A Weekend in Virginia Wine Country
I absolutely love living in DC, but sometimes things get too hectic. When that happens, all I want is some time away with friends so I can forget about the craziness. I love to travel, but sometimes you just want the ability to hop in your car, drive for an hour, and feel like you're hours away from your busy life. Enter: Middleburg, Virgina. On Thursday of last week my friends and I decided that we were going to head out to Virginia wine country for the weekend to enjoy some tastings, and relax in the country for the weekend.
This was our first stop on Saturday morning, and the weather could not have been more beautiful. We enjoyed a tasting inside, and then purchased a cheese plate and a summer sausage along with glasses of wine, and parked ourselves outside on comfortable couches on the grounds and enjoyed the scenery. The winery is located at 4366 Stillhouse Road, Hume, VA 22639. Find them on Twitter @PCWinery.
Next up on our wine tour was a stop at Three Fox Vineyards. Of all of the wineries I have visited in Virginia, this was my absolute favorite for the atmosphere and grounds. They had their tastings set up under a tent outside, which was welcomed in the beautiful weather. Additionally, the owner has created the winery in the "Tuscan" style, and it sits on rolling hills with tables perched throughout the space so you can relax and enjoy. After our tasting, we ordered a bottle of the Sparking Chardonnay, and found a seat nestled within the vines. Three Fox offers bocce, hammocks, and people were outside enjoying picnics. The people were so friendly, and I loved spending the afternoon here. Three Fox Vineyards is located at 10100 Three Fox Lane, Delaplane, VA 20144. Find them on Twitter @3FoxVineyards.
After a day of enjoying wineries, we decided to check-in to our hotel for the evening. There are a lot of places to stay in and around Middleburg, but we decided to splurge and get a room at Sheila Johnson's new resort and spa called The Salamander. The resort is beautiful and includes pools, stables, restaurants, a culinary garden, bars, fire pits, and gorgeous outdoor grounds. The location is excellent, and is walkable to the main strip of shops and restaurants in Middleburg. However, it is incredibly expensive and I likely wouldn't stay there again. The price didn't justify the slow and spotty service, and in the future I would look into an Airbnb, VRBO, or other quaint places to stay in town like The Red Fox Inn.
My friends and I often use Twitter to crowd source our dining decisions. After multiple Tweets from friends and fellow food lovers, we settled on The French Hound located just steps off of the main drag in Middleburg. The restaurant is simple and quaint, but delivered on the food. We enjoyed the warm bread and whipped butter which was served straight out of the oven. The steak frites were classic, and cooked perfectly with a dollop of chive butter on top for flavor. The halibut and bouillabaisse delighted, and we shared a decadent plate of profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce to end the meal. The French Hound is located at 101 S. Madison Street, Middleburg, VA 20117.
On our second day in Virginia, our plan was to hit a winery or two and then drive back to DC. On our way out, we stopped at Market Salamander, which is a gourmet market and café with Chef Todd Gray of Equinox as the culinary director. They offer delicious sandwiches made to order, but they also have a counter which included all sorts of gourmet side salads. We grabbed chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese, crab cakes, pasta salad, and salmon all to go. This made the perfect picnic lunch for us while visiting a winery and sitting outside. Market Salamander is located at 200 West Washington Street, Middleburg, VA 20118. Find them on Twitter @MarketSal.
Of all of the Virginia wines, Boxwood has some of the best. I love the rosé (which you can order at restaurants in DC such as Blue Duck Tavern), and the 2011 Topiary blend which leans heavily towards Cabernet Franc with a bit of Merlot as well. The vineyard is very modern with a sleek tasting room, and there is a small area outside with picnic tables where we ate our lunches from Market Salamander, read magazines, and sipped on a bottle of rosé. The atmosphere at Boxwood is the least impressive, and there isn't much scenery to enjoy the way you can at Philip Carter or Three Fox Vineyards, but it's still worth a stop to enjoy the wine. Boxwood also has Tasting Rooms located in National Harbor and Reston, and offers a very affordable wine club. Boxwood is located at 2042 Burrland Lane, Middleburg, VA 20117. Find them on Twitter @BoxwoodWinery.
It's no Napa, but for an hour drive outside of the city, it provides a perfect escape. Cheers!