Iron Pony Adventure Park in Chincoteague Island
RICHMOND – Today, the Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) released What’s New in 2022, the agency’s curated guide to what is new and noteworthy for the travel industry for the coming year. The guide is produced annually and offers a regional look at what’s to come in 2022.
To view the full What’s New in 2022 guide, visit pressroom.virginia.org/whatsnew.
Highlights from This Year’s Guide:
Major News and Openings
- The Archer Tysons is a 178-room boutique hotel in Tysons, and only the seventh property for the award-winning boutique brand that places major emphasis on local discoveries, with a distinct nod to the destination each property calls home. The Archer Tysons greets guests with a spirit of casual elegance – lofted ceilings, exposed brick, and industrial-chic design – and hones in on the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand featuring an impressive variety of Virginia-focused art and products. The Archer Tysons also features a buzzy hotel bar called AKB, stylish event space, and unique design palettes.
- Nicewonder Farm & Vineyards in Bristol opened the Nicewonder Inn in April. This 28-room luxury boutique inn boasts inviting common areas, a world-class culinary and wine program, and beautifully appointed rooms ranging from 325ft to 650ft, highlighted by a 1200 sq. ft. “presidential” suite, all overlooking some of the most beautiful scenery on property.
- Iron Pony Adventure Park, Chincoteague Island’s newest attraction for family fun, recently opened to the public. Guests can climb to new heights & experience the thrill of 30+ aerial obstacles on 2 full levels. Take yourself to the edge and try the pony plunge, a 26-foot-high leap of faith.
Central Virginia and Southern Virginia
- Kings Dominion debuted Virginia’s first 4D Spin Coaster in March. Tumbili suspends riders on either side of the track as the cars flip continuously throughout the ride. Featuring state-of-the-art magnetic technology that induces and controls spinning, this 4D Spin Coaster gives riders the feeling of weightlessness as they cruise along the track tumbling and spinning head over heels in the rainforest tree canopy.
- The Virginia Museum of History and Culture completed a nearly $30 million renovation project in spring with a grand reopening May 14. The renewed museum complex of nearly 250,000 square feet includes multiple new exhibition spaces; a new immersive orientation theater; a new interactive learning space for families; a new research library with a state-of-the-art rare book and manuscript suite, and multiple new education/meeting rooms; a new café, museum store and other amenities; and multiple new and renewed community and event spaces, including a new great hall, a second floor event terrace, an outdoor event lawn, an expanded parking lot, and an improved Virginia Museum of Fine Arts campus connector.
- The Keswick Hall resort went through an extensive, multi-year renovation, that included adding additional guest rooms, a new restaurant (Marigold) featuring world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and other luxurious amenities. The property officially re-opened its doors to the public in fall of 2021.
- Hatch Local Food Hall is a curated collection of local food vendors opened in March on the ground floors of The Current building in Richmond’s Manchester neighborhood. The food hall contains seven local vendors, two bars, a market, private event spaces and outdoor patio and courtyard.
- Art Alley in Downtown Lynchburg opened in October 2021. The project serves as a gateway into the Bluffwalk, a pedestrian walkway where visitors can view the James River, Blue Ridge Parkway, and dine at one of the several restaurants located on the walkway. Art Ally is a bright and vibrant outdoor art gallery with large scale murals and a colorfully painted street. The alley features artwork from 14 Central Virginia Artists.
- The National Museum of the United States Army has officially opened to the public after decades of planning. This 185,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art museum is the first and only museum to tell the comprehensive history of America’s oldest military service branch. These stories are told through the eyes of the U.S. soldier and the impressive museum features several interactive exhibits, a multi-dimensional theater, a Medal of Honor Garden experience, and a kid-friendly and G-STEM anchored Experiential Learning Center where guests can simulate the work of Army soldiers.
- The Ballpark Loudoun opens July Fourth weekend. The Ballpark Loudoun is America’s Favorite Pastime…Re-Imagined. The Ballpark Loudoun will be a unique and fun active entertainment experience that combines integrated cutting-edge technologies, top-of-the-line skill development opportunities and a full-service restaurant and bar, to create a custom experience for all ages and skill levels. The Ballpark Loudoun will have four HitTrax™ Suites, which are interactive batting cages that combine eSports with our national pastime. Game opportunities range from team competitions to home run challenges and can take place in a virtual backdrop setting of more than 40 ballparks from across the country.
- George Washington’s Distillery & Gristmill, located 3 miles from the Mount Vernon estate, still produces Washington’s famous Rye Whiskey using his 18th century recipe and methods. While the site has begun doing limited spirits tastings, visitors will be able to enjoy a new, permanent tasting room on the property in 2022.
- Nineties-inspired Nighthawk Pizza and Beer opened in National Landing in March, with a beer hall fully dedicated to low-alcohol beers that also serve crispy, thin-crust pizza and burgers. The beer menu is from NOVA favorite Aslin Brewery. Visitors may sip cans in the brightly-colored beer hall or take beers for a stroll around the shopping center.
Coastal Virginia – Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore
- Key West Cottages at Chincoteague Bay this summer are adding 33 additional cottages, a pool, a waterfront beach on the bay and a lobby / reception location. There will be opportunities for boat docking, paddle boarding, kayaking, yoga and event options such as retreats and weddings.
- A new, elevated, dining experience made its debut in Virginia Beach’s Oceanfront. Oscar’s Oceanside ignites all your senses with its refined décor, impressive contemporary cuisine, which includes steaks, pastas and the freshest local seafood and dazzling waterfront views.
- Lost Planet Selfie Museum recently opened in Virginia Beach. Explore this new immersive museum designed specifically for your Insta feed with wacky landscapes and over-the-top props.
- The Perry Glass Art Collection, a gallery located in The Glass Light Hotel in Norfolk opened October 2021. This private collection encompasses two floors of over 65 glass art pieces from world renowned artists. Artwork displayed will be rotated out to feature new artists. This Gallery is free to hotel guests and the public.
Shenandoah Valley and Virginia Mountains
- The Buckhorn Inn & Tavern reopened at the end of 2021 under new management. Located in Churchville, it has been serving wayward travelers and locals of Augusta County and beyond with accommodations, food, and spirits since 1811.
- The Liberty Trust, originally constructed as a bank headquarters in 1910 in downtown Roanoke, underwent a full historic restoration as part of its transformation into a 54-room luxury lifestyle hotel which opened in March.
- Harrisonburg has just added a new African-American Heritage Tour. It highlights significant sites associated with Harrisonburg’s African-American residents and history. The tour is called Roots Run Deep and was made available through a printed brochure and the TRAIPSE app (a free app which can be downloaded from any app store).
- The City Foxes: Wine Bar and Market opened February in Waynesboro. The locally owned Wine Bar + Market focuses on Virginia wines, food, and products.
- 1835 Smokehouse, a one-of-a-kind BBQ joint located in an early 1800’s log cabin, opened fall 2021 in Elkton.
Southwest Virginia – Blue Ridge Highlands and Heart of Appalachia
- 404 Cafe & Creamery, serving hand dipped ice cream, coffee, baked goods, and light lunch fare opened in Big Stone Gap in early 2022.
- Michael Waltrip Brewing Company opened its taproom in Bristol in fall 2021.
- Blue Ridge Discover Center opens summer 2022 at its new campus in Troutdale, Smyth County. The family-friendly center is your gateway to the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, with ADA-compliant walking trails through the restored wetlands area, and interpretive programs for all ages.
- The Back of the Dragon, Virginia’s only designated motorcycle route and the premier riding road on the East Coast, has new improvements, including new, motorcycle-friendly lodging on the Smyth County side, new scenic overlook at Hungry Mother State Park completed fall 2021, and new Back of the Dragon Welcome Center in Tazewell.
About Virginia Tourism Corporation
Virginia is for Lovers is one of the most iconic and recognizable travel brands in the world. Using that powerful brand equity, Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) is charged with promoting the Commonwealth as a premier travel destination by showcasing all there is to love in a Virginia vacation. The dollars spent by travelers fuel the economy, provide jobs for Virginians, and improve communities across the state. Simply put, tourism helps make Virginia a great place to live, work, and visit. Learn more at virginia.org.