Mississippi’s resilient Gulf Coast beckons

By: Glenda C. Booth

Exploring Mississippi’s 26-mile Gulf Coast is a sojourn to small, laid-back towns, sugar-white beaches, artsy enclaves, “aromatic” fishing villages, and even a whiff of William Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County. Life moves at a slow southern pace, and friendly locals greet out-of-towners with a hearty, “Hi ya’ll!” Mississippi Gulf people are proudly resilient.... READ MORE

Batteau festival celebrates the James River

By: Catherine Brown

Boaters piloting 15 to 20 shallow, flat-bottomed boats (called batteaux) will launch on the James River in Lynchburg in mid-June, slowly paddling 120 miles until they arrive at Maiden’s Landing west of Richmond a week later. For the past 33 years, members of the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society have been navigating the James River on such batteaux. For the society’s yearly... READ MORE

South of the border: Raleigh/Chapel Hill

By: Martha Steger

Despite — or perhaps because of — our rivalry with Tar Heels, Virginians love our neighboring state to the south. Unlike our own capital city, North Carolina’s Raleigh, 175 miles southwest of Richmond via I-95, or 155 miles on I-85, received little damage in the Civil War. My husband, Tom, and I — fans of Richmond’s architecture — enjoyed seeing the well-preserved... READ MORE

Taking it easy at three historic Virginia inns

By: Martha Steger

Now is a good time to get out after being cooped up at home during a winter that blasted through the end of March. Virginia’s upper Shenandoah Valley provides not only entry to Shenandoah National Park but also to the 105-mile-long Skyline Drive and, connecting to it further south at Waynesboro, the Blue Ridge Parkway. By mid-to-late May in the valley, the brilliant blossoms of... READ MORE

A weight-loss spa with delectable cuisine

By: Fyllis Hockman

I’d never heard of Lo-Wei (low-weigh, get it?), a unique exercise class that combines yoga, strength training and flexibility. But it stretched my body in ways my mind never thought possible. But it is only one of almost three dozen fitness classes offered as part of the dawn-to-dusk workout, weight loss and education focus of the Deerfield Health Retreat and Spa in East Stroudsburg,... READ MORE

Love stories from five Virginia presidents

By: Martha Steger

With Valentine’s and Presidents’ Days approaching, curiosity turns to what U.S. presidents were like as sweethearts and husbands. Readers and travelers can gain insight into five “romantics in chief” from Virginia — birthplace of eight U.S. presidents — by visiting the related presidential sites in the Commonwealth. We’ve also listed some nearby romantic inns if you’d... READ MORE