Eat, drink and explore your way through Virginia on one of the state’s many designated trails. With everything from wine to horses, these trails connect the state’s agricultural commodities with fun agritourism outings and Virginia history.
Craft Beer Trails
If you’re thirsty, discover unique beers on Virginia’s craft brew trails. With more than 200 breweries across the state, there’s something for everyone. And many of Virginia’s breweries use local ingredients from nearby farmers, bringing the experience from farm to pint.
The Southwest Virginia Mountain Brew Trail features a number of stops exploring the state’s micro- and craft-brewing scene while the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail boasts some of the best craft beer in the country, as well as beautiful farms and mountains. Find a list of all of Virginia’s craft beer trails – some of which also feature distilleries – at virginia.org/beertrails.
As the largest producer of fresh, farm-raised oysters on the East Coast, Virginia is proud to show off the tasty shellfish on the Virginia Oyster Trail. The trail consists of a variety of sites including restaurants serving fresh oysters, aqua- farming sites, artists who use oysters as their subject matter or oyster shells within their art and more. The trail is visitor-led, with the goal of teaching consumers about how important oyster production is to Virginia’s economy, along with the state’s aquaculture history and environmental stewardship. Find the trail sites and more information at virginiaoystertrail.com.
The Market at Grelen Inc. Trails
For those who prefer to hike through stunning gardens, The Market at Grelen Inc., is a perfect escape. Grelen Nursery Inc., was founded 27 years ago in Somerset as a high-quality nursery and has grown to be 600 acres. In 2013, The Market at Grelen opened, offering a garden shop, café and 3.9 miles of free walking trails, among other attractions.
“The walking trails wind through the nursery, which is beautiful in all seasons, and then go through old-growth forest and meadow, eventually connecting to James Madison’s Montpelier Trails,” says Leslie Gregg, co-owner and creative director at The Market at Grelen. “There are two stunning high points which overlook the nursery and have views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.”
Hikers can also learn about the different plant varieties along the way, and trails are tailored to all skill levels. Learn more at themarketatgrelen.com/hiking.
Virginia Horse Trails
Horse lovers can get their fill, as Virginia has more than 200 accessible public horse trails. Trails can be found in national parks, national forests, state parks and more.
“Virginia’s trails are incredibly diverse,” says Heather Wheeler, equine and agritourism marketing specialist at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “They can be found in the mountains, at the beaches and everywhere in between. There are trails that are easy enough for a novice horse or trail rider and those that will test a horse and rider’s athletic ability.”
She adds that many of the trails go through agricultural areas, highlighting the state’s industry. “In Charlottesville, visitors can set out on a guided trail ride that takes them through some of Charlottesville’s vineyards, orchards and farms,” Wheeler says.
Popular trails include the ones at Manassas National Battlefield Park, James River State Park and Powhatan Wildlife Management Area. For a full list and more information, visit virginia.org.
There are plenty of opportunities to raise a glass in Virginia, with more than 250 wineries across the state, and dozens of wine trails that allow consumers to enjoy amazing scenery and Virginia history. The Bedford Wine Trail features five wineries and offers views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Smith Mountain Lake, while the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail features historic attractions and watersport activities. The Fauquier County Wine Trail has 26 stops, each with its own unique flavor, and the Wine Trail of Botetourt County showcases wines made with old-world techniques. Find information on all of Virginia’s wine trails at virginia.org/winetrails.
Nelson County RT. 151 Trail
If you’re looking for wineries and breweries (and a few cideries and distilleries), the Nelson County Rt. 151 Trail is for you. Nelson 151, LLC, is owned by a group of wineries, breweries and cideries located near the Rockfish River Valley. State Route 151 runs through a majority of the valley, and is a common designated Virginia scenic byway, connecting the member businesses of Nelson 151, says Maureen Kelley, director of the Nelson County Visitor’s Center.
“Wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries alike realize the mutual business benefit offered by each other,” Kelley says. “Few visitors come to just one winery or brewery.” She adds that because of that, ancillary businesses, including farmers markets and bed-and-breakfasts, benefit as well.
“Each of the N151 members has a unique offering and location,” she says. “All are award-winning leaders in the adult beverage world and the views at every setting are stunning.”
Learn more about the trail and its stops at nelson151.com.