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Virginia, known as the Old Dominion State, the location of the first permanent colony settled by the English. From the Chesapeake Bay to the Potomac River to the Tidewater region including Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Eastern Virginia is ringed by the ocean and inlets. On the other hand, The Blue Ridge Mountains form the spine of the western side of the state. The Civil War site Manassas National Battlefield Park and Luray Caverns with its Stalacpipe Organ (called the largest musical instrument in the world) lie in between. Lynchburg and Roanoke have more than their fair share of Southern gentility. Charlottesville has Thomas Jefferson's estate, Monticello, and the august University of Virginia. Richmond is known for tobacco, but museums filled with information about Edgar Allan Poe or Faberge eggs and first-rate European art will delight visitors. In Alexandria, see old plantations, an arts center where munitions were once manufactured, George Washington's residence, and taverns where politicians such as Jefferson and Washington used to hang out, do business, and imbibe. You can have vegetarian Vietnamese/Chinese food, halal Liberian and West African cuisine, organic whole grain and vegetable-based dishes, or vegan baked goods and Mexican food in Richmond. There's organic American food made from local farmer's market produce in Roanoke, organic jackfruit barbecue in Sterling, Asian macrobiotic food in Vienna, vegetarian Chinese food or hot dogs in Leesburg, seasonal (and sometimes organic, vegan, and gluten-free) menus in Lexington, organic Mediterranean dishes and coffee in Norfolk, and organic juices plus vegan and carnivorous BBQ options in Charlottesville. Northern Virginia has a stunning variety of international cuisines. Tyler Cowen, economist, food writer, and professor at George Mason University, says it's one of the top places for immigrant food cultures in the world due to factors like education, government jobs, reasonable taxes, and a diverse, integrated atmosphere. Bolivian, Korean, Ethiopian, and Vietnamese are among the best of the best. Some comparative studies of your own might be in order.