We are back home from our Virginia road trip. We got back into Birmingham just in time for rush hour traffic Wednesday evening.
We stayed at a condo in the Wintergreen ski resort. The resort is in a great location. Because we were at a higher elevation up on the mountain it was at least 10 degrees cooler and a lot less humid than back home. It is close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National park but it is also close to cideries, breweries, and wineries. The first night we checked out the Bold Rock cidery in Nellysford. This is their flagship location. We had visited their Mills River, NC location near Asheville last year and fell in love with their cider there. They have a lot of different distinct flavors and fun seasonals. This location was a little more polished and formal than the one we went to last year. We didn't eat there but they do have a restaurant with a few vegetarian options. The best thing about this location is the view off the back porch.
Our first full day there we had to go to Shenandoah. We were just way too excited to check out a national park we had never been to before. It is similar to Smoky Mountain National Park which we visit frequently but it is unique in it's own ways as well. The roads everywhere we drove in the area were very lush green but Skyline Drive the main road through the park was just amazing. Skyline Drive runs 105 miles through the long narrow national park. We only explored the southern half of the park. The first day in the park we drove up to Big Meadows but thats as far north as we went.
Our second day in the park we spent more time hiking than driving. There is a vast network of trails in the park including a 100 mile section of the Appalachian Trail. We spent the morning on the Riprap trail at mile 90 on Skyline Drive. We hiked to the overlook on the trail above Calvary Rocks. It is a moderately strenuous hike about 3 miles roundtrip. From the trailhead you start off going north on the AT for about half a mile then you go left onto the Riprap Trail from there you hike mostly down hill for about a mile to Calvary Rocks.
While we were in Virginia we also able to visit the winery that Dave Mathews owns, Blenheim Vineyards. It was fun to do the tasting and you get to keep the glasses. His wine was better than we expected. The South isn't know for it's fine wines. When I think of Southern wines I think of sweet wines but this wasn't the case. Dave bought the property about 20 years ago. They grow some of the grapes for their wine on site but have to source some from other local growers. He also does all of the doodle art for their labels.
On our way back to the resort after our wine tasting we stopped for lunch at Dr. Ho's Humble Pie. One of the employees (who happened to be vegetarian as well) at Bold Rock had recommended their pizza. Great menu and great food. We were not disappointed by this recommendation. We split the Arugula & Watermelon Salad and the Popeye Pizza. The combination of spinach, caramelized onions, artichoke, roasted garlic worked really well on the pizza. Eric also had fun playing with magnets on the wall of our booth while we waited on our food.
It was a short trip but we had so much fun in Virginia. I wish we had more time to spend in Shenandoah but that just means we need to plan another trip to go back and explore the northern half of the park. Here are just a few more more photos from our trip. These were taken at our favorite overlook, Ravens Roost, on the Blue Ridge Parkway.