Tommy Stafford

Overlanding is a way to describe exploring by your own self-contained means, usually by 4-wheel drive vehicle or adventure motorcycle. For overlanders, the journey is as important as the destination. It’s the journey — and the activities that overlanders do when they get to their destination: hiking, nature watching, kayaking, mountain biking, etc. — that make it an adventure. And October is the beginning of the fall foliage season in Nelson County.

Nelson County’s northern border is the first 30 miles of the Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway. The vistas and overlooks on both sides of the drive promise deep and varied colors with an overlander’s dream drive. Along the southern border of the county, the mighty James River, the roads offer a different view and different types of flora and fauna, with rich and vibrant leaf-peeping. And in between that 471 square mile outdoor playground that is Nelson County, there are hikes and trails with spectacular scenery. A few mentions include the 30 miles of marked trails at Wintergreen Resort; Crabtree Falls in Montebello, the highest cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River; the newly opened Blue Ridge Tunnel in Afton; The Virginia Blue Ridge Rail Trail in Piney River; or Fortunes Cove Preserve in Lovingston, owned by the Nature Conservancy. The sights are also memorable along the Nelson 29 and Nelson 151 craft beverage trails, with all locations boasting views and award-winning beverages. At every elevation, there are wonders to be experienced.

Overland Expo East is held Oct. 8-10 at Oak Ridge Estates in Nelson County, Va. Overland Expo is the premier overlanding and adventure travel event series in the world. The weekend event is designed to bring passionate adventurers together to get trained, get outfitted, and get inspired to explore the world.

Overland Expo brings together the 200 outdoor lifestyle, camping, and overland gear and equipment vendors. The event also hosts hundreds of session hours of classes, demonstrations, films, and presentations all curated in an effort to teach and train attendees in outdoor and overland lifestyle and techniques to inspire them to get going on their next journey. Classes range from hands-on driving/riding skills and navigation to campfire cooking skills, nature photography, overlanding with kids, overlanding essentials classes, and inspiring stories of world travels from travelers and adventurers from all over the world.

Attendees can stop by for the day or the entire weekend with a day pass or a three-day pass. Camping packages are also available.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

For more information about planning a visit to Nelson County, visit

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