WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience cascading waterfalls, local orchards, and all of the winding roads in between when you road trip through Nelson County, Va.
Conveniently located in central Virginia, you can easily access this beautiful getaway from major cities like Richmond, D.C., and Charlotte. Bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway, James River, and Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll be surrounded by outdoor adventure. Discover the best spots to play, eat, and stay in this guide to Nelson County.
Go Outside and Play
Your first stop in Nelson is Montebello. Located just a few miles from milepost 27 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can truly unplug and enjoy the natural beauty of an unspoiled village setting. Hike to Crabtree Falls, the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Make time for other popular scenic routes in the area, including a hike to Spy Rock and a drive on The Nelson Scenic Loop. Make sure to stop at one of the many orchards and farms located near Montebello to pick fresh berries, apples, pumpkins, and more.
The Tye and Piney rivers offer several opportunities for fishing and paddling as they flow through the county. Enjoy the rivers from the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail. This 7-mile trail made of crushed stone provides an easy, picturesque walk or cycle as you journey past rail cars and through open fields and forests.. The Piney and Tye rivers are constant companions along the way as you cross five bridges, including a photo-worthy covered bridge at Naked Creek.
Walk the quaint, historic district of Lovingston, the county seat, featuring locally owned retail, lodging, and food establishments. The nearby Rockfish River is a local favorite for kayaking, fishing, and watching wildlife. Owned and maintained by the Nature Conservancy, Fortune’s Cove Preserve is a little known five-mile hike with seven viewpoints, mountainous terrain, and a stream. Lovingston is the perfect hub for a tour of the craft beverage producers along the Nelson 29 trail. There’s something for everyone at one of the four wineries, two breweries, and the producer of the first single malt whisky in America along the way. Several orchards and farms offer pick-your-own and farm markets for fresh, local products.
At the center of Nelson County, Nellysford offers another convenient hub for day trips along the Nelson 151 craft beverage trail or a stay at Wintergreen Resort. Nelson 151, Virginia’s Long Weekend Address, offers the craft beverage lover spectacular views and award winning beverages at five wineries, a meadery, four breweries, three cideries, and two distilleries along the twenty-mile stretch of one of Virginia’s scenic byways. There is ample shopping along the corridor, as well as locally owned restaurants and lodging opportunities. No matter the season, there is something to do at Wintergreen Resort, from playing the golf course at Stoney Creek to shredding some powder on the mountain’s snow-covered slopes. The Rockfish Valley Loop Trail, part of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, offers access to the South Rockfish River and Reid’s Creek.
Finish up your tour of the county in the village of Afton. Home to several wineries and breweries on the Nelson 151 craft beverage trail, it is soon to be known for another outdoor recreation destination. The Blue Ridge Tunnel restoration project is a key part of a greenway system that connects the counties of Albemarle, Nelson, and Augusta. This shared-use trail is for hikers and cyclists of every level, wildlife watchers, history enthusiasts, and railroad buffs. Located at the threshold between the Shenandoah Valley and the Virginia Piedmont, the tunnel is strategically located at the convergence of the southern entrance of Shenandoah National Park, the northern entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Appalachian Trail, and U. S. Bicycle Route 76.
Known as the birthplace of Earl Hamner, Jr., creator of “The Waltons,” Schuyler boasts the world’s largest deposit of architectural soapstone in the world. Visit the Walton’s Mountain Museum to view photos, videos, and memorabilia from the hit television show. Step back in time at Earl Hamner’s childhood home, a cozy new bed and breakfast.
Love is all around in Nelson County. Find the LOVEworks made out of kegs and scrap wood at Wild Man Dan’s, wine barrels at Cardinal Point Winery, thousands of corks at Veritas Vineyard and Winery, ski and snowboard equipment at The Ski Barn, and barrel staves at Virginia Distillery Company.
Experience WanderLove for yourself when you visit Nelson County, Va.
Please check local guidelines and regulations before making plans to get outside. Remember to practice social distancing guidelines, wear a mask, and respect others’ health when outside.