From the Northern Shenandoah Valley into Virginia’s Piedmont, the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop snakes along beautiful routes leading to beautiful places.
Virginia artist and illustrator David Clark created a whimsical map for the Loop that offers a fun glance at what’s around. “We were excited to work with Mr. Clark. He was able to capture the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop experience for all our visitors and tourists,” said Karen Riddle, creator of the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop and owner of Loop lodging property Shadow Mountain Escape.
With one brewery, one distillery, and seven wineries to visit, a typical two-day weekend simply won’t suffice. Add a third day to ensure you have time to enjoy the opportunities that await, or choose a few other activities and explore one section at a time. Let Mr. Clark’s map be your guide.
From the north, Chester Gap Cellars is your first stop on the Loop, followed by Rappahannock Cellars, Desert Rose Winery, and Gadino Cellars. See if you can fit all four into one day. Challenge accepted?
Chester Gap Cellars boasts some of the best views of any winery in Virginia. At 1,000 feet, their terroir is unlike others because “high elevation, an eastern exposure, well-drained rocky soils, nearly frost-free conditions, and cooler summer days and nights all add up to grapes that ‘hang’ in the vineyard until optimal ripeness is achieved.”
Rappahannock Cellars often hosts food trucks on the weekend; call ahead to see about lunch. It may turn out that you can eat on their deck after your tasting and before heading to Desert Rose.
Desert Rose Winery is located on a working horse farm, and both they and Rappahannock Cellars are stops on the Shenandoah National Park Whisky-Wine Excursion. If you’re lucky, winemaker and owner Bob Claymier will be pouring.
On to Gadino Cellars in Washington, home of the 2016 Governor’s Cup gold medal award-winning 2010 Nebbiolo! Be sure to buy a bottle for your home collection.
Hungry? You’ll spot Griffin Tavern right along the road in Flint Hill. It’s a cozy restaurant tucked into three dining rooms of an 1880’s home.
Get excited! It’s time to go to Skyland at Shenandoah National Park! But first, a cold craft beer at Hopkins Ordinary Ale Works in Sperryville is waiting for you on the way through.
Check into your newly updated room at Skyland and have a peaceful evening of rest.
◊ Day’s Distance & Drive Time: 56.3 miles | one hour and 26 minutes
Rise early for a hike. Stony Man is right along the Skyline Drive. If you’re feeling more adventurous, Hawksbill (the Park’s highest peak) is south of Skyland. Less adventurous? The Limberlost Trail is pretty tame and a great morning walk.
Grab a shower and breakfast in the Pollock Dining Room before you check out; another fun day on the Loop is waiting!
Begin with a stroll through Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville, a 1930s apple cold storage facility that now serves as a 3,000 square-foot home for more than 500 antique consignees. Then it’s on to the next door neighbor, Copper Fox Distillery, where a tour and tasting await. Lunch is at nearby Thornton River Grille and you’re going to love it!
Admire the views of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the way to Sharp Rock Vineyards south of Sperryville. The vineyards are situated at the base of Old Rag Mountain, another popular hike within Shenandoah National Park.
If your travels happen to coincide with a DuCard Vineyard food and wine gourmet day, make a reservation to enjoy a farm-to-table food and wine pairing. Don’t forget to take a photo with or of the LOVEworks while you’re there.
For tonight’s dinner and lodging, consider an all-in-one opportunity in Luray. The Mimslyn Inn is a 1931 luxury hotel with an elegant dining room, Circa ’31, boasting an exceptional wine list with wines from the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop.
◊ Day’s Distance & Drive Time: 67.1 miles | 1 hour and 54 minutes
The only thing on today’s agenda (as far at the Loop goes) is a visit to Wisteria Farm & Vineyard in Stanley, south of Luray. Have breakfast at Gathering Grounds, a hometown hangout featuring great coffee and freshly baked pastries.
As you explore Luray, don’t forget the most well-known gem: Luray Caverns. If you’re interested in a treasure hunt instead, head to Warehouse Art Gallery and Shenandoah Moon.
Make one last stop at The Mimslyn, this time for the lunch buffet. It’s a fresh, light option before taking the short drive to Wisteria, the last of the boutique style wineries of the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop.
◊ Day’s Distance & Drive Time: 11.3 miles | 28 minutes
Care to stay another night? Shadow Mountain Escape, Piney Hill B&B and Cottages, and South Court Inn are in Luray. If you loved Shenandoah National Park, your entry fee allows you to return. Spend another night in the park, but this time try Big Meadows Lodge.
Find more dining and things to do while you’re exploring the Blue Ridge Whiskey Wine Loop by visiting DiscoverShenandoah.com. The Loop is a year ’round destination; experience it in each season!
Always designate a driver and drink responsibly.
This article was sponsored by Discover Shenandoah.