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Virginia – Visit the Mother of Presidents

Virginia has many nicknames. One is “Mother of Presidents”, indicating the many commanders in chief the state has brought forth. When going to Virginia, one truly wanders historic ground. One of the oldest European settlements, Jamestown, was established at the Virginia shore in 1607. Virginia mixes the old and the new to provide a fascinating welcome to all visitors.


In the history of the United States, Virginia has played one of the most significant roles both during the colonial era as well as after the Revolution. It was here that the first permanent English colony on North American soil was established. Jamestown, founded in 1607, looks back on four centuries of history, and is regarded the first permanent English stronghold in the New World. A blend of Native American, European, and African cultures, Virginia has been at the core of the development of American history, bringing forth more presidents than any other state.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and of course General George Washington – the list of prominent Virginians is long. The state witnessed many pivotal events, like John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry or the Battle of Fort Sumter.

Virginia cannot be considered a large state by US standards. In fact it ranks only 35th in this classification. A population of 7.7 million is impressive though for its size, a number made possible also by the extensive cities of the northeast that are in fact suburbs of the large metropolitan area of Washington DC.

Virginia borders with the Chesapeake Bay in the east. In fact, the state of Virginia technically embraces the bay since there is also an Eastern Shore, made up of two counties that lie opposite the mainland. This geographically independent part is dominated by agriculture and looks back on an equally long history.

Virginia is generally divided into five distinct regions. From east to west (or from the Atlantic towards the hinterland) these include the Tidewater, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Ridge and Valley, and Appalachian Plateau.

The prevailing climate is humid subtropical. However, the mountainous regions in the western part of the state are characterized by a more continental climate. Virginia can be regarded a “green state” since 65 per cent of its area is covered with forests.

The South: Hampton Roads

Why not start in the southeast of this marvelous state? The historic Hampton Roads region offers a great natural getaway, a perfect summer vacation destination, and a time travel to colonial days. Dozens of miles of beautiful Atlantic shoreline in this region alone invite for summer fun for families and other travelers. Virginia Beach, in the far southeast, is but one splendid destination. The Chesapeake holds many inlets, rivers, and streams in store where water activities abound. Further north, there´s Chincoteague Island located.

The West

Virginia is a wide state rather than a high one. It extends from the Atlantic coast in the East all the way to Kentucky and Tennessee in the far west. The Blue Ridge Highlands are truly a region of old pioneer spirit. It is here where country music is supposed to have developed in the days of old. The “Crooked Road”, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, is where visitors can discover these musical roots. In reality, this “trail” is a winding highway leading from the Piedmont to the higher Blue Ridge.

Central Virginia

In many regards, when talking about central Virginia, one really refers to the heart of the state. Not only is it the geographical center of the state, but here we also find the state capital, Richmond, one of the most densely populated areas within the state borders, along with Fairfax County in the northeast.

Richmond used to be the old “Capital of the Confederacy”. This was only true between 1861 and 1865 of course, when the Civil war raged in Virginia and the entire United States. Richmond is a blend of new and old. NASCAR races go side by side with historical sites like the Edgar Allan Poe Museum (one famed son of the city). Richmond is maybe the most diverse place one can go in terms of tourism variety. Lush green parks invite for relaxation, some of the finest art venues (don’t miss the Richmond Ballet, Symphony, and Opera Association if you are into music!) and gallery spaces (including the Faberge Russian Imperial Jewels and the Lewis Collection of Art Nouveau). Water sports on the James and Appomattox Rivers round off the diverse picture Richmond provides to each and every visitor. The accommodation opportunities are also plenty in this city of one million residents in total.

Shenandoah Valley

The Valley sits proudly along the northwestern border of the state. The “Big Valley” as it is also referred to is a place to discover the old spirit of westward expansion. Many pioneers settled here and then later, when the frontier moved more and more towards the West, used the valley as a gateway. Winchester, Clifton Forge, Roanoke, where English settlers had established one of the first settlements ever, and Front Royal and Wintergreen are among the places to visit in this region.

Northern Virginia

Just across the Potomac from the nation’s capital, Northern Virginia is a region that is rich in history, full of idyllic golf courses, Civil War battlefields, numerous shopping opportunities and other ways to pursue your own personal vacation happiness. Further south Lake Anna provides outdoor recreation. Historic attractions of the area include the old town of Fairfax, Alexandria with its Black History Museum and numerous other sites to explore the African-American heritage, Fort Ward, and many other venues.

The famed Appalachian Trail crosses through the northern portion of Virginia and is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and nature’s lovers. Alexandria is not only a city full of historical sites but also abounds with gallery spaces, museums and other cultural venues. A visit to this marvelous town is almost a must when visiting this region.

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