Maybe you’ve lived in Virginia your whole life. Or maybe you’ve made it your adopted home. Whatever the reason you’re here, chances are you know why you’d never want to leave. But sometimes life has other plans and leave, we must. It’s happened to the best of us. So, should you find yourself with Virginia in the rearview mirror, here are a few of the things you might just miss the most.
1. The Blue Ridge Parkway.
I know that the Blue Ridge Parkway goes into North Carolina. And that's all fine and good, but our portion of the parkway is also our little bit of heaven. And there's just nothing like it in the world.
2. And Skyline Drive.
Ah, the Skyline Drive. To be able to hop in the car and go for a Sunday drive (or anytime between Monday and Saturday, really) and see the sights that the Skyline offers? It's like being part of an exclusive club that doesn't cost a cent.
3. The History.
It's easy to take Virginia's amazing history for granted while you're here. I mean, OF COURSE, we've seeen the Presidents' homes, OF COURSE we've been to Williamsburg, OF COURSE we've seen the famous battlefields that determined the fate of our nation on more than one occasion. But trust me, when it's not there, you will miss it more than you realize.
4. The People.
In Virginia, people say hi when they pass you on the street, neighbors know their neighbors and a helping hand is always extended. I have to admit, after I've been a way for awhile, this kind of Southern hospitality warms my heart like only the people of Virginia can.
5. The Seasons.
Clearly, Virginia is not the only state with seasons. But we do the seasons with a style that is ours and ours alone. None are too long, none are too short - and they all have a beauty that will keep Virginia on your mind no matter where you are.
6. The Beaches.
Not to say there aren't beautiful beaches elsewhere...because there most certainly are. But our beaches are special. With history like the First Landing in Virginia Beach and tradition like the Chincoteague Pony Swim, it's easy to find yourself missing Virginia's coastline.
7. The Tomatoes.
Oh the tomatoes! I used to come home from college just to get a brown bag full of my great-uncle's homegrown tomatoes. There's something that just feels like home slicing into a juicy, ripe Hanover tomato in the summer...
8. The Oysters.
Oyster bakes in the fall, oyster stuffing for Thanksgiving, oysters on the halfshell in the summer...and let's not forget oyster stew over the holidays. Virginia is the known as the oyster capital of the world with distinct oysters from seven regions that all have a flavor found nowhere but Virginia.
9. The Apples.
Again...yes. You can find apples just about anywhere. But Virginia's apples are more than just a fruit - they're a part of our tradition. From apple picking and apple pie to apple butter and homemade apple sauce. For many Virginians, these are the things we grew up on and sometimes miss the most.
And the Apple Cider Donuts.
What more is there to say?
10. Proper Country Ham and Grits.
Now, these get lumped into the same category for a reason. You can find your fair share of both of these in other southern states, but go too far away and they're going to look at you like you're crazy. Trust me. I once spent an entire summer trying to find grits in Washington State. True story. And go ahead and order the ham, just don't ask for red-eye gravy unless you plan to do some explaining.
11. The Small Towns.
Jimmy Emerson, DVM / flickr
Virginia has beautiful small towns and quaint villages at just about every turn. From the historic, pioneer towns of the Southwestern part of the state to the charming seaside towns of the Eastern Shore and everywhere in between.
12. The Music.
From old-time mountain music to modern metal - Virginia is all about music and the people who make it. There are plenty of other places with good music, for sure. But in Virginia, it's in the air, in the culture and around you everywhere you go.
13. The LOVE.
We've all done it...complained about Virginia, that is. The traffic, the politics, the humidity...or whatever. But at the end of the day, whether you're back for a visit or to stay, Virginia is really hard not to love.
14. And, of course, THIS....
I know I'm not the only one that gets a little thrill everytime I see "Welcome" and "Virginia" in the same sentence. Trust me, you'll be sorry to see it in your rearview mirror.
What do you miss most about Virginia when you’re away? We would love to see your contributions to the list in the comments below!