By the time Blue Bee Cider's signature drink is ready in the spring, it's been three seasons in the making. The process begins in the fall and winter pressing season, when baskets upon baskets of Virginia apples, their ripe red skins shocked with gold, are crushed to loose their sweet juice. The juice lies dormant for the winter, undisturbed by the needless addition of sugar or water, slowly fermenting. Finally, come the break of spring, it takes on the fizzy character of carbonation and is bottled, ready to take its place on the shelves behind the tasting bar. Each of the three varieties takes on a different characteristic from its different blend of apples and ingredients, from the Charred Ordinary's dryness lent by heirloom apples, to the Harvest Ration's surprising kick supplied by fortification with brandy.
Josh knew the first treasure hunt he set up was a success when he saw the happy look in his three younger brothers' eyes as they uncovered the final treasure chest. Based on Josh's clues, the younger Schwabs had just gleefully trekked across Warrenton, Virginia, and into the Shenandoah Mountains in search of their goal. But the event was more than just a fun way to spend the day: it also gave them inspiration at a time when the future felt grim, as their mother was undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Although that has since become a fond memory of a good day, it's also warmly remembered by the family as the catalyst that led Josh to establish Ravenchase Adventures, where he now sets up just such engaging hunts for the public.
Now Ravenchase is an event company that offers pre-set and custom treasure hunts and adventure races. As the company has grown, Josh's team has even set up events for a variety of well-known clients, from DreamWorks Studios to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. But regardless of who participates, he and his dedicated staff ensure each two- to three-hour adventure is filled with brainteasers, mysterious clues, and baffling ciphers. Each solved clue leads the groups across town with treasure maps. Fun prizes await at their final destination. In an effort to give back to the community, the company also set up the nonprofit Ravenchase Foundation, which supports organizations that inspire and teach tolerance for history, logic, and the arts.
Shockoe Bottom, one of Richmond’s oldest neighborhoods, is also home to some of Richmond’s scariest ghosts and classiest haunting scenes. During the Capital Creepers Eerie Nights tour, which is guided by ghastly ghouls dressed in historical duds and painted with Hollywood-quality makeup that would fool even the deadest ghost, fright fanatics will discover all the dark and gory details about the haunts of Richmond’s past, present, and future, which are much more thrilling than the commonly known tales of the still-warm ketchup on Colonel William Mayo’s 1737 city plan and the guy on the corner who screams “I’m a ghost” every 15 minutes.
In 1784, George Washington stood before the Virginia General Assembly, lobbying for a canal system that would connect the James River to the Ohio River via the Kanawha River. His vision began to materialize in 1789, when construction began on the canals, leading to further westward expansion and the canals becoming a hub of American history. Today, the guides of River District Canal Cruises lead both public tours and private charters through the canal system, unveiling its storied past to passengers. The Canal Walk, for example, teems with historic significance, from hosting the world’s first successful electric streetcar system to having one of the world’s last functioning triple main-line railroad crossings. Throughout each tour, the boat’s cover keeps guests comfortable by providing shade and deflecting falling satellites.
Whether exploring the historic riverfront, countless landmarks, architectural points, or celebrated sites, RVA Historic Tours transports visitors and locals there in comfort. Cushioned seats line the 26-person frames of their enclosed trolleys, which cruise through the streets for daily public tours and special events such as holiday-lights tours and private charters for all occasions. They also conduct daily historical tours on segways.
The streets and buildings of Richmond breathe with history. Patrick Henry’s famous words, “Give me liberty or give me death,” echo in St. John’s Church, where the statesman gave his infamous speech; the ghost of Poe wanders the streets of the Church Hill district, where he lived and wrote; and the bones of presidents James Monroe and John Tyler lie peacefully under the lush grass of the Hollywood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark. These are just a few of the locations that segway riders glide through during educational tours organized by Segway of Richmond.
The company’s most popular jaunt, the two-hour Landmark Tour, takes groups to nearly 20 historic buildings, churches, and museums, whereas other ventures focus on specific aspects of the city’s past, such as the Black History Tour or the Edgar Allan Poe Tour. In addition to learning about the men and women who shaped the culture of Richmond and practicing their preferred mode of transportation, tour-goers can explore the architecture of Victorian and Edwardian homes during a Fan District Tour or think about murals, mosaics, and sculptures during a Public Art Tour.
Valentine Richmond History Center has inspired visitors to explore Virginia's yesteryears for more than a century, employing exhibitions, tours, research, special events, and educational programs. More than 1.7 million household items, industrial artifacts, and pieces of artwork adorn permanent and changing exhibitions to expound on past lifestyles. Guests enjoy entry to the Wickham House, a National Historic Landmark peppered with artifacts from its prominent former inhabitants. The renovated Edward V. Valentine Sculpture Studio details Valentine's artistic maturation and evolution beyond macaroni portraits by displaying his original works and tools. The museum also invites budding scholars to survey the historic Court End neighborhood as they exhaustively research Richmond's 400-year-old history and determine whether the city was settled by aliens.