by Casey | Posted on March 20th, 2012
Happy Spring! While it’s felt like the warm-up season for quite a while now in Virginia, today is the first official day of spring and we’re celebrating with great experiences. Plot your course of action and roll the windows down. These are winding, beautiful, and perfect for a day out of the office … or a Saturday excursion.
Take to the mountains and traverse four scenic byways when you pick up the Nelson Scenic Loop. Begin the Loop at Spruce Creek Gallery and then enjoy the 50 miles that include the Blue Ridge Parkway, Tye River Valley, and Rockfish Valley around Nelson County. In the area are Crabtree Falls and numerous orchards, wineries, and breweries.
For those who are interested in encountering wildlife, check out one of the regional trails of the Virginia Birding & Wildlife Trail. No doubt, you’ll want to exit the car at some points along the way to stretch your legs and take a quick hike.
- The Coastal Area features untouched barrier islands, cypress swamps, great stands of pine forest, and bayside salt marshes. 18 loops.
- The Mountain Area features great vistas, endless forest trails, large inland reservoirs and a taste of the western piedmont. 34 loops.
- The Piedmont Area features expansive grasslands, large forested tracts, pineland savannahs, several large reservoirs, and an abundance of rich history and culture. 13 loops.
A great coastal drive with history, natural areas, and fantastic water views is the Chesapeake Bay Driving Tour. Highlights include the Caledon Natural Area (famous for Bald Eagles), Stratford Hall (Robert E. Lee’s birthplace), and a few places to hop aboard a cruise:
- If an day cruise sounds delightful, hop aboard a Tangier Island Cruise from Buzzard Point Marina in Reedville. The Cruise departs at 10 a.m. and returns at 4 p.m. $27/adult; $15/child.
- Other cruise-goers might enjoy a jaunt with Rappahannock River Cruises aboard the Capt. Thomas. Expect to see the Bald Eagle habitat from the water as you make your way to Ingleside Vineyards for a tour, tasting, and lunch. Capt. Thomas departs Tappahannock at 10 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. $27/adult; $15/child. Add lunch for $13/adult and $8/child.
If the mention of a winery got your attention, Virginia has more than 15 winery trails you can explore. One includes whiskey with the wine, another boasts tremendous Civil War history with the wine, and yet another includes the birthplace of winemaking in Virginia. Check out the wine events calendar to coincide your drive with something fun.
Families who forego the cruises and avoid the wineries will find their fun when they park the car and enjoy a tour. Don’t yawn – there are great tours crafted especially for you.
- Polyface Farm in Swoope has an open barn door policy. Arrive anytime Monday through Saturday and take a look around. If you’d like a guided tour, call and reserve your family’s place on the haywagon for a Lunatic Tour (children 13 and older; offered twice each month). They promise it’s “more fun than a theme park roller coaster ride,” and being the country girl that I am, I would tend to agree.
- Everything you ever wanted to know about Fredericksburg – from all periods of history – can be learned while riding along with the narrated Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg. However, what I look forward to most comes after the tour … Carl’s Frozen Custard.
- Discover more family fun!
Whatever you choose to do this spring, do it in Virginia where you can completely connect with the ones you love. Click here to order your free Virginia is for Lovers Travel Guide or call 1-800-Visit-VA.