Sub: Most holiday festivities, under Covid guidelines, will go forward in Virginia’s Christmas Capital
Bedford takes the holidays very seriously—so much so the town is known as the Christmas Capital of Virginia.
But with Covid precautions in place, will traditional events still take place?
“Many of the annual holiday happenings will go on,” said Nicole Johnson, Bedford’s Director of Tourism, “and safety measures will be in place in accordance to CDC and VDH guidelines. Our businesses are open and ready to serve visitors this holiday season!”
For example, Johnson said, “The Festival of Trees at the Bedford Area Welcome Center – the 12th Annual Event – takes place every day in December and ends January 3.” She added, “The Welcome Center will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. “
Additional holiday events include:
The Annual drive-through light display at the English Meadows Elks Home Campus – nightly, December 4-31. Lights come on around dusk. This is the longest running holiday tradition in Bedford.
The Train display at the Bedford Museum & Genealogical Society
Holiday Candlelight Tours at Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest – December 3-18 Tour the president’s hideaway decorated in period style for the holidays on these hour-long, candlelight tours. Your guide will paint a portrait of the ways the Jefferson family and their enslaved workers spent the holidays by sharing true stories and anecdotes gathered from Jefferson’s letters and diaries. Admission is $25 per person. Tours limited to 10 due to Covid.
Historic Avenel Presents “New Year’s Eve Around the Bonfire!” –December 31, 9:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. $15 per person; $25 per couple. Reserve your tickets by calling (540) 816-9385. Event includes light snacks, s’mores fixings, weenies to roast, midnight toast, hot chocolate, cider, and coffee.
Holiday Craft Market at ONE Forest School – December 12 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Local crafters and artisans with many holiday gift ideas.
Bedford Farmers Market – Winter Market – December 19 The owners say, “It’s going to be like a fabulous holiday bazaar with winter vegetables.” Local artists and craftsmen will join the traditional farmers offering jams, jellies, baked goods, meats and eggs.
Considered a “gateway community,” Bedford is located between Lynchburg and Roanoke, about nine miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway and accessible from I-81. The region is known for its many outdoor recreation opportunities, and Johnson was quick to add that, “Bedford was recently named Best Small Adventure Town by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine!” This award is not to be taken lightly–because the winners are chosen by readers.
Commenting on the award, Johnson said, “We are thrilled for Bedford to be recognized by readers of Blue Ridge Outdoors as the Top Small Adventure Town! Bordered by the Blue Ridge Mountains and Peaks of Otter to the north, and Smith Mountain Lake to the south, we have a ton to offer in outdoor recreation! We also have more than 30 miles of biking and hiking trails, a bike park, skate park, and more than 90 holes of disc golf spread across four county parks. A new course will be opening in the spring!
BRO readers cited Falling Creek Bike Park, hikes at *Peaks of Otter and Jefferson National Forest, and Smith Mountain Lake as major recreational hotspots. Got the kids? BRO says head for Claytor Nature Center for a pretty woodland walk. Johnson added that “Parks are open for bike riding and disc golf, and there are horseback riding opportunities. Many locally owned restaurants and shops are open, as well as craft breweries Beale’s and Apocalypse.”
Banner photo: Elks Home Light Display by Jean Wibbens, courtesy Bedford Tourism
*Peaks of Otter Lodge & Restaurant is closed for winter but the trails are still open for hiking.