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    This is the #sunset from the #dock at #Merroir restaurant in Topping, VA last Friday evening. #Tranquility on #Virginia's #ChesapeakeBay. Swing by this weekend and get some #VAoysters in your belly! And tag your VA #oyster photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #photooftheday #latergram #eatlocal
    @rbuck65 recently hiked Bearfence #Mountain off of #SkylineDrive, and this was the reward! This #hike is fairly short with a nice payoff. The trail head is near mile marker 56.4 on the Skyline Drive. #photooftheday #repost #epic #hiking #mountaintop #sunset #blueridgemountains #vaoutdoors Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here!
    Have you hiked Roaring Run Trail in Eagle Rock, #VA? An excellent family #hike, the trail passes rock walls, cascading water, five foot bridges and even a natural water slide before ending at Roaring Run Falls. At the head of the trail is Roaring Run Furnace, ruins of a 19th century furnace operation. Roaring Run #Creek is also known for trout fishing. #VAOutdoors #waterfall #loveva #repost #roaringrun #virginia #perspective #photooftheday Kudos to @spezzaroo for the beautiful photo!
    Hot diggity dog! It's National Hot Dog Day, so we thought we'd share this beef brisket, apple jicama slaw, poblano #BBQ #footlong #hotdog from the Continental Westhampton for #lunch. Grab a hot dog at your local joint and celebrate! #loveva #vafoood #nationalhotdogday #rva #craftbeer #vabeer @rvanews
  • Posts Tagged ‘family’

    $10 or Less: Virginia Fun for Kids

    by Casey | Posted on July 25th, 2014

    Make your dollars go further when you can mix in some affordable fun with your family vacation! The attractions mentioned within this post are priced at $10 or less for admission (parents, too!). Enjoy!

    LOVE at Maymont. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    LOVE at Maymont. Photo by Casey Higgins.

    ~~ FREE ~~

    Parks and wilderness areas are go-to destinations for nature lovers, but consider some of Virginia’s cooler community parks, like Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. It’s 165 acres and offers a street course skate park with a deep bowl and competition-sized vert ramp for your skater dudes. While free, a pass application must be completed and submitted when you come to the park. Details

    Buzzing through the metro Richmond area? Have a picnic lunch at Three Lakes Park and Nature Center in Henrico. The Nature Center includes a 50,000 gallon aquarium along with live exhibits of native wildlife.

    Maymont is another fantastic Richmond destination. At 100 acres, the gardens are extensive. Do visit the Children’s Farm. Find a LOVEwork there!

    Bluebird Gap Farm is a 60-acre farm in Hampton. It’s home to about 150 animals and includes a picnic area with charcoal grills, a nature trail and large playground.

    If you have a child who is into the Transformers movies, he or she needs to see the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was filmed right there and your kid will recognize Blackbird immediately.

    Bluebird Gap Farm

    Bluebird Gap Farm

    More Free:

     

    ~~ $10 or LESS ~~

    A genuine Old School Virginia roadside attraction is Dinosaur Land in White Post. More than 50 dinosaurs have graced this attraction for 50 years. Great #selfie opportunities! $6 per person aged 11 and older; $5 per person 2 to 10.

    Regardless of the season, Snowflex in Lynchburg is a fun destination for those who love to ski and snowboard. Seriously! Ski or snowboard for $5-$7 per hour. If you require equipment, the rental fee is $12 per person, per day. Complete a waiver before your arrival. Details

    Speaking of a winter sport, why not ice skate year ’round, too?

    The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville always has something fun and creative going on – something to keep your child’s attention. Watch for “Night at the Museum” sleepover opportunities! Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child.

    The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth includes state-of-the-art interactivity that’s built for family fun. Check out the Hall of Fame inductees and play a bit of their sports while you’re there! $7 per person; children 2 and under are free.

    The 18-hole Perils of the Lost Jungle miniature golf course in Herndon is one the Top 5 Miniature Golf Courses in America as rated by Newsweek, and The Putting Penguin rated them #1 in the country! You can experience this adventure for just a couple coins on top of $10 (what’s 50 cents?). Adults are $10.50 and children 12 and under are $9.50.

    • Similar:
      • Glow-A-Rama, Buchanan – indoor blacklight mini golf
        • $8 per adult and $7 per child

    Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park in McLean lets your kids get hands-on with history in a pre-American Revolutionary War setting (a small, low-income 1771 farm). Special events include the heritage animals that call the farm home, harvesting tobacco, tidying up with autumn chores, and more. Farm site admission is $3 per adult and $2 per child. Admission for Market Fair (a special event with select dates) is $7 per adult and $3 per child.

    When in Lynchburg, check out Amazement Square: The Rightmire Children’s Museum, home of the Amazement Tower, the tallest indoor, interactive climbing structure in the United States. Admission is $9 per person unless you plan to visit on a Family Fun Night (second Saturday of each month), in which case the fee is just $3 per person!

    Hunt Club's Petting Farm

    Hunt Club’s Petting Farm

    Who doesn’t love a zoo? Head to Roanoke’s Mill Mountain Zoo to see more than 175 animals. Inquire about the special Breakfast with the Animals experience (additional fee). Admission is $7.50 per adult and $5 per child.

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    Family, Travel Ideas | 0 Comments

    30 Freshwater Swimming Holes

    by Casey | Posted on July 14th, 2014

    Summer calls for a dip in the water, and we have fresh mountain streams and rivers that you’ll find most refreshing on a hot day. Our list has been compiled through various avenues of research, including tips from local residents. If they love these swimming holes, you’re sure to as well!

    Dismal Falls

    Dismal Falls

    If you are unfamiliar with mountain streams, let me tell you that they’re cold. Pack a picnic and refresh yourself in the Maury River at one of these public access points in Rockbridge County:

    Swim or wade at the base of a waterfall!

    Choosing your James River access point can be tricky, as this gem can roar mightily in certain areas, especially after a heavy rain upstream. Try these locations, but never swim alone.

    Splash around in the oldest river in North America, the New River.

    Blue Hole – many river towns have a special swimming hole they dub “Blue Hole.” Aforementioned Goshen Pass is sometimes known as Blue Hole by locals and here are two more:

    • A site James Madison University students and Harrisonburg locals call “Blue Hole” is located on Dry River off Rawley Pike (Route 33) in Rockingham County. A large boulder makes a fantastic jumping platform into this deep swimming hole.
    • University of Virginia students love their own “Blue Hole” on Moormans River near the Sugar Hollow Reservoir in Crozet. This swimming hole is within the boundaries of Shenandoah National Park.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath the renowned Humpback Bridge in Alleghany County. When the water’s high enough, it’s a great place for a dip. Otherwise, dipping your toes works, too, at this beautiful, historic site.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Dunlap Creek flows beneath Humpback Bridge.

    Craig Creek Recreation Area is 130 acres in Botetourt County that’s available for camping, picnics, and of course, swimming! The water is gentle and perfect for families.

    Blackwater Creek at Hollins Mill in Lynchburg is shallow for wading in to cool off on a hot summer day and is also an access point for the Blackwater Creek Natural Area and Trail.

    While there’s no designated swimming area (like a beach) at Shenandoah River Raymond R. “Andy” Guest Jr. State Park on the Shenandoah River in Warren County, you can wade out and splash around or tube to your heart’s content.

    Off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Rockbridge County at Petite’s Gap (milepost 71) is an unmarked gravel road (Petite’s Gap Road). Descend, winding, for several miles until you cross East Fork Elk Creek in Sulphur Spring Hollow. At the second crossing, pull off – your swimming hole is in that vicinity.

    St. Mary’s River is home to St. Mary’s Falls, which can be found in Saint Mary’s Wilderness in Augusta County. This swimming hole includes a rock slide, which can be great fun if the water level is just right.  It’s just south of the falls.

    Please enjoy Virginia’s swimming holes with a friend; never swim alone. Also, follow “leave no trace” practices when experiencing any part of Virginia’s outdoors.

    Which of these have you been to? Which do you love that aren’t listed here? Leave a comment to tell us all about it.

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    Family, Locals, Outdoors, Video clips | 3 Comments

    10 Festivals Kids Will LOVE

    by Casey | Posted on April 8th, 2014

    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.

    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).

    Jamestown Day

    Jamestown Day

    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.

    Celebrate Fairfax!

    Celebrate Fairfax!

    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.

    June 13-14 – The Annual Massanutten Antique Tractor & Gasoline Engine Club Show is celebrating 25 years. Dads will love checking out the equipment while kids check out the farm toy show, participate in the pedal races, or cheer on the tractor pulls.

    These aren’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to festivals in Virginia. See the whole list!

    Related: 10 Spring Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

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    Events | 1 Comment

    17 Places for Kids to Get Hands-On with Virginia History

    by Casey | Posted on March 24th, 2014

    Connect the dots with your children’s interest in history by allowing them to explore the Virginia sites that let them get their hands dirty and in the mix. Visits to the following 17 locations are perfect for spring break, weekends, and the summer season.

    Jamestown Settlement. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

    Jamestown Settlement. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

    Located in Yorktown, the Yorktown Victory Center puts the struggle for America’s independence on display with exhibits pertaining to the Revolution and the Declaration of Independence, plus, there is also a Continental Army encampment and 1780s farm. Kids will enjoy their time here because they may be invited to join an artillery crew or drill with wooden muskets at the aforementioned encampment, help plant and water the garden, or ”break” and “comb” flax at the farm.

    Jamestown Settlement invites you to explore America’s first permanent English colony. Literally step back in history as you and your children steer with a tiller or whipstaff aboard a re-creation of one of the three ships that brought the first English colonists to Virginia or try on 17th-century-style armor and play quoits at the re-created colonial fort. Want to get your hands dirty? Grind corn, weave plant fibers into cordage and use oyster shells to scrape out a dugout canoe at the Powhatan Indian village.

    The Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton introduces you to life in West Africa (1700s), England (1600s), Ireland (1700s), and Germany (1700s) before these cultures settled in America, bringing their traditions, trades, customs and animals with them. Crops and animals representing each country live at each of the interpretive farms. A special upcoming event that allows you to get especially hands-on is Wool Days, when the sheep will be sheared. Take part in weaving on the Irish farm, carding and spinning wool on the 1820 American farm, sorting and scouring wool at the English farm, and processing flax on the German farm.

    Nauticus is the home of Battleship Wisconsin in Norfolk, and is a maritime science museum. Among the things you can get involved with here are the shark and horseshoe crab touch tanks, experiencing a Category 1 hurricane (fee), exploring an historic World War II battleship, raising the signal flags, packing a sea bag,  and more.

    Gunston Hall in Lorton was the home of George Mason, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights upon which the United States Bill of Rights was based. The home and expanse of land are fabulous to tour as the property backs up to and overlooks the Potomac River. Daily between July and August is a program called History’s Mysteries, an interactive, hands-on search of the grounds and mansion featuring a special clue book and a prize for solving the 18th-century mystery.

    Virginia Sports Hall of  Fame & Museum.

    Virginia Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

    See who the Virginia Hall of Famers are and then maybe try your hand at their sport when you visit the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth. Baseball, football, golf, and basketball areas are all waiting for your best shot. Also check out the Redskins Skybox and the Media Center for simulations of what it’s like to be on the other side of the sports.

    The second Saturday of each month is Family Day at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle. Kids of all ages can explore the interactive museum, venturing through a gallery scavenger hunt and trying on period uniforms. The whole family can experience the weight of a pack as you each go through boot camp, or feel the ground shake as you land on Iwo-Jima in 1945. End the day with a meal in the Mess Hall.

    Let your kids travel back in time and experience the life of a solider during the Civil War at the Brentsville Courthouse Historic Center in Bristow during special Civil War camp opportunities. Hands-on activities include “Enlist in Virginia’s Army” and “Civil War Medicine.” The camp also features a field trip to Manassas National Battlefield Park. Upcoming camp dates include April 14-18, July 21-25, and August 18-22.

    The Rapidan Camp: President and Mrs. Hoover’s “Summer White House” in Shenandoah National Park has recently been restored to its 1929 appearance and is an excellent reflection of not only its era, but also of President Hoover. Kids can board the “Hoover Mover” at Byrd Visitor Center and start learning the history of Rapidan Camp, told by a Park Ranger. Upon arrival at the camp, children explore the restored “Brown House” and nearby Prime Minister’s House, which is a living museum. Visitors are encouraged to wander the camp, and discover why it was the perfect location for the President’s summer getaway.

    Join in the living history aspects of Patrick Henry’s Red Hill in Brookneal. A variety of activities are available, from pottery making, tin punching and blacksmithing to spinning, weaving, and processing flax to linen. The children that attend the living history program spend the day immersed in what life would have been like in Patrick Henry’s day and time. They will get to try their hand at a multitude of activities that would have taken place years ago at Red Hill.

    Touch Tank at Virginia Living Museum.

    Touch Tank at Virginia Living Museum.

    The Virginia Living Museum in Newport News depicts Virginia’s natural heritage from the mountains to the sea. Kids will especially enjoy the Touch Tank with its sea stars and horseshoe crabs, not to mention other opportunities to touch live spider crabs and fossilized dinosaur tracks!

    Head to Hampton and the Virginia Air & Space Center where you can launch a rocket, pilot a shuttle and try on wings to feel the lift that makes things fly.

    Kids will love the chance to experience their own “Night at the Museum” with the sleepovers offered at the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville. Special hands-on activities are offered on these themed nights. Pizza, an evening snack and breakfast are included as part of the fun!

    If you have a little train lover in your midst who has never gotten to board one, head to the Virginia Museum of Transportation in Roanoke and climb aboard a steam locomotive.  Summer camps are available if your child would like an immersive daytime experience.

    Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park.

    Civil War Adventure Camp at Pamplin Historical Park.

    Called “the new crown jewel of Civil War History destinations in America” by Pulitzer Prize historian James McPherson, Pamplin Historical Park in Petersburg has four world-class museums, four antebellum homes and is the site of the Breakthrough Battlefield of April 2, 1865, where Union forces broke through Petersburg’s defense lines. Here kids can get their hands on uniforms to try on (just their size!), and be prompted to perform other activities throughout the park. Go big or go home with the opportunity to participate in a Civil War Adventure Camp – perfect for all ages, so parents can attend, too.

    The National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly welcomes you to check out their staff-led roving Discovery Stations. The stations may be different in topic each time you encounter one. For example, the Animation Station allows you to generate a stop motion animated film with toys while the Rats in Space Station demonstrates gravity. Flight simulators are also on site along with the hundreds of aircraft and space exploration vehicles.

    Perhaps the quintessential hands-on history opportunity in Virginia is found at Colonial Williamsburg where the entire Revolutionary City is interprets 18th century life. Try brickmaking, try the daily chores on for size at the James Geddy House or the Powell House, and get caught in the stocks for a photo opportunity. There are opportunities to see how things were made and done during the 18th century and sometimes you’ll be invited to join in; watch for your chance!

    At which Virginia attraction have you had an unexpected hands-on learning opportunity? Share your story with a comment!

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    Family, History | 1 Comment

    5 Out of the Way Places to Explore in Northern Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 6th, 2014

    Let’s say you’ve visited the bigger attractions in Northern Virginia and now want something out of the ordinary to do. Got it. Let’s go …

    Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

    Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

    1. The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary  Museum in Alexandria is a quirky place straight out of 1796. As one of Alexandria’s oldest continually run businesses, the Apothecary has a remarkable collection of medical equipment, herbal botanicals, handblown glass, and archival materials (i.e. journals, diaries, prescription and formula books, etc.), many with famous names included. Certainly you’ve heard of Martha Washington, Nelly Custis and Robert E. Lee?

    Beyond taking a 30-minute guided tour, sign up for the special Behind the Counter Tour that allows you to get up close and personal with the objects that aren’t typically displayed. The tour is 90 minutes for no more than eight people at $15 each. The standard 30-minute tour is $5 per adult and $3 for ages 5 to 12. $1 off coupon

    Upcoming Events:

    • March 16 – Wonders of Science - Discover curious objects, from poison bottles to dragon’s blood, and find out how they were used–and if they worked.
    • April 6 – Mad Science - Meet the museum’s very own mad scientist, bringing to life some crazy concoctions and the science behind them.

    2. Bugs are so cool to so many kids. Let them get a really good look at exotic insects, spiders, crustaceans, a pet snake, turtles, frogs, toads, salamanders, and more when they visit the quaint Bug Box in Fredericksburg. You’ll all have a story to tell when you join the “I Ate a Bug Club.” To join, just eat a chocolate covered cricket! Bug Box is a perfect day time activity for spring break, summer, or for families with preschoolers, as the public hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is $3 per person.

    Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park

    Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park

    3. The pre-Revolutionary War Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park in McLean is a delightful surprise. Once you’re on the grounds, consider yourself in 1771. Period interpreters perform the chores and work the farm as was conducted in the 18th century by the Thornton family.

    Think your children would like to give the chores a try? The Farm Skills Program  allows them to pound corn, card wool, dip candles, and more. Reservations are required, and the program is available select Thursdays throughout the year. Claude Moore Colonial Farm National Park opens for the season April 2, 2014. Admission is $3 per adult, $2 per child, and $2 per senior over age 60.

    Riverfront view of Gunston Hall

    Riverfront view of Gunston Hall

    4. Beyond Virginia’s presidents, there are many other famous figures to learn about through their preserved Virginia homes. George Mason IV and his Gunston Hall Plantation is but one example. Mason was the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, the document upon which the United States Bill of Rights was based. His home was constructed between 1755 and 1759 on 5,500 acres overlooking the Potomac River in Lorton. The corn and tobacco plantation now sits at 550 acres. Tour this grand estate daily, including the stately home, outbuildings and hiking trails. Admission is $10 per adult, $5 per child 6 to 18, and $8 per senior 60 and older. $1 off coupon

    5. Little train lovers (and maybe big train lovers, too) will enjoy a Saturday morning visit to the Railway Workers’ Museum in Fredericksburg. Take a self-guided tour of the restored rail cars, the artifacts that lie within, and if crew is available, a ride on the Little Yellow Train! Rides are dependent upon weather and commercial rail activity, but offer a feel of how 1900′s rail workers commuted to their work site. Open mid-March through mid-November. No admission fee.

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