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Merry and/or bright: Veritas and sister winery Flying Fox serve Christmas two ways

Do you prefer your holiday lightscapes on the elegant side? Or is the campy, cheerful decoration vibe of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” more your style?

Veritas Vineyard and Winery and its neighbor and sister winery Flying Fox are offering both options within about a five-minute drive of each other in Afton.

Flying Fox Christmas Vacation will offer decorations and drinks inspired by the 1989 comedy through Dec. 23, and the half-mile walking trails and interactive light features of Veritas Illuminated will remain at Veritas until Jan. 6.

Among the twinkling sights along the trails at Veritas Illuminated are a giant sleigh, a number of photo ops and a variety of new installations, all powered by more than 100,000 lights.

“Veritas is on brand and elegant,” said George Hodson, who is both general manager of Veritas as well as president and co-owner of Flying Fox. “Flying Fox is going Clark Griswold.”

Veritas has tripled the size of last holiday season’s inaugural light offerings.

“Last year was sort of proof of concept for us,” Hodson told The Daily Progress. “It’s very interactive. It’s really sort of immersive. It’s a lot of fun for kids, and parents love watching kids having these experiences.”

The super-sized sleigh and light-up jumping stones will appeal to all ages, as will the tasting room’s tasteful approach. “It creates a new energy,” Hodson said.

For its inaugural outing, Flying Fox is decorating its tasting room with the best of over-the-top tackiness in mind. A videotape of the movie starring Chevy Chase as a suburban dad who’s determined to make his holiday decorations the most spectacular in the neighborhood will play in the background.

“Flying Fox is going to be the goofy side of Christmas,” Hodson said. “We’re going way over the top. We’ll do Clark Griswold proud.”

In the tasting room, visitors can sit by the fireside with wine, mulled wine and cocoa. If you like getting hygge with it, a new winter menu has elevated comfort foods, including a French onion grilled cheese, truffle fries, a pimento cheese biscuit and peanut butter pie.

Flying Fox’s new cocktails, mocktails and themed drinks, including Cousin Eddie’s Eggnog, Good Ol’Fashioned Family Christmas and Santa’s Little Helper, will help spread holiday cheer in another way. Part of the proceeds will benefit Virginia Wine Research Exchange, which helps make important vineyard research and advancements available to area wineries.

Both attractions will be open most Thursdays through Sundays.

Tickets for Veritas Illuminated range from $15 to $10. Reserve your space at And if you’re staying at the Farmhouse at Veritas during the holiday season, you’ll get two complimentary tickets.

There’s no admission charge for Flying Fox Christmas Vacation. Festive wear is strongly encouraged, so if you promised your aunt you’d actually wear the light-up holiday sweater she gave you, here’s your chance. Get all the details at


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