Girls’ Weekend near Charlottesville, VA

A couple weeks ago I had a fun treat: I went on a girls’ weekend with a big group of mom friends from my children’s school! We spent the weekend a short couple hours drive away from the DC area, near Charlottesville in Virginia wine country.

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When we started planning this trip many months ago, we had two specifications: we wanted to stay somewhere near wineries and near hiking. The Charlottesville area was perfect: check and check!

We left on Friday morning after dropping the kids off at school, and by lunchtime we were in Charlottesville! We had lunch at a spot called Farm Bell Kitchen, right by the University of Virginia Campus.

posing outside farm bell kitchen

A fun treat was that my longtime blogger buddy Kath, who lives in Charlottesville, came to join us for lunch, too!

anne mauney and kath younger at farm bell kitchen in charlottesville

We had lunch outside in their covered patio area, and it was a little chilly but overall a good vibe. The food was yummy, too!

We all shared a pitcher of grapefruit mimosas (because, why not? vacation!) and I had the “Power of Love” bowl which had spring mix topped with roasted sweet potatoes, farro, avocado, pickled onions, corn tortilla strips, and a creamy garlic dressing. It was delicious! Great combination of tastes and textures. I had an egg sandwich in the car on the drive so wasn’t feeling brunch-type food and this was perfect.

power of love bowl from farm bell kitchen

This trip wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, though – want to hear the biggest mom life fail? So on Friday morning when I woke up my left eye was a little irritated/crusty, but once I was awake it seemed fine and wasn’t red or anything so I figured it was nothing.

Well, from the time we sat down to lunch in Charlottesville on Friday to the time we finished eating my eye had absolutely blown up. So irritated, itchy, red, and puffy. One of my mom friends who was on the trip is a PA (Physician’s Assistant), and she took one look at the end of lunch and said yep, pink eye for sure.

Wes had a goopy eye (but no redness) for like half a day earlier in the week and we didn’t think anything of it because it cleared up on its own within the day, but I must have gotten it from him. Total fail. By the next day both eyes were a mess, so swollen I could literally hardly see. Worst timing ever! Thankful for sunglasses… and for lots of hand washing/sanitizing as my friends were able to avoid getting it from me! Whew! (Also thankful I threw some pink eye antibiotic drops we had around the house into my suitcase “just in case” – they came in very handy!)

Anyway! After lunch, we said farewell to Kath and then a few of us went to the UVA store to get some apparel – one of the other moms on the trip was a UVA grad, and long time readers may remember Matt did his masters at UVA (<- fun blast from the past post recapping his graduation weekend!), so I wanted to get him a new hat!

From there, we drove about 30 minutes farther west to an area called Afton, which is where our Vrbo house rental was. Our house was up on a mountain, and it was CRAZY foggy driving up there – we had to go really slowly because we could barely see a few inches in front of the car!

crazy foggy car view

We had originally planned to drive back down the mountain and have dinner at a nearby brewery, but after seeing the fog situation we decided doing that in the dark would not be smart. So, instead we stayed put at the house for the rest of the night (which honestly I was happy about anyway given my eye hot mess situation).

We certainly weren’t going to starve, that was for sure – check out the insane amount of snacks that we had for only 2 days. This wasn’t even all of it! Should’ve known we could count on a group of moms to overpack the snacks… 😉

counter jammed with snacks

It ended up being a lovely cozy evening in. We curled up on the couches and drank wine, had snacks, and talked nonstop from 4pm to 10pm. We even had fun personalized swag thanks to some of the more crafty moms (not me!). 🙂

girl's trip cheaper than therapy shirt

For dinner, we had a big platter of fajitas (ordered from Balducci’s before we left) with us for the following evening, so we decided to just tuck into that early. There was tons of it! They totally forgot to give us the tortillas, but we had rice so it worked out just fine.

On Saturday morning, we woke up to cloudy skies again, but some of the insane fog had lifted so we could see a little bit more of the view from our house. And we knew it was going to get sunny later, too!

breakfast with a view of the shenandoah mountains

For breakfasts, we had some toast and bagels, fruit, and some big egg muffins (also from Balducci’s – similar to these old fave scrambled egg muffins) with us that worked out great so no one had to worry about cooking.

We had a big day of wineries planned for Saturday starting at 11. A small group of us who wanted to go hiking first headed out after breakfast for a quick jaunt in nearby Shenandoah National Park. It’s one of my favorite places – couldn’t pass up the opportunity to say hello while we were so close by!

We had originally thought we’d be able to hike right from the house, but with all the fog the day before we hadn’t been able to see anything to confirm or not. So sadly we didn’t leave a ton of time for a hike by the time we realized we’d need to drive to a hiking spot, but we still enjoyed a quick 40 minute hike to stretch our legs.

It was beautiful out there! We parked at an area called Beagle Gap, and just did 20 minutes up the trail and then 20 minutes back. Will have to come back someday to do the whole thing!

At 11am we were all showered and ready to head to the wineries! We decided to hire a small “party bus” with a driver for the occasion so none of us had to worry about driving, which was an excellent idea.

First stop: Veritas Vineyard! The views were gorgeous and the day was clearing up nicely, too.

veritas vineyard

Veritas had a food menu which made it the perfect first stop since we knew we’d all be hungry for lunch. I had a strawberry feta salad, which was delicious, and we also shared a charcuterie board and a hummus and veggie board!

Plus wine, of course! I always love bubbles so that was clearly my choice.

Hanging out outside with friends on a gorgeous day plus good food and wine = perfection. (Well, except for my pink eye situation, ha.)

Before we knew it, it was time to head to our second stop on our winery tour: Flying Fox Vineyard!

flying fox

The outdoor space wasn’t nearly as nice here as it had been at Veritas (much smaller and mostly just a parking lot with a small grassy area overlooking the road), but the sun had totally burned away the clouds and the weather was phenomenal so things were good!

I enjoyed a glass of the rose this time – felt like it went with the warm sunny weather vibes!

Our last stop on our winery tour was King Family Vineyard, and boy was it rocking! There were SO MANY people there hanging out on such a beautiful day. The property was huge with gorgeous views in the distance, and there was a ton of patio and grassy space for people to relax. They even had an antique car show happening and some horse show/competition situation as well?!

We grabbed a few bottles of bubbly to share (and luckily were able to take any remaining back to the house with us, as we didn’t have too much time at this winery before our bus rental was going to expire) and relaxed on the patio. I wish we could have stayed longer – we were all really enjoying ourselves by this point and it was a fun vibe there with all the activity and people!

mom friends at king family vineyard

We decided on pizza for dinner as there was a great spot called Crozet pizza (apparently named “best in the world” by National Geographic Magazine!) nearby, and we were smart and ordered it while driving to the last winery so our bus driver was able to pick it up for us while we were there! Moms, always on point with the logistics. 😉

It was delicious – we all enjoyed some when we got back to our rental house.

crozet pizza slice with a view of shenandoah

Sidenote: check out the insane view that we had from our rental house back deck once the fog cleared! The pictures below are of the same spot – what a difference a day makes!

We all hung out on the deck for a few hours before coming inside and watching the new Mean Girls remake movie. Perfect way to end the day! If you’ve seen it, what did you think? I loved how it was a musical, and how some original characters were in it!

On Sunday morning we kept things low key: breakfast and then packing up and heading out by 11am.

breakfast with a view of shenandoahs

We drove back to Charlottesville for another lunch on our way home; this time we ate at Bizou, which is right on the downtown walking mall.

I shared the fried chicken sandwich and the strawberry feta salad with my friend Katie. And the whole table shared the banana bread French toast. All very yum!

bizou brunch

Our car’s very last stop on our way home from Charlottesville was a quick hike at Chris Greene Lake Park which was on our route home. We were originally planning to head back into Shenandoah National Park but the others needed to get back to DC earlier so we decided to bag it. I was bummed! Hopefully I can make it back there another time, I miss it – Matt and I used to go every year but haven’t been together in a long time.

There wasn’t as much as we had hoped in the way of trails at the lake park, but we got in a quick jaunt to stretch out our legs before making the rest of the drive home.

Such a fun weekend with a great group of friends! Minus the whole pink eye fiasco, I had a blast. Really glad we made it happen, and special thanks to all the husbands who made the weekend possible for us by being on solo kid duty. 🙂

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