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    Took a walk through #Maymont in #Richmond this afternoon. The flowers are in full #bloom and the weather was perfect! If you haven't made it to a local #garden this #spring, you should consider attending Historic Garden Week starting this weekend. It runs the 26th through the 3rd statewide. Check out www.Virginia.org/historicgardenqeek for more info #loveva #flower #rva #visitvirginia #tulip #photooftheday @rvanews @rvais4lovers @maymontrva
    @jeffmauritzen says #goodmorning from the Henry House at Manassas National #Battlefield Park. Give this beautiful #sunrise some love! #loveva #virginia #repost #civilwar #photooftheday #monument #morning #cw150 #history
    Get your outdoor #zen on with #yoga in the #stables at Salamander #Resort. You might even be joined by the #barn #cat, Pumpkin! #loveva #virginia #earthday #vaoutdoors #repost #photooftheday#pet #stable @salamanderresort
    Happy Earth Day, Virginians! Strive to get out of the office today, experience #nature, appreciate her beauty and offerings, and make a commitment to preserving her health (and ultimately ours). For we are all one with nature. #virginia #loveva #earthday #repost #sunrise #goodmorning #visitvirginia #earth #conservation #vais4lovers Photo compliments to @dadofash. Virginia is for nature lovers šŸŒ¾šŸŒøšŸŒæ
  • 5 Out of the Way Places to Explore in Coastal Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 27th, 2014

    Undoubtedly you know about the fantasticĀ beaches of Coastal Virginia,Ā but look beyond the warm sandy shores and check out the not-so-obvious attractions and things to do along the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Virginia region, comprised of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore.

    Air Power Park, Hampton, Virginia

    Air Power Park, Hampton, Virginia

    1. Air and space is big business in Coastal Virginia with sites like theĀ NASA Wallops Flight FacilityĀ near Chincoteague Island and theĀ Virginia Air & Space CenterĀ in Hampton, but these additional sites have a few tricks up their sleeves, too.

    • Air Power ParkĀ in Hampton is a free city park that happens to have aviation on display, front and center, with jets, missiles and rockets. Pack a picnic and enjoy the playground and floating dock on Newmarket Creek.
    • Naval Station NorfolkĀ in Norfolk offers a daily 45-minute tour for $10 per adult and $5 per child aged 3 to 11. The Naval Station is home port to more than 78 ships of the Atlantic Fleet, making it the world’s largest naval installation. It’s also one of the busiest airfields in the country. Cash only; photo ID required for adults.Ā Schedule
    Vantage point from Fort Boykin in Smithfield, Virginia.

    Vantage point from Fort Boykin in Smithfield, Virginia.

    2.Ā Fort Boykin‘s presence dates to 1623 when the Castle fort on the bluff above the James River in Smithfield was built to protect Jamestown colonists from Native Americans and Spainards. Having been used during and restructured for the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and finally the Civil War, Fort Boykin is a preserved and mostly intact as a Civil War site depicting military architecture of the time. An additional note to the site is the black walnut tree, believed to be the second largest in Virginia and at least 200 years old. It’s on the list with the Remarkable Trees of Virginia Project.Ā Brochure

    3. Paddle or fish the calm waters of theĀ Mathews Blueways Water Trails. Five routes offer unique points along the way, like theĀ New Point Comfort LighthouseĀ which is only accessible by water. The trails range in distance from 10.7 to 22.1 miles. Outfitters are available for equipment rental.

    Tangier Island, Virginia

    Tangier Island, Virginia

    4. The gardens of Eyre Hall in Cheriton are among the oldest in the nation, dating to 1800, but simply getting to them will take your breath away. A cedar-lined lane brings you onto the 1760 Eyre Hall estate. The Eyre family actually dates to 1623 on the Eastern Shore, however, as Thomas Eyre arrived to Jamestown in 1622. Do seek out the 1819 orangery ruin on site.

    5. You can’t get much more out of the way than Tangier Island, a lost-in-time island in the Chesapeake Bay that takes up only 1.236 square miles and is only accessible by ferry or your own watercraft. Taste the bay as the watermen bring their harvest to shore, and do converse with the locals. You’ll delight in their Elizabethan speak. Take a day trip with Tangier Island Cruise out of Reedville, Virginia.

    Enjoy your explorations!

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    11 Virginia Retreats for Wellness

    by Casey | Posted on February 25th, 2014

    More often than some would like to admit, a weekend away would be a welcome salve to the aches and drudgery of everyday life. Make this your year of self-pampering. Take the sick days that you never use and treat yourself to calm and relaxation.

    Marriott Ranch. Photo by Tammy McMillan Photography.

    Marriott Ranch. Photo by Tammy McMillan Photography.

    RETREAT

    Booking quickly and available for just one weekend, the Wellness Rejuvenation Package at Marriott Ranch in Hume includes two nights’ lodging, meals, wine with dinner on Saturday, one yoga session each day, boot camp drill session, a massage, hands-on cooking class, informal wine pairing education with dinner, and a fireside discussion with yoga instructor and fitness trainer, Monica Fernandi. Available March 7-9, 2014. $485 per person plus tax (double occupancy) or $685 plus tax (single occupancy).

    Virginia’s newest resort, Salamander Resort in Middleburg, offers a special focus on equestrian activities and the well-being of riders. The Spa includes treatments for equestrians, mothers-to-be and couples, while their specialty programs include Yoga in the Stable and Yoga on Horseback, each 30 minutes long. Yoga in the Stable has you facing the sunrise and working poses to improve balance, flexibility, strength and posture while Yoga on Horseback needs no explanation. Rates from $20 to $150 per person.

    Lansdowne Resort near Leesburg boasts its AAA Four Diamond Spa Minerale, an attractive centerpiece of the Pamper and Putt package built for two. Stay a night, swing one round of golf and relax through one 50-minute massage. Rates from $318.

    The Spa Garden at The Omni Homestead Resort.

    The Spa Garden at The Omni Homestead Resort.

    Set in Virginiaā€™s Allegheny Mountains, The Spa at The Omni Homestead offers guests the chance to relax in Virginiaā€™s hot springs through the Spa Garden area. Traditional and Homestead-specific spa treatments are available, as well as daily yoga and other fitness classes. The Omni Homestead has two overnight spa packages, one with a $200 spa credit, and another with a $400 spa credit plus a 15% spa retail discount.

    Ultimate girl pampering is yours at The Martha Hotel & Spa in Abingdon. Book the “A Whole New You” package for a gourmet salt glow, 50-minute loosen-up massage, skin deep facial, aromatherapy soak and spa pedicure with your stay for $450. Guys have a package built for them, too. “Gentleman’s Indulgence” is a 50-minute loosen-up massage, facial and foot treatment for $280.

    Check into Boar’s Head, Charlottesville’s only AAA Four Diamond resort, and enjoy the Winter Spa Package: an overnight stay and a $125 gift card to be used toward one of six seasonal spa services. Rates from $299. Available through March 31, 2014.

    Yoga at Primland Resort

    Yoga at Primland Resort

    The Spa at Primland Resort in southwest Virginia provides guests with a complete list of spa and wellness services including yoga and meditation classes, a mother-daughter spa package and healing ritual services. Primlandā€™s seasonal spa package, the Winter ā€œRefresh,ā€ is a two-night, mid-week package available Sunday through Thursday. The package includes overnight accommodations, two breakfasts, two dinners, one lunch, a serenity massage, stone of eternal youth facial, secret canyon wrap and float and one yoga class. Available through March 20, 2014. Rates from $1427.

    A DAY BREAK

    The Spa of Colonial Williamsburg offers a menu of services rooted in five centuries of history. Try the 19th Century African Traditional Bath & Strengthening Massage Spa Experience. It reflects the African healing traditions that combined herbs, roots and fresh waters to enrich life and attract positive energy. The modern-day version is 120 minutes and includes Maize and Herbal Body Brushing, Root and Herbal Soaking Bath, and a Shea Butter Massage. $125 per person or $565 per couple.

    The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg

    The Spa at Colonial Williamsburg

    Yoga at Virginia Mountain Vineyard in Fincastle is a 60-minute instructional class followed by healthy foods and wine tasting. A reservation is required and don’t forget your mat or blanket. $35 per person. Available April 13 and August 10, 2014.

    The James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg is the site of Yoga in the Garden, a drop-in class open to all ages and skill levels. Bring your mat and $8 per person to participate. Saturdays May 3 through June 28, 2014.

    Historic Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg invites you to join in an Integrated Yoga session the first Sunday of each month from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Posture, deep relaxation, breathing, and meditation are in order, as is a meditative walk in the garden. $20 per person; bring your mat, walking shoes and water.

    DISCOVER MORE

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    On the Big Screen: 8 Oscar Winners Filmed in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 24th, 2014

    While we eagerly await the Academy Awards this Sunday to see how Virginia-filmed Best Picture nomineeĀ Captain Phillips fares, let’s take a look back at other films shot wholly or in part in Virginia that were honored with an Oscar.

    Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in LINCOLN.

    Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN.

    Argo was filmed in McLean and Fairfax County, Virginia in 2011. The film starring and directed by Ben Affleck received the 2013 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Achievement in Film Editing.

    During that same 2013 awards presentationĀ LINCOLN won for Production Design, and Daniel Day-Lewis, whom portrayed Abraham Lincoln, took home the Bests Actor award. LINCOLN was filmed in the Richmond region, including Petersburg, Virginia.

    The Bourne Ultimatum, the final piece of the Bourne Trilogy,Ā was filmed in Fauquier County, Virginia in 2007 and starred Matt Damon as Jason Bourne. The film won three Oscars in 2008 – Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, and Best Achievement in Sound Editing.

    Renee Zellweger won the Oscar in 2004 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Cold Mountain alongside Jude Law and Nicole Kidman. Cold Mountain was filmed in Richmond and Williamsburg, Virginia in 2002.

    Filmed in Quantico, Virginia in 1990, The Silence of the Lambs starred Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. The 1992 Academy loved the feature film, awarding five Oscars for the following categories: Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Director, and Best Writing.

    Mountain Lake Conservancy & Hotel, film location for Dirty Dancing in 1986.

    Mountain Lake Hotel in Pembroke, Virginia served as “Kellerman’s” in the 1986 hit “Dirty Dancing.”

    A steadfast darling on the list of Virginia filmography is Dirty Dancing starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. Filmed in Giles County, Virginia in 1986, the flick received an Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.”

    Wise County, Virginia was the setting for the 1980 filming of Coal Miner’s Daughter, a biography of Loretta Lynn, starring Sissy Spacek and Tommy Lee Jones. In 1981 Spacek won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

    In 1956 Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean starred in Giant, a western love story that included filming in Charlottesville, Virginia. Nominated for ten Academy Awards, it won one – Best Director – in 1957.

    Learn about the latest major film projects in Virginia at www.Virginia.org/FilmedInVirginia/ or peruse the filmography log for a list of feature films, TV series, commercials, and more filmed in Virginia.

    >> 2014 SNEAK PEEK! <<

    AMC is currently filming their new seriesĀ TURN,Ā a layered, character driven spy thriller that unravels the untold story of Americaā€™s first spy ring. Filming locations include Richmond, Petersburg, Hanover County, andĀ plantations along the James RiverĀ . Don’t miss the premiere Sunday, April 6, 2014.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore Off Interstate 81

    by Casey | Posted on February 19th, 2014

    Threading its way through the Shenandoah Valley and into the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia is Interstate 81, a major thoroughfare that carries a daily average of up to 67,000* vehicles north and south. From I-81 visitors can experience a wide variety of history that includes woolly mammoth and mastodon, the Drama of Creation, westward migration into the first frontier, battle sites of the Civil War, and important pieces of agricultural revolution. History isn’t the only thing this part of Virginia has to offer. Get off that very well beaten path and see what you’ve been missing.

    Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

    Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

    1. The Camera Heritage Museum in Staunton is the East Coast’s largest privately owned, open to the public collection. And it’s free to visit! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see -Ā daguerreotypes, wooden cameras, spy cameras … more than 2,000 cameras and lenses total. Especially unique pieces (at least to this author) are the Magic Lantern Projector (c. 1900), Suzuki Optical Echo 8 (1951-56), and the Chelsea Flash Pistol. In addition to the camera collection, check out the photograph collection. More than 2,500 historical images of the Staunton area are available for viewing.

    2. While you might have visited Luray Caverns already, you might have skipped touring the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. If so, go back. This museum is home to the country’s oldest automotive in operating condition, the 1892 Benz Vis-a-Vis. Alongside this treasure are an 1840 Conestoga Wagon, Rudolph Valentino’s 1925 Rolls Royce, a 1914 Ford Model-T Milk Wagon, a 1913 Stanley Steamer, and more. The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum is included with Luray Caverns admission. $24 per adult, $12 ages 6 to 12.

    3. In White Post you’ll find Dinosaur Land, an old school Virginia roadside attraction that’s more than 50 years old and has more than 50 dinosaurs to pose with. Everyone needs a pic with T-Rex! Opens for the season March 1. Admission is $6 per guest aged 11 and older; $5 ages 2 to 10.

    Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

    Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

    4. If want a nostalgic, romantic feeling to wash over you, just visit the covered bridges in Patrick County. Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges date to 1921 and 1914, respectively, and are celebrated annually in June during the Virginia Covered Bridge Festival.

    5. The heritage of the Appalachians is preserved at the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park in Tazewell, which is also the site of a 500-year old Native American village. Conflicts of all kinds occurred on this land, including Revolutionary and Civil War skirmishes. Fourteen 1800s log cabins give a glimpse of what pioneer life in the original wild west was like. Overnight pioneer camps and other special opportunities are available. Admission is $5 per adult; $3 for ages 7 to 12.

    Do you know of five others you’d add to this list? Please leave a comment to let everyone know!

     

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    *I-81 Corridor Coalition



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    14 Things to Bring with You on Vacation in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 18th, 2014

    Every corner of Virginia offers an experience that you might be surprised to find. Don’t be caught off guard! Here’s your list of 14 things to bring with you on vacation in Virginia.

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    1. Cork Screw – Virginia has more than 230 wineries and quite a few wine trails. You’re sure to come across more than a few in your travels, so stop and taste the best of what’s around. Have a cork screw with you for picnics or wherever your path may lead.

    2. Guitar Pick – Even if you don’t play, you’ll have the chance to strum a note or two when you travel The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Traversing nearly 300 miles through the Blue Ridge Highlands and Heart of Appalachia, the Crooked Road is your go-to destination for authentic old-time, bluegrass and folk music, not to mention some of the finest handcrafted instruments in the world.

    3. Oyster Shucking Knife – Virginia is a hot destination for oyster lovers. So much so, that it’s becoming known as the oyster capital of the East Coast. Taste the distinct difference seven oyster regions bring to the table when you attend an oyster festival or simply dine locally.

    Pierce's Bar-B-Que

    Pierce’s Bar-B-Que

    4. GrowlerCraft beer has exploded in Virginia with more than 60 breweries serving their finest ales in on-site tasting rooms and local restaurants. A couple of trails exist or you can try our suggested Howlers & Growlers tour.

    5. Binoculars – Bird watching is especially enjoyable in Virginia as much of the state is part of the Atlantic Flyway, a major migratory route. Read more about Virginia’s Birding and Wildlife Trail.

    6. Ear Plugs – Virginia is fortunate to have two major NASCAR tracks and one major road course, all hosting multiple national events annually. In addition, Arena Racing USA is the only indoor stock car league in the country, and you can see these half-scale stock cars speed around Richmond Coliseum.

    7. Moist Towelette – People who are serious about barbecue will no doubt sample and argue over which BBQ Joint is the best in Virginia (our list is up to 20!). Ā From Food Network and Southern Living to simple local acclaim, these dining destinations won’t let you down.

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    8. Hiking Shoes – Miles and miles and miles of hiking trails lead to waterfalls, amazing panoramic vantage points, and sheer Virginia solitude. See Hiking in Virginia, a compilation of Facebook and Twitter fan feedback about favorite hikes.

    9. Rain Suit or Bandana – Big boy toys are meant for girls, too. Everyone loves ATVing once they let loose and try it. Bring a rain suit in case your ride occurs during the rainy spring season (mud, anyone?!), or a bandana to cover your mouth and nose during drier conditions. Get dirty at one of 8 Virginia ATV Destinations!

    10. Water Bowl and Leash – Have a pet? Come on and travel Virginia. An increasing number of accommodations are welcoming pets into their environment. Check out Virginia is for Pet Lovers for pet-friendly travel info.

    New River

    New River

    11. Fishing Pole – Sink your line deep into the Atlantic or cast a fly into a freshwater stream. There are all kinds of fish biting year ’round in Virginia. Buy a fishing license.

    12. Helmet – Helmets can and should be used for a variety of experiences in Virginia – bicycling, horseback riding, kayaking and tubing, rock climbing, and ziplining, for starters.

    13. Swimsuit and Sunblock – Be ready to dive in a lake, splash around a waterpark or sunbathe on the beach this summer.

    14. Ā Camera App – What vacation would be complete without memories captured and shared on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook? We want to see your amazing time, so tag your fun vacation photos with #LOVEVA!

    Can you think of other things to bring for a uniquely Virginia vacation? Name it! We invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
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    One last thought … 14 souvenirs to bring home from Virginia:

    1. Chincoteague Pony (yes, you can!)
    2. NASCAR lug nut
    3. Corks from conquered bottles of wine
    4. Empty oyster shell
    5. Photo of you on a roller coaster
    6. Growler, shot glass or wine glass from your liquid adventures
    7. Video of you flatfootin’ at Floyd Country Store
    8. Bag of peanuts
    9. Sea glass from Tangier Island
    10. Bottle of Virginia moonshine
    11. A cooler of fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crab
    12. Freshly harvested Highland County maple syrup
    13. Craft beer bottle caps
    14. Any officially branded Virginia is for Loversā„¢ merchandise! Find a retailer.



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