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10 Festivals Kids Will LOVE

by Casey | Posted on April 8th, 2014

It’s warm and you’re ready to get moving on the weekends. Festivals should be top-of-mind, of course, but when kids are in tow, look to these great opportunities they’re sure to love.

Annual International Children's Festival, Hampton.

Annual International Children’s Festival, Hampton.

April 13 – The Rockfish Valley Foundation Kite Flying Festival in Nellysford includes demos with Richmond Air Force, instruction, games, a duck race, a kite store, and free kites to the first 150 kids. It’s all free and you’re welcome to bring a picnic and stay a while.

April 19 – The Annual International Children’s Festival in Hampton is like traveling the world, from a kid’s point of view. More than 35 countries will be represented with cultural arts and performances, foods, and activities. Be sure to pick up your passport and have it stamped at each country to be entered to win a prize. Festival Map

April 26 – RIVERFest is held at Colonial Place in Norfolk and is a free outdoor celebration that promotes the restoration of Lafayette River. Kids will enjoy fireboat rides, and can create treasures with Indian beads, ECO arts, or “build a buoy.” Older kids even might join in the embellished craft race with a parent (requirements).

Jamestown Day

Jamestown Day

May 3 – Waynesboro Riverfest is a day of fun built to reach kids and adults for the purpose of emphasizing commitment and responsibility to conservation. Kids will love the canoe rides, arts and crafts, reptile and animal shows, and the fish and fun rodeo, not to mention the South River duck race!

May 10 – Jamestown Day is bucket list worthy for kids and their parents. If you’ve never been to Jamestown, you’re in for a real treat. The ships will be sailing and there are demonstrations, music and activities everywhere you turn. Get to know all about the 1607 founding of America’s first permanent English colony.

May 17 – Fundango Festival is called the #1 family fun festival in Virginia Beach and you’re invited to find out why. Meet Olympians and participate in the Olympic Experience, enjoy amazing entertaining acts, make faces in the photo booth, toss some corn hole, get your crafting on, and tons more.

May 24 – Delaplane Strawberry Festival in Delaplane is all about strawberries, of course. Bring your little ones out for old fashioned games, petting zoo, arts and crafts, hayrides, and more.

Celebrate Fairfax!

Celebrate Fairfax!

June 6-9 – Celebrate Fairfax! is 25 acres of family fun, including the ExxonMobil Children’s Avenue! Expect to find interactive activities, petting zoo, children’s entertainment stage, Inova Trackless Train, crafts, and so much more. This area is designed for kids 12 and younger.

June 7 – Manassas Heritage Railway Festival in Manassas offers a children’s stage of entertainment to go with the kids rides and Thomas the Tank Engine Kiddie Train. Load the whole family into the VRE Excursion Train for a ride to Clifton and back for just $6 each.

June 13-14 – The Annual Massanutten Antique Tractor & Gasoline Engine Club Show is celebrating 25 years. Dads will love checking out the equipment while kids check out the farm toy show, participate in the pedal races, or cheer on the tractor pulls.

These aren’t even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to festivals in Virginia. See the whole list!

Related: 10 Spring Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss

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25 Beautiful B&Bs with a Winery Just a Mile Away

by Casey | Posted on April 2nd, 2014

Vineyards are stunning with rolling hills of green vines. If you love the feeling you have when you visit a winery tasting room and walk the grounds, stay nearby so you don’t lose it. We’ve identified 25 beautiful Virginia bed and breakfasts that are a mile or less away from a Virginia winery. Stay close, sip close.

Le Bleu Ridge Bed and Breakfast, Afton

Le Bleu Ridge Bed and Breakfast, Afton

Central Virginia

The Farmhouse at Veritas is located in Afton and has two wineries nearby. On site is Veritas Vineyard & WineryAfton Mountain Vineyard is .9 mile southwest. The Farmhouse is a comfortable reflection of its 19th century history.

Also in Afton is Le Bleu Ridge Bed and Breakfast and Cottage, a Civil War-era landmark on the grounds of Flying Fox Vineyard. In fact, the tasting room is just 30 feet away from the main house!

When you visit Democracy Vineyards in Lovingston you can stay at Orchard House Bed & Breakfast, less than a half-mile away. The home dates to 1874 and boasts a beautiful front porch for rocking and relaxation.

Check into one of the guestrooms or suites at The Mark Addy Inn in Nellysford to sample the best of Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery just about a half-mile away. Hill Top offers “true to the fruit” wines and honey mead; pick blackberries seasonally, if you wish. One of five porches is awaiting your return.

Pool at Glass House Winery Bed and Breakfast, Free Union

Pool at Glass House Winery Bed and Breakfast, Free Union

Overlooking the vines of Glass House Winery in Free Union is the Glass House Winery Bed and Breakfast. A two-bedroom suite on the upper level affords amazing views of the property and pool. Three lower-level rooms with private baths boast radiant heated bamboo floors; two have private entrances.

Inn at Crossroads in North Garden is on the National Register of Historic Places and located next door to Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. Hundreds of rolling acres steal your breath while you spend time on the front porch of this Federal style gem.

If you happen to love horses in addition to wine, stay at Reba Farm Inn in Bedford where you can saddle up and find great wine just a mile away at Peaks of Otter Winery.

A visit to Barboursville Vineyards near Charlottesville offers you a choice of two B&Bs. The 1804 Inn at Barboursville Vineyards is on the grounds of the vineyard and features bits and pieces of England, Italy, France and Virginia. Just .9 mile east in Gordonsville is Uphill House Bed & Breakfast, a relatively new home and B&B with English flair. Even closer to Uphill than Barboursville is Horton Vineyards and Winery at .7 mile away.

Blue Ridge Highlands

In Blacksburg you’ll find a luxurious retreat at Beliveau Estate Bed and Breakfast, plus Beliveau Winery is right there with it. Each spacious room has a cozy fireplace and private bath. Some have a private entrance and yet others have air jet tubs. Get comfortable with your wine!

Shenandoah Valley

In the southern Shenandoah Valley is Fincastle Vineyard & Winery and the vineyard’s bed and breakfast, too. The beauty of 80 acres of woodlands, pasture and vineyards will sweep you away; stay a while.

Back in Thyme Bed and Breakfast in Raphine is just down the road from Rockbridge Vineyard. The beautiful Victorian is comfortable with three bedrooms and private baths, plus a hearty country breakfast. Sample the wines at Rockbridge and bring a bottle out to enjoy on the swing below the vineyards.

Villa Veramar B&B sits among the grapes of Veramar Vineyards in Berryville and has romantic rooms with whirlpool tubs, evening wine and cheese platters, and of course, a fine breakfast.

Northern Virginia

Forgotten Creek Bed and Breakfast in Amissville is less than a half-mile from Gray Ghost Vineyards and Winery, a winery boasting an extensive list of national and international awards for their blends. Forgotten Creek B&B offers two suites and a farm-fresh quiche for breakfast.

Hillsborogh B&B, Hillsboro

Hillsborogh B&B, Hillsboro

The rustic, country-style retreat of Hillsborough B&B is just about a half-mile away from Hillsborough Vineyards in Hillsboro. A pool with waterfall offer a tranquil setting to enjoy a glass of something beautiful.

The Briar Patch Bed & Breakfast in Middleburg welcomes you to enjoy their 47 rolling acres from their 1805 historic country inn. It can be home base for visiting Leaves of Grass Vineyards, a very small operation that is open by reservation only, guaranteeing your own personal wine experience.

Spread your wings a little on the 138-acre Belle Meade Farm in Sperryville, home to Belle Meade Inn, a restored Victorian farmhouse. Practically a stone’s throw away at .2 mile is Sharp Rock Vineyards, which also has its own B&B cottages.

Settle in at The Blue Rock Inn in Washington. An on-site pub and restaurant make your dining choices easy while Little Washington Winery is just a hop, skip and a jump away.

The Barns at Hamilton Station, Hamilton

The Barns at Hamilton Station, Hamilton

In Hamilton you’ll fall in love with your surroundings, and Zion Springs Bed & Breakfast is just the beginning. The incredibly spacious suites will leave you asking, “Do we have to go home?” Less than a mile away is The Barns at Hamilton Station Vineyards, a welcoming wood and stone dairy barn-turned-tasting room.

The folks at Gadino Cellars in Washington are fortunate to have a number of nearby bed and breakfasts for you to choose from. Specifically, take a look at these beauties less than a mile away:

Chesapeake Bay

In Irvington, the renowned Hope & Glory Inn, a Top 100 in the World and Top 10 in the US, is less than a half-mile from The Dog and Oyster, a refreshingly unique winery that teams up with Ingleside Vineyard to offer premium and reserve labels alongside their own wines for a one-of-a-kind tasting experience. Hope & Glory offers 25 rooms as well as cottages. National publications are known to gush over this beautiful property.

Perched above the vines in Hague is The Manor House at General’s Ridge Vineyard. Sip a glass of the house wine from the balcony or porch after enjoying a tasting at General’s Ridge tasting room.

Coastal Virginia – Hampton Roads

Visit the urban Mermaid Winery in Norfolk and stay in the elegant Bed & Breakfast at Historic Page House Inn, a AAA Four Diamond accommodation. Mermaid offers 12 wine flights for your choosing, all made in small batches from Virginia grapes.

 

Learn more about Virginia’s extensive wine offerings and the amazing bed and breakfasts awaiting you. Remember to drink responsibly and designate a driver.

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Couples, Wine | 0 Comments

AMC’s New Series “TURN” Filmed in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on April 1st, 2014

“TURN,” the brand new television series by AMC, has been filming on location in Virginia and premieres Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 9 p.m. EST.

Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull and Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull. Photo: Antony Platt/AMC

Kevin McNally as Richard Woodhull and Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull. Photo: Antony Platt/AMC

Based on remarkable new research in the book Washington’s Spies, by Alexander Rose, “TURN” centers around Abraham Woodhull, a farmer living behind enemy lines in British-occupied Long Island. Abraham bands together with a group of childhood friends to form The Culper Ring: an unlikely team of secret agents who help George Washington turn the tide of the war in favor of the Rebels. Their daring efforts revolutionized the art of espionage, giving birth to modern tradecraft in all its moral complexity. “TURN” transforms history into suspenseful and resonant entertainment.

“TURN” was developed and is being written by Craig Silverstein (“Nikita”) and stars Jamie Bell (“Billy Elliot” and “The Adventures of Tintin”) as Abraham Woodhull. Executive Producers are Silverstein and Barry Josephson (“Bones”). AMC is the television home of some of the most popular dramas in cable television including “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead” and the recently-ended “Breaking Bad,” created by Virginia native Vince Gilligan.

The series also stars Seth Numrich as Ben Tallmadge, Heather Lind as Anna Strong, Daniel Henshall as Caleb Brewster, Meegan Warner as Mary Woodhull, Kevin McNally as Judge Richard Woodhull, Burn Gorman as Major Hewlett, Angus MacFadyen as Robert Rogers, JJ Feild as Major John Andre, and Samuel Roukin as Captain Simcoe.

TURN: The Trail

Watch Sunday evenings for a look into the exhilarating Revolutionary War-era saga about America’s first spy ring and then get in on the action along TURN: The Trail, a series of Colonial and Revolutionary War-era attractions, “TURN” filming locations, and exciting espionage activities and museums to get your heart pumping and patriotism roaring. Sites along the trail include The Pentagon, four plantations, sites relevant to George Washington, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown Victory Center, and others. Trail Map

You Become the Spy

Visit Colonial Williamsburg and join in the spy action of RevQuest: The Old Enemy between now and November 30, 2014.  RevQuest is an immersive game that leads you along the streets of Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City where you just might change the course of history. Begin your mission online and continue it on site.

TURN on AMC

 

Learn more about “TURN” at AMCTV.com.

 

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10 Places to Saddle Up in Virginia

by Casey | Posted on March 28th, 2014

The vantage point is a little different and the experience is entirely different from the back of a horse. Saddle up and explore Virginia’s countryside and seaside with these unique opportunities.

Marriott Ranch

Marriott Ranch

Offering the only service of its kind in Virginia and seemingly, the country, Virginia Beach Horseback invites you to the Virginia Beach oceanfront for a horseback ride on the sand or a swim with the horses. Corralled at 31st Street, come down between noon and 6:30 p.m. until June for a ride down to the pier and back. In summer, try their new Swimming on Horseback option Wednesday through Thursdays at North Bay. All riders are prepped on how to control the horses; no experience required. Rates from $40 to $100. Reservations are not required, but suggested.

The 4,200-acre working cattle farm known as Marriott Ranch is located in Hume, not far from Washington, D.C. Make a reservation for their popular 90-minute trail ride offered every day except Monday or take advantage of their special rides and overnight packages, such as the City Slicker package that includes horsemanship skills, cattle handling techniques, meals, and overnight at The Inn at Fairfield Farm (from $385/person). Or perhaps the Dinner Ride of a 90-minute trail ride and a cowboy steak dinner ($99/person) sounds nice? Additional rides include day-long rides, river and mountain rides, and cattle drives.

Shangrila Guest Ranch

Shangrila Guest Ranch

In South Boston you’ll find tucked away the Shangrila Guest Ranch, an all-inclusive horseback riding destination. Couples and families alike will appreciate the variety of accommodations (a three-bedroom homeplace, a sweet little log cabin, or the packhouse lodge). The ranchers at Shangrila will also work with you for corporate retreats at The Rusty Spur, and there’s a special Cowgirls Week in May that may be perfect for a bridal or reunion retreat. If you don’t have long to stay and play, reserve your spot for an hour-long ride or the full day; they’re happy to oblige. Rates from $40/hr for a trail ride to $125/person for a daytime excursion with lunch. Inquire for lodging rates and other opportunities.

Additional Places to Saddle Up:

More Information:

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8 Scenic Drives for Virginia History

by Casey | Posted on March 25th, 2014

It can be argued that any drive through Virginia is a historical one, but perhaps these eight drives are extra loaded with historical attractions and beautiful scenic opportunities.

Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

Aerial view of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area.

In Central Virginia you can pick up routes that take you north to south and east to west,  highlighting a great amount of history along the way.

A trek down US Route 15 will put you on the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, one of the most historically significant drives in America.  All said, the drive covers ground from Gettysburg to Monticello, and is considered a National Heritage Area. Trail Map

The Road to Revolution Heritage Trail highlights the life and times of Patrick Henry, the great orator and Virginia’s first Governor. The trail covers a wide expanse of Virginia in the Richmond region and spreads into Coastal Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay. Along the trail you’ll see St. John’s Church in Richmond, the site of Henry’s famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” oration; Red Hill in Brookneal, Henry’s last residence and burial site; Hanover Courthouse, the launch site of Henry’s political career; Studley in Mechanicsville, Henry’s birthplace; and 17 other sites. Trail Map

Dip into Southern Virginia from Richmond to explore the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Centered around the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, the trail covers 300 miles and 41 sites that touch on the civil rights in education struggles of African Americans, Native Americans and women from the 18th to 20th centuries. Trail Map

Also from Richmond, but headed east, is the Jamestown Discovery Trail that follows US Route 5. Sites along the way include plantations, presidential homes, Native American settlements, and ends at Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.

Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

Coal Miners Memorial in Dickenson County

If you find yourself in Southwest Virginia, you could be easily traversing multiple trails at once.

The Coal Heritage Trail incorporates seven counties and the city of Norton to take in 300 miles of coal industry related historical sites and the additional locations that demonstrate the influence of coal on the region. The town of Appalachia is can be considered somewhat lost in time as it has preserved its place as a hub for eight surrounding coal camps dating from the 1800s to early 1900s. See coal equipment and related articles at places like the Harry W. Meador Coal Museum in Big Stone Gap and the Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Pocahontas. Trail Map

The Crooked Road Heritage Music Trail winds through this area, too, and focuses on the musical history of the region. Nearly 100 attractions invite you to come tap your toes and get in the know. Trail Map

The Wilderness Road: Virginia’s Heritage Migration Route captures the primary route taken by western settlers as they moved down the Shenandoah Valley and into the Southwest Virginia area. A total of 23 localities on this trail down US Route 11 and into the Blue Ridge Highlands gives you plenty of options for a weekend trip. Trail Map

Across all of Virginia are the Virginia Civil War Trails. Branching off this way and that, the trails follow different campaigns of the American Civil War.  Hundreds of miles to conquer and plenty of time to do it, we hope!

Make your plans to get on the roads and see something new this spring and summer! Use our Trip Planner to map out the details and throw in some extra fun and food along the way.

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