5 Late-Summer Travel Ideas in Virginia

By Annie Tobey | August 25th, 2021

From ‘The Rivah’ to the mountains

View of Carter's Creek from The Tide's Inn, Irvington, Virginia. For article on 5 Late-Summer Travel Ideas in Virginia

Gather your family or friends, pack up your pooch or just yourself, and head out for one last summer hurrah. From coastal fun to mountain glory, pursue one of these five late-summer travel ideas in Virginia – before the leaves fall and sweaters come out of hibernation.

Go to ‘The Rivah’ with The Tides Inn.

Roasted oysters at The Tides Inn
Roasted oysters at The Tides Inn, Irvington. Photos courtesy of the Tides Inn

Visitors to The Tides Inn resort on Virginia’s Northern Neck can enjoy sailing excursions, Duffy boat rides, private chef classes in the chef’s kitchen, spa rejuvenation, and an abundance of delicious food. The resort on Carter’s Creek (see the photo above) presents a slice of river country heaven. Guests can immerse themselves in nature conservation with the new Shoreline Restoration project, which includes a nature walk, restored shoreline beach, and aquatic exploration activities.

The Tides Inn goes the extra mile for your pet, too, providing pet beds and bowls, flashlights for evening walks, and more.

Mindful of COVID safety precautions, the resort’s Labor Day festivities take advantage of its spacious waterfront lawn, including:

  • Thursday, Sept. 2: Concert on the Green at nearby Irvington Commons.
  • Friday, Sept. 3: Beach Bonfire Social – Enjoy s’mores by the fire and Rosie, the vintage bar cart, serving select wine and beers for purchase.
  • Saturday, Sept. 4: Live Music – The Liberty Dolls trio serenades guests with favorites from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.
  • Sunday, Sept. 5: Oyster Roast & Low Country Boil – Oysters, blue crabs, and more, from our local purveyors. Plus Mercy Creek Live Music on the lawn.

While there: Venture out to Virginia’s River Country, for museums, history, natural beauty, wineries, arts, and local culture.

Scale peaks of scenery at the historic Peaks of Otter Lodge.

Peaks of Otter Lodge along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia from across the lake
Peaks of Otter Lodge from across the lake

Several historic inns around Virginia still welcome guests. One of these, the Peaks of Otter Lodge, sits at the base of three picturesque mountain peaks in Bedford County.

The lodge opened in 1964 to provide services along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Rooms afford scenic views of manmade Abbott Lake and Sharp Top Mountain. The property affords a paved walking path around Abbott Lake, dark night skies, Adirondack chairs for relaxing, birding opportunities, and more. It’s also dog-friendly, so you can take your pooch.

The location provides a launching point for a drive along the Parkway or a hike up the scenic mountains. Or take the shuttle to the top of Sharp Top to within 1,500 feet of the summit.

The lodge also commits to a careful environment to keep guests and employees safe despite COVID.

Lap up the laidback vibe of Chick’s Beach.

Tranquil beaches on the Chesapeake Bay at Virginia Beach
The beachfront along the Chesapeake Bay

Experience a quieter side of Virginia Beach. Situated along the Chesapeake Bay, Chick’s Beach serves up whispers of waves softly lapping up on Chesapeake Bay beaches. Bayside beaches afford most of the favorite beach activities – swimming, building sandcastles, reading, sunning, napping, strolling, people watching, and forgetting our cares. The gentle surf is perfect for young children and others who prefer waves to kiss their feet rather than bowl them over.

Instead of the bustle of the Virginia Beach Oceanfront area, Chick’s Beach itself has a laid-back vibe. The area offers dining, from fine to casual – like The Tin Cup Kitchen + Oyster Bar or The Leaping Lizard Café; breweries – long-standing Commonwealth Brewing and newcomer Deadline Brewing Project – and Mermaid Winery.

Want a little nature therapy? Wander the boardwalks and trails of Pleasure House Point Natural Area or First Landing State Park. Take in the marshy views, launch a boat, or go fishing and crabbing. Rent a stand-up paddleboard to wind your way through the tall marsh grasses of Long Creek.

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Live the good life in Hunt & Wine Country.

Goodstone Inn & Restaurant Exterior-small
Goodstone Inn & Restaurant exterior. Photo by Jumping Rocks Photography, courtesy of Visit Loudoun

Two Northern Virginia counties, Loudoun and Fauquier, belie the NOVA stereotypes. Sure, you can experience the region’s typically busy suburban life, complete with shopping, restaurants, and bustling roads. But you can also experience gently rolling countryside, lined with stone fences, dotted with grazing horses, and sprinkled with promising vineyards … promising the luscious tastes of Virginia wines at an assortment of wineries.

Embrace the hunt country scene at the National Sporting Library & Museum or an equestrian event at Great Meadows. Please your palate at a diversity of top restaurants, breweries, and wineries. Explore picturesque villages, complete with independent restaurants, boutiques, coffee shops, and more. In the village of Marshall, for example, make your way to:

  • Field & Main restaurant: a simple, elegant, and sustainable menu, in a 200-year-old house with modern artwork and the spirit of the past – plus a custom wood-burning hearth in the kitchen for a luscious lick of smokiness in meats and select vegetables.
  • The Whole Ox: a full-service butcher shop selling ethically raised local meats, without hormones or antibiotics.
  • Red Truck Bakery: the nationally recognized Fauquier County bakery that has received numerous accolades – including from the many loyal, regular customers who do their shopping at Red Truck’s two locations (Marshall and Warrenton) and online.
  • Johnny Monarch’s: a creative food truck housed in a double-decker bus – a “bustaraunt” – with seating on the top deck around nostalgically detailed tables and elevated comfort food.

Even the lodging reflects the distinctive luxury of Virginia Wine and Hunt Country. Choose from historic Airlie in Warrenton; the pastoral Goodstone Inn in Middleburg; or Salamander Resort in Middleburg. Airlie and the Goodstone Inn are both dog friendly.)

Goodstone Inn, arguably the most distinctive of the three, presents guest rooms in charming country cottages on a idyllic 265-acre estate – like the Downton Abbey Crawleys would craft, if they’d had a holiday estate. Guests can dine at the Conservatory and Bistro at Goodstone, a fabulous culinary treat that would even win Mrs. Patmore’s approval.

Surprise yourself in Lynchburg.

Lower Bluffwalk pergola overlooking the James River and out at the Blue Ridge Mountains in Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia - Credit City of Lynchburg, Virginia
Lower Bluffwalk pergola overlooking the James River and out at the Blue Ridge Mountains in Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia – Credit City of Lynchburg, Virginia.

If you haven’t been to Lynchburg lately, expect to be pleasantly surprised. The foothills town has been rejuvenated. The walkable downtown can keep you occupied, with an abundance of dining, retail, and culture.

For sweet treats, try MayLynn’s Creamery and Mama Crockett’s Cider Donuts (a delicious must-try, using apple cider from Virginia orchards!).

Stimulate your mind at the Lynchburg Museum at the Old Court House, the Legacy Museum of African American History, or the Anne Spencer House & Garden Museum. Walk by the home of Dr. R. Walter Johnson, physician and tennis coach who trained, among others, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe.

Catch a performance at the historic Academy Center of the Arts or take in contemporary artwork at Riverviews Artspace’s Craddock-Terry Gallery. Explore the city’s scenic, flat trail system on foot or bike, extending through miles of peaceful natural areas.

Then lay your head at the Craddock Terry Hotel. Crafted from two historic shoe factory buildings, the hotel is as comfy as your favorite pair of slippers. Rooms reflect the personality of the factory – brick walls, beams, and joists – accented by modern amenities and shoe-themed.

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