September 20, 2016
End to End: Richmond to Williamsburg Winery Ride
Since the Capital Trail opened, my dream has been to ride it from Richmond to Williamsburg and spend the night, then ride back. So I jumped at the chance to try the new Williamsburg Winery Cycling Experience in early September. The overnight package includes a room at Wedmore Place on the winery property, dinner at Café Provencal, a wine tasting, couple’s massage, complimentary bottle of wine, bike ride snacks and breakfast. We also opted for luggage delivery.
Our small group left from Shiplock Park in Richmond Sunday morning and set an easy pace. We passed Ronnie’s BBQ, then made a brief bathroom stop at Four Mile Creek Park. We passed Momma Lonnie’s Country Stow at about 15 miles out, and from there the trail was fairly flat and shady until we hit a sunny stretch along a cornfield near Upper Shirley Vineyards.
On the Capital Trail
About 30 miles outside Richmond we pulled over at Cul’s Courthouse Grill, in Charles City County. Cul’s was closed, but they kindly left a cooler of cold water on the front porch, and a bike pump under a shady tree. A bit further down the road we slipped into Haupt’s Country Store to buy a few ride snacks.
The Winery is about five miles past the end of the trail, accessible either via Jamestown Road or the Colonial Parkway (with scenic views of the water).
We arrived at Wedmore Place tired and hungry, but they were prepared. Valet service parked our bikes and hung our helmets in a climate-controlled garage with individual bike stands. My husband, Eric, and I checked in and took quick showers. Each room is decorated in a different European style, and ours was sunny “Provence” with a canopied bed, antique furniture and a Jacuzzi tub.
The “Provence” bedroom at Wedmore Place.
For lunch we had raw oysters, burgers and beer on the shady outdoor patio of the Gabriel Archer Tavern. Then we headed to the winery for our reserve wine tasting. We sampled seven of the winery’s 28 wines, and fell for the fruity white Viognier and the clean, balanced Trianon red blend.
After that it was massage time! This wasn’t some fluffy spa massage, but a deep tissue treatment that refreshed all my tired muscles. It reminded me of sports massages I’ve had, and I bounced off the massage table energized for the return trip.
Dinner was a multi-course meal with paired wines. We sampled more oysters, seared scallops, a bruléed watermelon salad, butternut squash soup with savory marshmallow, and thin cut pasta with local mushrooms. It was a treat for hardcore foodies like Eric and me.
Bergamot-bruléed watermelon with guanciale, basil gel, aged balsamic, sorrel and goat feta.
With breakfast at 8am, we “slept in” until 7:30. I packed my clothes and wine for the luggage delivery service, and pocketed the ride snacks, which included honey stinger waffles, maple syrup gel and a house-made energy bar.
After a breakfast of croissants, quiche and fruit, we headed back home. Retracing our route, I enjoyed the picturesque ride home, admittedly slower and with a few more stops than the day before.
That single overnight was so relaxing that it felt like an entire weekend. Now that I know the trail, I can’t wait to visit Williamsburg Winery again. In fact, our anniversary is coming up, and I’m thinking we may even need to stay two nights.
Williamsburg Winery Cycling Experience at http://williamsburgwinery.com/wessex-hundred-cycling-experience
Posted by: Guest Blogger, Phaedra Hise (a freelance writer and contributing food editor for Virginia Living)