Christmas is about so much more than just unwrapping presents and emptying stockings. Christmas is about stopping the chaos of the day-to-day for just a bit and reflecting on the bounty that surrounds us. It’s about spending time with family and friends. And it’s about giving more than receiving. Today, we’d like to take a minute to think back on the year and reflect on some of the most amazing things that we’ve been able to share with you in 2015 and to recognize just how LUCKY we are to call Virginia home.
1. Amazing hikes and trails.
From the summit of Old Rag to the Appalachian Trail to marshy forest walks along the beach, Virginia has some of the best hiking, walking, biking and running trails anywhere.
2. Beautiful beaches.
Whether you crave the busy boardwalk at Virginia Beach or the peaceful solitude of the Eastern Shore, Virginia’s beaches are one of the greatest gifts our state offers.
3. Breathtaking mountains.
From our highest peak at Mount Rogers and the surrounding scenery at Grayson Highlands to the graceful rolling ridges of the Blue Ridge, Virginia’s mountains leave nothing to be desired.
4. Incredible swimming holes.
There’s the Devil’s Bathtub hidden away in Jefferson National Forest or Belle Isle just by downtown Richmond. There are waterfalls and rock slides. Busy places and secluded hideaways. Whatever you’re looking for, Virginia has it.
5. Weird and wacky attractions.
Wondering where you can find a Styrofoam replica of Stonehenge? Or perhaps the world’s oldest ham? Why, at Foamhenge in Natural Bridge and The Isle of Wight Museum in Smithfield, of course. When it come to weird and wacky, Virginia has your covered.
6. Hotels, bed and breakfasts and cabin getaways for every style, taste and budget.
Luxury treehouses, historic resorts, elegant city hotels or rustic cabins in the woods - there’s no shortage of exciting, romantic and unusual places to plan a getaway in Virginia.
7. Virginia’s diverse state parks.
With 37 parks to choose from, you’ll experience history, nature, diverse ecology, wildlife and so much more at our beautiful state parks.
8. Fascinating history.
It’s all around us, on every corner and every street. And the best thing of all is that when it comes to Virginia’s history, there’s always more to learn.
9. Awesome places to live – from tiny towns to big cities and everything in between.
We’ve shown you some of the best places to live, the most affordable and the safest. We’ve talked about tiny towns with only a few hundred people and huge cities that are home to hundreds of thousands. And through it all, the one thing that stands out is that no matter where you live in Virginia, you can count yourself lucky to be in such an amazing state.
10. Exciting places to visit.
Caverns, caves, road trips, day trips, history tours and music trails…Virginia has it all. And there’s still so much more to discover.
11. Fun things to do with families and friends.
We’ve shown you festivals and playgrounds, museums and attractions. We’ve talked about theaters and restaurants and great things to do on a rainy day. And hats off to all of you, you’ve helped us discover even more amazing things to do through your contributions, comments and suggestions!
12. Awe-inspiring natural wonders.
Natural Bridge, Natural Tunnel and Natural Chimneys…just to name a few. From the mountains to the coast, Virginia is full of natural wonders that will leave you in awe.
13. Historic homes.
With 8 presidents born in Virginia, as well as many founding fathers, legendary statesman, trailblazing women and innovators in every field, Virginia has no shortage of homes, farms and historic buildings that allow us the chance to travel back in time.
14. So. Much. Good. Food.
Award-winning restaurants, yes, we have those. But we also have “homegrown” foods that can take on any gourmet. Smithfield Ham, Brunswick Stew, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, Eastern Shore oysters, fresh apple butter and barbecue. Not to mention Hanover tomatoes, Silver Queen corn and crisp Virginia apples. I could go on, but I think you get the picture.
15. The best people ANYWHERE.
At the end of the day, no matter how beautiful the natural world is, people are what truly make a place great. And in that department, Virginia is by far the best place to be.
And today, especially, we’d like to thank you all for coming along for the ride – sharing articles with friends, commenting on your favorite topics and providing so many wonderful thoughts, ideas and suggestions along the way. The people of Virginia are most definitely the greatest gift of all!