5 Local attractions to put on your bucket list

When you think of a bucket list, the iconic places that probably come to mind are Niagara Falls, the Taj Mahal or even the Pyramids of Giza. But Virginia has some hidden gems that are true eye-openers as well! Here is a list of places that are a must-see:

Opened in 1938, this amazing garden contains over 150 acres of land with thousands of picturesque plants from all over the world. With a tour guide, visitors are led through themed gardens on tram, boat or foot, including the Enchanted Forest and the World of Wonders. And, to top it off, they even have an enclosed butterfly house that guests can walk through to admire the many wings of color fluttering around. However, they have not stopped there. The Norfolk Botanical Garden continues to expand and add new exhibitions annually.

First and foremost, this cemetery has nothing to do with Hollywood in L.A. However, it is named after numerous holly trees that grow around the property. Overlooking the James River, the cemetery is the resting place of presidents including the likes of James Monroe, John Tyler and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. For those who love ghost stories and other bone-chilling hauntings, this is definitely a place to go. With over 18,000 confederate soldiers buried there, paranormal experiences are frequent and have been documented. Besides the roaming ghosts, the cemetery is truly an amazing piece of land filled with stories and history.

Located between Lexington and Roanoke, this natural formation is estimated to be 500 million years old and is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Adding to its compelling features, there are also underground caverns that are more than 34 stories deep with waterfalls that continue to flow. With a tour guide, visitors can descend three levels and marvel at the organic, limestone structures throughout the cavern.

Right outside of Charlottesville, near the University of Virginia, Monticello is a unique structure based on a neoclassical architectural style combined with Thomas Jefferson’s added concepts and ideas. Restored and preserved, Monticello is open to visitors who can explore the home and various rooms, essentially stepping into a time capsule. Aside from the home, Jefferson is also buried close by, which is designated as the Monticello Cemetery. Overall, the history both inside and out envelopes the land with historical richness that is sure to get the history buffs overwhelmed and thrilled.

Located in Surry County, Bacon’s Castle is the oldest documented brick house in Virginia, having been crafted during the 17th century. Built in 1665, it was previously occupied by Arthur Allen and his family. When Nathaniel Bacon began his rebellion, he drove Allen and his family out of the home. The uprising therefore gave Bacon Castle’s its name. Besides its history, the castle is also known for some ghosts that continue to haunt the location. A quick Google search will bring up some stories of spirits that roam the property. Nevertheless, it is a must-see, especially for its intriguing architecture that differs from other epochal styles.