Don't miss the new destinations, major anniversaries and LOVE popping up around the Commonwealth this year. Here’s what tops the list for what’s new in travel for Virginia:
NEW Experiences, Attractions and Exhibits
Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg just opened their brand new, re-imagined spa "designed for the demanding and stressful lives we all lead today." On your next visit, you'll be greeted with options for a couples' treatment room, in-spa dining and wine, and "quiet" rooms. More than 50 spa services are available in seven distinct treatment rooms, including wet rooms.
From June 26 to July 5, Fairfax will welcome 12,000 professional public safety athletes from 70 countries to compete in more than 60 sporting events for 1,600+ medals! It's the World Police & Fire Games, and you're welcome to cheer them on from more than 60 venues.
Later this year the Road World Championships will roll through the Richmond region. From September 17 to 27, 12 races will feature world-class athletes in Olympic Games-level competition, and the world will be watching. Three disciplines are included in the races -- road race, individual time trial, and the brand new team time trial. A World Champion will be crowned in each discipline. In addition to watching the races themselves, festivals, concerts, and more entertainment will surround the event, keeping spectators engaged and having a great time.
"The Nation's Most Advanced Shooting Range," Elite Shooting Sports in Gainesville is now open. Four ranges of varying lengths and widths provide accessibility and diversity for abilities and weaponry. For example, the 100-yard range includes additional sound proofing to compensate for the noise of larger caliber rifles. Each range also has cameras that display your hit from where you fire.
Eight beautiful sites less than 10 miles apart are highlighted on the new Richmond Garden Trail. Take your time, go your own pace, and forge your own way, as there's no official start and everything is self-guided.
The Winter Honey Festival in Tazewell County is celebrating its second year, but it's brand new to us! Touted as the largest winter honey festival in the United States, you won't want to miss the myriad of honey and beeswax products, including artisan-made commemorative honey pots and baskets. Local restaurants will also tailor their menus to incorporate the honey theme, making it one sweet February week. Special events will occur February 7-14, 2015.
The Martha Hotel & Spa in Abingdon has partnered with The Virginian, a private golf club, to bring you, a non-member, special accessibility. Simply request a tee time when you book your stay.
Speaking of Abingdon, the Virginia Creeper Trail is about to get a new visitor center at the Abingdon trailhead. The center will be located in the historic Finley House and will include a gallery of O. Winston Link images.
LOVEworks continue to appear in Virginia communities, and one of the newest can be found in Farmville. Unveiled December 19, 2014, the Farmville LOVEwork depicts High Bridge with trains from both the Union and Confederacy poised on its track, as well as an inlaid 1918 Sanborn Fire Insurance map reproduction of the Downtown district. High Bridge was one of the last battles of the Civil War and is the namesake and centerpiece of High Bridge Trail State Park, which has a trailhead in Farmville. The LOVEwork was constructed on site with locally hewn and crafted materials.
Major Anniversaries and Annual Events
Have you dared to ride The Back of the Dragon? This motorcycle route hosts The Awakening, a motorcycle rally, every July, and this happens to be the fifth anniversary of leaning through the turns.
It's been 25 years since The Holladay House Bed and Breakfast in Orange first opened its doors, and they're celebrating all year long with a special gift each month! For example, guests staying in March can take 25% off their second night while guests staying the night on May 25 can add a free kayaking trip to their stay.
Bryce Resort in Basye will be celebrating its 50th anniversary with 50 special events over the course of the year.
NASA's Wallops Flight Facility celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2015. Recent launches have been re-supply missions to the International Space Station. The public is welcome to learn about the facility and its missions at the visitor center any time.
The Annual Chincoteague Pony Swim enters its 90th year when the round-up, swim and auction occur at the end of July.
Steeped in history, the beautiful Jefferson Hotel in Richmond will celebrate its 120th anniversary this year with a variety of brand new travel packages and promotions.
A brand new festival rolls out June 12-20 with The Crooked Road's Mountains of Music Homecoming Festival -- 50 communities and 200 artists! While 2015 is the inaugural year, Mountains of Music Homecoming Festival will be an annual event you can look forward navigating from the second Friday of June through the following weekend for years to come.
NEW Wines, Brews and Spirits
While the Virginia wine industry continues to grow, it's craft beer that's taking the Commonwealth by storm. At last count, Virginia had nearly 80 craft breweries, and you can keep an eye peeled for 40-some more to open over the next two years, including these this year:
- Pale Fire Brewing, Harrisonburg
- Swover Creek Farms Brewing, Shenandoah County
- Woodstock Brewhouse, Woodstock
- Buffalo Mountain Brewery, Floyd
Distilleries are growing in number, as well. On the horizon this year are:
- Filibuster Ditillery, Maurertown
- Five Mile Mountain Distillery, Floyd
- Bondurant Brothers Distillery, Chase City - the same Bondurant family highlighted in the major motion picture "Lawless"
Richmond has teased that there is a new craft beer trail blazing through town in 2015 but details are not yet available.
Likewise, Tour Roanoke is developing a wine tour that should be ready to launch this spring.
What Else is New?
What do you know that's new this year? Tell us!
Last Updated: 12/16/2016