Heritage Harvest Festival [Charlottesville]

Cross-posted from The Southern Belle Blogs.

I finally made it to Monticello! I have been wanting to visit Monticello for years now and ended up going this weekend for the 10th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival. The Heritage Harvest Festival is this huge even

The first thing that you will notice when you arrive at the top of the mountain is the view. The view is gorgeous.

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The garden at Monticello is amazing. It is basically my dream garden. There were so many varieties of plants (many, like fish peppers, I identified by sight) that I could probably have simply explored the garden all day. I want to go back on a non-festival day and really browse the garden.I’m also jealous at the large amount of fig trees and the size of the orchard! One day…~!

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I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.
I’ve been wanting to grow these little peppers for a while now.
This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.
This was such a neat idea for growing beans that I snapped a photo to share the idea with my boyfriend.

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The Tasting Tent seems to be the highlight of the event. We made our way around the tables for the Tomato, Melon, and Pepper tasting. There were so many different varieties that neither of us tasted every single product. We did have our favorites though – the main one being a tomato by the name of Nepal. I MUST have seeds for this one next growing season – it tasted like sugared tomatoes, that delicious touch of sweetness.

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The first cider we tried from Castle Hill Cider was a bit to dry for our taste (Levity), but the Serendipity was perfection. We both ended up purchasing a bottle of it. Back Pocket Provisions was at the top of my list of vendors that I wanted to check out. We tried all three of their Bloody Mary mixes (Bloody Brilliant, Bloody Bangkok, Bloody Baja) and decided that Bloody Brilliant was our favorite. We purchased 3 jars of it. I’m not a big Bloody Mary fan but I loved the taste of their mixes and even more so, I love that they use local farms for their tomatoes.

American Heritage Chocolate
American Heritage Chocolate

Barefoot Bucha was a bit hit with my mother and I as well. I love Kombucha but she has never tried it. We both tried the ginger kombucha, which we preferred over the Elderflower Sunrise. I ended up buying a 1/2 gallon of ginger. What is neat is that the container is refillable!

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I had been curious about Falling Bark Farm’s Hickory Syrup since I had heard about it. It is an interesting taste and though I didn’t buy any then, I later purchased a small jar from the shop at Carter’s Mountain Orchard. I have followed Farmstead Ferments on social media for a while and was thrilled to see them there. My mom and I tried the strawberry mint water kefir. It was both of our first times trying water kefir and we enjoyed how refreshing it tasted. When we went back to buy some later that day, they were out. :-/ What was really neat is that they had kombucha scoby’s for sale as well. I purchased a small jar of hand-harvested salt from J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. There were several other food vendors we tasted – they were all delicious. The Peppermint Dark Chocolate Sauce from Willie Byrd was delicious and the sage vodka (?) was quite an interesting experience.

Part two will be posted tomorrow! 

Charlottesville KOA [Charlottesville]

If you are in Charlottesville and looking for a budget-friendly place to rest your head, I suggest checking out the Charlottesville KOA. Located about 10 miles from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, the Charlottesville KOA is the place to go to experience peace and quiet in the mountains. This campground is a small one but don’t let that stop you. The staff was fabulous when we checked in (very helpful – even providing us with a great map of the area) and the facilities are very clean.

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Even though the pool normally closes on Labor Day, it was still open because of the heat. The water was certainly nice and refreshing! The pool was surrounded by trees and since we were the only ones in there, it felt like our own private oasis. There is a laundry/game room which we checked out (but never utilized – even though we had talked about playing a game of pool or air hockey), as well as a playground.

There’s also a fishing pond/nature trail you can check out on the property. I really liked walking the nature trail and the fishing pond was nice to gaze upon. Now keep in mind that there is a poison ivy out there. I did find several good sources of jewelweed however, which is known to help soothe poison ivy (as an herbalist, it tickled me to find so much jewelweed).

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There are three different types of cabins you can book: a one room cabin, a two room cabin, or a cottage. For our one room cabin (which sleeps up to 4 people – and provided us with plenty of room), it cost only $65 a night when we booked. We did have to bring our own linens, but the cabin provided us with a cable tv, AC/heat, electricity, and a ceiling fan. The larger cottages have their own bathrooms attached but since all of the cabins were located right near the restroom (and like I said, this is a smaller campground), that wasn’t an issue.

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One of the nicer perks was free wireless internet on the campground as well as free cable tv. All in all, this was a great campground and provided us with a nice and relaxing place to stay.

Charlottesville KOA
2016 Season: Open March 11th – Close November 13th
3825 Red Hill Rd.,
Charlottesville, VA 22903
434-296-9881