A perfect trip on a beautiful spring day
Spring fever is in full force…so hop in your car and enjoy a day trip, just to the south of Warrenton. About an hour away, Madison County and the surrounding area offer a little something for everyone: leisurely drives, good barbeque, wine, beer, antiques and some history.
So what do you do when you get there? Well the answer depends on your idea of entertainment and adventure. To simplify your decision process, here are some places you, your family, and even friends may enjoy together.
The drive from Fauquier County to Madison (from Warrenton) is an easy one. And the further south you go, the easier the Blue Ridge Mountains are to see. You can even plan an alternative route to the direct one (Route 29 South) which most people take from Warrenton. Instead, consider taking Route 211 to Route 522 to Route 231, and your drive will be full of amazing scenery.
For antique enthusiasts, the Route 211 path would be an ideal one for your excursion, on the way check out Copper Fox Antiques. If you do take Route 29, travel a little south of Madison and you will find several antique locations in Ruckersville. Here are a few places to discover along the Route 29 journey: Country Store Antique Mall, The Wooly Lam, Greene House Shops Antique Mall, and Ruckersville Gallery. If you travel Route 29 north, home towards Warrenton, journey through some of these shops: LaLuna Antiques, Second Thyme Around Antiques, and Designer’s Delight. No matter which direction you choose, you can spend a day hopping from one location to another and enjoy all the finds.
Although not in Madison County, James Madison’s Montpelier (montpelier.org) is close enough to squeeze in a visit during your day trip. This location provides a beautiful sight to winter weary eyes. Flowers, and nature lovers may spend time on the eight plus miles of trails, ideal to trek in beautiful weather. The paths feature wildflowers, horse pastures, amazing Blue Ridge Mountain views, and the Old-Growth Landmark Forest.
For those who may enjoy more indoor related activities, visit an exhibition at Montpelier. The Mansion Cellars, Grills Gallery, Queen of Hearts: Dolly Madison in Popular Culture, Gilmore Cabin, and the Train Depot offer a variety of options for history buffs. Be sure to check their website for times and days the estate is open to the public.
Of course after exploring trails, history and retail shops, you may work up an appetite. If you do and you are in the mood for barbeque, check out the Madison area options: Pig ‘N Steak and Mill Valley Barbeque. Both offer a myriad of flavorful options sure to entice your tastes buds.
If barbecue is not your style, try one of these other local eateries: Yoder’s Country Market, The Bonanno’s Madison Inn Restaurant, Giovanni’s Italian Eatery, Pie in the Sky Pizzeria or other options which offer a variety of American, Asian, and other types of cuisine.
Fun for all Ages
Whether you are enjoying the day with a significant other, family, or friends, there is a retail location which is a great destination on this day trip: Yoders Country Market. This market specializes in making patrons feel at home. Yoders provides a deli as well as a cafe and the aroma of food cooking in the kitchen are welcoming. There are aisles of various products: homemade breads, pies, salads, baking needs, canning supplies, candy, herbs, books, and more. Once you have made your purchases, be sure to visit the petting zoo; feeding the goats is quite enjoyable for any age.
Early Mountain Vineyard,(EMV) is close and offers spectacular scenery. This winery offers tastings, pairings with seasonal produce from local farms, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie made in-house. EMV also offers live music, festivals at various times of the year, as well as other activities. For information on their upcoming events, visit the website.
Or enjoy a rest at Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery, located right off of Route 29 south as you head towards Madison. Prince Michel is one of the pioneers of the Commonwealth wineries and has been operational since 1982. Taste “Old World” and award winning wines at this perfect rest stop, as it is located between Culpeper and Madison. If you decided you want to stay for more than a day, they even offer overnight accomodations.
Madison is home to Bald Top Brewing. This nano brewery specializes in unique craft beers in a variety of flavors. Bald Top is located in the foothills of the mountains and features acres of pastoral views for guests to enjoy. Visit their Facebook page for information on live music and food, offered by rotating food trucks.
Madison County offers visitors many options. From Graves Mountain Lodge to fishing and shopping, there is much to experience. More information on events in the region may be found on Madison County’s Event Guide website (madisonva.com/events).
So what are you waiting for? Gather the children, and/or some friends, and head south for a relaxing day. Even though Madison County may seem far away, it really isn’t, and it just may be the type of trip one needs to “get away from it all.”