Virginia comes into 2020 swinging with one event after another. See why this state is for lovers, and then some, with this busy calendar of family fun and new attractions.
History and Culture
When you want a little history lesson while on vacation, Virginia can help. While Fairfax County celebrates the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment’s passing and there’s more women’s history than your kids may know, there will be plenty to see and do throughout the year with an educational twist.
Opening March 2020, Stonewall Jackson House Museum welcomes a new orientation center, featuring artifacts owned by the Jackson family and previously never before seen by the general public.
Once a D.C. prison, Workhouse Arts Center will open a Lucy Burns Museum in May. The new museum will primarily focus on the National Women’s Party’s efforts to win the right to vote, as the building once held incarcerated members of the party.
Another piece of women’s history coming to the area in August, the new Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will host a dedication ceremony at Occoquan Regional Park. Stroll through the 1.6-acre national memorial, including replicas of the White House gates and a tranquil meditation garden. This site hosts events throughout the year, including a production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder on Jan. 17.
For a little something (almost) everyone in the family may know a bit about — country music. According to Ken Burns, Bristol, Virginia, is the birthplace of country music and, by the looks of the 2020 music lineup, it’s difficult to argue.
A local favorite, Ralph Stanley’s Hills of Home Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary in Southwest Virginia May 20–23, or plan a visit in June for the 10th anniversary of HoustonFest in Galax. Bring the kids in July for the 20th anniversary of FloydFest, or plan ahead for the 85th anniversary of the Galax Fiddlers’ Convention in August. Just in time for fall foliage and brisk hikes, bring the family for the 20th anniversary of Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in September. Whichever festival speaks to your crew, expect a sense of down-home, folk-music fun.
Celebrate the anticipated Sessions Hotel opening on State Street in Bristol this spring with a visit to Southern Craft BBQ Restaurant. This space offers indoor/outdoor musical performances and calendar events along with comfort food, drinks and a rooftop space.
Visiting Virginia without spending some time in the stunning natural beauty of Shenandoah County would be a crying shame. Bring the family for a scenic hike, nature walk or cold-weather camping trip and unwind after a long day of outdoor adventuring at Sage Bird Ciderworks, opening in March in Harrisonburg. Adult children and parents, expect fruit-forward beverages crafted from locally sourced produce.
Speaking of Activity …
Opening Jan. 18, Horizons Edge Sports & Event Campus is a great place for the athletes in your crew to run off some energy. Some 90,000 square feet includes multiple basketball courts, volleyball courts, a family entertainment center and a multipurpose indoor/outdoor soccer field.
Watch some of the best BMX riders in the country show off at The BMX Blue Ridge Nationals in Lexington Jan. 24–26, or get out on the trails yourself on foot. Opening mid-2020, The Trails at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley is set to be the largest outdoor art exhibit in Virginia; with more than three miles of trails, your family will have their nature walk cut out for them.
If all else fails, or if you find you have more time and energy, Shenandoah National Park is a true beauty worth your family’s time.
By Hainan Airlines
As a fan of train travel, I often choose a ride on rails over a drive or flight, especially in Europe, where I always relish the high-speed trains. In Tokyo, I once appreciated a speedy, efficient and easy-to-understand experience; but, speed isn’t the only appealing aspect of train travel. From Venice to London, on the Venice Simplon Orient Express, we traveled through the coastal cliffs of the Cinque Terra and dined in formal opulence; from Whistler to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer, we sipped tea while viewing the spectacular scenery.
While considering dreamy destinations for a romantic rendezvous, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo immediately came to mind. I convinced my late husband, Bob, to take me there after a solo trip to Monaco (via helicopter from Nice-Cote d’Azur) on my first trip to the South of France. Our stays together left such an indelibly delicious memory that I’ve returned multiple times, including in 2018 and 2019. It’s a venue I recommend at any time, especially Valentine’s Day.
When considering a new destination for your family’s vacation list, solo trip, romantic getaway or just something to watch between trips, this list of wanderlust-inducing films should help. Watch a few of the family-friendly options with the kids and make it a movie night: