The Ultimate Checklist for an Unforgettable Virginia Holiday


Santa isn’t the only one making a list and checking it twice! Everyone has their own holiday traditions that make the season a little brighter, from hanging the stockings to baking holiday cookies with the kids. We have compiled our favorite seasonal Virginia traditions into a simple checklist that will make this year’s Yuletide one you won’t soon forget.

Click on the image below for the full list or print it out here to check off these tinsel-filled to-do’s as you complete this holiday list.

1. Enjoy a Breakfast with Santa in Virginia with the whole family

Pictured: The Louisa County Breakfast with Santa

2. Visit one of the decorated Loveworks around Virginia and snap a picture for your holiday cards.

Mansassas Holiday LOVEworksPictured: Manassas LOVEwork decorated for the holidays

3. Attend a Grand Illumination or parade in Virginia’s favorite Christmas towns.

Christmas in MiddleburgPictured: Middleburg Christmas Parade

4. Pick up the traditional tree at a local Christmas tree farm.

Enjoy the holiday season by choosing and cutting the perfect Christmas tree at Claybrooke Farm.

Pictured: Christmas trees at Claybrooke Farm

5. Get your holiday shopping done in one of Virginia’s many amazing shopping districts.

Holiday Shopping in Old Town

Pictured: Shopping district of Old Town Alexandria

6. Learn about Virginia’s rich history during the holidays when you attend a seasonal celebration at one of Virginia’s historic destinations.

Holidays at Berkeley Plantation

Pictured: Christmas tree at Historic Berkeley Plantation

7. Take the kids to Christmas Town at Busch Gardens.

christmas town at busch gardens

Pictured: Christmas Town at Busch Gardens

8. Experience Virginia’s holiday flavors at a local restaurant.

Holidays at The Boar's Head Inn

Pictured: Holiday meal at Boar’s Head Old Mill Room Restaurant

9. See a seasonal play or show at a nearby theater.

Miracle on 34th Street. Photo courtesy of Barter Theatre.

Pictured: Miracle on 34th Street at Barter Theatre in Abingdon

10. Plan a romantic getaway at a decked-out hotel or resort.

homestead holidays

Pictured: Holiday decorations in the lobby of the Omni Homestead

11. Break out your favorite over-the-top holiday sweater for a tacky lights tour.

Richmond Tacky Lights Tour

Pictured: Decorated home …read more

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10 Decked-Out Destinations for a Holiday Breakfast with Santa

Louisa County Breakfast with Santa

Out of all the holiday traditions to fill the season, the chance to meet Santa and share their wish lists is one of the most memorable for kids. Couple this with a delicious breakfast and you have a new favorite Yuletide tradition for the whole family. Attend these holiday breakfasts with Santa, happening around Virginia, to make this a season they won’t soon forget.

Louisa County’s Breakfast with Santa—Louisa

Date: December 2, 2017

Join Santa at the Betty Queen Center in Louisa County for a delightful breakfast, complete with all your favorite foods, including heaping stacks of fluffy pancakes and crisp bacon. Parents can take their own photos of the kids with Santa and his helpers as they tell him what is on their wish list this year. The breakfast costs $8 for one adult and child pair, and $3 for each additional person from that family.

SPCA’s Pictures with Santa—Martinsville

Date: December 2, 2017

Although not a holiday breakfast event, the SPCA’s Pictures with Santa in Martinsville is great for those looking to celebrate the season with their four-legged family members. Pets get their picture taken with Santa, with professional services offered by Dawson Photography, and owners have the option to purchase 5×7 prints for $10 each. If you’re interested in adding to your family, you can also visit with the pets up for adoption during the event. While appointments are available ahead of time, walk-ins are also welcome.

Brunch with Santa at Cooper’s Landing Inn

Date: December 2, 2017

Coopers Landing breakfast with santa

The 12th annual Brunch with Santa at Cooper’s Landing Inn is a seasonal event the whole family will love. Even the food is festive, with Reindeer pancakes, eggnog French toast, and peppermint hot chocolate. Enjoy your meal by the toasty 1830’s wood stove or dine next to one of the 14 uniquely decorate Christmas trees. In addition to the $15 entry fee, which includes a picture with Santa in a special holiday memory folder, the Inn asks that each child brings a toy to donate to local families in need. They will match the amount of toys collected to bring even more holiday cheer to those families. Reservations are recommended.

Breakfast with Santa at the Mariners’ Museum and Park—Newport News

Dates: December 2 & 9, 2017

The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News welcomes guests to their annual Breakfast with Santa, which features a full mouthwatering menu of pancakes, fresh seasonal fruit, bacon, sausage, and much more. After dining and taking photos with Santa, kids have the chance to do a little holiday crafting, with activities like making their own ornaments. The $12 general entry fee includes all of this, plus admission to the museum for the entire day. Children two years old and under are free.

Breakfast with Santa at Eileen’s Bakery—Fredericksburg

Dates: December 3, 10, 17, 19, & 22, 2017

In its 7th annual year, Eileen’s Bakery offers several dates for …read more

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8 Stress-Free Thanksgiving Getaways (with Turkey!)

coopers landing fall thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and with this family-focused holiday comes a lot of extra responsibilities, from the panic of cooking for more than a dozen people to the seemingly never-ending cleaning to make the house presentable. This year, consider skipping the stress of prepping for Thanksgiving and instead using the long break as a relaxing getaway. Whether you are dreaming of a romantic vacation for two or a full family feast without any of the cooking and cleaning, there is a Virginia Thanksgiving getaway for you!

Cooper’s Landing Inn Decadent Thanksgiving Feast—Clarksville

Reserve seats for the Thanksgiving Feast at Cooper’s Landing Inn, or book their special Thanksgiving package for the complete holiday getaway. This seasonal special includes two nights stay at the inn with homemade pumpkin bread and warm apple cider upon arrival, a complimentary bottle of chilled wine in your room, breakfast both mornings, and the four-course Thanksgiving meal for two. The Thanksgiving dinner is only $20 for kids and $45 for adults, while the full Thanksgiving package starts at $440.

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Thanksgiving Dinner at Belle Grove Plantation—King George

Eat your Thanksgiving dinner at Belle Grove Plantation, a historic plantation home that dates to 1790. The bed and breakfast decorates for the occasion with tasteful table settings and elegant Thanksgiving touches, and the menu includes all your favorite holiday dishes like turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, French green beans, sweet potato soufflé, and several pies for dessert. Tickets for the event are $60 per person and must be purchased before November 11th. While the website does not allow for booking online for a Thanksgiving getaway, rooms may still be available to book for a complete stay; call to check availability.

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Thanksgiving on the Mountain at Wintergreen Resort—Wintergreen

Plan a stay at Wintergreen Resort over Thanksgiving for a customizable getaway filled with endless activities. Bring the entire family to stay in one of the resort condos where you can get an entire turkey delivered, as well as all the seasonal sides and desserts you could possibly want. Looking for a smaller, more romantic retreat? Book a room at the Mountain Inn and eat dinner at one of the resort’s on-site restaurants, which will be serving up classic Thanksgiving dishes all day long. Then, spend Black Friday shopping the Wintergreen Ski Swap, where you can get new and used equipment at a fraction of the price while also supporting a good cause; 20% of the proceeds go to supporting the Wintergreen Ski Patrol. Additionally, there are several other events happening at the resort over the course of the weekend, from a Thanksgiving 5K to the annual Wintergreen Grand Illumination.

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Thanksgiving Buffet & Stay at Graves Mountain Lodge—Syria

thanksgiving graves mountain lodge

Stay Wednesday evening at Graves Mountain Lodge and wake up to a wonderful (and effortless!) Thanksgiving meal. The buffet runs most of the day …read more

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Raise Your Spirits at These 8 Virginia Distilleries

Va Distillery Company copper stills

Virginia is still quite young in its distilling efforts compared to many other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t produced some world-class products. There are more than 20 distilleries that offer tours around the Commonwealth, and with relaxed tasting laws and renewed interest in local spirits, that number will almost certainly continue going up. Learn about the history of the distilling process, tour the grounds, and sample some of the resulting spirits when you visit one of these eight Virginia distilleries.


Photo Credit Tom Daly

Opened in 2011, Virginia Distillery Company began as a passion project for native Irishman Dr. George Moore, who wanted to bring the secrets of Irish distilling to Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, his son, Gareth Moore, helms the venture, producing Single Malt Whisky as well as cask-finished Virginia-Highland Whisky. The newly opened Visitors Center is all about old-world luxury; the exterior looks more like an elegant Virginia farmhouse than a business, and leather chairs arranged around the stone fireplace inside provide a comfortable place to sip on smooth whisky. Head to the bar to taste a few of their specialty seasonal cocktails, made using products sourced from local farmers and businesses, then take a tour of the facility to learn about the origins of Single Malt Whisky and how it is made.


Although the vodka has been in production since 2004, Cirrus Vodka only recently opened their Richmond tasting room, allowing visitors to taste the namesake product that has won numerous medals in prestigious competitions. A tour of the facility gives you an up-close look at their state-of-the-art steel and copper still, and after you’ve seen how they make it, head back out to the tasting room where professional bartenders will whip up a few craft cocktail examples using the potato-based vodka. The Cirrus Vodka tasting room is conveniently located, just around the corner from Richmond staples like Buzz & Ned’s and Hardywood Brewery.


Mount Vernon Distillery

Located on the Mount Vernon estate, George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill sat vacant for almost 200 years, but with a renewed interest in the art of distilling, the property was able to reconstruct the original site and produce spirits once again. The historic location is the only North American distillery that demonstrates 18th century techniques for distilling, showing visitors the entire process from the grains to the barrel. Period interpreters bring the distillery to life with guided tours, highlighting Washington’s vision for America’s future in the world of distilling.


During Prohibition, the Bondurant Brothers were notorious moonshine runners in Franklin County, Virginia, with their feats immortalized in the 2012 Hollywood film “Lawless”. Eighty years later, the grandson of Jack Bondurant took over the family business in a legal capacity, opening Bondurant Brothers Distillery to allow outsiders to taste what made his grandfather’s moonshine …read more

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