October is VA Wine Month, so why not experience Virginia’s Albemarle County wines on the Monticello Wine Trail. Enjoy the wines and fall foliage with your friends and family from the most spectacular vantage point of all – overhead in a hot air balloon!
Stop 1 – Boar’s Head Ballooning
Have the thrill of a lifetime in a hot air balloon experience at Boar’s Head Ballooning! Boar’s Head flies hot air balloons every day at sunrise with the average flight lasting about one hour, weather permitting. This bird’s eye views of Virginia falling leaves will astound you. Congratulations, you did it! After landing, all flights are celebrated back on earth at the Boar’s Head Inn after party. You will be given a flight certificate and a disk or link to Flickr of all pictures taken that day by a professional photographer, so you can always remember your exciting adventure. The entire experience lasts about three hours and costs $225 per person. For more specific flight information, click on their website’s Program and FAQs pages. You must purchase and make your own hot air balloon reservations in advance at http://2comefly.com/balloon_reservations.html.
Stop 2 – Burnley Vineyards
Now it’s time to relax and explore the Monticello Wine Trail. Start with a visit to Burnley Vineyards , one of the oldest vineyards in Virginia. Thirty acres of rolling hills filled with luscious red and white grapes give Burnley Vineyards an attractive country setting ambience. Burnley’s large selection of delicious wines range from light Chardonnays to bold Cabernet Sauvignons and are available in the tasting room every day from 11 am to 5 pm. You will find Burnley wines this fall at Virginia wine festivals all over the state, like the Fredericksburg Area Wine Festival on October 8-9, 2016. Also, you won’t want to miss Burnley’s Annual Thanksgiving Open House on November 25-27, 2016, which features a special wine tasting of two new releases, Peach Fuzz and Hot Mulled Wine (Spicy Rivanna) that will get you in the mood for the holidays. A small $4.00 additional fee will be incurred for this event.
Stop 3 – Lunch at the Barbeque Exchange
Feeling hungry? You are in for a big treat! The next stop is lunch at the Barbeque Exchange restaurant in Gordonsville, VA. Known for its supremely delectable hickory-smoked and slow-roasted pork shoulders and spare ribs, the BBQ Exchange also has coal-fired grilled chicken that will make your taste buds rejoice. Using secret ingredient rubs and barbeque sauces with names like Hog Fire, Poltergeist and Napalm, you will understand the meaning of good old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Fresh home-baked goods like bread rolls, cornbread, hushpuppies, as well as fried green tomatoes, baked beans and homemade pickles perfectly complement your meal. Vegetarian? No worries. Check out the menu and try the smoked tofu, fresh salads and slaws for a healthier option. Located in a modest house with interior wood paneling and rustic wooden picnic tables, the restaurant lends a homey, comfortable atmosphere. Service is quick-counter and take-out and you can eat in the restaurant or on the bus. Be sure to take some homemade cupcakes, cookies and brownies for the ride home.
Stop 4 – Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery
Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery is one of the largest and most widely recognized wineries in Virginia. Located on main highway Route 29, it is impossible to miss with its large building and unique wine sculptures on the front lawn. Wide sweeping views of the Virginia countryside will take your breath away, and once inside the winery those same panoramic views are seen from the wine shop above the barrel cave and tank room. Prince Michel wines have won awards at wine competitions around the world and you can experience these fine wines right here in Virginia! Private wine tastings and tours can be arranged where you will get a hands-on education of the winemaking process. There are also free self-guided tours so you can explore the facilities on your own. Food pairings and recipes are provided to match their award-winning wines. For a really special occasion, consider using their private label program to personalize your own bottles of wine. Prince Michel is open seven days a week and holds many public events. Check their events calendar to see what fun is happening there before you plan your trip at http://www.princemichel.com/Events/In-House-Events.
- Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, http://www.downtowncharlottesville.net/
- James River Runners for kayaking, canoeing, tubing, rafting, fishing, camping, http://jamesriver.com/
- Indian Summer Guide Service for horseback riding, http://indiansummerguideservice.com/about-iso/
- Michie Tavern, http://www.michietavern.com/
- Old Mill Room at Boar’s Head, http://www.boarsheadinn.com/Dining/The-Old-Mill-Room.asp
- The Local, http://www.thelocal-cville.com/
- Charlottesville VA Official Travel Website, visitcharlottesville.org/
- Charlottesville Albemarle Tourism Website, charlottesvilletourism.org
- Virginia Wine Month, http://www.virginia.org/winemonth/
- Boar’s Head Ballooning Yelp review, http://www.yelp.com/biz/boars-head-ballooning-charlottesville?osq=boar%27s+head+hot+air+ballooning
- Burnley Vineyards Yelp review, http://www.yelp.com/biz/burnley-vineyards-barboursville
- Prince Michel Yelp review, http://www.yelp.com/biz/prince-michel-leon
Boar’s Head: Boar’s Head Ballooning
Burnley Vineyards: Burnley Vineyards
Barbeque Exchange Collage: BBQ Exchange
Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery Collage: Prince Michel Vineyard & Winery
Interested in taking your own experiential tour to Charlottesville without worrying about driving? We have vehicles ranging in size from sedans to motorcoaches and can accommodate any size group. Booking your vehicle is as easy as 1-2-3!