We’ve now been working this gig for about three months, and we are always learning something new every single day, from every single guest. One of our favorite things to inquire from our visitors is “what did you do today”, and “what was your favorite part of your visit”? Three months in, and we feel highly qualified to present to you (in a David Letterman type fashion) our guests TOP TEN FAVORITE ACTIVITIES list.
10. The Nelson County Farmer’s Market. Every Saturday, from 9am-noon, an impressive collection of farmers, artists, woodworkers, and bakers present their wares close by in Nellysford. We have found everything from fresh flower bouquets, to grass-fed meats, to free-range eggs, even pottery and delightful cheeses. It’s well worth the short drive. They even feature a country band to enjoy while you shop
9. BlueRidge Parkway. 469 miles of sheer gorgeousness; it connects the Smokey Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. You can hop on it locally and see enough to get all the views and fabulous pictures you need for Facebook. It’s the nation’s most visited National Park and well worth the effort.
8. Vito’s. Less than five minutes up the road from us, this has become a popular dinner spot for our guests. Featuring everything from pizzas to pastas to wonderful salads, everyone that we send there comes back happy!
7. Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. The nation’s largest outdoor pedestrian mall, it features everything from antique shops to boutique clothing stores. Known for its numerous book stores and coffee shops, you can even ride a trolley that takes you through UVA’s beautiful campus. Our guests return with treasures and fun memories.
6. Trump Winery. Regardless of what you think about Donald Trump, the Charlottesville-area winery is absolutely spectacular. The views are so surreal that you literally feel like you’re on a movie set and the background is painted. And as a bonus? The Dave Matthews Band winery (Blenheim) is just 2 minutes up the road from Trump’s and they have great wine and even a free CD if you spend $100 on their wines.
5. The Orchard House Wine Tour package. What could be better than visiting 4-5 wineries (we even mix in a few breweries if you’d like), endless bottled waters, riding in an air-conditioned 14-person custom van, and enjoying a packed picnic lunch at one of the beautiful venues? Nothing, according to our guests! We offer this package to every visitor and the several that requested it said it was one of their favorite memories from the weekend. The wine tastes even better when you don’t have to worry about driving.
4. Crabtree Falls. Within 30 minutes from us, this hiking experience is unparalleled. 1.7 miles up, 1.7 miles down, and breath-taking views the entire hike. You can also request a packed picnic lunch from us to take along and enjoy at one of the many lunch spots. We’ve done this jaunt several times ourselves, and it’s fun to see people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and athletic abilities enjoying this incredible space.
3. Virginia’s Presidential Homesites: Monticello, Montpelier, Ashlawn-Highland. Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe all have historical landmarks and tourist attractions to visit close by. Monticello is a consistent favorite and everyone that goes there returns saying it was an afternoon well-spent.
2. Devil’s Backbone Brewery. Our personal family favorite and a consistent recommendation to our guests. This place has nailed it. Whether you enjoy their beers or prefer a different libation, the food is amazing and the atmosphere is spot on. Ask for their “s’more packet” to enjoy around the bonfire pits after your delicious meal. Every single guest that ventured there listed this as one of their most memorable experiences while visiting.
1 The Orchard House Grounds. This is the above and beyond the one feature that we get the most comments about from our guests. No matter where they visit from, they all comment on the peacefulness of property, the spiritual “vibe” that they can sense, the calming effect of looking out on the front lawn. There is something pretty special, we admit, about watching bunnies scamper across the 14 acres, hearing and seeing the plethora of birds that visit our many feeders, and sitting in the many Adirondack chairs gazing at the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nothing beats taking a fresh glass of wine down to the gazebo, or walking through the vineyard. The new pond fountain can be heard no matter if you’re laying in the hammocks, cooling off in the pool, or sitting on the relaxing front porch. We are proud of our grounds and so happy that our guests claim it as their “number one” favorite part of being here.
Hopefully I’ve done David Letterman proud and given some valuable insight as to what our guests are enjoying about their visits to the Orchard House Bed and Breakfast! Come visit us and let us know what your Top Ten is, too!