There is no shortage of great wine in Virginia with more than 230 wineries. Here are a few ideas to help you kick off your Virginia Wine Month adventure.
Sip the signature Virginia Viognier and Cabernet Franc from the leaders in its production – Barboursville, Keswick, Jefferson, Pollak, and Veritas – all in the greater Charlottesville area. Within easy driving distance of one another, you can easily make it a two-day excursion or spread it out to three. MAP
Why not pay a visit to recent recipients of the “Best of Readers’ Choice Awards” by Virginia Wine Lover Magazine to see which wines and wineries Virginians love most?
Best Sparkling Wine – Chateau Morrisette – Star Dog 2008
Best White Wine – Chateau Morrisette – Our Dog Blue
Finally, stretch your legs for a few days with a Virginia 48-Hour Fall Getaway that is riddled with wineries and great food. Our two examples include wineries in Northern Virginia (Berryville to Delaplane) and Coastal Virginia (Eastern Shore to Williamsburg and beyond).
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but we have a handy-dandy wine map that might generate a few more ideas. Check it out, and use our other friendly tool, the Trip Planner, to make your own custom weekend complete with driving directions.
LOVE is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.
Virginia is for Lovers.
If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, you might have caught on that we ask “the locals” for recommendations every now and again. This group has been helpful in identifying the best BBQ joints, the best breakfasts, and more. Today, we present to you their suggestions for the best places to enjoy the fall foliage in their area.
- “360 degree views of the Shenandoah Valley. Migrating birds can often be seen here in the fall, especially hawks.”
- “Take the trail up from the Humpback Gap parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the rocky ledges above for amazing 360 degree views on top of the slanted rock. Just north at Milepost 5.8 is the Humpback Rocks Visitor Center with a mountain farm exhibit.”
- “Enjoy a 2 1/2 mile hike up along the falls, with 4 overlooks to the cascading falls. You can hike further to the Appalachian Trail or head back down to relax for lunch at one of the picnic tables available next to the parking lot or view the Tye River from an arched wooden bridge that crosses over it.”
- “Just a few miles west of Crabtree Falls on Rt. 56 West is the Montebello State Fish Hatchery, the Montebello Country Store and Montebello Camping & Fishing Resort, and then just a few miles further is the Blue Ridge Parkway for panoramic fall foliage views!”
- “Kayaking, Canoeing, Hiking, FISHING!! Confluence Outfitters offers guided fishing through the gorge here and it is the most beautiful place to see the leaves changing and catch fish at the same time!”
- “Devil’s Marbleyard is close by.” (Devil’s Marbleyard is a 3-mile round trip hike that highlights boulders the size of cars.)
North Mountain Trail – Fire Road 447 off I-64, exit 43 in Rockbridge County. Drive in 6.7 miles to the parking lot at Route 770.
- “The trail features stream habitats, interesting rock formations, varied forest types, opportunities for wildlife viewing and panoramic views as it rises in elevation from 1,700 feet to 3,200 feet. At mile 3, narrow rock stairs descend between huge boulders. Once on the crest of the mountain, there are excellent views to the east of Lake Robertson and the Peaks of Otter.”
- “The 32 mile stretch of highway has several pull-over areas.”
- “The vistas are incredibly beautiful in the Fall. The colors are amazing. Wildlife is abundant.”
- “Watch for lots of sports cars and motorcycles. Dubbed “Back of the Dragon,” the winding curves extend over three mountains and 260 curves.”
- “On the north side of the Back of the Dragon (Route 16), the historic town of Tazewell is located. Travelers can enjoy the Historic Crab Orchard Museum, dine at places such as The Blue Dandelion, or Your Grate Escape is a treat. Cavitt’s Creek Park/Lake Jack Witten offers full service camping, fishing, paddle boat rides. On the south side of the Back of the Dragon is Hungry Mother State Park and the historic town of Marion, Virginia.”
- “Driving around the 12 mile “bowl,” there are several places to pull off. Public restrooms are located at the Community Center.”
- “Stop by the Lost World Ranch for a camel ride or sit on the Burke’s Garden General Store‘s front porch and enjoy a homemade piece of pie, or even have a sandwich with freshly baked bread. Go to the Appalachian Trail and take a hike.”
- “It is a fantastic hike with views for miles.”
- “The Channels itself is a sandstone rock formation.”
- “Near The Channels is Laurel Bed Lake, which sits atop the Clinch Mountain Range in the Clinch Mountain Wildlife Area. On the drive up to Laurel Bed there are numerous waterfalls along Big Tumbling Creek as well as foliage and Mountain Laurel.”
- “As you are driving down Red Hill Road, entering the National Memorial to Patrick Henry you will be immersed in the colors of Autumn. The 525 acres consists of thousands of trees and scenic views of the Staunton River Valley. We have the nation’s largest Osage Orange tree on the property that towers over the reconstructed home of Patrick Henry. Guests have the option to walk down two trails that showcases an abundance of trees in their Autumn splendor. The views are absolutely breathtaking at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill in the Fall.”
- “There is a great winery just up the road, Sans Soucy Vineyard that has a beautiful tasting room and charming vistas. A unique and delicious option for lunch, the Drug Store Grill, is in the town of Brookneal about 5 miles away.”
- “The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum & Botanical Gardens is a treasure in the fall. You can bring food and have a picnic, walk the trails, bird watch, spot stunning florals and fauna, enjoy the peaceful new fountain feature, and more.”
- The entire space is worth a view! It encompasses 125 acres of urban botanical preserve. It provides an ideal combination of naturalized botanical gardens and forest.”
- “This area is great for hunting and fishing during the fall. There is a boat landing to launch your boat.”
- “Hiking is wonderful in this area but there are some steep grades so it is not for all ages. The elevation level is perfect to take in the mountain scenery and enjoy the breath taking views of SWVA.”
- “This wildlife area is an attraction all together with lots of different options for an entire day trip. It is truly located in the middle of nowhere but peace and quiet.”
- “The Winery is a wonderful place for a tasting while enjoying the wonderful landscaping with trees and the creek.”
- “The Virginia Creeper Trail is located near the winery. You can ride your bikes over to the winery for a tasting and lunch.”
- “The Alvarado area is also great for kayaking and canoeing down the creek/river. There is also a small general store located next to the trail that serves ice cream and snacks. This area is a gem hidden along the VA Creeper Trail.”
- “Take a picnic, hike, bike or ride a horse down the trail; geocache; visit the Brunswick Museum & Historic Society or downtown shops.”
- “The Colonial Center in South Hill. It is a beautifully renovated vaudeville theatre that has an art gallery and lots of great local talent starring in community theatre productions. Also, eat at the Horseshoe Restaurant in South Hill. It got its name from being an old horse powered mill. Yummy twists on traditional diner food. Close to the Colonial.”
Absorb the rich history and heritage of Virginia this fall while being surrounded by flashes of orange and yellow. Most assuredly, a walk along cobblestone streets brings a piece of Virginia’s patriotic past to your present. Huzzah! These 48-hour getaways are made for those who thrive in beautiful surroundings with a story to tell.
Architecture takes center stage in the capital city, and fall foliage makes it all the more breathtaking. Among your must-sees are Agecroft Hall, a 15th-century English Tudor-style home rebuilt in Richmond in 1925; Virginia House, a 12th-century house transported from England to Richmond in 1925, redesigned and rebuilt with gardens by Charles Gillette; and Maymont, a Victorian estate and mansion furnished with rare, shiny things, and surrounded by lush gardens and stately trees.
As you admire the town, dine around and enjoy the tastes, too. The Dairy Bar is a milkshake hot-spot while Can Can Brasserie is a fine place for dinner in bustling Carytown. Just on the outskirts of downtown proper and on the banks of the James is The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing. Sunsets from the deck are breathtaking.
Loaded with Civil War history, as well as presidential history, the Fredericksburg area has fall fun in store with historic haunts. Touting several farm-to-table restaurants, you’ll have no trouble finding a great place to eat. It’s the decision that’s tough. Will it be Bistro Bethem, FoodE, or maybe Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen?
Get down to serious shenanigans of a historic kind with the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour. It’s a 90-minute, leisurely paced walking tour complete with a costumed guide wielding a lantern.
Looking to skirt around some history and add a dash of adrenaline-burning fun for the kids? Belvedere Plantation is your place. Pick your own pumpkins, enjoy a hayride, visit with the animals at the petting zoo, and even take a turn in the Maize Maze.
Saint George’s Episcopal Church
Hugh Mercer Apothecary
Heart of Appalachia Driving Tour
Breaks Interstate Park
Get in touch with coal mining heritage, mountain music heritage, and the beautiful natural wonders of Southwest Virginia when you spend 48 hours driving through autumn’s color.
The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Tazewell County was an operational mine from 1882 to 1955 and is the only exhibition coal mine designated a National Historic Landmark. Swing through for photos or call to arrange a tour if you’re with 11 or more people.
Nearby, the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park shares their 14 log cabins to display life from the 1800s – when this area was considered the “wild, wild west.” Speaking of “the west” being here in Southwest Virginia, don’t miss Breaks Interstate Park, dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the South.” It’s right on the Virginia/Kentucky border and the overlooks will absolutely, unequivocally take. your. breath. away. In fact, settle in for the night in one of their luxury cabins, and enjoy dinner at the Rhododendron Restaurant on-site.
Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge is an 8,000-acre coastal habitat in southern Virginia Beach. Dunes, woodland, beach and marsh areas are home to loggerhead sea turtles, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and approximately 10,000 snow geese at peak fall migration.
Assateague Lighthouse has received a semi-extreme makeover. See her in all her fresh, red-and-white-striped glory this fall, along with a few sister lights, starting at New Point Comfort in Mathews.
New Point Comfort Lighthouse is the third oldest lighthouse still standing in the Chesapeake Bay and the tenth oldest in the United States. Appreciate it from the observation walkway at the southern end of Route 600, or paddle your way out for an up close and personal view.
Both Cape Henry Lighthouses in Virginia Beach can be seen at Fort Story military base with a government-issued form of identification for everyone aged 16 and older, plus the vehicle registration and insurance card. Admission to climb the old Cape Henry Lighthouse is $5 for 13 and older; $3 for 12 and under. Must be 42″ tall to climb; children may not be carried.
Finally, Assateague Lighthouse! It’s a beauty at 142′ tall. Visit anytime you wish, but if you enjoy celebrations, might I suggest October 5, 2013? The grand re-opening will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will include music, fun for the kids, free lighthouse climbs and more. The lighthouse will be re-lit at approximately 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Take your fun to the mountains this fall as you experience what is possibly the best of both worlds: state park to luxury resort.
Start at Douthat State Park in Millboro where the hiking and fishing are fine. Book a cabin or pitch a tent. It’s a great place to appreciate the beauty around you. Stay a night or two, then pack it up and go upscale at The Omni Homestead Resort in Hot Springs.