Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
Virginia is for lovers: lovers of culture, history, learning, and love itself. It is for lovers who dare to escape to the seductive corners of the South, where hospitality isn’t being on your best behavior. It’s a way of life. It’s where time slows down long enough to take a deep a breath so you can remember all the reasons why you fell in love. Romantic Virginia: More Than 300 Things to Do for Southern Lovers is a lovers’ travel guide, a hopeful companion to the everyday journeys that travelers will likely experience while in town.
The book runs the gamut of traveling experiences, from things to do at the beach to the best trails for long walks or biking. Though Virginia is without a professional sports team, the book also includes information about AAA league and other minor league teams that even staunch fans of professional league sports would find it difficult to resist. Entries about the most noteworthy state festivals, historic buildings, lodging, and restaurants are also covered. One important element that does go missing, however, is transportation. Romantic Virginia includes no mention of rail systems or commuter lines, that all-important information you need if you plan to take a side trip during your stay.
The book’s organization doesn’t account much for distance and travel either. Unlike many other travel books, Romantic Virginia separates its contents by activity, rather than by selecting a location and identifying all the sites around it. Imagine traveling to Charlottesville, for example, hoping to find a bike rental shop and a good trail. Romantic Virginia doesn’t list a bike shop for Charlottesville, however, from the way the book is organized it might take you several moments to realize that you could golf or take a boat ride instead.
Romantic Virginia does provide excellent suggested itineraries for day trips or weekend getaways. One suggestion highlights the Tri-State Bike Group “Bike to a Bed and Breakfast” network. Travelers can bike from one bed and breakfast in the Tri-State area to another without having to think about pedaling back to one lodging to stay the night before moving on to the next. Other suggestions list more than a dozen things travelers can do and where they can stay and eat while vacationing in some of Virginia’s most romantic destinations, including the lively historic districts of small cities like Fredericksburg or the calming, sedate foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Romantic Virginia, while not the best of all travel guides, does serve its purpose in doing the best of planning your itinerary. Consult its pages long before you plan your trip. You will want to look through it carefully and map out your own plan if you want to see or try some of the more novel suggestions hidden throughout.