The Best of Rockingham County, Virginia
I usually say: “Virginia is for wine lovers,” more than that, is for hike lovers, for food lovers, Virginia is for all type of lovers.
Virginia is one of the 50 states of the United States of America, located in the Southeastern regions of the country. Historically, Virginia is extremely rich, and it holds the status of the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America.
Recently, I visited Rockingham County and I had the pleasure to explore Harrisonburg, McGaheysville, Charlottesville, and parts of Shenandoah National Park.
Everyone that knows me, knows how much I love Charlottesville, which is one of my favorite cities in the US, but now I can say, Virginia is more than Charlottesville. When I planned this trip, I was not planning to visit Rockingham County. However, some things came up and I ended up staying in McGaheysville with a couch surf host. It was the best experience and yet a great discovery.
McGaheysville and Harrisonburg are beautiful small towns located in Rockingham County and a 50-minute drive from Charlottesville. These stunning little towns stole my heart with their calmness, exquisite landscapes, small wineries, and beautiful hike trails. I spent 5 days exploring these cities and I was delighted to spend the New Years Eve with some locals and hike some of the most beautiful mountains in Virginia.
Moreover, couchsurfing is a social network for travelers to meet other travelers, offer hospitality, and share experiences with other world citizens. This is an amazing app for travelers, I personally use in most of my travels because I get the chance to stay with a local for FREE and have an authentic experience while I am exploring a certain city or country. You can find more information about Couchsurfing here: www.couchsurfing.com
My host in McGaheysville was an amazing guy, such a wonderful person that totally changed the course of my travel plans, for the good. Besides being a great host, he showed us around and hiked with us.
Woke up around 9 am to do yoga but ended up staying home and do meditation to be fully aware of my body and fully aware of where I am and what I want to do maximize my happiness. The view from the back of the house was fascinating, and the weather was just fantastic. The sun was out, and it was not cold at all, I meditated for half an hour and something I noticed that when I am travelling, I am a different person, an extremely happy person. After meditation I had some breakfast and got ready to leave for the wine tasting in Charlottesville.
Since it was a girls trip and, in the past, I have explored some of Charlottesville´s finest wineries, I wanted them to visit Barboursville because it is one of my favorite wineries in Virginia. We went wine tasting in Barboursville and at this time they had 21 wines to be tasted and I tasted all of them. Most of them I knew from the previous times I had visited the winery, but it was the first time for the girls.
After the delightful tasting, we could not get enough and decided to go eat some authentic Italian food. In downtown Charlottesville, we found a great Italian restaurant called “Bella´s”, their pasta was extremely delicious, and the environment was very peaceful.
Exploring Virginia without hiking is the biggest mistake a traveler can make. The weather was amazing, and we decided to dedicate this beautiful day to visit one more winery and hike the Massanutten trail. Massanutten Four Season Resort is located 5-minute drive from McGaheysville.
This time we stopped by Brix and Columns Vineyards. They had at least 8 wines for tasting and the interior design was very appealing and interesting because of of southern style decorations and the hospitality of the owners was marvelous. The views from the tasting room were insanely exquisite.
Massanutten Ridge Trail was our choice for the hike. On the way to the trail we were able to see the Massanutten Four Season Resort and it is a beautiful place, you can find more information about it on their official website. Massanutten is a census-designated place in Rockingham County, it is a harmonious place with beautiful mountains, valleys and cute houses. We got to the overlook and the view was splendid.
The hike was not a very difficult hike, but it was quite rocky. We did not get to the top, but we hiked about 3.4 miles. The way back was easier and faster than getting to the top, we did in less time.
This is a hike I would advise people to do, because the level of difficulty is bearable and along the trail there are many stops with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Route 340, etc. It was a lovely hike and then there was the magnificent sunset. As great wine lovers, we cheered the magnificent sunset with wine, cheese, great conversation, and happiness. The purest form of happiness.
It started with a delicious brunch made by our host and the homemade mimosas. It was a rainy day and the last day of the year, so we decided to stay home, relax, and then get ready for ready for the New Year’s Eve. For the New Year’s Eve dinner, we went to some locals’ home and enjoyed a delicious meal and awesome conversation with them. We stayed there for a while and then we headed downtown Harrisonburg.
Harrisonburg, the small gorgeous city that stole my heart. We walked around downtown for a few minutes because most of the bars were full, but then we went to Capital Ale House, a refined bar with a great Martini. Afterwards we went to Jacks Hideaway Speakeasy Bar, this one was my favorite bar. The decorations were just extremely neat, colorful and welcoming. As the name of the bar suggests, it is a hideaway, a beautiful hideaway at the heart of Harrisonburg.
This restaurant is one the coolest restaurants I have visited in the United States. The interior design was very rustic, colorful, chill, and picturesque. The staff was very friendly, and the burger was delicious. It was so delicious that it made me reminisce the burgers from my hometown, Luanda. For the first time I tasted fried Oreos, it was good, but a little too sweet for me.
Overall, Rockingham County is an astonishing destination for a weekend gateway or a relaxation trip. The little towns around it make up an amazing destination for all type of lovers.