You’re Gonna LOVE this…
Doswell, just north of Richmond and Ashland
Kings Dominion will have a new Planet Snoopy expansion in 2017 featuring three new thrill rides for kids, new food and beverage amenities and new event space. Also in 2017, they will be offering a Pre-K Pass giving free admission all season to children ages 3-5. Great full day theme park to create eventful families, reunions and faith based groups experiencing the Richmond region.
Nelson, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains
A new luxury inn, The Monarch Inn, is planned for construction on Nelson County’s “Brew Ridge Trail.” The four-star inn will sit on 114 acres on Virginia 151 across from the Rockfish Valley Community Center with 45 rooms in a combination of inn rooms and cottages.
Why is this good news for tour & travel? = The new Inn opens up new trail experiences for adventure-seeking groups and reunions in Virginia’s bucolic Blue Ridge Mountains, featuring the local craft beers, wineries and farm to table memorable meals.
Richmond, our State Capitol
Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend… The Jefferson Hotel’s (Richmond’s five-diamond hotel for over 25 years) three-year room reconstruction project will be completed in April/May 2017. The hotel began the project with 262 guestrooms and suites and will now have 181 guestrooms, including 15 luxury suites and awaits your group’s arrival to experience a few days in our capitol city and surrounding sites.
Chesapeake Bay … come sail away…
The Tides Inn named the #7 Resort in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice awards, will be celebrating its 70th anniversary in July 2017 with various specials, offerings and experiences to commemorate the anniversary.
Fall on the Chesapeake Bay – Don’t miss this Bay to Table experience at the Tide’s Inn. The Virginia Oyster Academy, features a Virginia Waterman’s morning excursion, lunch and a culinary demonstration on the art of shucking, learning how to pair with wines and sauces from Executive Chef at the Tide’s Inn.
These boots were made for sailing…Watermen’s Way
While you tour the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula, Marvel at the larger-than- life fiberglass sculptures of watermen’s white boots that will be displayed throughout the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula. Virginia’s River Realm presents Watermen’s Way, a public art project that honors the men and women who work the water — watermen who have helped shape so much of our regional identity.
Coastal Virginia – Eastern Shore
NASA’s Wallop’s Island, Chincoteague - The Education Team earned a Grant for STEM at their NASA Visitor Center - NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center was recently awarded a grant to implement a new STEM in Action project to develop science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and upgrades to the Visitor Center. This allows the Visitor Center to develop a new STEM Kids Zone, enhance the outdoor classroom, develop STEM programs for kindergarten through eighth grade, and offer professional development for local educators. Visit their website for a listing of field trip opportunities for school, educational and youth groups as well as public programming, special events and their home school series.
Dedicated in fall 2017, the Legacy Pavilion at Museum of Chincoteague Island overlooks the waterfront and Assateague Island. The building can accommodate up to 100 people and will be used for lectures, workshops, field trips and other events.
Coastal Virginia - Hampton Roads
Hampton meets Hollywood – “When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA’s Human Computers” Come see what inspired the movie, “Hidden Figures”, a true story about NASA Langley Research Center at the Hampton History Museum’s new display focuses on three women — Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson and Katherine Johnson — who were illuminated in Margot Lee Shetterly’s book “Hidden Figures” and the major motion picture of the same name.
NASA Langley Research Center, also celebrating its 100th Anniversary in 2017. The first astronauts, The Mercury Seven, actually trained in Hampton. The Virginia Air & Space Center, located on the downtown Hampton waterfront, is the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center.
The Virginia Living Museum’s Dinosaur Discover Trail goes Jurassic – this outdoor exhibit opened Oct. 15, 2016. The new exhibit features 16 life-like dinosaurs, hands-on paleo camp, dig pits and buildings with dinosaur and ice age fossils you don’t want to miss!
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum will re-open in the spring after undergoing major renovations featuring updated exhibits and more.
The Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center will be reopening their Chesapeake Bay Aquarium in fall 2017. They will also host two new changing exhibits throughout the year. The first, Ocean Bound, will be available from January 14, 2017 through May 14, 2017. More information on the second exhibit will be available early 2017.
Busch Gardens’ new InvadR wooden coaster ride at Busch Gardens Williamsburg opens in spring 2017. The ride’s 74-foot drop and nine airtime hills wait to be conquered by bold warriors. Chart a course through the winding frontier at 48 mph and claim eternal glory for your crew.
The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown will be having their Grand Opening Celebration - March 23-April 4, 2017. Celebrate the opening, featuring an introductory film, timeline, immersive exhibition galleries and living-history experiences that show the epic scale of the Revolution and the richness and complexity of the country’s Revolutionary heritage. Over the course of the 13-day celebration, each day will highlight one of America’s 13 original states in the order that they ratified the Constitution, with a special dedication April 1 for Virginia.
Arcadia Farm, which is located on the same grounds as Woodlawn Historic Site and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey House, has implemented a Veteran Farmer Program where the farm pays veterans to learn how to farm, helps them find affordable land, provides easy market access for the food they produce and reinvigorate the farm sector with skilled new growers.
“Lives Bound Together: Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon” is a new special exhibit open through 2018 that explores the personal stories of the people enslaved at Mount Vernon while providing insight into Washington’s evolving opposition to slavery.
Construction has begun at George Washington’s Ferry Farm on the replica of the Washington Family homestead. This is a huge story and resource about George Washington’s childhood and how it impacted his adult life.
The 200th Anniversary of James Monroe’s Presidency is in 2017. The James Monroe Museum is working with staff at Highland, Fort Monroe and Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond where Monroe is buried for combined programming celebrating his many contributions.
Prince William & Manassas
Prince William & Manassas will be partnering with Fauquier and Stafford County to commence an Artisan/Agri-tourism trail in mid-2017. The trail will be utilized to attract visitors to their rural areas while promoting their many craft brewers, distilleries, wineries and artisans.
Launched in fall 2016, the Shenandoah Spirits Trail consists of 27 wineries, breweries and distilleries along I-81 starting in Winchester, Shenandoah, Frederick and Rockingham Counties and on to Harrisonburg. You’ll find spirits to quench all thirsts… foods, farms and fantastic scenery to match all souls.
After completing a $3 million renovation in May of 2016, the Highland Inn offers complete lodging, dining and conference packages for groups. They have also re-opened the Monterey Dining Room and Black Sheep Tavern at the Highland Inn, serving farm-to- table fare Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Construction of a Marriott Fairfield Inn and Suites first and then a Tru by Hilton hotel, a completely new brand from Hilton Worldwide, is set to begin in the spring of 2017. The plans call for multiple food options, large retail, a gas station and possibly high-end office buildings.
Southwest Virginia - Heart of Appalachia
The Spearhead Trails continue to grow with new trails opening soon including: Stone Mountain, Haysi Trail, Coeburn Connector, Coal Canyon and Equestrian Trail.
Southwest Virginia - Blue Ridge Highlands
Opening in May 2017, the brand new 80 room Fairfield Inn & Suites Abingdon will feature an indoor pool, fitness room, meeting room and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain Views.
The Sessions Hotel in Bristol, Virginia is slated to open late 2017 or early 2018. The owners have taken a grouping of historic buildings and turned them into a boutique hotel just down the street from the site of the landmark “Bristol Sessions” of 1927 and the new Bristol Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Also expected to open in 2017 is the new Hotel Bristol.
Special events and activities will take place throughout 2017 to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Bristol Sessions. In 2017, Virginia Tourism Corporation in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the Birthplace of Country Music will debut the Born in Bristol feature film.
The New River Water Trail currently stretches 37 miles flowing through Southwest. The water trail is visitors and residents’ gateway to Virginia’s Mountain Playground. This community effort highlights river activities like award-winning fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, SUP, and swimming, but also connects with hiking trails, wildlife viewing, local lodging and dining options, and the immense variety of experiences waiting in Giles County.