Several years ago our family started the tradition of apple picking the third weekend in October. Some years it is so cold that layering clothes is a must and then others, like this year, are just perfection. Vats of apple butter are churning, local musicians lend a homespun atmosphere, brilliant colored clowns conjure up balloon animals and the
sweet fragrant scent of apples fills the cool Autumn air.
The southwestern edge of the Monticello Wine Trail is Nelson County, a picture postcard region of Virginia nestled in the backdrop of The Blue Ridge Mountains and noted for apple orchards and wineries!
Gather the family, grab the camera and head to Crabtree Falls Highway in Tyro for The Flippin Seaman Apple Butter Festival. Crates brimming with Pippin, Pink Lady, Fuji, Cameo, Winesap and Granny Smith apples has tourists and locals poring through them like a Black Friday sale after Thanksgiving. Give the children the total harvest experience at Dickie Brothers Orchard off of Rt. 666 here branches are drooping under the weight of pristine unblemished apples. Watch your footing or you’ll make your own apple butter without even trying!
The corn maze is fun for all ages and is the boundary between the pumpkin patch and the festival grounds. Letting the children select their own gourds and pumpkins is loads more fun than stopping in at the large chain grocery store and also helps support our local farmers.
I diverge from the usual wine lore for just a moment because Fall is harvest time for fruit other than grapes alone and is definitely a time for families to enjoy together. With that said, either on your way to or from the apple festivities try to make a stop at Veritas, a winery and vineyard in the Afton area where Albemarle County and Nelson County converge.
Veritas happens to be a favorite Virginia winery for their wines and especially for their tasting room and facilities. Brides find the Mezzanine area an ideal private level overlooking the tasting room and perfect for rehearsal dinners. Saddleback Hall is spacious and suitable for wedding receptions, accommodating up to 250 people, with gorgeous views of the vineyards and the mountains.
We all look forward to Summer evenings at Veritas for the Starry Nights series on the lawn featuring select bands and a bonfire, call ahead and reserve tables or bring a basket and blanket to sit under the stars enjoying my favorite, a glass of Petit Manseng, the grape of Jurancon in South Western France. Described by Veritas as seductive with aroma of tropical fruits, Pina Colada, Pineapple and Cinnamon.
When the weather gets chilly, the stone fireplace draws the most attention from visitors. Pull up a chair and order the cheese plate including 3 gourmet cheeses, homemade apple
chutney, olives and a warm baguette. More wineries and related events to come in future posts!