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    @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 🌾🌸🌿
    #Bacon wrapped #porktenderloin at Helen's for #Restaurant Week: country sausage-apple stuffing, baked black lentils, cabbage-bell pepper and #Virginia #barbecue glaze. #heaven #dinner #rva #rvadine #loveva #vafood #eatlocal #restaurantweek #yummy @rvanews @rvais4lovers
  • Posts Tagged ‘Heart of Appalachia’

    Virginia by Motorcycle

    by Casey | Posted on June 12th, 2012

    Motorcycles are the epitome of freedom. Wide open roads full of sun, wind, and nothing holding you down or back. Go where you want to go, see what you want to see. Yesterday’s cares are in that tiny rear view mirror, if only for a short while.

    Back of the Dragon

    Back of the Dragon

    Scenic drives through Virginia are so rewarding. The views are quite literally breathtaking, the serenity of being away from interstates and major thoroughfares is unequaled, and besides needing a stretch once in a while, you might not want to stop riding. Here are a few suggestions for a weekend ride through the countryside.

    Back of the Dragon is Route 16 between Marion and Tazewell. The route courses over three mountains for a total of about 33 miles. For a taste of what the ride is like, see this clip of a Harley-Davidson V-ROD laying through the turns.

    A winding route that delivers up great river and mountain views is Route 39. Begin in Lexington, traversing through Goshen Pass and working your way to Warm Springs. Along the way you’ll have stop over points like Dan Ingalls Overlook. Eventually you’ll find yourself passing the historic sites at the base of Warm Springs Mountain – Jefferson Pools and The Milk House Market and Old Dairy Barn. Take 220 over into Hot Springs and check out The Homestead Resort. Sam Snead’s Tavern is the perfect place to dine and have a cold beer.

    The Blue Ridge Parkway is undeniably the most beautiful route for drivers and riders alike. Ride it for a while and then hop off to see the other sites along the way on the 50-mile Nelson Scenic Loop. The Loop winds along the BRP, Route 56, Route 151 and Route 664, and includes unique attractions like the Montebello Fish Hatchery, Crabtree Falls and Devil’s Backbone Brewery.

    The Route 611 Cumberland Mountain Scenic Drive is a mountain course in Clintwood with incredible overlooks and an abundance of wildlife. If you find yourself looking for a great place to stay, this route is just a few miles from Breaks Interstate Park on the VA/KY border. You can have a true outdoors weekend in the Heart of Appalachia.

    For more ride ideas, check out our Scenic Drives & Places directory.

    Blue Ridge Parkway

    Blue Ridge Parkway

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    >> Request a free Virginia Travel Guide, then go to any Virginia Welcome Center for a thank you gift! <<



    Couples, Outdoors | 2 Comments

    Art? We have trails for that.

    by Casey | Posted on April 30th, 2012

    If you’re on the hunt for handmade treasures why not throw in a scenic drive and make a weekend of it? Virginia’s artisan trails are immense. Each trail highlights Virginia’s beauty captured in virtually any medium of your choice, as well as right in front of your eyes.

    Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway

    Heartwood: Southwest Virginia's Artisan Gateway

    Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Network is known as ‘Round the Mountain. The network claims 19 counties and four cities’ worth of studios, galleries, vineyards, and more. It’s important to note that The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail intersects and may, in fact, run the same course occasionally as the ‘Round the Mountain trail network, so lend an ear while you treat your eyes.

    To make the ‘Round the Mountain network easier to navigate, the system is broken up into smaller trails.

    From the west and bordering Kentucky and Tennessee is the Wilderness Road Artisan Trail encompassing Lee and Scott Counties. North of that are the Lonesome Pine (Wise County) and  Rivers to Ridges (Dickenson and Buchanan Counties) artisan trails. Creeping west toward the Clinch River and named for it is the Clinch River Artisan Trail of Tazewell and Russell Counties.

    Marty Dunn, an artisan at Cave Arts in Abingdon, weaves a basket. Photo by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.

    Marty Dunn, an artisan at Cave Arts in Abingdon, weaves a basket. Photo by CameronDavidson @CameronDavidson.com.

    The Interstate 81 corridor is a busy one. Hop off the rat race and see these trails with much to offer. In Montgomery County (Blacksburg) is the Montgomery County Artisan Trail, but if you venture just west you’ll also encounter the artisans of the Giles Art & Adventure Trail. Moving south along I81 is the New River Artisan Trail in Pulaski, Mountain Crossroads in Bland County and Wytheville, Smyth County Artisan Trail in Saltville, and Countryside Artisan Trail in Abingdon, Damascus, and Bristol. While you’re in Abingdon, check out Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. In reality, it’s a great place to kick off the whole adventure!

    If you’re already off the beaten path and perhaps traversing the captivating Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find artisans all around you. Beginning in Franklin County around Rocky Mount, you’ll be in the middle of the White Lightning Artisan Trail (yes, THAT kind of white lightning).

    As you move south into the front-porch jam town of Floyd, you’ll also be in the midst of great art on the Floyd County Trail. Harmony Trail goes into Carroll County and the Hillsville area. Southwest is the Woven Mountains and River Bends Trail of Grayson County along the North Carolina border. Back to the east is the last trail of the network – Hidden Treasures - in Stuart and Patrick County.

    As if those trails aren’t enough, the rest of Virginia boasts some art, too. Venture the Discover the Arts Trail in Hampton Roads. It highlights 35 visual arts and 16 performing arts venues around the Historic Triangle.

    In Nelson and Albemarle Counties you’ll find the Monticello Artisan Trail. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop to agriculture and history, the arts along this trail will fulfill a wide array of tastes.

    To  the west and spanning Staunton, August and Waynesboro is The HeART and Soil of the Shenandoah Valley. A world-class theatre in the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse gives this particular trail a little oomph.

    Lastly, the Western Highlands Artisan Trail includes Alleghany, Bath, Craig, and Highland Counties. From The Homestead to beautiful Humpback Bridge and famous maple syrup, this trail has tremendous scenic value in addition to the handmade arts.

    Visit Virginia.org/ArtisanTrails to download trail brochures and plan your trip. LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.



    Arts, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    A Unique Ride for Lights

    by Casey | Posted on December 9th, 2011

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy of Virginia State Parks

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

    In Duffield, the Heart of Appalachia, lies Natural Tunnel State Park. It’s a beautiful setting year ’round, but something really exciting for visitors of every age happens around this time of year: 8 Days of Christmas!

    Eight Days of Christmas at Natural Tunnel occurs December 9, 10, 16, and 17, and is a light show with a twist: experience the lights from the chairlift! Thousands of bulbs and animated figures are delightful sights as you descend. The fun doesn’t end when the chairlift does. There are carolers and other entertainers by campfire for your enjoyment. Add a cup of hot chocolate to this peaceful night and you’ll realize you’re in a real winter wonderland.

    Care to stay? There are still cabins available for this weekend, but the weekend of the 16th is sold out.

    Park Fees:

    • Weekday Parking: $2
    • Weekend Parking: $3
    • Chairlift: $3; under age 6 is free
    • Off-Season Nightly Cabin Rate: 2BR $88; 3BR $110; 6 BR $275
    Natural Tunnel image courtesy of Virginia State Parks

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

    Getting There:

    1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway
    Duffield, VA 24244

    Natural Tunnel State Park is about 13 miles north of Gate City and 20 miles north of Kingsport, TN. From I-81, take U.S. 23 North to Gate City (about 20 miles). The turn-off to the park is at mile marker 17.4 on Rt. 23. Take Natural Tunnel Parkway about one mile east to park entrance.

     

    Quick facts about Natural Tunnel:

    • The Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the tunnel and 100 surrounding acres in 1967, and later acquired an additional 850 acres. The park was opened in 1971.
    • The tunnel is 850′ long and 100′ high inside.



    Family, Outdoors, The Holidays | Comments Off

    Fall Hunting and Fishing

    by Casey | Posted on September 23rd, 2011

    Fishing at CornerStone Farm

    Fishing at CornerStone Farm

    Tomorrow, September 24, is National Hunting and Fishing Day. No, it is not a day for hunting and fishing, but a day of recognition for true hunters and fishermen who are conservation minded.

    About National Hunting and Fishing Day
    “On May 2, 1972, President Nixon signed the first proclamation of National Hunting and Fishing Day, writing, ‘I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations.’”

    “National Hunting and Fishing Day, celebrated the fourth Saturday of every September, remains the most effective grassroots efforts ever undertaken to promote the outdoor sports and conservation.”  (nhfday.org)

    Each year an honorary chairperson is recognized for National Hunting and Fishing Day. In 2000, Ward Burton, a NASCAR Daytona 500 winner and avid conservationist from Virginia held the chair. “Conservation is a balance between progress and taking care of our natural resources,” said Burton in a 2008 “Portrait of Passion” video for Virginia Tourism Corporation.

    In honor of National Hunting and Fishing Day, we invite you to explore Fish Virginia First, the Mid-Atlantic’s premier fishing trail encompassing the streams, lakes and rivers of 38 Virginia localities. (explore the trail)



    Fall in Virginia, Outdoors | 1 Comment

    Follow Your Heart to the Tune of Heritage

    by Casey | Posted on April 27th, 2011

    Free vacation, anyone? The next prize in the Follow Your Heart to Virginia Sweepstakes is to the Heart of Appalachia, Virginia’s western most region, where you’ll find rich mountain heritage, outdoor recreation, and beautiful vistas.

    Prize #5: Follow Your Heart to the Tune of Heritage
    Drawing Date: May 13, 2011

    Natural Tunnel State Park chairliftOur winner will begin his or her vacation in Pounding Mill with a two-night stay at the Holiday Inn Express. Explore 14 log cabins built during the 1880s to learn what life was like in the “wild west” of Virginia while at the Crab Orchard Museum and Pioneer Park.  Take a guided tour of the nearby Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine and Museum, where 44,000,000 tons of coal were mined while “coal was king.”

    Then it’s three nights at Natural Tunnel State Park, one of Virginia’s award-winning state parks celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2011. The tunnel, naturally carved through a limestone ridge over thousands of years, is more than 850 feet long and as high as a 10-story building. Take the chair lift to the tunnel floor for spectacular views. Enjoy the park’s swimming pool, cave tours, a canoe trip on the Clinch River and special nature programs.

    The Heart of Appalachia is home to many artisans of Round the Mountain: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Trail. The Appalachian Arts Center in Richlands is a great spot to see works from many of the artisans. At the Sandy Head Ostrich Farm, located in Tazewell, our winner will learn about and interact with the world’s largest bird!

    Take in a live performance at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, to watch, or join, audience members who clog at each performance. Visit the Ralph Stanley Museum and Traditional Mountain Music Center in Clintwood. The state-of-the art museum tells the story of this music legend and the history of mountain music through interactive displays.

    If you entered to win a previous prize but didn’t win, you’re still eligible and entered to win this one! No sweat!

    This prize is good for one winner plus three. It’s family fun at it’s best! See more prize details.

    Enter to Win!

    You must be a legal resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia who is 21 years of age or older to enter. All sweepstakes entrants will receive the official 2011 Virginia Travel Guide. For more information and prize drawing dates please read the Official Rules and Prize Details. Sweepstakes ends August 25, 2011.



    Sweepstakes | Comments Off