We asked Virginia Wine Lovers to tell us about their favorite Fall experience in the Commonwealth. The results? Virginia Wine Lovers adore the Blue Ridge Mountains. Scenic drives, dramatic mountain views, favorite trails and the relaxed pace of a mountain weekend. Special accolades for a winery with a view and outdoor seating.
DW&S Magazine is distributed at over 450 locations in Virginia. Readership spans the length of the Blue Ridge Mountains. From reader response, we picked three locations and three unique Fall experiences. If you are a wine lover searching for the perfect Fall experience, perhaps you will find it here.
Dramatic Mountain Views
Imagine sipping a Virginia wine while gazing at dramatic mountain views.
“One View—Many Wines” –The Moss Vineyards Web Site
Poll wine lovers and ask for a great Virginia mountain view and the popular response is Moss Vineyards in Nortonsville, Virginia. At Moss Vineyards, you will find a tasting room and an outdoor space facing a picture-perfect view. Relax and soak in the vibrant colors of a Virginia Fall afternoon. You may come for the view, but we know that you will stay for the wine.
Moss Vineyards is less than a thirty- minute drive from Charlottesville, Virginia. The drive will transport you from an urban setting through the Virginia countryside of Albemarle County. Continue into Nelson County, on RT 151, and you will reach Valley Road Vineyards.
Valley Road Vineyards, established just two years ago, is quickly becoming known for its wine and the visitor’s
experience. The wine, a curated calendar of local food trucks, live music, and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain view. Stop here for a Nelson County Fall afternoon.
From Valley Road Vineyards, it is an easy drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and many hiking trails. Pack a picnic and toast a beautiful sunset at Ravens Roost Overlook at milepost 10.7 on the BRP.
Trails and Wine in Roanoke, VA
Roanoke boasts an eclectic metro scene paired with over 1,000 miles of trails for biking, hiking, and paddling. This Virginia city is exploding onto the outdoor adventure scene. To learn about the Roanoke outdoor scene, we reached out to Pete Eshelan, Director of the Roanoke Outside Foundation.
Pete knows Roanoke’s trails and is a fan of the local craft beverage scene. He even suggests a few craft breweries to add to your list.
Kim: The outdoor scene in Roanoke has acquired national exposure. If I am planning a Fall weekend visit to Roanoke, what hiking trail should I add to my bucket list?
Pete: No trip to Roanoke is complete without a hike along the Appalachian Trail (A.T.). Roanoke is best known for The Triple Crown of the A.T. which are hikes to three iconic spots along the A.T. – Dragon’s Tooth, McAfee Knob, and Tinker Cliffs. A two-day backpack trip will take you to all three, or you can pick and choose to hike each one individually; Dragon’s Tooth is a five-mile hike that takes you to the “tooth”, a 35 foot Tuscarora quartzite spire; McAfee Knob, the most photographed point along the entire A.T., is an eight-mile hike; and Tinker Cliffs is a strenuous seven- mile hike. (Pair with Parkway Brewing, Ober Brewing Company)
The Triple Crown hikes are very popular on the weekends, and can get crowded. We recommend starting very early in the morning to avoid crowds. If crowds aren’t your thing and you want to find the “trail less traveled” then we highly recommend a hike to Roaring Run or Bottom Creek Gorge Trail
Kim: Mention Virginia Mountain Biking and you usually hear about Carvins Cove. The trails of Carvins Cove are only 10 miles from downtown Roanoke. Pete, please give us some tips for enjoying Carvins Cove.
Pete: Well, we are the Mountain Bike Capital of the East, and the best way to pack as much riding into a single trip is by riding at Carvins Cove Nature Reserve, or as the locals call it, simply Carvins. With 50+ miles of single track trail, there is something for every type of mountain biker, whether it’s big jumps, flow trails, technical downhills, rock gardens, or beautiful cross country riding. The one thing any visitor should know is that the locals who ride at Carvins are very proud of the quality of riding and are eager to share it with others. So don’t be afraid to reach out to someone in the parking lot and let them know it’s your first time riding at Carvins…most likely you’ll get a personal tour guide out of it…at a minimum you’ll get beta on which trails to ride. Most mountain bikers start and end their rides from the Bennett Springs parking lot, with the exception of those who like big jumps, they use the Timberview parking lot.
You can find a wealth of information about all the trails mentioned at www.RoanokeOutside.com And follow the Dine Wine & Stein Facebook page for updates from the Roanoke area. Thanks to Roanoke Outside for sharing some beautiful photos by Sam Dean Photography.
After you hit the Roanoke trails, you will want to relax with a glass of wine at Valhalla Vineyards. This is another camera-worthy Virginia winery. Sit at an elevation of 2000 feet and overlook the Roanoke valley. Valhalla has been producing wine in Roanoke, Virginia since 1998. The outdoor space includes a mountain top deck and a timber frame patio.
Valhalla is the perfect place to relax after a weekend hike or bike ride.
Fall Foliage, a View & a Farm Brunch (and Cider Donuts, a Pumpkin Festival, and Beer)
For our last stop, we head north to Loudon County and beautiful Fall valley views. These are the views that relieve stress and make for a relaxing weekend experience. We go to Northern Virginia in search of a view, a wine tasting, and farm-to-table food.
DW&S writer Jennifer Waldera visits Bluemont Vineyard and tells us about her visit…
The mere mention of Northern Virginia can conjure up jarring mental images of brake lights and stalled traffic which is, admittedly, no way to enjoy the foliage that fall has to offer. However, there are also expansive areas that offer a peaceful respite from congestion and crowds, like the 100 acres on which Bluemont Vineyard sits with its sweeping views of the Loudoun Valley.
At 951 feet above sea level, Bluemont Vineyard’s tasting room offers two tasting options of six of their wines all with a bird’s eye view of the ever-changing colors of fall. In early autumn, visitors can relax at outdoor tables or on the lawn while the brisker days of late fall can be spent sipping fireside. The tasting room also serves a seasonal, farm-to-table menu each day of the week and a brunch menu on Sundays from 11 am – 2 pm.
In addition to a wine tasting with a view, visitors can also stop by the family’s adjacent property, Great Country Farm. The farm offers seasonal pick your own fruits and vegetables. For the entire month of September, Great Country Farm hosts their Apple Gala and Cider Fest with cider making demonstrations, apple picking, a corn maze, and the opportunity to snack on some cider donuts. In October, the farm will host the Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival featuring pick your own pumpkins and apples and a corn maze as well as the opportunity to shoot pumpkins from a cannon and to pick the pig to win their Oinkintucky Derby Pig Races.
Those who prefer to swill some suds can stop by the family’s other adjacent property, Dirt Farm Brewing. The brewery boasts an impressive list of beers on rotation and serves snacks as well. Visitors can sip indoors, but even in crisp fall weather, it’s easy to get cozy next to the outdoor fireplaces.
With all of the options from picking pumpkins to sampling brews fireside, or taking in a vast view while wine tasting, there are nearly as many ways to enjoy autumn at Bluemont as there are shades of fall foliage. DW&S writer, Jennifer Waldra, snapped the view photo and we thank Bluemont Vineyard for the wine and food photos. Check out their Facebook page for updates throughout the season.
How will you enjoy a beautiful Virginia Fall weekend? Perhaps a mountain bike ride on trails near Roanoke followed by wine with a view. Or will it be brunch with a Pumpkin Festival…or just relaxing at a winery near Charlottesville or in Nelson County? Virginia Wine Lovers adore a great view.