by Veronica Garabelli
Photo courtesy Virginia Tourism Corp.
When it’s time to kick back and relax, Virginia offers a variety of getaway destinations for tourists and residents alike. The Old Dominion boasts beaches, mountains, shopping and historic sites.
Even Hollywood has taken notice. Richmond and Petersburg served as backdrops for Steven Spielberg’s acclaimed film “Lincoln.” Virginia Tourism Corp., the state’s tourism agency, hopes to capitalize on the film’s popularity with the “Lincoln” Movie Trail, a website highlighting shooting locations and popular cast hangouts.
This year also should see some new developments for Virginia’s tourism industry. Kings Dominion in Doswell will debut a newly renovated Planet Snoopy this spring. Planet Snoopy will span almost 14 acres and feature eight new rides. In late spring, Center in the Square, a cultural hub in Roanoke, will reopen. The center has been undergoing $27 million in renovations. New features will include a butterfly habitat and a 5,500-gallon, living coral-reef aquarium.
This summer the Salamander Resort & Spa is scheduled to open in Middleburg. The 340-acre spa will have 168 rooms, a 23,000-square-foot spa and an equestrian center.
The state’s nine commercial airports (featured on p. 149) make getting to Virginia a breeze. The commonwealth’s two largest airports, Washington Dulles International Airport in Dulles and Ronald Reagan Washington National in Arlington County board millions of passengers each year. The smallest commercial airport is Shenandoah Valley Regional in Weyers Cave, which boarded 12,033 passengers in 2011 and 10,408 in 2010.
Virginia’s wineries and breweries represent two burgeoning industries that attract tourists. Virginia is home to more than 200 wineries and more than 40 breweries. According to data reported to the Brewers Association, the largest organization of brewers in the United States, Star Hill Brewery in Crozet produced the most barrels of beer in 2011 (though it’s important to note that not all Virginia breweries reported numbers). In addition to a number of craft brewers popping up around the state, big leaguers like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors also have breweries in the commonwealth.
Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the state’s more than 300 Virginia State Golf Association member golf courses as well as biking and hiking trails and ski resorts. Golf course options include military, private, public, resort-style and semi-private. For the full list, take a look at pages 150-151, which provide locations, number of holes and contact info.
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