Last week I spent 36 glorious hours in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was my first time there, and while I had heard it was a lovely town, I wasn’t prepared to fall in love with it quite like I did. Charlottesville is located right along the Monticello Wine Trail and is a popular destination for wine lovers. But it’s not just a wine destination, it’s an incredible culinary adventure too! Throw in the scenic views and the friendly people and it’s now on my list of places I want to visit again and again.


AND I’m especially excited to share the details and pictures from my trip because one of you could WIN 36 HOURS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE – the same experience I had! Here’s what I did!





We stayed at The Clifton, a beautiful boutique hotel on 100 acres of gorgeous Virginia countryside. It’s extremely comfortable, well designed, and a delight to explore! Each room was prettier than the next, and I love that each guest room has a different feel. It’s no wonder that the Clifton is a popular wedding venue! I felt right at home here and am looking for an excuse to come back!


(main inn)


(breakfast room)








The first winery on our tour was Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards and it was MUCH anticipated. For starters, Pippin Hill is a member of the Easton Porter Group (in good company with Zero George & Cannon Green here in Charleston), of which I’m a big fan. Also, pretty much everyone told me I needed to go here. Y’all, Pippin Hill is exquisite. It’s a true culinary vineyard located in the heart of Virginia’s wine country. Local, fresh, seasonal, farm to table is how they do things and I was blown away at how expertly it was presented.


(welcome toast)



We had a kitchen gardens tour with Pippin Hill’s horticulturist Diane Burns. I especially enjoyed learning how closely she works with the chef to plan the menu at Pippin Hill. They strive to use as much from their garden as possible so the advance planning it takes to make this happen is incredible.



Our lunch at Pippin Hill’s tasting table was nothing short of exquisite and delicious. Chef Ian Rynecki and wine maker Michael Shaps prepared a 5 course Vinter Table experience that I’ll never forget, ranging from caviar to toffee carrot cake. My favorite wine I tried was the Pippin Hill Chardonnay Reserve 2017.


(best gazpacho of my life)




Here I am matching the new Easton Blue wine label!


(Wearing this blue dress and this bag and these navy pumps)


To conclude my Pippin Hill visit, “love” is the best way to describe how I feel about this special place.



The next day we visited the Market At Grelen. It’s a European style Garden Shop set on Grelen’s 600 acre Nursery. This place blew me away. I could have spent hours alone in the shop, and the cafe grounds were so charming.



But it was the Nursery at Grelen that really blew me away. We were given a tour of the trails and it was remarkable. If I lived in the area I would be here every weekend with my kids. We went apple picking and it was such a treat!



Our next stop was Early Mountain Vineyards.



Above, arriving with Monticello Wine Tour, our transportation for our trip. Custom wine tours and charters are what they do!



Our tasting at Early Mountain took place in their tasting room, a spacious and comfortable room perfect for large or intimate groups. We were led by their associate wine maker, Maya Hood White and their director of sales, Patt Eagan, who were both knowledgable and clearly have a passion for Early Mountain. My favorite wine I tasted was the Components of Rose 2018. Fun fact, Early Mountain is nominated by Wine Enthusiast for Best American Winery, 2018!



And the grounds at Early Mountain are beautiful with gorgeous views, the perfect setting! Such a fun place to relax and explore.


(Wearing Doen dress, native deodorant – cucumber scent, these black ballet flats)



Lunch at Early Mountain was fire side and insanely good. Their chef served a chicken confit ravioli that was literally one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten in my life. I love that the wineries in Virginia share an equal focus on food. My kind of place.



We made it downtown for dinner at Red Pump Kitchen and I’m so glad we didn’t let this experience pass us by. It’s located in the historic Pedestrian Mall and the atmosphere was upbeat and fun. We sat at the Chef’s Table which I loved because it was open to the sidewalk. Red Pump Kitchen is a part of the Easton Porter Group as well, so they use Pippin Hill’s culinary gardens as well! The chef used what he picked that morning for our meal! Full circle.


(I’m wearing this dress and these earrings)


I can’t imagine a better 36 hours in Charlottesville and feel so lucky to have gotten to have this experience. We are giving away a 36 hours in Charlottesville trip for 2 and it should be YOU!! You can enter right here! Seriously do it right now :)


Photography a mix of my own iPhone snaps and Kate Greer Photography. In partnership with Pippin Hill, Early Mountain, Red Pump Kitchen, Market & Grelen.





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