25 Things to do in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

25 Things to do in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia

With American roots and European flair it’s no surprise that Alexandria, Virginia has become one of my favorite weekend getaways. Located minutes from Washington DC it feels worlds away with an independent streak inspiring the creative spirits behind the art galleries, boutiques and chef-driven restaurants that call Old Town home. Whether your looking to explore Alexandria’s revolutionary roots with your family or taking a romantic trip with your sweetheart you’re sure to love your time in this charming riverside city. Here are my recommendations for things to do in Alexandria.

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Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Virginia Beach www.casualtravelist.com

Where to Find the Best Craft Beer in Virginia Beach

There has never been a better time to be a beer lover in Virginia. Craft beer in Virginia has exploded in recent years, growing from a handful of breweries to over 100 and counting. I’m lucky that there is an ever-expanding roster of local Virginia Beach breweries that are putting out some really great beer. With that in mind I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite local breweries in the Virginia Beach area.

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Commune-Where to Eat in Virginia Beach www.casualtravelist.com

3 Meals:Where to Eat in Virginia Beach

By far the most frequent question I get from family, friends and readers is about where to eat in Virginia Beach. In recent years the culinary scene has really taken off and really there has never been a more exciting time to eat in the Resort City.  Inspired by the bounty of the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay and rich coastal farmlands a haven for Virginia Beach restaurants, but a handful of creative chefs and down-home cooks have made Virginia Beach a truly great dining destination. Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants in Virginia Beach. Read More

Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort,Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Girlfriend Getaways: Skiing at Wintergreen Resort, Virginia

My friend Heather and I had been talking about a girls getaway for a few months and the stars aligned for an early February trip. We bandied about a few ideas but when she mentioned that she wanted to try her hand at skiing I had the perfect place in mind-Wintergreen Resort.

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Whale Watching in Virginia Beach

“Whale watching in Virginia Beach?”

The looks from my friends were incredulous as I told them about my experience whale watching a few years ago. Every winter, from December to March, several pods of humpback whales migrate from their summer homes of the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia and spend the winter months feeding in the rich waters where the Chesapeake Bay opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Whale sightings have been plentiful and frequent the past few years but despite this,  one of Virginia’s greatest winter experiences remains a secret even to many locals. On a clear but chilly January weekend I brought my friends down to the Virginia Aquarium for a winter wildlife boat trip so they could see the whales for themselves.

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10 Things to Do in Hampton, Virginia

I have a confession to make- I often fall into the trap of feeling like I need to jet off to some far flung destination to truly feel like I’ve traveled neglecting some hidden gems that are literally right under my nose. So when a friend told me I needed to check out Hampton, a mere 30 minutes from my home in Virginia Beach, I was intrigued. What I found was an under-the-radar town that has played a pivotal role in American history, and will find any reason to throw a party along with some seriously good eats. An easy drive from both Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, Hampton is an easy addition to any Coastal Virginia vacation. Here are my recommendations for what to do in Hampton, Virginia. Read More

Primland Resort- A Luxury Retreat in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

When it comes to travel I’m a woman of varied tastes. Sometimes I’m looking for a romantic getaway with Steve, complete with a beautiful room and spectacular views. Sometimes it’s all about outdoors adventure, whether it’s days spent hiking with stunning vistas as my reward or a leisurely morning exploring the woods on horseback. Sometimes I’m looking for a bit of pampering with an afternoon at the spa followed by a five star meal. Once in a great while I’m lucky to find all of this in one destination, with a stunning location deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. This is Primland Resort.

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Small Town Cool in Fredericksburg, Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Small Town Cool in Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg has long drawn visitors for its history; as the boyhood home to George Washington and host to several Civil War battlefields where Southern grit and Northern ideals clashed. If history and antique shops are your thing there’s still plenty of that here but the past few years have brought a renewed energy to this small town. I’d been hearing a lot about Fredericksburg so on a recent weekend I paid a visit to see what all the buzz was about.

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A weekend trip to Virginia’s Eastern Shore

After an unusually cool and wet spring summer’s warmer days meant one thing– it was time for a road trip. Steve’s Mom was in town and I wanted to show her a part of Virginia she hadn’t yet been to and a place that’s become a favorite of mine for a quick trip, Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Just an hour from my home in Virginia Beach this thin peninsula bordered by Maryland, the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is only connected to the rest of Virginia by the 21 mile long Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and is easily reachable from both Washington DC and Philadelphia. Flip-flops and Wellies of the footwear of choice and oyster shell roads lead out to the water. The remote beaches, small towns and pristine barrier islands of the Eastern Shore feel both of another time and place making for the perfect Mid-Atlantic weekend getaway.

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Exploring the locations that inspired Mercy Street in Alexandria, Virginia www.casualtravelist.com

Exploring the locations that inspired Mercy Street in Alexandria, Virginia

Visitors these days come to Virginia’s Alexandria to enjoy the historic cobblestone streets, shop among the city’s independent boutiques and savor a meal at some of the country’s best restaurants. A century and half ago, the scene in Alexandria was much different. May 24, 1861, the day after Virginia seceded, Union troops took control of the city and seized Mansion House Hotel (a luxury hotel owned by wealthy furniture maker James Green) for use as a hospital. A Confederate city controlled by Union troops and home to a growing number of former slaves seeking freedom; Alexandria was the axis of Civil War America and the world PBS‘s drama Mercy Street seeks to explore.

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