5 fun finds
By Hope S. Philbrick
From angling to zip-lining, there’s much to do in Giles County, Virginia, whether it’s action or relaxation that you seek.
Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains, Giles County boasts hundreds of miles of trails, hundreds of years of history, 92 square miles of Jefferson National Forest, 52 miles of the Appalachian Trail, 37 miles of the New River, and three of the eight covered bridges that remain in Virginia—one, Sinking Creek Bridge, which recently reached its 100-year anniversary, is open to the public and would be a lovely picnic setting.
These five discoveries are aimed at adults:
Hike. There’s no shortage of trails, and some routes are so challenging the odds of encountering children are extremely low. Choose to explore the Appalachian Trail, Mill Creek Trail, War Spur and Wind Rock Trails, routes to Cascades Falls, 22 miles of trails at Mountain Lake Lodge, and many more. Consider, too, the River Sculpture Walking Trail in Pearisburg. This one-mile walk showcases five sculptures created from materials found in New River or on its banks.
Paddle or float the New River Water Trail. Enjoy canoeing, kayaking, rafting, stand-up paddle boarding and more in the world’s second-oldest river, one of the few waterways that flows north. Different segments of the river offer smooth water or varying degrees of rapids, so tours are available for whatever level of challenge and adventure you seek.
Sip craft beer at Right Turn, Clyde Brewing Company. This brewery makes artisanal beers in a range of styles in a relaxed space that has a sports-bar-meets basement-hang-out vibe. Batches are small and recipes evolve, so selection varies. Popular beers return to the lineup, such as the seasonal, award-winning “Santa’s Pimp Hand Peppermint Brown Ale.” Sip a sampler or your favorite pick while playing games, watching TV or sitting inside a vault.
Taste craft wine at Giles Mountain Vineyard & Winery. This boutique winery is dedicated to sustainability and has earned “Virginia Green” certification. Established in 2014, the winery’s first vintage was bottled in the summer of 2015 using estate-grown grapes. Varietals include Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc.
Strictly speaking, The Palisades Restaurant isn’t adults-only, but it’s too good to miss. Besides, the menu offers serious contemporary cuisine, the sort of upscale fare that usually lures more adults than families. Located in a former general store, in a neighborhood that seems so far off the beaten path that it comes as a surprise to find the dining room full of diners, the focus is local. “Most the pork, beef, trout and produce is grown in the New River Valley,” boasts owner Shaena Muldoon, who has big plans for other buildings in the neighborhood. There’s an open kitchen, pizza oven, and a lengthy menu plus specials that can make it challenging to choose just one entrée. The solution: persuade your fellow diners to order different things so you can taste more. Don’t miss the spicy shrimp dip starter, a creamy, tongue-tingling blend of shrimp, peppers and honey served with warm pita triangles.
– Photos: © HSP Media LLC
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