Hello lover, I’m home! I’ve fallen head-over-heels for what must be one of the world’s most fabulous hotels – a shoe-themed boutique bolt-hole in Virginia, USA.
The marketing motto of the state is ‘Virginia is for lovers‘ and any lovers of shoes will certainly appreciate this fantastic find.
You can’t miss the fabulous Craddock Terry hotel (www.craddockterryhotel.com) – its exterior is adorned with a giant red shoe.
The hotel was created from two former shoe factory buildings in downtown Lynchburg, in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
The footwear theme can be found everywhere from the arty prints in the bedrooms to the items in the giftshop and even the room key cards.
Each guestroom door is also adorned with a shoe – so if you forget your room number, just remember that you were staying in ‘stiletto’ instead.
Close to the railway station, it was the perfect location for an overnight in Lynchburg – home to several historical Civil War sites and a compact downtown area filled with cool boutiques – before I hopped on an Amtrak train to explore the rest of this beautiful state.
Driving in America is so over – the hip people are now rediscovering the romance of train travel.
With gorgeously renovated train stations, spacious trains and super-low ticket prices, I let the train take the strain from Washing DC’s stunning Union Station through Colonial Fredericksburg and on to funky Richmond, with its cool cobbled downtown area, its organic eateries and hip bars, before stopping off again in cool Culpeper.
I also loved the shopping opportunities in Reston Town Centre, an urban village filled with designer names and speciality shops.
A lot of people wouldn’t think of visiting Virginia, but they’re missing out on a true gem, and it’s so easy to get to once you fly into Washington DC too.
The state is also famous for its wine trail – second only to California for the quality and variety of its wines. October is officially Virginia Wine Month, which makes it a great time to go as there are lots of offers and promotions on offer and all the restaurants and bars specialise in homegrown wines.
But it’s not all girly treats – guys will love the Civil War history of each destination on the Amtrak route, and everyone will appreciate the fab restaurants and wineries such as the award-winning Paradise Springs Winery (www.paradisespringswinery.com) in Clifton.
Charlottesville is home to Thomas Jefferson’s stately mountain home Monticello while George Washington’s Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens (www.visit.mountvernon.org) is America’s most visited historic home.
A short 7 hour flight to Washington DC is the gateway to Amtrak Virginia’s route. With just a few hours at most between each location and hotels close to the stations, it’s the perfect way to see the ‘rail’ America. Visit www.virginia.org and www.amtrakvirginia.com for more details. Prices for a round-trip from Washington DC to Lynchburg by Amtrak start from just $29.