The Vineyards, Restaurants and Drive-Ins
The breathtaking Shenandoah Valley, a 200-mile stretch of land rich in history and natural beauty, lies between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Allegheny Mountains to the west. It goes without saying that exploring the outdoors here is a must—along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway you’ll find amazing vistas and accessible hiking. Try a mountain biking adventure through the George Washington National Forest, or explore rock formations at Luray Caverns or Natural Bridge of Virginia. Don’t forget to top outdoor adventures off with stops at world-class wineries and shopping and supping in historic small towns like Staunton, Roanoke or Lexington.
It’s no wonder Lexington ended up on Washingtonian magazine’s list of “Great Towns Near Washington, D.C.” Get your history fix along the Civil War and Lewis & Clark National Historic trails or visit Lee Chapel & Museum and The Stonewall Jackson House (both Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are buried here). Downtown, rub elbows with students from Virginia Military Institute or Washington and Lee University, shop local galleries and boutiques, and dine on farm-to-table fare. Just beyond the center of town, unwind at several area wineries and breweries with a sample of some of the region’s top craft beverages.
Where to Dine
The Red Hen: This farm-to-table restaurant has featured the bounty of the Shenandoah Valley since 2008. The menu is created daily based on the produce, meat and cheeses available from local farms. Chefs Matt Adams and Becca Norris work as an impeccable team, bringing a deep love of food, farming and hospitality to Lexington. 11 E. Washington St., Lexington. 540-464-4401
Where to Wine
Rockbridge Vineyards: This award-winning, 17-acre vineyard in Rockbridge County focuses on small-batch winemaking methods with minimal processing. German native and winemaker Shepherd Rouse and his wife, Jane, have created well-balanced vintages since 1988 at an elevation of 2,000 feet. Must-tastes include the Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Tuscarora Red. Open daily, Sunday and Monday noon–5, Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. 35 Hill View Lane, Raphine. 540-377-6204
Where to Stay
Hampton Inn Col Alto: This historic manor house—the Col Alto Mansion—is nestled on seven acres. You can stay in a room that features contemporary touches or one of the 10 restored manor rooms offering a glimpse into the past. The Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and the Washington and Lee rooms feature period décor, and all visits include free breakfast, access to the outdoor pool and spa and on-foot accessibility to many downtown Lexington attractions. 401 E. Nelson Street, Lexington. 540-463-2223
Where to Play
Become acquainted with two new baby white rhinos at Virginia’s Safari Park, catch your favorite flick outside at the famous Hull’s Drive-In, or tour downtown by horse-drawn carriage with Lexington Carriage Company. Save the date for the Bull and Oyster Fest at Devil’s Backbone Outpost Brewery on April 2. The 10th annual festival includes oysters prepared by Southern Inn Restaurant, barbecue by Hogback Mountain, Devils Backbone craft beer and live music.
Learn more at LexingtonVirginia.com
By Melissa M. Stewart