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    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
    Can you imagine waking up and walking out on the porch to find yourself amongst the trees with a sweeping view of the Dan River Gorge's Blue Ridge Mountains? That's exactly what you'll experience when staying the night at Primland #Resort's Golden Eagle #Treehouse! Photo props to @visitvbr. Don't forget to share your tree top stay with us by tagging #LoveVA! #repost #Virginia #porch #mountain #goodmorning #photooftheday #primlandresort @primlandresort
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  • Posts Tagged ‘mountains’

    Virginia’s Most Beloved Drives for Fall Foliage

    by Casey | Posted on September 4th, 2013

    If it’s fall in Virginia, it’s time to be on the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. Coasting across the peaks and looking down in the valleys … ahh! Good luck beating those views.

    About the Blue Ridge Parkway

    View from Humpback Rocks

    View from Humpback Rocks

    Winding 469 miles from Afton to the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Parkway was born out of President Roosevelt’s desire to create jobs in the midst of the Great Depression. Construction of the Parkway was started on the Virginia/North Carolina border in 1935 and was completed in 1983, connecting Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Shenandoah National Park. This year is the 30th anniversary of the completion of the Parkway and the 78th anniversary of its start.

    In Addition to the Foliage

    Sure, you travel the Blue Ridge Parkway to enjoy the amazing fall foliage, but what else is there to see and do up there?

    Milepost 5 & 6 – Humpback Rocks – See Appalachian farm buildings of the 19th century and visit the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center for additional exhibits, a gift shop and restroom. If you like to hike, two miles from the parking lot is Humpback Mountain, part of the Appalachian Trail. It’s a strenuous, but very popular hike. Map

    Peaks of Otter Lodge

    Peaks of Otter Lodge

    Milepost 63.6 – The James River Visitor Center features an exhibit on the James River and Kanawha Canal, once a primary commercial route. A trail takes you to a restored 19th century lock, and if you like to fish, check out Otter Creek. It runs 10 miles down to the James, and Otter Lake is accessible from the Otter Creek Campground.

    Milepost 83.1 – Fallingwater Cascades Trail is a National Recreation Trail, approximately 1.6 miles long and moderately strenuous.

    Milepost 85.9 – Peaks of Otter are three peaks – Sharp Top, Flat Top and Harkening Hill. In this area you’ll find a restaurant, a 63-room lodge, lake and campground. The entirety of Peaks of Otter is a premier fall destination on the Parkway.
    Also at 85.9:

    • Elk Run Trail is a self-guided nature loop = .8 mile; easy
    • Johnson Farm Loop Trail = 2.1 miles; moderate
    • Harkening Hill Trail = 3.3 miles; moderate
    • Map

    Milepost 154 – The Trail Cabin, circa 19th-century, represents the isolation of mountain residents. The location has been described as “spectacular!”

    Mabry Mill

    Mabry Mill

    Milepost 167.1 – Rock Castle Gorge Trail is a long and strenuous 10.8 miles. Wear good shoes and carry water!

    Milepost 176.2 – Mabry Mill is not to be missed. It’s one of the most – if not the most – photographed sites on the Parkway. Get a bite to eat at the famed Mabry Mill Restaurant before exploring the mill, blacksmith shop, wheelwright and whiskey still. Demonstrations and tours are available. Be sure to find a treasure in the gift shop, too!

     

    About Skyline Drive

    Skyline Drive is 105.5 miles spanning the ridge of Shenandoah National Park. Ground was broken in July 1931 and the first 34-mile stretch from Swift Run Gap (Route 33) to Thornton Gap (Route 211) was completed in 1934. Thornton Gap to Front Royal (another 32 miles) was completed in 1936, and another 32.4 miles between Swift Run Gap and Jarman Gap was completed in 1939.

    Of note is that Jarman Gap to Rockfish Gap was originally built as part of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Those 8.5 miles were completed in 1939 and were deeded to Shenandoah National Park in 1961.

    In Addition to the Foliage

    The highlight of Skyline Drive is, of course, Shenandoah National Park. Interestingly enough, the Drive existed before the Park came to be. Shenandoah National Park was authorized in 1926, established in 1935 and dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1936.

    Hiking the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park

    Hiking the Appalachian Trail through Shenandoah National Park

    Seventy-five overlooks dot Skyline Drive and 518 miles of trails meander back and forth across it through Shenandoah National Park, making it a most impressive destination for leaf-peeping.

    Milepost 21.5 – Overall Run Falls – If you’re looking for a great waterfall to hike to, this might be the one. With a 93′ drop, it’s the highest in Shenandoah National Park. The hike is a moderate 6.4 miles ’round trip to the falls and back.

    Milepost 41.7 or 42.5 – Skyland Resort – Dating to 1886 and originally called Stony Man Camp, Skyland was a summer retreat for the Pollock family. Skyland is the highest point of Skyline Drive at 3,680 feet, overlooking the Shenandoah Valley. Stay here if you like, in one of the 178 accommodations. Enjoy the restaurant on site, too.

    Milepost 42.6 – Whiteoak Canyon - Waterfalls ranging from 35 to 86 feet with swimming holes at the bottom of each are the reward for this 4.6-mile out-and-back hike to the upper falls. Want to see more? Add another 2.7 miles to your trip by descending further down the mountain. Map

    Milepost 51.3 – Big Meadows Lodge – This lodge dates to 1939 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The stones were cut from Massanutten Mountain and the timber is native chestnut. Enjoy the Roosevelt Fried Chicken or New Deal Turkey Platter at the Spottswood Dining Room, if you find yourself hungry.

    These two drives – two of “America’s Most Iconic Drives,” according to Travel + Leisure – are just the beginning of your Virginia drives for fall foliage, as we have more in store and coming soon. Be sure to subscribe to our blog to have the posts delivered directly to your inbox. We wouldn’t want you to miss a single thing about fall in Virginia.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Sign up to receive our weekly Fall Foliage Report.*

    *Fall Foliage Reports will begin on or about September 25.



    Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Outdoors | 2 Comments

    48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 1 of 8

    by Casey | Posted on September 3rd, 2013

    Fall in Virginia. What is there to say except that it’s stunning, breathtaking, amazing, vibrant, crisp and that there must be at least one hundred more adjectives that can describe the immense beauty of the season. This fall promises to be especially incredible, as Virginia’s summer was wetter and cooler than usual – the perfect scenario for amazing foliage.

    The Priest OverlookWho would you pick to stand by your side at a Blue Ridge Parkway overlook when the season is near or at peak? Probably your significant other, hand in hand. With that in mind, this is the first of eight posts that will give you grand ideas for ways to spend 48 hours in Virginia this fall. Enjoy!

     

     

    Much Ado About Staunton

    Virginia’s foliage spreads west to east and the Shenandoah Valley is one of the areas to see orange, red and yellow first. If you’re planning multiple fall getaways, start here.

    In Staunton, the food and foliage are as fine as the performing arts and history. With culture and culinary stock rising, you’d better get your foot in the door early to book a room in this neck of the Valley. Choose from quite a few accommodations – an inn such as Frederick House or Inn at Old Virginia, a fine historic hotel like Stonewall Jackson Hotel, or a Shakespeare-influenced stay at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage Bed and Breakfast to round out a visit to Blackfriars Playhouse. You won’t go wrong with any of these.

    I mentioned the food. Food is important and you want to make sure Zynodoa is on your “to eat” list. Zynodoa’s ingredients are locally sourced and esteemed Chef James Harris is at the helm. Harris has kitchen management at the Mobil five-star The Inn at Little Washington under his belt.

    Dive deeper …

     

    Autumn Splendor in the Cabin Capital  of Virginia

    Luray is the Cabin Capital of Virginia. If you’re looking for a sweet, snuggly place for the two of you to be alone, look no further.

    Shenandoah Mountain Escape

    Shenandoah Mountain Escape

    Contact Shadow Mountain Escape to inquire about their luxury Ladybug or Bumblebee cabins. The last I checked, those two still had a Sunday-Monday availability in October. Mid-week stays are possible for the rest of fall.

    Another great option for a fall cabin getaway is to call Shenandoah River Cabins to ask about their Angler, Drifter and Paddler cabins, which all sit riverfront, have a queen bed with fireplace and a private hot tub. Each cabin still has weekend availability for September and October.

    In and around Luray you can enjoy Luray Caverns and a drive through or hike around Shenandoah National Park. Check out Skyland Resort Restaurant (highest elevation and amazing overlook from Shenandoah National Park), Circa ’31 and Triple Crown BBQ for great dining.

    Read more …

     

    Get Out on the Wine Trail of Botetourt County

    The Jackson, Cowpasture and James rivers are your playground this fall in Botetourt County. Or is it the wine that’s calling your name? Either way, a getaway to Buchanan will be a memorable one.

    Cowpasture River, Botetourt County

    Cowpasture River, Botetourt County

    Taste your way along the Wine Trail of Botetourt County, with a check-in at the Fincastle Vineyard Bed and Breakfast as a sure highlight. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, you’ll want to get connected with Twin River Outfitters for a kayak or canoe rental to experience the Head Waters of the James and the James River itself.

    There’s more …

     

    Touring and Tasting DC’s Wine Country

    Loving the wine theme? You’re going to LOVE Loudoun County, home to nearly 30 Virginia wineries! With that many to choose from, I can only wish you good luck!

    Choose from an abundant amount of luxury accommodations, the newest being Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Also consider Lansdowne Resort in Lansdowne, Norris House Inn in Leesburg or the Briar Patch B&B in Middleburg. Each is unique and renowned in its own right. Then, let the fine dining and wining begin …

    To Eat:

    To Drink:

    Read more …

    The Inn at Little Washington

    The Inn at Little Washington

    Fall in Rappahannock County

    Art thrives in Washington and Rappahannock County. Retreat to The Inn at Little Washington, Gay Street Inn, or one of the other very fine accommodations nearby.

    From the center of this historic town, you’ll encounter several types of art galleries and can also schedule a plein air landscape painting lesson with artist Nora Harrington. Your handcrafted creation will be quite the memento to recall your trip.

    Take a tour into “The Art of Whiskey” at Copper Fox Distillery and then on to the Artisanal Wineries of Rappahannock.

    See what else …

     

    Subscribe to receive our latest blog posts via email so you don’t miss a thing this fall! We have part two of the eight part 48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia series coming up Thursday, so keep an eye out.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.



    48 Hours, Couples, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Food and Wine, Outdoors, Wine | 1 Comment

    8 Virginia ATV Destinations

    by Casey | Posted on July 15th, 2013

    Whether you own an ATV or have yet to experience the exhilaration of navigating an All-Terrain Vehicle along trails with mud, fallen branches, tree roots or whoops sections. Virginia has places for you to ride and outfitters to get you started.

    South Pedlar

    South Pedlar

    Novice Riders

    The illustrious Primland Resort is an upscale mountaintop reprieve in Meadows of Dan that happens to offer guided ATV tours through portions of their 12,000 acres. Learn to ride an ATV or two-person side-by-side with the comfort of knowing help is with you on the trail. While you may bring your own ATV, you may not ride without a guide. Reservations are required to tour. Inquire about an overnight stay.

    Appalachian Adventures in Luray offers ATV rentals for use on their private trails. Basic instruction is provided for those learning to ride. One and two-hour expeditions available. Inquire about an ATV Getaway with lodging included.

    Experienced Riders

    If you know what you’re doing, there’s no need for a guide. Hit these trails and parks with a group of friends or family for a day of fun.

    Big Boys Playground in Harrisonburg is a supervised environment; get help if you need it. The park is open to anything with two or four wheels, basically. Motorcross, trucks, ATVs … come one, come all, get dirty. A couple of renowned mud holes will challenge all vehicles, even the big ones. Riders will also find a rock course and trails to conquer. Open year ’round with no special permit required. Nominal fee.

    Moto Cove Offroading is a park in Gore that offers four one-way trails that vary in length and difficulty. A beginner trail is a 1.8-mile loop while the most advanced riders might try their wheels on the 22-mile loop. Riding is available from 8 a.m. until dark. No special permit required. Nominal fee. Adjacent camping available, but ATVs are not permitted within.

    Spearhead Trail is a brand new trail system that just opened its first trail this summer in Saint Paul. Mountain View Trail offers one picturesque view after another along 75 miles that entice all skill levels. Trail permits are required. Expect to see the next trail of this system – Pocahontas – to open this fall or winter. A total of 500 miles will be accessible by the end of 2015.

    Spearhead Trail

    Spearhead Trail

    Peters Mill Run and Taskers Gap OHV System offers 40 miles of trails.  Five trailheads from the Edinburg vicinity on the west side of Massanutten Mountain give you options on where to unload and get going. The Edinburg Gap trailhead has a restroom. OHV stands for Off-Highway Vehicles and includes four-wheel drive vehicles (trucks, jeeps, etc.), motorcycles, motorbikes, and ATVs. A permit is required.

    South Pedlar ATV Trails is a looping network 19 miles long specifically designed for recreational ATVing in Amherst County. Open April through November. A permit is required.

    Slades Park is located in Surry and offers twelve miles of trails across 300 acres. A pee wee track is available for kids and beginners. Full hook-up camping sites are available. Nominal fee.

    Ready for a muddy good time? Plan your trip at Virginia.org or request a free Travel Guide.



    Outdoors | 2 Comments

    Five Virginia Glamping Destinations

    by Casey | Posted on June 5th, 2013

    First thing first: What is glamping? Glamping is the desire to be in and experience “the outdoors” but not really roughing it with tents, campers and equipment. Indeed, an equipped cabin could be considered glamping, as it’s an upgrade from a tent, but more on tent glamping in a bit. For now, go ahead and be enlightened and inspired by these  Virginia glamping destinations.

    Rose River Farm Yurt

    Rose River Farm Yurt

    1. Rose River Farm in Syria leads the way in Virginia glamping with their luxury cedar-and-glass yurts. A former Miss Virginia is just one of the glampers who have enjoyed the pristine 20 acres shadowed by the Blue Ridge Mountains. The yurts (there are three) are spacious at a little more than 1,100 square feet with the dome reaching 17 feet. Every amenity you’d hope to find in an upscale, five-star hotel suite can be found here, with a highly prized additional amenity – PRIVACY. Choose your yurt based on the view – pond, meadow or mountain.
    Rates: $250/night; $1,500/week  |  BOOK NOW

    2. A great Blue Ridge Mountain lookout is the two-story, well-appointed Rock-N-Creek Cabin in Montebello. The cabin offers porches overlooking the Tye River and four ponds; the wildlife is abundant. Amenities include a stone fireplace, all the television and entertainment you desire, a fully equipped kitchen and laundry, and a chef. Yes, a chef. Chef Richard Christy has cooked for President Gerald Ford and he can certainly fix you a plate, too.
    Rates: $195/night for two with additional guests over the age of 12 charged $40 each  |  BOOK NOW

    Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

    Golden Eagle Tree House at Primland

    3. Primland Resort is perched atop the mountains of Patrick County in the Blue Ridge Highlands in the Meadows of Dan. If you can stand to, skip the stunningly beautiful lodge and fairway cottages for the unsurpassed views of the mountain homes or the treasure of the resort – the Golden Eagle Tree House.

    A stay in the tree house should be on every bucket list (it’s on mine). It’s literally built around the limbs of a sturdy old oak tree and is the most private accommodation in the resort. Keurig, robes, slippers, 2,700′ overlook of the Dan River from the deck, nightly turn-down, soaking tub … Is there anything else we can get for you? Oh, a Ford Explorer to travel to and from the lodge? Coming right up. I. Am. Serious.
    Rates for Golden Eagle Tree House: $550-$650/night  |  Call 866-673-7802 for Reservations

    4. Camp Karma in Moneta is an upscale primitive campground that has introduced a, well, primitive idea of glamping. They provide the tent – all set up for you – with everything you need to enjoy a basic camping experience. Dishes, utensils,  camp chairs, wood, ice, and cots with mattresses are all provided. That means the only things missing are you, your sleeping bag and pillow, and some hot dogs for the fire.
    Rates: Call. Regular you-bring-your-stuff camping site is $25/night, to give you an idea. 540-297-KRMA

    5. As we’ve decided, glamping has a wide range of ideas associated with it. Therefore, I refuse to pick a fifth property. Rather, I give you this – Virginia’s Cottages & Cabins. Through this link you’ll find sweet bayside cottages, unique stays, large lodges for family togethering and mountain cabins. Your choices are abundant, but book something soon before the summer passes you by!

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.



    Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | 6 Comments

    Get Outside for National Trails Day in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on May 30th, 2013

    June 1 is National Trails Day and the official kick-off to Virginia’s Great Outdoors Month. Below, find plenty to do and LOVE the outdoors.

    Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

    Mount Rogers National Recreation Area

    National Trails Day Events

    • Haysi – The town of Haysi in the county of Dickenson invites you to a 3K trail event along with their annual Mile Long Yard Sale & Scavenger Hunt. The 3K is a run/walk/bike event open to all ages, and it’s pet-friendly, too. Prizes will be awarded for the best dressed, cutest, ugliest and more, so get creative. A simultaneous kids’ trail event will also offer prizes for the best decorated wagon, bike or kid.
    • Mouth of Wilson – Hike with a park ranger through alpine fields, a boreal forest and stunning rock formations to the summit of Virginia’s highest peak – Mount Rogers. Be sure to pack your lunch, water and sunscreen, and wear sturdy shoes.
    • Farmville – The Life is Complicated, Running is Simple 5K starts at Main Street Plaza and follows an out-and-back course that includes High Bridge Trail State Park. If you’ve been eyeing that soaring 160′ high train trestle, this is a great excuse to check it out. Another good excuse? The top overall mail and female finishers will be awarded with a free weekend cabin stay at a Virginia State Park. #Winning
    • Montebello – Convene on the Montebello Fish Hatchery from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a nature walk. Appalachian Trail hikers and an AT Ridge Runner will be on hand to answer your questions about hiking Spy Rock, Crabtree Falls, Priest Wilderness and the AT itself. Photo displays, maps and more will be available.
    • Coeburn – Camp out with Cliffhanger Ranch Adventure Outpost to enjoy National Trails Day activities all weekend long. Venture off on your own
      • Pitch your tent Friday any time after 1 p.m.
      • Saturday Fun:
        • 8 a.m.: Hike Chief Benge (RSVP: clinchcoalition@gmail.com)
        • 10 a.m.: Trail Ride Little Stony with the Scott County Regional Horse Association
        • Anytime: Bike Guest River Gorge (shuttles and limited rentals available)
        • Dusk: Bonfire on the Hill
      • Sunday Fun:
        • 10 a.m.: Cowboy Church
        • 11:30 a.m.: Nature walk and photo session (RSVP: crd98@vci.net)
        • 12:30 p.m.: Float the Clinch River (RSVP: crd98@vci.net)
    • Woodbridge – Lend a hand as Leesylvania State Park combines National Trails Day with Clean the Bay Day. It’s a day to remember the importance of the environment and preserve the park trails to keep the Chesapeake Bay protected from watershed pollution.

    Want to enjoy National Trails Day on your own? Here are a few destinations for maximum Virginia beauty (click a photo for more info on the destination).

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide or sign up for our e-newsletter.



    Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off