You’re missing out if you’ve never been to gorgeous little Crozet, VA. This charming community in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains tends to attract a certain kind of people. And from what we can tell, they’re our kind of folks.
They work hard, but not too hard, and they love to spend lots of time outdoors. Thankfully, there are lots of fun things to do close to home. We’ll find out how the locals — and lots of charmed visitors — spend their downtime in Crozet, VA.
History of Crozet, VA
It wasn’t always Crozet. The original name for this rural railroad stop was Wayland’s Crossing. In 1870, a few years after the Civil War, townsfolk decided to rename it in honor of Claudius Crozet.
The scholar, educator, and civil engineer, born in France, served the Confederate Army as a colonel. However, he’s better known for his public works projects, including the railroad tunnels in those nearby mountains.
Where Is Crozet, VA?
This friendly community is in north-central Virginia, just 12 miles west of Charlottesville and 21 miles east of Staunton. It’s about 16 miles north of Interstate 64 and 87 miles northeast of Richmond. State Highway 240 runs right through it.
What Is Crozet, VA, Known For?
Crozet, VA, was a railroad town and farming community for its first few generations, with the chief crops being peaches and apples. Many of its modern residents work remotely, while others are involved in tourism-related enterprises. A common denominator for lots of them is that they’re passionate about outdoor recreation.
While it’s true that Crozet, VA, is best known as a bedroom community, Charlottesville residents love to visit, too. Many make the quick road trip for a dose of slower-paced, small-town life. Like many others, they’re irresistibly drawn to the wineries, restaurants, brewpubs, and many miles of scenic paths and trails. Crozet has another claim to fame: It was a filming location for the 2007 flick Evan Almighty starring Steve Carell.
Best Places to Visit in Crozet, VA
Why all the fuss over this little town of about 7,000 that’s almost in the middle of Virginia? Our tour of a half-dozen of Crozet’s favorite places includes a generous serving of winery tours. Let’s see what all the buzz is about.
Starr Hill Brewery
With its roots in Charlottesville, Starr Hill is one of the pioneers of the growing brewpub industry, having started in 1999. The Crozet, VA, outlet in a rustic-industrial space on Three Notch’d Road offers an inviting atmosphere and inventive brews. Leashed pets are welcome on the patio, and you can order pizza from a nearby restaurant.
Chiles Peach Orchard
Chiles Peach Orchard is a place where you can pick your own fruit, and for lots of folks, it’s a first-time experience. Depending on what’s in season, you can load up on fresh peaches, apples, strawberries, or blueberries. Along with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere, the farming family owners also serve soft-serve ice cream and fresh-baked sweets.
Against a stunning mountain backdrop, you can sample (and take home) small-batch wines inspired by classic French whites and reds at Stinson Vineyards. More specifically, the husband-and-wife winemakers draw inspiration from the Bordeaux and Loire Valley regions.
Did we mention they make them in their garage? That’s just part of the fun.
Grace Estate Winery
The manicured estate grounds are almost as much of an attraction as the top-shelf wines at Grace Estate Winery. Established in Crozet, VA, in 2013, the winery produces wines from the grapes it grows at its own Mount Juliet Vineyards. What kinds of grapes? The varieties include Viognier, Chardonnay, Vidal Blanc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinotage.
White Hall Vineyards
Housed in a stately farmhouse, White Hall Vineyards started commercial production in 1994. The owners credit their cool mountain breezes and an elevation of 800 feet for helping them to achieve their elegant, fruit-forward wines. Visitors also rave about their cozy tasting room and the shaded picnic area.
Traveler’s Tip: If you enjoy exploring the U.S. one winery at a time, you need to check out these 5 amazing wineries in central Florida!
Patricia Ann Byrom Forest Preserve Park
This community jewel is a diamond in the rough, no doubt. A prominent family donated 600 acres of land to the county, and it buzzes every day with activity. The trails for hiking, biking, jogging, or horseback riding range from level and easy to steep and strenuous at Patricia Ann Byrmon Forest Preserve. There’s a spectacular view from the overlook, but it takes some work to get there.
Does Crozet, VA, Have a Downtown?
Many older towns have a historic town square, sometimes with statues, park benches, and some original cobblestone streets. Crozet, VA, doesn’t have a conventional downtown area, but there’s one in the works.
A nonprofit group called Downtown Crozet Initiative is actively working to transform a vacant old lumberyard into a vibrant community hub. They envision a grand town center with a plaza and green space along with a mix of businesses and residences.
How Long Should You Visit Crozet, VA?
Crozet, VA, is one of those fast-growing places that’s so happening that you wonder why it didn’t blow up sooner. This forward-thinking community is a small one, though, so it doesn’t take long to see all it has to offer. Spend a day or two in Crozet before taking in surrounding sites like the Blue Ridge Parkway and Shenandoah National Forest.
What are your favorite small towns in Virginia?