As I mentioned yesterday, the Boy and I (and some other family members) were in Nelson County, Virginia to run a 5k at the brewery my cousin works at. But there were a couple other things that we did along the way that were fun and interesting, and while it’s not a full “travel” post, I figure it would be nice to share if you’re in the Charlottesville area and looking for interesting things to do/recommendations.
Friday evening, the Boy and I left our home and set out on the not-so-open road (yay tail-end of rush hour in the DC area!), and made our way south. By the time we got into Charlottesville, it was just about 9 pm. This was good and bad – good because it meant that we were likely to get a table since most people don’t think “Let’s sit down to eat late on a Friday” (they were more likely to be at a bar by then if they were out), but bad because I had a bad case of the hangries. Yes, I am one of those poor souls who becomes incensed by the smallest thing when I haven’t been fed recently. The Boy knows this, and is somehow still surprised whenever it happens. We’d done our research ahead of time and decided to try out a place called Brookville, because they do a VERY local menu (just about everything they serve is from Virginia!).
I tried out a cocktail made with a moonshine that’s infused with turnips roasted in bacon fat (not made WITH bacon fat, INFUSED with it…big difference. Please don’t think I was drinking bacon fat, because that’s gross) called the “Rise and Shine (& soda)”, and it was tasty. Very mild and quaffable – dangerously so, because I’m sure you would be able to down a few of them and not know how much alcohol was in your system. Just one for me, thanks. As you can see in this photo, we were sat at an oddly placed little table for two that 1) faced away from the rest of the restaurant, and 2) meant we were both staring forward instead of looking at each other during our meal. It was a little weird, but eh. Whatever. The table itself appeared to be an old desk that could be unfolded into a bigger table…but not that night.
We were served biscuits and apple butter (*drool*) and then put in our dinner orders. The Boy had the Vegetable Ragout, a sort of veggie stew served over grits with an egg that he loved. I originally wanted to try a pork dish, but they were out, so settled for their special burger instead. It’s made with bacon in the patty, and instead of ketchup or mustard or what have you, there was a delicious relish of some kind (perhaps made with meat? I’m not sure – the website doesn’t give a lot of information on what’s ON the burger). In any case, it was really juicy, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. We also decided to split a dessert, and they were again out of our first choice (apple crumble), so we were convinced instead to try the butter pie which was decadently simple and delicious. The perfect amount of food so that we didn’t roll to our hotel.
This is the part where we skip ahead more than a few hours. If you’re wondering what I did in that time…go back and re-read yesterday’s post.
So…after we said farewell to my aunt, uncle and cousin, Ben, Nicole, the Boy, Uncle B, K and I all decide we are going to visit the Bold Rock Cidery. In case you’re wondering, that’s a place where they make cider, and in this case, it’s the hard kind, meaning booze. Yum! We climbed the long ramp up to the Cider Bar through the dripping rain and made our way in. It’s a cool space – very large and open, with the tasting area open to the work area through glass windows.
We all handed over our IDs and tasted a few of the ciders – first was the Virginia Apple. It’s made with Granny Smith’s, which are normally my favorite kind of apple for eating. While it was tasty, it was a little too sweet, and perhaps not the kind of thing I would find myself pulling out of the fridge or ordering at a bar. The second we tried was Virginia Draft – a mellower amber cider, also made with local apples. It was pretty good – the better of the two free samples.
At this point, my uncle and cousin K had grabbed some more tasters, and asked us to help try them out. There was a pear cider, the IPA (India Pressed Apple), the Vintage Dry and the Vat No. 1. I liked the last two the best, because my cider tastes now run to dryer concoctions. The IPA would be good for beer drinkers who want to try cider, but are used to drinking super hoppy beers. I did not taste the pear cider because pears and I do not get along.
After all the tastings, we wandered to the store area. Nicole purchased herself a growler and filled it with a cider (hey Nic – which one was it? How was it?), and the rest of us wandered around, trying to find the way up to the cider museum and viewing area upstairs. Eventually we found a staircase and wandered in – chatting and looking at the educational materials. We learned things – like baptisms used to be done in cider! – and also marveled at the history of cider in Virginia.
We left soon after (probably having spent no more than 45 minutes), but I could see this being a really nice stop along the way. They had a large seating area indoors (with a big screen for watching college hoops – or whatever sport is seasonal) where food is served, and there were lovely views out the back on a patio we did not venture onto because of the rain. There are so many breweries and wineries in the area, and visiting a cidery is a nice change of pace. So if you’re looking for a little extra something in your time in the Charlottesville Area…consider adding Bold Rock to your itinerary.
Brookville Restaurant, 225 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA; reservations online
Bold Rock Cidery, Nellysford Barn, 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy (Rt. 151), Nellysford, VA
It was Virginia Draft, and it’s amazing.
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