b2ap3_thumbnail_welcome.jpgSo much to brag about here in Virginia! Check out this great book series Virginia, My State.  Every elementary student must master our state's geography and history. Broken up by region, these books are marvelous sources for school projects, especially if you have a fourth grader - and - are perfect for clueing all ages in on nearby destinations. 

Piedmont (Bennett, Doraine) - meaning "land at the foot of the mountains;" discover Thomas Jefferson's Monticello; learn about other leaders including James Madison, James Monroe, Robert E. Lee, Edgar Allan Poe, Maggie Walker, and L. Douglas Wilder; learn about "portage," and transporting goods to boats below waterfalls and rapids; the capital, Richmond, known for manufactuing and shipping; Richmond's General Assembly, the oldest legislative body in the U.S.; the Port of Richmond, the most Western port on the North Atlantic coast; and, learn about Secretariat and thoroughbred racing.  

Coastal Plain (Bennett, Doraine) - climb Old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first one built by the U.S. in 1792; learn about the Chesapeake Bay, the Eastern Shore, the Northern Neck, and the Middle Penninsula; learn about Hampton Roads, one of the largest natural harbors in the world; read about the Great Dismal Swamp which helped hide runaway slaves; learn about the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, one of the world's largest; learn about a variety of Native American tribes.

Blue Ridge Mountains (Bennett, Doraine) - the chemicals released by pine trees and other plants give the sky in this area a hazy blue color, hence the name "Blue Ridge;" the granite rocks in Old Rag Mountain are some of the oldest in the world; Mount Rogers is the highest point in Virginia - more than one mile high; the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world; people come from all over to enjoy bluegrass music and fiddler competitions in Galax; apples grow well here; learn about Smith Mountain Lake, a man-made lake; read about Booker T. Washington, born in this area.

Valley and Ridge (Bennett, Doraine) - do you know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites in the Shenandoah Valley's Luray Caverns and have your heard of its stalacpipe organ? view Natural Bridge, purchased by Thomas Jefferson from King George III for less than what would be $2.00 today; discover Hot Springs in Bath County; did you know that Rockingham County is one of the largest turkey producers in the country?

Appalachian Plateau (Bennett, Doraine) - Daniel Boone found a new path to Kentucky, making passage at "The Breaks" (near Breaks Gorge - the largest canyon east of the Mississippi River); almost half of the energy produced in America is coal - learn about coal mining, how coal is transported, the creation of coke from coal and subsequently steel, and, how forests are restored following mining and logging; how immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, England, and Germany made lives for their families in the harsh mountain terrain and together created a wonderful music called bluegrass; travel The Crooked Road - Virginia's Heritage Music Trail  

As a family, read up on what makes the Old Dominion a wonderful place to live and play. Feel free to dream about the many places you may visit and revisit this year with the great travel site for Virginia is for Lovers