Virginia's Travel Blog Travel Ideas and Stories Fri, 15 Apr 2016 20:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1's Travel Blog 15 Virginia Music Festivals in 2016 that Rock Fri, 15 Apr 2016 19:59:08 +0000 ]]>

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Whether considering the history of country music, the evolution of blues, or current musical influences like the internationally renowned Dave Matthews Band, Virginia has contributed to changing the American music scene in a big way. Fill the year with live music and entertainment, discovering dozens of upcoming Virginia artists and sounds that may quickly turn into your new favorite bands.


LAVA Music Festival – Suffolk

May 27-28

This independently and locally owned music festival is only in its second year, but it is already becoming one of the most popular music events in Virginia. The festival showcases 14 bands on 2 stages, and with no overlapping sets, you don’t have to miss out on a single band. Bands like Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Minus the Bear, The Front Bottoms, Jr. Jr., Blitzen Trapper, Catch Foxing, and Natalie Prass are in the 2016 lineup. Don’t want to battle for stage space with the rest of the crowds? Put on headphones and enjoy the music in the Silent Disco area. Festivalgoers can also find entertainment in the Arcade & Interactive outdoor games area. Food will be available from some of the best food trucks in the Hampton Roads area, as well as beverages brought by Virginia craft beer, wine, and cider vendors. A two-day pass with a camping permit for LAVA Music Festival is only $75. Get Tickets


Graves Mountain Festival of Music—Syria

June 2-4

Graves mountain music festival

Banjo pickers, fiddler players, and vocal harmonies as bluegrass fans from around the country and even the world come together for the Graves Mountain Festival of Music in Syria, Virginia. The impressive lineup features over 15 bluegrass bands, including Balsam range, Lonesome River Band, and Flatt Lonesome. The gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains are the perfect backdrop for this bluegrass festival, and you quickly began to see how the Mountain Music genre became influential in the Commonwealth. Camping on the festival grounds is free (with the purchase of a 3-day festival pass) on a first come, first serve basis, so make sure you get there early and make backup plans for accommodations. Get Tickets



June 10-11

Galax’s Houstonfest is a music festival in honor of a local talented musician, Houston Caldwell, who passed away in 2010. With 45 regional and national bands that range in style from Bluegrass to Old Time playing on only three stages, Houstonfest packs a lot of entertainment into a weekend. Artisans from Galax and the surrounding area demonstrate and sell their crafts, while food vendors serve up local dishes. The festival raises money for scholarships that go to musical training and education for youths, and Camp Houston, the youth section of the festival, features music and activities for kids. Overnight festival attendees can stay overnight in the camping area of Felt Park. Get Tickets


Mountains of Music Homecoming—Abingdon

June 10-18

Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is a 9 day, region-wide celebration of the Southwest Virginia communities and their incredible contributions to music. Tradition, culture, and nation are all emphasized in this music festival. There are over 200 cultural experiences, 70 music concerts and jam sessions during these nine days, and Bluegrass, Folk, Gospel, and Old Time music are the main genres. Communal meals, wine tastings, film festivals, instrument-making demonstrations, dancing, guided hikes, river floats, cave hikes, and storytelling are just a few of the activities you will get to experience in the more than 20 communities from in and around Abingdon that participate in this festival. Get Tickets


Hampton Jazz Festival—Hampton

June 24-26

For 49 years, the Hampton Jazz Festivals has been attracting the nation’s biggest fans and performers for live blues, soul, and jazz music. The festival began as a one-time celebration of Hampton University’s centennial, but the audience loved it so much that they pushed to make it an annual event. Today, the Jazz Festival draws tens of thousands of people from all over the world. This year’s show is predicted to be the biggest yet, featuring Gladys Knight, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Charlie Wilson. Get Tickets


Red Wing Roots Festival—Mt. Solon

July 8-10

Redwing Roots Music Festival

Bring the whole family to the Red Wing Roots Festival in Mt. Solon this summer for dozens of regional and national bands on multiple stages that everyone can enjoy and plenty of unique events and activities just for the kids. Live music fills the air each day from 11am until after midnight, and fishing, bike riding, and hiking in the scenic Shenandoah Valley are all conveniently available for those visitors looking to stay active. If adventure happens to be your middle name, explore the nearby Grand Caverns to see awe-inspiring natural formations and set up your tent on the festival grounds for some much-needed camp time in the great outdoors. This year’s lineup includes Dawes, Shovels & Rope, the Lone Bellow, and the Steel Wheels. Get Tickets


Shenandoah Valley Music Festival—Orkney Springs

July 22-23, 29-30; August 12-13; September 3-4

The Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs is the longest running outdoor music festival in the mid-Atlantic and is held at the Shrinemont Conference Center. With such a prestigious and solid history, the festival annually draws some big names in music. This year’s acts include big names like LeAnn Rimes and Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, as well as the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra and other local and national bands. While the festival draws some huge headliners, it doesn’t equate to a huge price tag for visitors. Even the front row seats at the biggest concerts run only $59 per person, making this an affordable festival option. Plus, parking is free and guests are encouraged to pack and bring their own picnics. Get Tickets



July 27-31


Off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Floydfest is five days of music, arts, and Blue Ridge culture all combined into one festival in Southwest Virginia. The festival takes place on 80 acres of mountain plateau land and features a “Global Village” area of progressive workshops and demonstrations, including a healing arts area, over 100 artisans, and a wide array of food options from sushi to barbecue. If this isn’t enough to convince you to come to Floydfest, there is also a huge emphasis on outdoor sports. Festival-goers can get their workouts in with disc golf, kayaking, hiking, and even mountain biking. For families, there is a children’s area with stage performances geared toward kids, puppetry, and youth workshops to teach crafts, playground equipment. There are even babysitting services available if you are in need of a little help. Get Tickets


Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention—Galax

August 8-13

Since Galax is the international Capital of Old time Mountain Music, it makes sense that the world’s largest and oldest fiddlers’ convention, the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, is held here. The annual show has been bringing musicians and fans from around the world together to perform and hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains since 1935. If you are searching for an affordable, family friendly festival in Virginia, add the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention to your itinerary. Tickets Sold at the Door


Richmond Jazz Festival—Richmond

August 11-14

Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont

Experience the roots of American musical culture at the 6th annual Richmond Jazz Festival, a four day event that brings smooth, soulful sounds to the city of Richmond. Held at Maymont Park, over 10,000 music lovers gather to hear 20 local and national jazz bands perform on two stages. Local food and beverage vendors provide delicious snacks and drinks to attendees, and if you are interested in trying a variety of Virginia’s wines, there are tastings available each day. Although smooth jazz is the focus, genres like R&B and Neo-Soul add diversity and flavor to this annual festival. Stay Tuned for Announcements and Tickets


Staunton Music Festival—Staunton

August 12-21

Sixty of the world’s most acclaimed vocal, instrumental, and chorus musicians will perform at the Staunton Music Festival. Come listen to classics like Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and dozens of other composers, along with modern composers like Zach Wadsworth, Eric Guinivan, and German composer Stefan Heucke. There are free concerts held at noon each day, but the evening concerts require tickets that range from $8 to $28, making this an affordable way to get a little extra culture this summer.  Get Tickets


Lockn’ Music Festival—Arrington

August 25-28

Lockn' Music Festival

Lockn’ Music Festival is about a lot more than great live music. This festival combines stellar music, camping, outdoor lifestyle activities, regional food, beverages, and artisans, creating one of the most popular festivals in Virginia. Oak Ridge Farm, the Lockn’ venue, sits at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Go hiking on one of the many trails that wind through the mountains, bring your mountain bike and ride along bike-friendly roads, or get in some relaxing yoga with group classes available daily. Lockn’ is a festival geared towards a laidback, music-loving crowd, and past headliners include Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, Phil Lesh, and Willie Nelson. This year’s lineup has big names like Phish, My Morning Jacket, and Ween. Get Tickets


American Music Festival—Virginia Beach

September 2-4

The American Music Festival blends rock, jazz, country, blues, R&B, and many more genres into three days of live music and beach-front fun. This Labor Day weekend festival is the largest outdoor music event on the East Coast, with talent ranging from local bands to national acts playing on the four main concert stages along with side stages off the boardwalk for local performances. Although the 2016 lineup has not yet been announced, some of the big names in last year’s festival were Sheryl Crow, Rebelution, the Steve Miller Band, and Reel Big Fish. Stay Tuned for Band Announcements & Tickets


Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion—Bristol

September 16-18

Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion. Photo by Justin Wiseman.

The Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is all about creativity and passion in music and life. Downtown Bristol offers up 22 stages of live music, both indoor and outdoor, for the celebration of Bristol’s heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music. No bands have been announced yet, but the lineup announcement is scheduled for April 21 and the sooner you purchase tickets, the less they cost. Last year had big name artists like Dr. Dog, Rusted Root, Steve Earl & the Dukes, and the Whiskey Gentry. Camping passes will go on sale in June and range from primitive tent camping to RV sites with access to an exclusive shower and bathroom area. Get Tickets


Richmond Folk Festival—Richmond

October 7-9

The Richmond Folk Festival celebrates the roots, richness, and variety in American culture through music, dancing, traditional crafts, and food. Featuring more than 30 performing groups on 7 different stages, the festival keeps you jamming to eclectic music nonstop during this October weekend. Virginia Arts are encouraged, and there are booths set up for children’s activities and an area for Virginia Folklife demonstrations within the festival grounds, as well as a folk arts marketplace where you can purchase goods made locally. Regional and ethnic foods, craft beers, and wines are available for purchase, but the festival itself is free.


These are just a few of the many live music performances that are happening around Virginia this year. Check out our new music site to learn about Virginia artists and stream their hits on our live radio. Virginia is the perfect destination for music lovers, uniting the heritage of the past with sensational festivals, live concerts, and music events of the future.

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Virginia Record Stores for All Your Music Listening Needs Thu, 14 Apr 2016 18:38:14 +0000 ]]>

April 16 marks Record Store Day, a celebration of the culture of independent record stores across the country. Many Virginia record stores are participating with sales, in store performances and all kinds of fun, no matter which record store you plan to celebrate with.

Need a spot to find the records you’re collecting? Virginia has a number of independently owned record stores across the state.

Plan 9 Records in Richmond
Plan 9 Records in Richmond

Plan 9 Records – Richmond and Charlottesville
Plan 9 is an independent record store with more than 30 years in the music retailing business. With locations in Richmond and Charlottesville, Plan 9 carries a wide selection of new and used CDs as well as a large selection of new and used vinyl in most musical genres, from bluegrass to jazz to hip hop. Both venues also host live in-store music performances throughout the year.

Steady Sounds – Richmond
An all vinyl record store located in downtown Richmond, Steady Sounds offers new and used vinyl of any genre.

Deep Groove Records – Richmond
It may be a small record store, but the quality and variety of records is very large. This shop, located in Richmond’s Fan District, has new and hidden gems for every music lover.

Vinyl Conflict – Richmond
Located in Richmond’s Oregon Hill neighborhood, Vinyl Conflict specializes in new and used punk, hardcore, and metal records and merchandise.

BK Music – Richmond
BK has been in business since 2001 and is now located on Richmond’s Southside. The shop offers new and used vinyl and CDs from every genre.

Ear Food – Winchester
A very traditional vinyl shop that’s been in business for more than 30 years.

Chester Records – Winchester
Chester Records is a small vinyl only record shop located inside Hopscotch Coffee. Listeners can easily get their caffeine fix while finding great records.

Black Sawn Books and Music – Staunton
Black Swan offers used and select records as well as used and rare books.

Wonder Records – Harrisonburg
Wonder Records is a blend of modern art and vintage nostalgia that offers a mix of classic and contemporary vinyl across all genres and a massive collection of instruments, amps and gear that any musician might need. This, coupled with its selection of local art and gear for skateboarders make Wonder a thriving and eclectic record store as well as a unique piece of downtown Harrisonburg.

Melody Supreme in Charlottesville (Photo provided by Melody Supreme)

Melody Supreme – Charlottesville
Located on the Downtown Mall, Melody Supreme is dedicated to vinyl. You’ll find new and used vinyl selections of every genre here.

Sidetracks – Charlottesville
Sidetracks, located just past the railroad tracks in downtown Charlottesville, offers new and used CDs, vinyl, and more with new releases weekly. The store can also special and pre-order almost anything you’re looking for.

Record and Tape Exchange – Fairfax
Record & Tape Exchange sells, buys, and trade new and used vinyl, CDs, and more, with the store’s inventory being updated daily.

Mobius Records – Fairfax
Mobius is your neighborhood new and used vinyl record shop located on Main Street in downtown Fairfax near many neighborhood attractions.

Dig! Records and Vintage – Leesburg
Dig opened July 2015 and specializes in used LPs and 45s and a small selection of new titles. All genres are available, but it mainly holds finds from the late 50s to the 80s. There’s also a small selection of vintage and rock/concert shirts.

CD Cellar in Falls Church (Photo by Kevin Moss)

CD Cellar – Falls Church
In business since 1992, CD Cellar has staff-picked music blaring from the speakers, rows and rows and rows of CDs, vinyl records, and more. This store is located just up the street from one of the best live music venues in the region, The State Theatre.

Skinnie’s Records – Norfolk
Located in Norfolk’s historic Ghent neighborhood, Skinnie’s specializes in punk and hard rock music from vinyl to CDs as well as accessories including clothing, leather goods, patches, pins and posters.

Vinyl Daze Records – Virginia Beach
Vinyl Daze Records sells new and used vinyl and accessories. The store also offers a listening station, where customers can listen to the quality of the used records before purchase.

Birdland Music – Virginia Beach
Named after jazz musician Charlie “The Bird” Parker, Birdland Music has been a family owned business for more than 40 years. The store offers new and used vinyl, CDs and more music accessories. The staff here have been said to make every customer feel like family.

Sound Idea Records – Onancock
Sound Idea Records is an independent record store located in historic Onancock on the Delmarva Peninsula. The store specializes in vinyl records, both new and secondhand.

The Bazaar in Roanoke (Photo provided by The Bazaar)

The Bazaar – Roanoke
The Bazaar sells new and used LPs and CDs and features music by local and regional artists as well. The store also hosts live in-store music performances throughout the year.

Speakertree Records – Lynchburg
In business for almost a decade, Speakertree offers the Hill City’s best selection in new and previously owned vinyl. The store prides itself on offering what the local community is looking for and will special order whatever a customer may be looking for.


Are we missing your favorite record shop? Let us know in the comments below. For more Virginia record stores participating in Record Store Day, visit

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Tea is Served: Proper Tea Rooms & Shops in Virginia Thu, 14 Apr 2016 15:29:31 +0000 ]]>


Living in a state with such a prestigious history can make you wish for a little refined culture in your daily life. And what’s more cultured than a proper afternoon tea? These 12 tea rooms around Virginia serve up tea service in different fashions and styles from around the world, teaching guests about the tradition and customs that are deeply rooted in the simple act of drinking a cup of tea.


Pink Bicycle Tea Room—Occoquan

The Pink Bicycle Tea Room serves a Classic English tea with scones and a variety of smaller snacks like English Cucumber sandwiches. This shop serves teas from all over the world, including exotic blends like the Pearls of the Nile South African Tea, the Himalaya Green Tea, and the Irish Breakfast Tea. They even have a tea service called “The Princess Tea” for kids under 10 that substitutes lemonade or apple juice, giving younger children the chance to experience a proper tea. The Pink Bicycle Tea Room can seat groups up to 30 people with reservations.


Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar—Charlottesville

twisted branch tea bazaar


This international tea room and restaurant is in the downtown mall in Charlottesville. Once you step inside, the Bohemian vibe is an unexpected yet inviting surprise. They serve over 50 varieties of teas and herbal infusions in a colorful, eclectic environment that includes hookahs and throw pillows. The restaurant serves an impressive array of vegan and vegetarian-friendly dishes. While the shop is very new-age and laid back, the teas are sourced from several countries and are of a world-class caliber.


Teaism Old Town—Alexandria

Teaism in old-town Alexandria is an Asian-inspired restaurant and teahouse. Come for the afternoon tea service that includes sweets & savory items, tea, and an optional glass of Prosecco. They offer traditional caffeinated teas and decaf teas that are made with a mix of fruits, herbs, and flowers. Teaism focuses on providing clean, wholesome loose-leaf teas as well as a less formal setting compared to traditional Asian and English tea houses.


The Tea Cart—Berryville

tea cart

If you’re searching for a decadent menu to go with your traditional tea service, check out the Tea Cart in Berryville. They have an extensive selection of curated teas from around the world, but the unique experience you get at the Tea Cart blends the traditional British Afternoon Tea with the charm and atmosphere of an old-fashioned Southern tea service. They serve heavier British fare like Shepherd’s Pie and an assortment of finger sandwiches if you are in the mood for a light snack. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the hand-blended loose teas, providing an educational element to the experience of afternoon tea.


Victorian Tea Station—Hampton

Victorian Tea Station has a full afternoon tea available by reservation, and they even put together tea parties to-go, allowing customers to put together an impressive classic tea package that can be served at home. Held in a classic Victorian manor, the Victorian Tea Station gives you the impression that you have stepped back in time into a proper socialite event. The finger sandwiches also have a southern feel, with traditional choices like pimento cheese and chicken salad.


Historic Rosemont Manor—Berryville

rosemont tea room

The Historic Rosemont Manor’s tea service pulls out all the stops to create a luxury experience. Huge while columns line the front porch of this old-fashioned antebellum home, looking like a home straight out of Gone with the Wind. Only 40 minutes from Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, this 60-acre property also houses an elegant Bed & Breakfast. You’ll find true Southern Hospitality in the same elegant surroundings as Presidents Roosevelt, Kennedy, and Eisenhower did in the past. While Rosemont Manor only has tea services every few months publicly, they allow for private tea parties for groups of ten or more. If your tea party includes more than 20 people, you get a free night’s stay during the week at the B&B. The tea services have a rotating menu, but include finger sandwiches, scones, elegant desserts, and teas to go with each course.


Crest Hill Antiques and Tea Room—The Plains


Photo courtesy of Crest Hill Antiques & Tea Room, The Plains, VA

Crest Hill Antiques and Tea Room is only an hour from D.C., but in the heart of Virginia’s “Horse Country”, it feels like worlds away. In addition to beautiful 19th and 20th century European and American antiques, you’ll find a cozy tea room with lovely fare and beautiful delicate porcelain China. The team room has a warm and welcoming feel, shying away from the typical pretentious environment. They brew over 35 top-quality tea varieties, such as blends of black, herbal, green, white, and rooibos. For food, Crest Hill offers tea sandwiches, fruit plates, and salads, along with scones, cakes, and pastries for dessert. Reservations are recommended at this popular tea room.


Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa—Virginia Beach

green leaf spa and tea room

The Green Leaf and Pebble Tea Spa is a soothing mix of an upscale spa and a classic tea room. Wonderful spa experiences are complemented by the healthy organic tea options. In addition to serving teas, they use the tea leaves, oils, and extracts in the products used during the spa treatments, resulting in a luxurious eco-friendly spa treatment that leaves you feeling tranquil and relaxed. There are over 90 varieties of teas available for guests, and the staff can suggest teas to combat allergies, help with a cold, relieve fatigue, or just help you relax.


White Oak Tea Tavern—Troutville

This Pub style tea room in Troutville takes you back in time, as it operates in the historic Cloyd House, built in 1783. Read about the fascinating history of the cabin while you sit by the fire and read the paper, all while enjoying a pot of fine tea. The White Oak Tea Tavern is more homey and casual than a traditional English tea room, allowing visitors to focus more on the quality of the tea rather than proper manners and etiquette.


Earth & Tea Café—Harrisonburg

A soothing tea shop in downtown Harrisonburg, Earth & Tea Café offers a Middle-Eastern style tea service and lunch menu. The café is filled with eclectic décor and often features live music. They have over 40 exotic tea varieties, using white, green, and black teas, as well as blends, herbal and oolong teas. They serve up cuisine that is both ethnic and organic, with dishes like pita wraps, tapas, and other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.


And Opening Soon:

Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room—Staunton

anne hathaway tea room

Instead of focusing on the upscale version of English high tea, the Anne Hathaway Cottage Tea Room serves tea that you would expect to find at an old-fashioned farm in the English Countryside. Walk into a replica of Anne Hathaway’s original English cottage (not the actress, but Shakespeare’s wife) to an array of teas straight from England, along with many other ingredients brought from across the Atlantic. The cheddar cheese is actually sourced from the village of Cheddar in the United Kingdom, the Devonshire cream was truly made in Devon, England… If it is possible to source it from the UK, this tea room makes it happen. Their light lunches including scones served with clotted cream and jam, or heavier fare such as the Ploughman’s Lunch, a traditional English cold meal consisting of cheese, pickles, and breads. The thatched cottage is far from intimidating, and is an ideal choice for visitors looking to enjoy a traditional tea without any of the typical posh attitude associated with tea service. This tea room opens early May 2016.


Wholesale Tea Shops:

These places are less about the experience and more about providing tastings and wholesale teas for purchase. They are great options for people who want to serve friends and family at their own house but still need the supplies for a world-class tea experience.


Dominion Tea—Purcellville

Sample nearly 100 loose-leaf teas at Dominion Tea. You can take a bag of your favorite teas to go or sit down for a pot of tea with a few friends. They offer a rotating tea flight so you can try a few different types of teas, enjoying unusual flavors like Bai Hao Silver Needles or Dragon Well. They offer suggestions and information about the teas so you can learn about where the teas originated and the properties of each style.


Quintin’s Tea Emporium—Virginia Beach

The focus at Quintin’s Tea is sampling and selling the finest loose leaf teas available at reasonable prices. There are more than 150 teas in the Virginia Beach store, and they recently opened a second smaller store in Norfolk. Both locations have a small, cozy room where one can enjoy a pot or cup of tea by themselves or with friends. They have all the items one would need to have a proper tea at home, like Demerara sugar, Clotted Cream, and Lemon Curd. Visitors can also purchase biscuits, wafers, and shortbread to eat with their tea.


Discover Teas—Williamsburg

Discover Teas in Williamsburg avoids using sweeteners, preservatives, or artificial flavors in their teas, resulting in high-quality, fresh tea blends. The staff at Discover Teas are passionate about sharing their knowledge of fine teas with customers, both online and in-store. They sell hand-picked loose teas from around the world, emphasizing ethical and fair trade practices. You can take your tea to-go, or the location has a Blend-Your-Own-Tea Bar where you can try an old favorite, something new, or even make your own custom blend.


Carytown Teas—Richmond

The owner of Carytown Teas, Patricia Guillouard Adams, was born and raised in Paris, France, and after moving to Richmond in 2005, she noticed a need for a proper tea shop in the area. Her goal was to open a shop that would be similar to the ones she grew up with in France. Her shop partners with small family farms and tea estates worldwide to offer customers over 150 fair trade, organic teas along with many custom medicinal tea blends.


These tea rooms are well-versed in the art of brewing fine teas, whether you are looking for a refined experience with Earl Grey, in the mood for a calming cup of Chamomile, or need an energy boost in the form of a high-caffeine black tea. Have you experienced any great tea rooms in Virginia? Let us know if we have missed any local favorite tea spots around the commonwealth!



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15 Virginia Bakeries to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Mon, 11 Apr 2016 18:09:44 +0000 ]]>


You can always pick up dessert at a grocery store or indulge after dinner at a nearby restaurant, but once you find a truly talented bakery, nothing can compare to the treats they create. Store-bought sweets will no longer do, and you’ll find yourself daydreaming about the mouthwatering creations they serve up. We asked you, our fans, to tell us what bakeries and desserts stood out in your area for our annual Culinary Challenge, and the results didn’t disappoint. Here are the fifteen sweet spots around Virginia that are crowd-pleasing customer favorites.


Argyle Cupcakes and Frozen Yogurt—North Chesterfield

argyle cupcake

The cupcakes at Argyle Cupcakes are made with frozen yogurt as a healthier alternative. They also have probiotic cultures that provide a number of health benefits, making it a better alternative to traditional cupcakes. They bake cupcakes in over 30 flavors, including Crème Brulee, Twinkie, Cherry Cheesecake, and Strawberry Lemonade, and the shop introduces new limited-time flavors on a weekly basis.


Smithfield Gourmet Café & Bakery—Smithfield

Smithfield bakery

Smithfield Bakery makes everything from scratch, using local produce from their garden garden when in season and also from local farmers. They have been in business for 24 years, always working to make the best product possible. As one of the few bakeries left that still believes in handcrafting every product, their baking style is best described as old-world. A few customer favorites include the Danish rings, sticky buns, custard bread pudding, and many different flavors of cheesecakes. This Smithfield dessert destination prides themselves on being community and detail oriented.


Glimmer Cake Shop—Norfolk

glimmer bakery

Glimmer Cake Shop is bringing the American Bakery back to America! They craft incredible cakes from the most simple to the custom-made three-dimensional with the best flavors so that you can have your cake and eat it, too. The menu also features gourmet confections that America is known for, such as dessert bars, cookies, brownies and cupcakes. They hand select all of their local ingredients, such as apples, strawberries, melons, pumpkins and more, to create their own extracts and flavors. They love Virginia so much that some of the treats are tweaked to suit a specific Virginia fashion, such as the 7-layer bar that uses local pecans and toffee instead of butterscotch and walnuts.


Bonnie Blue Bakery—Winchester

bonnie blue

Award-winning Bonnie Blue Southern Market & Bakery in Winchester celebrates traditional Virginia style baked goods, featuring local apples, berries and peaches from the Shenandoah Valley.  The Washington Post called the bakery “Road trip Inspiration” and their signature cheddar bacon biscuits “amazing”. Led by Chef Brian Pellatt, Bonnie Blue is a regional favorite for Virginia foodies and is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.



Eileen’s Bakery—Fredericksburg

eileens bakery

The owner of Eileen’s Bakery, Trista Couser, moved from Vail, Colorado to Fredericksburg in 2005, and shortly after, she opened Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe. Since then she has not had a chance to look back. Quality, consistency, and a courteous staff are key ingredients in what makes Eileen’s a local favorite place to relax and enjoy delicious desserts and other bakery items. Come to Eileen’s to surround your senses with the smell of freshly baked bread, delicate pastries and scones made with fresh cream. All of the pastries and breads are made fresh by hand daily at this Fredericksburg bakery. They pride themselves in using an array of fresh local ingredients baked into every enjoyable bite.


Sub Rosa Bakery—Richmond

sub rosa

Sub Rosa is a wood fired bakery and stone-milling operation located in the historic neighborhood of Church Hill in Richmond. They specialize in the timeless craft of bread and pastry baking, using high-quality organic, regional, and heirloom grains. Everything they bake comes from the on-site wood-fired masonry oven. They use a large selection of organic Virginia fruits, meats, & vegetables in their recipes, resulting in rich pastries and breads.


Carrot Tree Kitchens—Williamsburg

carrot tree kitchens

A Yorktown tradition offering breakfast, lunch, bakery and deli items, Carrot Tree Kitchens prepares all their dishes from scratch, including fresh-baked goods, wraps, deli sides, salads, soups, and desserts. Owner Debi Helseth is one of the few bakery owners for whom food remains a love, not a business. As you would expect from the bakery name, the carrot cake is what they are famous for.


Mrs. Rowe’s Bakery—Staunton

mrs rowes

At Mrs. Rowe’s Family Restaurant & Bakery, they know what quality Southern cookingl, smells and tastes like. Providing Staunton area residents with delectable home-style cooked meals for more than 65 years has allowed them to perfect both the recipes and the service. When folks in Northern Virginia crave decadent pies, as well as many tasty entrée options like fried chicken, they head straight to Mrs. Rowe’s.


Buttermilk Bake Shop—Petersburg

buttermilk bake shop

The pastry shelves at Buttermilk are stocked with donuts, scones, muffins, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cheesecake, pies, and cupcakes, all of which are homemade. In addition to their daily pastry selection, they lovingly bake hand-kneaded batches of their own brioche bread each day. They also bake wedding and special occasion cakes to order, crafting inspired confections for every unique and valued customer.



The Family Bakery—Gate City

family bakery

This small family owned and operated bakery is located in a beautifully restored century old building in historic downtown Gate City. They pride themselves in serving traditional home baked sweets as well as delicious seasonal specialties highlighting regional flavors. Their selection changes daily, infusing local and seasonal flavors into their delectable desserts.


Proper Pie Company—Richmond

proper pie co.

Upon making a stop at Proper Pie, famed Food Network Chef Alton Brown tried a few slices of their exceptional pies and had this to say: “Their savory pies are out-of-this-world, but their pumpkin pie is the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had in my life. That’s right, best ever. Not only is the consistency creamy and not too sweet, but they top it with a salted caramel. If you’re in the area, you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not trying a slice of this pie. I will also go on to say you should probably try the coconut cream pie too. Yes. Get both.” He pretty much said it all.


Blackbird Bakery—Bristol

blackbird bakery

When you visit Blackbird Bakery, it is as though you stepped back to a time when neighbors and shop owners knew each other on a first name basis. One of the first things that stands out is the pleasant, inviting atmosphere that awaits you when you step through the door.

Although they are well-known for their doughnuts, you’ll find delicious pastries and desserts ranging from rich baklava and chocolate croissants to cupcakes, brownies, and pies. Baked in-house daily, these desserts will make you realize at the first bite that the products are handmade using only the freshest, finest ingredients.


Red Truck Bakery—Marshall

Red Truck Bakery

Red Truck Bakery is a beloved rural bakery born in a farmhouse in Virginia’s Piedmont hunt country 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. Three classically-trained bakers work together to create great foods in the heart of Old Town Warrenton. The bakeries namesake is a cherry red 1954 Ford F-100 truck that came directly from designer Tommy Hilfiger’s Connecticut farm. The bakery is receiving praise from The New York Times, Esquire Magazine, Southern Living, & Washingtonian for their baked goods. Even the President, Barack Obama, requested seconds when he recently tried a pie from Red Truck Bakery.


Hill High Bakery—Berryville

hill high bakery

The pies cranked out by this little bakery have traveled around the globe as gifts for diplomats, but it’s the local fans that return from miles away who give this humble operation its real notoriety.  Along with their regular menu items, seasonal specialties such as the Strawberry-Rhubarb Custard Pie and tomato pies appear on the menu once they come into season in the area. The smiling faces reveal that both the service and the desserts make this bakery stand out as a favorite spot for the locals.




Roanoke’s first true pie shop, Piety features dozens of single-portion servings nicknamed “pie-babies” that are offered daily, plus a huge selection of pastries, warm specialty donuts, cronuts, and savory pies. Family size pies can also be special ordered. At Piety, they are pros at making every type of pie, from deep dish to chiffons, meringues, and inventive tartlets.


Stop by one of these Virginia bakeries today to indulge in one of the mouthwatering desserts that they have in store for you. Where do you like to go to satisfy your craving for a sweet treat in Virginia? Share your favorite bakeries in the comments below!


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Seconds, Please: 15 More Brunch Spots to Satisfy Your Palate Fri, 08 Apr 2016 12:45:44 +0000 ]]>

Breakfast might be considered by many to be the most important meal of the day, but on the weekends, brunch reigns supreme. Serving up hearty dishes that feature key breakfast ingredients like eggs and fresh fruit, great brunch spots are a key factor in getting out of bed at a reasonable hour for a lot of people. So which ones really stand out?

After our first article about brunch, we got a lot of suggestions for Virginia’s favorite brunch restaurants. Turns out, those commenters were absolutely right! There are probably dozens of fantastic places to eat for a weekend brunch in Virginia, but these fifteen places stick out to both locals and visitors alike with unique, delicious dishes and a cozy character that turns a meal into a culinary adventure.




Gillie’s has a warm and inviting atmosphere with a sort of entrancing charm that will make you feel at home. This brunch spot is a favorite for locals and can be a little busy, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. The chef at Gillie’s uses local ingredients to make an array of vegetarian dishes, but they do have some dishes that can have seafood optionally added. The restaurant makes their own fresh-squeezed juices in interesting blends, like the Carrot Apple Ginger juice. Great options for the main course are the Banana Walnut French Toast, the Bruschetta, and the Smoked Salmon Hash.



A Richmond landmark since 1935, Helen’s has stayed a community staple in an ever-changing city landscape. The interior will remind you of a sophisticated and romantic speakeasy, and the food is consistently fantastic without being pretentious. If you are looking for a taste of both local history and excellent brunch in Richmond, Helen’s is the place to go. Brunch is served both Saturday and Sunday, and some tasty options include the Virginia Benedict (made with Virginia BBQ Pork Belly!), the Low Country Shrimp & Grits, and the Chicken Biscuit Sandwich, but you really can’t go wrong at Helen’s.


Demolition Coffee—Petersburg

Demolition Coffee


The renovated industrial-style building, featuring lots of exposed brick and wood beams, gives Demolition Coffee in Petersburg an old-fashioned feel that makes you wonder if you just stepped back into the 1940s. Although they serve Richmond’s Lamplighter beans instead of roasting their own, the drinks are inventive, rich, and prepared with exceptional attention to detail. Another plus? The restaurant is dog-friendly if you are willing to sit on the patio outside. For food, get the Made-to-Order waffles (you can add a variety of toppings like strawberries, bananas, chocolate chips, apples, blueberries, and whipped cream), the Lox N’ Loaded, or try an old favorite with the Biscuits and Gravy.


Thornton River Grille—Sperryville

An elegant but casual atmosphere welcomes guests at the Thornton River Grille in Sperryville. Hand-planed wood panels line the walls, but you would feel at home whether you were wearing hiking boots or Sunday’s best. The restaurant serves up an American-style brunch, with classics like Eggs Benedict and Buttermilk Pancakes, and diners rave about the Breakfast Burrito. The meals are simple but well crafted, with brilliant presentation and hearty portions that ensure you don’t go home hungry.


The Palisades—Eggleston


Located in a beautiful countryside setting near the New River, The Palisades converted an old general store into a modern restaurant. Your experience begins even before you arrive at the restaurant with a drive to Eggleston through Giles County. The scenic area is surrounded by mountains and has a serene beauty that is not often found in today’s world. Inside the restaurant, aside from incredible food, you’ll experience a wonderfully simple ambiance created with the original tin ceilings, brick walls, and red oak floors.


The Inn & Garden Café—Onancock

This B&B serves up an award-winning brunch every Sunday. Start with a Bloody Mary, Bellini, or Mimosa. Can’t decide what to order? Try the Truffle Egg Martini, Egg Nog French Toast, or the Café Benedict with White Wine Hollandaise Sauce. These top notch meals will put you on the brunch version of Cloud 9. The one preparing these outstanding meals, Chef Victoria, has been working as a chef around the country for over 30 years and has even served Lady Bird Johnson.


Claire’s at the Depot—Warrenton


Claire’s at the Depot inhabits a former train station that has been renovated into a contemporary style restaurant. Grab a seat on the garden patio if the weather permits, but the atmosphere indoors provides a gorgeous backdrop even on the rainiest days. You’ll start your meal with a basket of complimentary Cranberry-Orange Scones, and from there the menu is your oyster (possibly even literally, the Cornmeal Crusted Chesapeake Oysters are fantastic). The Shrimp and Gouda Grits are an unexpected spin on a classic, and the She Crab Soup tastes like it came straight out of an authentic kitchen in Low Country.



Food.Bar.Food’s clean décor and mixed wood furniture evokes a feeling of both Swedish design and old-fashioned cabin interiors. The slogan at Food.Bar.Food is Global Comfort Food, and the menu more than lives up to this. Unique dishes like the Asian Chicken & Pancakes, Kaya Toast, and the Poutine Brunch Bowl takes you on a culinary tour around the world without ever leaving Virginia. And if you’re able, check out their Brunch Cocktails menu. They have seven spins on the Bloody Mary and unique cocktail drinks using ingredients like hibiscus syrup and lychee puree that create an unforgettable brunch experience.


Harvest Table Restaurant—Meadowview

When you think of the Harvest Table Restaurant in Meadowview, the first words that come to mind are fresh, local, and farm-to-table. This restaurant believes that their first priority is to invest in the well-being of their community, both literally through healthy meals and figuratively through their involvement with local movements. They have strong relationships with artisans, farmers, and suppliers in the region, and it definitely shows with the seasonal dishes they prepare. We suggest ordering the Biscuits & Gravy or the Crab Cake Benedict. For the vegetarians or veggie lovers, the Grilled Tea Marinated Tempeh will knock your socks off.




A brain-child of famous Virginia chef Sydney Meers, Stove is located in what is affectionately called “PoNo” by locals, Port Norfolk’s most historic area. While his food has been described as “Neo-Southern”, Meers’ dishes have been influenced by cuisine from all over the world; places like France, Germany, Sweden, Mississippi, Alabama….the list goes on and on. And forget about pre-packaged ingredients. Whenever possible, Meers utilizes ingredients sourced from local farmers and fishermen. He slow roasts his own pork belly and dry ages or cures many of his meats. While brunch only happens on the first Sunday of each month, it is well worth making reservations in advance. Consider trying the Border Springs Farm Lamb Meatloaf, the Deep South Shrimp and Smoochie Bear Ham Etouffee, or the Blueberry and Granny Smith Apple Pancakes. Don’t forget to top off the savory dishes with the house made D-Lish Sauce, which is also bottled so you can take some home if you fall in love with it (which you will).


Citrus—Virginia Beach

If you are a fan of Eggs Benedict of any type, Citrus should definitely be on your radar. This Virginia Beach staple serves up seven variations of this classic dish, such as the Beach Benedict, made with healthy ingredients like avocado, tomato, and spinach, the Country Chicken Benedict, and the Smoked Salmon Benedict. Try the Soft Shell Crab Benedict when in season. Even visitors on a diet can find plenty to order at Citrus. They give you the option to substitute egg whites and turkey bacon or sausage to skip the extra calories, and even have recipes that have been created with the help of a nutritional balance and fitness expert in the area.


Charley’s Waterfront Café—Farmville

Charley’s Waterfront Café is located in the historic warehouse district of Farmville and overlooks the Appomattox River. Instead of a menu-style brunch, they opt for a Buffet style that allows you to pick and choose from a bevy of impressive options. There are the basics, like scrambled eggs, bacon & sausage, and biscuits & gravy, but also several custom areas like the omelet bar and the Belgian waffle station where you can create a made-to-order brunch experience. Stop by on Sundays from 11am-2pm to sample their yummy brunch buffet.


Fossett’s Restaurant—Keswick


Located right inside the luxurious Keswick Hall and Golf Club, Fossett’s is an upscale brunch destination only 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville. As soon as you walk into the restaurant, you are greeted with an expansive view of the brand-new golf course, Full Cry, which was designed by famous golf course designer Pete Dye. The back wall is almost entirely glass, providing an uninterrupted look at one of the lushest golf courses in Virginia. But the scenery isn’t the only luxury touch at Fossett’s. Between the attentive service, the impeccable décor, and the inspired menu, every aspect of the brunch spot is meant to put you directly in the lap of luxury. The chef uses locally sourced, seasonal ingredients to keep the menu new and exciting. And a quick hint: don’t miss out on the bacon; the pieces are some of the thickest cut you can get without making a pork chop, and are smoked with Applewood and seasoned with a brown sugar glaze.


Rockafeller’s Restaurant—Virginia Beach

Rockafeller’s Restaurant uses locally sourced, high quality ingredients to go above and beyond in crafting delicious and interesting cuisine. A favorite spot for locals, the restaurant uses a selection of local vendors to get fish, oysters, crabs, vegetables, craft brews, and more. The Inlet Benedict, Shrimp and Grits, and Rock’s Monte Cristo are all excellent Brunch options at Rockafeller’s Restaurant. Fans of the restaurant also rave about the She-Crab Soup. To top it all off, your meal is complemented by the expansive ocean views seen from the restaurant’s position on the docks of Virginia Beach.





FoodE manages to balance informal and impressive, two descriptors that are typically at odds. When dining at this Fredericksburg brunch spot, try the Chicken & Waffle, which won the 2015 Culinary Challenge, the Bacon and Asparagus Frittata, or the Power Scramble. Chef Joy Crump highlights healthy ingredients, but manages to pull this off in her home-cooked Southern style cuisine (not an easy feat when traditional Southern food uses ingredients like real butter and full fat cream). The restaurant provides the informal feel with touches like the community table and the self-serve drink refill stations. Although it can be a hard balance to pull off, FoodE makes their blend of informal and fine dining seem effortless.


Any more brunch spots we should try out? Tell us where you like to spend your Saturday and Sunday mid-mornings!



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Things to Do Near the 4 Shenandoah National Park Entrances Thu, 07 Apr 2016 18:49:16 +0000 ]]>


Timer Hollow Overlook in Shenandoah National Park


Every National Park across America has 16 fee free days in 2016 (including the upcoming National Park Week in Virginia, April 16-24), making this year a great time to seek adventure and get back to nature. We may be biased, but we think Virginia’s parks are some of the most awe-inspiring in the entire country. One of our favorites? Shenandoah National Park. It is only a little over 100 miles long, but in that narrow strip of Virginia wilderness, you’ll discover abundant examples of Virginia wildlife, nature, and magnificent mountain views.

Shenandoah National Park has plenty of outdoor activities for visitors in the way of hiking trails, biking parts of Skyline Drive, and traversing the waterways that wind through the park, but there are many destinations right outside the park’s four entrances that add to the beauty and excitement of the area.

We asked Virginia Visitor Centers in the surrounding areas what they suggested for additional entertainment dining, and lodging options. Here are just a few of the hundreds of activities and destinations to keep your Shenandoah National Park trip packed with fun activities, whether you come for a day or a week. To find out which of the four Shenandoah National Park entrances along Skyline Drive is closest to you, use the map at the bottom to plan your trip.



The Skyline Drive Rockfish Gap entrance is located near the intersection of I-64 and U.S. 250. There are many towns and cities within a short drive of the entrance, including Crozet, Charlottesville, Waynesboro, Afton, and Staunton.


Eat At:


Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:

King Family Vineyards Polo

Polo match at King Family Vineyards




Stay At:

sugar hollow farm
The Inn at Sugar Hollow Farm




Moving North from the Rockfish Gap Entrance, the next entry point for the park is the Swift Run Gap Entrance at U.S. 33. This entrance is closest to places like Stanardsville, Elkton, Shenandoah, and Harrisonburg.


Eat At:

Pure Eats

Pure Eats



Wineries & Breweries:

Early Mountain Vineyards

Early Mountain Vineyards Patio



Things to Do:

Massanutten Resort
Massanutten Indoor/Outdoor Waterpark



Stay At:



Continuing North, you’ll get to the Thornton Gap at the intersection of Skyline Drive and U.S. 211. The entrance is close to towns like Luray, Washington, Sperryville, and New Market.


Eat At:





Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:


Luray Caverns



Stay At:



The furthest North entrance, the Front Royal Entrance intersects with U.S. 340 a few miles south of I-66. Only a little over an hour and a half from Washington, D.C. and the Northern Virginia Metro areas, the entrance is nearest to Front Royal, Linden, Winchester, and Middleburg.


Eat At:

Girasole’s Mussel dish, Cozze Gratinate O Marinara           


Wineries & Breweries:


Things to Do:

blue ridge shadows golf

Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club


Stay At:

inn at vaucluse spring

The Inn at Vaucluse Spring



If you plan to drive from end to end, it takes about 3 hours total to drive the entire length of the park on a clear day. In addition to hiking, you can fill the rest of your time in Shenandoah National Park with a few of these suggestions to ensure you get the most out of your getaway.


Got any more suggestions for things to do around the park entrances? Let us know and share any pictures through our social media channels using #FindYourPark and #LoveVA!





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18 Virginia Restaurants that Serve Up the Freshest Seafood & Oysters Mon, 04 Apr 2016 19:00:36 +0000 ]]>

Bordering the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean, Virginia has direct access to some of the most delicious seafood on the East Coast. For decades, Bay residents and volunteers have spent their time, money, and energy cleaning and preserving the waterway, and these efforts paid off by creating one of the richest oyster and seafood regions in the U.S.

Many Virginia restaurants have benefited from this growth in the seafood industry, and diners in turn get to take advantage of the mouthwatering results. For a fresh taste of the Bay (and many other Virginia waterways), dine at one of these 18 famous seafood spots around Virginia and vote for you pick in this week’s Virginia is for Lovers Culinary Challenge, Fresh Catch Seafood & Oysters.



Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar—Colonial Beach


At Denson’s Grocery and R&B Oyster Bar, they take great pride in doing something different when it comes to preparing Virginia oysters, clams, Rockfish, Blue Crab and the delicious, but less common, Sugar Toads and Croaker. They establish relationships with Northern Neck and Virginia Grown vendors that have an intense passion about their products. Fresh, never frozen, and wild caught seafood is what Denson’s believes in, and it is also what has made the restaurant on the Northern Neck stand out.  You will find Virginia seafood paired with local produce, when in season, as well as local wines and Virginia craft beers. The menu is exciting, as it changes daily depending upon what is fresh and available.


Island House Restaurant–Wachapreague

island house restaurant

Island House Restaurant is a no-nonsense seaside restaurant featuring all the bounty of fresh seafood, oysters and produce the Eastern Shore of Virginia has to offer.  From Sewansecott Oysters in Willis Wharf to Soft Crabs from H.M. Arnold in Bayford to fresh produce from Mattawoman Creek Farms in Cape Charles, The Island House embraces the roots of what Eastern Shore people have made a living and enjoyed doing for generations.  Their mantra is to be a fun, friendly restaurant that is as welcoming to fishermen in shorts and flip-flops as they are to a family in their Sunday best coming from church.


Smithfield Station—Smithfield

smithfield station

As the sun descends on the river, you can enjoy the romance of candlelight dining at Smithfield Station. Delicious aromas will usher you into our white cedar-paneled dining room, where every table offers a panoramic view of the river. Come by car or by boat for a uniquely enjoyable and especially memorable waterfront experience in Smithfield’s Historic District.

Public Fish & Oyster—Charlottesville

public fish and oyster

Public Fish & Oyster offers some of the best Virginia sourced seafood, meats and produce. They showcase many varieties of Virginia oysters such as Sewansecotts, Shooting Points, Big Island Pearls, Nadnuas and Watch House Points and serve them alongside North Americas other delicious oysters.  Additionally, they are big advocates of the Virginia Oyster Shell recycling program through the Rice Center at VCU and have contributed thousands of pounds of oyster shells to help rebuild oyster reefs in the bay.  Their team of hospitality and culinary professionals give guests a first-class experience from the second they enter the restaurant to the moment they leave.


Rappahannock Oyster Company—Richmond

Rappahannock Restaurant

Rappahannock is all about the farm-to-table approach to fine dining. As “farmers,” the owners of Rappahannock Oyster Company are in a unique position to bring together the world’s greatest food growers with one of the nation’s best chefs, Chef Dylan Fultineer of Blackbird and Hungry Cat fame. You’ll enjoy a menu that’s unmatched in its freshness and originality, as well as carefully selected craft beers & wines, signature cocktails, and an enormous raw bar focusing on their very own oyster farms.


The Seafare of Williamsburg—Williamsburg


Since 1976, the Seafare of Williamsburg has had one simple goal in mind: to create a restaurant that provided only the best food and service. That mindset has led to their success and popularity on the ever-changing restaurant scene of Williamsburg. Fresh seafood is their trademark, and the staff at the Seafare takes pride in checking each ingredient that comes through the door carefully before preparing the items for your dining pleasure. They have built a menu that is able to withstand the test of time and impresses even the most discerning of seafood fans.


Seafarer’s Restaurant and Seafood Market—Manquin


If you are looking for a casual spot for excellent seafood in the Richmond area, head to Seafarers, a small and quaint family restaurant where people come together over good food and friendly company. They specialize in creating and serving dishes made from the heart, providing locally sourced seafood from some of Virginia’s watermen. Some of these specialty fresh catch items include hand filleted Rockfish blackened and seared served atop in house made “secret sauce”, sweet and succulent Blue Crabs pulled from Virginia rivers which are freshly seasoned and steamed for dine in or carry out. They also serve flavorful and tasty Virginia Oysters served a variety of ways. Seafarers Restaurant is unique and has become widely known which makes it truly Virginia’s hidden gem and hot spot for fresh and home cooked local seafood.


Waypoint Seafood & Grill—Williamsburg


Waypoint Seafood and Grill Restaurant marks Williamsburg’s latest culinary destination from Chef Hans Schadler. The Waypoint menu is a celebration of Chesapeake ingredients and includes items grown at local farms and caught in regional waters. The pure flavors and rich ingredients presented in the seasonally changing entrees represent modern regional American cuisine with classical culinary roots.


Mahi Mah’s—Virginia Beach

Mahi mahs

For the past 22 years, Mahi Mah’s has been a popular hotspot for the locals, with an incredible view of the Atlantic Ocean, delicious culinary creations, and the largest oceanfront sushi bar in Virginia Beach. The restaurant is famous for their fresh fish, which is cooked to perfection, whether grilled, broiled, or wrapped with rice and served raw. This beachfront restaurant has it all…scenery, great seafood, and an impeccable reputation in the Virginia Beach community.


Ford’s Fish Shack—Ashburn

fords fish shack

The menu at Ford’s Fish Shack features home-made dishes, seasonal specials and 20 microbrew craft beers. Their mission is to bring community Fresh-Off-the-Hook Seafood and exemplary service to every visitor. Enjoy delicious New England-style seafood in a relaxed and casual environment at Ford’s Fish Shack. Come with a big appetite and try the Foot Long Lobster Roll!


Wilkerson’s Seafood Restaurant—Colonial Beach


Opened in 1946, Wilkerson’s is still a popular spot in the Colonial Beach area for some of the finest Virginia seafood. They have spent the past 70 years taking extreme pride in the dishes they create, and you can’t beat the fabulous view of the Potomac River seen from the restaurant. There is something for everyone on the menu at Wilkerson’s, and seafood lovers can’t help but be impressed by this locally-focused gem.


The Shanty—Cape Charles


The Shanty’s menu is full of fresh, locally caught seafood among a wide variety of ingredients sourced from the region to provide a fun and unique dining experience for customers. Grab a table inside the dining room, at the bar, or on the covered deck and enjoy one of their tasty dishes, inventive libations, live music, and even a little entertainment while you wait at the corn hole boards, all while sitting directly beside the water for a gorgeous Virginia sunset.


White Dog Bistro—Mathews

white dog bistro

Located in Mathews, The White Dog Bistro’s home is in an 1840’s Georgian Mason. This historic restaurant is on both the Virginia and National historic registries, and the property holds a fine dining restaurant, two bars, two dining rooms and a wedding event center. The White Dog Puppies, Clams Manchego, and Chesapeake Blue-Cat are a few of the locally-sourced seafood options on the White Dog Bistro dinner menu, which is reasonably priced and reliably appetizing.




On the Riverwalk Landing in Yorktown, Riverwalk Restaurant is only a short stroll from Yorktown’s historic Main Street, the battlefield sites, and beautiful Yorktown Beach. The menu highlights fresh seafood, steaks, and daily specials all year round. Overlooking the York River, Riverwalk Restaurant provides our customers with a breathtaking view while dining.


Graze on Main—Wytheville

Graze on Main

Offering a casual yet elegant dining environment, Graze on Main has a wide array of excellent seafood and beverage choices. The restaurant provides a southern twist on some classic dishes, like pimento cheese, fried green tomatoes, shrimp & grits. You’ll love their specialty cocktails, micro-brews, southern teas and savory wines.


Rockafeller’s Restaurant—Virginia Beach


No matter what you order at Rockafeller’s, you won’t be disappointed. Rockafeller’s serves dishes with only the highest quality ingredients– from their always fresh local seafood to the imported spices and virgin olive oil. Everything is made fresh daily in-house including their original recipe soups, delicious desserts, and even the salad dressings. Rockafeller’s Restaurant is one of Virginia Beach’s most popular seafood restaurants and features a magnificent view of Rudee Inlet.




Zynodoa’s commitment to southern cuisine and local ingredients runs deep. So does their sense of adventure and creativity. Taste Chef Zale’s newest fusion plate, the Rappahannock River Fried Oysters in Lettuce Wraps, with Anson Mills Hominy Salsa and a Chili Mustard Crema. The dish pairs traditional southern slow food staples (oysters and hominy) with the freshness of an Asian lettuce wrap and the spicy tang of chili mustard.


Waterwheel Restaurant—Warm Springs

waterwheel restaurant

The Inn at Gristmill Square showcases regional American farm-to-table cuisine in their on-site Waterwheel Restaurant. The menu changes with the seasons to guarantee the freshest most authentic flavors. Freshly prepared ingredients from local and regional growers fill the menu, offering guests an exceptional dining experience.  Make sure to visit the Wine Cellar which serves as the restaurant’s hands-on wine list.


These are only a small sample of spectacular seafood restaurants in the Commonwealth. Please note that the only restaurants that were considered in the Culinary Challenge were the ones nominated through the Virginia is for Lovers Facebook, Visit Virginia Twitter, and Travel Blog article published on February 5th.



Do you have any recommendations for other great seafood spots we need to try? Tell us where we should go to get fresh, locally sourced seafood in Virginia!

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12 Summer Festivals to Add to Your 2016 Calendar Wed, 30 Mar 2016 14:31:31 +0000 ]]>


Lockn’ Music Festival

Summer in Virginia is the time to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful weather. It also happens to be prime festival season. The endless sunny days invites visitors and residents alike to get outside and experience the best of Virginia. While we can’t possible do justice to the over 100 festivals happening around Virginia this summer, we can show you where to find more information about them.

Visit our Summer Festivals page to learn about what exciting events are happening in your area in the next few months.


Graves Mountain Festival of Music—Syria

June 2-4

The 24th annual Grave Mountain Festival of Music is devoted to the best of Virginia’s Bluegrass, Americana, and Roots music. Held at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the festival has over 15 bands that bring the southwest Virginia mountain sound to life, featuring banjos, fiddlers, and vocal harmonies. This year’s acts include Balsam Range, Flatt Lonesome, Willie Watson, Seldom Scene, the Malpass Brothers, and many more stellar country and bluegrass bands. Overnight camping is available, but pets are prohibited from the camping and festival grounds. Ticket prices start at $24 for a one-day pass to $85 for all three days until April 30th, when the three-day pass price rises to $105. Buy Tickets


Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival—Centreville

June 4-5

The Vintage Virginia Wine & Food Festival in Centreville brings together food, wine, and music from all over the Commonwealth. Try a few of your go-to wines or discover new favorites, with the option to buy bottles and cases to take home and enjoy all summer. There are more than 250 wines from over 50 wineries at this all-you-can-taste event. In addition to wine tastings, the Cooking Kitchen hosts hands-on cooking demonstrations with suggested wine pairings. Tickets range from $30 for a day’s general admission to $69 for one-day VIP tickets. Buy Tickets


Blackbeard Pirate Festival—Hampton

June 4-5

This summer festival recognizes Hampton’s maritime heritage and follows the exploits of the most notorious pirate to ever live, Blackbeard, formally known as Edward Teach. Watch live reenactments that portray the demise of Blackbeard and the history of pirate life during this seafaring period. The Blackbeard Pirate Festival features live entertainment, plenty of activities for the kids, demonstrations of sea battles, and a huge firework show. Best of all, the festival is free for visitors of all ages.


Red Wing Roots Music Festival—Mount Solon

July 8-10

red wing roots music festival

A family-friendly celebration of music, the Red Wing Roots Music Festival features dozens of national and regional bands, events just for the kids, bike rides in the Shenandoah Valley area, and access to hiking trails and fishing around the region. Explore the nearby Grand Caverns in your free time, and then set up camp each night at the on-site grounds, or consider booking a campsite at one of the several other options nearby. This musical event combines nature and live entertainment to create one of the most beautiful annual summer festivals in Virginia.



June 10-11

Established in 2011, HoustonFest pays tribute to Houston Caldwell, a young music lover that passed away in 2010. His musical legacy lives on at this annual festival filled with live entertainment from over 30 bands. In addition to bluegrass and music by youth bands, the festival highlights local foods, artisan goods, and even gives scholarships for musical training and education. Camp Houston, the youth section of the festival, features music and group activities for the kids. Visitors to HoustonFest can stay overnight at the campground area of Felt Park. Proceeds from the festival benefit both the Galax Volunteer Fire Department and local youth music education programs. Get Tickets


Mountains of Music Homecoming—Abingdon

June 10-18

This nine-day, region-wide musical celebration includes concerts in over 30 communities along the historic Crooked Road in Virginia. Plan the ultimate road trip to see over 200 artists and enjoy countless experiences that will teach you about the deep musical roots in our state. Traditional music genres like old time, bluegrass, and gospel music are heavily represented, and the festival is filled with other activities that speak to Virginia’s regional, culinary, and cultural diversity, including community meals, wine tastings, film festivals, historic tours, guided hikes, and storytelling. Several shows already have tickets available, but a full list of performers and ticket sales will be released soon.


Norfolk Harborfest—Norfolk

June 9-12


Held on the Downtown Norfolk Waterfront, Norfolk Harborfest attracts a fleet of visiting ships, from yachts to Navy vessels. Thousands of people gather along the coast to watch the impressive Parade of Sails, where the massive fleet of ships head down the river towards Town Point Park. The festival also puts on the largest waterfront firework show on the East Coast. Visitors can do more than just spectate during their visit; there is a build-a-boat contest, boat races, family activities and crafts, live entertainment, and plenty of Virginia food, wine, and craft beer. This is the longest-running free maritime festival, currently in its 40th year, and is free of charge.


Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival—Surry

July 16-17

The Pork, Peanut, and Pine Festival is at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, an area well-known for the three products for which the festival is named. Food vendors serve barbecue, sausage, ham biscuits, fried pork rinds, peanut brittle, peanut pie, and more mouthwatering dishes while live music fills the air. Kids will love the arts and crafts tents, rock climbing wall, inflatable slides, and the petting zoo that lets them take a hands-on approach with adorable farm animals. The festival costs $5 for general admission, but children 10 and under are free. Ticket price includes events, exhibits, parking, and tram rides. Stay tuned to the festival website for more information as the event gets closer.


Shenandoah Valley Music Festival—Orkney Springs

July 22-23, July 29-30, August 12-13, September 3-4

Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

Mid-Atlantic’s longest running outdoor music series, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival in Orkney Springs began in 1963. It is both affordable and family-friendly, located on the grounds of the Shrine Mont Camp and Conference Center. Bring your own snacks or a picnic and relax as you watch live music acts from the lawn. Past shows include notable bands such as Smash Mouth, Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, the Dixie Hummingbirds, Straight No Chaser, The Oak Ridge Boys, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Temptations, Travis Tritt, and Sam Bush. The lineup for 2016 has yet to be announced. Check back for updates and tickets closer to the festival.



July 27-31


FloydFest is five days of live music, arts, camping, local food, and workshops. More than 100 artisans and crafters come to teach their skills and sell locally made wares. Vendors sell and serve all sorts of food, ranging from sushi to hand-churned ice cream to Virginia barbecue, all washed down with Virginia beverages including wines and craft beers. Outdoor sports are promoted as well, and festival-goers can take a break from the music and merchants to get active, with mountain biking, disc golf, kayaking, and hiking all available to visitors.

Babysitting services and events specifically for kids like puppet shows and playground areas are also provided to ensure that both kid and adults enjoy the festival. This year’s musical guests include Gregg Allman, Keller Williams, Warren Haynes Ashes & Dust, and Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers. Get Tickets


Old Fiddler’s Convention—Galax

August 8-13

Musicians and visitors come together to hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains at the Old Fiddler’s Convention, the world’s longest running and largest gathering of professional and amateur fiddlers, currently in its 81st year as a festival. Professional fiddlers, banjo players, guitarists, bands, and other bluegrass musicians compete for cash prizes and the glory of being named a top musician at the festival. Stay tuned for ticket sales.


Richmond Jazz Festival—Richmond

August 10-13

Held at Maymont, the 7th annual Richmond Jazz Festival brings a dynamic, lively atmosphere to the Richmond area. Over 10,000 fans gather each year for appetizing cuisine, Virginia craft beers and wines, and some of the most famous names in Jazz, funk, and blues. In addition to the musical acts at Maymont, there are also preview events held at the Hippodrome Theater, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and Hardwood Park Craft Brewery the week before. This is the premiere cultural destination for music lovers. Tickets have not yet been released, but stay tuned on their website for updates.


Staunton Music Festival–Staunton

August 12-21

At the Staunton Music Festival, 60 of the world’s most acclaimed classical musicians perform at over 20 concerts over a nine day period in August. This is the 18th annual festival, and each day begins with a free concert at noon, followed by ticketed festivals in the evenings held at historic venues throughout Staunton. The festival kicks off with a “Midsummer Ball” that includes a dinner, dancing, Cabaret-style Theater, and a live concert. There are pre-concert talks where the expert musicians will talk about their experience with classical, special offers from downtown restaurants and hotels, and daily events that make this an amazing town-wide festival experience. Get Tickets


Lockn’ Music Festival—Arrington

August 25-28

Lockn' Music Festival

Formerly known as Interlocken, Lockn’ Music Festival at Oak Ridge Farm in Arrington is four days full of excellent music, stellar camping, outdoor activities, regional foods, beverages, and handcrafted goods. Bring your bikes or come prepared to hike, as this festival is at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For something a little more soothing, attend one of the free yoga classes offered by one of the local yoga studios. Lockn’ brings jam bands, country music, and classic rock acts together for one unforgettable show. Past bands include Tom Petty, Robert Plant, Willie Nelson, Phil Lesh, and Carlos Santana. Phish, My Morning Jacket, Lettuce, Ween, and Keller’s Grateful Grass are all playing at Lockn’ this year, with many more bands to be announced before the festival. Buy Tickets


Virginia’s Craft Brewers Festival—Roseland

August 27

Held at Devils Backbone Brewing Company, Virginia’s Craft Brewers Festival draws more than 60 breweries each year. The festival combines food trucks, beer, and entertainment, including live music and yard games, from around Virginia. Visitors looking to make it an overnight trip can book tent and RV camping available adjacent to the festival. Tickets sold out before the festival last year and interest has only grown, so make sure you purchase well ahead of time for this annual summer event. The new festival website is currently under construction but will be updated as soon as new information is available.


American Music Festival—Virginia Beach

September 2-4

The American Music Festival happens right on the sands of the Virginia Beach oceanfront, bringing varying music genres, including rock, jazz, blues, country, R&B, together for one festival over Labor Day Weekend. This is the largest outdoor musical event on the East Coast, with a mix of local, regional, and national acts appearing at four concert stages. While one is ticketed, the other three stages are free of charge. There are also additional small side stages that feature local artists. This year’s lineup has not yet been released, but previous acts include the Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, Kansas, Goo Goo Dolls, Hootie & the Blowfish, Zac Brown Band, Boyz II Men, ZZ Top, Sheryl Crow, and Stone Temple Pilots. Check back for ticket updates as the festival gets closer.


Whether you are into wine tasting, sampling brews made in the Commonwealth, or listening to live music with deep Virginia roots, these twelve summer festivals are just a sampling of the excellent events you should add to your post-Memorial Day calendar. Which summer festival are you most excited for this year?


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Seven Diamond-Worthy Culinary Experiences Wed, 30 Mar 2016 13:35:59 +0000 ]]>

Each year AAA reviews more than 30,000 restaurants. Just 0.2 percent make the AAA Five Diamond list and only 2.3 percent make the AAA Four Diamond List. Virginia is home to many restaurants that made this prestigious list. Upgrade your client, attendee or group culinary experience by adding one of these hotel and resort restaurants to your itinerary.

Inn at Little Washington Dining Room, Washington – Five Diamond

At the Inn at Little Washington, dining has been likened to a performance with the guest always playing the star role. The Inn’s dining rooms are pure fantasy – a wondrous cocoon of luxury. Chef Patrick O’Connell’s inspired American cuisine draws admirers from around the world and has been described by critics as “so good it makes you cry.” Choosing from the award winning 14,000 bottle wine cellar, the Sommelier plays matchmaker between the wine, your meal, and you. Maximum Capacity: 80.

Inn at Little Washington– Inn at Little Washington Dining Room –

Harriman’s, Middleburg – Four Diamond

Inspired and staying true to the essence of their location in the Virginia Piedmont, Harriman’s menu highlights fresh, seasonal ingredients, captivating farm to table elements with their very own Chef’s garden located just outside the restaurant. In a relaxed yet refined setting at the Salamander Resort & Spa, guests will enjoy delicious breakfasts and mouth-watering dinners, while overlooking sweeping views of the Virginia countryside, resort stables, and distant Bull Run Mountains range. Private catered events for up to 24 are available in their Cooking Studio. Maximum restaurant capacity: 90.

Fossett’s, Keswick – Four Diamond

Fossett’s is the signature restaurant at Keswick Hall and Golf Club providing guests with a uniquely Virginian dining experience. Known for its expansive views of the new Pete Dye-designed course, Full Cry, it is further defined by the locally sourced ingredients and freshness presented in each dish in its seasonal menus. Reflecting upon Southern roots and Virginia experiences, they utilize traditional cooking methods with a modern twist to create new flavors and complexities. Maximum restaurant capacity: 62.

Fossett's - Keswick Hall– Fossett’s, Keswick Hall –

Lemaire, Richmond – Four Diamond

Lemaire is a New American restaurant bringing a fresh, modern culinary experience to one of Virginia’s most iconic attractions – The Jefferson Hotel. The menu features extraordinary Virginia-grown ingredients and the Southern influences of Richmond’s food culture, as well as a wine list of over 200 offerings. The innovative cocktail list features classic libations with a modern twist and fresh, handcrafted ingredients. Lemaire has over 8,000 square feet of space suitable for all occasions. The restaurant is comprised of five individual rooms with the largest accommodating up to 60 people.

The Old Mill Room, Charlottesville – Four Diamond

The epicurean heart of Boar’s Head, the Old Mill Room, was built from the timbers of an abandoned gristmill along the banks of the Hardware River, dating back to 1834. The Old Mill Room is the only restaurant in Virginia to have retained AAA’s prestigious Four Diamond award for 29 years in a row. The Executive Chef and seasoned staff create culinary masterpieces that captivate the eye and delight the palate. Guests enjoy superb wines, imaginative cuisine, and impeccable service in an intimate setting. Groups larger than 15 will be accommodated in their group meeting/private banquet rooms.

Old Mill Room, Boar's Head Inn
– The Old Mill Room, Boar’s Head Inn –

Salacia, Virginia Beach – Four Diamond

Located in the Hilton Virginia Beach Oceanfront, Salacia offers an upscale fine dining restaurant atmosphere and delicious cuisine in an oceanfront dining room. If you are searching for a restaurant in Virginia Beach but also looking for style, refinement and a memorable dining experience, then Salacia is the place. Enjoy an intimate fine-dining experience, gracious ambiance and impeccable service on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

The Regency Dining Room, Williamsburg – Four Diamond

Experience the newly refreshed Regency Room for an inspired meal in an intimate and inviting setting—inside and out. Their culinary team, led by award-winning Executive Chef Travis Brust, has created a menu inspired by the rich food history of the Williamsburg Inn and complemented by the food art of today featuring seasonal Virginia bounty. The menu features classic favorites, as well as avant-garde selections that will satisfy the most discerning foodies. The dining room can be set for 130 banquet style and 240 theatre style.

Regency Room, Williamsburg Inn – The Regency Dining Room, Williamsburg Inn –

See more…

Group Dining Options

Meeting/Event Venues – Restaurants




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13 Virginia Restaurants that Serve Up Unbeatable Barbecue Mon, 28 Mar 2016 19:58:39 +0000 ]]>

Now that you have read about a few of the hot burger spots around the state, we’ve got another meaty option you’ll love to sink your teeth into: Smoked Virginia Barbecue. These thirteen BBQ restaurants are known for being purists about this culinary pursuit. They use locally sourced meats, prepare their own homemade sauces, and spend countless hours smoking whole shoulders to craft authentic and unique barbecue. Although the restaurants may not all use the same process or ingredients, you can’t argue that these barbecue destinations create delicious results. Read what makes each of these restaurants exceptional and then vote for your favorites in this week’s Culinary Challenge, Burgers and Barbecue.


Saucy’s Walk-Up BBQ—Petersburg

saucys sandwich


Saucy’s designed and built by hand their entire restaurant, from the huge metal sign surrounding the entrance, to the pipe tables and lighting, the bar, stools and fire-pit. The restaurant started in a shipping container in 2010, and six years later, they still serve “to go” out of the container which sits right beside their full service restaurant, where you can order their delicious barbecue along with a variety of sides.


Cuz’s Uptown Barbecue—Pounding Mill

Cuz's Uptown BBQ


Cuz’s has been smoking and serving beef, pork and ribs since 1979 when they first opened our doors with only four tables. The first barbeque pit was just a converted fuel tank. Through the years, they went from simmering the meat in a tangy sweet barbeque sauce to now also serving pulled pork with several different hot sauces made in house. Their world famous “hunka hunka” prime rib is smoked to a perfect succulent medium rare in the barbeque pit. Whole chickens are roasted over a crackling fire once a week. As far as burger goes, they started serving a blend of prime steaks and bacon that they grind and shape into burger patties on-site. It’s their latest mouthwatering big hit.


Allman’s Bar-B-Que—Fredericksburg

Allmans BBQ

Allman’s has been around since 1954 and continues to be a favorite among locals and folks just passing through. Although times have changed, the signature “sliced pork sandwich” has not. Pulled pork heaped high on a griddled bun, topped with our original tasty cole slaw. And it wouldn’t be a visit to Allman’s without one of their famous homemade milkshakes. They pride themselves in maintaining that same small town charm that patrons have grown to treasure and depend on throughout the years.


HogsHead Café—Richmond


The Hogshead Cafe smokes pulled pork, baby backs, chicken & brisket daily on site. All of the sides, desserts, & the fresh squeezed limeades are made in-house. The restaurant is notorious for the Hog Dog & smoked meats, but also for exceptionally fresh seafood. The oysters are shucked fresh daily and are from Bevans Oyster Co. in nearby Kinsale.


King’s Barbecue—Petersburg

kings barbecue


King’s Barbecue is a family owned and operated restaurant that was established in 1946 in Petersburg, VA.  For 70 years and three generations, they have been serving authentic Virginia-style barbecue using their own house-made BBQ sauce that has been recognized in Southern Living Magazine for having one of the “Best BBQ Sauces in the South.” The specialty at King’s is the pit-smoked barbecue pork, which uses fresh pork shoulders straight from Smithfield.


Wolfe’s BBQ—Marion

Wolfes BBQ

Wolfe’s BBQ is locally owned and operated by Brett and Jill Wolfe, who both grew up in Marion. Being raised in Southwest Virginia taught them both the importance of great food and southern hospitality. The mission at Wolfe’s BBQ is to provide quality food with distinct flavors and excellent customer service with an inviting atmosphere for families and friends to meet. They proudly smoke all their meats in-house, creating a barbecue that consistently brings customers back for more.


Bootleggers Café—Rocky Mount

Bootleggers Cafe


The BBQ and burgers at Bootleggers Café stand out as the best in town because of the quality and craftsmanship.  Satisfy your craving for smoked BBQ with the beef brisket, pulled pork, chopped chicken, baby-back ribs, or fulfill your piercing urge for juicy beef with one of the flame-grilled 1/3 lb. ground sirloin burgers. The staff at Bootleggers Café is passionate about creating only the best Virginia barbecue, and they look forward to serving you these shinin‘ favorites!


Three Li’l Pigs—Daleville

three lil pigs


At Three Li’l Pigs, they use their own tried and true recipes to create the perfect barbecue, including a homemade line of barbeque sauces. They cook all of their meat at the restaurant so you can be sure that every menu item is fresh, delicious, and satisfying, spending hours smoking their meats to create the tastiest hickory-smoked barbeque in the valley. Hand-chopped pork is the specialty at this Daleville gem.


Smoke BBQ—Newport News

smoke bbq


At Smoke BBQ, it is not just about preparing food for customers. They painstakingly make all of their dishes just as they would do for their own family and friends. Using fresh, local, natural ingredients with hardwood smoked meats makes the restaurant and catering services the best in the area. Smoke features amazing barbecue, ribs, steaks, wings, homemade side dishes, seasonal desserts, and much more. There is also a cozy, full service bar on site with 10 carefully curated beers on tap.


The Galax Smokehouse—Galax  

galax smokehouse

Since 2003, the Galax Smokehouse has been the kind of restaurant where you’ll see the “who’s who” of the locals hanging out at lunch, and hordes of tourists streaming in to discover a little bit of the Galax charm. With fantastic prices, great service, and award-winning bar-b-que, the Smokehouse is one of Galax’s favorite restaurants. They feature St. Louis style ribs, pulled pork, Texas Beef Brisket, smoked chicken and burgers–and offer 5 of their very own “secret sauces.” Make sure to leave room for dessert. The Banana Pudding was voted “Best Dessert in the South” by Virginia Living Magazine.


BBQ Exchange—Gordonsville


The Barbeque Exchange is the culmination of a 37-year culinary journey. Craig and Donna Hartman’s lives have been centered around their love of food! Their journey took them from the Culinary Institute of America to Gordonsville, with experiences from the Rockies to the Catskills and lots of stops in between. Some of their enticing barbecued choices include Hickory smoked pork shoulders, St. Louis ribs, beef brisket, pork belly, Red-Eye bacon and chicken halves grilled over live coals. Try the famous Brunswick stew, baked beans, fried green tomatoes or hushpuppies, to mention a few.


Monk’s BBQ—Purcellville

monks bbq


As a family owned business, Monk’s is dedicated to making sure your BBQ experience is traditional and authentic. They make every sauces using local beers, wines, and spirits fresh every week. Although their meats can stand alone without sauce, they decided to make them to complement each meat and spice mixture to enhance your experience. Monk’s BBQ takes no shortcuts when smoking their meats. This means long nights, but a great product that they can be proud to put the Monk’s name on.


County Grill & Smokehouse—Hampton

county grill bbq


The County Grill & Smokehouse is located in Yorktown, and is famous for slowly roasting their meats, seafood and vegetables over a smoldering hardwood fire until it is tender, succulent and bronzed. They offer meats, sauces and dry rub which reflect diverse styles developed in some of the country’s greatest barbeque locales. The County Grill & Smokehouse also has a beautifully stocked bar and lounge area that has a great selection of microbrews from all over Virginia.


Whether you prefer a dry-rubbed brisket or chopped barbecue smothered in a thick hickory sauce, these barbecue dining destinations need to be on your list of places to try around the Commonwealth. Is there another smoked spot where you like to get your Virginia BBQ? Tell us which spot is your go-to restaurant for tasty barbecue when you travel Virginia!

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