WHAT’S THE BUZZ ON CROZET, VA?
When Shawn’s job gave us the chance to live anywhere, we knew the life we both wanted: to be near the Blue Ridge mountains; to live in walkable distance to a cute downtown; a place with a strong sense of community. We found all three in Crozet. But we didn’t know we’d be getting even more than the small town experience we were seeking. Crozet retains the friendly character of the sleepy fruit-growing rail stop that is in its DNA. It now combines that heritage with a new kind of warmth: the magnetic draw of gorgeous agro-tourism destinations.
WINERIES AND BREWERIES OF CROZET – TASTE VIRGINIA WINES
Within a short drive of Crozet there are, at last count, 20 wineries. That is not including the many breweries and distilleries in town nor on the “Nelson 151” corridor and Waynesboro, both not far down the road. Our own introduction to products from the local terroir was literally intoxicating. Virginia wines are good now (and is beer ever bad?) Our vineyards are no longer amateur start-ups, and Crozet growers have found the grapes that thrive best here. But, local as these products are, many of these wine-makers and brewers are truly world-class. Crozet wines have garnered international prizes and rave reviews. Visitors flock from DC and NoVa, Richmond, and Roanoke. We even have regulars from Norfolk, Virginia Beach, and NC. The accessible location, beautiful mountains, professional hospitality and quality ferments at Crozet wineries and breweries make it one of the most popular weekend destinations in the region.
CROZET WINE AND BEER TROLLEY TOURS
No wonder then that the demand for safe transportation has grown. We looked around and wondered – why not make the transport fun, too? We don’t know what it is that makes trolleys so magical, we just go with it!
Our tours include, of course, the charming wood-paneled trolley with photo ops on the back platform and the signature “clang clang” to announce arrivals and departures. But don’t underestimate the impact of music from your own playlist (bluetooth speaker provided,) legal open container permission, knowledgeable drivers, and best of all: friends you bring and friends you make.
highwaytMOST POPULAR WINE AND BEER TROLLEY TOUR: SATURDAY CROZET SPIRITS LOOP
Our most popular wine trolley tour, the Saturday Crozet Spirits Loop, covers a handful of our most popular wineries and breweries. It currently starts in front of the bike shop, where there’s plenty of parking, although this may change when construction begins on the new downtown. For those who may be based in Charlottesville, we also offer an optional pick-up at Kardinal Hall a half hour prior to the tour.
Our stops vary. As of now, we start with King Family Vineyards, which offers well-made and critically acclaimed wines, bricked patios with fire circles, a wide grassy field, stunning barn-style buildings and tasting rooms, and polo matches on Sundays during the summer. Good wine, including their signature “Crosé” blush is paired with a great view.
The wine trolley makes its next stop at Valley Road Vineyards, another family-owned and operated vineyard. Valley Road’s gorgeous tasting barn abuts a beautiful lake and hillside, and they have additional outdoor seating seasonally. Visitors can’t believe how scenic the setting is, given the fact it can be easily spotted from the Nelson 151 highway!
The third stop on the wine tour, Veritas Vineyard, arguably the best-known vineyard in the region, shares many of the qualities of other Charlottesville wineries – family-owned and operated hospitality, blue ridge views, elegant indoor and outdoor spaces, and excellent wines – but all on a grander scale. The selection of good wine is enormous, the acreage sprawls far across our beautiful countryside, and the venue often accommodates large weddings. Veritas is the peak of the wine focus; the tour lets you wind down with more beer-centric stops.
Blue Mountain Brewery and Pro Re Nata Brewery both offer a curated offering of local wines and ciders, and we highly recommend trying them all. You can definitely keep the Virginia wine flowing! But their fun, folk-friendly hubbub is the natural extension of their real expertise: micro-brewed beer. At Blue Mountain, a flight of beers can be paired with your pick of the wide variety of high-quality pub food options, an open air beer garden experience, and a game of corn hole. At PRN, you never know what you’ll find, as a variety of live bands, seasonal entertainment (Irish dance, anyone? Santa?) and ever-innovating initiatives aim at customer satisfaction. PRN is currently finishing construction on a large music hall, to complement their storage-container bar behind the main tasting room and their large fire circle seating area at the front of the property. Grab a snack from the food truck and make some friends!
The Crozet Spirits Loop ends where it started, in downtown Crozet (or Charlottesville’s Kardinal Hall, for those who chose that option.) See below for highly recommended dining options. Our hope is that every customer leaves with a sense of the abundance of good wine and hospitality Crozet has to offer and the desire to experience trolley magic all over again as soon as possible.
FRIDAY CROZET TROLLEY SUNSET WINE TOUR
Happy hour never felt quite so happy. We take you north of town for this one, starting with a hidden gem, Knight’s Gambit. Cozy up to the fire or pet the pony and have a sip of each of the wonderful wines made from the grapes of the estate. We then visit Grace Estates, which often provides live music and a food truck during this time. Watching the sun set over the blue ridge makes this tour truly unforgettable.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON CROZET TROLLEY WINE TOUR
If the final day of the weekend arrives and you realize you haven’t gotten enough fun in (or perhaps you had too much and need to chill out!) this is the perfect tour for you. We bring you to three of the area’s most popular vineyards — King Family, Pollak, and Veritas. Enjoy the classic polo events at King: matches are held Memorial Day through mid-October.
CROZET TROLLEY WEDDINGS
All of the attractions that make Crozet a popular place to visit make it a highly chosen place to get married. Everyone wants a ceremony brushed with magic, and the beautiful blue ridges, bucolic fields, and upscale amenities around Crozet certainly deliver. Crozet Trolley provides logistical support – and magic! – to weddings throughout the season. This can include moving guests from hotel to ceremony to reception, ferrying them from parking to venue within a vineyard, delivering the bride to the ceremony, transporting the bridal party in style, and dramatic honeymoon departures.
A wine trolley is also a great way to enjoy Crozet before the wedding. Bachelorette parties, family reunions, and day-prior events for guests who arrive in town in advance are some of the ways a wine tour around Crozet has added to the fun profile of the special day, making it a special weekend!
WINE TROLLEY CHARTER “BUS” TOURS
Perhaps you have a large group and are more “wine and beer – curious” than most. Because we have gained some familiarity with the area and have relationships with proprietors, we can help you design a unique route on your own criteria. Want to go where few get to venture? Check out vineyards like Kilaurwen, miles from any interstate, where the views are soul-slaking. Or ask us about the smallest production brewery in Virginia, WildManDan, which offers unsurpassed hospitality and uniquely delicious microbrews. We’ll get you in! Your tour: your terms. Want to optimize vineyard time over driving time? We’ll help you plan a tight loop. Want to hit the highlights considered most popular? We’ve got you. Need a place with a private meeting room for the birthday cake or bachelorette gifts part of your event? Just ask. Want to include antiquing or local artisan shopping? Want to eat the best food available?
You get the picture: we want to help!
DINING IN CROZET
Downtown Crozet (“The Square,”) will be undergoing a complete makeover for pedestrian and retail use. Construction is slated to begin in 2020, and will offer gathering and performance spaces, outside seating for locally-owned cafes, and architecture in keeping with the town’s original “look and feel.”
Your Crozet Trolley wristband already gets you plenty of yummy discounts on the day of your tour. Our top picks are Fardowners, Smoked, and Crozet Creamery. Fardowners is where the old-timers of Crozet love to gather, but their menu is fresh: their salads are as good as their pub fare. Smoked is a barbeque joint, with every un-joint-like ambience worthy of any great metropolis. We believe their bbq is the best anywhere. Finish off your meal with a scoop of homemade ice cream upstairs at Crozet Creamery, or go all the way to the top floor and watch the sun set from the roof deck with a fancy dessert cocktail.
THAT’S THE BUZZ ON CROZET!
Crozet is growing fast, and its citizens are highly committed to keeping its character and growing smart. In the years to come, the attractive features that make them so fiercely protective will be, no doubt, preserved, as the amenities it needs to keep up with visitor and resident growth take shape. The Crozet Trolley Co. looks forward to playing our part in these exciting times. Come and join our story!