Natural Bridge, Natural Bridge, Va

The Natural Bridge is located in Natural Bridge (Rockbridge County), Virginia. It is one of the oldest tourist attractions in the United States, and is included in several “Natural Wonders of the World” lists, designated a National Historic Landmark, a Virginia National Landmark, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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Natural Bridge was amazing to see.  We enjoyed sitting down for a while and taking in all it’s beauty.

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Brian got lots of kisses from Cello at the Natural Bridge!DSC00457

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Rockbridge Vineyard, Raphine, Va

Rockbridge Vineyard sits on a hill at 2,000 ft in elevation in Raphine, Va.  The wine maker has worked in wineries in Germany, California, and Virginia, before buying the land to have his own vineyard. The tasting room is actually inside the barn!

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The wines here have won many medals including Best in Show in the Atlantic Seaboard Wine Competition, Best in Show in Town Point Competition, and has also won the Virginia’s Governor’s Cup twice.

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We did the white wine tasting list – and each one was delicious.

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Cello is waiting patiently for an oyster cracker – or maybe her own glass of wine?  She is the “legal” human-age of 21 now 😉

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After the wine tasting, we enjoyed a glass of wine before heading out to our next adventure!

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This tasting room had a neat concept for the ceiling too…

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Wade’s Mill, Raphine, Va

Wade’s Mill is a working flour mill built in the 1700’s.  The mill was built by Captain Joseph Kennedy, an early settler of the Shenandoah Valley.  The Kennedy family owned the mill for about 100 years before it was bought by James Wade, whose family operated the mill for the next 4 generations.

Cello and Brian outside of Wade’s Mill:

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Wade’s Mill is now officially registered as a historic place:

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Wade’s Mill is one of the few remaining flour mills that actually still produces flour exclusively on mill stones.  While we were there, the current owner was milling!

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The bottom of the mill has a store where you can buy all the goods milled at Wade’s Mill.  We bought some polenta, grits, and pesto bread…YUM!

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This mill provides flour, grits, polenta, etc for the local restaurants.

 

 

Byers Street Bistro, Staunton, Va

Byers Street Bistro was the perfect place to grab a bite to eat while exploring Staunton, Va!

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They were super dog friendly (even brought water bowls out for the pups!), and the food was absolutely amazing!

 

Cello, Brian, Brandi and Guinness entering Byers Street Bistro:

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I had the fried green tomato appetizer and shrimp and grits (couldn’t resist some good southern menu choices that we can’t get up here in Southern NJ!)

 

Cello and Guinness enjoyed themselves and were very well-behaved:

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Redbeard Brewing Company, Staunton, VA

How could Cello resist stopping at a brewing company named after her Daddy 😉  With Brian being a “ginger”… we couldn’t resist stopping at  Redbeard Brewing Company , located in the historic Wharf district of Staunton, Va. It is Staunton’s first downtown brewery,  and they specialize in “small batches of big beers.”

 

Here is Cello with her Papa Redbeard 😉

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Ox-Eye Vineyards, Staunton, Va

Ox-Eye Vineyards is located in the historic Wharf District of Staunton, Va. The Vineyard was named after the Ox-Eye flower that grows in abundance on the owners’ farm.

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The tasting room is in a building that was originally built in 1904 and used as an office for a local coal and lumber business.  The building also served as a scale house for horse drawn coal wagons.  The loaded wagons would pull up under the building’s archway to be weighed by the Fairbanks scale.

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Barren Ridge Vineyards, Fishersville, VA

While camping in Staunton, Va, we visited Barren Ridge Vineyards right after we did some

“spelunking” at Natural Chimneys in Mt. Solon, Va.  

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Barren Ridge Vineyards is located in Fishersville, Va on a former apple orchard.  The winery makes 14 different wines, many of them award-winning. The tasting room is a converted 1890’s apple barn.  The owners preserved the original structure of the barn, and it’s wooden beams.  The ceiling in the tasting room is constructed of the original barn’s wood…it was really neat!

 

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We enjoyed doing their wine tasting, and being able to have Cello in the tasting room with us:

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The tasting room was really nice:barren ridge 2

Our friends Brandi and Stan, and their dog, Guinness, also enjoyed the wine tasting:

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After the tasting, we enjoyed a glass of wine overlooking the vineyard:

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Natural Chimneys, Mt. Solon, VA

During our Easter camping trip, we were lucky enough to have visited Virginia’s Natural Chimneys.  Natural Chimney Park is located in Mt. Solon, in Augusta County, Virginia, along the North River.  There is a campground located at the park with a pool, playground, and hiking trails.  Natural Chimneys Park is also home to one of the largest jousting tournaments in the Eastern United States.  The tournament has been held annually the third Saturday in August, since 1821!

It’s pretty amazing that the Shenandoah Valley was once the floor of an inland sea!  The “chimneys” formed from limestone that began to accumulate under the sea during the Paleozoic Era (some 500 million years ago!!) … the seven “chimneys” that stand at Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia tower an amazing 120 ft, and have caves within them.  While visiting the chimneys, Cello had her first spelunking expedition!

 

Jenny and Cello at Natural Chimneys:

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Let’s go spelunking!

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Brian and Cello entering the cave!

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Friends Brandi, and her daughter, Payton, entering the cave:

DSC00311Thank goodness for iPhones, and camera flashes…it was DARK in there!!

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Jenny and Cello taking a rest after our first-ever cave exploration:

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It was amazing to learn the history of this incredible natural formation.  The chimneys and the cave we were in is something I will definitely never forget!

The historic town of Staunton, Va

Looking at the AAA magazine one evening, an article caught my eye about a small town in Virginia ranked one of the best small towns in the United States… Staunton, Va. We decided that this would be a great place to camp for our annual Easter camping trip. 

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Staunton is a unique and quaint town made up of 5 historic districts.  There is great architecture and unique shops and eateries to enjoy.

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Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA, Staunton, VA

Looking at the AAA magazine one evening, an article caught my eye about a small town in Virginia ranked one of the top 20 small towns in the United States…Staunton, VA.  After doing some research, and having never stayed at a KOA before, we decided to give Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA a try for our annual Easter camping trip.  Not only was Staunton/Walnut Hills KOA in close proximity to the town of Staunton, it is also located between the Blue Ridge and Appalachian Mountain ranges on the site of a former walnut plantation…pretty awesome!

 

Our campsite was right on the lake, and was spacious and clean.

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Around the campground… 

We are the third camper in from the left.

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The campground had a fenced-in dog run, so of course we broke out the “Chuck-It,” and let Cello run like the wind!

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The sunsets we saw from our campsite were amazing!

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We got to see and do some really incredible in and around Staunton, which you will see in upcoming posts!

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