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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Story Ideas"

8 Delicious Craft Beers You Will Love From the Charlottesville Area

One of the things I love most about living in Charlottesville is its booming craft beer scene. As a Belgian native, I do enjoy a pint of beer every once in a while. Since I moved to Charlottesville about a year ago, the city has seen the opening of several new beer-centric establishments – Random Row Brewing Company on Preston Avenue and Draft Taproom on the historic pedestrian Downtown Mall.

In the near future, a new Belgian-themed restaurant and brewery, Brasserie Saison, will also open on the Downtown Mall. Three Notch’d Brewing Company is moving to the IX Art Park, which will expand its business and capacity. This is all to illustrate that, if you like craft beer, Charlottesville is THE place to be!

There are currently four breweries within the city limits while nearby Crozet has two. With these six breweries in the Charlottesville area, there’s an abundance of different craft brews to try and I can proudly say that I’ve had the chance to sample and enjoy most of them.

In the list that follows, I’ve named and described my favorite local beers from the Charlottesville area. Before we get started, I’d like to note that these are the best beers that are permanently available at the breweries’ taprooms, in local stores or both. There are many other, really great, seasonal and experimental beers available at all the local breweries at any time.

1.) Falconer Pale Wheat Ale, Champion Brewing Company (35 IBU, 5.5% ABV)

Champion Brewing Company’s Falconer is a hoppy American wheat beer made with falconer’s flight hops and a blend of citra, simcoe and sorachi ace. It features a heady hop nose but is mostly an easily drinkable and mildly bitter wheat beer. This is one of my absolutely favorite local beers from the Charlottesville area. Whenever I feel like having a casual beer after a long day of work, the Falconer is what I go for.

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Craft Beers at Champion Brewing Company

Bram Reusen

2.) Black Me Stout, Champion Brewing Company (45 IBU, 6% ABV)

There’s a great variety of excellent beers tapped at Champion all of the time, but I’d especially like to recommend their Black Me Stout. Occupying a well-balanced spot between an imperial stout and a dry stout, this dark beer is brewed with chocolate malt and wheat. A low bitterness and smooth taste make it a must-try craft beer, for those who like darker beers.

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Stout at Champion Brewing Company

Bram Reusen

3.) Barhopper IPA, South Street Brewery (60 IBU, 6.8% ABV)

In my opinion, one of the very best IPAs made in Charlottesville, the Barhopper IPA from South Street Brewery, is an India Pale Ale made with lots of different ingredients. No fewer than five hops are used in the brewing process–simcoe, centennial, falconer’s flight, azacca and cascade hops–in addition to wheat, pils, caramel Munich and caramel Vienna malts. This all results in a delicious, medium-bodied and hop-forward IPA with a medium caramel taste.

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Craft Beers at South Street Brewery

Bram Reusen

4.) Hydraulion Red, Three Notch ‘d Brewing Company (22 IBU, 5.3% ABV)

This Irish-style red is a unique beer, arguably my favorite beer brewed by Three Notch’d Brewing Company. Named after the “Hydraulion,” the only fire engine owned by the former University of Virginia fire-fighting company, the Hydraulion Red is made with 2-row, crystal and caramel malts, and warrior and golding hops.

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Beer Flights at Three Notch’d Brewing Company

Bram Reusen

5.) Jack ‘s Java Espresso Stout, Three Notch’d Brewing Company (30 IBU, 5.5% ABV)

One of the greatest stouts I’ve ever tasted, Three Notch’d’s Jack’s Java Espresso Stout, is brewed in collaboration with the roastmaster of Shenandoah Joe. He invented a unique three-roast blend of coffee just for this special beer. This hearty and dense oatmeal stout features an obvious coffee taste and hints of sweet chocolate, an extraordinarily delicious combination that you have to taste to believe.

6.) Method IPA, Random Row Brewing Company (7.2% ABV)

The latest addition to Charlottesville’s craft beer scene, Random Row, is definitely a promising brewery. My favorite beer at this young brewery is their Method IPA, which is a West Coast-style IPA. This hoppy beer is brewed with falconer’s flight 7C hops, which give the beer its aroma and flavor. To counterbalance the hops’ extreme bitterness, an English ale yeast is used to give this IPA a delicately sweet finish.

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Craft Beers at Random Row Brewing Company

Bram Reusen

7.) Pavlov ‘s Bell-gian Ale, Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery (61 IBU, 8.3% ABV)

I’m not going to lie about it; as a Belgian, I tend to be critical about beers referred to as Belgian-style. Sometimes the term is misused. Other times, however, it’s exactly right, as is the case with Pro Re Nata’s Pavlov’s Bell-gian Ale. This is by far my favorite beer from this wonderful farm brewery, located in Crozet. A wheat-forward and honey-gold brew, this Belgian ale features notes of apricot and cloves.

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Pavlov’s Bell-gian Ale at Pro Re Nata Farm Brewery

Bram Reusen

8.) Northern Lights IPA, Starr Hill Brewery (55 IBU, 6.2% ABV)

Many of Starr Hill Brewery’s beers are quite good, but if I had to pick just one, I’d order a Northern Lights IPA. It’s one of their flagship beers and for good reason. This classic American-style IPA is a great beer to enjoy after a day of hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Featuring a citrus aroma and well-bodied bitterness, the Northern Lights IPA is made with five different hops, two malts and ale yeast.

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Taps at Starr Hill Brewery

Bram Reusen

While you’re strongly recommended to try all these permanently-available craft beers, I also encourage you to try the seasonal ones on the breweries’ draft menus. Personally, I always order a sample flight to find one or more beers that I really like, after which I’d get a full pint of my favorite(s). Happy tasting and let us know about your favorite Charlottesville area craft beers in the comments section below! Cheers!

Written by Bram Reusen for Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

Featured image provided by Courtesy of Charlottesville and Albemarle County

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The post 8 Delicious Craft Beers You Will Love From the Charlottesville Area appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Virginia in Song: Odes to the Old Dominion, Part 2

Westlake Legal Group HA16122107U_042 Virginia in Song: Odes to the Old Dominion, Part 2 Virginia restaurants Virginia Outdoors Virginia music Story Ideas Outdoors Music Hiking Destinations

Given Virginia’s central role in founding country music, as well as the breadth and depth of talented musicians that call the commonwealth home, it should come as no surprise that there are many, many songs for which Virginia has served as a muse. We shared five of our favorites in Odes to the Old Dominion, Part 1, and here are five more — each with a unique take on what makes Virginia such a special place to live and visit. Whether it’s natural beauty they’re rhapsodizing, or a busy urban corridor in its heyday, these songs bring the state’s history, culture, and scenic surroundings to life.

 

Page Wilson—“Virginia”

Page Wilson was a Virginian through and through: “Home in my heart always,” as he puts it in his ode to the state, simply titled “Virginia.” He was a native of Hanover County, with a father who owned a Texaco station in Mechanicsville and a mother who sang in the choir at Northside Baptist Church. Wilson’s love for the music benefited the community in a number of ways, from his popular radio show, the Out O’ the Blue Radio Revue, to his help planning various local music festivals. But it’s his song “Virginia” that most concisely captured his love for the commonwealth he called home.

Wilson served for a time as a member of the Richmond Folk Festival programming board, which will come as no surprise to listeners of the Out O’ the Blue Radio Revue, given the show’s mission of highlighting different genres and styles. The Richmond Folk Festival fulfills that mission each October by bringing sounds from all over the world to central Virginia, from the types of country, bluegrass, and zydeco Wilson featured on Out O’ the Blue to international experiences like Moroccan Gnawa, Afro-Venezuelan parranda, and Japanese taiko drumming, to name a few. Whether you attend the downtown festival to explore the unfamiliar or dig deeper into the region’s musical roots, you’ll be soaking in musical variety in exactly the sweet spot Wilson described in song: “Between the Blue Ridge and Chesapeake Bay.”

 

David Rawlings—“Cumberland Gap”

David Rawlings is half of what’s likely to go down as one of the most significant duos in Americana history — the other half being the brilliant and venerated Gillian Welch. You’ll find the pair performing under either artist’s name, depending on who’s primarily singing lead on that particular album or tour, but they’re constant collaborators, and they joined forces once again in 2017 to release Poor David’s Almanack. The lead single, “Cumberland Gap,” earned Rawlings a Grammy nomination, and it paints a foreboding picture of the famed Appalachian Mountain pass, which lies near the intersection of Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. “He made the trip in the blizzard’s grip,” Rawlings sings. “I’d rather wrestle Satan.”

While traversing any mountain in blizzard conditions is a recipe for tough going, the truth is that the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park is a welcoming, family-friendly destination, offering 70 miles of hiking trails and ranger-led programs through the year, along with fishing, campground, and unique tour opportunities, including Gap Cave and the Hensley Settlement, where a self-sufficient homestead was inhabited for nearly 50 years at the beginning of the 20th Century.

 

Ray T Jones—“That Norfolk Sound”

Raymond Thomas Jones served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, and he was stationed in Norfolk at a time in which Church Street was a cultural hub for the African-American community, with popular spots like the Eureka Lodge, Queen’s Lounge, and the Plaza Hotel powering an exciting nightlife. Jones was profoundly influenced by the music he heard, and he wrote and recorded “That Norfolk Sound,” an ode to the city he loved, with a genre-bending mix of acoustic guitar and fuzzed-out guitar, and lyrics about walking down Church Street and soaking in the sounds around him. The song came out in 1975, and the following year, Jones even recorded a special for Norfolk’s WAVY-TV 10, in which he reported on the city’s scene while standing outside Scope, the arena situated in downtown Norfolk just a few blocks over from Church Street.

Scope still serves the Norfolk community, providing a large venue for concerts, basketball tournaments, Norfolk Admirals hockey games, and more. Just next door is Chrysler Hall, home to the Virginia Symphony Orchestra and the Virginia Ballet, with a full schedule of events ranging from concerts and comedians to musicals. And while many iconic venues like Queen’s Lounge closed their doors long ago, Church Street still hosts outstanding live jazz thanks to the Attucks Theatre. The location’s history goes all the way back to 1919, when the theater hosted greats like Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Nat King Cole. It was deemed a National Historic Landmark in 1977, and a three-year renovation project restored the theater to its former glory, paving the way for the Attucks to host regular jazz shows once again.

 

The Bluegrass Clippers—“Back Home”

While most would cite the 1940s and 1950s as the classic era of bluegrass — the time in which the genre took root — The Bluegrass Clippers were part of another heyday for the genre that swept through the musical landscape in the 1970s and 1980s. The Richmond-area group released Clippin’ the Grass in 1983 on Virginia-based Outlet Records, and while the Clippers did pay homage to the greats by covering songs from the Stanley Brothers (“Mountain Girls”), Lester Flatt (“Get In Line Brothers”) and Bill Monroe (“Little Cabin Home on the Hill,” co-written by Flatt and Monroe), there’s also a pair of original tunes on the album, including a touching composition by lead vocalist and mandolin player Buzzy Vaughan called “Back Home.” The song describes a trip down an idyllic country road, taking in the beauty of the surroundings: “Sunlight dancing on the gold autumn leaves/Listen to the birds singing in the breeze/Winding down the road I’m just a mile away/When I get home this time my plan is to stay.”

Whether you’re on your way back home or hitting the road to see the state’s natural beauty firsthand, Virginia is home to some of the most picturesque drives you’ll find anywhere. The Blue Ridge Parkway is a destination unto itself, with 469 miles of stunning views stretching from Shenandoah National Park to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Parkway is itself a national park, protecting a string of mountain landscapes with panoramic views of mountain passes and an inspiring variety of flora and fauna, perfect for enjoying the scenic route while zooming through the area, or for taking it slow via an extended vacation. A drive up the Eastern Shore on Route 13 can be just as rewarding, with plenty of birdwatching, restored Colonial architecture, and the wild ponies of Chincoteague and Assateague.

 

Steve Bassett—“Tres Leches”

Steve Bassett is half of the storied songwriting partnership that crafted “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” which was named the official Popular State Song of Virginia in 2015, just months before Bassett’s writing partner, Robbin Thompson, passed away. The lyrics started flowing while Thompson was on his Floyd Avenue porch in Richmond’s Fan neighborhood in 1977, and the two collaborators finished writing the song after Bassett stopped by to rehearse. 40 years later, Bassett found his own inspiration just a few streets away, naming his 2017 album Tres Leches after the signature dessert served at beloved Park Avenue Cuban restaurant Kuba Kuba. A slice is even featured on the cover art!

Founded in 1998 by chef Manny Mendez, Kuba Kuba has become an iconic part of the Richmond food community, thanks to its welcoming bodega-like atmosphere, outstanding home-style Cuban dishes, and widely renowned take on the cake that earns its name — tres leches — from the three kinds of milk (evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and heavy cream) it typically incorporates. Kuba Kuba’s version is so exceptional it was featured on the Food Network, with the Ace of Cakes himself — Duff Goldman of Baltimore’s Charm City Cakes — singing its praises. The cake takes three days to make, but it’s certain to disappear from your plate much more quickly.

 

Didn’t see your favorite song about Virginia here or in Part 1? Share the title in the comments below so others can enjoy it!

The post Virginia in Song: Odes to the Old Dominion, Part 2 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Where to Get Some of the Best Barbecue in Virginia

 

If you haven’t already started a barbecue bucket list for your travels around Virginia, then you’re in luck; we’ve got a few suggestions for the best barbecue in Virginia, from the best-kept secrets to award-winning spots that you need to try. Add these 20+ barbecue destinations to your travel itineraries for a little extra flavor during upcoming Virginia visits.

 

Buz and Ned’s—Richmond

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Since 1992, Buz & Ned’s has been serving up their barbecue to their loyal fans in the capital city. After steadily growing in popularity, the restaurant gained national acclaim when owner Buz Grossberg appeared on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay” (which he won!), followed by “Man vs. Food”. The menu features BBQ pork, pulled BBQ chicken, beef brisket, smoked wings, and several different types of ribs, all smoked on-site with 100% hardwood. With a wide array of sides, appetizers, drinks, and desserts, Buz and Ned’s has an impressive southern style menu that will guarantee you don’t leave hungry.

 

Risin’ Smoke BBQ—South Hill

South Hill’s Risin’ Smoke BBQ cooks all their meat low and slow, using hickory wood to infuse flavor into their barbecue. Before smoking their pork shoulder, beef brisket, pork ribs, chicken, beef bologna, turkey, and other meats, they cover it in a thick layer of their homemade rub. Pick your meat and add a few sides to complete your meal, like the macaroni and cheese or the onion rings, both fan favorites. Try the barbecue with their three homemade sauces, a classic vinegar-based red sauce, the sweet sauce made with Hungry Hill Farms honey, or the habanero hot sauce. If you’ve got room, order one of the desserts, all made in-house by a mother/son duo. We recommend the cheesecakes, which come in a variety of flavors like cookies and cream, peanut butter chocolate chip, and cinnamon roll.

 

Checkered Pig Barbecue—Martinsville

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Checkered Pig Barbecue is well known by both locals and barbecue aficionados from all over the country. In addition to winning several notable awards for their ribs, barbecue, and sauces, this small town barbecue joint has been featured on both the Food Network and Destination America. Every day, the meats are pit cooked over real hardwood, infusing the barbecue with lots of flavor and tenderness. Checkered Pig is known for being affordable, fast, and delicious, making it an ideal pit stop for any road trip through southern Virginia.

 

The Bone BBQ—Gainesville

The incredible flavors that you’ll find at The Bone BBQ are not based on some secret recipe the family has been using for five generations. Instead, the owners of this barbecue restaurant depend on using quality ingredients to craft their fine barbecue. Every ingredient is carefully selected to reflect the restaurant’s high standards, from the Certified Angus Beef Brisket and fresh produce to the hickory logs used in the smoking process. You can’t go wrong with any of the barbecue offerings at the Bone BBQ, but the award-winning ribs are definitely worth a try.

 

Woody’s Beach Barbecue—Chincoteague

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Woody’s Beach Barbecue in Chincoteague is all about serving excellent barbecue in a casual beach environment. The barbecue options include traditional pulled pork, ribs, and smoked chicken, with sides like coleslaw, hand-cut French fries, baked beans, and onion rings. You can even combine your meat and sides by ordering your pulled pork topped with slaw and fries or onion rings. After dining at this beach-town barbecue stand, stay a while and play a few of the lawn games, or relax in the hammocks or Adirondack chairs for an authentic beach and barbecue experience.

 

Yummy Pig BBQ—Leesburg

YummyPig BBQ does it all when it comes to smoking, serving a wide range of meats including pork, chicken, brisket, ribs, rib tips, bratwursts, and chicken apple sausages. Add a healthy dose of their homemade sauces, such as the Sweet Bourbon, Tequila Mustard, Four-Pepper Vinegar, or Chipotle sauce. Start with one of their delicious appetizers, like the Pig Pen Nachos, made with crispy kettle chips layered with a cheesy mornay sauce, smoked pork and chicken, salsa, kale, slaw, an avocado-lime crema, and pico de gallo, for a filling but fantastic barbecue experience.

 

Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ Company—Culpeper

Westlake Legal Group Shawns-BBQ Where to Get Some of the Best Barbecue in Virginia Virginia restaurants Virginia food Travel Ideas Story Ideas Food Best Virginia restaurants

Dine at Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ Company to try some of the juiciest house-smoked meats in all of Virginia. In addition to their brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken and wings, ribs, and burnt ends, they concoct all of their sauces and sides in-house. If you find yourself envious of their smoking skills after your meal, you can sign up for Shawn’s BBQ School, a full day of hands-on barbecue training that teaches you everything you need to know to become a barbecue master.

 

Poke-E-Joe’s—Lynchburg

Pulled pork, beef brisket, Angus chopped beef brisket in “Q” sauce, and smoked turkey breast are all slow smoked over seasoned oak and hickory woods at Poke-E-Joe’s in Lynchburg. How slow? They spend anywhere from 12 to 16 hours cooking meats over low heats between 190 and 210 degrees. The spice rub used to season the meat ends up curing into a sealed crust over the meat, preserving the tenderness inside. The resulting meats are rich, smoky, and full of flavor.

 

The Apple House—Linden

Westlake Legal Group Apple-House-barbecue Where to Get Some of the Best Barbecue in Virginia Virginia restaurants Virginia food Travel Ideas Story Ideas Food Best Virginia restaurants

The Apple House in Linden is a family-run barbecue restaurant that has been a staple in the community for over 50 years. Specialties such as pulled pork barbeque, half-pound Bully burgers, and beef brisket are served with your choice of sides, including seven-bean baked beans, cornbread salad, coleslaw, and homemade candied jalapenos. Top your heaping of barbecue with a generous serving of the secret sauce, a slightly sweet vinegar-based recipe that pairs perfectly with the hickory-smoked meats. After the meal, stop into the restaurant’s gift shop to browse an extensive selection of Virginia-themed products and gifts.

 

Something Different—Urbanna

Westlake Legal Group something-different Where to Get Some of the Best Barbecue in Virginia Virginia restaurants Virginia food Travel Ideas Story Ideas Food Best Virginia restaurants

Ranked as the #1 Restaurant in Urbanna by Trip Advisor and featured in Southern Living’s Off the Eaten Path “Second Helpings” book, Something Different specializes in what they call “Fine Neanderthal Cuisine”. The restaurant uses their own unique blends of seasonings and rubs before pit smoking several types of meats, like pulled pork barbecue, Texas-style beef brisket, and tri tip, and finally serving them with homemade sauces for a mouthwatering finish. The down-South food is complemented by regular live local music, a full bar with creative cocktails and craft beers, and a boutique shop that sells everything from homemade pies and ice creams to freshly baked breads and roasted peanuts.

 

Bonefire Smokehouse—Abingdon

Located on Main Street in Historic Downtown Abingdon, The Bonefire Smokehouse specializes in ribs, barbeque, and southern cuisine. While the restaurant is passionate about their barbecue, they are also dedicated to preserving the music of Southwest Virginia, hosting performances from regional and national musicians every Thursday through Sunday. The smoked meats at Bonefire Smokehouse are a purists’ dream, with no sauces added to the barbecue before they reach your plate. But if you’re a barbecue aficionado who doesn’t mind a little (or a lot of) sauce, they provide a handful of original recipe sauces for you to top your barbecue at the table. In 2016, the restaurant was named the regional winner of the Best BBQ by Virginia Living Magazine, and they were also awarded “Best Ribs in America” by the Regis and Kelly Show in 2009.

 

 

More of the best barbecue spots in Virginia:

 

 

Looking for even more places that smoke incredible barbecue? Check out these previous articles for Virginia barbecue fans and share your favorite places with us in the comments below!

13 Virginia Restaurants that Serve Up Unbeatable Barbecue

18 Virginia BBQ Joints You’re Going to LOVE

 

 

 

The post Where to Get Some of the Best Barbecue in Virginia appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hip Hop in Hampton Roads: An Introduction

Westlake Legal Group HR05072401V_02 Hip Hop in Hampton Roads: An Introduction Virginia music Virginia history Story Ideas Music History Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads

Hip hop is huge in Hampton Roads. How huge? Chart-topping hits. Some of the most legendary producers the genre has ever known. And don’t forget the world’s largest reinforced thin-shell concrete dome. Since the 1990’s, the region has had a hand in making some of the most successful hip hop, rap, and pop music made anywhere. Given the success of artists like Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Pharrell Williams, it’s safe to say that just about any minute of any day, someone around the world is listening to a song crafted by a native son or daughter of Hampton Roads.

The tradition is so significant that William & Mary University recently founded a section of their library’s special collections solely devoted to the area’s musical tradition — billed as “the most comprehensive of its kind dedicated to Virginia’s hip hop culture and history from the 1980s to the present.”

Read on for an introduction to hip hop in Hampton Roads, as well as a few places you can go to experience the music culture for yourself.

 

Missy Elliott—Portsmouth

Born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Melissa Arnette Elliott, better known as Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott, ranks among the most successful and illustrious stars of the hip hop and R&B landscape. Elliott graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1990, concurrently founding R&B group Fayze (later called Sista) with two childhood friends and starting a musical partnership with neighborhood friend Timothy Mosley (you know him as Timbaland) that continues to this day. After moving to New York City and joining forces with the Swing Mob, a community of artists assembled by Jodeci member and producer DeVante Swing, Elliott and Timbaland broke through as a songwriting and producing duo, working with Aaliyah on her legendary 1996 album One in a Million. Elliot’s star rose even further as she embarked on a solo career that included a platinum-selling debut in Supa Dupa Fly and countless hits thereafter. She may not have a physical monument to her contributions yet, but given the enthusiastic support for a recent online petition, a statue might not be too far off.

 

Timbaland—Norfolk

Born Timothy Mosley, the hit-making producer you know as Timbaland was born in Norfolk and graduated from Salem High School in Virginia Beach. As early as high school, Timbaland was working alongside noted rapping collaborator Melvin (Magoo) Barcliff and future superstar Pharrell Williams, and along with Missy Elliott, he joined Jodeci member DeVante Swing’s New York City-based Swing Mob in the early 1990’s. His continued partnership with Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott made for some of the greatest songs in the hip hop and R&B canon, including “If Your Girl Only Knew,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” and “Get Ur Freak On,” and his extensive list of producing credits reads like a best-of list of popular music from the turn of the millennium on: Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Justin Timberlake. He’s won multiple Grammys, most recently for helping to write “Drunk in Love,” a standout track from Beyoncé’s self-titled masterpiece. And he hasn’t forgotten his origins — he has a record of giving back to his high school, including surprise visits and grant money for technology.

 

Norfolk Scope Arena—Norfolk

Westlake Legal Group Norfolk-Scope-Arena Hip Hop in Hampton Roads: An Introduction Virginia music Virginia history Story Ideas Music History Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads

Scope — officially known as the Norfolk Scope Arena — has been a defining feature of the city’s downtown since it was built in 1971. (It actually ranks as the world’s largest reinforced thin-shell concrete dome.) Scope has set the stage for some of the city’s biggest and most memorable hip hop moments. Did you know that Public Enemy headlined a 1990 show there, playing alongside Heavy D. & The Boyz, Digital Underground, Kid ‘N Play and Chill Rob G? Organizers asked Public Enemy to skip “Fight the Power” fearing upheaval, yet the group both opened and closed their set with the classic anthem. The venue still books some of the biggest names in hip hop and R&B with Janet Jackson stopping by in late 2017 on her “State of the World” tour.

 

American Oldies Records—Newport News

Located in Newport News’ Denbigh shopping center, American Oldies Records is a favorite spot for vinyl enthusiasts, including those crate diggers who are looking to find just the right drum break to use in their next beat. The store’s history goes all the way back to the 1970s, when the space was named Memory Lane Records. It became American Oldies in 1982, and while it does sell some new vinyl alongside CDs, the focus is on used vinyl, and the store is known in the region for offering an especially large used selection — perfect if you’re looking for an obscure record no other DJ has sampled from. And it’s a great place to celebrate Record Store Day, when special, limited-run releases of all genres hit the shelves. The early bird gets the RSD exclusive vinyl!

 

Shaka’s Live—Virginia Beach

Westlake Legal Group Shakas-Live Hip Hop in Hampton Roads: An Introduction Virginia music Virginia history Story Ideas Music History Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads

Located on Atlantic Avenue, just across the street from waves breaking, right in the heart of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront, you’ll find Shaka’s Live. The venue offers visitors and veterans of the scene alike a gathering place for local and national shows, with everything form Americana acts and David Bowie tribute tunes to trap and Talib Kweli. Longtime attendees might remember that Slick Rick — Rick the Ruler himself — performed iconic track “La Di Da Di” there in 2011, and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan was there as recently as 2017. Shaka’s also hosts resident DJs spinning crowd pleasing hits each Friday and Saturday night, with music starting at 10:30 p.m., VIP options and on-site parking.

 

Pharrell Williams—Virginia Beach

The Neptunes. N.E.R.D. The Voice. “Happy.” There are so many reasons Pharrell Williams could be part of your musical orbit, from his distinctive falsetto singing to his Grammy-winning producing career, and it all started during his time growing up in Virginia Beach. He graduated from Princess Anne High School, but as early as middle school, he was collaborating with fellow Neptunes creative force Chad Hugo, whom Williams met in band class. The duo was discovered at a talent show by legendary Michael Jackson producer Teddy Riley, and the Neptunes continue to hold a vaunted place in the history of hip hop production, having helped to create massively successful tracks with Britney Spears, Nelly, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Robin Thicke… the list goes on. Especially revered in the region is “Grindin,’” a track the Neptunes produced for beloved Virginia Beach rap duo The Clipse. Among Williams’ many awards and honors? A key to the city of Virginia Beach, presented by mayor Will Sessoms in 2014.

 

Clipse—Virginia Beach

Though they were born in the Bronx, brothers Gene “No Malice” Thornton and Terrence “Pusha T” Thornton moved with their family to Virginia Beach when they were young — when No Malice and Pusha T were seven and two respectively. In 1992, they formed Clipse and soon began a partnership with Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of the Neptunes, frequently visiting Hugo’s house, where a home studio was set up in the attic. After a record deal with Elektra didn’t work out (debut album Exclusive Audio Footage was shelved), the duo signed to Arista Records and released Lord Willin’ in 2002, placing Clipse at the top spot on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop chart. Their follow-up, Hell Hath No Fury, was successful as well, widely considered to be one of the best albums of 2006 — and one of the true masterpieces of the genre.

 

Commonwealth—Virginia Beach

Commonwealth, the renowned specialty boutique with a motto of “for the greater good,” has its roots in Norfolk, though its current location in the state can be found in Virginia Beach as part of Lynnhaven Mall. The purveyor of fine streetwear has opened stores in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles — not to mention Manila, the capital of the Philippines — spreading a crucial element of Hampton Roads’ influence around the world, showcasing some of the foremost artists, designers, and photographers in hip hop culture via in-store displays, events, and exhibitions. Accolades include placements on lists like Detail magazine’s “Best Stores in America,” GQ magazine’s “Top 100 Stores” men should shop at, and Complex magazine’s Buyers Guide “Coolest 25 Stores.”

 

The Norva—Norfolk

Westlake Legal Group The-Norva Hip Hop in Hampton Roads: An Introduction Virginia music Virginia history Story Ideas Music History Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads

Since 2000, the Norva has been bringing exceptional live music to downtown Norfolk, ideally situated on Monticello Avenue across from the MacArthur Center mall. The Norva hosts some of the hottest names in hip hop, with a 2017 schedule that included an appearance by Big Boi of OutKast, and 2018 performances by YoungBoy Never Broke Again, BIG K.R.I.T., Ty Dolla $ign, YFN Lucci and Tech N9ne. Want early access to the venue on the night of the show? Be sure to check out the “Get in Early” program, which allows concertgoers to find a place 15 minutes before the doors open after eating at the attached FM Restaurant (reservations required).

 

Nottz—Norfolk

Hailing from Norfolk, Dominick J. Lamb — commonly known as Nottz — commands tremendous respect for his classic beat-making style and extensive production discography, not to mention his skills as an MC. His first placement came in the late 1990’s, on an album called Lyricists Lounge Vol. 1, and his subsequent credits include work with the Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Rah Digga, Swizz Beatz, Method Man, and The Game, among others. He landed three tracks on Busta Rhymes’ E.L.E. (Extinction Level Event): The Final World Front, including an absolute classic in “Everybody Rise,” which fittingly shouts out the Virginia hip hop community. Nottz came from a musical family, with a father and three brothers who were all involved in DJing and making beats, and he’s stayed true to his love of old records, exhibiting a consistency via is sample-based approach.

 

 

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Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox

 

 

The work culture in America is getting out of hand, with a total of 662 million paid vacation days going unused in 2016. We are effectively turning into the worst kind of work martyrs, sacrificing our own well-being (and let’s face it, sanity) to seem like more productive employees. However, the tide may finally be turning!

The latest Project Time Off survey performed in 2017 shows that American employees are using more vacation days, trending in a positive direction for the first time in 15 years. We like to think that our monthly treks around Virginia have something to do with those results, but don’t let this good news fool you; you still need to make an effort to plan and implement your paid vacation days.

 

We’ve heard all the excuses for wasting paid vacation days, and we are here to tell you that they are 100% wrong. Here are the real facts:

Common Excuse: “My boss will think I’m lazy”

Actually, the opposite is true. Employers typically notice that their employees come back well-rested and ready to work, leading to better overall performance. What does that mean for you? A potential raise in your future!

Common Excuse: “No one else can do my job.”

If that’s the case, then how can you ever expect to use your PTO? Plan ahead to ensure that your coworkers and your boss understand that you will be in vacation mode and you won’t be answering emails.

Common Excuse: “I’ll return to a pile of work that I won’t be able to catch up on.”

You know what happens when you take a Friday off? You allow that workplace burn-out to fade, and return on Monday as a more productive worker. Try it out…you’ll notice that when you Crush a Friday in Virginia, you’ll crush that stack of work on your desk Monday, no problem.

Westlake Legal Group farmville-mural Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

So now that we are done with the excuses, let’s move on to this month’s solution; hit the road to Farmville and Appomattox, located about an hour and 1.5 hours from Richmond, respectively. Follow the detailed itinerary that our Virginia is for Lovers team traveled for an easy (and of course super fun!) three-day getaway to this charming region in Central Virginia.

 

—TRIP PLANNING OVERVIEW—

Stay at: Weyanoke Hotel, starting at $149 per night

Westlake Legal Group weyanoke2 Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Recently opened across from the Longwood University campus in downtown Farmville, the Weyanoke Hotel is within walking distance of much of the Crush Friday Farmville itinerary. The rooms are upscale and spacious, and many even have their own private balconies with patio furniture. Luxuriously comfortable bath robes, massive walk-in showers, and plush mattresses made exclusively for the Weyanoke are just a few of the small touches that make the hotel an excellent choice for guests staying in Farmville. Additionally, there is a coffee shop, rooftop bar, and two on-site restaurants all located within the hotel. The staff are helpful and friendly, and go above and beyond to make certain that every guest is having the best stay possible.

If you’re looking for an outdoor-focused overnight option, consider staying at the Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort for at least one of the nights during your stay. They have a cottage and log cabins available that range from $119 per night to $249 and sleep anywhere from one to eight people, but we recommend checking out the luxury tipis. These unique glamping accommodations look fairly simplistic (albeit large) from the outside, but as soon as you walk through the door, it is safe to say your expectations will be shattered. The tipis each have a different setup, holding up to six people in the largest glamping tipi, and range in price from $169 to $239 per night. Inside, you’ll find separate bedrooms, full bathrooms with showers, kitchens, and even living room areas complete with TVs and couches. While you’ll have a campfire area right outside your tipi, you’re definitely not “roughing it” when staying at these swanky structures.

Suggested Prior Reservations: Lodging at both Weyanoke Hotel and Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort, Sandy River Adventure Park

 

—FRIDAY—

Westlake Legal Group appomattox-visitor-center Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Head into downtown Appomattox early Friday morning (around 9am if possible. Noon is not early, people). We stopped by the Appomattox Visitor’s Center to get some information on the sites we were planning to see in the area, and then headed across the street to Baine’s Books and Coffee at the recommendation of a Visitor’s Center employee.

Westlake Legal Group baines Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

A quaint but cute spot on Appomattox’s Main Street, you could spend hours flipping through vintage records, perusing their selection of used books, and just generally soaking in the relaxed atmosphere of the coffee shop. However, bear in mind that you have a pretty full morning, so unless you manage to come the night before (and stay at the Appomattox Inn and Suites just down the road), order an extra-caffeinated beverage, walk through the magnificent shop for a few souvenirs, and be on your way.

Westlake Legal Group Appomattox-court-house Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Get back on the road and travel to Appomattox Court House and National Historical Park, where you’ll count license plates from a variety of states in the parking lot. During our visit, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Maine, and Iowa were just a few of the plates in attendance. This tranquil park contains the village where Confederate General Robert E. Lee met with Union General Ulysses S. Grant to discuss terms of surrender, eventually leading to the end of the American Civil War. Start your tour with a short video on the history of the property and the significance of the surrender that occurred on the grounds. After finishing the video, chat with the Visitor’s Center staff to see what special exhibits are available, such as living history experts that tell the stories of local figures from 1865. Stop to hear their stories if these actors are around, as their attention to detail make the iconic history of the park come alive. Finally, take a tour of the McLean House, where the Generals sat together and finalized the terms of surrender from the Confederate Army.

Westlake Legal Group civil-war-museum Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

The next destination on our itinerary is the American Civil War Museum, where General Lee’s sword and uniform are on display. While major figures like Lee are discussed, the museum also shares the history of the average soldiers, telling individual stories and their ultimate fates. Some are soberly heartbreaking, such as a torn uniform on display next to a picture of the soldier, complete with the bullet that ended his life. With these painstakingly detained stories in front of you, it is easy to imagine the turmoil and hardships that both sides faced during the Civil War. Before leaving, drop by the gift shop to browse locally made pottery, Civil War reproduction items, and books that cover every aspect of the war, from true historic accounts to late 19th century cookbooks.

Westlake Legal Group babcock-house Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Drive back into town for lunch at the Babcock House, a charming bed and breakfast and restaurant that utilizes local, seasonal ingredients to craft fresh Southern fare. Delicious and hearty offerings such as the Shrimp N’ Grits, cornmeal-fried catfish, and a wide array of sandwiches and salads make it hard to choose, but be sure to leave room for dessert, as their sweets are overwhelmingly praised by the local residents.

Westlake Legal Group sandy-river-adventure-course Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

After lunch, get back on the road towards Farmville and head to Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Zipline Park. The course takes up to three hours to complete, and will definitely work off any extra calories from your lunch, so be prepared to expend some energy on the course. When you arrive, staff will explain the course and walk you through the gear that you will need for your climb. Once you’ve mastered your harness and safety equipment, it’s time to take to the trees. The park offers several different courses for you to explore, each made up of different obstacles and zip line sections and ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert. Test your skills on the varying courses, but don’t miss out on the thrill of the longest zip line, which runs above an expansive meadow and moves at surprisingly swift speeds.

Westlake Legal Group weyanoke3 Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Make your way into downtown Farmville and check into the Weyanoke Hotel. Take a few minutes to admire your spacious, beautifully decorated room and even lounge around in the comfy bathrobe for a bit. Open the balcony doors and enjoy the view from your private patio. Check out the massive walk-in showers…you’ll never want to leave your ultra-lux room, but you still have a few more activities left in the day, so soak it all in before heading out again.

A few miles up the road, the Robert Russa Moton Museum is an iconic site for Civil Rights history buffs. This preserved schoolhouse holds exhibits that tell the story of the Prince Edward County school district and how a few brave African American students stood up for their right to a quality education. Many of these students would become plaintiffs in the historic Brown vs. Education case that would lead to the integration of American school systems. Walk through the museum to learn about the conditions that the students faced and the hardships they would endure before emerging as the victors in a long and difficult struggle.

Westlake Legal Group effinghams Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Finish your Friday with dinner at Effingham’s inside the Weyanoke Hotel lobby. The restaurant specializes in coal-fired pizzas made to order. Stick with one of the specialty pizzas on the menu, or build your own from their unique list of toppings, including foraged mushrooms, Brussel sprouts, Surryano ham, and chili oil. Pair your meal with a glass of the House Sangria or a refreshing Ballad’s craft beer from the draft list.

 

 

—SATURDAY—

To start off Day 2 of your Farmville adventures, rent a bike from The Outdoor Adventure Shop located at the downtown trailhead of High Bridge Trail State Park. Owned by the same couple that runs Sandy River Adventure Park, the shop rents bicycles and sells all sorts of outdoor gear, from rock climbing accessories to lightweight hammocks and clothing from some of the most popular outdoor brands.

Westlake Legal Group lovework2 Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Before hitting the trail, snap a picture in front of the LOVEwork right across the street from the shop. Made from wooden beams previously used in the railroad that was removed to create High Bridge Trail, the massive LOVEwork sets the scene for a great Instagram pic.

Westlake Legal Group high-bridge Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

While the High Bridge Trail runs for about 31 miles, it is only a 4.5 mile bike to the most scenic part of the trail, the bridge for which the trail is named. Towering 125 feet above the Appomattox River, the nearly half-mile long bridge affords stunning views of the countryside surrounding the trail.

Westlake Legal Group kayak-lovework Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

After returning to downtown Farmville, walk across the bridge to Appomattox River Company, the largest kayak and canoe outfitter on the East Coast. Whether you’re in the market to buy new paddling equipment or just browse their selection of over 3,000 kayaks, this is the place to go to learn more about outdoor water sports. Take a photo of Farmville’s second LOVEwork before leaving; on the outer wall of the shop, this creative LOVEwork is made from used kayaks.

Westlake Legal Group uptown-coffee-cafe Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

If you’ve worked up an appetite, walk back into downtown and stop by Uptown Coffee Café for lunch. The small-town restaurant serves up huge sandwiches and salads that will tide you over until dinner. Check out their selection of bottled sodas and made-to-order smoothies, and top off your meal with a few scoops of ice cream or a freshly-baked cronut, a sweet croissant/donut creation cooked in-house daily.

Westlake Legal Group green-front Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Do a little shopping at a few of the local antique shops along Main Street in Farmville’s Historic District. The largest and most impressive of these is Green Front Furniture Company. Housed within 16 shops and warehouses in downtown Farmville, the furniture company has something for every taste and budget. Love modern furniture? There are several buildings devoted to just that style. You’ll find eclectic accents, Oriental rugs in all sizes, and handsomely handcrafted furniture sets as you tour the different stores. And with the Green Front stores totaling almost 1 million square feet, you’ll work off your lunch in no time. Snag a map before exploring the shops and find furniture within your price point. We found 4×6 Oriental rugs for less than $100, handwoven throw pillows made in Turkey starting around $30, and many other great deals that were unexpected at such a fashionable furniture shop, but you can definitely find warehouses filled with the more pricey items if that’s in your budget. Even if you aren’t looking to buy, the staff at Green Front are helpful without hovering, giving you space to browse without pressuring you to purchase.

Westlake Legal Group virginia-tasting-cellar Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Wrap up your shopping and walk behind Green Front’s Building 7 to visit The Virginia Tasting Cellar. For just $12, this Virginia-only wine tasting bar lets you try any ten wines. They work with Virginia wineries to serve their products at one of the twelve tasting bar stations, pouring over 40 wines from these wineries at any given time. After sampling your chosen wines, pick your favorite for a full pour and wander out to the gorgeous outdoor patio, an open deck space that overlooks the Appomattox River.

Westlake Legal Group third-street-brewing Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Around the corner from the Virginia Tasting Cellar is Third Street Brewing, Farmville’s first craft brewery. On most Saturday evenings, the brewery hosts local musical acts and food trucks, providing entertainment and snacks while you try a flight of the latest craft beer offerings. If the weather allows, order a pint and take a seat in the outdoor patio space.

After your brews, have dinner at the Weyanoke Hotel’s upscale Italian restaurant, Campagna. Full disclosure, it was not yet open during our visit as the hotel had just reopened a week prior, but if the other dining options at the Weyanoke are any indication, Campagna is sure to be one of the best restaurants in town.

Westlake Legal Group catbird Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Finish the evening with a nightcap at Catbird, the Weyanoke’s rooftop bar. We managed to catch a sunset before anyone else had arrived, and the memorable moment was the perfect way to end our second night in Farmville.

Westlake Legal Group sandy-river-tipis-2 Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Stay another night at the Weyanoke, or if you have a clear evening, consider booking one of the luxury glamping tipis at Sandy River Outdoor Adventure Resort, where you can light a campfire and sit out under a bright expanse of stars free from city lights before bed.

 

 

—SUNDAY—

Westlake Legal Group sassafras2 Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Sleep in a bit on Sunday before getting breakfast at Sassafras Coffee Bar inside the Weyanoke. In addition to specialty coffees and teas, the hotel bistro bakes fresh breakfast treats, including some truly tasty cinnamon rolls.

Westlake Legal Group longwood Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Grab a quick bite before strolling across the street to check out the Longwood University campus. Although right in the downtown area of Farmville, the campus is quiet and charming, with plenty of lush green landscapes encompassing the classic architecture of the college buildings.

A few miles outside of Farmville, Hampden-Sydney College is an all-male private college with another beautiful campus worth seeing. Walk the school’s idyllic property or just take a quick drive through the campus to get a peek at the pastoral grounds.

Westlake Legal Group fishin-pig Crush Friday: Your Mini-Vacation Guide to Farmville & Appomattox Travel Ideas Story Ideas Destinations Crush Friday Central Virginia

Before wrapping up your three-day getaway, stop at The Fishin’ Pig right outside of Hampden-Sydney’s campus for lunch. Known for their smoked meats, the restaurant is a must for any fans of Virginia barbecue. Top with their homemade barbecue sauces and add a few of their Southern-style sides for a fantastic last meal in Farmville, at least for this trip.

 

Keep an eye out for the next Crush Friday trip, where we’ll ditch work on a Friday and spend a three-day exploring the Great Outdoors around Roanoke!

 

Previous Crush Friday Virginia Destinations: 

 

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Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in June 2018

Westlake Legal Group BR15090809V_012 Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in June 2018 Virginia music Virginia Festivals Travel Ideas Summer Story Ideas Music   Festival season is in full wing and throughout June, many big name musicians will be coming to Virginia. From major country acts to the biggest names in rock and pop, catch your favorite artists and discover new ones all over the Commonwealth.

 

—Virginia Music Festivals—

Richmond’s summer concert series, Friday Cheers, brings some of the nation’s hottest touring acts, along with some regional favorites to Brown’s Island every Friday night in June. Thousands of people will come to relax after the work week to meet friends and hear music from Tyler Childers (June 1), Rhiannon Giddens (June 8), Parquet Courts (June 15), Knower (June 22), and Turnpike Troubadours (June 29).

Over in Abingdon, the Howling Craft Beer and Music Festival will take place June 1-3 at Wolf Hills Brewing Company. Catch Southern Culture on the Skids, Annabelle’s Curse, If Birds Could Fly, Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, and more. The Thursday Jams concert series in Abingdon will feature music from The Steel Wheels (June 7), Cris Jacobs (June 14), Heather Gills Band (June 21), and Acoustic Syndicate (June 28).

Westlake Legal Group Patriotic-Festival Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in June 2018 Virginia music Virginia Festivals Travel Ideas Summer Story Ideas Music

The Virginia Beach Patriotic Festival celebrates the military at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront June 1-3 and features performances from Brett Eldredge, Brantley Gilbert, and Cole Swindell.

On June 7-9, it’s three days of beach music with on-site camping for the Hot Fun in the Summertime Beach Festival in Stuart, Virginia.

HoustonFest in Galax is June 8-9 and features the bluegrass music of The Church Sisters, Flatt Lonesome, HogSlop String Band, and many more.

Good Charlotte, Gin Blossoms, and Sugar Ray will headline Celebrate Fairfax!, Northern Virginia’s largest community-wide celebration, on June 8-10 at the Fairfax County Government Center.

Taking place June 9-17, the Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an annual nine-day, region-wide celebration of the communities in Southwest Virginia from the traditional music to the many cultural and natural assets. The event includes Crooked Road marquee concerts in over 20 communities and many dozens of cultural events throughout the region.

The Columbia Pike Blues Festival returns to Arlington on June 16 with live music from Three Man Soul Machine, Caz Gardiner, King Soul Band, Niki Hill, and Don Bryant.

Bruce Hornsby hosts Funhouse Fest in Williamsburg June 22-23 along with performances from Alison Krauss, Amos Lee, the Wood Brothers, and Deva Mahal.

The Hampton Jazz Festival will be June 22-24 at the Hampton Coliseum with performances from Charlie Wilson, Maze, Boyz II Men, Kenny G, Xscap3, and many more.

The Chesapeake Bay Reggae Festival takes place June 30 and July 1 in Mill Point Park in Hampton featuring regional reggae artists performing.

 

—Over at Virginia’s Live Music Venues—

The National in Richmond will be bringing a number of big name artists throughout the month. The venue will be hosting Dirty Heads (June 1), Cold War Kids (June 14), American Aquarium (June 16), and more.

Elsewhere in Richmond, Jason Mraz will be hosting SPARC’s LIVE ART at the Altria Theater on June 11. 200 SPARC students will join Mraz artists Josh Groban, Sara Bareilles, Michael McDonald, Rayvon Owen, René Marie, and more. Trey Songz, Brandy, Trina, and more will perform at the Classic Amphitheater at Richmond Raceway Complex on June 9 and Robert Plant will perform there on June 10.

Just outside Richmond, the Innsbrook After Hours concert series at the Servpro Pavilion in Glen Allen will host X Ambassadors (June 8), Hank Williams Jr. (June 9), XL102 Big Field Day with AWOLNATION, Dashboard Confessional, Manchester Orchestra, J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Moon Taxi (June 23), and Ludacris (June 30).

Westlake Legal Group BR14082101V_161 Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in June 2018 Virginia music Virginia Festivals Travel Ideas Summer Story Ideas Music

In Charlottesville, the Paramount Theater will be hosting Smokey Robinson on June 3. Sprint Pavilion will host Blackberry Smoke and JJ Grey & Mofro on June 16 and Alison Krauss on June 21.

The NorVa in Norfolk will be hosting acts like Houndmouth (June 15), Badfish – A Tribute to Sublime (June 21), Bad Wolves (June 22), and more.

The Portsmouth Pavilion in Portsmouth will have performances from Blackberry Smoke and JJ Grey & Mofro (June 15) and Rebelution (June 30).

The Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach brings in Slayer on June 12, Kenny Chesney on June 14, and Rascal Flatts on June 28.

Over in Rocky Mount at the Harvester Performance Center will be hosting a number of shows including the Bacon Brothers (June 1), Pure Prairie League (June 8), American Aquarium (June 14), and may more.

The Black Jacket Symphony will perform thew music of the Eagles at the Berglund Center in Roanoke on June 16. Jamey Johnson will be at the Salem Civic Center on June 22.

The Blue Ridge Summer Concert Series at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax will host Bill and the Belles and Dori Freeman on June 2, Sierra Hull and ShadowGrass on June 23, and The Kruger Brothers and Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones on June 30.

At Wolf Trap Center for Performing Arts in Vienna, shows will include John Prine and Margo Price (June 1), Jake Owen (June 3), Nile Rodgers & CHIC and Chaka Khan (June 5), Alison Krauss (June 6), Fitz and the Tantrums and X Ambassadors (June 7), Barry Manilow (June 8), Roger Daltrey (June 10 & 12), Harry Connick Jr. (June 14), Steven Tyler and the Loving Mary Band (June 21), Dr. Dog and Manchester Orchestra (June 22), Tony Bennett (June 23), Charlie Wilson (June 24) and Bruce Hornsby (June 29).

Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow will host a number of shows including Top Dawg Entertainment: The Championship Tour featuring Kendrick Lamar, SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Ab Soul, SiR, and Lance Skiiiwalker on June 1, Def Leppard on June 8, Dave Matthews Band on June 9, Slayer on June 10, Kenny Chesney on June 15, Poison and Cheap Trick on June 17, Thirty Seconds to Mars on June 26, Foreigner on June 29, and Rascal Flatts on June 30.

Shows at Alexandria music hall The Birchmere include Three Dog Night on June 10, Matthew Sweet on June 13, Gordon Lightfoot on June 18, Robert Earl Keen on June 19, and many more.

 

For more big names coming to Virginia this month, go to virginia.org/music. At a Virginia concert this month? Share your photos with @VisitVirginia on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags #vamusic and #vaisformusiclovers.

The post Big Concerts Coming to Virginia in June 2018 appeared first on Virginia’s Travel Blog.

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Delicious Foodie Events at Virginia’s Theme Parks

 

Virginia’s two largest theme parks, Kings Dominion and Busch Gardens Williamsburg, are hosting food festivals that welcome visitors to try the most incredible flavors from Virginia and around the world. Snag your tickets to these upcoming events to get your fill of exceptional culinary creations.

 

Taste of Virginia at Kings Dominion—Doswell

Westlake Legal Group IMG_3231 Delicious Foodie Events at Virginia’s Theme Parks Wine Virginia food Virginia Festivals Travel Ideas Theme Parks Story Ideas Food Festivals Culinary Craft Beer Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads Central Virginia

When: Friday through Sunday, May 18 – May 20, 2018

The culinary team of Kings Dominion cooks up recipes inspired by the regions of Virginia, from the coastal seafood flavors to the fresh produce from the Shenandoah Valley, during the Taste of Virginia festival. The festival also features Virginia spirits, craft beers, and wines, as well as live local entertainment and music. If you’re feeling brave, be sure to ride Kings Dominion’s newest coaster, Twisted Timbers, during your visit to the park. Taste of Virginia is included with the price of park admission, while the food and drinks are an additional cost. Purchase a Wine or Food Tasting Card for $25 to get six wine or food samples from any Taste of Virginia location within the park.

 

Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival—Williamsburg

Westlake Legal Group Busch-Gardens-041430413 Delicious Foodie Events at Virginia’s Theme Parks Wine Virginia food Virginia Festivals Travel Ideas Theme Parks Story Ideas Food Festivals Culinary Craft Beer Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads Central Virginia

When: Every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday, May 25 – July 1, 2018

The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival features over 60 specialty food dishes, 30 wines, 25 craft beers, and 20 cocktails for guests to sample. The dishes represent regions all around the world, including India, Germany, Japan, France, and of course, Virginia, showcasing local flavors with dishes using Smithfield Ham, Apple Pie Moonshine, and more. Special entertainment such as chef demonstrations and beverage tastings occur throughout the festival and Hunter Hayes, Scotty McCreery, and other big name headliners take the stage on Saturday evenings for live concerts. Individual sampling portions and wine tastings are available for purchase, or you can save up to 45% by purchasing the $62 Food & Beverage Sampler, which allows you to pick 15 items from over 60 entrees and desserts along with more than 30 alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks, or choose 10 items for just $49.

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52 Places Pairing Virginia Wine, Cheese & Charcuterie

 

If you missed Virginia Vineyard Month in April, we have another reason to get outside and sip in exultation as the green landscapes continue to bloom. We’ve compiled a pro-list of wineries, restaurants and shops offering the best of Virginia Wine paired with mouthwatering cheese and charcuterie plates. If we missed one of your favorite spots offering this epicurean combo, let us know in the comments below!

– CENTRAL VIRGINIA –

Barboursville Vineyards – Gordonsville

Barboursville Vineyards, Virginia’s oldest vineyard established in 1976, is Italian-owned and operated by only two winemakers since its inception. Not-surprisingly Palladio, the onsite restaurant, will make you feel like you’ve stepped right into Tuscany with their Italian labeled dishes that deliver on every promise.

Try the Piatto Di Salumi e Pate’ Nostrani – selection of house made charcuterie, house cured sausages, pâtés & condiments.

View the full menu here.

Early Mountain Vineyards – Madison

Early Mountain proudly pairs its wines with the best seasonal produce from local farms, artisanal cheeses from craft cheese mongers and charcuterie made in-house. They also offer an ever-changing “Best of Virginia” selection of wines allowing guests to sample the finest wines from all over the state. Try these menu items:

  • Artisanal Cheese Board – cheeses, creamed honey, seasonal mostarda, marcona almonds
  • Artisanal Charcuterie Board – cured meats, spicy mustard, housemade pickles

View the full menu here.

Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards – Albemarle

The tasting room at Pippin Hill features artisan cuisine that complements their wine and reflects their vineyard-to-table philosophy. As part of the Wine Pairing menu you’ll find their wines paired with seasonally inspired dishes, highlighting the freshest ingredients from local farms and their very own Kitchen Garden. Try these menu items:

  • Charcuterie – three local & international cured meats, marinated olives, arugula pesto. Pairs with Cannon Red or Rosé.
  • The PHF Board – chef’s choice of two cheeses, two cured meats, traditional accoutrements. Pairs with Sauvignon Blanc or Merlot Reserve.

View the Wine Pairing Menu here.

Union Market – Richmond

Union Market is a neighborhood staple in Union Hill, next to Church Hill, offering fresh locally baked bread, a seasonal menu of salads and sandwiches, and a grocery packed with local fare and brews. Create your own charcuterie board from their chalkboard list of meats and cheeses then grab a bottle of Virginia wine to enjoy on the string lit outdoor patio when the weather warms up.

View the full menu here.

More nearby Restaurants, Shops & Wineries:

– COASTAL VIRGINIA, CHESAPEAKE BAY & THE EASTERN SHORE –

Upper Shirley Vineyards – Charles City

Experience the magic of Upper Shirley Vineyards, a one-of-a-kind estate, winery, restaurant and wedding venue perched above one of the most scenic bends on the James River. The Winery is 30 minutes from downtown Richmond and 35 minutes from Williamsburg, located just off Route 5 and the Capital Bike Trail. The estate boasts history and scenic beauty on an epic scale and with an abundance of culinary riches—bottomland produce, fresh-caught seafood—and world-class wines made from their own estate-grown grapes. Try these menu items:

  • Vineyard Board – Selection of Artisan Salami & Meats Manchego De La Mancha, House-made Pimento Cheese, House-made Conserva, Creole Mustard, Pickled Vegetables & Baguette
  • Cheeses From Here & There – Three Virginia & International Cheeses Paired with AR’s Southern Hot Honey, Fruits, Nuts & House-Made Crackers

View the full menu here.

Mermaid Winery – Norfolk & Virginia Beach

Mermaid Winery is Virginia’s first urban winery located in the charming Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk with a second location in Virginia Beach. You’ll find many familiar wines as well as Virginia varietals at the tasting bar where you can also view their winemaking process. Try the Cheese & Charcuterie Board – choose three or four from a list of meats and cheeses.

View the full menu here.

The Cheese Shop – Williamsburg

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A post shared by gracie (@gthreepio) on Apr 1, 2017 at 2:12pm PDT

Since 1971, The Cheese Shop has been promoting great cheese from all over the world. Belly-up to the cheese counter and sample your way to a perfect selection of cheeses. Their expert staff will help craft a platter for you to enjoy on their front patio or to take home for snacking or entertaining. You’ll find Virginia cheese from Caramont Farm, Goats R Us, Lovers Retreat Dairy, and Meadow Creek Dairy.

With their extensive selection of cheeses, there’s also no shortage of wine and accoutrements for pairing.

Eat: An American Bistro – Virginia Beach

Eat: An American Bistro is an eclectic restaurant with creative renditions of seafood, steaks, burgers & vegetarian fare. Grab a cocktail or craft beer on the outdoor patio located just off the boardwalk in Virginia Beach. Try these items on the menu:

  • Artisan Cheeses – handcrafted cheeses, house-made pickles, truffle acacia honey, everything crackers
  • Deluxe Charcuterie – house-made assorted fresh and dry cured meats, grain mustard, pickles, hand selected cheeses

View the full menu here.

More nearby Restaurants, Shops & Wineries:

– SOUTHWEST & SOUTHERN VIRGINIA –

The River & Rail – Roanoke

The River & Rail serves up rustic and regional cuisine with many items made from scratch, like house-cured meats, house-made condiments and pickled vegetables. The wine list features Virginia favorites from Chrysalis Vineyards, Veritas Vineyards, Blenheim Vineyards, and Michael Shaps. Try these menu items:

  • Farmstead Cheese selection – three Cheeses, rye crackers, and accoutrements
  • Salumi Board – bourbon mustard, house pickles, and grilled bread

View the full menu here.

Chateau Morrissette – Floyd

Chateau Morrissette Winery is perched right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County with sweeping views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy their rustic farm to table fare by the fireside during cooler months or outside on the terrace during warmer months. They also offer seasonal events such as summer “Black Dog Concerts” and “Winemaker’s Dinners” all in an elegant, old world atmosphere. Try these menu items:

  • Cheese Platter – Meadowcreek Appalachian Cheese (Galax, VA), house-made marmalade, pickles, bread. Pair with Chardonnay Reserve.
  • Winemaker’s Platter – cured meats, local cheeses, roasted grapes, pickles, preserves, mustard, and bread. Pair with Our Dog Blue®.

View the full menu here.

Whitebarrel Winery – Christiansburg & Blacksburg

Mulled apple wine, and cheese and meat board for the win

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Whitebarrel Winery, rebranded from Attimo Winery in 2015, is nestled in the New River Valley and practices ancient wine making techniques where production is exclusively done by hand. Whitebarrel recently opened a satellite wine and tapas bar in Blacksburg and is soon to open additional locations in Richmond, Northern Virginia, as well as a new east coast “Wine Truck.” Each location serves a full tapas-style menu with small plates that complement their wines, many of which are from Virginia.

Try the Charcuterie Board – Choose 3 or 6 meats and cheeses, served with homemade pâté & artisan crackers, olives, & fruit; with mustard and local jams.

View the full menu here.

More nearby Restaurants, Shops & Wineries:

– NORTHERN VIRGINIA –

Potomac Point Winery – Stafford

Potomac Point Vineyard and Winery is an old-world, Tuscan-styled vineyard and winery located just outside of Washington, DC in Stafford, Virginia. Potomac Point specializes in wine tastings, tours, weddings, catering and events. Bring your own picnic to pair with Potomac Point’s award-winning wines on their beautiful courtyard. Or pick from the full bistro menu including these artisan cheese platters:

  • White Wine Cheese Platter – Belletoile Brie, Truffle Honey Goat Cheese, Aged Gouda
  • Red Wine Cheese Platter – Manchego, Peppered Pecorino, Merlot Bellavitano
  • Le Grand Cru Platter – Peppered Pecorino, Merlot Bellavitano, Truffle Honey Goat Cheese, Prosciutto, Soppressata, Calabrese

View the full menu here.

868 Estate Vineyards – Loudoun

Visit 868 Estate Vineyards’ onsite restaurant, Grandale’s Viniter’s Table, for a local upscale menu in a relaxed winery setting. Enjoy the seasonally selected menu featuring wines from 868 Estate Vineyards as well as thoughtfully chosen wines from other regions of Virginia and the world. Try these menu items:

  • Cheese & Olive Board – handcrafted artisan cheeses, marinated blend of olives
  • Antipasto Plank – mix of house made, local, and European sliced charcuterie with seasonal pickles
  • Cheese, Meat & Olive Board – Two chef’s choice cheese, marinated blend of olives, two chef’s choice charcuterie

View the full menu here.

Jackson 20 – Alexandria

Located in the Alexandrian hotel in the heart of Old Town Alexandria on King Street, Jackson 20 is a top-tier restaurant offering hearty drinks and inventive American tavern fare. Try these menu items:

  • Artisanal Cheese Selection – Local Honey, Red Onion Marmalade, Raisin Walnut Toast
  • Charcuterie Board – Pork & Rabbit Terrine, Foie Gras, Cured Meats, Whole Grain Mustard, Baguette

View the full menu here..

Greenhill Winery & Vineyards – Middleburg

A little port & cheese party going on here ??

A post shared by Greenhill Winery & Vineyards (@greenhillwine) on Jan 31, 2018 at 6:21am PST

Experience Virginia wine in an authentic farm winery setting. Greenhill is a lovely boutique destination winery in Loudoun County with a friendly and professional staff delivering quality wine in a breathtaking Virginia Wine Country environment. The tasting menu includes these cheese boards and more:

    • Cheese Board – A selection of imported & domestic cheeses served with a warm baguette
    • Cheese & Charcuterie Board – Imported & domestic cheeses served with a variety of aged meets & a warm baguette

 

More nearby Restaurants, Shops & Wineries:

– VIRGINIA MOUNTAINS & SHENANDOAH VALLEY –

CrossKeys Vineyards – Rockingham

CrossKeys Vineyards is located ten miles south of Harrisonburg in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley delivering gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The family-owned vineyard specializes in exquisite wine and delicious food as well as offering a wonderful venue for weddings, parties, and corporate events. Visit the bistro and try these menu items:

  • Cheese Flight – A montage of domestic and international cheeses, fresh and dried fruits, olives, and nuts. Pair with Meritage.
  • CrossKeys Sampler – a combination of charcuterie, cheeses, olives, nuts, and fruit. Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon.

View the full menu here.

Bella Luna Wood Fired Pizza – Harrisonburg

Bella Luna features hand-crafted, farm-fresh food in a warm and inviting environment. Located in the historic Livery Building in downtown Harrisonburg, Bella Luna offers wood-fired pizzas, hand-made pastas, fresh seasonal salads and sandwiches, and delectable desserts. The bar boasts a wide selection of local microbrews and hard ciders on tap, hand-selected wines and artisan cocktails.

Try the Antipasto Platter – cured meats, artisan cheese, seasonal vegetables, and hearth bread.

View the full menu here.

Local Chop & Grill House – Harrisonburg

Local Chop & Grill House is located in a historic produce exchange warehouse in Downtown Harrisonburg. Their dedication to supporting local artists, craftsmen, and family farms is shown through the fresh and seasonal menu. Enjoy local flavors with dishes of high quality steaks and chops, poultry, house-made charcuterie, organically grown produce and fresh baked goods.

Try the Chef’s Artisanal Plate – an assortment of salt cured meats and local cheese served with grilled baguette, various pickles, mustard and seasonal compote.

View the full menu here.

More nearby Restaurants, Shops & Wineries:

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Between Two Buns: 17 of the Best Burgers in Virginia

 

Everyone has that one restaurant that they are absolutely sure has the best burgers in Virginia, so we asked around and local residents in the following towns shared their secret spots with us. Visit a few of these 17 burger joints and let us know which restaurant tops your list for the best burgers in Virginia.

 

Grafton Street Restaurant & Irish Pub—Gainesville

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Grafton Street Restaurant & Irish Pub, named for the popular street in Dublin, serves a wide array of Irish fare (and drinks to match), but their “G Street” Burger has become a go-to order for regulars. They start with a toasted Brioche bun and a delicious thick burger, and then pile on tons of Applewood bacon, Vermont cheddar cheese, crispy fried onions, and a healthy topping of their secret burger sauce. Pair it with a draft beer for a satisfying (and filling!) burger experience.

 

Jake’s Bar & Grill—Waynesboro

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Using 100% locally raised USDA ground beef, Jake’s Bar & Grill in Waynesboro takes pride in every single burger that comes out of their kitchen. They also make every one of their tasty sauces in house, topping their 10 specialty burgers with concoctions like a lime-infused Avocado-Poblano or a tart and tangy Citrus Chipotle sauce. While all the burgers command respect at Jake’s Bar & Grill, we recommend the award-winning Tumbleweed, a brioche-bun burger featuring breaded jalapeño nuggets, cream cheese, apple jelly, and crunchy fried onion strips.

 

Boulevard Burger and Brew—Richmond

Located on the Boulevard and on the outskirts of Richmond’s craft beer-centric Scott’s Addition neighborhood, Boulevard Burgers and Brew has become a burger mecca for the capital city. The old-school diner cooks up the patties to your preference of either “pink” or “no pink”, resulting in a perfectly juicy burger. Go with a specialty order like the Chuck Norris Black and Blue (blackened spice, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion) or the Fatty D (spicy Asian dry rub topped with cilantro, tomato, pickled ginger, Nori, and wasabi Kim Kim aioli), or build your own burger from their “add-ons” menu. And make sure to add a side of the fries…you won’t be disappointed. Pair your burger with a draft beer or one of their adult boozy shakes and floats. We like the Belle Isle Brew shake, made with Belle Isle Bold Brew Coffee Moonshine, Bailey’s, and vanilla ice cream.

 

Grill 309—Culpeper

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Culpeper’s Grill 309 is a favorite spot for locals, with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere and incredible burgers that will keep you coming back again and again. For a sweet and savory pairing, try the Doughnut Burger, a ½ pound Virginia Black Angus beef burger with cheddar cheese, grilled onions, an over easy egg, and bacon, all served on a freshly glazed doughnut bun. If you’re in the mood for something a little lighter, go for the Burger Sliders, three mini Virginia Black Angus Beef burgers with lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles.

 

The Shack—Staunton

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The Shack is a must-visit when it comes to dining in Staunton. Under Chef Ian Boden, the restaurant’s menu reflects the abundance of fresh produce and ingredients found in the Shenandoah Valley. While it’s tough to choose a favorite dish, the burger is definitely a front runner, topped with a black garlic mayo, cheddar cheese, marrow roasted onions, dill pickles, and thick slabs of crisp bacon. Go crazy and top it all off with an egg for the full burger experience at The Shack.

 

Burger in the Square—Roanoke

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Since 1985, Burger in the Square has been a favorite in the Roanoke community. They use fresh ground beef to create a menu of over 20 different juicy burgers, from the most basic, no-frill burger on a bun to favorite specialty burger combinations like the Blazing Saddle (a burger made with ghost pepper cheese, grilled serrano peppers, sautéed onions, srirachi slaw, lettuce, and tomato) or the Oinker Burger (burger with hand-pulled sweet or vinegar barbecue on top and optional house slaw).

 

Maw & Paw’s Diner—Eagle Rock

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Photo Credit: Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Located north of Roanoke near the Virginia border, Maw & Paw’s Diner is a small, family-owned restaurant that knows how to make a fantastic burger. The diner is known for their Super Bacon Cheeseburger, built on a handmade patty, and at only $4.99, the burger is both delicious and affordable. If you’ve spent the day working up an appetite exploring the nearby mountain trails, add an order of the Bacon & Cheese Fries, but plan for a nap afterwards.

 

Me’s Burgers & Brews—DanvilleWestlake Legal Group mes-burger1 Between Two Buns: 17 of the Best Burgers in Virginia Virginia restaurants Virginia food Travel Ideas Story Ideas Food Culinary Best Virginia restaurants

Owned by a mother/daughter duo, Me’s Burgers & Brews ties the family’s love of literature into the menu, with their ever-changing selection of burgers named for their favorite writers, including C.S. Lewis (a beef patty with pesto, caramelized onions, diced tomatoes, basil mayo, and swiss cheese), Alexander Dumas (the “Three Musketeers” of meats—ham, bacon, and grilled chicken breast—topped with lettuce, tomato, Swiss cheese, and ranch dressing), and Jane Austen (a beef patty with bacon, mushrooms, lettuce, jalapeño aioli, and Pepper Jack cheese). If you prefer to be the “author” of your burger, start with a beef, veggie, chicken, bison, lamb, or tuna patty and then choose from the 30+ toppings to craft your own original masterpiece.

 

{Ra}Bistro—Lynchburg

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{Ra}Bistro has a full menu with salads, starters, and a wide array of entrees, but the menu also features over 15 specialty burgers made with fresh-ground meats like Angus beef, turkey, bison, and chopped sirloin. The most unique offerings include the Funnel Cake Burger (a cheeseburger rolled in funnel cake batter, flash-fried, dusted with powdered sugar and served with raspberry melba sauce) and the Bayou Burger (Angus beef topped with flash-fried crawfish, Andouille sausage, melted provolone, and remoulade).

 

Viking Burger—Newport News

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If you’re in Coastal Virginia and looking for a fantastic burger, head to Viking Burger in Newport News. Since 2014, the restaurant has been redefining the art of the burger. While you can order a basic cheeseburger or one of their unique signature creations, we recommend Viking’s “Valhalla” burgers, made with two sirloin patties stuffed with different types of cheese, like the Valkyrie, a double burger stuffed with Pepper Jack, Muenster, grilled jalapeños, and spicy brown mustard, and then finished with even more Pepper Jack, grilled bell peppers, and lettuce. These behemoth burgers often conquer even the most voracious eaters, so don’t feel too bad if you leave with leftovers.

 

This isn’t the first roundup of restaurants that know how to make the perfect burger. Read about eight more great burger joints around the Commonwealth, find the best places for burger and beer pairings, or visit one of the honorable “best burger” mentions below!

 

 

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America’s First Lighthouse

“The rocky ledge runs far into the sea,
And on its outer point, some miles away,
The Lighthouse lifts its massive masonry,
A pillar of fire by night, of cloud by day.

Even at this distance I can see the tides,
Upheaving, break unheard along its base,
A speechless wrath, that rises and subsides
In the white lip and tremor of the face.

And as the evening darkens, lo! how bright,
Through the deep purple of the twilight air,
Beams forth the sudden radiance of its light
With strange, unearthly splendor in the glare!

Not one alone; from each projecting cape
And perilous reef along the ocean’s verge,
Starts into life a dim, gigantic shape,
Holding its lantern o’er the restless surge.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Lighthouse

When you look at a lighthouse, what do you see? Perhaps to you, lighthouses spark memories of a family vacation to the shore or elicit seafaring imagery that could be ripped from the pages of a Herman Melville novel. Maybe you just see a big flashlight. In the age of electronic navigation and two-way radios, this is understandable. While lighthouses are still utilized in many capes and inlets across the world, they have turned into somewhat of a novelty for many – a relic of days past. But, as is often true with historical structures, these lighthouses hold within them more than steel, brick and glass. Each flame that flickered through the thick windows broke through the panoptic blanket of night and signalled something different to everyone who saw it. Safe passage into harbor. A new beginning. The end of a journey. Home.

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Cape Henry Lighthouse

Courtesy of Vist Virginia Beach

Each stair leads to a story and the 191 steps leading to the top of Virginia Beach’s Cape Henry Lighthouse, at the corner of the Chicks Beach District and the North End Oceanfront District, are no exception. This story begins, surprisingly enough, not on the shores where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, but in New York City’s Federal Hall, in 1789. The newly formed United States of America, still recovering from the destruction of revolution, was holding its first session of the First United States Congress, which is still regarded as the most important meeting of the Senate and the House of Representatives ever held. It was at this session that the US Treasury was formed, the rules of the House, Senate and officers were established, and George Washington was inaugurated as the nation’s first President.

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Cape Henry Lighthouse

Courtesy of Vist Virginia Beach

It was also during this historic session that Jacob Wray, the collector of customs at Hampton, made a plea to the newly-appointed Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, that the unlit shores of Cape Henry, which had claimed 57 maritime vessels, needed to be promptly addressed. With many Congressional leaders feeling a pressing need to answer the public’s demand for safe and navigable waterways, Hamilton contracted the project with John McComb, Jr., the designer of the planned residence of the President. Using the Aquia stone that remained on-site from a failed attempt to build a lighthouse during the war, as well as Rappahannock freestone, McCombs plans called for an octagonal structure with three windows in the east and four in the west, that would stand 90 feet above the water table, and cost $17,700, roughly $435,000 in today’s money. As the tower neared completion, President Washington requested a list of applications for the new lighthouse keeper to be selected by him personally. In late October, 1792, Laban Goffigan of Norfolk lit the fish oil-burning lamps of the new Cape Henry Lighthouse for the first time.

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Cape Henry Lighthouse

Courtesy of Vist Virginia Beach

The completion of the Cape Henry Lighthouse marked the first federal work project of the new United States government to be fulfilled and it quickly became an important fixture for our region’s maritime enterprises and military. Though a new lighthouse, which is still in use, was built adjacent to it in 1881, the old Cape Henry Lighthouse still stands as a reminder of Virginia Beach’s historic past. Today, you can gain access to the lighthouse, which sits on the active Fort Story Military Base, and climb the winding metal staircase all the way to the top, adding to the revered legend’s story, one step at a time.

Written by Vist Virginia Beach for Visit Virginia Beach.

Featured image provided by Courtesy of Vist Virginia Beach

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