Sandy River embarks on a new adventure

Published 11:18 am Tuesday, April 5, 2022

A local destination spot is ready to launch a new adventure with an addition to its property.

Sandy River Outdoor Adventure in Rice is opening up a farm distillery on its property located at 147 Monroe Church Road in Rice.

This outdoor getaway is best known for its six glamping tipis that bring the comfort of hotels to the adventure of camping. Soon guests will have a taste of something new.

The distillery is planned to open at the beginning of May and make all the drinks on-site and year-round, including whiskey, flavored moonshine, vodka and bourbon. All will be made with locally grown corn and other products to create unique flavors.

“I lived in different countries growing up and as a young adult, I experienced lots of different cultures,” said Mark Smith, co-owner of Sandy River Outdoor Adventure. “I’ve seen a lot of things you can’t find here in Virginia, and I wanted to use local ingredients to bring some of it here.”

The tasting room is made from a restored 1840s log cabin from Prospect. The original structure was rebuilt at the location with a few remodels to keep the integrity of the cabin while maintaining the original design. Guests can also relax in the shade of the outdoor seating area.

From the tasting room, guests can view the distilling process. The still house is made from a 40-foot shipping container with the interior lined with recycled poplar wood board to match the cabin. Guests can sip their local beverage while viewing the 250-gallon copper pot still that was handcrafted in New Hampshire by Steven Stillz LLC.

The design of the distillery is to honor the history of Virginia homesteaders and the old style of craft distilling. The metal of the shipping container was added to bring together the old and the new techniques of the craft.

“Very excited to be opening this,” said Smith. “It’s a new adventure for us.”

Mark and Candice Smith opened Sandy River Outdoor Adventure in June 2012 in their own backyard. It houses four log cabins, a cottage, six tipis, a workshop, several pastures, a little pond and an adventure park with six rope courses. The slogan for the distillery is “Distilling Pure Adventure,” as this is one more adventure they are inviting guests to embark on at Sandy River.