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The Virginias: Still Swinging

Where to Eat

Julian's (Continental) Steve Jackendoff, owner and chef at this intimate place in an old frame house off Lewisburg's main drag about fifteen miles from the Greenbrier, got his start as a teenager pulling greens off strawberries in the kitchen of Lutece, the erstwhile Manhattan citadel of haute cuisine. By a very winding country road, he made his way to Lewisburg, but he hasn't forgotten what he learned in New York. 102 South Lafayette Street, Lewisburg, West Virginia; 304-645-4145. $$$$

Mariah's at Tower Hill Bed & Breakfast (Contemporary) Finishing an afternoon round at Bay Creek, one might look at the surrounding fields and conclude that a good meal is a long drive away. Not so. A few miles off, at this elegant little restaurant in a restored 260-year-old mansion on an inlet of Chesapeake Bay, the steaks are thick and delicious. And if you don't feel like driving after dinner, there are five tastefully furnished bedrooms upstairs. 3018 Bowden Landing, Cape Charles, Virginia; 757-331-1700. $$$

Tastings of Charlottesville (Regional American) Jefferson tried and failed to produce fine wines in Virginia. Thanks to modern agronomy, local vintners today are more successful, and the fruits of their labor are part of the charm of Tastings. It's half wine store, half restaurant, and excels at both.
502 East Market Street, Charlottesville, Virginia; 434-293-3663. $$$

The Trellis (Contemporary American) Four times a year for the past twenty-six years, Marcel Desaulniers has changed the menu and the art on the walls of this restaurant a couple of blocks from the restored colonial section of Williamsburg, emphasizing the fresh and local in both. Author of Death by Chocolate, Desaulniers also makes desserts that are divine. 403 Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, Virginia; 757-229-8610. $$$

History and Activities

Cold-War Bunker
Postwar Washington was possessed by the fear that at any moment the capital might be destroyed by Soviet missiles. That led to one of the Cold War's more curious relics, a Congressional bomb shelter dug deep beneath a false wing of the Greenbrier hotel. The bunker included rooms for all members of Congress and separate meeting chambers for the House and Senate. A secret until 1992, it's now open for tours in summer.

Campus Tours
Most visitors to central Virginia flock to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home. Just as interesting and far less crowded is his "Academical Village"—the central buildings at the nearby University of Virginia. Take a student-led tour and learn how Jefferson artfully planned every neoclassical keystone and pillar.

Historic Jamestown
As generations of American schoolkids have been taught, this riverside settlement, founded in 1607, served as the first seat of British government on the continent for nearly a hundred years. The National Park Service maintains the village, a short drive from Williamsburg, as a living-history site. Events commemorating its 400th anniversary, including the opening of a "floating museum" in a replica of one of the three original colonists' ships, begin in May.

River Rafting
Considering that it flows through the Washington metro area, the Potomac River is remarkably wild. You can find bald eagles and raging Class V rapids within an hour's drive of D.C. Outfitters such as River Riders (800-326-7238) in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, can get you on the water.

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