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.
After receiving a doctorate in horticulture from the University of Maryland, Dan Eltzroth founded Eltzroth & Thompson Greenhouses with his wife, Carol. Over the course of more than 40 years, their plant emporium has expanded to include two sites, five growing acres, 11 warmed greenhouses, and one magical beanstalk. Today, the next generation of Eltzroths outfit gardeners with eye-catching plants ranging from rhododendrons and azaleas to fig trees and blueberry bushes. In addition to supplying plants, the Eltzroths also hand out gardening tips, assemble floral arrangements for special events, and offer landscape design on a limited basis.
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.”
Ragged Mountain Running has helped foot-soldiers chase their dreams for nearly 30 years, offering running shoes, windbreakers, and other get-fit goods, as well as info on local races and running clubs. Owned by Michigan State University track star Cynthia Lorenzoni and her running-coach husband Mark, the outlet outfits runners and other athletes with a wide variety of running shoes, including Asics 1160 ($80.99) and Nike Pegasus ($85.99).
Open for more than two decades, Orchid Lane is a fair-trade importer with a commitment to providing products produced only under humane working conditions for a fair wage. As well as offering plus sizes, maternity wear, and popular brands such as Kenzie, Betsey Johnson, Habitat, and Pura Vida, items that Orchid Lane designs and produces under its own label are sold in the store. Check out handmade clothes, such as a 100% silk wrap skirt made in India ($15+) or a 100% cotton pleated tank top made in Guatemala ($29), both of which are sure to become treasured wardrobe pieces that will never be let go, no matter how much a sibling begs or a poker game goes awry. Fashionable blue jeans ($39+) available in styles such as straight, flare, boot, and Smurf cut, turn a lunch with friends or a chess match with a mirror into just another occasion to look amazing. All jewelry items, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, are handcrafted with natural gemstones, including amber, turquoise, emerald, ruby, and sapphire.
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.