Coastal Virginia Is for Lovers: 25 Staycations Ideas You’ll Love

Whatever your passion and whomever you share it with, make the most of all the region has to offer with these themed romantic staycation ideas for curing those winter blues

Feature Photo Courtesy of Fowler Studios

Grab a date, a hubby, a bestie, or an entire gaggle of your closest gal pals and book a weekend of fun for art lovers, history lovers, wine lovers or whatever makes your collective hearts happy on Valentine’s or any time. You’ll fall in love with these ideas for local “getaways” inspired by some of our favorite things. And your local restaurants, hotels and businesses will love you right back! Love is love, as they say. Enjoy.

XOXOXO,

Coastal Virginia Magazine

History Lovers Hit the Town in Hampton

The enriching and unique historical experiences touted by the city of Hampton are arguably the most distinguished and diverse in all of Coastal Virginia. Hampton sometimes assumes the rap of a nondescript thoroughfare between the Southside and the Peninsula, but recent revitalizations assert the coastal town as a secluded and scholarly destination. If history is your love language, what better place to bond than in museum hallways or on former military grounds?

Stay

Skip traditional lodging and opt for a stay at the Magnolia House Inn, a locally owned, three-bedroom Victorian turned bed and breakfast. Revel in spacious guest rooms outfitted with high thread-count bedding, spa-caliber bath products, and of course, a delectable full-course breakfast included with your stay. Also during your visit, be sure to inquire about the inn’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks Register; there are certainly countless stories to be told.

Sip

A trip to Fort Monroe’s Oozlefinch Beers & Blending is a bit of a history lesson in and of itself. A host of sightseeing experiences flank the two-way drive of the defunct military installment. Drive across a moat to the center of the fort, visit the Casemate Museum or soak in sweeping views of the salty shoreline. Only when sipping one of the brewery’s lactose-forward concoctions can you ponder the existence of the mythical Oozlefinch. Some locals hold the exceptional bird as truth, while others blame the wild imagination of the late Captain H.M. Merriman. Other boozy stops to make include Sly Clyde Ciderworks, Fox Tail Wine Bar and 1865 Brewing.

Savor

A myriad of restaurants pepper Hampton’s downtown district. Share a pizza at Venture Kitchen & Bar or fix your hamburger hankering at the city’s funky Brown Chicken Brown Cow. You can also nibble elevated bar eats at the warehouse-cum-brewpub dubbed The Vanguard. The industrial-esque establishment pairs its bar bites with local brews and house-distilled spirits.

See & Do

Talk about an exhaustive list. Museums and parks claim real estate on nearly every block of downtown Hampton. For lunar lovers, we suggest tours of the Virginia Air & Space Science Center and nearby Air Power Park. For those with a thirst for local history, be sure to check out the Hampton History Museum, Hampton University Museum and Newport News’ Virginia War Museum. While in Newport News, make a pitstop at The Mariners’ Museum & Park to wander the campus’ miles of hiking and biking trails or to catch a glimpse of the partially preserved USS Monitor anchor.

Shop

Museum gift shops are your best bet for finding memorabilia from your Hampton staycation. Otherwise, you can shop brand-name stores and a handful of local boutiques at the nearby Peninsula Town Center.

Small-town Sweethearts in Smithfield

Get ready to charm your sweetheart with small-town charm. Because Smithfield has it in spades. Ham may have put this historic Main Street on the map, but with “lots of heart” and “so much to love,” as the official “Genuine Smithfield” website boasts, what better spot to cozy up and get away from it all for a weekend of warm welcomes from friendly folks as you explore all the arts, eats and attractions it has to offer? Go ahead, ham it up with your honey.

Stay

There’s plenty to love about the Lodge at Smithfield Station. Celebrate with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, waiting for you in your room, complete with a fireplace and a view overlooking the Pagan River. Or splurge on one of their Boardwalk or recently renovated Lighthouse rooms on the marina. The latter even has a private spiral staircase with access to a 360-degree scenic window overlook. Other B&B style options in town include the iconic Smithfield Inn and the Mansion on Main, housed in a 130-year-old canary yellow Victorian mansion.

Sip

Winter is wonderful at SummerWind Vineyard. And wine time is a fine time for their outdoor firepit or tasting room. Sample their wines made from 100% Virginia grapes and featuring wines created on a strip of land lying between the James and Pagan Rivers. Hence the monikers of their red and white blends “The James,” “The Pagan,” and the “Two Rivers White.” Over at Wharf Hill Brewing Company, they not only tap brews like their Outage IPA or Coconut Brown Ale, but they are known to serve up romantic candlelit dinners around Valentine’s.

Savor

Get a jump on V-day by treating your favorite foodie to the annual Smithfield Restaurant Week, happening Jan. 28-Feb. 5 and featuring special prix fixe menus. Or whip up a winter picnic with supplies from The Main Gourmet; from bacon jam and bruschetta to cheese crisps and chorizo, you can’t go wrong. Do the dinner date at The Smithfield Inn Dining Room with Cordon Bleu, crab cakes or a “Waterman’s Supper.” And don’t forget the sweet treats for your sweetie at RingO’s Donuts or Yummaries Bakery.

See & Do

Start your day with a double date: visit the statue on Main Street by acclaimed sculptor George Lundeen, literally called The Valentine Couple. Strolling through Windsor Castle Park is also must. Or go way back in time with a visit to Virginia’s oldest church building, St. Luke’s Historic Church & Museum.

Shop

Find all things fresh, clean and locally made at Perfectly Natural Soap’s Smithfield location. If you’re feeling floral—and survey says you ought to—check out Fleur de Fou a block away. Or take home an original from The Arts Center @ 319.

Absolutely Artsy in Downtown Norfolk 

Whether paintings or pirouettes are your jam, if you and your lover are lovers of the arts, Downtown Norfolk is the place to be.  From the gorgeous, historic Wells Theatre to the world-class Chrysler Museum of Art, it’s easy to create a perfect weekend complete with plenty of art you can eat and drink.

Stay

Artistry and glamour collide at the Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, a stunning boutique hotel in the historic Royster Building on Granby. Glass sculptures adorn just about every shared space and the adjacent, recently opened gallery showcases a world-class private glass collection, free to visitors and guests. The food and craft cocktails in their restaurant are works of arts themselves. Get a glass of champagne at check-in and your very own keepsake glass rose when booking a romance package.

Sip

The fine art of fine wine awaits on the legendary Todd Jurich’s Bistro’s extensive wine list; you’ll fall for his French wine dinners, too. Please your palates in an intimate setting at Cork & Co wine and martini bar. Creative, crafty cocktails abound at spots like Four Eleven York and Saltine. If hops make you happy, head to Brick Anchor Brew House, where you can enjoy 60 beers on tap while admiring the artsy steampunk décor.

Savor

Syd Meers—the man, the myth, the legendary chef—is also an artist. And his Syd’s Fish Pig Café is like a mini museum of Syd, full of wonderfully weird art and campy tchotchkes galore. But it’s what’s on his dinner plates that will really butter your sweet potato biscuit. Jazz things up at Gershwin’s, sophisticated bistro meets speakeasy piano bar. And marvel over the aesthetic beauty and flavor bliss of Hummingbird Macarons & Desserts by the gifted Kisha Moore.

See & Do

How sweet it is: live theater is back! Broadway in Norfolk brings Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Chrysler Hall Feb. 11-13. Talk a walk through the nearby NEON District, where artists’ murals set brick walls ablaze with color, watch artists at work at the d’Art Center or head to the Chrysler Museum of Art—where an immersive installation by artist Lauren Fensterstock, opening Jan. 15, transforms a gallery into a dark, glittering cosmos.

Shop

Supporting the arts and local artisans is a breeze when you breeze through Selden Arcade. From Lorak Jewelry to Werther Leather Goods, Pure Lagos African art to Kor Vintage funky retro fashions, there’s something for every artsy lover to love.

World of Wine Weekend in Williamsburg

Remaining as one of Virginia’s oldest settlements, Williamsburg attracts thousands of history buffs each year. Another breed of tourists descends on the colonial grounds too, however, and not only for the city’s history, but its deep-seated role in winemaking. Whisk your partner away for a romantic weekend among the rolling vineyards of the Virginia Peninsula. Curl up next to a blazing fire and savor the aromas of centuries-old vines from Williamsburg, Lanexa and beyond.

Stay

Iconic luxury—that’s the tagline for The Williamsburg Inn, and truthfully, we couldn’t describe the five-star resort any better ourselves. Situated just a few blocks from Colonial Williamsburg’s storied Merchant Square, The Williamsburg Inn is a dream accommodation in which to relax and unwind. Prepare for a spirited day of winery hopping by rejuvenating your body at the hotel’s nearby Spa of Colonial Williamsburg. Bookend your day with fireside entertainment on the al fresco Social Terrace or with creative cuisine in the resort’s charming Terrace & Goodwin Rooms.

Sip

Glasses, or bottles, await to be sipped on this sophisticated yet boozy getaway, so we suggest hiring a driver for the weekend. Your winery tour can commence at any one of the following destinations, but hitting them all is a must. Williamsburg Winery offers multiple tasting settings, the best being the formal Tasting Room and the two-story 1619 Pavilion. Both Saudé Creek Vineyards and Gauthier Vineyard, located in Lanexa and Bahramsville respectively, also boast intimate tasting spaces for their guests to explore flagship favorites and seasonal sips. Travel a bit farther north for an unforgettable beer and wine experience as New Kent Winery, also home to Talleysville Brewing Company.

Savor

Wine tasting is a marathon, not a sprint, so staying hydrated and well-nourished is paramount to the weekend’s success. Nosh on exquisite eats at Williamsburg Winery’s Gabriel Archer Tavern or from New Kent Winery’s on-site kitchen. Need something more substantial than crudité and charcuterie? Sink your teeth into the mouthwatering platters of long-standing Williamsburg diner, Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que. Indulge in the smoky, tangy flavors of pulled pork and brisket, and don’t forget the classic Southern fixings like mac-n-cheese, hushpuppies and house-made slaw.

See & Do

Since a stay at the Williamsburg Inn puts you within walking distance of the colonial district’s main drag, embarking on a self-guided tour of Duke of Gloucester Street is well worth your time. Marvel at 18th century structures and tour the underground levels of The Arts Museum of Colonial Williamsburg.

Shop

In addition to the cases of Virginia vintages you’re likely to take home, consider stopping at the Williamsburg Premium Outlets to shop the best of high-end brands like Coach, Johnston & Murphy, Lucky Brand and more.

Glam for Galentine’s in Town Center Virginia Beach

A staycation is all about cozying up in local joints you wouldn’t otherwise get to experience. With its plethora of boutiques, eateries and self-care salons, the Virginia Beach Town Center is the ideal place to celebrate your next girls’ weekend. Locals and out-of-towners alike will revel in the city’s premier offerings just a few miles inland from its famous Oceanfront strip.

Stay

Perhaps the biggest draw to a staycation at the Virginia Beach Town Center is the destination’s walkability. Once you check into the Westin Hotel, you won’t have to worry about driving or catching an Uber for the rest of the weekend. The Westin is just a stone’s throw from the center’s best restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. It is also a quick, 15-minute jaunt to Norfolk International Airport, should any gal pals be flying in to join you. The luxury hotel touts modern furnishings, a pool, fitness area and even invites guests’ furry friends to partake in the staycation fun.

Sip

Whether you all are reliving the college days with jumbo margaritas or introducing friends to local brews, Town Center has the bar for you. Get the party started with funky cocktails and nostalgic board games at Quirks, then pop over to the newly opened Three Notch’d Brewing to tap into purely Virginia flavors. You can also grab to-go bottles of wine, cocktails, beer and more at TASTE to continue the Galentine’s fun in your group’s Westin suite.

Savor

Town Center is chock-full of beloved chains, but we’re all about supporting. During your first morning in Town Center, treat yourselves to flavored lattes and handcrafted breakfast sandwiches at Town Center Cold Pressed. They offer cold pressed juices, smoothies and nutrient-rich ‘smuices’ too. To escape the hustle and bustle of the mini metropolis, relax and refuel in the zen-like dining room of Zushi, a locally owned Japanese Bistro with renowned chef, Kevin Chang, at its helm. And grab some chocolate goodies at The Royal Chocolate.

See & Do

You know how young girls bond over arts, crafts and hair? Well, the same stands true for adults. The ultimate Galentine’s Day isn’t complete without proper pampering. Give your group fresh blowouts at Drybar followed by a classic mani-pedi at MODERN Salon and Spa and full-blown makeover at Blue Mercury. Once you’re buffed and beautified, snap a group photo in front of the giant, holiday pop-up heart in front of Zeiders American Dream Theater.

Shop

Another major plus to a Town Center staycation? You don’t need to pack any bags. All of your shoe, clothing and jewelry needs await at shops like Monkee’s, Anthropologie, LOFT and more. You can shop athleisure too at the newly renovated Lululemon or at Town Center’s newest addition, Nike by Virginia Beach.

Categories: Getaways, Restaurants & Food, Top Story – Getaways, Weekends