If you have a love of jazz, you’ll find a lot to love in Virginia. April is Jazz Appreciation Month and as such, we’re shining a spotlight on our most beloved jazz musician, Ella Fitzgerald.
Don’t miss the upcoming Hampton Jazz Festival in Hampton, Virginia.
Ella Fitzgerald, called “The First Lady of Song,” was born in Newport News, Virginia on April 25, 1917. Shortly after birth, she and her mother moved to Yonkers, New York. In 1934 Ella’s name was drawn to compete in Amateur Night at the Apollo. She planned to dance but changed her mind after seeing the dance act that preceded her. Instead, she sang “Judy” by Hoagy Carmichael and was cheered on to perform an encore. Impressed with the natural talent he saw, saxophonist and arranger Benny Carter helped Ella launch her career. Ella became the singer of the Tiny Bradshaw Band in 1935 before recording her first song, “Love and Kisses” in 1936. In 1938, Ella scored her first number one hit with “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”
Worked with Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie
National Medal of Arts Award by President Ronald Reagan, 1987
NAACP Image Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1988
Recorded more than 200 albums
Thirteen-time Grammy Award winner
Gave her last concert in 1991 at Carnegie Hall
Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by President George H. W. Bush, 1992
On what would be Ella’s 97th birthday (April 25), The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will present A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald at the Ferguson Center for the Arts in Newport News. Tickets from $29. Buy Now
Additional Notable Jazz Musicians from Virginia:
James Genus of Hampton is a jazz bassist who has played in the Saturday Night Live Band and most recently studio recorded with Grammy Award-winning Daft Punk. His talents are heard on “Giorgio by Moroder,” “Touch,” “Beyond,” “Motherboard,” “Fragments of Time,” and “Contact.”
Lonnie Liston Smith of Richmond is a jazz pianist and keyboardist who has recorded with the likes of Pharaoh Sanders and Miles Davis. Smith is noted for mashing jazz with rap in the 1990s.
Steve Wilson of Hampton is a jazz instrumentalist best known as a flautist and saxophonist.
Don Pullen was a Roanoke native and jazz pianist who was well received in Europe for his avant-garde style.
Outdoor adventurers and explorers who enjoy a beautiful place to rest and a delicious breakfast to start their day will want to check out these bed and breakfast options that are in close proximity to state and national parks.
1848 Island Manor House, Chincoteague Island
Assateague Island National Seashore is 37 miles long and considered one of the best beaches for communing with nature. Unspoiled, this windswept beach is home to wild ponies and many species of migratory birds. The Audubon Society named it a Global Important Bird Area. Relax here, taking in the rarity of it all, and then rest at one of these B&Bs less than four miles away on Chincoteague Island.
1848 Island Manor House – Nine rooms available, each decorated to a high standard; most with private baths. Snack room, game room, beach gear, and concierge service available.
Channel Bass Inn Bed and Breakfast – Eight rooms with private baths and sitting area are available. Well-behaved children and pets are welcome. Enjoy afternoon tea with Barbara’s “world-famous” scones.
Just one mile from Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles is The Baywood Bed and Breakfast, a reprieve with a private beach and two beautiful bay view rooms with balconies, and one “woodview” room. Kiptopeke is another well-preserved beach destination known for its migratory bird population.
Church Point Manor Bed and Breakfast in Virginia Beach is the closest B&B to Virginia’s most popular state park, First Landing State Park. On April 26, 1607, 100 English settlers landed and established the first elective government in English America before pushing up the James River to establish Jamestown. Church Point Manor is an 1860s farmhouse boasting European and American art and antiques. Nine beautifully appointed rooms and a suite are available. Dining is available on-site at The Cellars, an upscale, well-kept secret.
Cooper’s Landing Inn, Clarksville
Bike or hike High Bridge Trail State Park and stay only a mile away at Longwood B&B in the heart of Farmville. Each of the six rooms has a compelling story to accompany it, such as furniture from the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, and pieces associated with Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War.
Just across beautiful Kerr Lake from Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville is Cooper’s Landing Inn, a very comfortable reprieve in Virginia’s only lakeside town. If you’d care to boat, take a trail ride on horseback or adventure around in other ways, the innkeepers are happy to oblige in making the arrangements. Their pool and hot tub are great places to unwind after a day of exploring.
Six miles of horse trails and fourteen miles of hiking trails make the beautifully rolling 1,862-acre Sky Meadow State Park in Delaplane an attractive getaway not far from Washington, D.C. The Ashby Inn is less than two miles away in Paris. It’s an 1829 inn with six guest rooms in the main house and four suites in an on-site converted schoolhouse. The property also boasts an on-site farm-to-table restaurant.
Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast, Moneta
Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a family favorite for its boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. At a shade over a mile away, Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast in Moneta is a brand new timber frame accommodation that just opened in December 2013. It boasts four large guest rooms, some with a fireplace or a jetted tub. Flying in? They’re on the Smith Mountain Lake Airport (W91) and offer tie downs, too.
The glistening Potomac River and Westmoreland State Park are less than five miles from the Inn at Montross, a 1790s Colonial Inn that has served as a tavern, hotel, restaurant, boarding house, apartments, and even as a school. You’ll find the five guestrooms to be quite comfortable and the fine dining exquisite after spending the day hunting for shark’s teeth and watching the Bald Eagles soar along the river.
It’s warm and you’re ready to get moving on the weekends. Festivals should be top-of-mind, of course, but when kids are in tow, look to these great opportunities they’re sure to love.
Annual International Children’s Festival, Hampton.
April 13 – The Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Flying Festival in Nellysford includes demos with Richmond Air Force, instruction, games, a duck race, a kite store, and free kites to the first 150 kids. It’s all free and you’re welcome to bring a picnic and stay a while.
April 19 – The Annual International Children’s Festival in Hampton is like traveling the world, from a kid’s point of view. More than 35 countries will be represented with cultural arts and performances, foods, and activities. Be sure to pick up your passport and have it stamped at each country to be entered to win a prize. Festival Map
April 26 – RIVERFest is held at Colonial Place in Norfolk and is a free outdoor celebration that promotes the restoration of Lafayette River. Kids will enjoy fireboat rides, and can create treasures with Indian beads, ECO arts, or “build a buoy.” Older kids even might join in the embellished craft race with a parent (requirements).
May 3 – Waynesboro Riverfest is a day of fun built to reach kids and adults for the purpose of emphasizing commitment and responsibility to conservation. Kids will love the canoe rides, arts and crafts, reptile and animal shows, and the fish and fun rodeo, not to mention the South River duck race!
May 10 – Jamestown Day is bucket list worthy for kids and their parents. If you’ve never been to Jamestown, you’re in for a real treat. The ships will be sailing and there are demonstrations, music and activities everywhere you turn. Get to know all about the 1607 founding of America’s first permanent English colony.
May 17 – Fundango Festival is called the #1 family fun festival in Virginia Beach and you’re invited to find out why. Meet Olympians and participate in the Olympic Experience, enjoy amazing entertaining acts, make faces in the photo booth, toss some corn hole, get your crafting on, and tons more.
May 24 – Delaplane Strawberry Festival in Delaplane is all about strawberries, of course. Bring your little ones out for old fashioned games, petting zoo, arts and crafts, hayrides, and more.
June 6-9 – Celebrate Fairfax! is 25 acres of family fun, including the ExxonMobil Children’s Avenue! Expect to find interactive activities, petting zoo, children’s entertainment stage, Inova Trackless Train, crafts, and so much more. This area is designed for kids 12 and younger.
June 7 – Manassas Heritage Railway Festival in Manassas offers a children’s stage of entertainment to go with the kids rides and Thomas the Tank Engine Kiddie Train. Load the whole family into the VRE Excursion Train for a ride to Clifton and back for just $6 each.
Vineyards are stunning with rolling hills of green vines. If you love the feeling you have when you visit a winery tasting room and walk the grounds, stay nearby so you don’t lose it. We’ve identified 25 beautiful Virginia bed and breakfasts that are a mile or less away from a Virginia winery. Stay close, sip close.
Check into one of the guestrooms or suites at The Mark Addy Inn in Nellysford to sample the best of Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery just about a half-mile away. Hill Top offers “true to the fruit” wines and honey mead; pick blackberries seasonally, if you wish. One of five porches is awaiting your return.
Pool at Glass House Winery Bed and Breakfast, Free Union
Overlooking the vines of Glass House Winery in Free Union is the Glass House Winery Bed and Breakfast. A two-bedroom suite on the upper level affords amazing views of the property and pool. Three lower-level rooms with private baths boast radiant heated bamboo floors; two have private entrances.
Inn at Crossroads in North Garden is on the National Register of Historic Places and located next door to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. Hundreds of rolling acres steal your breath while you spend time on the front porch of this Federal style gem.
In Blacksburg you’ll find a luxurious retreat at Beliveau Estate Bed and Breakfast, plus Beliveau Winery is right there with it. Each spacious room has a cozy fireplace and private bath. Some have a private entrance and yet others have air jet tubs. Get comfortable with your wine!
Back in Thyme Bed and Breakfast in Raphine is just down the road from Rockbridge Vineyard. The beautiful Victorian is comfortable with three bedrooms and private baths, plus a hearty country breakfast. Sample the wines at Rockbridge and bring a bottle out to enjoy on the swing below the vineyards.
Villa Veramar B&B sits among the grapes of Veramar Vineyards in Berryville and has romantic rooms with whirlpool tubs, evening wine and cheese platters, and of course, a fine breakfast.
The rustic, country-style retreat of Hillsborough B&B is just about a half-mile away from Hillsborough Vineyards in Hillsboro. A pool with waterfall offer a tranquil setting to enjoy a glass of something beautiful.
The Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast in Middleburg welcomes you to enjoy their 47 rolling acres from their 1805 historic country inn. It can be home base for visiting Leaves of Grass Vineyards, a very small operation that is open by reservation only, guaranteeing your own personal wine experience.
Spread your wings a little on the 138-acre Belle Meade Farm in Sperryville, home to Belle Meade Inn, a restored Victorian farmhouse. Practically a stone’s throw away at .2 mile is Sharp Rock Vineyards, which also has its own B&B cottages.
In Irvington, the renowned Hope & Glory Inn, a Top 100 in the World and Top 10 in the US, is less than a half-mile from The Dog and Oyster, a refreshingly unique winery that teams up with Ingleside Vineyard to offer premium and reserve labels alongside their own wines for a one-of-a-kind tasting experience. Hope & Glory offers 25 rooms as well as cottages. National publications are known to gush over this beautiful property.
Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull and Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull. Photo: Antony Platt/AMC
Based on remarkable new research in the book Washington’s Spies, by Alexander Rose, “TURN” centers around Abraham Woodhull, a farmer living behind enemy lines in British-occupied Long Island. Abraham bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring: an unlikely team of secret agents who help George Washington turn the tide of the war in favor of the Rebels. Their daring efforts revolutionized the art of espionage, giving birth to modern tradecraft in all its moral complexity. “TURN” transforms history into suspenseful and resonant entertainment.
“TURN” was developed and is being written by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and stars Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot” and “The Adventures of Tintin”) as Abraham Woodhull. Executive Producers are Silverstein and Barry Josephson (“Bones”). AMC is the television home of some of the most popular dramas in cable television including “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead” and the recently-ended “Breaking Bad,” created by Virginia native Vince Gilligan.
The series also stars Seth Numrich as Ben Tallmadge, Heather Lind as Anna Strong, Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster, Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Kevin McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull, Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett, Angus MacFadyen as Robert Rogers, JJ Feild as Major John Andre, and Samuel Roukin as Captain Simcoe.
TURN: The Trail
Watch Sunday evenings for a look into the exhilarating Revolutionary War-era saga about America’s first spy ring and then get in on the action along TURN: The Trail, a series of Colonial and Revolutionary War-era attractions, “TURN” filming locations, and exciting espionage activities and museums to get your heart pumping and patriotism roaring. Sites along the trail include The Pentagon, four plantations, sites relevant to George Washington, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Victory Center, and others. Trail Map
You Become the Spy
Visit Colonial Williamsburg and join in the spy action of RevQuest: The Old Enemy between now and November 30, 2014. RevQuest is an immersive game that leads you along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City where you just might change the course of history. Begin your mission online and continue it on site.