Background: Colonial Williamsburg Governor's Palace. Williamsburg was the capital from 1699 to 1780. Photo by Larry Pieniazek

Living in Virginia

Virginia is for Lovers

History, Geography, Homes, and State Resources of Virginia

Virginia USA Map
Virginia USA Map

Virginia has many things to offer. Northern Virginia has easy access to the Capitol, Washington, D.C. and there are many school and housing options. The state has many opportunities for employment with government contractors, government jobs, and employment servicing the government along with its contractors, the region around Washington, D.C. consistently enjoys one of the nation's lowest rates of unemployment. Northern Virginia can often be pricey, although housing costs differ among the suburbs, which depends upon the amount of space you desire and how near you want to public transportation.

Coming to Virginia also offers numerous opportunities to explore culture and history, including the Mount Vernon estate of George Washington Civil War battlefields and the Monticello of Thomas Jefferson. If recreation outdoors is your bag, relocating to Virginia provides opportunities for biking,, hiking, boating and whitewater rafting. Want culture? You'll find performing arts venues throughout the state. Live at the beach? Virginia has over 3,000 miles along the seashore. Washington, D.C. includes the Smithsonian museums, which includes the Museum of American History, National Museum of Natural History, the National Air & Space Museum. and the National Gallery of Art. And all are free!

The history of America is closely tied to that of Virginia, particularly during the Colonial period. Jamestown, founded in 1607, was the first permanent English settlement in North America and slavery was introduced there in 1619. The surrenders ending both the American Revolution (Yorktown) and the Civil War (Appomattox) occurred in Virginia. The state is called the “Mother of Presidents” because eight U.S. presidents were born there.

Climate

Many variations occur due to the significant relief of the state.. Elevations vary all the way from sea level to Mount Rogers which is 5,729 feet above sea level. The major gradations occur at the edges of the Atlantic Ocean, the end of the Piedmont, and the Blue Ridge and Allegheny chains of the Appalachian Mountains. The ocean has a moderating influence from the east, driven by the Gulf Stream, also brings the potential for hurricanes near the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. Cold air masses come over the mountains, especially in winter, which can lead to great amounts of snowfall when coastal storms known as noreasters arrive up the Atlantic coast.

The interaction of these elements combined with the topography of the state create micro-climates in the Shenandoah Valley, the mountainous southwest, and the coastal plains which are slightly although noticeably distinct from one another.

Demography

  • virginia Geography, Facts and History
  • Virginia Facts & Trivia
  • Virginia Flags
  • Famous People from Virginia
  • Virginia Timeline
  • Virginia Official Song
  • Education

    Virginia Colleges. As of 2011, there were 176 colleges and universities in Virginia. Ranked # 2 in the National Public Universities ranking of US News & World Report 2017, the College of William and Mary is No. 6, Virginia Tech is No. 27, George Mason University is No. 71, and Virginia Commonwealth University is No. 87. Virginia Commonwealth is also ranked the # 1 public graduate school in the fine arts, while James Madison University is the # 8 regional university in The South

    Economy

    THe state economy consists of Agriculture: Cattle, poultry, dairy products, tobacco, hogs, soybeans. Industry: Transportation equipment, textiles, food processing, printing, electric equipment, chemicals.

    Flora and Fauna

    Native to Virginia are 12 varieties of oak, 5 of pine, and 2 each of walnut, locust, gum, and popular. Pines predominate in the coastal areas, with numerous hardwoods on slopes and ridges inland; isolated stands of persimmon, ash, cedar, and basswood can also be found. Characteristic wild flowers include trailing arbutus, mountain laurel, and diverse azaleas and rhododendrons. In 2003, 15 plant species were listed as threatened or endangered in Virginia, including the Virginia round-leaf birch, harperella, Northeastern bulrush, and small whorled pogonia.

    Among indigenous mammalian species are white-tailed (Virginia) deer, elk, black bear, bobcat, woodchuck, raccoon, opossum, nutria, red and gray foxes, and spotted and striped skunks, along with several species each of moles, shrews, bats, squirrels, deermice, rats, and rabbits; the beaver, mink, and river otter, once thought to be endangered, have returned in recent decades. Principal game birds include the ruffed grouse (commonly called pheasant in Virginia), wild turkey, bobwhite quail, mourning dove, woodcock, and Wilson's snipe. Tidal waters abound with croaker, hogfish, gray and spotted trout, and flounder; bass, bream, bluegill, sunfish, perch, carp, catfish, and crappie live in freshwater ponds and streams. Native reptiles include such poisonous snakes as the northern copperhead, eastern cottonmouth, and timber rattler.

    In 2003, 56 animal species were listed as threatened or endangered in Virginia, including the Delmarva Peninsula fox and Virginia northern flying squirrels; Indiana, gray, and Virginia big-eared bats; bald eagle; red-cockaded woodpecker; Virginia fringed mountain snail; Lee County cave isopod; eight species of pearlymussel; three species of pigtoe; tan riffleshell; and three species of whale. At last one-fourth of the rare or endangered species in the state are found in the Dismal Swamp.

  • Virginia State Bird (Northern Cardinal)
  • Virginia Official State Flower (American dogwood)
  • Virginia Official State Tree (Flowering dogwood)
  • Government

    Virginia State Capitol
    Virginia State Capitol
    The Virginia State Capitol is the seat of state government of the Commonwealth of Virginia, located in Richmond, the third capital city of the U.S. state of Virginia. (The first two were Jamestown and Williamsburg.) It houses the oldest elected legislative body in North America, the Virginia General Assembly, first established as the House of Burgesses in 1619. The Capitol was conceived of by Thomas Jefferson and Charles-Louis Clérisseau in France, based on the Maison Carrée in Nimes, France. Construction began in 1785 and was completed in 1788.

    The governor and lieutenant governor (elected separately), and attorney general, all serving four-year terms, are the only officials elected statewide. Elections for these offices are held in oddnumbered years, following presidential elections. The governor, who must be at least 30 years old, a US citizen, and a state resident and qualified voter for five years, may not serve two successive terms. Most state officials—including the secretaries of administration and finance, commerce and resources, education, human resources, public safety, and transportation—are appointed by the governor but must be confirmed by both houses of the legislature. 

    Voters must be US citizens, at least 18 years old, and residents of their voting precinct. Restrictions apply to convicted felons and those declared mentally incompetent by the court.

  • Official Virginia Government Website
  • Attractions

    History is everywhere in Virginia. Four of the first five presidents were born in the state, giving it a head start on the record of eight, the most of any state. Two of its top tourist attractions - Mount Vernon and Monticello - are homes of presidents. Virginia also has the most Civil War battlefields of any state and the places where both the Revolution and the Civil War ended. The colonial capital of Williamsburg, now restored to its 18th-century appearance, was among the hotbeds of the Revolution. But it's not just history that brings visitors here. The state's natural wonders include Luray Caverns, Natural Bridge, the barrier islands of Chincoteague and Assateague, and Shenandoah National Park. The mountains are prime destinations for hiking and other outdoor sports, and the long golden beaches are popular summer destinations.
  • Virginia Tourism
  • Amusement Parks

    Atlantic Fun Park, Virginia Beach
    Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg
    Central Park Fun-Land, Fredericksburg
    Go-Karts Plus, Williamsburg
    Kings Dominion, Doswell
    Motor World, Virginia Beach

    National Parks

    Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Maine to Georgia, CT,GA,MA,MD,ME,NC,NH,NJ,NY,PA,TN,VA,VT,WV
    Appomattox Court House National Historic Park, Appomattox, VA
    Assateague Island National Seashore, MD,VA
    Blue Ridge Parkway, Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina, NC,VA
    Cape Henry Memorial, Part of Colonial National Park, Fort Story, VA
    Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail, Various States VA,MD,DE,DC,PA,NY
    Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park, Middletown and Strasburg, VA
    Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake Bay Watershed, DC,DE,MD,NY,PA,VA,WV
    Civil War Defenses of Washington, Washington, DC,MD,VA
    Colonial National Historical Park, Jamestown and Yorktown, VA
    Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Middlesboro, KY,TN,VA
    Fort Monroe National Monument, Fort Monroe, VA
    Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park, Fredericksburg, VA
    Great Falls Park, McLean, VA
    Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Harpers Ferry, WV,VA,MD
    Historic Jamestowne Part of Colonial National Park, James City County, VA
    Manassas National Battlefield Park, Manassas, VA
    Petersburg National Battlefield, Petersburg, VA
    Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail, the corridor between the Chesapeake Bay and the Allegheny Highlands, DC,MD,PA,VA
    Prince William Forest Park, Triangle, VA
    Richmond National Battlefield. Richmond, VA
    Shenandoah National Park, the Blue Ridge Mountains near Luray, VA
    Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, DC, MD, VA
    Washington-Rochambeau National Historic Trail, MA,RI,CT,NY,NJ,PA,DE,MD,VA,DC
    Yorktown Battlefield Part of Colonial National Historical Park, Yorktown, VA

    National Forests

    Green Mountain National Forest - 408,419 acres
      In Vermont's Green Mountains, this forest includes eight wilderness areas. Among the 900 miles of trails in the forest are the Appalachian Trail and two National Recreation Trails: Long and Robert Frost.
    George Washington & Jefferson National Forests - 1,792,209 acres
      In the Appalachian Mountains, the highest point of the forest is Mount Rogers, also the highest point in Virginia at 5,729 feet in Mount Rogers National Recreation Area. There are 230,000 acres of old-growth forest here, and the Blue Ridge Parkway and Appalachian Trail both run through the forest.

    Sports

    Virginia is the most populous U.S. state without a major professional sports league franchise. The reasons for this include the lack of any dominant city or market within the state, the proximity of teams in Washington, D.C. and North Carolina, and a reluctance to publicly finance stadiums. However, in recent years, the city of Virginia Beach has proposed a new arena designed to lure a major league franchise. Norfolk is host to two minor league teams: The AAA Norfolk Tides and the ECHL's Norfolk Admirals. The San Francisco Giants' AA team, the Richmond Flying Squirrels, began play at The Diamond in 2010, replacing the AAA Richmond Braves, who relocated after 2008. Additionally, the Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays also have Single-A and Rookie-level farm teams in Virginia. The state is also home to United Soccer League club, the Richmond Kickers

  • Virginia Sports
  • Taxes

    Virginia Tax Facts
    • Income tax: 2% - 5.75%
    • Sales tax: 5.3% - 6%
    • Property tax: 0.79% average effective rate
    • Gas tax: 22.40 cents per gallon of regular gasoline, 26.09 cents per gallon of diesel

    Transportation

    Aviation

    Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
    Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
    Virginia Airports. Virginia has five major airports: Washington Dulles International and Reagan Washington National in Northern Virginia, both of which handle over 20 million passengers a year; Richmond International; and Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport and Norfolk International serving the Hampton Roads area. Several other airports offer limited commercial passenger service, and sixty-six public airports serve the state's aviation needs

    Ferries

    The Virginia Department of Transportation operates several free ferries throughout Virginia, the most notable being the Jamestown-Scotland ferry which crosses the James River in Surry County.[281]

    Ports

    The Virginia Port Authority (VPA) is an autonomous agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia that owns The Port of Virginia, a group of facilities with their activity centered on the harbor of Hampton Roads, Virginia.

    The principal facilities of the Port of Virginia are four marine terminals, all on the harbor of Hampton Roads:

    • Newport News Marine Terminal (NNMT) at Newport News, Virginia
    • Norfolk International Terminals (NIT) at Norfolk, Virginia
    • Portsmouth Marine Terminal (PMT) at Portsmouth, Virginia
    • Virginia International Gateway (VIG) at Portsmouth, Virginia
    and one intermodal container transfer facility (dry port):
    • Virginia Inland Port (VIP) at Front Royal, Virginia

    Rail

    Virginia has Amtrak passenger rail service along several corridors, and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) maintains two commuter lines into Washington, D.C. from Fredericksburg and Manassas. VRE is one of the nation's fastest growing commuter rail services, handling nearly 20,000 passengers a day.

    The Washington Metro rapid transit system serves Northern Virginia as far west as communities along I-66 in Fairfax County.

    Major freight railroads in Virginia include Norfolk Southern and CSX Transportation, the former of which is headquartered in Norfolk.

    Roads

    The state government controls most of Virginia's roads, in place of a local county authority as is typical in other states.As of 2011, the Virginia Department of Transportation owned and operated 57,867 miles of the total 70,105 miles of roads in the state, making it the third largest state highway system in the nation.

    Virginia Housing

    The median home value in Virginia is $252,900. Virginia home values have gone up 3.5% over the past year and predictions are, they will rise 3.0% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Virginia is $159. The median price of homes currently listed in Virginia is $305,000 while the median price of homes that sold is $268,800. The median rent price in Virginia is $1,700.
    Virginia Association of Realtors
    Virginia Real Estate Commission
    Virginia Real Estate Listings

    Virginia Cities and Towns

    The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into 95 counties, along with 38 independent cities that are considered county-equivalents for census purposes. Virginia Beach is the largest city in Virginia with a population of 452,745 residents while Clinchport is the smallest with a population of 66 residents.
  • Virginia Cities and Towns
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