles. The dish consists of buttermilk fried chicken served with a golden housemade waffle, whipped maple butter and warm Virginia maple syrup. Virginia Tourism Corporation,
Fee-Free Days at National Parks in Virginia Wed, 13 Jan 2016 18:43:20 +0000 ]]>

The National Park Service is turning 100 years old this year! Celebrate this momentous occasion with 16 free days of entry to any of the National Parks in Virginia.

  • Monday, January 18th (Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • April 16th-24th (National Park Week)
  • August 25th-28th (National Park Service Birthday)
  • Saturday, September 24th (National Public Lands Day)
  • Friday, November 11th (Veteran’s Day)

While many of the National Parks in Virginia are free year-round, the following parks have a nominal entry fee that will be waived during the 16 free days. Make a trip to one of these scenic Virginia destinations and be sure to add your pictures to the Virginia Tourism Twitter page with the hashtags #FindYourPark and #LoveVA, as well as on Instagram with @VisitVirginia.

Shenandoah National Park

Old Rag Mountain

One of the most charming parks in the country, Shenandoah National Park offers over 500 miles of trails with breathtaking waterfalls and mountain summits. Drive through the park on the historic Skyline Drive and stop at one of the 75 overlooks along the National Scenic Byway for an unbeatable view of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains.

For a more active exploration of the park, you can hike or ride horseback along the winding trails. While biking is not permitted on the trails, it is allowed on Skyline Drive. Fishing is even available in designated areas throughout the park. End your full day in the “Great Outdoors” with camping inside the Park and get a front-row seat for a spectacular sunset over the mountains.

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

Come see the place where the Civil War officially ended! The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park commemorates the location of the treaty signing between Generals Lee and Grant. Walk through the original village and get a glimpse of the moment that changed the history of our country forever.

Assateague Island National Seashore

Undeveloped natural beachfronts span the 37 miles of the Assateague Island National Seashore. The coastal park is well-known for the wild ponies that roam the beaches, but it also is home to many rare species of migratory birds. Visit this Virginia shoreline park for a completely immersive experience in nature.

Assateague Island Pony Watching from the Assateague Channel

Colonial National Historical Park
Colonial National Historical Park memorializes several important American sites. Visit the oldest permanent English settlement in North America at Jamestown and tour Green Spring, the 17th century plantation home of Sir William Berkeley.  The parks also encompasses Cape Henry Memorial, which sits on the estimated site of the first landing of the Jamestown colonists in 1607.

George Washington Memorial Parkway’s Great Falls Park

Great Falls National Park

Great Falls, Mclean

Only 15 miles from the Nation’s Capital, Great Falls National Park gives Northern Virginia residents access to over 800 acres of nature-rich scenery. The park is aptly named for the waterfalls that form from a series of jagged rocks over which the Potomac River flows freely.

Manassas National Battlefield Park

You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy a visit to Manassas National Battlefield Park. The park pays tribute to one of the most significant battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Bull Run. Get in-depth knowledge about the battlefield’s history with a presentation from one of the U.S. Parks Service professionals, take a guided tour of the park, or drive through the scenic grounds for a self-guided tour. The parks honors famous Virginian General “Stonewall” Jackson and his troops with a polished bronze sculpture.

Petersburg National Battlefield

Petersburg National Battlefield marks the site of the longest siege in American warfare. Over nine and a half months, General Grant surrounded Petersburg and cut off the supply lines of the Confederate soldiers. Once the siege ended, both sides began a westward journey that concluded a week later with Lee’s signing of the surrender at Appomattox Court House.

Prince William Forest Park

A 15,000-acre oasis of woodlands, streams, and ponds, Prince William Forest Park is located just 35 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. The park is filled with miles of scenic trails and offers campgrounds and rental cabins for overnight visitors. There are also many significant historical, geological, and cultural sites within the park.


While everyone can get into the parks during the fee-free days, active-duty military personnel, permanent disability citizens, and 4th grade students get free access year-round to any National Park in the U.S. Save the dates and plan your next free visit to one of these picturesque parks in Virginia.


Check the National Park Service website at for more information.

FEE WAIVER INCLUDES: entrance, commercial tour, and transportation entrance fees. Fees such as reservation, camping, tours, concession and those collected by third parties are not included.

© pkeppel for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2016. | Permalink | One comment |
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]]> 1 Old Rag Mountain Old Rag Mountain is a popular hike in Shenandoah National Park. This is a very challenging 8.8-mile hike and rock scramble to spectacular views. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Assateague Island Pony Watching from the Assateague Channel Wild ponies from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island on Virginia's Eastern Shore has captured the hearts and minds of visitors for years. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Great Falls National Park At Great Falls, the Potomac River builds up speed and force as it falls over a series of steep, jagged rocks and flows through the narrow Mather Gorge. It has many opportunities to explore history and nature, all in a beautiful 800-acre park only 15 miles from the Nationís Capital. Virginia Tourism Corporation,