Hampton Roads, Virginia is For Fall Lovers

Here in Hampton Roads, the air is cooling down and the nights are shorter. Yet even though we’re well into October you can still walk the sandy shores of the Chesapeake Bay in your bare feet and enjoy a leisurely or brisk walk around Mt. Trashmore Park. The autumn season displays Southeastern Virginia at its best, and provides the perfect time to shop around for a home if you are new to the area.

Highlights of the Fall Season in Virginia

Whether looking for a place to live in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, or in the Upper Peninsula in Newport News and Williamsburg, you’ll find autumn brings a mix of color and tradition to the region. Living close to the Historic Triangle gives you access to holiday events in Colonial Williamsburg, and a month-long Hall-o-Scream celebration at Busch Gardens.

As October is designated Virginia Wine Month to accommodate the release of new vintages, new residents to Hampton Roads will want to visit the Williamsburg Winery for a guided tour and tasting and take in regularly scheduled musical and dinner events on the property. October also marks the annual Town Point Wine Festival, held in downtown Norfolk. Dozens of wineries from around the state offer samples of their latest red, whites, and dessert wines, all of which pair very well with the beautiful view along the Elizabeth River.

One good thing to remember as the weather cools in Virginia Beach, too, is that traffic in the Oceanfront lets up significantly. While the beach remains a strong tourist destination year round, there aren’t as many visitors in Fall and Winter, so you are able to enjoy the shops and cafes along Atlantic Avenue and take in various holiday and themed events at the small parks near the water. The Holiday Lights at the Beach celebration, which kicks off in the later part of the season, is certainly a sight to see!

For house hunting in Hampton Roads, fall is an excellent time to see the area in full color. Come visit us and experience this exhilarating season.

Exploring Virginia’s Wineries

Did you know that Virginia has some excellent wineries? Whether you’re an avid wine enthusiast or just looking for a fun activity for the day, Virginia has many great wineries to explore. From Blue Ridge Vineyard to Conoran Vineyard, there’s an enjoyable time to be had.

While there are many wineries to explore in Virginia, I will give a few good ones to start your journey. At the end of this article, I’ve put a link to a Web page that has more details about Virginia wine tourism. The two vineyards mentioned in this article are great, but there are plenty more vineyards in Virginia to explore.

Afton Mountain Vineyards

Time helps wine improve as does experience in making it. Afton Mountain Vineyards are more than experience in the art of winemaking. It’s one of the first farm wineries in Virginia.

You’ll find Afton Mountain Vineyards in Central Virginia. Appropriately, it’s located on 234 Vineyard Lane.

Their wines have received recognition both at home and abroad. Afton Mountain Vineyards has won awards at many competitions worldwide. Thankfully, their wine tasting room is open throughout the year. There’s never a bad time to visit and enjoy the fare and the wine. You can even make an appointment. Their hours fluctuate, but 10am – 5pm is the norm. And they’re closed on major holidays.

Farfelu Vineyards and Winery((

Moving right along, we stop at Farfelu Vineyards and Winery. As with Afton Mountain Vineyards, they’ve been at winemaking for quite some time. In fact, Farfelu is Virginia’s first winery.

The vineyard sits on an 86-acre beautiful estate. The tasting room is interesting in itself. They created it from a 1800s dairy barn. How’s that for ambiance? The estate also has an expansive deck that overlooks the vineyard.

Want more than just wine? Farfelu has a lovely picnic area and activities, such as bocce ball (very fun), volleyball, and horseshoes-and a river hiking trail. You might say that they have it all.

Located about 60 miles west of Washington, D.C., Farfelu can be found on 13058 Crest Hill Road. Plan to spend a little time here.

Farfelu produces lovely wines, including an award-winning Chardonnay (who says Chardonnay is best in California?), Cabernet Franc, Viogner and Muse, which a Bordeaux-styled red wine.

They are open year round, which is a plus. If you fancy a tour of the vineyard, get there early and on the weekend, because tours are only given at noon on Saturday and Sunday. Might as well go all out and enjoy yourself!

Many More Vineyards

Virginia has many more vineyards worth visiting. These two are great, but no wine tourism tour would be complete without visiting at least a couple more.

One thing you’ll find at Virginia vineyards is hospitality. Expect to have fun and enjoy great wines. It’s a great overall experience. Below I’ve put a link to a Web page on Virginia wine tourism. Take a minute and check it out. Whether you live in Virginia or are just visiting, exploring these vineyards is time well spent.

Northern Virginia Wineries

Virginia is well regarded for its rich colonial heritage and pivotal importance in American revolutionary history. The agriculture of the commonwealth has been centered on the growth and distribution of tobacco and peanuts, as well as a leading exporter of cotton, ham and seafood. However, many people outside of the area do not realize that Virginia is currently ranked tenth among US states in grape production, and the home to some of the nation’s best and most popular wineries.

There are well over one hundred wineries in Virginia, producing up to three hundred thousand cases a year. Every variety of wine is produced in the commonwealth, including Rieslings, Merlots, Chardonnays, Cabernets and Pinot Noirs.

Wine making has been practiced in Virginia since the earliest days of the colonial era. It is a tradition that is still celebrated today with the many wine festivals and tastings held throughout the state that highlight the diverse vineyards and winemaking techniques. Virginia wineries have garnered national and international acclaim and have received numerous awards at these festivals.

Northern Virginia offers a wide array of wineries to tour from Washington, D.C. down to the Fredericksburg region. Here are a few great suggestions for your next winery tour in the northern part of the commonwealth:

Lost Creek Winery in Leesburg offers unique and different wines for tasting, from apple to grape wines. A special late harvest wine is also bottled here, which is made from sweet, high-sugar grapes.

Hartwood Winery in the scenic countryside of Fredericksburg hosts many events and tastings all year round. They are most noted for their Clarets and Chardonnays and offer light snacks and tours of the vineyards.

Linden Vinyards in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Linden is the producer of some of the finest Bordeaux wines in Virginia. Seminars on wine making are offered here, as well as winter and summer tours.

Three Fox Vineyards in Delaplane is a 50-acre farm that pride themselves on resembling the vineyards of Northern-Central Italy. They produce grapes for a whole host of vintages, including Pinot Grigio, Viognier, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese. Guests are invited to join a vintner’s club, where they can sponsor vines and learn the intricate process of how wine is made.

Potomac Point Winery is a Mediterranean-style estate located north of Fredericksburg. Specialties include award-winning citrusy white wines and velvety reds. You can create your own label for a personalized touch on the winery’s medium bodied custom blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The winery offers private and classic wine tastings for groups by appointment.

If you like what you taste while touring Northern Virginia Wineries, don’t forget to bring a few bottles home with you and support the local farmers and winemakers. The Northern Virginia region is home to some of the finest wineries in the Commonwealth, and a tour or tasting is a great way to spend a relaxing day.

Summers in Central Virginia

Central Virginia has such an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities, summer vacations and day trips can easily be spent here. In our tough economy, many families are seeking relaxation close to home, and in Virginia, such opportunities are found right outside your door. With outdoor recreation and indoor adventures plentiful, there is no need to plan a long-distance trip and pay high costs on airfare. Whether you want to hike portions of the Appalachian Trail, take in scenic views on the Blue Ridge Parkway, or expand your knowledge of Virginia’s history, there is something for everyone. More Virginians are realizing they can vacation in their home state.

The 35 state parks in Virginia offer outdoor enthusiasts a plethora of opportunity. Surrounding beautiful lakes and hiking trails, our state parks are a wonder. Most campgrounds and cabins are open from March 1st through the first week of December, and several offer more developed sites with modern conveniences such as cooking and grilling equipment, bathhouses, electric and water hook-ups. If a tent’s night sleep doesn’t suit you, there are cabins and cottages for rent to make your vacation in the woods more comfortable. With the typical 14 day camping allotment, families and adventurers can plan an extended vacation at a Virginia state park.

Richmond offers a great deal of historic culture and charm, well-suited for a day or weekend trip. Named the City of Monuments, Richmond provides visitors knowledge of history, and it is found by walking along Monument Avenue. This monumental street memorializes Virginia native Civil War Confederates, as well as Arthur Ashe, an international tennis star, and Richmond native. The James River is also a main highlight of the area. Here, thrill seekers can tube and raft down the rambling water, or hop rocks from one side of the river to another.

The historical significance and lush landscapes of Virginia continues north to Charlottesville. Providing a nice mix of history, architecture, and small city sophistication, the Charlottesville area attracts millions of visitors each year. Home to Thomas Jefferson and his legacies-a university and his home, Monticello, Charlottesville is a beautiful place for any visitor to explore. Whether you want to spend the day hiking through the Blue Ridge Mountains, enjoy the best Virginia wines on a multi-vineyard tour or walk the campus of one of Virginia’s most prestigious universities, Charlottesville offers it all.

Named the Historic Triangle of Virginia, Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, provides visitors with exciting and enriching ways to spend their summer days. Those who are historically inclined can spend time learning the history of the state dating back to American Revolution. The College of William and Mary is a popular tourist destination in that it is the second oldest educational institution in the country. In addition to historical sites, the area offers enjoyment with its outlet malls and amusement parks. With such a vast range of activities, it is no wonder the area is one of the most popular visitor sites in the state.

No matter where in Virginia you decide to spend your summer, there are indoor and outdoor adventures for people of all ages. For more information on fun outings in Virginia, visit a local travel agency, or check out one of the region’s newspapers or websites. A vast amount of excitement awaits you in the towns of Central Virginia!

Dining in Atlanta’s Historic Virginia Highland Neighborhood

Atlanta’s historic Virginia Highland neighborhood is a popular destination for dining, shopping, and nightlife. Located five minutes northeast of downtown Atlanta, this vibrant and trendy area is filled with sidewalk cafes and an eclectic mix of retail shops. The heart of Virginia Highland is the intersection of Virginia and Highland Avenues. Many homes and commercial buildings in the neighborhood date to the early 20th century when a trolley line served the area. Here are some popular restaurants to try in Virginia Highland.

Located in the heart of Virginia Highland at 997 Virginia Avenue NE, Murphy’s has been an Atlanta favorite for more than 30 years. The menu features contemporary American cuisine that focuses on fresh local ingredients. Some of executive chef Ian Winslade’s popular offerings include braised beef brisket, pork shank, shrimp and grits, and Murphy’s burger. Brunch is served on weekends from 8am-4pm. Murphy’s Bakery features decadent cookies, cakes, and pies created by their in house pastry chef. Murphy’s has an award winning wine list, and their retail wine shop offers weekly wine tastings on Tuesdays at 6:30pm.

Enjoy small plates, tapas, and margaritas at Noche Tequila & Tapas Bar, located at 1000 Virginia Avenue. Noche favorites include carne asada, seafood paella, and grilled chicken quesadillas. Every Monday the tacos are $2 each. The shrimp taco and the crispy fish taco are excellent choices.

For authentic Italian cuisine, try La Tavola Trattoria at 992 Virginia Avenue NE. This is a cozy eatery with exposed brick walls, wood floors, and an open kitchen. Pasta favorites are black linguine with calamari and baked manicotti stuffed with beef, pork, and spinach. Seafood lovers may want to try zuppa di pesce, a dish with clams, shrimp, lobster, and calamari. Enjoy Italian gelato or sorbetto for dessert. La Tavola Trattoria is open daily for dinner, and brunch is served on Sunday from 11am-3pm.

Osteria 832 is another Italian restaurant in Virginia Highland. Entrée favorites include chicken Marsala and eggplant parmigiana. Another tasty option is one of their thin crust wood-fired pizzas. The restaurant is located at 832 N. Highland Avenue, and patio seating is available. Creative Loafing magazine named Osteria 832 the best restaurant to bring the kids in 2011.

Fontaine’s Oyster House is located at 1026-1/2 N. Highland Avenue. The menu includes fresh oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, crab legs, Po’Boys, and crab cake Remoulade. Free nightly valet parking is available at the rear entrance.

Atkins Park Restaurant and Bar, at 794 N. Highland Avenue, is Atlanta’s oldest continuously licensed tavern. They do offer family dining, and popular entrees include Southern fried chicken and cornbread crusted North Georgia trout. They also serve burgers and sandwiches. Food is served until 2:30am.

Enjoy the Best Hampton Roads Wine Festivals

We’ve heard more than one vintner in Virginia call the state “Napa East,” thanks to the growth of wine production in the Commonwealth. If you have traveled the state, you’ll find that there are more than a hundred wineries that offer a wide selection of fragrant vintages. From the popular Viognier to the earthy reds like Merlot and Cabernet Franc, there’s something to suit every palate. In the Hampton Roads area, we now have three wineries for you to visit (Williamsburg Winery, Mermaid Winery, and Pungo Ridge Winery), but that doesn’t mean you have to leave town to taste what more Virginia has to offer.

Wine festivals are popular in Hampton Roads. Each year representatives from wineries across the state and sometimes beyond converge on our region to share their latest vintages. These events typically attract thousands of wine enthusiasts a year, and you’ll find more than the sweetness of the vine when you visit. Live music, great food, and arts and crafts vendors are also hand to make the days extra special. So why not slip that sleeve of crackers in your bag and head over to some of our favorite Hampton Roads wine events.

Town Point Wine Festival: (May and October) One of the city’s favorite traditions is the wine festival held at Town Point Park in Norfolk, held in the Spring and Autumn. Here you can sample the best of the state’s vintages along with gourmet snacks provided by local restaurants. We’ve been lucky to be blessed with beautiful weather every time the Town Point festival happens, plus you’re walking distance from downtown Norfolk and the many great new restaurants that have opened.

Chesapeake Wine Festival: (October) This fall event is one of the most anticipated in the city of Chesapeake. The wine festival benefits many local charities and to date has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help various community interests. Virginia and international wines are represented here, and thoroughly enjoyed.

Neptune Festival: (September) The big Virginia Beach fall festival usually features a space for regional and international wines. Here you can savor the tastes of Virginia and enjoy various beach-related activities, from the professional sand sculpting displays to the big surfing competition.

Yorktown Wine Festival: (October) Enjoy a sip of your favorite red or white as you stroll waterside through Yorktown. You’ll enjoy many local and area vendors and live entertainment, with options for a multi-course wine-paired dinner.

Take note that all festivals will check for ID. Festival fees usually include a souvenir glass, and food is extra. You should be able to buy bottles of the vintages you liked most at the festival, too.

If you love wine, Hampton Roads is the place to be during festival time. Salud!

Virginia Wine Festivals

Wine has become popular worldwide. It is taken in a relaxed mood whether at home or at a social gathering. Those who enjoy wine prefer to drink it at social places because they argue that this reduces boredom. They say that Virginia wine is so good and well concentrated that it should not be drunk in a hurry. In fact, one said that the longer you hold it in the glass the more pleasure you get, but others argue that taking a little excess for the road is not advisable.

For many, they get as many bottles as possible and put them on the back seat of their cars and drink while relaxing with the rest of their family members. Irrespective of the way it is drunk, Virginia wine remains the most difficult to understand, but the most enjoyable. In this respect, there are many festivals that go alongside this wine festival. The following is just a compilation of a few of them. The Yorktown wine festival is a longtime celebration that has been enjoyed for various reasons.

People who attended this celebration were treated with the beauty of the York River shoreline. When the day was perfectly clear towards the evening, whatever that was observed along the show line of this river was just another perfect color of wine and this must have contributed to onset of the celebrations.

Apart from wine, the celebrations were also accompanied by food and great music. On the occasion, visits would be made to historic sites since the Yorktown was also a historical site where Cornwallis had surrendered so the American revolution of the year 1781 could come to an end. There is a strong impact that is left in your life by attending small festivals such as the Yorktown festival. This is that tasters will be able to sample the wares from a distance and other remote wineries. Some of the wineries already featured on this festival include the San Soucy, Davis Valley and Rebec. This is one of the most interesting Virginia wine festivals.

The fermented grape juice is also produced in the Okanagan valley for top wines that even win both the national and international wine completions. The harvest of grapes therefore forms another celebration in Virginia. People simply come to exhibit their wealth and this is done every season. There are other categories of wine that are observed as festival celebrations.

The Okanagan spring wine festival is celebrated at the beginning of the grape growing season and it is accompanied by exquisite medley of wine and cuisine. It is a perfect celebration to any person who enjoys wine sipping with many gastronomic treats. The summer Virginia wine celebration is marked in August and comes with the opportunity of educating oneself about the different types of wine as the many varieties are displayed.

A Wine Lover’s Nearly Weekly Review Of $15 Wine – A White Fiano From Southern Italy

Today’s wine comes from Apulia, also called Puglia, on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy. This is one of the first times that I remember a back label in Italian only. But the company has an English-language website that’s quite attractive even if somewhat hard to read. Their estate is some 300 hectares (740 acres) about half of which is devoted to wine. They specialize in Italian grape varieties that you might find unfamiliar: Negroamaro, Aglianico, and Fiano. The mother company belongs to the Zonin family that has been in the wine business since 1821. Zonin possesses Italy’s largest privately owned vineyards and winemaking complex and is present in seven wine regions of Italy. They also own one American vineyard in the state of Virginia. Maybe, just maybe they went to the “Old Dominion” because the vineyard is located in the commonwealth’s Piedmont region. Be that as it may, Barboursville Vineyards wines were served to Queen Elizabeth II on her visit to Virginia in 2007.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed
Masseria Altemura Fiano 2008 12.5% alcohol about $13

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note: Fiano is a variety whose home turf is believed to be nearby Campania. Puglia is making headway with this bold, crisp variety. Aromas of ripe apple, grapefruit, smoke and fresh herbs are front and center. Dry, racy, and fruity with good body and structure. Try it with moderately rich fish or chicken dishes. (VINTAGES panel, Sept. 2009)” And now for my review.

At the first sips this wine was rich and round and tasted of grapefruit. My first meal was based on a rather dry barbecued chicken breast. The wine showed good acidity. It compensated for the meat’s defect and tasted of lanolin and honeysuckle. I tasted peaches that weren’t quite ripe. The side dishes were green beans in tomato sauce and rice. In response the Fiano’s acidity was subtle. This wine was elegant. With fresh pineapple the wine came out weaker but still showed elegance.

The following meal was a boxed vegetarian lasagna including with ricotta and mozzarella cheese to which I added lots of grated parmesan cheese. The Fiano was delicate and tasted of almonds and lemon. It was somewhat oily (I find that positive) and very long. Dessert was fresh strawberries coming from the local market. Now the wine was weakened but not destroyed. When paired with another dessert, a high-quality ice cream bar coated in chocolate this wine showed a fine sweetness. It was subtle but quite long.

My final meal was a broiled Atlantic salmon filet that was marinated and basted in an agave nectar sauce. The Fiano was long and powerful. It was honeyed and tasted of green apples. Faced with slices of fresh red pepper it seemed unripe, but it was fairly long and there were almonds. Fresh tomato rendered this wine multilayered and slightly sweet.

The first cheese was a fairly tasteless brick. In response this wine was floral and nicely complex. But when it met a slightly tastier provolone the wine was not very present.
Final verdict. I already bought a bottle for my wine tasting club. I like this wine and I like this grape. I’ll be on the look out for more wines from this producer and more Fianos. The poor pairing with the provolone couldn’t change my mind.

What Should Top Your Virginia Beach Attractions

If you are a sea, sand, and surf person head straight to Virginia. It is an ideal place to romance the sea. The sun setting in the sea and the huge reflection of the Cheasepeake Bay Bridge Tunn will take your breath away. The lighthouse far off conjures up a picture of an old village. Perhaps you are the adventurous type who would like to take the cruise. You can see dolphins, and other fishes swimming side by side your vessel. The cruise takes you around Chesapeake and the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the main Virginia Beach attractions and don’t forget to charge your camera as you are going to view some of the best scenes that Virginia beaches have to offer.

The Virginia Aquarium and Marine center is one of the best of its kind. There is also an outdoor aviary. From here you can take a quick drive to the Cape Henry lighthouse which has been a landmark to the Chesapeake Bay. Climb up the lighthouse for a 360 degree view of the city. The Ocean Breeze water park with its 19 acres of water rides, is a must see for children. No. 4 Mount Trash more is another activity park consisting of 165 acres of area. The park is an example of environmental park. It has nature trails and sports parks within it.

The Boardwalk – This sidewalk offers you game, food, night entertainment in the oceanfront stages. If you can’t let go of your golfing fascinations even while on vacation try out the Hell’s Point Golf Club, Cypress Point Country Club for a wonderful golfing experience.

Virginia Beach attractions – Must sees and must do’s
Try to be in Virginia at the beginning of fall. This way you can experience the Virginia beach Neptune festival. This festival reflects all that happens in the Virginia beach. Sand sculpting, Atlantic Regatta, Virginia wine festival. It is called the Neptune Festival as it is held close to the 34 foot cast bronze state of Neptune. Virginia also becomes crowded during the beer festival held in association with the Virginia art festival. It takes place generally the last week of April. There is something for every beer lover here- Belgian White, a dark ale or a funky micro brew, along with fun, frolic and music.

The Atlantic Coast Kite Festival is held generally in between 1st and 3rd may. Varied type of kites with varied music and style is the main attraction of this festival. The kite ballets, sports kite flying, and dual and quad line kites are hugely popular. The Caribbean Music festival is another Virginia Beach attractions and is accompanied by food, and dance. It is a lovely place to go by the waterfront if you are a true music lover and want to know the beach in its true aura.

If you want to venture on a slightly different route other than the beach attractions you can give the Signature at West Neck a try. Consisting of several wetlands, and natural terrain it is one of the best golf course in America. A must see for golfers.

Wine Tourism in Virginia

Luka Paskina, a wine-maker has come from Italy with the aim to bring his mastery to Virginia 17 years ago. He has managed to frame up to the local climate and soils. He has gained a lot of success and contrasted with Thomas Jefferson, who has had a complete washout some hundreds years ago.

Paskina, the senior manager of Barboursville winery and other wine sellers have studied well what and how is working in Virginia and now some of their wines have got a merited popularity and leave behind similar wines from even older vineyards.

As a result, Virginia became an attractive place for tourists – admirers of local cuisine and wine. Earlier it attracted tourists with its history and nature, but now tourism has grown up because of the opening of the wine routes. These routes have several directions to different regions of the state – wine factories, restaurants, historical places and special events.

In the same Barbousvile tried vainly the third American president to cultivate European grape and make wine in his Monticello manor. He visited wine-making regions of France, Germany and Italy being the envoy in Paris from 1785 till1789. Having come back to the US he has been serving best wines at parties in the White House, subsidizing farmers who tried to grow grape and also has been trying to reduce the wine tax. “No one drinks too much there where wine is cheap, and no people remain sober there where the high wine prices make people to abuse strong drinks,” – he considered.

There were only several wineries in Barbousville in the year of foundation; now 120 wineries are scattered on the territory of the whole state. Virginia has become the fifth-important wine-making state in the USA. Jefferson would be proud of this.

After a wine degustation visitors may have dinner in Palladio, the Italian restaurant in the north of Barbousville. Melissa Close, its chief-cook uses solely local products, crabs and fish from Chesapeake bay for cooking. The autumn offers include several rich dishes which are being served with wines of 2005: fried quail with pumpkin, venison with liquorices and potato-mushroom pie, breast cut with fried tomatoes and new vegetables.

Paskina is sure that culinary tourism is stimulated by popularity of TV culinary shows. He can see that Americans appreciate wine more and more, especially the red wine, which was considered as “too heavy” earlier.

“People have been considering wine as a separate drink. Only now they find out how to drink it with meal, they are studying and at the same time getting pleasure”, tells Luka.

The press-secretary of tourism department in Virginia says that “for the last three years we began to pay more attention to wine-making”. A guest that choses wine routes of Virginia spends two times more than usual: $299 instead of $129, according to the local tourism department.

Some wine-makers arrange celebrations that attract even more tourists in autumn.

The wine factory in Williamsburg is planning to open a Wedm ore Place hotel with 28 luxurious rooms surrounded by vineyards.

Another wine factory Tarara keeps 560 square meters of casks for tasting new wines in its cellar.

Villa Appalacia Winery in the south of Virginia is planning to issue a new sort of red Italian wine that has been named aglianico.