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    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
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  • Posts Tagged ‘Blue Ridge Highlands’

    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 - 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



    Travel Ideas | 4 Comments

    5 Heartwarming Destinations for Your Holidays

    by Casey | Posted on November 6th, 2013

    As the season of holidays creeps ever closer, find ways to make the most of your time together and make it memorable. Why not consider an overnight or two in a Virginia destination known for its merriment and cheer?

     

    The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

    The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

    Spend the holidays in Abingdon! This picturesque small town will fill your heart with holiday joy. World class art venues, cultural events and historical sites are all wrapped up in Christmas lights.

    • Stay: The Martha Hotel & Spa, Copper Lantern Inn, River Garden Bed and Breakfast
    • Dine: Babycakes Cupcakery and Abingdon Tavern
    • Visit: Barter Theatre, Holston Mountain Artisans, Wolf Hills Brewery, Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

    Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

    Escape to a cozy winter weekend in Harrisonburg, where holiday events on Main Street highlight the beauty of the season.

    • Stay: Joshua Wilton House, Stonewall Jackson Inn, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages
    • Dine: Shank’s Bakery, Clementine Cafe, Corgans’ Publick House
    • Visit: You Made It!, Winter Farmers’ Market, Forbes Center for Performing Arts
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Old Town Alexandria

    Old Town Alexandria

    From charming King Street in Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon, the area presents lively, entertaining holiday opportunities for the whole family.

    • Stay: Morrison House, Lorien Hotel and Spa, Hotel Monaco
    • Dine: Fish Market Restaurant, Hard Times Cafe, Caboose Cafe & Bakery
    • Visit: Torpedo Factory Art Center, Woodlawn, Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria Black History Museum
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Downtown Culpeper

    Downtown Culpeper

    Enjoy the spirit of a classic Virginia Main Street when you and the girls make it a shopping weekend in Culpeper.

    • Stay: Thyme Inn, Suites at 249, Hazel River Inn B&B
    • Dine: Hazel River Inn Restaurant & Pub, Raven’s Nest Coffee House, Foti’s
    • Visit: Mount Pony Theatre, Belmont Farm Distillery, Old House Vineyards
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Virginia Living Museum

    Virginia Living Museum

    Capture the memories as you indulge your senses and rejuvenate your soul in Newport News, the heart of Coastal Virginia, this holiday season.

    • Stay: Newport News Marriott at City Center, Boxwood Inn, The Pequod Inn
    • Dine: Crab Shack on the James, The Lunch Bell
    • Visit: Virginia Living Museum, 100 Miles of Lights, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion
    • See the Entire Getaway

     

    Looking for more great holiday getaways? This is the first in a series! Be sure to subscribe to our posts so you don’t miss the next edition. In the mean time, leave a comment to tell us your favorite Virginia destination for the holidays.

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    48 Hours, The Holidays, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations, Winter | 12 Comments

    6 Virginia Trails for Arts and Culture

    by Casey | Posted on September 18th, 2013

    Take a drive that reaps rewards not with the scenery alone, but with the treasures along the way. The six trails below have been identified for their esteemed artisans and other relevant cultural experiences.

    Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway

    Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway

    The Hidden Treasures Artisan Trail (HT) meanders through Patrick County in Southwest Virginia, leading you to and through a wealth of beauty. Marry it with the Floyd County Trail (FC) and the White Lightning Trail (WL) of Franklin County by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting at Meadows of Dan. This trail is worthy of your 48 hours, be it weekday or weekend.

    Key Highlights:

    - Mountain Meadows Farm and Craft Market – corn maze and pumpkin patch, too! (HT)
    - Mabry Mill (FC)
    - Chateau Morrisette Winery (HT & FC)
    - Villa Appalaccia Winery (HT & FC)
    - Sarvisberry Gallery & Studios (FC)
    - Tuggles Gap Restaurant & Motel (FC)
    - Hensley Polseno Pottery (FC)
    - Blue Ridge Institute and Farm Museum (WL)
    - Moondancer Creations (WL)
    - Icove Lighting Design Gallery (FC)

    Download: Hidden Treasures | Floyd County | White Lightning

    The Monticello Artisan Trail (MA) from the Blue Ridge Parkway through Nelson and Albemarle Counties pairs up nicely with the Nelson 151 Trail (151) and the Presidents Passport (PP) program.  Mix, mingle, and be merry!

    Fall in Albemarle County

    Fall in Albemarle County

    Key Highlights:

    - Wintergreen Resort (MA & PP)
    - Mountain Vision Pottery (MA & PP)
    - Devil’s Backbone Brewing Co. (MA & 151)
    - Wintergreen Winery (151)
    - Wild Wolf Brewing Co. (MA, PP & 151)
    - Rockfish River Pottery (MA)
    - Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery (MA, PP & 151)
    - Nan Rothwell Pottery (MA & PP)
    - Albemarle CiderWorks (MA)
    - Carter Mountain Orchard (MA)
    - Michie Tavern (MA & PP)
    - Jefferson Vineyards (MA)
    - Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello (MA & PP)

    Monticello Artisan Trail Google Map or PDF | Sign Up for Presidents Passport | Nelson 151 Google Map

    Where are you headed this fall in Virginia? Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite drive for foliage, your favorite festival, or whatever else you’d like to share about all the ways you LOVE fall in Virginia!

    More Artisan Trails
    Fall Related Blog Posts

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.



    Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Travel Ideas | Comments Off

    48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 4 of 8

    by Casey | Posted on September 12th, 2013

    The great outdoors are calling your name. You must climb, paddle, run, or ride. But where? Enter the beautiful season of fall where the mercury slowly dips to moderate numbers and the shorter days are loaded with excitement.

    Leaf Peeping in Lynchburg

    Lynchburg is serving up fantastic outdoor recreation and you really don’t want to miss out on it.

    Start with the Liberty Mountain Trail System. It’s more than 65 miles zig-zagging across 5,000 acres and up to more than 1,360 feet.

    Next up could be a lazy kayak trip with James River Float Company. After all that strenuous mountain work, this might be the perfect attraction.

    Since you’ve gotten up close and personal with the foliage on the trail and admired its brilliance from the water, where else to see it but from the air? Call up Precision Windsports, Inc. They’ll get you up and flying in a light sport aircraft for a unique leaf-peeping vantage point.

    Stay:
    Craddock Terry Hotel (Stay 2 nights; get 3rd 50% off!)
    Federal Crest Inn B&B
    Kirkley Hotel

    Eat:
    Main Street Eatery
    Shoemakers Fine Dining
    The Crown

    Do:
    Rise Up Climbing
    Jefferson Street Brewery
    Upcoming Events

    New Adventures at Mountain Lake

    This beautiful mountain reprieve tucked away in Giles County is the 1986 filming location for the incredible (am I biased?) Dirty Dancing featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. While the urge to stay at “Kellerman’s” is a persistent annual draw, Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservancy has been revamped for a new generation of family fun.

    You should know …

    • 2,600 acres with 22 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails
    • Rafting, canoeing, kayaking and fishing on-site
    • A new aerial and zip line adventure course, geocaching, and archery lessons are just some of the outdoor offerings
    • Dining on site at Harvest or Stony Creek Tavern
    • Stay on site in either the Main Stone Lodge, Chestnut Lodge, the Front Lawn Cottages & Historic Rustic Cabins, or in a Blueberry Ridge Mountain Home.

    Also Nearby:
    Blackberry Morning Retreat
    Walker Creek Retreat
    Inn at Riverbend (Quick! Stay 2 midweek nights; get 3rd 50% off!)
    Cascades National Recreation Trail

    Saddle Up in Southern Virginia

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    South Boston is your destination and horseback riding at Shangrila Guest Ranch is your pleasure for these 48 hours. An all-inclusive ranch, you’ll be more than comfortable in their log cabin, old home place or packhouse. If you’d rather try another accommodation, they’ll still let you saddle up with their beautiful horses. Ride, regardless of experience, for an hour or all day …  just make an appointment!

    Explore South Boston and Halifax, but be sure to try the barbecue at Smokin’ Jakes. That definitely has to be on your list.

    Also Nearby:
    Berry Hill Resort
    Oak Grove Plantation B&B
    The Prizery
    Bob Cage Sculpture Farm

    Mountain Explorations in Southwest Virginia

    The Blue Ridge Parkway is pure outdoor recreation. Start anywhere you like and you’re golden. For this purpose, let’s shoot down near Meadows of Dan and make a plan.

    Blue Ridge Tree Climbing

    Blue Ridge Tree Climbing

    Pick things up with Blue Ridge Tree Climbing, LLC. Instructor Bob Wray is inspiring, stating, “If you cannot remember the meaning of childhood magic, or do remember and want to get it back, then I suggest you simply climb a tree again.”

    Find rest in a cozy little cabin nestled among Christmas trees at River Walk Cabins, or delight in the views from Woodberry Inn, where there’s a restaurant on site.

    There are plenty of trails nearby, including Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop, Rock Castle Gorge National Recreational Trail, and the entirety of the Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve.

    Also Nearby:
    Mabry Mill and Restaurant
    Saddle Up Farm
    Chateau Morrisette Winery and Restaurant

    Find more ways to spend 48 hours this fall in Virginia:

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Sign up to receive our weekly Fall Foliage Report.*

    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.

     



    48 Hours, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Outdoors | Comments Off

    48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 2 of 8

    by Casey | Posted on September 5th, 2013

    Ready to hit the road for a fun fall weekend? Actually, your 48 hours can be any day of the week you choose. In fact, I’d recommend you try for a mid-week jaunt, as mid-week rates are typically cheaper than weekend. Why not give it a go?

    Explore Natural Tunnel State Park

    Natural Tunnel State Park Cabin and Lodge

    Natural Tunnel State Park

    Deep in the Heart of Appalachia is a state park that boasts a chair lift that’s perfect for foliage peeping – Natural Tunnel State Park. The park’s 10 mountain ridge cabins are welcoming, comfortable, and offer an amazing vantage point for those who love fall’s colors. All you need to bring is your food, condiments, toiletries and clothes; the rest is provided. Plenty of availability! $113-$390 depending on cabin size.  Book Now

    The 10-story natural tunnel is the main attraction here, with the aforementioned chair lift being a great highlight. The eight walking trails are easy; the longest is just over a mile. Two trails are open to cyclists. Of interest is Tunnel Trail to Log Cabin Trail where an original Carter Family Log Cabin sits.

    Read more …

     

    Autumn on the Crooked Road

    It’s a winding road dotted with musical gems and talented artisans. Make Floyd your starting point as it’s the home of the famed Floyd Country Store and its Friday Night Jamboree. If you pick, bring your instrument to join in (it doesn’t have to be a Friday night for a pickin’ session)!

    Aerial view of Abingdon in the fall. Image by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com

    Aerial view of Abingdon in the fall.

    In Galax, partake of the “Best Dessert in the South,” the banana pudding at The Galax Smokehouse. Really. Virginia Living Magazine said so. Then it’s on to an amazing vantage point from on high – A Place By the Parkway. It’s just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 214.

    If you’re feeling like getting some easy exercise, head to Damascus, the midway point of the Virginia Creeper Trail. You’ll want to go west toward Abingdon and coast down hill. You’re welcome.

    In Abingdon, make Heartwood one of your main destinations. It’s a fantastic place that offers a really great meal and many pretty handmade pieces, including jewelry, quilts, soaps, and more. Maybe they’ll ship some treasures home for you? Then it’s back to Damascus where a well-deserved, Southern Living-praised slice of chocolate cake awaits you at Creeper Trail Cafe.

    What else?

     

    More of Where Those Came From

    Primland Resort

    Primland Resort

    Like the ideas of Natural Tunnel, Abingdon, Floyd and the Blue Ridge Parkway? Expand them a bit these additional places to stay, eat and have fun.

    Southwest Virginia will be quilted in the colors of fall before you know it. Don’t miss it and don’t miss more of our 48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia series. Read PART ONE and watch for part three coming soon!

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Sign up to receive our weekly Fall Foliage Report.*

    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.



    48 Hours, Couples, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Outdoors, Wine | 1 Comment