Travel Ideas and Stories - Virginia's Travel Blog
ShareRSS  

Posts Tagged ‘Shenandoah Valley’

5 Out of the Way Places to Explore Off Interstate 81

by Casey | Posted on February 19th, 2014

Threading its way through the Shenandoah Valley and into the Blue Ridge Highlands of Virginia is Interstate 81, a major thoroughfare that carries a daily average of up to 67,000* vehicles north and south. From I-81 visitors can experience a wide variety of history that includes woolly mammoth and mastodon, the Drama of Creation, westward migration into the first frontier, battle sites of the Civil War, and important pieces of agricultural revolution. History isn’t the only thing this part of Virginia has to offer. Get off that very well beaten path and see what you’ve been missing.

Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

Megalosaurus at Dinosaur Land in White Post, Virginia.

1. The Camera Heritage Museum in Staunton is the East Coast’s largest privately owned, open to the public collection. And it’s free to visit! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll see - daguerreotypes, wooden cameras, spy cameras … more than 2,000 cameras and lenses total. Especially unique pieces (at least to this author) are the Magic Lantern Projector (c. 1900), Suzuki Optical Echo 8 (1951-56), and the Chelsea Flash Pistol. In addition to the camera collection, check out the photograph collection. More than 2,500 historical images of the Staunton area are available for viewing.

2. While you might have visited Luray Caverns already, you might have skipped touring the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum. If so, go back. This museum is home to the country’s oldest automotive in operating condition, the 1892 Benz Vis-a-Vis. Alongside this treasure are an 1840 Conestoga Wagon, Rudolph Valentino’s 1925 Rolls Royce, a 1914 Ford Model-T Milk Wagon, a 1913 Stanley Steamer, and more. The Car and Carriage Caravan Museum is included with Luray Caverns admission. $24 per adult, $12 ages 6 to 12.

3. In White Post you’ll find Dinosaur Land, an old school Virginia roadside attraction that’s more than 50 years old and has more than 50 dinosaurs to pose with. Everyone needs a pic with T-Rex! Opens for the season March 1. Admission is $6 per guest aged 11 and older; $5 ages 2 to 10.

Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

Bob White Covered Bridge in Stuart, Virginia. Image by Doug Wilcox.

4. If want a nostalgic, romantic feeling to wash over you, just visit the covered bridges in Patrick County. Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges date to 1921 and 1914, respectively, and are celebrated annually in June during the Virginia Covered Bridge Festival.

5. The heritage of the Appalachians is preserved at the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park in Tazewell, which is also the site of a 500-year old Native American village. Conflicts of all kinds occurred on this land, including Revolutionary and Civil War skirmishes. Fourteen 1800s log cabins give a glimpse of what pioneer life in the original wild west was like. Overnight pioneer camps and other special opportunities are available. Admission is $5 per adult; $3 for ages 7 to 12.

Do you know of five others you’d add to this list? Please leave a comment to let everyone know!

 

Virginia is for Lovers.
Request a free Travel Guide.

*I-81 Corridor Coalition



Travel Ideas | 4 Comments

Hot Dining in the City – Virginia Restaurant Weeks

by Casey | Posted on January 13th, 2014

January in Virginia has foodie appeal as six cities roll out their chef’s best dishes for restaurant weeks. Make these dining opportunities the center of your weekend getaway.

Bubba's Seafood Restaurant

Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant

The first to kick off the good eating is Virginia Beach Restaurant Week running January 12 through 19. More than 60 establishments are offering two- and three-course meals at special $10, $20 and $30 price points. Participants include local favorites like Bubba’s Seafood Restaurant, and award winners like Lynnhaven Fish House (“Best Seafood Restaurant” in Hampton Roads by Portfolio Magazine).
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

Alexandria Restaurant Week boasts a distinctive collection of 50 dining establishments offering exclusive menus at a $35 fixed price. Participate in the lunch and dinner festivities from January 17 through 26 at comfort food hot spots like King Street Blues in Old Town, or La Bergerie, an award winning French restaurant (Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, 2002-2012).
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

Nestled in the southern Shenandoah Valley against the Blue Ridge Mountains is Roanoke, a destination celebrating its annual Downtown Roanoke Restaurant Week January 17 through 26. Variety is the key to success for this culinary event. Expect to dine for $10, $20 or $30 at 14 or more establishments, including the casually elegant Blues & Jazz themed Blue 5, and Table 50, a fine dining experience in the middle of Historic Roanoke City Market.
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

Bodega on Granby

Bodega on Granby

Norfolk claims to have “the area’s most eclectic and delicious array of restaurants,” so why not try them out? Downtown Norfolk Restaurant Week begins January 19 and runs through January 26. Three-course dinners will be available from more than 15 establishments for $20, $30 or $40, with some also offering $10 lunches. Eat light Spanish and Mediterranean tapas at Bodega on Granby or soak in the historic surroundings as you enjoy a hearty steak or seafood dinner at Omar’s Carriage House.
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

The inaugural Newport News Restaurant Week is actually two weeks long and serves up prix fixe dinners and lunches from January 19 through February 2. Among the 17 participating establishments are Fin, a seafood restaurant utilizing fresh, local ingredients, and Harpoon Larry’s Oyster Bar & Fish House, a Newport News mainstay named “One of the Best 23 Seafood Dives in the U.S.A.” by Coastal Living Magazine.
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

Charlottesville invites you to please your palate without draining your wallet during the semi-annual Charlottesville Restaurant Week, January 27 through February 2. Thirty-three restaurants are offering menus that include either $16, $26 or $36 menus. Try a bite of Louisiana at Fig, offering New Orleans Jambalaya and other Cajun-spiced delights. Or maybe you’ll enjoy the French-Virginia infused flavors at L’etoile.
See the complete list of participating restaurants.

While this is the run-down for January, restaurant weeks are spaced out with other cities offering their finest wares at other times of the year. See the list.

Virginia is for Lovers.



Couples, Deals & Discounts, Food | Comments Off

5 Heartwarming Destinations for Your Holidays

by Casey | Posted on November 6th, 2013

As the season of holidays creeps ever closer, find ways to make the most of your time together and make it memorable. Why not consider an overnight or two in a Virginia destination known for its merriment and cheer?

 

The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

Spend the holidays in Abingdon! This picturesque small town will fill your heart with holiday joy. World class art venues, cultural events and historical sites are all wrapped up in Christmas lights.

  • Stay: The Martha Hotel & Spa, Copper Lantern Inn, River Garden Bed and Breakfast
  • Dine: Babycakes Cupcakery and Abingdon Tavern
  • Visit: Barter Theatre, Holston Mountain Artisans, Wolf Hills Brewery, Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Escape to a cozy winter weekend in Harrisonburg, where holiday events on Main Street highlight the beauty of the season.

  • Stay: Joshua Wilton House, Stonewall Jackson Inn, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages
  • Dine: Shank’s Bakery, Clementine Cafe, Corgans’ Publick House
  • Visit: You Made It!, Winter Farmers’ Market, Forbes Center for Performing Arts
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria

From charming King Street in Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon, the area presents lively, entertaining holiday opportunities for the whole family.

  • Stay: Morrison House, Lorien Hotel and Spa, Hotel Monaco
  • Dine: Fish Market Restaurant, Hard Times Cafe, Caboose Cafe & Bakery
  • Visit: Torpedo Factory Art Center, Woodlawn, Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria Black History Museum
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Downtown Culpeper

Downtown Culpeper

Enjoy the spirit of a classic Virginia Main Street when you and the girls make it a shopping weekend in Culpeper.

  • Stay: Thyme Inn, Suites at 249, Hazel River Inn B&B
  • Dine: Hazel River Inn Restaurant & Pub, Raven’s Nest Coffee House, Foti’s
  • Visit: Mount Pony Theatre, Belmont Farm Distillery, Old House Vineyards
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Living Museum

Capture the memories as you indulge your senses and rejuvenate your soul in Newport News, the heart of Coastal Virginia, this holiday season.

  • Stay: Newport News Marriott at City Center, Boxwood Inn, The Pequod Inn
  • Dine: Crab Shack on the James, The Lunch Bell
  • Visit: Virginia Living Museum, 100 Miles of Lights, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion
  • See the Entire Getaway

 

Looking for more great holiday getaways? This is the first in a series! Be sure to subscribe to our posts so you don’t miss the next edition. In the mean time, leave a comment to tell us your favorite Virginia destination for the holidays.

Virginia is for Lovers.
Free Travel Guide and State Map



48 Hours, The Holidays, Travel Ideas, Virginia Destinations, Winter | 12 Comments

48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 7 of 8

by Casey | Posted on September 24th, 2013

October Virginia Wine Month kicks off next week and we have a few wine-themed getaways that will go perfectly with your leaf peeping!

A Wine Getaway in Northern Virginia

Sunset view from the deck at Grandale Farm Restaurant.

Sunset view from the deck at Grandale Farm Restaurant.

How about starting in Berryville at Veramar Vineyard? It’s 100 acres of  breathtaking beauty. Upcoming events at Vermar include Chili Day on October 5 and Italiano Pasta Day on October 19. If you’re visiting at another time and are looking for lunch, try Village Square Restaurant in the heart of downtown Winchester. Two recommendations for staying the night are Smithfield Farm Bed & Breakfast in Berryville or Old Waterstreet Inn in Winchester.

On day two, take Route 7 into Loudoun County to sip more wine at Loudoun Valley Vineyards in Waterford and Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery in Leesburg. For dinner, plan to enjoy a wonderful farm-to-table dish at Grandale Farm Restaurant. This restaurant has been touted by Travel + Leisure among other publications; you won’t go wrong. Want to call it a night here? Book a place at Goodstone Inn & Estate or Red Fox Inn.

Day three equals more wine! Hit Fauquier County’s Wine Trail to visit Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane and others along the way. Cheers!

MAP this trip!

Paddle Your Glass Off on the Eastern Shore

The Charlotte Hotel & Restaurant

The Charlotte Hotel & Restaurant

The world’s first kayak winery tour was launched by and from SouthEast Expeditions in Onancock to Chatham Vineyards. The idea has been such a hit that Holly Grove Vineyards is now on board, too! If you’re an avid kayaker, both vineyards can be kayaked to and enjoyed in a full-day tour. And at the end of that day? A great dinner and sunset view at Mallards at the Wharf followed by a comfortable, peaceful night’s sleep at either Charlotte Hotel, The Inn at Onancock or Spinning Wheel Bed & Breakfast.

In the morning, enjoy breakfast in Exmore at Yellow Duck Bakery Cafe or Exmore Diner before heading to Williamsburg. Fall is beautiful across the entire Commonwealth, but to experience some of our nation’s founding history amid the foliage is stunning. Spend some time at Colonial Williamsburg and include lunch at one of the period taverns. Buy yourself a fancy hat and blend right into the 18th century! Then it’s on to Williamsburg Winery for a tasting and tour. Stay the night nearby at Colonial Gardens B&B, Liberty Rose B&B Inn, or A Williamsburg Sampler B&B.

Ways to Spend Another Day:

MAP this trip!

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

 

 



48 Hours, Couples, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Wine | Comments Off

48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia, Part 6 of 8

by Casey | Posted on September 19th, 2013

Stretch your time and your legs as you meander around Virginia this fall. Spend a few days away with those you love most, doing what you love most. Together is where it’s at.

Lake Drummond - Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge

Great Dismal to Back Bay

The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge Canal Trail in Chesapeake is a stunning (mostly bug-free) attraction each fall, when the colors peak late October to early November. Bring your camera to possibly capture beautiful wildlife and incredible sunrises and sunsets.

Between the Refuges:

- Northwest River Park - 763 acres of paddle sports, fishing and hiking
- Mount Pleasant Farms – Don’t miss their Fall on the Farm weekends in October!
- Cullipher Farm Market – Two corn mazes and u-pick pumpkin patch
Surf & Adventure Co. Lunchbox Kayak Tour of Back Bay – 2-3 hrs; no experience required
- Blue Pete’s Seafood Restaurant – Award-winning She-Crab Soup; outdoor seating; local hang-out

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,000-acre coastal habitat in southern Virginia Beach. Dunes, woodland, beach and marsh areas are home to loggerhead sea turtles, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and approximately 10,000 snow geese at peak fall migration.

Map This Trip

 

Assateague Island

Lighthouse Touring: Mathews – Virginia Beach – Assateague

Assateague Lighthouse has received a semi-extreme makeover. See her in all her fresh, red-and-white-striped glory this fall, along with a few sister lights, starting at New Point Comfort in Mathews.

New Point Comfort Lighthouse is the third oldest lighthouse still standing in the Chesapeake Bay and the tenth oldest in the United States. Appreciate it from the observation walkway at the southern end of Route 600, or paddle your way out for an up close and personal view.

Between the Lights:

- New Point Comfort Nature Preserve
- Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve
- Linda’s Diner
- Fort Monroe Casemate Museum
- Bubba’s Marina and Seafood Restaurant

Both Cape Henry Lighthouses in Virginia Beach can be seen at Fort Story military base with a government-issued form of identification for everyone aged 16 and older, plus the vehicle registration and insurance card. Admission to climb the old Cape Henry Lighthouse is $5 for 13 and older; $3 for 12 and under. Must be 42″ tall to climb; children may not be carried.

Between the Lights:

- First Landing Cross
- Surf Rider Restaurant
- Citrus Breakfast & Lunch
- Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
- Exmore Diner
- Island Creamery
- Don’s Seafood
- Assateague Explorer Pony Watching/Wildlife Cruises

Finally, Assateague Lighthouse! It’s a beauty at 142′ tall. Visit anytime you wish, but if you enjoy celebrations, might I suggest October 5, 2013? The grand re-opening will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include music, fun for the kids, free lighthouse climbs and more. The lighthouse will be re-lit at approximately 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Map This Trip

 

Douthat State Park

Douthat State Park

Hot Springs Rustic and Resort

Take your fun to the mountains this fall as you experience what is possibly the best of both worlds: state park to luxury resort.

Start at Douthat State Park in Millboro where the hiking and fishing are fine. Book a cabin or pitch a tent. It’s a great place to appreciate the beauty around you. Stay a night or two, then pack it up and go upscale at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs.

Mountain Adventures:

- George Washington National Forest
- Cascades Golf Course
- Allegheny Springs
- The Wine Shop at Hot Springs
- The Gallery at Seven Oaks
- Garth Newel Music Center
- Sam Snead’s Tavern

Map This Trip

Looking for more great ways to get away in Virginia? Look no further than the other posts in this 48 Hours series.

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.

MORE:

Fall Related Blog Posts



48 Hours, Destinations, Fall in Virginia, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | Comments Off