Route 29 is a ribbon of highway that travels up the center of Nelson County. The county is conveniently located between Lynchburg and Charlottesville, so every year thousands of people pass through Nelson to rest. Luckily, there are plenty of things for visitors to do along Route 29 in Nelson. The county’s newest craft beverage trail, Nelson 29 stretches 20 miles between Blue Mountain Barrel House in Arrington and Delfosse Vineyards and Winery in Faber.
Enjoy the scenic drive through Nelson County and stop to play, eat, or take in some gorgeous country views any season of the year. If it’s too hard to leave, you can stay at one of Nelson’s impeccably-decorated bed and breakfasts, such as the Orchard House Bed & Breakfast or Harmony Hill Bed & Breakfast.
Nelson county is a patchwork of bright green and pastel flowers in the springtime. Driving through the county along Route 29 is beautiful any time of the year, but the pops of color along the highway make spring a special time to stop and stretch your legs in Nelson County. Check out the SPCA Thrift Store in Arrington. This store sells gently-used merchandise, and all proceeds benefit the Nelson County SPCA. In fact, if you travel up 29 North, you could stop at the SPCA and adopt a friend on your way out of Nelson! Make an appointment and stop by the Nelson Heritage Center and explore the African-American history exhibit
Let the kids play at the Whitney Loving Memorial Playground off 29. The playground features unique, hand-made equipment. If you’re getting hungry, stop at Vito’s Pizza and Italian Restaurant for delicious pizza and Italian entrees. If you’re looking for peace and beauty, stop at Delfosse Vineyards and enjoy terraced vineyards, picnic areas, and the pond.
What is summer vacation without a family drive over a shimmering ribbon of roadway? Those traveling on Route 29 can jump on and off the Nelson 29 Trail to enjoy craft beverages or stop to take pictures with LoveWork signs along the way.
Late summer is a bittersweet time for Nelson County locals. Late August 1969 saw the destruction caused by Hurricane Camille. Every year, memorial presentations take place throughout the county to honor those who lost their lives and to reflect upon the immense power of nature. To learn more about the history of Nelson County, stop in at the Oakland Museum, home to the Hurricane Camille Resource Center. In 1969, more than 27 inches of rain fell in 6 hours and caused devastating flooding within the county. To further experience the history of Hurricane Camille, ask for the Points of Interest Map at the museum or at the Nelson County Visitors Center. The Oakland Museum also features exhibits on the New Deal Rural Electrification Project and an 18th century tavern room.
Fall is one of the most popular times for people to visit Nelson County. The azure sky contrasts against the brightly-leafed mountains. Stop at Virginia Distillery Company and take a picture with their LoveWork sign, which can be found right off Route 29 and features their logo and wine-making materials. Have a delicious entree at The Lovingston Cafe, located in the small town of Lovingston. Wood Ridge Farm Brewery offers eats as well, in a rustic locale bursting with inventive activities for patrons.
Of course, what is autumn without crisp, fresh apples? The Apple Shed in Lovingston sells apples, fruit, jams, and cider- when it isn’t being used as an impromptu wedding chapel. Another great place for orchard and garden fare is Drumheller’s Orchard, located off Route 29 near the local high school. Drumheller’s hosts great events every fall, and offers baked goods, honey, apple butter, hams, flowers, and of course- orchard fruits and fresh vegetables.
Winter! When a person’s fancy turns to holiday shopping and family traditions! Winter is a great time to enjoy all of the coziness that Nelson has to offer. If you need to pick up a book for the rest of your ride, stop at the Blue Moon Antique Mall, which houses thousands of used and new books. Rapunzel’s, another bookstore along Route 29, steps up the coziness factor with their coffeehouse vibe. If you’re lucky, you’ll end up stopping by on Open Mic Night!
Cozy gifts abound at Olde Southern Charm, whose owner strives to help you channel your inner Southern Living! If you find your tummy grumbling during your trip through Nelson, stop and warm up at Ann’s Family Restaurant with home-style southern cooking. If you’d rather spice things up a bit, grab a meal from El Mariachi, which offers hundreds of authentic Mexican food dishes. The restaurant has a gift shop on-site.