Woolwine in Patrick County is the site of the official Virginia Covered Bridge Festival that occurs every year at the Bob White and Jack’s Creek covered bridges. The festival is this Saturday, June 16, and includes horse and wagon rides, antique car show, a duck race on the river, arts, crafts, great music at both bridge locations, a petting zoo, bounce houses, and delicious food vendors. It’s a free day of family fun that kicks off at 8 AM with the Covered Bridge 5K Run/Walk.
A great day for family.
The 5K benefits a variety of local charities including the Patrick County Food Bank, Patrick County Adult Developmental Center, and the Caring Hearts Free Clinic. The route begins near the Bob White Covered Bridge in Woolwine and ends near the Jack’s Creek Covered Bridge. Entrance fee is $25. Register.
If you get into town early and are looking for a cool way to relax, the Reynolds Homestead at Fairy Stone State Park (just a little over 9 miles away from Woolwine) is hosting “Free Range Possums,” a Blacksburg band that has been described as a “musical conundrum” playing everything from Bach on banjo to swing. Friday night at 7:30 PM. $4 park admission.
After the festival winds down and before you depart for home, Chateau Morrisette Winery is hosting a Father’s Day Luncheon on Sunday at 11 AM. Chateau Morrisette is located in Floyd, about 9 miles from Woolwine. Reservations are recommended, but regular tours and tastings will be available at noon, 2 and 4 PM if the luncheon is already booked.
Motorcycles are the epitome of freedom. Wide open roads full of sun, wind, and nothing holding you down or back. Go where you want to go, see what you want to see. Yesterday’s cares are in that tiny rear view mirror, if only for a short while.
Back of the Dragon
Scenic drives through Virginia are so rewarding. The views are quite literally breathtaking, the serenity of being away from interstates and major thoroughfares is unequaled, and besides needing a stretch once in a while, you might not want to stop riding. Here are a few suggestions for a weekend ride through the countryside.
Back of the Dragon is Route 16 between Marion and Tazewell. The route courses over three mountains for a total of about 33 miles. For a taste of what the ride is like, see this clip of a Harley-Davidson V-ROD laying through the turns.
The Route 611 Cumberland Mountain Scenic Drive is a mountain course in Clintwood with incredible overlooks and an abundance of wildlife. If you find yourself looking for a great place to stay, this route is just a few miles from Breaks Interstate Park on the VA/KY border. You can have a true outdoors weekend in the Heart of Appalachia.
As summer heats up the natural thought is to cool off. Fortunately, there are quite a few water parks in Virginia and several have new fun additions you’ll want to check out.
Vanish Point at Water Country USA
Water Country USA in Williamsburg is pure H2O fun (more than 30 rides and attractions’ worth) and now has Vanish Point – your choice of two “liquid adrenaline” ways to drop out of sight from 75 feet up. Choose from a slide where you “drop down as soon as you flop down” (no easing up to the edge) or a skybox where you never know when the floor will drop out from under you. My stomach’s in my throat just thinking about that free-fall. Whoah.
Alexandria’s talk of the town is Paradise Play at Great Waves. Kids are already enjoying this 30-foot-high tower of climbing fun, and it’s the largest water play feature of its kind east of the Mississippi!
Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach just opened their brand new Adventure River on a 3 1/2 acre expansion. It’s more than 1,000 feet long and ends and begins at a shallow lagoon. The whole family can float for a relaxing ten minutes.
Adventure River at Ocean Breeze Waterpark
Even when there’s no snow on the ground, there’s a great reason to visit Massanutten Resort – the Indoor/Outdoor WaterPark. Not only can you get your surf on with Pipeline, take a float down the Blue Ridge Rapids, or enjoy the White Caps wave pool, but now you can do it with a live band every Monday and Friday night. With the nighttime entertainment also comes extended hours. Play until 9 PM rather than 7 on those two days each week.
The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs is undergoing a major transformation and it’s to the water lovers’ benefit! Allegheny Springs is opening in stages. As a guest of the resort you can enjoy the brand new pool, children’s pool, sandy beach area, and whirlpool areas now, but in August the lazy river, fun slides and cabanas will be available. It’s two acres of mountain resort bliss.
Moms and dads, are you looking for something fun, creative, energy-burning, and awesome for your kid(s) to do this summer? Boredom is killer. Feels like just yesterday I was on a reading marathon for the duration of summer. Not that there’s a thing wrong with reading all summer, but, ya know. A kid’s gotta play sometime.
Marine Science Consortium
Enough about my summers and more about yours. What’s the plan for your tikes and/or big kids? There are summer camps for nearly anything they have an interest in, so let’s get to it.
On Virginia.org we have a handy set of articles that detail Arts & Music, History, Outdoors, and Sports camps (as they’ve been brought to our attention). Jump on over there to get the whole hog, but here are a few that I especially like and hope that you will find interesting, too.
If your child enjoys playing in the dirt or has a fondness for hunting buried “treasures,” perhaps the Diggin in History Archaeology Camp at the Chesterfield Historical Society would be an apt camp for him or her. Kids 8-12 will be taught the proper use of tools, how to set up a site for a dig (can’t you imagine your backyard now?), excavation techniques, and more. They’ll have the chance to examine historical digs and take a trip to Petersburg National Battlefield. $95/student.
What child has not dreamed of flight? It seems to be in our DNA that we’d like to soar as the birds do. At the Virginia Space Flight Academy on Wallops Island, your little space cadet can explore model rocketry, robotics and flight simulation. As if that’s not cool enough, field trips include visits to NASA’s Range Control Center, Payload Testing & Assembly Center, launch sites, and more. Students should be 11 to 15 years old. Six one-week all-inclusive overnight camp sessions are available beginning July 1. $795/student.
The Latin Ballet invites kids 5 to 16 to put on their dancing shoes for some ballet, Latin jazz, modern and hip-hop classes. Kids will also have a chance to try their hands at percussion. Who doesn’t want to bang a drum? The camp is broken into three two-week sessions (9 AM to 4 PM), July 9-August 17, at either the Cultural Arts Center in Glen Allen or Richmond Center Stage in Richmond. $325/session.
New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
A variety of Civil War camps are available all across Virginia all summer long. From Newport News to New Market, up to Bristow and back to Petersburg, your little soldiers can get schooled on battlefield life as well as the roles of those who were left at home. Camps begin as soon as June 23 and run into October, if need some weekend adventure plans. Rates begin at $70/person.
Do you have a drama queen in your house? Maybe the Living Storybook Drama Camp is just what she needs to channel her inner diva. Held at the Spencer Penn Centre in Henry County July 23-27 from 10 AM to 2 PM, the week culminates in a recital on Friday where the one-day-Academy-Award-winners will deliver their lines with grace. $90/student.
Hang ten with the big boys (and girls) when you take up one of the righteous Billabong surf camps at Virginia Beach. The chicas have their turn in one of four two-day sessions (July 12-August 15) with the dudes choosing one of eight three-day sessions (June 20-August 15). Girls are $110; boys are $160.
Budding culinaristas have a chance to take classes spun from hit television shows – Cupcake Wars, Ace of Cakes, and Top Chef sound familiar? In Martinsville at The Artisan Center, kids can participate in their own cook-offs and bake-offs. Camps begin June 18 and are 8:30-11:30 AM. $55/student.
If dolphins melt your heart, the Marine Science Consortium on Wallops Island must be your summer destination. Three-to-five day all-inclusive overnight camps range from coastal mammals and fish to dangerous creatures. Campers should be 10 to 15 years old, depending on the session chosen. Camps are $299-$599/student and start as soon as June 24. See all available camps.
Memories of bugle calls and growing up at the track come to my mind today as I see plenty of social media talk regarding tomorrow’s Strawberry Hill Races at Colonial Downs. For years now, this has been one of the best events in the Richmond area (probably Virginia), and one that my family has always enjoyed. The networking, tailgating, and thoroughbred action is always awesome.
Strawberry Hill Races
This event becomes the “Kentucky Derby” of the state as women show up in their finest dresses, heels, and hats! There are even themes for attire and this year is no different. I hear that it is 80’s attire since this year marks the 80th running and yes, even the men dress up. How fun! The prices are more affordable this year ($9 in advance, $12 at the door) and the gates open at 10am. There are steeplechase races, and my favorite, the flat dirt track racing. The weather looks great and I know that people are excited to eat, drink, and dress up!
Colonial Downs also hosts Virginia Derby Day. This is the richest and most important event to the legitimate racing world. This is always the third weekend in July (Saturday, July 21, 2012) and so it is always a scorcher! However, it is tons of fun and brings the best horses to the track. Last year there were bands playing, people dancing, a delicious BBQ dinner, and drinks. You may even buy a ticket for the “Hoot on the Hill” part of the track, where you’re allowed to bring your own tents, chairs, food, beverages, grills, etc. For $10, this is the best deal in my opinion, and becomes a smaller version of Strawberry Hill.
Two years ago I attended the July 4th Colonial Downs night of racing. It was family-packed all night with people of all ages. It didn’t start until the evening so our family had time to go to the pool before the races. Fans saw a night of racing followed by an epic fireworks event. This year, they are having a live concert with the fireworks trackside so I am sure that it will be a blast (no pun intended). There will even be a magician after the races for everyone to enjoy. Get more information about this year’s Racing to the Stars and Stripes event.
Virginia has plenty of horseracing events all summer at Colonial Downs. For more information on all of their events, visit Thoroughbred Summer Horse Racing. Hope to see you there!
Jane Govoruhk is the Assistant International Marketing Manager at Virginia Tourism Corporation, avid Hokie and Steelers fan, NASCAR enthusiast, music junkie, and author of this post.