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.
A past Washington Post editor's pick, the Delaplane Strawberry Festival draws crowds with fresh-picked fruit, homemade pastries, and live entertainment. Guests’ arms and strawberry funnel cakes sway in time to live bluegrass and choral music emanating from the stage, and festival grounds teem with summer activities such as puppet shows, hay rides, and pony rides. Face painting covers childrens’ faces with the clownish stripes and accents needed to impersonate a post-apocalyptic warrior, and three-legged races prepare adolescents for the extra limbs they will grow as adults.
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.
Wind rustles through the trees of the George Washington National Forest as knobby bike tires crunch over fallen leaves on a single-lane rocky trail. While mounted on rented Kona mountain bikes and outfitted with Kali protective gear, cyclists navigate trails that wind through the forest and the Massanutten mountain range, led by Shenandoah Trail Cruisers's seasoned guides. Their tours are customized to suit riders' abilities, preferred duration, and desired level of Sasquatch interaction. Each begins with a basic introduction to mountain biking before groups embark on trails that range from easy gravel roads and packed dirt and single-track trails to more advanced and rugged trails with steep slopes, bumpy roads, and scattered mud patches, resulting in rides that teach shifting, breaking, body position, and adjusting riding to new obstacles.
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.