The votes are in and the word is out: Cooperative
Living’s statewide readership has spoken in the magazine’s first
“Virginia’s Delightful Dozen” contest.
At the beginning of this year, we asked you, our
readers, to submit nominations for a “best of” contest covering 12
categories. Following are the winners, as well as other nominees receiving
multiple votes, as identified by our statewide readership.
To all of our readers who submitted nominations for
the Delightful Dozen contest, we offer thanks, and to those identified as
Virginia’s Delightful Dozen, congratulations, and keep up the good work!
Best Non-Franchise Restaurant
Winner: Burger Boys, Manassas. In a little over a
year, this restaurant has gained a reputation for made-to-order food and
speedy service, “but not fast food,” according to Sandra Hardeman,
managing partner. “Our distinction is that we offer meat either grilled
or chargrilled over an open flame, and it’s always cooked to order. We
don’t have heat lamps,” she says. The restaurant also has a 40-flavor
ice cream parlor.
Runners-up include Tea Tyme & What Nots
(Fredericksburg), Exmore Diner (Exmore), Virginia Diner (Wakefield),
Sheldon’s Restaurant (Keysville), Evers Family Restaurant (Mt.
Crawford), Brookside Restaurant (Millboro Springs), Perky’s (Altavista),
Bavarian Chef (Madison), Lowery’s (Tappahannock), and Surf Rider
Best Virginia Wine
Winner: Burnley Vineyards’ Rivanna Sunset. A
semi-dry blush made with chambourcin grapes, Rivanna Sunset issues forth
from Burnley Vineyards, established by the Reeder family in 1976 near the
Central Virginia community of Barboursville. Lee and Dawn Reeder and
Lee’s parents, C.J. and Patt Reeder, operate the vineyard, where nine
different grape varieties are grown on 30 acres. The vineyard’s first
planting was in 1977, and the first wine was produced at the vineyard in
Runner-up in this category is Barboursville Cabernet
Best State Park
Winner: First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach.
Established in 1936, First Landing is one of Virginia’s six original
state parks. The park includes the site where Capt. John Smith and the
first English settlers first set foot on the American continent. It is on
the shore of the Chesapeake Bay, at its confluence with the Atlantic
Ocean. It offers camping facilities, including 20 climate-controlled,
overnight cabins, as well as 19 miles of hiking trails through a
biologically rich environment featuring more than 600 species of plants.
Runners-up include Kiptopeke State Park, Breaks
Interstate Park, Natural Tunnel State Park, Douthat State Park, and
Jamestown State Park.
Best Family Destination
Winner: Colonial Williamsburg. One of the most
popular historical destinations in the nation, Colonial Williamsburg is
even more a favorite of traveling families because of its many nearby
attractions, ranging from Busch Gardens to the Kingsmill Golf Course.
Runners-up include Busch Gardens, Paramount’s Kings
Dominion, First Landing State Park, the Frontier Culture Museum
(Staunton), and Shenandoah Caverns’ American Celebration on Parade.
Most Scenic View
Winner: Chesapeake Bay at Sunset. Besides being one
of the most fertile estuaries in the world, Chesapeake Bay offers
breathtaking sunset vistas and, for those on the bayside of the Eastern
Shore, beautiful sunsets, as well!
Runners-up include Assateague Island Wildlife Refuge,
the Star at Mill Mountain (Roanoke), and the Blue Ridge Mountains from the
front lawn of Monticello.
Most Romantic Getaway
Winner: Mountain Lake Hotel, Pembroke. This scenic
2,600-acre Virginia mountaintop resort offers over 20 different types of
accommodations, from single-bed hotel rooms to four-bedroom cottages.
Surrounded by the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and full of history,
Mountain Lake Hotel has been redefining southern hospitality for over 150
years. It was the location for the Patrick Swayze movie, Dirty Dancing.
Runner-up — The Homestead (Hot Springs).
Best Local Festival
Winner: Craig County Fall Festival (New Castle).
Started in 1983, this annual one-day event is held the second Saturday of
each October and offers a slice of genuine down-home Americana with fun
exhibits and activities ranging from home-cooked food booths to country
music and dancing.
Runners-up include the Harborfest (Norfolk), The
Highland County Maple Festival, the Heart of Virginia Festival
(Farmville), the Rockingham County Fair, Lucketts Country Fair, the Eden
Apple Butter Festival (Bath County), Nelson County Days, Taste of the
Mountains (Madison), the Fiddlers Convention (Galax), the Bluemont Fair,
and the Southampton Agriculture and Forestry Museum’s Heritage Day.
Best Flea Market
Winner: Tom Harp’s Flea Market, Virginia Beach.
Started in 1986, Tom and Anne Harp’s flea market has evolved into
Surfside Antiques and Collectibles, a twice-yearly (January and November)
antiques and collectibles show held at the Virginia Beach Pavilion.
Runners-up are the Eastern Shore Flea Market and the
Big Flea Market at the Showplace in Richmond.
Best Farmer’s Market
Winner: Virginia Beach Farmer’s Market.
In operation at 3640 Dam Neck Road since 1976, the Virginia Beach
Farmer’s Market is open year-round and features a variety of
agriculturally inspired shops and related businesses that offer seasonal,
fresh vegetables and fruit in addition to many other products. An organic
grocery, meat market, dairy store, flower shop, restaurant, and home and
garden gift stores offer a unique and varied shopping experience. Homemade
jams, jellies and cookie mixes; plants, herbs and flowers; homemade ice
cream and baked goods; and farmer-to-you seasonal produce allow you to
experience some of the best the agriculture community has to offer.
Runners-up are Charlottesville, Roanoke, and Richmond
Best Customer Service
Winner: Tea Tyme & What Nots, Fredericksburg.
This tea room serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and offers 85
varieties of loose tea. Owner Beverly Payne says customer service is
foremost in the four-and-a-half-year-old family business’s operations.
Her mother-in-law, Annie Payne, prepares the dishes; her niece, Dusty
Martin, manages the business; and her best friend, Claire Ervine, is the
Runners-up in the best customer service category
include Peeble’s Department Store at the Southern Shopping Center in
Norfolk, First Landing State Park (Virginia Beach), Comfort Suites
(Chincoteague), English’s Hardware (Altavista), Yoder’s Market
(Madison), Home Depot in Hampton, and the Capitol Police on Capitol Square
Best Virginia Peanuts
Winner: Appomattox River Peanut Company.
Headquartered in Hopewell, Appomattox River Peanuts come in 14 flavors,
are always prepared with the highest-quality ingredients, and come with a
100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Runners-up include Hubs Peanuts (Sudley), Virginia
Diner (Wakefield), the Good Earth Peanut Co. (Skippers), Plantation
Peanuts (Wakefield), and Blue Crab Bay Co. (Melfa).
Best Virginia Ham
Winner: Smithfield Ham, Smithfield. Available from a
number of food producers, world-famous Smithfield hams are dry salt cured,
then spiced and slowly smoked to perfection using oak, hickory and apple
woods, then aged. Smithfield hams should be sliced “tissue thin” to
properly capture their unique flavor.
Runners-up include Turner Country Ham (Fulks Run),
Calhoun’s Country Ham (Culpeper), and Jimmy Kite/Kite’s Hams (Wolftown).