The state tourist motto is Virginia is for Lovers. Here are ten great Virginia events and attractions that demonstrate how easy it is to love Virginia. Note that there are no land-based casinos on this list. We suggest playing online games, casino or otherwise, and enjoy all the best Virginia has to offer above the ground, under the ground, indoors and outdoors.
Try to allow your travels to take you to one of the eight caverns along the length of the majestic Shenandoah Mountains. All Virginia caverns are privately owned and run. They differ, of course, in the formations nature has made over the millennia in these deep underground places. The temperature in caverns is generally quite cool year round so if you go during the hot months be sure to take a sweater if you’re sensitive to cooler temperatures.
Consider yourselves lucky if you’re ever invited to a Virginia barn wedding. There are a number of locales where the lucky couple will welcome their guests to a full farm-themed event.
Barn weddings are a trend and like all trends could end as quickly as they began but many observers are saying that barn weddings are here to stay. Barn weddings are rustic; so much so that the naysayers are already telling people to put an end to all this nonsense.
When that’s the case, the best advice is go-go-go to a Virginia barn wedding. You’ll love it.
Virginia wines are under-rated owing to the great publicity afforded California wines. The hosts and hostesses at Virginia’s family-owned wineries will take the time to explain everything you might want to know about their wines. You’ll get a chance to taste the wines and will be amazed at how good they are.
Many wineries sponsor other events to go along with their wine. You can hear a concert in the outdoor setting of a working vineyard, spend the night, and stop for lunch or dinner.
Every June, the Bach Festival is held in Harrisonburg. The opening concert takes place in the Lehman Auditorium concert hall located on the campus of Eastern Mennonite University and there are chamber music concerts in the first Presbyterian Church every weekday at noon.
When you’re in Harrisonburg, be sure to stop off at a local restaurant for an order of fried pickles and a glass of home-brewed beer.
American Shakespeare Center
This theater featuring the great works of the greatest writer in English is located in Staunton just a few miles south of Harrisonburg. People who had the hardest time plowing through Hamlet in high school often discover that Shakespeare is far more accessible on stage in a live performance. A little preparation before the show goes a long way to enhancing your enjoyment of the performance.
Many large family farms run a harvest festival in the fall. These are similar to county fairs with shows, activities for kids, farm animals, and live music. Harvest festivals celebrate the harvest of the main crop of each particular farm running from apples to pumpkins. The pumpkin harvest is especially colorful in October as farmers get ready for the high demand around Halloween.
In June, many locales host a strawberry festival featuring the many things you can make from strawberries including pies, cakes, jams and jellies, liqueur, and more. And if you prefer, you can eat strawberries in their naturally sweet and juicy state.
This is run out of Abingdon in the summer. It lasts over one week and features everything you could possibly want in a local festival:
- An antiques market with dozens of antiques sellers. If you’re familiar with antique malls like the one in Cambridge, Massachusetts, you’ll have an idea of what the antiques market is like.
- Hand-made arts and crafts. This festival’s arts and crafts are considered the best in Virginia so artisans bring their creations in order to be part of a great arts and crafts event.
- Kids’ activities
- Outdoor activities
There’s an alpaca ranch, a zoo with a safari theme, a camel farm, donkeys, and many petting zoos. These “zoos” are much more fun for the kids especially if they have already become jaded by another lions and tigers and bears oh my type of zoo.
The Luray Zoo deserves special mention because it is a rescue zoo with hundreds of animals that are too old for conventional zoos, pets that their owners no longer want or are able to take care of, and some abused animals as well. If your traveling schedule takes you to the Luray Caverns, the Luray Zoo is a perfect complement to a morning’s activities. The zoo is privately-owned and receives no financial subsidy from any government at any level.
The Quilt Museum
Harrisonburg is also home to the Quilt Museum. The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday so schedule your time well to take advantage of the great wealth of artistry on display there.
There are country, bluegrass, classical, jazz, rock, and many other music festivals in Virginia. All it takes is a little planning and you’ll find a festival that suits your musical taste in a location that your itinerary can easily take you to.
Minor League Baseball
Virginia is home to eight minor league teams. If you have never been to a minor league game, this is an event not to be missed. It’s a perfect way to top off a full day of activities. Minor league baseball may not be as well-played as major league baseball but the players are still among the cram of the crop of American baseball players.
The small town atmosphere at minor league games cannot be replicated in big city stadiums and the prices for a game in the minors is much more conducive to an average American budget than the wildly expensive major league product.