/
Close
Newsletters  | Mobile

The Best of Virginia

Other Landmarks
Jamestown Island Colonial National Historical Park; 804/229-1733. Few of the adventurers and laborers who landed here in 1607 made it past the first two winters, and Jamestown itself fell into ruin after the capital was moved to Williamsburg in 1699. A new archaeological dig, timed for completion on the settlement's 400th anniversary 10 years hence, may have turned up the site of the original fort. The foundations of the town that succeeded it have a strangely haunting presence.
The Capitol Capitol Square, Richmond; 804/786-4344. Jefferson, to whom architecture was politics, despised the patently colonial structures of Williamsburg, so after the government moved to Richmond in 1780 he set out to design a new capitol for a free people. Despite some turn-of-the-century additions, his rendition of the Maison Carrée, the Roman temple at Nämes, is a dazzling exercise in geometry. Stand in a corner of the rotunda and gaze past Houdon's statue of Washington to the dome—which Jefferson had to hide below the roofline because, as the blue-haired tour guide exclaims, "He wanted his capitol to look just like that big ol' temple!"
Hollywood Cemetery 412 S. Cherry St., Richmond; 804/648-8501. James Monroe, John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart: this was the foremost burial ground of Virginia. High above the James stands Jefferson Davis like a pillar of salt, looking back at the city he abandoned in flames in 1865.
Richmond National Battlefield Park 3215 E. Broad St., Richmond; 804/226-1981. A sprawling series of Civil War battlegrounds from McClellan's unfortunate Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and Grant's even bloodier 1864 campaign. The sense of death can still be overwhelming today.
Petersburg National Battlefield Rte. 36, Petersburg; 804/732-3531. A railway center, Petersburg was the key to Richmond, and when it fell after a grueling 10-month siege, the Confederacy's fate was sealed. Near the crater where Pennsylvania miners blew a hole in the rebel lines is the lovely Old Blandford Church, its Tiffany windows a memorial to the Confederate dead.
University of Virginia University Ave., Charlottesville; 804/924-0311. Jefferson's academic village is his architectural masterwork, a marvel of Neoclassical design whose focal point is the exquisitely proportioned Rotunda, modeled on the Pantheon in Rome.
Shenandoah National Park covers some 280 square miles of woodlands astride the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Virginia, with the Skyline Drive winding across the mountaintops from Front Royal south to Afton Mountain. The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest of the Blue Ridge from Afton Mountain past Roanoke to the North Carolina line. Sharp Top Trail (milepost 86 at the Peaks of Otter) takes you to the craggy summit of Sharp Top Mountain, where a panoramic view has drawn visitors for some 200 years.
Washington and Lee University N. Jefferson St., Lexington; 540/463-8710. A perfectly preserved Greek Revival campus overlooking a picturesque town deep in the Valley of Virginia. Across from the rustic colonnade, General Lee lies buried in a tiny brick chapel.
Virginia Military Institute Letcher Ave., Lexington; 54/464-7306. W&L's Gothic Revival neighbor, where Stonewall Jackson taught, George C. Marshall studied, and the cadets go on parade every Friday at 4:15.

Wine
Jefferson's travels in France (1784-1789) convinced him that Virginia
could become a wine-producing region, but only in the past decade has it come to pass.
Piedmont Vineyards Halfway Rd., Middleburg; 540/687-5528. Very nice Chardonnays on a hunt country farm.
Linden Vineyards 3708 Harrels Corner Rd., Linden; 540/364-1997. Marvelous Chardonnays and Cabernets on a remote hilltop in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.
Afton Mountain Vineyards 234 Vineyard Lane, Afton; 540/456-8667. Rich, complex Chardonnays, Gewürztraminers, and Cabernets in a small, family-run winery just west of Charlottesville.

Horse & Garden
Aside from ancestor worship, Virginians have two passions. Take your pick.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens Azalea Garden Rd., Norfolk; 757/441-5830. More than 150 acres of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and roses, with extensive footpaths and waterfront views.
Westover 7000 Westover Rd., Charles City; 804/829-2882. Romantically overgrown boxwood gardens at the James River plantation of William Byrd II, founder of Richmond. The 1735 mansion is open during Garden Week.
Montpelier Montpelier Station; 540/ 672-2728. The country house of James and Dolley Madison, Montpelier was bought by the du Ponts in 1900 and radically enlarged. The mansion is currently being restored by the National Trust, but work on Mrs. du Pont's formal garden was recently completed by the Garden Club of Virginia. The Virginia Steeplechase Circuit, which runs from February to May and September to early November, concludes here with the Montpelier hunt races. The amateur Point-to-Point Circuit is held in spring (for information, call the Central Entry Office at 703/777-2575).
Blessing of the Hounds Rte. 231, Keswick; 804/293-3549. Takes place every Thanksgiving morning outside Keswick's Grace Episcopal Church, in the rolling hills east of Charlottesville. After the ceremony, the Keswick Hunt sets out in pursuit of the fox.
Virginia Horse Center Rte. 39, Lexington; 540/463-2194. A regular program of horse shows, dressage competitions, polo matches, and auctions in an expansive indoor arena.

Shopping
NORFOLK
Palace Antiques Gallery (300 W. 21st St.; 757/622-2733) and Morgan House Antiques (242 W. 21st St.; 757/627-2486) have large collections of English, French, and American 18th- and 19th-century furniture, china, chandeliers, and prints.
WILLIAMSBURG
Everybody who goes to Williamsburg wants to buy Williamsburg. That's why there's the Craft House (Merchants Square, 757/220-7747; also at Williamsburg Inn, 757/220-7749), which sells authorized reproductions of china, glassware, linens, furniture, rugs, paint, and just about everything else you see in the historic district.
Bookpress Ltd. (411 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/229-1260) is a source for antique books, maps, and prints. For new books, try Rizzoli Bookstore (423 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/229-9821).
Beecroft & Bull (416 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/ 229-7887) carries a sophisticated range of American and Italian men's wear: shirts and suits by Ermenegildo Zegna, suits and sport jackets by Canali and Mickey Spatz, Polo sportswear, shoes by Cole-Haan and Ferragamo. RICHMOND
You can buy things in Shockoe Slip: D. M. Williams Ltd. (1211 E. Cary St.; 804/783-9211) is a comfortably luxurious men's store, with Nautica, Jhane Barnes, McKenzie Tribe. But the more interesting shopping is a couple of miles west in Carytown, a turn-of-the-century residential district with a leafy charm and a lively commercial strip. Boxers (2931 W. Cary St.; 804/355-4889) carries casual men's clothes by the likes of Joseph Abboud and Wilke Rodriguez. Thomas-Hines (3027 W. Cary St.; 804/ 355-2782) is Richmond's leading antiques store: serious 18th- and 19th-century English and American furniture, paintings, and silver. Across the street, Palais Royal (3016 W. Cary St.; 804/ 353-8701) carries Yves Delorme's signature bedclothes and toiletries, set off by well-chosen French antiques—for plantation owners who've been to Paris.
The Phoenix (3039 W. Cary St.; 804/354-0711) specializes in the Virginia Woolf look: tweedy women's wear in calf lengths, the kind of thing Scott and Zelda probably encountered at the Jefferson. Pink (3158 W. Cary St.; 804/358-0884) is proof that debutantes and body piercing can mix: Betsey Johnson, John Fluevog, and futuristic items like corrugated-steel clocks. At Annette Dean (3325 W. Cary St.; 804/ 359-8240) one can find designers Joan Vass and Belford for women, Alan Flusser and Barry Bricken for men, plus Dean's own private label, well designed and reasonably priced.
CHARLOTTESVILLE
The 1740 House (Rte. 250 W., Ivy; 804/977-1740) is a former tavern filled with exquisite English and American antiques at prices to match, plus paintings, maps, and sturdy canvas floorcloths made to order and painted with contemporary or Early American designs.
FREDERICKSBURG The antiques shops in this small river town are clustered near the corner of Caroline and William Streets. Beck's Antiques & Books (708 Caroline St., Old Town; 540/371-1766) is heavy on the Virginiana, especially Civil War histories and biographies, not to mention county histories: James City, Charles City, Prince William, King and Queen. In the front of the shop you'll find early-19th-century antiques, most of them American, most from nearby estates. Past treasures have included an American Empire horsehair sofa made in Philadelphia around 1820 and a mahogany pedestal card table from 1825.
MIDDLEBURG
This is the hunt country village that Jacqueline Onassis made famous back when she was wearing pillbox hats and redoing the White House. Antiquarian Book & Autograph Center (2 N. Madison St.; 540/687-5020) is the place to go for 18th- and 19th-century periodicals, from Harper's and the Atlantic to the Panoplist and Gentleman's Magazine of London.
Hestia (4 N. Madison St.; 540/687-5531) has luxurious linens and gift items, while Waller Picture Framing (9 S. Madison St.; 540/687-6939) offers magnificent gilt frames for those ancestral portraits you were planning to pick up at auction. At Tully Rector (13 E. Washington St.; 540/687-5858) you can stock up on Cole-Haan shoes and boots, Calvin Klein flannels, and Barbour outerwear for the hikes you'll be taking once you hit the mountains.

Advertisement

Sign Up


Connect With Travel + Leisure
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Tablet
  • Available devices

Already a subscriber?
Get FREE ACCESS to the digital edition


Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Marketplace