Page 1

MID-ATLANTIC S U M M E R 201 8

NEW YORK • DELAWARE • WEST VIRGINIA • VIRGINIA & MORE

EXCITING EXCURSIONS Theme & water parks abound

SALTWATER SURFS Sun-kissed beaches beckon

Cultural Charm Explore region’s endless attractions

Recreation Pier at The Wharf, Washington, D.C.

ENRICHING EXPERIENCES Awe-inspiring art scenes, museums


2

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

3


4

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


MID-ATLANTIC

CONTENTS

Cape May, N.J. CRAIG TERRY/CAPE MAY COUNTY TOURISM

MID-ATLANTIC REGION NEW YORK

FEATURES

12

12

PENNSYLVANIA MARYLAND

DELIGHTFUL DIVERSIONS Summertime adventures await at mid-Atlantic amusement parks

NEW JERSEY WASHINGTON, D.C.

28

DELAWARE WEST VIRGINIA VIRGINIA GETTY IMAGES

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

Busch Gardens Williamsburg

SHORE THING Three New Jersey beaches offer sand, surf and vacation memories to last all year

JASON LINDSEY

5


56 This is a product of

DIRECTOR

Jeanette Barrett-Stokes jbstokes@usatoday.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jerald Council jcouncil@usatoday.com MANAGING EDITOR

Stone Tower Winery, Leesburg, Va. JEFF MAURITZEN/VIRGINIA TOURISM CORPORATION

UP FRONT

8

OUTDOOR THRILLS Enjoy extreme sports and birdwatching at New River Gorge

Michelle Washington mjwashington@usatoday.com ISSUE EDITOR

34

Sara Schwartz EDITORS

Amy Sinatra Ayres Tracy Scott Forson Debbie Williams ISSUE DESIGNER

10

Lisa M. Zilka

UP AND AWAY Helicopter company offers bird’s-eye views of Baltimore

DESIGNERS

Amira Martin Miranda Pellicano Gina Toole Saunders

THE REGION

20 22

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Air Mobility Command Museum, Dover, De. NEW YORK The Big Apple’s green spaces are perfect for picnics and people-watching

PENNSYLVANIA Woodloch resort offers year-round family fun

ABBY SHEPARD/KENT COUNTY TOURISM

46

ADVERTISING VP, ADVERTISING

Patrick Burke | (703) 854-5914 pburke@usatoday.com Greenbrier chapel

26 32

A recent boom in craft distilleries has Philadelphia in high spirits

NEW JERSEY Local movement draws visitors to brews after the beach

34

DELAWARE There’s no shortage of things to do in Delaware’s capital city

38

MARYLAND Get cracking at these classic crab shacks

ACCOUNT DIRECTOR

Justine Madden | (703) 854-5444 jmadden@usatoday.com

THE GREENBRIER

46

WEST VIRGINIA The historic Greenbrier resort has been welcoming guests since 1778

FINANCE BILLING COORDINATOR

Julie Marco

52 56

WASHINGTON, D.C. D.C.’s newest day-trip destination features restaurants, shops and beautiful waterfront views

ON THE COVER The newly renovated Recreation Pier at The Wharf along the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. | The Wharf

VIRGINIA With nearly 300 wineries, Virginia is a wine destination unlike any other

6

The region honors Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday

60

Explore the artistic transformation taking place in Richmond

ISSN#0734-7456 A USA TODAY Network publication, Gannett Co. Inc. USA TODAY, its logo and associated graphics are the trademarks of Gannett Co. Inc. or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Copyright 2016, USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc. Editorial and publication headquarters are at 7950 Jones Branch Dr., McLean, VA 22108, and at (703) 854-3400. For accuracy questions, call or send an e-mail to accuracy@usatoday.com.

TWITTER @USATODAYMAGS

42

Alex Biese, Dina Cheney, Dana Hammond, Michele C. Hollow, Connie Hum, Sophie Kaplan, Devorah Lev-Tov, Sandra MacGregor, Sarah Maiellano, Rina Rapuano, Jerry Smith, Adam Sylvain, Nancy Trejos, Kristina Wright

PRINTED IN THE USA All prices and availability are subject to change.

FACEBOOK Facebook.com/usatodaymags

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


Inside-the-ropes coverage, no matter where you are. Our readers are a different breed of golfer who deserve a unique brand of content – whenever and wherever they want. Now, with the new Golfweek.com, they’ll receive a more robust monthly print magazine, weekly digital editions, e-newsletters, podcasts, and exclusive access to special events. And with comprehensive daily coverage, our fans are never far from the green. Subscribe now and receive $25 towards your next tee-time at teeoff.com.

golfweek.com/subscribe

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

7


UP FRONT | ADVENTURE

Once a year, hundreds of BASE jumpers celebrate Bridge Day in an extreme way.

OUTDOOR THRILLS

MATT SANCHEZ

In West Virginia’s New River Gorge, extreme sports and bird-watching coexist

By Adam Sylvain

C

ASCADING THROUGH DEEP CANYONS in the heart of West Virginia’s old coal region, the New River Gorge National River (nps.gov/neri) offers outdoor enthusiasts white-water rapids, as well as numerous mountain biking and hiking trails. Despite its name, the New River is believed to be among the oldest rivers on the continent, and its 320-mile course offers pristine views of the mountain

8

region and plenty of thrills at every turn. Fifty-three of those miles are the New River Gorge National River, a unit of the National Park Service. Sam Deal has spent summers working as a mountain bike guide in the area and says it’s difficult to find a national park that offers as much recreational diversity. “I’d say the mountain biking and whitewater rafting are some of the best in the world,” says Deal. He adds that the adjacent Gauley River and nearby Summersville Lake build on the variety of outdoor activities

available in the region. For one day each fall, known as Bridge Day, the New River Gorge Bridge provides a rare spectacle as parachute-packing thrill-seekers leap from the span 876 feet above the river. “On the third Saturday in October, we close down the bridge for BASE jumping,” says Eve West, district interpreter for the park service. The bridge is the thirdhighest in the U.S. If bridge jumping and white-water rapids are a bit ambitious for you, there is no shortage of opportunities to engage with the

area’s natural beauty and rich history. “It offers the high-challenge sports, but it also offers a lot for those interested in bird-watching and hiking as well,” West says. Beckley, W.Va., just a short drive south of the river, features an exhibition coal mine where visitors can get a close-up view of what life was like for miners in the late 19th century. And nearby Fayetteville, often called America’s Coolest Small Town, is lined with quaint shops and restaurants. As West notes, “if you like lots of stuff, you came to the right spot.”

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

9


UP FRONT | ADVENTURE

BIRD’S-EYE VIEW S

By Rina Rapuano

Experience Baltimore from an aerial perspective

GETTY IMAGES

10

TANDING ON PIER 7 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and watching the blades of the helicopter twirl quickly above the aircraft, it suddenly seemed as if those blades were attached to an invisible motor in my stomach. Despite my lifelong love of speed and heights, even I wasn’t immune to the heart-racing, stomach-churning blend of fear and excitement when the opportunity arose to cross “helicopter ride” off my bucket list. Luckily for me, Charm City Helicopters owner Caitlyn Shipley and pilot Freddie Ephraim were well-versed in calming nerves. Shipley credits her pilots for helping customers keep their cool, and Ephraim confirms that distractions and baby steps — such as hovering a foot off the ground for a few moments — are key. “Within one minute of takeoff, they realize they’re just sitting in a chair in the sky, and they relax and enjoy the (experience),” says Ephraim, a medevac Charm City pilot and Shipley’s Helicopters fiancé. He adds that ▶ 1800 S. an emphasis on Clinton St.; safety helps. “We Baltimore; have a perfect safety 410-707record.” 1013; flycharmcity. The company takes com pride in its ability to both show and tell the highlights of downtown Baltimore, including Fort McHenry, the Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, historic Fells Point and the Inner Harbor. For those planning to pop the question, a helicopter ride definitely makes for a fun story. Several times a month, Charm City Helicopters assists lovebirds with orchestrating the perfect engagement, including hiring a photographer to sit up front to capture the moment. Shipley says special packages have also been popular. For example, the Sagamore Rye & Fly package includes a tour of Sagamore Spirit distillery (sagamorespirit. com), rye whiskey tasting, a gift bag, an all-inclusive lunch or dinner at Rye Street Tavern (ryestreettavern.com) next door and a helicopter tour that departs and lands at the distillery. Prices start at $285. “You’re spending three to four hours out, so it’s a deal,” she says. “We want to keep it to the point where people can afford it.” If that’s still too rich for your blood, a 12to 15-minute ride runs $139 per person, and a tip of around $20 is customary. “We didn’t want to be a helicopter ride; we wanted to be a tour company,” says Shipley, who points out the entire trip is narrated by the pilots. “It would have taken you hours to see this, and you can’t get that vantage point anywhere else.”

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

11


VIRGINIA Busch Gardens Williamsburg

DELIGHTFUL DIVERSIONS

BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG

Summertime adventures await at Mid-Atlantic amusement parks

12

By Kristina Wright

S

ummer means beach days, road trips and laughing — or screaming — until you’re hoarse at amusement parks. Many in the region are within a short drive to the coast, so it’s easy enough to split your vacation between thrill rides and sandy beaches. From the lush landscape of Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia to the kitschy boardwalk excitement of Funland Rehoboth Beach in Delaware, the Mid-Atlantic has fun to spare.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (buschgardens.com/ williamsburg) is just down the road from Colonial Williamsburg, which makes it a good summer destination for families looking to get in a little history before or after the park. The theme of this beautifully landscaped venue is classic Europe, and along with rides and entertainment, guests can learn about Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s commitment to animal conservation, get up close with the Clydesdale horses at the Highland Stables, feed the birds in Lorikeet Glen or learn about gray wolves at Wolf Haven. Families with young children will find more than 40 kid-friendly rides in the park. Little ones will want to head over to Sesame Street Forest of Fun, while older kids and teens will enjoy the variety of coasters like Verbolten and Loch Ness Monster and thrill rides such as the spiraling drop Mach Tower. New this year is an exciting virtual reality experience, Battle for Eire. “This innovative virtual reality attraction combines a motionbased theater simulator with 360-degree virtual reality headsets for an unforgettable immersive experience,” says Ron Vample, senior communications manager at the park. Visitors have numerous dining choices at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, from food carts to full-service eateries. Enjoy a meal of German fare along with an entertaining show at Das Festhaust or grab a soft-serve ice cream at London Dairy. Lodging options throughout the area include a variety of accommodations, from luxury hotels to campgrounds, and visitors can take advantage of ticket deals that allow them access to Colonial Williamsburg as well as nearby Water Country USA.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

13


PENNSYLVANIA

NEW JERSEY

Hersheypark

Clementon Park and Splash World

Dedicated to all things chocolate, Hersheypark (hersheypark. com) in Hershey, Pa., is a sweet summer spot for families. The price of admission includes the walk-through zoo, ZooAmerica, as well as the 11-acre water park at the Boardwalk at Hersheypark. Guests are invited to find their candy category at the measurement station to determine which rides they’ll be able to enjoy. The littlest visitors are designated Hershey’s Kisses and can enjoy rides such as the Dinosaur-Go-Around and Bizzy Bees. Debuting this year in the water park is the Breakers Edge Water Coaster, making it the 14th coaster at Hersheypark. Other roller coaster excitement includes the double-track wooden racing/dueling coaster Lightning Racer and the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the park, Skyrush. The Dry

Gulch Railroad is a fun way to see the Pioneer Frontier area of Hersheypark and the Monorail offers a round-trip audio tour of Hersheypark, ZooAmerica and downtown Hershey itself. Hersheypark also has live entertainment shows and concerts throughout the season and opportunities to meet Hershey’s candy characters. There are dining options throughout the park, from snack carts to full-service dining at popular chains like Moe’s Southwest Grill and Chick-fil-A. While in Hershey, chocolate lovers won’t want to miss the Hershey’s Chocolate World experience, which offers free chocolate-making tours. Three lodging options are available on-site: the Hershey Lodge, Hotel Hershey and Hersheypark Camping Resort. This amusement park dedicated to all things chocolate is sure to hit your sweet spot.

First opened in 1907, New Jersey’s Clementon Park and Splash World (clementonpark. com) in Clementon, N.J., is one of the oldest operating parks in the U.S. The park boasts several impressive thrill rides, including Hellcat, a wooden roller coaster that plunges 110 feet; King Neptune’s Revenge, a coaster built over Clementon Lake; and Ring of Fire, a 60-foot loop of stomach-churning fun. The younger set can enjoy Playport, an interactive, multilevel maze, the kid-size Safari Train and Kidzland Castle, a medieval-style bounce house. In addition to the traditional rides and attractions, cool off at Splash World. The water park includes Big Wave Bay, a 23,000-square-foot wave pool where you can catch a Dive-In movie at dusk. There’s also Laguna Kahuna, a 1-acre, five-story Polynesian-themed water play area. Water-loving thrill-seekers will enjoy the twisting, turning fun of Viper and the free-fall drops of Torpedo Rush. The whole family will enjoy seeing the park from the C.P. Huntington Railway, a miniature replica of a classic steam engine, or 90 feet atop the Giant Ferris wheel. A variety of dining options throughout the park include the Terrace Food Court and Big Wave Pizza.

CLEMENTON PARK AND SPLASH WORLD

HERSHEYPARK

14

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

15


DELAWARE Funland Rehoboth Beach

SIX FLAGS AMERICA

MARYLAND Six Flags America With 20 parks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, Six Flags knows a thing or two about creating a memorable vacation. Six Flags America (sixflags. com/america) in Upper Marlboro, Md., is near Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and attracts families from all over the world. “Each year we are committed to giving our guests something new to experience,” says Denise Stokes, Six Flags America communications manager. “This year will bring more thrills, more good times and more great food.” Six Flags America has 10 roller coasters, including classic wooden ones like Roar, and the 360-degree Bourbon Street Fireball, the park’s newest. The Looney Tunes-themed kids’ rides will entertain the younger set, with Pepe Le Pew’s Tea Party and Elmer’s Around the World in 80 Seconds, among others. Hurricane Harbor is Six Flags America’s water park, with an abundance of water slides and attractions, including the action-packed adventure Wahoo River debuting later this summer. Dining choices are abundant at Six Flags America, with a number of restaurants offering snacks and meals to satisfy any preference — including vegetarian and gluten-free. When you’re ready for a break from the rides, shop at one of the many stores throughout the park or take in a live show.

16

What it doesn’t have in size, Funland Rehoboth Beach makes up in nostalgia. This family-owned amusement park (funlandrehoboth.com) is situated on a picturesque boardwalk that invites guests to enjoy a relaxing holiday by the sea. Entry to Funland is free, but tickets (the old-fashioned paper kind) are needed to enjoy the rides. Typically, smaller rides require one to three tickets, while the thrill rides run four to six. Check online for prices. There aren’t any roller coasters, but thrill-seekers will enjoy the iconic Haunted Mansion and the popular new SuperFlip 360. In addition to other thrill rides like the Paratrooper, Gravitron and SimRider, Funland offers several rides for younger kids. “For our smaller guests, Funland is excited to be debuting a new Jungle of Fun this summer,” says spokeswoman Lynne Henschke. Other tot-size rides include a mini Ferris wheel, carousel and indoor boats. Rounding out the Funland experience are several traditional carnival games and an arcade. Souvenirs can be found at the Funland store, and there’s a food cart that sells popcorn, cotton candy and snacks. But if you’re looking for something more substantial, try the concession stands along the beach. There are numerous lodging options along Rehoboth Beach, so you can stay and play for days.

FUNLAND REHOBOTH BEACH

PLAYLAND PARK

NEW YORK Playland Park Playland Park (playlandpark.org) is a 280-acre amusement park in Rye, N.Y. Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1987, this famous art deco attraction is celebrating its 90th season this year. Playland might look familiar because it was the amusement park featured in Tom Hanks’ 1988 movie Big. Offering more than 50 rides and attractions, Playland features five coasters, including its celebrated Dragon Coaster, built in 1929. Thrill rides include the Playland Plunge, the Double Shot and the Derby Racer — one of only two known original rides of this type remaining in the U.S. The little ones will have fun at Kiddyland, which includes the Mini Scrambler, Crazy Submarine and Up, Up and Away. The entire family will enjoy the House of Mirrors, the Grand Carousel and the Gondola Wheel. Take a break as you stroll along the vintage boardwalk or, for a small separate admission, enjoy the Olympicsize pool or the 1,200-foot scenic beach on Long Island Sound. Catch live entertainment and concerts throughout the season, take a boat cruise on the lake or try your luck at the arcade or on the mini-golf course. Playland dining offers a variety of traditional tasty treats, including funnel cakes and cotton candy, and heartier fare, from eateries like the fun Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar. Throughout July and August, visitors can enjoy Friday night fireworks.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

17


18

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


20 38

MID-ATLANTIC NEW YORK Four Manhattan parks that are perfect for picnicking

MARYLAND Honor Frederick Douglass’ birthday + top crab shacks

22

46

PENNSYLVANIA Family-fun resort + Philadelphia distilleries

32

NEW JERSEY After the beach, three local breweries that hit the spot

34

WEST VIRGINIA The Greenbrier resort maintains historic allure

52

WASHINGTON., D.C. Find remarkable views and dining delights at The Wharf

56

DELAWARE Revel in all that tiny Dover has to offer

VIRGINIA Award-winning wineries + funky Richmond art

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, West Virginia GETTY IMAGES

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

19


NEW YORK | MANHATTAN by the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Mad. Sq. Art program. “It is surrounded by one of the busiest areas of New York, so it’s great for people-watching, but you are tucked away in a beautifully overgrown green oasis,” he says. DiDario likes to grab a healthy salad from nearby Sweetgreen, and on a hot summer day, Argo Tea hits the spot.

UNION SQUARE PARK Dillon Burke, founder of digital content studio Front of House Inc., loves the energy that Union Square Park attracts: “I feed off the buzz around me.” The park is home to statues of historical figures such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Mohandas Gandhi and where the east and west side subway lines converge. It is also where the famous Union Square Greenmarket takes place every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday yearround, with more than 140 regional farmers, fishmongers and bakers on-site. For food, Burke heads to Union Fare, an industrial restaurant and gastrohall that spans a whole block. His favorite items for takeout are croissants, tacos and the Hawaiian poke bowl. “Something about a paper-bag picnic on a slightly off-balanced bench is my idea of a perfect few hours outside,” he says. Washington Square Park NYC PARKS/M. PINCKNEY

PARK PLACES

Manhattan’s green spaces are picnic perfect By Nancy Trejos

A

S SUMMER APPROACHES, NEW York City’s residents and tourists will be tempted away from the area’s many restaurants to dine outdoors. While Central Park may arguably be the most famous in the city, there are more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds and recreational facilities throughout all five boroughs. “New York City has no shortage of green space and outdoor recreation for visitors,” says Fred Dixon, president and CEO of NYC & Company, the city’s official destination marketing organization. Here are four Manhattan parks to check out:

20

WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK One of the most iconic structures in New York City is the arch that honors George Washington, for whom Washington Square Park was named. A beautiful fountain, along with other monuments, can be found. The park has functioned as a meeting spot for writers, artists, chess players, families and New York University students, and it also serves as a popular picnic area. “Washington Square Park really embodies the best of lower Manhattan,” says social media influencer Alexa Mehraban of Instagram’s @EatingNYC. “It’s lively, young and vibrant.” The park, in the heart of Greenwich Village, is surrounded by eateries, but Mehraban’s top pick to take to the park with her: an Italian hero from Faicco’s. She also enjoys pizza from Joe’s. For a variety of options, Court Street Grocers offers sandwiches and prepared foods.

MADISON SQUARE PARK Tommy DiDario, a branding consultant, loves the sight of the Flatiron Building, so his top choice for picnicking is Madison Square Park in the Flatiron District. “I love staring at this iconic landmark from there.” The park is also known for its rotating sculptures and art installations brought in

Carl Schurz Park NYC PARKS/D. AVILA

CARL SCHURZ PARK New York City-based travel blogger Lee Abbamonte has visited every country in the world, but sometimes the globe-trotter likes to stay put in NYC. And when he does, a picnic at Carl Schurz Park in the Upper East Side of Manhattan is his go-to outing. “A lot of people probably don’t know where it is, but it’s right on the East River along East End Avenue,” Abbamonte says. In fact, the park is partially concealed along the East River, making it a hidden gem. Stroll along the promenade for magnificent views of the Roosevelt Island Lighthouse, the Triborough Bridge, the 59th Street Bridge and Randalls and Wards Islands. Abbamonte likes to pick up Italian sandwiches at Ottomanelli Bros., which he calls “an Upper East Side staple.” For Peruvian takeout, his favorite spot is Pio Pio, which has several locations throughout the city. “You can’t go wrong with authentic Peruvian.”

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

21


PENNSYLVANIA | HAWLEY

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY WOODLOCH PINES RESORT

FAMILY FUN

Woodloch Pines Resort in the picturesque Poconos offers year-round activities 22

modate nearly 900 guests on more than 1,000 acres. Hospitality runs deep in the Woodloch family, and they strive to ensure UCKED IN THE HEART of Pennyou’ll return year after year. sylvania’s Pocono Mountains Part of Woodloch’s charm is the rests Woodloch Pines Resort, a constant rotation of activities, placed on four-seasons getaway named by breakfast tables each morning TripAdvisor as one of (also available online), so you can America’s “Best Inclusive Family GETTING THERE plan your day as you enjoy warm Resorts” — and for good reason. Woodloch Pines crumb cake. My husband, teenage son and Resort “Woodloch offers families so I headed there recently for the ▶ 731 Welcome many alternatives,” says Joseph third time, drawn in once again Lake Rd., Ranner, marketing coordinator at by the activities, the food and Hawley, Pa.; Woodloch. “You’ll find a number Woodloch’s warmth. 800-966-3562; of activities scheduled throughout The picturesque estate has been woodloch.com the day and at the same time welcoming guests since 1958, slots, you’ll have numerous when Harry and Mary Kiesendahl options. And every day offers different and their family opened their doors to events from the day before.” nearly 40 guests on 12 acres in Hawley, Pa. Today, their children and grandchildren oversee the property, which can accomCO N T I N U E D By Michele C. Hollow

T

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

23


PENNSYLVANIA | HAWLEY But first, you’ll need fuel. Guests can choose a meal plan or dine a la carte (the three-meal plan is the most economical). For those looking for lots of options, hit up the main dining room, which offers generous portions. I veered toward the vegetarian offerings and loved the paella-roasted cauliflower. My husband enjoyed prime rib, and my son was pleased choosing between grilled cheese, burgers and pasta. Save room for dessert — most of the ice cream is made on the premises (make sure to try the lemon sorbet). For a quick bite, Gigi’s Coffee House serves smoothies, salads, sandwiches and desserts. Work up an appetite (or burn off extra calories) by choosing from multiple activities, including hiking, horse-back riding, skiing, biking or indoor rock climbing (newbies welcomed). If the water is beckoning, guests can take out kayaks, rowboats, paddleboats, paddleboards and sailboats on Lake Teedyuskung. Visitors can also take a guided pontoon tour or go river rafting. A handful of indoor and outdoor pools provide additional options. Keep in mind that some activities have an added fee, such as the zip line or trapshooting, where beginners can try their luck or experts can show off their marksmanship in a competition. A round of 10 shots cost us $12. Families can compete in scavenger hunts, trivia contests and even baking wars that are judged on how teams decorate cakes. Even teenagers may put their smartphones down for awhile. An arcade, bumper cars, go-karts and bumper boats keep them — and subsequently parents — entertained. And for parents looking for a break, Woodloch provides babysitting options, though you’ll need to make a reservation a few hours in advance. They charge a minimum of $125 for up to six hours and $25 for each additional hour. About 2 miles from the resort is Woodloch Springs, where golfers can work on their swings at the championship course. The 18-hole, par-72 course winds its way over 6,579 yards. After the game, head indoors to dine and relax at the Grille Room, which offers spectacular views. Although Woodloch is perfect for a long weekend getaway, it’s possible to spend a week or two there and not do the same activity twice. “Woodloch Pines has received numerous accolades for offering activities for everyone in the family,” says Carrie Lepore, deputy secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Office of Marketing, Tourism and Film. “It’s a great place for a multigenerational getaway.”

24

D.J. Brand performs at the theme show.

ICE SKATE YEAR-ROUND A new 9,000-square foot synthetic ice rink allows guests to skate year-round. It is open on all sides and has a roof spanning the entire surface of the ice, keeping weather at bay. Figure-skating lessons, curling and hockey are a few of the offerings. Bring your own skates or rent a pair for $5 for two hours.

SIT BACK AND ENJOY THE SHOW Live musical and entertainment acts are all part of the fun at Woodloch. The resort features an array of family-friendly performances, including a Broadway-style theme show, and a collection of musical and dance numbers, and you might catch jugglers and magicians as well. Woodloch regular comedian Eric Lyden often performs, and his sarcastic and self-deprecating sense of humor is pleasingly PG-rated.

REST AND RELAXATION Two miles from the resort, the Lodge at Woodloch spa was designed with nature in mind, and features large-scale windows so guests can gaze upon the surrounding woods and outdoor hydro massage walls resembling giant waterfalls. This adult-only spa offers massages, facials, salon services and customized treatments.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

25


PENNSYLVANIA | PHILADELPHIA

COLIN LENTON

Rowhouse Spirits PHOTOS PROVIDED BY ROWHOUSE SPIRITS

ON THE ROCKS

Distillery boom has Philadelphia in high spirits By Sandra MacGregor

B

ENJAMIN FRANKLIN ONCE WROTE, “There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking,” and Philadelphia would have certainly made its legendary Founding Father proud with its ever-growing selection of craft quaffables. While the city’s microbrew industry has garnered rave reviews for more than a decade, craft producers are gaining ground. “Distilleries in the Philadelphia region are booming, thanks to a 2011 change in Pennsylvania law allowing distillers to offer tours, samples and on-site sales,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of Visit Philadelphia. “These distilling pioneers are selling small-batch spirits in Philly neighborhoods, and they’re helping to restore Pennsylvania to its once-prominent place in the national distilling conversation.” Such is the popularity of the liquor libations that there is now a Philadelphia Distillery Trail (phillydistillerytrail.com) that highlights the region’s producers. Here are three stops that will lift your spirits:

26

ROWHOUSE SPIRITS Located in a small building decked out with a barrel-themed mural, Rowhouse is possibly the most micro among the region’s host of micro liquor producers. While the size of the distillery may be small, master distiller Dean Browne’s creativity is expansive. This artisanal architect of alcohol crafts some of the most imaginative concoctions you’ll likely ever imbibe, including the Nordic Akvavit, a Scandinavian spirit featuring fennel and dill. Also popular are Rowhouse Gin with hints of citrus and cinnamon, and Bear Trap, a liquor with a blend of 19 herbs that Browne sources from a neighborhood farm. He also creates a few limited releases such as his Jamaican-style Browne-Baker Rum. Tours are Thursdays through Saturdays. ▶ rowhousespirits.us

DAD’S HAT While not technically in Philadelphia, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey distillery in Bristol, Pa., is worth the drive from the city. Co-founder and distiller Herman C. Mihalich named the business in honor of his father, who loved fedoras. The distillery is intent on reigniting the proud tradition of American rye whiskey — for which the state of Pennsylvania had once been a major producer. Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey uses locally sourced rye grain and is then distilled in traditional pot stills before it goes on to age six months or more in charred casks. The distillery’s success bodes well for the future of American rye; in 2015, Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey won Whisky Advocate’s Craft Whiskey of the Year. Tours on most Saturday afternoons, by appointment only; $10 per person. ▶ dadshatrye.com

PHILADELPHIA DISTILLING

PHILADELPHIA DISTILLING Established in 2005, this craft distillery made history when it was the first to open in the state of Pennsylvania since before Prohibition. Five months later, it debuted its Bluecoat American Dry Gin, which has won several medals at San Francisco World Spirits competitions. Philadelphia Distilling also makes Vieux Carré, an herbaceous absinthe; The Bay, a four-times distilled vodka with Chesapeake Bay seasoning; and Penn 1681, a small-batch vodka. In 2017, Philadelphia Distilling moved into an atmospheric former metal factory in the trendy Fishtown neighborhood. Even if you’re a teetotaler, the distillery-cum-cocktail bar is worth a visit for the hip, eye-catching décor and floor-toceiling windows through which guests can see the hand-hammered copper stills used to make their products. Tours Thursdays through Sundays. ▶ philadelphiadistilling.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

27


NEW JERSEY | BEACHES

Cape May, N. J.

SHORE THING Choose your own beach adventure in New Jersey By Dana Hammond

28

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


YOU’LL FIND THAT THERE’S SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE WHEN YOU HEAD “DOWN THE SHORE” IN NEW JERSEY. THESE THREE BEACH SPOTS OFFER SAND, SURF AND VACATION MEMORIES TO TREASURE:

CAPE MAY

W

ith its fanciful Victorian architecture and sparkling sand, Cape May decorates the southernmost tip of the state like an antique gemstone. Visitors drive to the end of the Garden State Parkway and seemingly right into another era. The clip-clop of horse-drawn carriages complements the sound of soft surf in this town, an enclave reputed to be America’s oldest seaside resort. Fittingly, the entire place has been declared a National Historic Landmark. Cape May ranks as one of the best beach spots to simply roost surfside appreciating Mother Nature’s inky, blue-green Atlantic. Or, opt to tax yourself page-flipping through a novel. About 2.5 miles of pristine, hand-raked sand await, with lifeguards on duty during summer months. However, like most New Jersey beaches, you need to purchase tags for everyone in your group before your toes hit the sand (learn more at capemaycity.com). The beaches rarely appear overcrowded, but parking can be challenging because of the town’s narrow lanes. So, ditch the car and just enjoy the fact that walking around Cape May is like living inside an illustration from a vintage greeting card. Or park free at Cape May Elementary School, where visitors are shuttled to the beach. The area’s romantic aura lures lots of couples, and the beach scene skews upscale, not uptight. You won’t find a boardwalk humming with amusement rides and neon lights. Instead, a paved

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BEST FOR: Couples seeking a couture sandbox, complete with a healthy dose of history.

DON’T GO IF: Your shore experience isn’t complete without bumper cars and a boardwalk.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CRAIG TERRY/CAPE MAY COUNTY TOURISM

promenade skirts the shoreline offering classic arcade games, such as skeeball, and ample beach amenities. Traditional seaside treats are plentiful, but Cape May also offers intimate restaurants serving creative coastal cuisine. In the span of a block, expect a culinary tour from finger food to five-star fare. Public lockers and bathhouses are not available, so plan accordingly if day-tripping. Sunset Beach, on the outskirts of town, lives up to its moniker. Go beach-combing for Cape May diamonds, aka sea-polished quartz, and then watch the water swallow the sun with an assist from the Delaware Bay. Many of Cape May’s Victorian buildings provide bed-and-breakfast accommodations, but even if you’re residing in one of these “painted ladies,” the heritage trolley tours offered through Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) can provide fascinating insight. Multiple themed tours cover everything from gables to ghosts. MAC also sponsors the Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian house museum, and it was instrumental in restoring the iconic Cape May Lighthouse (more than 200 steps to the top!) as well as a World War II Lookout Tower. Fishing, whale-watching and extraordinary birding opportunities (Cape May sits within one of the largest migratory avian flyways in the world) attract eco-tourism enthusiasts. Several scenic vineyards welcome wine lovers, and for shoppers, the open-air Washington Street Mall features nearly 100 boutiques.

29


NEW JERSEY | BEACHES

OCEAN CITY

I

t’s difficult to find a place more wholesome than Ocean City, where going “down the shore” feels a lot like attending a fantastic family reunion. Eight miles of soft beach beckon, perfect for swimming, surfing and simply worshiping rays, but the warm embrace of the sun seems almost secondary to being hugged by this welcoming community. From sandsculpting competitions to crustacean beauty contests, there’s always some event generating camaraderie that culminates in ample ribbons for excellence and effort. A boardwalk, boasting two amusement piers and a water park, trims the beach for 2.5 miles. Whimsical miniature golf courses, arcades buzzing with games and outlets specializing in signature seaside snacks abound. Shriver’s has been enticing beach patrons with saltwater taffy since 1898. A relative newbie, Johnson’s Popcorn arrived in 1940. Its Salty-N-Sandy combination of artisan cheddar and original caramel — regularly hand-mixed in copper kettles to the delight of onlookers — suits the setting. Plenty of vendors supply umbrellas and chairs, too. The only thing missing is alcohol. Originally founded by Methodist ministers as a religious retreat, Ocean City remains a “dry” town. Strolling the boards proves as popular as walking the beach, and surveying the entire scene from atop Ocean City’s landmark Ferris wheel ranks as a rite of passage. “Family Night” rolls around every Thursday during summer, upping the ante on old-fashioned fun with free face-painting, balloon art, roaming

30

BEST FOR: Families with younger children and anybody seeking oldfashioned fun in a place nicknamed America’s Greatest Family Resort.

DON’T GO IF: You’re looking to pound beers and party hard.

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY CITY OF OCEAN CITY

magicians and more. Plus, this beach boardwalk loves a good parade. You’ll find everything from Miss New Jersey contestants aboard convertibles to merchant mascots in surreys to a brigade of babies with and without carriages. While most people gravitate toward swaths of sand near the boardwalk, quieter stretches exist toward both ends of the strip. Sand dunes with patches of native scrub give these areas a windswept vibe. For entry, all beachgoers 12 and older must purchase a tag (ocnj.us/beachtags). Lifeguards protect the beaches and comfort stations dot the boardwalk, but a fee for bathhouses applies. There are open-air showers for rinsing. Parking options include municipal and private lots as well as metered and free street spots. Ocean City occupies a barrier island between the Atlantic and Great Egg Harbor. Fishing excursions and island sightseeing cruises depart from this back-bay area. You can even journey aboard a pirate ship dubbed the Sea Dragon that sports familyfriendly water cannons. Stand-up paddleboards, sailboats and jet-ski rentals are available as well. Every July a festooned flotilla lights up the bay during the “Night in Venice” parade. Bike paths lace the island, with generous boardwalk access until noon. For a dose of culture, nothing beats the Music Pier, a historic boardwalk auditorium and home to the Ocean City Pops. Ocean City also sits conveniently between the glitzy casinos of Atlantic City and the gracious Victorian splendor of Cape May.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


POINT PLEASANT BEACH

H

urricane Sandy rolled over Point Pleasant Beach at the end of 2012, but by Memorial Day 2013 the beach and boardwalk were open for business. Clean, silvery sand sprawls across a few miles of coastline. During summer, a patchwork of blankets topped with families, couples and day-trippers covers the beach, yielding great people-watching. Point Pleasant Beach provides a little bit of everything, so different family members can find their own slice of beachside bliss. A lively boardwalk backs the beach for about a mile. The compact size makes it easy to navigate, yet the attractions keep coming. Grab a guilt-free sausage sandwich and a bag of fudge, because you’ll burn off both surveying Jenkinson’s amusement rides, game pavilions and probably the best themed mini-golf course on the Jersey shore — Castaway Cove, a multitiered shipwreck adventure. Roam through the classic Fun House and try to flip fake frogs onto elusive lily pads. For a little shade, duck into the boardwalk’s aquarium. Benches inscribed with inspirational messages line the boardwalk, providing nice perches for gazing at the silvery blue sea. Another iconic hangout, Martell’s Tiki Bar, extends over the beach on a pier.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

BEST FOR: Families and other folks looking to touch lots of bases.

DON’T GO IF: Crowds cramp your style and tranquility trumps all else.

KENA BETANCUR/GETTY IMAGES

Palm trees dot the sand in this area where you can have cocktails right on the beach. Beach access is fee-based in Point Pleasant Beach and bathhouses cost extra. Restrooms are plentiful and all beaches have lifeguards on duty during summer months. Umbrellas and chairs are easy to rent near the boardwalk, but parking will give you a headache. Free spots disappear quickly, while metered spaces and lots can be expensive. Fireworks are a summertime tradition and a free show lights the sky every Thursday night, with a big extravaganza on July Fourth. The Tiki Bar and Jenks Club draw crowds with live entertainment and dancing. Visitors also flock to fresh seafood restaurants along the Manasquan Inlet, where seagulls escort a parade of fishing boats past diners on popular outdoor decks at Jack Baker’s Wharfside and Red’s Lobster Pot. Paddlewheel cruises along the Manasquan River are another pastime. Jenkinson’s Aquarium organizes free shorebird strolls as well as beachcombing sessions. Away from the water, Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club calls along with a collection of more refined antique dealers. Plus, every September a “Festival of the Sea” celebrates local cuisine.

31


NEW JERSEY | BREWS

Dark City Brewing Co. DARK CITY BREWING

Carton Brewing

Asbury Park Brewery CARTON BREWING

ASBURY PARK BREWERY

BREW JERSEY

After hitting the beach, cool down at a local brewery By Alex Biese and Sara Schwartz

T

HE SCENIC COASTLINE OF the Garden State draws visitors from around the world every summer, and the local beer movement in recent years has earned plenty of notice as well. For those looking to combine the coast with craft beers, there are a number of area breweries that hit the spot. In Asbury Park, N.J., Dark City Brewing Co. (darkcitybrewing.com) offers a robust selection of specialty, year-round and semiannual beers. The brewery’s staple Circuit is a refreshing session American cream ale that shares notes of apple and pear, while Boom! Roasted is a seasonal collaboration with Asbury Park Roastery that boasts “citrus-forward” notes. Pencil in the Beer, BBQ and Bacon Showdown event May 19. Tasting room is open Thursdays through Mondays.

32

Four core brews head up the roster at the nearby Asbury Park Brewery (asburyparkbrewery. com) — XPA, Roasted Stout, 4/4 session IPA and Blonde Lager — a highly agreeable European-style lager that clocks in at around 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). A seasonal grouping rounds out the offerings, including the APFD Firetruck Red Ale. A portion of its proceeds goes to the Asbury Park Fire Department. The taproom is open Thursdays through Sundays for pints, flights, growler fills, cans to go and merchandise, and the brewery also hosts a rotating roster of bands. Away from the shore in Ocean, N.J., Kane Brewing Company (kanebrewing.com) focuses on American-style and Belgian-influenced ales. The year-round brews include Head High, an “interpretation of an American-style India Pale Ale” that incorporates five kinds of hops grown in the Pacific Northwest; and Single Fin, a 4.8 ABV beer modeled after low-alcohol table beer

for monks in a Trappist monastery. To try the small-batch beers that typically don’t make it out of the tasting room, ask for the “Cerveza mysterioso” — beers that are brewed in small batches, tipping a hat to back when homebrewed beers were made without the use of a hydrometer, so the actual alcohol content was a mystery. Open for tours and tastings Thursdays through Sundays. Up the shore in Atlantic Highlands, N.J., an epic lineup of funky can designs with names to match can be found at Carton Brewing (cartonbrewing. com). The dark smooth session Carton of Milk is brewed with lactose and conditioned with nitro. The Brunch. Dinner. Grub. (B.D.G.) is a 6 percent ABV beer with lemon and tarragon/thyme notes that pairs with “every meal.” For a kick, try the St Kitts Coffee, a golden imperial coffee cream ale with a whopping 12 percent ABV. Tours and tastings Wednesdays through Sundays.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

33


DELAWARE | DOVER

DOVER’S DELIGHTS I

By Jerry Smith

There’s no shortage of activities in Delaware’s capital city

Old State House at First State Heritage Park VISITDELAWARE.COM

34

T’S RARE WHEN DESTINATIONS other than Delaware’s beaches are included on a “best of” list of places to visit in the state. It’s even rarer when that place is Dover. Expedia’s Viewfinder blog ranked Dover as Delaware’s “Best Place to Escape” on its 2018 travel list naming the top city in each state. Highlighting “the perfectly restful things” to do, it touched on Dover’s history and the laid-back places to visit all around the area, which helped vault the capital city to the top. “When burdens begin to feel particularly heavy, it’s time to take a real break,” writes Lily Rogers, a Southern California-based writer and editor for the Viewfinder blog. “You may need to go, not where everybody knows your name, but somewhere to soak up nature’s wonders and revel in serene solitude.” East of Dover, the Little Creek Wildlife Area hugs the coast. “You can find quiet moments to bird-watch and catch a glimpse of the graceful waterfowl,” Rogers writes. The lush and picturesque Silver Lake Park and the Victorian-themed Tea for Two also get a nod. “Stop for a spot of tea or a full tea service at Tea for Two, a lovely English tea house set in one of Dover’s historical painted lady houses, where menu options are whimsically named after Gone With the Wind characters,” she writes. Wendie Vestfall, president of the Kent County Tourism Corporation, was happy that the city of Dover beat out the oft-visited beaches as a highlighted destination in the state: “It’s a real honor.” Delaware’s Quaint Villages in Kent County are also noteworthy and offer historical and culinary activities — and are home to more than 15 different villages throughout the county, says Danielle Jonigan, Kent County Tourism marketing and communications manager. “Each village has its own unique atmosphere and experience.” The Quaint Villages provides visitors lots of variety, including touring Amish country, trying their luck at one of Kent County’s casinos or sampling wine, beer and spirits at local favorites such as Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company. Jonigan recommends stopping by local favorite, Spence’s Bazaar & Flea Market: “Visitors can find everything at Spence’s, from hearty sandwiches to fresh-made doughnuts, antique Amish-made furniture and a sprawling outdoor flea market.” Vestfall echoes Dover’s charms: “We want people who come to our county to have an opportunity to slow down and enjoy a quiet getaway.” CO N T I N U E D

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

35


DELAWARE | DOVER

AIR MOBILITY COMMAND MUSEUM

AMC MUSEUM

Dedicated to military airlift and air refueling history, Dover’s Air Mobility Command Museum houses more than 30 aircraft of varying sizes, as well as exhibits on the humanitarian and war efforts by the U.S. military. “See cargo haulers, fighters, helicopters, a presidential aircraft — and even a bomber,” says Danielle Jonigan, Kent County Tourism marketing and communications manager. “The AMC Museum has a wide variety of aircrafts sure to delight all.” ▶ amcmuseum.org

COREY MARSHALL-STEELE

DELAWARE PUBLIC ARCHIVES

There’s lots to discover at the third-oldest public archives program in the country, created by the General Assembly in 1905. ▶ archives.delaware.gov

JOHN DICKINSON PLANTATION

Dickinson was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, signer of the U.S. Constitution and “Penman of the Revolution.” ▶ history.delaware.gov

BIGGS MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

BIGGS MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

Established in 1993, the independent, nonprofit museum houses a noteworthy collection of American fine and decorative arts. ▶ biggsmuseum.org

36

FIRST STATE HERITAGE PARK

FIRST STATE HERITAGE PARK

Delaware’s first urban “park without boundaries” links historic and cultural sites in Dover, which has been the seat of state government since 1777. ▶ destateparks.com

OLD STATE HOUSE

Built in 1791, the Old State House served as Delaware’s Capitol during the United States’ critical early years as a nation. ▶ visitdelaware.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

37


MARYLAND | CRAB SHACKS

CRAB FEST

Get your fill at these five classic seafood shacks By Dina Cheney

M

ARYLAND IS FAMOUS FOR its blue crab, which thrive in the Chesapeake Bay. So much so, that the bay provides 50 percent of the total blue crab harvest in the U.S. And because of the region’s four distinct seasons, the crab hibernate during the winter, building up delicious fat reserves — and providing an SEAFOOD FEST unmistakable delicate Bring your and sweet flavor. appetite to Steaming (rather the Maryland than boiling) the Seafood Festival. crustaceans before Sept. 8-9. harvesting the meat, ▶ Sandy Point or “picking,” also sets State Park, 1100 Maryland crab apart, E. College Pkwy., says Pete Lesher, Annapolis; chief curator at the mdseafood Chesapeake Bay festival.com Maritime Museum. On restaurant menus, look for two types of blue crab: “hard” and “soft.” When crab outgrow their exoskeletons, they shed their old shells and begin forming new ones. Before these new shells harden, watermen harvest the soft-shell crab, which are eaten whole (shells and all). Taste both versions for yourself, either whole as steamed hard crab or fried soft-shell crab, or in a variety of dishes such as crab soup, crab cakes and crab imperial. And don’t forget to sprinkle your choice with Old Bay Seasoning (a spice mix with celery salt and paprika). “There is hardly a more delicate-tasting seafood. And it’s quite rich,” says Lesher. “And there is hardly a better Maryland social occasion than a crab feast, when we sit down with friends and a cold beer and pick through a pile of spiced hard crab.” Here are five can’t-miss crab shacks:

38

KATHY BEACHLER

DEEP CREEK SEAFOOD

Would you like some local fruits and vegetables with your crab? At this familyowned spot in Oakland, Md., much of the produce served comes from the restaurant’s own garden. Meanwhile, local blue crab are available in season, while several other crab dishes are served all year (consider the cream of crab soup, cream of crab fries, crab cake sandwich or steamed snow crab clusters). Enjoy your meal outside or sit inside, surrounded by local art and an extensive bar. ▶ deepcreekseafood.com

BETHESDA CRAB HOUSE

NATALIA LEE

Founded in 1961, this no-frills, family-owned local institution in Bethesda, Md., serves up crab year-round. Call in advance to reserve Maryland, Louisiana or Texas blue crab, or order soft-shells (generally available from late May through September), crab cakes, Alaskan king crab legs and snow crab clusters. Sit inside or at one of the long picnic tables on the tent-covered patio. ▶ bethesdacrabhouse.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

39


MARYLAND | CRAB SHACKS

NATIONAL BOHEMIAN

BOTTOMS UP Nothing pairs better with Maryland crab than an ice-cold Natty Boh beer. This summer, National Bohemian is releasing the Crab Shack Shandy, a lager infused with citrus notes and a hint of lemon and orange zest. Natty Boh is also donating 10 cents for every beer’s red Crab Tab to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s local blue crab research and habitat restoration efforts. Visit nationalbohemian. com/crabshackshandy to learn more.

THOMAS MCGINTY

JIMMY CANTLER’S RIVERSIDE INN

JAY FLEMING

Opened in 1974 by local waterman Jimmy Cantler, this popular Annapolis landmark serves up Maryland and other domestic blue crab. Dine at papered picnic tables overlooking Mill Creek, and watch watermen deliver crab to the restaurant’s decks. For the ultimate in freshness, Cantler’s maintains its own shedding tanks for soft-shell crab. To avoid the wait, visit during the week and earlier on weekends. Open year-round. ▶ cantlers.com

KENTMORR RESTAURANT AND CRAB HOUSE

JEFF WEESE

FISHERMAN’S CRAB DECK

Situated in a former oyster-shucking and crab-picking house, this waterfront spot in Grasonville, Md., offers views of the Kent Narrows destination from every seat. Dock your boat for free and watch watermen as you try the roughly two dozen crab dishes, including steamed crab, local soft-shell crab (when in season), crab cakes, crab imperial, crab dip, crab soups and more — all made with Maryland and other domestic crab. Or, purchase seafood at the adjoining Seafood Market, to take home. ▶ crabdeck.com

40

PHOTOS BY DAWN EBER

Crab guacamole and crab pretzel accompany classics — such as crab cakes (with jumbo lump meat and corn flake crumbs), steamed hard crab, soft-shell crab, crab dip and crab imperial — at this casual spot located in Stevensville, Md., on the Chesapeake Bay. In addition to the main restaurant, founded in 1954, the property includes a beach, Dirty Dave’s Tiki Bar and Snack Shack. Water views abound from the interior dining room (with walls painted by a local charter boat captain) or a handful of dockside tables. ▶ kentmorr.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

41


MARYLAND | FREDERICK DOUGLASS

FREDERICK DOUGLASS-ISAAC MYERS MARITIME PARK AND MUSEUM Part of the Living Classrooms Foundation campus, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum (livingclassrooms. org/ourp_fdimmp.php) honors the contributions of African-Americans in the development of Baltimore’s maritime industry. Visitors can learn about Douglass’ early life in Baltimore as a slave, as well as the life of Isaac Myers, an AfricanAmerican who was born free and later became an inspirational leader.

HONORING A STATESMAN

The region celebrates Frederick Douglass’ 200th birthday By Devorah Lev-Tov and Sophie Kaplan

M

ARYLAND AND WASHINGTON, D.C., the respective birthplace and home of the legendary African-American writer, abolitionist and human rights leader Frederick Douglass, are going all out to honor the bicentennial of his birth. Born into slavery as Frederick Bailey sometime in 1818 in Talbot County, Md., Douglass escaped to New York and adopted the Douglass name, dedicating his life to the abolitionist cause and campaigning for equal rights for all people.

42

As both a leader of the abolitionist movement and a supporter of women’s rights, he ultimately became marshal of the District of Columbia, a U.S. ambassador to Haiti and an adviser to several presidents. Douglass purchased a home, which he called Cedar Hill, in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia section in 1877 after his appointment to marshal — the first for an African-American. He resided there with his second wife, Helen Pitts Douglass, until he died on Feb. 20, 1895. He was 77. After his death, Helen urged Congress to create the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association to maintain the

house and honor Douglass’ achievements. “A bicentennial creates excitement to know great figures deeper — to learn not only their life but their legacy,” says Tara Morrison, superintendent of the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site in D.C. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act, which dedicates resources to initiatives that honor Douglass’ 200th birthday. In February, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was joined by descendants of Douglass as he declared 2018 the “Year of Frederick Douglass.” Here are several ways to celebrate throughout the year:

A bust of abolitionist Frederick Douglass sits outside the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum in Baltimore.

GETTY IMAGES; VISIT BALTIMORE (2)

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

43


MARYLAND | FREDERICK DOUGLASS

CEDAR HILL The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (nps. gov/frdo) in Washington, D.C.’s Anacostia neighborhood is home to Cedar Hill, where Douglass spent the last 18 years of his life. Visitors can view the home during guided tours, and on July 4, an all-day celebration will include a re-enactment of Douglass’ famous “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?” speech. Bonus: Cedar Hill is also a great spot to view the District’s fireworks.

BANNEKER-DOUGLASS MUSEUM NATIONAL GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM

BANNEKER-DOUGLASS MUSEUM Maryland’s capital, Annapolis, is home to the Banneker-Douglass Museum (bdmuseum. maryland.gov), the state’s official museum of African-American heritage. The exhibit Bent But Not Broken (on display through May 19) features works by Maryland artist Ulysses Marshall, who sought to capture the spirit of Douglass in his mixed media collages. On July 1, the museum will host Frederick Douglass Community Day, featuring performances, a Frederick Douglass re-enactment, guided exhibition tours and educational activities.

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY Often referred to as the most photographed American man of the 19th century, Douglass sat for more portraits during the 1800s than President Abraham Lincoln. His appreciation for photography is on display at the National Portrait Gallery (npg.si.edu) in Washington, D.C. You can also see an 1844 oil painting of him any time in the museum’s permanent exhibition, American Origins.

44

Frederick Douglass lived at Cedar Hill from 1877 until his death in 1895. NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

PATH TO FREEDOM WALKING TOUR Douglass came to Baltimore as a child and worked at the shipyard before setting sail from Fells Point to find freedom in 1838. Years later, he returned and built a row of houses, called Douglass Place (today’s Dallas Street) for AfricanAmerican renters. Visitors can see the houses on the Baltimore Black Heritage Tours’ Frederick Douglass Path to Freedom Walking Tour through Sept. 3 (facebook.com/ FrederickDouglassPathToFreedomWalkingTour).

1844 oil painting of Frederick Douglass NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

N NATIONAL GREAT BLACKS IN WAX MUSEUM Chronicling the African-American experience from ancient Africa and slavery to the present, the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum (greatblacksinwax.org) in Baltimore hosts more than 150 life-size wax figures, including Sojourner Truth (above), Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Jackie Robinson. In February, the museum unveiled a statue of Douglass. And this summer, the museum is scheduled to host a book signing with Kenneth B. Morris, a descendant of both Douglass and educator Booker T. Washington.

WILLIAM PACA HOUSE William Paca signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and served as Maryland’s third governor. His Annapolis mansion, the William Paca House, was built in the 1760s and restored by Historic Annapolis beginning in 1965. Today, tours and events are hosted at the National Historic Landmark and in the William Paca Gardens. On July 14, the estate is hosting a gospel brunch, which will celebrate Douglass’ life through music (annapolis.org/media/48345-gospel-brunch).

FREDERICK DOUGLASS DAY Maryland’s Talbot County, where Douglass was born, is celebrating the bicentennial with several events, including Frederick Douglass Day (fd200.org/events/frederickdouglass-day) on Sept. 22, which will be observed at various locations in the town of Easton on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A parade, lectures and musical performances will be part of the celebration.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

45


WEST VIRGINIA | DESTINATIONS

GRAND GREENBRIER Historic resort has been welcoming guests for centuries By Sarah Maiellano

S

INCE 1778, TRAVELERS HAVE come to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., for the water, long considered beneficial to health. Through the 1800s, guests stayed in cottages (that remain in use today) on The

Greenbrier resort’s property, and it became known as a grand summer social gathering place. After the Civil War, the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway Company made accessing the area easier and built The Greenbrier Hotel. In the early 1900s, thousands flocked CO N T I N U E D

THE GREENBRIER

46

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

47


WEST VIRGINIA | DESTINATIONS

WILD, WONDERFUL WEST VIRGINIA When city slickers from East Coast urban centers like Baltimore, Philadelphia and D.C. need a breath of fresh air, they go to West Virginia. The Mountain State enjoys more than a million acres of state and federally protected lands, as well as an additional 164,000 acres of state parks and recreational areas — a varied landscape for all sorts of outdoor adventures. Don’t miss these eight spots:

GREEN BANK OBSERVATORY

GREEN BANK OBSERVATORY, GREEN BANK A tour of the fascinating Green Bank Observatory site starts at the Green Bank Science Center, where hands-on exhibits bring the world of radio astronomy to life. Bus excursions usher visitors into the center’s restricted zone for a close-up look at the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the world’s largest fullysteerable telescope. ▶ greenbank observatory.org

SARAH MAIELLANO/USA TODAY

Floral wallpaper, china and ornate accents can be seen throughout the resort, which are hallmarks of influential interior designer Dorothy Draper. from East Coast and Midwest cities to vacation at the resort, “take the waters,” and golf on the esteemed Old White TPC course, designed by esteemed golf course architect Charles Blair Macdonald and built in 1914. Given its relative proximity to the nation’s capital (about a four-hour drive to the resort), The Greenbrier has frequently crossed paths with government interests. During WWII, at the request of the State Department, it became a temporary home to German, Japanese and Italian diplomats. Later during the war, the U.S. Army converted the entire resort into a 2,000-bed hospital, where more than 20,000 soldiers were treated over the course of four years. The government later built a secret Emergency Relocation Center (also known as a bunker or fallout shelter) hidden in plain sight under the hotel’s West Virginia wing. Though it was never used, the bunker was equipped to accomodate the U.S. Congress in the event of an attack on Washington. Now decommissioned, it’s open for tours. Famed interior designer Dorothy Draper redecorated the entire resort

48

in 1946, using her trademark vibrant colors, bold patterns and posh furnishings. More recently, and especially in the last several years under the ownership of businessman Jim Justice (also currently West Virginia’s governor), The Greenbrier has emphasized its luxurious accommodations, spa treatments and exclusive entertainment — while maintaining its old-fashioned, historic charm. Visitors can sip afternoon tea while enjoying live piano music. The new private, subterranean casino (open to hotel guests only) holds a nightly Champagne toast and waltz performance. In the cold weather, guests can enjoy ice skating with rinkside fire pits, sleigh rides, indoor swimming, bowling or relaxing in front of glowing fireplaces. When temperatures warm, the outdoor pool’s infinity edge overlooks surrounding mountains; the Greenbrier Classic brings an annual PGA Tour FedEx Cup event to the Old White course, and tennis matches are held in a professional stadium. One special activity not to be missed: the ancient sport of falconry (hunting with hawks).

PROVIDED BY LOST WORLD CAVERNS

LOST WORLD CAVERNS, LEWISBURG Discovered in 1942, Lost World Caverns takes visitors 120 feet below the surface of the earth to see a series of impressive cave formations, including a 30-ton stalactite known as The Snowy Chandelier and a column of glittering white calcite called The Bridal Veil. No matter the weather outside, the cave maintains a 52-degree temperature throughout the year. ▶ lostworldcaverns.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

49


WEST VIRGINIA | DESTINATIONS

MOUNTAIN STAGE, CHARLESTON For more than 30 years, the radio program Mountain Stage With Larry Groce has featured live music on public radio. Recorded in front of a live audience and heard weekly on more than 200 NPR stations across the country, Mountain Stage is the longest running program of its kind. Established stars and emerging artists of all genres perform on Mountain Stage, including soul, bluegrass, R&B and contemporary musicians. Each week listeners across the country experience the program over the radio, but there’s nothing like attending the show in person. ▶ mountainstage.org BLACKWATER FALLS STATE PARK, DAVIS At the center of Blackwater Falls State Park in the Allegheny Mountains is a 57-foot waterfall that gets its name from its tannic acid-tinted waters. It’s one of the most photographed sites in the state. ▶ wvstateparks.com

ADVENTURE MYTHS

TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM, WESTON If you’re looking for something a bit more off-beat, stop by the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Purportedly one of West Virginia’s most haunted sites, the asylum opened its doors in 1864. By the 1950s, the facility was overcrowded and operating under inhumane conditions. The hospital has since closed, but visitors can still tour the National Historic Landmark to hear about its storied past and paranormal present. ▶ trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE

50

HARPERS FERRY NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK, HARPERS FERRY This nearly 4,000-acre National Historic Park is home to Harpers Ferry, a historically noteworthy town of the 19th century. Visitors enjoy both history and outdoor recreation here, in a region that feels like you’ve traveled back in time. Originally designated as a National Monument, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is where you can learn about John Brown’s attempt to overthrow slavery, see historic battlefields and hike through nature along the river. With the distinct combination of attractions — cultural, educational, active and relaxing — it’s no wonder nearly 500,000 people visit Harpers Ferry every year. ▶ nps.gov/hafe

HATFIELD-MCCOY TRAILS, WILLIAMSON One of the world’s largest off-roading trail systems winds through the Appalachian Mountains of southern West Virginia — the same area where much of the famous 19th-century Hatfield-McCoy feuding took place. Today, the region offers some of the best all-terrain vehicle, utility task vehicle and dirt biking trails in the world. ▶ trailsheaven.com BLENNERHASSETT ISLAND HISTORICAL STATE PARK, PARKERSBURG Occupying the most famous island on the Ohio River, Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park features a Palladian mansion, built by wealthy aristocrats in 1789, as well as the Oil and Gas Museum, which details how these industries impacted West Virginia statehood. ▶ wvstateparks.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

51


WASHINGTON, D.C. | THE WHARF

District Pier RODNEY BAILEY PHOTOGRAPHY

WONDERFUL WHARF

D.C.’s major waterfront overhaul puts the Potomac River front and center By Rina Rapuano

T

O THOSE LIVING OUTSIDE the infamous Beltway, it might seem as though nothing ever changes in Washington, D.C. And while that might feel especially true when it comes to politics, gridlock and bureaucracy, the city is one of many experiencing a rapid renaissance when it comes to

52

leisure. Tourists and residents are flocking to urban areas throughout the country, clamoring for more restaurants, recreation and accommodations — and the District’s answer is The Wharf. The ambitious $2.5 billion project took up nearly a mile of precious yet underutilized waterfront property and turned it into a gleaming mixed-use neighborhood on the Washington Channel of the Potomac

River. Filled with public parks featuring oversized games, piers outfitted with giant swings and rocking horses and a smattering of splash parks, it’s a literal playground perfect for both families and first dates. “After working more than a decade to make The Wharf a reality, it’s a thrill to see Washington D.C.’s waterfront come alive and become a world-class destination,” says Monty Hoffman, founder and CEO of

PN Hoffman, a real estate development company in the District. “The Wharf has brought the D.C. region together connecting residents and visitors alike. We’re proud to have created a lively waterfront community that offers something for everyone, from live music, great food and drinks and shopping, to public piers and parks, and new ways to enjoy D.C.’s greatest natural resource — its waterfront.”

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


DEL MAR

HANK’S OYSTER BAR

PHOTOS BY GREG POWERS

DOLCEZZA

More than a dozen restaurants have been feeding hungry visitors since the grand opening ceremony EAT last October, with many more set to open later this year. Among those already making a name for themselves are Del Mar (delmardc.com), the gorgeous Spanish restaurant from celebrated Italian chef Fabio Trabocchi; Hank’s Oyster Bar (hanksoysterbar.com), which offers spectacular sunset views and was visited by the Obamas; Requin (requinbymic.com/dc), the revamped French concept from restaurateur Mike Isabella; and Kith and Kin (kithandkindc.com) from Top Chef alum Kwame Onwuachi. Jamie Leeds, the restaurateur behind Hank’s, says she most appreciates The Wharf’s mission to recruit local, chef-driven restaurants to the area. “The biggest thing that attracted me was not having big chain restaurants and conglomerates as my neighbors,” she says. Quick-bite options also pull from local talent, including the popular D.C.-based sandwich chain Taylor Gourmet (taylorgourmet.com) and artisanal gelato and coffee shop Dolcezza (dolcezzagelato.com). Several other highly anticipated restaurants are set to open by late summer, such as Potomac Distilling Co., a rum distillery and tiki-inspired tavern from local cocktail expert Todd Thrasher, and Rappahannock Oyster Bar, which will showcase its Virginia bivalves and upscale small plates in a restored historic oyster shed.

REY LOPEZ

KITH AND KIN

FARRAH SKEIKY

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

REY LOPEZ

JUAN CARLOS BRINCERO

REY LOPEZ

53


WASHINGTON, D.C. | THE WHARF THE ANTHEM

LISA A. WALKER

PEARL STREET WAREHOUSE

There are three very different hotels in the development, offering visitors a choice among modest yet cool modern digs, a residential-style hotel designed for extended stays or STAY ultra-opulent international jet-setter accommodations. At Canopy by Hilton, rooms sport neutral grays and browns and start at $289 per night. Walls hung with vintage-looking city maps and sliding barn doors add to the sleek feel, and perks include complimentary bikes, Wi-Fi, breakfast and water-bottle refill stations throughout the hotel. You might also come across events such as live music, pop-up shops and samplings of local sips at the enticing rooftop cocktail bar dubbed Whiskey Charlie (whiskeycharliewharf.com). Hyatt House is a bargain, with prices dipping as low as $109 per night and going up to around $509 for a king suite penthouse with river views. Patrons can enjoy amenities such as full kitchens, a heated outdoor pool, a fitness center and laundry facilities. Meanwhile, the luxe InterContinental Washington D.C. — The Wharf is a pretty great deal for a resort that includes a rooftop pool bar and a spa, with spring rates hovering around $300 for a king room with a balcony overlooking the water.

CANOPY BY HILTON

PHOTOS BY JOY ASICO

MATTHEW BORKOSKI

Aside from its close proximity to the monuments, museums and historic buildings that you likely visited on school trips, The Wharf offers plenty of new diversions. For SEE starters, you’ll want to explore all the ways you can get on the water, such as with kayak and paddleboard rentals, the free electric jitney that shuttles folks to East Potomac Park and Hains Point and the water taxis that ferry day-trippers from three other local piers (see Getting Around sidebar). A barge that floats in place just off Transit Pier serves as an ice rink in winter and hosts live music shows in summer. Indoor music venues include Pearl Street Warehouse (pearlstreetwarehouse.com), which features roots and Americana; The Anthem (theanthemdc.com), a state-of-the-art show space from the people behind D.C.’s 9:30 Club; Union Stage (unionstage.com), which regularly showcases local performers; and Kirwan’s Irish Pub (wharfdc.com/ restaurants/kirwans-irish-pub). But, as Wharf restaurateur Jamie Leeds notes, the string of events and parties held throughout the year are also a major draw at The Wharf. “They have a lot of festivities they celebrate by having parades and things like that for different occasions,” she says. In fact, there are so many events that there’s an app for that. Download the District Wharf app (available at the App Store and Google Play) to find out when the waterfront workout, jazz fest, glow-inthe-dark kayaking and boat regattas will take place.

GETTING AROUND An underground parking garage and metered parking spots are available at The Wharf along the streets, but it can get expensive, so taking a taxi or car-share service is recommended. Even better, take the Metro. The nearest stops — L’Enfant Plaza or Waterfront — are along the green or yellow lines and are a short 10-minute walk to your Wharf destination. If you’re departing from D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood, Old Town Alexandria in Virginia or National Harbor in Maryland, a fleet of high-speed, low-wake water taxis (potomacriverboatco.com/watertaxi/wharf) is the most scenic and relaxing way to go — especially since you’ll avoid the region’s other infamous gridlock: traffic. And, of course, there’s always the option to arrive via your own boat.

Guest room

Rooftop lounge PHOTOS BY GUILLAUME GAUDET

54

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

55


VIRGINIA | WINERIES

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS Northern Virginia shines when it comes to speciality wines

By Sara Schwartz

V

IRGINIA MIGHT NOT BE considered the most ideal state for producing wine, but that hasn’t stopped many from trying. Even Thomas Jefferson labored for decades to grow multiple grape varieties at his Monticello estate, never producing even one bottle. And while the Founding Father’s unwavering persistence ultimately proved unsuccessful, it did inspire generations of winemakers to work with the commonwealth’s climate and land to produce wine grapes. Today, we can sip to their success. Over the past several years, Virginia vintners have produced awardwinning, highly drinkable wines on stunning estates that rival those in California and Europe. And, as viticulture — the science and study of grapes — continues to evolve, breakthroughs bring varietals that wow. Today, the state boasts more than 270 wineries, nearly 100 of which are in northern Virginia, many about an hour’s drive or so of Washington, D.C., according to the Virginia Wine Board, a state-sponsored trade association. (For a full list of wineries, visit virginiawine.org.)

56

868 Estate Vineyard SARA SCHWARTZ

WINE AND DINE Traversing the serene vistas of Virginia wine country can work up an appetite. Thankfully, there’s 868 Estate Vineyard’s restaurant, Grandale Vintner’s Table in Neersville, which serves fresh gourmet food Friday through Sunday. Spring and summer bring visitors to the restaurant’s deck, while a fire warms patrons inside during fall and winter. Wine flights, made-from-scratch recipes and a seasonal menu are part of Grandale’s congenial charm. The winery, named for the property’s elevation, grows merlot, cabernet franc, chardonnay and many other varieties. Taste the 100 percent estate-grown 2015 Cabernet Franc Reserve, a 2018 Virginia Governor’s Cup gold medal winner. Before you leave, snap pics of the gorgeous, 125-year-old barn. ▶ 14001 Harpers Ferry Road, Neersville; 540-668-7008; 868estatevineyards.com

NARMADA WINERY

For some international flavor, head to Narmada Winery in Rappahannock County, where the estate’s wines are paired with Indian fare. Owner and CEO Pandit Patil and his wife, Sudha, the estate’s winemaker, named the winery after Pandit’s mother, whose support made it possible for him to study engineering in the U.S. decades ago. There’s a limited menu during the week, but the weekends bring on mmmm-inducing dishes — spiced butter chicken, creamy vegetable korma and aromatic papri chaat, all with recommended wine pairings. Be sure to try Narmada’s signature MOM, a white wine blended from two grape varieties grown on the estate and named as a tribute to hardworking mothers around the world. ▶ 43 Narmada Lane, Amissville; 540-937-8215; narmadawinery.com

HITCH A RIDE Instead of trying to decide who in your group will be the designated driver, hire one of these services: Reston Limousine ▶ 45685 Elmwood Court, Dulles; 703-478-0500; restonlimo.com/ services/tours-trips/ wine-tours Point to Point Limousines ▶ 9 Fort Evans Rd. S.E., Leesburg; 703-771-8100; pointtopointlimo.com Wine Pro Tours ▶ 2805 Ninth St. S., #61B, Arlington; 703-209-7139; wineprotours.com

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

57


VIRGINIA | WINERIES

AFTER-DINNER WINNERS

PROVIDED BY JENNIFER HEFFNER

HITTING ALL THE RIGHT NOTES Dessert wines are the perfect end to a meal, so for a sweet treat, head to Barrel Oak Winery in Fauquier County for its Chocolate Lab, made from estate-grown chambourcin grapes. After completing fermentation, the wine is fortified with distilled grape spirits, and organic cocoa nibs are steeped in to give a hint of natural chocolate flavor. The name is both a nod to the winery’s dog-friendly atmosphere (Barrel Oak Winery as an acronym, with “wow” added, is BOW WOW) and to the wine’s origins as a laboratory experiment with chocolate. If wine isn’t your thing, Barrel Oak now brews its own beer through the Barrel Oak Farm Taphouse. ▶ 3623 Grove Lane, Delaplane; 540-3646402; barreloak.com

JEFF HAUSER

Relative newcomer Stone Tower Winery touts multiple French varietals grown on the rolling hills of Hogback Mountain in Leesburg. (Be sure to head to the outdoor seating area and rub the nose of the bronze hog for good luck.) After your tasting, treat yourself with a bottle of Porton, a port-style wine from the Norton grape. Because the production of the wine is relatively small — only about 100 cases per year — it’s treated as a “speakeasy” product, not advertised in the tasting room and only poured at special events. ▶ 19925 Hogback Mountain Road, Leesburg; 703-777-2797; stonetowerwinery.com

58

LISA DAMICO PORTRAITS

Cheese isn’t the only thing that pairs well with wine. The Winery at Bull Run features live acoustic music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday year-round. While the estate’s two vineyards grow Norton grapes, viognier (named Virginia’s official grape in 2011), cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, merlot, chambourcin, chardonnay and traminette grapes are grown at the winery’s Rock Mill Vineyard in Little Washington, about 40 miles away. The working farm-vineyard takes its name from its history. The first major land battle of the Civil War, the First Battle of Bull Run, took place on the property, as did the Second Battle of Bull Run a year later. The Confederates referred to the battle site as Manassas, after the nearby town; the Union called it Bull Run, for the creek that ran through the site. Check out the winery’s Civil War museum, populated with relics from the two Manassas battles. ▶ 15950 Lee Highway, Centreville; 703-815-2233; wineryatbullrun.com

Paradise Springs Winery also features a bit of history. The Fairfax County winery hosts free live musical acts every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon (and some Sundays) for winery patrons. Before you get settled, take note of the estate’s spaces — which include a 1700’s log cabin, renovated in 1955 by Howard Richter, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, and a red barn relocated from downtown Fairfax, Va., that houses the tasting and music areas. Paradise Springs’ estate-grown cabernet franc and viognier, from fruit grown on its property in the Shenandoah Valley AVA, are sublime. ▶ 13219 Yates Ford Road, Clifton; 703-830-9463; paradisespringswinery. com

PARADISE SPRINGS WINERY

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

59


VIRGINIA | RICHMOND

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

REVEL IN I RICHMOND

TRAVIS FULLERTON/VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

By Connie Hum

Explore the artistic transformation taking place in Virginia’s state capital 60

T WAS IN RICHMOND, Va., during a meeting of the Second Virginia Convention at St. John’s Church that lawyer and politician Patrick Henry famously declared, “Give me liberty or give me death,” igniting our country’s fight for freedom and independence. These days, the historic city has a new flame burning for change and reinvention. While there is no shortage of Revolutionary history and attractions, it is Richmond’s widespread endeavors and forays into creative, art-focused projects that are revitalizing the city and attracting visitors far and wide. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (vmfa.museum), complete with a sprawling outdoor sculpture garden, features more than 33,000 works of art spanning 5,000 years of history. One CO N T I N U E D

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

61


VIRGINIA | RICHMOND

Mural on Meadow Street

MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Award-winning restaurant Heritage (heritagerva.com), in the trendy Fan District, offers new American cuisine and artisanal cocktails that are almost too beautiful to drink.

VISIT RICHMOND VA

BETTY CLICKER PHOTOGRAPHY

Institute for Contemporary Art

▲ L’Opossum (lopossum.com) in Oregon Hill dishes out gorgeously plated meals from a creative Frenchinspired menu. The décor is wildly eclectic, creating a fun and exuberant atmosphere for a night out. Laura Lee’s (lauraleesrva.com) is a popular modern American fern bar focusing on good food and good company. The exposed brick walls feature an eclectic art gallery.

IWAN BAAN

of the top comprehensive art museums in the United States, the extensive and diverse collection includes one of the most distinguished holdings of art nouveau and art deco works outside of Paris, as well as the largest public collection of Fabergé objects in America. To make art accessible to all, general admission is free and the VMFA is open 365 days a year. Special exhibitions and programs require a supplemental fee. The new Institute for Contemporary Art (ica.vcu.edu) at Virginia Commonwealth University is a free and noncollecting institution presenting the works of contemporary artists. The inaugural exhibition, opened in April, is titled Declaration and “asks audiences to consider art’s power to catalyze important conversations and to open up new ways for each of us to think — and feel — in response to pressing issues of our times,” explains Stephanie Smith, ICA chief curator. More than a third of the works exploring themes of social justice, protest and community are either special commissions or world premieres conceived by established and emerging artists. Declaration is free to the public. The Richmond Arts District (rvaartsdistrict.com) runs along Broad

62

Street and is home to a number of independent art galleries, including the Ada Gallery (adagallery.com), an artist-run contemporary space that hosts fascinating exhibitions and the 1708 Gallery (1708gallery.org), a nonprofit organization and art space. Schedule your visit to experience First Fridays Art Walk, a monthly celebration with live music, special events and extended gallery hours. A block away on West Marshall Street, is Gallery5 (galleryfive. org), an award-winning visual and performing arts center that showcases cutting-edge contemporary art exhibits and serves as a launching pad for emerging artists. Richmond’s art scene continues with the Reynolds Gallery (reynoldsgallery.com) on Main Street, one of the most well-known Mid-Atlantic galleries that has hosted exhibitions featuring Alexander Calder and Max Ernst. Art in Richmond isn’t only enclosed within museum and gallery walls. Here, art is truly viewed as a civic right, and public art has become a mainstay in Richmond’s streets thanks to the efforts of Ed Trask, a local street artist, and former councilman Jon Baliles. The pair co-founded the RVA Street

TOM HENNESSY

Art Festival (rvastreetart.com) in 2012, inviting local and international artists to help transform the streets and public spaces of Richmond. Colorful murals and graffiti art have rejuvenated entire communities, leaving a vibrant splash of color for all to enjoy in otherwise muted spaces. The annual festival is now one of the city’s most beloved and popular events. Richmond also boasts one of the top botanical gardens in America. The spectacular grounds of the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens (lewisginter. org) has more than 50 acres of themed gardens featuring flowers and plants from around the world. This summer, the gardens will concurrently host two art exhibitions. Origami in the Garden is an outdoor exhibit by Santa Fe sculptor Kevin Box. Exhibition manager Kristin Thoroman advises visitors not to miss Box’s Emerging Peace sculpture. “It’s a sculpture of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, and the way the butterfly is folded in the chrysalis is a perfect example of how nature is life’s original origami master. The Butterflies LIVE! exhibit, in the conservatory’s north wing, is a captivating experience inside the magnificent domed edifice.

The Commonwealth (thecommon wealthsuites.com) is a historic hotel that has undergone a modern renovation that beautifully encompasses Richmond’s storied past and its creative future. Suite doors are personalized with tattoo art and room furnishings are handcrafted by local artisans.

VISIT RICHMOND VA

▲ No visit to Richmond is complete without experiencing the lavish and decadent Sunday Champagne brunch in the gorgeous rotunda lobby of the Jefferson Hotel (jeffersonhotel.com). Surrounded by ornate marble columns and a Tiffany glass ceiling, it’s a grand buffet you won’t forget. Make the heart of Richmond’s arts and design district your temporary home at the four-star Quirk Hotel (destination hotels.com/quirk-hotel), which features local and regional art.

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION


USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

63


64

USA TODAY SPECIAL EDITION

GO ESCAPE MID-ATLANTIC  
GO ESCAPE MID-ATLANTIC