Trolley Pub Coming to Arlington, Virginia
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Pedal –powered, BYOB mobile trolley coming to Washington, DC
Coming mid-April, 8-14 people can enjoy beer and wine while pedaling around town on Trolley Pub Arlington.
Taking a bus tour of a city is so last year, especially since visitors looking to see one of the Washington, D.C. area’s hottest towns — Arlington, Va. — can now pedal their way around town while downing their favorite alcoholic beverages.
Starting April 13, the Trolley Pub (which has taken off in Wilmington and Raleigh, N.C.) is a 14-person trolley that lets tour-takers pedal their way around town (with the help of a certified conductor, thankfully) while enjoying beer or wine. Hard liquor and glass are not allowed and all alcohol is BYOB. Passengers can drink on board, but cannot drink on the street.
Two-hour private tours of eight to 14 people cost $420, or $30 per person with 14 people. Individuals or smaller groups who can’t fill a whole trolley (minimum of six) can purchase mixer tickets for $35 per person and share the trolley with a handful of strangers and soon-to-be friends for two hours.
According to the company’s website, the trolley pub can naturally be used for pub crawls and brewery tours, as well as birthday parties, dinner tours, ladies nights, weddings, art gallery tours, and (if the boss is down) for professional teambuilding. The company also reassures its guests on its site that pedaling isn’t all that difficult; the trolley is even outfitted with an electric assist that can help out peddlers when the going gets tough.
Teresa Tobat is the Washington, D.C. Travel city editor for The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @ttobat88. View her website at teresaktobat.com.
Trolley Pub Coming to Arlington, Virginia - Recipes
Food is one of the few universal things in life. Everyone eats and everyone has some kind of food that they absolutely love. For those of you who are a little more adventurous, then there is absolutely no shortage of choices in this East Coast state. From cupcakes to burgers or even authentic Cuban cuisine, Virginia is a veritable banquet of tastes. You can get seafood anywhere on the coast, but these delectable restaurants are unique to Virginia. So grab a pen and check out these fantastic foodie choices the next time you're looking for some great Virginia food!
The foodie's dream come true is made real in Virginia! Be sure to visit these favored restaurants to sample the cuisine, culture, and colorful flavors of this East Coast state.
Here’s how the Washington & Old Dominion railroad created Northern Virginia’s suburbs
Washington & Old Dominion RR GE 95 Tonner 57 at B&O Riverside Yard, Baltimore, MD on January 19, 1969. Image by Roger Puta licensed under Creative Commons.
This article was first published on October 3, 2018. We love seeing how people used to move through the region and wanted to share this article with you again.
Today, the Washington & Old Dominion (W&OD) is a paved trail used for fun and commuting across Northern Virginia. Of course, originally the Washington & Old Dominion was a railroad — one with a long and convoluted history that helped form Dunn Loring, Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Ashburn, and other communities that still exist to this day.
Before it became the Washington & Old Dominion, the rail line that originally ran from Alexandria to the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Loudoun County was called the Richmond & Danville Railroad. Then it became the Great Falls & Old Dominion Railway before being leased by the Southern Railway. (You can catch up on that history with Part One of the series here.)
The Dunn Loring station and freight train, circa 1957. Photo by H. H. Harwood, Jr.
The Washington & Old Dominion abandoned steam for electric
The leased railroad consisted of two disjointed pieces: the Bluemont Division and the Great Falls Division. In 1912, they were connected by building a track in Arlington County at a point called Bluemont Junction. The Southern Railway owners renamed their now-unified system as the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad.
Washington & Old Dominion train Number 41. Photographer unknown.
Passenger trains increased in frequency. A 1916 timetable shows more than 120 daily trains operating on both divisions, with a frequency of 15 to 30 minutes apart in some cases. These were clearly commuter trains, and many of the riders were undoubtedly government employees.
Uniquely, the owners also decided to unify the operating system of their new railroad. They decided to electrify the Bluemont Division to the same standard used for the Great Falls Division. Electric wires were strung all the way to Bluemont, and a second parallel track was added too.
Thus the Washington & Old Dominion was one of the first railroads to abandon steam power in favor of electric power and transform itself into an interurban operation. New equipment was purchased too, with new trolley cars and several unique home-built locomotives added to the roster. The company owned a power plant in Rossyln and thus could generate their own electricity too.
In 1923 the Aqueduct Bridge was replaced by the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The W&OD decided against keeping their Georgetown Terminal and instead agreed to let Capital Traction Company operate trolleys across the bridge into Rosslyn in exchange for a new terminal building. Capital Traction completed the new terminal in Rosslyn, and that became the official terminus of the railroad. Trains left Rosslyn, turned at Bluemont Junction, and continued west to Leesburg and beyond.
The Leesburg Station and passenger train, circa 1951. Photo by H. H. Harwood, Jr.
Paved roads marked the beginning of the end
Unfortunately, as was the case elsewhere, railroads began losing riders when paved roads replaced dirt. The public used the automobile in ever increasing numbers, and revenue fell as a result. By the time of the Great Depression, the W&OD was worn out and broke. It entered bankruptcy in 1932, and it ceased all passenger traffic on the Great Falls Division in 1934. The tracks were removed and the right of way was sold to the Commonwealth of Virginia, which used it to construct Old Dominion Drive. Riders had the choice of using a bus or driving themselves to Washington.
Prior to World War II, the railroad deenergized the electric wires and switched to using small diesel locomotives in 1941. Declining passenger traffic caused further cutbacks and downgrades, to the point where the railroad was using gasoline powered self-propelled cars to cater to the few passengers who still rode the train. Despite a brief attempt in 1943 to revive commuter trains for wartime workers, the line focused on freight traffic.
The end of the line in 1951. Photographer unknown.
In 1951 the Washington & Old Dominion ceased running passenger trains entirely. Car culture had fully captured the public’s imagination and despite a rail line running through the heart of the region, no one wanted to ride a train when they could easily drive themselves. Declining customers and the slow transformation of the rest of Northern Virginia into suburbia spelled the end of the W&OD as a railroad. The 1950s and 1960s were not kind, as businesses switched to trucks to haul freight.
A brief glimmer of hope appeared in 1956 when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway purchased the W&OD in the hope that a new coal-fired electric power plant would be built on the Virginia side of the Potomac. The C&O would supply the coat for the plant. However, the power plant was built at Dickerson on the Maryland side instead.
The C&O owned the W&OD. Photographer unknown.
The W&OD struggled and limped along, but the end was clear. The C&O abandoned the Rosslyn trackage in 1963 and sold it to the Virginia Department of Highways, which used the segment to construct Interstate 66.
All train service ended on the Bluemont Branch in 1968. The whole line was sold to the Department of Highways, which immediately resold it to the Virginia Electric Power Company (VEPCO, now called Dominion Power). Electric transmission towers now follow the former right of way. The right of way through Arlington towards Falls Church was again repurposed for Interstate 66 and the new WMATA Orange Line.
In 1979 VEPCO, while retaining ownership, allowed the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority to pave the former roadbed for recreational use by the public. Over the ensuing years, the Park Authority paved more sections, finally completing the paving project to Purcellville in 1988.
The Washington & Old Dominion had a hand in making Northern Virginia what it is today. Familiar place names and towns were served by the railroad: Rosslyn, Cherrydale, Rock Spring, McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Dunn Loring, Ashburn, Herndon, Leesburg, and Purcellville.
Over the years, the railroad’s various owners had big dreams of connecting the region to places far and wide. Those never materialized, but frequent reliable train service provided Washington with fresh milk, brought commuters to work, and played a part in developing the rest of the region before the automobile ended it in 1968.
The W&OD makes an interesting “what if” conversation. What if the coal power plant was built in Virginia and trains still rolled? Would VRE be using it? What if WMATA had decided to use the line for transit use, or if the line’s owners had somehow managed to keep the line as a viable transit corridor? How different would the region be? Could the former W&OD be converted back to transit use? If it can be converted, how could this be done, and if not, why not?
There was a lively discussion about reactivating this as a transit corridor several years ago on GGWash. On a map it makes perfect sense to put trains or other transit vehicles on a right of way that passes through the heart of Ashburn, Sterling, Reston, Falls Church, north Arlington, north Alexandria, and into Potomac Yard. It could be considered akin to the Purple Line in Maryland, and have great benefits for those inclined to ride instead of drive.
However, the intervening years between 1968 and 2018 make reactivating the line as a transit corridor a dim prospect. Construction costs would be exorbitant, and much of the original right of way is now occupied by I-66, especially in Arlington County. A surface line running through western Fairfax and eastern Loudoun would be noisy and would likely spark a stiff opposition effort, assuming the money to build it could be secured and everyone could agree on it.
Northern Virginia’s own little railroad lasted for 121 years, and through its life it and its owners transformed the region into what we know and live in today.
Continue the conversation about urbanism in the Washington region and support GGWash’s news and advocacy when you join the GGWash Neighborhood!
Gregg Otten is a civil servant, a transportation aficionado, a history buff, and an amateur chef. He has lived in the Washington region since 1982. He graduated from American University, and currently resides in the West End of Alexandria, Virginia.
Where to Stay in Alexandria
There are several places to stay in Alexandria if you’re going to be overnighting there. We are listing several options from great hotels to stay at to fantastic Airbnbs in Alexandria. Most are located next to all the best things to do in Alexandria or the Old Town.
Here are some recommendations we have for Alexandria hotels for any budget:
In addition, Alexandria has some very great and affordable Airbnb options available to travelers. Here are some fantastic Airbnbs in Alexandria that you can book for your trip:
Has Clarendon had one too many? (Bar crawls, that is.)
It was a perfect day to get tanked, trashed, blitzed, blotto, soused, schnockered, to arrive with imperial designs on life and love, to stagger away tired and emotional, libido unrequited, stomach keen on some permutation of dough, cheese and marinara. It was Tres de Mayo, and the bar crawlers could’ve been extras from a Fellini movie or a “Swingers” sequel or “Veep,” or subjects in “The Young and the Restless Keg Syndrome,” a Werner Herzog documentary that doesn’t exist but should.
I have seen the greatest minds of my generation destroyed by Miller Lite.
Anna forded Wilson Boulevard like the Delaware, holding out a bright yellow plastic cup as if it lit the way to a constitutional republic. Anna was wearing dog tags. Ten friends followed her through traffic, around the landscaped obstacles of suburbia, up to the door of Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill. There was an hour left of the Cinco de MEGA-Crawl on Saturday, though there were six hours left before the bars actually closed.
There was also a line to get up to the roof.
“Eleven people have to come down for 11 of us to go up,” said one of Anna’s friends, a guy in a red polo shirt, when they reached the door. “I’m a ‘no’ on this one.”
“Well, 18, really, with the guys in front of us,” said another friend, who’s wearing a gray T-shirt with a monkey on it.
The group bailed and headed for Clarendon Boulevard. Their yellow cups said “MEGA CRAWL EVENT” and “This brew belongs to ___________.” At a side street, red-polo guy jumped in front of a Prius to play crossing guard. A guy in a teal polo sprinted after a rabbit, then bellowed “MY FRIENDS SUCK CAN I JOIN YOU” when a Trolley Pub of woo-hooing bachelorette partiers pedaled down the street.
There is neither a moral nor a story in a bar crawl.
Except when a bar crawl delivers to a neighborhood both disturbances of the peace and heaps of money.
Then maybe there’s a story about having one’s pizza and eating it too.
But there’s still no moral.
“So far there have been no arrests, no one coming out publicly drunk,” said a Fox 5 reporter into a camera outside of Clarendon Grill.
No arrests! No drunks! Film at 11.
“Is this really Fox News covering Cinco de Mayo?” said a bro in a green shirt as he fished out his ID for the Clarendon Grill bouncer.
“Hard to believe?” replied the TV reporter, weary of something.
“Slow news day,” a woman in red sunglasses said with just the right amount of cattiness.
Ding ding ding. Last weekend’s Cinco de MEGA-Crawl was not news. It was not as “MEGA” as March’s seven-hour Shamrock Crawl, which flooded Clarendon with 5,000 revelers who, according to Arlington Police Capt. Brian Gough, yielded 205 “incidents,” 105 “folks too intoxicated to take care of themselves,” 25 arrests, 10 reported episodes of public urination — one of which was committed at 7 p.m. on a squad car attended by a police officer — and the delirious tableau of a 26-year-old Reston woman, wasted and naked, trying to bail her drunk husband out of the Arlington County jail. There are normally six officers walking the Clarendon beat on a weekend night, but 51 were needed for the Shamrock Crawl, which prompted an April 30 meeting between the Clarendon Courthouse Civic Association and the police, who wanted to be prepared for the Cinco de MEGA-Crawl.
“This is not the streets of New Orleans,” said Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott before the meeting. “We expect a degree of civility here. If they leave and go home after the bar crawl, it’s not a problem. But if they continue drinking into the evening, they get s---faced. We’ll figure it out.”
What’s to be figured out? The balance between profitable debauchery and gracious living, of course. No one at the meeting was dead set against bar crawls, which are growing in number every year in Clarendon, though most neighbors were opposed to the litter and the after-hours noise — revelers howling down side streets looking for their cars, for example.
Arlington became an urban county because that’s what citizens wanted, said Hard Times Cafe’s Richard Kelly. The old county is gone.
“We wanted this,” he told those in attendance.
Tobacco barns become Pottery Barns. Prosperity begets idleness begets vice. Lobby for a Metro station. Zone for commercial. Accept the sight of a yuppie stranger passed out on the front porch in the morning sunlight. (“David! There’s a Ballstonian on the chaise. The chaise, David.”) Bar crawls bring in cash and outsiders who might return and spend more cash.
The takeaway from the meeting? There is no legislative way to prevent a bar crawl from happening in Clarendon, which last month was deemed the best D.C.-area neighborhood for millennials by a peculiar Web site called Niche Ink, which weighed education levels, median rent and income and the percentage of population between 25 and 34.
So how to prevent a bar crawl from becoming a slow-motion riot? One woman at the meeting suggests replacing “crawl” with “hop” or another word that does not connote infantilization or incapacitation.
“Crawl” suggests that “our expectation is that these young people will become so inebriated that they have to pull themselves on all fours to the next bar,” she says.
Cue Flo Rida. Cut to the Cinco de MEGA-Crawl, three days later.
No one’s on all fours. Chris Little, 22, has stepped back against a wall of the outdoor space at Clarendon Grill in the 6 o’clock hour. He’s in a teal tank top and plaid shorts. He was an anthropology major, so the scene sorts itself in his brain.
“You’ve got the typical bro, the typical biddie,” said Little, who lives in Ballston and works for an online software company.
Biddy? Like an old, meddlesome woman?
“A biddie is a sorority girl who may be intelligent but is socially dumb,” Little said. “She wears Uggs and North Face and leggings no matter what the weather is.”
He looks around at the bar crawlers, who are diverse in age and ethnicity but share a common blue bracelet and yellow cup.
“Then there’s the people in between who don’t know who they are.”
He pauses, takes a swig of Dos Equis.
“I’m in between. I’m living life as it happens.”
Over at Mad Rose Tavern, the Lana Del Rey track “Young and Beautiful” moaned loudly through the speakers. A blonde woman named Chelsea Cantrell waded through the sweet haze of hookah smoke to offer some age-appropriate authority.
“Arlington was not a thing, growing up,” says Cantrell, a 26-year-old D.C.-area native, born at George Washington University Hospital. “Arlington has seen a complete boom in the past 10 years. This is a young people scene. Hill interns. People who work for nonprofits, defense contractors. But Clarendon is not D.C. It’s cheaper than D.C. It’s the same thing as Brooklyn is to New York.”
Whoa there. Okay. Maybe Clarendon is in the eye of the beholder. Can it be all things to all people? Or do the bar crawls signal some kind of urban saturation, or social fraying, through which a balance is upset?
“They bring the college mentality,” Cantrell says. “They bring the drinking. But everyone gets up and goes to work Monday.”
With our combined experience of 20 years of homebrewing, we bring you some of our most successful recipes and are always creating new and interesting things. For what's on tap, click here.
100 Best Things to Do in Virginia
Virginia is a state in the south-eastern area of the USA. It runs from Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, and has a long coastline on the Atlantic Ocean. The Colonial period of American history is closely tied to Virginia. Jamestown was the first permanent settlement to be founded in the USA, in 1607.
Because eight US presidents have been born there, it is known as the ‘Mother of Presidents’.
Originally tobacco was the main industry, but this has slowly been replaced by livestock, with Virginia being the country’s leading producer of turkeys. The state fruit is apples, and you will find apple orchards in abundance. Virginia also produces huge amounts of crab and oysters, with coal coming from the mines.
Virginia is a state of vastly differing sights and places of interest, with many monuments and museums to visit.
Williamsburg used to be the capital of Virginia between 1699 and 1780. It is part of what is commonly known as ‘the Historic Triangle’ of the state, along with Yorktown, and Jamestown. You will find the historic district well worth exploring.
There is a living history museum, where the actors dress up in period outfits. The streets are made up of buildings representing the Colonial era, with small stores and workshops dotted along the narrow streets.
Allow yourself a full day to explore the area. There are plenty of places where you can stop for lunch along the way.
2. Arlington National Cemetery
The area was declared a military cemetery in 1864, and you will find veterans of every American war buried there. There are over 260,000 graves in the cemetery, among them being three unidentified ones, which are at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
It is a profoundly moving experience to see this cemetery, do not be surprised if you are moved by the sight of so many headstones.
Spend as long as you like reflecting on why the graves are there, and what they mean to the country.
3. Virginia Beach
Where Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean is where you will find this coastal city. There is a boardwalk of over three miles long where you can walk onto the beaches.
Pay attention to the First State Landing Park marker which indicates the spot of the arrival of the colonists from England.
Spend a full day here, as, apart from the promenade, there are many different things to do in the vicinity, such as the Aquarium & Marine Science Centre.
4. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center
This National Air & Space Museum opened its doors in 2003, and you will find two enormous hangars filled with thousands of air and space artefacts.
If you enjoy looking at anything ‘aircraft’ then be sure to visit here! You will see interesting things from Concorde, Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and the Space Shuttle ‘Discovery’.
Make sure to check out the observation tower where you will have a great view of Dulles International Airport.
Pay a visit to the restoration hangar where you can see the work in progress.
There are daily tours which you can take, and educational activities for kids, making this a full day out for everyone to enjoy.
5. Mount Vernon Trail
This is a 17-mile paved hike between Rosslyn and Mount Vernon. You will pass through the Arlington Cemetery and the city of Alexandria. It also forms part of US bicycle route 1.
You will see stunning views of the Potomac River and the city of Washington DC. At times you will pass through forested places.
Allow yourself a full day for this hike and be sure to wear sturdy shoes. Rainwear is also recommended. This is not for young children or anyone who is unfit.
This city is located on the Rappahannock River, just south of Washington DC. You will find 4 battlefields here! It is also home to Spotsylvania National Military Park.
Battlefields to visit are Chancellorsville, Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and Fredericksburg.
Spend a while at the National cemetery where thousands of Union soldiers were laid to rest.
7. Pentagon Memorial
This is a very poignant place to visit, you can be sure that you will meet someone who has lost a loved one in the 911 occurrences.
The memorial is dedicated to the lives of all those who were lost that fateful day, be prepared to be extremely touched by this visit.
Although it will not take too long to see the memorial, be prepared to spend some time in the area, remembering that others may be grieving there.
8. Tomb of the Unknowns
Although the tomb is guarded round the clock by the 3rd infantry, you are allowed to get fairly close to the tomb. The memorial is to the unidentified soldiers from both the World Wars, and the Korean War.
If you are lucky you can see the changing of the guard at the tombs.
Although looking at the tomb will not take too long, try to spend some time in the area, as there in plenty to see close by.
There are walking tours which you can join where you will be taken through the cemetery and through the town.
9. Museum of Fine Arts
This is in the city of Virginia, and is widely thought to be one of the most comprehensive museums in the USA. There are over 5,000 pieces of art from all over the world.
The museum is open every day of the year, with a bonus being that entrance is free.
Plan to spend a half day here, although it may take longer if you are an avid art spotter.
10. Washington and Jefferson National Forests
Combined, the forests make up one of the biggest public places in the eastern states. The 1.8 million acres cover parts of the Appalachian Mountains, some of West Virginia, and into Kentucky.
Over 1 million acres are undeveloped and are classed as wilderness. These areas are not allowed to be developed.
If you are an avid walker or hiker, then this is a good spot to take an RV, set yourself and get walking.
Make sure to carry in all your provisions, and take waterproof clothing, as rain may occur without warning.
This city is home to the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson designed the main campus.
The city has many interesting sights to visit, namely the home of President James Monroe, and the plantation which belonged to Jefferson himself. This is where you will find the mansion and the slave quarters, which have since been rebuilt.
The city is regarded as the gateway to the Shenandoah National Park, which runs at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
There are plenty of hotels where you can stay overnight while you explore the city and all it has to offer.
12. Virginia War Memorial, Richmond
There is a small museum next to the memorial, where you can learn more about those who gave their lives in the war. The museum gives a small insight into the wars that were fought in the USA.
You will find all the names of the fallen engraved. Look out for the memorial to the grieving mother.
Parking is free, as is admission. It is a small memorial and museum, but is well worth looking at. Kids are allowed, and there is an area where they can run around to let off steam.
13. Washington DC Big Bus Tour
The ‘hop on, hop off’ bus is one of the best ways to see the city. For a set fee, you can take the bus and get off at any of the many places of interest. When you have finished looking, you simply wait for the next bus to pick you up.
Stops along the way include Georgetown, Arlington Cemetery, the Smithsonian, Washington Monument, and the White House. There are in fact, forty stops to choose from.
Try to sit on the top level of the bus as the views are obviously better. If possible buy the 2-day pass, which includes a night tour.
14. Shenandoah National Park
If you enjoy nature and all that this entails, then you should add this to your list. The park runs along the Blue Ridge Mountains, and there are many trails you can follow. You will also find the Appalachian Trail here.
The terrain is made up of waterfalls and rocky outcrops, wetlands, and forests, and is home to many creatures such as deer, squirrels and even the Black Bear.
This is not for anyone who is unfit, and is not suitable for small children. Older children may enjoy easier trails as an introduction to nature.
You can take an RV here and stay for a few days while you hike. Be sure to take enough water.
15. Norwegian Lady Statue
This statue is found in Virginia Beach. It is in honour of the many women who stayed at home while their men went off to sea.
Make sure you read the writing on the statue, which will tell you why she is there, and why she faces the way she does.
The statue is easily spotted as you walk down the boardwalk, and it replaced an original wooden figurehead from the Norwegian which was wrecked in 1890.
It will not take very long to have a look at the memorial, but it is interesting to read about events which have shaped the country. There is plenty to see as you continue along the boardwalk.
16. Stonewall Jackson Grave
You will find this in the town of Lexington. The beautiful, historic site is well kept and worth a visit.
After looking at the house, you should then proceed to the graveyard to see this president’s grave.
A point of interest is that the house was the only one he ever owned by the general and his wife. The house contains some original items and many personal things such as a favourite hat, uniforms, and the raincoat which he wore when he was shot.
Allow a half day to look at the house and the graveyard. The town is interesting to walk around if you have extra time.
17. The Air Force District
You will find this in Washington DC. You must check online for a schedule of events, as this is the only times the area is open to public.
Members of Veteran and Military organisations often host events there. It is an outdoor Air Force Memorial.
Part of the job of the Air Force there is to provide ceremonial honours when needed in the capital region, and in fact worldwide when required.
Depending on the event, allow for at least a half day. Check whether cameras are permitted, as this may vary with each event.
18. Holocaust Museum, Richmond
The museum was founded with the intention of educating the community, and the state about the tragic events of the holocaust.
You will find documentation and exhibits which tell the story about these atrocities.
There are exhibits and programmes which seek to teach about the history of genocide through the ages.
This will not take more than a half day, and is not suitable for younger children.
19. Virginia Beach Brewery Tour
If you are interested in finding out about brewing and craft beers, then this tour is for you! It is a very comprehensive coach tour which leaves from many hotels in Virginia Beach. The trip lasts about four hours, and during that time you will enjoy a peek into the city’s top local brewers and brewpubs.
You will get a guided tour of each pub and learn about your favourite beers. The tour is excellent value for money. Not only will you learn about beer making, you will also find out a little about folklore in the city.
Sit back, and let someone else do the driving! The tours run every day at different times, and you can choose where you would like to be picked up and dropped off at. Allow a half day for a tour.
20. Chesapeake city
This city is the third most populated in the state, and the 17th largest city in the country. Most of the city is along the Intracoastal Waterway, and you will find it rich in natural wonders, and history.
The river provides a great place for family entertainment, with 22 miles of water. You may be lucky to spot rare birds and wildlife along the banks.
The city hosts many festivals throughout the year, and there are plenty of fine restaurants to get an evening meal. You will find many hotels, in varying price range.
Plan to stay a few days here as there is enough to see and visit to make it worth your time.
21. Museum of the Confederacy
You will find this in Richmond, in the downtown historic area called Court End. The museum covers three floors which are filled with chronicles of the war years. You will be able to see personal effects of leaders of the Confederacy like Robert E. Lee. There is also a collection of items from common soldiers and citizens who played a part in the war.
Allow a half day to look at the museum, and then spend some time in Richmond city. You can do the guided tour of Jefferson Davis’ house. The tour leaves from the lobby of the museum, so the two can easily be combined.
You will find the city of Newport News situated on the James River. A visit to the Mariners’ Museum is well worth doing. You will find articles about maritime history, with plenty of model ships, figureheads, and artefacts.
There is a model of the USS Monitor, which was a Civil War ship.
Another museum worth visiting is the Virginia War Museum, where you can see and learn about American military history.
Close by is the Virginia Living Museum, which has exhibits of bald eagles and red wolves.
Allow yourself a half a day to explore the city. There are hotels where you can stay overnight, and plenty of places to eat.
23. Mount Vernon Water Cruise
This is a three-hour long cruise which takes you along the Potomac River. There is narration all along, telling you about interesting places you are passing.
The cruise stops at the estate of George and Martha Washington, where you can get off and look around. The price for this is included in the cruise, making it very good value for money.
Children must be supervised at all times on the cruise, and you should be ready to spend a full day as there is plenty to see afterwards.
24. Fort Monroe National Monument
Up until 2011 this was an active military base. Now it is open to the public, with all the original buildings. You cross over the original moat to enter the fort.
There is an information area where you can read all about the history of the fort and the people who lived there. It has been in existence since 1609.
Be aware that there are still people living there. Another thing to remember is that the bridge over the moat will only take regular sized cars. Oversize vehicles will not fit as it is very narrow.
Allow a half day to look around here.
25. Natural Bridge
You will find this amazing rock formation in Rockbridge County. It is a natural arch which is 215 feet high and spans 90 feet. The surrounding mountains are limestone and the river is a tributary of James River.
What is noteworthy here is the rock formations and the remains of the roof of the cave where the Cedar Creek used to flow.
The bridge is recognised as an historic landmark in Virginia. This is a great area for walkers and hikers, so allow a few hours or more to take in the scenery.
26. Lone Sailor Statue
This statue is found in Norfolk, right next to the Battleship Wisconsin. It represents the US Navy tradition and the plaque reads as a tribute to the sailors who have lost their lives sailing from Norfolk.
It seems a very fitting tribute to the sailors and their families, as it stands so close to the battleship, looking out to the ocean.
It will not take long to look at the statue, but the surrounding area merits looking at as it is full of history.
Plan to spend a day here, there are plenty of places where you can get lunch while looking at the town.
27. Frontier Culture Museum
This is a living outdoor museum, which tells the story about the people who came to America, and the life they led. Staff are dressed in period costumes and explain any questions you may have. Some of the buildings are original, while others have been reconstructed to add to the allure.
The area is divided into two sections, namely the old America and the new America. It is a good indication of how life has changed over the years, and how American culture has evolved.
It will take about a half day to look around here. You can take a picnic lunch and stop between the old and the new worlds to eat.
28. Custom wine tours
These run from Charlottesville during the week. You will be led by an informative and friendly guide, and this type of tour is the perfect way for any first-time visitors to the area.
You’ll be taken around some of Virginia’s finest vineyards, and get to taste some amazing wines. The scenery along the way is just as awesome because you will be travelling close to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Most tours visit three or four wineries and include wine tasting, a picnic lunch and refreshments, so they are well worth the money.
This is not recommended for children. Allow a full day for any tour.
The town of Hampton was founded in 1607 when the first English settlement arrived there.
Hampton University was built after the American Civil War, and provided education for former slaves.
You will find Langley Air Force Base here, as well as the Research Centre. It is also home to Virginia Air and Space Centre. The town has miles of beaches and waterfronts.
There is a wide mix of old and new in the town, with many shops and restaurants.
You will find that there are plenty of hotels in all price ranges, so plan to stay a night or two while you look around the town.
30. Chesapeake Arboretum
Because of all the vegetation, you will find that even on a hot day, the area is cooler, which makes walking around a pleasure.
The arboretum is staffed by volunteers who all maintain the area. The trails around the arboretum are often narrow and tree lined, as if you are walking through a tunnel.
Be alert for Copperhead snakes as there are some in the forest areas. Another point to remember is that you should take a can of mosquito repellent with you as at times, the mosquitoes will be out in force!
Spend a half a day here, enjoy the coolness of the walks and the lovely scenery.
31. Craft distillery tours
Williamsburg has plenty of tour companies who offer guided tours of local craft breweries. You can either leave in the morning or the afternoon, and the tour includes trips to two distilleries, with tastings at both.
You can have the choice of going to a Meadery or Distillery. It is advisable that you purchase your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. You can buy lunch along the way or bring your own, and water is freely available, although no alcohol drinking is permitted on the coach itself.
This is not suitable for children, and you should allow most of the day for the tour.
32. Busch Gardens
This theme park is found in Williamsburg. It is the perfect day out for all ages, with coasters and attractions aimed at kids as well as adults. The new roller coaster is called ‘Invader’, and has a 74- feet drop with nine hills.
If you visit at the end of summer, you may be able to get to the Bier Fest, where you will find over 200 different types of craft beer.
Halloween is a special time when the gardens change into creepy places, with day events for the younger children.
Plan to stay a few days here, and check the events. The night time Halloween events are not suitable for little children, but there are day activities especially laid out for them.
33. Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Centre
This is regarded as one of the best sanctuaries and aquariums in the country. There is plenty to do, no matter what age you are. There are hands-on exhibits for the kids, a nature path to stroll along, and marshlands where you can spot birds and wildlife.
For the adventurous, there is a zip line which will take you way above the trees. You will look down onto the scenic area known as Owls Creek.
The adventure park is perfect for younger kids, while older children and adults can work their way around from bridge to bridge along the ropes.
Plan to spend a full day here. Better still, bring an RV and stay longer, the kids will thank you for it!
34. Hahn Horticulture Garden
You will find this on the campus of the Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg. The centre is open every day of the year. You will find perennial gardens, water areas, meadow spots, shade features, as well as the Peggy Lee Hahn Pavilion.
Whichever season you visit, the garden will be alive with plants and foliage. It is a beautiful garden to stroll through and relax.
The garden is available for events such as weddings, so you may encounter these in the summer months.
Pack a picnic lunch and spend a day learning about which plants grow in different conditions.
35. Military Aviation Museum
This World War I & II museum is in Virginia Beach. You will see aircraft that still fly from the world wars. This museum is regarded as the top attraction in the area, and if you like anything to do with aviation, you will agree.
As a real treat, you can take a flight in a biplane with an open cockpit. The museum holds tales and history about the first fifty years of aviation and the military.
Allow yourself a half day, although longer if you choose to take a flight in a plane.
36. Walking tour of Front Royal
The town of Front Royal was established in 1788, and over the years has played a great part in the industrial, educational, and agricultural aspects of the country. The scenery around the town is worth looking at.
Walking tours are a very good way to see the town and learn about the history. They will take you around some of the historical sights, mostly to do with the Civil War.
If walking does not appeal to you, then you may want to take the driving tour, which covers a greater distance, and gives you a better insight into the battle of Front Royal in 1862.
The driving tour lasts about 3 hours and you will see 10 historical places along the way, covering 16 miles.
X37. Stratford Hall Plantation
This was the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. You can either take a guided tour of the house, or see it on your own. The gardens are magnificent as are the beaches, cliffs, and hiking trails.
There are cabins or guest houses where you can stay a night or two, and restaurants which boast local fare. Definitely try some southern cooking!
If you want to combine history and hiking, then is a great combination. If you are planning to hike, make sure you take sturdy shoes and waterproof clothing.
38. J.F. Kennedy Grave Site
You will find this grave in the Arlington Cemetery. His wife Jackie, and son and daughter are also buried there. A flame burns constantly in the memory of J.F.K. It was lit by Jackie Kennedy, after the event. A point to note here is that before his death Kennedy said that this was the place where he would spend eternity.
Nearby, you will also see the graves of his brothers Robert and Ted, who have a simple white cross on their graves. Joseph Jr is buried close by although his headstone is in keeping with the other military headstones.
While it will not take you very long to see this monument, you may want to spend time reflecting on the poignancy of the cemetery.
39. Edgar Allan Poe Museum
This museum is in Richmond. You will be able to see the illustrations of the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe called ‘The Raven’. There are also many artefacts about the life of the great author.
Poe is widely regarded as the father of psychological horror stories, and you can attend poetry readings which are held there.
The museum is quite small although it is packed with interesting artwork and information about the life of Poe.
Make sure you check online for upcoming events so you do not miss anything exciting.
Allow a half day for this, although if you stay for a poetry reading it may take longer.
40. Norfolk Botanical Garden
You can either walk through the gardens or take a tram, with all trams being wheelchair accessible. You will find benches situated throughout the gardens so that you can stop and admire the plants.
There are over 12 miles of walking paths, so you should be prepared to spend a few hours here.
There is a covered picnic area where you can eat while enjoying the gardens.
Exhibits are held seasonally, and you can find out what is happening online or in the Visitors Centre. There is even a special children’s garden, and a butterfly area.
For snacks while you walk, you will find vending machines.
Plan to spend at least a half day here, although you may want to relax for longer as it is a wonderfully peaceful setting.
Here you will find the James Madison University, which is a research facility. There is no actual connection between the city and the president, although the university was named in his honour.
The area was originally inhabited by Pennsylvania Dutch Settlers in the 18th century, and this has seen the city evolve into a diverse ethnic and linguistic place. Interestingly, the language learning company Rosetta Stone has their head office here, and the first multilingual yard signs ‘Welcome your neighbours’ first appeared in this city.
It is an interesting place to spend some time. You will be given a glimpse into a vast array of cultures and cuisines.
If possible stay for a night or two, there are plenty of hotels or bed and breakfast places.
42. Art District Food Tour
If you want a tour with a difference, then head to Richmond for this tour! You will find yourself walking through the Art District, sampling the very best foods along the way. You will visit local eateries and learn about the history of the cuisine in the state.
Look out for the pharmacy which is now Tarrant’s Café, serving traditional American food. You will also get to taste Korean, soul, and southern foods.
Allow yourself a day for this tour, and make sure you don’t have too much for breakfast before you start out!
43. U.S. Marine Corps War Museum
The memorial is to be found in the Arlington Cemetery. It was built and placed there 63 years ago. You will find it near the Ord-Weitzel Gate. It is a dedication to all the marines who perished in the defence of the USA in 1775. It is also known as the ‘Iwo Jima memorial’.
The memorial is based on the iconic 1945 photograph of the six marines seen raising a flag, which you may have seen.
While it will not take very long to see the memorial, it is part of the cemetery and you may want to spend longer there, as there are many iconic things to see.
44. Ghosts and Witches tour
Head for Williamsburg and – if you are brave enough – take this tour! You will find that it is excellent value for money.
You will have a professional guide who will explain all about the ghosts which haunt places along the way.
The tour takes place at night in the older part of the town. You will learn about the witch hunts that took place in 1626, and about the ways that were used to see if a person was in fact a witch.
Along the way you will see the old jail and the gallows, and finally you will head to the Jones’ family graveyard. Watch out for Ida who is often seen hovering there! Blackbeard adds to the legacy, you may well see the headless body at the Raleigh Tavern!
Allow an evening here. As it will finish late, you may choose to stay a night or two.
45. Oatlands House and Gardens
This house is in Leesburg. You can either take a guided tour, or walk around yourself. There is a greenhouse filled with plants of all sorts.
The gardens are spectacular with local plants and a selection from further afield. The trees are huge! Terraced gardens make it a pleasant walk.
The house itself is well worth looking at, and has some interesting artefacts. There is a visitors’ Centre where you can find books and leaflets on the history of the house and the gardens.
Allow a half day here, then a little longer to look around the gardens, and perhaps have your lunch there.
46. Yorktown Victory Monument
The monument was erected in 1781 in honour of the surrender of the Cornwallis army at Yorktown.
You will find the marble column has inscriptions relating the story about the surrender.
It will not take you very long to see the monument, so make the most of the rest of the day by looking at the town. There is over 300 years of history in this town.
There are beautiful beaches, and eclectic shops to see. Plenty of restaurants to eat. Perhaps stay overnight and explore the area.
Yorktown’s beautiful Riverwalk is worth heading for as you will find a good selection of local foods to taste.
47. Virginia Living Museum
You will find this amazing place in Newport News. This is literally a huge collection of all types of animals, where you can see how they live. Kids will enjoy the Touch Tank where they can feel the rays.
Lookout for the endangered red wolves, see the loggerhead turtles, and frogs that change colours.
The living museum has exhibits from different natural habitats such as steamy swamps to cool mountain caves.
After you have explored the inside, take a walk along the boardwalk to see coastal birds, otters and beavers. Explore the butterfly garden, and the underwater world. There is something for everyone to enjoy and learn at this amazing place!
Plan to spend at least one day here. It possible come back a second day so you don’t feel rushed.
48. Assateague Island
The shoreline here is protected. This is a very long barrier island which you can visit off the coast of Virginia and Maryland. The area is well known for the beautiful beaches. It is also regarded as a great spot for walkers, with many trails winding through the dunes, before heading into forest and marshland areas.
The southern section of Chincoteague national Wildlife Refuge is where you will find wild ponies, migratory birds, and bald eagles.
Be sure to visit the 19th century lighthouse, which is still active.
The island will take you a day to explore, so plan on this. It is a great way to see the different vegetation as you walk.
49. Car and Carriage Museum
You will find this at Luray Caverns. It is home to many rare antique cars, dating back to the 1800’s and early 1900’s. it is a small museum, but is well worth looking at.
The caverns are also there, and the entry to the museum is included in the price. Kids will love looking at cars from the ‘olden days’, although some adults may be more familiar with them!
The whole trip will only take a morning or afternoon, but if you like old cars and memorabilia, then make sure you get to see this.
50. Shenandoah Valley Museum
This museum in Winchester will teach you all about the history and cultural life of the Shenandoah Valley. You will find a house which dates back to the 18th century, as well as six acres of immaculate gardens. There is a museum housing permanent displays exhibits of decorative art of the Valley.
Be sure to check out the collection of miniature houses. The museum shop has many interesting things to buy as well as leaflets on the area. The museum and galleries are open all year round, although the house and garden are only open between April and October.
If you are going to see the house, gardens, and the museum, then allow yourself most of the day.
51. Armed Forces Memorial
This memorial is in Norfolk. It is dedicated to the military men and women over the years who lived in the area and went off to war. You will be able to read some original letters written to loved ones at home. The wars date back to the Civil War era.
This is a very poignant tribute to the women and men who were killed, with the letters being their last communication with family.
The memorial is open to the public, in fact it is a very public place, so cannot be missed.
Take an hour or so to read a few of the letters, before exploring the town of Norfolk.
52. Great Falls
This is only 15 miles from the capital. It is an 800-acre park, with many water falls along the river Potomac. The river flows through the Mather Gorge, which has steel sides and rugged outcrops.
This area is very popular with hikers, walkers, and ramblers.
This is a great place to bring an RV, spend a few days and explore the area.
Be aware that there is an entrance fee to the park, and that swimming and wading in the river is strictly forbidden. This is due to the water being over 30’ deep in places, with unpredictable currents. Be sure to keep children supervised near the river.
Be sure to keep children supervised and that you know the rules of the river and adhere to them.
53. Naval Aviation Museum
This is to be found at Virginia Beach. It is not a huge attraction, but worth looking at. It is a tribute to naval aviation with plenty of information about the statues. The background is granite, while the statues are etched into it, and are very lifelike.
The monument is very close to the beach, and can be reached from the major hotels.
While it will only take you an hour or so to read the plaques, and look at the exhibits, it is worth looking around the town afterwards, as there are plenty of other things to see.
Virginia Beach has a great selection of iconic shops and restaurants, so you may want to stay a night here and look around.
54. Signature Theatre
The theatre is found in Arlington, on Campbell Street. It is very popular with theatre-goers, the actors and actresses are all top-class performers.
You will often find performances of West End shows on the agenda, as well as many musical performances.
It is a very intimate place, not too large. The front row will feel as if they are part of the performance!
You must book your tickets in advance to avoid disappointment. Plan to stay a night or two as there are many other things to do in Arlington.
This plantation belonged to Thomas Jefferson, who was the third president of the USA. He started to design the place when he was just 26 years old, after he inherited the land from his parents. Slaves were used to cultivate the tobacco and crops, later changing to wheat.
The plantation is now a national Historic Landmark. The main part of the house is in the neoclassical design.
The plantation stands on the top of the 850’ peak of the Southwest Mountains. The name ‘Monticello’ means ‘little mount’.
Jefferson was buried in the family cemetery and the property was then sold to Uriah Levy, of the US Navy, who spent his time and money preserving the property. The house is now a museum, and an education institution.
Plan on spending a full day looking around the house, and the various out-buildings. The garden is also worth looking at.
56. Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond
This is a very well-kept cemetery, with wrought iron fences around some plots. You will find the ‘Presidents’ Circle’ here, which is stunning.
The cemetery boasts beautiful views of the James River and the walking bridges. Everything about the cemetery seems to be old, right down to the stones which adorn it.
Look out for the graves of not only presidents, but generals, judges, and many confederates.
It will take you a half day to walk around it and see the graves of people you may have heard of, but Richmond is a lovely town, so perhaps spend a day there.
57. Mill Mountain Star and Park
This is the largest structure of its kind in the world, being an 88 feet high man-made star. You will find it on Mill Mountain in Roanoke. The city park is beautifully kept, with trails for cycles and walking.
You will find a zoo for the kids, and an area where they can safely run and climb. The views from all over the park are impressive, and this is an inexpensive way to spend a day. There are many places where you can buy food to carry with you while you walk through the park.
The hiking trails are well signed and easy to follow, they are not very difficult, although you should wear good, sturdy shoes as some of the slopes are steep.
Plan a day out in the fresh air. With the spectacular views, you will not regret it!
58. Old City Cemetery
This cemetery in Lynchburg has been there since 1806. It is one of the oldest in the USA which is still used today. You will find headstones of mayors and prominent leaders buried there.
An interesting fact is that 60% of the bodies buried here are of African descent, and were both slaves and free slaves.
There is a Confederate Section where you will find graves of over 2,200 soldiers from all over the USA.
Be sure to visit the museum on the site where you can learn a little more about the people who lie there.
The cemetery and gardens are one of the most visited attractions in the state. It has also been designated as a Virginia historic Landmark.
The cemetery visit will take a half day, although the town of Lynchburg is worth looking at afterwards.
59. Barter Theatre
You will find this theatre in the centre of the town of Abingdon. It was founded in 1933.
There are about 20 productions each year which you can go and see. The theatre has two stages, namely the Main Stage and the Barter Stage II.
An interesting fact here is that Gregory Peck started his career here, as did Ernest Borgnine.
Shows include comedies, Broadway classics, and musicals.
There are group discounts as well as packages which include dinner.
Plan to stay a few nights here while you see a show or two. The town has many places where you can stay and a vast number of different restaurants to suit every budget and taste.
60. Water Country USA
This is the largest water park in the county. You will be able to enjoy all sorts of water activities. Raft rides, water slides, or just lazing by the water-side – this park has it all!
They offer swimming lessons for all ages, and there are lifeguards on duty at all times.
You can book a cabana next to the wave pool and stay the full day. There are plenty of places where you can get lunch, so plan on spending the whole day here. Hire a raft, or just enjoy the sunshine next to the water. Whatever you enjoy, this water park has something for everyone.
61. City of Richmond
This is one of the oldest cities in the county. There was first record of it in 1775, and it was home to Confederate President Jefferson at one time. The house is now a museum, in Court End, and well worth a visit.
The area is well known for the style of housing which is referred to as ‘federal-style’ houses.
The city has many things of historical interest such as the Museum of Fine Arts, the American Civil War Museum, and the Science Museum.
You will find an abundance of restaurants and cafes where you can try some good southern fare, and there are plenty of hotels to stay in all price ranges.
Plan to spend a few days here, while you explore the city. You will not be disappointed.
62. Wolf Trap National Park
This is a park with a difference, and you will find it in the town of Vienna. It is the only park which is entirely dedicated to the performing arts. You can enjoy either indoor or outdoor shows depending on the time of the year.
The summer times get very busy, so it is important to book in advance. Once there, you will find that there are many concessions selling food and refreshments, and plenty of restrooms.
The building is a beautiful wooden construction with a wide stage so good views from all angles.
It is an uphill walk from the parking area, although there are trolleys for wheelchairs and elderly. You will find in the summer that it is perfect sitting outdoors watching a show. The acoustics are great. You can have supper there if you choose, remember to book this in advance also.
Pick a show, and check into accommodation in the town, and enjoy the summer nights.
This city is often referred to as the cultural hub of the state. There are unique shops and boutiques in the downtown area, with plenty of food halls and restaurants. From the city you can easily drive out to the Blue Ridge Mountains, and hike along one of the many trails there.
Kayakers take advantage of the Upper James River Water Trail, and this is very popular.
You will be able to take a cruise at sunset on the Smith Mountain Lake and watch the sunset over the mountains.
There is something to do at every turn in the city, it is a very exciting place to spend a few days, and well worth a visit.
Stay at one of the numerous hotels and enjoy the atmosphere and cuisine.
This city is absolutely beautiful! You will find it at the top end of the Shenandoah Valley. What you will notice right away is that it has four definite seasons.
The architecture is unique to the area, and the mountain views are spectacular at all times of the year. It has a ‘park- like’ feel to it, while having all the conveniences of a big city.
There are many interesting things to see and do here such as the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, the Old Court House Museum, and the Thomas Jefferson Headquarters.
For Country music fans, check out the Patsy Cline house.
You will find good southern cooking on the menu at most restaurants, and there are plenty of hotels where you can stay a night or two while you look around the town.
This is a major attraction for people of all ages, having over 60 rides, shows, attractions and themed areas.
You will find the largest roller coaster on the east coast in this park. You will also get admission to the water park, included in the ticket price.
There are in fact two parks here, although you only pay for one. Events include firework displays and Snoopy Starlight Spectacular for the kids. The water lights display is simply not to be missed.
The park is opened during the summer months, and just at weekends in the spring and fall (autumn).
You can park an RV nearby the park, and spend a few days – the kids will thank you for this!
66. Combined Bus/Cruise tour of DC and Potomac
This tour starts in the centre of Washington DC and is one of the best value tours around! It combines a bus tour of the city, with a river cruise along the Potomac.
The whole tour lasts about 6 hours, and you will be given a chance to get off the bus and explore important memorials on foot.
You will see the White House and the US Capitol Buildings, you can walk around the memorials to Martin Luther King, Abe Lincoln, and Roosevelt.
You can either meet the guide at the National Archives Building, or ask to be collected from your hotel.
Your guide will give you some tips on the best place to buy a quick lunch, before heading on to the boat for a cruise down the river.
Washington DC has many places where you can stay a night and enjoy the city after your tour.
67. Fort Chiswell Animal Park
While the park is relatively small, you will find that there are plenty of animals to see. You get to take the bus to see the larger animals, and can feed them from the windows. Watch out for the cheeky camel who will want to give you a kiss! The narrator knows all about every animal, and will tell you plenty of stories about each of them.
You will find that the animal cages are very clean, and the animals well taken care of. You can buy food to feed them, you are asked not to feed them your own food scraps.
This is a perfect way to spend a day for a family. It is a great introduction to animals and teaches kids not to be scared of them.
Allow yourself a day for this adventure.
68. Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
This is one of the most visited attractions in Richmond. Once you have seen the gardens, you will agree with this.
Relax in a beautiful garden, walk through the different areas, take a gardening class if you have time, or watch a wedding in place.
Various events are held through the year, such as Oktoberfest, the Dominion Garden Fest of Lights, and the Art and Science of plant Dynamics exhibition. Be sure to check the upcoming events.
October is a very special time for the garden, so it is worth planning your visit, so you see the autumn colour, which are simply magnificent.
Allow yourself a full day to explore this place, you can get a bite to eat and continue your visit.
This town is right across from the town of Norfolk, although the Norfolk Naval Shipyard is located in Portsmouth.
There are miles of waterfront land that you can take walks while watching the boats. There is a ferry which takes passengers across the river to Downtown Norfolk, and back to Olde Town Portsmouth.
Spend a day in this area, take the ferry across to explore Norfolk, and back again to finish up in Portsmouth.
Find out about upcoming events in the city by checking online.
There many restaurants where you can get an authentic southern meal.
70. Neptune’s Park
You will find this in Virginia Beach. If you are a fan of summer concerts, then make sure this is on your list.
The location overlooks the Atlantic Ocean, and most of the summer concerts are free. There are events which go on all year round, so it is worth checking out forthcoming shows. Often there are up and coming live bands to watch.
You will easily spot the location as there is a huge statue of King Neptune to mark the area. Close by are many seafood restaurants where you can stop for lunch, so allow yourself a day to explore the area.
71. Delmarva Peninsula
This thin strip became an island after the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal was excavated.it is worth a visit because the island almost regards itself as being independent, with their own style of houses, and local cuisine. They even have a different accent to what you hear elsewhere in the county!
The island is mostly rural, but it is the beach that is the attraction here. It is a hive of action in the summer months, so expect delays when driving there. Once you are there, and on the beach, relax and enjoy the beauty of the ocean.
You will be able to get lunch along the beach as there are many small cafes which open up in the summer months.
72. Blandford Church & Cemetery
The town of Petersburg is small, with the church and cemetery being probably the main things to see there. Although small, the cemetery boasts to having the grave of the highest ranked British Officer to be buried in the USA. Many of the other graves date back to early 1600’s.
You will find there is a Confederate Section, and the chapel is the only one with stained glass windows designed by Tiffany.
There are guides available if you prefer, and they are very knowledgeable about the history of the chapel and graveyard. The chapel itself is absolutely beautiful, and deserves a visit. This truly is a hidden gem!
73. American Shakespeare Centre
You will find the Blackfriars Playhouse in the historic town of Staunton. It is the only re-creation of Shakespeare’s indoor theatre in the world. The theatre seats 300 people and has year-round productions of Shakespeare and other plays.
The interior of the theatre is stunning, with wooden walls and structures, and the actors are top-class.
Be sure to book your seats in advance to avoid disappointment, then stay a night and enjoy a show.
74. Lee Chapel and Museum
If you are ever in the Lexington area, then be sure to stop and visit this spot. There are tour guides on hand to show you around and explain about the history of the chapel.
The sculpture of General Lee is of white marble and regarded as one of the finest pieces of marble work in the country. Note the folds of the sheet, which look real.
Outside, you will find the grave of his horse Traveller. There is a small shop and a museum in the basement where you can read more about this general and his family.
While it will only take an hour or two to see everything, the town of Lexington is worth looking at while you are there.
The town of Lynchburg is built along the River James, with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distant. It is a vibrant town, with plenty to see and do. There is an amazing cultural downtown area, with a great nightlife.
The town is home to the Lynchburg Museum, Appomatox Court House, the Old Cemetery, and Thomas Jefferson’s Retreat, to mention a few.
Accommodation in the town is second to none, with the cuisine being varied with a good selection of southern cooking.
With views of the river as well as the mountains Lynchburg is certainly a pretty place to visit.
Plan to stay a few days in the town and see as much as you can.
76. HOHO Brewery Tour
This unique brewery takes place in Crozet. You hop on to a bus and can ride to different breweries and vineyards in the area, hopping off at the ones you want to see, hopping back onto the bus when you are done.
This is a great way to see them, not only is it cheap, but also flexible. The tour lasts 7 hours and there are 8 choices for you to stop at. Ideally you should choose three and plan on spending an hour or so at each of them. This will allow for travel to the next spot without rushing.
The bus can collect you from your hotel, and drop you off at the end of the tour.
Allow yourself a full day for this. The tours are not suitable for children.
You will find this magnificent park and garden in Maymont, Richmond. The gardens are over 100 acres and well worth spending time strolling through. The mansion was built in 1893, and is filled with antiquities and painting of that era, and later.
You can tour the mansion either by guided tour, or on your own, and then head for the gardens to watch the otters at play or visit the petting zoo.
If walking is a problem, there are golf buggies for hire to make it easier to see the gardens.
Make sure you see the Japanese and Italian Gardens, and the Nature Centre where you will find exhibits of wild animals and other interesting creatures.
There is a shop and a restaurant where you can get lunch before heading out into the gardens.
78. George Washington Birthplace
Colonial Beach is where you will find the monument dedicated to the four generations of Washington family. What is good about this is that entrance is free, making it a cheap day for you.
You can walk around the farm and learn about George Washington, and how he lived. The family tree is very clearly explained. The visitor’s Centre has plenty of information on the farm and the people who lived there.
The farm is still active, so it is a great place for kids to visit the animals. They can watch the animals being fed and the cows being milked.
Keep a look-out for Bald Eagles, as they occasionally fly in the area. Allow yourself a day to enjoy the area.
79. Yorktown City
There are three cities in the ‘historical triangle’, one of them being Yorktown. The other two are Jamestown and Williamsburg.
If you are into cycling, then you may want to know that this town is the eastern point of the TransAmerica Trail, which is a very popular cycle route.
Yorktown is also known for the beachfront, which you can leisurely walk along. Head for Riverwalk landing and you will find many restaurants and cafes to eat.
It is also of historic importance because of the many battles which occurred there. The architecture is from the 18th century.
You will find plenty to do here such as visit the Living History Museum, or one of the many art galleries.
Plan to spend a day here, there are hotels to suit all budgets, and there is enough to do to merit staying a day or two.
80. Massanutten Resort
You will find over 6,000 acres of fun things to do here. The resort is in Massanutten, and also offers accommodation, so you can stay longer than a day and see the area.
The place is a sportsman’s paradise with things like horse riding, hiking, golf, kayaking, canoes, mountain biking to name but a few activities.
You will find that the scenery is spectacular and the facilities excellent for a stay. For kids there are things like miniature golf, ice skating, and a games/video room. There is something for everyone.
The resort gets very popular in the summer so best to book well in advance to avoid disappointment.
81. Water Mine Swimming Hole
You will find this in Reston. It will remind you of something from the Wild West Gold Rush days, with attractions for all ages. Slides, sprays, floatables and flumes, along with a water playground make this a great family day out.
There is a long, lazy river where you can float along at a gentle pace and enjoy the scenery.
In the middle you will find Pete’s Peak, which is a rugged mountain filled with tunnels. Tenderfoot Pond is perfect for the younger children where they can paddle safely. Never ending bubble machines ensure many hours of amusement.
More adventurous kids can try their hands at Box Canyon Crossing, which is a log walk course. Volleyball and tennis will keep older kids and adults busy.
This is a great place for the whole family to relax and have a fun filled day.
Plan to spend a day at least. This is a good place to bring an RV and stay more than a day.
82. Marine Corps National Museum
This is a tribute to marines past and present. You will find it in Triangle, right next to the Marine Corps Base. The exhibits are very well explained and set out, paying tribute to marines in action. You will be able to see many well labelled artefacts explain the role of the marines in the history of the country.
The building itself is spectacular, and you cannot miss it. It is reminiscent of the Iwo Jima monument. Notice the images which are displayed on the sides of the building.
There are two restaurants and a gift shop on site.
Admission and parking are free, making this an affordable day out. It will take a half day to see the museum.
This town is to be found on the island of Chincoteague, which is on the eastern shore. From here you can head to the National Wildlife Reserve on Assateague Island.
There is a museum on the island where you can see artefacts relating to the oyster industry, which used to be the industry there. You will also find a collection of model boats.
The island houses the Veteran’s Memorial Park. Watch out for the Chincoteague ponies which are local to the island. The pony centre is open in the summer months for visitors. You can also find these ponies on Assateague Island.
Although there are no shops on the island, you can still get a bit to eat and take the day to explore. Kids will love to see the ponies.
James Fort was first established in 1607, and this was considered to be where the British Empire began.
There are so many things to do and see in this town, you are best getting a hotel and staying a few days to make the most of it. There is accommodation to suit all budgets, and plenty of restaurants where you can sample southern cuisines.
Interesting things include Jamestown Church, Jamestown Colonial Town, Powhatan Indian Village, Jamestown Glasshouse, to name a few.
Try to get to Beavertail Lighthouse, which is still active. The Fire Memorial Museum is worth taking a look at.
This town deserves more than a day to make the most of what it has to offer, so plan on spending two or more here, you will not regret it.
85. Walking Food Tour, Williamsburg
If you enjoy tasting new things, then this is the tour for you! Along the way you will learn about the food culture of the city.
The tour takes three hours and you should wear comfortable shoes to walk in. You will visit three or four restaurants along the way, as well as three or four eateries including candy stores, tea and spice shops, and chocolate shops.
You will have an opportunity to sample things at 7 different locations along the way. The tour only departs from St. Merchant’s Square, so you must make your own way back to your hotel.
This tour is great value for money, as well as educational about the local cuisines and traditions of the area.
This is also known as the National Maritime Centre and it can be found in Norfolk. It is a science centre with a difference because it is themed, and also has a museum in the building.
Make sure you check out the upcoming events as some have to be booked in advance.
It is a great place to spend an afternoon, especially if you are interested in anything naval.
87. Masonic National Memorial
You will find this in Alexandria. It is a dedication to George Washington. There is a short walk up some steps to get to the memorial as it is on a hill.
The building is very stately, and was built by the Freemasons, and stands 333 feet high. You will find nine floors of artefacts dedicated to the Freemasons, and the library.
You can take the tour, or see it on your own. The tour guide is very knowledgeable about the artefacts there, and will answer all your questions.
Look out for the replica of the Ark of the Covenant on the 5th floor, and a replica of King Solomon’s throne on the 9th floor.
This will take a little over a half day to see, so allow yourself enough time that you are not rushed.
88. Women in Military Memorial
This was constructed in 1997 so is relatively new, but worth looking out for. You will find it at the Arlington Cemetery, at the entrance.
The memorial is dedicated to women in all aspects of military service through the years. Inside the memorial building you will find a video to watch, which covers many interesting points about the women who served and died for their country.
The gift shop is well stocked, and there are guides on hand to answer all your questions.
This will take about two hours to see, and is worth doing, so try to include it in your visit to the cemetery.
89. Richmond Historic Tour
The best way to see the city of Richmond is to take a trolley tour. You will learn about the city and the many landmarks along the way. There are many tour companies who do these tours, and you will find information in every hotel, and also the Visitor’s Centre.
The tours go past the State Capitol, Monument Avenue, Libby Hill, the White House, and St. John’s Church, to mention a few.
There are many museums in the city, namely the Black History Museum, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the American Civil War museum, as well as many others.
It is well worth spending a few days in this city. There are plenty of hotels where you stay, and many restaurants to choose from.
90. Dinosaur Kingdom
This amazing place can be found at Natural Bridge, and will be the delight of every child who has ever wondered about dinosaurs! They are huge, and full of surprises! The park mixes history and fantasy, and makes for a great day out.
There is a story attached to the theme park, where the dinosaurs are fighting a war against the Union Army. You are guided along the route showing various stages of the battles between the two, and find out right at the end, who the victory goes to.
Plan on spending the day here, kids will love the huge beasts!
91. Seabee Memorial
This is in fact called the National Seabee Memorial and you will find it in Arlington. The monument is dedicated to the work of the Naval Construction Battalion, and pays respect to the heroes of the country.
You can combine this with a visit to the cemetery as it is close by. It is a very moving tribute to men and women who have served the country not only in war, but also in peace times, in construction work and building for the country.
After you have looked at this memorial, why not head to memorial Bridge and the Lincoln Memorial, which is over on the other side.
92. Washington DC Sips and sights tour
A good way to see some of the distilleries as well as sights in the city of Washington DC is to take a guided tour. This way you will learn about interesting places along the way. An experienced guide will be able to answer any questions you may have.
Most tours will take about 3 – 4 hours, and include visits to a local distillery or brewery as well as memorials and landmarks.
Most tours will leave from your hotel, although you should check this out. All of them provide samples along the way, of foods and craft beers.
You may visit places like the Air Force Memorial, the Pentagon, and the Jefferson Memorial.
Plan to spend more than a day in the city. There is plenty to do and see, and restaurants of all cuisines to tempt you!
93. Tredegar Iron Works
This historical site is located in Richmond. The machines are still working, and the building itself is quite unique.
You can watch a film show in the small theatre upstairs, which will give you a glimpse into the early days of the iron works.
These iron works were the biggest at the time of the Confederacy and the Civil War, in fact they supplied over half the artillery used at that time.
An interesting fact is that the works took the name of Tredegar from the Welsh Industrial town where most of the workers originated from.
This has been designated as a Natural Historic Landmark, and it is very close to the Richmond national Battlefield Park, making it an ideal day outing.
94. Casemate Museum
You will find this museum in Fort Monroe. It is full of military history spanning the Civil War and well after. The museum is huge so be prepared to walk a lot.
There is a walking tour which you can take, or you can see it by yourself. The guides are very informative. The collection of memorabilia is extensive, and the views from outside the museum and amazing.
One thing to note is that it is really quite cold inside the fort, so remember to bring a jacket or sweater.
It will take you a half day to look at all the exhibits.
95. NRA Firearms Museum
Even if you are not a fan of guns, this will interest you. There are guns which show off beautiful craftmanship, which are well worth looking at. The collection is vast, with many rare guns on display.
There is a section on famous shooters, with historical notes on most of the guns. Many of them are custom made and are one-of-a-kind guns.
The staff who work there are all gun experts who can answer any questions you may have.
There is a café where you can get a bite to eat, and the parking is free, which makes it a cheap morning or afternoon.
96. Williamsburg Ghost Tour
A visit to Williamsburg would not be complete without doing a night tour of ghost spotting! The best way is to take a guided tour, which should last about an hour.
You will learn all about the ghosts that haunt the area, and get to see Peyton Randolph House, which is the most haunted house in Virginia.
You may find the tour leads you through scary places such as the jail and the cemetery, and down through dark streets.
You will learn about the secret vault which is hidden in the cemetery, and find out which houses in the town have bodies buried behind them!
Most tours end up at the town pillory, where you may be brave enough to stick your head through the stocks – or not!
97. Washington Monument Cruise
Taking a river cruise is a great way to see Washington DC from a different angle. You will be cruising along the Potomac River, and pass places like the Lincoln Museum, Arlington National Cemetery, and Washington Monument.
Cruise boats will have narration about the history of the city and the famous landmarks along the way.
Afternoon cruises are best because you will see the sun setting over the city, which is very stunning.
Plan to stay in the city for a day or so, and visit one of the places you see from the boat. There are many places where you can stay, and plenty of food choices.
98. Taste Virginia BBQ
A trip to Virginia will not be complete without tasting BBQ! Many hotels offer a BBQ outing where you are taken to a local BBQ kitchen and introduced to a chef who will cook the most delicious meal for you.
BBQ is a speciality in Virginia, and you will find your lunch served up with sides of corn-bread, pumpkin muffins, and pork ribs, slow cooked to perfection.
BBQ is thought to have originated in Virginia, and their recipes are certainly tasty!
You can ask the pit-master all about his techniques while he slowly cooks your food. He may let you into his secret rub recipe which makes his ribs the best in the state!
99. Edith J. Carrier Arboretum
You will find this arboretum in Harrisburg. It is one of the few that are ‘dog friendly’. Take time to wander along the rustic, paved paths, dotted with statues and seats where you can sit and enjoy the tranquillity.
Bring some bread for the ducks – and a picnic for yourself. This is the perfect place for a relaxing afternoon.
100. Gari Melchers Studio
This is an American artist who lived in Belmont from 1916 until he passed away in 1932. He was a famous impressionist, and used to live in Paris until WWI, when he moved to the states.
The studio is open to visitors, and so are the gardens. You will find many lovely trails to walk along. The studio has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, and it is well worth spending a morning or afternoon looking at the personal furnishings of the artist, as well as at some of his finest works.
Virginia is a state with a diverse landscapes, cultures, and cuisines. Rolling hills and clean white beaches, delightful towns and monuments are just a handful of things that make this state such a great holiday destination. Whatever your age, and holiday preference, you will find something to see and do in Virginia.
5 Romantic Weekend Getaways in Virginia
The phrase “Virginia is for Lovers” may have recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, but it is a sentiment that rings just as true today as it did back then. With towering mountains, lulling waves and sparkling city skylines, Virginia is one of the most romantic places to go for a weekend escape with your significant other.
1. Enjoy the City of Alexandria
Alexandria, a historic city on the Potomac, has a habit of attracting some of the country’s most devoted hopeless romantics due to its quaint cobblestone streets, vibrant nightlife opportunities and swoon-worthy riverside location. You can mold your romantic Alexandria outing to fit your style as a couple — laid back and relaxing, refined and upscale or fun and casual.
Reconnect with each other when you participate in any of the following Alexandria traditions:
- Snap a sweet picture on cobblestone Captain’s Row.
- Take a sunset boat cruise on the Potomac River.
- Reserve a spa appointment for two at any of the city’s numerous spas.
- Enjoy dinner at a casual eatery or high-end restaurant — no matter your taste, Alexandria has it.
- Have a waterside picnic and watch street performers at Founders Park.
- Enjoy a lantern-guided walking tour — or spooky ghost tour — hand-in-hand through the city’s historic district.
- Go for a stroll while you explore Jones Point Lighthouse.
2. Walk the Elizabeth River Water Trail
The Elizabeth River Water Trail is a 10.5-mile urban destination in Norfolk that is a popular spot for walking and jogging. It offers unparalleled views of the sparkling Elizabeth River, as well as dozens of trail markers that speak about the local history and culture. It is a unique experience and a great fit for couples who like to stay active together or want a leisurely place to walk the dog while exploring the rest of Norfolk.
When you are not walking the trail, visit the Norfolk Botanical Garden or browse the Hermitage Museum and Gardens for a peaceful, nature-inspired weekend getaway.
3. Experience Historic Maymont Estate and Park
Maymont is a 100-acre estate located in Richmond that is popular with couples and anyone interested in an inside look at life in the Gilded Age. The estate was owned by James and Sallie May Dooley, millionaires, who established the state and gardens to compete with the other beautiful homes that were popular in wealthy families at the time. While the inside the mansion is opulent, lavish and refined, the gardens are even more breathtaking. With streams, ravines, gazebos and endless trees, bushes and flowers in bloom each season, it is the perfect romantic backdrop for a weekend anniversary outing or a way to celebrate your relationship.
You can also visit the Robins Nature Center and the Maymont Farm, which are home to several types of animals and animal habitats, including horses, sheep, ducks, chickens, bison, black bear, elk and bobcats.
4. Tour Blandy Experimental Farm and the State Arboretum of Virginia
Blandy Experimental Farm and the State Arboretum of Virginia is a 172-acre reference garden and a natural area used by the University of Virginia. When you are here, choose from one of four relaxed walking trails, including Willow Trail, which winds around picturesque Lake Arnold. The Arboretum has all types of displays to see, including the Pollination Garden full of wildflowers, the Herbaceous Gardens and the Virginia Native Plant Trail. Enjoy the sight of more than 5,000 trees and shrubs, all of which attract hundreds of birds and other small animals. If you are an artistic couple, Blandy Farm is the ideal place for photography or sketching together.
5. See the Chincoteague Ponies
Off the coast of Virginia, on the other side of Chincoteague Bay, lie the Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, home of the wild Chincoteague ponies. These horses have called the islands home for hundreds of years and offer visitors stunning views as they walk in the surf. Visit during the annual Pony Swim event for festival foods and games and watch as herds of ponies swim in the ocean waters.
While the Chincoteague ponies are the highlight of many couples’ visit, the Island offers plenty of other couple-friendly activities. For example, you could:
- Hike or bike your way across the island to take in all the sights, sounds and experiences of the Atlantic Ocean and Virginia Coast.
- Reserve a spot on a scenic nature cruise or rent your own boat for a sunrise or sunset trek across the water.
- Rent a canoe or set of kayaks and paddle your way through the water for an active outing.
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Colony Grill Will Open in Arlington in Mid-October
The Connecticut-style pizzeria and Irish pub is bringing hot oil to your pie.
Colony Grill opened in Stamford, Ct. in 1935. I joined it, one town over, a little less than 50 years later. I’ve got hot oil, the famous topping on the ultra-thin, bar-style pies, running through my veins. You could say I’m a bit excited that my native cuisine is making it to my adopted NoVA region. But now, the countdown is starting in earnest with the announcement from the company’s CEO, Ken Martin, that the first Arlington location (in fact, the first outside the New York area) of Colony Grill is opening in the middle of October.
“Everyone at Colony Grill is extremely excited,” said Martin in a press release. “During our search, we traveled to dozens of cities and states and we just kept coming back to the greater Arlington area. We absolutely fell in love. It is simply a remarkable part of the country with diverse people who together celebrate their community and enjoy gathering for life’s special moments. We look forward to introducing our unique pizza to the neighborhood and becoming a part of that community fabric for years to come.”
As the name suggests, Colony Grill indeed started serving fire-kissed meats. But the Irish-American owners employed Italian and Eastern-European chefs who wanted their Fairfield County clientele to try one of their favorite recipes from their homelands: pizza. They were made personal-sized to fit on the restaurant’s slim bar top. And the hot oil? It’s chile-infused, a replacement for the chile flakes with which some diners load up their pies.
Since Colony Grill is essentially an Irish pub with pizza, beer is also important, with 12 different brews on draft. The 5,100-square-foot space will be open daily. // 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington
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