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  • Posts Tagged ‘history’

    16 Bed and Breakfasts for Virginia History Explorations

    by Casey | Posted on April 16th, 2014

    Virginia’s most popular history attractions are always within reach, but come a bit closer. Pair your history jaunt with a stay at the closest bed and breakfasts.

    A Williamsburg White House Bed and Breakfast

    A Williamsburg White House Bed and Breakfast

    Historic Jamestowne is the first permanent English settlement in North America. Colonists arrived here in 1607; John Rolfe and Pocahontas were married here in 1614; and the first representative assembly in America met here in 1619. Archaeology walking tours are available daily and the on-site archaeology museum will give you quite the view and understanding of the important ground you tread upon. Within five miles, choose from these four immaculate bed and breakfasts.

    The Powell House Garden at Colonial Williamsburg

    The Powell House Garden at Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City takes you inside 1775 and the beginning of the Revolution. Meet the townspeople, tradesmen, shopkeepers, political figures, women, and enslaved that call Williamsburg home. As one can imagine when considering the historic nature of the Williamsburg area, bed and breakfasts are plentiful. Here are a few contenders within walking distance of Colonial Williamsburg.

    • Fife & Drum Inn (.6 mile) – Nine distinctive rooms and suites are decorated in the flavor of the 18th century but with a modern twist.
    • Colonial Capital B&B Inn (.8 mile) – Colonial Revival boasts a rich blend of warmth, style, and comfort.
    • Applewood Colonial B&B (.8 mile) – Stately Georgian modeled after early Colonial Williamsburg restoration efforts.
    • The Williamsburg Manor (.8 mile) – Southern hospitality in a fresh and eclectic setting. Recently updated to combine the spirit of Williamsburg with the most modern of amenities.

    Yorktown Victory Center is a museum of the American Revolution chronicling America’s struggles for independence. Exhibits include a rare early broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence dating to July 1776, a predecessor to the handwritten parchment copy signed by members of Congress. Within a mile of the Center are two historic B&Bs to choose from.

    Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

    Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

    Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop¬†Monticello in Charlottesville is a must-see historic destination. It’s the only U.S. presidential and private home on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stay at The Inn at Monticello, just two miles away, to enjoy the home, gardens, and views Jefferson loved so much. It’s an 1850s southern manor with romantic guest rooms and hearty gourmet breakfast.

    Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens are located in northern Virginia right on the banks of the Potomac River. Visit to see the new Ford Orientation Center, the most famous dentures in the world, heritage animal breeds, Washington’s distillery, and so much more. ¬†Just over six miles away is the charming Gatsby’s House Bed and Breakfast in Old Town Alexandria. The proximity to everything in Old Town is reason enough to stay.

    Montpelier was James Madison’s lifelong home. Take a guided tour of his and Dolley’s house, the expansive gardens, and other points of interest on the 2,650-acre estate. The closest bed and breakfast for your presidential explorations is Inn at Westwood Farm, just 1.3 miles away. Four beautifully appointed rooms are available in the 1910 farmhouse, and the concierge service is renowned.

    James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Photo by Richard Bronson.

    James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland. Photo by Richard Bronson.

    James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland will catch you by surprise. It’s far more modest than the aforementioned presidential homes. In fact, Monroe called his home his “cabin castle.” Tours are offered daily, and the working farm adds to the attraction. Only two miles away is a very comfortable b&b, the only one in Charlottesville that also has a working vineyard – Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast. While it’s not a historic home as others mentioned in this post, it’s very well-appointed with no detail overlooked. You can even take their local winery tour with dinner transportation provided.

    Of note, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Montpelier, and Ash Lawn-Highland are sites along the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail.

    In Ewing, find Wilderness Road State Park, 310 acres that lie astride the Wilderness Road, a route carved by Daniel Boone in 1775. The route, which followed a buffalo trace, opened America’s first western frontier. Most notable in the park is the Karlan Mansion, built in the 1877. Stay seven miles away at the Wilderness Road Bed and Breakfast, and ask for the master suite. The sweeping views from the balcony will leave you breathless.

    Civil War enthusiasts can visit the location of the war’s end in April 1865 – Appomattox Court House and National Historical Park.¬†The highlight is the McLean House where Generals Lee and Grant crafted and signed the terms of surrender, bringing an end to the bloodiest chapter of United States history. Babcock House Bed & Breakfast Inn is just .2 mile away and includes an on-site restaurant. The B&B is a graceful 1893 manor home with its own historical story to tell.

    Every corner of Virginia seeps history. Find more historic sites and the lovely accommodations near them when planning your next visit.

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    Couples, History, Virginia Destinations | 0 Comments

    AMC’s New Series “TURN” Filmed in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on April 1st, 2014

    “TURN,” the brand new television¬†series by AMC, has been filming on location in Virginia and premieres Sunday, April 6, 2014¬†at 9 p.m. EST.

    Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull and Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull. Photo: Antony Platt/AMC

    Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull and Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull. Photo: Antony Platt/AMC

    Based on remarkable new research in the book Washington‚Äôs Spies, by Alexander Rose, “TURN” centers around Abraham Woodhull, a farmer living behind enemy lines in British-occupied Long Island. Abraham bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring: an unlikely team of secret agents who help George Washington turn the tide of the war in favor of the Rebels. Their daring efforts revolutionized the art of espionage, giving birth to modern tradecraft in all its moral complexity. “TURN” transforms history into suspenseful and resonant entertainment.

    “TURN” was developed and is being written by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and stars Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot” and “The Adventures of Tintin”) as Abraham Woodhull. Executive Producers are Silverstein and Barry Josephson (“Bones”). AMC is the television home of some of the most popular dramas in cable television including “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead” and the recently-ended “Breaking Bad,” created by Virginia native Vince Gilligan.

    The series also stars Seth Numrich as Ben Tallmadge, Heather Lind as Anna Strong, Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster, Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Kevin McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull, Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett, Angus MacFadyen as Robert Rogers, JJ Feild as Major John Andre, and Samuel Roukin as Captain Simcoe.

    TURN: The Trail

    Watch Sunday evenings for a look into the exhilarating Revolutionary War-era saga about America‚Äôs first spy ring and then get in on the action along TURN: The Trail, a series of Colonial and Revolutionary War-era attractions, “TURN” filming locations, and exciting espionage activities and museums to get your heart pumping and patriotism roaring. Sites along the trail include The Pentagon, four plantations, sites relevant to George Washington, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Victory Center, and others. Trail Map

    You Become the Spy

    Visit Colonial Williamsburg and join in the spy action of RevQuest: The Old Enemy between now and November 30, 2014. ¬†RevQuest is an immersive game that leads you along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City where you just might change the course of history. Begin your mission online and continue it on site.

    TURN on AMC

     

    Learn more about “TURN” at AMCTV.com.

     

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    Filmed in Virginia, Video clips | 0 Comments

    8 Scenic Drives for Virginia History

    by Casey | Posted on March 25th, 2014

    It can be argued that any drive through Virginia is a historical one, but perhaps these eight drives are extra loaded with historical attractions and beautiful scenic opportunities.

    Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

    Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

    In Central Virginia you can pick up routes that take you north to south and east to west,  highlighting a great amount of history along the way.

    A trek down US Route 15 will put you on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, one of the most historically significant drives in America.  All said, the drive covers ground from Gettysburg to Monticello, and is considered a National Heritage Area. Trail Map

    The¬†Road to Revolution Heritage Trail¬†highlights the life and times of Patrick Henry, the great orator and Virginia’s first Governor. The trail covers a wide expanse of Virginia in the Richmond region and spreads into Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the trail you’ll see St. John’s Church in Richmond, the site of Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” oration; Red Hill in Brookneal, Henry’s last residence and burial site; Hanover Courthouse, the launch site of Henry’s political career; Studley in Mechanicsville, Henry’s birthplace; and 17 other sites.¬†Trail Map

    Dip into Southern Virginia from Richmond to explore the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Centered around the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, the trail covers 300 miles and 41 sites that touch on the civil rights in education struggles of African Americans, Native Americans and women from the 18th to 20th centuries. Trail Map

    Also from Richmond, but headed east, is the Jamestown Discovery Trail that follows US Route 5. Sites along the way include plantations, presidential homes, Native American settlements, and ends at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

    Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

    Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

    If you find yourself in Southwest Virginia, you could be easily traversing multiple trails at once.

    The Coal Heritage Trail incorporates seven counties and the city of Norton to take in 300 miles of coal industry related historical sites and the additional locations that demonstrate the influence of coal on the region. The town of Appalachia is can be considered somewhat lost in time as it has preserved its place as a hub for eight surrounding coal camps dating from the 1800s to early 1900s. See coal equipment and related articles at places like the Harry W. Meador Coal Museum in Big Stone Gap and the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Pocahontas. Trail Map

    The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail winds through this area, too, and focuses on the musical history of the region. Nearly 100 attractions invite you to come tap your toes and get in the know. Trail Map

    The¬†Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route¬†captures the primary route taken by western settlers as they moved down the Shenandoah Valley and into the Southwest Virginia area. A total of 23 localities on this trail down US Route 11 and into the Blue Ridge Highlands gives you plenty of options for a weekend trip.¬†Trail Map

    Across all of Virginia are the Virginia Civil War Trails. Branching off this way and that, the trails follow different campaigns of the American Civil War.  Hundreds of miles to conquer and plenty of time to do it, we hope!

    Make your plans to get on the roads and see something new this spring and summer! Use our Trip Planner to map out the details and throw in some extra fun and food along the way.

    Virginia is for Lovers. Request a Travel Guide.



    Travel Ideas | 0 Comments

    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

    21 Influential Virginia Women

    by Casey | Posted on March 12th, 2014

    March is Women’s History Month and we’re proud to shine a light on some of the women who have made huge impressions, leaving¬†their mark on Virginia.

    Please note that this list is in no way comprehensive. How could it be? To give us a hand, please leave a comment to honor the Virginia women you find most influential.

    Pocahontas 1994 by Mary Ellen Howe

    Pocahontas 1994 by Mary Ellen Howe

    Pocahontas (1595-1617) daughter of Indian Chief Powhatan; married John Rolfe.

    Mary Elizabeth Bowser (1839-unknown) Richmond; Union spy working as a servant for Varina Davis, wife of the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Inducted into the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame (1995).

    Maggie L. Walker (1864-1934) Richmond; First woman bank president in America, Advocate of black women’s rights.

    Ellen Glasgow (1873-1945) Richmond; fiction writer in early 1900s, Pulitzer Prize winner (1942).

    Nancy Langhorne Astor (1879-1964) Danville; first woman seated in the British House of Commons.

    Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site. Image by Casey Higgins.

    Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

    Ann Spencer (1882-1975) Henry County; African-American poet of the Harlem Renaissance.

    Sara Carter (1898-1979) Copper Creek; country singer.

    Maybelle Carter – (1909-1979) Nicklesville; country singer.

    Ella Fitzgerald (1917-96) Newport News; “The First Lady of Song;” Grammy Award-winning Jazz singer (13 times).

    Maybelle, A.P. and Sara Carter

    Maybelle, A.P. and Sara Carter

    Pearl Bailey (1918-90) Newport News; Actress, Singer and Author; Tony Award (1967); Medal of Freedom Award (1988).

    June Carter Cash (1929-2003) Hiltons; country singer, married to Johnny Cash.

    Patsy Cline (1932-1963) Winchester; country singer.

    Shirley MacLaine (1934- ) Richmond; stage and screen actress, Academy Award winner.

    Barbara Johns (1935-1991) New York City, but grew up in Farmville, Prince Edward County. Sixteen year old junior at Robert Russa Moton High School who organized a student strike for a new school building (1951). The NAACP advised the students to sue for integration. The Farmville case was one of the five eventually rolled into the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case that declared segregation unconstitutional (1954).

    Kylene Barker (1955 – ) Pipers Gap; 1979 Miss America – Virginia’s first Miss America.

    Katie Couric¬†(1957- ) Arlington; television news personality; host of “Katie,” ABC; global anchor, Yahoo News.

    Wanda Sykes (1964- ) Portsmouth; Comedienne and actress. Film and television credits include “The Wanda Sykes Show,” “Evan Almighty,” “Monster-in-Law,” “Nutty Professor 2;” Emmy Award Winner (1999, 2002, 2004, 2005).

    Missy Elliott (1971- ) Portsmouth; Songwriter, Producer, Arranger, Talent Scout, Record Mogul. Considered the top female hip-hop artist of all time. Four-time Grammy Award Winner (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005).

    Whitney Hedgepeth (1971- ) Colonial Heights; Three-time NCAA Champion, Gold and Silver Olympic Medalist (Atlanta 1996).

    Caressa Cameron (1987- ) – Fredericksburg; 2010 Miss America.

    Gabrielle Douglas (1995- ) Virginia Beach; Gymnast. Olympic Gold Medalist (London 2012). First African-American all-around gymnastics champion.

     

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    History | 1 Comment