Afton Highlights Part 2: Bicycling, Swannanoa, Farms and Farmer’s Markets

It’s time to feature more of our favorite Afton, Virginia, attractions. Part 2 will focus on bicycling, Swannanoa, and farms and farmer’s markets. Here we go!

Bicycling

Bike Route 76, also called the Transamerica Route, runs from the eastern coast of Virginia to Oregon, and it happens to run right through Nelson County, up part of Afton Mountain Road. It takes about 3 months to complete the entire route (4233.5 mi.).

U.S. Bicycle Route 76 sign

U.S. Bicycle Route 76 sign

June Curry (1921-2012) lived on Afton Mountain Road and was a friend to bikers, known to them as the “Cookie Lady.” During the inaugural ride of Route 76, she began offering water and cookies to thousands of riders passing by her home, and for the next 30-plus years, she continued to provide bicyclists with water, cookies, company, showers, and a place to rest.

Don’t forget, the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive are also both wonderful places for road bikes and motorcycles!

Swannanoa

As a current Richmonder I love visiting Maymont, an estate built by James Henry and Sallie Dooley that was left to the city as a park and museum. The Dooley’s also built an elaborate summer villa in Afton, Virginia, called Swannanoa. This mansion had Tiffany windows, expansive gardens, and was the first home in Nelson County to have electricity.

Swannanoa

Swannanoa

Swannanoa is currently open to self guided tours by appointment or during open-house weekends – $6 per person. What a neat historic building to have in Afton, and it is interesting to see how time has aged the estate. We just went for our first visit last weekend and can’t wait to share the details in a future post.

Farms and Farmer’s Markets

There are many wonderful farms in Nelson County, and in Afton specifically, but a few to highlight include A.M. Fog, Critzer Family Farm, and Goodwin Creek Farm and Bakery.

A.M. Fog greenhouses

A.M. Fog greenhouses

A.M. Fog focuses on greenhouse grown produce including maitake, oyster, and lots of other delicious mushrooms. Critzer Family Farm, located just next to A.M. Fog, has been a family operation for 5 generations and grows corn, peaches, strawberries (pick your own), plus other seasonal produce. Goodwin Creek Farm and Bakery makes organic and all-natural loafs like baguettes and cinnamon raisin walnut bread. Yum!

Critzer Family Farm entrance

Critzer Family Farm entrance

enjoying some strawberry ice cream on a hot day

Josh enjoying Critzer’s strawberry ice cream on a hot day

Where can you find some local mouth watering goodies? Nelson County Farmer’s Market is open Saturday mornings in Nellysford (a 15 minute drive from Afton), Greenwood Gourmet Grocery is in Crozet (also a 15 minute drive), plus Charlottesville Farmer’s Market is a larger market open Saturday mornings.

Did you miss Afton Highlights Part 1? Click here to read about trains, hiking, and wine, beer, and cider in Afton, Virginia.

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