I'm a published wedding and portrait photographer located in a small town outside of Charlottesville. In addition to capturing beautiful images, I love spending time with my family, am freakishly good at word games (Hey Wheelmobile!), love an ice cold can of Coke or Dr. Pepper, know every line to Hocus Pocus and can never pass up a Chick-fil-A waffle fry or a trip to HomeGoods.
I travel, a lot. Sometimes it’s outside the country via a sun-filled cruise and sometimes it’s an hour down the road to a daytrip destination. Regardless of the distance, I enjoy getting out and experiencing new things. So welcome to Travel Tuesdays! Each Tuesday I’ll be sharing snippets from a trip. Sometimes it’ll be an overnight or weeklong trip, sometimes it’ll be a local stop. Check back each Tuesday to see which it’ll be.
Up first: Cider Saturday
This past Saturday my husband, Ron, and I took advantage of the mild January day and headed out to Nelson County. When I first moved to the Charlottesville area, I knew I wanted to make time to take advantage of the local sights and spots. Central Virginia is quickly becoming a hot spot for breweries, cideries and wineries and each offers something different. On Saturday, we stopped by three–Bold Rock, Blue Toad and Three Notch’d.
The first two, Bold Rock and Blue Toad are among what has become known as the Nelson 151 trail. The trail offers a variety of wineries, breweries, cideries and even a distillery or two. One can easily spend a day, or a few days, stopping along the route, tasting and taking in the sights at each of the locations along the trail.
Our first stop Saturday was Bold Rock which is becoming well known for its ciders. It has a large distribution throughout Virginia and beyond and uses all Virginia apples in its beverages, many of which come from Carter Mountain Orchard in Charlottesville. The ciders are all very good, from the Virginia Draft to the IPA. There’s even a seasonal right now, Winter Frost, that tastes like drinking a Christmas cookie. I’m not a major nutmeg and clove person, but anyone who enjoys them will want to take the top to try Winter Frost. And while Bold Rock offers amazing ciders, the location itself is gorgeous. They host weddings and events and boast a large, multi-level porch overlooking the mountains and a stream, which runs behind the facility. It’s definitely a worthwhile trip, for both cider drinkers and those who just want to take in the view.
Up next was Blue Toad Cidery. Blue Toad is new to the area, established in Nelson just last year. However, the cider itseld was conceived in 2013 in Scottsville, New York. The brand has two locations–one in Rochester, NY and one in Nelson County, VA. At the Nelson location, one can find a few different cider options, all a variety of the brand’s Blue Ridge Blonde and ROC Hard Amber. The variations include a seasonal option, with nutmeg and cinamon; a hawaiian version with a slight pineapple taste; and a black cherry version. The ciders themselves and good and the cidery has great food options, including some gluten free options, which I always appreciate. In addition, the location serves as a spot for Well Hung Vineyards. In addition to a cider tasting, guests have the option of a tasting of Well Hung Vineyards wine.
With two cideries out of the way, it was on to a brewery for Ron. We stopped by Three Notch’d in Charlottesville and he sampled some of their options. They have a vast beer selection so he barely made a dent, but he enjoyed the ones he tried. They were out of growlers, so he was unable to purchase any, but we’ll likely be back on a future daytrip.
Have you tried any of the Central Virginia wineries, breweries or cideries? What are your favorites? I’d love to check them out.