Saturday, 9 March 2013

Train Trip 2013 - Charleston to Charlottesville

Two feet of very wet heavy snow, high winds, fallen trees and broken branches over roads, and massive power outages. We missed it by "that" much! Almost . . .

All this came in the Virginia area on Tuesday/Wednesday and by Thursday, when we arrived in Charlottesville, most of the roads were cleared of both snow and trees, and power had been restored at least in the city. A few of the outlying areas were still without due to trees down over power lines -- crews were working hard to get things back in order.

We stayed at The Inn at 400 West High, a very lovely bed & breakfast just a couple blocks from the downtown pedestrian mall. The present owner purchased the building a couple years ago, did massive renovations and has been open about 1 1/2 years. The breakfasts were amazing!! We were the only ones there for most of our stay as several others cancelled due to the storm. We really enjoyed relaxing by the fire place in the evenings.
Kitchen area at the B&B
Living room at the B&B
Stained glass window in the bathroom of the 3rd level suite of the B&B
We'd taken the train from Charleston to Richmond and then rented a car to visit Charlottesville -- known for its wineries and micro breweries, the Shenandoah mountains, the Skyline Drive and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even in the winter off season it's a beautiful place. I can only imagine how much more so when decked out in the colours of spring, summer and fall.

Andrew had read about a winery owned by singer Dave Matthews. Quite by accident, our first stop was his Blenheim Vineyards.  Unknown to me, Dave is also an artist and each year illustrates one of the wine labels.
Poster of Dave Matthews wine label illustration for 2010
Not far from Blenheim is Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson -- interesting historical tour.
Over the next two days we also visited Barboursville Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards, and Wintergreen Winery. Barboursville is one the largest in the area and we taste tested 20 of their wines! Luckily they were quite small samples. There was still no power at the three of the four vineyards; they were all running on generators and still conducting wine tastings by candle light.

There are also several micro breweries and a couple cider houses in the area. We stopped for lunch at Devils Backbone Brewery and Restaurant which was extremely busy on a sunny Saturday.
A sampling of beers
Unfortunately, neither the Skyline Drive or the Blue Ridge Parkway got plowed so despite the warm sunny days we weren't able to take in the views. We still drove some very scenic areas and got out for a short hike at lower elevation.
Blue Ridge Parkway
Hiking along Rockfish Creek
Part of the Appalachian Trail runs along the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. I would definitely like to come back to this area again one day!

Here's Andrew's blog post and photos from around Charlottesville.

No comments:

Post a Comment