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Spring Break (and Summer) Survival in Staunton


With spring break ahead, summer travels, and impromptu days off here and there often leave parents looking for things to do. We’ve rounded up a list—worthy of a day trip or overnight stay—that won’t break the bank, making parents happy and keeping kids entertained. Pin, Facebook, bookmark, or print this for future reference; we’re sure you’ll look to it as a resource over the next few months.


Teenagers and Tweens

One of the coolest demonstrations you’ll ever see is glassblowing, and you can see it every day in Staunton at Sunspots Studios! Watch the masters seemingly turn glass into wax as they form big bubbles bound for a life of beauty. If you get inspired, try “Blowing Your Own Ornament” where you work alongside a trained artist to create a unique ornament which will provide a lifetime of memories.

Escape to Crack the Code where you must solve puzzles in order to escape the room. You have 60 minutes to find the clues, solve the puzzles and make your way to freedom. Choose from two different themed rooms: DaVinci’s Office and The Asylum. This group activity is perfect for large families or a group of friends (6 people max).

For parents of Pokémon Go fans, we’ve got the fix. Explore by foot using the free app, Traipse! Traipse takes you on an adventure that is half historic tour and half scavenger hunt. You can Traipse anytime, with whomever you want, in places like downtown Staunton or Gypsy Hill Park. And with the newest version of the app you can now build your own tour based on your interests, time and even level of difficulty.

Montgomery Hall Park is one of Staunton’s best kept secrets with its rolling hills and quiet woodlands. Its a perfect escape for those looking to get outdoors with 148 acres of nature hiking and mountain biking trails. The park is also equipped with a disc golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts and much more!


For history buffs visit the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Museum where you can discover the life and legacy of our 28th President or learn about the Valley’s earliest settlers at the Frontier Culture Museum. Theater enthusiasts will fall in love with the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse where selfies and Snapchat are encouraged as you can go behind, under, and even on stage!

The Younger Set

Discover Staunton by Trolley! Take a ride on the green trolley for just 25 cents per rider. Hop on and off as you visit area attractions like the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and Gypsy Hill Park. Parents and Grand Parents can sit back and enjoy the architecture and scenery of several of Staunton’s historic districts. MUST SEE stops include Gypsy Hill Park to feed the ducks and stretch your legs; Split Banana for handmade gelato; and Pufferbellies to play with the latest toys. The Green route runs every 30 minutes from the Visitors Center located at 35 S. New Street.

Speaking of toys, did you know Staunton has a toy store that lets your kids play while you shop? “Don’t touch” is not a phrase you’ll hear at Pufferbellies. Pop in to play at the largest independently owned toy store in the Shenandoah Valley, and you can help your kids build their Christmas wish list while you’re at it!

Montgomery Hall Park is 148 acres and is home to the natural playground, Nature Ridge. Designed for imaginative play, Nature Ridge has a mud kitchen, rock quarry, pirate ship, ball drop, chimes, and an elevated sand pit accessible to children of all ages and abilities.

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For train obsessed kiddos we have the historic train station. Take a walk across Sears Hill Bridge for great City views and to explore the tracks from overhead. On the weekends, don’t miss the Gypsy Express Mini-Train running Saturdays and Sundays from May to October. Another kid hot spot is the Staunton Fire Station where you can see JUMBO, the oldest motorized fire engine in Virginia and the only remaining 1911 Robinson fire engine.

Pack a picnic and bring a stroller or rent a wagon for a day of exploration at the Frontier Culture Museum. Walking shoes recommended as you make your way from the Old World to the New, visiting farmsteads with costumed interpreters complete with farm animals.


Staunton has no shortage of music and art festivals during the warmer months and for other special events and weekly happenings check out Staunton On Tap, our schedule of events with all the latest happenings.


Written by Visit Staunton for Staunton.
Featured image provided by Staunton Tourism

The post Spring Break (and Summer) Survival in Staunton appeared first on Virginia's Travel Blog.

The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia in July



Summer is in full swing here in Virginia, and there are so many ways to enjoy the month of July, from three-day festivals that bring together some of the biggest names in music to patriotic Fourth of July celebrations featuring massive fireworks displays. Mark your calendars and start making plans for an incredible July in Virginia this year!


Virginia is for Lovers 50 Years of LOVE Celebrations Continue—Various Locations Around Virginia

When: Throughout the monthMorais Vineyard

One of the most famous tourism slogans in the world, Virginia is for Lovers turns 50 in 2019, and to celebrate, there are countless special events happening around the Commonwealth! Dozens of breweries will be crafting limited-edition lagers this summer in honor of Virginia and serving them to visitors in commemorative glasses that you can take home. Many wineries will also have 50th anniversary glasses, as well as discounts on tastings during the 50 Years of Love summer celebrations. Participating restaurants around Virginia will offer special meal pricing and menus, and there are even giveaway contests to win free overnight stays and getaway packages to some of Virginia’s most spectacular hotels and resorts. Find dates and details at the Virginia is for Lovers 50 Years of Love page and join us in celebrating an historic milestone.


4th of July Celebrations—Various Locations Around Virginia

When: On and Around July 4, 2019Mount Vernon Fireworks

Celebrate America’s Independence this Fourth of July in Virginia, one of the most vital states when it came to the American Revolution. The Commonwealth will have all sorts of festivals, fireworks, and parades during the holiday, including monumental celebrations at historic sites like Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon.


Red Wing Roots Music Festival—Mt. Solon

When: July 12-14, 2019

The 7th annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival, held over three days at the scenic Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, is a family-friendly event that blends bluegrass and folk music, the Great Outdoors, and some of the best food and drinks in Virginia. Multiple stages allow a wide array of regional and national bands to continuously play toe-tapping music during the festival, and if you want to take a break from the live performances, there are tons of organized outdoor events like bike rides, hiking, fun runs, and interactive kids activities to fill your schedule. This year’s lineup includes Lucinda Williams, The Wood Brothers, Mandolin Orange, and The Steel Wheels. Get Tickets


Virginia Lake Festival—Clarksville

When: July 18-20, 2019Fishing in Buggs Island Lake

Now in its 42nd year, Clarksville’s annual Virginia Lake Festival (or LakeFest, as the locals call it) is a free event that has repeatedly made the list of “One of the Top 20 Events” by the Southeast Tourism Society, attracting nearly 100,000 people each year. Kids can take tethered hot air balloon rides above Buggs Island Lake beginning on Thursday evening, and Friday morning kicks off the sand sculpture contest, followed by live music and a sampling of food vendors throughout the day. As dawn breaks on Saturday, watch as balloonists skim the pristine lake waters, then head over to downtown Clarksville and shop goods, foods, and handmade gifts from over 200 local artisans and businesses. Once night falls, boats gather all around Buggs Island Lake to witness the extravaganza fireworks show, one of the biggest annual fireworks shows in all of Southern Virginia.


Shenandoah Valley Music Festival—Orkney Springs

When: July 19-20, July 26-27, August 9-10, and August 31-September 1, 2019Shenandoah Valley Music Festival

Held over summer weekends at the beautiful historic retreat and conference center of Shrine Mont, the Shenandoah Valley Music Festival has brought countless talented musicians to the region, with past artists including LeAnn Rimes, Bruce Hornsby, and The Temptations. This year’s lineup is no exception, with The Beach Boys headlining the July 26th show. Tickets range in price from about $40 to $85, depending on location (lawn, pavilion, or preferred pavilion) and the weekend. Order Your Tickets Here


Annual Chincoteague Island Pony Swim & Auction—Chincoteague Island

When: July 24-25, 2019Chincoteague Pony Swim

Chincoteague Island’s Annual Pony Swim & Auction has become a Virginia tradition on the Eastern Shore, bringing thousands of people to the small waterfront community to see these gorgeous animals make the trek across the channel between Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and Chincoteague Island. This July event raises money to support the town of Chincoteague while also keeping the wild pony population in check, which prevents damage to the fragile coastal ecosystem of the wildlife refuge. Attend this wondrous Eastern Shore event and get a rare up-close look at these wild beauties.



When: July 24-28, 2019Floydfest

One of Virginia’s biggest and best music festivals, FloydFest is a five-day festival right off the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of Floyd. Camp in the trees of the Blue Ridge Mountains during the festival, where you’ll discover outdoor adventure, local vendors offering everything from artisan-made goods and clothing to delicious food and beverages, and an inclusive sense of community, all within a few steps of your campsite. In addition to lots of live music (over 100 artists on eight stages), Floydfest includes workshops, healing arts seminars, and children’s activities. Get Tickets


Virginia Highlands Festival—Abingdon

When: July 26-August 4, 2019The Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia.

Held each year for the past seven decades in historic downtown Abingdon, The Virginia Highlands Festival has been named the “Best Art Event” in the region by readers of Virginia Living Magazine. The week-long festival features activities and entertainment that is suitable for kids and adults of all ages. Check out the antiques market and the award-winning juried arts and crafts show to shop local goods. Live music, historical re-enactments, art and photography competitions, guided nature hikes, creative writing workshops, and plenty of activities for the kids rounds out this Southwest Virginia festival, providing non-stop entertainment and fun.


The 400th Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony of the First Representative Legislative Assembly—Jamestown

When: July 30, 2019jamestown

Head to Jamestown, the birthplace of American democracy, to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the First Representative Assembly in the western hemisphere. Sponsored by the American Evolution series, the event will take place at both Historic Jamestowne and the Jamestown Settlement, and will include archaeological exhibits and special events, guided walking tours of the grounds, living history reenactments, lectures by knowledgeable historians, hands-on children’s activities, and a free concert featuring the Richmond Symphony.


Find even more July events to add to your calendar, and look ahead to August and September  to make your vacation plans!

The post The Top Events & Festivals Happening Around Virginia in July appeared first on Virginia's Travel Blog.

Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William


Temperature rising? No worries. Just add water!

Situated along both the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers, Prince William, VA offers a wide variety of recreational water activities for everyone to enjoy. Looking to cool off poolside, float along a lazy river, run amuck through splash pads or paddle through open waters? You’ll find all these and more in DC’s Countryside.




1) Splashdown Waterpark –  7500 Ben Lomond Park Dr. Manassas, VA (703) 792-8200

Prince William County

Zoom down one of the four-story-tall slides on Pipeline Tower , prepare for launch down the Cannonball Slide or challenge a friend to a race down the Twister Slides. Prefer to relax while soaking up the sun? Splashdown Waterpark has a 770-foot-long Lazy River for unwinding. Bubblers, fountains and a wading area are perfect for young visitors. Enjoy a variety of food from the onsite eateries at one of the picnic pavilions. Splashdown Waterpark has something for everyone.


2) Waterworks Waterpark – Andrew Leitch Park, 5301 Dale Blvd. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8415

Prince William County

Have fun in the sun all day at Waterworks Waterpark! Blast down the Enclosed Speed Slide , twist and turn your way through the Circular Open Slide or test out your balancing skills on the 3 J ungle Walk Features. The new Children’s Play Structure and Splash Pad are sure to keep the fun going for the little one. Enjoy a yummy snack from the Snack Bar beneath the shaded pavilion. Thousands of laughs and tons of memories are sure to be made at Waterworks Waterpark.




1) Veterans Park – Pool & Waterslide –  14300 Veterans Dr. Woodbridge, VA (703) 792-8794

Prince William County

The 50-meter outdoor pool at Veterans Park features 2 two-story slides, graduated entry with water features for the little ones, a bathhouse and concessions nearby.

2) Hammil Mill Pool – 1721 Carter Ln. Woodbridge, VA (703) 491-1074

Prince William County

Fun water features and various small water slides can keep little ones entertained for hours at Hammil Mill Pool.


3) Birchdale Pool –  14730 Birchdale Ave Dale City, VA (703) 670-5178

Prince William County

Birchdale pool features a full-service concessions area, a diving board and a gated baby pool for little swimmers.


4) Graham Park Pool – 3511 Graham Park Rd. Triangle, VA (703) 221-7550

– Prince William County

Graham Park is a charming outdoor pool featuring zero-depth entry, water spray and dumping water bucket features.




1) The Interactive Splash Fountain at Virginia Gateway – 7524 Iron Bar Lane Gainesville, VA

Prince William County

Virginia Gateway’s interactive splash fountain is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.


2) The Splash Pad at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center – 14900 Potomac Town Place Woodbridge, VA

Prince William County

Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center’s splash pad is open 10 am – 10 pm daily. Check their Facebook page for special events & closure notifications.



Prince William County

Kayak along the Occoquan River, fish off the sandy shores of Leesylvania State Park or learn to sail on the Potomac. Prince William’s waterfront playground provides a variety of recreational activities for you to explore.




Fish Seining on the Potomac @Leesylvania State ParkJune 29, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Watch a park ranger catch different kinds of fish using one of the oldest primitive fishing methods. Come for a chance to learn…


Pond Play! at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – July 27, 2019

Frogs, turtles, and fish, oh my! Explore the animals that live in our pond. A ranger will use nets to catch animals…


Canoe Tour @Leesylvania – June 30, 2019 – August 11, 2019

Our canoe tours are designed to help those that are new to canoeing to learn the basics of paddling…


Occoquan Sunset Paddling Tour @ Penguin Paddling – July 7, 2019 – September 1, 2019

Occoquan Sunset Penguin Paddling Tour This guided trip is approximately two hours in duration…


NEABSCO CREEK PADDLE TOUR @ Penguin PaddlingJune 30, 2019 – September 22, 2019

Our Neabsco tour is a gem. Wildlife is abundant. Eagles, beavers, herons and all sorts of waterfowl can be seen on this tour…


Kids Fishing Tournament at Leesylvania State Park – July 6, 2019 – September 7, 2019

Join our kids fishing tournament and see what you can catch. Ages 2-15 are welcome…


Potomac River Blockade Tour @ Leesylvania State Park & Prince William Historic Preservation – September 21, 2019 – October 19, 2019

Sponsored by the Prince William Historic Preservation. Cruise along the Potomac River shoreline and view sites…


Written by Deena Westenhofer for Prince William County and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

Featured image provided by Prince William County

The post Waterparks, Splash Pads, Outdoor Pools & Water Adventures in Prince William appeared first on Virginia's Travel Blog.

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Virginia Frosé & Other Frozen Wine Drinks To Cool Off This Summer


It’s summertime in Virginia, with temperatures soaring into the 90s and the signature Southern humidity officially here to stay. While we love soaking up that Virginia sunshine, there’s one thing you definitely need in-hand this summer to keep cool: wine slushies!

From Insta-worthy frosé to refreshing frozen wine, here are some of our favorite icy delights to try this summer. Go ahead, treat yourself!


Frosé at Blue Bee Cider | Richmond


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Blue Bee Cider is Virginia’s first urban cidery, located in the historic Scott’s Addition district of Richmond. Blue Bee’s ciders are made with rare and heirloom Virginia apples prized for their tannin, acidity, and flavor. Added bonus? They serve frosty, delicious frosé on the reg during the summer months. Blue Bee’s frosé’s main ingredient is frozen Mill Race Bramble, which was Virginia’s first berry-infused cider when it debuted in 2013. Mill Race Bramble features Virginia raspberries and blackberries from Agriberry Farm. To make these drinks extra festive, the folks at Blue Bee will occasionally switch up the presentation and include berry candy sticks or sour candy ribbons with the drink! Blue Bee is also pet-friendly– it was voted the Most Dog Friendly Patio by STYLE Weekly– so it’s the perfect place to enjoy a cold beverage with your furry friend.


Cider Freeze Pops at Coyote Hole Ciderworks | Mineral


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There are few things that make us more nostalgic for childhood than snacking on an ice cold Freeze Pop. This summer, upgrade your experience with an adult twist on Freeze Pops: Frozen Hard Cider Freeze Pops from Coyote Hole Ciderworks in Mineral. These yummy frozen treats are made with award-winning Sangria, a cider and rosé wine blend with cranberry and mangos frozen into the pop. They also offer a frozen version of their famous Ciderita — a margarita cider blend. Olé! 


Wine Slushies at Abingdon Vineyards | AbingdonAbingdon Vineyards wine slushees

Photo Credit: Abingdon Vineyards

Abingdon Vineyards creates wine slushies that are perfect for hot summer days on the patio. While the winery offers a variety of dry and semi-dry wines on their regular tasting menu, the slushies are made with sweet wines, akin to a frozen sangria. All of the wine varietals are grown on the winery’s 12 acres, located along the South Holston River. The red wine slushies are made with chambourcin and a mix of seasonal fruit juices, while the white wine slushie is a blend of Appalachian Sunset rosé and the 2017 Riesling. Three cheers for this sweet summery treat!


Lushies at Cave Ridge Vineyard | Mount Jacksoncave ridge vineyards lushie sangria wine frose

Photo Credit: Elena M. Lycas from Cave Ridge Vineyard

Cave Ridge Vineyard, located about 30 miles from Harrisonburg, is serving “Lushies” this summer. Lushies are icy cold and refreshing on a hot day or a summer evening.  The red is made with Cave Ridge Chambourcin and the white is made with Traminette. These are delicious off-dry wines on their own, so freezing them up makes them even more refreshing. This beautiful winery overlooks the Shenandoah Valley, and is open until 7pm every Saturday, making it a fabulous destination to catch a Virginia summer sunset. 


Wine Slushies at The Purple WOLF Vineyard | Harrisonburg


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This summer The Purple WOLF Vineyard in Harrisonburg is pouring wine slushies in the Tasting Room. Guests can choose from a white wine, red wine, or a red and white swirled slushie. These frozen wine treats are made using their unique lavender wine. We recommend trying the Dragonfly, their signature white blend made with Traminette and Chardonnay. It’s a dynamic, sweet-yet-spicy flavor that is perfect for summertime. Pardon My Purple, a lavender-infused Chamborcin, is another Farm Favorite. Go try a glass today! 


Frappe-Vino Wine Slushies at Narmada Winery | Amissvillefrozen wine slushies at narmada winery and vineyard

While trendy Tie-Dye frapps may be going viral this summer, we bet you’ll enjoy these boozy wine slushies even more! Narmada Winery offers Frappe Vino Wine Slushies on weekends and holidays throughout the summer and early fall. The white slushie is made with Mom, a signature white wine, and tastes of ripe pineapple. The red slushie is made with Chambourcin Nouveau, which lends a bit of tartness to the sweet, frosty drink. With live music every weekend and a stunning winery experience, this is sure to be one of your new favorites this summer.


Wine Slushies at Quattro Goombas | Aldie


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Quattro Goombas Winery in Aldie is all about a passion for friendship, family, celebration and tradition (“Quatro Goombas” means “four close friends” in Italian, after all!) We can think of no better tradition this summer than to raise a slushy glass of vino to good friends and family. Nestled in beautiful Loudoun County, Quattro Goombas is a great destination to enjoy wine slushies in addition to their vast selection of hand-crafted, old-world style wines that blend perfectly with the charm, beauty, and grace of this lovely winery. Looking to pair your slushy with something savory? Quattro, the Pizza Shop, is a can’t-miss addition to your winery experience. Quattro’s square-cut, Sicilian-style pizza is famously delicious, with its light and airy crust and hand-made toppings. Buon appetito, goombas! 


Frappe Vino at James River Cellars Winery | Richmond


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Looking for more frappe vino, wine lovers? Located just 10 minutes outside the City of Richmond, James River Cellars Winery is the perfect destination on a hot summer afternoon. A blend of urban convenience and quaint rural appeal, James River Cellars aims to create a Virginia wine experience that is a refreshing change from the ordinary. The tasting room also offers wine slushies or “frappe vino,” in addition to the many different wines they have on hand to sip and taste. Open seven days a week, this is a must-see stop on your wine slushie tour!


Tell us, what is your favorite Virginia beverage to sip on a hot summer day? 

The post Virginia Frosé & Other Frozen Wine Drinks To Cool Off This Summer appeared first on Virginia's Travel Blog.