Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog
ShareRSS  
  •  

    Where is the LOVE?

    Click for a map of the LOVEwork locations.

    Take a photo with LOVE.
    Tag it #LOVEVA and share it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

    See LOVEwork Photos

  • Create your own digital photo reel. 

  • Instagram

    Latest Posts
    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 ‘outdoors’

    Discover Eight Natural Wonders of Virginia

    by Stefanie | Posted on May 14th, 2014

    No need to grab the passport for tours of the Seven Wonders of the World. We’ve got you covered. Virginia is home to many of the most well-known and sought-after outdoor landmarks in the country. So pack up the car and discover some of the Commonwealth’s eight  natural wonders.

    LURAY CAVERNS – Luray, Va.

    Looking for the ultimate underground experience? Known as “Geology’s Hall of Fame,” Luray Caverns is the largest and one of the most popular caverns in Eastern America. Founded in 1878, the Registered Natural Landmark reaches peaks up to 10 stories high and has more natural wonders within its caverns than any other in Virginia. Check out Giant’s Hall, filled with towering columns and crystal clear pools or The Stalagpipe Organ, home to the world’s largest instrument. There’s always more to discover from the state’s eight caverns.

    VIRGINIA NATURAL BRIDGE – Natural Bridge, Va.

    The Natural Bridge

    The Natural Bridge

    The Virginia Natural Bridge has been included in several “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” lists. Although mostly on the lists from the 19th and early 20th centuries, its natural wonders still remain today. Formed when a cavern collapsed, legend holds that a young George Washington surveyed the Natural Bridge site for Lord Fairfax. Today, landmarks remain of the work and on the wall of the bridge where he carved his initials. Just before the American Revolution, Thomas Jefferson purchased 157 acres of land, including the Natural Bridge, from King George, III of England for 20 shillings. Today it is privately owned. At the end of the day, unwind to view the Drama of Creation show, created in 1927 by then-president, Calvin Coolidge.

    NATURAL TUNNEL STATE PARK – Duffield, Va.

    Natural Tunnel was once described as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.” The tunnel, which was naturally carved through a limestone ridge for more than a thousand years, is more than 850 feet long and reaches a height of up to 10 stories. One of Virginia’s 36 state parks, Natural Tunnel offers cave tours and canoe trips on the Clinch River.

    WESTMORELAND STATE PARK – Montross, Va.

    Head to the northern neck of the Potomac River and you’ll find Westmoreland State Park. Take in the breathtaking views atop Horse Head Cliffs or stroll along the river’s shore and hunt ancient shark teeth. The park’s amenities include something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from the Olympic-sized pool to boating and fishing. Take in the great outdoors by doing some bird watching; the region is widely known for spotting American bald eagles, kingfishers, great blue herons, ospreys and more.

    BURKE’S GARDEN – Tazewell, Va.

    Burke’s Garden is the Commonwealth’s highest valley and largest rural historic district. Described as “God’s Thumbprint,” the bowl-shaped valley will take visitors back to a simpler time when agriculture, religion and education were the main focuses of its settlers. Today, the Garden offers breathtaking scenery, peaceful hiking and biking, bird watching, and more. Head to the cemetery at the Central Lutheran Church to discover gravestones dating back to the 1700s or follow the Appalachian Trail for scenic overlooks into the Garden.

    BREAKS INTERSTATE PARK – Breaks, Va.

    Head west to the state border and you’ll find the “Grand Canyon of the South.” Historic Breaks Interstate Park was discovered in 1767 by Daniel Boone and offers all the beauty you’d expect from the mountainous land, where you can take a tranquil hike or bike ride. Go for a canoe ride on Laurel Lake or take the family out for a day of geocaching. The park is open year-round and boasts motel, cottage and cabin accommodations.

    Lake Drummond

    Lake Drummond at the Great Dismal Swamp

    GREAT DISMAL SWAMP – Suffolk, Va.

    The National Wildlife Refuge is the largest remnant of a habitat that spanned more than one million acres over southern Virginia and northern North Carolina. In 1973, the Great Dismal Swamp was donated to The Nature Conservancy, making it a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974. If you’re looking to hunt or just take in the beauty of the habitat, the Great Dismal Swamp has activities from hunting and fishing, to photography and environmental education classes.

    GREAT FALLS PARK – McLean, Va.

    Just 15 miles from DC sits one of the most historic natural wonders in the U.S.: Great Falls Park, located on the Potomac River. A unit of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the park’s origins date back to 10,500 BC. Today, the Patowmack Canal and Carousels of Great Falls Park are two of the most notable natural landmarks in the country, where visitors can stroll along the river and take in the sights of the falls, and its abundant wildlife. For the little ones, children 5 and older can attend the Junior Ranger Program to explore, learn and protect the park.



    Travel Ideas, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

    7 Most Bike Friendly Cities and Towns

    by Laura Young | Posted on May 8th, 2014

    Happy National Bike Month!  To celebrate, we have compiled a list of Virginia’s 7 Most Bike-Friendly Cities and Towns. From bike lanes to trail rides, these cities make it easy for bikers to ride for pleasure or with purpose.

    Alexandria – The City of Alexandria was recognized in 2013 for its bike friendliness, both from the League of American Bicyclists as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community and by Virginia Living Magazine as one of “10 Favorite Cycling Destinations.”

    Biking downtown is easy in Alexandria.

    Biking downtown is easy in Alexandria.

    Bike lanes (either dedicated or shared) are available on Cameron, Prince and Pendleton Streets in Old Town as well as Commonwealth Avenue, Mt Vernon Avenue and Braddock Road in Del Ray.  Soon to come are bike lanes on King Street.

    Bike racks have been installed along sidewalks near many local businesses and other locations for biker convenience, like along King Street in Old Town and Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray.

    Alexandria also hosts the Mount Vernon Trail. This 18 mile path takes you from Rosslyn (just across the bridge from Washington, DC) to George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. As you ride alongside the stunning Potomac River, you’ll pass views of the national monuments, parks, Old Town Alexandria and George Washington’s waterfront estate.

    Arlington – Arlington maintains 50 miles of off-street, multi-use trails for bicycling, walking and jogging. Portions of these trails pass through beautiful natural areas of Arlington’s park system and connect to regional bike trails.  In addition to these off-street trails, Arlington has 36 miles of marked, on-street bicycle routes and 78 miles of recommended on-street routes.

    Excellent dining districts can be found in Ballston, Clarendon, Crystal City and Shirlington – all of which are easily accessed by some of the off-road bike trails and the Capital Bikeshare Program (more on that in a moment!).  Additionally, attractions like Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial are all also easily bike-accessible.

    For more information on how easy it is to bike around Arlington, visit www.bikearlington.com.

    Arlington and Alexandria also participates in the Capital Bikeshare Program which puts more than 2,500 bicycles at your fingertips. Choose a bike from more than 300 stations across Washington, D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD and return it to any station near your destination. For more information, visit www.capitalbikeshare.com.

    Harrisonburg – Harrisonburg is the Shenandoah Valley’s premiere biking destination.  The city was recognized as a bronze level ride center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.  Shared Lane Markings (otherwise known as “Sharrows”) are prevalent in the downtown area and show cyclists the best place to ride on the road.

    The city also offers a wide variety of cycling parks and trails which range from novice to expert experience levels.

    Bike shops like this one in Carytown can be found all over Richmond.

    Bike shops like this one in Carytown can be found all over Richmond.

    Richmond – Among other accolades, Richmond was just recently recognized on a BuzzFeed list of “10 Cities You Should Explore on Two Wheels.”

    This is timely, as Sports Backers just announced the Connect RVA project, a plan to build 20+ miles of new family-friendly bikeways.  The project will encompass both shared and dedicated bike lanes through the heart of downtown and safer trails off the beaten path.  Projected completion is September of 2015, just in time for the UCI Road World Championships being held in Richmond.

    Abingdon – Abingdon is home to the Virginia Creeper Trail, a crushed gravel shared-use trail (bike, hike, equine) connecting Abingdon, VA, with the Virginia-North Carolina border 1.1 mile east of Whitetop Station, VA.  The trail has just been named the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee for the Rail to Trails Conversancy, which recognizes trails with a high scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities and historical significance among other categories.

    A Virginia Creeper Trail extension provides access for people to ride directly into Abingdon after riding the trail. It brings cyclists right into the downtown area at the Abingdon Farmers Market. Lots of restaurants in the downtown area have bicycle racks for riders’ convenience.

    Abingdon is also in the process of creating the Urban Path System, which will be a public system connecting streets and pedestrian sidewalks or trail linkages to residential and public areas within the Town of Abingdon. Neighborhood streets will include landscaping and traffic calming features to effectively manage traffic and encourage attractive and safe pedestrian-friendly environments.

    Virginia Beach – This coastal Virginia city offers the perfect combination of quiet, natural shoreline rides and on-road

    The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular place to ride your bike along the Atlantic coast.

    The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular location to ride your bike along the Atlantic coast.

    bikeaccessibility through the city. The city currently has over 100 miles of trails including asphalt paths, nature trails and on-road bike routes.

    Bike trails near the coast are available at Virginia Beach state parks such as Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, First Landing State Park, and False Cape State Park, which has been untouched by humans and is only accessible on foot, by boat, or by bike.

    In addition to its rides through nature, the city also offers a Bikeways and Trails Map indicating bike accessibility throughout the cities major roads.  The Virginia Beach Boardwalk also offers a way for bikers to view the beauty of the Virginia coastline, while also shopping and dining right on the waterfront.

    Roanoke – The Roanoke Valley offers a variety of bike-centric events throughout the year, with many taking place during National Bike Month.

    Grandin Village is one of Roanoke’s most bike-accessible attractions and brings an old-school charm to its over 80 shops and restaurants.

    An Art by Bike route has also recently been developed around the city, offering over 20 stops for riders to access and enjoy the city’s art on two wheels.

    Do you love to bike in any other Virginia cities or towns? Leave us a comment and let us know!

    Laura Young is a Public Relations intern at Virginia Tourism Corporation and a senior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.



    Outdoors, Outdoors | 4 Comments

    15 Festivals for the Adrenaline Junkie

    by Casey | Posted on April 22nd, 2014

    For some, it’s simply not enough to enjoy a festival atmosphere. Where’s the challenge or fun in that? Festivals must be experiential to really rise to the expectation of dedicated adrenaline junkies, and these 15 Virginia festivals do just that.

    Dominion Riverrock

    Dominion Riverrock

    River Fun The most rigorous, diverse outdoor festival in Virginia is Dominion Riverrock, and it’s held each May in Richmond. Riverrock brings kayaking, biking, bouldering, trail running, slacklining, paddle boarding and more for three days of challenging fun and spectator entertainment. Musical highlights for this year are The Infamous Stringdusters and Matisyahu.

    The Annual Smith River Fest in Axton is dedicated to those who live for and love the river life. Held each August, the festival centers around Smith River activities, from the 4.8-mile river race to the 5K mud run.

    Henricus Mudstock

    Henricus Mudstock

    Mud Fun

    The Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg is the venue for the Rugged Maniac on May 3. A little over three miles of muddy courses with 20 obstacles are yours for the conquering, while the festival area includes mechanical bull riding and music.

    Biking Fun

    Is it biking that really spins your wheels? Don’t miss the Cap2Cap Bike Event on May 10. The ride can be as long as you wish with quarter-, half-, full-century, and 15-mile fun ride options between Richmond and Williamsburg. Well-stocked rest areas, a delicious lunch and beer are promised.

    Appalachian Trail Days

    Appalachian Trail Days

    Hiking Fun

    May 16-18 is Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, and it’s the place to be if you’re an avid hiker or lover of the AT. There’s lots of food and plenty of family fun available.

    Just Plain Fun

    XtremeFest of the Blue Ridge will be held May 31 in Waynesboro’s Constitution Park. BMX stunters will give adventure-seeking kids a thrill while the climbing wall lets them work off their energy. Put a kayak in the South River and enjoy the other opportunities of the festival at this family event.

    Where will the need for adrenaline take you this spring and summer? Go hard and go get ‘em!

    Related:

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Virginia Travel Guide.



    Festivals, Outdoors | Comments Off

    Nine Beautiful B&Bs for State and National Park Explorations

    by Casey | Posted on April 9th, 2014

    Outdoor adventurers and explorers who enjoy a beautiful place to rest and a delicious breakfast to start their day will want to check out these bed and breakfast options that are in close proximity to state and national parks.

    1848 Island Manor House, Chincoteague Island

    1848 Island Manor House, Chincoteague Island

    Assateague Island National Seashore is 37 miles long and considered one of the best beaches for communing with nature. Unspoiled, this windswept beach is home to wild ponies and many species of migratory birds. The Audubon Society named it a Global Important Bird Area. Relax here, taking in the rarity of it all, and then rest at one of these B&Bs less than four miles away on Chincoteague Island.

    • 1848 Island Manor House – Nine rooms available, each decorated to a high standard; most with private baths. Snack room, game room, beach gear, and concierge service available.
    • Channel Bass Inn Bed and Breakfast – Eight rooms with private baths and sitting area are available. Well-behaved children and pets are welcome. Enjoy afternoon tea with Barbara’s “world-famous” scones.

    Just one mile from Kiptopeke State Park in Cape Charles is The Baywood Bed and Breakfast, a reprieve with a private beach and two beautiful bay view rooms with balconies, and one “woodview” room. Kiptopeke is another well-preserved beach destination known for its migratory bird population.

    Church Point Manor Bed and Breakfast in Virginia Beach is the closest B&B to Virginia’s most popular state park, First Landing State Park. On April 26, 1607, 100 English settlers landed and established the first elective government in English America before pushing up the James River to establish Jamestown. Church Point Manor is an 1860s farmhouse boasting European and American art and antiques. Nine beautifully appointed rooms and a suite are available. Dining is available on-site at The Cellars, an upscale, well-kept secret.

    Cooper's Landing Inn, Clarksville

    Cooper’s Landing Inn, Clarksville

    Bike or hike High Bridge Trail State Park and stay only a mile away at Longwood B&B in the heart of Farmville. Each of the six rooms has a compelling story to accompany it, such as furniture from the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, and pieces associated with Ulysses S. Grant during the Civil War.

    Just across beautiful Kerr Lake from Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville is Cooper’s Landing Inn, a very comfortable reprieve in Virginia’s only lakeside town.  If you’d care to boat, take a trail ride on horseback or adventure around in other ways, the innkeepers are happy to oblige in making the arrangements. Their pool and hot tub are great places to unwind after a day of exploring.

    Six miles of horse trails and fourteen miles of hiking trails make the beautifully rolling 1,862-acre Sky Meadow State Park in Delaplane an attractive getaway not far from Washington, D.C. The Ashby Inn is less than two miles away in Paris. It’s an 1829 inn with six guest rooms in the main house and four suites in an on-site converted schoolhouse. The property also boasts an on-site farm-to-table restaurant.

    Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast, Moneta

    Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast, Moneta

    Smith Mountain Lake State Park is a family favorite for its boating, fishing, and swimming opportunities. At a shade over a mile away, Bedford Landings Bed & Breakfast in Moneta is a brand new timber frame accommodation that just opened in December 2013. It boasts four large guest rooms, some with a fireplace or a jetted tub. Flying in? They’re on the Smith Mountain Lake Airport (W91) and offer tie downs, too.

    The glistening Potomac River and Westmoreland State Park are less than five miles from the Inn at Montross, a 1790s Colonial Inn that has served as a tavern, hotel, restaurant, boarding house, apartments, and even as a school. You’ll find the five guestrooms to be quite comfortable and the fine dining exquisite after spending the day hunting for shark’s teeth and watching the Bald Eagles soar along the river.

     

    Find your own little slice of B&B heaven when you search our directory.

    Locate a state or national park near your destination.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide.



    Beaches, Outdoors, Virginia Destinations | 1 Comment

    10 Places to Saddle Up in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on March 28th, 2014

    The vantage point is a little different and the experience is entirely different from the back of a horse. Saddle up and explore Virginia’s countryside and seaside with these unique opportunities.

    Marriott Ranch

    Marriott Ranch

    Offering the only service of its kind in Virginia and seemingly, the country, Virginia Beach Horseback invites you to the Virginia Beach oceanfront for a horseback ride on the sand or a swim with the horses. Corralled at 31st Street, come down between noon and 6:30 p.m. until June for a ride down to the pier and back. In summer, try their new Swimming on Horseback option Wednesday through Thursdays at North Bay. All riders are prepped on how to control the horses; no experience required. Rates from $40 to $100. Reservations are not required, but suggested.

    The 4,200-acre working cattle farm known as Marriott Ranch is located in Hume, not far from Washington, D.C. Make a reservation for their popular 90-minute trail ride offered every day except Monday or take advantage of their special rides and overnight packages, such as the City Slicker package that includes horsemanship skills, cattle handling techniques, meals, and overnight at The Inn at Fairfield Farm (from $385/person). Or perhaps the Dinner Ride of a 90-minute trail ride and a cowboy steak dinner ($99/person) sounds nice? Additional rides include day-long rides, river and mountain rides, and cattle drives.

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    Shangrila Guest Ranch

    In South Boston you’ll find tucked away the Shangrila Guest Ranch, an all-inclusive horseback riding destination. Couples and families alike will appreciate the variety of accommodations (a three-bedroom homeplace, a sweet little log cabin, or the packhouse lodge). The ranchers at Shangrila will also work with you for corporate retreats at The Rusty Spur, and there’s a special Cowgirls Week in May that may be perfect for a bridal or reunion retreat. If you don’t have long to stay and play, reserve your spot for an hour-long ride or the full day; they’re happy to oblige. Rates from $40/hr for a trail ride to $125/person for a daytime excursion with lunch. Inquire for lodging rates and other opportunities.

    Additional Places to Saddle Up:

    More Information:

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a Free Travel Guide.



    Couples, Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | Comments Off