Written by: Stephanie Hampshire
They say that Virginia “is for lovers,” and surely “they” aren’t only referring to paramours. After all, who among us hasn’t longed to run with the ponies of Chincoteague, live like the colonialists of Williamsburg or humbly behold a sunset as it makes the rolling vineyards glow?
Yes, this beautiful state is easy to love as it awakens the soul and senses, so it’s really no wonder that plenty of newborns are named Virginia. Finding its roots in Latin, it has the original implication of barer being pure or virginal.
However, what if you’re a parent who loves the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the heroic history of the Jamestown settlers and the coast’s lapping waves, and yet you’re not a fan of that specific name? The region provides a wealth of inspiration that can spur imaginative parents to create unique, meaningful names that pay homage to the “the birthplace of the nation”.
Below are just a few ideas to get you started:
Luray – Located in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley, the Luray Caverns and its gorgeously textured limestone and crystals conjure emotions of mystery, whimsicalness and wonder. Aged millions of years, the Luray Caverns houses intricate and magnificently sized formations that rival the mastery of any architectural fete. Virginia is truly as fetching below ground as it is above! Suitable for both genders, this name will signify hidden beauties, adventurous undertakings and perhaps the wisdom of the ages.
Rolfe – The first settlers in Virginia were vastly unprepared for the harsh elements of North America, and the resulting famine made the group dangerously dwindle in what is now known as the “Starving Time”. When almost all hope was lost, the young John Rolfe stepped forward to lead the community and introduced tobacco, a crop that early Virginians could sell for capital and enable the young colony to thrive. Virginia would not be the state it is today without John Rolfe’s ingenuity, determination and natural leadership talents, making it an excellent name for a little boy.
Monticello – Though the phrase’s original meaning means “Little Mountain” in Italian, the vast majority of Americans have come to associate Monticello with the mansion of Thomas Jefferson. Annually attracting more than half a million people, visitors come to experience the estate’s lush gardens and grand hall that is mirrored in the clear lake. A fantastic name for a male or female, Monticello evokes the strong leadership of the third American president, while balancing images of the estate’s natural loveliness and the elegance of the neoclassical style of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Plus, the handle Little Mountain sounds like an adorable nickname for a rambunctious toddler.
Astor – For a woman who personifies inner-strength, innovation and intellect, you need to look no further than Nancy Astor. Born in Virginia in 1879, she became infamous for her witty and insightful social and political commentaries, and eventually became the first woman voted to the British House of Commons. An unyielding individual, she articulately spoke out against fascism long before many of her colleagues and often put her life on the line to help lift the morale of American soldiers during World War II. This is the perfect name for parents that want to instill within their little girl confidence and courage.
Neptune – When many people here this name, they think of the blue planet that that was named after the Roman God of the sea. However, Virginians (especially those of Virginia Beach) will think of the massive bronze statue that watches over the boardwalk. This moniker can also be associated with the annual Neptune Festival, a music festival held in Virginia Beach that attracts half a million people who are treated to the region’s best music, artisans, seafood and wine. Conjuring up suggestions of the ocean’s might and the region’s festive creativity, this name is also on-point with the emerging trend of giving babies Classical Roman and Greek names.
Shenandoah – To become immersed in a rustic paradise of untouched mountains, graceful waterfalls, diverse wildlife and breathtaking adventure, Virginians know that you don’t have to look further than Shenandoah National Park. The origins of the name is found in Iroquois people, though the exact translation of the name is unclear as many think the phrase means “deer”, while others favor “spruce stream, great plains, beautiful daughter of the stars.” With either version, naming your child Shenandoah is a wonderful way to pay homage to the natural exquisiteness the culture of the first Virginians.
In the comment section below, share with us some Virginia novelties that you think would make for excellent first names!