Cover photo: Fun in Fairfax VA
It’s February, the month we celebrate love, U.S. presidents, Black History, and Carnival season! Since Virginia is for Lovers, is there any time more perfect to visit us? To help plan your trip, we’ve prepared a February Virginia WanderLOVE itinerary, taking you through 600+ miles of the commonwealth, suggesting places to wine and dine, step back in history and breathe in the fresh, crisp air of the great outdoors.
As we write this, Virginia is in the midst of a winter storm. Some areas, even those which don’t often see much snow, could be blanked with over 12 inches by the time the storm passes.
Seeing the country’s capital (and Capitol) set in a winter wonderland is not a common sight, so start your roadtrip in Washington, DC, to glimpse the monuments in their snowy glory.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Head south out of the city and visit George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the historic home of George and Martha Washington. Share a virtual tea with Martha on February 13 and 27, when she shares memories of her and the General’s life together as a young couple, through the Revolutionary War.
Black History Month in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Continue south, down 95, to Fredericksburg, Virginia, which is celebrating Black History Month all through February, with lectures, art, read-ins, films, and more.
Town of Colonial Beach, Virginia
Continue south and you may see another unusual sight: palm trees surrounded by snow! Just 65 miles south of Washington, DC, is the Potomac River town of Colonial Beach, Virginia (CBVA), home to the 2nd largest sand beach–or snow beach, presently–in the state.
Plan to spend a romantic weekend for the just the two of you at one of our historic and luxurious Victorian mansions, Colonial Beach Plaza, Dennison Street Inn, or The Tides Inn, which offers artisan coffee and tasty pastries at Julie’s Coffeehouse. Reserve a waterfront table at The Lighthouse, where you can dine on sushi almost too pretty to eat while taking in a breathtaking sunset.
Just outside Town of Colonial Beach are the birthplaces of three of the first five U.S. presidents.
George Washington Birthplace National Monument
A unit of the National Park System, George Washington Birthplace National Monument preserves much of the character of the 18th century tobacco plantation where Washington lived as a young child. The park includes nature trails, Historic Area Grounds, beach and picnic areas, a Visitors Center, Memorial House Museum and more. Some areas of the park may be closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
James Monroe Birthplace Park and Museum
Supported by volunteers, James Monroe Birthplace Park and Museum includes a replica of the childhood home of the United States’ fifth president. Historic artifacts are housed in the Museum’s Visitor Center and a mile-long path meanders through gardens with granite historical markers telling the story of Monroe’s career. There is also a bike trail, canoe launch, benches, scenic overlook, and picnic pavilion.
Belle Grove Plantation
Belle Grove Plantation, the birthplace of fourth U.S. President James Madison, is now home to Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast, an historic 1791 mansion that preserves the charm and elegance of the South.
Wine & Cherries Weekend
Drink a toast to past presidents during Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail’s annual Wine & Cherries Weekend. Held over Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend, Feb 13-15 this year, the event features pairings of wine/cider and cherry treats by participating members of the Trail, including Ingleside Plantation Vineyards and Winery, located just outside Town of Colonial Beach.
Virginia Maple Syrup
Speaking of sweet treats, Beliveau Farm, in Blacksburg, hosts its third annual “Sap to Syrup” celebration, on February 6 & 7. Experts share everything you ever wanted to know about real maple syrup, such as how to tap trees and boil sap into syrup. The event includes a guided Maple Trail hike through the property and Maple Trees, Maple-inspired food specials, seasonal Maple Ale Beer, farm-produced maple syrup including lavender maple syrup, and delicious wines.
Carnival & Mardi Gras Celebrations in Virginia
In the Christian faith, Carnival is a festive time to eat, drink and be merry before the rigorous fasting and sacrifice during the liturgical season of Lent. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the scaling back of Carnival events, there are still a few was to celebrate the season safely.
- CBVA’s own Dockside Restaurant & Tiki Bar will feature a Mardi Gras-inspired menu, Feb. 12-14, of N’awlins favorite dishes including Creole Oysters, Crawfish Etouffee, Jambalaya, Catfish, Gumbo and more!
- Learn to cook New Orleans favorite treats, Mardi Gras King Cake and French-Creole beignets with Now You’re Cooking Culinary Studio in Chesapeake.
- Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton, Virginia, is holding a 2-week Mardi Gras celebration, beginning February 1, with virtual events daily and an in-person event on February 13. The event features a Parade & Decoration Contest, Glass Bead Demonstrations, Cooking Classes, Mask-Making, Mixology Sessions and more.
- Located just outside Charlottesville, Glass House Winery hosts a safe and socially distanced Brazilian Carnaval celebration on February 12, with the “fabulously intoxicating and infectious funkalicious samba soul music” trio, Beleza.
- The following day, February 13, Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington, Virginia, hosts Mardi Gras in the Mountains, featuring Cajun food specials, live music, and festivities.
- Richmond parties on February 20, with the Official Mardi Gras Bar Crawl.
Winter Sports in Virginia
If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, on your way back north stop off at Bryce Resort in Basye, VA in Shenandoah County. Here you can shush down the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains on skis, snowboard or snow tube, or ice skate on Lake Laura.
With something for everyone–history lovers, food and wine lovers, carnival nd Mardi Gras lovers, outdoor lovers, art lovers, and just plain lovers–we hope you enjoy celebrating February on our Virginia WanderLOVE roadtrip.
Is there something unique happening this month that we missed? Share it in the comments below!