Oct 20, 2023 - News

Glamping guide: How to spend 24 hours in the Blue Ridge Mountains for around $300

Crisp air and changing leaves mean one thing: The mountains are calling. Our lifestyle team answered with an overnight “glamping” trip to Hillsville, Va. – a small town about two hours north of Charlotte in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

If you’re looking for a fall getaway, check out our itinerary below, which includes lodging, dining options and where to get those foliage views on the parkway.

Context: We centered our trip on Glamping as the main experience, but found no shortage of gems, like wineries that looked straight out of a fairy tale and cozy coffee shops, along the way.

Of note: Our trip was a Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. Some businesses were closed, so we’ve added those as additional recommendations at the bottom of the guide. As always, double-check opening hours before heading out.

Here’s how we spent 24 hours in Hillsville and its surrounding areas.

Day One

Early/late morning: Depart and load up on car snacks.

It’s a short enough drive to Hillsville, but a road trip isn’t complete without something to sip and snack on. We made a pit stop at Milkbread in Plaza Midwood for coffee and donuts before hitting the road around noon. 

Details: Find Milkbread at 1431 Central Ave.

  • It’s open Sunday-Thursday 7am-8pm and Friday-Saturday 7am-10pm.
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Afternoon: Sip wine and eat dinner at Chateau Morrisette Winery in Floyd, Va.

We wanted to maximize winery time, so we stopped along the way. 

Context: Chateau Morrisette is a sprawling winery and restaurant with architecture that’ll make you question if you’re in Virginia or a remote Irish town. It’s located about 25 minutes east of the AirBnb  — a short detour if coming from Charlotte. 

Plus: Dogs are welcome (keep your eyes peeled for Nobel and Barnabus, the winery’s two pups).

First, things, first: Wine. You can do a complimentary wine tasting, but we went straight for a flight, which included pours of sangria and sweet mountain apple that we sipped on outdoors to live music. 

Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Then, we stayed for dinner at the on-site restaurant, which serves an elevated take on southern dishes.

Of note: The restaurant is typically reservation-only — make one here.

Château Morrisette’s restaurant — see what I mean about the Irish feel? Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

What we ordered: The fried Brussels sprouts ($9), braised short ribs ($25), duck confit ($25) and rainbow trout ($26). 

The braised short ribs with sweet potato wedges. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Details: Chateau Morrisette is located at 291 Winery Road SW, Floyd. 

  • The winery is open Monday-Thursday 11am-5pm, Friday 11am-6pm, Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday noon-5pm. 
  • The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesday-Sunday 11am-4pm and for dinner Friday-Saturday 5-8pm. 

Yes, and: You can make a whole day out of visiting wineries in the surrounding Hillsville area. We weren’t able to squeeze these in, but here are four wineries within an hour of our AirBnb.

Evening: Drive 30 minutes and check into The Glamping Dome.

Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios

Our dome (above) was part of Big Little Clouds: A three-dome glamping site in Hillsville constructed in July 2023.

Catch up quick: Glamping is essentially elevated camping, and its arguably its own cottage industry, with more than 1,000 glamping rentals on AirBnb alone. In a “glamping dome,” you’ll fall asleep with a view of the stars (but typically with amenities like a shower, bed, A/C and kitchen appliances).  

  • The dome averages for around $185 a night — you can book a stay here. With taxes and fees, the per-night cost in the coming weeks is just under $300.

Take a look around the luxury dome. 

We spent the rest of the evening and into the next morning at the dome. We played Monopoly, warmed up in the hot tub and spent time disconnected from the digital world.

Photos: Laura Barrero/Axios

Of note: There’s no Wi-Fi and very limited signal in the dome. It’s an intentional choice of host Alberto Innella, founder of Big Little Clouds. He says his goal is to create an oasis where nature is the main focus.

Plus: Innella created his own glamping guidebook — check it out here.

Here are a few other things to know if you choose to book a stay. 

  • Use the record player — it works!
  • We didn’t cook, but there’s a fully-equipped kitchen if you choose to do so.
  • There’s also a fire ring to make a camp fire.
  • That said, bring extra blankets — we found it to be a little chilly inside the dome.

Day 2

Morning: Grab coffee and breakfast at Primitive Coffee 

Coffee was big on our minds the next morning. We packed up, said goodbye to the dome and headed to Primitive Coffee, recommended by our AirBnb host as the closest option, 20 minutes away in Meadows of Dan, Va. 

What to expect: A cozy, farmhouse vibe with a menu of specialty coffee and teas, plus pastries and breakfast sandwiches. There’s also a retail area with local goods, like stationary and home decor. 

What to order: The iced pumpkin spice latte and avocado toast. 

Of note: Wi-Fi and outlets are limited at Primitive. 

Details: Primitive Coffee is located at 2577 Jeb Stuart Hwy #4, Meadows of Dan

  • It’s open every day from 8am-4:30pm.
Primitive’s avocado toast with pickled onion and feta. Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Then, explore downtown Floyd (via The Blue Ridge Parkway).

We had a couple hours before we had to head back to Charlotte. The barista at Primitive suggested checking out downtown Floyd. 

Getting there: The drive from Primitive to downtown Floyd is about 30 minutes. Do what we did and take the Blue Ridge Parkway with this route. 

  • There are plenty of opportunities to jump on the Parkway throughout this trip — here’s an interactive parkway map for the best entrance points.

It’s the same Floyd that’s home to Chateau Morrisette, though it’s about 20 minutes from the downtown and much closer to Meadows of Dan. 

This time, instead of sipping wine flights, we shopped local on Floyd’s downtown strip, including the chocolate shop CoCo Mia and Lichen or Knot, a plant nursery with home decor.

CoCo Mia’s raspberry truffle. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Expect to find everything from houseplants to kitchenware at Lichen or Knot. (I took home a mini dutch oven I’m obsessed with). Photo: McKenzie Rankin/Axios

Details: Find CoCo Mia at 109 E Main St, Floyd and Lichen or Knot steps away at 105 E Main St, Floyd.

  • Check out the full list of businesses in Floyd, including all downtown retail and dining, here.

Got more time? Here’s other stuff to check out. 

There’s plenty we didn’t get to in our 24 hours. Here are additional recommendations I found while planning for the trip. 

If you stay around Hillsville:

  • Grab breakfast at The Hillsville Diner.
  • Grab Lunch at The Mason Jar.
  • Stroll down North Main Street, including stops like Hillmont Mercantile General Store.
  • Shop local at the Town of Hillsville Farmers Market — open Thursdays only.

Or check out these nearby attractions:


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