Suggestions for a short stay around Crozet, VA
March 21, 2018 5:57 AM   Subscribe

We're looking for suggestions for things to do around the southern end of Shenandoah National Park and the northern entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. We're staying for a long wknd in Crozet, VA - and interested in cool little towns, unique historic spots, dog-friendly hikes/walks, and good spots to eat/drink beer.

We booked a last-minute Air BnB for a long wknd in Crozet, VA this coming weekend. Do you have any suggestions for cool towns, interesting sites, good food/breweries, and cool hikes/walks in the area?

We're going to drive through Skyline Drive on our way in and will probably do 1 or 2 walks in the lower section of Shenandoah National Park. We will have the dog so other cool dog-friendly spots would be great to know about.

We're already planning on doing Monticello and would be interested in other suggestions for historic sites.

We will probably walk around UVA and grab a bit to eat in Charlottesville, but otherwise more interested in finding cool small towns in the area.

Anything near the upper end of the Blue Ridge Parkway worth checking out?

posted by pilibeen to Travel & Transportation around Virginia (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I love that part of Virginia! You'll have a blast.

Here are some of my favorite places/things in the area:

1. Dr. Ho's Humble Pie in North Garden.

2. Moorman's River Hike. The blue hole at Sugar Hollow is spectacular but it'll be too cold for swimming.

3. Potter's Craft Cider Tasting Room in Charlottesville.

4. Crabtree Falls Trail. Beautiful, but strenuous (lots of stairs and steep switchbacks). Even if you don't end up doing the full trail, it's worth it for the amazing views.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:10 AM on March 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

(Forgot to mention: #2 and #4 are both dog-friendly. My elderly lab liked both trails, although he turned around and lead us back down the mountain after the first extremely steep mile at Crabtree Falls!)
posted by schroedingersgirl at 6:12 AM on March 21, 2018

By this coming weekend do you mean March 23-25? Skyline Drive is shut down due to a snowstorm at the moment. Crozet has 5 inches of snow on the ground and it's still snowing. I don't think you'll be doing any hiking this weekend unless you bring snowshoes. Staunton is a neat little town and has a fabulous Shakespeare theater if you are in that kind of thing.
posted by COD at 6:56 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Crabtree Falls is a great little hike!
Lots (and lots and lots) of good little breweries and cideries (and even some wineries, though I've never tired any of them) in that area of VA. We've done most of the entries on the Brew Ridge Trail, and it's very possible to arrange shuttles so that you can sample the wares to your heart's content. Almost all of the breweries are dog friendly, too. Don't miss out on Blue Toad cidery (though it's not on the list, it's right along the route) and Bold Rock cidery (the cider isn't actually that great, but their facility is beautiful).
If you are willing to drive a little into Staunton, VA you can visit the American Shakespeare Centre (make sure if you go that you take advantage of the gallant's stools!), as well as the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum (small, but well done). Staunton itself is quite cute. Some good antiques shops and bookstores, a nice little market on Saturdays (at least in the summer?), and some gorgeous old homes along hilly, winding streets that are fun to wander through!
posted by Dorinda at 7:51 AM on March 21, 2018

Also: Monticello itself (i.e. the buildings) don't allow dogs, but they are allowed leashed on the grounds, are there are miles of very gentle trails through the parks surrounding (for which you don't have to pay the entry fee) that are lovely to wander with your pooch.
posted by Dorinda at 7:55 AM on March 21, 2018

Also also: check out Hiking Upward for a searchable map of and good rundowns of the many excellent hikes in the area. Their info is excellent!

(k. I'll stop posting now. I just love this part of VA!)
posted by Dorinda at 7:57 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Crozet pizza!.
posted by procrastination at 8:41 AM on March 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you're in Charlottesville for UVA, definitely check out the Downtown Mall.
posted by kuanes at 10:59 AM on March 21, 2018

Thanks for the answers so far! Really appreciate the tip on Skyline Drive potentially being closed thru the weekend - luckily it sounds like there are plenty of other options in the area.

Any other small towns worth seeing besides Staunton, within an hour's drive of Crozet?
posted by pilibeen at 11:31 AM on March 21, 2018

This is my favorite area. Schroedingers Girl has all the right suggestions.

Best brewery in the area is Blue Mountain, on 151 in Nelson County. Especially at sunset. Starr Hill is now in Crozet proper (used to be in the Starr Hill neighborhood of Charlottesville). The vineyards in the area are also beautiful, especially Pippin Hill.

While you're at UVa, have lunch on the Corner (Bodo's Bagels, Take It Away sandwiches, Michael's Bistro, Lemongrass, Basil) then ride the free trolley to the Downtown Mall for dessert at Splendora's Gelato and a browse through Blue Whale Books (pet the owner's dog!)

The shortest hike at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway is probably Humpback Rock. I've not done it in snow, though, so can't speak to the current conditions.
posted by basalganglia at 3:51 PM on March 21, 2018

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