The Paris Vacation that Wasn’t

In early years, the alligators in the fountains at The Jefferson in Richmond Virginia were real In early years, the alligators in the fountains at The Jefferson in Richmond Virginia were real

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve planned a vacation to Paris and it was canceled because of a Terrorist Attack I’d have…well, a nickel and that is exactly what I have! Abhorrent timing made the trip my daughter and I planned for months disappear that awful Friday. We were supposed to depart for Paris on Saturday. Instead, we spent the morning frantically canceling what we could and keeping a close watch on what was happening to the beloved city of Paris. When it became clear that our European vacation was not to be, we decided to quickly put together a State-side alternative that became affectionately known as the Non-Paris Vacation……. new destination: the State of Virginia.

Let me just say that the Old Dominion State was very kind to us and made it very easy to enjoy ourselves without wallowing in self-pity for the Paris vacation that wasn’t. Our first stop was the Sassafras Shade Vineyard just off I-95 on our way to Richmond. It’s certainly worth a stop to taste the wines from this relatively new winery.

After enjoying some Rose’ we headed to Richmond to spend one glorious night at the historic Jefferson Hotel. I’ve wanted to stay at The Jefferson for years and timing for this visit was perfect. A Sunday night stay in mid-November is quite affordable, not very crowded and the accomodations are superb. We ate dinner in their upscale Restaurant “Lemaire” (it sounds French, doesn’t it?) which was delicious. I also must note that I had the best peanuts ever while sipping my Dirty Martini in the Lounge…..Smoked, but not with a spice coating on them, just smoked. If anyone knows where I can purchase such a delight, PLEASE leave a comment!  Make sure to take a look at the website to get an idea of how lovely this place truly is.

edward's bacon / caramelized cipollini bulbs / field arugula / walnut banana bread croutons / pomegranate reduction edward’s bacon / caramelized cipollini bulbs / field arugula / walnut banana bread croutons / pomegranate reduction

Monday in Richmond included a perfectly delightful visit to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts where we went directly to the French wing in order to keep with the Paris theme of our vacation. While my heart will always remain with the Baltimore Museum of Art where I am a member, the VMFA is an exceptional attraction. Admission costs nothing yet the artwork is vast and of excellent caliber. In an amazing stroke of luck, the Cafe in VMFA is called Amuse and is french themed. We had their version of French 75 Cocktails for Lunch which only added to our quest for Parisian ambience.

Virginia Museaum of Fine Art Virginia Museum of Fine Art
 Citadel Gin | Rose | Lemon Citadel Gin | Rose | Lemon










After a few more stops in Richmond and a return visit to Saude Creek Winery (love that place), we made the short trip to Colonial Williamsburg where we would be spend two fun-filled days and nights at the Williamsburg Lodge.

I could go on and on about our short stay in Revolutionary City. Let me just say that the week before Thanksgiving is the perfect time to visit the historic site. There are no crowds! We had our own private tour of the Governor’s Palace. We sipped hot chocolate in one of the Colonial Homes while discussing King George with a Pastor and played a gambling game with a housekeeper in another. But I digress, this blog is about food and drink.

Fat Canary is located in Merchant Square at the tip of Revolutionary City. Within easy walking distance from the Williamsburg Lodge, FC is an outstanding restaurant in my opinion. Our dinner there was extremely enjoyable and enhanced with a Bottle of Moët Champagne as we were supposed to have been touring the Moët & Chandon Cellars that very day had we been in Paris.

Chilled Maine Lobster, Avocado, Serrano Chili, Beet, Cumin Chilled Maine Lobster, Avocado, Serrano Chili, Beet, Cumin

I credit my daughter in finding the perfect venue for our Wednesday night stay…..The Inn at Warner Hall. Again, I can’t say enough about traveling the week before Thanksgiving (and mid-week no less). It allowed us to reserve the lovely Washington Suite in this beautiful 11-room Inn. The Chef on site was not preparing a served meal the evening we stayed so we opted for the Cold Supper Basket that suited us just fine as we ate it by our in-suite fireplace. Shrimp Cocktail, Salad with Poached Salmon, Quinoa Salad and a Chocolate Terrine were just some of the deliciousness in our basket! We even had a glass of French Wine at the adorable boathouse that is on the property as well. Consider this charming Inn for a Special Occasion or when your European Vacation gets postponed….I’m glad we did!

My French Wine and the view from the Boat House at Warner Hall My French Wine and the view from the Boat House at Warner Hall
The Inn at Warner Hall The Inn at Warner Hall











After a made-to-order breakfast at the Inn the next morning, we headed to our final destination: a three-night stay at my beloved Tides Inn If you’re familiar with my blog, you already know how I feel about the Tides…….it’s a jewel. I highly recommend an Autumn stay, especially the weekend of the Taste of the Bay festival (this was the 3rd Annual). The Festival is held on the premises which makes staying there all the better.  Tastings of Food, Wine, Beer and Ale are plentiful not to mention a sundry of arts and crafts. The surroundings of the Tides Inn are glorious and the weather was absolutely perfect which made this particular stay fabulous. In addition to attending Taste of the Bay, this visit we did a few new things such as  toured the Christ Church, took a Cove Cruise and finally ate breakfast at the Car Wash Cafe in Kilmarnock! The Northern Neck area is a great place to visit in Virginia I tell you!



Dirty Martinis at our tableside FirePit at the Tides Inn. Dirty Martinis at our tableside FirePit at the Tides Inn.
Another beautiful view from the Tides Inn, Irvinton VA Another beautiful view from the Tides Inn, Irvinton VA










Although our hearts were heavy with the realization of what had happened to the people of Paris and the extended terror threats in Brussels (the last leg of our planned European trip) we really had a great alternative trip State-side. Paris- We WILL see you in the Spring.

We should feel sorrow, but not sink in its oppression- Confucious


An Epic Time in Revolutionary City

The breathtaking view from Saude Creek Winery The breathtaking view from Saude Creek Winery

What a great long weekend! After attending a wedding and the reception that followed at Green Grove Gardens in Greencastle PA (a lovely venue), my husband and I took off for Williamsburg VA to enjoy one of my favorite bands of all time…Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. On the way there, my man was a good sport and agreed to stop at two wineries: New Kent Vineyards and Saude Creek Winery. It’s no wonder that Saude Creek was our hands down favorite given the view, the interesting history we received from Ben the wine pourer and the tasty wines. To make the visit perfect, we sat on the lovely deck, listened to music and shared the perfect winery snack in the form of a BBQ Sundae…shredded pork, topped with baked beans, topped with a scoop of coleslaw-Bliss! Go there if you want to do a wine tasting around Williamsburg that’s not over crowded.

My meal at Fat Canary My meal at Fat Canary

The second night at Williamsburg was planned as our quasi-Anniversary Dinner with reservations at the Fat Canary. Sometimes I amaze myself with my uncanny knack for picking great dining. Let me tell you, FC did not disappoint! We were in good hands with Darcy, our server, and server-in-training Brian. I started out with an appetizer of House-made Mozzarella, Edward’s Ham, Baby Artichokes, Grilled Escarole and Onions with Balsamic which was delicious. My entrée was simply scrumptious…Grilled King Salmon, Cauliflower, Romanesco, Bacon, Hazelnut and Mushroom Duxelle. I will definitely be back and urge all foodies to go there while visiting Colonial Williamsburg. Located on Merchant Square, the Fat Canary was an easy walk from our room at the Williamsburg Lodge.

Kilkenny..a very tasty Irish Beer Kilkenny..a very tasty Irish Beer

On the way home we stopped at a favorite Virginia town of ours, Fredericksburg. This time we had lunch at the Blarney Stone Public House. You’ll rarely read a comment about beer from me, but I must admit the recommendation by Graham the barkeep was spot on…Kilkenny is delicious! Our lunch was superb as well. I had a Hiberian Burger which basically consisted of a perfectly prepared burger topped with Dubliner Cheese and Caesar Salad. The Corned Beef on my Hubby’s Rueben was as good as what I make and that’s saying something. I have to give a shout out to Graham for being a perfect host at his fine establishment. Just another place in Fredericksburg to return to!

Again, I’ve tried to contain my comments to the subject matter of my blog. I can’t close however without saying BBVD rocks and Colonial Williamsburg has great gardens!