Being the “Traveling Newlyweds”, we look for destinations that inspire adventure, that inspire discovery, that most importantly, inspire romance. Places that are off-the-beaten path - but easily accessible, places where we could escape for the week - or visit for an epic weekend getaway, places that we’ve heard about before - but never knew just how special they really are….
Places where our love story can further be told. Places like Virginia.
That’s right, Virginia. Their slogan “Virginia is for Lovers” was created 50 years ago, and it’s as true today as it was in 1969. From the rolling green hills to the quaint, family-run wineries... I guess you can say that we’ve fallen in love with this enchanting state. It’s approachable and down to earth, but at the same time Virginia is one of the most romantic and enchanting places we’ve been. It’s the perfect spot for a honeymoon or anniversary. And when their slogan is “Virginia is for lovers”, can you expect anything else?
WE FELL IN <3 WITH THE LOVEWORKS
We’re the kind of people that will take any excuse for a photo opportunity. Whether it’s a funny sign or a pretty mural, you better believe we’ll stop and strike a pose (or two). When we found out that Virginia has more than 150 LOVE artworks across the state, we immediately went into planning mode, hoping to see as many as possible.
While we didn’t get to see ALL 150 Loveworks signs (that’s a goal for next time), we did visit quite a few. This map was a super helpful tool for finding the Loveworks signs on our itinerary (which you can learn more about and gain inspiration for other LOVE trips here)!
WE FELL IN <3 WITH THE COZY HOTELS
The hotels we stayed at in Virginia were something out of a postcard. They were quaint, and classy, and all of them had a story to tell.
Hotel Laurance is an inviting and historic boutique hotel in Luray, that dates back to the 1800’s. All 12 rooms have a full kitchen, luxurious amenities, and perfectly fluffy beds. It’s located right on the Main Street of Luray, and they’re incredibly dog friendly. It’s not very often that we get a hotel room with a full kitchen, so being able to have a freezer for ice cream and make our morning smoothies was a game changer. Not to mention the whole staff at Hotel Laurance were all incredibly friendly and welcoming… We could’ve easily stayed for a week!
The Stonewall Jackson Hotel, located in Staunton, is another Shenandoah Valley hotel that’s rich in history and charm. Dating back to 1924, this Colonial Revivalist style hotel is still as enchanting and grand as it was when it first opened. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel is steps away from Staunton’s main street, Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential Library, the American Shakespeare Center, and so much more. Plus, they have a beautiful indoor pool, hot tub, and spacious work out room!
Located in the Shenandoah National Park, the Skyland Resort is an oasis for nature lovers. With sweeping mountain views, snug cabins and spacious suites, it’s a destination that will leave you breathless. Our jaws dropped the moment we stepped out onto our balcony, and it became our go-to spot to watch the sunrise and sunset. The rustling of the leaves, the birds chirping, the crisp, mountain air… The Skyland Resort is truly a calming and tranquil escape. Even our pup, Sally, was obsessed!
WE FELL IN <3 WITH THE CHARMING MAIN STREETS
Being “big city” California kids, we’ve always just assumed that quaint main streets exist only in the movies. Little did we know that almost every city and town in Virginia has a bustling main street that belongs in the next big romcom. Lined with locally run boutiques, cafes, wine bars, ice cream shops… these main streets are typically the hub of the town! (And they’re typically adorable.)
Luray, Virginia is a small town in the Shenandoah Valley that has a darling main street that dates back to the 1800’s. It has everything from family-owned antique shops, cute restaurants like Moonshadows and Gathering Grounds, and a stylish (and popular) wine bar, The Valley Cork. It’s easily walkable, fun for the whole family, and the perfect spot for an afternoon of exploring. (And the ice cream at Stephan’s Sugar Shack is not to be missed!)
Staunton, Virginia (also in the Shenandoah Valley), has one of the most iconic Main Streets in the USA! Architectural Digest, USA Today, Fodor’s, Huffington Post, and the Reader’s Digest have all featured Staunton’s Main Street in countless awards and publications. And in the name of love, Expedia even recently named Staunton one of the “Best Places to Propose in the US”! (We agree!) With its striking brick buildings, lush green trees, and quaint shops and cafes, Staunton’s Main Street gave us “heart eyes” nearly immediately!
WE FELL IN <3 WITH THE LOCAL BUSINESSES
We were instantly amazed (and inspired) by Virginia’s respect and commitment to their local economy. From the restaurants that we frequented to the boutiques where we shopped for souvenirs, these places celebrate and support their local farmers, entrepreneurs, and businesses. Most everything we purchased was indeed “Made in Virginia” - and we LOVE that.
Reunion Bakery (Staunton) serves melt-in-your mouth pastries (their croissants are to die for), freshly baked quiches, and bold, strong coffee. Inspired by the high-quality bakeries in France, Reunion Bakery’s owner and head baker, Bryan Hollar, has worked hard to perfect his baked goods… and it shows.
The Yelping Dog (Staunton) is a family-run wine, cheese, and gourmet shop that has just about everything we love in life. Delicious wine, mouth-watering charcuterie boards, fancy grilled cheeses, and a love for dogs. The owner, Nancy, is as warm and friendly as they come - you instantly feel like family!
CrossKeys Vineyards (Mt Crawford) is a family owned and operated winery set on 125 stunning acres in the Shenandoah Valley. Chances are that when you come for a tasting, you’ll be greeted by one of the Bakhtiar family members, who will graciously welcome and invite you to try some of their 12 delicious varietals. And what’s more romantic than a day of wine tasting?
WE FELL IN <3 WITH THE OUTDOORS
The Shenandoah National Park is one of the most naturally beautiful, picturesque National Park’s we’ve seen in awhile. Not only that, but it’s a mecca for hiking enthusiasts, with over 500 miles of gorgeous trails! We could talk about its beauty for days, but we’ll let these pictures do the talking instead..
If you haven’t heard of the Luray Caverns before, are you living under a rock? (Pun intended!) They’re the largest and most popular caverns in the eastern United States, dating back over 4,000,000 years! This U.S. Natural Landmark is quite the adventure for you and your lover - and if that’s not enough, you can even get married in the cave!