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(added listing Virginia Arts Festival)
(This is a seasonal event that doesn't belong here; promotional info at the end; i moved some of the information to Travel news)
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Virginia is also home to two popular amusement parks that regularly draw in many tourists, such as Kings Dominion [], located just north of Richmond. Near the coast, European-themed Busch Gardens [] offers a bewildering assortment of attractions representative of different European countries such as Italy, Germany, and England. It is also conveniently close to both the Colonial Williamsburg historical district as well as Water Country USA [] , a water park, making it an ideal destination for the entire family.
Virginia is also home to two popular amusement parks that regularly draw in many tourists, such as Kings Dominion [], located just north of Richmond. Near the coast, European-themed Busch Gardens [] offers a bewildering assortment of attractions representative of different European countries such as Italy, Germany, and England. It is also conveniently close to both the Colonial Williamsburg historical district as well as Water Country USA [] , a water park, making it an ideal destination for the entire family.
*<do name="Virginia Arts Festival " alt="" address="multiple" directions="" phone="757-282-2822" url="" hours="" price="" lat="" long="">The Virginia Arts Festival  from March 17 thru June 2, 2013, will present a season with extraordinary arts experiences not only in theaters, concert halls and historic churches, but in city streets and parks.  It will be a season of artistic celebrations featuring a performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, presented on the exact day of its 100th anniversary.  Dance is a signature element of the Virginia Arts Festival, and this year Britain’s esteemed Birmingham Royal Ballet travels for the only US performances in 2013 with its beguilingly danced production of Coppélia. 
A Prairie Home Companion will give the Festival audience the opportunity to be part of the live nationwide radio broadcast as Garrison Keillor leads an ensemble cast through this entertaining show including musical interludes and “The News from Lake Wobegon”. 
The Festival gets an early start this year on March 17, St Patrick’s Day, as the legendary Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains share the beauty and joy of Irish music and the wearin’ of the green.  Fringe events kick off in March as Meow Meow takes the stage for seven extraordinary cabaret performances March 19-24.  Virginia Chocolate Festival returns this year and due to popular demand will be two days, March 23 and 24.
A variety of artists celebrate the centennial of the most controversial premiere in both ballet and music history – Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The Festival provides an extraordinary opportunity to see this historical performance on May 29, one hundred years from the day the work was premiered.  This new production of “The Rite” is collaboration between Virginia Arts Festival, Richmond Ballet and Virginia Symphony Orchestra with music director JoAnn Falletta conducting.  “The Rite is a piece that forever changed the landscape of the music world. People who witnessed the premier May 29, 1913 were stunned by its primal power and visceral energy. While we don’t expect our performance to provoke the riot of that first performance, I know our audiences will never forget experiencing this masterpiece live at the Virginia Arts Festival.” JoAnn Falletta says.
Falletta will also lead the Virginia Symphony Chorus and Virginia Arts Festival Chamber Musicians in Stravinsky’s infrequently performed ballet Les Noces (The Wedding), featuring Norfolk’s own TRDance. The four pianos of the Les Noces ensemble are anchored by Festival Chamber Series artistic director and Van Cliburn Competition gold medalist André-Michel Schub.
Family events include the Flying PROMS at the Military Aviation Museum where vintage aircraft will soar overhead as Virginia Symphony Orchestra performs.  More than 850 performers from all over the globe assemble for the Virginia International Tattoo, an inspiring display of military precision and patriotism.  We celebrate Memorial Day with an inspiring outdoor concert by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Band in Newport News.
Vocalists preforming  with the Virginia Arts Festival in 2013 will be  Israeli singing star, Noa, Brazilian vocalist Luciana Souza, Broadway sensation, Audra McDonald, singer-songwriter Lori McKenna, Indigo Girls performing with Virginia Symphony Orchestra and Tierney Sutton with Turtle Island String Quartet give patrons many choices for enjoying beautiful vocals of varied genres.
Festival Williamsburg will be the place to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with master Arturo Sandoval.  Enjoy three dazzling stars of Broadway stages and hot jazz band Hot Sardines for concerts at the Williamsburg Lodge.  Classical music, delicious food and award-winning wines will be featured in two concerts at the Williamsburg Winery performed by Miami String Quartet and André-Michel Schub.
“The Virginia Arts Festival brings great artists from around the world for the communities of Hampton Roads and the thousands of visitors to Virginia to enjoy each spring season.” says Virginia Arts Festival Director, Robert W. Cross. “From legendary classical ballet with Birmingham Royal Ballet, to Israeli and African pop sensations, to the multi-Tony award winning voice of Audra McDonald and the spectacular celebration of the hundredth anniversary of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, the 2013 Virginia Arts Festival has something for all arts lovers to enjoy.” 
Season subscriptions are now on sale, purchase three or more performances and save 10%. Visit or call 757-282-2822. Single tickets go on sale February 8, 2013.

Revision as of 00:09, 23 January 2013

For other places with the same name, see Virginia (disambiguation).

The Commonwealth of Virginia [1] is a state in the South of the United States of America. The state was one of the original thirteen British colonies and is the twelfth most populated state in the USA.

Bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and the west by the Appalachian mountains, with expanses of farmland in between, Virginia has much to offer history buffs and lovers of scenic landscapes. Virginia's three largest cities are Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake.

Virginia is bordered by the states of Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and the District of Colombia.


Regions of Virginia
Northern Virginia, the populous area bordering Washington, D.C., is influenced by the city's culture.
Eastern Virginia includes such tourist hot-spots as Colonial Williamsburg and Virginia Beach.
Central Virginia is home to Richmond, Virginia's capital city, and features historic sites from the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Southwest Virginia, also known as Virginia's highlands, is a mainly rural region defined by its Appalachian heritage.
Shenandoah Valley is bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains, a region to enjoy nature at Shenandoah National Park.


Note: "City" is used here in a broad sense. Virginia draws a very sharp distinction between cities and other communities. Since 1871, all communities incorporated as cities are legally separate from counties.

All of the communities listed below are in fact cities under Virginia law, except for Arlington, which is actually a county.

  • Lynchburg

Other destinations


"Virginia Is For Lovers" [2] is the enigmatic motto of the Virginia tourism council. What makes Virginia particularly suited for amour remains something of a mystery, but the state does have many great features: beaches, forests, some of the oldest towns in North America, and proximity to the Mid-Atlantic and the deeper South.

Virginia is one of the thirteen original colonies, and one of the first states to ratify the Declaration of Independence. It is known as the "Mother of States" as its original territory included West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee. It is also known as the "Mother of Presidents," as eight U.S. presidents were born in the state: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson.

What is known today as Virginia has been inhabited for many hundreds of years by people of European descent. Jamestown, Virginia (near Williamsburg) is the site of the first lasting British settlement in the New World, dating to 1607. Native American tribes from Virginia, such as the Powhatan, had some of the richest native cultures in the Colonies.

In colonial times, Virginia was settled mainly along the rivers that empty into the Chesapeake bay. The settlers relied on slave labor to grow cash crops, such as tobacco, and relied on trade from England for basic needs. While settlers primarily from England, Scotland, and Ireland settled along the Potomac, Rappahannock, and James Rivers, many German settlers migrated into Virginia from Pennsylvania along the Shenandoah Valley.

Virginia seceded from the Union in 1861 and has a strong Civil War heritage, as well as a strong sense of Southern pride and feeling of independence that exists in much of the state (especially the capital Richmond) even today.

Following the Reconstruction after the Civil War, Virginia's economy shifted toward growing food crops in the north of the state, while the southern interior of the state continued to grow tobacco on smaller farms. The major shipyards at Norfolk continued to grow in importance as a major coal port and a naval base.

Following the growth of the US Federal Government during and after World War II, Northern Virginia grew at an astronomical pace as government workers and contractors settled across the Potomac River from Washington, DC. Today, Virginia's economy is dominated by military bases dotted all over the state, government contracting agencies, and residents who commute into Washington, DC. Virginia Beach serves as a popular summer vacation spot and the Appalachian Mountains offer outdoor recreation. Virginia is also a popular destination for history buffs as Virginia was a major player in much of America's history.


English is spoken by most residents. In rural areas and farther south, you may experience what is commonly known as “Southern accent”. This accent generally does not stop fluent English speakers from understanding the person, but non-native English speakers may experience problems. Most people can deliberately speak in non-accented English upon request but find it difficult to do so for extended length of time. As with all places, locals may have nonstandard words to refer to places, actions and people. Locals are understanding of tourists who do not know these words and will clarify upon request.

Get in

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 United States. People from other countries should see the United States of America article for more information about entering from foreign counties.

By plane

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.

Other smaller regional airports service Roanoke, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, and Harrisonburg. Flights from these airports generally only go to large hubs such as Atlanta or Washington DC.

By train

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.

By car

Virginia is connected by secondary roads and Intserstate 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.
  • Interstate 64 runs east-west through Virginia, connecting the Hampton Roads area with Richmond and Charlottesville. West of Charlottesville, it joins I-81 at Staunton. The two highways split at Lexington, with I-64 going through the western mountains until entering West Virginia.
  • US 29 connects the Western Washington Suburbs to North Carolina and Atlanta forming a scenic alternate route to taking I-95 to I-85. A four lane divided highway throughout the state, it offers a short route to the Southeast avoiding heavy freeway traffic.
  • US 11 runs paralled to Interstate 81 and is a beautiful alternative to freeway travel going through many picturesque cities, through Natural Bridge, and past many antique stores
  • US 301 enters the state from North Carolina with I-95 and is a popular short route north of Richmond to Chesepeake and Northeast destinations bypassing the Baltimore-Washington traffic.
      • Northern drivers beware VA has the strictest traffic laws in the nation including "reckless driving by speed" which is a class 1 misdemeanor (you can be cited for this by going 81 in a 70 zone) and carries penalties up to 1 YEAR IN JAIL and $2500 and you will need to appear in court or hire a lawyer!!! Do not speed in Virginia!!!

Get around

Travel around Virginia is primarily(like the rest of the US) by car but public transportation is also relatively abundant in the Northern Virginia suburbs neighbouring Washington DC.

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.

Virginia Railway Express (VRE), a commuter rail line, serves 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.

Hitchhiking is slow-going in Virginia. Rides are hard to come by and the Virginia State Police are notorious for hassling travelers (hitchers and motorists alike). Your best bet is either to stick to the state roads in the mountains, or to stick to rest stops on the major highways.


  • Crabtree Falls in Nelson County
  • Natural Bridge in Rockbridge County
  • Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington
  • Peaks of Otter in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Popular spot for hiking and fishing. Home of the famous Peaks of Otter Lodge.
  • D-Day Memorial in Bedford


As one of the original thirteen colonies Virginia offers numerous opportunities for those interested in history:

  • Mt. Vernon (George Washington Residence)
  • Monticello [3] , Poplar Forest [4] , and the University of Virginia [5] (All dealing with Thomas Jefferson)
  • Appomattox Court House (Site of Civil War Surrender)
  • Berkeley Plantation [6] (Home of Benjamin Harrison and others)
  • Agecroft Hall [7] (1600 style setting Castle)
  • Maggie Walker Historical Site (Home to Maggie Walker)
  • The Historical Triangle (Colonial Williamsburg [8] , Jamestown [9] , Yorktown [10] )
  • The College of William and Mary [11] (Jefferson's alma mater)

In addition, visitors might choose to go to Theatre IV [12] for some great authentic plays. In Richmond the Byrd Theatre [13] is always the place to see old and modern movies at rates not topping $4. Or take a stroll down to Carytown, the "Georgetown of Virginia".

Virginia is also home to two popular amusement parks that regularly draw in many tourists, such as Kings Dominion [14], located just north of Richmond. Near the coast, European-themed Busch Gardens [15] offers a bewildering assortment of attractions representative of different European countries such as Italy, Germany, and England. It is also conveniently close to both the Colonial Williamsburg historical district as well as Water Country USA [16] , a water park, making it an ideal destination for the entire family.


From the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia golf promises great beauty and geographic diversity. A mild climate, year-round golf and a variety of package plans adds to the allure of golfing in Virginia.

Throw in some of the best resort courses in the nation and new daily fee courses designed by some of the most noted golf course designers, and you've got the winning combination for an enjoyable golf getaway. Six resorts rank among America’s top 100. Dozens of its courses, crafted by world-famous designers, are part of every list of the country’s finest places to play.


The Virginia Department of Agriculture lists producers on its Virginia Grown website [17] , and there are dozens of seasonal food and drink festivals [18] across the state. Quality processed foods made in Virginia are promoted through the Virginia's Finest [19] program.

Most of the signature dishes of the state are common to Southern/American cuisine. Country ham is a cured specialty frequently served at holiday meals and breakfast with the largest producers based around Surry county. In the Southeast is the county of Brunswick, one of several locations that claims itself to be the birthplace of Brunswick Stew [20]. The Highland County Maple Festival [21] celebrates local maple syrup producers high up in the Blue Ridge mountains, the lines for the Ruritan's pancake breakfast's are super long, though with a friendly atmosphere, and can be avoided by dining in an area restaurant/inn. Do try the maple doughnuts made with nutmeg and fresh maple syrup.

The Chesapeake Bay region produces some of the nation's best seafood, especially crab and oysters.


Tap water is safe to drink.

Virginia law requires you to be 21 to buy alcohol or consume alcohol. Photo ID will be required to prove age.

Beer and other alcoholic drinks are available from most restaurants and bars, with purchase prohibited between 2 and 6 a.m.. Variety of what is available differs from restaurant to restaurant and when in doubt people should check menu or with a waiter to see what is available.

Beer, wine, and malternatives/alcopops are sold at most grocery and convenience stores, but cannot be purchased between midnight and 6 a.m.. Certain counties in Virginia prohibit Sunday sale of alcohol, mainly the south west counties. When in doubt, check with local county police department or simply ask store owner.

Hard Liquor is only allowed to be sold by Virginia ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Control) stores. More information about these stores and other alcohol related information can be found at their website. [22]

Cheerwine, a regional cherry flavored soda, can be purchased in convenience stores in the more southern parts of the state.


Virginia is home to over 130 wineries, spanning from the Eastern Shore to the Heart of Appalachia. Wherever you are in Virginia, there's a winery nearby. Virginia’s many wine trails across the state make visiting wineries easy and fun! Wine events statewide offer wine tasting, food, music, art, shopping and activities, such as grape stomping and hot air balloon rides.

  • Virginia Wine Travel [23]
  • Virginia Wine Festivals [24]

Stay safe

Certain cities in Virginia have crime problems, in particular, the cities of Richmond and Norfolk. However, most places in Virginia like the rest of US are safe. Check with locals to determine what areas you should avoid. Standard safety rules apply: Stay in groups as much as possible, trust your instincts and do not flash around cash or large value items. If you need urgent medical, fire or police assistance, all areas participate in 911 program.

Get out

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