WHAT'S NEW FOR GROUPS
In early 2022 (Jan-Feb), an additional round-trip Amtrak train to Roanoke will depart DC in the morning and serve Alexandria, Burke, Manassas, Culpeper, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Roanoke.
Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Arlington is nearing the completion of the $1 Billion “Project Journey” transformation – with a new 14-gate concourse and two security checkpoint buildings as well as new retail, dining and more. The new concourse opened summer 2021 with the new security gates opening in Nov 2021. The project is the airport’s most significant expansion of facilities in nearly 25 years and will substantially improve customer convenience, passenger connectivity and security standards.
For the first time since Dulles Airport opened in 1962, travelers have a fast, easy, inexpensive rapid transit option for getting from Dulles to points throughout Northern Virginia when the Silver Line Metrorail extension opened in 2021.
Coming in 2022 or later: Virginia voters approved casinos in 4 Virginia locations – Bristol (Hard Rock), Danville (Caesars), Portsmouth and Norfolk.
The Keswick Hall resort went through an extensive, multi-year renovation, that included adding additional guest rooms, a new restaurant (Marigold) featuring world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and other luxurious amenities. The property officially re-opened its doors to the public in fall of 2021.
Clarion Pointe hotel (formerly LaQuinta Inn and Suites) is located on Rt. 29 and conveniently near the University of Virginia and shopping/restaurants on 29 North. This property was renovated and reopened under its new name/brand in 2021.
Holiday Inn Express will be opening a new location in early 2022 in the Pantops area of Charlottesville along US Rt. 250.
A new, beautifully designed entrance road will soon greet visitors to Poplar Forest within the City of Lynchburg, enhancing both visibility and accessibility to the property, and creating a parkway in the truest sense of the word: a linear park, containing a scenic road.
The addition of beautiful ornamental and screen plantings will make the two-mile drive to the historic house a most pleasant, most impressive start to every visit, while an easily accessible, free audio narration will give visitors a broader sense of the historical context to their surroundings. Through the inclusion of trails and interpretive sites, we will provide recreational and educational enhancements to broaden and enrich the experience of all visitors, while providing a community asset and recreational resource for the City of Lynchburg, and the surrounding region.
In addition to this beautification of the property, they are also building an expanded system of walking and hiking trails along old road traces, fence lines, and fields. The goal is to give Poplar Forest visitors—and our local community—many more ways to explore the land that Jefferson adored.
Woodspring Suites will open in the City of Lynchburg April 2022. Woodspring Suites is a collection of extended stay hotels where guests can find affordable rates, smartly-designed suites, and in-room kitchens. Woodspring Suites offers nightly rates, weekly rates, and monthly rates that cover necessities with add-ons available; a refreshingly different extended stay hotel experience and guest-first focus that makes visitors feel at home while staying with Woodspring Suites. Woodspring Suites will be located at 301 Border Street, right off of the Lynchburg Expressway and conveniently located near Liberty University.
The Richmond Marriott, which connects to the Greater Richmond Convention Center, recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, which included renovations of all 410 guest rooms and improvements to the lobby and fitness center. The hotel also introduced their new restaurant in September 2021, Fall Line Kitchen & Bar, an upscale-casual restaurant serving comfort food, regional craft beer and creative cocktails. The name is a nod to Virginia's most prominent geological feature.
The Moxy Hotel, located in downtown Richmond, is set to open at the end of 2021.
Kings Dominion will debut Virginia’s first 4D Spin Coaster in spring 2022! Tumbili suspends riders on either side of the track as the cars flip continuously throughout the ride. Featuring state-of-the-art magnetic technology that induces and controls spinning, this 4D Spin Coaster will give riders the feeling of weightlessness as they cruise along the track tumbling and spinning head over heels in the rainforest tree canopy.
Inspired by its vision to better represent and welcome all Virginians and advance its ability to thoughtfully and fully preserve and share the ever-evolving story of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture will complete a nearly $30 million renovation project in spring 2022. The renewed museum complex of nearly 250,000 square feet will include multiple new exhibition spaces; a new immersive orientation theater; a new interactive learning space for families; a new research library with a state-of-the-art rare book and manuscript suite, and multiple new education/meeting rooms; a new café, museum store and other amenities; and multiple new and renewed community and event spaces, including a new great hall, a second floor event terrace, an outdoor event lawn, an expanded parking lot, and an improved VMFA campus connector.
When the museum fully re-opens in spring 2022, a new exhibit titled Our Commonwealth will debut. This extensive marquee exhibition will provide an in-depth, multi-sensory exploration through the five major regions of Virginia and will feature stories and artifacts from partner organizations and cultural institutions throughout the state. The current exhibit, Partners in History, which is a shared collections partnership with the Black History Museum & Cultural Center of VA, features iconic artifacts such as a desk used by renowned civil rights attorney Oliver W. Hill.
One of Virginia’s beloved coastal resorts, The Tides Inn, received a new look and restaurant. The new coastal eatery called Fish Hawk features outdoor oyster roasting, a raw bar and various seafood classics. Also, new in 2020, Duffy Electric Boats can be rented.
COASTAL VIRGINIA/HAMPTON ROADS/EASTERN SHORE
400 Years Forward will welcome new heritage tours in 2022. The 400 Years Forward mobile tour will be available for visitors in February. A guided regularly scheduled group tour will begin being offered in spring 2022.
The Mary M. Torggler Fine Arts Center at Christopher Newport University – A stunning new gem among Virginia's visual arts organizations, the Torggler Center features a magnificent rotunda topped by cascading glass domes; a spacious main gallery presenting art by nationally and internationally-recognized artists; a community gallery devoted to the work of local and regional artists; a microgallery for experimental projects; and an academic gallery displaying the work of students and faculty. An interactive gallery for kids and families will open in 2022. The Torggler also offers year-round classes, workshops, and other educational programs for all ages. 757-594-0800. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm; Sunday 12:00pm - 5pm. Admission is FREE.
The Perry Glass Art Collection, a gallery located in The Glass Light Hotel on Granby Street opened October 2021. This private collection encompasses two floors of over 65 glass art pieces from world renowned artists. Artwork displayed will be rotated out to feature new artists. This Gallery is free to hotel guests and the public Tuesday – Saturday from 8:00am – 8:00pm and times may change in the future. For more information.
VisitNorfolk will be heavily promoting African American History and how it’s shaped our city and community. We’re in the process of revitalizing the Water Ways to Freedom to launch late 2022.
Patriotic Festival announced their move to the Norfolk Waterfront Memorial Day Weekend of 2022. Norfolk is the Navy capital of the World, and we are pleased to have the enthusiastic support of Regional Mid Atlantic Commander and Norfolk City Mayor in Hosting the Patriotic Festival Celebration at Town Point Park Waterfront and Norfolk Scope Arena. Town Point Park will be the site of the Military Zone featuring Navy and Military assets such as a Navy Destroyer for the open house for visitors, Navy Jet Fly Overs, US Air Force, Us Marines, Military Mobile Tours, and Ceremonies and Reenlistments. Town Point Park will also feature three National Daytime Concerts. The Renewed Norfolk Scope Arena is the Concert Zone for three nights of evening National Country Artists.
Samuel D. Outlaw Blacksmith Shop and Memorial Museum, a rare, completely intact blacksmith shop opened as a museum and community gathering place that will promote awareness of the contributions of African Americans to the region. In 1927, he built his industrial shop on Boundary Avenue, serving watermen, farmers, neighbors and friends from 1927 until 1991. Tours and school groups are welcome by appointment.
Chesapeake Bay Pedal Club - Ready to upgrade your spin class? Hop aboard the new 16-passenger Cycleboat pub with your crew and explore the waters of Rudee Inlet from April through October. Two-hour cruise tickets are sold by the seat for several daily sailings including the popular sunset cruise. Each pontoon boat is stocked with ice-filled coolers, bottled water, and room for your favorite beer/wine and picnic additions. Pedalboat captains are USCG certified, and the vessels also are available to rent for private outings and special events.
Lost Planet Selfie Museum - What’s a vacation without a few selfies? Explore this new immersive museum designed specifically for your Insta feed with wacky landscapes and over-the-top props.
Roll with It Board Game Café & Bar - find all kinds of family fun at this new café packed with a library of more than 500 different board games –play a favorite or learn a new one! Fuel your competitive spirit with fresh-made sandwiches, paninis or snacks, and celebrate victory with a wide selection of beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages including shakes and smoothies.
New and renovated hotels in Virginia Beach opening in late 2020 and in 2021 include:
- Fairfield Inn Town Center
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Home2Suites by Hilton
- Hyatt Place Oceanfront
- Embassy Suites Hotel at Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
- Moxy by Marriott
After a $25 million renovation and expansion, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach re-opened on Memorial Day weekend 2021.
Busch Gardens' newest coaster, Pantheon, opened in 2021. The coaster will be the fastest multi-launch roller coaster in the United States and will reach a top speed of 72 mph and features a 95-degree drop.
A new AKA luxury property will open in July 2022 in Old Town Alexandria at 625 First Street. Designed for longer stays, AKA balances the space and comfort of a fully appointed luxury apartment with the style and hospitality of an intimate hotel.
Hilton Alexandria Mark Center will begin a $10 million renovation in November 2021, including enhancements to meeting spaces, guestrooms and more. The property is expected to reopen in early 2022.
Freedom House Museum Reopening and More Black History Experiences: Following the City’s purchase of Freedom House in early 2020 and extensive renovations, the museum will reopen in 2022 with a brand-new multi-room exhibit elevating the stories of the thousands of men, women and children who were held in the headquarters of the nation’s one-time largest domestic slave trading firm. Also in 2022, the City will debut a southern route of the self-guided waterfront African American Heritage Trail. Alexandria will continue to promote its broad Black history-related offerings, particularly the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial following its summer 2021 induction into the National Park Service’s African American Civil Rights Network as the oldest and first Virginia site added to the network.
Reopening of DEA Museum: After more than two years of careful planning, design, and construction, the DEA Museum in Arlington, Virginia, reopened November 4, 2021. The Museum, which originally debuted in 1999, has been reimagined by staff and partners to engage and educate the public in a colorful, contemporary space. Interactive exhibits featuring hands-on activities, artifacts, and diverse, personal histories make the Museum a modern and compelling exploration of the long, dynamic history of drug use, misuse, and law enforcement unlike any other.
Reopening of Arlington House: The National Park Service (NPS) has reopened Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial, following a three-year closure for a complete rehabilitation of the site and transformation of the visitor experience. New exhibits and research allow the NPS to interpret the history of the Custis and Lee families alongside that of the more than 100 enslaved people who labored on the plantation. Together, their stories reveal a complex, more complete picture of life at Arlington House and of the people and events that changed our nation.
Construction continues on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail expansion project by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, bringing several new stations to Fairfax County and finally connecting Washington Dulles International Airport to downtown DC. Dulles Metro Station will be linked to the main terminal by a 300-meter pedestrian tunnel. Known as the Silver Line, the extension is expected to open in the first half of 2022, making it even easier for passengers to travel between Dulles Airport, parts of Virginia and Washington, DC.
Tysons Corner Marriott recently completed a $25 million floor-to-ceiling renovation. Some of the enhancements included a new lobby, 400 fully transformed guest rooms, over 12,000 square feet of reimagined event space and two additional event spaces, a state-of-the-art fitness center with Peloton bikes, a refreshed dining space inspired by a sophisticated Gastropub, and the addition of a 24-hour M Club for Marriott Bonvoy members.
The Archer Tysons is a 178-room boutique hotel in Tysons, and only the seventh property for the award-winning boutique brand that places major emphasis on local discoveries, with a distinct nod to the destination each property calls home. The Archer Tysons greets guests with a spirit of casual elegance - lofted ceilings, exposed brick, and industrial-chic design – and hones in on the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand featuring an impressive variety of Virginia-focused art and products. Nestled in Tysons' up-and-coming neighborhood, Scotts Run, and adjacent to the new Capital One Center complex, The Archer Tysons also features a buzzy hotel bar called AKB, stylish event space, and unique design palettes.
Another brand new Archer joined Fairfax County’s hotel portfolio in December 2021 – the Archer Falls Church, which joins Washington, DC-area’s innovative retail and entertainment district, Mosaic, as its headquarter hotel property. This transformation of a former Hyatt House to the new Archer brand will feature chic new interiors, dramatic lighting, locally curated art and fabulous finishes, touches and trims, a new lively bar under the AKB brand, redesigned suites and guest rooms, complimentary amenities and thoughtful touches like turndown treats, bathrobes and slippers, and a drink + dine credit for direct bookings. The transformation began December 15 and the hotel will remain open for guests throughout the renovations.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon will unveil an all-new exhibit at the Donald W. Reynolds Museum entitled “Becoming Mount Vernon” in February 2022 that will take a broader look at how Mount Vernon came to be, from Native Americans through Washington’s ownership and into preservation efforts. New specialty tours include the Founding flowers garden tour and the Hamilton: The Musical tour. Also new: a free app that pairs with virtual reality devices to give users an immersive tour of the property.
The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial, now open at Occoquan Regional Park, honors the millions of women who fought for more than 70 years for the right to vote and is the only national memorial dedicated to telling the complete story of women’s suffrage. It features 19 informational stations, a beautifully landscaped meditation garden, and an actual piece of the original White House fence from 1917.
Hotel Fredericksburg in Washington Square in Downtown Fredericksburg will be a 99-room hotel and meeting space.
Renovation plans are under way for Clarion Hotel & Suites Conference Center, formerly the Fredericksburg Hospitality House.
In 2022, the metro expansion into Loudoun is slated to open, connecting the county to Dulles International Airport as well as D.C. Estimate is Spring 2022.
Guests will be welcomed into the brand-new Tru by Hilton in Ashburn by a wall mural featuring Loudoun’s many local attractions. The property will have 125 modern and efficient sleeping rooms and be located at One Loudoun in Ashburn, which is a shopping/restaurant hub just about 25 miles from Washington, D.C. The Tru Hotel will include a coffee station and market, lounge, game room, pool, modern work spaces and more. The property is slated to open in January 2022.
While it opened in 2021, Flying Ace Farm Brewery will continue to expand in 2022. Located on a 55-acre working farm of a former Air Force pilot, Flying Ace is the county’s first farm brewery and distillery. Sample hops- forward ales and crisp craft lagers such as the Virginia Farmhouse Saison or the aptly named Air Boss Pilsner in the brewery before walking over to the hanger-like distillery – a vintage fighter plane on display – to try award-winning cask strength Blended Bourbon or three grain White Dog whiskey, the latter made using the farm’s own corn. In 2022, a restored barn on the premises is set to serve as an outpost of Purcellville-based Monk’s BBQ. Beer, bourbon and brisket – what more could you possibly need?
Prince William County
Bel Air 1740, an exquisite 25-acre colonial plantation in Woodbridge, opened in June 2021 and feature rolling fields, spacious gardens, wooded areas and manor house available for receptions, photos and ceremonies.
The Winery & Brewery at Sunshine Ridge Farm in Gainesville opened February 2021. This picturesque 40-acre farm winery & brewery sits on the banks of Lake Manassas and offers guests a variety of craft Virginia wine, beer and eventually mead.
The Black Sheep | Whiskey + Wine + Noshery (Located on Farm Brew Live’s campus) is a spectacular, two-story, historic dairy barn with exposed-beam vaulted ceilings and terrace. The vintage barn features a dedicated arts and entertainment space as well as private dining rooms in the lower level barrel-aging quarters. They are committed to promoting locally sourced food and supports local farms and farmers. The restaurant offers seating for more than 215 patrons, with two full-service bars (inside and outside).
The National Museum of the Marine Corps has completed its $100-million project to document the service’s history from the end of fighting in Vietnam to this generation’s conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The facility has grown from 112,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. The Legacy Walk Exhibit tells the story of the nearly 250-year history of the Marine Corps. The new final segment of the gallery will guide visitors through the evolution of the Marine Corps in the post-Vietnam era. The centerpiece of the new gallery is the “Terror Strikes” exhibit that includes the events of September 11, 2001. In addition, the extension includes “No Better Friend,” which explores the non-combat roles of Marines, and “Semper Family,” which speaks about the universal experiences of Marine Corps family members.
The Hyatt Place opened for reservations December 7, 2021 and is a brand new property in Harrisonburg. It is located at 1884 Evelyn Byrd Avenue. It will be the only hotel in Harrisonburg with a rooftop bar and with stunning views of the valley and George Washington National Forest.
As of November 2021, JMU just reopened the JMU Mineral Museum (1301 Carrier Drive) which has been greatly expanded with the addition of the Peter L. Via Collection. The museum now has examples of minerals which are the finest in the world making this a destination collection for Geologists around the world.
Natural Bridge State Park will be adding to their visitor experiences. The Children’s Discovery Area will be an outdoor experiential area for families to have fun enjoying nature. There will be a certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom using natural features to engage children and immerse them in an outdoor environment of creative play. Additionally, the park will soon be designated as a dark sky park with the International Darksky Association.
The 152-room Natural Bridge Historic Hotel & Conference Center in Natural Bridge became a member of the Trademark Collection by Wyndham hotel brand and is undergoing a $750,000 renovation including a complete guest room renovation in the Main Hotel along with some redesigned public spaces. Additional highlights will include exterior upgrades, the addition of a fitness center, and fully equipped 5-Bedroom Villa.
The Blackburn Inn in Staunton has announced the addition of a 2,500 square foot spa. The Spa at The Blackburn, located in the Wellness and Conference Center on the hotel grounds, is Staunton’s first spa and will offer facials, massage, reflexology, and nail treatments. The Wellness and Conference Center which opened fall 2020, offers just over 20,000 sq.-ft. and consists of one 6,000 sq.-ft. meeting/banquet room, plus several other private spaces of various sizes.
Blevins Family Vineyard will open May 7, 2022. This vineyard will make the third active winery in Halifax County. In addition to the tasting room and beautiful vineyard, the property will also serve as an events space in the County.
The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville opened the Jean S. Adams Education Pavilion in 2021 to generate greater public awareness of the museum, partnering organizations and the entire region. The Pavilion will offer education programs, interpretive elements and multi-use functionality.
Thomas Road Outpost is an adventure camp that is building a conference center with plans to have it complete by fall of 2022. Once that is done, they will be promoting availability for meetings, events, business retreats, church group retreats and more. They have onsite lodging, dining, trails, aerial course, ziplines, various activities for team-building, and more. This could be defined as “Off the Grid” adventure! Part of the adventure is just getting there!
Apocalypse Ale Works is expanding and will be opening “Apocalypse Cidery and Winery” in the building located next to the brewery, with plans to open in spring of 2022. Wines will include a bourbon-barrel Chardonnay, bourbon-barrel Cabernet, an Australian Shiraz that has been aged with Hungarian oak, as well as Pinot Grigio, Moscato and sangrias — one frozen with peach and strawberry that will dispense in a slushie machine. All the ciders will be made 100% from local apples from farms within a 50-mile radius. Both venues will offer live music.
The Liberty Trust, originally constructed as a bank headquarters in 1910 in downtown Roanoke, is currently undergoing a full historic restoration as part of its transformation into a 54-room luxury lifestyle hotel currently slated to open in Spring of 2022.
Rowland Hotel, a new 16-room boutique hotel in downtown Salem, will open in 2022.
Mariners Landing at Smith Mountain Lake is working on renovations and upgrades to their resort.
SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA - BLUE RIDGE HIGHLANDS/HEART OF APPALACHIA
The highly anticipated Sessions Hotel opened in 2020 as a Tribute Hotel by Marriott in Bristol on State Street. The 70-room, $20 million project includes Southern Craft BBQ Restaurant, indoor and outdoor music venues, rooftop space and a luxury spa - Vision Day Spa & Salon.
Birthplace of Country Music has a learning center space that accommodates up to 50 people that can be used for groups and a theatre that seats up to 100 people. Open to groups with some capacity limitations.
The Appalachian Trail Center in Damascus opened in 2021 and is a hub to the Appalachian Trail and the Town of Damascus.
The Patrick County Barn Quilt Trail was designed to connect with barn quilt trails in neighboring counties to promote tourism.
The Dehart Botanical Gardens Trail in Patrick County reopened in 2021.
Southwest Virginia’s newest distillery Axe Handle Distilling has opened recently in Pennington Gap.
Ingles Castle (also called La Reviere) is an old home in Radford that is being opened for tours and events. The castle is a Registered Historic Landmark and was built by the great-great grandson of Mary Draper Ingles.
Burke’s Garden Hostel – Geared toward lodging for hikers along the Appalachian Trail
The Back of the Dragon Welcome Center in Tazewell opened late 2020 and offers visitors information on Route 16 or the “Back of the Dragon” motorcycle trail. The Welcome Center includes retail space, tourist information, craft beer, frozen yogurt, specialty coffee and an iconic 12-foot dragon.
FOR MORE EXCITING DEVELOPMENTS SEE WHAT'S NEW IN VIRGINIA