I started this week with an email on Monday at 9am telling me I didn’t get a job I interviewed for the week before. What’s funny, is for the first time in my professional career I’m not unhappy with my current job, albeit it’s freelance but still. So when this other company called me about a position I applied for back in April during me unemployment, I felt fairly indifferent about taking the interview. I went anyways, and by the time it was over, I had decided if they offered me the position I would take it. So, I started this week a little down on myself, but I reminded myself my goals are now outside my 9-5. My day job, while I still enjoy it, is now just part of a larger goal. My goals and aspirations are in this blog and in my travels and photography, so I pushed that interview out of my head and continued on with the week.
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Two weekends ago was Labor Day in the US! So for the long weekend I drove to Charlottesville, Virginia to meet my friend Sarah (the same one from my Scandinavia posts. I promise I have more friends). The home of The University of Virginia and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation, this quaint college town is situated near the Appalachian Mountains and my goodness is it beautiful there.
On our last full day in Charlottesville we weren’t sure what to do. All I knew was I wanted to go take some sunset photos at a nearish outlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. So after a casual morning of hotel continental breakfast and internet researching we stumbled across something called the Nelson 151. What in the world is this?, you are asking. Well, it’s collective of wineries and breweries along the 151 Virginia state highway that runs adjacent to the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains (PS, Western Virginia in general has tons of wineries. Tons! Who knew). So we decided we would spend the afternoon meandering between breweries and then head towards the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Off we headed into the Virginian wilderness to find some mountain brews! Denali, my 8 year old dachshund mix in tow, already miserable and sighing in the backseat at the assumed 8 hour drive ahead. It should be mentioned that all these places are dog friendly, which is a major plus for me!
Stop 1: Blue Mountain Brewery
I loved this place. It’s massive and has tons of seating options inside and out. There is a beautiful panoramic mountain view from the front and they have a beer for just about everyone. I love a good IPA and pale ale and their flagship beer is the Full Nelson Pale Ale, which was amazing. When it’s hot out, I don’t always find IPAs and pale ales refreshing, but this one really hit the spot despite the heat. Sarah went for the strawberry shandy cocktail, which was a handmade drink that was foamy and refreshing. This place also has an extensive food menu, so it makes a great place to get lunch if you want to just pop down from Charlottesville. We planned on eating later in the day, so we just got the hummus, which was not surprisingly, also delicious.
Overall, I give Blue Mountain a 10/10 and will definitely come back here next time I’m in the area.
Stop 2: Wild Wolf Brewing Co.
I’m going to tell you upfront, this place got a 0/10 for me. But let me explain.
Wild Wolf is about 10 minutes down 151 from Blue Mountain. While it doesn’t have as nice of a view, it seemed like it was built in an old school house which was really cool. They have a large outdoor patio with tables as well as several corn hole boards. There is a bar out back that is separate from the restaurant part, but we didn’t go back there since we had the dog and the bar patio was closed.
By now we were ready for lunch, and were told it was about a 20 minute wait, which was fine with us. But as we sat outside waiting we noticed there were a handful of empty tables, and several of those had dirty dishes that had clearly been there for a while. Our first thought was maybe the brewery was short staffed due to the holiday, but after a while it seemed like there were plenty of wait staff to go around.
After a half hour I went inside to ask how much longer it would be and the hostess flat out told me she couldn’t even give me a time estimate. It was clear that seating us was in no way a priority, even though 30 minutes prior had been told it was a 20 minute wait. So we left and went on to the next place.
Stop 3: Bold Rock Hard Cider
After being kind of annoyed at the Wild Wolf situation, this place put us completely at ease about it. The views here were by far the best of the day. The cidery is built into a hill so you have both a great view of the mountains and the river below. I don’t usually drink cider, but I’m still thinking about the blackberry cider I got here. Sarah opted for the rose cider which was also delicious. We both got sandwiches, which were very good but nothing out of this world. After sitting on the back patio for a while, we headed down to the river and dipped our feet in the absolutely freezing water. You can bring your drinks down here, which we didn’t realize, so next time I know where I’ll be hanging out. A definite 10/10.
Bonus Round: Devils Backbone Brewing Company
We didn’t stop at the last brewery as we wanted to go check out a waterfall before getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway. We drove past it though and it looked massive and was just a couple minutes down the street from Bold Rock.
Even if you just get one beer at each place, the Nelson 151 makes the perfect day trip out of Charlottesville. There are also a good number of wineries, if wine is more your thing, and they are all listed on the Nelson 151 website.
Afterwards we drove via a very remote and winding highway to the Crabtree falls waterfall before heading towards the Ravens Roost Overlook near mile post 10 on the Blue Ridge Parkway to photograph what ended up being an amazing sunset.
Fantastic photos, as usual! Can’t wait to explore this area.