Posts Tagged ‘history’

Giving of Thanks in 2012

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Turkey, and mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce, oh my! Thanksgiving is approaching with great rapidity, and if you are looking for something a bit different than the usual holiday get-together, consider some of the following events:

“On December 4, 1619, a group of 38 settlers, led by Captain John Woodlief, arrived at Berkeley Plantation in Virginia, from Bristol, England. On the banks of the James River the Englishmen proclaimed ‘We ordaine that the day of our ship’s arrival at the place assigned for plantacon, in the land of Virginia, shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God’(Virginia Thanksgiving Festival.) In keeping with the tradition of this first official Thanksgiving, you too can celebrate at the very same site where these travelers first held their own feast—Berkeley Plantation. On November 4, 2012, delight in a day of food and drink, games, historic costumes, tribal dancers, and parades at the Virginia Thanksgiving Festival.

But that, my dear reader, is not the only celebration of so-called “Turkey Day” in which you can partake. On November 22, 2012, enjoy a Decadent Thanksgiving Feast at BBAV member Cooper’s Landing Inn, or indulge in the 7th Annual Thanksgiving Feast at Holladay House.

And now, I leave you with a Thanksgiving blessing:

“May your stuffing be tasty,
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!”

By Tara Stoll

Staunton Ghost Tours

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

 “Ghost hunting has grown in the past two decades from a little-known hobby to a much more popular pursuit. Ghost hunters say that, judging from the number of ghost-hunting organizations with Web sites, there are hundreds of groups with thousands of members in the United States.” –SF Gate

Halloween will be here shortly, and perhaps you are looking for something different than the usual parties, cheesy costumes, and pseudo-creepy decorations. Perhaps, then, you should brave the cold fingers of the otherworld and participate in a ghost tour of Staunton, VA.  (Cue thunder sound effect.)

During the month of October, there is a ghost tour of historic Staunton, Virginia every Friday and Saturday evening, beginning promptly at 7pm. Ghost Box tours are also available every Friday and Saturday evening, beginning at 9pm. (“A ghost box is a communication tool used by some investigators to speak to the other side. Typically, a ghost box is a modified portable AM/FM radio that continuously scans the band. When on, it is believed to create white noise and audio remnants from broadcast stations that entities are able to manipulate to create words and even entire sentences.”) On Halloween evening, there will only be one tour at 7pm.

So, what happens on these so-called “ghost tours?”  I’m delighted you asked. If you’re expecting to be scared, or you’re anticipating a ghostly sighting, you will probably be disappointed. (Having said that, though, ghost box tours can be pretty creepy.) These tours “blend science, history, paranormal and legend together.”  They explain the stories behind all of the ghost sightings around Staunton, such as the ghost of Charlotte, who hurled tools at the construction workers that were remodeling her old house.  However, the tours are not limited to the paranormal. They also give explanations of the exquisite architecture around the Queen City.

Some quick notes:

-The tour is not recommended for small children.

-It is a 90-minute to 2-hour tour, so be prepared to walk a lot.

-There are very few public restrooms along the tour.

-Need lodging? How about a BBAV member inn.


By Tara Stoll

Jamestown Settlement, Williamsburg, VA

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

If you’ve ever seen a viewing of Disney’s Pocahontas or the 2005 film The New World, then you already have a visual of  Jamestown, Virginia in the 17th Century. But neither movie nor history book can replace an in-person visit to the town that was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas: “In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia’s James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World.”

Williamsburg, Va’s Jamestown Settlement allows for the opportunity to experience the original colony portrayed through gallery exhibits, introductory films, replica ships, and re-creations of a colonial fort and a Powhatan village.

Make the most of your visit to Jamestown Settlement with daily demonstrations and optional guided tours.Throughout the day, visitors can see demonstrations of matchlock musket-firing, leatherworking, woodworking and blacksmithing in the fort, cooking and tool-making in the Powhatan Indian village, and cargo handling at the ships’ pier. Optional guided tours of the outdoor areas are offered at 10 and 11 a.m. and 12, 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Artillery demonstrations are held daily at 11 a.m. on the ships’ pier, 2:45 p.m. in the riverfront discovery area, and at 4:15 p.m. in the re-created fort.” – History is Fun

(NOTE: Thank you to the individual who pointed out that Jamestown Settlement is an educational opportunity and is not to be confused with the site of the original colony. For more information about the original site, Historic Jamestowne, click here.)


BBAV Lodging:

A Boxwood Inn of Williamsburg

A Williamsburg White House

Bentley Manor Inn

Colonial Capital B&B

Magnolia Manor

Newport House B&B

Liberty Rose B&B

Marl Inn B&B

York River Inn B&B


By Tara Stoll


12 Reasons to Visit Virginia in 2012

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

“The country is not mountanous not yet low but such pleasant plaine hils and fertile valleyes, one prettily crossing an other, and watered so conveniently with their sweete brookes and christall springs, as if art itself had devised them.” –Captain John Smith, “A Map of Virginia”

Why should you visit (or re-visit) Virginia? The reasons could quickly conglomerate into a great novel that would require hours of your time to read. Since neither you nor your humble blogger has the time to compose and study a novel of such great proportions, enjoy another of our increasingly well-loved BBAV lists.

12 Reasons to Visit Virginia in 2012:

  1. The historical sites. Virginia has Jamestown/Yorktown, Monticello, Montpelier, and a vast number of other sites that explore our rich history.
  2. The wineries, vineyards, and breweries.
  3. The amusement parks and theme parks.
  4. The state parks and hiking trails.
  5. The museums and exhibits.
  6. The theatres. (Did you know that Virginia boasts the only replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriar Theatre? Yep, we do, and along that that theatre, there are many, many more scattered about the Commonwealth.)
  7. The scenic drives.
  8. The mountains.
  9. The family-friendly activities.
  10. The beaches.
  11. The shopping centers, malls, outlets, downtown boutiques, and locally-owned shops.
  12. The Bed and Breakfasts. What kind of association would we be if we didn’t highlight the wonderful businesses that comprise our organization? Virginia has some truly wonderful, individually unique bed and breakfasts, and no trip to and around Virginia would be complete without staying at one of them.

By Tara Stoll

Virginia Lighthouses, Summer 2011

Monday, July 18th, 2011

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”
– Anne Lamott

Lighthouses have been a source of fascination for people for many years, and we here in Virginia are lucky to have some of these beautiful structures decorate our coasts. They stand with silent strength, with few frills or ornamentation, and yet the light that shines from them cannot go unnoticed. For many years, these lighthouses kept ships from crashing to shore, ensuring safety to the crew aboard the vessels. Now these structures are sources of history and, as always, symbolic representations of hope and guidance. And, of course, they are a wonderful destination for those on a Virginia vacation.

The lighthouses of Virginia include the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792, the Assateague Lighthouse, built in 1833, the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse, built in 1802, and the New Point Comfort Lighthouse, commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in 1804. As you can imagine, each of these lighthouses possesses a deep history, having survived battles and skirmishes and years of being weathered by ocean waves.

If you’re planning to visit one of these lighthouses, be sure to check out their schedules. Some allow tours during most of the years, but others have set times that the outside public is allowed to see the inside. (Also, toughen up those leg muscles if you plan to climb up the inside of the lighthouse. Those stairs give you a good workout!) Be sure to check out our list of bed and breakfasts to find the perfect inn for you to relax at during your trip to visit the lighthouses.

© 2011

© 2011

© 2011

 Facts courtesy of Virginia Tourism Corporation, © 2011.

By Tara Stoll

A Secret “Sweet Spot” for Lovers in Virginia’s Beautiful Shenandoah Valley: A TripAdvisor’s 5 Star Award for Excellence

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

“Virginia is for Lovers” is a promise fulfilled at Historic Downtown Harrisonburg’s Stonewall Jackson Inn ~ Bed and Breakfast!  Get out your “Bucket List,”  here is “must” places to visit!!   Two well- known, premier travel directories agree!  TripAdvisor has just awarded the coveted 2011 “Certificate of Excellence” to this Inn for again having a solid 5 star rating from their subscribers for the second year in a row. has also awarded the Inn “Best B&B in the Mid-Atlantic Region” and lists it in the elite Diamond Collection of the World’s Best B&B’s.


The really good news is that this Inn  is located in the hospitality-plus “Friendly City” of Harrisonburg, right in the center of the Shenandoah Valley. The City’s lively Downtown  Historical District  is also the Fine Dining & Entertainment Center of the Valley.  But that’s not all.  It offers museums, galleries, shops, stage theater and music, Farmers Market, outdoor festivals & activities.  In the center of the District in a beautifully restored pre-Civil War home,  you will find a  docent staffed  visitor’s welcome center with a gift shop and  a beautiful Tea Room that serves many different kinds of tea along with homemade goodies. Harrisonburg is not only the Valley’s choice destination for a very romantic B&B & fine dining Getaway,  but it is also a “base camp” for outdoor adventure.    There are easy day trips to experience Civil War and Frontier History, Outdoor Recreation and Entertainment, Shopping & Antiquing, Biking, Hiking, Wine Tasting, and much more.  Check out and if you are looking for some ideas.


The Stonewall Jackson’s mission and promise of a “A Night’s Delight ~ A Breakfast to Remember” is a tall order, but the Inn’s friendly hospitality team is up to the task.  They literally love their jobs of “making guests happy”.  Galina, a “wannabe” interning Innkeeper from Belarus tells the guests “It is like working in a Disneyworld Bed & Breakfast”.  The team leader, Master Innkeeper and owner,  Dr. Wayne Engel, is Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology at James Madison University.  He and his son started the Inn twelve years ago “just to have fun”.  The ambiance is one of warm Southern Hospitality in a Civil War Era restored mansion , with all of today’s amenities & technological comforts.  The Stonewall Jackson Inn is Certified “Virginia Green” carries a 3 Diamond AAA and an “Exceptional” rating by the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia Visit the website for more information and details of “The Stonewall Jackson Experience” in the “Friendly City” of Harrisonburg.

Dr. Wayne Engel, © 2011

Visit, write, or call 800.445.5330

Dr. Wayne Engel, Owner/Innkeeper

Stonewall Jackson Inn

547 East Market Street, Harrisonburg, Va. 22801


The Shenandoah National Park

Sunday, July 25th, 2010
Sunset at Appalachian Trail

Sunset on the Appalachian Trail

The great Wagon Road was once a principal travel route for early American settlers heading south from Philadelphia. A portion of it traverses the length of the Shenandoah Valley, where Virginia bed and breakfasts have been welcoming travelers for centuries.

Today, the Shenandoah Valley welcomes visitors from around the world, many of whom travel here to visit the nearby Shenandoah National Park. Less than two hours from the nation’s capital, the Shenandoah National Park offers scenic drives and a plethora of outdoor activities. It’s impossible to experience all the park has to offer in just one day. They best way to experience it is to take up residence at a Virginia bed and breakfast near the Shenandoah National Park for a while, and take your time exploring it.

Over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail runs through the Shenandoah National Park, along with hundreds of miles of other trails. It’s possible to enjoy a short, easy hike to a pretty waterfall or scenic overlook, or a long, strenuous hike deep into the back woods; know your capability, and bring lots of water and snacks with you. In addition to hiking, it’s possible to explore the park on horseback or bicycle. Innkeepers at bed and breakfasts Virginia near the park are a wonderful resource – ask them how they most enjoy the Shenandoah National Park.