Weekend Trip to Heaven in the Country
Monica and I needed a little break from the work and chores and neighborhood. It was sunny and going to get into the 70’s and looked to be a great weekend for a cruise in the country. We took off Saturday morning for the country towards the mountains. We were about an hour into the drive when we got hungry and happened upon a great Deli – The New York Deli in Lightfoot VA. When I walked in the door – I knew it was going to be great. The aroma of Pastrami and other great foods was present and I had to get a Pastrami sandwich – which was awesome. A link to the Deli on Yelp:
We then proceeded west. After a while on the highway we got on a country road – Rt 250 and headed west. I saw on my phone GPS that we were coming up on a pond and slowed – it looked beautiful! It is located a little East South East of Hadensville VA. We stopped and took some photos. At that point I knew we were in for a great weekend. The pond was still and the colors reflected on it beautifully. I was enthused.
We then headed West North West toward Carter Mountain Orchard near Charlottesville VA. We had been there before and it is a great place to get apples and see a wonderful view. As soon as we got close to the Orchard we noticed a lot of cars. There was a long line of cars going up the mountain to the orchard and it took a long time. We knew it would be worth the wait. Upon arriving we were not disappointed. The vineyards with the grapes were beautiful. The Orchards were still vibrant with apples and pickers. The barn type buildings with food and apples and pies and wine and apple donuts were full of people yet lines moved fast. The decks were crowded but we found a seat quick with a chilled bottle of raspberry wine and some sandwiches and apple donuts. The view was wonderful and the food and wine great. I walked through the orchards and the vineyards and was amazed at the beauty of both. While walking in the vineyards I heard a girl laughing and said out loud – Monica – these grapes are laughing! (Monica was still back at the apple and produce section) That brought a lot more laughter from the girl in the next row. I never saw her but knew she was enjoying her day as much as I was mine. We had a fantastic visit to Carter Mountain Orchard and Vineyards!! A link to the orchard on Yelp:
We then proceeded north and west further into the country. While taking back country roads near Stoney Point VA on Route 20 we came upon the Grand Junction Country Store – where we heard and saw a band playing on a deck at the store. We had to do a U-turn and we went to check out the music. The Grand Junction Country Store is a beautiful place! Inside there was a counter where you could eat, there were a lot of country type decorations and things to purchase. You could buy a ham bone for your dog and deer antler handled knife for cutting your venison jerkey. They had the normal chips and soda and variety goods plus a lot of local flavor. The band outside was awesome. There was a boy that appeared to be 15 years old playing guitar who was fantastic. There was a beautiful woman playing base fiddle that had art work on the fiddle that was amazing. The drummer looked to belong in the ZZ Top band. The lead singer looked to be a cross between Elvis and Johnny Cash. The music they made was fantastic!! There was a great gathering of local folds – kids, parents and grandparents. Folks bought beer or soda or wine and sat on the chairs of picnic tables and enjoyed the music and evening. A local woman came and sat with us with a glass of wine and she was wonderfully interesting. She had boots that looked like they could tell a great story of travels. She had a countenance of country and elegance and I knew that I could spend a year talking to her and reveling in the joys behind her eyes and smile. The boy that played the guitar broke a sting and needed pliers. I got my needle nose pliers and it was fun to see several older gentlemen help him get it right. While the band was playing and we were enthralled by the fresh air, the breeze, the colorful trees and the evening light – a girl and her (apparent) boy friend rode up on beautiful big horses. She was riding bare back and her blonde hair glistened in the sun. It was like a scene out of a great movie or a great dream. They visited with some of the folks and rode off. There was a great feeling of community, comradery and fellowship and family at that place. While the band was playing and my feet were tapping in the dirt and I was feeling the moment – I looked over and saw Monica with the evening sun on her beautiful face and it reminded me of the day I met her – my heart and soul was filled with joy and love. This country store and the people there was a once in a lifetime find that I hope to experience again many times in my travels.
Proceeding on we came into Orange VA. A great old town with a railroad station in the center of town. We went into the newly renovated Trackside Deli and had some great food. The owner was friendly and joined us to help us find lodging and shared stories about the town and business. It was another great experience and the food was wonderful!
We checked into the new Comfort Inn in Orange, VA. I would have rather gotten a room in a bed and breakfast or old inn, but the leaf peepers were out in full force and we were lucky to get the last room in this new and friendly place. The girl at the front desk was funny and helpful and I was glad to get off the road for a few hours. Monica was dead tired and I was still wound up from the fresh air and beautiful sights – so I walked up the road and found a Mexican restaurant open and walked in. I met a biker couple having cocktails and some grub and they asked me to join them. What a great time we had telling road stories and they sharing their experiences of living in the country. I wanted to talk with them all night but it got late and I needed to see how Monica was doing and get some rest.
Sunday morning we awoke to a beautiful cool and sunny glow. We proceeded toward a place we heard about – Graves Mountain Orchard and Lodge where there was a Fall Festival going on. Blue Grass Music, Pumpkins, Apples, food, and fun. On the way as with the whole trip – we made detours on pretty country roads and stopped to take photos and walk around. I was in the middle of no-where and shooting a beautiful tree over a tobacco barn when a truck stopped short and startled me. It was the biker couple from the night before and they hollered out – Bones! (that is me) I couldn’t believe it!! We chatted and they headed off and Monica and I proceeded on our wonderful journey. We stopped by a farm with cows and great barns and silos and saw spider webs glistening in the morning light with dew on them – magnificent.
We took a lot of amazing back roads to get to Graves Mountain Orchards. We entered a town called Criglersville. It was located on a stream that was flowing heavy. The road across the stream was washed out. I walked out over the stream on a cable suspension bridge to take some photos and was amazed at how the bridge swayed and buckled and felt alive. I loved the old antique stores and the houses with amazing fall flowers that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
We arrived tat Graves Mountain Orchards and Lodge for the fall festival and I was amazed at the number of vehicles parking so early in the morning. I was also taken aback by the beauty of the surroundings. There was a great white barn with silo light up by the early morning light and behind – the mountains with the fall colors – it was beautiful. On walking into the festival area – we were greeted by hay rolls decorated with an apple and gord face and then saw a great stream running through the property. We were greeted by the aromas of Barbeque and apple butter on the fire and kettle corn being cooked. The kids were in a big pumpkin patch. I was amazed by the number and quality of the arts and crafts booths. There were horses with riders coming by and even horse driven carriages coming by. There was great Blue Grass music. The people were all friendly and the day was perfect!! This was a festival that is among the best I’ve ever seen and hope to go again. Link:
On the return trip to home we spotted a great Vineyard – Horton Vineyard and it was beautiful!! We had to stop and check it out. Link:
The grounds and building where beautiful. The tasting room was cool and the wines were great. We got a bottle of plum wine and it was delicious!! I loved how they had rose bushes at the end of most of the grape vine rows and the trees in the area were colorful. I’m looking forward to visit this place again soon.
The last great gem of the trip – on route 33 heading toward Richmond from the country we came into a town Gordonsville. We spotted a place called BBQ Exchange and it was crowded and looked cool. We did a u-turn and went inside. The food smelled wonderful! The people that worked there were friendly. I got a large Beef Brisket sandwich and Monica got the pulled pork BBQ. They had about 5 different kinds of sauces on the tables to try. My beef brisket was one of the beast sandwiches I’ve ever had – it was fantastic! I tried Monica’s BBQ and it was great also! I sure look forward to going back to this great place!! BBQ Exchange:
The weekend was one of the greatest of all time!! I am still sorting through photos. I sure am looking forward to another weekend trip.