22. This is where it all began.
Of all the unclaimed, moderately explored territories in all the continents in all the world, John Smith walked into Jamestown. And because of that, Virginia became "The Birthplace of a Nation." The rest, as they say, is history.
21. Location, location, location.
You just can't miss us. 60% of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of Virginia. That means your out-of-state relatives have no excuse for not coming to YOU at Christmas for a change.
20. The River
Which one, you ask? Take your pick – we have big ones, we have small ones, with beaches, forests or rapids. In the mountains or in the cities. You can’t go far without crossing a river in Virginia. And we are more than ok with that.
19. Barbecue. We take it seriously.
Slow cooked and absolutely amazing. And it’s all vinegar sauces for us, thank you. Coleslaw on top is optional, but trust me, it’s highly recommended.
18. Sunday Drives
Also, Monday drives, Tuesday drives and, of course, Wednesday through Saturday drives. We have 2,500 miles of scenic drives from Skyline Drive to peaceful beach roads. For once, you won’t want to be in a hurry.
17. We're Smart.
Virginia has 3 of the top 40 public colleges and universities in the nation: University of Virginia (#2), the College of William and Mary (#6) and Virginia Tech (#27). For your under-undergrads, Virginia’s education system ranks among the best.
16. Small Towns. Downhome Goodness.
Main Street lives on in Virginia with some of the best small towns in the country. From artsy cool to elegant old Southern flair, you don't have to look far to find a place where everybody knows your name and "hometown" is more than just a place, it’s a feeling.
15. Big City Sophistication
Yep, we have that, too. Virginia is home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, world-class music venues, 2 opera companies and the American Shakespeare Center. Plus, we have all the benefits of being neighbors to the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. Add some top-of-the-line shopping and it’s all a city girl could hope for.
14. There ain’t no biscuit like a Virginia ham biscuit.
Light, flaky biscuits, a little bit of butter and that salty goodness we know as Virginia ham. And no one makes them better than your grandma.
13. The Ham. It’s worth mentioning twice.
What other state do you know that has a law to protect its ham? This stuff is so good it can only be made in Smithfield – you just don’t mess with perfection.
12. Hard Core Fans….
The only things that University of Virginia fans and Virginia Tech fans have in common is that they both have orange as a school color and they are both die-hard when it comes to their team. How serious is the rivalry? We gave it a name: The Commonwealth Clash.
...With Big Hearts
But when times get tough, we will always support one another. When tragedy struck Virginia Tech in 2007, there wasn’t a school in the state that didn’t reach out a hand and UVA stepped down from the rivalry out of respect.
11. Colorful Springs
No, not water springs, although we’ve got those, too. We mean the season – and Virginia has the brightest, most colorful springtime anywhere. Once the flowers start blooming, there’s no stopping them.
10. And Fireworks in the Fall
Anyone can do hot. And anyone can do cold. But the trick is to have the perfect times in between. There’s nothing like a Virginia fall – perfect crisp days and a firework show of changing leaves everywhere you go.
9. Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
You won’t look at a certain place with golden arches the same way ever again.
8. Wine is the new black.
And our cup runneth over with award-winning wine. With new wineries, vineyards and tasting rooms constantly popping up around the state, Virginia is getting recognized around the world for its tasty vino. It’s just that good.
7. Craft Beer: It’s not just for hipsters anymore.
Beer is booming here in the Old Dominion. And breweries like Devil’s Backbone, Starr Hill and Apocalypse Ale Works are just a few Virginia breweries garnering national awards. For tasting, try the Nelson 151 Trail, the Red, White and Brew Trail, the Brew Ridge Trail, or Virginia's Blue Ridge Beer Loop.
6. History at Your Doorstep
We have a 400-year old history and we’re not afraid to show it. There’s no shortage of historic stops from Presidential homes, historic plantations, battlefields, museums and all the historical markers you could ever want.
5. Oysters. You love them or you hate them. We choose love.
There’s a reason Virginia is the Oyster Capital of the East. With 7 oyster regions, we have 7 distinct flavors. Steam ’em, bake ’em, fry ’em or slurp ’em down raw. We’re home to oyster festivals, oyster shucking contests and my personal favorite, the backyard oyster roast.
4. It’s a kid’s paradise.
The Virginia State Fair, amusement parks, science museums, childrens’ museums, beaches, ski slopes, water parks, festivals, indoor trampoline gyms, year-round synthetic skiing, skydiving, paragliding, festivals, theater and the list goes on. The point is, you’ll NEVER get bored – oh right, and neither will the kids.
3. The Blue Ridge
And that’s all that needs to be said about that.
2. Virginia is for Lovers
It’s our state motto and we wear it proudly. Here in Virginia, we live fully, laugh loudly and most of all, we love this amazing state of ours. How could you not?
1. Because it just feels like home.