Shovel Snow, Beer, Shovel Snow, Beer
The day before Valentines Day the family and I packed up and took off for the mountains of Nellysford, Va. Since we did not leave the house till later in the evening we stopped at our friends house in the Hampton Roads area of Va. They were kind enough to offer us a place to crash. And since it was their house we were headed for in the mountains, we simply followed them the next morning. We arrived around midnight Thursday and woke up a little after 4am the following morning in order to hopefully miss the traffic.
A large snow storm had moved through our destination area the day before. I had seen all the reports of large accumulations but was not concerned. After all, its the mountains. This is not anything new to these folks. We didn't see the first bit of snow till after the Richmond, Va area. And it quickly went from a patch here and there to being measured in feet. Roads were clear though and we continued to roll. Temperatures were also in the low to mid 50's. It was quite surreal to be walking around in a t-shirt with snow everywhere.
So we got to the town of Nellysford and decided to head to the house first to drop off our stuff and then head back to one of the many breweries. The 3rd picture below shows what we were greeted with. That's actually after the initial part of the road was cleared. Its worth mentioning that both our car and our friends large Jeep became stuck on the initial attempt to enter the area. Both cars bottomed out. We were lucky enough to do it sooner in our Subaru and were able to just back down the large hill. Unfortunately our friends were much further up the mountain and needed some shoveling. There were areas of snow around them that were waist deep. Needless to say lots of shoveling was done. Mostly by our friend. Long story short, he freed himself and we took off for Blue Mountain Brewery to wait until the plows could make it through.
Blue Mountain Brewery (pics 4-6) is a great place. Beer and food were really good, prices were very fair, and the setting was great. Not to mention the staff which was very sympathetic to our plight. It's not a small place but not too big either. The view of the mountains across the valley is incredible. The hop garden is located just outside the windows. After spending quite a while at BMB we decided it was time to check the road again.
This time we pulled up and there was the plow, just starting to clear the road. It was clearly going to be a while. A lot of road and 3ft of snow will do that. What to do what to do? Lets go to Wild Wolf Brewing (pics 7-10). Great idea! This brewery is located on 10 acres of land. There is an everything store and also a homebrew supply store located on the property as well as the brewery and restaurant. For our initial visit we had a flight or two and some appetizers to help pass the time. The kids played outside in the snow while the air temp hovered around 56 degrees. The food was great and the beer was good. It was probably my least favorite drinks of the places we visited, but still was by no means bad. And the kids enjoyed themselves here more than anywhere else. We also took a tour of the brewery on our way out of town. Nice people and a great vibe.
After leaving Wild Wolf we made our way to the road again. This time we found it cleared almost all the way to the driveway of the house. After a brief wait, the plow made its way past the house thus clearing a path to the driveway. Myself and our friend shoveled a path up the driveway to the house. This was not easy. As you can see in the last picture below, it was a long steep driveway. After the shoveling and sweating were done, it was time to haul the luggage and children up the mtn, I mean driveway. I'm happy to say that my heart did not explode, although I think it was close. But after a few trips up and down, you got use to it. It all added to a really fun time and great memories. We had a fun night and got some sleep so we could tackle the next day.
The Mrs. and I awoke the next morning to heavy snow falling outside (pic 3). This was a surprise. Beautiful to watch, and not a lot of accumulation. So no harm done. Our friends made a very nice breakfast for all of us. We spent some time outside playing in the snow and sledding. This is the kind of snow that you wont see many times. We wanted the kids to enjoy it, and they did. After a few hours we made our way to Afton Mountain Vineyards (pics 11-13). I'm not the biggest wine drinker, but the setting alone is enough reason to visit this place. It's a beautiful place. It's surrounded by mountains and there isn't a bad view from anywhere. This was just a brief stop so our friends could pick up a gift.
Next up on the trip was Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery. This was a unique place. They make fruit wines and meads. And it was some of the best stuff I've had in a while. They had a tasting which was paired with different foods. Some of their stuff was incredible. We walked out of there with a number of bottles of a few different things. Some did not survive the night. But we did manage to make it back to MD with a few. I cannot say enough good things about this place. if you are in the area make sure you pay them a visit. Beautiful setting just like most places in and around Nellysford.
Our last stop of the day was at Devils Backbone Brewing Company (pics 14-15). These are the big boys in the area. They opened back in 1996 and have seen rapid growth. Especially in the last few years. They are expanding their distribution area all the time. Their brews reached our area on the Eastern Shore a little less than a year ago. The beers that are sold in our area are ok. Nothing special. But I knew that by visiting their "basecamp", we would be able to sample brews that we cannot get around here. So we of course ordered flights of everything. There wasn't a bad one in the bunch. And there were a few standouts. My favorite was the Dead Bear Imperial Stout. Incredible beer. A very easy drinking smooth stout. Definitely a taste of chocolate and a bit of coffee. It comes in around 8.5%. I ended up settling on it and proceeded to have a few. We all had a blast here. For such a big establishment this place had the friendliest staff. They went out of their way to stop, talk, and interact with the kids. Making them feel right at home. I cannot recommend this place enough. If you are in the area, stop by for incredible food and drinks.
We had an amazing time on our trip. It was far too short. We cant thank our friends enough for the invitation. They are incredible people. And have the cutest little guy you've ever seen. Our children have been talking about the trip since the moment we returned home. Even drawing pictures of the house and all the breweries. Daddy's little brew masters. There is just a certain peace and comfort that comes with the mountains. Something our family enjoys immensely. Add great friends and great brews to the mix and you have an amazing weekend. Hope to do it again soon. CHEERS!
Posted by Jimmy Sharp