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    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
    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
    Road trippers and warriors may recognize the Hampton Roads #Bridge Tunnel at sunset, though it looks different when you're not behind the wheel of a car. Beautiful shot by @slayerlovnhippy! Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #repost #dusk #photooftheday #bridgetunnel #vatravel #moon #hamptonroads
  • Posts Tagged ‘spring’

    10 Spring Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

    by Casey | Posted on March 19th, 2014

    Between spring and summer, Virginia has hundreds of festivals to choose from, each with its own unique atmosphere, tastes and vibe. Here are ten festivals that either have a storied history or are rising stars in their genre. Plan a spring weekend around one.

    Daffodil Festival, Gloucester

    Daffodil Festival, Gloucester

    A true harbinger of spring, Gloucester’s Daffodil Festival is an annual two day extravaganza held in early April, just as the beautiful yellow blooms make their appearance. With floats akin to those of the Rose Parade, the festival kicks off with the Daffodil Festival Parade and the Daffodil Queen. The remainder of the festival is what you’d expect – magicians, face painting, artisans, live music, and tons of food. Saturday only, you’re invited to take a tour of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs to take place your order for genuine Gloucester Daffodil bulbs!

    The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is held annually in Staunton and hosted by SunSpots Studio. Not afraid to share their spotlight, SunSpots invites other glass blowers from around the region to demonstrate and show off their talents for these two late April dates. Take home a piece of jewelry, art glass marbles, or other hand blown glass item just after the artist has put the finishing touches on it. For the kids, a fire-breathing dragon and ray gun demonstration will be key highlights, along with the challenge the kids can present to the artists: create a blown glass rendition of a kids’ drawing. The Virginia Hot Glass Festival is the only festival of its kind in Virginia.

    A fairly new festival is the Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg. Now in its fourth year, this festival celebrates craft beer from Virginia and beyond. Each brewery (30 so far) will have a representative on site serving their flagship beer as well as a rare or seasonal craft brew. Expect great food from the burgeoning restaurant scene of Harrisonburg, as well as fantastic live music to round out this spring day in late April. TICKETS

    One of Virginia’s largest and oldest festivals is the annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival in Winchester, held over 10 days at the end of April and into early May. Entering its 87th year, the festival has grown to include a wine festival, midway rides, a golf tournament, apple pie baking contest, a fun run and 10K, the coronation of Queen Shenandoah, the Queen’s Ball, fireworks, the world’s largest firefighters’ parade, and the official Grand Feature Parade, among other events with live music and food involved. TICKETS

    Chincoteague Seafood Festival

    Chincoteague Seafood Festival

    Salivating for fresh seafood? Wipe your mouth and head to the Chincoteague Seafood Festival in early May! Signature seafood dishes will be prepared for your consumption, including the famous Little Neck Clams that the festival is known for. Drinks are included with admission; beer is additional. Stay all day and graze while live beach music sets the vibe. TICKETS

    The middle of May is the perfect time to treat yourself (or mom for Mother’s Day!) to a day overlooking the Potomac River with a glass of wine at the Spring Wine Festival & Sunset Tour at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Sixteen Virginia wineries will be on hand for your tasting pleasure while the rarely opened wine storage of George Washington will be open for your viewing pleasure. This festival is very popular and often sells out in advance. Tickets available beginning April 1.

    Southerners love their fried chicken and no community knows that better than Gordonsville! Dubbed the “Chicken Leg Center of the Universe,” Gordonsville offers to you its annual Famous Fried Chicken Festival. The story of their fried chicken goes way back to the 19th century women who would greet passengers on the train as it stopped in Gordonsville, all while carrying platters of chicken on their heads. The hospitality of serving great fried chicken has never stopped and you can enjoy the flavors or offer your own at the cook-off. Wineries and artisans will be on hand to complete the festival environment.

    Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Martinsville

    Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, Martinsville

    If you love multi-day music festivals, don’t wait until summer to get your groove on. Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival is four days of live music over Memorial Day Weekend. At the time of this writing, there are 35 bands lined up, including Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, The Infamous Stringdusters and Yarn. Held at the Blue Mountain Festival Grounds in Martinsville, this festival will include delicious food, children’s activities, and arts and crafts. Camping is available. TICKETS

    Portsmouth invites you to the Annual UMOJA Festival in late May. It’s the 24th year for this three day festival promoting cultural diversity and unity, and will open with a traditional African drum call and ceremonial processional. Great ethnic foods and artisans’ wares are a highlight along with a famed musical act. This year the UMOJA Festival welcomes Chaka Khan!

    The three day Clinch River Days Festival is held annually in St. Paul and celebrates the river life, heritage and culture of Southwest Virginia. Whatever your outdoor pleasure, you can likely enjoy it during this weekend of fun. Taste the food and wine flavors of the region as you learn about the railroad and river influence on this area.

    Find more fun festivals and events at Virginia.org/Events.

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    Virginia’s Coastal Spring Drives

    by Casey | Posted on March 4th, 2014

    If you’re completely over the winter season and long for spring like I do, you’ll love the notion of beautiful spring drives through Virginia. Beginning in Coastal Virginia, these drives include history and beauty, and leave you feeling a little more carefree.

    This is the first of a four-part series which will lead you to some of the best destinations in Virginia by way of the slower route.

    Colonial Parkway

    Colonial Parkway

    Colonial Parkway is a 23-mile run through America’s Historic Triangle, connecting Historic Jamestowne, Jamestown Settlement, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Battlefield, and Yorktown Victory Center. The drive is maintained by the National Park Service and is free from commercial development. Dogwood, Redbud, and more bloom along the drive, and the James and York Rivers are additional highlights.

    Cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel to access Coastal Virginia’s Eastern Shore and then it’s Route 13 all the way to Maryland … with a stop-off or two as you go. Really take your time and enjoy what’s just out of sight:

    ~ Kiptopeke State Park
    ~ Cape Charles – the only public bayside beach on the Shore
    ~ Onancock – “The Coolest Town in the South,” per Budget Travel
    ~
    Historic Railway Museum, Parksley
    ~ Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge - wild ponies!
    ~ Asssateague Island National Seashore and Assateague Lighthouse

    Westover Plantation

    Westover Plantation

    Often romanticized (thank you, Gone With the Wind), and ever historic, plantations are plentiful along the James River and Route 5 from Williamsburg to Richmond. Not all are open to the public all the time, so call ahead if visiting one is part of your plan. Or, purchase the Civil War Trace ticket to visit the grounds and tour just a few of them.

    Route 10 from Smithfield to Chippokes Plantation State Park runs on the south side of the James River. Enjoy a waterside meal at Smithfield Station and then explore the shops of this historic ham hamlet before heading northwest to Bacon’s Castle, the 1665 Jacobean mansion and oldest brick structure in British North America. Bacon’s Castle is so named for Nathaniel Bacon of ”Bacon’s Rebellion” in 1676. Nearly 350 years of history are interpreted at the site by way of tours of the 9,600 square foot mansion and 40-acre plantation. Just down the road is Chippokes Plantation State Park, a working farm that dates to 1617. Tour the antebellum mansion and check out the antique farm and forestry equipment, too. If you have time to spend, stay overnight or take to the trails for hiking and biking.

    Which coastal route is your favorite to drive at a leisurely pace and enjoy a day or weekend? Leave a comment to let everyone know.

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    Virginia Destinations | Comments Off

    14 Things to Bring with You on Vacation in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on February 18th, 2014

    Every corner of Virginia offers an experience that you might be surprised to find. Don’t be caught off guard! Here’s your list of 14 things to bring with you on vacation in Virginia.

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards

    1. Cork Screw – Virginia has more than 230 wineries and quite a few wine trails. You’re sure to come across more than a few in your travels, so stop and taste the best of what’s around. Have a cork screw with you for picnics or wherever your path may lead.

    2. Guitar Pick – Even if you don’t play, you’ll have the chance to strum a note or two when you travel The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Traversing nearly 300 miles through the Blue Ridge Highlands and Heart of Appalachia, the Crooked Road is your go-to destination for authentic old-time, bluegrass and folk music, not to mention some of the finest handcrafted instruments in the world.

    3. Oyster Shucking Knife – Virginia is a hot destination for oyster lovers. So much so, that it’s becoming known as the oyster capital of the East Coast. Taste the distinct difference seven oyster regions bring to the table when you attend an oyster festival or simply dine locally.

    Pierce's Bar-B-Que

    Pierce’s Bar-B-Que

    4. GrowlerCraft beer has exploded in Virginia with more than 60 breweries serving their finest ales in on-site tasting rooms and local restaurants. A couple of trails exist or you can try our suggested Howlers & Growlers tour.

    5. Binoculars – Bird watching is especially enjoyable in Virginia as much of the state is part of the Atlantic Flyway, a major migratory route. Read more about Virginia’s Birding and Wildlife Trail.

    6. Ear Plugs – Virginia is fortunate to have two major NASCAR tracks and one major road course, all hosting multiple national events annually. In addition, Arena Racing USA is the only indoor stock car league in the country, and you can see these half-scale stock cars speed around Richmond Coliseum.

    7. Moist Towelette – People who are serious about barbecue will no doubt sample and argue over which BBQ Joint is the best in Virginia (our list is up to 20!).  From Food Network and Southern Living to simple local acclaim, these dining destinations won’t let you down.

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    Hiking the Passamaquaddy Trail on Little Stony Man Mountain

    8. Hiking Shoes – Miles and miles and miles of hiking trails lead to waterfalls, amazing panoramic vantage points, and sheer Virginia solitude. See Hiking in Virginia, a compilation of Facebook and Twitter fan feedback about favorite hikes.

    9. Rain Suit or Bandana – Big boy toys are meant for girls, too. Everyone loves ATVing once they let loose and try it. Bring a rain suit in case your ride occurs during the rainy spring season (mud, anyone?!), or a bandana to cover your mouth and nose during drier conditions. Get dirty at one of 8 Virginia ATV Destinations!

    10. Water Bowl and Leash – Have a pet? Come on and travel Virginia. An increasing number of accommodations are welcoming pets into their environment. Check out Virginia is for Pet Lovers for pet-friendly travel info.

    New River

    New River

    11. Fishing Pole – Sink your line deep into the Atlantic or cast a fly into a freshwater stream. There are all kinds of fish biting year ’round in Virginia. Buy a fishing license.

    12. Helmet – Helmets can and should be used for a variety of experiences in Virginia – bicycling, horseback riding, kayaking and tubing, rock climbing, and ziplining, for starters.

    13. Swimsuit and Sunblock – Be ready to dive in a lake, splash around a waterpark or sunbathe on the beach this summer.

    14.  Camera App – What vacation would be complete without memories captured and shared on Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook? We want to see your amazing time, so tag your fun vacation photos with #LOVEVA!

    Can you think of other things to bring for a uniquely Virginia vacation? Name it! We invite you to leave a comment and share your thoughts.

    Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide.

    One last thought … 14 souvenirs to bring home from Virginia:

    1. Chincoteague Pony (yes, you can!)
    2. NASCAR lug nut
    3. Corks from conquered bottles of wine
    4. Empty oyster shell
    5. Photo of you on a roller coaster
    6. Growler, shot glass or wine glass from your liquid adventures
    7. Video of you flatfootin’ at Floyd Country Store
    8. Bag of peanuts
    9. Sea glass from Tangier Island
    10. Bottle of Virginia moonshine
    11. A cooler of fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crab
    12. Freshly harvested Highland County maple syrup
    13. Craft beer bottle caps
    14. Any officially branded Virginia is for Lovers™ merchandise! Find a retailer.



    Travel Ideas | Comments Off

    Your Teen is Going to LOVE Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on April 10th, 2013

    Teens are the toughest crowd to please, but when you’re armed with these nuggets of fun, it’s quite possible you’ll see a smile sneak through.

    Intimidator305 at Kings DominionThe obvious top contenders for teen fun are theme parks and Virginia has two major players in that arena: Busch Gardens in Williamsburg and Kings Dominion in Doswell. Which to choose? There are a number of factors, but go with location first.

    Families vacationing along the coast or in Colonial Williamsburg will appreciate Busch Gardens’ location. Families visiting the Richmond area or looking to escape the busyness of the metro DC area will encounter Kings Dominion first. For those west and south of these locations, we suggest you make the parks themselves your destination.

    If location is less of an issue, consider the value of each park. Will you come back again or is this a one-time round of fun? See the cost break down in our New at Busch Gardens and Kings Dominion for 2013 post.

    Adrenaline doesn’t stop when the roller coaster pulls into the station. Let your adventure seekers try their hands at hang gliding. The Eastern Shore Hang Gliding Center in Weirwood is surprisingly able to accommodate nearly every member of the family, should the teen in question need moral support.

    Not quite ready to glide mile-high? Perhaps a zip line is a good starting place for those new at pulling their feet off the ground. Virginia has several zip line opportunities to choose from, so again, let their locations guide you.

    Summer Tubing at Wintergreen ResortThe Discovery Ridge Adventure Center is located at Wintergreen Resort, which is easily accessed from the Valley, Northern Virginia and Central Virginia. Not to mention, the zip line is accompanied by mini golf, arcade, mechanical bull, climbing tower, summer tubing and more.

    Nearby Bryce Resort in Basye also has zip lining for summer fun – ten platforms totaling 3500′ of cable! Check the schedule for days and hours of operation.

    Fifty-two obstacles and 13 zip lines make the canopy at the Adventure Park at Sandy River Retreat pretty awesome. This park is the largest and first of its kind in Central Virginia (it’s in Rice, VA) and offers an advanced, state-of-the-art safety system.

    Bear Mountain Ziplines is located in Luray and your adventure starts with a tractor-drawn wagon ride up the mountain. ‘Liners are given the safety and usage instructions before descending 2700 feet down “Mama Bear.” It’s doubtful the ziplining will get old, but if it does, there’s a three-story Bear Scramble climbing wall waiting to be conquered.

    A 900′ zip line is the centerpiece of Wilderness Adventure at Eagle Landing in New Castle, but visitors will also find a 50′ climbing wall, canoeing on Craig Creek, bike trails, ropes courses and more. It’s easy to spend a day or more at Wilderness Adventure.

    Once teens get the hang of driving, they might be tempted to put the pedal to the metal. At Martinsville Grand Prix Go Karts, they can do just that and get a taste of what NASCAR is all about. Fifteen to 20 laps around the oval track with banked turns will give them all the speed they can handle.

    The XZone in Chesterfield was built especially with teens in mind. Join in the fun of paintball with all of the equipment and supplies available on-site.

    Ever tried kiteboarding or paddleboarding? SouthEast Expeditions offers lessons in both sports and in multiple locations. Try either of those or take out a kayak or hang glider from Cape Charles, Onancock or Sunset Beach.

    Is this inspiration enough for your active teen or do you need more? Click over to Virginia.org/CoolPlacesforTeens for more ideas.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Family, Outdoors | Comments Off

    Favorite Virginia Spring Hikes

    by Casey | Posted on April 9th, 2013

    Warm spring breezes have returned to Virginia and it’s the perfect time for a spring hike. Pear and redbud trees have already bloomed in some parts of the Commonwealth while dogwood trees are right on their heels. Try one of these treasured paths to go enjoy the new blooms.

    Cascades National Recreation Trail

    Cascades National Recreation Trail in Pembroke leads to a 66′ waterfall within Jefferson National Forest. The hike is low to moderate difficulty and four miles ’round trip. Restroom, picnic area and water available. Day use only. $3 per vehicle.

    If you love wildflowers, the 6.3-mile easy loop of the G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Fauquier County is one very rewarding hike. The area is on Virginia’s Native Plant Society register as an important native plant site. It’s here that you’ll find the largest population of large-flowered trillium in North America, and this wildflower blooms between April and early June.

    The Henry Lanum Trail in the Mount Pleasant National Scenic Area of Rockbridge and Amherst Counties is a 4.69-mile moderate loop that yields spectacular summit views. Rare peregrine falcons are known to inhabit the area, making it an additional reward for wildlife lovers.

    Love butterflies? Occoneechee State Park has an abundant population of American Lady. Walk The Old Plantation Interpretive Trail to chance an encounter. It’s an easy 1.2-mile loop that winds through the woods. Highlights include plantation structural remains, a family cemetery and what’s left of the five-terraced garden.

    The 45-acre Bark Camp Lake is the centerpiece of the Bark Camp Recreation Area in Coeburn, but the trails are an attractive draw, too. Those who love the shimmer of the sun on the water will want to try the 3.25-mile shoreline trail.  ”Kitchen Rock” is an interesting geological formation – a sandstone rock shelter that resembles an oven – that a separate, .5-mile hike delivers. Camping is available. Day use fee is $3/vehicle.

    On Virginia’s Eastern Shore is Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve, a 298-acre protected habitat for migratory songbirds and the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle. Take the .75-mile trail through some of the highest sand dunes on the Shore for amazing Chesapeake Bay views and breezes.

    See more great Virginia hikes as suggested by our Facebook and Twitter followers: Virginia.org/Hiking.

    LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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    Outdoors | 1 Comment