Virginia is a mid-Atlantic state with a long and distinguished history. More US presidents have come from Virginia than any other state. It was extremely pivotal during the Civil War, since both the Union capital, Washington, DC, and the Confederate capital, Richmond, are very close in distance. Besides history, the state is blessed with mountains in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east, so there are numerous opportunites for recreational activities. Here are my choices for Virginia’s top ten sights. A photo album will follow.
1. Monticello – Jefferson’s self-designed house is one of Virginia’s most popular tourist destinations. Its location, Charlottesville, is a delightful community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and is also the home of the lovely, well-respected University of Virginia, also founded by Jefferson.
2. Williamsburg – America’s premier open-air museum captures the essence of the late 1700’s in both architecture and culture. Numerous activities are planned throughout the day — prepare for full immersion.
3. Skyline Drive & Shenandoah National Park – Skyline Drive, which cuts through Shenandoah National Park, is one of this countries’ most beautiful scenic drives. This limited-access highway has stupendous views from its many overlooks. Wildlife spotting is also common within the park.
4. Old Town Alexandria – Just outside of Washington, DC, this delightful Colonial-era collection of buildings and streets is a delight to explore on foot. Because of its proximity to the US capital, it is popular (and a bit less expensive) as a base of operations for visits there.
5. Mount Vernon – George Washington’s beloved residence is just a few miles outside Alexandria (see above). The magnificent grounds have a commanding view of the Potomac River. Washington’s willingness to adopt new technology makes for a very interesting visit and exploration.
6. Blue Ridge Parkway– The northern extension of this long traverse through the Blue Ridge Mountains begins in North Carolina and runs through the western part of Virginia. HIstorical buildings, scenic overlooks and walking trails are available throughout its length.
7. Stephen F Udvar Center – This satellite of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC, houses many aircraft and other vehicles that cannot be displayed in DC because of space requirements. Visitors can see the Enola Gay, the modified American bomber that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, the Space Shuttle, Enterprise, and the Concorde, one of the original SST’s.
8. Arlington National Cemetery – America’s largest and most well-known military cemetery lies just across the Francis Scott Key Bridge from Washington, DC. Here visitors can witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, see the perpetual flame at President John F Kennedy’s grave, and simply wander through the rows and rows of white crosses that mark the final resting place of many of America’s soldiers.
9. Colonial Parkway – This lovely drive connects the famous Colonial battlefield of Yorktown, the city of Williamsburg (see above), and America’s first colony, Jamestown. Williamsburg has already been discussed, but Yorktown and Jamestown are also worth a visit, especially for those interested in the early history of the United States.
10. Virginia Beach – This well-developed area is a Mecca for beach-lovers. All kinds of water-related activities are offered and there are also numerous day-trips available in this Hampton Roads section of the state.
Other sights considered;
Appomatox Court House National Historical Park