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Born in a barn, Blue Toad Cider honors the tradition and legacy of America’s first preferred beverage by brewing an all-natural and eminently drinkable hard cider using locally grown apples in Western New York and apples grown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Rather than solely using European-style tart and bitter apples, Blue Toad Hard Cider uses a cider blend of three to four different apple varieties (replete with natural seasonal variation) grown in areas near Rochester, New York and Tyro, Virginia. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Nelson County is home to a wide variety of wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries, each with its own unique setting. Taste and enjoy some of Virginia’s award-winning wines, perhaps with bread and cheese or a picnic lunch, while overlooking verdant valley views and mountain vistas.

With easy access to the Route 29 corridor, the following wineries are open to visitors: Lovingston Winery, Delfosse Vineyards and Winery, Brent Manor Vineyards , and Mountain Cove Vineyards.

Along the Route 151 Rockfish Valley Highway are Veritas Vineyard and Winery, Cardinal Point Winery, Flying Fox Vineyard, Hill Top Berry Farm and Winery, and Valley Road Vineyards. Near the base of Bryant Mountain, there is Caihailian Vineyard, and atop the Blue Ridge Parkway, you’ll find 12 Ridges Vineyard and Winery. Many of the wineries have special events on selected weekends that usually include music and food, along with wine tasting.

The Brew Ridge Trail is Virginia’s Original Beer Trail. Nelson County is proud to be the home of Blue Mountain Brewery, Devils Backbone Brewing Co., and Blue Mountain Barrel House. These three breweries have been producing celebrated craft beers that are critically acclaimed and celebrated far beyond our region’s borders. Nelson County is also home to Bryant's Cidery and Brewery in Roseland,   Woodridge Farm Brewery  and Outback Brew House in Lovingston, and Brewing Tree Beer Co. in Afton. Head over to WildManDan Brewery in Afton for great small-batch beer, as well.

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Cardinal Point is nestled into the rolling hillside below the Blue Ridge Parkway and a perfect destination for those who want to see and learn about growing and making wine in Virginia. They have a knowledgeable and friendly staff, and video documentation of year-round activities such as pruning, harvest, crushing and bottling. Taste a spectrum of red and white wine styles, all friendly but with surprising depth. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Bold Rock Hard Cider in the Nellysford area features various hard-cider varieties made from Virginia apples, and in Roseland, you will find Bryant's Small Batch Cidery. In Wintergreen, you can also taste a variety of ciders at Blue Toad Hard Cider at High View Farm. Silverback Distillery in Afton produces ultra-premium vodka, gin, whiskey, and bourbon. Also try the American Single Malt Whisky from Virginia Distillery Co. in Lovingston or Devils Backbone Distilling Co. in Roseland for gin, silver rum, and fine brandy.

Between craft beverage tours, take advantage of the outdoor recreational opportunities that abound in Nelson County. The first 30 miles of the Virginia Blue Ridge Parkway are the northern border of the county, while the southern boundary is the mighty James River. Between the scenic drive and renowned blueway are 471 square miles of space for hiking, cycling, fishing, kayaking, skiing, golfing, and other outdoor sports.

Lodging options also abound for visitors needing more than a day trip. There are no chain motels or hotels in Nelson County; even Wintergreen Resort is owned by a company that focuses on entertainment and recreation properties. All other properties are locally owned and operated, with lodging stock as varied as yurts, cabins, cottages, tree houses, and inns, as well as traditional bed-and-breakfast operations.

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Brewing Tree Beer Company was founded in 2018 by the husband and wife team of Mark and Gina Thompson. They strive to provide a beautiful space that is authentic, local, and relaxed while providing great beer and food provided by the on-site foodtruck, Scratch Kitchen. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Foodies flock to Nelson County for its eclectic mix of locally owned establishments. The craft beverage sector relies on a robust food truck market, while the convenience stores around the county vie for the best fried chicken and take-out monikers. In every corner of the county, there are options as varied as sit-down restaurants and Wintergreen Resort, to small bakeries and even farm-to-table operations.

Nelson County’s economy is based on its farms and orchards. The craft beverage sector grew out of this agricultural tradition. From May until December, visitors can taste and tour the places that grow the freshest fruits and berries in Nelson County. Select from a wide variety of apples, Asian pears, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, peaches, plums, strawberries, sweet cider, fruit jams, jellies, and more! From pre-picked (fruit) or pick-your-own (fruit or berries), you can find your favorites while enjoying spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Plan a visit by contacting the Visitor Center at 434-263-7015 or nelsoncounty.com for a visitor guide.

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