Reports The Big Book

Summer fun

State’s tourism industry is promoting new hotels, attractions, food and beer

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires
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Legend Brewing Co. is the oldest craft brewery in Richmond. Photo by Shandell Taylor

What’s new in Virginia tourism? How about the opening of more than 25 lodging properties this year and a designation for Virginia’s capital city as the No. 1 beer destination in the world? 

That’s just a taste of some of the things being showcased by Virginia’s tourism industry. In 2016, domestic travelers spent $24 billion in the state, supporting 230,000 jobs while generating more than $1.7 billion in tax revenue for state and local governments.

Speaking of taste, Virginia has welcomed an onslaught of new wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries, cementing its reputation as a hot spot for craft beverages. Still, VinePair’s announcement in February of Richmond as the best place on the planet to down a brew drew notice. On the web magazine’s Top 10 list of beer destinations, Richmond beat out places like New York and Beijing.

The March 7 reopening of the grand dame of Virginia Beach also is creating buzz. More than $80 million has been spent to renovate the 91-year-old Cavalier Hotel, which is expected to dazzle again with historic charm and an onsite distillery.  

Another new boutique hotel, the 30-room Western Front, opened in February, in St. Paul in the Appalachian Mountains. Guests can dine at Milton’s, a restaurant serving farm-to-table Appalachian-style meals.

In Northern Virginia, the 40th anniversary of the five-star Inn at Little Washington is drawing national press. Proprietor and chef Patrick O’Connell has a yearlong series of events in the U.S. and Europe, including a Woodstock-like summer festival in Washington that will be open to the public.

The Eastern Shore also is gearing up for the summer with new attractions.  The Cape Charles/Chesapeake Bay KOA Resort, with 316 campsites and a 71-room Sunset Beach Hotel and Beach Club, opens March 30. Visitors also can look forward to the shore’s first water park, Maui Jack’s in Chincoteague, which opens Memorial Day weekend.

Tourism charts

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