Virginia's Travel Blog Travel Ideas and Stories Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:50:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1's Travel Blog Virginia Music Festivals in October Worth Checking Out Tue, 06 Oct 2015 14:50:48 +0000 ]]>

October is ripe with music festivals across Virginia, but good luck choosing. Several occur at the same time, but offer quite different experiences. Cheers to a fun music-filled month!


The Richmond Folk Festival on Brown's Island held in October.

The Richmond Folk Festival

Richmond Folk Festival – Richmond, Va.
Oct. 9-11, 2015

Celebrating the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional craft and food, the Richmond Folk Festival features more than 30 performing groups on seven live music stages, along with a Virginia Folklife demonstration area, children’s activities, a folk arts marketplace, regional and ethnic foods and more.The free three-day festival is one of the largest events in Virginia.


The Festy Experience – Roseland, Va.
Oct. 9-11, 2015

Enjoy three full days of live music, award winning craft beer from Devil’s Backbone, fall camping, and lots of fun. This year’s lineup includes the Infamous Stringdusters, Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt, Sam Bush Band, Brett Dennen, The Larry Keel Experience, Spirit Family Reunion, Love Canon, Carl Anderson, Chamomile and Whiskey, Erin and The Wildfire, and more.


Black Dog Wine & Music Festival

Chateau Morrisette Music Festival

The Black Dog Beach Music Festival – Floyd, Va.
Oct. 10, 2015

Dance in the outdoors for Chateau Morrisette’s annual Black Dog Beach Music Festival, which will feature music from The Band of Oz and Landsharks as well as numerous food trucks and artisans. And dogs are welcome to join, of course.


Pickers and Fiddlers Bluegrass Gospel & Mountain Music Songfest – Bassett, Va.
Oct. 10, 2015

Musicians and music lovers are invited to bring their instruments to Pocahontas Bassett Baptist Church and join fellow music lovers and musicians to play songs together. This event is free and coffee and doughnuts will be provided. Other dates for this year are Nov. 14 and Dec. 12.


Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. Image by

Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. Image by

Blue Ridge Folklife Festival – Ferrum, Va.
Oct. 24, 2015

Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Folklife Festival celebrates western Virginia’s folkways and rural life with three music stages with all the famed Blue Ridge music styles including bluegrass, ballads, blues, gospel, and string band music. There will also be craftspeople, vintage farm tractors, hundreds of custom cars, and more.


Check out our Music in Virginia page to learn all about the music scene, Virginia bands, and more.

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]]> 0 The Richmond Folk Festival on Brown’s Island held in October. The Richmond Folk Festival, a continuation of the National Folk Festival, celebrates the roots, richness and variety of American culture through music, dance, traditional crafts and what everyone enjoys, food. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Black Dog Wine & Music Festival Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. Image by
Fall Destinations for a Romantic Weekend Getaway Mon, 05 Oct 2015 19:53:34 +0000 ]]>

Autumn in Virginia is one of the most romantic times of year. The weather is crisp and cool and the fall foliage is breathtaking. Virginia also boasts hundreds of festivals, and activities like hiking, apple picking and wine tasting, which makes Virginia the perfect destination for a romantic weekend getaway.

Whether you want to curl up by the fire in a cozy mountain cabin, or cast your gaze on an autumn sunset over the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia is the perfect place to plan a 48-hour escape with your main squeeze.

Here are three fall destinations that are simply perfect for a romantic weekend in Virginia:



Terroir and Merroir Tasting Event

Terroir and Merroir Tasting Event

Most people think of the Eastern Shore as a great summertime destination—which it is. But we’re going to let you in on a little secret – the Eastern Shore is a hidden gem for autumn travel, and will be a perennial favorite once you’ve visited in the fall!

The Eastern Shore is one of the last places in Virginia where the leaves turn, meaning you can enjoy fall foliage late into the season. Take romantic sunrise strolls on the beach, shop local at many of the boutiques and specialty shops around the area, and enjoy the peace and quiet of small town coastal Virginia.

Shore residents have also created November Wine & Brine Month, which is a month-long celebration of Virginia oysters and wine. November is the month to officially celebrate the Eastern Shore’s distinct viticulture and aquaculture offerings, and tout the hyper-local benefits of growing grapes within steps of some of the best aqua farming in the country. A full calendar of events includes traditional Shore oyster roasts, wine & oyster festivals, wine dinners, and raw bar tastings. Don’t miss Chatham Vineyard’s Merroir & Terroir, a signature Wine & Brine Month event.

Stay at the small-town chic Hotel Cape Charles, a modern hotel on charming and historic Mason Avenue. Or, spend your time at one of the many adorable and romantic bed & breakfasts dotted around Cape Charles, Onancock, and Chincoteague. If you want a cozy, warm boutique hotel experience, try the beautiful Charlotte Hotel in Onancock.

This is a Virginia treasure you don’t want to miss.



Scenic Loudoun County

Scenic Loudoun County

Located just 25 miles of our nation’s capital, Loudoun County is Northern Virginia’s premiere destination for wine lovers. Loudoun also boasts the LoCo Ale Trail, featuring 14 breweries and counting, for those who lean more towards suds over sipping wine. However, boasting nearly 40 wineries and tasting rooms, this is the perfect destination for oenophiles.

Visit Loudoun put it best with a winery itinerary to soak in the Loudoun County wine scene:

Begin your day in Virginia’s second smallest town, Hillsboro. Just outside of town, Hillsborough Vineyards is perched along a mountain slope. The tasting room is housed in a renovated 1840s stone barn, a cool respite during the dog days of summer and cozy by the fireplace in winter. From the terrace outside, visitors experience Hillsborough’s luxuriant gardens and trickling fountains, framing the view of the Loudoun Valleys below and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

Travel northwest from Hillsboro to Breaux Vineyards, one of Virginia’s largest wineries with over 100 acres of vineyard planted across their 404 acre estate. Proceed up the meandering driveway past manicured lawns that give way to sweeping views of vineyards as they extend up Short Hill Mountain. Nestled between the hills, Breaux’s vineyard and mountain views can be enjoyed from the tasting room, Patio Madeleine, and their landscaped terraces.

End your day with one of the most impressive views in the county. Bluemont Vineyards sits high on an eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains at 951’ above sea level, offering spectacular views of the countryside and beyond. It’s said that on a clear day, you can even see the Washington Monument from the tasting room. The winery takes advantage of the views, offering numerous seating areas both indoors and out for guests to linger over the scenery and enjoy an overview of Northern Virginia’s Wine Country.

After a wonderful day of wine tasting, relax and unwind at the luxurious Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. You can take in everything that Virginia’s horse and wine country has to offer at this sprawling resort. Tour the vibrant fall foliage, taste local wines, gather around the fire pits, ride horses, and soar high on their zip lines. You and your sweetie can sign up for seasonal cooking classes with Executive Pastry Chef Jason Reaves on Saturdays, and learn to how to make “Fall Harvest Sweets” using locally harvested ingredients including apples, pumpkins, and raspberries.

After a weekend in Loudoun County, you and your other half are sure to come home even more in love!



Golden Eagle Treehouse

Golden Eagle Treehouse at Primland Resort

There’s nothing more romantic than a picturesque drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the fall. The vibrant colors, majestic mountains, and miles of scenic roads are enough to make anyone swoon. So, grab your honey’s hand and treat yourself to a mountain escape in beautiful, rustic Southwest Virginia.

Venture to Floyd, located in the Blue Ridge Highlands region of Virginia. Bordered on the southeast by the Blue Ridge Parkway, Floyd is a small mountain town boasting music, art, and wine.

Visitors to Floyd quickly find that music is the town’s heartbeat. Old-time fiddlers, bluegrass banjo pickers, blues guitarists, African drummers and jazz cats collectively make this place a music lover’s dream.

Chateau Morrisette is a beautiful and relaxing experience for anyone who enjoys fine wine, good food, and natural surroundings. You two can tour the unique timberframe winery and spend the afternoon enjoying wine tastings, innovative cuisine, and seasonal events.

Indulge in an experience like none other and stay overnight at the incomparable Primland Resort. Spectacular views, mountain-top chalets, elegant dining, and a wide array of recreational activities await you at this Meadows of Dan jewel. Primland has something for every couple, whatever you enjoy doing together—from getting a couples’ massage to horseback riding, kayaking to nature walks, sporting clays to stargazing, tennis to tree climbing.

Get closer to nature—and each other—and this unrivalled Southwest gem.

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]]> 0 Terroir and Merroir Tasting Event Scenic Loudoun County Golden Eagle Treehouse
Eat Like a Local this Fall in Virginia Mon, 05 Oct 2015 19:35:07 +0000 ]]>

Tasty fall-flavored menu items are easy to find, but where do the locals go to get their fill of not only seasonal tastes, but locally-sourced ingredients? Here are a few suggestions to answer that question.



“Virginia Peanut Soup and Bread Pudding [are] on the lunch buffet menu every day” at The Old Mill Room Restaurant at Boars Head Inn in Charlottesville, according to Pat. It’s a Virginia tradition that goes hand-in-hand with a visit to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, for sure.

peach bread pudding_chrisdscott_Photography

Peach Bread Pudding at The Old Mill Room. Photo by Chris D. Scott Photography.


ALSO SEE: 27 Places to Eat Like a Local



A one-time food truck, Hearth Wood Fired Cuisine & Craft Beer grew so popular that it found a brick-and-mortar home on 17th Street in Virginia Beach. Why so hot? Perhaps it’s the dedication to seasonal cooking, like an herb salad with roasted butternut squash, celery roots, and parsnips, a dish that debuted on the first day of fall.


Hearth Wood Fired Cuisine & Craft Beer



Shoe’s Cup & Cork in Leesburg has a rear patio called The Secret Garden, “though it’s no secret, certainly not for Saturday and Sunday Brunches where folks line up for great eggs benedicts, mimosas, [and] a few games on the full size bocce court,” wrote Curtis. “The menu at Shoe’s is farm to table inspired with multiple seasonal dishes using ingredients from many local farms.”

Shoe's Cup & Cork

Shoe’s Cup & Cork



“The Real Deal is a new restaurant in Monterey that serves some unique BBQ made with local Highland County beef AND with a Highland County secret ingredient,” Dorothy shared. Then she taunted, “Come to Monterey and try a bite (or several) and see if you can identify their secret ingredient! Can you guess what it is?” We’ll give you one guess.



Of One Block West in Winchester Ann informs, “if it’s not in season you will not see it on the menu, which changes daily. To truly experience OBW at it’s best, Chef Ed offers a daily tasting menu. No need to order from the menu. Seven courses to delight you palette and feed your soul.”



Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque in Pounding Mill are “famous for their steaks and ribs, but their homegrown squash blossom is fabulous, too.”

Cuz's Uptown BarbequeCuz’s Uptown Barbeque



According to Kim, Passion has the “best She-Crab Soup I’ve ever had! Always great service. Love that they feature work by local artists!  The Chef’s table experience is not to be missed.  This small party private experience includes a specially designed menu by their Chef and wine paring for a unique dining experience not found anywhere in Coastal Virginia.”

Passion The Restaurant

Passion The Restaurant



Burkes Garden General Store in Tazewell is Amish owned and operated and sources a vast majority of their products from other local Amish farms. Their “baked goods with natural cane sugar [are] to die for,” raves one local who wishes to remain anonymous.



Julie said, “Kybecca is known for their seasonal, locally sourced ingredients,” and she pointed us to their Instagram account for evidence. Yes, ma’am, that pork with butternut squash makes our mouths water!





“Zynodoa celebrates all things local with a contemporary southern flair. The chef team changes up the menu daily in response to what is locally and seasonally available,” wrote Susan. You can enjoy dinner at Zynodoa in Staunton.





Amanda wrote to us about Sister’s American Grill inside The Martha Hotel in Abingdon, “The food changes seasonally and includes great southern classics like chicken and waffles and deviled eggs, both spicy and regular. Locals know to go to the Martha for the awesome brunch on Sundays and for the late night menu at the bar – if you go on a Monday night, you’re likely to see a bunch of actors and artists from the Barter Theatre enjoying their night off.”



Jack Brown’s has a fan in Doronda! She wrote, “Jack Brown’s is a local MUST. I have yet to have a better burger, and I have scoured the east coast. The unique toppings and their house ‘special sauce’ are what really set their burgers apart. They really do a great job of making sure they include beer from our three local breweries, as well as regional breweries, which are all bringing out their fall seasonal brews. My personal favorite burgers are the Chiflet and the Greg Brady.”

Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint can also be found in Roanoke, Elkton, Richmond, Charlottesville, and soon will open in Norfolk.



Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview is hyper-dedicated to the farm-to-fork movement, which means you’ll only be offered a menu of what is seasonally available locally. Amanda shared, “a personal favorite is the seasonal wood-oven pizza, which might feature tomatoes in the summer or kale and sweet potatoes in the winter. The bread pudding is also out of this world, and they serve plenty of local beer and wine to go with the meal.” She also added, “when I last ate there, I noticed that they don’t offer you lemon for your water or tea – I asked why, and the server said (with a smile) lemons aren’t local to Virginia!”

Harvest Table Restaurant

Harvest Table Restaurant



The Palisades Restaurant in Eggleston just unveiled their new fall menu, and it’s one you’re going to want to check out. How does fig and country ham pizza sound? Or perhaps American Whitetail pot roast with maple dijon cornbread, roasted vegetables, and liquored currants? ‘Tis the season for all things fall!

The Palisades Restaurant

The Palisades Restaurant



Nearly everything at Haywood’s in Lexington is locally sourced. One favorite new fall dish highlights “the bounty of the Shenandoah Valley” and hardworking local purveyors: Buffalo Creek Kansas City Strip steak with Wade’s Mill cheddar bacon fritter and Sunflower Flats green beans. Sounds delicious!


Haywood’s Restaurant



Jennifer tipped us off to Market Table Bistro’s new fall menu, and noted that Chef Jason Lage’s menu changes with the season because he sources his menu ingredients from area farms. The lunch menu includes short rib & mushroom pasta while the dinner menu boasts a crispy quail with collards, cornbread, peach butter, and hot sauce.



What does fresh, local, farm-to-table taste like? Of Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford, Chris wrote, “With my very first bite farm-to-table was explained to me by my taste buds. Never had I tasted beef this fresh and delicious. Topping off the burger is a house made spent grain roll with its own unique flavor that only a second bite could explain. I was sold!”

Wild Wolf Brewery Smores

Wild Wolf Brewing Company



Goodstone prides itself in delivering a beautiful plate of farm-fresh delights. Purchasing in small quantities from local producers allows for an ever-changing menu. Jane told us, “The farm is home to a flock of sheep, an intensively managed vegetable garden, apiary, cut flower beds, orchard, mushroom garden, laying hens …” Indeed, everything starts right there at the restaurant. Don’t miss out on their fall menu.

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant

Goodstone Inn Restaurant



Jessica shared her favorite Blue Mountain Brewery dish with us, and we weren’t surprised, since it’s apple season and all. She loves the bratwurst with apples and onion pizza. The brats are from Double H Farm there in Nelson County, as are the apples. Try it and enjoy the great fall view!

Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant

Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant

Did we miss your favorite place for local fall flavor? Maybe we included it in our original article. Still don’t see it? Do leave a kind comment to share with others!

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]]> 0 peach bread pudding_chrisdscott_Photography Hearth Shoe’s Cup & Cork Cuz’s Uptown Barbeque Passion The Restaurant Zynodoa Harvest Table Restaurant The Palisades Restaurant Haywood’s Wild Wolf Brewery Smores Goodstone Inn & Restaurant Blue Mountain Brewery and Restaurant
Eight Virginia-Made Items for Your Next Tailgate Tue, 29 Sep 2015 20:17:09 +0000 ]]>

It’s football season in Virginia, and no Saturday down south would be complete without an epic tailgate spread. Take your tailgating game to the next level this year with these eight Virginia-made ideas. From oysters to hard cider cocktails, Bloody Marys to artisanal cheeses, here are eight simple ways to majorly impress your guest every Saturday this fall.



Starr Hill Brewery

Courtesy of Starr Hill Brewery

With more than 120 craft breweries around the state, Virginia is quickly becoming a premiere destination for craft beer lovers. Load up the cooler with some of these favorite seasonal beers from Virginia craft breweries:



Italian Virginia Wine Tour at Palio Ristorante Italiano

Everyone knows Virginia has great ham, but did you know our purveyors produce some incredible products for your charcuterie platter, as well? Your spread is sure to wow your guests when you include some of our favorite Virginia-made selections:




No tailgate is complete without mimosas. Skip the André this year and pop some Virginia bubbly instead. These effervescent sparkling wines are sure to add some fizz and pop to your next get-together.



Everona Dairy

Everona Dairy

Southern artisanal cheese is all the rage right now, and Virginia boasts some of the top purveyors on the East Coast. We say the stinkier the better, and these cheeses won’t disappoint. Wow your guests with artisanal cheese platters from Virginia’s very own cheesemongers:

  • Caromont Farm’s Farmstead Chevre (Esmont)
  • Mountain View Farm’s Jumpin’ Jack Cheese (Fairfield)
  • Our Lady of Angels Monastery’s Gouda (Crozet)
  • Sullivan’s Pond Farm’s Chesapeake Bleu (Wake)
  • Everona Dairy’s Everona Piedmont (Rapidan)



Winchester Ciderworks

Virginia’s up-and-coming craft cider scene has the culinary world all abuzz, and our delicious and flavorful craft ciders make for an interesting twist on the classic Screwdriver cocktail. Try this recipe at your next tailgate!



Roanoke Farmers' Market

Juicy, fresh-picked apples are hard to beat. For a sweet treat, serve up sliced Virginia apples with a yummy caramel dip. You can even pick the apples you serve at one of Virginia’s many U-Pick farms across the state. Check out our handy apple-picking guide to plan your trip.



Whitley Peanut Factory

Blue Crab Bay Co.’s Sting Ray Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

Some die-hard football fans start tailgating in the early morning. When that’s the case, Bloody Marys are a must. To add a very Virginia twist to your Bloody Mary, try adding these Virginia-made craft vodkas:

  • Great Dismal Distillery’s Silverfox Vodka (Norfolk)
  • Cirrus Potato Vodka (Richmond)
  • Chesapeake Bay Distillery Blue Ridge Vodka (Virginia Beach)
  • Silverback Distillery Beringei Vodka (Afton)

Pro tip: Want to make your Bloody extra spicy? Be sure to add some Virginia-made hot sauce for an extra kick. Just look for that Virginia’s Finest label, or click here.



Reedville Fishermen's Museum Oyster Roast

Did you know Virginia is the Oyster Capital of the East Coast? Boasting seven oyster regions with seven distinct flavors, Virginia’s oysters are some of the best in the world. But you don’t have to be seaside to enjoy these succulent bivalves. Whether served raw, roasted, fried, or Rockefeller, our Virginia oysters are sure to be a crowd pleaser. Serve at your tailgate while you daydream of your next vacation to Coastal Virginia by slurping oysters from some of these oyster farms:

What are some of your favorite Virginia-made tailgate dishes? Did we forget your go-to? Be sure to leave them in the comments section below! 

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]]> 3 Starr Hill Brewery Italian Virginia Wine Tour at Palio Ristorante Italiano Trump Everona Dairy Everona Dairy produces aged artisinal sheep's milk cheeses made from the sheep it raises on their farm. The family has been in business since 1998 and permits tours, tastings and sells cheese on location. Virginia Tourism Corporation, Winchester Ciderworks Roanoke Farmers’ Market Whitley Peanut Factory Reedville Fishermen’s Museum Oyster Roast
Fabulous Fall Glamping in Virginia Tue, 29 Sep 2015 13:46:49 +0000 ]]>

Who doesn’t want to be in the great outdoors when the leaves are changing colors? It’s a most beautiful time of the year and Virginia puts on quite the show. Be in the perfect place at the perfect time when you move beyond your standard go-to lodging option for a glamping (glamorous camping) experience instead.

From simple to over-the-top, glamping is something couples of every budget can enjoy. Here are Virginia glamping opportunities for your fabulous fall weekend.



If you dreamed of a tree house as a kid, you probably weren’t dreaming this big. Meet the adult version of an awesome fort in the sky.

Primland Resort boasts three tree houses: Golden Eagle, Cooper’s Hawk, and Barn Owl. Each fully-equipped cabin delivers luxury amenities, incredible views, and are for adults only. Rates from $788 per night through 11/30/15. No children or pets. BOOK

Golden Eagle Treehouse at Primland Resort

Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland Resort



The three cedar-and-glass yurts at Rose River Farm are spacious enough to bring the family and boast views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. If you enjoy fishing, reserve Pond View, as it’s situated right beside a stocked pond. All three yurts are fully equipped for your glamping comfort. Rates from $250 per night. No pets. BOOK

Cabins at Rose River Farm

Pond View Yurt at Rose River Farm



“Vacation in the round” when you book one of the three yurts available at Rock Tavern River Kamp. Situated along the Shenandoah River, each has a refrigerator, coffee pot, toaster, infared fireplace, bedding, picnic table, fire ring, and propane grill. The largest of the three, The Painted Horse, has the added amenity of TV, DVD, and crock pot. Rates from $110 per night. Pets must be pre-approved and fees apply. BOOK

Rock Tavern River Kamp

Rock Tavern River Kamp



“Upscale primitive” is the vibe at Camp Karma on Goose Creek. Their glamping option is designed for “couples who want to get away from the big city for a weekend without the hassle,” so they offer a tent complete with cots, mattresses, utensils, bucket for your wood gathering, bag of ice, and electric. You bring your essentials. Done deal. Rate is $75 per night. No pets. BOOK by calling 540-297-KRMA

Glam Camp at Camp Karma

Glam Camp at Camp Karma



Nostalgia washes over you when you enter the “funky style and affordable accommodations” that are Blue Haven’s collection of refurbished vintage campers. They’re Airstream, Avion, Spartan, and Curtiss Wright, to be specific, and each has its own old-school vibe. Rates from $120 per night (three night minimum). Pets require additional fee, plus you must bring a crate, leash, and disposal bags. BOOK by calling 434-688-4391.

Blue Haven 151

Blue Haven 151



This bed and breakfast has added to their repertoire of fine hospitality by offering a tricked-out motorcoach for your privacy. Don’t worry, the breakfast is still included with the stay. Rates from $558 for two nights. Pets welcome. BOOK

The Mark Addy Glamper

The Mark Addy Glamper



This collection of accommodations tucked against the Allegheny Mountains is diverse, but the most fantastic are the Norfolk & Western caboose and the Airstream.

The N&W caboose sits in the shade along Potts Creek. It’s an intimate one-bedroom retreat with gas fireplace, bathroom, and TV.

The 26′ 1976 “Land Yacht” Airstream is farther down Potts Creek. It’s refurbished in a bright aqua and orange color scheme and sleeps as many as four with bunks and a fold-down full size bed. A bath, phone, TV, and lounge-worthy Adirondack chairs will make this a comfortable place to spend a few days of fall. Rates for both from $159 per night. BOOK

The Depot Lodge Caboose

The Depot Lodge Norfolk & Western Caboose



The Country Place is a campground with additional cabins and a tree house that’s almost like sleeping under the stars. It’s a simple 10′ x 11′ screened room with a full sized bed and skylight. An “upper deck” puts you a little closer to the twinkles of the cool fall night. Rates from $195 for two nights. Available April through October. No pets. BOOK by calling 540-743-4007.

Sanctuary Tree House at The Country Place

Sanctuary Tree House at The Country Place


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]]> 0 Golden Eagle Treehouse at Primland Resort Cabins at Rose River Farm Rock Tavern River Kamp Glam Camp at Camp Karma Blue Haven 151 The Mark Addy Glamper The Depot Lodge Caboose Sanctuary Tree House at The Country Place
Favorite Virginia Fall Vacations Wed, 23 Sep 2015 14:00:43 +0000 ]]>

In case you are unaware, Virginia is one stunning fall destination. So much so that when we pondered which specific areas would be the cream of the crop for autumn vacationing, we simply shrugged our shoulders. The boss said, “Let’s let Facebook decide,” and sure enough, our followers came through with some goodies.



Susan R. was feeling our pain. “My favorite place in VA is … VA!!! The whole state is beautiful.”

Others simply couldn’t nail down a single place, most likely for same reason: too much beauty!

Smith Mountain Lake and Graves Mountain Lodge and through my hometown of Bowling Green when the leaves have changed!” declared Brenda C.

Donna B. enjoys the rolling countryside of the Piedmont and she isn’t afraid to name names. “Fredericksburg, VA, Spotsylvania, VA, Berryville, VA, Middleburg, VA”

For other responses, we’ve tried to group them into areas to help you out. Proceed.

Try Virginia's Scenic Drives!

Try Virginia’s Scenic Drives!



Whitney graciously shared a beautiful photo and wrote, “I love heading out and driving 16 ‘The Back of the Dragon’ from Marion to Tazewell.”

Beverly C. also likes that neck of the woods. “Hungry Mother State Park near Marion. Smells so nice and autumnal!” Hungry Mother offers cabins, camping, and a restaurant.

Back of the Dragon. Photo by Whitney Rohr.

Back of the Dragon. Photo Contributed by Whitney Rohr.

Margaux M. specifically likes Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke. If you didn’t know, that’s where Dirty Dancing was filmed, and it’s a beautiful resort with dining and activities to keep you busy … it you want to be busy.

Mandy H. simply wrote, “Wise County, VA,” and Kimberly K. specifically suggested High Knob Recreation Area. If you enjoy camping, that’s a fantastic area to consider.



“Our wedding anniversary is Oct 20 which is always peak season on Skyline Drive so we have made it a tradition to go up the drive on that day,” shared Crystal J.

Deborah A. enjoys a stay at “Skyland … up on the Skyline Drive,” so if you’re in need of an overnight accommodation, that’s a good one. The views from Skyland are amazing.

Stony Man Mountain Overlook

Stony Man Mountain Overlook, Skyline Drive



“I love Williamsburg in the fall!” wrote Mary Ann E.

Kara W. is a lover of Williamsburg as well. She wrote, “It’s so picturesque with the fall colors and colonial buildings!”

About those colonial buildings, Mary H. loves them. “I vacation at historical places during the fall. This year at Colonial Williamsburg! Love going to Appomattox NPS too!”

Stephanie G. already has plans for Williamsburg this fall, too. She’s “going to Williamsburg for fall break!! Hope they have beautiful fall colors.”

Ellie B. enjoys “driving the Colonial Parkway!” That particular byway connects Yorktown, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. It’s a good choice!

Speaking of drives, Karen F. likes “Rt 5 from Richmond to Williamsburg.” You’ll find the James River Plantations along that route. If you like to bicycle, the 52-mile Virginia Capital Trail is now complete and runs parallel to Route 5. That’s a great way to enjoy the colors.

Basset Hall

Basset Hall at Colonial WIlliamsburg



Annie B. likes one BRP destination in particular. “Roanoke Valley and surrounding areas, Parkway Star. It is all beautiful.”

Peaks of Otter is Rhonda A.’s pick. A visit there offers food, lodging, several great hikes, and stunning photo opportunities.

Sydney K. shouts “Wintergreen, VA!!!!” and we couldn’t agree more. It’s the home of one of Virginia’s mountain resorts, Wintergreen Resort, which is great in every season. Golfers love the cool temps while leaf peepers love, well, the leaves!

Danielle B. suggests a hop off of the Parkway for a visit to Floyd, but while you’re up there, check out Chateau Morisette Winery. Their view is quite nice, as is their wine.

Peaks of Otter Lodge

Peaks of Otter



Luisa J. said “I would like to go back again in Great Falls Park, VA!” Perhaps you can make it a weekend trip to loop in Old Town Alexandria, as suggested by Elizabeth G., along with a couple of wineries in Loudoun County, Rebecca C.’s “home sweet home.”

Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County

Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County



Charlottesville received several mentions, but some specifically noted Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Carter Mountain, and nearby Crozet, where we hear there’s a really great pizza and craft beer waiting.

Monticello. Photo by Bill Weiswanger.

Monticello. Photo by Bill Weiswanger.



Many followers named the Valley, with a few suggesting specific places like Harrisonburg, LexingtonLuray, and Front Royal. In the Allegheny mountains on the western side of the Valley, however, you’ll find colorful Bath County, Angela W.’s pick for a fall vacation. Bath is the home of The Omni Homestead Resort and Jefferson Pools. Not far away in Alleghany County is also one stunning roadside waterfall that you won’t want to miss. We can see why Angela loves it so much.

Lisa G. likes a visit to “Bryce Resort in Basye,” another of Virginia’s four-season mountain resorts. Take a fall foliage glide down their zip lines.

Scenic Bath County

Scenic Bath County



Virginia’s second largest lake received several nods from our followers. Why? Maybe it’s the way the foliage vibrantly reflects on the water.

>> Virginia’s Lakes

Smith Mountain Lake

Smith Mountain Lake. Photo by Ted Pratt.



A large number of respondents gave one-word answers, so we thought we’d drop them here. Consider these additional destinations when planning your fall vacations.

See all of the comments on our original request at, and feel free to give a shout-out to your favorite in the comments below.

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]]> 2 Try Virginia’s Scenic Drives! Back of the Dragon. Photo by Whitney Rohr. Stony Man Mountain Overlook Basset Hall Basset Hall is a two-story 18th century farmhouse that belong to Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr. It was opened to the public in 2002 after restoration and now offers daily tours., Virginia Tourism Corporation Peaks of Otter Lodge Breaux Vineyards, Loudoun County Monticello. Photo by Bill Weiswanger. Scenic Bath County Smith Mountain Lake
Farm to Fork: Foodie Experiences You Won’t Forget Mon, 21 Sep 2015 14:32:46 +0000 ]]>

There’s a story in every meal.

“Which farmer planted, tended, and harvested these beans?”
“Is this local, pastured chicken?”
“I wonder if this cornbread was made with locally grown and ground corn.”
“Where was this Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab caught?”

What a pleasure it is to know the answers to those questions, and to know that you’re eating well while contributing to small business and local agri- and aquaculturists. Learn more about your meal with these fiercely dedicated locavore experiences.


Pleasure House Oysters, Chef's Table Tour

Pleasure House Oysters’ Chef’s Table Tour

Virginia oysters have made a comeback, and you can take part in the harvest when you book a Pleasure House Oysters’ Chef’s Table Tour. Outfitted with waders, you and your dinner companions will venture into the Lynnhaven River where a table comprised of a crab pot and a slab of wood await.

The Chef’s Table Tour is a three- to four-hour experience that includes a boat ride to the farm and hands-on farming opportunities. You’re welcome to bring a bottle of Virginia wine to complete your uniquely Virginia experience.


Winter hoop houses enable year-long growing for Harvest Table Restaurant.

Winter hoop houses extend the growing season for Harvest Table Restaurant.

In the mountains of southwest Virginia sits Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview. Spurred by Steven Hopp and his family’s one-year experiment to eat only whatever was in season locally, Harvest Table exists to bring the same to you. Their four-acre garden is just the beginning of their effort, as producers are painstakingly chosen based on their sustainability practices. At Harvest Table, everything is scratch-made (including the crackers and tortillas), and nothing is deep fried.

An exclusive experience is yours for the booking. On September 27, Chefs Phillip Newton and Bradley Griffin are offering an evening dinner with live music on the restaurant’s farm. The proceeds benefit Washington County’s 4-H program, a very worthy cause to further endeavors such as theirs. Purchase Tickets

Want an even deeper experience? Connect with Samantha Eubanks, farm manager, and she will set an appointment to give you a tour complete with food!


Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe

Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe

When you walk into Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe in Aldie, you know exactly where the food came from because those sources are proudly announced on the chalkboard. Some of what you’ll find includes pork products from Olli Salumeria in Mechanichsville (one of Oprah’s Favorite Things in 2013),  cheeses from Mountain View Farm in Fairfield, jams from The Essential Table in Winchester, krauts from Farmstead Ferments in Charlottesville, and produce from Valencia’s in Warsaw (as well as the restaurant’s backyard garden).

Want a few chickens for your own farm-fresh eggs? Last spring Brassicas offered Red Sex Links (aka Red Star, Isa Brown, and others), which are known to be excellent brown egg-layers and a great beginner bird for those new to the game.

Based on the complete dedication of sourcing local, seasonal foods, Brassicas operates from about early May to mid-December.


L'Auberge Provencale. Image by Jumping Rocks Pictures.

L’Auberge Provencale. Image by Jumping Rocks Pictures.

As with any good farm-to-table establishment, La Table Provençale at L’Auberge Provençale in Boyce offers a daily menu that highlights whatever is fresh and seasonal at the moment. Their extensive gardens and orchard complement the products of 17 regional farms, including cheese from Caromont Farms in Esmont, apple cider from Rinker’s Orchard in Stephens City, and a variety of meats from Ayrshire Farm in Upperville.

Keep an eye on things at La Table. They’ve been known to offer Farm to Field Wine Dinners, a very special soiree that is actually hosted in the field.


Roanoke’s Local Roots has been honored as one of the 100 Best Restaurants for Foodies in America 2015 by OpenTable diners. Owner Diane Elliot says, “we’re all about real here,” so what you see on her menu is indeed, very real and very now.

The focus at Local Roots is on S.O.L.E. – Sustainable, Organic, Local, Ethical – sourcing of ingredients, which Elliot and her staff are able to do thanks to the network of local farmers. “We know where everything we serve comes from, who grew it and how.” For example, Everona Dairy in Rapidan provides a portion of the cheese product while Mountain Run Farm in Sedalia brings beef and pork to the table.

Watch for special “Meet the Farmers” dinner events where producers are on hand to discuss their practices, products, and to enjoy a meal with you.


Chef Cathal Armstrong in the kitchen of his Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria., Virginia Tourism Corporation Photo must be credited:

Chef Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve.
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A three-time James Beard Foundation nominee, Chef Cathal Armstrong runs his kitchen at Restaurant Eve in Alexandria with “gracious service, supreme ingredients and resolute focus,” which leads to “the best hand-fed, farm-raised, organically grown bounty Virginia and the surrounding countryside have to offer.”

Chef Armstrong’s seven course tasting menu is a three- to four-hour affair meant for true food devotees, and his green sausage (pork and mustard greens) was the food runner-up for Garden & Gun‘s 2014 Made in the South Awards. Ask your sommelier for a Todd Thrasher cocktail suggestion. Perhaps an “I Am Virginia,” which is Wasmund’s single-malt whisky, Madeira, local figs, and a garnish of dried Virginia ham; a great fall warmer.

Without a doubt, an evening dining experience at Restaurant Eve will be one of your most memorable. Enjoy it with someone special.




Rappahannock River Oyster Co. is one of Virginia’s leading oyster farms. The team behind RRO are also the driving force behind a few restaurants.

For an eat-where-they-grow opportunity, head to Merroir in Topping. Located on the banks of the Rappahannock River, the oysters are growing just yards away. In Richmond, Rappahannock was named 2014’s Best New Restaurant by Esquire Magazine. It’s there that those homegrown oysters are offered alongside entrées like Glen Allen-based Harmony Hill Farm chicken and Hanover Tomato soup.


Zynodoa. Photography by Sera Petras Photography.

Zynodoa. Photography by Sera Petras Photography.

Conveniently located off of Interstate 81 in Staunton, Zynodoa primarily sources its produce and meat from Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia farmers. In addition to the nearly 50 Virginia purveyors contributing to the food and drink menus at Zynodoa, the Goode family has their own 50-acre farm for egg production, vegetables, and fruits.

If you’re interested in seeing one of the farms from which Zynodoa sources its meat, try Polyface in Swoope. Self-guided and “lunatic” tours are available.





Find more delicious farm-to-table dining options at

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]]> 1 Pleasure House Oysters, Chef’s Table Tour Winter hoop houses enable year-long growing for Harvest Table Restaurant. Brassicas Farm Fresh Market & Cafe L’Auberge Provencale. Image by Jumping Rocks Pictures. Chef Cathal Armstron Chef Cathal Armstrong in the kitchen of his Restaurant Eve in Old Town Alexandria., Virginia Tourism Corporation Photo must be credited: Merroir Zynodoa. Photography by Sera Petras Photography.
Rail Trails for Fall Fun Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:23:41 +0000 ]]>

From the rough and tumble on the mountains to the paved or sandy shores, there’s no end to the scenic views and adventures Virginia has to offer.

For a chance to really enjoy Virginia in the fall season, make sure to check out some of the favorite trails in the state. Bikers and hikers can’t seem to get enough of all that Virginia has to offer. It really is like no other state in the nation. Take a trip along the James River or follow history all the way up to the Nation’s capital. There’s no stopping the excitement this fall.



Dick & Willie Passage Trail

Dick & Willie Passage Trail

Running for 4.5 beautiful miles through Martinsville and Henry County is the Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail. Beginning at Virginia Avenue, the trail can be accessed at the beginning, Liberty St, Doyle St, or Fisher St. Meandering through a scenic wonderland and part of Virginia history, this trail is a favorite not only of bikers and hikers, but of history fanatics as well. Learn about its significance with the signs along the trail or take a break from the world through the trees and wildlife surrounding the former Danville and Western Railroad. This paved trail is also perfect for walking, running, and rollerblading.


  • Pigs R Us / Checkered Pig – 4.5 stars – Liberty Street, Martinsville – 0.7 miles from trail
    “Great BBQ, Great Portions” –selmonr
    Easily described as out of this world! Virginia barbeque at its finest with returning customers from off the trail and locals alike. A great place to stop in off the trail and taste some hardy meals.
  • Hugo’s – 4.5 stars – East Church Street, Martinsville – 0.9 miles from trail
    “The best bar and grill in town!!” – Betsy B.
    This local favorite restaurant is a great place close to the trial with many different options all sure to please all the friends. Check in with the locals and try out the bar or some of the best wings around.


  • Hampton Inn – 4.5 stars – Hampton Drive, Martinsville – 1.9 miles from trail
    “Family Friendly Hotel” –Debra S.
    At the Hampton Inn in Martinsville you’re treated as a friend and will find great rooms really close to the trial. It’s a great place to stop in for a night and relax.
  • Comfort Inn Martinsville – 4 stars – Virginia Ave, Martinsville – 1.9 miles from trail
    “Nice hotel and good service”
    This comfort Inn provides just the comfort you need after a long day on the trail. Take a break with new friends and be met with a wonderful breakfast in the morning.



Accessible from Percival’s Island Natural Area is found the James River Heritage Trail, a paved hiking and biking trail. As a formerly abandoned railroad bed, this trail is where the beauty and history of the state come together. The trail follows Lynchburg’s Blackwater Creek Trail and crosses onto Percival’s Isle. Later crossing the James River and entering Amherst County, the trail continues along the river for a beautiful scenic walk or bike ride along the river. With multiple easy access points along the trail, these 9.5 miles is known as one of the favorite urban trails in Virginia.


  • Isabella’s Italian Trattoria – 4.5 stars – Boonsboro Rd, Lynchburg – 5.3 miles from trail
    “This place deserves its #1 spot” –Susan D.
    With award deserving staff and dishes, Isabella’s is a great spot for a beautifully prepared meal after a beautiful day walking through Virginia. Take a break and enjoy a tasty meal.
  • Mister Goodies – 5 stars – Timberlake Rd, Lynchburg – 14.2 miles from trail
    “They deserve more than five stars!!!” –Luke S.
    This great little place is full of all the sweets and treats you could dream of. A nice spot with affordable snacks. Stop in this local favorite for a tasty dessert you can’t miss while you’re here.


  • Kirkley Hotel – 4 stars – Candlers Mountain Rd, Lynchburg – 5 miles from trail
    “Reasonably priced hotel with luxury touches” –trvlwannab
    This is a comfortable stop at a great price for the rest you need after a long trip along the Heritage Trail. Stop by for a pleasant staff and even better night’s sleep.
  • Amherst Inn – 4 stars – Richmond Highway, Amherst – 18 miles from trail
    “You will NOT be disappointed.” –LH R
    This is a convenient stop while passing through Amherst. Guests call this a nice surprise in a quiet place. Stay for a night and relax.



New River Trail State Park

New River Trail State Park

A premier rail-trail of the nation is found in Southern Virginia as the New River Trail State Park. This National Recreation Trail runs through Grayson, Carroll, Wythe, and Pulaski counties and follows the New River for nearly 39 miles. Find the old red caboose at the Galax trailhead and follow Chestnut Creek for a while. Rugged paths meet carved trails perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and biking. Boating is even invited along the trail side. With different options of ways to walk the trail, look for railroading highlights, tunnels, trestle bridges, and the historic Shot Tower.


  • Key Ingredients Restaurant – 4.5 stars – Fort Chiswell Mansion – 6.2 miles from trail
    “A delicious surprise” –Jane B.
    This stop is the great place to incorporate the history of Virginia in with your visit. With a beautiful view only made better with the great dishes, this is the stop to make.
  • Judy’s Family Diner – 4 stars – East Lee Hwy – 6.7 miles from trail
    “Tasty and hot home cooked meal” –kdar52
    Looking for a quick and comfortable stop much better than any fast food? We’ve found it. This is a great place to stop a little off the trail that provides the hot, home cooking you need after the trail.


  • Comfort Inn – 4.5 stars – exit 80 off I81 – 2.6 miles from trail
    “A really nice hotel” –vlayne
    Family and pet friendly, this Comfort Inn is ideal for a rest near the New River State Park. Stop in for a night or two and explore more of the beauty this Virginia Park and town has to offer.
  • Hampton Inn – 4 stars – Fort Chiswell Road, Max Meadows – 6.3 miles from trail
    “Nice Find” –Admin77
    One of the best places to stay near the park is the Hampton that is recommended by visitors and locals alike. When you need a rest stop, this is the place to find a pillow and great eats nearby.



Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park

One of the most popular trails in the state is the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park where you can find a passage from Virginia’s rural past to the life of the nation’s capital. With roots in the railroad that dates back to the Civil War, this is the perfect escape with no way to get lost as it is excellently marked and a past time of many bikers and hikers. This trail passes through the urban side of the state and later incorporates other trails that break off. Don’t miss out on the many historic and beautiful towns found along the trail way. With many options to take a break and start back up again it is the trail with everything.


  • Blue Ridge Grill – 4.5 stars – Brambleton, Ashburn – 6.8 miles from park
    “Good local food.” –Evelyn Z.
    With management that treats you like family and great new dishes to try, this local eatery is a must stop while in the area. Blue Ridge Grill is full of salads, ribs, oysters, and more to fill and please.
  • Sweetwater Tavern – 4.5 stars – Waterview Plz, Sterling – 4.7 miles from park
    “Excellent!” –hineconsult
    This stop is a beloved place of travelers to stop in a grab a bite of everything because it’s just that good. From tasty meals to the beautiful Park nearby, there’s no missing this stop.


  • Holiday Inn Express – 4.5 stars – Elden St, Herndon – 5 miles from park
    “Visiting DC great place to stay” –Phil A.
    This is the Holiday Inn you know, love, and trust. What makes it better is how much there is to do around here. A great location with great people.
  • Lansdowne Resort – 4 stars – Woodridge Parkway, Leesburg – 9.4 miles from park
    “Beautiful resort” –Karastar
    In need of a vacation after your long and beautiful walk? Lansdown offers the best relaxation surrounded by more of the beautiful scenic Virginia.


VIRGINIA CAPITAL TRAIL – Richmond to Williamsburg

Virginia Capital Bike Trail: Shiplock Park

Virginia Capital Bike Trail: Shiplock Park

The Virginia Capital Trail is a favorite for locals and people traveling from all over the country. We invite you to travel back in time and then back to modern day. This trail passes through the first settlement in Jamestown, the Capital in Colonial Williamsburg, and Virginia’s modern government in Richmond. With many different entrance points, break the trail down into short lengths for a trip with the family to learn about the homes of Presidents. Or challenge yourself with the full trail and take in the refreshing Canal Walk near the James River. With many opportunities to start and take a break, this trail is the best way to take in all the many sides of Virginia.


  • The Boathouse – 3.5 stars – E Old Main St, Richmond – 1 mile from trail
    “I LOVE the location of this restaurant.” Katie B.
    A great view of the James River is met with the beautiful Richmond skyline. Here you’ll find great seafood and enough room to bring everyone from the trail.
  • Cul’s Courthouse Grill – 4 stars – Courthouse Rd, Charles City – 0.5 miles from trail
    “The hospitality we experienced here was second to none!” Shonna S.
    You can’t get any closer to the trail than this. Found right across the street from parking for an access point on the trail, here you’ll find a hearty dish and friendly staff.


  • Crowne Plaza Richmond Downtown – 3.5 stars – E Canal St – 1.4 miles from trail
    “Can’t wait to go back and make this my home away from home in RIC!” Alexis S.
    Crowne Plaza is here to provide you with the best night sleep after a long day on the trail. Known for its customer service and up-scale lodging, you’ll feel just like a gold medalist!
  • Chickahominy Riverfront Park – 5 stars – John Tyler Hwy – 1 mile from trail
    “I use this place as a starting point for the Capital to Capital bike trail.” George J.
    This great little park is perfect to stretch and relax. It also offers an area to camp out. So if you just can’t stand leaving the great outdoors, this is the place to stay directly off the trail.


VIRGINIA CREEPER TRAIL – Abingdon to Whitetop

Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon, VA

Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon, VA

The Virginia Creeper Trail is 34.3 miles packed full of the beauty and serenity Virginia has tucked away. Named after the steam engine that used to run here, this trail dates back to 1986 when the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy decided this was a trail that must be shared. Access to the trail can be found at 11 different points shared by bikers and hikers alike. Another this trail finds itself on the favorite list is the levelness of the trails. No worrying about making it over that next hill, this is the relaxing stroll or ride you’ve been looking for. Great for family or friend filled trips along ponds and through groves.


  • Creeper Trail Café – 3.5 stars – Chestnut Mountain Rd, Damascus – 0.1 miles from trail
    “If you’re coming down…I suggest you stop here and get some food to relax and replenish.” Bryson M.
    Can’t miss out on the Creeper Trail Café! With reasonable prices and the best kind of location, all your needs are met right here.
  • Mojoe’s Trailside Coffeehouse – 4 stars – Douglas Drive, Damascus – 5 miles from trail
    “This is a great little place to hit up, especially right before you hit the creeper trail!” Alex K.
    Looking for a little pick-me-up for the rest of your ride? Here at Mojoe’s is where you’ll find great coffee, fruit smoothies, and more. Remember to take a peek at the local art around while you’re resting.


  • Laurel Creek RV Park – 5 stars – Orchard Hill Rd, Damascus – 0.1 miles from trail
    “This park is exactly what I was looking for.” L.D.
    Another excuse to stay on the trail is easy to find right here. Check out Laurel Creek RV Park where you’ll find picnic tables and level ground perfect for an overnight stay.


TOBACCO HERITAGE TRAIL – Five Southern Virginia Counties

Tobacco Heritage Trail

Tobacco Heritage Trail

The history of our beautiful state is found in the history of it on the Tobacco Heritage Trail. Here you’ll find miles of forests, tobacco farms, and small towns. This trail runs through the counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Mecklenburg, and even Lunenburg. With nearly 174 miles of trail and many different points of entry, you’ll make a new favorite past time out of Virginia’s trails. There’s no better way to learn about history than being in the scenic beauty of it. This trail uses abandoned rail beds, roadways, and bridges to create an impressive new look at the rural, historic, and forever stunning aspects of Virginia.


  • Bistro 1888 – 4 stars – Main St, South Boston – 0.4 miles from trail
    “The seafood dishes were absolutely fresh, impeccably prepared, and quite delicious.” Chris M.
    A wonderfully crafted menu awaits the guests of Bistro 1888. Come on in and check out specials and dishes that locals and visitors alike just can’t seem to get enough of.
  • Molasses Grill – 4.5 stars – S Main St, Halifax – 5.5 miles from trail
    “Very impressive, definitely a fan, and will definitely come back.” Shuk C.
    This fine dining restaurant is the perfect blend of flavor and full plates to help you relax after a long day on the trail. With meals cooked to perfection you’ll find yourself on the trail again just to come back by.


  • Best Western Plus – 4 stars – Thompson Rd, South Hill – 1.7 miles from trail
    “Comfortable and convenient.” Audrey S.
    This Best Western is packed full of welcoming people, comfortable rooms, and a great view. This is the place to be after a long day out on the trail. Come in and take a break.

About the Author: Kemry Johnakin is an English Major at Brigham Young University-Idaho, hopes to write the next great American novel, and is greatly unsettled by the lack of oxford commas used in government paperwork.

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]]> 2 Dick & Willie Passage Trail New River Trail State Park Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park Virginia Capital Bike Trail: Shiplock Park Virginia Creeper Trail in Abingdon, VA Tobacco Heritage Trail
Five-Star B&Bs for Fall Romance in the Mountains Thu, 17 Sep 2015 18:00:52 +0000 ]]>

Fall is one of Virginia’s most romantic seasons. Crisp air makes you reach for the warmth of another, while explosions of red, gold, and orange foliage set the stage for a memorable time away together. Make the most of it by staying somewhere that’s warm, comfortable, and showcases the best of the season, both in flavor and in views. Consider these five-star* romantic bed and breakfasts for your fall getaway.

This is part one of a series.



A collection of six private guest houses add to the romantic attraction of The Inn at Vaucluse Spring. One hundred rolling acres will put on a fanciful fall show. Enjoy it with a cup of locally roasted Black Dog Coffee. Breakfast may include homemade breads and pastries along with locally-sourced fruits and a a farm-fresh egg entrée.

Millhouse Studio overlooking Vaucluse Spring at Inn at Vaucluse Spring

Millhouse Studio overlooking Vaucluse Spring at Inn at Vaucluse Spring



This beautiful home in Lexington’s historic district is surrounded by mature hardwoods that are simply stunning during autumn. The breakfast at 502 South Main features eggs from Broadview Ranch, cheeses from Mountain View Farm, and coffee from Lexington Coffee Roasters. Local fruits and veggies are incorporated as well, and your mouth will water for the breads and pastries. They’re handcrafted by the innkeeper, Mary Stuart, a trained pastry chef.

Russ and Mary Stuart Harlow, 502 South Main. Photo by Tony Giammarino.

Russ and Mary Stuart Harlow, 502 South Main. Photo by Tony Giammarino.



Four-post beds, clawfoot tubs, a gracious old home, and a private garden cottage. That’s some of what you’ll find when you stay at Trinkle Mansion, a grand dame on Main Street in Wytheville. The amenities are fine, but the atmosphere is decidedly low-key for your comfort. The food is homemade with love (don’t skip Patti’s cinnamon rolls!) and the area shines best when dressed in fall colors.

Patti and Bernie Pizinger, Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast

Patti and Bernie Pizinger, Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast.



Hailed among the Top 10 Best B&Bs in the United States by TripAdvisor, Piney Hill sits on a hilltop with commanding views of the area. Shenandoah National Park is just a few-minute drive away. A hearty farmhouse breakfast greets you in the morning, or you can dine light with yogurt or fruit. Ask about the cottages!

The view from Piney Hill Bed & Breakfast and Cottages

The view from Piney Hill Bed & Breakfast and Cottages



Whether you choose the main inn, a cottage, or a cabin, it’s all about the mountain views at Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast. Flavors of the season are incorporated into your breakfast, so you can expect an offering of Heidi’s pumpkin pancakes and banana nut muffins to start your day.

Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast

Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast



You’re in for a treat at The Inn on Campbell. It blends into downtown so well that you may walk past it believing it’s a storefront! Come on in to enjoy the urban elegance, soaring ceilings, and luxury that awaits, then take in the mountain scenery that surrounds Roanoke.

The Inn on Campbell

The Inn on Campbell



The Blue Ridge Mountains are fully on display with panoramic views from Mountain Song Inn. While you’re sure to love that, it’s the overall hospitality that has landed this gem in the TripAdvisor Hall of Fame, an award given to properties rated five stars for five consecutive years.

The view from Mountain Song Inn

The view from Mountain Song Inn



More than 3,000 acres are at your disposal when you choose Fort Lewis Lodge. Extensive hiking and mountain biking trails show off abundant wildlife and the incredible scenery of the Alleghany Mountains. You’ll be quite comfortable here, and you’ll really enjoy Chef’s menu for breakfast and lunch, both included with your stay.

Hiking at Fort Lewis Lodge

Hiking at Fort Lewis Lodge



Private porches and a pond teeming with wildlife are key attractions at Black’s Fort Inn, plus the activities of downtown are just minutes away. Scratch-made breakfast will get you well on your way for whatever the day may hold.



A beautifully photogenic Queen Anne Victorian, The Oaks, is an acclaimed reprieve and one that should be considered for your romantic fall getaway. It’s a AAA four-diamond award winner for 20 consecutive years and features a three-course breakfast with a fresh, in-season fruit course (peaches through October, we hear).

Julia Pierce room at The Oaks Victorian Inn

Julia Pierce room at The Oaks Victorian Inn



The rooms at The Inn at Old Virginia are well-appointed, spacious with private en suite bath, and feature a soothing color palette for your relaxation. Two suites are within the main house while eight more are found in the renovated barn, featuring accent timbers, wainscoting, and whimsical barn doors.

Inn at Old Virginia

Inn at Old Virginia



The great outdoors of southwest Virginia are just outside your door when you choose to stay at The Collins House Inn. Mount Rogers and Hungry Mother State Park are close to this AAA three-diamond award winner, as are historic downtown Marion dining, shopping, and entertainment.



Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Rock Castle Creek running in front of it, Mountain Rose Inn has long been considered a romantic destination. Just eight miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway, views, wine, and 100 acres of land are yours for the exploring.

Mountain Rose Inn

Mountain Rose Inn



Within walking distance of downtown Harrisonburg is the Stonewall Jackson Inn, an 1885 Queen Anne-style mansion with ten guest suites. There are many architectural delights to seek out and appreciate in this home, and a delicious breakfast to enjoy as well. The innkeepers all it “a breakfast to remember,” and we believe you surely will.



The 18th century log house at Laurel Point offers sweeping views from atop Jack Mountain in “Virginia’s Little Switzerland,” Highland County. A full country breakfast awaits you each morning, and the room choices are far from cookie-cutter. The Mountain View delivers sweeping views while the Large and Small Log rooms both offer fireplaces and can be booked together as a family suite.

View from Laurel Point Retreat

Imagine this view from Laurel Point Retreat in autumn.



The New River courses below Nesselrod and the on-site gardens are a treasure in any season. Five themed suites are comfortable and inviting with heated towel bars, robes, Frette Italian linens, and antiques. Try something new and book the Oriental Lily Room. It features a private entrance and Japanese garden, sunken waterfall soaking tub, and loft sleeping area.


This is part one of a series. Please see for many more options.

*As rated by TripAdvisor users.

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]]> 4 Millhouse Studio overlooking Vaucluse Spring at Inn at Vaucluse Spring Russ and Mary Stuart Harlow, 502 South Main. Photo by Tony Giammarino. Patti and Bernie Pizinger, Trinkle Mansion Bed & Breakfast x The view from Piney Hill Bed & Breakfast and Cottages Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast The Inn on Campbell The view from Mountain Song Inn Hiking at Fort Lewis Lodge Julia Pierce room at The Oaks Victorian Inn Inn at Old Virginia Mountain Rose Inn View from Laurel Point Retreat
Big Stone Gap: The Place, The Novel, The Movie Fri, 11 Sep 2015 21:02:22 +0000 ]]>

Big Stone Gap is a place, first and foremost. It’s a sleepy little coal town in southwest Virginia. It’s also a book and now a major motion picture.

Big Stone Gap

Adriana Trigiani was born and raised in Big Stone Gap. She’s also the author of the book. Of crafting her novel into a film, then completing the circle to actually shoot it in her hometown, Trigiani said, “Filming the movie in my hometown during the fall brought up so many memories, the colors, the football games, the laughs, my brothers and sisters, my parents and friends, the great times- It conjured up so many happy memories. It was the perfect backdrop for the movie, and I feel that those good feelings made it on to the screen. The Wilson family, Patrick’s family, are from Big Stone Gap, his brother Paul also stars in the movie, so it was a homecoming for them too- the whole movie in fact, was a homecoming- and you can feel it.”




Ashley Judd stars as Ave Maria Mulligan, the self-proclaimed spinster of Big Stone Gap. Of her experiencing filming she said, “[T]he acting … was so glorious, just really fun, and it brought me back to that unfiltered joy of the creative process … [W]e had Tony winners, two Oscar winners, just an extraordinarily packed cast, and that’s what I would like to continue to do, is just really get into that stream of what a beautiful ride the acting can be.”

Patrick Wilson plays coal miner Jack MacChesney, but in addition, Wilson’s family is actually deeply rooted in Big Stone Gap. “Big Stone Gap will remain as one of the most personally successful and emotionally rewarding films of my career. Adri knew the only way to make this film true to its heart was to shoot it in Big Stone. Their support made it possible, and reflects exactly what Adri has been writing about for years: that the people of Big Stone are full of love, laughter and southern soul.”




In a part Trigiani specifically wrote for her, Whoopi Goldberg emerges as a sharp-witted, truth-spitting Fleeta Mullins. “Working on Big Stone Gap was a dream come true for so many reasons. I had a great time meeting the folks of BSG, an American mining town that, like so many towns in the USA, is not given the respect it should be given. I met teachers, former miners, and had some of the best Mexican food ever! None of it would have happened if not for Adri, and the town and the people of BSG.”

Jenna Elfman brings her comedic talent to life in character Iva Lou Wade, the bookmobile librarian. Elfman raved, “I loved my time in Big Stone Gap for three specific reasons: 1) The people of Big Stone Gap! So kind, enthusiastic and friendly. It was a refreshing change from living in Hollywood. 2) The movie. I loved my character, how she was written, the clothes I got to wear and working alongside my super-talented fellow actors. 3) Adriana Trigiani. I have never met a more charismatic, open, humorous, talented, vivacious and confident woman in my life. She is my new lifelong friend.”


Fleeta and Pearl. Photo by Antony Platt.

WHOOPI GOLDBERG as Fleeta and ERIKA COLEMAN as Pearl. Photo by Antony Platt.

Watch for John Benjamin Hickey. You’ll recognize him as the high school band director, Theodore Tipton. “Working on the film version of Big Stone Gap in the very town the movie is named after has been one of the great joys of my career. Everything about it—the great 70s clothes I got to wear (newfound appreciation for bell bottoms and polyester); the daily soup special at the Dari Delite; to the wonderful, wise and warm citizens of the area; to, most important, the author of this entire experience, our writer/director Adriana Trigiani—has been Big Stone fun every minute I was there.”

When you see Big Stone Gap, keep an eye peeled for these fine actors as well:

  • Anthony LaPaglia as Spec Broadwater
  • Jane Krakowski as Sweet Sue Tinsley
  • Judith Ivey as Nan MacChesney
  • Jasmine Guy as Leah Grimes
  • Chris Sarandon as Mario Barbari

Big Stone Gap opens in theaters October 9, 2015.

Join the town (and a number of the stars!) in a grand celebration on October 10.

© Casey for Virginia's Travel Blog, 2015. | Permalink | 8 comments |
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]]> 8 Big Stone Gap BIG STONE GAP Fleeta and Pearl. Photo by Antony Platt.