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- Pedestrians and bicyclists can now explore the Crozet Tunnel Greenway trail that passes through the restored railroad tunnel, which lies over 700 feet below the Blue Ridge Mountains at Rockfish Gap. The nearly mile-long tunnel was constructed between 1849 and 1859 and was designed by Claudius Crozet, namesake of the western Albemarle County community.
- The Fall Line Trail is a paved, multi-use trail spanning approximately 43 miles between Ashland and Petersburg. While the Trail will take years to fully build out and complete, the northern section (Ashland Trolley Line) is near completion as of the end of 2020.
- The Mending Walls Project map in Richmond guides visitors to the public art project that brings together artists from different cultures and backgrounds to create murals that address where we are now in society and how we can move forward through understanding and collaboration.
- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond will exhibit Virginia Arcadia: The Natural Bridge in American Art, an exploration of the artistic portrayal of this spectacular natural landmark through more than 60 paintings, prints, decorative art objects and photographs made between the late 1700s and the early 1900s. The exhibition, free to visitors, will be on view from February 6 to August 1, 2021.
- The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will unveil the long-awaited national memorial to the women’s suffrage movement in spring 2021. After construction delays due to COVID-19, the final stages of the project are moving forward and the site will be a welcome addition to area, which also is home to the new Lucy Burns Museum at the Workhouse Arts Center – a pivotal location in the fight for women’s voting rights and the passage of the 19th Amendment.
- For the first time since Dulles Airport opened in 1962, travelers will have a fast, easy, inexpensive rapid transit option for getting from Dulles to points throughout Northern Virginia when the Silver Line Metrorail extension opens in 2021.
- The Capital One Center, Capital One’s sprawling headquarters complex, will debut in 2021 as a new mixed-use entertainment epicenter in Tysons, featuring a hotel, performing arts venue, retail, and a 1.2-acre skypark that brings green space, a biergarten, dog park, public art, and a pop-up food truck experience (yes, they will be craning the trucks up!) to the area. Capital One Hall, a 1,600-seat performing arts center and 300 seat black box theater, will also be available for groups as well as hosting its own events throughout the year. The complex is also Metro accessible. Anticipated timeline is summer into fall 2021.
- The new Fredericksburg Nationals Stadium and Fredericksburg Expo will be hosting baseball games as well as other sporting and corporate/association events, weddings, and more in 2021.
- The newest installation in Alexandria’s Site See temporary public art installation series will debut in March 2021 and remain on display until November 2021. Groundswell, by Brooklyn-based artist Mark Reigelman, introduces an element of play to the Potomac River’s changing shoreline with an immersive ecosystem of 130 raw wood pilings topped with etched blue mirrors that shimmer like water.
- Expanding upon new Black history experiences launched in 2020, Alexandria will launch a new Civil Rights-themed self-guided tour and coinciding digital content in spring or summer of 2021. Additionally, the Office of Historic Alexandria is planning the reopening of Freedom House Museum, located at the site of the 19th-century Franklin & Armfield slave trading firm.
- Arlington unveiled a new monument honoring military servicewomen called “The Pledge,” located at the entrance to the Women in Military Service to America Memorial at the cemetery entrance.
- The Arlington House will reopen in spring 2021 after a multimillion-dollar renovation.
- Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Dumfries will open January 2021 and brings an array of games including historic horse races, electronic devices, jackpots and more.
- Bel Air 1740, an exquisite 25-acre colonial plantation in Woodbridge, will open in June 2021 and feature rolling fields, spacious gardens, wooded areas and manor house available for receptions, photos and ceremonies.
Coastal Virginia – Chesapeake Bay, Hampton Roads, Eastern Shore
- The 85,000 square foot Apex Entertainment Virginia Beach opened in December 2020 and offers 24 lanes of bowling, VR experiences, a 95+ game arcade room, mini golf, three escape rooms, go kart track, ropes course, axe throwing, a two story American cuisine restaurant and event space.
- After a $25 million renovation and expansion, the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center in Virginia Beach is set to re-open on Memorial Day weekend 2021 and could include a new addition and exhibit for sea lions and seals, a new entrance and a pedestrian bridge to a parking deck across General Booth Boulevard.
- The Glass Light Hotel & Gallery Marriott Autograph Collection will be opening the Art Gallery portion of their venue, located next to their historic boutique hotel in downtown Norfolk in March 2021. It will be accessible both from the hotel itself and from historic Granby Street. Visitors can enjoy pieces by world renowned artists such as Peter Bremers and Lino Tagliapietra.
- The Norfolk Botanical Garden will be hosting the return of LanternAsia in April 2021 – art by day and magic by night with a FantaSea theme, where the world of fantasy collides with the enchantment of the sea. The exhibit of larger-than-life Chinese lanterns will be showcased throughout the garden’s 175-acres where guests can experience larger than life sea creatures, butterflies, a mystical tree, a walk-thru shark tunnel and more.
- VisitNorfolk is working closely with community partners to revamp the self-guided Waterways to Freedom Tour in 2021 to include an in-depth look at Norfolk’s Black stories and cultural sites like our Underground Railroad Network locations and the Attucks Theatre, the oldest remaining legitimate theater in the nation to be completely financed, designed, constructed and operated by African Americans.
- The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton will be offering outdoor performances at The Blackburn Inn in 2021.
- The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum will be changing out its temporary exhibit in April 2021 and will be featuring “The Quarantine Museum.” This exhibit will feature stories of members of the Staunton community as they have navigated the pandemic. The exhibit will have a virtual component and will also be in the exhibit gallery.
- Natural Bridge State Park will be adding to their visitor experiences. The Children’s Discovery Area will be an outdoor experiential area for families to have fun enjoying nature. The area will include a Kids in Parks Track Trail offering four self-guided brochures which teach about pollinators, birds of the Blue Ridge, animals that may be seen in the park and how nature can hide and seek. There will be a certified Nature Explore Outdoor Classroom using natural features to engage children and immerse them in an outdoor environment of creative play. Additionally, the park will soon be designated as a dark sky park with the International Darksky Association.
- Bally Brook Farm, located near the George Washington National Forest, will be planning updates including private parking area, pre orders of local food and beverage baskets, cooking on site, and yoga classes.
- The Atlantic Union Bank Center in Harrisonburg opened in November 2020 as the sparkling new home of the James Madison University men’s and women’s basketball programs, The 8,500 seat venue will also serve as a commencement center, concert venue and host to other events.
- The Carilion Clinic IRONMAN® 70.3® Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon will be held on June 6, 2021 in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. The race will include a 1.2-mile swim at Carvins Cove, a 56-mile bicycle ride through Botetourt County and a 13.1 mile run on the Roanoke River Greenway.
- In 2021, Bedford will be opening a new championship disc golf course designed by five-time world champion disc golfer Paul McBeth.
- The 1921 classic silent film “Tol’able David” was filmed in Highland County and celebrates 100 years in 2021. Some of the buildings seen in the film still stand, and most of the area still looks the same as was filmed 100 years ago. Plans are in the works for a self-guided road trip through areas of interest, potential movie screenings, and expansion of an exhibit at The Mansion House Museum in McDowell by The Highland County Historical Society.
Southwest Virginia – Blue Ridge Highlands, Heart of Appalachia
- TruHarvest Farms is Virginia’s largest hemp farm, located in Christiansburg. Tru Harvest grows hemp and processes it in-house to produce high quality CBD products. The farm offers tours to the public for those who are interested in the operation.
- Christiansburg Marketplace is under a redevelopment project and has many stores opening in early 2021, with several already open. Development will be completed by the end of 2021.
- The Appalachian Trail Center in Damascus is currently scheduled to open in spring 2021 and will be a hub to the Appalachian Trail and the Town of Damascus.
- Ingles Castle (also called La Reviere) is an old home in Radford that is being opened for tours and events. The castle is a Registered Historic Landmark and was built by the great-great grandson of Mary Draper Ingles.
- Construction on new walking trails at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center & Marketplace is expected to be completed by January 2021. These newly constructed walking trails bring back an old feature to the Cultural Center.
- The Tallest Bridge in Virginia is now open to traffic. Located near Breaks Interstate Park in Buchanan County, the bridges in Grassy Creek are the tallest twin bridges in Virginia. The bridges began construction in 2019 and completed construction as well as opened to the public in late November 2020.
- Something Squatchy Adventures, a small family owned campground in Scott County, will be opening again in April 2021 with all new and fun outdoor adventure opportunities for visitors.
- Clinch River Life will re-open Spring 2021 for all new, fun, and exciting Clinch River tubing adventures.
- As part of expanding the Poverty Creek Trail System, new trails are being formed on Brush Mountain. The first half of the project will be completed in 2021, the second half is still in the planning and mapping phase. By the time both phases are complete, there will be 12 miles of new trails for bikers, hikers, and explorers to enjoy.
- Vision Day Spa & Salon has recently opened in the Sessions Hotel in Bristol
- Southwest Virginia’s newest distillery Axe Handle Distilling has opened recently in Pennington Gap.
- The Dehart Botanical Gardens Trail in Patrick County will reopen in 2021.
- The Back of the Dragon Welcome Center in Tazewell opened late 2020 and offers visitors information on Route 16 or the “Back of the Dragon” motorcycle trail. The Welcome Center includes retail space, tourist information, craft beer, frozen yogurt, specialty coffee and an iconic 12-foot dragon.
- The Appalachian Arts Center will be relocating to the historic mill along the Clinch River in Cedar Bluff and expected to open Spring 2021.
- The Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville will open the Jean S. Adams Education Pavilion in October 2021 to generate greater public awareness of the museum, partnering organizations and the entire region. The Pavilion will offer education programs, interpretive elements and multi-use functionality.