On the hunt for the perfect weekend escape? A girls’ getaway, a romantic retreat, or a quiet break from the hustle and bustle? Then look no further than the Nelson 151 trail in Virginia!
Dubbed “Virginia’s Weekend Address,” this little piece of heaven in Nelson County is a quick drive from several neighboring cities. It’s an hour and a half from Richmond, less than three hours from Washington DC, and four hours from Raleigh-Durham.
And complete with five wineries, three breweries, and a cidery, the Nelson 151 trail is the perfect place for those who like to imbibe. Which is exactly what did on a recent trip through Virginia wine country!
About Nelson 151
Upon arrival, you’ll immediately notice the spectacular views, country feel, and rustic charm. And that’s what Virginia Route 151 is about. It’s a scenic byway on the Blue Ridge Mountains and is the central point for the destination. With tree covered streets, winding turns, and lookout points, it’s a quaint setting that’ll get you in the mood fast.
Ahh, weekend vibes!
One of the best words to describe the feeling you’ll get is: local. And that’s the point. The local pride is significant, as well as it should be. In fact, the Nelson 151 concept was a decision by local alcohol artisans to share what the area has to offer collectively. Nelson County wineries and breweries banded together, thus making it the destination it is today.
I would be doing the area a disservice if I didn’t also mention the focus on outdoor recreation. While the theme of our blog is alcohol tourism, we do enjoy other things too! And Nelson 151 has them. Things like farmer’s markets, festivals, and fruit picking make this area even more special! You can visit their events page to see what’s happening when you visit.
Where to Stay
If you’re going for the weekend, you’ll need a place to stay. Stick with the local theme and pick an inn, cottage, or B&B. There are several!
We stayed in one of the guest cottages at Afton Mountain Winery. And Oh – My – Gosh. It’s like your own little private oasis in the middle of a vineyard! There are four cottages on site, and each stands alone, giving optimal privacy.
Complete with a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living room, the guest cottages are perfect for a quiet weekend. The décor is modern and upgraded, so it will feel all the more luxurious! Best of all – they have a deck to enjoy the sunrise. Pick the ANA cottage for the best view. The cottages sleep two, but if you have a few more in your party, you can check out the Guest House.
Where to Go
Proximity and size are your friends here, as you could easily visit every Nelson 151 location on a weekend trip! We only had one day, so we didn’t see everything, but we did manage quite a few stops. With what we saw, we were sold.
Nelson County Wineries – The Ones We Visited
There are five wineries on the Nelson 151: Afton Mountain, Cardinal Point, Flying Fox, Hill Top Berry Farm, and Veritas.
Afton Mountain Vineyards is home to our lovely cottage, so we’ll start there. Though, it may be a good idea to end there, since you can saunter up the path toward the cottage after sharing a bottle. In any case, it’s a must-see. With elevation at 1,000 feet, the views and the wine have a little something special. Our favorite was the Bacco ’14, a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot.
With a tagline of “Grapes don’t grow in ugly places,” Afton sure knows they’ve got something special.
Just around the corner is Veritas Vineyards, another must-see. With gorgeous grounds and spectacular wines, Veritas is one of our favorite wineries in Virginia. You can enjoy a tasting, glass, or bottle in their large indoor tasting room. Or, you can take it outside on the patio for views of the vines to accompany your sips. Either way, Veritas will be an experience you won’t forget.
Making your way down Route 151, Cardinal Point is next. Wildflowers and butterflies greet you as soon as you step out of the car. The tasting room is intimate and welcomes conversation between you and the other parties – which makes it more fun! For $10 you can sample 9 wines, so the conversation will get better and better as you go.
One thing we appreciated about Cardinal Point was their playful and experimental take on wine. We tasted a green harvest wine with notes of tart apple and their Hopped Chardonnay, which filtered the wine through beer’s most notable ingredient. Both were like nothing we’d ever tasted.
Nelson County Wineries – The Ones We Didn’t Visit
Another winery pushing the limits is Flying Fox. While we didn’t have time to visit, we did have an opportunity to chat with Emily Pelton, one of the owners and Winemaker at this family-owned vineyard. She described Flying Fox as a boutique winery with a chore local following. She said this enables them to play with the wines and try new techniques, varietals, and even products.
We are definitely stopping here on our next visit to Virginia wine country!
Lastly, the winery with the southern-most location on Route 151 is Hilltop Berry Farm and Winery. This winery stands out amongst the others because of its focus on fruit other than grapes. You’ll find meads and fruit wine here, including their award-winning Pounding Branch Persimmon.
Nelson County Breweries and Cidery
Not far from Hilltop are Bold Rock Cidery, Wild Wolf Brewery, and Devils Backbone Brewing Company. Unfortunately, we were under time constraints and didn’t visit any of these stops further down the Nelson 151. But we were lucky enough to sample some of the beer at local bars in Virginia. And we liked what we tasted!
The brewery we did have a chance to visit was up closer to Afton and Veritas wineries. The perfect stop for a casual dinner (get the pizza!) and a pint is Blue Mountain Brewery and restaurant. The best part of this place, besides the beer, is the view! You can sit outside and enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains, the sunshine, and the atmosphere.
What would you be most excited to try on the Nelson 151 trail? Leave us a note in the comment section below!
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We can’t thank Virginia.org enough for their support during our stay. They helped with accommodations, meals, and itinerary-planning for our four-day visit. But as always, our reviews are honest and genuine. We do not guarantee a positive review in return for assistance.
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