Offering both visitors and locals guided tours that highlight interesting, off-the-wall eateries, the Food on Foot Tour merges eating with sightseeing to form a casual 2.5- to 3-hour walking excursion. Tourists and residential veterans alike can ingest tasty morsels of truth regarding local entertainment and the Virginia Beach oceanfront while anticipating a wide variety of complimentary bites from establishments that remain a mystery until tour time. Throughout the tour, enough noshable nuggets will be provided to satisfy the hungry screams of stomach varmints, so come hungry. Although guests are not seated at any of the stops, the pace is very casual, allowing the slowest and steadiest of fabled tortoises to keep stride. Restroom stops are also provided along the tour.
Mad Rose Tavern's culinary artisans whip up a simple, elegant menu of American comfort fare with a deliciously modern twist. During dinner, diners can gnaw on grand gastronome pastures with the chicken Kristofer, a boneless breast topped with prosciutto, eggplant, ricotta, and mozzarella, served with ravioli and marinara ($18)—great for edifying taste buds and inspiring eaters to name every entree. Meanwhile, the shrimp and grits—featuring sautéed jumbo shrimp served over smoked-gouda grits with crawfish tails and a creole-cream sauce ($19)—add a slice of Louisiana flair to palates. Eaters eager to bisect the day can drop in during lunch where esculent selections include a smoked-duck salad with organic mixed greens ($12) and the Italian sandwich, a leaning tower of capicola ham, turkey, prosciutto, and sopressata salami topped with fresh mozzarella and served on focaccia ($13).
Riverfront Canal Cruises traces Richmond's roots back to George Washington, who first lobbied the Virginia General Assembly to create the city's canal system as a means of linking the coast to trade opportunities in the west. In 40-minute tours, covered boats glide down the James River and Kanawha Canal, granting passengers an up-close view of the waterways without having to mount a webcam on a duck. Throughout the trip, guides share old stories about the canal and the Canal Walk, broadening guests' knowledge of the area's rich heritage.
In the shadow of national monuments and blooming trees, a chorus of camera shutters click while photographers usher once-fleeting moments into eternity. Premier Photo Tours' staff helps foster such experiences, giving shooters skills with which to go after their photographic pursuits. Each a combination of instructor and guide, the company's camera pros lead themed walks around town that teach kids and adults how to frame scenic shots or get a stubborn art sculpture to smile. Deeper instruction comes in the form of Photo Mentor classes for photographers who want to take a more artistic and technically savvy approach in any stage of their photography development. During any of Premier's sessions, snappers have the opportunity to build community with one another around their budding talents, which can be enhanced on group travel excursions to some of the world's most photogenic locales.
High Meadows Vineyard Inn is a charming bed and breakfast retreat in the Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District of Central Virginia. A renovated farmhouse and pinot noir vineyard, the inn combines country charm with historic elegance. Spend a day exploring the 13 acres of gardens, nearby Monticello or Charlottesville, or relax with a good pop-up book by the fireplace (available in most rooms). In the evening, couples, siblings on retreat, and reunited pen pals can enjoy a dinner for two from a specialty menu that features such entrees as pan-seared lamb chops, broiled salmon, a seasonal vegetarian option, and pork tenderloin medallions. After dining, sink into the quiet of a country night in one of the inn's seven comfortably furnished rooms. Guests wake up in the morning to a complimentary breakfast made from local and organic ingredients.
Footsteps to the Past's professional guides compel patrons to traverse eerie avenues of city history in 60-minute tours in which they promenade along paranormal landmarks and discover startling tales about former Alexandria residents. While delving into documented cases of ghost activity and learning about George Washington's phantom wig, guests will have the opportunity to take pictures in search of acquiring their own bits of ghastly evidence.