Jerry Bailey began homebrewing with friends in 1989, hopeful that the craft would bring fulfillment that his 9-to-5 failed to provide. Fulfillment it brought, along with numerous batches of tasty brew. Bailey couldn’t keep his inventions to himself; he quickly decided to open his own brewhouse as well as distribute his goods to other local establishments.
Today, Bailey proudly stands at the helm of both Old Dominion Brewhouse and Old Dominion Brewing Company. In the pub, chefs add variety to liquid meals with food such as burgers, crab cakes, and thin-crust pizzas while 30 flat-screen televisions keep patrons entertained with sports. The chefs also exhibit flair for Asian cuisine, slicing and rolling sushi and offering create-your-own mongolian stir-fries. At the bar, eight handles remain perpetually reserved for Old Dominion's craft beers, such as the award-winning Baltic porter and the Oak Barrel stout, which is loaded with flavors of vanilla and the color brown.
Heart of Virginia Wine Trail honors its home state by guiding guests through six wineries?James River Cellars, Cooper Vineyards, Lake Anna Winery, Weston Vineyards, Mattaponi Winery, and Grayhaven Winery. Although not included with this Groupon, the wine ambassadors proffer passports that award patrons tastings at each of the wineries and encourage them to enjoy the scenic countryside while navigating the path in between. Both regular tastings and special events typically include food pairings and a chance to talk to knowledgeable enophiles.
Originally built in the 1760s, the 645-acre Belvedere Plantation hosts the yearly Harvest Festival each October, filling weekends with family-fun attractions ranging from pumpkin patches to hayrides. Eight acres of cornfield are sculpted into a NASA-themed maze, inspiring brave farmstronauts to venture into uncharted territory. Adrenaline pumps through the veins of onlookers observing pig races, while turbo-charged pedal tractors thrill speed seekers. A double slide stretches out to 100 feet, whisking human missiles through space and time, as amiable goats, chickens, pigs, and turkeys look on with a been-there, done-that nonchalance.
The culinary artisans at Lee’s Retreat Brew Pub stack platters of pub cuisine as well as original twists on traditional alehouse fare. Barflies can turn their stomach rumbling into thunder by perusing a menu rife with seafood nibblers such as coconut calamari escorted by a spicy dipping sauce ($7.99). The bar’s honey-colored wood paneling and electric wall sconces in gold cages set the scene for sandwiches such as the gorgonzola and bacon burger ($8.99), which—like all of Lee’s Retreat’s burgers—travels via english muffin rather than by bun. Pulled-pork sandwiches lathered in Stonewall stout barbecue sauce and crowned with homemade coleslaw ($8.99) attempt to outbid the beer-battered cod with wasabi mayo and homemade fries ($12.99) for limited stomach real estate, while the baby back ribs ($15.99) cooked with house Stonewall stout crowd the market.
Kybecca Wine Bar, a slow-food restaurant set within a converted 1860s general store, freshens up palates with a gourmet menu of small plates and entrees crafted from locally grown ingredients. Parties start the gustatory revelry with a cheese platter, festooned with three or four artisan offerings such as Cherry Glen chipotle chevre and fromage d’affinois brie. Guests pass around tapas-style bites of pistachio-pesto gnocchi ($9) or four bison blue-cheese sliders ($12) made from humanely raised meat. Spend quality time with full-plate entrees, including the brace of lamb ribs ($21/full) accompanied by pesto gnocchi and roasted tomatoes or the truffle-buttered beef tenderloin ($17), which rests, like a spectacularly successful and eccentric truffle trader, on a bed of wild-mushroom risotto.
The Virginia Wine Pass is like a key: its holders gain access to the state's wine country and all the delicious treasures and historic sites that lie behind its doors. Good for two people, each one-year membership unlocks complimentary wine tastings, free tours, and discounts on purchases and other events. Instead of training a bloodhound to sniff out the state's best wines, pass holders can discover current offerings on the website. Or, they can take to Virginia's 24 wine trails themselves, exploring the picturesque surroundings and artisanal wines provided along the way.