You have a wealth of love in your home this holiday season as family and friends converge to share in the merriment. It’s tons of fun, but some (you?) get a little stir crazy. Plan ahead to make the most of your time together.
Here are 10 ideas to help you create new memories and cherish every moment.
1. VISIT A MUSEUM
There are museums for surprising things, and of course, there are treasures to be seen, too. A few ideas …
- Steins Unlimited Museum, Pamplin – The world’s largest stein can be found here, as can a stein dating to the 1500s.
- American Celebration on Parade, Quicksburg – Floats from Presidential Inaugurations, the Rose Parade, Thanksgiving Day parades, and more live here.
- Bacon’s Castle, Surry – This 1665 brick Jacobean mansion is 9,300 square feet and has a tremendous history. If only walls could talk …
- Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol – This museum is brand-spanking new and is dedicated to the 1927 Bristol Sessions. It’s a Smithsonian Affiliate, so you know it’s a good one.
- National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, Chantilly – Scenes from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen were shot here. The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird amazingly comes to life as a Transformer. How’d they do that?! Also see the space shuttle Discovery!
- Directory of Museums
2. TOUR HISTORIC HOMES
There’s perhaps no better time to tour the historic homes of Virginia than this season. They’re beautifully decorated!
- Holiday Home Tours – Both historic and private homes are open to the public this Christmas.
- Presidential Homes – Virginia is the “mother of all presidents,” laying claim to eight of them. Visit homes and sites from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s days through those of Woodrow Wilson and his wife Edith Bolling Wilson.
3. ICE SKATING
Downtown Richmond Ice Skating
Those who know how to ice skate will be eager to seek out a rink. Take the younger generation under your wing to share the knowledge, laugh, fall, and create a memory that little person will never forget.
4. PERFORMANCES AND CONCERTS
As gathering around the television for the annual airing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a tradition in many homes, a trip to see The Nutcracker performed live is a tradition for others. Fortunately, Virginia is the home of many talented actors, dancers, and singers. See the cream of the crop on stage in theatrics like It’s a Wonderful Life, The Nutcracker, and A Christmas Carol.
Additionally, there are special Christmas concerts.
5. VISIT A STATE PARK
There are 36 Virginia State Parks and they stretch from mountaintops to sandy shores. Between now and the beginning of the year you’ll find many of them hosting special events.
- Lighting of the Tunnel at Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield
- A Frontier Christmas at Wilderness Road State Park, Ewing
- Civil War St. Nicholas at Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historic State Park, Rice
- Night Before Christmas Hay Ride and Story, Caledon State Park, King George
- Holiday House Historic Tours, Sky Meadows State Park, Delaplane
If your guests stay through New Year’s, don’t miss First Day Hike at every state park!
6. GO SHOPPING
Holiday Shopping in Old Town Alexandria. Photo by R. Kennedy.
Grab those last few gifts before Christmas or do as I try to do — shop the day after Christmas to stock up on clearance wrapping paper, bows, ornaments, and decorations for next year!
7. TAKE A HIKE
We have hiking recommendations from our social followers which are sure to help you shed those eggnog and fruit cake calories. Follow their favorite routes to get some fresh air and enjoy great views.
8. WINTER SPORTS
Everyone loves the idea of a white Christmas, right? Well what if it doesn’t snow and you really wanted to go tubing with the kids? Never fear. The savvy people at Virginia’s mountain resorts are snow-making professionals.
- Bryce Resort, Basye
- Massanutten Resort, McGaheysville
- The Omni Homestead Resort, Hot Springs
- Wintergreen Resort, Wingergreen
9. HOLIDAY REBOUNDS
It’s hoops season and Virginia has perennial favorites you can cheer on. If your favorite team is playing a while you have a crowd to entertain, we have a few recommendations for great places to eat before or after the game.
10. EAT, EAT, EAT! (Then go back to number seven.)
Perhaps your family is the exception to the “let’s eat like it’s our last supper” holiday dining rule and you’re seeking something delicious and home-grown. Or maybe everything is devoured and you’re forced to seek out something new and exciting that doesn’t include a grocery shopping trip. I’m with ya! And we have some really awesome, locally favored places to recommend. Dig in!