Virginia is for Lovers, and I'm in love with Charlottesville. Though I grew up just one state north, I'd never had the pleasure of visiting this charming southern spot that is a popular wedding destination in its own right. My eyes were glued to the sprawling hills, rolling lawns, and the other vistas as I drove around. I've said it before and I'll say it again, a small airport means big points in my book. So well done on that front. I stayed at a rental house during my recent trip, and had the pleasure of visiting a few venues that would make for a great wedding or rehearsal dinner setting. But since I love grabbing a bite and eating like a local, I've also got a great spot to send your guests for lunch when they get into town, or breakfast on their way out.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards
First up, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards. I've known about this venue for quite some time. How I've gone so long without actually visiting it is beyond me. If ever a venue looked exactly as great as it did in pictures in person, this is it. The grand walkway, the hillside vineyard, the views for days. The inside is as pretty as the outside, with three different spaces to celebrate. Definitely check this out if you're hoping for an elegant celebration with earthy tones and scenery all around. Or even if you're hoping to direct guests to a great wine-tasting spot while they're in town. Because this hot spot has a tasting room where you can sample from an ample selection of their own wines. Cheers!
Beehive Events and A Pimento Catering
Looking for a little vendor help? Look no further than floral designer Shawn Cosette of Beehive Events (see more from her here) and Gay Beery of A Pimento Catering. These ladies know how to put together a memorable and visually-impressive meal. The rustic-chic dinner I was fortunate enough to experience took place at Shawn's farm just outside of Charlottesville, where she grows herbs, flowers, and even some vegetables, and houses her selection of amazing rental items. As for the meal, it's one I won't soon forget, with courses like freshwater trout paired with turnip cream, wheat grass, lions' mane mushrooms, and black garlic. Their plating is a work of art.
Castle Hill Cider
I'm 100% not a beer drinker, so cider is my jam when it comes to pouring a glass of something other than wine or hard liquor. And who doesn't like drinking the pressed apple beverage in a picturesque setting like Castle Hill Cider? This big white barn has a charming event space with a built-in stage that just screams for gettin' down. Want to keep it al fresco? No worries, there are lawns galore and even a lake! I indulged in a cider tasting and my top two picks are their Terrestrial and Celestial blends. Did I plan on them rhyming? Nope. But do I plan on drinking them again? You bet. Levity, a sparkly blend, would be a natural choice for a toast during the reception.
And because Virginia isn't all historic homes (though I did love Monticello), estates, and vineyards, let's touch on something equally exciting—tacos. Before catching my flight back to New York, my last stop was at Brazos Tacos. Sure it's Texas-style, so that kind of goes off my thematic trip, but man was this the way to go out on a high note. It's smack dab in the middle of an art park, so you get to see a different side of town. And their queso should be the first thing you order.