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    #HappyBirthday to #NASA, launched 51 years ago in 1958. This is an awesome shot of the Minotaur V launch from #WallopsIsland, #Virginia last September by @_miancab. If you're interested in watching their next #launch, the Antares is scheduled for October of this year (date TBD). You can view from bleachers or the rooftop observation deck at the Wallops Island Flight Facility Visitor Center OR you can watch from Chincoteague or the Assateague Island beach. #rocket #loveva #space #stars #photooftheday #blastoff @nasa
    Is everyone excited for #Virginia #CraftBeer Month next month? It's time to put your game face on and visit a new local #brewery or get adventuresome on a #VA #beer trail. Find your way at Virginia.org/craftbeer and tag your photos with #vacraftbeermonth! This is glass of @ardentcraftales' #IPA, found on tap in Richmond. #rva #vabeer #drinklocal #locavore #ardentcraftales
    Spend a day at Buckroe #Beach in Hampton, #Virginia. You'll find a popular cobia fishing #pier and kayak, paddleboat, chair and umbrella rentals. If you time your visit right, you'll even get to hear some live music in the beachside pavilion. Photo props to @jennaevelyndill. Post your #VA photos with #LoveVA for a chance to be featured here! #repost #ocean #howisummer #sand #photooftheday
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  • Posts Tagged ‘Virginia.org’

    7 Most Bike Friendly Cities and Towns

    by Laura Young | Posted on May 8th, 2014

    Happy National Bike Month!  To celebrate, we have compiled a list of Virginia’s 7 Most Bike-Friendly Cities and Towns. From bike lanes to trail rides, these cities make it easy for bikers to ride for pleasure or with purpose.

    Alexandria – The City of Alexandria was recognized in 2013 for its bike friendliness, both from the League of American Bicyclists as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Community and by Virginia Living Magazine as one of “10 Favorite Cycling Destinations.”

    Biking downtown is easy in Alexandria.

    Biking downtown is easy in Alexandria.

    Bike lanes (either dedicated or shared) are available on Cameron, Prince and Pendleton Streets in Old Town as well as Commonwealth Avenue, Mt Vernon Avenue and Braddock Road in Del Ray.  Soon to come are bike lanes on King Street.

    Bike racks have been installed along sidewalks near many local businesses and other locations for biker convenience, like along King Street in Old Town and Mount Vernon Avenue in Del Ray.

    Alexandria also hosts the Mount Vernon Trail. This 18 mile path takes you from Rosslyn (just across the bridge from Washington, DC) to George Washington’s historic Mount Vernon. As you ride alongside the stunning Potomac River, you’ll pass views of the national monuments, parks, Old Town Alexandria and George Washington’s waterfront estate.

    Arlington – Arlington maintains 50 miles of off-street, multi-use trails for bicycling, walking and jogging. Portions of these trails pass through beautiful natural areas of Arlington’s park system and connect to regional bike trails.  In addition to these off-street trails, Arlington has 36 miles of marked, on-street bicycle routes and 78 miles of recommended on-street routes.

    Excellent dining districts can be found in Ballston, Clarendon, Crystal City and Shirlington – all of which are easily accessed by some of the off-road bike trails and the Capital Bikeshare Program (more on that in a moment!).  Additionally, attractions like Arlington Cemetery, the Air Force Memorial and the Iwo Jima Memorial are all also easily bike-accessible.

    For more information on how easy it is to bike around Arlington, visit www.bikearlington.com.

    Arlington and Alexandria also participates in the Capital Bikeshare Program which puts more than 2,500 bicycles at your fingertips. Choose a bike from more than 300 stations across Washington, D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, VA and Montgomery County, MD and return it to any station near your destination. For more information, visit www.capitalbikeshare.com.

    Harrisonburg – Harrisonburg is the Shenandoah Valley’s premiere biking destination.  The city was recognized as a bronze level ride center by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community.  Shared Lane Markings (otherwise known as “Sharrows”) are prevalent in the downtown area and show cyclists the best place to ride on the road.

    The city also offers a wide variety of cycling parks and trails which range from novice to expert experience levels.

    Bike shops like this one in Carytown can be found all over Richmond.

    Bike shops like this one in Carytown can be found all over Richmond.

    Richmond – Among other accolades, Richmond was just recently recognized on a BuzzFeed list of “10 Cities You Should Explore on Two Wheels.”

    This is timely, as Sports Backers just announced the Connect RVA project, a plan to build 20+ miles of new family-friendly bikeways.  The project will encompass both shared and dedicated bike lanes through the heart of downtown and safer trails off the beaten path.  Projected completion is September of 2015, just in time for the UCI Road World Championships being held in Richmond.

    Abingdon – Abingdon is home to the Virginia Creeper Trail, a crushed gravel shared-use trail (bike, hike, equine) connecting Abingdon, VA, with the Virginia-North Carolina border 1.1 mile east of Whitetop Station, VA.  The trail has just been named the 2014 Hall of Fame Inductee for the Rail to Trails Conversancy, which recognizes trails with a high scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities and historical significance among other categories.

    A Virginia Creeper Trail extension provides access for people to ride directly into Abingdon after riding the trail. It brings cyclists right into the downtown area at the Abingdon Farmers Market. Lots of restaurants in the downtown area have bicycle racks for riders’ convenience.

    Abingdon is also in the process of creating the Urban Path System, which will be a public system connecting streets and pedestrian sidewalks or trail linkages to residential and public areas within the Town of Abingdon. Neighborhood streets will include landscaping and traffic calming features to effectively manage traffic and encourage attractive and safe pedestrian-friendly environments.

    Virginia Beach – This coastal Virginia city offers the perfect combination of quiet, natural shoreline rides and on-road

    The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular place to ride your bike along the Atlantic coast.

    The Virginia Beach Boardwalk is a popular location to ride your bike along the Atlantic coast.

    bikeaccessibility through the city. The city currently has over 100 miles of trails including asphalt paths, nature trails and on-road bike routes.

    Bike trails near the coast are available at Virginia Beach state parks such as Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, First Landing State Park, and False Cape State Park, which has been untouched by humans and is only accessible on foot, by boat, or by bike.

    In addition to its rides through nature, the city also offers a Bikeways and Trails Map indicating bike accessibility throughout the cities major roads.  The Virginia Beach Boardwalk also offers a way for bikers to view the beauty of the Virginia coastline, while also shopping and dining right on the waterfront.

    Roanoke – The Roanoke Valley offers a variety of bike-centric events throughout the year, with many taking place during National Bike Month.

    Grandin Village is one of Roanoke’s most bike-accessible attractions and brings an old-school charm to its over 80 shops and restaurants.

    An Art by Bike route has also recently been developed around the city, offering over 20 stops for riders to access and enjoy the city’s art on two wheels.

    Do you love to bike in any other Virginia cities or towns? Leave us a comment and let us know!

    Laura Young is a Public Relations intern at Virginia Tourism Corporation and a senior at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.



    Outdoors, Outdoors | 4 Comments

    Five Culinary Destinations for B&B Travelers

    by Casey | Posted on April 23rd, 2014

    Food is not only essential to life, but is often a reason to travel. If your taste buds direct your path more often than the appeal of any other attraction, these destinations known for their culinary greatness should be on your to-do list. How do I know these are great culinary destinations? They each have a food tour, meaning, there’s enough great food to put on tour. Plus, there are beautiful bed and breakfasts nearby that are happy to host you and make your reservations. Good eats, good sleeps, win-win.

    Taste of the Town Trolley Tours, Abingdon

    Taste of the Town Trolley Tours, Abingdon

    Abingdon offers Taste of the Town Trolley Tours once per month. Hop aboard and visit four to five locations that incorporate local ingredients into their menus. Previous locations have included Sisters at The Martha, The Tavern, Wolf Hills Brewery, and Figaredo’s Bistro.

    Consider Your Historic District Stay:

     

    When on Charlottesville‘s Downtown Mall, look for the orange umbrella. No, it’s not a sign of rain, but a sign of a delicious Charlottesville Food Tour in progress. Buy a ticket for one of two Saturday tours to sample the delights of such places at Hamilton’s at First & Main and Splendora’s Gelato Cafe.

    100 South Street Inn, Charlottesville

    100 South Street Inn, Charlottesville

    Within a Mile of the Downtown Mall:

     

    Downtown Harrisonburg is the first recognized “culinary district” in Virginia. Join in the tasty fun when you tag along for the Rocktown Bites! Food Tour in Harrisonburg. Seven sampling locations, such as Clementine, Cuban Burger, Jack Brown’s, and Kline’s Dairy Bar may be on your Saturday or Thursday tour.

    Within a Mile of the Culinary District:

     

     

    The One Bed and Breakfast, Richmond

    The One Bed and Breakfast, Richmond

    Real Richmond Food Tours highlights some of the tastiest dishes in Richmond every Saturday, with each tour being a different theme with different flavors. One example is the Spies to Pies Tour in Church Hill that includes The Roosevelt, Proper Pie Co., The Hill Cafe, Alamo BBQ, and other eateries.

    Monument and Fan District B&Bs:

    • Grace Manor Inn – This 7500 square foot mansion with a salt water pool is on both the Virginia and National Registries of Historic Places.
    • The One Bed and Breakfast – Another National Registry entry, The One is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the home in 2014.
    • The Museum District Bed and Breakfast – A 1922 home with two luxury suites (one family-sized three bedroom!) and an adorable carriage house for utmost privacy.
    • Maury Place at Monument – This 1916 home has been restored in keeping with more than 100 historic easements protecting it. Featured in Remodel magazine and Small Room Decorating magazine.

     

    The promise is that “you’ll never view or taste downtown Roanoke the same again” after you experience the Downtown Food & Cultural Tour. Line up your tickets for a Thursday, Friday or Saturday to taste what’s unique to Roanoke, like Texas Tavern and Hotel Roanoke.

    Historic Roanoke B&Bs:

     

    Which Virginia town or city is your favorite culinary destination? Leave us a comment to boast and tell us if there’s a fantastic B&B nearby, too!

    Related:

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    Food, Virginia Destinations | 2 Comments

    15 Festivals for the Adrenaline Junkie

    by Casey | Posted on April 22nd, 2014

    For some, it’s simply not enough to enjoy a festival atmosphere. Where’s the challenge or fun in that? Festivals must be experiential to really rise to the expectation of dedicated adrenaline junkies, and these 15 Virginia festivals do just that.

    Dominion Riverrock

    Dominion Riverrock

    River Fun The most rigorous, diverse outdoor festival in Virginia is Dominion Riverrock, and it’s held each May in Richmond. Riverrock brings kayaking, biking, bouldering, trail running, slacklining, paddle boarding and more for three days of challenging fun and spectator entertainment. Musical highlights for this year are The Infamous Stringdusters and Matisyahu.

    The Annual Smith River Fest in Axton is dedicated to those who live for and love the river life. Held each August, the festival centers around Smith River activities, from the 4.8-mile river race to the 5K mud run.

    Henricus Mudstock

    Henricus Mudstock

    Mud Fun

    The Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg is the venue for the Rugged Maniac on May 3. A little over three miles of muddy courses with 20 obstacles are yours for the conquering, while the festival area includes mechanical bull riding and music.

    Biking Fun

    Is it biking that really spins your wheels? Don’t miss the Cap2Cap Bike Event on May 10. The ride can be as long as you wish with quarter-, half-, full-century, and 15-mile fun ride options between Richmond and Williamsburg. Well-stocked rest areas, a delicious lunch and beer are promised.

    Appalachian Trail Days

    Appalachian Trail Days

    Hiking Fun

    May 16-18 is Appalachian Trail Days in Damascus, and it’s the place to be if you’re an avid hiker or lover of the AT. There’s lots of food and plenty of family fun available.

    Just Plain Fun

    XtremeFest of the Blue Ridge will be held May 31 in Waynesboro’s Constitution Park. BMX stunters will give adventure-seeking kids a thrill while the climbing wall lets them work off their energy. Put a kayak in the South River and enjoy the other opportunities of the festival at this family event.

    Where will the need for adrenaline take you this spring and summer? Go hard and go get ‘em!

    Related:

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    Festivals, Outdoors | Comments Off

    Eat Local! 16 Dishes with Fresh, Local Flavor

    by Casey | Posted on April 18th, 2014

    “Fresh, not frozen” is the mantra of many, but you’re invited to really taste the difference when you dine at some of Virginia’s farm-to-table restaurants. Of note are these 16 locally-sourced dishes that were nominated by locals as their favorite meal. Perhaps one sounds palate-pleasing for your next out-and-about Virginia excursion?

    Braised Shenandoah Lamb Shoulder. BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier.

    Braised Shenandoah Lamb Shoulder. BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier.

    1. Traditions, inside the Williamsburg Lodge in Williamsburg, cooks up a Fennel Dusted Virginia Coast Shrimp and Scallop Dish that utilizes Dave and Dee’s Sedley, Virginia-grown oyster mushrooms, local farmers’ produce, and cured Virginia bourbon bacon.

    2. BRABO by Robert Wiedmaier is located in beautiful Old Town Alexandria. Just as beautiful is their Braised Shenandoah Lamb Shoulder served with hand-rolled pappardelle, dill, pearl onions, glazed parsnip and a natural jus.

    3. In Staunton, try Zynodoa’s locally-sourced Autumn Olive Farm pork entrée, which includes Meadow Creek Dairy’s Mountaineer cheese bruleed cornbread, and Harvest Thyme Herbs’ corn shoot salad.

    4. Shrimp is served atop locally-sourced Andouille sausage and stone-ground grits at Wild Wolf Brewing Company in Nellysford. Pair this dish-with-a-kick with one of their homemade brews for a divine lunch on the patio.

    Gunness Ayrshire Beef Stew. Hunter's Head Tavern.

    Gunness Ayrshire Beef Stew. Hunter’s Head Tavern.

    5. Upperville is home to the English pub,  Hunter’s Head Tavern, where Ayrshire Farm’s certified organic, humane, heritage-bred beef is the main ingredient in their Guinness Ayrshire Beef Stew. It’s slow-simmered with red wine, stock and Guinness stout, and finished with carrots, celery, onion, and potatoes.

    6. New Leaf Pastry Kitchen in Harrisonburg offers a filling Bruschetta that’s perfect for a quick lunch. House-made rosemary focaccia is split and spread with herbed goat cheese before being filled with roasted Portobella mushrooms, onions, Polyface Farms’ sausage, and shredded smoked Gouda. It’s served hot with a Parmesan crisp and Dijon crème fraiche.

    Crispy Skinned Chesapeake Bay Rockfish. Lemaire.

    Crispy Skinned Chesapeake Bay Rockfish. Lemaire.

    7. Inside the famed Jefferson Hotel in Richmond is Lemaire, where a Crispy Skinned Chesapeake Bay Rockfish is a popular local dish. The Rockfish is served with stewed white beans, semi-dried tomatoes, Manakintowne Specialty Growers’ field arugula, smoked Surry County sausage, and truffled mushroom broth.

    8. A historical dessert in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the Jefferson Brandied Peaches & Vanilla Ice Cream dessert that you’ll find at the Old Mill Room at Boar’s Head in Charlottesville includes raspberry sauce, meringue, locally-grown peaches, and Jefferson vanilla ice cream. Dessert first? Yes, please!

    9. More dessert? You betcha! The Heartwood Cobbler at Heartwood in Abingdon is simply sugar, self-rising flour, Duchess Dairy milk, butter and fresh fruit from the farmer’s market topped with Homestead Creamery vanilla ice cream. Which type of cobbler you find on the menu depends on which fruit is fresh and in season.

    10. Created from all local ingredients, the Bratwurst Pizza with Apples and Onions from Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton includes Double H Farms’ bratwurst and local apples. The dough includes Ashland Farms’ whole wheat flour and is infused with herbs, olive oil and Hungry Hill Farm honey.

    The Savory Grain, Richmond.

    The Savory Grain, Richmond.

    11. Roanoke’s Local Roots Restaurant serves a Hollow Hill Farm’s Bison Pastrami sandwich topped with cheddar cheese, house sauerkraut and house barbecue sauce. It’s served atop a Breadcraft Bakery sesame seed bun.

    12. Timbercreek Organics’ beef is slow cooked with whole grain mustard spaetzle, roasted Sharondale Farms’ mushrooms, braised red cabbage, and bleu cheese. You can find this fine dish at Fossett’s at Keswick Hall in Keswick.

    13. The Savory Grain in Richmond serves a Roasted Quail stuffed with a nine-grain cranberry pecan medley and finished with Bold Rock Cider roasted red pepper and ginger jus. Beautiful and delicious.

    14. A perfect farm-fresh egg is served on garlic-rubbed ciabatta and served with mixed baby greens topped in balsamic vinaigrette, Virginia country ham and Parmesan cheese at Foti’s Restaurant in Culpeper.

    15. Fresh catfish is served with creamed farro, Surry County sausage, butter beans, hominy, and mustard cream at The Roosevelt in Richmond.

    16. Also in Richmond is Rappahannock, serving a beautiful dish of braised Border Springs Farm lamb with a crispy cake of Arborio rice, fregola sarda and lentils, fermented vegetables, pea tendrils, and a blood orange vinaigrette.

    What’s your favorite locally-sourced dish? Tell all about it by leaving a comment!

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    Food, Locals | Comments Off

    16 Bed and Breakfasts for Virginia History Explorations

    by Casey | Posted on April 16th, 2014

    Virginia’s most popular history attractions are always within reach, but come a bit closer. Pair your history jaunt with a stay at the closest bed and breakfasts.

    A Williamsburg White House Bed and Breakfast

    A Williamsburg White House Bed and Breakfast

    Historic Jamestowne is the first permanent English settlement in North America. Colonists arrived here in 1607; John Rolfe and Pocahontas were married here in 1614; and the first representative assembly in America met here in 1619. Archaeology walking tours are available daily and the on-site archaeology museum will give you quite the view and understanding of the important ground you tread upon. Within five miles, choose from these four immaculate bed and breakfasts.

    The Powell House Garden at Colonial Williamsburg

    The Powell House Garden at Colonial Williamsburg

    Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City takes you inside 1775 and the beginning of the Revolution. Meet the townspeople, tradesmen, shopkeepers, political figures, women, and enslaved that call Williamsburg home. As one can imagine when considering the historic nature of the Williamsburg area, bed and breakfasts are plentiful. Here are a few contenders within walking distance of Colonial Williamsburg.

    • Fife & Drum Inn (.6 mile) – Nine distinctive rooms and suites are decorated in the flavor of the 18th century but with a modern twist.
    • Colonial Capital B&B Inn (.8 mile) – Colonial Revival boasts a rich blend of warmth, style, and comfort.
    • Applewood Colonial B&B (.8 mile) – Stately Georgian modeled after early Colonial Williamsburg restoration efforts.
    • The Williamsburg Manor (.8 mile) – Southern hospitality in a fresh and eclectic setting. Recently updated to combine the spirit of Williamsburg with the most modern of amenities.

    Yorktown Victory Center is a museum of the American Revolution chronicling America’s struggles for independence. Exhibits include a rare early broadside printing of the Declaration of Independence dating to July 1776, a predecessor to the handwritten parchment copy signed by members of Congress. Within a mile of the Center are two historic B&Bs to choose from.

    Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

    Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

    Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop Monticello in Charlottesville is a must-see historic destination. It’s the only U.S. presidential and private home on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Stay at The Inn at Monticello, just two miles away, to enjoy the home, gardens, and views Jefferson loved so much. It’s an 1850s southern manor with romantic guest rooms and hearty gourmet breakfast.

    Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens are located in northern Virginia right on the banks of the Potomac River. Visit to see the new Ford Orientation Center, the most famous dentures in the world, heritage animal breeds, Washington’s distillery, and so much more.  Just over six miles away is the charming Gatsby’s House Bed and Breakfast in Old Town Alexandria. The proximity to everything in Old Town is reason enough to stay.

    Montpelier was James Madison’s lifelong home. Take a guided tour of his and Dolley’s house, the expansive gardens, and other points of interest on the 2,650-acre estate. The closest bed and breakfast for your presidential explorations is Inn at Westwood Farm, just 1.3 miles away. Four beautifully appointed rooms are available in the 1910 farmhouse, and the concierge service is renowned.

    James Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland. Photo by Richard Bronson.

    James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland. Photo by Richard Bronson.

    James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland will catch you by surprise. It’s far more modest than the aforementioned presidential homes. In fact, Monroe called his home his “cabin castle.” Tours are offered daily, and the working farm adds to the attraction. Only two miles away is a very comfortable b&b, the only one in Charlottesville that also has a working vineyard – Arcady Vineyard Bed & Breakfast. While it’s not a historic home as others mentioned in this post, it’s very well-appointed with no detail overlooked. You can even take their local winery tour with dinner transportation provided.

    Of note, Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown, Monticello, Mount Vernon, Montpelier, and Ash Lawn-Highland are sites along the Road to Revolution Heritage Trail.

    In Ewing, find Wilderness Road State Park, 310 acres that lie astride the Wilderness Road, a route carved by Daniel Boone in 1775. The route, which followed a buffalo trace, opened America’s first western frontier. Most notable in the park is the Karlan Mansion, built in the 1877. Stay seven miles away at the Wilderness Road Bed and Breakfast, and ask for the master suite. The sweeping views from the balcony will leave you breathless. (Author’s Note, 7/9/14: Wilderness Road B&B is now closed.)

    Civil War enthusiasts can visit the location of the war’s end in April 1865 – Appomattox Court House and National Historical Park. The highlight is the McLean House where Generals Lee and Grant crafted and signed the terms of surrender, bringing an end to the bloodiest chapter of United States history. Babcock House Bed & Breakfast Inn is just .2 mile away and includes an on-site restaurant. The B&B is a graceful 1893 manor home with its own historical story to tell.

    Every corner of Virginia seeps history. Find more historic sites and the lovely accommodations near them when planning your next visit.

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    Couples, History, Virginia Destinations | Comments Off