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    Listen to this #Virginia #toad! This is a great #springtime capture by @grinbob. Cute #dog, too. #repost #loveva #visitvirginia #videooftheday #wildlife #vaoutdoors #vais4lovers #va #pet
    St. John's #Church in Church Hill, known especially for Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty, or Give Me #Death" speech, is also the burial place of Edgar Allan Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold #Poe. She was a prominent stage actress in her day, and has shown to have great influence on her son's writing. #latergram #rva #edgarallanpoe #cemetery #history #grave #loveva #virginia #vais4lovers @adventuredame @rvais4lovers @vintage_rva
    #Cherryblossoms framing the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly as recently posted by @airandspacemuseum. Love the pink blossoms contrasting the bright blue sky. Great shot! #loveva #repost #virginia #museum #cherry #photooftheday #visitvirginia #spring #picoftheday
    The #love #bench is waiting for you at the #marina in Belle Haven. Has anyone been here for a selfie or portrait? Looks like a cool spot! #heart #loveva #sunset #harbor #virginia #visitvirginia #repost #photooftheday photo credit: @astralmagik
  • Posts Tagged ‘summer’

    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

    5 Cool Exhibits to Help You Beat the Heat

    by Casey | Posted on July 15th, 2013

    When the temps climb higher, head for a fantastic new exhibit at a Virginia museum. They’re perfect destinations to beat the heat.

    Recently I had the pleasure of visiting and toying around the new Boost! exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond. Boost! is a test for all of us. A test of mental, physical, and even musical abilities.

    Upon entering Boost!, you’ll receive a small card with a QR code on it. Scan this card at each testing station. Your results will be saved so you can come back at a later date to challenge yourself. QR codes aren’t techie enough for you? Take it up a notch with the Boost! iPhone/iPod/iPad app. The app will store up to 10 codes so families can save their experiences on one device. The app also enhances the exhibit experience with additional information.

    There are many incredible stations inside Boost!, including a full scale kitchen where museum chefs whip up something tasty while breaking down the science of what we eat and how it affects us. Happiness is … asks you to choose between pairs of wonderful things until you narrow it down to the one thing that makes you happy. In the end, you’re left with what looks like a sports bracket with a happiness champion.

    Boost! labs will keep you occupied for hours, if you have hours to spend. Try your Vertical Leap, vocal capabilities (yes – Hit That Note!), balance, Reaction Time, and my favorite – musical ability. Three large screens allow several people to control various percussion instruments to craft an awesome, original piece of music. See the Vine clip below for a demonstration of More Cowbell.

    Visit the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond daily. Boost! is the museum’s first permanent exhibit in a decade. Explore Boost! and the rest of the museum for $11 per person ($1 discount for ages 4-12 and 60+). Add Flight of the Butterflies, Hubble or Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk IMAX films for an additional $9 each.

    More Museum Fun to LOVE

    Mindbender Mansion is an eclectic place full of brainteasers and interactive challenges. Find this new exhibit through September 2 at the Virginia Air & Space Center in Hampton. Mindbender Mansion is included in your admission or $11.50/adult, $9.50/child aged 3-18 and $10.50/senior 65+ and active military. Purchase a combo ticket ($14-$20) for an IMAX showing of Flight of the Butterflies, Air Racers or Pacific Rim.

    Sally Field wearing wardrobe designed by Joanna Johnston for Steven Spielberg's LINCOLN.

    Sally Field wearing wardrobe designed by Joanna Johnston for Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN.

    If you’ve attended a large festival or running event in the past couple of months, you might have seen bodies without their flesh running around. Ring a bell? Those folks are promoting the new Bodies Revealed exhibit at the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. Bodies Revealed is a limited engagement – see it now through September 2! It’s a striking exhibition showcasing real human bodies, dissected and preserved through a revolutionary process.

    Time’s running out to see the wardrobe created by Academy Award-nominated designer Joanna Johnston for Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN. They’re on display at Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg through July 27. Centre Hill was actually visited by President Abraham Lincoln  in April 1865.

    Quirky, interesting objects from the annals of history make their way into the exhibit Knickknackery: Curiosities from the Museum’s Vault at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond. Expect to see a hoof from the horse of Turner Ashby, a jewelry box made from human hair, a letter from Pope Pius IX to Jefferson Davis and more through December 31. Included in the admission price of $10/adult; $6/child aged 7-13; $8/senior citizen.

    There are great exhibitions on the horizon and currently in progress. See what else Virginia has On Display. Request your free Travel Guide or sign up to receive our enewsletters to help plan your next getaway.



    Family | 2 Comments

    Shakespeare and Chalk: Virginia’s Art Festivals

    by Casey | Posted on July 8th, 2013

    The excellent thing about art is that it comes in so many forms. Dance, drama, music, oil on canvas … and chalk. Another excellent thing about art is that Virginia has festivals dedicated to its many forms. Here are seven for your calendar consideration.

    Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion, Virginia Beach

    Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion, Virginia Beach

    Chalk the Walk ARTsplosion takes over three blocks of the Virginia Beach boardwalk this Saturday, July 13. With the theme “50 Years of Fun in the Sun,” a nod to the 50th anniversary of the City of Virginia Beach, 200 artists will focus their chalk creations on Virginia Beach’s rich heritage and its prominence as a beach community.

    Expect to see kids age 12 to 16 compete against each other while amateurs and pros chalk it out in their respective divisions. Trophies and cash prizes are up for grabs. The best news? There’s no entry fee! The Boardwalk (16th-18th Streets) is your canvas as long as you have the chalk and a bright idea. Note: Children 11 and younger will have a separate area to chalk their own walk.

    The Virginia Shakespeare Festival is held on the campus of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg. Three Shakespeare works are performed over six weeks giving fans of the Bard ample time to immerse themselves in Elizabethan dramatic arts. While one play has passed, two remain. Get your tickets for The Tragedy of King Richard III (July 11-14, 17-21) and Turn of the Screw (July 25-28, July 31-August 4).

    More Shakespeare

    Clarksville will host the annual Virginia Lake Festival July 18-20. Jam-packed with family fun, this festival has been recognized as an annual “Top 20 Event” by Southeast Tourism Society for many years. Tethered hot air balloon rides kick off the event that will include sand sculpting and blocks of artisans and crafters. Antique cars, helicopter rides, hot air balloon flights, and a great variety of food are why nearly 100,000 people flock to this festival each year.

    Virginia Lake Festival, Clarksville

    Virginia Lake Festival, Clarksville

    A juried show of more than 100 artisans, the Hungry Mother Arts and Crafts Festival is held each year at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion. Make your way there Friday, July 19, where the festival is happening from 10 until 6.

    Main Street Lexington shuts down August 24 for the annual Rockbridge Community Festival. This is the 37th annual festival where you can expect to find artisans offering wreaths, photography, paintings, woodcrafts, and much more. Live music and plenty of food vendors will help you spend the day.

    Nearly 100 artists from New York to Florida display at the Seawall Art Show in Portsmouth. Come out either Saturday or Sunday, August 24 or 25 to browse and/or buy an amazing selection of artwork. Expect to see oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, photography, pottery, stained glass, baskets, jewelry and more.

    The Chinquapin Festival takes place just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Meadows of Dan every Labor Day weekend, September 1-3. There you’ll find fun fall-themed arts and crafts like gourd birdhouses and cornhusk dolls. There is no admission fee unless you want to try out the Corn Acoustics Corn Maze!

    Plan for Fall: Fall Arts Festivals

    Related Articles:

     LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation. Virginia is for Lovers.
    Request a free Travel Guide or subscribe to our enewsletter. 



    Arts | 1 Comment

    Favorite Virginia Ice Cream

    by Casey | Posted on June 26th, 2013

    It’s summertime and that means, well, quite a few things, but today it means ICE CREAM! We asked our Virginia travel and tourism partners to name their favorite ice cream parlor (for the benefit of our readers, of course), and nearly 40 recommendations rolled in. To get you started on your summer brain freeze tour, we’ve compiled a list of the parlors most frequently mentioned by locals in the know.

    Kline's Dairy Bar

    Kline’s Dairy Bar

    Kline’s Dairy Bar rose to the top with local ice cream lovers, and it doesn’t hurt that this homegrown establishment dating to 1943 has several locations:

    Doumar’s Cones & Barbecue is located in Norfolk, and is the home of the world’s first ice cream cone (1904). Those traveling through Coastal Virginia will want to make a bee-line to 1919 Monticello Avenue for homemade ice cream and cones.

    Carl's Frozen Custard

    Carl’s Frozen Custard

    Carl’s Frozen Custard is a Fredericksburg mainstay, serving fresh, made-today custard for more than 50 years. Food Network has acknowledged that Carl’s has some of America’s Best Ice Cream.

    Island Creamery on Chincoteague Island handcrafts their small batches of ice cream daily to ensure the best products possible. The staff has been creating fresh waffle cones, ice cream, sorbet, frozen yogurt and more since 1975. A true labor of summertime love!

    Muller’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor is also located on Chincoteague Island and serves Bassett’s ice cream, America’s oldest ice cream. Their claim to fame, however, is the fresh, homemade Belgian waffles with ice cream, fruit and homemade whipped cream.

    Moo Thru in Remington offers ice cream that really doesn’t get any more fresh or homemade. The milk comes from their own grass-fed Holsteins and the rest of the ingredients are sourced as close to home as possible.

    The Split Banana in Staunton is known for its homemade, fresh-daily ice cream, sorbet and gelato. Split prides itself on all natural ingredients – fruit, milk, sugar and cream. Why complicate what isn’t complicated?

    Short Lane Ice Cream Company in Gloucester is celebrating their tenth anniversary this summer! Celebrate with them by enjoying homemade ice cream, cookies, gelato, custard, coffees, sundaes, floats, shakes …

    Pop's Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company

    Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company

    Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Alexandria boasts 63 homemade flavors of ice cream. Located in Old Town, it’s the perfect destination for lovers of cobblestones and nostalgia.

    Additional shops and parlors receiving nods from the locals for their chilly treats:

    Don’t see your favorite ice cream shop on this list? Chime in by commenting below!

     



    Food, Locals | 16 Comments

    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