6 Vibrant Sites And Cultural Institutions In Virginia

Virginia is a historically rich and geographically diverse state with a wide range of activities to offer its visitors. Whether you are a lover, a foodie, or a history buff, here, listed in no particular order, are some attractions that are sure to pique your interest the next time you find yourself in "Old Dominion."

Starting off our list at #1 is the Gari Melchers Home & Studio, the 18th-century Belmont estate of the prominent portraitist, muralist, and American Impressionist painter. The house contains Gari and his wife Corinne Melchers' original furnishings and personal art collection.

The studio houses over 1,600 works by the artist, and the estate grounds feature restored formal gardens and many miles of walking trails for visitors to enjoy. Because the couple was childless, the property was left in its entirety to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and as a result, it is one of America's most meticulously preserved and richly detailed public artist studios of its kind.

Up next, at #2, Historic St. John's Church was the first church built in the city of Richmond. The structure and burial ground were established on the present site in 1741, and known under various names including New Church and Town Church. The earliest reference to the name "St. John's" dates back to 1829.

The directors of the facility believe that it is one of America's most important historic sites, where George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other Colonial leaders met and, after being swayed by Patrick Henry's Liberty or Death speech, made a decision that changed the course of American history. The church hosts programs and re-enactments that bring the events that led to the American Revolution to life.

Moving on to #3, Agora Downtown is a coffee shop, bakery, used bookstore and gift store. Located in one of Fredericksburg's oldest buildings, which dates back to 1787, the establishment is owned by sisters MJ Stone and Andi Stone Chitty.

Visitors can expect to find espresso, coffee, tea, specialty liquor drinks, baked goods, and sandwiches at this neighborhood hub. The outdoor seating section is dog-friendly, and often features musical performances. Inside, visitors can seek out handmade wares by local artisans, books, and more. For those working on computers, there are plenty of charging stations and power outlets available.

Next up, at #4, The Historic Cavalier Hotel & Beach Club has welcomed travelers to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront since 1927. Since then, the hotel has been restored to its original grandeur, offering travelers a mix of historical style and modern convenience.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the hotel gives a nod to both its past and present. Eighty-five guest rooms and suites each feature luxurious fabrics, bright bathrooms, and updated decorations. Guests can also enjoy a list of amenities, from a classic indoor splash pool and private beach club to dining and a full-service spa.

At #5, the town of Abingdon was established by the Assembly of Virginia in 1778. Two years later, the town played a role in helping the young nation of America gain its independence. Patriots from Virginia and North Carolina gathered at the Muster Grounds to begin a 300-mile march to Kings Mountain, South Carolina. The ensuing battle was a turning point in the Revolutionary War.

Today, tucked in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, the community offers residents and visitors culture, music, and craft. With opportunities for outdoor recreation, and plenty to experience downtown, Abingdon is a popular destination for travelers.

Finally, at #6 on our list, Fire, Flour & Fork is a four-day celebration that consists of over thirty food and drink related events held in and around downtown Richmond. Most events pair local chefs and producers with out-of-town experts for a variety of gatherings that highlight the culinary stories that speak to the community's past, present, and future.

Attendees can expect to partake in tours, lunches, dinners, brunches, classes, chef demonstrations, and more. Every ticketed Fire, Flour & Fork event benefits a local nonprofit, raising thousands of dollars each year.