Columbus Day Camping

Now that fall has truly arrived, we decided to take advantage of the long holiday weekend and get out of the beltway. Camping has always been one of our favorite things to do together as a couple so we decided to head down to Charlottesville after work and hunker down in the woods for a few days.

Backpacking

Fall Campsite

Matt and I both grew up camping a lot as kids. He’s an Eagle Scout and therefore has been on numerous backpacking, canoeing and other rogue and outdoorsy adventures. I grew up tent camping but we were never able to go very far away because I was involved in too many activities. It seemed like there was always a soccer game, band competition, theatre performance or something that we had to attend every weekend. We mostly camped at the local KOA, which I personally loved.

I always look this hot when I make breakfast at our campsite.

I always look this hot when I make breakfast at our campsite.

We’ve visited a number of campgrounds in Virginia but this one takes the cake. Heavenly Acres is a private campground in Stanardsville, VA. It was small, quiet and the owners are incredibly friendly and accommodating. It’s only a 40 minute drive to downtown Charlottesville, which we took full advantage of on Saturday and hit up the boutiques for some shopping.

Furry Vests

We worked up quite the appetite trying on faux animal fur items so we wandered down to The Whiskey Jar for a late lunch. Their homemade chicken and dumpling soup warmed my soul along with a big ole’ slice of cornbread and a refreshing pint of Oktoberfest beer. Matt had some sort of deliciously monstrous concoction of meat and vegetables nestled between a bun and a pint of the local brew, Champion Shower.

Our plan was to hit up a couple local breweries for tastings but it turns out they were all having massive fall festivals and simply finding a parking spot was an adventure, much less a seat at the bar. So we decided to just tackle one brewery and Devils Backbone was an easy pick since we love their beer and neither of us had visited the brewery. They were having an enormous fall festival that weekend so we had to park in a field a few miles away and take a shuttle to the entrance of the brewery. It was worth the effort! There were multiple stages set up with live bands, thousands of people milling around and an enormous fire pit to relax next to.

Devils Backbone

Since we had to drive back to camp we only tasted one beer each before heading back to our tent site. We had an exciting day of wine tasting on Sunday and we needed to be well rested!

Sunday’s weather could not have been more perfect. Clear skies, crisp and a light breeze made hiking an easy option. We set out to do a short hike (3.9 miles) because of my bum foot and the aforementioned important wine tasting we had planned. TEN MILES LATER.  Yes. In typical ‘Matt & Kate’ fashion, we did not thoroughly research our route and ended up going 6 miles further than we originally planned.

Smiling faces! Before we realized we still had 5 more hours of unprepared hiking to tackle…

I won’t go into detail about how this happened because it’s simply embarrassing but thankfully we had plenty of food and water, the weather was beautiful (not to mention the great views) and we’re in kick-ass shape.

Beer post-hike

This parking lot beer was well deserved after our adventure.

View from hike

Needless to say we didn’t have time to visit any vineyards on Sunday so we took our tired bodies back to camp and ate all the food.

After packing up camp on Monday we headed to Moss Vineyards where we were treated with not only a tasting room all to ourselves but the owner as our taster! I enjoyed their Architettura red wine which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Matt was a fan of their Viognier and we ended up buying a bottle of that to take home. Aside from liking their wines we were also big fans of the gorgeous view. We thought it was the best vineyard view we had seen yet until we traversed onward to Stone Mountain Vineyard. WOW. Absolutely breathtaking view!

Vineyard

We grabbed lunch at Stonefire Station on our way home and were then ready to traverse back toward DC, unpack our camping supplies and get ready for the week ahead. This was probably our last camping trip of the season and we are already eager for Spring to arrive so we can get back to the mountains!

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