Nelson County Launches Nelson 29 Craft Beverage Trail

by Jessica Lawrence for the Nelson County Dept. of Tourism

Nelson County has become a popular destination for those who take pleasure in Virginia craft beverages, local food, and outdoor recreation.  For over a decade, Route 151 in has been known as “Virginia’s Weekend Address,” showcasing a peaceful drive with views of rolling mountains and beautiful skies. In total, Route 151 boasts five wineries, five breweries, three cideries, and two distilleries. Soon, tourists and locals alike will be enjoying Nelson 29, a second craft beverage trail and sister trail to Nelson 151.

The Nelson 29 trail stretches 20 miles between Arrington’s Blue Mountain Barrel House and DelFosse Vineyards and Winery in Faber. Those traveling Nelson 29 can also experience Lovingston Winery, Virginia Distillery Company, Brent Manor Vineyards, Mountain Cove Vineyards and Wood Ridge Farm Brewery. For those venturing off of the 29 corridor, there is even more to see and do.

Members of the new craft beverage trail provide diverse visitor experiences. DelFosse Winery offers award-winning estate wines in a pet-friendly atmosphere. Brent Manor Vineyards is the southernmost member of the Monticello Wine Trail; visitors will delight in wines from the vineyards and are encouraged to bring their own picnic or peruse the menu for artisanal breads, meats and cheeses. Blue Mountain Barrel House, sister brewery to Afton’s Blue Mountain Brewery, serves local food from its own food truck and beverages from the Afton location, as well as specialty and organic brews. Wood Bridge Farm Brewery is a Virginia farm brewery with a unique venue that bestows guests with gorgeous farm views and “dirt to glass” brews. Those interested in unusual architecture and award-winning wine will appreciate Lovingston Winery, where the winery itself is built into the side of a hill on the family farm, Josie’s Knoll.

While the group has been planning the trail since early 2019 with Nelson County Tourism, the official launch of the Nelson 29 craft beverage trail will take place on September 7, 2019 from 12:00 pm noon to 4:00 pm during Virginia Distillery Company’s “Spirited Soiree.” The event will officially introduce Nelson 29 and is part of Virginia Tourism Corporation’s “50 Years of Love” celebration, in which special events, offers and programs will be taking place all over the state throughout the year. The well-known slogan, “Virginia is for Lovers” was created by Martin and Woltz, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia in 1969.

Those visiting hospitality-related businesses along the corridor can also enjoy attractions in and around the historic village of Lovingston. Virginia’s oldest winery, Mountain Cove Vineyards, is located near Fortune’s Cove Preserve, one of Nelson County’s 11 watchable wildlife loops and favorite hiking trails. The Apple Shed, located north of Lovingston on Route 29, is a little building with a big selection of jams, jellies, apple butter and local honey, as well as grass-fed beef. Drumheller’s Orchard can be found south of Lovingston near the local high school. Visitors to Drumheller’s can enjoy fresh peaches, apples and baked goods or enjoy fall festivals; the family farm also offers school and group tours. It is worth a trip to wander off of Route 29 onto scenic Route 56 to visit Saunders Brothers Farm Market for locally-grown produce and in-season nursery plants. Intrepid explorers can make a day of it and hike or bike the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail in Piney River. Fourth generation family farm, Seaman’s Orchard is also located off of Route 56 and grows strawberries, apples, pumpkins, cherries and blueberries. Dickie Brothers Orchard, a Virginia Century Farm, and Silver Creek and Seamans’ Orchard’s packing shed are also located off of Route 56, heading toward Crabtree Falls, the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River.

History buffs will want to stop at The Oakland Museum, home of the Nelson County Historical Society.  The museum is housed in an 1830’s tavern with an exhibit detailing the story of Hurricane Camille and an exhibit on rural electrification. Walton’s Mountain Museum, another historic site off of Route 29, is the boyhood home of the creator of “The Walton’s” 1960’s television series. Earl Hamner, Jr. based many of the show’s scripts on his experiences as a young man growing up in Schuyler. The museum includes replicas of sets utilized on the shows as well as photos and other memorabilia.

For the savvy shopper, there are many options available along the route for buying souvenirs and gifts. Rapunzel’s Coffee and Books offers local beverages and monthly open mic nights in an eclectic atmosphere. Home Remedies Mercantile and Exchange caters to those who enjoy farm-to-table cooking and sustainable living. Trager Brother’s Coffee boasts fine organic coffee that is roasted on-site. Further down 29 South, book lovers may want to stop by Blue Moon Antique Mall and Bookstore, a veritable warehouse containing thousands of new, rare, and used books. Other gift shops include Blossom’s Florist, Ebb and Flow, and Olde Southern Country Charm. Pickers and flippers can look for gently-used treasures at The Almost Home SPCA Thrift Store.

Restaurants serving up delicious local food along Nelson 29 in Lovingston include the Lovingston Café, El Mariachi, Chen’s, Vito’s Pizza and Italian Grill, Mountain Mama’s Café and the Chicken Coop. Further south on Route 29 is the famous Colleen Deli, well-known for its milkshakes and iconic ice cream sign, as well as Ann’s Family Restaurant, serving local fare with award-winning service.

While Nelson 29 offers plenty of attractions for day trips, travelers may find that there are too many options to spend just one day in Nelson County. For overnight accommodations, tourists can choose to stay at a local hotel or bed and breakfasts. The elegant Orchard House Bed and Breakfast offers an outdoor pool, garden, library, and meeting room, along with a complimentary full breakfast, free parking, and free WiFi access. Guests can board their own horses at the historic Edgehill Inn and enjoy cool breezes while relaxing on the inn’s stately porches. Lovingston’s Village Inn is conveniently located off of Route 29 and treats guests to daily housekeeping, free parking, free WiFi, and cable TV.  Additionally, Harmony Hill Bed and Breakfast is located in the nearby village of Arrington; amenities include a golf course, lobby fireplace, common area for coffee and tea, and complimentary WiFi and parking. In addition, there are other locally-owned cabins and cottages that dot the landscape along Route 29 that welcome visitors.

Tourists and locals alike are encouraged to stop by the Nelson County Visitor’s Center located 8519 Thomas Nelson Highway, Lovingston.  The center is open 7 days a week from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Those interested in learning more about the Nelson 29 craft beverage trail can contact the visitor’s center at 434-263-7015.


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