A Weekend in the Virginia Countryside

When I first received my friend’s wedding invitation and discovered that her wedding would be held in Berryville, Virginia I was kind of confused on where this tiny town was actually located and how I would be able to make a weekend out of it since the wedding was taking place on Labor Day Weekend. After some Google mapping, I found out that Berryville is located smack dab in the middle of Virginia wine country and some of the country’s most beautiful hiking trails. I was amazed by the beauty of Virginia and all the things there were to do out there! Fair warning though- there is a LOT of driving involved and if you’re a New Yorker like me who is spoiled by convenient public transportation and cheap Ubers be prepared to either bring a friend who happens to be a good driver or practice your driving skills in advance. The drive was a total of 6 hours (7 with traffic) from New York and some of the roads were not well lit at all. The roads can also be quiet steep and winding so definitely be careful! Thankfully, one of my best friends was in town to attend the same wedding and graciously flew into New York so we could make the drive down together (aka so I wouldn’t have to drive). If there is anything I’ve learned from this trip it is that while I love outdoor activities like hiking, road trips are not for me. Other than the long drive, I truly enjoyed my time in Virginia! 

Shenandoah Valley

One of the main things I wanted to do in Virginia was go hiking because I had heard rave reviews about the gorgeous scenery in the Virginia mountains. Luckily, our Airbnb wasn’t far from the Shenandoah Valley and we headed there for a moderately difficult hike to the waterfalls. Just a note of advice- more than likely your phone (aka GPS) will not have service once you enter the National Park so I really recommend either downloading the map off of Google Maps in advance or getting a physical map from the Visitor Center upon entering. We chose to hike a trail that led to a beautiful little waterfall and took around 3 hours round trip. The trail was clearly marked, not too crowded, and offered some amazing views. I strongly recommend bringing a lot of water because with all the steep stairs going up and down you end up sweating A LOT and will definitely need to stay hydrated. I did not heed this warning and ended up with a slight migraine the rest of the day. Driving along Skyline Drive, which takes you through the center of the National Park is also worthwhile- there are so many stopping points along the Drive that allows you to pull over and take in the view. Living in New York City, I’m use to the gray pavements, rusty subways, and trash on the streets, so I was very amazed by how green and fresh everything was. I have to say it was a nice change!

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Skyline Caverns

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I’m a little bit obsessed with caves. There is just something so mysterious about them that pulls my attention in and makes me really curious. Over the past years I’ve visited several caves (including in Bermuda!) and really educated myself about them. Did you know that the pools of water inside caves are so clear that it makes the pool appear to be much deeper than they really are? The fact that there are so many beautiful natural formations under our feet is just astounding to me. Skyline Caverns was definitely one of the biggest caves I’ve had the opportunity to tour- there was a total of 17 rooms! We weren’t sure what time our hike (see above) would end so we did not book our Cavern tour tickets in advance, but there was still space for us on the last tour of the day! Visiting the caves can be easily combined with a Shenandoah Valley hike if you plan out your time well because the Caverns are located just outside the North entrance of the Park. It can get chilly inside the caves so make sure you bring in a light jacket. There are also some other activities located at Skyline Caverns, like a mirror maze, so the little ones can be entertained as well.

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Great Country Farms

 My biggest regret about my trip was not having enough time to go fruit picking at the local farms. I would have loved to grab some fresh apples or peaches to take back home with me and enjoy throughout the week, but unfortunately with our jam packed schedule there was just no time. Instead, we went to Great Country Farms and explored their general store, stocked up on some juicy peaches, and tasted their homemade jams. Next time I plan to ride the wagon out into the fruit fields and spend hours just wandering around looking for crispy apples, sweet strawberries, and tons of peaches. Tip- Great Country Farms is located right across the road from Bluemont Vineyard so make sure you have time to enjoy the fresh fruits as well as the delicious wine!

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Bluemont Vineyard

 Wow. Bluemont Vineyard was definitely one of the biggest highlights of my Virginia trip. I’m not a big wine drinker, but I couldn’t skip out on visiting a winery when I was staying in the center of Virginia wine country. I love the vibe at vineyards and how beautiful and serene it is to site outside under the calming sun and sip on wine. I’ve been to wineries in Long Island’s North Fork as well as in the Finger Lakes region, but Bluemont instantly became my favorite winery because of its gorgeous location and the quality of food and wine offered. One big bonus of Bluemont Vineyards is that it also has delicious huge flatbreads to accompany your wine sampler. My friends and I had a grand time tasting 6 different types of white and red wine, all created and made locally on premise, while eating a cheesy breakfast inspired flatbread. Plus, the Vineyards are located on top of a hill so the view overlooks all of the fields and is such a nice background for a perfect Sunday afternoon. Get there early and beat the crowds to ensure you get a nice table under a large umbrella. You might also catch one of the many friendly cats on their property that sunbathes under the picnic tables!

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Historic Rosemont Manor

My friend’s wedding was held at the Historic Rosemont Manor and what a gorgeous venue it was! There was so much history involved- we actually stayed on the venue site in a cabin that use to house soldiers during the Civil War. The outdoor ceremony was simply stunning with a huge green space as the backdrop. Afterwards we celebrated with a bonfire and tons of pizza and beer- the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend. Congrats again Sophia and Sang!

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Have any of you guys been to Virginia before? What other activities have you done there?