Visiting VA

"Virginia is For Lovers"....did you know?
That's the state motto, and you'll see it on the welcome sign if you come and visit.
People might not know a lot about Virginia, especially Northern Virginia, and since this area/state has been my home for the last 8 years, I thought I'd highlight some fun stuff to do if you're ever in the area!

The most obvious is to take the metro into DC and go exploring--but that's not Virginia, which is our focus for today's travel tips!

Some of my top spots you should visit if you come to Virginia are:

{1} Old Town Alexandria
~for the walking explorer~
It's in historic Alexandria, right on the water. It's a cute area with old brick townhouses, a few cobblestone roads, and really adorable shops to pop into--clothing, artwork, etc. Not to mention all of the yummy restaurants to visit, too! And you have the nice waterfront area where you can sit and people watch, boat-watch or grab a bite to eat. (Or if you're a baller, and have your own boat, you could boat yourself up to a slip and let the people watchers watch you!)
At night, the streets are lined with lights in the trees and it feels like a really magical place.
It's not abnormal to see engagement photos being taken around here, or even a wedding! 
(Hi Bree!)

{2} Mount Vernon
~for the history lover~
from when MG and I went one year right before Christmas
Where George Washington used to live! It took me a long time to actually go and visit it (which is kind of shameful since I work so close to it), but the grounds are so big, and it's so interesting to see a piece of history up close and personal.
Not to mention, if you come during certain parts of the year, there are wine festivals to partake in as well!

{3} Clarendon/Arlington
~for the lover of nightlife~
Arlington, and specifically Clarendon within Arlington, has some great bars, restaurants, and happy hour deals. It's definitely a younger crowd, but there is always something to do. 
Don Titos just opened up with a killer rooftop area and delicious bar-type food with a mexican twist (tacos), tapas places (La Tasca, and Cava Mezze--where MG and I had our first date), 
the bar that Chris Bukowski from Bachelor owns--Bracket Room. 
Needless to say, there are plenty of options to pick from.

{4}-Memorials, monuments, museums
~for the sight-seer~
The memorials and monuments aren't just in DC--Virginia has some pretty noteworthy ones, too!
Of note, Arlington National Cemetary (metro-accessible) where you can see John F Kennedy's grave, the tomb of the unknown soldier, the changing of the guard, or just simply to pay your respects to those buried there.
Other memorials in NoVa include: Iwo Jima Memorial and the US Airforce Memorial which is right near the Pentagon.

An extension of the Smithsonean National Air and Space Museum (located in DC) is the Udvar-Hazy Center which houses more aircrafts, space crafts, and an IMAX theater. This is a little drive, but if aircrafts are of interest to you, it's worth a stop!

{5} Wineries
~for, you guessed it, wine lovers~
People may not know that Virginia has a BUNCH of wineries, only about 40-50 minutes outside of DC. There are bed and breakfasts out that way, in addition to hotel chains.
I love having one or two wineries in mind to try out, and then discovering more along the way. Different wineries offer varying wines, atmosphere, food, etc. so you need to do your research on what you'd like to try, but I highly recommend a trip out here if you have the time.
Some of the ones I've visited include: Naked Mountain Winery, Three Fox Vineyards, Barrel Oak Winery (a favorite!) Bluemont Vineyard, Stone Tower Winery (another favorite), Cana Winery.
There are plenty more that I've been to, but I can't remember all of the names!

There are a TON of other places to go for shopping (Tyson's corner, Pentagon City Mall, the outlets), for outdoors (Great Falls Virginia, Blue Ridge Mountains), and places close to the Virginia border (National Harbor in MD, DC), but I can't list them all. If you're interested in visiting Northern Virginia, I hope this helped you figure out some things you want to do while you're here, and maybe I piqued some of your interests in visiting NoVa if you weren't :)


  1. I've never been to VA but I heard it's really pretty an there are a lot of fun historical towns to visit! I knew the motto was "VA is for lovers" but I never knew why LOL! Old Town Alexandria sounds like a must visit!

    <3, Pamela
    Sequins & Sea Breezes

  2. Gary's cousins actually live in Northern VA and we went to his cousins wedding a few years ago at Mt. Vernon...I don't think I put two and two together when you said you lived I have no excuses to come and visit!!! xo, Baina -BlovedBoston

  3. Loved this girl! My parents whenever they drive up north always stop in Virginia at a winery that they love. They look forward to it every year! Pinned it under future travel ;-)

  4. Growing up in Winchester, we traveled to Nova a lot (for shopping, exploring, etc). Arlington is such a cute little town - I have a good friend that lives there. Now, living in SWVA, the hubs and I try to take an annual trip to Tyson's around Christmas to shop and eat. It's always so fun!!
    And how cool you met Chris at his bar?!

  5. I love Virginia! I have a lot of family there and it is a really pretty place.

  6. Old Town Alexandria looks like my kinda place, I love to be outdoors when traveling and exploring especially on boats! Such a fun list :)

  7. DC/Virginia is at the top of my tourist list for the US. Especially since I started teaching 8th grade US History! I'm hoping to make it out that way next summer! And these places have been added to the "to-see" list! :)

  8. I love finding out little things about this for places! We love Clarendon/Arlington are because our friends live there and it's easier but I'm always wanting to explore.. I think Old Town Alexandria is on my list now!

  9. This is such a great travel guide! I've been to both Mount Vernon (one of my favorite family vacation memories) and to Arlington Cemetery, but I hope to go back with Ryan one of these days. I'll be sure to check out some of these other places, too!

  10. i would love to check out the wineries and grab some lunch by the waterfront in Alexandria if i ever happen to be in Virginia.

  11. I would love to check out the Wineries now that I am older & can actually try the wines! I have not been to VA since I was a little girl... PS Old Town of Alexandria is too dang adorable :)

  12. I totally want to visit Old Town Alexandria. Great tips.

  13. Love it! My cousins live in Arlington now. I'm such a history buff - I'd love to see Mt. Vernon. I got to tour Hermitage in TN (home of Andrew Jackson). So cool. What is Chris B like in person? He's seems like quite the fame whore on TV.

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  14. I love the northern VA/DC area... I am always wishing that JMU was closer to all that area because there is just so much to do and see! I went to the Clarendon area a few months ago and it was such a blast. I haven't been to Old Town Alexandria yet, but it is on my list of places to go!

  15. You know how much I love DC! This is such a fun post! Love all your suggestions; I'm dying to get to Mt. Vernon and to hit up some of the wineries. Great post, girlfriend! xo

  16. I skipped your previous post because I haven't watched any of the Bachelorette episodes... yet! We'll see if I can get into it. I've heard this season is kind of the worst)
    I totally want to go to Virginia someday! Actually, I want to hit all the states but this just went a little higher on my list after your ideas!

  17. You make VA sound so fun! Cute post!

  18. And Burkeville, VA to see me! (hehe) I do love VA! :) :)

  19. My husband wants me to see Virginia. He says it is gorgeous. I think I would skip DC and just visit these places!

  20. I'm near Richmond and I need to save this list so I can visit these great places sometime soon!


I LOVE hearing your thoughts and comments--so, make my day and leave me some lovin'!