Want to escape for an afternoon away? After a long work week we headed to the quaint little town of Kilmarnock. Our plan was simple, enjoy time exploring the town and visit Ditchley Cider Works.
The hour drive from Williamsburg to Kilmarnock is easy, no interstates, no traffic just lovely scenery. The drive over the high rise two lane bridge crossing the Rappahannock River is exciting, its long, high and a metal bridge!
Once in Kilmarnock the first stop was to shop. Main Street is charming with brick sidewalks lined with flowers, clothing boutiques, gift shops, galleries and coffeeshops. Everyone we met were friendly and welcoming. I just love the small town vibe!
While in town stop by Towne City Park to let the kids or your dog run around. The park is really clean and a great play area for kids or just sit and relax for a moment. There is also a splash pad but check before you go as it was not running when we were there. Next stop Ditchley Cider Works.
Ditchley Cider Works
Ditchley Cider Works is one of the Northern Neck’s most historic plantations, built around 1750 by the great-grandson of Richard Lee. The estate was passed down through generations and eventually sold. Alfred Dupont purchased it in the 1930’s and added significantly to the estate. Most recently, Ditchley was purchased by Cathy Calhoun and Paul Grosklags. Ditchley Cider Works opened in 2018 to the public to enjoy and is a working farm with large apple orchards, cattle and hogs. Ducks and turkey are also on site however, we did not see any this trip.
The estate is beautiful; if you ever thought of escaping the 9 to 5 well this might just tempt you. However, this is not the easy way out, it takes countless hours and hard work to keep it going. Just ask Pam, she is super friendly and will love to share her experiences. You may even have a chance to chat with Cathy, the owner. She stopped and greeted us while we were enjoying our charcuterie and sampling delicious ciders. Interestingly, the heritage apples are grown, picked and bottled for cider on-site!
Tables and umbrellas are set up in the front yard of the main house and the caretakers house. We ordered the charcuterie (which consists of sausage made onsite), chips & salsa, and the cider sample with three different ciders.
The hogs were definitely a highlight of the visit for the kids and honestly me too. On the drive out of the plantation you will discover hogs in their own private haven. They are free to roam the woods, roll in the mud and play. I recommend pulling over to the side of the road to listen to the hogs tramping through the woods towards you. We got out of the car and spent time just watching the hogs. Weeks prior 6 piglets were born so we were able to observe them stumble around and play.
The End to a Great Day
For dinner, we decided to check out The Office Bistro in Irvington which was amazing! From the food to the atmosphere it was all absolutely perfect. Known for their farm to table dining. Everything they served around us looked amazing! Also worth noting, there are indoor and outdoor seating options.
Our last stop before heading home was to NN Burger in Kilmarnock. Our kiddos have been talking about their “milkshakes”. I should have known when my daughter ordered the “Cookie Freakshake”. While this was not the milkshake I envisioned it was fun trying something new. We all enjoyed a little something from this shake. I had a delicious cookie, which looking at the picture you can’t even see it with all the other goodies!
If you have time for an overnight stay or weekend getaway there are a lot of cute bed & breakfast options. We also love to go to Tides Inn in Irvington. It is truly a relaxing and beautiful spot to rejuvenate and soak in quality family time.
Stay safe, make memories and enjoy time with your loved ones!