Yarn Mountain instructs apprentice needle-workers in the essential skills necessary to use its plethora of knitting tools and fine yarns made out of natural fibers such as wool, bamboo, or cotton. The kind and supportive staff enlightens aspiring afghan and dog-sweater weavers in looping basics during three two-hour sessions that are kept small to create an intimate, laid-back atmosphere. Lessons address yarn varieties, needle sizes, and how to read patterns for deciphering hidden messages stitched into the American flag.
Nestled into the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, CrossKeys Vineyards' flourishing grapevines and Tuscan-style winery lie surrounded by panoramic views of the Blue Mountains. The staff painstakingly tends to these fields, harvesting grapes at the peak of ripeness and stowing away their nectars in oak or stainless steel barrels to coax out the varietals' vibrant flavors. CrossKey’s experts use new and used French or American oak barrels to add extra depth and richness to their wines, mellowing the chardonnay's pear-tinged acidity with hints of vanilla, and softening the petit verdot's tannins for a silken, yet robust mouthfeel. In the tasting room, visitors can sample an array of wines while noshing on a menu of sandwiches and local cheeses, or head out onto the outdoor patio to enjoy sips amid cool breezes and birds chirping “Red, Red Wine.”
A lake reflects the sky and nearby trees while a moderate climate and 330 acres of rolling foothills nurture the rows of grapevines growing there. Curled up against the Blue Ridge Mountains, this is the picturesque scene that DelFosse Vineyards and Winery calls home. It's there that a team of viticulturists and winemakers tames the green, terraced landscape to draw out 11 wines, including a 100% merlot and hybrids such as the 2009 Reserve d'Oriane—an amalgam of chardonnay, petit manseng, and viognier grapes. With trails and walkways cut throughout the grounds, the DelFosse family makes the vineyards accessible for tours, hiking, biking, and picnicking with Bigfoot sommeliers. And with lofty, sprawling views to be enjoyed, their estate is also available for special occasions such as weddings at the pavilion on the lakeside lawn and family reunions on the vineyard deck. Their onsite chestnut log cabin also provides a rustic escape with overnight or weeklong stays and packages that include VIP wine tastings and private gourmet dinners.
Autumn Hill Vineyards owners Ed and Avra Schwab have made a lot of wine in the past 30 years, from their gold medal blend of petit verdot and merlot to their vintner’s reserve chardonnay that takes on the flavors of the French oak barrel it ferments in. The one thing you won’t find in their cellars, however, is a sweet wine. That’s because the pair strives to craft Virginia wines with a European influence, resulting in dry, full-bodied vintages brimming with character. This specialization has led them to cultivate seven types of wine grapes, including some of the oldest cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay vines in Virginia.
Though the duo spends most of the year tending to their vines in private, they invite guests in four times a year to see in the inner workings of their operation. Visitors to the vineyard are privy to tours through the barrel-aging cellar, helpful advice on how to pair wines with food, and vertical tastings of the same vintage to highlight the flavor differences among the grape crop every year. For guests who can’t make it out, the vineyard offers a wine club that delivers select vintages to clients' doorsteps or sommeliers' giant beanstalks in the spring, fall, and holiday season.
Led by Tom and Donna Otis, Fast Frame Charlottesville's friendly staffers outfit pictures and beautifies abodes with ensembles that turn two-dimensional keepsakes into multidimensional treasures. With a vast selection of borders, Fast Frame tastefully accents pictures of cherished memories, safely preserves and displays sports memorabilia, and even frames flat-screen TVs so they can't leave the living room to go chill with the microwave. Under Fast Frame’s Preservation Plus program, frame craftsmen sequester artwork in an acid-free environment and use framing designed to save artifacts from UV light, ensuring that they retain their luster throughout their display and that they are safe for future removal.
Fifth Season Gardening specializes in hydroponics, homebrewing, and organic gardening. Complete hydroponic systems can help hobbyists grow plants in any type of environment, and organic gardening supplies such as fertilizer and composters can maximize produce yields. Customers may also browse a wide selection of urban D.I.Y. products. Aside from serving as a go-to spot for garden items, Fifth Season Gardening boasts must-have supplies for homebrewers of all skill levels, from fresh hops and yeast, to cleaning accoutrements and educational books.