Virginia isn’t called the ‘Old Dominion State’ because of its wealth of politicians. At about two hundred twenty-six years old, it’s one of the oldest states in the US. The home of the nation’s capital, Washington D.C., Virginia stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Allegheny Mountains to the Blue Ridge. With all that country it’s no wonder why tourists flock to the more than 60 wineries Virginia has to offer. But wine isn’t the only attraction Virginia has to offer. The Shenandoah Valley in the West is full of lovely secluded caverns, waterfalls and hiking trails. The Arlington National Cemetery is the burial site of John F Kennedy and the eternal flame that commemorates the assassination of the former US president.
Virginia beach is another hot spot for tourists. If the sun isn’t shining or if you’re a history buff and not a beach comber, Luray Caverns, Great Fall Park, Blue Ridge Parkway, Cumberland Gap and the cities of Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown offer a glimpse into Virginia’s past. If seeing is believing works better for you, head to Northern Virginia. There you’ll find the famous George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate, the Iowa Marine Memorial, and Robert E Lee’s Arlington Estate. The Northern parts also offer cruises around the Potomac River and picturesque views of Washington D.C., Alexandria and Mount Vernon Estate.
Virginia proudly hosts the only fine arts national park in US - the Wolf Trap Farm Park. The unique Museum, situated in Roslyn, is a museum that deals only with newspapers both national and international. In the heart of Virginia is its capital, Richmond, which is also the Capital of the Confederacy. The memories of the nation’s civil war can be found throughout the many restored houses turned national museums. Topping the list are the Edgar Allan Poe Museum, The White House of the Confederation and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. There’s also the Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, among the nation’s founding fathers in Charlottesville, Central Virginia. In nearby Orange country is the Montpelier, where James Madison, another founding father of the Constitution, lived with his wife Dolly.
Further south are the Natural Chimneys. Several tall rocks sit naturally and simulate towers of a castle. Among the most popular tourist destinations in southern Virginia is Refined Barboursville. Relax and enjoy extraordinary wine with fine international cuisine. Bordering Kentucky is Breaks Interstate Park where the Grand Canyon is located. At 1600ft deep, the canyon is a marvel in its own right. If heights aren’t your thing, then head to Hampton, were a full-size spacecraft sits on display at the Virginia Air and Space Centre. Don’t worry, it doesn’t go anywhere. Finally, cool off at Virginia Beach. Take in some sun or take a dip but don’t get confused with the 800,000 gallon aquarium at the nearby Virginia Museum Science. Boy, will your face be red. For bird lovers, the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge has almost 8,000 acres of beach where migratory birds come seasonally.
Virginia like all states in United States can be entered freely by people who are either American Citizens or by other people who have been allowed entry into Untied States. People from other countries should see United States of America article for more information about entering from foreign counties.
• Virginia has many major airports servicing its main cities. Northern Virginia (the Washington DC suburbs) is serviced by Washington-Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (or, simply "Washington National" or "Reagan" for short). Washington National airport is by far the best airport in Northern Virginia due to its proximity to the Washington Metro Rail system and lower volume. Washington-Dulles Airport is better for international flights. However, its shuttles which transport passengers between the concourses, called "Mobile Lounges," make moving through the Dulles Airport a major hassle. Some concourses are connected via moving walkways and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is working on an underground rail system to link the concourses.
• For Central and Southern Virginia destinations, Richmond International Airport offers flights to and from many major cities East of the Mississippi and in Texas.
• For Eastern Virginia, especially the Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Portsmouth area, Norfolk International Airport offers flights to and from cities all over the U.S.
• Amtrak offers passenger rail service to many Virginia cities, including Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Richmond, Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Staunton. For destinations in Northern Virginia, the best stops are Union Station in Washington, DC and the Fredericksburg station.
• Amtrak offers commuter rail service via the Virginia Railway Express. Major stops are in Manassas, Franconia-Springfield, and Fredericksburg.
• Getting into Virginia from Maryland and Washington, DC is very easy via Metro Rail and Metro Bus.
Virginia is connected by secondary roads and Interstate highways to the surrounding states. Interstate 81 is the main route from Tennessee and continues through Virginia into Maryland and Pennsylvania. Interstate 66 connects Northwestern and Northern Virginia with Washington, DC. Interstate 95 runs north-south through Virginia connecting Washington, DC to Fredericksburg and Richmond, on to North Carolina. Interstate 495 encircles Washington, DC with part of its route going through Northern Virginia. Where I-95 intersects with I-495 at the southern-most end of I-495, Interstate 395 continues northward into DC while I-95 traces the same route as the eastern half of I-495. Thus, if you are to take I-95 from Richmond to Baltimore, MD, you would merge onto I-495 going East and North until I-95 splits off from I-495 on its north side to reach Baltimore.
Attractions • Blue Ridge Parkway
• The College of William and Mary
• James Madison University
• Luray Caverns
• Natural Bridge
• Skyline Drive
• University of Virginia
• Virginia Tech
As one of the original thirteen colonies Virginia offers numerous opportunities for those interested in history:
• Mount Vernon (George Washington Residence)
• Monticello, Poplar Forrest, and UVA (All dealing with Thomas Jefferson)
• Appomattox Court House (Site of Civil War Surrender)
• Berkeley Plantation (Home of Benjamin Harrison and others)
• Agecroft Hall (1600 style setting Castle)
• Maggie Walker Historical Site (Home to Maggie Walker)
In addition, visitors might choose to go to Theatre IV for some great authentic plays. Byrd Theatre is always the place to see old and modern movies at rates not topping $4.00. Or take a stroll down to Carytown, the "Georgetown of Virginia".
Nightlife and Dining
Virginia’s expansive shoreline offers a great variety of seafood delicacies such as blue crabs and oysters. The wine quality also is high acclaimed and popular. Richmond’s large student base makes it the most affordable place to eat in Virginia, if you don’t mind the students of course. Williamsburg offers a great choice of colonial cuisine, while Virginia Beach is peppered with a great number of fast-food joints and offers a surprisingly decent and affordable seafood cuisine. The nightlife, though not dull, is relatively quiet. Jazz is the cat’s meow and pubs are the hangouts for both old and young alike. Two clubs on the Virginia Beach, Hot Tuna and Peabody’s, are very popular for their food and music.
Accommodation in Virginia is very reasonable. Fare to medium accommodation run between $20-30 per day in most area and often include breakfast. Of course, there is a very good choice of star hotels but local studio and private accommodation offer better value.
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Carter's Grove Plantation, Virginia
Regions • Northern Virginia
• Eastern Virginia
• Central Virginia
• Southwest Virginia
• Shenandoah Valley
Travel around Virginia is primarily (like the rest of the US) by car.
Amtrak trains run from Norfolk/Newport News to Richmond and out to the western panhandle. Trains also run north and south between Richmond and the Northern Virginia/DC area. A third major line runs from the western panhandle, north through Charlottesville, and up to Northern Virginia.
Amtrak provides a commuter train service into Washington, DC from points as far a way as Fredericksburg and Manassas.
The Washington Metro has several rail stations in Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County.
The climate is considered mild compared to other areas of the United States. Most of the state east of the Blue Ridge, plus the southern part of the Shenandoah Valley, has a humid subtropical climate. In the mountainous areas west of the Blue Ridge, the climate becomes humid continental.
Severe weather is occasionally a concern in Virginia. Hurricanes make the coastal area of Virginia somewhat vulnerable, although it is rare for a major hurricane to threaten the Virginia coast as hurricanes this far north tend to become somewhat weakened. More often, Virginia is struck with the remnants of systems which hit further south bringing torrential rain to the state. Thunderstorms are an occasional concern with the state averaging anywhere from 30-50 days of thunderstorm activity annually, with the highest area of occurrence going towards the west. Conversely, eastern Virginia has a lower rate of tornadoes, and the state averages around 2 tornadoes per year.
Quick Facts • Virginia was named for England's "Virgin Queen," Elizabeth I.
• The first English settlement in the U.S was Jamestown, which was also the first capital of Virginia.
• Tobacco is a primary source of income in Virginia
• Virginia was the one of the first areas in the country where peanuts were grown.
• The largest office building in the world is the Pentagon building in Arlington.
Portrait of "USS Nimitz", nuclear powered carrier, Virginia, U.S.A.,