The summer is winding down here in the US, which has me thinking about last minute trips perfect for weekend adventuring. Since I live in the Washington, DC metro area, I thought I'd share some of my favorite Virginia escapes great for summer, but also perfect for any time of year.
Part of my heart will always be in Williamsburg; it's a city that I have come to know and love over the years. Famous around the world for its colonial charm, that's just one part of the Williamsburg story. Sure, if you want to learn more about 18th century life in the United States, there is no better place in the country than the town's living museum; dozens of buildings, homes and streets that all look as if they were plucked out of the 1750s. While walking around Colonial Williamsburg, be sure to cross over to the nearby College of William and Mary, the 2nd oldest university in the nation with its historic school buildings, including the oldest academic building in continuous use in the US, the Wren Building. After you've had your fill of colonial charm, take the whole family over to Busch Gardens; a fun amusement park decked out in a European theme that feels like you've left the continent and descended on Europe of old. There's plenty to do for adults too though. Plan to stay at the beautiful Kingsmill resort and set aside time for golf, spa treatments and just relaxing around this spacious property. Finally, if there's a wine lover in your group, spend the afternoon at one of the top wineries in Virginia, the Williamsburg Winery. Virginia is one of the most prolific wine producing states in the country and the Williamsburg Winery is one of the state's crown jewels. Go on a tour, sample some vintages, grab a bite to eat and just spend the afternoon relaxing in the countryside.
In a state blessed with many great, state supported institutions, most towns you visit in Virginia will have an active town-and-gown culture, but none better perhaps than Charlottesville. Home to The University, as locals call it, the University of Virginia was started by Thomas Jefferson in what was the first truly liberal arts university in the world and even today is one of the top institutions of higher education in the country. Spend some time walking around the beautiful campus, especially the Rotunda and Lawn areas, the historic core of the campus that are part of the area's inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The other part of that inscription is Thomas Jeffersons house, Monticello. One of the best-preserved and interpreted presidential homesteads in the country, be sure to spend several hours exploring the unique and beautiful home of one of the Founding Fathers. Finally, Charlottesville is perched at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains in what is the premier wine growing region of Virginia. Spend a day touring a few of the many wineries in the area for a relaxing exploration of Virginia viticulture.
It may seem odd at first to include a hotel on this list, but the historic Homestead property is so much more than a simple hotel. The area's famous hot springs have been known since before the arrival of settlers, the Native Americans used it for the waters' healing powers. Believe it or not, but the hotel dates back to the 18th century and has been welcoming discerning guests for centuries now. Today the resort is modern and elegant and features more activities than anyone could hope to do in the span of a short break. World famous golf, hiking, water activities and even falconry are all available for guests of this classic resort.
Please drink responsibly and use a designated driver, as your RoamRight policy does not cover loss resulting from or caused by being under the influence of alcohol.
Have you been to Virginia? What areas did you explore?
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A luxury adventure traveler at heart, Matt Long shares his experiences with thousands of readers every day through his travel blog, LandLopers.com. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Matt is a Washington, DC based travel writer/photographer and has been featured on many other web sites and publications including BBC Travel, CNN GO, Huffington Post, AFAR Magazine and National Geographic Intelligent Travel. His work is also syndicated on the Flipboard and Pulse apps. Follow Matt on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Google Plus.
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