Virginia's all-American ‘old school’ road trips

Date Posted: 12/09/2013

Carl's Frozen Custard

Pictured: Stop in at Carl's Frozen Custard for traditional American treats. (Photo credit: Bill Crabtree, Jr., Virginia Tourism Corporation).

If you’re after the best of ‘old school’ America, why not take a group trip to Virginia?

A road trip for the adventurous can take in plenty of retro sights, from the birthplaces of some of the USA’s world-renowned diner treats including the ‘Skeeterdog’ hotdog, to the haunts of swing legends and some of the last drive-in cinemas.

Visit diner hangouts of old school music legends

Delve into America’s retro music and diner scene at the Southern Inn in Lexington, or at Bristol’s Burger Bar in the birthplace of country music.

The menu at the Burger Bar boasts dishes named after the songs of country music legend, Hank Williams, who reportedly enjoyed his last meal here.

Alternatively, the Southern Inn is known as the restaurant where Big Band leaders from the swing era, including Glen Miller and Gener Krupa “hung out”.

Stop in at the birthplace of the waffle ice cream cone

Foodie groups won’t want to miss out on a visit to one of America’s oldest diners; at over 100 years old, Doumar’s Cones & BBQ was the birthplace of the world’s first American waffle cone.

Enjoy retro diner décor, curb side service, Virginian BBQ treats and plenty of ice cream and waffle cones. 

Alternatively, take a drive to Carl's Frozen Custard, an ice cream stand and National Historic Landmark in Fredericksburg, famous for 50s-style fresh frozen custard.

See Stonehenge, in an alternative form

Group travel organisers can also opt to visit ‘Foamhenge’, a life-size replica of Stonehenge made of foam.

Constructed by artist Mark Cline, the monument was conceptualised as an April Fools prank, and resides at Natural Bridge - an attraction in its own right boasting a natural bridge of rock in the Shenandoah Valley.

Hull Drive-In

Pictured: Hull Drive-In boasts an open-air film theatre for groups to enjoy. (Photo credit: Virginia Tourism Corporation).

Watch a film at one of America’s last drive-in cinemas

Virginia is one of the last USA states boasting drive-in movies with ten drive-ins still operating in the region.

Groups can watch a film beneath the night sky at the Moonlite Drive-In Theatre in Abingdon, now on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The open air cinema has been described as a uniquely American experience.

Other popular drive-ins include the Hull's Drive-In near Lexington and the Keysville Drive-In Movie Theatre.

Enjoy one of Skeeter’s American hot dogs

Don’t miss out on taking a trip to Skeeter’s to take in the authentic American hotdog at the home of the USA’s Blue Ridge Mountains.

The renowned hot dog store has sold over seven million Skeeterdogs since the business opened in the historic district in 1920.

Groups interested in history may also notice that the building is the birthplace of former First Lady Edith Bolling Wilson, the wife of former President Thomas Woodrow Wilson.

Listen to the world’s largest musical instrument

In the depths of Virginia’s Luray Caverns lies a stalacpipe organ, a National Historic Landmark and reportedly the world’s largest musical instrument.

The caverns are some of the largest on the east coast and boast vast chambers which produce music which resonates throughout the cathedral-sized rooms, stone columns and pools of water.

The instrument took inventor Mr Spring, a Virginia mathematician and electronics scientist at the Pentagon, nearly 36 years to perfect; groups can combine a look at the organ with exploring the east coast area.

Group travel organisers can find out more about Virginia’s ‘old school’ attractions by visiting the tourist board website at

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