Virginia Travel Guide
Features & Stories of the Travel Guide for Virginia. Published by Virginia Tourism.
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Hotel Weyanoke—Farmville Small Towns, Local charm, cozy curios and open arms make these small towns in Virginia worth exploring. Character WRITTEN BY MARY & BILL BURNHAM T KYLE LAFERRIERE 10 he phrase “small town” evokes nostalgia, authenticity and heartfeltwarmth in many of us. What’s not to love? They are authentic, accessible, friendly and stocked with locally-owned businesses. These are communities where you can get off the crowded highway, park the car and walk, ride a bike or even kayak through downtown. Small, family-run businesses offer one-of- a-kind handmade items, from jewelry and art to craft beers and wine. Farmers markets offer locally-grown produce and seafood spring through fall. With almost 200 incorporated towns, dozens more villages and hamlets, plus nearly 30 designated Virginia Main Street Communities, the hard part is deciding which Virginia towns to visit. VIRGINIA .ORG 11 Here are some of our favorites, d ending starting in southwest Virginia, an metown with a shameless plug for our ho on the Eastern Shore. High Bridge Trail State Park—Farmville Harrisonburg Big Stone Gap 12 Farmville HIGH BRIDGE TRAIL STATE PARK (FARMVILLE): ALI ZAMAN / SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA MUSEUM (BIG STONE GAP): JASON BARNETTE June Tolliver House and Art Folk Center—Big Stone Gap Southwest Virginia Museum—Big Stone Gap JUNE TOLLIVER HOUSE (BIG STONE GAP): TIM COX Southwest Virginia’s coal-mining history comes to life in the “Trail of the Lonesome Pine,” Virginia’s longest-running outdoor drama, performed Thursday through Saturday nights, late June through August. Before you go, be sure to read the Big Stone Gap novels by Adriana Trigiani, or watch the Hollywood film by the same name starring Ashley Judd and Whoopi Goldberg. Upon arrival, you can visit places featured in the film, such as Mutual Pharmacy, the Book Mobile, the Farmers Market, as well as the outdoor drama. Fine, well-preserved period homes house The John Fox Jr. Museum, the Southwest Virginia Museum and the June Tolliver House. Cozy B&Bs, cafes and a variety of antique and curio shops round out this small town gem. Fun Festival: 100th annual Tri State Singing Convention, June This formerly industrial town has been reinvented for recreation, craft beverage and shopping lovers. The Appomattox River that once carried tobacco barges is now a designated Scenic River carrying paddlers in search of whitewater or the calmer four-mile Farmville Blueway. The railroad that once carried coal now carries hikers, bikers and equestrians on the 30-mile-long High Bridge Trail State Park. Repurposed tobacco packing houses and lumber warehouses are reincarnated to house Appomattox River Company, Green Front Furniture and the Third Street Brewing Company, serving up local beer, live music, games for the kids and a pet-friendly beer garden. Together with the Virginia Tasting Cellar and the soon-to-open second location of James River Brewing, Farmville is fast becoming a destination for craft beverage lovers. Fun Festival: Heart of Virginia Festival, May Set amidst the vast playground of the idyllic Shenandoah Valley, Harrisonburg has been called “one of the best mountain bike towns in America” by National Geographic. Forward-thinking entrepreneurs and artisans have blended the past with the present to create a lively melting pot that is distinctive to this college town. Named Virginia’s first Culinary District in 2014, Harrisonburg’s cultural diversity serves up fare from around the world, while taking advantage of locallysourced farm-to-table ingredients. Food. Bar.Food features “global comfort food,” while a mother-daughter team creates soulsoothing pastries at Heritage Bakery & Café. The arts scene is equally diverse, epitomized by the Agora Downtown Market, a community of small businesses under one roof in an historic building. Named for James Madison, fourth president and the “Father of the Constitution,” are the stunning Hotel Madison and James Madison University (JMU), where nearly 20,000 students lend a youthful vitality to this historic town. Fun Festival: Harrisonburg International Festival, September VIRGINIA .ORG 13 Within Virginia’s larger cities, find pockets of uniqueness that make you feel like you’re in a small town! ROANOKE’S HISTORIC GRANDIN VILLAGE This walkable urban village is eclectic and family-friendly at the same time. Spend Saturday morning at the Community Market, dine on an outdoor patio, shop independentlyowned boutiques and take in a first-run or classic film at the 1930s Grandin Theatre. RICHMOND’S SCOTT’S ADDITION One of the hottest, newly revitalized neighborhoods in the state capital. Warehouses converted to breweries, cideries and distilleries, bold street murals, a cinema and a retro bowling alley make this a happening night scene. Immerse yourself in Virginia’s Lake Country at Virginia’s only lakeside town. Buggs Island Lake, also known as Kerr Reservoir, draws anglers to dozens of fishing tournaments yearly, and the annual Hydroplane Challenge fast boat race. Stay in style at Cooper’s Landing Inn and Traveler’s Tavern, or a bit more rustic in a lakefront cabin at Occoneechee State Park. The craft beverage scene is brewing with Buggs Island Brewing Company. At Three Sisters of Shiney Rock, the three Powell sisters are reviving Native American grape-growing such as Muscadine and Scuppernong. (Open Saturdays only and by appointment other days.) Fun Festival: Virginia Lake Festival, July Floyd Buggs Island Lake—Clarksville 14 Back-to-the-earth bohemian blends with traditional bluegrass in this town of less than 500, but with so much to offer. Along Virginia’s Crooked Road Music Trail, The Floyd Country Store hosts jam G R A N D I N V I L L A G E ( R O A N O K E ) : C A M E R O N D AV I D S O N / S C O T T ' S A D D I T I O N ( R I C H M O N D ) : T O D D W R I G H T / B U G G S I S L A N D L A K E ( C L A R K S V I L L E ) : S A M D E A N Clarksville ARLINGTON’S SHIRLINGTON A running trail and dog park, summer concert series and live theater, an Irish pub and a cheese and wine shop, all within walking distance to a Hilton Garden Inn. Shop charming Campbell Avenue, an eclectic pedestrian friendly area packed with local shops and eateries. S H I R L I N G T O N ( A R L I N G T O N ) , G H E N T D I S T R I C T ( N O R F O L K ) : A L I Z A M A N / O L D T O W N A L E X A N D R I A : B R A M R E U S E N / M A L L A R D S AT T H E W H A R F (ONANCOCK): SCOTT K. BROWN Notable Neighborhoods NORFOLK’S GHENT DISTRICT Arguably Virginia’s quintessential historic neighborhood within Virginia’s port city, Ghent boasts an amazing span of architecture from Colonial to Victorian to Frank Lloyd Wright-era homes. Antiquing, eclectic dining and the arts galore can be found in this waterfront community along the Hague. OLD TOWN ALEXANDRIA Just across the river from the nation’s capital, American history comes alive as you walk in patriots’ footsteps on cobblestone streets to trendy boutiques and international eateries. Four-legged travelers will find Alexandria truly is for the dogs, with water dishes outside the shops, upscale pet boutiques and restaurants that allow pups to dine with their masters. sessions and performances. Just like in days gone by, the Country Store is the heart of town, hosting Friday Night Jamborees and clogging sessions and selling all the things you’d expect from a country store (and some that you wouldn’t!), from local preserves to suspenders. Surrounding town is the expanse of the Blue Ridge Plateau where hiking, biking and scenic drives await along the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway. Fun Festival: Floydfest, July Onancock With five miles of sheltered waterway leading to the Chesapeake Bay, it’s no wonder Onancock has been an active port on the Eastern Shore since 1680. Today you can take a sailing or motorboat excursion, rent a kayak or paddleboard or hop on the ferry to Tangier Island, 12 miles out in the Bay. With just 1,200 people and shaded streets lined with shops and galleries, Onancock is the perfect walking or biking town. Slow down with lunch at The Wharf or an outdoor patio café, or sit on the Mallards at the Wharf—Onancock to watch the fishing boats come and go and the osprey and great blue heron feed. Visit the artist studios at the Historic Onancock School, the Federal-period Ker Place House Museum or the newly opened Samuel Outlaw Blacksmith Shop. Liar’s Bench Elegant B&Bs housed in Victorian beauties, an eclectic dining scene, from Irish pub fare to Thai fusion, live theatre and an old-fashioned movie house showing first-run films promise that Onancock will not disappoint. Fun Festival: Ice Cream Social and Patriotic Band Concert, July VIRGINIA .ORG 15 THE B OON ES' Favorites ( L O C AT E D N E A R A L O V E ) HOTEL AND A C C O M M O D AT I O N S Western Front Hotel in Saint Paul R E S TA U R A N T The Block in Annandale WINERY OR BREWERY Thatch Winery in Charlottesville and WildManDan Brewery in Afton PA R K O R OUTDOOR LOCALE Colonial Beach CITY OR TOWN Roanoke MUSEUM OR HISTORIC SITE Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk L OVE W O R K S Family Tour 16 L O V E W O R K I M A G E S : C O U RT E S Y O F L AT I S H A B O O N E As a single mother balancing work, school and family, Latisha Boone wanted a budgetfriendly getaway with her daughter. What better way to explore Virginia than with a LOVEworks journey for quality family fun and adventure? Latisha and Jai have now “Love Toured” the entire state three times, visiting more than 200 LOVEworks! L O V E W O R K I M A G E S : C O U RT E S Y O F L AT I S H A B O O N E / R O A N O K E S TA R I L L U S T R AT I O N : K I M D A LT O N Q. What prompted you to start visiting the LOVEworks? A. Our #LoveVA journey started in February 2017. Valentine’s Day was approaching and I recalled always wanting to stop to take pictures with the LOVEwork at the East Coast Gateway Welcome Center in New Kent; we’d driven past it several times in our travels, but never had time to stop. I looked up its address for a future visit and discovered there were many other LOVEworks all over the state. Our first LOVEwork road trip, nicknamed “Love Tours,” started with a local tour of several LOVEs near our home in Hampton Roads. From there, we visited each region until we eventually explored the entire state. Q. Have you met anyone new on your Love Tours? A. Meeting locals has been our favorite part of this journey because they’ve taught us so much about their communities. Everyone we’ve encountered along the way has been welcoming and intrigued by our journey. We’ve met fellow LOVE travelers through social media who have been part of our journey from the start and become like family to us, sharing a love of our beautiful state. Q. Have you discovered anything unexpected while visiting a LOVE? A. Visiting LOVEworks has uncovered many hidden gems around the state. As a “Mountain Lover,” my favorite is Powell Valley Overlook. It is one of the most beautiful mountain overlooks – and doesn’t require a hike or driving up a mountain! I always plan a stop there when I’m in Southwest Virginia. Jai’s favorite is definitely the delicious popcorn at Northern Neck Popcorn in Kilmarnock. She’s the “Food Lover” in our family. Q. What are your three favorite LOVEs? A. Beagle Ridge Herb Farm (Wytheville), Silver Hearth Lodge (Bent Mountain) and Liberty Mills Farm (Somerset) will always be our favorite LOVEworks. We cherish our time spent at these LOVEworks the most because of their amazing owners. We were welcomed with open arms and spent hours chatting with them. Each owner made our visit memorable and we will always appreciate their kindness. We left those visits feeling as if we have friends for life in Ellen, Bob and Farmer Kent. Not only did we find LOVE at their locations, but we also experienced it through them. Q. How have you and Jai grown as a result of your travels? A. Jai and I developed a stronger bond over the past two years as a result of our #LoveVA journey. We’ve discovered more of each other’s interests and aspirations through our explorations of Virginia. LOVE encouraged us to take risks and be adventurous. Now we feel we can take on any challenge that comes our way! Q. Last summer, you took a week-long trip to visit more than 30 LOVEs. What were some highlights from this trip? A. The scenic mountain views, friendly and welcoming locals, stunning lodging accommodations and kindness of LOVEwork owners! I highly recommend taking a week or more of vacation to Love Tour in Southwest Virginia. Every visit to a LOVEwork there will inspire you to experience more of that well-known Virginia charm. VIRGINIA .ORG 17 LOVE VIRGINIA BEACH. ALL YEAR. T he recipe for our culinary scene is born from the rich culture of our surroundings. Come get a taste of the good life, straight from the hands of the people who grow, catch and brew the best of what we have to offer. fulfill your appetite at VISITVIRGINIABEACH.COM G E T A WA Y AND RELAX THOUGH OUR ROOTS RUN DEEP IN TRADITION, OUR SELF CARE AND WELLNESS PRACTICES HAVE EVOLVED WITH THE TIMES - A L L W H I L E MAINTAINING THAT CLASSIC VIRGINIA TWIST. FOLLOW THIS GUIDE F O R YOUR IDEAL G E T A W A Y T O R E L A X , R E C E N T E R A N D R E C O N N E C T. Virginia has long been acclaimed for its history and outdoor beauty. But tucked among these iconic sites and sweeping vistas is a lesser-known wellness scene where visitors and Virginians alike can unplug and unwind. 20 M A H M O U D H ASS A N WRITTEN BY SYDNEY E. LAKE OM N I H OM E ST E A D R E S O R T ( H O T S P R I N G S ) : CO U R T E SY OF T H E OM N I H OM E ST E A D R E S O R T The Omni Homestead Resort H I S T O R I C G E T A WA Y Hot Springs, VA Nestled in the northwest region of the state is Hot Springs, where The Homestead Resort can be found. Fit for the ultimate luxury vacation, this historic resort has hosted 23 United States presidents, and provides guests with enchanting views of Virginia landscape and a full-service spa. The spa offerings are like none other, as services are completed using the mineral-enriched water from the surrounding Hot Springs area. Following a salt stone therapy massage, guests can relax in natural-body-temperature, mineral-rich water in the Octagon pool, which dates back to the 19th century, all while taking in the resort’s breathtaking views. For an indoor luxury experience, spa guests may visit the nascent Aqua Thermal Suite, a collection of European-style healing aquatic environments which combines “heat and cool therapy” for relaxation. Lounge, soak, let go. At Left: Eupepsia Wellness Center VIRGINIA .ORG 21 SOUTHERN CHARM South Boston, VA Just near the southern border of the state sits Berry Hill Resort, a former antebellum estate turned premiere resort venue. Only a short stretch from Richmond and Lynchburg, Berry Hill is the perfect place to escape for European-quality spa services such as massages, body treatments, facials and more – including monthly specials such as detoxifying avocado body wraps and Swedish massages. There’s even a curated gentlemen’s spa menu! While in South Boston, visitors can imbibe some of Virginia’s fine wine on the Southern Virginia Wine Trail, or expend some energy either hiking or biking the surrounding trails. Energize, restore, escape. Berry Hill Resort TREETOP ESCAPE Blue Ridge Mountains, VA 22 RECHARGE AND RECONNECT Appalachian Mountains, VA Escape from the hustle and bustle of dayto-day life in the Appalachian Mountains, just west of Roanoke in southwest Virginia. Here, the Eupepsia Wellness Center is home to an array of self-care plans, providing the ideal atmosphere to truly relax. Of their many health retreats, Eupepsia offers wellness retreats designed for guests to detox, rejuvenate and renew. Strengthen your mind-body connection through yoga and meditation classes, or educate yourself about wellness at one of the many workshops hosted at the vast 256-acre resort. Fitness may also be a focus of your stay, where you can exercise inside with a personal trainer, or go hiking or whitewater rafting in the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. Complete your stay with hydrotherapy or hot stone therapy at the wellness spa. Care, breathe, feed. BERRY HILL RESORT (SOUTH BOSTON), THE CAVALIER (VIRGINIA BEACH): SARAH HAUSER / OCEANFRONT BEACH CLUB (VIRGINIA BEACH): ALI ZAMAN Eupepsia Wellness Center Primland P R I M L A N D T R E E H O U S E : C O U RT E S Y O F P R I M L A N D / P R I M L A N D I N S E T: S C O T T K . B R O W N / E U P E P S I A W E L L N E S S C E N T E R : M A H M O U D H A S S A N For the ultimate stargazing experience, look no further than Primland, the Blue Ridge Mountain resort where an unmatched treetop experience can be found. Condé Nast Traveler ranked this hidden gem on its Gold List of the "Top 100 Resorts and Hotels in the World," so this elevated experience – literally and figuratively – takes the idea of glamping to a lavish next level. Guests may choose from luxury treehouses or lodge accommodations perched on the 12,000-acre land. Nature walks, massages and horseback riding are popular daytime activities at Primland, while stargazing and peaceful sleeping are just two of the calming nighttime expectations. This observatory experience is like no other, and is the perfect way to allow your own thoughts to melt away before a long night of sleep. Primland’s spa offers exclusive treatments inspired by Native American healing rituals and European spa techniques, utilizing only the finest organic products and essential oils. Inhale, exhale, gaze. C OA S TA L E L E G A N C E Virginia Beach, VA Oceanfront Beach Club Inset: The Cavalier Coastal Virginia is a breathtaking year-round destination. Enjoy a beach holiday with the changing of seasons at The Cavalier, located on the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Kick off your relaxing getaway at the hotel distillery, Tarnished Truth, with samples of their signature bourbon, rye whiskey and AVA Vodka. Or soak in your spirits with the Bourbon Tea nutria-Body Wrap at the spa, designed to leave skin soft and moisturized. For a more secluded beach experience, venture to nearby Sandbridge. If waking up early doesn’t cramp your vacation style, it’s well worth the early alarm to view the sunrise over the pristine sand dunes. Absorb, view, savor. VIRGINIA .ORG 23 visit LOUDOUN Loudoun County is the East Coast’s Napa Valley, its tumbling hills and lush slopes home to scores of boutique wineries and tasting rooms, all in spectacular settings. There’s never been a better time to spend a weekend in DC’s Wine Country. Sip a summery Seyval Blanc – a Michelle Obama favorite – in a rustic-chic oak-paneled tasting room in Middleburg hunt country, or sample classy French-style Bordeaux blends at a mountain-top winery outside Leesburg. Earthy Nebbiolo and Cabernet Francs hold sway in a Tuscan-style villa near the Potomac River to the north, while award-winning rosés are created by an all-women vintner team on a historic farm outside Purcellville. TO U R There’s more to wine country than sampling fine vintages. Unique winery-based experiences include barrel tastings (blend and label your own bottle), vine-to-glass tours, romantic horse-drawn carriage rides through the trellises and frequent live jazz and classical music concerts. If you need an energy boost, take a yoga class – Vinyasa in the Vines – your mountain pose enhanced by breathtaking Piedmont panoramas. FEAST Loudoun’s family farms provide bountiful fresh produce to our wineries – goat cheese, charcuterie, fresh breads – often complemented by visits from oyster shuckers or guest chefs. But you don’t have to be at a winery to enjoy farm-to-table cuisine. Pair a Loudoun Viognier with a foraged mushroom bruschetta on King Street, Leesburg’s restaurant row; enjoy Potomac views over a glass of Petit Verdot in a hillside gastronomic hideaway; or hunker down in a hunt country bistro over a velvety Cabernet Franc and a grass-fed steak. SPONSORED CONTENT 24 Take a break from all the vino and explore Loudoun’s historic downtowns and villages. Middleburg, the heart of horse and hunt country, is where Jackie O loved to go riding, while Leesburg’s three-acre Dodona Manor was home to statesman General George C. Marshall of the Marshall Plan fame. Learn about Quakers and Revolutionary-era architecture in historic Waterford (Est. 1733), and the Germans who settled beer-friendly Lovettsville nearby. End with a hike at Bears Den above charming Bluemont, with imperious Shenandoah River views to the west. S TAY Check into a boutique B&B or stone cottage, waking to the best vineyard views this side of Tuscany. Of the two swanky Loudoun resorts, one offers a Cabernet Crush vinotherapy spa treatment, the other a Cabernet Cacao Manicure. Wine, wine everywhere! TO P : TO D D W R I G H T P H OTO G R A P H Y / I N S E T: B RO O K E S I LV E R M A N P H OTO G R A P H Y TA S T E E X P LO R E Nothing expresses a “sense of place” like well-made wine – especially here in Virginia, where more than 300 wineries and 3,800 acres of sweeping vineyard views reflect the fruit of a 400-year experiment. Today’s winemakers are a community of artisans obsessed with expressing their land – drawing out the story in every vine and vintage and crafting wines that embody the grace, grit and experimental spirit of the Commonwealth. What’s happening here is bigger than a drink. It’s a way to reconnect – with the land, the locals, our loved ones and ourselves. WITH THE BREAK OF A BUD, A N A DV E N T U R E B E G I N S . . . And if you ask us, that’s worth raising a glass to. SARAH HAUSER 26 Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards—North Garden virginiawine.org VIRGINIA .ORG 27 W R I T T E N B Y G I N G E R WA R D E R , AUTHOR OF "FID O'S VIRGINIA" FIVE OF MY FAV O R I T E THINGS TO DO Fun With FIDO TO D D W R I G H T 28 From the mountains to the sea, Virginia rolls out the red carpet for its four-legged visitors. Long summer days are perfect for exploring the Monticello Wine Trail in Virginia’s Piedmont region near Charlottesville, and Sundays are fun days for Fido. Include a stop by Keswick Vineyards for its Sunday Yappy Hour, where the fenced, off-leash dog park makes it easy for both you and your pooch to socialize. Or head to Southwest Virginia to Chateau Morrisette – literally called the winery that dogs built – where pups are welcome in the tasting room, on the restaurant balcony and in the courtyard for the winery’s free Sunday music series. While you’re in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, pop into Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke for a little upcycle shopping and meet the human and canine stars of D.I.Y. Network’s Salvage Dawgs. To cool off, I like to head for the water. In Alexandria, dogs ride free on the Potomac Riverboat Company’s Canine Cruise, a great way to see the city from a different perspective. Or if you’re craving sand between your toes – and paws – head to Virginia Beach. Dogs can play on the north end of Virginia Beach before 10 a.m. and after 6 p.m. during the summer season and are allowed on the public beaches and boardwalk at any time after Labor Day and before Memorial Day. Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore offers the Sandy Paws off-leash dog beach, as well as a beachside dog park. Pictured: Alexandria Waterfront VIRGINIA .ORG 29 If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure with your pooch, Virginia has you covered! All of our state parks are pet-friendly, and many offer camping and other accommodations. In addition to park cabins, however, some unique hidden gems can be found all across the Commonwealth. Cozy Cabins FOR CANINES One of my favorite “secret” cabins is located in one of Virginia’s only terracestyle vineyards at Delfosse Winery in Nelson County. The chestnut log cabin — more than 100 years old — was the original tasting room and now gives overnight guests a taste of the lush vineyard scenery from the cabin’s spacious deck. Although you can’t take your pup in the tasting room, you and your leashed pal are welcome to explore the grounds. Grab a bottle of their award-winning Viognier or Petit Verdot and kick back amongst the grapes. the lake is the second largest body of freshwater in Virginia, and in addition to a wide range of water sports, the park offers hiking trails, a visitor center and an array of special programs. Located in the Meadows of Dan — about two miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Southwest Virginia — A Blue Ridge Haven has several Appalachian-style log cabins that welcome you and your furry family. Take advantage of nearby hiking trails, relax by the fireplace or visit popular wineries in the area. Adjacent to the Mount Rogers Recreation Area — home to Virginia’s highest mountain peak — Highland Hideaways offers two charming pet-friendly cabins in an authentic country setting, with wildlife from guineas to goats roaming the property. While there are no size restrictions, the owner requests canine guests with good “company manners” who won’t disturb the other four-legged tenants. If you need to cool off during your travels, check out the pet friendly cabins at the 1,248-acre Smith Mountain Lake State Park in the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. Located in Bedford County, Five-Woof Stays 30 Virginia Beach Duke of Gloucester Street – appropriately nicknamed Dog Street – will make you feel like a time traveler, while a stroll through the archaeological digs at Historic Jamestowne will transport you to the early days of the first permanent settlement in the New World. If your dog is an “outward hound” who prefers mountain trails, head to Shenandoah National Park or try the challenging hike to Sharp Top at the Peaks of Otter. Take a leisurely drive down the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, where you’ll have an array of opportunities to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail or stop for a picnic at photo-worthy spots like Mabry Mill. If your pooch prefers hiking on flatter ground, head to the Eastern Shore to Kiptopeke State Park for miles of hiking trails and a special dog beach that allows leashed pups. I L L U S T R AT I O N : K I M D A LT O N / V I R G I N I A B E A C H : R O L L W I T H C O L E A N D C H A R I S M A For history hounds – both the two-legged and four-legged species – Northern Virginia, Richmond and the Historic Triangle combine great dog walks with the rich history of our country. Founding father George Washington was a dog lover – and the inspiration for choosing the American Foxhound as Virginia’s state dog – so it’s no surprise that his historic estate at Mount Vernon welcomes canine guests on the grounds. You and your pal can literally “smell the roses” in the four gardens on the estate, visit the animals on Pioneer Farm or take a stroll along the river and the wharf. On Saturdays in May and October, Mount Vernon offers a special guided walking tour called All the President’s Pups. The 1.25-mile tour gives detailed insight into canine life on the plantation, Washington’s great love of dogs and his breeding program to improve the quality of his hunting hounds. Richmond is not only the capital of Virginia, but also a capital city for canines. The Valentine offers guided History Hounds tours through various city neighborhoods like Church Hill – home to Patrick Henry’s famous “Give me liberty or give me death” speech – and my dogs love the garden-style Hollywood Cemetery along the banks of the James River. Check out the local legend of the black cast iron dog that has guarded the Reese family for more than a century. For a glimpse into the beginnings of our country, head to the Historic Triangle. A stroll down Colonial Williamsburg’s S H E N A N D O A H N AT I O N A L PA R K : S A M A N T H A B R O O K E / C H U R C H H I L L ( R I C H M O N D ) : J U L I A E L L I S O N P H O T O G R A P H Y Best Dog Walks Nicknamed the “mother of presidents,” Virginia offers presidential-worthy stays for its furry visitors too, from elegant urban hotels to country estates and river retreats. In Northern Virginia, rest your paws at the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in Alexandria. With no size, weight or breed restrictions, this luxury boutique hotel welcomes its visitors with pet pillows and beds, food and water bowls, and other pet perks. The hotel’s motto is “all pets that fit through the front door are welcome,” including cats, birds and even reptiles. For Gilded Age luxury combined with stellar service and gracious Southern hospitality, you can’t go wrong with a stay at the opulent Jefferson Hotel in downtown Richmond. For decades, this historic Beaux Arts grand dame has been awarded both five stars and five diamonds, hosting the glitterati from presidents and movie stars to "The King of Rock and Roll." There is no weight or size limit and the front desk always has gourmet treats on hand for their special furry guests. Need a dog walker or groomer? No problem! The concierge can arrange it for you. Located in the heart of horse and wine country in Middleburg, the Salamander Resort and Spa not only welcomes dogs – you can even bring your horse! In fact, the estate’s mascot is a miniature horse named Cupcake, who welcomes guests for cocktails in the Living Room during happy hour on Fridays and Saturdays. This 340-acre elegant country estate features an equestrian center, luxurious spa and an array of onsite activities. Pets' welcome amenities including comfy beds, food and water bowls and organic treats – and the resort literally rolls out the red carpet for canine guests, with a “pup-arazzi” area at the entrance for photo ops. Relax on the Rappahannock River at the Tides Inn, where you can take a sail, play croquet on the lawn or explore the charming Northern Neck town of Irvington. A favorite summer retreat for locals, the Tides Inn’s Pampered Paws program greets four-legged guests with beds, bowls and a doggie biscuit barrel – the “pawfect” way to recharge while exploring Virginia’s River Realm. The historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel is located in the heart of downtown Staunton within walking distance of the shops, restaurants and the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace. The beloved president grew up with a greyhound named Mountain Boy and brought his love of animals to the White House, where he kept a herd of sheep to keep the lawn trimmed. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel also loves animals and welcomes dogs with no weight or size limits to enjoy this elegantly restored 1928 gem. Shenandoah National Park Church Hill—Richmond VIRGINIA .ORG 31 Use code VTG20 Welcome to All for 20% off your purchase on Virginia.org/Shop COMPILED BY WIRT CONFROY Virginia is truly a state for all lovers, including the LGBTQ+ community. Here are just a few of the small towns that can't wait to meet you; visit blog.virginia.org/lgbtfaves to discover even more! Local Picks: Explore: SouthEast Expeditions Indulge: Brown Dog Ice Cream Sip: Cape Charles Distillery 32 HARRISONBURG Locals Say: "The growing LGBT community in Colonial Beach is welcomed with open arms and is completely integrated into the town’s character." Locals Say: "JMU’s culture is based on community - it allows students to find themselves and make lifelong friends and connections." Local Picks: Stay: White Point Manor Play: Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar Local Picks: Shop: Agora Downtown Market Cheer: JMU football game ROANOKE Locals Say: "We love Roanoke's can-do attitude and community." Local Picks: Savor: The River and Rail Restaurant Visit: Taubman Museum of Art Stroll: SWVA LGBTQ+ History Walking Tour P O C A H O N TA S S TAT E PA R K : M I C H A E L S I M O N / C A P E C H A R L E S : C O U RT E S Y O F V I R G I N I A T O U R I S M C O R P O R AT I O N / C O L O N I A L B E A C H : C H R I S M I L I T Z E R / H A R R I S O N B U R G : B I L L C R A B T R E E , J R . / R O A N O K E : J O H N PA R K Locals Say: "Cape Charles is truly a sm