Charlottesville, Virginia isn’t just a university town where you can visit historic Monticello, home to Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia. The Shenandoah Valley offers some of the best hiking and scenery of the rolling Blue Ridge Mountains in the mid-Atlantic. Be sure to check out the views driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, and learn about all the wonderful national parks, trails, caverns and more to explore.
After getting out into the woods, enjoy a reward at some of the many local breweries and cider houses. We rented the farm house at Bailey’s Retreat and found it the perfect place to come home to, watch the sunset, and relax.
TWO AWESOME HIKES
In the world of hiking I’m more of a walker. So, as long as you enjoy a strenuous walk in the woods, you’ll most likely love these two hikes. Each one offered wonderful rewards on the way up and down. You can pick up the Appalachian Trail from the Humpback Rocks Trail, but we were only interested in reaching the summit and enjoying the views.
[HOT TIP: Wear proper solid footwear, as you can see, trails are sometimes uneven and rocky. Bring water, prepare for changing weather and stay on the trails, which are well marked.]
The second hike was Crabtree Falls. As the name implies, you’ll be hiking along a spectacular waterfall, where water cascades over a 60-foot rock cliff. The foliage and trees provide wonderful shade and the sound of the rushing water is the perfect soundtrack.
[HOT TIP: The rocks are slippery and you’ll see signs alerting you to the number of people who have died falling on them! Believe it or not, we actually saw people doing this very thing. Don’t be stupid. Don’t be a statistic.]
We booked the wine trail tour through Baileys, but quickly switched it up to beer and cider. The best thing I bought at a local winery, a lovely painting by a local artist. Worth the visit. Virginia may be for lovers, but not wine lovers.
BREWERIES & CIDERIES
Something else Virginia has a lot of—orchards. And what other adult beverage can you make from fruit? Cider. In many cases the breweries also make cider, or a gose style beer, if that’s your thing. The atmosphere in all of these places was terrific. Check schedules online for hours and live music too.
Brewing Tree Beer Company [Riverside at 9278 Rockfish Valley Highway, Afton, VA]
Pro Re Nata [6135 Rockfish Gap Turnpike, Crozet, VA]
Starr Hill Brewery & Taproom [5391 Three Notch’d Road, Crozet, VA]
Blue Mountain Brewery [5919 Critzers Shop Road, Afton, VA 22920]
Most nights we cooked at the farm house, but one night we headed to Main Street on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, one of the longest pedestrian malls in the United States. Eat dinner at Citizen Burger Bar. It’s awesome! Support the local shops and restaurants!