For many years the state’s tourism slogan has been “Virginia is for lovers,” but following a golf trip there last year I’m convinced a better slogan would be “Virginia is for golfers, wine lovers, spa goers and history buffs.” My slogan is a bit cumbersome but a lot more inclusive when it comes to defining the character of this southern, mid-Atlantic state where most of its golf courses can be played year-round.

My five-day itinerary promised a few rounds of golf , several indulgent spa treatments, wine-tasting excursions at a couple of Virginia’s top wineries and visits to some of America’s most important historical sites. It was the kind of itinerary that would appeal to golfers wanting more than a one-dimensional golf destination.

First stop on the agenda was the Kingsmill Resort and Spa at Williamsburg, an upscale property hugging the edge of the scenic James River in eastern Virginia. Spread over 2,900 acres of former colonial plantations, the resort has 425 guest villas with most rooms overlooking the river. A late afternoon arrival still provided sufficient time to play the resort’s par-3 Bray Links where several of its holes rim the river bank. This is a picturesque little course that’s a perfect warm up for play on Kingsmill’s three championship 18-hole courses.

The Pete Dye-designed River Course is the resort’s jewel currently ranked in Virginia‘s top ten, however, its Curtis Strange-designed Woods Course happens to be the local favourite. This is a classic parkland layout with a mix of long and short holes, a rolling terrain, plenty of trees and a huge double green that features a bunker in the middle.

Kingsmill’s threesome of awesome tracks is rounded out by the Arnold Palmer-designed Plantation Course, a par-72 layout that responds to accurate iron play, good putting and has water on eight of its 18 holes. Overall, the Kingsmill golf experience, complete with its teaching academy, was expected from a top notch facility–great layouts, impeccable conditioning and flawless service.

The resort overall has all the bells and whistles including a state-of-the-art spa just steps from the villas. It offers a variety of massages and other treatments that can be tailored to limber up muscles for better game performance.

In addition to golf and spa, what’s particularly appealing about Kingsmill is its proximity to a host of local attractions that are literally minutes away. Probably best known is Colonial Williamsburg, America’s largest re-created 18th-century village where it’s walking-friendly streets feature 90 original buildings, shops, taverns, restaurants and costumed interpreters practicing pioneer trades. This is a fun spot to visit after a round of golf and a good place to enjoy dinner at one of the colonial-style taverns like King’s Arms where the experience replicates dining and drinking in the same establishments where, on the eve of the American Revolution, patriots railed against the policies of the British Crown over mugs of ale.

Again, just minutes from Kingsmill are the Jamestown Settlement and the Yorktown Victory Centre. Even if you’re not a history buff, both of these sites are well worth a visit. The two attractions are situated just minutes apart and both feature gallery exhibits and re-created historical settings presenting the story of America’s beginnings.

The resort is also a short drive from the Williamsburg Winery, the largest of the state’s nearly 150 wine making facilities. Situated in a replicated Old World-style village, you can sample the wines at either the on-site restaurant or during daily wine tasting tours. Almost within shouting distance from the resort is Busch Gardens, one of Williamsburg’s top attractions. This family fun theme park has more than 50 thrilling rides, entertainment attractions and stage shows.

Next stop on the itinerary was the Boar’s Head Inn Resort and Spa about a two hour drive northwest of Williamsburg. Like Kingsmill, this turned out to be a premier property with a challenging golf course, great spa and plenty of things to see and do in close proximity. The 170-room hotel itself is a grand old edifice that marries vintage character with all the modern amenities. Here, I played the resort’s Birdwood Golf Course where its 18-hole championship layout is nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The front nine has clearly visible landing areas and good approaches to greens while the scenic back nine meanders through a less forgiving, densely wooded area and a rolling terrain. Beyond golf, the Inn has a full-service spa, an outstanding dining room and one of the finest wine cellars in Virginia.

Rounding out a junket that explored this multi-dimensional region of the Old Dominion was a visit and guided tour of Monticello, famous home of Thomas Jefferson, third U.S. President and author of the American Declaration of Independence. This architectural masterpiece designed by Jefferson himself is one of the most visited historical sites in the country.

Travel Planner

Travel Planner: For additional information on golf and travel in Virginia, go online at www.virginia.org or call 1-800-671-4195.