Explore the finer side of life in Virginia

A luxury trip to Virginia offers the time to truly indulge in its scenic landscapes, tantalising food and captivating culture

Team Wanderlust
28 September 2023
Promoted by
Virginia Is For Lovers

Stretching between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, Virginia’s scenic byways are perfect for enriching slow-travel experiences. Here’s a taster of how best to savour the Old Dominion.

Experience Virginia…

By road, rail and beyond

See Virginia from above on a hot air balloon ride (Virginia Tourism Corporation)

From the misty mountain scenes of the Blue Ridge Parkway to the sun-kissed coastal vistas around Chesapeake Bay, Virginia’s variety of landscapes make it the perfect escape for a road trip. Rolling forest covers around 62% of the land here, and its serpentine stretches of tarmac wind through cinematic overlooks, historic towns and gentle bayside shores. These make for some spectacular long-distance drives, although road trips aren’t the only way to explore them.
The Virginia Scenic Railway is the state’s only sightseeing train, and its regular services snake through the countryside and small towns of the Shenandoah Valley. From its modernised 1940s passenger cars, guests can soak up bucolic rural life and national forests with a fine-dining meal and some esteemed company.
Another option is to drift above the treetops with only the sound of the breeze for company on a hot air balloon ride. This is one of Virginia’s more remarkable experiences, as you glide above the scenic countryside of Shenandoah National Park.
Virginia’s hills, forests and wilds are among the USA’s finest destinations for riding, exploring Virginia’s vineyards on horseback or taking the 110km Virginia Highland Horse Trail that winds through Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. For an indulgent encounter with nature, take a grand boat tour around the marshlands of the Chincoteague and Assateague Islands, where you might spot Chincoteague ponies, dolphins and birds like black skimmers and little blue herons.

Through your taste buds

Oysters are one of the stars of Virginia’s local cuisine (Virginia Tourism Corporation)

Virginia’s great outdoors isn’t simply pretty to view, it’s the origin of some sublime gastronomic experiences.
State capital Richmond has one of America’s most exciting culinary scenes, and has even lured some award-winning local chefs back home from the big cities. Brittany Anderson of the German-inspired nose-to-tail restaurant Metzger Bar & Butchery and David Shannon of L’Opossum, which dishes up excellent French fare, are just a couple of the most celebrated.
While local produce is abundant in Virginia, one of the state’s signature dishes is oysters. Introduce yourself to their delights on the Chef’s Table Tour with Pleasure House Oysters, which lets visitors handpick and eat their own oysters from the Lynnhaven River.
There are almost 300 breweries, 60 distilleries and more than 300 wineries in the state, too, which owe plenty to the passion and creativity of Virginia’s locals. Drop by the farmland setting of Lickinghole Creek brewery, pay a visit to Lost Rhino for a delicious taste of its Native Son amber ale (made with 100% local Virginia ingredients) or enjoy a private tour of the high-end wineries sprinkled around Charlottesville.
And if you thought American whiskey was the sole preserve of Kentucky, the bourbons and ryes made by the Tarnished Truth Distilling Company will put you straight.

By exploring its history and culture

Take the time to peruse the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Virginia Tourism Corporation)

Few states can offer the same window on American heritage as Virginia can. From visits to early colonial settlements to honouring the birthplace of country music, Virginia teaches us plenty about the United States that exists today.
Start at Jamestown, the site of the first permanent English settlement in North America and part of the state’s famed Historic Triangle. Explore early US history on a trip to Colonial Williamsburg’s living museum, which recreates one of America’s earliest capital cities, then complete the triangle at Yorktown, significant for both the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Its 1884 Yorktown Victory Monument is a truly colossal sight.
History fans should also spare some time to soak up Mount Vernon, the site of President George Washington’s well-preserved plantation home, on a guided tour.
The USA’s growth as a nation eventually led to a flourishing arts scene, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts boasts an eclectic collection, including the largest haul of Fabergé eggs outside of Russia. Be sure to drop by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol to see how a few recording sessions in 1927 led to the creation of this enduring music genre.
Lastly, for something a little quirkier, check out Richmond’s Edgar Allan Poe Museum and learn more about the master of macabre literature.

Premium sleeps in Virginia

Salamander Middleburg Resort & Spa (Virginia Tourism Corporation)

The Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club

Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and President Jimmy Carter are among the glitterati to have stayed at the Cavalier Hotel since it opened its doors in 1927. Situated in lively Virginia Beach, The Cavalier has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur, delivering timeless Virginia luxury.

Keswick Hall

Completed in 1912, this opulent hotel in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was recently remodelled. With its ethereal horizon pool, a spa and exceptional restaurant and golf course, Keswick Hall makes for a refined getaway.

Salamander Middleburg

This equestrian-themed resort in the heart of Virginia’s wine country features a wonderful spa alongside a wealth of outdoor activities. The rooms are spacious and plush, and they all include patios or balconies for guests to unwind under the sun.

Feeling inspired?

With a love for everything stateside, North America Travel Service has offered bespoke designer trips for over 50 years. From epic adventures out west to shorter urban city breaks, North America Travel Service will plan your itinerary down to the smallest detail to ensure a memorable trip.

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