Check out The Gazette-Virginian’s annual tourism special section in today’s newspaper, and you will find many things to discover in Halifax County.

For those of you who may be new to the county, we think you’ll be surprised at what all you will discover here.

And for those of you who consider yourself an aficionado of all things Halifax, we bet there are a few new things in this special tourism section that you had no idea existed in our fair county.

Also Virginia Tourism is kicking off its “50 Years of Love” celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the popular Virginia is for Lovers slogan. Destinations around Virginia will host “50 Years of Love” events throughout the summer, including limited releases of “50 Years of Love”-themed deals and promotions, festivals and special events to share the love. Festivities will take place for 50 consecutive days across the commonwealth this summer, beginning this Friday and ending on Aug. 10.

The kickoff event took place at Main Street Station in Richmond, with an unveiling of a special 3D LOVE artwork created by artist Melanie Stimmell Van Latum. The artwork will be traveling to special “50 Years of Love” events at Virginia Welcome Centers throughout the summer.

Events will offer all travelers visiting Welcome Centers the opportunity to take photos with the 3D artwork, receive a commemorative postcard of the LOVEwork and participate in special events.

“Virginia is For Lovers has become one of the most beloved and well-known travel slogans in the world,” said Rita McClenny, president and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “While it has meant a lot of different things to a lot of different people, one thing hasn’t changed - the love of Virginia. This year, we are excited to celebrate 50 Years of Love and the many amazing reasons to visit the commonwealth.”

In 1969, the Virginia is for Lovers slogan was established by the Richmond-based advertising agency Martin and Woltz Inc. (known now as The Martin Agency) and made its first appearance in a 1969 issue of “Modern Bride.”

Since the slogan debuted, Virginia is for Lovers has been iconic and has become recognized worldwide. The slogan was inducted into the Madison Avenue Advertising Walk of Fame on Sept. 21, 2009 and was included in the Advertising Icon Museum alongside fellow 2009 inductees, the AOL Running Man, the Budweiser Clydesdales, and State Farm’s Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There. Recognition came from Forbes.com in naming Virginia is for Lovers as one of the top 10 tourism marketing campaigns of all time.

Often we take for granted that Virginia’s abundant natural resources are the perfect backdrop for creating personal life experiences and lifelong memories in the outdoors.

From the shores of the Atlantic Ocean to the majestic Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains, Virginia is a four-season destination with approachable outdoor activities for every skill level and interest.

Home to a quarter of the famed Appalachian Trail and pristine wilderness areas like Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Rogers Recreation Area, mountain lovers can enjoy endless activities.

For beach and water lovers, Virginia holds nearly 1,000 square miles or surface water in its lakes, rivers and bays, 25,000 miles of rivers and streams alone.

Throw in the multitude of activities available along Virginia’s beaches and there’s no doubt that Virginia is for Lovers. 

To learn more about the 50 Years of Love celebration, visit virginia.org/50yearsoflove.

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.​

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.