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Civil War Sites in Loudoun County, Virginia

With the start of the Civil War  Sesquicentennial  this year, the war between the states is being commemorated with special events, exhibits and reenactments. There are many well-known battlegrounds to visit: Gettysburg , of course,  Antietam , Bull Run and, where it all began, Fort Sumter . But those memorials can be jammed with tour buses. An alternative is to visit less crowded sites in Virginia where a third of all Civil War  battlefield encounters  took place. That so many battles were fought in Virginia makes sense when you look at the map. If you were the Confederate army, Virginia was the border state that put you within striking distance of Washington, D.C. For the North, the capitol of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia was a tempting target. Twenty five miles west of Washington, Loudoun County offers many advantages for travelers who want to visit Civil War sites.  Even before visiting in person, online sites offer immersive views with videos and 360-panoramas o

Virginia’s Eastern Shore

With Chesapeake Bay on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other, three states— Delaware, Maryland and Virginia--share the Delmarva Peninsula.  B arely nine miles across,  Virginia’s Eastern Shore occupies the narrowest, southern most portion of the peninsula. The area is easily accessible using major highways including I-95, Amtrak service to nearby Newport News and daily commuter flights to Norfolk, Virginia. To fully explore the peninsula, a car is a necessity. All major national rental car companies have outlets on the mainland. Insider’s Tip: check out Virginia’s Eastern Shore web site for an overview of the peninsula, including lists of seasonal events, park lands, recreational opportunities, accommodations and places to eat. Taking the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel-Bridge to reach the peninsula, you do so not because you expect to see great theater, visit world-class museums, walk busy streets and spend an afternoon in crowded cafes people watching. You drive across seventeen

Chef Eric Haugen at Seasons, the Ocean House Hotel, Watch Hill, Road Island talks about his farm-to-table menu

At the conclusion of the Civil War, the Ocean House was one of half a dozen luxury hotels built in the resort community of Watch Hill, R.I.. The hotel sits commandingly on a bluff overlooking the waters of Block Island Sound, with the northern tip of Long Island only a few miles away. In time, the hotels fell into disrepair and were lost to the ravages of fire, weather, and residential development.  Declared unsafe, the Ocean House was slated to disappear along with her sisters. In 2005 the hotel was rescued from demolition with a commitment to restore the property by dismantling the structure, piece by piece, and reconditioning storm battered wood and eroded stone. Reopened in 2010, the interior rooms were modernized, with the lobby and dining areas redesigned to take advantage of the sweeping views of the water and private beach below the bluff. The room with the best view is Seasons, the main restaurant, with windows running along the ocean facing side of the hotel. S