One of the perks of living in DC is that Virginia is our neighboring state. Perhaps I’ve become a bit biased, but I have to say it’s one of my favorite states in the union. It is diverse in every sense: people, landscapes, sea, mountains, wine, beer, and the list goes on and on. However, there’s one thing I do not like about Virginia: the traffic. Anyone who has been on I-95 on a Friday night can feel my pain. Therefore, train travel has become my go-to for weekend trips. Here are five places to discover Virginia by train on Amtrak.
For my friends traveling north, Alexandria is a great destination for a weekend getaway. Just a quick metro ride from Washington, DC, you can explore the best of both worlds. Old Town Alexandria has a colonial charm. Wander on the cobblestone roads and admire the colorful townhomes. Head to King Street and get your shopping fix with locally owned shops. For the lovers of food, there are plenty places to indulge. From fine dining at Restaurant Eve to delicious doughnuts at Sugar Shack, you’ll have plenty to keep you full!
Where to stay: The beautifully modern Hotel Indigo along the Old Town Waterfront makes a great base to explore from.
Roanoke is an easy way to discover Virginia by train if you’re coming from Washington, DC or Northern Virginia. Their new route has captured the interest of many-from Virginia Tech fans to craft breweries lovers like ourselves. One of the main questions we got from our trip to Roanoke by train was the car situation. We didn’t miss our car! We got to do plenty with Uber or by walking. Downtown Roanoke is a walkable area, with plenty of restaurants, breweries, and shops to keep you busy for a weekend.
Where to stay: Not only is Hotel Roanoke a beautiful historical property, it is only a five-minute walk from the train station.
In my humble opinion, Charlottesville is one of the more picturesque small cities in Virginia. With its cozy downtown area, beautiful wineries such as Pippin Hill, and of course, the University of Virginia, it makes for a fun getaway. Due to its college population, it is a young, vibrant community. You can see that with the farm to table eateries, breweries, and up and coming cideries.
Where to stay: Graduate House is a hip design hotel in the heart of Charlottesville.
For the lovers of the sea…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought about going to Norfolk or Virginia Beach but I see the traffic on Google Maps and my plans change. Discover Virginia, beautiful coastal Virginia by train. This is especially a treat if you’re coming from Northern Virginia or Washington, DC. If you’re a connoisseur of Naval history, head to the Nauticus Museum. For the lovers of art, head to the Virginia Modern Museum of Art. Have a taste of Virginia farm to table delicacies at Commune. Hit the waves on a short Uber ride to Virginia Beach.
Where to stay: Hilton Norfolk The Main has stunning views of the bay and some of the best cocktails in town.
If you are going to discover Virginia by train, you must add Richmond to your itinerary. It was love at first sight during my first trip last year. The food, architecture and friendly people make it a place I recommend repeatedly to our readers and followers. Head to Sub Rosa for their unforgettable pastries, Maple and Pine for a proper southern brunch, and Hardywood for local-made craft beer. Take a stroll along the FAN district and check out the lively scene, especially on weekends.
Where to stay: For a cozy home away from home feel, stay at Linden Row Inn, a beautiful urban Bed and Breakfast.
Discover Virginia by Train: The Verdict
Whether it is sipping on Petit Verdot at a Virginia winery or dipping your toes in the Atlantic, there is no shortage of places to discover Virginia by train. These five places are so different but they all have several things in common: delicious food, friendly locals, and unforgettable sceneries.
Some practical tips for train travel on Amtrak:
- Book in Advance: I hate the ticket shock I get when I wait until the last minute. You can get great deals on Amtrak, but you have to book on time.
- Military Discount: There’s a 10% military discount available. Make sure to check the Military Discount option when booking your ticket.
- Be on time!!! The train waits for no one!