Archive for the ‘Hotels’ Category

Feel at Home in the Old Dominion: Luxury B&B’s in Virginia Wine Country

October 15, 2015 4 comments

Today I would like to offer to your attention yet another guest post written by Stef Schwalb, Director of PR and Marketing at October is Virginia Wine Month, so just in case you are contemplating a last minute getaway to the “Napa of the South”, you might find information below quite helpful. Note – it is not only about places to stay – the innkeepers also share their favorite wine recommendations. Here we go…

The Old Dominion State is celebrating the 27th year of Virginia Wine Month this October, and the region is definitely on its way up as a desired destination for all wine lovers. With more than 250 wineries participating in the event in one way or another, and the media buzz surrounding the area due to its exquisite scenery and record-breaking sales of 2015, now is the ideal time to check out the Virginia wine. Of course in addition to sipping, you’ll need a place to stay – here is a handful of B&B’s that are great finds in Virginia wine country.

Iris Inn

Iris Inn Bed and Breakfast

Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast in Waynesboro, VA is located on 12 wooded acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Overlooking the Shenandoah Valley, the inn was designed with comfort in mind. With beautiful mountain views and a woodsy feel, the modern facility features spacious accommodations with expansive outdoor decks; king beds; Wi-Fi; flat-screen HDTVs; DVD players; refrigerators; writing desks; private baths with hairdryers; and cozy sitting areas. A full gourmet breakfast is served in the great room each morning and includes an enticing entrée along with homemade breads, coffee, juice, and fruit. There is also a “bottomless” cookie jar situated on the sideboard and beverages are available at check-in time. Convenient to numerous local attractions, including the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, Charlottesville, The University of Virginia, Monticello, and several local wineries, Iris Inn is an excellent home base for exploring the region. The inn also offers several wine packages, including Sip & Spa, Sip & Simmer (a cabin dinner), Sip & Slip on Your Boots (hiking), Sip & Saddle (horseback riding), and Sip & Scribble (for aspiring writers). Some wineries located near the inn include King Family Vineyards, Flying Fox Vineyard, and Afton Mountain Vineyard.

Innkeeper Heidi Lanford recommends King Family Vineyard’s blended medium-bodied red, Meritage 2007. “And any vineyard’s Viognier in central VA is excellent,” says Heidi, “as this perfumed white is gaining world acclaim as Virginia signature grape.” One must try a Cabernet Franc, since the grape grows so well in this area, she continues, “we like the Cabernet Franc Reserve from Afton Mountain Vineyard.”

Inn at Meander

The Inn at Meander Plantation

Situated near Orange, VA in Locust Dale, The Inn at Meander Plantation is a historic B&B located one hour from Washington DC, Fredericksburg, and Charlottesville. The elegantly furnished, pet-friendly accommodations offer triple-sheeted king or queen beds with luxury linens, down comforters, and pillows; large private bathrooms; lavish microfiber bath robes; bottled water; hairdryers; clock radios with CD players and an assorted selection of CDs; Keurig coffeemakers; gas or wood-burning fireplaces; and air conditioning. Each morning, the complimentary breakfast includes a daily entree choice between sweet and savory options, a fresh fruit plate, and muffin or sweet bread. The inn also has a popular restaurant onsite that features a delicious 4-course dinner made from local produce and served strictly with the best of Virginia wines. Since the innkeepers/owners Suzie Blanchard and Suzanne Thomas work so closely with local wineries, the expansive wine list is quite unique. Guests can also indulge in the Virginia Wine Country Special package as well as tasting coupons for select local wineries. This charming Madison County country inn is just a short drive to Monticello and Montpelier, the celebrated residences of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (respectively).

Suzanne recommends Gray Ghost Vineyards and Winery in Amissville – “I love their Chardonnay Reserve, Ranger Reserve, and of course, their amazing, award-winning Adieu dessert wine”; Reynard Florence Vineyard in Barboursville – “I’m very fond of their Petit Manseng, an excellent example of this white varietal, which is my personal favorite white wine”; and Ducard Vineyards (in Etlan, located in the northern part of Madison County ) – “I like the Popham Run Red Blend and the C’est Trop, a unique red dessert wine.”

Oaks Victorian Inn

Oaks Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast

Built in 1889 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Oaks Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast is at home in the quaint historic town of Christiansburg, VA. This classic Queen Anne Victorian bed and breakfast inn seamlessly combines Victorian elegance with modern day amenities within the backdrop of its stunning surroundings. It features six spacious guestrooms, each comfortably appointed with antique furnishings, private baths, and personal refrigerators with complimentary beverages. Select accommodations feature claw-foot tubs, fireplaces, body showers, and jetted Jacuzzi tubs. There is also a separate facility, The Garden Cottage with gazebo, that has a bathroom complete with sauna and shower, a 400-gallon private hot tub, a microwave, and a refrigerator with complimentary beverages. Guests enjoy downtime in the parlor and library onsite, and they can also relax and take in the scenic landscape on the large wrap-around porch lined with rockers, comfy chairs, and small tables for wine, cheese, and other goodies. The property is highlighted by meticulous landscaping, a fish pond, gorgeous perennial gardens, and oak trees that are more than 300 years old. Just two miles off I-81 in the center of New River Valley near Roanoke, the inn is a quick ride to Blacksburg, Floyd, Roanoke, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and more. The gracious hospitality and unforgettable breakfasts are hallmarks of The Oaks Victorian. With the Virginia is for Wine Lovers Times 2 Package, wine lovers can stay two consecutive nights at the B&B and receive two pairs of tasting passes to the innkeepers’ favorite local wineries – Whitebarrel Winery in Christiansburg and Beliveau Estate Winery in Blacksburg.

At Whitebarrel, the Chambourcin, which used to be called 325 AD, is a favorite of innkeeper Linda Wurtzburger. “And for a white, my favorite is Yesterday’s Song, which is a Chardonnay.”

Time To Travel: Experience Wine-Friendly Inns

June 25, 2015 2 comments

Today I would like to offer to your attention a guest post written by Stef Schwalb, Director of PR and Marketing at I don’t know about you, but I love staying at the Bed and Breakfast Inns when I travel for fun. All those B&Bs offer so much charm and personality, it is totally different and much more relaxing experience compare to any of the major hotel chains. And as this is a wine blog, of course we will be talking about wine-friendly places. Here we go…

At long last it’s time for summer travel, and thankfully, there are several destinations where oenophiles will feel right at home. In fact, it may surprise you to know that B&B’s across the country are not only located in several industry hot spots, but many also offer amenities with wine lovers in mind.

Inn on Lake Granbury, Granbury, Texas

Image courtesy of Inn on Lake Granbury & Jumping Rocks Photography

Granbury, TX is located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, a region that’s increasingly becoming ripe for wine tourism, and Granbury’s Historic Town Square provides travelers with plenty to enjoy, including outdoor activities such as golfing and biking, live theater, concerts, fine dining restaurants, specialty shops, festivals and wine tours. Plus, a visit to the D’Vine Wine of Texas store includes onsite wine making, daily tastings, and more. All of this is found within a short distance of Inn on Lake Granbury. Situated on three acres of landscaped gardens, this cozy lakefront retreat offers guests unique, upscale accommodations, ranging from elegant rooms and luxurious suites to fully-furnished guest house rentals. Each one features hardwood floors, European decor with Hill Country accents, heated bathroom floors, steam showers, stone fireplaces, outdoor porches and balconies. In the morning, guests can indulge in a five-course breakfast, and in the afternoon, there’s an enticing wine and appetizer hour too. Other amenities include a saltwater pool with waterfall, conference facility, and plenty of personalized service. Romantic walks down the winding pathways to the edge of Lake Granbury, coupled with relaxing on the bluff beneath stunning live oak trees overlooking the lake, make this wine country retreat more than memorable.

The Inn at Gothic Eves, Finger Lakes, NY

Image courtesy of The Inn at Gothic Eves & Jumping Rocks Photography

The Finger Lakes region of New York is fast becoming a go-to destination for wine lovers. Initially known just for its renowned Rieslings, the area continues to expand in varietal offerings as well as things to do for travelers headed to there. Whether it’s fishing in spring, swimming and boating in summer, skiing in winter or foliage tours in the autumn, visitors will find a wine to pair with every season and activity, including the many hiking trails and overlooks to breathtaking waterfalls. Centrally located to the Seneca and Cayuga Lakes’ Wine Trails, Watkins Glen International Race Track, and the Taughannock Falls State Park, The Inn at Gothic Eves in Trumansburg, NY is a great place to take it all in. This historic B&B, built in 1855, features eight luxurious suites, six of which are named after wines including Riesling, Syrah, and Bordeaux. All accommodations come with private baths, fireplaces, fine linens, sitting rooms, wet bars, period furnishings and modern amenities including flat-screen TVs. The plush accommodations perfectly complement the comfort guests enjoy at the onsite spa, complete with hot tubs and massage treatments. It’s an ideal spot for relaxation and revitalization. Each morning breakfast is made from fresh local produce and organic ingredients for a farm-to-table meal. Situated close to Cornell University and Ithaca College, The Inn at Gothic Eves is also a popular destination for families of college students.

Stanford Inn by the Sea, Mendocino, California

Image courtesy of Stanford Inn by the Sea & Christine Gustafson

Mendocino, CA is a paradise for nature lovers, foodies, and arts and culture enthusiasts alike. Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities in breathtaking scenery, attend a variety of music and arts festivals, and best of all, indulge in culinary adventures including wine and craft beer tastings year-round. There are 100 wineries in the county, so ensuring a good night’s sleep is paramount for the palate. At the pet-friendly Stanford Inn by the Sea, guests stay nestled atop a meadow overlooking the beautiful Mendocino Bay in comfy accommodations that feature wood-burning fireplaces, private baths, and exquisite views. Quality of life is what it’s all about at this eco-resort. Here cyclists and paddlers can find their groove on the Big River and beyond at Canoe & Bicycles too!, while those looking to recharge physically and mentally can head to the Wellness Center for spa services, yoga, gardening and cooking classes, nature tours and more. The inn’s certified organic gardens serve as the primary ingredients for the Ravens’ Restaurant’s exceptional vegetarian cuisine that could easily convert even the most hardcore of carnivores. The menu is also complemented by an award-winning wine list which focuses on the finest selections from Mendocino County. These wines are primarily organic or produced according to traditional methods, without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. If you find one you like it’s easy to enjoy more since many of the wines are also available for purchase at the inn’s store onsite.

Prospect Hill Plantation Inn Charlottesville, Virginia

Image courtesy of Prospect Hill Plantation Inn & Wowi Zowi Photography

Charlottesville, VA is for wine lovers, and as the “Napa Valley of the East Coast,” there numerous vineyards to visit as well as a plethora of activities travelers can enjoy during their stay. History comes alive at historic sites such as Thomas Jefferson’s home at Monticello and the University of Virginia, while the arts and entertainment scene flourishes at downtown marquees that features both local artists and famous names. Outside the city, the scenic countryside provides an idyllic drive over winding hills and low mountains punctuated by exquisite vistas of open space. Hiking and biking trails and kayaking the James or Rivanna attract the active crowd, and nature fans find the appeal of roadside orchards a huge draw during harvest time. Speaking of which, we’d be remiss not to mention the Monticello Wine Trail and area’s award-winning small-batch breweries you’ll find along the Brew Ridge Trail. At the elegant Prospect Hill Plantation Inn, the oldest continually occupied frame manor-house plantation in the state, the Findley Family will provide all the guidance you need to navigate the area – in addition to comfy accommodations that feature private entrances and baths, working fireplaces, air-conditioning, and a full gourmet breakfast in bed. Most rooms also include revitalizing whirlpool tubs. The onsite restaurant features a creative menu, with a distinct European character that is influenced by the season and the availability of fresh, local, and organic ingredients. Situated on 40 stunning acres, the breathtaking grounds of this authentic 1700’s former wheat plantation are just 15 miles from downtown and within 30 miles of more than 25 boutique wineries.

Experiences: Hotel Fauchere, Milford, PA

October 19, 2010 9 comments

This will be the first post in this blog (if I remember correctly, of course), where wine, or alcohol of any kind will not be discussed. Total surprise, right? This is talk a Vino blog after all?

Well, this post definitely will be about life and experiences. This past weekend, we went with the group of friends to the small town called Milford in Pennsylvania. The goal was to stay in the nice Hotel Fauchere, experience the special chef tasting dinner at The Delmonico Room, and to do sightseeing and enjoy beautiful fall colors of East Coast. We definitely got a complete range of experiences – enough for few blog posts, as if I will try to cram it all into one, I will lose my readers.

Let’s talk about those experiences, one by one. Hotel Fauchere is a beautiful boutique hotel, belonging to Relais & Châteaux group of luxury hotels. The interior is nice, at the same time, the rooms don’t stand out (for the same price, you can find amazing accommodations at many Bed and Breakfast). So where is the “experience” part you ask? It’s in the service. I’m traveling quite a bit, and yet I had not being at the place with so many genuinely smiling faces. The key words are “Genuine” and “Smiling” – it really puts the whole stay in the perspective. Service at Hotel Fauchere is definitely something to experience – attentive, accommodating, focused on YOUR needs.

What else is there to experience? Well, one is the Bar Louis, which we will talk about in a separate post, and another one is a continental breakfast.

Yes, you are not mistaken – continental breakfast. If you got a picture of corn flakes pack and tiny milk box, try to scare that thought away. We are talking about continental breakfast as Experience.

You start with the french press coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice at a beautifully appointed table.

Next element of experience – home made vanilla yogurt and granola. It’s too bad that picture doesn’t convey the taste – and if you like the picture, you have to trust me that the taste is few levels above:

Then comes a choice of raisin scone or lemon muffin, and it makes me a lazy photographer, but that picture I missed. And to finish, here comes a grapefruit with caramelized top:

Delicious! And if you in a mood for something different than continental breakfast, you can get a traditional omelet which comes with thick sliced country style bacon (amazing, by the way)

Or a french toast:

All in all, Hotel Fauchere is something to experience – and while I will continue to report with the next post, nothing will replace the real thing. Reach out for that GPS already…

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