THE IN­SID­ERS VIR­GINIA, US

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE - DOROTHY McAULIFFE FIRST LADY OF VIR­GINIA

GO: The birth­place of Amer­ica and the first es­tab­lished colony of the Bri­tish Em­pire in 1607, Vir­ginia (of­fi­cially a com­mon­wealth) is an es­sen­tial ad­di­tion to any trip to Wash­ing­ton DC or the US east coast, with Wash­ing­ton Dulles In­ter­na­tional Air­port lo­cated in Chan­tilly. Home to eight pres­i­dents, Vir­ginia of­fers fas­ci­nat­ing her­itage destinations such as His­toric Jamestowne, must-see sites such as Ar­ling­ton Na­tional Ceme­tery, and abun­dant nat­u­ral beauty. vir­ginia.org.

LEARN: Go back in time and learn what life was like for early set­tlers at Colo­nial Wil­liams­burg, the na­tion’s largest liv­ing his­tory museum, or see how some of the first pres­i­dents lived at Mon­ti­cello, the pri­mary plan­ta­tion home of Thomas Jef­fer­son with its neo-clas­si­cal design and beau­ti­ful gar­dens, or the iconic Mount Ver­non, Ge­orge Wash­ing­ton’s river­side es­tate; colo­nial­williams­burg.org; mon­ti­cello.org; mountver­non.org.

TASTE: Vir­ginia is a ris­ing star in the culi­nary world, in­creas­ingly ac­knowl­edged for its tal­ented chefs and re­mark­able cui­sine. The Inn at Lit­tle Wash­ing­ton is a des­ti­na­tion in it­self; lo­cated in a tiny town on the edge of Shenan­doah Na­tional Park, it is the only re­gional restau­rant in­cluded in the new Miche­lin guide to Wash­ing­ton DC, earn­ing two stars. Vir­ginia is recog­nised as the oys­ter cap­i­tal of the east coast; try the Rap­pa­han­nock Oys­ter Com­pany in Rich­mond, the up-and-com­ing hip cap­i­tal; thein­natlit­tle­wash­ing­ton.com; rroys­ters.com.

EN­JOY: The state is home to more than 280 winer­ies, over 150 craft brew­eries and 30-plus craft dis­til­leries and cideries. Check out RdV Vine­yards, open by ap­point­ment only, which makes just two wines; its 2010 Ren­dezvous was poured at a White House state din­ner; rdvvine­yards.com.

EX­PLORE: Vir­ginia’s many at­trac­tions are con­nected by about 5000km of scenic by­ways, fea­tur­ing plen­ti­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties for hik­ing, bik­ing and stun­ning drives, such as the Blue Ridge Park­way and Sky­line Drive in Shenan­doah Na­tional Park. One lovely place to stay, the Clifton Inn in Char­lottesville, is a beau­ti­ful colo­nial-style build­ing, com­plete with a cro­quet lawn, a lake and hik­ing trails on 40ha; nps.gov/shen; clifton-inn.com.

Dorothy McAuliffe is the wife of the Gover­nor of Vir­ginia, Terry McAuliffe, and has ded­i­cated her ef­forts to elim­i­nat­ing child­hood hunger. The McAuliffes vis­ited Sydney and Mel­bourne late last month on a trade and tourism mis­sion.

In­sid­ers ed­i­tor:

Gra­ham Er­bacher Gra­ham.Er­bacher@news.com.au

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