Take a drive that reaps rewards not with the scenery alone, but with the treasures along the way. The six trails below have been identified for their esteemed artisans and other relevant cultural experiences.
Rocky Knob area of the Blue Ridge Parkway
The Hidden Treasures Artisan Trail (HT) meanders through Patrick County in Southwest Virginia, leading you to and through a wealth of beauty. Marry it with the Floyd County Trail (FC) and the White Lightning Trail (WL) of Franklin County by way of the Blue Ridge Parkway, starting at Meadows of Dan. This trail is worthy of your 48 hours, be it weekday or weekend.
The Monticello Artisan Trail (MA) from the Blue Ridge Parkway through Nelson and Albemarle Counties pairs up nicely with the Nelson 151 Trail (151) and the Presidents Passport (PP) program. Mix, mingle, and be merry!
Where are you headed this fall in Virginia? Leave us a comment to tell us your favorite drive for foliage, your favorite festival, or whatever else you’d like to share about all the ways you LOVE fall in Virginia!
Let’s go for a scenic drive across Virginia, and take our time doing it. You game? Here, in part 5 of the 48 Hour Fall Getaways in Virginia series, we’ll take a look at a few options that include some of Virginia’s most beautiful scenic drives.
Roanoke is often called the “Star City of the South,” thanks, in large part, to the 100-foot-tall lighted beacon on Mill Mountain. The view from up there – just one of hundreds of scenic sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway – is one that might just leave you breathless. In fact, it’s the site of many marriage proposals, if you have something romantic in mind.
If you’ve never driven the George Washington Memorial Parkway, you must. There are so many beautiful stops along the way, not the least of which is the gorgeous Potomac River and our nation’s capital across the way.
You’re right on time for fall flavors. Taste your way from the mountains to the shore this fall in Virginia.
Graves Mountain Apples
The Apple Butter Celebration in Shenandoah National Park is Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyland Resort. Take the ride up the mountain to see the early turners and get your fill of fresh-from-the-kettle apple butter, apple smoked BBQ, apple salsa, granny apple cole slaw, caramel apples, apple cobbler, and apple cider. Various entertainers will keep the day lively. The Celebration is free; admission to Shenandoah National Park is $15 per car.
The Apple Harvest & Apple Butter Festival at Drumheller’s Orchard occurs Saturday and Sunday, September 28-29 and October 19-20. Come out anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tasty fresh-picked apples, apple butter, cider, honey, and plenty of family fun. Apple sling shot, anyone? Free parking and entertainment.
Head to Syria for the Graves’ Mountain Apple Harvest FestivalSaturdays and Sundays from October 5 through October 20, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 2013 marks the festival’s 44th year. Don’t miss out on the kettle-cooked apple butter, applesauce, apple cider, apple butter donuts, and apple pies. Feel free to pick your own apples, too! Entertainment includes Bluegrass musicians, cloggers, a hay maze, hay mountain, hayrides, and horseback rides. A taste of southwest Virginia is available here, too … Brunswick Stew! Free parking and entertainment.
Bluegrass, Barbeque & Brew Festival
A brand new event in Norfolk is Ribtoberfest! Held at Town Point Park this Saturday, September 21 from noon to 8 p.m., Ribtoberfest brings beer and BBQ into one delicious waterside feast. Blues musicians will keep the day hoppin’ while restaurants pull out the stops to serve up their best ribs, pulled pork and other barbecue creations. More than 20 breweries will be on hand with 40+ Autumn-style beers. Admission is free.
Bands, Brews and Barbecue will be held Saturday, September 28 from noon to 7 p.m. on the Manassas Museum Lawn in Manassas. Purchase tickets to sample the brews (with a valid ID) and some great Virginia barbecue while the bands play away the day. Free admission.
Patrick Henry’s Red Hill will host the Bluegrass, Barbecue and Brew Festival on Saturday, November 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local grillmasters includes Drug Store Grill from Brookneal, True Q BBQ from Lynchburg, and Tater Bugs Barbeque from South Boston. Four Virginia craft breweries and one cidery will be pouring while Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia bluegrass musicians entertain. Admission is $10 for music only and $15 for those who wish to sample the beverages. Buy Now
Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival
A beautiful view from Farley Vale Farm in King George is the icing on the Rappahanock Riverfest happening this Saturday, September 21 from 3 to 8 p.m. Riverfest is an all-you-can-eat Blue Crab and barbecue event with open bar, live entertainment and auctions. Tickets are $85 and available in advance only. Buy Now
Historic Stratford Hall hosts the Stratford Hall Wine and Oyster Festival this weekend, September 21-22 beginning at 11 a.m. each day. A variety of oysters will be available, as will shrimp, clams, and the fine vintages of 13 Virginia wineries. Admission for oyster and wine tasting is $45 (in advance) and includes three oysters from each of the seven oyster growers, and a wine tasting from each of the wineries. A ticket for wine tasting only is $25 in advance; Non-tasting is $10 in advance; Children 6-12 are $5 in advance. Buy Now
Head to the Shore for the Chincoteague Island Oyster Festival, Saturday October 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It’s an all-you-can-eat smorgasbord of oysters (half shell, steamed, fried, fritters …), crabs, hush puppies, clam chowder, and more. Admission is $40. Buy Now
You don’t want to miss the Official Oyster Festival of the Commonwealth, the Urbanna Oyster Festival. The entire town of Urbanna turns into festival grounds Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2, with oyster shucking competitions, a parade, oysters served anyway you like, and the crowning of the Oyster Festival Queen and Little Miss Spat. The festival is free and pay-as-you-go.
+1! Late Fall Bonus Event:
Sample the best of the bay at Taste by the Bay in Irvington on Saturday, November 23. Virginia wineries, breweries, and local restaurants will serve samples to ticket holders from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $30 in advance or $35 at the gate.
The great outdoors are calling your name. You must climb, paddle, run, or ride. But where? Enter the beautiful season of fall where the mercury slowly dips to moderate numbers and the shorter days are loaded with excitement.
Leaf Peeping in Lynchburg
Lynchburg is serving up fantastic outdoor recreation and you really don’t want to miss out on it.
Next up could be a lazy kayak trip with James River Float Company. After all that strenuous mountain work, this might be the perfect attraction.
Since you’ve gotten up close and personal with the foliage on the trail and admired its brilliance from the water, where else to see it but from the air? Call up Precision Windsports, Inc. They’ll get you up and flying in a light sport aircraft for a unique leaf-peeping vantage point.
This beautiful mountain reprieve tucked away in Giles County is the 1986 filming location for the incredible (am I biased?) Dirty Dancing featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey. While the urge to stay at “Kellerman’s” is a persistent annual draw, Mountain Lake Lodge & Conservancy has been revamped for a new generation of family fun.
South Boston is your destination and horseback riding at Shangrila Guest Ranch is your pleasure for these 48 hours. An all-inclusive ranch, you’ll be more than comfortable in their log cabin, old home place or packhouse. If you’d rather try another accommodation, they’ll still let you saddle up with their beautiful horses. Ride, regardless of experience, for an hour or all day … just make an appointment!
Explore South Boston and Halifax, but be sure to try the barbecue at Smokin’ Jakes. That definitely has to be on your list.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is pure outdoor recreation. Start anywhere you like and you’re golden. For this purpose, let’s shoot down near Meadows of Dan and make a plan.
Blue Ridge Tree Climbing
Pick things up with Blue Ridge Tree Climbing, LLC. Instructor Bob Wray is inspiring, stating, “If you cannot remember the meaning of childhood magic, or do remember and want to get it back, then I suggest you simply climb a tree again.”
Find rest in a cozy little cabin nestled among Christmas trees at River Walk Cabins, or delight in the views from Woodberry Inn, where there’s a restaurant on site.
Camping can be about getting away from it all, but it can also be about thrifty travel. If you save money on your accommodation, that savings can then be applied to nearby attractions and dining. Give it a try at one of these campgrounds that have great fun nearby.
Williamsburg KOA was built for family fun with many on-site special events and tons of fun nearby, too. The campground can accommodate RVs and campers of all sizes, but boast deluxe cabins with linens provided, too.
Ed Allen’s Campground and Cottages in Lanexa rests along the shores of Chickahominy Lake. It’s 85 acres of hardwoods, which equals stunning foliage. The lake sunsets rival the best you’ve seen anywhere, and the fishing is good, too.