There are a lot of reasons people end up in Virginia. Some people come to for work. Others are here for schools – either as students or professors at any one of our amazing universities. And others just come to Virginia for a change of pace – to retire or to raise a family.
If you’re just moving to Virginia, or you’ve only recently arrived, chances are you’re going to love it here. But there are a few things that you may not expect from your new home state. To get you started, here are a few things you might just want to be ready for…
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. SO much history.
You took history in school, of course, so you already know that Virginia played one of the most significant roles in early American history. But wait for it…Virginia history lives and breathes in every city, town and virtually every corner of the state. From roadside markers to memorials and museums, Virginia is a hotbed of history.
I’ll admit it, Virginia has a few stereotypes. Maybe you’ve heard we’re all a bunch of rednecks. Or you’re expecting hillbillies in the Appalachian Mountains. Perhaps you think we’re all mint juleps and Southern belles. Or then again, perhaps you expect a bunch of politicians thanks to our DC neighbors. What you’ll find is that we’re a little bit of everything. Sure, we are a mix of our stereotypes. But we also have people from around the world and the country that now call Virginia home. With a range political and social affiliations, lifestyles and viewpoints, you’re sure to find your niche.
3. Top-rated schools and universities.
If you’re here for school – to teach or to attend – you already know how great our colleges and universities are. I mean, you’re here for a reason, right? But if you are here with a family, you’ll find that we also have some of the top-rated public and private k-12 programs in the nation.
Sorry, but it’s true. For all the amazing back roads and quiet small towns, it’s only fair to warn you about the 95s (I-95, I-295, I-395 and I-495), I-81, I-66 and last but not least, I-64. You might want to invest in satellite radio, because if these, and a few others, are part of your new commute, you’re going to get to know them very, very well.
Especially if you’re coming from the west, you might be thinking about how much you’re going to miss the mountains. Well, have we got a surprise for you. The mountains of Virginia may not have the height of your Western mountains, but beauty? We have that to spare.
Again, maybe you’re coming from another state known for its beaches. But don’t worry, you’re not losing a thing. Virginia Beach actually holds the Guiness World’s Record for the longest stretch of pleasure beach in the world. That’s 35 miles of beautiful beaches, from busy boardwalks to secluded stretches of pristine sand and surf.
7. World-class theater.
Best of all, we have it where you’d least expect it. Head to Southwest Virginia for the Barter Theatre’s award-winning stage productions in Abingdon. Check out the only replica of the London’s Blackfriar’s Monastery Theatre at the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton. See top Broadway performances at The Altria in Richmond or Chrysler Hall in Richmond. Or enjoy your favorite operatic performances at George Mason University in Fairfax.
8. Outdoor Adventures.
What do you like to do? Skiing? Boating? Hiking? You may not think of Virginia as the place for EVERY outdoor activity, but from rock climbing to surfing to kayaking and more – we have it all.
9. Summer heat and humidity.
Ok, so it’s not all fun and games. It gets hot. And it gets humid. C’mon, folks, it’s still the south. But don’t worry. We have plenty of ways to deal with it. From lakes, river and oceans to water parks and breezy front porches, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep cool.
10. Just the right amount of snow.
You can see this as a good thing or a bad thing. It’s up to you. If you like to be waist-deep in snowy white coldness, then you might be disappointed. If you hate the snow, then…too bad. But if you like a snowy backdrop a few times a year and aren’t afraid of a good sledding hill, you’re going to be JUST fine in Virginia.
11. Perfect Springs.
There are some states that claim to have summer all year. Others spend most of the year in sweaters. But Virginia offers magical springs that transition you from the winter cold to the summer heat. It might just end up being your favorite thing about the state.
12. Amazing Falls.
Winter doesn’t just sneak up on us here. Like spring, our fall season is the perfect transition. And when fall hits, it’s all about fireworks – red, gold and yellow leaves, crisp air, football and festivals. So, really, chances are it’s going to be a toss-up between spring and fall for your favorite season..
Whether it’s college football tailgates, pro or semi-pro teams or community sports, you can get your fill in Virginia.
14. Arts and culture.
Art museums, history museums, galleries, funky towns and arts and crafts festivals abound in Virginia. From the mountains to the coastline, the big cities to the small towns, there is more than enough creativity and culture to keep you busy for a lifetime.
15. A great economy.
You may not know it, but The Washington Post calls Virginia “the best state in America” when it comes to managing budgets shortfalls. We’ve managed to keep the economy on an even keel even when the rest of the world seems to be in a spin.
16. Award-winning wines.
The Northwest may get a lot of headlines when it comes to “wine country,” but Virginia holds her own. We have more than 200 vineyards and wineries, many of them with award-winning wines
17. Amazing music.
Bristol, Virginia is called the birthplace of country music for a reason. This is where some of the first commercial recordings were made with artists like Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. We’ve taken it from there and now Virginia has a diverse and eclectic music scene with festivals for almost any genre, plus large commercial venues, small clubs and everything in between.
18. Some of the greatest people you’ll ever know.
I may be a little biased, but Virginians are truly some of the best people you’ll ever meet. From transplants to born-and-bred natives, we like to have a good time, most of us have never met a stranger and we keep our hearts and our doors open.
What would you tell someone to expect when moving to Virginia? If we’ve left anything off the list, please let us know in the comments below!