Reset your perspective: the mental health benefits of taking a vacation


Reset your perspective: the mental health benefits of taking a vacation


It’s odd the way many people think about vacations. On the one hand, everyone loves the idea of getting away for a beach vacation or a few days of golf. On the other hand, getting away from it all causes some to worry that taking time off from high-pressure jobs will be interpreted as a sign of weakness or a lack of drive.

Healthcare professionals agree that vacations are necessary for people caught up in hectic lives. Vacations are a tonic for stress, a potentially lethal condition that takes a toll on the body, inhibiting its ability to resist infection, maintain alertness, and prevent long-term cell damage that can lead to disease. Left unaddressed, stress can be a killer. Vacations are a known antidote. So why do some people hesitate to take advantage of them?


Going on vacation can cause some to feel guilty that they’re dropping the ball at work, leaving co-workers holding the bag or letting down the boss. Guilt may come from other sources. A busy employee may feel bad that he can take a vacation while others can’t or fret that taking leisure time may cause resentment among co-workers.

Fortunately, there are ways around those worries. Consider sending a card or bringing back a gift for someone who was stuck at work while you were out enjoying yourself. Or you might donate to a charity if it helps allay guilty feelings. And don’t feel bad if you need to touch base via email to avoid weeding through dozens of messages when you return (another source of stress).

Get over it!

There’s a wealth of evidence showing that vacations are well worth the guilt. A 2009 Canadian study of nearly 900 lawyers revealed that taking part in active and social leisure activity, or going on vacation, was effective in reducing stress levels among attorneys in a high-profile law firm.
And a British researcher found a direct link between vacations and personal and social development, feelings of personal well-being, a broadened perspective, and more.

There are also important mental health benefits for family relationships, which are the first to suffer the consequences of prolonged stress. Taking family vacations is an excellent way to boost feelings of family solidarity and encourage better communication. Vacations give families an opportunity to get away from the stress of day-to-day responsibilities together, and create lasting memories through the bonding of shared experience.  

Plan your worries away

Some people stress out over what may happen while they’re on vacation. You can take control of this fear through careful planning, and preparing for as many contingencies as possible. Years ago, this might have been a daunting task. But Google and other dynamic sources of information, covering everything under the sun, make planning a snap.

Some people stay home because they worry about their pet, even though dog sitting services are abundant and easy to find. If your worry is that someone will get sick, search the Web for doctors, hospitals and pharmacies near your destination. If you’re concerned you’ll miss an exhibit or won’t get into that restaurant you’ve heard so much about, you can find hours, reviews, ticket information, menu items and other valuable information via the Internet.

Succeeding in one’s career and leading a happy, fulfilling life are what drive us to work hard and push ourselves to work through physical and emotional hardship. But achieving those goals can turn into a self-perpetuating nightmare when stress takes over. Vacations foster togetherness, broaden perspectives, create shared memories and slow the pace of life, if only for a little while. Most importantly, they remind us what makes life worth living.

Thanks to Henry Moore from The Fit Traveler!  


McCharen's Bitters, Charlottesville Bitters, Hand Crafted!


McCharen's Bitters, Charlottesville Bitters, Hand Crafted!

We are so excited that our good friend, Kip McCharen, of McCharen's Bitters, was featured in Cville Weekly today!  Charlottesville bitters are here. While we are all about the wine, we do enjoy a delicious cocktail.  And if you have not had a cocktail made with hand crafted bitter's then you are truly missing out.  Especially an artisan crafted cocktail made with McCharen's Bitters. We hope to be able to add an artisan crafted bitter infused cocktail featuring Mr. McCharen's finest, to our list of tour stops soon! Charlottesville is not just for wine lovers anymore! Thank you, Kip, for bringing new flavors to our city!



Charlottesville Friday Wine Tours!

It is always sunny in wine country!  Fridays are wonderful days to tour the Charlottesville wine scene.  There are fewer crowds, the wineries are quieter, and you receive more personalized attention from the tasting room staff.  You might even meet the owner of one of the vineyards or receive an autographed bottle.  Gabriele Rausse, the father of the modern Virginia Wine industry, loves telling guests about his vineyard, the history of VA wine, and pouring for you the fruits of his labor.  If you have not taken a wine tour on a Friday we highly recommend it.   Look at all of the happy guests touring on Friday! 


BuzzFeed Visit Charlottesville Wineries, Restaurants, Bars, and More!


BuzzFeed Visit Charlottesville Wineries, Restaurants, Bars, and More!

Our team had a great time helping BuzzFeed visit Charlottesville a couple weeks ago!  Picking up at the stunning Keswick Hall, visiting a plethora of wineries, local eateries, hidden gems, and helping create a wonderful multi-day tour for BuzzFeed was fabulous fun. Can't wait to see you all again next time you are in town!  Thanks and cheers!

Check Out The Full Article Here!


Are You Ready For a Cville Brew Tour?


Are You Ready For a Cville Brew Tour?

Have you been on a Cville Brew Tour? Our team invites you to check out our newest offering -- Blue Ridge Brew Excursions!  We look forward to helping you and your friends explore the best breweries in Charlottesville.  Let us put our local expertise in the craft brewing world to use for your next tour in Charlottesville.

Visit 3 to 4 breweries in one of our sister companies luxury vehicles.  Blue Ridge Brew Excursions can accommodate groups from 2 to 102!  "Our team can craft the perfect brewery tour for your group of friends visiting the Charlottesville area."  

We look forward to touring with you from Blue Mountain Brewery to South Street Brewery and everywhere in between!





#TimeForVacay it is indeed.  

The snow needs to stop and the ice needs to melt.  But until it does, you can stay warm in a fireplace with a glass of red wine from one of central Virginia's finest wineries.  Get away from the winter weather by vacationing in it!  It doesn't make sense at first, but if you embrace the cold, you can experience the best of the Monticello Wine Trail with smaller crowds!  The tasting room staff is ready to help create a great experience for you and your friends!  

Need a place to stay?  We can make recommendations.  Just ask our staff!   434-531-5802

Your winter vacation awaits!  Get out of DC and NYC.  Leave your big cold and wet city for gorgeous Charlottesville Virginia Wine Country!  Come and see, smell, and taste, Cville's wineries!  #TimeForVacay

#TimeForVacay, Charlottesville Wine Tour


Valentine's Day Wine Tour in Charlottesville, VA


Valentine's Day Wine Tour in Charlottesville, VA

Valentine's Day is almost here and we have some exciting packages for you!

Whether you are celebrating a long term relationship, new love, or out with your girlfriends, we have something to make your weekend unforgettable!

Check out our current availability and save your date now!  One of Wine Trail Specialist will look forward to working with you to craft the perfect day!



Richmond Tacky Light Tours

While this post is not strictly wine related folks have been requesting Richmond Tacky Light Tours so we thought we should point them in the best direction!

First off, for those of you who do not know, Richmond Tacky Light Tours, are at this point quite famous!  They have been featured on TLC and drive hundreds of thousands to millions of people into the Richmond area every December to view the holiday lights.  

Different areas of Richmond have different feels.  Each neighborhood and participating borough work to out due, or out light each other as the case may be.  The result is a truly awe inspiring experience.  You will leave these neighborhoods scratching your head wondering, how did they get lights there? 

But son't take our word for it. Seeing is believing!  We recommend a tour service with trained professionals to maximize the time with your family and friends.  This also allow you to imbibe as you go, or stop and have some dinner and wine.  Whatever floats your boat!

Visit the below options to see the best of Richmond's Tacky Light Tours with safe and responsible transportation and tour operators.



Pippin Hill Wine Tour

A happy guest sent this photo from their Anniversary Wine Tour at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards!  We cannot think of a more romantic setting for a young couple to celebrate their marriage.

Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your special day!  We look forward to seeing you again for your next Charlottesville Wine Tour!

Pippin Hill Wine Tour, Charlottesville Wine Tour


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Charlottesville Public Brewery Tour


Charlottesville Public Brewery Tour

Join other beer lovers and safely visit three micro-breweries around the Charlottesville area on this hop-on (see what we did there?) public tour!

Begin your tour at Champion Brewery near the downtown mall.  

We will pick you up outside of Champion Brewery at 6:00 PM.  You can arrive at Champion as early as they open, but be ready to depart Champion at 6 PM.  Look for a shiny vehicle outside that says Albemarle Limousine on the side.  NOTE:  We will depart precisely at 6 PM!

Next stop is Starr Hill Brewery!  

After tasting or drinking at Starr Hill, we depart at 7:30 PM and head to Devil's Backbone for more beer and dinner.  

We depart from Devil's Backbone at 10:15 PM and are typically back in Charlottesville by 11 PM, dropping off on the downtown mall.  Feel free to continue your night from there by visiting one of the many downtown bars for more nightlife.  ONE TICKET PER PERSON.


  • 5:45 PM - 5:59 PM - Board vehicle at Champion Brewery
  • 6:00 PM - Depart from Champion Brewery
  • 6:30 PM  - Arrive at Starr Hill Brewery
  • 7:30 PM - Depart from Starr Hill Brewery
  • 8:10 PM - Arrive at Devil's Backbone
  • 10:15 PM - Depart from Devil's Backbone
  • 11:00 PM - Drop off on the downtown mall

Note that alcohol and food are not included in the price of your ticket.  Due to ABC regulation we are not allowed to pay for your tasting fees.

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Timbercreek Market on Preston + Charlottesville Wine Tour


Add a stop to the newly opened Timbercreek Market on Preston Avenue to your next Charlottesville Wine Tour!  

Sample a variety of Timbercreeks, fresh sandwichs, cheeses, or charcuterie plates.  Whether you are visiting Jefferson, Trump, Pollak, Or Veritas Vineyards, Timbercreeks food offerings will be sure to please.

Check Timbercreek Market out for yourself! 



Fox Meadow Barrel Tasting | Virginia Wine Time

Check this out great new event at Fox Meadow

Fox Meadow Vineyards and earned a gleaming place in the spotlight last year when its 2008 Le Renard Rouge won the coveted Virginia Governor’s Cup. However, we had not been to Fox Meadow Vineyards since that well deserved victory; so, we returned to Fox Meadow Vineyards a couple of weeks ago to participate in a vertical tasting to see how upcoming releases were progressing.

via Fox Meadow Barrel Tasting | Virginia Wine Time.

Virginia Wine Tour, Early Mountain Vineyards

Virginia Wine Tour, Early Mountain Vineyards

Virginia Wine Tour, Early Mountain Vineyards

Virginia Wine Tour, Early Mountain VineyardsDoing Well By Doing Good

By: Boo Barnett

History, beauty, and terroir meet here in Madison, Virginia, a short drive north of Charlottesville.  Named for local Revolutionary War veteran Lt. Joseph Early, whose home served as a makeshift bed and breakfast for Revolutionary notables, this bucolic farm was made into a vineyard by the Sweely family in 2004.  In 2011, Steve and Jean Case took over, planning to shake up not only a specific winery but an entire industry with their grand experiment.  Their international wine tasting trips exposed them to the finest vineyards and winemakers the world over, and when they decided to create their own, they chose Virginia as having the most potential.

Mr. Case, a co-founder and former CEO and Chairman of AOL, and Mrs. Case, the company’s former Vice President for Corporate Communications, started the Case Foundation in 1997 to “encourage collaboration, support successful leaders and foster entrepreneurship,” especially in underserved communities. Knowing that success can be measured in many ways other than amassing dollars, the Cases signed the Giving Pledge, the Buffet/Gates movement through which the super wealthy donate the majority of their wealth to social causes.  The Cases practice their doing well by doing good philosophy in an area they love, and their push to create real stewardship for the land made for a natural interest in the former Sweely Estate Vineyard.  An emphasis on good works with a superior product rather than on the owners’ celebrity status keep the staff focused on creating a stellar experience for visitors. “Early Mountain is a social enterprise—as such, all profits will go toward strengthening Virginia communities and encouraging growth, innovation…[and] learning in the Virginia wine industry.  Our goal is not to make money but instead to make a difference,” states Jean Case, enthusiastically.

Part of that social enterprise includes providing a showcase for all promising Virginia wines, not just their own.  To that end, a visitor can sample flights that highlight themed offerings (Berries!  Bright Lights and Bubbles! Red, White and You!) from Breaux, Barboursville, Linden, King Family, Thibaut-Janisson and others. Wine (again, their own and others) is offered also by the glass or bottle, though anyone wanting a case from a “partner winery” will need to visit that vineyard’s website. Right now, their Pinot Gris and 2008 Merlot are the Early Mountain signature offerings. Selections and flight themes will change as new items are introduced.  The current list, in addition to the two Early Mountain wines above, has these superior offerings:  Thibaut Jannison’s Blanc de Chardonnays “Monticello” and “Cuvee d’Etat,” Linden’s Rose, Barboursville’s Nebbiolo and “Malvaxia” and King’s and Breaux’ Meritages.

Of the more than 300 acres on the farm, about 38 have the slope and terroir most suitable for fine production.  As the Cases plan to concentrate on the Bordeaux style reds, they have retained Sweely’s Frantz Ventre (the noted vintner from Bordeaux’s Saint-Emilion) and also engaged Michael Shaps (Virginia Wineworks) and Lucie Morton (noted ampelographer and viticulturist).  Sweely Vineyard, despite their careful plantings and conscientious winemaking, had flirted with foreclosure for several years before the Cases bought them out. Now, several acres of vines have been replaced and a plan to upgrade quality by a more limited cluster harvest is in force.  The 2004 vines, unusually densely planted, are in their prime.

The tasting room (referred to as the Celebration Hall) is airy, open and on a grand scale, with cool, chic décor.  Taupe, greys and Virginia clay are the predominant colors, with heavy ceiling beams spanning the cavernous hall.  Polished concrete tasting bars continue the cool feel; the entire visual experience is elegantly designed and finely coordinated.  Several oversized fireplaces (indoor and out), numerous comfortable seating areas, and a variety of fire pits adorn the grounds…make sure your party knows where you are, as it would be easy to be in the same winery and never see one another!  The baronial downstairs hall was made for weddings and has a patio so your party can spill out into the night.

Virginia Wine Tour, Early Mountain Vineyards

The Market, a small food boutique in the main hall, features local cheeses, cured meats, fruits in season and assorted prepared items, heavily playing up the eat-local, drink-local theme.  Picnic blankets are available for borrowing, and spending the afternoon is highly encouraged (mobile charging stations make it easy).  Exceptionally family friendly, Early Mountain and its enthusiastic staff stock crayons, bubbles, board games and S’mores kits for roasting over one of their fire pits.  Leashed pets are welcomed as well, with water bowls and doggie treats available.  Staff members are remarkably friendly, voluble, knowledgeable and cheerful.  Although this might be considered a requirement in a fledgling industry, the Early Mountain enthusiasm is a cut above. And Michelle Gueydan, with a very impressive CV despite her young age, is a marvel of charm, efficiency and effectiveness: turn her loose on your event and consider it done.

A stand-alone cottage serves as a dressing suite for brides, and at least one other outbuilding is scheduled for upgrading to the current Early Mountain standards.  Though just a few minutes drive off Route 29, the views and vibe are that of a country valley.

All in all, Early Mountain is a great place to spend an afternoon with family or friends.  It does not produce, by itself, a full gamut of Virginia wine, but by cleverly linking with others, it presents an upscale, relaxed and approachable introduction to Virginia’s finest.  With their many holiday or theme specials, Early Mountain is a great way to travel the state while seated in a most comfortable chair, enjoying a breathtaking view.

And, yes: George Washington did sleep here.

To read more check our our Virginia Wine Tour Trail Guide Here.

To Request a Tour Click Here.

DelFosse Vineyards, Virginia Wine Tour

DelFosse Vineyards, Virginia Wine Tour

Chef Genevieve Delfosse

DelFosse WineryEnvironmentally Sustainable Practices Make Great Wine

Written by Wine Trail Guide, Matt Brown with original artwork of Claude DelFosse by Elizabeth Flood 


For the active couple or family searching for a vineyard that offers more than just your standard day of wine tasting, look no further than thirty minutes south of Charlottesville in Faber, Virginia. Located in a rural community, DelFosse vineyards are terraced into the mountains. The site offers plenty of sun, good elevation, essential wind streaming and a picturesque setting. When owners Claude and Genevieve DelFosse first came upon these 330 acres in Nelson County, it was clear that they had found something special.

The journey started in 2000 when Claude DelFosse, originally from Paris, left his career as an aeronautical engineer to start a new life as a wine maker and vineyard manager. Claude was joined in this endeavor by his wife, Genevieve DelFosse, a talented cook, local food advocate and educator with the Fairfax County School System.  Over a decade later, the DelFosse family now has 22 acres under vine with plantings that include the usual Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, as well as Chambourcin, Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Gris, and Petit Manseng. The DelFosses have a passion for wine and have become known for their personal commitment to adopting and perfecting sustainable environmental practices for the wine world.

In the tasting room at Delfosse, winemaker Paul Mierzejewski developed a strong reputation for quality over the years. Although trained in California, he has been working in Virginia wine country since the early 1980s and has become intimately familiar with the challenges Virginia winemakers face within the industry. Through his stewardship, the grapes are allowed to display the characteristics of their terroir with the goal of ultimately producing a quality wine that embodies the unique characteristics of the region.

The grapes of DelFosse could not be in better hands and thrive in one of the only terraced vineyards in the state. Vineyard consultant Chris Hill has over 30 years of experience planting, training and managing vineyards. A celebrity in the world of Virginia wine, Chris is known for his green thumb and valuable insights. Similarly, the full time vineyard manager, Grayson Poats, comes to DelFosse from Wintergreen Winery with a strong background in viticulture. Along with the owners, the staff clearly enjoys creating a memorable experience for their guests.

DelFosse Vineyards

DelFosse Vineyards hosts many events throughout the year: there are classes, and options for weekend getaways, including a century-old log cabin for rent, perched at the top of the vineyard. A popular spot for weddings and romantic weekends, this quaint little rustic cabin was renovated in 2005 and has breathtaking views overlooking the wine tasting room, lake, and terraced vineyard. It is a lovely place for guests to relax, unwind and share a bottle of wine.  They also host a full events calendar of barbecues, food and wine pairing sessions, and holiday celebrations.... To read more check out our trail guide on the Monticello AVA!


Claude Del Fosse by Elizabeth Flood

Charlottesville Foodie Tour

Charlottesville Foodie Tour

Lampo Pizza, Charlottesville Food Tour

Do you have a hankering for a Charlottesville Foodie Tour?  Is a gourmand trapped inside you?  Let them free and experience the BEST Charlottesville food tour.  Blue Ridge Wine Excursions is excited to have launched our Blue Ridge Excursions Unlimited Charlottesville Food Tour!  Check out our new tour offing HERE! Note that reserving back to back tours, Friday Saturday, or Saturday Sunday, etc. gets you a 15% discount on your second tour!  

Charlottesville Food Tour, MarieBette

Blue Ridge Excursions Unlimited is here!

Since our founding in 2008, we at Blue Ridge Wine Excursions are proud to have earned the right to call ourselves the #1 provider of guided wine and brew tours in Charlottesville (be sure to check out our TripAdvisor Reviews). Going forward, we are excited to continue to introduce our clients to the vibrant community of artisans and innovators who make the Monticello Wine Trail such an amazing place to explore. As we look around Charlottesville however, we see so much more that we want to show our guests! Cville and the surrounding Piedmont region is such a special place, where people care deeply about where their food comes from, preserving the beauty of our rural and wilderness spaces, and honoring the history that continues to inform and shape the place we are lucky to call home.

With that bit of backstory, we are excited to introduce Blue Ridge Excursions Unlimited! We have crafted unique tours that give visitors a chance to dig deeper into this amazingly rich and vibrant region. Take a walk on hallowed ground. Trace your meal back to its source. Imbibe wine made in the tradition of our forefathers. Take a boat ride down a timeless waterway. Jump head first into foodie heaven. These are places you won't find on the standard Cville Tourist map, but are the makings of amazing memories.

Let us show you what gets us so excited about this town, won't you? Join us for a tour soon!

CLICK HERE to visit Blue Ridge Excursions Unlimited and learn about our new Tour Offerings!

Virginia Wine: Cardinal Point Vineyard and Winery

Cardinal Point A Wine Dream Matures in the Second Generation

By: Chris Campanelli


Owners: Paul and Ruth Gorman Winemaker: Tim Gorman Year Established: 1985


The Gormans’ connection to Virginia wine country dates back to their purchase of property near Afton Mountain in 1985, but the dream of owning a vineyard dates to a few years before that.  In the early 1970s, General Paul Gorman and his family were posted in the small city of Bad Kreuznach, Germany.  This remote region of Germany was known for producing some of the world’s finest Rieslings, and those few years spent in this wine-rich region were enough to instill the dream of a family vineyard for the Gormans.  Upon returning to the United States, they began searching for suitable land, and eventually found an excellent site in Afton.  This established a setting for the family winery, but its realization required patience enough to wait for the next generation.

When the Gormans returned from overseas, Tim Gorman was a high school student being dragged out of bed on Saturday mornings to join his father on visits to the few existing vineyards in the region.  In 1987, his dad convinced him to return home from a job in Richmond to help his architect brother John renovate the old farmhouse and tend the vines.  And, as Tim tells it, “Basically, I didn’t leave after that.”

First as the vineyard manager and later as a winemaker, Tim adopted the old world philosophy on the winemaking process: “[t]he quality of the grape is the most important part of the wine.” He returned to school in 1991 to study horticulture and spent ten years focused exclusively on growing excellent grapes before moving on to actual winemaking.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family had also been hard at work.   While brother John was renovating, their sister Sarah was learning all she could about the wine business, and eventually took on the role of operations manager.  When Tim met and later married a fellow horticulture student named Susan, she stepped right into the family business as well, serving as the tasting room manager.

The family’s patience finally paid off in 2002 when they served their first vintage and opened the Cardinal Point tasting room.  What had been a distant dream of Paul and Ruth Gorman had grown into a fully operational winery in Nelson County, Virginia.

Because the dream sprang from a personal passion rather than a career plan, the emphasis of Cardinal Point’s marketing centers upon everyday enjoyment. Tim Gorman states, “My goal is to make wines that pair well with food.”  Such a straightforward goal is right at home in Nelson County, where pretensions and facades take a back seat to good craft and simple pleasures.....


Virginia Wine, Afton Mountain Vineyards, Blue Ridge Wine Excursions, Virginia Winery Guide, Virginia Wine Country, Wineries in Virginia, Virginia Wineries, Charlottesville Wineries

Book formats:

  • ISBN-10: 1499296436
  • ISBN-13: 978-1499296433

Wine Tour Gift Certificate

Grab a Wine Tour Gift Certificate today for the wine lover on your Christmas shopping list!  It is the perfect, always fits / is the right color, gift, that never goes out of style.  We can customize your Wine Tour Gift Certificate to include to stops ate breweries and cideries as well.  Packages can include locally catered gourmet lunches, custom designed itineraries with reservations at each winery, brewery, or cidery.  Our fleet of Mercedes Sedans, Yukons, Denalis, 14 Passenger Executive Coaches and larger coaches means we can provide wine tours for family reunions, wedding anniversaries, birthdays, and bridal or bachelor parties of any size. Call us if you are interested in learning more about getting a certificate for the wine lover in your family.