Many of Virginia’s craft breweries happen to be located near great hiking and biking trails. Head out with the ones you love, then come back and settle in for an ice cold beverage and great local hospitality.
This trail runs from George Washington’s Mount Vernon, along the Potomac River north to Arlington. Concentrate on the Alexandria to Arlington portions of the trail and find that there are four breweries not too far away.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The words summer and music go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re matches made in heaven and very enjoyable when experienced together.
The Galax Fiddlers’ Convention is a competition/concert/jam session rolled into one.
If you haven’t yet done so, dust the cobwebs from your folding chairs and throw them in the trunk. You’re going to need them for these eight amazing summer music festivals in Virginia.
1. The world’s largest and oldest fiddler’s convention is found in Galax, and you can count on it being around for years to come. Held every summer during the second week of August, the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention welcome musicians and fans from around the world. In fact, Galax is called the World’s Capital of Oldtime Mountain Music. Go see and hear what you’ve been missing out on August 5-10 when the 78th annual convention convenes.
2. Seven stages and more than 50 artists are scheduled for this year’s FloydFest, a four-day celebration of art and music spread over 80 acres on the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 170.5. Visit the Global Village for arts workshops and demonstrations from 100 vendors and artisans. Plenty of food, a Children’s Universe and so much more! Scheduled artists include Old Crow Medicine Show, The Lumineers (ho hey!), John Butler Trio and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.
3. Red Wing Roots Festival is a brand new music festival, but it’s big and has huge potential. Don’t miss this inaugural event at Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon July 12-14. The biggest draw of this event is the volume of entertainment. Expect four stages with 40 bands, including big names like The Del McCoury Band, The Sam Bush Band, Tim O’Brien, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and The Steel Wheels. A kid’s stage will include special performances and workshops.
The Richmond Jazz Festival showcases top artists in an intimate, casual atmosphere.
4. The Richmond Jazz Festival has quickly become the premier event of its kind. This year the festival welcomes giants of jazz like Jill Scott, Michael McDonald, Chick Corea & The Vigil, Terrence Blanchard, and Dr. John & The Nite Trippers. Don’t miss this one. It’s August 9-11 in Richmond.
6. The Verizon Wireless American Music Festival at Virginia Beach brings in bands representing multiple American genres from all over – local, regional and national. Five stages will welcome more than 30 bands this Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 1). The major headliners are Third Eye Blind, Barenaked Ladies and Daughtry, but other well-known groups like Fuel, Smash Mouth, Carbon Leaf and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are also on the bill.
7. Chamber music lovers will adore Staunton Music Festival, a nine-day celebration occurring August 16-24. Nearly 30 concerts by more than 60 of the world’s finest chamber musicians will perform at historic venues throughout downtown Staunton. Expect to hear pieces from the Renaissance through today with world premiers by composers-in-residence. Who wouldn’t love to be present for a world premier?!
8. Extend your summer into the second weekend of September (September 5-8). It will be so worth it because that’s when Lockn’ Music Festival takes over Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington. It’s a four-day music festival with artists like Gov’t Mule, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Crowes, John Fogerty, The String Cheese Incident, Punch Brothers, Widespread Panic and Zac Brown of Zac Brown Band.
You love food. You love the outdoors. Marry the two in Virginia, where we deliver both equally well.
Kayak to wine, clams and oysters.
1. Take to the Atlantic or Chesapeake Bay and catch your own dinner, but leave the cooking to one of Virginia Beach’s fine establishments. They’ll prepare it any way you like while you enjoy a little time with the ones you love.
2. Paddle away in a kayak for oysters, clams or even wine, if you like, from Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Find littleneck clams buried in the mud of Cherrystone Creek when you sign up for a kayak clamming tour with SouthEast Expeditions. SEE also offers a kayak winery tour to award-winning Chatham Vineyards or Holly Grove Vineyards. Check the calendar at Chatham to look for special oyster and Chardonnay pairings.
Morel found by Steve Haas Mushrooms
3. Take a guided hunt for wild mushrooms! Really, take a guided hunt. I can’t overemphasize the need to hunt mushrooms with someone who KNOWS mushrooms. Connect with Steve Haas Mushrooms – HaaShrooms – in Richmond. He has the connections to lead you on “Wild Food Forays” in Virginia. After you reap the rewards of the hunt, ask for his HaaShrooms White Sauce recipe (goes great with Chicken of the Woods, he says).
4. Hollin Farms in Delaplane is the only farm in Virginia (that I found) that allows you to dig your own peanuts (call to verify hours). What do you do with raw peanuts? See this Pinterest board of recipes or this previous post that includes Hotel Roanoke’s peanut soup!
5. So I said four in the title, but I have to give you a fifth …
The season may have passed, but I have to include the capture-and-cook notion dreamed up by bon appétit: CICADAS. Yes, the plague that was hit-or-miss this spring in Virginia found its way into Richmond by way of three local chefs – Jason Alley of Comfort and Pasture, Will Wienckowski of Ipanema, and John Seymore of Lunch. and Supper! Cicadas were caught and the trio of chefs developed recipes like Charleston Cheese Grits and Blackened Cicadas with Grilled Onions and Peppers. In the end, everyone agreed that the little (big) buggers will not be added to the menus. Try them at home? Recipe.
As a foodie or outdoor adventurer, what would you like to do in Virginia? Do you have any thoughts on marrying the two? Comment below to let us know!
Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a bucket list item for many people, but it’s a long journey that tests stamina and perseverance. With a literal uphill challenge like the A.T., communities that embrace hikers are a welcome and much-needed resource. To recognize those communities that promote and protect the A.T., the Appalachian Trail Conservancy has established the Appalachian Trail Community™ designation program.
An Appalachian Trail Community™ promises to meet certain criteria, which may include hosting an annual Trail event or celebration, providing a Trail education or service-learning project, or incorporating language that will protect the Trail in land-use plans and ordinances, etc. Communities are asked why they should be selected and how the town embraces and supports the Trail. An opportunity to recognize hiker-friendly services is provided as well. With the knowledge that each community has been properly vetted by the Conservancy, hikers can rest assured they will be warmly received and the community serves as an active steward of the Trail.
Get to Know Each Virginia Appalachian Trail Community™
Widely known as “Trail Town USA,” the A.T. courses right through downtown Damascus.
Trail Days is a major annual event that celebrates the A.T., as well as the Virginia Creeper Trail, Trans-America National Bicycle Trail and several others, with workshops, gear vendors, entertainment and more.