When lovers of the great outdoors come to Virginia, their expectations are high – and rightly so! Exploring Virginia means adventure that ranges from combing the beaches of the Atlantic coast to hiking in the tall Blue Ridge Mountains to exploring a variety of inspiring scenes in between.
You can enhance your Virginia travel experience by supporting travel-related companies that are leaders in sustainable practices that protect the land and waters of this vibrant state. This doubles the good times and lets the natural splendor of Virginia sink in while maintaining the beauty for those who come after you.
Virginia promotes this mix of responsible and sustainable business practices and tourism in a way that is environmentally respectful through the Virginia Green Travel Alliance. The organization recognizes and works with restaurants, hotels, wineries, parks, and ecotourism businesses to help them be environmentally responsible while serving Virginia visitors.
Create your sustainable vacation with one of the following establishments, prime examples of ecotourism only found in Virginia.
Would you like to combine a waterfall hike with a visit to a winery? DuCard Vineyards is located in the shadow of Shenandoah National Park near the wild waterfalls of Whiteoak Canyon in Shenandoah. DuCard Vineyards sets the standard for green wineries. This leading producer of organic wine uses cutting edge biodynamic practices (harnessing the natural properties of the land with minimal effort and a long-term approach to preserving the land and the environment). DuCard Vineyards just wants to be a good steward of the land when, among other things, they compost by-products from grape waste and filter sewage through a wetland they created themselves. Be sure to visit the tasting bar and enjoy vineyard tastings as well as new wines. Improve your game with a wine flight combined with delicious platters of locally made gourmet cheese or a homemade dessert.
Mountain Lake Lodge
The historic Mountain Lake Lodge, where the legendary movie “Dirty Dancing” was filmed, is part of the nonprofit Mountain Lake Conservancy, which protects 2,600 acres of scenic Appalachian highlands. The untamed forest ecosystem ensures the water quality of the stream while protecting the lesser-known flora and fauna, including the broad-lipped orchid and sought-after bird species such as the northern great owl and yellow-bellied sap licker. The land is also used for scientific research with its enticing hiking trails that lead to lookouts like Bald Knob and Butt Mountain. After a rewarding hike in the nature reserve, you can dine from farm to table in the hotel’s Harvest restaurant. Then you can stay at the Main Stone Lodge, a rustic cabin, or a modern mountain home, all located at 4,000 feet on Virginia’s highest lake.
The restaurant on Patowmack Farm
Photo Credit: Todd Wright, IG Account: @toddwrightphoto
Would you like to combine a relaxing float on the Potomac with a dining experience in one of the first restaurants on America’s organic farm? The restaurant at Patowmack Farm near Lovettsville will do this for you. Her motto is: “Nourish the soul and arouse the palate.” They do this with freshly grown produce from their own farm – along with other local ingredients – and combine them for a standout dining event. As one of the first certified organic farms in Virginia, they take a long-term, healthy view of agriculture, alternating crops and relying on smart conservation while protecting the soil at the same time. On the way to Patowmack Farm, first paddle the legendary Potomac River through island-lined waters from Point of Rocks to Whites Ford Regional Park and spend the evening at Patowmack Farm with a fun meal that you won’t forget.
Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Market Place
Photo credit: Kalen Collins
Would you like to support arts and craftsmen doing their craft in a way that helps the environment by reusing materials and turning them into works of beauty? Come to Abingdon and explore the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center and Market Place. Admire locally handcrafted trinkets such as glasswork, ceramics, jewelry, and clothing. Find out in advance for live demonstrations by craftsmen. The center also supports farms in the area by selling local produce and hosting agrotourism events such as wine pounding and apple butter making. And when you’re in Abingdon, a must-do tour of the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail – a repurposed railroad track that runs through beautiful terrain – is a bike ride.
Regardless of your chosen outdoor Virginia vacation – whether you paddle the coast, hike the mountains, bike a railroad track, or camp somewhere in between – you can visit parks, accommodations, wineries, restaurants, and artisans in Virginia that feature their unique specialties and services combine real love and respect for those around you. It’s the way to Virginia.
The post 4 Stunning Destinations That Define Sustainability in Virginia first appeared on Virginia’s travel blog.