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The LINCOLN Movie Trail, Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie filmed entirely in the Richmond/Petersburg area, is packing theaters around the world and heading for Oscar honors come February. The Lincoln Movie Trail pinpoints film locations as well as sites favored and frequented by stars such as Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones and the producer/director himself. The real Abraham Lincoln visited both Richmond and Petersburg in the closing days of the Civil War. Visitors can follow his historic path afoot or on Segways.
Salamander Resort & Spa makes its much-anticipated debut Summer 2013. Set on 340 acres near Middleburg, the resort will boast 168 luxury rooms and suites, 23,000-square-foot spa, full-service equestrian center, fine dining and 12,000 square feet of conference and event facilities. Owned by Sheila Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, Salamander Resort & Spa is the only luxury resort scheduled to open in the United States in 2013.
Center in the Square, long the hub of cultural activity in downtown Roanoke, will reopen in 2013 after extensive renovation, reconfiguring and basic reinvention. The home for Mill Mountain Theater, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture and the History Museum & Historical Society of Western Virginia, will re-emerge after a $27 million do-over with refurbished exterior and redesigned interior, a 5,500-gallon living coral reef aquarium and a green rooftop facility.
The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester will host an exhibit in 2013 honoring one of its hometown's favorite citizens, Patsy Cline. Becoming Patsy Cline will focus on the early years of the legendary country singer and first female member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and will run from August 2013 through February 2014. Patsy Cline cut her musical teeth in Winchester, where her home is now a museum. The tragic plane crash that took her life occurred 50 years ago in March. She is buried in Winchester's Shenandoah Memorial Park.
Mill Creek Nature Park in the Giles County town
of Narrows is opening a town park along a native trout stream and cascading
waterfalls. Two miles of challenging mountain bike trails connect with 16 miles
of national forest biking and hiking trails as well as the famed Appalachian
Virginia's Executive Mansion turns 200: Built during the War of 1812, Virginia's Executive Mansion has set the tone for the hospitality for which Virginia is famous. The Marquis de Lafayette, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth II have all been guests in America's oldest governor's residence still used for its original purpose. Special tours and events will mark the 200th birthday of this historic house which was also used as a film location for Steven Spielberg's movie LINCOLN.
80th Historic Garden Week in Virginia: "America's Largest Open House" celebrates 80 years in 2013 with tours of more than 250 of Virginia's finest historic homes and gardens. From one end of Virginia to the other, local garden club chapters work throughout the year to welcome visitors from around the world.
70th Waterford Homes Tour and Crafts Fair: The oldest juried crafts fair in Virginia celebrates 70 years in 2013. Talented crafters present their wares and visitors may also enjoy tours of historic homes, music and historical interpreters. The entire village of Waterford is a National Historic District.
50th Season Trail of the Lonesome Pine: When the curtain first came up on what is now Virginia's official Outdoor Drama it is doubtful anyone imagined a run going on 50 years. The play shows no signs of slowing down as audiences continue to flock to the June Tolliver Amphitheater in downtown Big Stone Gap to experience a story of turn-of-the-century romancein the Appalachian Mountains.
October Virginia Wine Month is a great time to "discover your local crush." Wine festivals and special winery events take place throughout Virginia, many of which are new each year and help introduce visitors to the "Virginia winery experience." In March participating restaurants and wine shops throughout Virginia observe Virginia Wine Week offering Virginia wine by the glass. It's a good time to try new wines from Virginia and to experience LOVE by the glass.
Cider Week Virginia celebrates the hard cider revival in the Commonwealth. Debuting in November 2012, this week-long event will surely become an annual favorite.
The Virginia is for Lovers slogan, perhaps the most iconic state ad campaign, is 45 years old. Martin and Woltz ad agency created
the slogan in 1969; since then Virginia has become the 8th most popular tourist destination state.
Bedford D-Day Memorial celebrates the 70th
anniversary of that June 6, 1944 event, marking the beginning of the end of
World War II and Nazi tyranny in Europe. On that day, Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy, France,
the 9,000 Allied casualties included the deaths of 19 Bedford men, a larger
loss per capita than at any other U.S. community. Bedford’s National D-Day
Memorial honors the Allied forces participating in D-Day with dramatic statuary,
tours and exhibits.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, designated “one of
seven engineering wonders of the world,” on its April 1964 opening, celebrates
a 50th birthday. The 18-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel spans the
mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, connecting Cape Charles with Norfolk. It carries
US Route 13 through two mile-long tunnels, over two high bridges, and across
four manmade islands. Nature lovers can stop for bird-watching and pier fishing
on Seagull Island and eat at the Chesapeake Grill.
Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial (150 years) and a national cemetery since June 15, 1864. This 1818 house beside Arlington National Cemetery was home to the most famous Confederate general, and built by Lee’s father-in-law, George Washington Parke Custis, who was George Washington’s step-grandson.
Virginia adopted the most popular of state shells, the eastern oyster,Crassostrea virginica, as the Commonwealth’s official state shell in 1974 (40 years). The shell represents Virginia’s oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay.
Thomas Woodrow Wilson, 28th president, died 90 years ago, February 3, 1924. A visit to Woodrow Wilson Library and Museum in Staunton includes tours of the president’s birthplace and the museum that tells the story of his post WWI peacekeeping work.
Cape Henry Lighthouse, Virginia Beach (50 years) was designated a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964, and is one of the nation’s oldest lighthouses. Authorized by George Washington, the creation of the 1792 octagonal lighthouse was one of the first acts of the newly formed U.S. government. Because it’s located inside Fort Story, visitors must show a government-issued ID.
Brown vs. Board of Education/Civil Rights Act of 1964 celebrates 50 years. A student-led strike at Farmville’s all-black R.R. Moton School played a significant role in ending segregated schools throughout the nation. The leaky, cold, overcrowded school made getting an education difficult, so in 1951, students staged a walkout demanding a better school. The NAACP took up their case when the students agreed equity would be best served with an integrated school. The resulting court case won in the Supreme Court through Brown vs. Board of Education three years later.
Patrick Henry’s 215th death anniversary June 6, 1799, will be observed at Red Hill Patrick Henry National Memorial, Henry’s last home and burial place. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Patrick Henry memorabilia, including the Rothermel painting of Henry declaring his opposition to the king’s Stamp Act of 1765. Henry’s life is also celebrated at his Scotchtown estate north of Richmond, where he formulated his famous “Liberty or Death” speech in 1775.
Fort Chiswell Animal Park, on August 13, is celebrating 10 years of providing sanctuary for more than 200 exotic animals, including the Scimitar Horned Oryx – considered extinct in the wild – as well as the endangered African Crowned Crane, Bactrian Camel, Blackbuck, and Eland Antelope. With its safari bus tours, petting zoo, and free-ranging pygmy goats, the Fort Chiswell farm is considered Virginia’s most interactive zoo.
Roanoke Mill Mountain Star (65 years) was erected in 1949 as a symbol of the progressive spirit of Roanoke, the “Star City of the South.” A visit during the daytime yields a sweeping view and access to Mill Mountain Zoo. From twilight until midnight, visitors enjoy the illumination of 2,000 feet of red, white, and blue neon tubing on the 6-story star.
Craft breweries are springing up all around Virginia. The craft beer craze has taken hold in a big way and Virginia breweries are bringing home ribbons and medals from world and national beer competitions. Happy brew fans found lots of "LOVE on Tap" in August 2012 during the inaugural Virginia Craft Beer Month. Among the hot new places offering cold brews are Center of the Universe Brewing Company in Hanover, Beer Hound Brewery in Ruckersville, Charlottesville's Champion Brewing Company, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery of Goochland and Three Brothers Brewing of Harrisonburg.
Old Hill Cider is just one of a bushel of hard cideries recently opened or soon-to-open in Virginia in 2013. More than a dozen cideries can be found in settings from bucolic back roads to urban cityscapes. In Colonial times apple cider was allowed to turn "hard" in order to preserve it through winter. Today that tradition yields delicious ciders from Virginia's bountiful annual apple crop.
Wine in Virginia continues to make headlines and win coveted national and world ribbons. New wineries such as The Winery at Bull Run join established favorites vineyards totaling now more than 220 in all. Look for new experiences at Virginia wineries as well including oyster pairings, personal blendings, workshops, overnight stays, special events and festivals.
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