Date of Trip: November 2007
On my husband’s 67th birthday, we had the best breakfast of our lives.
Unfortunately, I didn’t think of taking a picture of the food before we ate! At first they gave us an elegant fruit tray – three kinds of berries, fresh pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes, in an excellent presentation – with the next courses being (for just the two of us) three cranberry scones and three of the best tasting blueberry muffins I’ve ever had (the innkeeper said they used semolina flour for the unique taste). Impressed, John thought breakfast might be over, but I thought I remembered reference to a “frittata”. Instead, we were delighted by “Eggs Benedicto” – the chef’s Italian specialty with English muffin on spinach, a huge farm egg, ham and hollandaise, with a side of delicious tomato “relish” on endive (with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar), and a wedge of creamy polenta. My description doesn’t give it credit. We ate so much that we were barely able to climb back to our room. We’ve eaten well before, at some very expensive and elegant restaurants, but never a breakfast like this.
It shouldn’t have been such a surprise, after the previous evening’s dinner, which was also fantastic. John had their special, Artic Char (raised locally in Logan, WV) with polenta: the waiter said that they “try to buy locally”, and the taste confirmed that strategy. I had sea scallops and prosciutto – but the real treat at dinner was the antipasta for two. The tray included roasted peppers, olives, a wedge of the best blue cheese I’ve ever had, goat cheese, and lots of other stuff- I can’t remember what all was on it, but every bite was marvelous! EXCELLENT presentation. (Why, oh why, didn’t I use my camera?!) We didn’t save room for dessert, but we saw what others were eating, the choices looked fantastic.
This trip to Cafe Cimino Country Inn was John’s birthday present – my second choice when The Greenbrier was booked, but the dinner and breakfast were both better than we’ve had at The Greenbrier. Cafe Cimino is in Sutton, West Virginia (less than two hours south of Morgantown). We stayed in the “Annabella” room, $149 per night – here is the view of the patio and river from our room’s window. We’d eaten at the Cafe Cimino several years ago, but the owners just took over the bed-and-breakfast in August, a couple of blocks from their previous address. (Their web site, www.cafecimino.com , isn’t fully updated with pictures and detail about the Inn – probably because they’ve been busy with the rooms and menu.) The innkeepers, Tim and Melody (and their grown son Eli) were absolutely delightful. We had a drink before dinner in their bar on the river, and sat by Sutton’s mayor, a former schoolteacher. John knew we were with the “real thing” when the chef came in and ordered his wine in a juice glass…
The rooms were flawlessly appointed – even the “No Smoking” sign was elegant brass. Next time, we might stay in the larger room with the king bed, below. I’m glad that our room did NOT have a phone or TV, but apparently they can roll in a TV for those who are addicted. The room, the marvelous dinner, three glasses of excellent wine (the chef’s recommendation), breakfast, taxes and tips totaled only $275, for John’s “best birthday ever.”
The Inn now has a website, http://www.cafeciminocountryinn.com/cafecimino/index.html It’s even nicer than it looks on the web. Menus and prices are posted: other options include Shellfish Pescatore, Shrimp Scampi, and New York Strip. Be warned that although the Inn is open every night, the restaurant is open only Tuesday through Saturday, so go those days to avoid disappointment.
Mapquest can tell you how to find Sutton: my husband and I can’t remember whether there’s a traffic light: we think not. Do take a book, because there isn’t much nightlife unless it’s there at the Inn, or unless you happen to catch the live theater about a block away. (It wasn’t open the night we were there.)
If you’re looking for a unique, affordable treat, check it out. Financial disclosure: our only “interest” in the Cafe Cimino is our desire for it to still be open for John’s birthday NEXT year, because we’ll be back!