On Saturday, November 5th, at 6:00PM, the 24th Annual Virginia Film Festival will present Natural Selection. Special guests will be the director Robbie Pickering and actress Rachael Harris. The Virginia Film Festival is presented by the University of Virginia’s College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. To see the entire schedule and plan your Film Festival weekend go to www.virginiafilmfestival.org.
You can jump-start your Christmas holiday by visiting Montpelier for their Candlelight Tour. The tour is scheduled for December 2, 3 an 4, 2011, from 5:00pm until 7:00pm. The tour will include meeting Dolley Madison as you tour the mansion by candlelight. Dancers will perform in the Grand Salon, and light refreshments and Christmas music will surround the tree in the duPont Grand Salon. Then get a jump start on your holiday shopping at the Museum Shop. For more information or to purchase advance tickets go to www.montpelier.org.
Lots of folks from the DC area, Richmond and the “Beach” (as in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake) know about Charlottesville’s wine scene embodied in the 24 to 25 wineries known as the Monticello Wine Trail (www.monticellowinetrail.com). More and more, Charlottesville and surrounds are coming to be known for the craft brewery scene embodied in the five breweries known as the Brew Ridge Trail (www.brewridgetrail.com). But there is another art of fermentation … this one dealing with apples … that is creating the potential for a cider trail as well. Albemarle Cider Works in North Garden (www.albemarleciderworks.com) has been open for a couple years, and is now joined by Castle Hill Cider in Keswick (www.castlehillcider.com). By December Bold Rock Cidery in Nelson is projected to begin production, making yet a third option for true Virginia Cider. So if wine is not your thing … or if you have visited the entire Monticello Wine Trail … start visiting the local beer and cider operations. You will be richly rewarded!
In a world where live theater tickets start at $40, or $70, or $100 or more wouldn’t it be great to see live theater for under $20/ticket. Well, you can here in Charlottesville. Live Arts, the Charlottesville version of community theater, is currently presenting a new play Superior Donuts. Written by Pulitzer Prize Winning author Tracy Letts, the play runs every Wednesday through Sunday now through November 19. To learn more go to www.livearts.org.
Join Stone Mountain Vineyards on October 29 and 30 for their annual Fall Open House. There will be food, special wine tasting, and gorgeous views of the mountains, weather permitting. They too are predicting fabulous fall color!
Every Tuesday evening Blue Mountain Brewery in Afton features a $25 three course meal and a movie on the big screen. The movie changes but you can check out the schedule at www.bluemountainbrewery.com. Reservations and prepayment are required.
You can learn about the theory and meaning of the American Constitution right at the place the constitution was written. James Madison’s estate and home known as Montpelier in Orange, Virginia, now houses the Center for the Constitution. Educators, politicians and interested citizens are invited to attend weekend seminars devoted to an understanding of this important document. There is also the possibility of taking the course on-line. For more information go to www.montpelier.org.
Now is a beautiful time in the mountains. From Cedar Spring Inn we see a Panorama of mountains just beginning to turn golden. Get closer and you see the color is truly just beginning; imagine what a week from now will bring.
Here’s a terrific day trip: Begin at Cedar Spring Inn and go North on Rt. 29 then West on Rt. 33. Get on Skyline Drive just 20 minutes from Cedar Spring Inn and drive South enjoying all nature has to offer. At Rt. 64 exit Skyline Drive and drive East one exit to Exit 107. Now pick your favorites from a robust list of wineries and breweries: King Family Vineyards, Pollak Vineyards, Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Flying Fox Vineyard, Hill Top Berry Farm & Winery, DelFosse Vineyards & Winery, Pippin Hill Farm, Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery. For lunch stop at Greenwood Market on Rt. 250 to get a picnic, or try Crozet Pizza in the heart of Crozet. While you’re in the neighborhood stop in The Barn Swallow where you will find locally crafted pieces for home and garden. If you prefer beer to wine visit Starr Hill Brewery in Crozet and Blue Mountain Brewery not far South. If you’re willing to drive a little further South you can add Wild Wolf Brewing Co. and Devils Backbone Brewery to the list. After a very full day, stop at Duners Restaurant on Rt. 250 as you head back Rt. 250 West. After a great dinner a short drive will have you back at the Inn just in time for a steam and sauna before bed.
This weekend spend the afternoon viewing Central Virginia’s local artisans’ works at White Hall Vineyards. The art will be on display from 11:00am until 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday, October 15 and 16. For more information go to www.whitehallvineyards.com.