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Travels in Virginia Blog

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Travels in Virginia

Posts Tagged ‘Virginia is for Lovers’

Virginia on Travel + Leisure World’s Best Hotel List

The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Va.

The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond, Va.

Travel + Leisure has released its annual list of the 500 World’s Best Hotels and Virginia has several iconic destinations as well as newer hot spots on the list.  Here’s the places that T+L readers say they love in Virginia, tell us which ones are your favorites.

Morrison House in Alexandria

Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City in Arlington

Keswick Hall in Charlottesville

Homestead Resort & Spa in Hot Springs

Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner in McLean

The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond

Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va.

Williamsburg Inn in Williamsburg

Congrats to the Inn at Little Washington for also being listed as a “Most Delicious Dish” spot by T+L.  Click here to find the original article.  Visit www.Virginia.org to find out more about these Virginia gems and other beautiful hotels, inns and B&Bs across the state.

The Year of Historic Homes

Virginia is for lovers of historic homes and rich history. Virginia has more than 100 historic homes, most of which are open to the public as museums and historic sites. These homes offer a wealth of cultural, historical, and architectural information and promote an understanding of, as well as an interest in the story of Virginia.

Governor Bob McDonnell has signed a proclamation, recognizing 2013 as The Year of the Virginia Historic Home.

The year 2013 marks the 200th Year of the historic Governor’s Executive Mansion. This is the oldest, continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States. This Federal-style structure has been the home of Virginia Governors’ and their families since 1813.

For more information on Historic Homes in Virginia, visit Virginia.org/historichomes.

Remembering David Martin

We take time today to recognize and remember David Martin. He was the head of the creative team who created Virginia is for Lovers in 1969, which is now the longest-running state tourism slogan in the country.

At its core – Virginia is for Lovers is about love – pure and simple. That was true in 1969 and remains true today. We are thankful to have such a powerful and memorable tourism brand and thank David Martin and his colleagues for having the vision to create it. We’re proud to keep the LOVE going and we share our sincere condolences to David Martin’s family and friends.

Here’s a link to a Richmond Times Dispatch story on his life and work.

Travels with Tater

Pet-friendly travel in Virginia

Virginia is pet-friendly for travel and I’m living proof! My hubby and I hit the road last weekend for a seaside getaway to Chincoteague on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and of course we travel with our dog whenever possible. Her name is Tater. She’s a rescue pup and quite an adventurer. Here’s what she enjoyed most about our trip.

Seaside Doggie Treats – When you cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel all dogs are greeted by bridge booth attendant who says “would you like a doggie treat”? And these treats are special; they come in shapes of sailboats, fish, mermaids and more. (photo taken by passenger while car was parked. Safety first.)

Special dog treats

Home Sweet HomeChincoteague has a great variety of lodging including vacation homes, many of which accept pets. We rented a home called Serendipity that had a screened-in front porch that Tater loved. She sat there and watched the world go by while we shucked local Chincoteague oysters.

Virginia is for Wine Lovers – we stopped into Chatham Vineyards on our return to Richmond and Tater jumped out to explore and talk with Wilbur, the official welcome dog of the vineyard who is an adorable Norwich Terrier. You can see him and his owners Jon and Mills Wehner there almost daily.

Wilbur, the official greeter at Chatham Vineyards

Beach Exploring – Virginia is home to beaches big and small, with many beautiful beaches found on the Eastern Shore. We visited the beach at Kiptopeake State Park where dogs are welcome on the south side of the beach. You can also visit the giant LOVE artwork there this summer.

Dog-friendly Kiptopeke State Park

Find out more about pet-friendly travel in Virginia at www.Virginia.org/pets. Check out the 2012 Virginia Travel Guide which has a whole section about wine dogs in Virginia starting on page 52!

Home Sweet Home

Virginia is for TBEX Lovers

Most of you have likely heard “Virginia is for Lovers” at some point in your life (at least we hope so). I mean, it has been around since 1969, which makes it the longest running tourism slogan in the country. But, what does it mean exactly? Often people take the word “lovers” a little too literally. It’s not about romance – it’s about love – pure and simple, and our message is that LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.

What about Virginia evokes love? Well, a lot really. Simply put, Virginia is a destination where visitors can completely connect with those they love, doing the things they love to do on vacation.  And that’s what vacations are all about right?

A vacation in Virginia can be as diverse and beautiful as the state itself, with sandy beaches, exhilarating amusement parks, majestic mountain vistas, iconic historic sites such as Monticello, Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg, quaint small towns, picturesque wineries, idyllic state parks and national parks, diverse arts and culture, roaring NASCAR events, natural wonders, and world-class resorts, hotels and inns – all of which are ready to welcome visitors.

This weekend we are heading to Keystone Colorado for the Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference and we’re looking forward to sharing our message of LOVE with top travel bloggers from around the world. Hopefully by the time TBEX concludes, our new blogger friends will be helping us tell folks that in Virginia, LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.

Valley Visit – Part II

Cheese Please

One of the best parts of this job is getting out and seeing what’s new in Virginia and catching up with destination partners from across the state. In a place like the Shenandoah Valley, there is always something new to discover (even if it’s very old sometimes it’s new to me!).

Stokes General Store in Front Royal

I was headed from Winchester to Luray for a meeting and stopped into the town of Front Royal which is a gorgeous little town. I have a thing for country stores and old general stores so when I saw Stokes, I was, well, stoked.

This store has been there since the 1940’s and has a little bit of almost everything –especially if you like cowboy boots, cowboy hats and walking sticks that look like Lincoln. Oh and giant blocks of cheese.   


From there I headed to Luray and took a tour of Shadow Mountain Escape, which is a wooded oasis of timber-frame cabins created by Karen and Ralph Riddle. Each cabin has a bug name (butterfly, lady bug, etc) and is decorated with antiques that the couple collected while living overseas. Each cabin has a loft bedroom and is surrounded by peaceful woods and tranquility. Shadow Mountain Escape is the official lodging partner of the

Butterfly Cabin

 Blue Ridge Wine and Whiskey Loop and is in close proximity to Luray Caverns and Shenandoah National Park.  Guests are greeted by Karen and her blue-ribbon baked goods like cookies and biscotti.

While at the Mimslyn Inn, a beautiful, historic hotel in Luray, I learned that I was in the same room that Eleanor Roosevelt stayed in while her husband was surveying the progress of the construction of Shenandoah National Park. I could picture her curled up with a good book in the room’s lovely sitting room. I also discovered Gathering Grounds, a beautiful coffee shop on Luray’s historic Main Street where they have tons of homemade goodness and great service.

Valley Visit – On the Trail of Patsy Cline

I hit the road this week for a visit to the Shenandoah Valley.  I’ve been reading a lot about Patsy Cline and wanted to visit the Patsy Cline Historic House, which just opened last year for visitors.

A lot of people don’t realize that Patsy Cline was from Virginia or that she was only 30 when she died tragically in a plane crash. Her real name was Virginia! This September would be Patsy’s 80th birthday and the folks at Celebrating Patsy Cline have big plans in the works to celebrate her legacy.

The Patsy Cline Historic House is unassuming, located on Kent Street in historic downtown Winchester.  It’s where Patsy lived in her teen years, where her mother made her costumes, and where she lived while working to start her career.  

Piano at Patsy Cline Historic House

When you walk into the house you are transported back to the 1950’s, with furnishings that date to that era and original family photos of Patsy, including one that she inscribed to her mother that rests on a piano very similar to the one on which Patsy taught herself to play and sing.  They give a lovely tour and play a recording of Patsy’s winning performance on the Arthur Godfrey show.

I also stopped by Gaunt’s Drug Store, which is an old-school pharmacy where Patsy used to work at the soda fountain.  They have tons of pictures of her and a cool old juke box with some of her hits. And you can still get a prescription filled there too. (sorry no more soda fountain though).

Patsy waves from Gaunt's Drug Store

Winchester itself is a jewel of the Shenandoah Valley which has to be one of the most beautiful swaths of land on the planet.  I popped into the historic George Washington Hotel which is one of the finest luxury hotels in the Valley and also has a connection with Patsy Cline.  She is said to have performed a few songs at one of the senior class dinners that were held at the hotel.  They have a stunning bar there called the Jazz Note and a beautiful restaurant called the Blue Goat, with lots of local foods, beers and Virginia wines.

Patsy Cline grave site in Winchester

On my way out of town I visited Patsy’s grave site which is just outside of Winchester.  It too is very unassuming but pretty.  The marker says Virginia H. (Patsy Cline) 1932- 1963. Many fans have been there and left little mementos and coins.

If you are a Patsy Cline fan, mark this September on your calendar and stay tuned for updates on the celebration.

LOVE for the Holidays – Photo Op

LOVE artwork at Fredericksburg Welcome Center

Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.  This holiday, it can also be at the heart of every photo op for travelers on Interstate 95.  For those visitors who are going “over the river and through the woods” to grandmother’s house this holiday season, stop into the Fredericksburg Welcome Center on 95 Southbound and take a family photo with the Virginia is for Lovers LOVE artwork. 

Share your LOVE photo with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter and use #LOVEVA like hundreds of others have already done.  You can also see the LOVE at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens through January 9 as part of GardenFest of Lights.

Happy and safe holidays to all.


LOVE is popping up in the most unexpected ways in Virginia! VTC challenged our industry partners to tie into our Virginia is for Lovers brand by creatively displaying LOVE in their destinations. On October 29 the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) did just that by inviting folks to dress like mummies and spell out the word LOVE with their bodies at the museum.

This display kicked off the museum’s Mummy Love program, which ties into the  upcoming exhibit Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb. The exhibit opens November 19, 2011  and runs through March 11, 2012.

The Mummy LOVE continues on November 19, when mummies or other Egyptian  costumes are welcome at VMFA and the first 200 visitors in Egyptian costume will be  admitted free. Visit the VMFA’s blog for more details.

Want to share the Mummy LOVE? Visit the VMFA’s Facebook and twitter pages for easy  sharing.

Abingdon Gets the LOVE

What a fantastic day we had yesterday as we celebrated Abingdon’s success in our Bring LOVE to Your Town online contest. We are extremely proud of our partners and it was wonderful to see so many smiling faces from Abingdon’s tourism community dotting the lawn of the Barter Theatre Green as we unveiled the giant LOVE artwork to the town.

Speakers at yesterday’s event included Abingdon Mayor Edward Morgan and Town Manager Greg  Kelly, Rita McClenny, Vice President of Virginia Tourism Corporation, and Richard Rose from the  Barter Theater.

The point that resonated with me is that tourism is big business for Abingdon. And, it was easy to  see why when folks began talking about all of the one-of-a-kind offerings that Abingdon provides  visitors like The Barter Theater, Heartwood, The Virginia Creeper Trail, The Martha Washington  Inn & Spa, great restaurants like The Tavern, unique shops, and small town charm.

But, what resonated with me more than anything else was the sense of community and pride for  their town that folks in Abingdon showed.  First, they proved it as they rallied the small town to  beat out 20 other Virginia localities to win the contest. And, they showed it again yesterday as  they celebrated their success.

Now the LOVE is on display for the proud community of Abingdon and their visitors to see  throughout the month of September. We encourage people to keep the love going by taking  pictures in front of the artwork and sharing it on Facebook  at www.Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers or on Twitter, using the special hashtag #LOVEVA.

Congrats Abingdon and all towns who nominated themselves to help spread the word that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation!