Welcome! Today, I’m recapping the third and final day of our trip to the Shenandoah Valley.
We started out early again with breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to Monticello. It was the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States, who began designing and building Monticello at age 26 after inheriting land from his father. Yes, it is a plantation, and yes, Joe and I were uncomfortable visiting a plantation as a tourist attraction, but over the years, Monticello has gotten a lot better about the representation of the slaves’ stories. They recently added a tour about Sally Hemmings, the enslaved woman Jefferson had multiple children with while at Monticello, and they also have a Slavery at Monticello Tour that Joe and I did which we found brutally honest and not sugar-coated at all. We appreciated that they didn’t try to portray everything from the plantation as idyllic, which so many other plantation-type tours often do.
Our ticket included a guided tour of the house, and a Gardens and Grounds Tour. Both tours were fantastic; Joe and I were able to learn a lot about the house and gardens and we were definitely inspired by the gardens. I mean, just look at the vegetable garden above. This is not even a tenth of the kitchen garden and they grow every kind of vegetable, herb, and fruit imaginable. We also got to check out the garden in front of the house and made mental notes about several flowers we plan to add into our own garden.
After spending the morning at Monticello, soaking in the history, we stopped by the King Family Vineyards. We had a wine tasting of several of their estate wines, then made ourselves a little picnic for lunch. They were having their first polo match of the season, so there were hundreds of people there. We didn’t go for the polo match, we hadn’t even known about it until we arrived, but it looked like everyone was having a great time.
We were disappointed that they didn’t have any cheeseplates to purchase, but in their small little store we were able to find the two little cheese/meat duos and a box of crackers to pair with the bottle of chilled wine we purchased. Just keep in mind that although you can purchase some cheese and meat here, unless you’re able to find these little duos, you’ll be let gnawing on an entire block of cheese, since they really don’t offer much in the way of food here.
We then drove back to Harrisonburg and stopped by Crosskeys Vineyards. It started pouring just as we arrived, but we were able to find a spot at the bar inside to do our wine tasting. Joe and I split a white wine tasting and a red wine tasting, and we really liked many of the wines we tried. I can’t really remember not liking any of the wines.
It was still pouring after our tasting, so we ordered a cheeseplate (we were cheese-obsessed this weekend, sorry not sorry) and parked ourselves at a banquet table inside. They had a lot of places to sit, both outside on their patio and inside in the wine tasting room, but since it was raining, they also opened up their banquet room for people. One warning, though: we didn’t specify to the cashier which cheeseplate we wanted, and we ended up with this $18 behemoth. It’s our fault really, but if you plan on getting one of their cheeseplates, make sure you specify the size! We powered our way through, but we couldn’t finish the whole thing. I think we made a valiant effort, though 🙂
After gorging ourselves on all of this amazing cheese, and entire loaf of bread (!), we headed home. It continued to storm and rain on the way home, so it took us longer then we anticipated to get home and the roads were kinds scary, but we survived! I can’t wait to go back to the Shenandoah Valley for our next adventure.
I hope that these little recaps helped to give you some ideas for your own adventure. If you have any other recommendations for the Harrisonburg, VA area, leave them below in the comments. I know I, and your fellow readers, would love to hear from you.