If you and your significant other share a love of culinary pleasures, this region in Virginia a few hours from Washington, D.C., will more than pique your palate. Fulfill your cravings with a few days in the countryside.
You can’t ask for better hosts and a more bucolic setting than The Inn at Vaucluse Spring in Stephens City. Derrick and Tiffany Niide relocated from Hawai’i in 2015 when they fell in love with this property — and you will, too. The Manor House, built in 1785 by young Revolutionary War Captain Strother Jones, was restored in 1997; today it holds six accommodations, two dining rooms and two sitting rooms, one with a fireplace. Outside, the large porch has a row of rocking chairs and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Book the Jones Room, which features a queen-sized, four-poster bed, two-person Jacuzzi-tub shower combination and remote-controlled gas fireplaces in the bedroom and bathroom. For more privacy, select the Mill House Studio, a two-story cottage on the property’s spring, or the tobacco barn-turned-upscale-rustic Cabin by the Pond. Each morning starts with a three-course breakfast cooked by Derrick (cross your fingers his fluffy rolled omelet topped with crispy prosciutto is on the menu during your stay); end the day with a glass of wine on the patio or in front of the fire. From time to time, Tiffany offers morning mindfulness classes and programs that speak to the calm and relaxing escape you’ll feel after just a short sojourn here.
You’ll be crushing on the small plates and pours at Crush Wine Bar in Winchester, whose intimate, cozy vibe
parallels general manager Tom Donegan’s casual and accessible approach to wine. The menu and wine list is presented on an iPad, and it’ll be so difficult to tear yourself away from perusing the more than 110 wines categorized by grapes, region and style. Start with a ready-made flight of themes like French Whites, Pinot Noir or Wines Around the World, or build your own (any wine on the menu can be used to create a flight of four one-ounce glasses), followed by a glass of your new fave. Dishes are designed to partner with the pours. Over-order, because they are all fabulous: Addictive shishito peppers are blistered with olive oil, tapas-style shrimp are sauteed with garlic and smoked paprika and Pacific Northwest Salmon is candied and served with crispy skin.
For a casual lunch (and some day drinking), head to Sexi Mexi Burrito Bar in downtown Winchester. Combos like Cristina’s Crazy Cuban (with pulled pork, black beans, jalapeños, pickled onions, avocado, cheese and chipotle aioli) and Masala Mama Beef (Indian Masala ground beef, rice, cabbage, poblano sauce, cheese and corn salsa) can be served either wrapped in a tortilla or gluten-free in a bowl, with a side of chips and salsa. The Sexi-Sour shakes tequila with grenadine, egg white, agave bitters and lemon, and an entire menu of lower ABV cocktails like a Spanish 75 and Mexican Mule are perfect when it’s five o’clock somewhere — just not where you happen to be.
Sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into a burger. That’s where The Butcher Station comes in. Chef Sandy Gallagher uses locally grown beef, pork and chickens butchered in-house, meaning the meat is as fresh as it comes. The Bacon Swiss Burger is killer, as is the side of tangy pickled cucumber salad on the side. If you come during dinner be sure to try some of the local oysters in various preparations: on the half shell, stuffed and baked or fried.
Slater Run Vineyards is about to open a gorgeous new facility with an expansive tasting room and patio. But if it’s not yet ready, the tasting room a few miles up the road is also quite cute. Either space works to taste the winery’s really well-made wines, thanks to French winemaker Katell Griaud who manages to deftly balance Old World restraint with the expressiveness found in Virginia’s lush terroir. Taste the Pét-Nat, Cabernet Franc and Bordeaux blends Roots and First Bridge, then buy a bottle (or a case.)
Prior to any family trip, every responsible adult will have a checklist to ensure the journey and destination can be made as safe as possible for everybody. A packing list can incorporate healthy snacks, bug repellant, a first-aid kit and minor illness remedies (cold and flu meds; anti-diarrhea pills) while pre-trip cautions — depending on the location — immunizations and family discussions on how to avoid injury.
This summer, family travel at The Peninsula receives an upgrade with the debut of Camp Peninsula, a children’s experience that recreates the spirit of camping right in the heart of Beverly Hills. The journey begins with a special welcome from Peter Bear, the hotel’s lovable mascot, at check-in. After taking a picture with the life-sized teddy bear, kids will be whisked away by a Peninsula Camp Counselor to a luxurious guestroom where a charming teepee awaits. An afternoon of camp-themed games and activities, including a hotel-wide scavenger hunt, rounds off the family-friendly experience, fun for children of all ages. Whether it’s a luxe staycation or an extended holiday, Camp Peninsula is an ideal way to ensure the little ones are happy campers.
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While urban wine country might sound like an oxymoron, it’s actually a reality at the stunning City Vineyard in New York City’s Tribeca neighborhood. The water-side venue is the perfect host for your next event — whatever that may be, from 20 to 200 guests and from cocktail party to plated dinner.
A recent survey conducted by Louis Karno & Company Communications polled 100 American writers, editors and freelancers to offer an insider perspective on the industry. The survey asked: Where is travel writing headed in the short term, and what were they working on?