A 30-acre swath of lush, Red Oak Mountain terrain surrounds Capitol Vineyards' historic facilities, where owners Lauren Shrem and Matthew Noland forge an eclectic collection of French-style wines from Virginia grapes. With help from a resident French winemaker and vintners across the state, they press an array of vintages, dispensing the elixirs during events inside the facility's historic, rustic tasting room. Constructed as a post office in the 1800s and used as a general store in the early 1900s, the site still bears its original wooden bar, floors, and grizzled prospector.
For Little Washington Winery, location is key. Their perch sits on the edge of Shenandoah National Park, where the mountains scatter the spring winds to fend off frost and other vine-killing maladies. The open air catches ample light for the vineyard's growing fruits, and, perhaps just as importantly, grants a panoramic view of the forests ahead. It is on this lush land that Little Washington Winery cultivates the majority of its ingredients, sourcing others as necessary from their Virginian neighbors.
Virginia Wine Lover recently crowned the vintners with top rankings for their red and white wines, as well as naming the vineyard a premiere destination for picnics due to its surrounding scenery and bounty of naturally occurring checker-print blankets. Inside the tasting room, which is equal parts cabin and art gallery, guests listen attentively as experts walk them through enjoying a curated selection of wines. If guests wish to explore the world of vino even further, they can join the Dirt Road Wine Club, which offers tastes from boutique vintners around the globe.
C.T. Campbell, a Luray native, calls upon more than 30 years of experience to teach aspiring anglers how to track down fish during private fly-fishing trips. Small groups of up to four trek to a private 1-mile stretch of the Shenandoah River, where they can cast for fish and take in the scenic vistas of Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains. With all gear and equipment provided, visitors can concentrate on reeling in smallmouth bass and trout as C.T. takes care of all the lines, leaders, flies, and tackle. C.T. welcomes fishers of all skill levels and teaches the fundamental flies of this active style of fishing. Page Valley Fly Fishing Service practices catch-and-release fishing, so fishers will have to return their catches to the majestic river unless they can convince trophy fish to become animatronic singers mounted to their home-office walls.
At Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club, PGA teaching professional Glenn T. Payne helps golfers consistently hit the ball straighter, farther, and with a greater degree of accuracy. Players of any skill level can work toward shaving strokes and more thoroughly enjoying their time on the course or inside a self-built sandcastle in the bunker. In 2006 and 2010, Glenn was honored with a place on the PGA President's Council on Growing the Game, which seeks to expand golf's reach to new places and populations.
Valley Ballooning takes passengers’ breaths away with safely obtained, unobstructed aerial views of the Shenandoah Valley’s majestic rivers, vineyards, and animal inhabitants. Tours at sunrise or sunset cover up to 10 miles, with experienced pilots pointing out such incomparable sights as whitetail deer bounding below or the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountains frolicking in the distance. Winter flights include a warming cup of hot chocolate or coffee to keep passengers from growing envious of balloons, and toast packages conclude with the celebratory ringing of sparkling-cider glasses.
A massive figure floats across the sky, roars, and sends fire into the air as it elevates higher and higher. The creature soaring above the Shenandoah Valley isn't a common dragon—it's one of D&D Ballooning's hot air balloons. Since 1981, the company's steadfast pilots have welcomed children and adults into their floating baskets to feast upon views of lush forests and rolling mountainsides. D&D's colorful aircrafts take off just before sunset or sunrise, letting passengers gaze at a sky painted with rich reds, bright oranges, and pinks delicate enough to pad a princess's walls.