The Lynchburg area in central Virginia is vast, hilly, and scenic, with a legacy of wealth and power and a growing fondness for farm wineries and creative cuisine.
With the historic City of Lynchburg as your base, three days is plenty of time to wine, dine and find your way around.
Check in to the beautifully restored Carriage House Inn B&B or the charming Craddock Terry Hotel if you prefer an in-town location, or consider a suite at the Acorn Hill Lodge if you like a little more open space.
Your first night should be a bit of a splurge, so make a reservation at Shoemaker’s American Grille, in the Craddock Terry Hotel, where you can sip a Virginia wine and plan your route.
Start your morning at the Community Market, where you can grab a coffee and wander until something delightful calls your name. Vendors inside the market are ready to sell Tuesday through Saturday from 7 until 2. Visit on Saturday and you’ll also find farmers and artisan food sellers.
Now it’s time to hit the wine trail. Pick up the Bedford Wine Trail map at the Lynchburg Visitor’s Center (216 12th Street). You can squeeze three Bedford wineries into about 2 ½ hours of round trip drive time, each very different than the others.
Generally, LeoGrande Vineyards is open a little earlier (11:00) than the others, so that’s a good place to start, but check winery websites before you head out – some wineries close during winter months.
At LeoGrande you’ll taste some of winemaker Norman LeoGrande’s favorites – Italian varietals. Enjoy the mountain views from the Adirondack chairs on the lawn, and then head northwest to Peaks of Otter Winery, where if you’re lucky you’ll have a chance to Kiss the Devil (it’s a thing; you must do it). Sample fruit wines with crazy names and even crazier flavors. Peaks of Otter is a fruit market, a farm, and a winery, so it’s a perfect stop for a picnic on one of the plentiful tables outside.
Your last stop is Seven Doors Winery (which your GPS may want to call by its former name, Savoy-Lee Winery). Seven Doors prizes organic and biodynamic practices in winemaking (no small feat in Virginia’s climate), and opens its doors for yoga classes, meditations and other spiritual practices.
Back in Lynchburg, if you’re still thinking about the Italian varietals at LeoGrande, you’ll find plenty to go with your sausage orecchiette – or just a ribeye – at Isabella's Italian Trattoria (reservations available).
Sleep in before heading out to brunch at the Manor House at Locust Thicket, which just recently opened its restaurant to the public after three years of restoration on the grand 226-year-old home. The menu leans local and fresh, with updated Southern dishes like Toast & Gravy, country bread with house-made chorizo gravy and fresh cheese.
While you enjoy your brunch, read about Lynchburg’s seven historic districts (brochure available in the Visitor’s Center). Lynchburg was once the wealthiest city of its size in the nation, and it shows in the stately Georgian, Federal, and Queen Ann-style mansions along its streets. Choose a walking tour and go for it.
That brunch isn’t gonna lose itself.
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