Five Heartwarming Destinations for Your Holidays

by Casey Higgins | Posted: Nov 6, 2013 | Updated: Nov 19, 2014

Comments: 22 Comments

As the season of holidays creeps ever closer, find ways to make the most of your time together and make it memorable. Why not consider an overnight or two in a Virginia destination known for its merriment and cheer?


The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

The Barter Theatre, Abingdon

Spend the holidays in Abingdon! This picturesque small town will fill your heart with holiday joy. World class art venues, cultural events and historical sites are all wrapped up in Christmas lights.

  • Stay: The Martha Hotel & Spa, Copper Lantern Inn, River Garden Bed and Breakfast
  • Dine: Babycakes Cupcakery and Abingdon Tavern
  • Visit: Barter Theatre, Holston Mountain Artisans, Wolf Hills Brewery, Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway
  • See the Entire Getaway


Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Carriage Rides in Harrisonburg

Escape to a cozy winter weekend in Harrisonburg, where holiday events on Main Street highlight the beauty of the season.

  • Stay: Joshua Wilton House, Stonewall Jackson Inn, By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages
  • Dine: Shank’s Bakery, Clementine Cafe, Corgans’ Publick House
  • Visit: You Made It!, Winter Farmers’ Market, Forbes Center for Performing Arts
  • See the Entire Getaway


Old Town Alexandria

Old Town Alexandria

From charming King Street in Old Town Alexandria to Mount Vernon, the area presents lively, entertaining holiday opportunities for the whole family.

  • Stay: Morrison House, Lorien Hotel and Spa, Hotel Monaco
  • Dine: Fish Market Restaurant, La Bergerie, Waterfront Market
  • Visit: Torpedo Factory Art Center, Woodlawn, Gadsby’s Tavern, Alexandria Black History Museum
  • See the Entire Getaway


Downtown Culpeper

Downtown Culpeper

Enjoy the spirit of a classic Virginia Main Street when you and the girls make it a shopping weekend in Culpeper.

  • Stay: Thyme Inn, Suites at 249, Hazel River Inn B&B
  • Dine: Hazel River Inn Restaurant & Pub, Raven’s Nest Coffee House, Foti’s
  • Visit: Mount Pony Theatre, Belmont Farm Distillery, Old House Vineyards
  • See the Entire Getaway


Virginia Living Museum

Virginia Living Museum

Capture the memories as you indulge your senses and rejuvenate your soul in Newport News, the heart of Coastal Virginia, this holiday season.

  • Stay: Newport News Marriott at City Center, Boxwood Inn, The Pequod Inn
  • Dine: Crab Shack on the James, The Lunch Bell
  • Visit: Virginia Living Museum, 100 Miles of Lights, Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion
  • See the Entire Getaway


Looking for more great holiday getaways? This is the first in a series! Be sure to subscribe to our posts so you don’t miss the next edition. In the mean time, leave a comment to tell us your favorite Virginia destination for the holidays.

* Updated Nov. 19, 2014


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Granny says:

Mt Vernon all decked out in its Christmas finery is a sight that everyone should see at least once. Also, the light decorations on boats along the Potomac as seen from the Parkway are lovely. While you’re in the DC area, head on up to National Cathedral for a tour and noontime organ concert. Spectacular and spiritual, no matter what faith you may, or may not, have. Great beauty that passionate artistic spirits have created.

Rebecca says:

Lexington, Virginia is one of the most beautiful places at Christmas! The downtown is just beautifully decorated. There are many events and family activities, and it just feels like the holidays!

Jaye says:

Um, there are much better places to eat in Old Town than those places. Ew! And Caboose isn’t even in Old Town! It’s about 3 miles away! Try Majestic, Vermilion, Hanks Oyster Bar, Vermilion, Brabo Tasting Room, La Bergerie… Restaurant Eve for $$$$

Casey Higgins says:

Thanks! We’ve updated and if you click through to the actual details, you’ll see some of those you mentioned are, in fact, included.

Dwight says:

Culpeper? I can name about 15 places better than downtown culpeper during the holidays

Casey Higgins says:

Please do! We want to know (as do our readers) ALL of the beautiful holiday destinations Virginia has to offer!

Lee says:

One more heartwarming place for spending a couple days /nights during holidays is…. Not sure if I should make our secret holiday place public….it may become too crowded… it is- House Mountain Inn, Lexington, VA. A Cozy house and rooms,delicious meals, cheese and wine hour, free time entertainment outdoors, special packages… everything one may wish for holiday getaway.

Casey says:

Fantastic place! We love House Mountain Inn, too!

Clarissa Westenburger says:

Why not the Homestead for a heart-warming winter vacation? If they are not sold-out, this Hotel is a palace in the Alleghany mountains of Virginia, once visited by our Founding Fathers located in Hot Springs. The gigantic fireplaces in the lobby highlight the evening piano music with open bar (fantastic) or the afternoon high tea with piano music (no cost). The dining room is spectaculular, coat and tie required. Dining with jazz band and dancing on many nights. Fixed Price menus are a great way to enjoy the gourmet dining and the Thanksgiving Day buffet is beyond belief gourmet, with duck and venison, as well as turkeys and ham with all the trimmings. Occasional dining in the Grill and other appetizing nooks for hungry guests are available and feature casino and DJ’s on many nights. Skiing and golf, horseback riding and shooting range. December 6 through January 2, the lobby is warmly lit with cathedral high ceilings. Christmas trees and gingerbread town with trains for the kids, caroling and superb dining and entertainment on holidays. Try the Olympic indoor swimming pool that uses the local hot springs, as well as nearby Jefferson Pools, fed directly from hotsprings in the original wooden buildings for men and women bathing. Shuttle service from local airport or Roanoke airport is a joy through the Currier and Ives farmland. This is the most memorable vacation on record, and it’s no wonder that so many couples choose to fete their weddings here.

Casey says:

Thanks, Clarissa! We plan to highlight the resorts as heartwarming destinations soon, and The Homestead will certainly be included.

Matt K. says:

Newport News? Holiday destination? Wait, what?

dee frey says:

I’m with you Matt. NN is one of the last places I’d think of or recommended to visit. We live in VaB but Norfolk is one of our favorites!

K says:

Silver Diner closed two years ago, and even when it was open a chain restaurant should never have been suggested as the best place to eat in Newport News. Crab Shack is fine, but what about Circa 1918, Fin, Schlesingers, Pearl or one of the other fabulous local restaurants. Aren’t local restaurants what should be touted on the Virgina website and not closed chain restaurants?

Casey says:

Thanks for the suggestions!

Sue says:

It’s hard to take this list seriously when it excludes Williamsburg. Nowhere in Virginia, or perhaps the US, does Christmas as well as Williamsburg.

Casey says:

It’s the first of a series and we’ll definitely be highlighting Williamsburg.

Matt K says:

want to get married…have kids…grow old together, sue?

Bern Lloyd says:

With all due respect if you stay at Morrison House or Lorien or Monaco you are not likely to be impressed by any of the dining suggestions that you have made.

I am a lifelong Alexandrian and 35 year Old Towner.

May I suggest that you do a little more research in that area.

Landini”s, Le Burgerie, The Wharf, Union Street Public House to name a few and there are several other excellent restaurants in Old Town and a few more in the Del Ray section of Alexandria.


Casey says:

Many thanks for your suggestions!

Old Town Manassas has a weekend- long event beginning with Santa’s arrival on the VRE on December 5th followed by hayrides through out town, a tree lighting and ice skating. On Saturday, the 6th, there is a wonderful Christmas parade and on Sunday the 7th, the downtown merchants host an open house with horse drawn carriage rides through out town. There are several lovely shops and restaurants, none of which are chains. I own a shop called The Things I Love and I do 21 themed trees in the shop with all that goes with them. The 2014 theme is “The Times of Your Life” with trees from Christmas Eve, Happy Birthday, Wedding Day and many many more. People came from everywhere to see the trees and the shop.