Seven Experiences for a New Perspective in 2018

by Sarah Hauser | Posted: Dec 28, 2017

Comments: 2 Comments

Perspective is what we get when we view something from a particular angle. It’s easily obtained, but often goes unnoticed until we encounter a problem that beseeches us to shift our routines or thoughts. This adjustment can be enlightening, inspiring, life-changing and sometimes a little scary. But gaining a new perspective helps show us what is important to us and rekindles faded appreciations.

So we’ve put together a list of some truly unique experiences throughout Virginia that will uplift, excite, impress and challenge you. If you’re looking for a little change in perspective, these are our 2018 #VAtravel recommendations.

 

STEVEN F. UDVAR-HAZY CENTER, NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM

Humans in flight- What was once thought to be a dream is now a reality we experience every day.  The Udvar-Hazy Center displays thousands of aviation and space artifacts that tell the story of humanity’s history of flight, including the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Lockheed SR-71 (the world’s fastest plane), two IMAX theaters and a planetarium.

Add ons:

-Grab a pint and some grub from the rotating food trucks at Mustang Sally Brewing Co.

-Walk through Old Town Alexandria and catch the sunset over dinner on the waterfront.

-Head west into Virginia Wine Country! Loudoun County alone has over 40 wineries ready to pour you a glass.

 

NATURAL BRIDGE STATE PARK

Once one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the Modern World, Natural Bridge is thought to have been carved out by an underground river over millions of years. It stands 215 feet above Cedar Creek and was once the sacred site of the Native American Monacan tribe. Passing through this historic gateway is an awe-inspiring experience you won’t soon forget.

Add ons:

-Descend more than 34 stories into nearby Caverns at Natural Bridge. Bring a sweater because the cave has a constant temperature of 54 degrees.

-Get wacky at Mark Cline’s Dinosaur Kingdom II; you’ve never experienced history like this!

-Head into downtown Lexington for an award winning farm-to-table dinner at The Red Hen.

 

MCAFEE KNOB

Ever hiked the Triple Crown in Virginia during the beautiful autumn colors? Tim here has. I had this spot all to myself till Tim walked up from his hike from the first stop of the Triple Crown. Huffing and puffing he came up and stood at the overlook and took it all in. Inspired yet? It’s an amazing and tiring hike but worth it.. . . . . #womenwhoexplore #sheexplores #virginia #love #blueridgemoments #outside #thecreatorclass #igersusa #igaddicts #igaddict #hikingadventures #backpacking #earthpix #modernoutdoors #exploretocreate #nationalparkservice #mountainlife #comegetlost #lonelyplanet #roamtheplanet #ourplanetdaily #ourlonelyplanet #yourshotphotographer #hikingculture #goatworthy #ourwild #wearethewild #discoverearth #welivetoexplore

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McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed spots on the Appalachian Trail, offering those who summit her ridgeline a panoramic view of Catawba Valley (3,400 feet below). Not for the faint of heart, the hike is moderately difficult with a gradual incline over 4.4 miles from the VA-311 parking area. If you make it to the top, your reward will take your breath away. Don’t forget to snap a new Facebook profile pic.

Add ons:

-Hike back down for a celebratory beer at Big Lick or Parkway Brewing in Roanoke.

-Hike nearby Dragon’s Tooth and Tinker Cliffs to add Virginia’s Triple Crown to your backpacking resume.

-With 90,000 visitors every year, it’s important to practice #LeaveNoTrace here (and everywhere). Keep Virginia beautiful for the next visitor.

 

SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK STARGAZING


“Half the Park is After Dark,” says the National Park Service. And they’re right! The crisp, clear air of the Blue Ridge Mountains makes everything in the sky sparkle with a little more intensity. The best seats in the house are in Big Meadows, and with programs throughout the year you can join NASA ambassadors and amateur astronomers for a guided glimpse of the Milky Way (and more). There’s no better place to consider the cosmos both within and without than on a mountain top sprinkled with stars.

Add ons:

-Make reservations to stay at Skyland Resort and take a guided horseback ride through the park.

-The Big Meadows Campground is open spring, summer and fall and has three waterfalls within walking distance.

-Hike the tallest peak in the park, Hawksbill Mountain. The trailhead is at milepost 45.6.

 

COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG


Travel back in time to 18th century America at the largest living history project in the nation. The Historic Area is an interpretation of a Colonial American city with buildings, traditions, food and reenactors who even speak with colonial grammar. Meet George Washington, watch the Fife and Drums march, fire a flintlock musket, and take a carriage ride for a truly immersive experience. We ask that you mind your way back to present day when exiting the city.

Add ons:

-Eat lunch at the Cheese Shop in Merchants Square. You won’t be disappointed!

-Shop at the Williamsburg Prime Outlets and Williamsburg Pottery.

-Visit nearby Williamsburg Winery and learn about the birthplace of American wine over a bottle of their Acte 12 Chardonnay.

 

GRAYSON HIGHLANDS STATE PARK*


“I don’t think we’re in Virginia anymore.” With an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet, Grayson Highland’s rocky outcrops and open vistas feel like Montana. Rhododendron paint the lower elevations pink in mid-June and wild ponies greet hikers as the trails open to the balds. During the warmer months, Texas Longhorn join in maintaining the brush, and neither are shy of visitors. This is truly one of the most unique natural environments in all of the state.

Add ons:

-Your four-legged companions are permitted on a leash! Please practice #leavenotrace.

-For a nice change in pace, zip through the trees in Whitetop on the Creeper Trail Zipline. Afterwards, rent bicycles and ride 18 downhill miles on the Creeper Trail to Damascus.

*As cute as they may be, please resist feeding the ponies! Human food is often not beneficial to their diet, and can lead to health problems and a pattern of dependency. Help us keep these ponies wild and beautiful for everyone to enjoy now and in the future!

 

CHANNELS NATURAL AREA PRESERVE

Walking in a canyon wonderland 👣

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Weave your way through a maze of 400-million-year-old sandstone outcroppings covered in moss. These Channels were likely formed while the high-elevation sandstone cap was under the influence of permafrost and ice wedging during the last ice age. You can imagine the force it would have taken to shatter the joints in this giant caprock, forming the very trail you’re now walking on.

Add ons:

-Your four-legged companions are permitted on a leash! Please practice #leavenotrace.

-Stop by White’s Mill for a history lesson and some stoneground flour. Established in 1790, this is one of the only water-powered flour mills still operating in Virginia.

-Catch a show at the Barter Theater in Abingdon and go out for an old-fashioned ice cream float at Pop Ellis Soda Shoppe.

 

 

What would you like to see make the 2019 list and why? Let us know in the comments!

 

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2 Comments

Kathi Brown says:

Great list, thank you!

Jane Merle says:

My new bucket list for 2018!