The Village of Lovingston is a picture-perfect example of small-town America. It’s a great destination for history buffs as the Lovingston Historic District and the courthouse are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lovingston was defined as a “courthouse town” after the Nelson County Courthouse was built. One claim to fame is that that town jail was designed by Thomas Jefferson. Lovingston’s most historic African-American landmark is Bright Hope Baptist Church, which was built in 1870 for the freedmen and women living in Nelson. Present-day Lovingston offers lodging, restaurants, attractions, and nearby shopping for visitors.
Lovingstown, Virginia, as it was first named, began with a land grant and a need to build a courthouse and a county seat for the newly created Nelson County in 1809. The original 30 acres was donated by Mr. James Loving that same year and thus began the construction of this charming historic village.
There were 49 lots parceled off in nearly equal measure and then sold. The lots were numbered for identification and were thereby known as those lot numbers. The original hand drawn layout of the lots can be seen at the end of this tour!
A springtime walk down Front Street is refreshing once warmer weather begins. Take a stroll along Lovingston’s Historic District and admire the diverse architectural styles and building types. It’s not all buildings in Lovingston, though- this rural town offers great opportunities to get outdoors. Hike the Fortunes Cove Nature Preserve trail, which is a challenging, 5.5 hike with mountain views. Wine-lovers can enjoy Mountain Cove Vineyards, which is located next to Fortunes Cove. Fun fact: Mountain Cove Vineyards is Virginia’s oldest winery! The winery includes picnic areas and hiking and mountain-biking routes. If you’re looking to stay a night or two in Nelson and you have an RV, you might want to stay at Mountain Cove Vineyards RV campsite. The campsite offers 20 X 50′ sites, drinking water, RV pump outs, and more. If you’re looking for an indoor spot to stay, Orchard House is a relaxing, historic property offering a pool and gazebo (and amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, of course).
For more history, contact Bright Hope Baptist Church, a historic African-American landmark in Lovingston that overlooks the village. The church was built along with a school in 1870 to serve the freed men and women of Nelson. The kept area has over 100 marked graves. Dinner Options in Lovingston include Vito’s Pizza & Italian Grill for classic and specialty pizzas and Italian entrees. El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant offers over one hundred menu choices and has a gift shop on-site. Other shopping includes Blue Moon Antique Mall, which houses tens of thousands of new and used books for sale. If you’re doing some spring redecorating back home, stop at Olde Southern Charm for primitive décor.
Lovingston is an interesting place to vist when the weather warms up. Every summer, residents remember the anniversary of the devastating floods caused by Hurricane Camille in 1969, The residents lost to Hurricane Camille have been commemorated in many ways. A monument stands in Courthouse Square for viewing. Any day can be a picnic day after stopping at The Chicken Coop. Their prize-winning fried chicken and country sides make a great meal-on-the-go. Eat at the Nelson County Wayside, located at the intersection of Rt. 29 and Rt. 6 W.
Enjoy Lovingston Winery for delicious wines and gorgeous scenery. If you’re looking for a dinner that’s more of an experience than a meal, head to Wood Ridge Farm Brewery, where a food truck is usually available. It’s a family-friendly place with plenty of outdoor activities. Want to know something interesting? The brewery and the bar were built out of wood from the property. If you’re lucky enough to have stopped by on the weekend, you can enjoy live music there as well. Stay the night at the Cabin at Woodridge Farm, which features a stocked trout pond, beach, kayaks, and fire pit. If you’re looking for a more traditional place to lay your head, stay at the Village Inn on Route 29, where you can park right outside of your room!
Fall is one of the most popular times for people to visit Nelson County. The gorgeous fall colors turn the usually placid green mountains into colorful patterns. Hike the Fortune’s Cove Nature Preserve trail – it includes seven viewpoints and a stream. When the weather starts to cool down, warm up by the fireplace at Virginia Distillery Company, which offers specialty cocktails and tours. Learn more about whisky at their Whisky Museum! For more craft beverages and great food, check out Wood Ridge Farm Brewery and their Fired Up Curbside Grill. Wood Ridge Farm Brewery offers gorgeous natural views as well, of both the Blue Ridge Mountains and the peacocks that wander the property. If you need a place to stay, you can rest for the evening right at the Cabin at Woodridge Farm, which offers a stocked trout pond and a firepit.
Need to rush back after your day in Lovingston? After some shopping at Olde Southern Charm and the SPCA Thrift Shop on Route 29, grab a pizza from Vito’s Pizza, Bar and Grill, head home, and watch the game.
The village of Lovingston is friendly and beautiful in the winter. It’s convenient, too, as the village is located around a half-hour’s drive from both Lynchburg and Charlottesville. Take a walk along Front Street and enjoy viewing the large, decorated tree. Stop at Rapunzel’s Coffee and Books to enjoy the eclectic atmosphere, books, craft beverages, and of course- coffee! Stick around for the Open Mic night if you’re so inclined.
Warm up by the huge fireplace in Virginia Distillery Company’s tasting room. The folks at Virginia Distillery Company honor tradition; there is an onsite museum. Distillery tours are available to groups as well. Take a picture with their LoveWorks sculpture, which is located near the entrance of the distillery. Looking for a unique holiday gift for someone special? Consider visiting the Nelson County SPCA to adopt a new friend.
Dinner Options in Lovingston include Vito’s Pizza & Italian Grill for classic and specialty pizzas and Italian entrees. El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant offers over one hundred menu choices and has a gift shop on-site. The Lovingston Café offers Karaoke Nights for added fun. If you’re in a hurry, take home a pizza from Vito’s or get carry-out from Mountain Mama’s.
Do you plan on staying a night or two in Lovingston this winter? Enjoy a night at the historic Edge Hill Inn in Lovingston. The Edge Hill Inn is a beautiful Bed & Breakfast in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With lots of things to do and see in the surrounding area, The Edge Hill Inn is perfect for romantic getaways.