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    Do you recognize one of the oldest tourist destinations in the US? This beauty has been included on several "Seven Natural Wonders of the World" lists, was surveyed by George Washington in 1750 and was once owned by Thomas Jefferson as a personal retreat. While you're visiting don't forget to swing by the legendary Foamhenge, explore the Natural Bridge Caverns and get your photo taken with a baby tiger at the Natural Bridge Zoo. Photo credit: @takeiteasybee #loveva #virginia #vaoutdoors #naturalwonder #naturalbridge #howisummer #vatravel #virginiaisforlovers #photooftheday #fatherson
    #HappyBirthday to #NASA, launched 51 years ago in 1958. This is an awesome shot of the Minotaur V launch from #WallopsIsland, #Virginia last September by @_miancab. If you're interested in watching their next #launch, the Antares is scheduled for October of this year (date TBD). You can view from bleachers or the rooftop observation deck at the Wallops Island Flight Facility Visitor Center OR you can watch from Chincoteague or the Assateague Island beach. #rocket #loveva #space #stars #photooftheday #blastoff @nasa
    Is everyone excited for #Virginia #CraftBeer Month next month? It's time to put your game face on and visit a new local #brewery or get adventuresome on a #VA #beer trail. Find your way at Virginia.org/craftbeer and tag your photos with #vacraftbeermonth! This is glass of @ardentcraftales' #IPA, found on tap in Richmond. #rva #vabeer #drinklocal #locavore #ardentcraftales
    Spend a day at Buckroe #Beach in Hampton, #Virginia. You'll find a popular cobia fishing #pier and kayak, paddleboat, chair and umbrella rentals. If you time your visit right, you'll even get to hear some live music in the beachside pavilion. Photo props to @jennaevelyndill. Post your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here! #repost #ocean #howisummer #sand #photooftheday
  • Posts Tagged ‘festival’

    Covered Bridges for Father’s Day

    by Casey | Posted on June 13th, 2012

    Woolwine in Patrick County is the site of the official Virginia Covered Bridge Festival that occurs every year at the Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges. The festival is this Saturday, June 16, and includes horse and wagon rides, antique car show, a duck race on the river, arts, crafts, great music at both bridge locations, a petting zoo, bounce houses, and delicious food vendors. It’s a free day of family fun that kicks off at 8 AM with the Covered Bridge 5K Run/Walk.

    A great day for family.

    A great day for family.

    The 5K benefits a variety of local charities including the Patrick County Food Bank, Patrick County Adult Developmental Center, and the Caring Hearts Free Clinic. The route begins near the Bob White Covered Bridge in Woolwine and ends near the Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge. Entrance fee is $25. Register.

    If you get into town early and are looking for a cool way to relax, the Reynolds Homestead at Fairy Stone State Park (just a little over 9 miles away from Woolwine) is hosting “Free Range Possums,” a Blacksburg band that has been described as a “musical conundrum” playing everything from Bach on banjo to swing. Friday night at 7:30 PM. $4 park admission.

    After the festival winds down and before you depart for home, Chateau Morrisette Winery is hosting a Father’s Day Luncheon on Sunday at 11 AM. Chateau Morrisette is located in Floyd, about 9 miles from Woolwine. Reservations are recommended, but regular tours and tastings will be available at noon, 2 and 4 PM if the luncheon is already booked.

    Places to Stay

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    Destinations, Family, History, Outdoors | 1 Comment

    Tall Ships Pack the Harbor in Norfolk

    by Casey | Posted on June 6th, 2012

    This is the time to get up close and personal with gigantic ships. Truly, you can’t appreciate their enormity until you’re standing next to them.

    Norfolk Harborfest

    The USS Wisconsin

    Norfolk Harborfest® is a long-loved festival in Virginia and this year is especially impressive as it’s the cornerstone event for the grand OpSail 2012 Virginia™ celebration that began June 1 and contines through June 12.

    Harborfest® kicks off this Friday, June 8, and is packed with waterfront activities for the whole family. The Parade of Sail (all the tall ships sailing through with their flags flying), a tremendous fireworks show (the largest on the East Coast), tall ship tours, pirates, Virginia wine sampling, and so much more make this four-day festival worth the drive and long weekend stay. The events are free and you can expect more than 130 hours of live entertainment on several stages, including some national musical acts!

    • Gavin DeGraw – Friday at 6PM
    • Colbie Caillat – Friday at 8:30 PM
    • Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers – Saturday at 8:30 PM
    • Edwin McCain – Sunday at 3:45 PM

    ~ These performers will be on the Budweiser Main Stage at Town Point Park.

    Harborfest face painting

    Kids love face painting!

    Familes, there is something special in store for you on Sunday! From 10 AM until noon, enjoy a meet-and-greet with Nick Jr’s Foofa™ & Toodee™ from yo! gabba! gabba!™ ©2010. They’ll be at the Main Stage awaiting your arrival along with three nearby bounce houses, a balloon artist and face painting.

    Tips for Harborfest®:

    • Welcome Centers are positioned at key points and can offer visitor assistance, as well as comfort stations for infant diaper changing: West Ghent Piers at MHI, Plum Point and Front Street Park at Fort Norfolk, Freemason Green, Harbor Park, Town Point Park & NOAA.
    • Shaded seating is available in the Boathouse and the Tavern within Town Point Park, Freemason Green, Front Street Stage at Front Street Park and MHI Stage at West Ghent Piers. You’ll find bistro tables, chairs, and umbrellas spread throughout the festival area.
    • PROHIBITED: bikes, skateboards, roller skates, scooters, any and all motorized vehicles, glass bottles, and pets that are not for disability assistance.
    • For guests with disabilities, parking is available at all City of Norfolk parking garages and wheelchair accessible portolets are stationed in Town Point Park, West Ghent Piers at MHI, and Front Street Park at Fort Norfolk. Special seating arrangements can be made for stage performances, just inquire with event security or a uniformed staff member.
    • Download the official program for more information regarding parking, free shuttles, the event schedule, and maps of the festival: 1 of 2  *  2 of 2

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    Events, Family, Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    Virginia’s Summer Music Festivals

    by Casey | Posted on May 29th, 2012

    As you get back to work after a long holiday weekend, let us help you brainstorm other ways to spend your days off this summer. You know you’re ready to walk away and enjoy life outside the workplace again. Or is it just me?

    Music events are huge during the summer months with various genres and venues. Most assuredly, there’s a summer music festival just for you. Like a jazz sax over a mandolin? I’ve got one for you. Let’s dig in.

    Beach Music

    Stuart Beach Music Festival

    Stuart Beach Music Festival

    Stuart’s 31st Annual Hot Fun in the Summertime Beach Music Festival is June 7-9. Now you might be thinking, “beach music in the Blue Ridge Highlands?” Well, yes. The sand is trucked in and the bands are annual favorites at any beach music event you encounter. Come camp out, kick back and listen or shag to Band of Oz, The Tams, Jim Quick & Coastline, The Holiday Band, Big Daddy Love, and The Mark Roberts Band.

    The Band of Oz gets around, I tell ya. See them again at the StellarOne Beach Music Festival in Buena Vista on July 28 at Glen Maury Park. They’re headlining along with Magnificents Band.

    Bluegrass and Old Time

    Old time fiddlin’ is hot in the summer. So hot that competitions are held with prize money, ribbons, and trophies going to the favorite musicians and bands. If “pickin’ and grinnin’” is your slice of life, pull up a camp chair, but make sure your flat footin’ shoes are at the ready.

    Blues and Jazz

    The Virginia Blues & Jazz Festival is held at Garth Newel in Hot Springs June 15-17. The performers are quite acclaimed – Grammy Award winners Grupo Fantasma and The Robert Cray Band promise an amazing weekend in the mountains.

    Winchester Blues House Festival

    Winchester Blues House Festival

    In Hampton, the namesake Hampton Jazz Festival gets underway June 22 and is a three day event. Going strong for 45 years, the nation’s top blues, jazz, soul, and pop performers know they can count on a great crowd when they perform this event. Which top performers? How about Kenny G, Charlie Wilson, Natalie Cole, Monica, Jill Scott, Dave Koz, and BeBe Winans? They’ll be there with a few others.

    The Winchester Blues House Festival is unique in that 100% of the festival net proceeds benefit local Habitat for Humanity efforts. Enjoy great musicians including headliner The Pat Travers Band on July 14.

    This summer marks the 30th year for the Norfolk Jazz Festival and it promises to be better than ever with Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, Marcus Anderson, Peter Wright, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, and more. July 20-21.

    In a League of Its Own

    FloydFest

    FloydFest

    FloydFest. Now there’s one of Virginia’s key summer music events. Camp around the Blue Cow Pavilion for four days (July 26-29) of “Lovers Rock” – seven stages hosting more than 50 musical performances spanning generations, more than 100 artisans, demonstrations, workshops, a Children’s Universe, babysitting service, and plenty of amazing food.

    The list of FloydFest performers is outstanding. To mention but a few …

    • Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas
    • Jackson Browne
    • Brandi Carlile
    • Drive By Truckers
    • Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers
    • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder
    • Punch Brothers

    Variety at the Beach

    Virginia Beach is a given summer destination, but here’re a few more reasons why the call of the oceanfront is a little louder for music lovers.

    Hardee’s Latin Fest is big on flavor – both in food and in music. Shake what you got as Salsa, Merengue, and Jazz are key to this event. June 8 and 9 on the beach at 24th Street. Free!

    Sandstock – A Blast from the Past is just that. Cover bands for 60s, 70s, and 80s music take over the 17th, 24th, and 31st Street parks June 22-24. If you love The Who, Led Zeppelin, Bon Jovi, Rolling Stones, Pat Benatar, Elvis, and other key figures from those music periods, you’ll love this festival. Bring your tie dye and lots of hairspray! Free.

    The big hits of summer at the beach come in the form of The Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. One giant stage sits on the sand and all of the other stages along the boardwalk are utilized as well for this three day multi-genre event. This year’s headliners are O.A.R., Cheap Trick, and Train. You’ve gotta be there – August 31-September 2.

    Even Classical!

    It might come as a surprise, but even classical music draws a festival crowd. See what I mean …

    The Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival is held June 10-17 in Harrisonburg. Lawn chairs and cut-offs are discouraged, since this festival is held in a concert hall. Expect to see Grammy Award winner Eugene Friesen.

    Wintergreen Resort hosts the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival the weekends of July 6-8, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, and August 4-5. Enjoy pieces by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, Corelli, and Bach.

    Just a little way down the road, classical junkies can experience a variety of venues to take in the sounds of the Staunton Music Festival August 17-25.

    If this is still not enough for you to choose from, never fear. It’s not a comprehensive list and you can find more music and festivals at Virginia.org.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Festivals | Comments Off

    10 Great Summer Festivals

    by Casey | Posted on May 16th, 2012

    Festival season is officially underway in Virginia and this handy list will give you some ideas of how to spend your upcoming weekends.

    Virginia Lake Festival

    Virginia Lake Festival

    1. May 19-20: Monacan Indian Nation Pow Wow in Madison Heights. $7 for adults, $5 for kids. If you’ve never experienced an authentic pow wow before, go to this one. Full regalia, drums, dancing, crafts, American Buffalo, Eagles, great food, and age-old stories make this a memorable event.

    2. May 25-28: 43rd Annual Roanoke Festival in the Park in Roanoke. Free with the exception of evening concerts. This festival has taken a turn towards the arts, making it a great day or more for families to see a variety of creations. Expect to see sand sculptures, fine arts and crafts, cloggers, BMXers, animal acts, and even big names in concert – Gin Blossoms, Lee Brice, and Craig Morgan.

    3. May 31-June 3: 32nd Annual Herndon Festival in Herndon. Centered on families, this festival includes carnival rides, games, kids’ hands-on activity area, a model railway exhibit, and fireworks!

    4. June 1-3: Blackbeard Pirate Festival in Hampton. Arrgh! The pirate ships sail in to Hampton’s waterfront and hand-to-hand battles are waged just off the dock. Immerse yourselves as garbed scallywags meander the grounds singing sea chanties and telling tales. The photo ops are priceless! Fireworks, encampments, character entertainment for little ones at Little Swashbuckler Stage, and even cutlass-swinging lessons.

    5. June 1-3: Patriotic Festival: A Celebration of Our Military in Virginia Beach. Little boys and big boys alike will especially enjoy the power-packed punch this festival delivers. The line-up for this year includes the Discovery Channel’s American Chopper with Paul Junior unveiling his custom military themed chopper, the Washington Redskins, great Monster Energy giveaways, Corvette Museum Racing Tour, Air National Guard simulators, the Blue Angels Oceanfront Air Show, and so, so much more.

    Virginia Covered Bridge Festival

    Virginia Covered Bridge Festival

    6. June 8-11: Norfolk Harborfest® in Norfolk. Days of free entertainment including more pirates, tall ships, Battleship Wisconsin tours, fireworks, live music, Virginia wine sampling for mom and dad, face painting, make-and-take crafts, and appearances by Nick Jr’s Yo! Gabba! Gabba! characters.

    7. June 16: Virginia Covered Bridge Festival in Woolwine. This festival is a little bit of nostalgia for you and a little glimpse of something that isn’t as common as it used to be for the kids. Hop aboard a wagon and take a ride between two of Virginia’s treasured covered bridges – Jack’s Creek and Bob White, browse the antique cars on display, let the kids cheer on the duck race, pet the animals, and bounce around in the inflatables to wear down their energy.

    8. July 19-21: Virginia Lake Festival in Clarksville. Tethered hot air balloon rides, sand sculptors, lots of food and more than 200 vendors to browse, helicopter rides, antique cars, live music, and so much more await your family at this must-attend event at Virginia’s only lakeside town.

    9. July 21-22: Renaissance Festival in Gloucester. Knights and ladies, do attend this medieval-style festival and learn to juggle, be knighted yourself, dance the maypole, and find other fun shennanigans to partake in. Free!

    10. August 11: 5th Annual Smith River Fest in Axton. The outdoorsy family will thrive at this festival that’s all about the river! Enter the river race, learn to tie flies and cast a line, take a guided paddle trip, enjoy the live music,  or go for a float. The kids will be entertained in a number of ways, including the Kids Village with inflatables, climbing wall, and more.

    If your interest in festivals is piqued, go on to Virginia.org and see more! There are beer, wine, and quite a variety of food festivals that you’re sure to enjoy.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Family | 2 Comments

    Three Days of Music and Sports in Richmond

    by Casey | Posted on April 26th, 2012

    Growing by leaps and bounds as it enters its fourth year, Dominion Riverrock presented by Subaru is now a three-day festival with even more excitement than in years past.

    Dominion Riverrock 2011. Photo by Dena Miller.
    Dominion Riverrock 2011. Photo by Dena Miller.

    With the beautiful skyline of downtown Richmond as the backdrop, athletes, musicians, and even dogs take center stage in a variety of events on Brown’s Island May 18-20. This is the premier outdoor lifestyle event for the East Coast, and spectators have much to see and experience. It’s a smorgasbord of everything there is to love about Virginia’s outdoors brought right into an urban, river front setting.

    New for 2012, Dominion Riverrock will have two stages of live music to highlight more than 20 bands. All concerts are free.

    Friday, May 18

    • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 5 p.m.
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 1, 5 p.m.
    • Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run, 6 p.m.
    • Native Freestyle Bikes, best trick qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: Zati, 6:30-7 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: DJ Phil Dice, 6:30-7 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Native Freestyle Bikes, best trick finals, 7-8 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,000
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 2, 7 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: Long Arms, 7:15-8:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: The Roots Down, 7:15-8:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s qualifying, 8-9 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: The Travelin’ McCourys featuring Keller Williams, 9-11 p.m. (Brown’s Island)

    Dominion Riverrock 2011. Images by Tiet Danny, Caroline Leggett, Cory Brodzinski, Scott and Daniel Lin.
    Saturday, May 19

    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 3, 1 p.m.
    • Kayak Boatercross, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $450
    • Thule Urban Assault Mountain Bike Race, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $400
    • Slackline, qualifying, 1-3 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: The Shack Band, 1-2 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: Everwilde, 1-2 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s quarterfinals, 1:30-3:10 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: The Bush League, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: The Rift, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 4, 3 p.m.
    • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Cross, 4 p.m. – 1st place will receive $250
    • FREE CONCERT: The Milkstains, 4-5 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: J3 Project, 4-5 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s quarterfinals, 4-5:40 p.m.
    • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 5 p.m.
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 5, 5 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: The Hot Seats, 5:30-6:3o p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: Grease Trigger, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • James River Scramble 10K Trail Run, 6 p.m. – 1st place will receive $500
    • Native Freestyle Bikes, slopestyle qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 6, 7 p.m.
    • Slackline, semifinals, 7-8 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: JJ Grey & Mofro, 7-8:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: The Air Circus, 7-8 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s semifinals, 7-8:10 p.m.
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s semifinals, 8:10-9:20 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: Galactic, 9-10:30 p.m.

    Sunday, May 20

    • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 1 p.m.
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 7, 1 p.m.
    • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Enduro, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $250
    • Dyno Comp, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $500
    • FREE CONCERT: Crucial Elements, 1-2 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: Spaceheaters, 1-2 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Dirt Crit Short Track Mountain Bike Race, 2 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: Beast Wellington, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: Zep Replica, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Kayak Freestyle, 3 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,000
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 8, 3 p.m.
    • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s and women’s, 3-4:30 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,500
    • Slackline, finals, 4 p.m.
    • Ultimate Air Dogs, finals, 4 p.m.
    • FREE CONCERT: Farm Vegas, 4-5 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
    • FREE CONCERT: Skydog, 4-5 p.m. (Tredegar)
    • Native Freestyle Bikes, slopestyle finals, 4:30 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,200
    Richmond Whitewater Rafting
    Richmond Whitewater Rafting

    Dominion Riverrock is free to spectators. Additionally, recreational kayaks will be available for festival-goers who’d like to give one a try on the canal - free! Likewise, SUP, or Stand Up Paddleboard, can be experienced for free on the canal. A Slacklining area (think tightrope balancing at the circus) will be set up at Tredegar for anyone who has an interest in testing their balance. This, too, is free.

    Richmond is the only city that has Class IV whitewater rapids coursing through its limits. Riverside Outfitters invites you to try “Pipeline” – the Class III-IV rapids – on your own whitewater rafting trip. The trips will run every 30 minutes throughout the weekend and will depart from Brown’s Island. Cost is $20 per person.

    The Richmond Region
    Places to Stay
    Places to Eat
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    Events, Family, Outdoors | 1 Comment