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Sitting on the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge Mountains — which are part of the Appalachian Mountains — is the Virginia destination of Wintergreen. Located about 40 minutes southeast of Charlottesville, the area is known for its wide-ranging elevations, from the deep valley floors to the majestic mountaintops. The community was built as a golf destination in the spring and summer and as a winter sports hub in the snowy months, making it the perfect mountain escape any time of year.
The closest airport to Wintergreen is Eagle’s Nest Airport (W13) in Waynesboro, just over 30 minutes to the northwest, but Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), about 45 minutes to the northeast, and Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD), about 50 minutes to the north, will offer more options. The closest major airports are Richmond International Airport (RIC), about an hour and 45 minutes to the east and Dulles International Airport (IAD), about two and a half hours to the northeast. For regional train travel, there are stops in Charlottesville, about 40 minutes to the northeast; Staunton, about 40 minutes to the northwest; and Lynchburg, about 50 minutes to the south. If you’re planning on exploring the region, driving will be the most convenient option, although there are a few private transportation options.
The weather in Wintergreen doesn’t just depend on the time of year. It also hangs on elevation. The valley sits about 700 feet above sea level, giving it approximately the same climate as Charlottesville, adorned with a little mountain breeze, while the top of the mountain is a whopping 3,850 feet, meaning that the temperatures are typically 12 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit lower than in the valley. Daytime highs to evening lows can also swing about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. While the snow-covered slopes in the winter attract skiers and snowboarders — especially from December through March — summer has its own draws, with events such as the Wintergreen Music Festival and Academy and Old Wintergreen Day, celebrating the community. Craft shows also take place during Memorial Day Weekend, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Oktoberfest.
From the beginning, Wintergreen was conceived as a year-round destination, with its golf resort opening in 1988 and its ski facilities opening a year later. Nowadays, those teeing off have a choice of two courses at Devils Knob and Stoney Creek, while skiers and snowboarders can choose from 24 trails, including 14 that are lit for night skiing. There’s also a 900-foot snow tubing hill and an ice skating rink that can hold 60 skaters. Other activities include tennis, boating, biking, hiking, ziplining, and flying high on the floating trampoline.
Five trails run through the south fork of Rockfish River and Reid’s Creek with six miles of pathways that are popular with hikers and birdwatchers. There are parking lots at the Rockfish River trailhead, as well as the 35-acre Spruce Creek Park, the only public park in Nelson County.
From Wintergreen, it’s about a 20-minute drive to the northern entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Rockfish Gap Entrance Station. This is also the southernmost entrance point to the national park’s historic Skyline Drive, where the 105-mile stretch has its final mile marker near Waynesboro. From there, the scenic road stretches north along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains up to the mile marker 0 in Front Royal.