You’ve found, photographed and LOVEd our LOVEworks, but have you found and also fallen in love with our quirky roadside wonders? Make it your mission to discover Virginia’s old school vibe.
The Wytheville Office Supply is found quite easily on Route 21, but in case you just don’t see the big yellow sign, there’s a giant 30′ pencil pointing the way.
A classic icon of the ’70′s and 80′s is the roller skate, and we happen to know where you can find a gigantic one. Head to Bealeton on Route 17 to Rollerworks Family Skating Center, where you’ll find the skate right out front by the road.
Here’s a great natural wonder that is also a roadside wonder AND a road-over wonder. Did you know that Route 11 crosses over the Natural Bridge? Now you know. Purchase the online ticket deal to save $6 on the Bridge and Caverns combo ticket. It’s a great way to spend a few Saturday hours with the kiddos.
The Natural Bridge
While you’re in the vicinity of the Natural Bridge, you have to stop at Foamhenge. It’s a replica of Stonehenge, only made of foam. Just go see it. It’s awesome.
The Dog and Oyster is a winery associated with the renowned Hope and Glory Inn in Irvington. Upon entering, you’re greeted by two humongous corkscrews. Wouldn’t you like to see the wine bottles those fit?
Longing for more old school goodness? Head over to Virginia.org/OldSchool. Feel free to also share your funky old school Virginia pics there, too! We’ll take Instagrams, Hipstaprints … whatever ya got that’s cool and digital. Happy Sharing!
Plan a weekday or weekend visit to take in a show or two. Nearby hotels offer packages that include show tickets, although another notion is to purchase a deal from the Barter itself. Enjoy your show with extras thrown in. See below!
Summer 2013 Schedule
May 2, 4, 5, 7, 9-11: “I’ll Never Be Hungry Again” - Gone With the Wind as a musical-comedy! Described as Mad magazine meets Scarlett O’Hara as performed by Monty Python.
May 2-4, 8-9, 11: “Little Women” – Adapted pretty straight forward from Louisa May Alcott’s treasured novel of the same name.
May 2, 4-5: “Half a World Away” – Noted as a timely story of the timeless desire to belong, this is a powerful play about the immigrant experience of a 17-year-old boy who has spent half his life in Burma and the other half in America.
Select dates May through August – “Les Miserables” – One of the most loved musicals of all time, entirely in the Barter’s own production.
Select dates May through August – “Southern Fried Funeral” – A big-hearted comedy about Southern family, manners and traditions. You’ll laugh out loud!
Select dates June and July – “A Streetcar Named Desire” – One of the 20th century’s most enduring plays by Tennessee Williams, one of the south’s greatest writers.
Select dates June and July – “The Gin Game” – Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, “The Gin Game” is a game of gin rummy between two nursing home residents that drums up old heartaches and resentments.
Select dates July and August – “Hanging Mary” – This is a brand new tale of a significant regional story – that of a circus elephant named Mary who meets an untimely end for murder. Only eight performances!
Select dates August and September – “Good Ol’ Girls” – Love a strong southern woman? Don’t miss this musical quilted together by chart-topping country pop writers. Bring the girls and tap your toes!
Sometimes the most fun you can have in Virginia is found off the main arteries. Hop off the highways and hit the byways for fun, quirky amusements the whole family will enjoy.
Keystone Tractorworks Museum
American Armoured Foundation, Inc., otherwise known as the Tank Museum, is located in Danville and boasts an impressive military fleet. More than 115 tanks and artillery pieces, 150 mid-size weapons and tons of memorabilia dating from 1509 can be seen here. Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Open Saturdays only for winter hours beginning January 1. $10 per adult; children 4 and under are free.
NASCAR fans? Wood Brothers Racing, one of the oldest continually operating teams in NASCAR, has a Racing Museum in Stuart.
Care to take a ride on my big green tractor? While you won’t really take any of them out to go slow or faster, the fine private collection of pre-1960 tractors you’ll find at Keystone Tractorworks Museum in Colonial Heights will surely delight all the menfolk in your family and maybe the ladies, too. $8 per adult; $5 per child aged 6 to 17. Open daily.
Find the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia, displaying more than 2,000 historic firearms from a 600-year period. Of note, see the oldest gun in America – a wheel lock musket from aboard the Mayflower, those of Dwight Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill Cody, Napoleon, Chuck Yeager, Jesse James and more. Hollywood guns like those from “No Country for Old Men” and “Dirty Harry” are on display, too. The museum is open daily from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and is free.
Steamboat Era Museum
American Celebration on Parade is a must-see for parade enthusiasts. Just off I-81 in the Shenandoah Valley near Shenandoah Caverns, the huge facility is home to floats from the Rose Parade, Presidential Inaugurations and many more national celebrations.
The romantic steamboat period of the 1800-and early 1900s is captured at the Steamboat Era Museum in Irvington along the Chesapeake Bay. Models and artifacts bring the photographs to life. Open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For those who’d rather not shiver in the cold, planetariums are great places to explore the night sky during winter.
James Madison University Planetarium. Harrisonburg. “Mystery of the Christmas Star” is now showing. Free but seating is first come, first seated. Fridays and Saturdays in December at 7 p.m.
Another warm-up idea is the Harrisonburg Fire Department Museum. See uniforms, medals, photographs and of course, equipment. Open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Free.
In Big Stone Gap, deep in coal country, is the Harry W. Meador Coal Museum. A visit here provides a step back in time. See coal company items, equipment, photographs and more. Open Wednesday through Sunday. Free.
The vault of fun has in no way been emptied with this list. Hit up Virginia.org to explore more museums and attractions.
LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
Virginia “Ginny” Patterson Hensley would be 80 years old this September 8. “Who is that?” you’re no doubt asking. It’s Patsy Cline, of course, and her home in Winchester, Virginia - the only tourist site in the country dedicated to the iconic singer – is now a museum open for touring and paying respects.
Patsy on the front porch of 608 S. Kent Street, now The Patsy Cline Historic House.
John Handley High School (425 Handley Blvd.) is where Patsy struggled to earn an education. She dropped out at age 16 to help support her family. Working the soda fountain at Gaunt’s Drugstore (S. Loudoun St. & Gerrard St.) was one of Patsy’s jobs during her teenage years.
The home you’ll see (but can’t tour) at 720 S. Kent Street is the one in which Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. You can also see the Winchester Star at 2 N. Kent Street, which is where Charles worked as a linotype operator.
Patsy’s parents, Samuel Lawrence Hensley and Hilda Virginia Patterson Hensley, are interred at National Cemetery (401 National Avenue). Shenandoah Memorial Park (1270 Front Royal Pike) is where you’ll find Patsy’s final resting place. Folks leave pennies on her headstone for good luck.
A glimpse inside The Patsy Cline Historic House.
A Little About Patsy
Ginny took the stage name Patsy when a radio personality gave her a chance to tour regionally with his band, Melody Boys and Girls. When she married Gerald E. Cline in 1953, she became Patsy Cline.
Patsy’s first 45 single, released in 1954, was not successful, but in 1955 she was able to take the stage with Jimmy Dean on a 30-minute music variety television program in the Washington DC area. The spotlight moment launched her onto Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1957 where she took the prize with “Walkin’ After Midnight”. The beginning of her musical career met the end of her marriage.
In September 1957 Patsy married Charles Allen Dick. The birth of their first child put her career on hold for a time, but in 1959 the family moved to Nashville. In 1960 Patsy became a regular on the Grand Ole Opry and in 1961 “I Fall to Pieces” topped the country charts and landed at number 12 on the pop charts.
An automobile accident critically injured Patsy in June 1961, but she made it back into the studio by August to record “Crazy” – a song written by Willie Nelson that would rise to number two on the country charts and number nine on the pop charts. In December, “She’s Got You” was recorded and would become her second number-one country hit.
Over Patsy’s career she was seen performing with Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and George Jones. She landed appearances on American Bandstand and played Carnegie Hall. By 1963 she had more than 100 recordings under her belt.
March 5, 1963 was Patsy’s last day as the plane she was aboard crashed in Tennessee. Her remains were buried in Winchester.
Like many performers lost too soon, Patsy’s notoriety came after her death:
Country Music Hall of Fame, 1973 – first solo female elected
Virginia Folk Music Association’s Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, 1981
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award, 1995
Grammy Hall of Fame, 1992 for “Crazy” and 2001 for “I Fall to Pieces”
United States Commemorative Stamp, 1993
Hollywood Walk of Fame, 1999
“Crazy” is the number one jukebox hit of all time.
Staunton, Virginia is quickly garnering attention as a performing arts and cultural hot spot, and here are two more reasons why: Heifietz International Music Institute and Staunton Music Festival.
Cellist Ralph Kirshbaum. Heifetz International Music Institute.
Heifetz International Music Institute is a unique program found only in Virginia. The Institute brings 62 advanced students of the violin, viola and cello to Staunton for six weeks of intensive lessons, practicing and performances. The students learn from the best musicians from around the world, including founder Daniel Heifetz, who converge on Staunton to share their skills and perform as well.
Music lovers can enjoy student performances at the free Stars of Tomorrow Concerts. Take your seat at Mary Baldwin College’s Francis Auditorium July 28 at 3 p.m., August 1 at 7:30 p.m., August 4 at 3 p.m. or August 8 at 7:30 p.m.
In addition, the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library will host free lunchtime concerts. Bring your lunch and listen to performances July 30 and August 6 at noon.
Staunton Music Festival Artistic Director Carsten Schmidt conducting Handel's Semele at Blackfriars Playhouse in 2007. Photo by Tommy Thompson.
When Heifetz wraps up, the Staunton Music Festival kicks off its 15th year, beginning August 17 and running through August 25. It’s a nine-day celebration of chamber music performed by 50 world-class performers in intimate settings — just the way chamber music was written to heard. Festival goers can expect works by the master composers, lesser known composers and perhaps new, challenging pieces.