24 November, 2020

WanderLove: A Road Trip Through Madison County

"Let's take a ride across the country!" If those words spark tingles of anticipation for discovering gently rolling hills, wide open meadows and towering forests, Madison County will fulfill your daydreams and bring you even more.

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<h5 class=PHOTO CREDIT: M.A.P DRONES

Verdant and peaceful, Madison remembers the countryside from a hundred years ago. Farms abound with their roaring cows and beautiful horses. Dotted with inns and B & # 39; s, Madison County is the perfect place to wander, explore, rediscover yourself, and reconnect with your loved ones. The city of Madison is the center of your adventure.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, please contact individual companies prior to your visit as these details are subject to change at any time.

ROUTE 231 (OLD BLUE EDGE TURNPIKE): FROM MADISON TO ETLAN

22 miles, approximately 36 minutes

In the city of Madison, a wide and inviting front porch invites you to explore She She on Main, a luxury consignment store, where you'll find jeweled satin dresses, custom jewelry and accessories, among other things. The newly opened toy store will certainly delight you. COVID Note: Children's masks and luxury hand sanitizer / beauty packs are available here. Everyday clothing, homely furnishings and more round off the offer.

The veteran-owned American eatery Mad Local is just down the road. Enjoy southern dishes served with a smile. Check out the fried green tomatoes for a tasty appetizer. The menu features local meat and produce, as well as wine and beer from and around the province.

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<p>Be sure to stop by the Madison County Visitors Center, halfway to your next destination, for the latest on events, activities, and other happenings in the area.</p>
<p>Take a detour from the VA 231 at Banco and pick up the VA 670 to discover a truly beautiful artist enclave. Possum's Store (A Curious Place) in Criglersville displays pottery, stained glass, abstract wooden sculptures and yes, decorative possums made by local artists and craftsmen. The light and airy space in a previous life served as a shop around 1900. <strong>COVID Note:</strong> Workshops have been suspended here, but live music is once again on the program every month. </p>
<p>About a minute further you will come to Rose River Farm. In the fishing paradise of Douglas Dear, crystal clear spring water flowing over a rocky bottom provides an ideal environment for trophy trout. Catching and releasing fly fish is a fantastic way to spend the day in a peaceful, unspoiled environment. Private and group lessons are offered for the uninitiated, or to brush up on your skills. For full immersion, book a luxury yurt-style cabin for an overnight stay right on the property. </p>
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Photo Credit: Sam Dean, IG Account: @sdeanphotos

Horseback riding, apple picking and hayrides are just a few of the experiences offered at the sprawling Graves Mountain Farm and Lodge. The farm includes 1100 hectares of streams, ponds, forests and meadows for walking and fishing. Swing on the porch and enjoy scenic views or stay as active as you like. Horseback riding takes an hour and can take up to six hours. Picking apples is a great fall adventure. The farm offers 27 different varieties – you will no doubt find a new favorite!

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<h5 class=PHOTO CREDIT: M.A.P DRONES

The winding VA 642 takes you north to Etlan. A LOVEworks sculpture marks the entrance to Ducard Vineyards and welcomes you to one of Virginia & # 39; s first solar-powered vineyards. Reserve a table on the back patio and relax with your favorite bottle while taking in beautiful mountain views of Shenandoah National Park. Check out their event calendar for wine and food pairing in the barrel room and tastings of premium selections and library wines that you can book in advance. Ducard is one of the southernmost stops on the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop, which you can keep exploring north.

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<p>Or reconnect to VA 231 and turn right, south, where the road is known as FT Valley Road. On this most scenic side road, you will find Blue Quartz Winery and Shotwell Run Brewing Company, located at the same address, so you can sample wines, beers and ciders in the same tasting room.<strong> COVID Note:</strong> Outdoor seating only and sidewalk pick up, reservations recommended. </p>
<h4><strong>Hotels, resorts and other accommodations</strong></h4>
<h2><strong>ROUTE 29: FROM DOWNTOWN MADISON TO LEON</strong></h2>
<p><em>25 miles, approximately 45 minutes</em></p>
<p>Known as the Tween Rivers Trail, this section of Route 29 encompasses many of the highlights of Madison County and beyond. This portion of the journey will lead you into the heart of Madison nestled between the Rapidan and Rappahannock rivers. </p>
<p>An abundance of outdoor space, complete with picnic tables and tents, makes a visit to Bald Top Brewery a pleasant stop. Sample brewer Mike's range of craft beers and let owners Dave and Julie fill you in on details as you enjoy delicious food from the rotation of local food trucks that have partnered with the brewery. Check out their calendar for events and live entertainment.</p>
<p>Jump back to VA 231 and head north through town. Handmade furniture in early American style is the mainstay of the regionally renowned Clore. The family's heritage dates back to 1830, and pride in craftsmanship is evident. Durable hardwoods such as cherry, oak and walnuts give each piece a strength and spirit not often seen in today's throwaway culture. </p>
<p>An early pioneer of Virginia's reviving wine scene, Prince Michel Vineyards is one of the Commonwealth's largest wineries. Winemaker Brad Hanson has been making delicious quaffs here for over two decades. Brad's wines have been awarded 400 medals (and counting!) In the competition. The tasting room has a large oval bar connected to a glass-walled catwalk that allows you to peek into the winery's cellar. Gather those necessary – or frivolous – wine accessories you can find in the gift shop. Another treat for fans of Virginia's great wines, Prince Michel offers luxurious suites in the vineyards behind the winery. </p>
<p>Head north to Leon and turn right onto VA 631 to take the long, winding road to Spruce Rock Farm. This family-owned Christmas tree farm is open from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve and features blue spruce, canaan spruce, fraser spruce, concolor spruce and white spruce. Just stop and breathe in the intoxicating scent of evergreens. </p>
<p>On the way to Revalation Vineyards, resist the urge to check the spelling: the winery is named after the town of Reva, and the grapes have all the common names: viognier, chardonnay, vidal blanc. Revalation Vineyard is the project of an international couple who fell in love with the rolling countryside of Madison. Julien and Francoise Seillier-Moiseiwitsch have carefully planned and developed their farm over a decade. The experimental vineyards only opened in 2018 and were refined to focus on the best producing red and white vines. A log cabin with a tin roof, reclaimed from a farm further south, serves as the ground for a wonderful taste experience. <strong>COVID Note:</strong> Reservation required. </p>
<p><img loading=PHOTO CREDIT: M.A.P DRONES

If you're looking for additional dining options along this route, dine at Prince Michel Vineyards or Tap 29 Brewery, which has a pub-style menu and plenty of outdoor seating.

Hotels, resorts and other accommodations

ROUTE 29: LEON TO ORANGE

20 miles, 30 minutes

Just outside the city of Madison, farmers and craftsmen practice their trade. Head south on VA 287. At Madison County Farmers Market, their motto is "Eating locally means better flavor and supporting family farms." All the people who sell in the market actually live here and grow the food just minutes away. From just-picked vegetables to eggs, poultry, meat, wine and beer, sample the freshest Madison has to offer. COVID Note: Currently you need to reserve and pick up.

A hidden gem in the same vein is Madison Gardens, just five minutes away. In addition to farm-fresh products, you will find a sweet selection of plants and flowers.

Mennonite baked goods have a deservedly excellent reputation. Somehow, the family-made, simple recipes yield the most delicious hand-baked pies, shoofly pie and German chocolate cupcakes, which is why Yoders Country Market is a great place to refill as you wander the side roads. Have lunch at the counter and enjoy the outdoor picnic tables made by Amish and Mennonite artisans. Also visit the petting zoo, children or no children.

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<h5 class=PHOTO CREDIT: M.A.P DRONES

Wolftown Road heads west to another exciting destination. Early Mountain Vineyards' grand lodge atmosphere blends seamlessly with their casually refined wines. A degree of luxury and convenience permeate the place, perhaps thanks to owners Jean and Steve Case's touch of AOL fame / fortune. Jean Case, honored with the Commonwealth's highest award in 2019 for their Eluvium red blend, is an advocate for all of Virginia fine wines, which she has in her tasting bar alongside those from Early Mountain.

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Todd Wright, IG Account: @toddwrightphoto

Return east to VA 29 and head south to find a pretty amazing assortment of finds. Very unexpectedly, bratwurst, weisswurst (served by people in drindl skirts and lederhosen) surprise and delight the Bavarian chef. The restaurant has been a Madison mainstay since 1974, serving the best sausage schnitzel this side of the Danube. COVID Note: Both take-away and on-site meals are offered.

You'll find comfortable log cabin decor at Plow & Hearth, the brick and mortar (so to speak) home of the national store catalog that's overflowing with warm flannel sheet sets, wrought iron fireplace tools, hummingbird feeders – everything you need to fuel your mountain hideout fantasies.

Complete your dreams with original artwork from MAD Arts (Madison Arts Exchange), a shop where you can browse endlessly. More than 200 local artisans display all kinds of unique items in the charming two-story house where space unfolds in the room and unfolds in the room.

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<h5 class=PHOTO CREDIT: M.A.P DRONES

Make the next u-turn and head back north on VA 29 to find the largest collection of open water fountains in the state of Southern Grace. Explore the eclectic garden pieces and interior under towering trees. Call in advance, you may need an appointment.

Get off the beaten track – slightly north and east – and make your way through beautiful countryside to The Inn and Tavern at Meander. The 1700s Meander inn and restaurant, the epitome of Southern hospitality and elegance, showcases the charm of another era. Formal gardens are frequented by hummingbirds, tea can be sipped while you swing on the expansive veranda. While Washington may not have slept here, regular past visitors include Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette.

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<h5 class=Photo credits: M.A.P Drones

Hotels, resorts and other accommodations

BONUS EXCURSION

Shenandoah National Park stretches 70 miles along the skyline of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Madison County is home to two of the park's most popular attractions.

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Cameron Davidson

You can park in Nethers at the end of SR 601, at the base of Old Rag Mountain. It's a five mile hike to the 3,284 ft. Top where you will be amazed by the 360 ​​degree view. For the more adventurous, there is a 9-mile circuit trail that includes a significant stretch of rock climbing over the ancient granite.

White Oak Canyon Trail exhibits a dazzling display of no fewer than six waterfalls, the highest of which is 86 feet. Pack your walking shoes – and your bathing suit – for this excursion. Swimming holes at the base of the falls will serve to refresh!

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<h5 class=Photo Credit: Aaron Watson @aaronwatsonphotography

Continue your WanderLove road by heading south into Orange County and discover more expressions of Virginia & # 39; s LOVE signs nestled in scenic byways.

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