I have an affinity for the mountains of Virginia. I have lived here 22 years and sadly it has only been the past 3 years I have taken time to “visit” the mountains in the western part of our state. The natural beauty from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Shenandoah Valley is incredible. There is a reason they are called the “BLUE RIDGE” as the hue of “blue” they give off in the distance. My favorite time of year is the Spring in the Charlottesville region. When everything is lush, green, blooming and the sky is the most crystal blue even with white puffy clouds. The air is clean and crisp and the people are laid back, gentile and greet you with a Virginia version of Southern Hospitality everywhere you travel.
I often take the back roads to see and explore the beauty stopping at local markets, shops, wineries, etc to “get to know the locals”. One of my favorite “views” is in Crozet, VA just outside of Charlottesville. Crozet is a quaint eclectic town which is growing. Originally called “Wayland’s Crossing,” it was renamed in 1870 in honor of Colonel Claudius Crozet, the French-born civil engineer who directed the construction of the Blue Ridge Tunnel. Check out info on Crozet on the Virginia is For Lovers website: http://www.virginia.org/Cities/Crozet/
Another location for a “view” in Crozet is King Family Vineyard. The family purchased a 327 acre farm in 1996. From their website, ” In late 1998, a young man named Tom Vandenberg, knocked on our door and asked if he could lease ten acres for a vineyard. Sparked by his curiosity and research, we did our homework, and soon hired a vineyard consultant. A nursery in California had a few extra vines, so six months of hard work later, our first eight acres of vines had been planted.”
Today, it is an incredible winery, tasting room, and event space of which many weddings are held at. They have polo matches every Sunday Memorial Day weekend through mid-October. They also have their “First Wednesdays” events along with various other special events through out the year. The staff is knowledgeable and personable and want you to “enjoy the experience” of learning about their wines. Check out their website at: http://www.kingfamilyvineyards.com/
The Charlottesville and Crozet region is just a short 2 hour drive from Hampton Roads. There is so much to experience year round. It is perfect for a day trip or for a long weekend escape “back to nature”.