We had so much fun with this year's Love Where You Live Photo Contest. We had 265 photo submitted from 55 different photographers. Thank you to all who participated and helped us tell of the many reasons why we love where we live!
The Liz Moore Market Watch Blog
This December, you can experience a holiday event every day of the month in Colonial Williamsburg!
Colonial Williamsburg is a community returned to its 18th-century appearance and an experiment in civic engagement. From hands-on activities to guided tours of original 18th-century buildings to our unmatched folk-art collection, there’s something for everyone at Colonial Williamsburg.
Click here to visit the holiday event calendar.
Colonial Williamsburg...just another reason why we love where we live!
Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has announced its theme for this year: “Bringing Art to Light” to celebrate Richmond’s thriving arts scene.
The lights and hand-crafted decorations were inspired by well-known works of arts, such as Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers, Van Gogh’s sunflowers and Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.”
The past few years have seen record-breaking attendance at GardenFest, drawing 80,000 to 90,000 visitors per season, depending on the weather. The number of lights at GardenFest of Lights have also increased from half a million in years past to over a million lights this year, according to organizers.
Holiday favorites like the two train displays, the splashy opening night performance, holiday dinners, as well as s'mores and hot chocolate, will also be returning for the season.
GardenFest of Lights will run Nov. 23 through Jan. 7, 2019. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $8 for children age 3 to 12. GardenFest is closed on Dec. 24 and 25. More information at www.lewisginter.org.
GardenFest of Lights...just another reason why we love where we live.
Busch Gardens® Williamsburg commemorates a decade of decking the halls with its most festive Christmas Town™ celebration to date in 2018. The annual celebration begins a week early, Nov. 17, and runs 35 days through Jan. 5. To salute Christmas Town's 10 magical years, the family-friendly holiday event offers more than 10 million lights, an all-new Christmas Town Express holiday-themed train ride experience, festive food and drink, unique holiday shopping and heart-warming shows to make the spirit of the season come alive.
Dance and sing along to classic holiday favorites at Christmas Town's family-friendly shows. Immerse yourself in the story of the first Christmas at Gloria!, then discover the magic of Christmas Eve performed on ice with ‘Twas That Night.
For more information on operating days and times, visit www.christmastown.com/va.
Busch Gardens Christmas Town...just another reason why we love where we live!
Celebration in Lights, Virginia’s first drive-through holiday light event, opens for its 26th season on Thanksgiving night (November 22, 2018). Newport News Park will be transformed by over a million individual lights, creating animated holiday and fanciful scenes. For its 26th year, the event will add special effects snow that will fall on the cars as they drive into the Winter Wonderland area on special nights (nights will be posted on https://www.nnva.gov/2414/Celebration-in-Lights).
The event will also add a new Gingerbread House display and new scenes on its two giant 25’ x 16’ screens of color-changing LED lights. The Forest of Lights display area will have upgraded color-changing LED bulbs to create more complex colors and patterns on the trees.
Hours and admission are: open nightly 5:30 - 10:00 p.m., $12.00 per car and $60.00 per bus; cash, credit cards Visa/MC, and checks made payable to the City of Newport News are accepted; advance/gift tickets may be purchased at the Newport News Visitor Center. Newport News Park is located at the intersection of Ft. Eustis Blvd. and Jefferson Ave. in Newport News, VA. Directions: Eastbound I-64 use Exit 247 (Lee Hall), Westbound I-64 use Exit 250 B (Ft. Eustis). For more information, call 757-926-1400 or visit www.nnparks.com.
Celebration in Lights...just another reason why we love where we live!
Help us make Christmas full of fun and games! We are collecting new and unwrapped board games for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation! When you are out doing that holiday shopping, pick up a game and bring it by one of our offices.
Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks.
Toys for Tots' stated goal is to "deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens."
The days are getting shorter and the weather crisper. If you’re looking for a fun way to appreciate the beauty of this season but don't want to travel very far, then look no further than Charlottesville, Virginia.
Charlottesville is a short drive from Richmond, only about an hour from anywhere in the capital city in fact, but feels like another world with wide expanses of farm land, rolling foothills and towering Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. This rural setting is the perfect place to appreciate nature's beauty and observe the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows of the changing autumn leaves. According to the Virginia Department of Forestry, the typical fall foliage peak color period for this region is October 25th through November 10th.
And what better way to enjoy gorgeous views than with a relaxing beverage in your hand! Charlottesville is home to many wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries.
Charlottesville has a long history of grape growing and wine production dating back to Thomas Jefferson and earlier, often called the “birthplace of American wine.” The gentle rolling hills with fertile granite-based clay soil and mild temperatures combine to yield grapes with a rich and multilayered old world flavor. Today wines
from this region are considered among the best produced anywhere in the Eastern United States.
The best place to start planning your trip is monticellowinetrail.com. Here you can find printable maps, links to every winery, a calendar of events, and a handy interactive map to plan your trip and get directions from winery to winery.
It’s helpful to chart out your course in advance as cell, internet, and GPS service can be spotty in the valley
and the mountainside.
Usually a few wineries are grouped together making it easy to travel between a few in one day. Most wineries have tasting rooms and staff to guide you through structured tastings so you may learn about and sample their wines.
Tasting fees typically range from five to ten dollars. Group tastings should be scheduled in advance for
larger parties. Many offer guided tours of their production facilities, cellars, and barrel rooms as well for an additional fee.
While some wineries have light fare like cheese and crackers for sale, if you plan to tour during meal time, picnics are encouraged and welcome at all of the wineries. A few offer a lunch menu like Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and Trump Winery, and some host food trucks on the weekends.
Grapes aren't the only vines flourishing in this region. Hop vines thrive here as well, in fact Virginia was once known as the hop capital of the world! This area is home to five small-batch breweries making handcrafted ales and lagers.
These award-winning brew houses welcome visitors for tours and tastings. Some of the breweries offer food menus and festive outdoor spaces for the family to enjoy.
To plan your brewery tour, visit brewridgetrail.com, named in homage to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Here you’ll find a trail map and suggested itinerary, calendar of events, and links to all of the breweries.
It’s no secret Virginia is known for its apples and Charlottesville has a few cideries serving up several varieties of apple cider and hard apple cider, the most famous being Bold Rock Hard Cider. Bold Rock’s Nellysford Cider Barn, located just south of the city is a large, beautifully rustic timber framed barn overlooking the Rockfish River. The facility boasts an expansive taproom and restaurant and plenty of outdoor seating.
Recently the craft distillery movement has taken off around the country with small batch distilleries popping
up everywhere, and Charlottesville is no exception. You can find tasting rooms offering whisky, vodka, rum, gin and a variety of cordials in the Charlottesville area.
To plan your tasting visit Virginia.org and search for distilleries. A few possible destinations include Ragged
Branch, Silverback, Vitae, Virginia Distillery Company, and Woodsmill Distilleries.
For such a short drive away, there are so many adventures to be had! In addition to sampling wine, beer, and spirits, there’s hiking, camping, exploring The University of Virginia’s campus, apple picking, catching a show at John Paul Jones arena, watching a sporting event at The University, exploring the booming foodie scene, visiting the Downtown Mall, and so much more.
There are so many things to do, you could take a day trip every weekend and experience something new!
Charlottesville, Virginia...just another reason why we love where we live!
Head out to Port Warwick on October 13 & 14th for the 14th Annual Port Warwick Art & Sculpture Festival.
Art at this year’s festival will include hand-carved furniture, paintings in oil, acrylics and watercolor, ceramics, mixed media, large and small sculptures, glass and jewelry.
The festival is a draw for art enthusiasts and decorators at any budget as many artists offer a wide range of price points to choose from.
Enjoy great food, drink, and live acoustic music throughout the weekend.
Returning to this year’s festival is the “Young Collectors Tent,” where children can buy art at huge discounts, spending as little as $5 on art valued for as much as $300. A portion of the proceeds from this tent will help fund an emerging artist scholarship fund.
As always, the festival will go on, rain or shine and there will be free parking.
Port Warwick Art & Sculpture Festival...just another reason why we love where we live!
Celebrate fall, nature’s grand finale, with OktoberFest at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on October 27th — a day filled with live music, games and prizes, all included in Garden admission.
Local food will be available for purchase as well as beer from Center of the Universe Brewing. Festivities will be held in the gardens adjacent to historic Bloemendaal House, rain or shine.
Presented by Meriwether Godsey, the Garden’s caterer. This is a family-friendly event.
Food service will begin at 11 a.m. We’ll have a kids’ menu too!
Bring canned goods to donate in support of the food bank at FeedMore, where over 3,200 meals are served daily to Richmond’s senior citizens and children in need. We’ll thank you with a special gift.
Music and activities are included with Garden admission; food and drink are purchased separately.
Ginter Botanical Garden...just another reason why we love where we live!
Get in the Halloween spirit with the Shadows of Shockoe Tour in Richmond.
Located in the heart of Richmond's oldest and most haunted neighborhoods, Haunts of Richmond brings local ghost stories and legends to life. Based on the book "Haunted Richmond, The Shadows of Shockoe," our tours take you to the sites where tragedy and trauma in Richmond's past have led to numerous reports of paranormal activity.
Tours depart Friday and Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm from through October 31, with 7:30 pm tours added on selected nights in October.
The Shadows of Shockoe Tour is $16 for adults, $12 for kids. Pre-purchase discount available via website. Group discounts available for groups of 6 or more.
Visit https://www.hauntsofrichmond.com/ to book your tour.