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    This is the #sunset from the #dock at #Merroir restaurant in Topping, VA last Friday evening. #Tranquility on #Virginia's #ChesapeakeBay. Swing by this weekend and get some #VAoysters in your belly! And tag your VA #oyster photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here. #photooftheday #latergram #eatlocal
    @rbuck65 recently hiked Bearfence #Mountain off of #SkylineDrive, and this was the reward! This #hike is fairly short with a nice payoff. The trail head is near mile marker 56.4 on the Skyline Drive. #photooftheday #repost #epic #hiking #mountaintop #sunset #blueridgemountains #vaoutdoors Don't forget to tag your #Virginia photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here!
    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
  • Posts Tagged ‘state parks’

    Spring Break at a Virginia State Park

    by Casey | Posted on March 15th, 2012

    Spring Break is a time for families to recharge, reconnect, and relax. Virginia’s 35 State Parks are the perfect place to escape and have a truly laid-back break. If the solitude of natural surroundings and the beauty of spring isn’t enough to attract you, here are a few key events that might entice your family.

    Bear Creek Lake State ParkVenture to Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland – less than an hour west of Richmond – to try your hand at archery, enjoy a big campfire, or take a canoe tour. Archery classes are scheduled for April 7 & 14 at 1 p.m. The canoe tours are scheduled April 5 & 12 at 11 a.m. The campfire will be held April 7 & 14 at 6:30 p.m.

    If you’ve wanted to learn the ins and outs of geocaching, spend some time this Spring Break at Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster. The seven miles of Rappahannock River shoreline are a scenic backdrop for Geocaching 101 on April 11 at 9 a.m. Registration is suggested and each GPS unit rental requires a $6 fee.

    For the geocaching pros, check out The Bear Necessities multi cache in the mountains of Douthat State Park in Millboro.

    Eagles are the celebrated bird of Caledon Natural Area along the Potomac River in King George, but it’s the owls that get the glory for the Owl Prowl Hayride on April 13 at 7 p.m. Learn a little about the owls at the Visitor Center and then hop aboard a hayride to call them in. Reservations required. $3 per person or $8 per family.

    Families with older children might enjoy the Moonlight Canoe at Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry. Reserve your spot for $18 per person to take a canoe out onto Lower Chippokes Creek and experience the nightlife in the full moon light. Ages 13 and up.

    Learn to fish at False Cape State Park in Virginia Beach on April 14 at 9 a.m. You’ll be introduced to rods, reels, bait, and tackle. Reservations are required and the fee is $10 per person.

    Families finding themselves drawn to Virginia Beach will also find a plethora of activities at First Landing State Park.

    • April 9, 10 a.m.: April Showers Rain Gauge Workshop
    • April 9, noon: Bald Cypress Hike – one mile guided hike
    • April 10, noon: A Turtle Tale – meet one of the turtle inhabitants
    • April 12, 11 a.m.: Create a Wind Chime Workshop
    • April 12, 1 p.m. and 14th at 11 a.m.: Swamp Stomp – dip your buckets and explore the life you’ll pull from the swamp
    • April 13, 11 a.m.: Bring May Flowers – decorate a flower pot and plant some seeds
    • April 13, 3 p.m.: Sesquicentennial Civil War Touch Table – explore Civil War artifacts
    • April 13, 5 p.m.: Beach Safari – talk a walk on the Bay shore and explore what lives there
    • April 14, 1 p.m.: Once Upon a Truffala Tree – hear a reading of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and make a Lorax craft
    • April 14, 4 p.m.: Seaside Creations – create a seashell masterpiece
    • April 14, 5 p.m.: Spring Creations – create spring crafts and explore the wildlife of First Landing
    • April 14, 7:30 p.m.: Night Hike – leave your flashlight behind! Discover sensory awareness and nocturnal animals on this hike.

    Because there are THIRTY-FIVE Virginia State Parks, there’s no way this post could ever be complete with all of the events and other things to do. I hope this is a good start for you and at least gets your mind going on a unique train of thought for Spring Break. To learn more about Virginia State Parks, please see http://www.virginia.org/stateparks/. For more events, please see http://dcrintra.dcr.virginia.gov/dcr_public/events/vieweventpublic.cfm.



    Family, Outdoors | Comments Off

    A Unique Ride for Lights

    by Casey | Posted on December 9th, 2011

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy of Virginia State Parks

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

    In Duffield, the Heart of Appalachia, lies Natural Tunnel State Park. It’s a beautiful setting year ’round, but something really exciting for visitors of every age happens around this time of year: 8 Days of Christmas!

    Eight Days of Christmas at Natural Tunnel occurs December 9, 10, 16, and 17, and is a light show with a twist: experience the lights from the chairlift! Thousands of bulbs and animated figures are delightful sights as you descend. The fun doesn’t end when the chairlift does. There are carolers and other entertainers by campfire for your enjoyment. Add a cup of hot chocolate to this peaceful night and you’ll realize you’re in a real winter wonderland.

    Care to stay? There are still cabins available for this weekend, but the weekend of the 16th is sold out.

    Park Fees:

    • Weekday Parking: $2
    • Weekend Parking: $3
    • Chairlift: $3; under age 6 is free
    • Off-Season Nightly Cabin Rate: 2BR $88; 3BR $110; 6 BR $275
    Natural Tunnel image courtesy of Virginia State Parks

    Natural Tunnel State Park. Courtesy Virginia State Parks

    Getting There:

    1420 Natural Tunnel Parkway
    Duffield, VA 24244

    Natural Tunnel State Park is about 13 miles north of Gate City and 20 miles north of Kingsport, TN. From I-81, take U.S. 23 North to Gate City (about 20 miles). The turn-off to the park is at mile marker 17.4 on Rt. 23. Take Natural Tunnel Parkway about one mile east to park entrance.

     

    Quick facts about Natural Tunnel:

    • The Commonwealth of Virginia acquired the tunnel and 100 surrounding acres in 1967, and later acquired an additional 850 acres. The park was opened in 1971.
    • The tunnel is 850′ long and 100′ high inside.



    Family, Outdoors, The Holidays | Comments Off

    Fall Camping in Virginia

    by Casey | Posted on September 3rd, 2011

    New to tent camping? Fall is the optimal season to give it your first go. The weather is cooler, but not cold; a crackling fire is desired, not just necessary; and the mosquitoes aren’t a problem!

    Bear Creek Lake State Park

    Bear Creek Lake State Park

    The best way to get “broken in” with tent camping is to stay at a campground or state park where other campers and rangers are available if you need assistance.

    Basic tips for basic tent camping:

    • Tarps and Bungee Cords - Bring one tarp for under your tent and one for over your tent. Use the bungee cords to *gently* suspend a tarp above your tent by way of trees. The tarps help to protect your tent from the elements.
    • Lantern with extra fuel and/or flashlights with extra batteries.
    • Waterproof matches and a few fire starter sticks or fatwood.
    • Find decent sized rocks to create a fire ring. If you have a small camp shovel, dig a pit and line it with the rocks. Lowering your fire below ground level will help protect it from the wind. Be sure the fire area is clear of limbs and foliage up to 3-5 yards. Check for low-hanging limbs, too.
    • Inquire with the park or campground about firewood. Some allow you to gather your own or they have it for purchase. Rarely is firewood allowed to be carried in.
    • Plastic zipper bags will keep dry the things that need to be dry.
    • A large plastic bin is great for food storage. (Ahem, critters have a keen sense of smell.)
    • Multi-tool. Many include knives, corkscrews, screwdrivers, a bottle opener … you never know what you might be able to make use of.
    • Bring a skillet, a small pot, a large pot and metal skewers. Oh, and don’t forget a potholder or oven mit! Those pieces will get hot over the fire. Use the large pot to heat water over the fire for the purpose of washing your dirty pots and dishes. Skewers are great for hot dogs, marshmallows, and kebabs (if you feel like going that far).
    • Sleeping bag, a few extra pairs of socks, and clothes that enable layering will make your adventure much more comfortable. The nights are chilly!

    When you’re considering the purchase of a tent, bigger is better, in my opinion. If you’re taking a family of four camping, choose a tent that sleeps more than four or you’re going to be lined up like sardines. Our family’s preference is a tent with rooms. Yes, I’m a tent camping diva.

    Go Camping!

    Considered for this post: Coleman Tent Camping Checklist and GoingTentCamping.com



    Family, Outdoors, Travel Ideas | 1 Comment

    Celebrate the 75 Days of Summer!

    by Casey | Posted on June 28th, 2011

    75 Days of Summer logoIn honor of the 75th anniversary of Virginia State Parks, you’re invited to enter the 75 Days of Summer contest.

    Beginning June 15, prize-seekers can enter to win the daily giveaway at www.VirginiaOutdoors.com. Additionally, you can visit one of Virginia’s 35″>http://www.virginia.org/stateparks/”>35 State Parks for a chance at other exclusive prizes, including the grand prize – a pop-up trailer from Coastal RV.

    Online prizes include season tickets to Pocahontas Premieres in Pocahontas State Park; NASCAR race tickets with a stay at Natural Tunnel State Park; baseball with the Norfolk Tides and a stay at First Landing State Park; Virginia Tech vs. Appalachian State tickets and a stay at Claytor Lake State Park; and many, many more! (They’re very cool prizes, trust me.)

    The sweepstakes runs June 15-September 5, 2011.

    See the complete list of online and in-park prizes here.

    Official”>http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/documents/75daysgdines.pdf”>Official Rules



    Destinations, Outdoors, Sweepstakes | Comments Off