Arlington Convention and Visitors Service, 2100 Clarendon Ave., suite 318, Arlington, (800) 296-7996.
Richmond County Museum and Visitor Center, Warsaw, (804) 333-3607.
Virginia Tourism Corp., 901 E. Byrd St., Richmond, (800) 932-5827, www.virginia.org.
Williamsburg Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Williamsburg, (800) 368-6511, www.visitwilliamsburg.com.
A.P. Carter Museum, Hilton, (540) 386-9480. The musical Carter family is famous for its influence on Appalachian music, and at this museum you can read--and hear--all about it.
Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Richmond, (804) 780-9093, www.blackhistorymuseum.org. Located in the historic Jackson Ward district of Richmond, this museum preserves artifacts and visual, written, and oral records documenting the lives and accomplishments of blacks in Virginia.
Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, Williamsburg, (757) 253-3350, www.buschgardens.com. Now with Ireland! And a new roller coaster, Apollo's Chariot. This European-themed amusement and water park is brought to you by the very American Anheuser-Busch brewery, hence the name.
Charlottesville-Area Wineries, Charlottesville/ Albemarle Visitors Bureau, (877) 386-1102. At the risk of starting a new rumor about Thomas Jefferson, here's an observation: There are an awful lot of vineyards near his Charlottesville home. Barboursville Vineyards and Historic Ruins () 832-3824) and Burnley Vineyards and Winery () 832-2828) offer daily tours, and Jefferson Vineyards () 272-3042) is on the site of the third president's own groves of European vines.
Chincoteague Island, Chincoteague Island Chamber of Commerce, (757) 336-6161, www.chincoteaguechamber.com. Bring your pony lust with you to this barrier-island home of Misty's descendants. A good time to go is during the annual Pony Swim and Auction, July 25-26.
Colonial Williamsburg, (757) 220-7645, www.history.org. Living history--there's no way to hide from it here. This 173-acre town/museum takes you back in time to Colonial America. A couple of highlights are Carter's Grove, a plantation with reconstructed slave quarters and an archaeology museum, and the Governor's Palace. On the weekend of June 23-24, Brothers in Arms at Colonial Williamsburg pays tribute to the military contributions of African-Americans with re-creations of camps and drills from the Revolutionary War to World War II.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum, 1914-16 E. Main St., Richmond, (804) 648-5523. Richmond likes to pretend that it, not Baltimore, can lay claim to the dark bard. Humor the folks there as you visit this museum, which houses many of the writer's personal items and illustrator James Carling's rendering of "The Raven."
Kings Dominion, Doswell, (804) 876-5000, www.kingsdominion.com. If you like roller coasters, Kings Dominion--oops, that's Paramount's Kings Dominion--is the place for you, with 11 coasters to choose from including the new Hypersonic XLC, which is the world's first with a compressed-air launch, whatever that is.
Luray Caverns, Luray, (540) 743-6551, www.luraycaverns.com. Close to Shenandoah National Park lies an underground wonder of the natural world: stalagmites and stalactites in caves of tunnels and water. One of many commercial caverns in the mid-Atlantic, Luray sets itself apart a bit with the curious "stalacpipe organ," which plays on cue like a jewelry box. Also on the property is the Luray Reptile Center and Dinosaur Park--like Jurassic Park but without the danger.
Monticello, Charlottesville, (804) 984-9822. Thomas Jefferson's famous, self-designed home offers tours that include the plantation grounds and gardens.
Mount Vernon, near Alexandria, (800) 932-5827, www.mountvernon.org. Did George Washington really have wooden teeth? Did he throw a silver dollar across the Potomac River? Did he never tell a lie? The answer to the first two questions is no, but it is indeed a fact that our first president never ever said a single thing that wasn't true. And all the U.S. presidents since have maintained that proud tradition! Keep this in mind as you tour this 1743 hilltop estate that Washington inherited from his half brother Lawrence. George is still there--really, that's true too. Underground, that is.
Newseum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, (703) 284-3544, www.newseum.org, free. You might not pay attention to the news at home, but you can't help it at this museum, which has interactive exhibits and displays about the news-media machine in all of its forms.
Norfolk Botanical Garden, 6700 Azalea Garden Road, Norfolk, (757) 441-5830, www.virginiagardens.org. Lake Whitehurst borders the 155 acres of gardens that make up the Norfolk Botanical Garden and serves as a backdrop to azaleas, camellias, roses, and rhododendrons. Take a tour by boat or train around the grounds.
Patsy Cline Memorial, Kurtz Cultural Center, 2 N. Cameron St., Winchester, (540) 722-6367. Country singer Patsy Cline died in 1963, before C&W went plastic and before fur stoles went out of style. This memorial in her hometown includes her gold record of Patsy Cline's Greatest Hits and personal photos and effects.
Virginia Beach, (800) 822-3224. Every state by the ocean has at least one gaudy, tacky beach resort. The folks in Virginia are so proud of theirs that they named it after their state. Attractions besides the sand and surf and T-shirt shops and such include the Virginia Marine Science Museum, (804) 437-4949, which has more than 800,000 gallons worth of aquariums, and the Royal London Wax Museum, (757) 491-6876. Catch the Viva Elvis Festival VII, June 1-3; the North American Sand Soccer Championships, June 9-10; the East Coast Surfing Championships, Aug. 23-26; or the Virginia Beach Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on Labor Day weekend--a 13.1-mile run/walk, a sports and fitness expo, and music from 20 bands on 14 stages.
Virginia Discovery Museum, the east end of the downtown pedestrian mall, Charlottesville, (804) 977-1025, www.vadm.org. If the kids are bored with all the "don't touch" historic sites in Virginia, take them here, where they are encouraged to touch and play with stuff.
Virginia Museum of Fine Art, 2800 Grove Ave., Richmond, (804) 340-1400. Be here July 17 for the opening of Narratives in African-American Art and Identity, which covers 125 years of fine art, photography, and collage.
Blackberry Harvest Festival at Hill Top, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Aug. 4-5, Hill Top Berry Farm, Arrington, (800) 282-8223, www.nelsoncounty.com. Homegrown blackberries in all sorts of formats, including jam and wine. Live music too.
Lest We Forget, Civil War Weekend, May 25-29, Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Layfayette Blvd., (540) 373-6122, www.fredericksburgva.com. Fredericksburg's critical location between Washington and Richmond made it a spot for heavy fighting during the Civil War. The area shares its scars, its pride, and its artifacts with a variety of events including walking tours, and ceremonies at the National Battlefield Cemetery (8:30 p.m. Sunday) and the Fredericksburg Confederate Cemetery (10 a.m. Memorial Day).
Vintage Virginia, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 2-3, Great Meadow, (800) 277-2675, www.showsinc.com, $5-$20. The $20 admission price includes a souvenir wine glass, which is like a ticket straight to heaven--use it for unlimited tastings from more than 45 Virginia wineries. If you're the designated driver, you pay only $16 and still get to enjoy local gourmet food, art, and live blues, big band, and reggae.
Deerlane Cabins and Cottages, Luray, (800) 696-3337, www.deerlane-cabins.com. The name sounds so nice, as do those of the cabins and cottages: Rainbow River, Songbird, Goose River, Dream River. Modern conveniences such as A/C and microwave ovens take the edge off of a stay in the forest, and activities such as water sports and horseback riding are nearby.
Jefferson Hotel, Franklin and Adams streets, Richmond, (804) 788-8000. You'll feel like Scarlett O'Hara or Rhett Butler--or maybe both--as you descend the grand staircase of this glorious old Southern hotel in downtown Richmond.
Prospect Hill Plantation Inn, Charlottesville, (800) 277-0844. This B&B offers B, B, and hot tubs.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Extreme Speed, Extreme Excitement, June 29-30, Richmond International Raceway, 602 E. Laburnum Ave., (804) 345-7223, www.richmondracewaycomplex.com. If it's extreme, it's gotta be super cool, right dude? Find out as racecars go around, and around, and around, and around some more during this weekend of speed that includes the USAC Coors Light Silver Bullet Racing Series.
Fredericksburg International Scottish Highland Games and Irish Festival, 6-10 p.m. June 15, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 16, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. June 17, Maury Stadium, Fredericksburg, (800) 678-4748, www.fredericksburgva.com. Athletes compete with each other for world titles while you compete with the crowds for an ale or lager. There's traditional Celtic music and dancing too.
Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Mountains, (540) 999-3500. Shenandoah is probably best known for its scenic Skyline Drive, but there are plenty of places to get out of your car and walk too. The 500-plus miles of trails, including part of the Appalachian Trail, offer hikes ranging from long to short, easy to difficult.
Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, (703) 838-4565, www.torpedofactory.org. This open studio and display center sells the work of more than 160 artists working in ceramics, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, stained glass, weaving, and more.
Williamsburg Pottery Factory, Lightfoot, Va., (757) 564-3326. If 200 acres of pottery plus china, glass, stemware, wines, cheeses, and plants aren't enough to make the shopper in your life happy, nothing will.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201