Are you a long-time admirer of Virginia, or is this your first rendezvous? Either way, you’ll surely enjoy seeing first-hand all the ways love lives in Virginia. Wash the world away on pristine Eastern Shore beaches, or play hard with Virginia Beach’s nightlife. Liven things up at our theme parks, waterparks, wildlife adventures and hands-on historical fun every day of the week. Mile-high Mount Rogers induces paramount exhilaration, as does 540 miles of Appalachian Trail. The Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive offer some of the most spectacular views in the world. From world-class performers at Wolf Trap in Vienna to the famed Carter Family Fold in the Heart of Appalachia, Virginia crackles with live music. Find out what’s going on around Virginia. Visit www.virginia.org, the official tourism site of the commonwealth of Virginia, to subscribe to the Virginia eNewsletter and request your Virginia Travel Guide and state map.
Shenandoah National Park
Just 75 miles from the bustle of Washington, D.C., Shenandoah national Park is your escape to recreation and re-creation. Cascading waterfall, spectacular vistas, quiet wooded hollows – take a hike, meander along Skyline Drive, fish, dine, or camp with the family. 200,000 acres of protected lands are haven to deer, songbirds, the night sky … and you. An active and hands-on experience for all ages. www.nps.gov/shen/index.htm
America’s Historic Triangle – Colonial Williamsburg, Yorktown and Historic Jamestowne
Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum presenting part of a historic district in Williamsburg. The 301-acre Historic Area includes buildings from the 18th century (during part of which the city was the capital of colonial Virginia), as well as 17th century, 19th century, Colonial Revival structures and more recent reconstructions. Costumed employees work and dress as people did in the era, sometimes using colonial grammar and diction. Prominent buildings include the Raleigh Tavern, the Capitol, the Governor’s Palace (all reconstructed), as well as the Courthouse, the George Wythe House, the Peyton Randolph House, the Magazine and independently owned and functioning Bruton Parish Church (all originals). For more information, call 877-996-4940 or visit www.colonialwilliamsburg.com.
Historic Jamestowne – Visitor Center, Museum and Archeology Site
Jamestown Rediscovery is committed to supporting preservation, education and the archaeological investigation of Historic Jamestowne, the original site of the first permanent English settlement in America. See and hear about the latest archaeological discoveries on a tour on Jamestown Island, including the fort site. Several times a day a member of the Jamestown Rediscovery team spends an hour walking visitors through the active excavation sites and answering detailed questions. National Park Service Rangers also give tours that are rich in the historical sweep of the Jamestown story. You may witness the moment of discovery as an archaeologist pulls from the ground an artifact that has not been seen in 400 years. Continue to the Archaearium, a museum that houses some of the most spectacular finds of the 2 million artifacts uncovered since the Jamestown Rediscovery Project began in 1994. The Visitor’s Center is at 1368 Colonial Parkway, Jamestown, VA 23081. For more information, call 757-856-1250 or visit http://historicjamestowne.org.
History comes alive at the Jamestown Settlement, where the story of the original settlers of the area is displayed through exhibits, film and costumed historical interpreters. Visitors can step aboard replicas of the ships that sailed from England to Virginia in 1607, investigate life-size re-creations of the fort and Powhatan village, and tour the riverfront discovery area. There are vacation packages available through the website, with special rates for groups and schools. Open daily with varying seasonal hours, except for Christmas and New Year’s Day. Visit the settlement at 2110 Jamestown Road, Route 31 South, Williamsburg, VA 23185. For more information, call 888-593-4682 or visit www.historyisfun.org.
See where American independence was won at the Yorktown Battlefield, administered by the National Park Service as part of the Colonial National Historical Park. Here on Oct. 19, 1781, British forces under Lord Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the combined American and French armies led by Gen. George Washington, concluding the battle that signaled the beginning of the end of the fight for American independence. Start at the Visitor Center and see the orientation film and museum exhibits, including the field tents used by Gen. Washington during the battle. Join a park ranger for a guided walking tour of the battlefield and 18th-century town. Drive through the battlefield and see the numerous fortifications and cannons; the Moore House, scene of surrender negotiations; and Surrender Field, among other sites. Stroll through the historic town and view the many historic sites in the Yorktown, including the Nelson House, home to Gov. Thomas Nelson Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence; and the Yorktown Victory Monument. Visit www.nps.gov/york for more information.
The National Aquarium has more than 150,000 marine and freshwater animals, with exhibits that include daily shows at the 4-D Immersion Theater, the “Jellies Invasion” jellyfish exhibit and a dolphin show. Group and student rates are available, as well as special behind-the-scenes tours. Visit the website for hours and seasonal rates and discounts. The museum is at 501 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21202. For more information, call 410-576-3800 or visit www.aqua.org.
A perfect mix of resorts and laid-back seaside fun, Ocean City is the premier getaway for Maryland residents and visitors. Stroll the 3-mile boardwalk, feast at one of the many restaurants and cafes or hang out on the 10 miles of beaches. There are 17 golf courses in the area, outlet malls, fishing and regular free events on the beaches for the entire family. To find out more about Ocean City, call 800-626-2326 or visit www.ococean.com.