Virginia Wine Country has long been regarded as a bucolic oenophile destination, especially for Washingtonians who are just 65 miles north. Chef José Andrés went so far as to deem the area "more beautiful than Napa Valley." But somehow, the image of cushy country inns and rolling green pastures, while wholesomely alluring, doesn't exactly top the list for a dynamic weekend retreat. As small businesses, farms, and artisans begin to rival wineries in number and ingenuity, however, that's quickly changing.
Here's 9 of the best new places to drink, eat, stay, shop and relax in Virginia wine country. (Pair these newcomers with this list of the best wineries to visit in Virginia plus chef Andrés' picks, for a perfect trip.) An added bonus is that most of the action is taking place in the region's stunning Rappahannock County, where regulations against stoplights and chain stores make it feel like a step back in time.