“Lo! sweeten'd with the summer light,
The full-juiced apple, waxing over-mellow,
Drops in a silent autumn night.”
--Alfred Lord Tennyson
If someone says “autumn,” what comes to mind? The word most likely elicits thoughts of pumpkin spice lattes, red and orange leaves, boots and scarves, warm mugs of cider, and harvest parties. The latter thought is especially relevant, since we live in an area that relishes this season and celebrates with numerous fall festivals.
There is a marble palace that sits atop Afton Mountain, its grounds and 52 rooms uninhabited, worn by time and neglect. Swannanoa Mansion was built in 1912 by James H. Dooley, a major in the Confederate army, railroad executive and philanthropist, as a gift for his wife Sallie May.
If you’re looking for a nearby establishment that juxtaposes the fresh taste of local foods and libations with a wide array of imported wines and beers, plus the added bonus of an espresso bar, then we have a wonderful option for you—Greenwood Gourmet Grocery.
Picture yourself sitting on the cool grass next to a group of your friends, a giant film screen perched in front of the crowd. The sun begins to set, and with a flicker of light across the screen, the movie begins. You take a sip of your beer, a unique, hoppy brew, and settle back to enjoy the film.
There’s no doubt that Virginia is laden with a fascinating history, much of which can be experienced at historic sites, museums, and battlefields. But did you know that you can also immerse yourself in the cuisine of past times? Charlottesville, Virginia’s Michie Tavern “accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging more than 200 years ago. Today, visitors experience the Tavern’s past through an historical journey which recreates 18th-century tavern life” (Michie Tavern).
If you travel south from Afton down along Route 151 in Nelson County, you just might find yourself traveling back in time too. It’s there in Roseland, just east of the Piney River, where you’ll find Woodson’s Mill, an 18th century flour and meal mill that looks like it stepped right off the pages of a history book. A few days ago we had the chance to meet the mill’s owner, Will Brockenbrough, who kindly gave us a tour of this magnificent old building.
Summer in the Shenandoah Valley offers an abundance of festivals, and one of them happens to take place only a little ways away from Afton Mountain Bed & Breakfast at Wintergreen. (To be specific, it is twenty-five minutes to the mountaintop and ten minutes from Wintergreen’s Stoney Creek location).
The Afton Mountain area of Virginia is located near some absolutely amazing wineries and breweries with award-winning beverages, fantastic food, and breathtaking scenery. There is one winery in particular that stands out in distinctiveness, not only for its “other than grape” wines, but also for its Authentic Honey Meads. Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery is owned and run by Greg and Kim Pugh, and it is certainly worth a visit.