Looking for a little outdoor winter fun and snow, my family and I headed north to Nelson County, VA for a weekend get-a-way. Nelson County is located in central Virginia and is home to Wintergreen Ski Resort. The area is also known for spectacular natural sights as well as food and locally crafted adult beverages. Here are some highlights from our trip.
Wintergreen Ski Resort
Wintergreen offers a variety of winter sporting activities for family members of all ages and these activities are available throughout the month of March (weather permitting). Upon our arrival at the resort, my family and I first visited the ski slopes. Even though the area hadn’t received any snowfall when we visited, the snow on the slopes was perfect. I learned that Wintergreen is known for their top of the line snow making machines.
Wintergreen ski school
As beginner skiers, my daughter and I both took lessons to prepare us for this wintry activity. We each had a different instructor that was selected to match our needs. My daughter, who had never been on skis before, had a wonderful instructor that was specially trained to work with children. I was assigned an instructor that was able to quickly gauge my skills, build my confidence and get me on the slopes quickly.
My husband, a more advanced skier, hit the slopes right away. Most of the slopes were open so they were not crowded at all. In the few hours that we skied, he enjoyed many runs down a variety of slopes.
After a delicious lunch at The Edge, a restaurant adjacent to the slopes, we headed to the tubing park. The Plunge is Virginia’s largest tubing park. There were at least 10 lanes available for tubing on the steep hill. Therefore, we never had to wait more than a few minutes to tube down the hill. The run was fast and exciting making it the perfect activity for family members of all ages (as long as they are 42 inches tall). Sessions on the tubing slopes last for an hour and a half and tickets cost between $19 and $29 per person depending on the day of your visit.
Wanting to explore the beauty of the mountains in a more serene setting, my family and I visited Crabtree Falls. The falls are located in George Washington National Forest and are known as the highest vertical drop cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. The hike to the first viewing area of the falls is just a few hundred feet from the parking lot on an easy trail that is perfect for families with small children. Feeling more adventurous, my family and I hiked up a few miles and encountered several other overlooks of the falls. The trail was narrow and slick in some areas, but overall well-kept and easy to follow. The falls themselves are beautiful and the surrounding forest provided great scenery for a hike.
The trail is open from dawn to dusk and there is a fee for parking in the lot adjacent to the falls.
Nelson 151 is a scenic road peppered with 7 wineries, 3 breweries, 1 cidery and 1 distillery. It is a great area to sample some locally made beverages as well as locally sourced food. My family’s fist stop along this road was to Bold Rock Cidery. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the cidery was a family oriented location. While my husband and I sampled some hard cider, my daughter tried the apple soda. In addition to the on-site restaurant there is an educational Cider Museum and a viewing area of the cider bottling line.
Each evening of our trip, we visited a different local brewery for dinner. The three breweries each offered a variety of house made brews along with high quality food.
Blue Mountain Brewery has a fantastic menu and includes several items that are cooked with their house made beer. My husband and I tried the beer-boiled local bratwurst sandwich on locally made bread. It was delicious! We also happened to be there on the first Thursday night of the month which is known as “steal the glass” day. For each beer that you order, you get to keep the pint glass it came in!
Wild Wolf Brewing Company is set in what used to be a school house. It has grown into a fabulous restaurant and brewery. The restaurant has set into motion a farm to fork initiative. They get all meat from within a 30 mile radius and produce locally as well. The result is fantastic food! Our favorites were the pulled pork nachos and fried Oreos. Since we were visiting on the weekend, we also got to listen to live music. Each Friday, Saturday and Sunday Wild Wolf hosts local and traveling artists to entertain customers.
View from the bedroom at Ad Astra
There are many lodging options in Nelson County including cabins, condos and inns. We stayed at Ad Astra, a newer Bed and Breakfast located right off of Hwy 151. Our room was very well appointed with a comfortable king sized bed, a table with chairs, a reading area and an en-suite bathroom. A roll-away bed was brought in for our daughter so she also had comfortable accommodations as well. The mountain view out of the bedroom window was awe-inspiring.
My family enjoyed a break from television at Ad Astra as there was none in the room or in the main lounge area of the home. In our down-time, we found ourselves reading in the comfortable lounge, taking in nature’s beauty while sipping a cup of tea and playing chess. In addition to the lovely home, our hosts were very hospitable and provided tasty breakfasts each morning we were there.
Nelson County, VA proved to be a wonderful destination for a family oriented mountain get-a-way with many activities to do and wonderful food and beverages to sample.