Heart of Virginia Wine Trail honors its home state by guiding guests through six wineries?James River Cellars, Cooper Vineyards, Lake Anna Winery, Weston Vineyards, Mattaponi Winery, and Grayhaven Winery. Although not included with this Groupon, the wine ambassadors proffer passports that award patrons tastings at each of the wineries and encourage them to enjoy the scenic countryside while navigating the path in between. Both regular tastings and special events typically include food pairings and a chance to talk to knowledgeable enophiles.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can-openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food. Classes educate a variety of age groups, with specially catered classes for junior line cooks, combining nutritional meals with basic food-prep skills that teach how to correctly follow a recipe to edible fruition. Senior flambéists are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity. Most classes last 90 minutes.
For the past four decades, on certain frosty December days, guides have led visitors through the streets of Fredericksburg's historic district. Now in its 43rd year, the Annual Candlelight Tour still illuminates the centuries-old town's stately buildings with re-tellings of historical happenings and the soft glow of candlelight. On certain nights, after glimpsing the town as it was seen long before electricity or the invention of horseback riding, tour groups gather for a cocktail party.
The Annual Candlelight Tour introduces visitors to some of Fredericksburg's historic sites which have born witness to Colonial and Civil War history. At sites such as Kenmore Plantation, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, and the Mary Washington House, exhibits and costumed interpreters help keep the area's rich history alive. Fredericksburg and its surrounding towns also draw visitors with outdoor and artistic attractions ranging from historic trolley tours to theatrical performances.
On the waters of Lake Anna, it's not unusual to see boats lazily cruising its calm expanse. What is unusual, however, is watching someone rip by on a flying bike. Ayers Extreme Water Sports offers two varieties of such attention-grabbing machines, both powered by pressurized jets of water. While standing atop a Flyboard, riders can shoot into the air, performing flips and spins before diving into the water. The Jetovator flying bike can reach heights of 30 feet and speeds of 25 miles per hour, allowing riders to act out the famous scene from E.T., albeit damper.
Winemakers from across Virginia convene at the Lake Anna Wine Festival, a gathering launched in 2013. Those winemakers pour samples of their vineyards' varietals while food vendors serve snacks and artisans show their crafts. Though the wine is solely for the 21-and-older crowd, there's entertainment for the whole family. The festival takes place in Cutalong, a scenic golf-course community along Lake Anna.
To get a sense of The Greene Turtle's commitment to the neighborhood, one need only sit at the bar and look up. Dozens of mugs hang above the counter, emblazoned with the pub's logo and a unique number—each one belongs to a recurring patron. The Mug Club awards its members with draft-beer discounts and other specials, but more importantly, it allows loyal patrons to feel as though they own small slices of the venue without tattooing their names on the bartender's arm. This sense of shared familiarity is what fuels the entire franchise, which refrains from calling its locations "restaurants" in favor of friendlier terms: gathering places, communities, havens.
Many of the locations contribute more than mugs to their districts. Staff members who participate in the annual Tips for Tots program donate the entirety of one day's tips to a nearby Toys for Tots initiative, and Tuesday Funds for Friends events benefit local organizations. These efforts have been chronicled by press sources such as Food and Drink magazine, with features that liken The Greene Turtles' philanthropic generosity to the generous portions of comfort food that leave the kitchens.
From cheeseburger sliders and flatbread pizzas to handmade lump-crab cakes, the offerings on the menu embrace barroom traditions along with ingenuity. The steak and chicken entrees arrive with classic sides of green beans and yukon gold mashed potatoes, whereas the eastern shore mac ‘n’ cheese updates a comfort staple with chopped bacon, lump crab, scallions, and Old Bay seasoning. Diners can enjoy their meals by the glow of private flat-screen TVs—there's one in every booth—or beneath one of many larger televisions broadcasting sports games throughout the venue.