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.)
Thanksgiving is the one annual long weekend when most families want to — and can — make time to spend together. “At home” may be your most typical choice, but it’s not the only option. There are lots of appealing places for your family to gather. Here are just a few to prompt your search for others, whether near or far from home.
Like most holidays calling into memory those who have given a great sacrifice, Veterans Day can be a hard day to explain to young kids. Through the parades, fireworks and days off school, the meaning of the day can become lost unless parents force the point home.
Eastern Europe has come a long way in the last 25 years, and Belgrade is emblematic of the youthful optimism and energy that helped completely transform the formerly industrial and war-torn Eastern Bloc city into a colorful destination guaranteed to appeal to children and teens, from landmarks restored to their past historic glories to impressive museums, and a host of welcoming shops and restaurants with an emphasis on local products.
By Hainan Airlines
Foodie families and travelers know there’s no better way to explore a new city than by letting your taste buds be your guide. Eat your way through San Diego’s culinary scene with your teens, adult children and a few like-minded travelers on your next visit with these family-friendly tours.