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Spring Festivals in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on March 29th, 2013

Spring is officially here with the trees budding and flowers blooming. Festivals are one thing we LOVE about Spring in Virginia.

Daffodils are one of the first flowers to bloom and Gloucester has them by the thousands for their 27th annual Daffodil Festival, April 6 and 7. Take a tour of Brent & Becky’s Bulbs in between the parade, entertainment and vendors. It’s the perfect event to draw you out of the house and into the Spring season. There are plenty of activities for the kids – pony rides, clowns, face painting and games. The fun is from 9 to 5 Saturday and noon to 5 Sunday.

Burnside Farms Festival of Tulips - the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country!

Burnside Farms Festival of Tulips – the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country!

Tulip lovers will want to head to Haymarket anytime between April 10 and 28 for the Festival of Tulips: Holland in Haymarket at Burnside Farms. Walk through the largest pick-your-own tulip field in the country – 90,000 blooms from 50 varieties at only $1 per stem. It’s a beautiful opportunity for kids’ portraits, so bring your camera. $3 per person to enter the tulip field. NOTE: Due to the cold weather the opening date was pushed back from April 5 to April 10. Weekday visits are suggested.

Spring is also the time Virginia wineries pop their corks and take the fun outside of the tasting room.

April 13 is a good day for wine lovers. Choose from two festivals – Beaverdam Wine Festival or Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest.

The Beaverdam Wine Festival will be held at Pop’s Country Store Museum, just 30 minutes north of Richmond. The festival will include four wineries – James River Cellars, Lake Anna, Grayhaven and Mattaponi. Live music will set the atmosphere and up to 50 food, arts and crafts vendors will round out your day. Festival organizers state the fees as “$10 for designated drivers; $20 for imbibers.” Have fun and drink responsibly.

Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest

Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest

The Smithfield Wine & Brew Fest will be held at Windsor Castle Park in Smithfield. Participating wineries include Lake Anna, Cooper, Naked Mountain, Belle Mount, Horton, Rosemont and Saudé Creek. Virginia craft breweries include O’Connor, Smartmouth, St. George, Legend, Star Hill, Williamsburg AleWerks, Bold Rock and Devil’s Backbone.

The day is quite an extravaganza. The 2012 inaugural Wine & Brew Fest sold out and this one appears to be on its way. Tickets are $35 in advance for tasters with both wine and beer available for purchase by the glass, and Virginia wine available by the bottle. Designated drivers are $15, but tickets are available at the gate only. Ages 21 and older. Get your tickets now.

Ready to fly a kite? March 30 through May 5 is “National Kite Month,” and several fields of green are awaiting your lift-off.

The annual Kite Flying Festival in Stephens City is April 6. Don’t worry if you don’t have a kite because free kites will be given away while supplies last. The fun kicks off at 11 a.m. Expect to see members of the Richmond Air Force Kite Club discussing the science of kite flying and demonstrating some awesome kite tricks.

The Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Flying Festival is held in Nellysford, just 30 miles west of Charlottesville, on April 14. This fifth annual event includes instructions, demonstrations by the Richmond Air Force Kite Club, a Duck Race, games, and a free kite to the first 150 children. Bring a picnic or enjoy food from the vendors on site. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

See more upcoming festivals at Virginia.org/SpringFestivals.

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8 Reasons to LOVE Historic Garden Week

by Casey | Posted on March 27th, 2013

New blooms and fresh, sparkling homes and historic sites are on display for one week only, beginning April 20 for the 80th Annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

Garden Week is a time when local garden clubs put away their trowels, gloves and wheelbarrows to welcome aficionados of beauty and sweet smells. If the mere idea of touring beautiful historic – as well as private – homes and gardens isn’t enough to get you out for a stroll, here are eight distinct reasons you’re going to LOVE Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

1. Dubbed “America’s Largest Open House,” the 8-day event includes various tours highlighting more than 200 homes and gardens.

2. The tours are spread across 32 Virginia locations reaching from Cape Charles to Staunton and Alexandria to Danville, so there’s probably a tour not too far from you.

Morven, Charlottesville

Morven, Charlottesville

3. Visit a billionaire’s home. Morven, circa 1820, was on the inaugural Historic Garden Week tour. The original gardens were restored in the 1930s and one can expect to see unusual Osage orange trees, the state champion Chinese Chestnut tree and a dove tree. The brick manor home is situated on a 7,378-acre estate that was given to the University of Virginia Foundation by the late billionaire John Kluge. Morven is located less than two miles from President James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville.

4. Tour the first federal war-housing project established during World War I when you embark on the Newport News-Hampton tour on April 24. The beautifully manicured neighborhoods featured on this tour make for an enjoyable walk.

5. Warrenton has supreme appeal. Walk in the footsteps of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall as you tour the property he acquired and the home he had built for his son. Also on this tour is the 1833 stagecoach stop for Wells Fargo at Glen Gordon Manor, as well as gardens in the midst of restoration and those professionally landscaped. See them all – open for the very first time – on April 25.

6. Hit a wide swath of homes and gardens by spending a few days in Richmond. April 23-25 offers a different set of Richmond area neighborhoods to tour each day, with more than 20 sites for your viewing pleasure. Included are ornate gardens, sweeping lawns and mature trees. It is said that some of these neighborhoods are so well hidden, they defy their urban address. You be the judge.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

7. Get the best of two worlds with the Virginia Beach tour on April 24. Opening the doors of mansions, duplexes and beach cottages, this tour displays both oceanside and landside properties for a “formal to flip-flop” appeal.

8. If you only have one day to tour and it happens to be Saturday, April 27, consider the Gloucester-Mathews tour where the largest one-day concentration of sites is available – nine. The oldest home on this tour is circa 1800, but also included is Rosewell Ruins, dating from 1725.

Walking shoes are requested to avoid damage to the floors of the homes you’re touring. Boxed lunches may be available with some tours. Purchase tickets per tour, of if you plan to participate in multiple tours across the state, a $175 statewide pass is available for one person or $300 for two. Individual tours vary from $15 to $40.

A few policies …

  • No smoking
  • No pets
  • No photography inside the homes
  • Children 17 or under must be accompanied by an adult

 LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
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Three Days of Music and Sports in Richmond

by Casey | Posted on April 26th, 2012

Growing by leaps and bounds as it enters its fourth year, Dominion Riverrock presented by Subaru is now a three-day festival with even more excitement than in years past.

Dominion Riverrock 2011. Photo by Dena Miller.
Dominion Riverrock 2011. Photo by Dena Miller.

With the beautiful skyline of downtown Richmond as the backdrop, athletes, musicians, and even dogs take center stage in a variety of events on Brown’s Island May 18-20. This is the premier outdoor lifestyle event for the East Coast, and spectators have much to see and experience. It’s a smorgasbord of everything there is to love about Virginia’s outdoors brought right into an urban, river front setting.

New for 2012, Dominion Riverrock will have two stages of live music to highlight more than 20 bands. All concerts are free.

Friday, May 18

  • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 5 p.m.
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 1, 5 p.m.
  • Miller Lite Filthy 5K Mud Run, 6 p.m.
  • Native Freestyle Bikes, best trick qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: Zati, 6:30-7 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: DJ Phil Dice, 6:30-7 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Native Freestyle Bikes, best trick finals, 7-8 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,000
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 2, 7 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: Long Arms, 7:15-8:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: The Roots Down, 7:15-8:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s qualifying, 8-9 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: The Travelin’ McCourys featuring Keller Williams, 9-11 p.m. (Brown’s Island)

Dominion Riverrock 2011. Images by Tiet Danny, Caroline Leggett, Cory Brodzinski, Scott and Daniel Lin.
Saturday, May 19

  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 3, 1 p.m.
  • Kayak Boatercross, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $450
  • Thule Urban Assault Mountain Bike Race, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $400
  • Slackline, qualifying, 1-3 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: The Shack Band, 1-2 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: Everwilde, 1-2 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s quarterfinals, 1:30-3:10 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: The Bush League, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: The Rift, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 4, 3 p.m.
  • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Cross, 4 p.m. – 1st place will receive $250
  • FREE CONCERT: The Milkstains, 4-5 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: J3 Project, 4-5 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s quarterfinals, 4-5:40 p.m.
  • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 5 p.m.
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 5, 5 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: The Hot Seats, 5:30-6:3o p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: Grease Trigger, 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • James River Scramble 10K Trail Run, 6 p.m. – 1st place will receive $500
  • Native Freestyle Bikes, slopestyle qualifying, 6-7 p.m.
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 6, 7 p.m.
  • Slackline, semifinals, 7-8 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: JJ Grey & Mofro, 7-8:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: The Air Circus, 7-8 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s semifinals, 7-8:10 p.m.
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, women’s semifinals, 8:10-9:20 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: Galactic, 9-10:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 20

  • Slackline Highline Exhibition, 1 p.m.
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 7, 1 p.m.
  • Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) Enduro, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $250
  • Dyno Comp, 1 p.m. – 1st place will receive $500
  • FREE CONCERT: Crucial Elements, 1-2 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: Spaceheaters, 1-2 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Dirt Crit Short Track Mountain Bike Race, 2 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: Beast Wellington, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: Zep Replica, 2:30-3:30 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Kayak Freestyle, 3 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,000
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, qualifying, round 8, 3 p.m.
  • Blue Ridge Mountain Sports Boulder Bash, men’s and women’s, 3-4:30 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,500
  • Slackline, finals, 4 p.m.
  • Ultimate Air Dogs, finals, 4 p.m.
  • FREE CONCERT: Farm Vegas, 4-5 p.m. (Brown’s Island)
  • FREE CONCERT: Skydog, 4-5 p.m. (Tredegar)
  • Native Freestyle Bikes, slopestyle finals, 4:30 p.m. – 1st place will receive $1,200
Richmond Whitewater Rafting
Richmond Whitewater Rafting

Dominion Riverrock is free to spectators. Additionally, recreational kayaks will be available for festival-goers who’d like to give one a try on the canal - free! Likewise, SUP, or Stand Up Paddleboard, can be experienced for free on the canal. A Slacklining area (think tightrope balancing at the circus) will be set up at Tredegar for anyone who has an interest in testing their balance. This, too, is free.

Richmond is the only city that has Class IV whitewater rapids coursing through its limits. Riverside Outfitters invites you to try “Pipeline” – the Class III-IV rapids – on your own whitewater rafting trip. The trips will run every 30 minutes throughout the weekend and will depart from Brown’s Island. Cost is $20 per person.

The Richmond Region
Places to Stay
Places to Eat
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Virginia’s 79th Annual Historic Garden Week

by Casey | Posted on April 16th, 2012

Elaborate homes and gardens are preparing for what is often called “America’s Largest Open House” – Virginia’s Historic Garden Week.

From the shore to the mountains, private estates, historic homes, gardens, and churches are open to the public from April 21-28, 2012. See the schedule below and one key highlight of each tour. Click through for more details about each tour.

Albemarle / Charlottesville Tour

Albemarle / Charlottesville Tour

Saturday, April 21

Ashland – A re-vamped tour in light of a 2011 earthquake. See private homes not originally scheduled for viewing.
Winchester – Fairhill, circa 1882
Franklin – The Maples and The Elms, circa 1895 and 1897
Lake Gaston – Bracey & Ebony – A man-made lake straddling VA and NC; additional fee lets you see the homes from the water.
Old Town Alexandria – A home built in 1782
Portsmouth – 1800s home with its original furnishings and a great story, too.
Staunton – The architecture you know – Greek and Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival

Sunday, April 22

Albemarle County (and April 23) – Keswick Hall
Chatham – Tobacco country
Middleburg and Upperville (and April 23) – Piedmont landscape

Williamsburg Tour

Williamsburg Tour

Tuesday, April 24

Arlington – A home used during the filming of Hoover, staring Leonardo DiCaprio
Fredericksburg – Tea at Kenmore, home of George Washington’s sister
Lynchburg – Point of Honor and Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest
Richmond – Ampthill/Wilton – One of the original “suburbs” of Richmond
Williamsburg – Civil War properties within the Colonial Williamsburg area, and an author available for Q&A, too.

Wednesday, April 25

Harrisonburg – The quaint village of Port Republic
Martinsville – The Carriage House, home of the cheese straw maker.
Richmond – The Boulevard – Ten locations along the grand avenue of Richmond
Newport News – Homes that span 100 years of history
Northern Neck – Lancaster County – Quiet beauty of a farm in the same family since 1721.
Virginia Beach – Shirley Hall, circa 1939, inspired by and designed with the assistance of Colonial Williamsburg

Thursday, April 26

Danville – Averett University
Norfolk – 75th Anniversary of the Hermitage Museum and Gardens
Petersburg – Extensively restored 19th century Italianate clapboard home
Richmond – Three Chopt/Westhampton – Homes span 100 years of art and architecture

Friday, April 27

Middlesex County – The Middle Penninsula – A lighthouse home built in 2005 includes a Fresnel lens once used in Australia’s Perth Harbor.

Saturday, April 28

Brownsburg - Five log homes and all new to the tour
Eastern Shore – Eyre Hall has been in the same family for 250 years; the garden is considered to be the oldest in Virginia.
Gloucester-Mathews – Daffodil Capitol of the Country
Orange County – Somerset Plantation, circa 1803, home of James Madison’s sister, Sarah Catlett Madison.
Roanoke – A 1933 garden that was the lily test garden for the Garden Club of Virginia for many years

Learn more about Virginia’s Historic Garden Week
See the Guidebook



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Bunnies & Brunch

by Casey | Posted on April 3rd, 2012

The upcoming Easter weekend taunts chocolate bunnies, real bunnies, the Easter Bunny, beautifully decorated eggs, and great Sunday brunches. If you find yourself vacationing this Easter weekend – or if you call Virginia home – here are some events you might add to your schedule.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Stratford Hall

Easter Egg Hunt at Stratford Hall

Egg Hunts

Wintergreen - April 6-8 - Easter Celebration at Wintergreen Resort - Bring the family to Wintergreen Resort during Easter for the resort’s annual holiday egg-stravaganza! It’s an entire weekend of festivities, with a traditional Easter egg hunt and Easter bonnet parade, craft workshops and egg decorating.

Brookneal – April 7 – Red Hill’s Easter Egg Hunt – This event is for the entire community. Children ages 0-12 years can search for eggs and collect lots of goodies. The Easter story will be told every 30 minutes by members of several local churches. This event is free of charge.

Buena Vista – April 7 – Easter Egg Hunt and Kite Contest – Join in the fun at the double decker pavilion.

Herndon - April 7 - Herndon Easter Egg Hunt - Join the Easter Bunny and his helpers for an eggstra-special event. Hands-on arts projects, baby animal petting zoo, and egg hunts by age.

Lancaster - April 7 - Easter Egg Hunt at Belle Isle State Park - It’s an Easter egg hunt for kids ages 1 to 12. Bring a camera and have your picture take with the Easter Bunny.

Lynchburg – April 7 – Amazement Square’s Easter Egg Hunt - Help us celebrate Family Health Month by joining us on April 7 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM for crafts, activities, and our Scavenger Hunt Adventure! Guests 4 and younger can search The Big Red Barn for hidden eggs and make fun crafts while our older explorers, ages 5 and up, solve clues and complete adventure challenges to gather eggs throughout the museum.

Orange – April 7 – Easter Egg Hunt in Orange - Children under the age of 6 are welcomed to a free, supervised Easter Egg Hunt in Taylor Park, downtown Orange.  Come fill your basket with treat-filled, colorful eggs and meet the Easter Bunny in person.

Stratford – April 7 – Easter Egg Hunt at Stratford Hall - Children ages 1 to 12 get to hunt for Easter Eggs on the Oval in front of the Great House with prizes for those who collect the most eggs. Refreshments and food are served following the hunt. Free.

Virginia Beach – April 8 - Easter Egg Hunt and Brunch at Swan Terrace - Children attending the brunch are welcome to participate in hunting for a golden Easter egg with a prize at10:30am and 1:30pm in the lovely English Gardens, weather permitting.

Waynesboro - April 7 - Annual Easter Egg Hunt - P. Buckley Moss Museum hosts an annual Easter Egg Hunt on the Museum grounds.  Entertainment is provided and then children are taken outside to look for eggs.  There will be a special guest appearance by the Easter Bunny prior to and after the event.

Woodbridge - April 7 - Spring Egg Hunt at Rippon Lodge - Spring has sprung and colorful eggs have been hidden all over the grounds of Rippon Lodge. Children are needed to help us hunt them up. In addition to egg hunts, children can enjoy crafts, games and other activities. Bring a basket for egg collecting.

Woodbridge - April 8 - Easter Egg Hunt at Leesylvania State Park - Hunt for colorful, prize-filled Easter Eggs. Kids color eggs, play games and make crafts.

 

Brunch

Swan Terrace Dining Room, Virginia Beach

Swan Terrace Dining Room, Virginia Beach

Afton - April 8 - Easter Sunday Winemaker’s Brunch at Veritas Winery - Join us for a four-course, wine-paired brunch in Saddleback Hall.

Faber – April 8 – Easter Sunday Brunch at Delfosse Vineyard - Gourmet brunch with selected wine pairings.

Glen Allen – April 8 – Easter Sunday Brunch at Wyndham Virginia Crossings Hotel - Buffet items include Hand Carved Prime Rib, Pepper Jelly Glazed Ham, Belgian Waffle and Omelet Stations, Roasted Salmon with Traditional Dill Cream, Shrimp Cocktail, and Grilled Lamb Loin Chops.

Luray – April 8 – Easter Brunch at Skyland Resort - Salads, roast beef, turkey, eggs & cassroles, pasta, desserts and much more featured. Children 5 & under eat free.

Natural Bridge - April 8 - Easter Buffet at Natural Bridge - Make the spring afternoon with friends & family a relaxing, easy, memorable one. Enjoy a scrumptious meal & live entertainment at the Natural Bridge Hotel’s Colonial Dining Room & Jefferson Ballroom.  {See available travel package}

Stafford – April 8 – Eggstra Special Easter Brunch at Potomac Point Winery – The menu will feature a beautiful selection of gourmet breakfast and brunch items. Several salads and a sliced fruit display will compliment the main course, followed by a selection of desserts.

Virginia Beach – April 8 – Easter Brunch at Swan Terrace - Something delicious is waiting for everyone. From vegetarian to seafood and traditional Easter fare with homemade desserts and a specialty buffet for children.

Enjoy your beautiful Easter weekend in Virginia!

April in Virginia
April Winery Events
Spring in Virginia 



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