This year marks the 50th anniversary of when the Virginia State Travel Service (now the Virginia Tourism Corporation) adopted its well-known “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan. This summer, Virginia will celebrate this milestone with festivals, special events, and more starting on June 21 and ending 50 days later on Aug. 10.
“Today, a new generation is discovering love for Virginia’s mountains, beaches, history, theme parks, vibrant cities, outdoor activities, sports and hospitality,” says Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “While ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ has meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, one thing hasn’t changed: the love.”
Virginia is for Nature Lovers
From the peaks of Shenandoah National Park to the Eastern Shore and everywhere in between, destinations across the state of Virginia are celebrating 50 years of love with programming that encourages visitors to venture into the great outdoors.
For example, cycling enthusiasts can head to Richmond on June 23 for the 50 Years of Love 50-mile bike ride hosted by Final Gravity Brewing Co. and Cap Trail Bike Shuttle. Riders will cycle along the Virginia Capital Trail, with return transportation provided by the Cap Trail Bike Shuttle.
According to McClenny, travelers can also discover the beauty of Virginia’s natural landscape from the comfort of their cars. “Virginia boasts more than 3,000 miles of scenic roadways, taking travelers to coastal beauty, mountain vistas, quaint small towns and peaceful countryside,” she says also adding that “two of the country’s most legendary scenic drives, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive, are found in Virginia.”
Virginia is for Festival Lovers
Not only is 1969 the year that Virginia adopted its now famous slogan, but it’s also the year that the iconic Woodstock festival took place. To commemorate both anniversaries, music festivals around the state will recognize the milestone with special Summer of Love-themed events.
On the Eastern Shore, visitors can attend LOVEFEST 2019, with the band English Channel performing British hits from the 60’s and 70’s to kick off nearly two months of outdoor concerts at Cape Charles’ Central Park. Festivities begin July 6, and attendees who wear their best 60’s attire will take home a Summer of Love signature treat.
In Loudoun, Virginia’s wine country region, a Summer of Love Tour takes off in June with a VW van making “tour stops” in 17 different towns and bringing a range of events from live music concerts, artisan pop-ups and movie nights to flower power crafting workshops and peach-picking farm adventures. The festivities culminate with the Summer of Love Music Festival in August.
Virginia is for Beer and Wine Lovers
“Along with American history, Virginia is also the birthplace of American wine,” explains McClenny. “The practice of winemaking in the Commonwealth dates back to 1609, when the earliest settlers of Jamestown planted vines in an attempt to produce a cash crop.”
Today, Virginia is a top destination for lovers of beer, wine and other spirits as the state boasts nearly 300 wineries, 200 breweries, 20 cideries, and 70 distilleries. Virginia’s top breweries and wineries will also feature special beverages that honor the 50th anniversary of the tagline, so visitors can celebrate by raising a toast to the state. Dedicated wine and food lovers can also head to the Purcellville Wine and Food Festival taking place on July 13.
For travelers who enjoy their food as much as their beer and wine, McClenny points out that “Virginia offers unique immersive experiences designed for the ultimate food lover. Whether you’re slurping oysters straight from the bay or sitting down to dine at a Michelin star restaurant, you will not go hungry while you’re in Virginia.”
A Destination Fit for Everyone
Whether your clients make it to Virginia in time for this summer’s festivities, the state is a destination that attracts travelers year-round with its wide variety of offerings.
“Virginia offers something special and unique for every type of traveler,” says McClenny. “Whether you’re looking for adventure in the great outdoors, five-star dining experiences, award-winning wines, bustling breweries, world class oysters, arts and culture, or history, you’ll find it and so much more here.”
For more information, visit virginia.org.