I spent Saturday doing quintessential central Virginia activities! I went to bed at 10:30 on Friday, and slept until 10am on Saturday morning. Armed with a wonderful night of sleep, I set off to Nelson county with my dad to meet up with some friends of his. They were in town for the weekend from Virginia Beach (testing out their brand-new RV…more on that later), and were determined to see as many sights along Route 151 as possible.
We met up with them around noon at Bold Rock Cidery, which I had never visited before. They have four cider varieties, which are bottled as pictured on the signs in the shot below. I’m normally not a fan of cider, so I initially didn’t want to taste, but I’m glad I got roped into it. (I’ve done tastings at Castle Hill Cidery and Albemarle CiderWorks, and really disliked both.) The ciders bottled in beer bottles were particularly daunting to me, because I’ve never, ever tasted a beer that didn’t make me want to gag. I imagined that because they came in beer bottles, they would have the typical bitter beer taste. As it ended up, the Virginia Draft (the one in the most beer-looking bottle) was my favorite!
We were there early enough in the day that we had the place almost to ourselves. The owner spent a good while chatting with us, and even gave Fred (my dad’s friend) a free hat and tasting glass, because it was his birthday!
Because our companions were only in town for the weekend, they were determined to see as many sights in as little time as possible. We were on a tight schedule, so next we hopped over to Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, which I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on.(P & I had passed the signs on our way home from a weekend trip to Wintergreen last year, but I hadn’t showered and we decided to bypass it. I now wish we had gone.) The tasting included 7 berry wines and 3 meads, and it was the most diverse spectrum of wines I’ve ever had! The Cranberry and Raspberry wines were my favorites, followed by the Virginia Peach. The woman pouring our tasting told us that they open to the public sometime in August for an all-you-can-pick-and-all-you-can-eat blackberry spree, so my dad and I made a mental note to return. Blackberries are his all-time favorite fruit.
By then, it was time for lunch, so we headed to Wild Wolf Brewing Company. According to the menu, the building and grounds were at one time the only school in Nelson County, which was pretty neat.
I’ve never been a big fan of seafood, but for some reason I’ve been jonesing to try a crab cake sandwich for the past few months. So I took a chance and ordered the crab cake sandwich with sweet potato tater tots. The tater tots were AH-MAZING; the crab cake: meh. Three other people ordered barbeque sandwiches, and they all raved about how amazing they were. If I return, I’ll be sure to try the BBQ. Definitely with the sweet potato tots.
Although it was mid-afternoon and my dad and I were starting to feel the lazy effects of a day of wine tasting and heavy eating, the rest of the group wasn’t showing signs of slowing down. Up next was Flying Fox Vineyard. Susan (one of my dad’s friends) advised me that Flying Fox has mostly red wines, so I opted out of this tasting. But their tasting room was so adorable that I couldn’t stop snapping pictures! It was a tiny little old white cottage with two happy bright yellow rocking chairs on the front porch. From the outside, it didn’t look big enough to house a tasting room, but inside it was nice and cozy (although a bit crowded at points).
I loved the combination of the white walls, wooden beams, old-fashioned light fixtures and bright artwork.
And just to the left of the main bar, there was this cute little seating area huddled around the fireplace. Perfect for my dad and Fred to take a break and put their feet up (my dad’s the one on the right)!
By this time, it was after 4pm, and most wineries close for the day at 5. Undeterred, we rushed off to Veritas, which is one of the larger and most popular wineries in the area. Again, I opted not to taste here, because I prefer their decor to their wines… For example, when you walk through the main doors, you’re greeted by their iconic LOVE greeting, made by hanging corks.
The first time I ever visited Veritas was for Starry Nights, their summertime concert series. The only restrooms available were through the doors at the back of the ballroom below. The first time I saw this room, it was illuminated by nightlight, with live music floating in from outside (and a wine-induced happiness), and that disco ball chandelier and the white linen curtains and the mirrored back wall have always stuck with me as an incredible sight. It’s quite the impressive (and expensive) wedding venue.
After Veritas, we called it a day, and headed back to Fred and Susan’s campsite at Misty Mountain Campground. They just bought a brand-new, 2013 Sunseeker, with all the bells and whistles. Fred is retired, and Susan’s last day of work is December 1. After they’re both free, they plan to hit the road for many cross-country adventures in this home on wheels. My dad has been dreaming of one for a while (thanks to Fred’s influence), so we were excited to get to check it out. After our grand tour, I was ready to move in.
Their RV is 33 feet long and is basically a traveling house. It contained FOUR flat-screen TVs, has heat and air conditioning, cable/satellite hookups (depending on the hookups wherever you park it for the night), skylights, and all the extras you could ever need. They even snagged their favorite camp site for the weekend. Site #4, right on the creek.
When I stepped inside, I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this. I couldn’t get over how NEW everything was. I think I was expecting remnants of the ’70s–shag carpet, mildewing curtains, and a general feeling of dirt. But it was so nice. Yes, that’s a double bed with its own personal flat-screen TV above the cab… And another flat screen above the kitchen counter, for viewing from the loveseat directly across from it, which converts into a single bed.
The kitchen was small but practical, and contains everything you would need for life on the road. As Susan put it, it’s not huge, but when you’re traveling and outside of the RV for most of the day, it’s all you need when you come back “home” for the night.
That’s the shower just past the refrigerator in the picture above.
Also opposite the kitchen is a booth, which converts to yet another double bed! And plenty more overhead storage.
The toilet and sink are behind the wall with the mirror…accessible through the door with the hooks hanging on it. Last but not least, the master bedroom is in the far back, with a full-sized bed, windows on two walls, and its own skylight and closets.
All in all, I’m pretty sure I could travel comfortably in one of these. Someone’s just gotta lend me the money to buy one! Fred and Susan also bought a Smart Car to tow along behind the RV, which they plan to use for day trips once they’ve reached their various destinations. I got to sit in the Smart Car, and I’m adding one of those to my wish list, too! Theirs is even a convertible.
All in all, it was a great way to spend a day. And I added a few new life goals to my list:
1) Own, build, design, and run a winery
2) Travel the country in an RV
3) Get out and see more of the areas surrounding Charlottesville!