First Colony Winery celebrates the history and heritage of local viniculture by crafting a cellar’s worth of European-style wines. After sampling from their selection of eight ambrosias—including a tropical seyval blanc and full-bodied tannat—amid the exposed wood beams and checkerboard floors of the elegant tasting room, corral a full glass of your favorite varietal and venture onto the covered patio to savor views of sun-soaked hills while gargling the intricate melodies from Dvorak's New World symphony. Guests then go home with a pair of branded souvenir wine glasses with which they can use as drink vessels at home or as miniature hot tubs for over-indulged troll dolls.
Jimmy Crews, Roger Nelson, and Stephanie Tyson grew up on the James River, paddling along its tree-lined banks to find the most scenic spots and best fishing holes. Now the masterminds behind Howardsville Canoe Livery, the trio outfits outdoorsmen for their own explorations by renting tubes, 10’ Perception Pescador kayaks, and 16’ Old Town Camper canoes. Most trips go down the James River, though adventurers can also explore the Rockfish and Tye Rivers when water levels permit. Abundant wildlife roams the banks, including the occasional bald eagle. Though trips are self-guided, one of the livery’s team members can join groups for a guided tour, narrating in the group’s choice of accent about the rivers’ rich history, geography, geology, and fishing spots. Though all trips include shuttle service, staff can also give a lift to those who already own a tube, kayak, or canoe.
The state- and NRA-certified instructors at MMTA Firearms Training Academy put safety above all else. In accommodating students, they facilitate both mobile and onsite training in classes and private lessons. These gatherings take place at locales such as nearby ranges and hotel conference rooms, where the instructors lead courses such as the NRA FIRST Steps Pistol Orientation along with lessons in specialized topics such as rifle shooting, personal protection, and training to become a range safety officer.
On brisk mornings, a blanket of fog descends on the valley of Monticello, covering rows of grapevines in a picturesque mist that creates compelling flavors within the grapes soon to be transformed into wine. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Wisdom Oak Winery utilizes every inch of its 4-acre vineyard, which is situated on a sprawling 126-acre estate. Since 2001, the fertile pastureland has been the site of intense dedication and experimentation, resulting in high-quality varietals such as cabernet franc, chardonnay, ros?, and custom blends.
Discover Virginia hosts a variety of outdoor events that celebrate local wines, foods, and retailers in a family-friendly environment. During the annual food and wine festival, local vendors flock to Greene County to pour samples of Virginia-made wines and fresh bites as families enjoy activities such as live music and face painting. Especially popular is the yearly chili cook-off, which sets chefs against each other as they compete to see which recipes can set off the most fire sprinklers.
Siips—a cozy, wood-finished bistro—boasts a comprehensive selection of more than 75 wines and champagnes, most of which are available by the glass nightly. These bubbly and waft-worthy beverages accompany lunch and dinner menus brimming with fresh Mediterranean fare. Sidle up to the granite-topped bar with a silky smooth Bonny Doon syrah (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $13), and soak up the creamy tannins with savory morsels of antipasto piled high with cured meats, cheeses, and olives ($16.95). Celebrate a special occasion with a crisp glass of Gloria Ferrer bubbly (3 oz. for $7; 6 oz. for $12) that soothes and smoothes the palate just in time for an artfully arranged plate of wine-sautéed escargot ($9.95).