Author: elisse jo goldstein-clark
Date of Trip: August 2014
My chef husband and I recently had a wonderful 4-night road trip through central Virginia, and experienced a great many things the area has to offer- great wine and food, history, adventure, and fun! For fine food and wine, The Old Mill Room at the Boar’s Head Inn was Truly Wonderful- but don’t stay there (the Inn is oddly like a motel…)- stay, instead at The Inn at Willow Grove, which is AMAZING WONDERFUL- THE best service we have EVER had in the USA, our own butler (!), and gorgeous accommodations in their “Weaver’s Cottage”, as well as a delicious dinner at their “Vintages” restaurant.
Hamilton’s in downtown Charlottesville along their pedestrian mall was excellent; we had a delicious “foodie” farm-to-table dinner in their outdoor cafe, paired with local VA wines and cider, and found several fun places for live music within walking distance.
The absolute best adventure we had was hot air ballooning with Monticello County Ballooning, as we drifted over the beautiful VA countryside at dawn, and I got to live out my “Around the World in 80 Days” fantasies, champagne toast and all!
We went to a number of vineyards in the area and had several excellent wine tastings- the best wine-paired gourmet lunch was at Palladio at Barbourville Vineyards, and we enjoyed “flights” of wines at Early Mountain Vineyards (which has live music, as well), and a lovely tasting at Jefferson Vineyards, too, but the vineyard we enjoyed the most was Reynard Florence Vineyard, a true “hidden gem”- the wines we loved the best there were their Petit Manseg 2012 and 2013, which we bought.
This part of Virginia has a tremendous about of American history to be discovered, and we visited both Moniticello and Montpellier. If you can arrange for a private tour, do so, as the private tour we had at Montpellier made the history of the place and the people truly come alive, far more than a regular, group tour does.