The catchy saying is known around the world and has even been inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame.
‘Virginia is for Lovers’ debuted over 50 years ago, explaining to readers of ‘Modern Bride’ why they should honeymoon in Virginia.
Over the next half-century, ‘Virginia is for Lovers’ has come to mean a lot of different things to different people. It’s not just newlyweds who love Virginia, nestled between Chesapeake Bay on the Atlantic Ocean and the Appalachian Mountains.
Ways to Fall in Love in Virginia
Virginia is the cradle, the battlefield, and the bedroom of American history. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English colony in the New World.
(Thomas Jefferson's plantation, Monticello/ J Looney)
Right next door to Washington, the ‘Commonwealth’ is home to the estates of eight early Presidents, as well as hallowed battlefield and military sites.
Places like Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains are fabled backbones of Virginia’s natural history. Lush with flora and fauna they are host to fables and current-day outdoor activities, from trail to mountain biking, epic hikes with breathtaking views, camping and backpacking.
Descend from Virginia’s heights to sea level, and you collide with history again, along with current-day thrills.
The rich waters and shores of the Atlantic in Virginia are not only where those first English colonists landed. Today, Virginia Beach holds the Guinness World Record for the longest pleasure beach in the world. Sandy shores stretch for 35 miles, which are also the northern-most warm water beaches on the Eastern Seaboard.
Humans aren’t the only ones who love the fertile waters of storied Chesapeake Bay.
‘Virginia is for Lovers’ takes on new meaning when you discover the state’s most famous local seafood. Oysters thrive in eight different coastal regions in Virginia, each giving a different complex flavor and texture to the mollusk that’s widely considered an aphrodisiac due to its suggestive appearance and abundance of zinc.
This food of love tastes best in proximity to the state’s bay breezes, salt water, sunshine and dockside views, and travelers can join Virginians eating oysters in the state year round, at traditional Chesapeake Bay oyster roasts, marquee events like oyster festivals, as well as at local wineries and breweries and of course, fine dining restaurants.
We may not be traveling to Virginia right now, but we can still infuse a little Virginia love into our own stay-at-home Valentine’s Day or any day we want to share some love, with this delicious oyster recipe, shared with us by Virginia’s Hotel Roanoke.
With a prestigious AAA Four Diamond Designation testifying to the quality of its dining and hotel experience today, the Tudor-style Hotel Roanoke dates back to the latter half of the 19th century, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We bet local, fried oysters have been on the menu since the beginning. Here’s an upscale version to change up a romantic evening at home.
Hotel Roanoke’s Fried Oysters with Crab & Caper Beurre Blanc
Serves 2 as a light, shared treat
· 4 Fresh Medium-size Oysters
· 1 cup Ground Cornmeal
· 1 cup Buttermilk
· Deep-fat fryer
· 1 tsp Chopped Garlic
· ¼ Cup Chopped Onion
· 1 cup White Wine
· 1 cup Vegetable stock
· 2 cup Heavy Cream
· 2 Tbs Hard Butter
· ½ cup Lump Crabmeat
· ½ cup Capers
· Salt & Pepper to taste
To make Beurre Blanc, place garlic, onion, white wine, and vegetable stock in pot. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add heavy cream, bring to the boil and reduce until sauce consistency. Turn off heat, then whisk in hard butter a little at a time until fully incorporated. Strain, then add crab and capers. Season to taste. Leave until needed (covered in warm place).
Heat oil to 360 F. Dip each oyster into buttermilk (coat thoroughly) then into cornmeal, shake off excess, then carefully drop into hot oil. Fry until golden brown (1-2 minutes), drain dry. To serve, place a little sauce in bottom of one or two plates, and then top with Oysters and a few sprigs of micro-greens.
Enjoy with someone you love, and dream of traveling again soon!
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