Southern Living has partnered with to form a guest blogger network. Today's post is provided by guest blogger Brianna Simmons of Casual Travelist. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.

Visitors have long flocked to Williamsburg to walk in the footsteps of American history or for the theme park thrills of Busch Gardens. However, Coastal Virginia is fast becoming known for its emerging wine scene. Stretching from Richmond to Williamsburg, the Colonial Wine Trail is home to a handful of beautiful vineyards making some of Virginia's most creative wine. I recently had the chance to sip my way through Virginia's Colonial Wine Trail and I discovered the only rules here are to relax, have fun and above all, drink what you like.


Located just outside of Richmond, James River Cellars is a small craft winery that has a playful approach to wine. Stop by their charming tasting room to sample their offerings and then grab a bottle of your favorite and spend the afternoon on their shady brick covered patio (I highly recommend the Gerwurztraminer). Looking for a bit of fun with your wine? James River Cellars offers local music with their "Fridays on the Patio" series or a bit of zen with their monthly yoga and wine event.


On any given weekend New Kent Winery plays host to couples looking to tie the knot among a backdrop of pastoral vineyards. The spacious tasting room, with exposed pine beams and plenty of natural light, is a favorite of not only brides and grooms, but is a welcoming space for friends and families to gather. Pick up a glass of their Chardonnay Reserve or White Merlot, relax on the porch and enjoy the good life.


While it's tempting to linger in front of the two story fireplace with a glass of the award winning Pamunkey Falls, Saude Creek Vineyard's luscious Chardonnay/Chardonel blend, but the real showstopper is outside. The expansive deck at Saude Creek serves up sweeping views of the Virginia countryside and is best enjoyed with a good friend and a crisp Chardonnay. Keep an eye out for Mr. Saude, the resident winery cat who is especially fond of oyster crackers.


Williamsburg Winery offers up European luxury in the heart of Virginia. Located just minutes from Colonial Williamsburg, the Italianate villa feels worlds away. Indulge in an unforgettable culinary and wine experience with a Tour, Tasting and Dinner Package; start with an in depth tour of the winery before sampling seven of Williamsburg's finest vintages( the Virginia Trianon, a cabernet blend rich with notes of ripe berries and spice, is a personal favorite) and enjoying a sumptuous 3-course dinner at Cafe Provencal. Make it a true Old World getaway with a stay at Wedmore Place, an elegant European-style country inn on the grounds of Williamsburg Winery. Boasting wood-burning fireplaces, 10' ceilings and luxurious king-sized beds each room is decorated and named for a different European province.