While you may be looking forward, planning your upcoming Virginia vacations for 2018, you may be surprised to find inspiration by looking back to the previous calendar year. Here are just a few of the new hot spots that opened around the Commonwealth in 2017; consider visiting some of these during your next getaway to experience the latest in Virginia’s travel scene!
—New for Food & Drink—
Beale’s Brewery & BBQ
- Richmond saw the opening of several new restaurants in 2017, like the Broken Tulip Social Eatery, a reservations-only restaurant that serves a seasonally inspired multi-course menu that changes at least once a month to reflect the freshest ingredients. New to the growing neighborhood of Scott’s Addition, Brennar Pass is the latest endeavor from Metzger’s Brittanny Anderson, featuring Alpine-inspired cuisine. Finally, Little Saint opened in the Museum District with a focus on everything local to reflect its pride in Richmond…local ingredients, local people, and locally-made furniture and décor.
- The Conche became a popular spot in the Northern Virginia dining scene, opening its doors to the Leesburg community in May 2017. This chocolate-themed restaurant infuses cacao into the drinks, entrees, and desserts. While dining, guests can watch the restaurant’s professional-trained team craft truffles and other inspired desserts in the glass-walled “chocolate lab”.
- Opened in April 2017, Alexandria’s Sunday in Saigon combines a menu reflecting Vietnam’s rich regional diversity with décor that showcases the modern urban atmosphere of Saigon.
- Loudoun County created the DC Wine Country Passport in fall of 2017, offering exclusive perks to more than 20 wineries in the region. Visitors can choose from a three-day wine pass with a total savings of more than $165 for $25 or the annual pass that is valid for an entire year for $55.
- Williamsburg’s James City County Marina welcomed Billsburg Brewery in October 2017. The brewery is conveniently located near Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne just off the Colonial Parkway and the Capital Trail.
- Coyote Hole Ciderworks is located in the heart of Lake Anna and opened in May 2017. Their premium hard ciders are made from 100% Virginia-grown apples and other fresh fruits.
- Twin Creeks Distillery has been making quality spirits since 2015, but in August of 2017, they opened their new, larger location in Henry, Virginia. The distillery produces Sweet Mash Rye Whiskey, 1st Sugar Moonshine, and Peach Brandy.
- Beale’s Brewery brought a full-service taproom and an attached BBQ restaurant to the town of Bedford in summer of 2017. They brew several year-round craft beers as well as seasonal limited releases.
—New Hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, and Inns—
Graduate Hotel in Richmond, Photo Credit: Christian Horan Photography
- The Main opened in downtown Norfolk last year, adding a world-class hotel that also features meeting spaces, several restaurants, and attaches to a small-scale shopping district.
- Located at the heart of Chincoteague Island on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the Marina Bay Hotel and Suites combines modern boutique charm and warm elegance with all the amenities you expect from a brand-new hotel.
- Richmond’s Graduate Hotel offers a unique experience that echoes the local flavors and cultures of the city. The lobby pays tribute to lifelong Richmond resident Arthur Ashe, using tennis equipment and his signature frames as décor. During warmer months, head up to the rooftop pool and beer garden to take in one of the best scenic views in Richmond. The hotel is pet-friendly, offering specialty treats for your pampered pooch upon check-in.
- The first waterfront hotel for Historic Old Town Alexandria, Hotel Indigo opened in April 2017. Guests can take the new water taxi service from the hotel to reach the monuments and museums along Washington DC’s National Mall.
- If you’re looking for a charming mountain retreat, Le Fay Cottage at Little Washington is a three bedroom, two bathroom cottage decorated with French and English antiques nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Visitors can walk to the Little Washington Winery, and several other wineries are within a short driving distance.
- Blue Mountain Brewery, located off Route 151 in Afton, opened their Inn at Blue Mountain Brewery in December 2017.
- Veritas Vineyards & Winery opened The Farmhouse at Veritas, a small inn with eight distinct rooms and suites. The Farmhouse is geared towards couples and small groups looking to enjoy Virginia’s adult beverages, with Veritas just a ten-minute walk away, as well as seven other wineries, three breweries, a cider, and a distillery all within a ten-mile radius.
—New Outdoor Attractions—
Breaks Interstate Park
- Breaks Interstate Park in Dickenson County built a new zip line system made up of three lines that spans a total of 2,200 feet over the canyons below.
- The multi-use Spearhead Trails system in Southwest Virginia recently opened new ATV trails, including the Ridgeview Trail, which connects to the over 200 miles of the Coal Canyon system in Grundy. Dirt biking, mountain biking, and hiking are also permitted on these new trails.
- Several new outdoor outfitters opened in 2017 around Virginia: James River Adventures in Lynchburg offers kayak and canoe rentals; Chesapeake Bay Paddling Company in Mathews County, has kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals, and provides kayak and fly-fishing lessons, guided tours, and retreats.
- Go Ape! Zip Line & Treetop Adventure currently has a location in Williamsburg, but in May 2017, they opened a second location in Springfield. The zip line course is the largest to date in the area, and is comprised of Tarzan swings, giant rope nets, and even a junior course for kids.
- Franklin County welcomed Black Water Junction Wake Park, a wakeboarding and wakeskating cable park for riders of all skill levels and ages. Just off Smith Mountain Lake, the complex has both open sessions and lessons with professionally trained instructors. The park is the first of its kind in Virginia.
- Zavazone Trampoline and Indoor Adventure Park opened in Sterling. In addition to an expansive trampoline section, the park also has a zip line, Ninja Warrior course, Parkour course, and two different ropes courses with varying difficulty.
- Camping and outdoor enthusiasts can now visit Kairos Wilderness Resort in Giles County, a brand new campground that has wilderness campsites, primitive camping, RV sites with full hook-ups, and wilderness glamping experiences. Additionally, Kairos offers over 40 miles of ATV, UTV, dirt bike, hiking, and horseback riding trails. The outdoor resort partners with Tangent Outfitters for boating, fishing, and other aquatic activities on the New River.
George Washington’s Reconstructed Distillery
- Fredericksburg’s George Washington Foundation recreated the home where Washington spent his youth, restoring George Washington’s Ferry Farm over several years into an outdoor living museum open to the public. Located on the Rappahannock River, the museum displays colonial and Civil War artifacts that were discovered on the grounds and has hiking trails throughout the stunning grounds.
- James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange County opened a trailblazing new exhibition on slavery in 2017, titled “The Mere Distinction of Colour”. This moving exhibition is located in the cellars of the estate home and tells the stories of the enslaved peoples that lived at Montpelier, including heartbreaking individual accounts that accurately reflect the era and explore the impacts of slavery in American history.
- Nearly 200 years after its original construction, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill was restored in its original location at Mount Vernon. See where George Washington opened his own whiskey, which became one of the largest whiskey distilleries in America, and the working gristmill, a milling system that produced anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 pounds of flour and cornmeal per day.
What else is new in the Commonwealth this year? Share your favorite new restaurants, hotels, exhibits, and other fresh Virginia destinations in the comments below!