Travel Extravaganza

Summertime brings out the traveler in us, so go forth and explore.

Bill Crabtree Jr. (Virginia Tourism Corporation)
Indigo House Brings the Outside In.

Meet Kyle and Stephanie Thomas, proprietors of Indigo house, with their furry friend Marietta. Their stylish new bed and breakfast in Afton is attracting dog lovers and outdoor enthusiasts (grown-ups only, please).   The Thomases traded corporate life in Charleston in 2017 to design their mountaintop retreat, a place, says Stephanie, that’s “rooted in Southern hospitality, where guests can share a good many things around the fire with new friends.” Located near Rockfish Gap, Indigo House offers convenient access to trails along the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway—with Charlottesville, Staunton, and Wintergreen Resort all within a half-hour’s drive. With guest rooms named for National Parks, you can book your Indigo House getaway in Zion, Shenandoah, Rocky Mountain, or Glacier. And beyond hiking, you’ll find Nelson County’s 151 Craft Beverage Trail and divine dining nearby at The Farmhouse at Veritas or at Staunton standouts, Zynodoa and The Shack.

Rustic Retreats

Get your Daniel Boone on at one of Virginia’s 29 State Parks offering lodging. A few that earn top marks from visitors: 

Machicomoco State Park, Gloucester: Small but mighty, this park on Timberneck Creek along the York River is one of Virginia’s newest. The three comfortable yurts are perfect for relaxing after a day spent soaking up the park’s diverse wildlife and impressive interpretive center. 

Natural Tunnel State Park, Duffield: With porches and decks, fireplaces, and Mission-style furniture, cabins offer access to hiking trails and stunning mountain views. The park, located in the state’s Southwest corner, is named for a natural limestone tunnel, 10 stories high and 850 feet long, dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by politician and orator, William Jennings Bryan. 

Occoneechee State Park, Clarksville: Located on Buggs Island Lake, the park offers boat rentals and slips, along with 20 miles of trails for hiking or horseback riding, plus 11 cabins, three yurts, and two six-bedroom lodges for overnights.  

Fairy Stone State Park, Stuart: Spend a day fishing for bass, trout, and catfish in the 168-acre Fairy Stone Lake. Hike the park’s trail system or rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboat. Then kick back for some R&R in one of Fairy Stone’s extra-charming Legacy Cabins, built in the 1930s by the Conservation Corps, some even with lake views.

A Family-Friendly Covered Wagon

You can sleep in a Tipi at Sandy River Outdoor Adventures near Farmville or book a tree house at Primland Resort in Meadows-of-Dan. But at Wytheville’s KOA campground, you’ll find a classic Conestoga wagon outfitted with a king-sized bed, a set of bunks, air conditioning, mini-fridge, and TV—for reruns of Little House on the Prairie, of course. The site offers access to hiking trails in both the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains. 

A Kimpton On Grounds

New in April, The Forum, Kimpton’s first on-campus hotel property, overlooks the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Nestled in a lush five-acre arboretum with a botanical garden, the five-story Jeffersonian-style building brings 198 much-needed guest rooms and 12 suites to Charlottesville. 

Equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms and a lecture hall, The Forum is a boon to students in Darden’s executive education and non-degree programs. “The hotel and its gardens aren’t just beautiful; they support Darden’s academic mission,” says Scott Beardsley, Darden School Dean. As the business school expands its lifelong learning programs, the hotel will provide an added convenience for students whose classes require only periodic visits to the Grounds.

A taphouse, The Good Sport, and steakhouse, Birch & Bloom make The Forum a lively gathering spot for locals, too. Executive chef Eric Brownlee, who hails from Charleston’s popular Cork Neighborhood Bistro, says the new restaurant will celebrate “the incredible farms, producers, brewers, and winemakers nearby.”

This article originally appeared in the June 2023 issue.

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Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum