The Village of Afton is found in the foothills of the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains, only about 20 miles from Charlottesville. The Rockfish Gap, a famous wind gap in the Blue Ridge, runs through Afton Mountain. Home of famous writer Rita Mae Brown and musician Mary Chapin Carpenter, Afton attracts people from around the world, be it to live there permanently or to visit. Also found in Afton is the well-known and well-traveled Nelson 151, a craft beverage trail that features 6 wineries, 4 breweries, 3 cideries, and a distillery. With year -round, festivals and events, there’s something to do in Afton every season of the year!
Come out of your winter hibernation… Visit Nelson County this spring! As you drive in, marvel at the gorgeous pastels that begin to creep across the landscape- the apple & peach blossoms fill the air with sweet fragrance. If you’re looking for the perfect day trip or weekend adventure, you’ll want to check out Nelson 151, one of the county’s three famous craft beverage trails. Soak in spring’s beauty by taking in the scenery at Veritas Vineyards & Winery and Afton Mountain Vineyards, then head over to Silverback Distillery and purchase a bottle of top-shelf bourbon, whiskey, or gin. You’re in luck if you want to check out a cidery next — Nelson 151 includes three: Blue Toad Hard Cider, Bryant’s Small Batch, and Bold Rock Hard Cider. Most of the craft breweries include special weekend events and live music. Nelson 151’s wineries often include food with tastings.
If you’d like to do a little shopping, check out the craft brewery gift shops or take a short drive to the Rockfish Valley Community Center, a repurposed school building featuring local shops. Purchase a piece of Nelsonite, Virginia’s state rock, at The Virginia Rock Shop. If you’re into local art, check out the Rockfish Pottery Collective or the Rockfish River Gallery. Deal-hunters can see what’s available at Treasure Chest Thrift Store. Eat creative, comforting fare at Wild Wolf Brewing Company or Blue Mountain Brewery along Nelson 151.
If you’re spending the weekend in Nelson, good for you! Stay at one of Nelson’s quaint B&Bs or spacious inns. Need even more space? Rent an entire home in the mountains! Nelson’s craft breweries could write a book on responsibility – many offer accommodations on-site, like The Inn at Blue Mountain’s 4,000 square-foot country home, or WildManDan’s Beercentric B&B, which offers a tolerant, safe environment- along with hammock swings and a fireplace.
Afton’s Route 151 is a one of Nelson’s County’s seven designated Virginia Scenic Byways. In the summer, this translates to views of gorgeous, manicured vineyards, leafy forests, and verdant fields. Every summer, visitors from all over travel this picturesque roadway for special events, live music performances, good food, and inventive, hand-crafted beverages. If you’re planning on spending a hot summer day in Afton, check out the Nelson Farmer’s Market Cooperative one Saturday. Local vendors gather there to sell fresh produce and hand-crafted goodies. Often, there’s live music!
Nelson’s wineries make for an excellent day trip as well. Wineries in the Afton area and along Route 151 include Cardinal Point Winery, Flying Fox Vineyard, Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, and Valley Road Vineyards. If you’ve got a beer enthusiast in your party, check out Brewing Tree Beer Company. Ask the owners of Brewing Tree about their axe-throwing contests when you stop in!
Great food is included with great brews at Blue Mountain Brewery and Wild Wolf Brewing Company. In nearby Nellysford, you can enjoy French-inspired cuisine at Basic Necessities Wine & Cheese Shop. If you want a little spice, travel to the Rockfish Valley Community Center to dine at Taj Mahal Kitchen (and do a little shopping). Nelson’s restaurant owners make a point to source local ingredients, so you know you’ll be getting something good.
After a long day at the wineries, you might need a place to lay your head. Stay at one of Nelson’s B&B’s, Cabins, Cottages, or Inns if you wish to extend your visit. Love camping? Head over to the Devils Backbone Camp in nearby Roseland!
Goodbye, humidity! Fall is here! Enjoy gorgeous, crisp autumn in Afton, home of Nelson 151. You and yours will love getting out of town to enjoy what Nelson County has to offer when the weather begins to cool down. Even a simple drive on 151, an official Designated Virginia Scenic Byway, is a vacation all in itself. Watch the ancient Blue Ridge Mountains roll by covered in gorgeous amber and red leaves. Feel your stress melt away as you pass fields dotted with pumpkins and hay bales.
If you need to stretch a bit, check out one of the businesses that are part of Nelson 151, the famed craft beverage trail. Nelson 151 partners includes six wineries: Afton Mountain Vineyards, Cardinal Point Winery, Flying Fox Vineyard & Winery, Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, Valley Road Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyard & Winery. Each winery has its own style, from breathtaking views to unique décor to a two-story mural!
Of course, wineries are not the only entertainment Afton has to offer. Nelson 151 boasts four breweries: Blue Mountain Brewery, Brewing Tree Beer Company, Devils Backbone Brewing Company, and Wild Wolf Brewing Company. Try your hand at axe-throwing at Brewing Tree Beer Company, enjoy Devils Backbone events, and enjoy great food at Blue Mountain and Wild Wolf. If your taste runs a bit sweeter, try a cider or two at Bryant’s Small Batch, Blue Toad Hard Cider, or Bold Rock Hard Cider. Like the hard stuff better? Head over to Silverback Distillery for a mixed drink and bring home a bottle of bourbon, vodka, whiskey, or gin.
If you’re in Nelson celebrating Halloween, you’re in luck! 151 partners in Afton offer special Halloween-themed celebrations during most years, such as Devils Backbone Brewing Company’s Halloween Costume parties or Blue Mountain Brewery’s Family Pumpkin Parties. Special Thanksgiving meals are often prepared at the Farmhouse at Veritas.
After a day of sights, experiences, and even holiday fun, feel free to spend a night or two in Nelson. If you’d like to stay close to one of the wineries, you might want to stay at the Cardinal Point Farmhouse, a renovated 19th century home with views of the Blue Ridge — and a pool. The Mark Addy offers beautifully-decorated, themed rooms and helpful staff to help you get settled in. If you’ve brought Fido with you, don’t worry — some of the rooms at The Mark Addy Inn are pet-friendly.
Make new holiday traditions (or just freshen up some old ones) by taking a trip to Nelson County this winter. Talk about a winter wonderland! During winter mornings, Nelson’s ice-slicked rock mountain walls glitter in the sun. As the fields’ frosts melt away until tomorrow, a new day begins- with more than a few opportunities to enjoy the sights, shopping, events, and people that make Nelson so special.
Start your day with some holiday shopping at Rockfish Valley Community Center. Pick up a fresh, hot cup of coffee at Trager Brothers and peruse the local shops found in the repurposed school building. Buy a little piece of Nelsonite, Virginia’s state rock, at the VA Rock Shop or purchase a one-of-a-kind piece of art from Rockfish Pottery Collective or the Rockfish River Gallery. Next, stop at Rockfish Gap Country Store. It’s like a jewelry box inside, with wall-to-wall gifts, art, antiques, handcrafted clothing, furniture- you name it, it’s probably on display somewhere at the Rockfish Gap Country Store. Watch out and listen out for pop-up events from the HeArt of Nelson Art Collective, a group of artists selling jewelry, paintings, and more.
After your shopping day, warm up at Silverback Distillery. Stop in for a tour or try amazing cocktails with names like Shock the Monkey or Smoked Old Fashioned. More traditional? Whiskey served neat is fine. If you’re hungry, head over to Devils Backbone Brewing Company or Wild Wolf Brewing Company. Stay a night in cozy, country luxury at The Farmhouse at Veritas or their Barn Cottage, or enjoy stunning, peaceful winter vistas at the Cardinal Point Farmhouse.