As a Maine girl through and through, I’ve been a bit confounded lately by my new blossoming obsession with the South—plotting long weekends in Charleston, pouring over my new subscription to Garden & Gun magazine (for the record, it’s more lifestyle than weed-whacking and ammo), and daydreaming about the rolling green hills, gracious historic pockets of Virginia—and the serious bloomage happening there right now. But, I'm rolling with it.
While the Northeast (and probably other parts of the country) has just a few new-season daffodils, cherry blossoms, and electric-yellow forsythia bushes right now, the Commonwealth is ablaze with heart-stopping flora—everything from Osage orange trees and wisteria-laden trellises to rare rose breeds and Elizabethan herb gardens. And this coming week marks its apex: Virginia’s Historic Garden Week (Apr. 17-25), now in its 77th year.
New fewer than 225 historic homes and gardens are open to the public—and it’s the oldest and biggest event of its kind in the country. In sum, it’s one of the best times of the year to visit (especially if you’re the kind of person, like me, who gets a thrill from walking among perfume-y lilacs, or having the rare chance to go behind the scenes at Monticello or financier’s John W. Kluge’s Morven Farm in Albermarle County).
But there are other reasons to make your way to Virginia soon: Richmond’s May 1 grand re-opening of one of the state’s (and country’s!) most exceptional (and free) museums, the Virginia Museum of Fine Art; events along the Monticello Wine Trail, whose 123 wineries include the esteemed Jefferson Vineyards; excellent hotel deals, packages, and once-a-year promotions; and the 75th anniversary of the super-scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. So, put on a little John Denver and hit the road! I will be.
Adrien Glover is the online deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.