In the midst of a worldwide pandemic and calls for social distancing, artists, business owners and members of the hospitality and tourism industries are getting more creative than ever with finding ways to connect with patrons from afar.
The following are ways that you can eat, stay and play in Virginia without leaving the comfort of your home.
Virginia is for history and museum lovers and a number of its most popular attractions are offering tours online.
The Virginia Zoo in Norfolk is hosting digital tours on its website complete with YouTube videos and printable activity sheets for young learners who are currently out of school. Other museums and historic sites providing educational resources for kids include Colonial Williamsburg, Kid’s Square Children’s Museum, the William King Art Museum, theVirginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and Mount Vernon.
Colonial Williamsburg, known for its interactive living history tours, is adding educational resources to its website that include puzzles, quizzes and teachers’ guides, while offering visitors the option to “explore from home.”
Kid’s Square Children’s Museum of Roanoke will be reading children’s books and conducting science experiments on Facebook Live every day until it reopens. Viewers of the livestream will be entered for a chance to win items.
TheWilliam King Museum of Art in Abingdon will be conducting Facebook Live gallery tours on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2 p.m. Viewers will get a behind the scenes look at collections, while children and families can participate from home with live art demonstrations.
TheVirginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center of Virginia Beach will be conducting livestreams and posting video content with behind the scenes tours of the aquarium and crafts for young viewers.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon will provide online tours of the mansion while offering teacher provided resources for parents and students.
Other museums and historical sites offering digital access for an older demographic include the National Museum of the Marine Corps, the Chrysler Museum of the Art and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
TheNational Museum of the Marine Corps, located in Triangle, has worked to create a rich, digital environment that allows visitors to explore the museum without having to leave home. In addition to its virtual tours, the museum has created a distance education program that provides participants an opportunity to dive into virtual learning experiences that highlight the history of the United States Marine Corps.
Norfolk’s Chrysler Museum of Art has an impressive digital collection of international works featuring Islamic, Asian, Pre-Columbian, African, and ancient Egyptian cultures. The museum is the home to 50 different galleries and roughly 30,000 objects. Viewers can explore the museum’s galleries through a virtual tour, or browse the digital collection, also available through the museum’s website.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond is using Facebook to conduct “virtual visits” while offering wellness and mental healthcare advice at lewisginter.org.
For music and performance lovers, a number of Virginia based venues are conducting virtual shows.
FloydFest, one of Virginia’s most notable music festivals, will be using its social media presence to showcase previous FloydFest artists in a series they have titled, the “Virtual Road to FloydFest.” During each virtual performance viewers will be given the option to directly support the musicians by making monetary contributions online. Each person who makes a donation will be entered into a contest to win a five-day pass to FloydFest 2020.
Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion is an annual three-day country music festival that typically takes place every third weekend in September. The festival hosts are using this time of social distancing to showcase artists slotted to perform this year in the Bristol Rhythm Quarantine Sessions.
Viewers will be treated to a series of mini concerts on the Youtube channel during the next few weeks.
The Front Porch is a Charlottesville based music venue and music school. On Tuesdays and Fridays the venue will be live streaming a concert series on its Facebook and Instagram accounts. Performances also will be broadcast on 91.1 FM. Proceeds will benefit the artists. A concert schedule, along with viewing information, can be found at frontporchcville.org/save-the-music. The front Porch also remains committed to providing music lessons in a temporary, digital format.
And Abingdon’s Barter Theatre will be working to stream its scheduled productions from home at bartertheatre.com/barter-theatre-on-demand. In addition to streaming performances, the theatre also will be offering educational resources and lesson plans for families who wish to incorporate theater arts into their homeschool educations.
While Virginia residents currently may not be able to dine in their favorite spots, many restaurants, wineries and breweries are finding creative ways to provide “tasting experiences” from the comfort of living rooms.
Alexandria has generated a new website called ALX at Home. Through this site, visitors can find more than 50 online restaurant deals and a “cocktail corner” with instructional videos to create a happy hour at home.
Other distilleries including Virginia Distillery Company, Cirrus Vodka, Catoctin Creek Distilling, A. Smith Bowman Distilleryand Belle Isle Moonshine also will be providing recipes for creating cocktails at home.
On Wednesdays, Rosemont of Virginia Vineyards & Winery is offering a series of virtual tasting events. Winemakers will share their knowledge and allow viewers the chance to ask questions about winemaking and wine tasting via Facebook Live.
While Virginia navigates its way through challenging and uncertain times, our tourism and entertainment industries remain committed to providing a sense of normalcy while simultaneously staying connected with the patrons, who they love. Through digital tours, online concerts and virtual happy hours, residents and online visitors will have a new way in which to support local businesses, cure the quarantine blues and experience the great state of Virginia from the comfort of their homes.
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