Call Peppa

Just one of the lovely areas used for entertaining in the 1960s at the Glen Burnie House and Gardens Just one of the lovely areas used for entertaining in the 1960s at the Glen Burnie House and Gardens
My long-awaited summer vacation had arrived. This year my husband and I decided to meander down south to our beloved Tides Inn by way of Winchester and Culpeper Virginia (re-read the title to this post to get the proper pronunciation according to my dear friend born and raised in Roanoke). While in Winchester, I practiced my southern drawl by sweet talking my husband into stopping at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley to get a glimpse of the gardens. Once we arrived we were told no admittance into the gardens without a ticket purchase for the whole museum, so we trudged up to the building to pay a whopping $8 each expecting to exit the building immediately and head back to the gardens. An hour and a half later we had yet to make it back outside! Turns out the MSV had one particular gallery that was right down my alley and tied in nicely with the gardens I would see later. Called the “Edible Feast”, the gallery is an interactive display chronicling the entertaining that went on at the Glen Burnie House (on the Museum property) during the 1960s while occupied by Julian Wood Glass Jr. and his partner R. Lee Taylor. Not only did I read about lavish menus and gaze upon tablescapes made of heirloom serving pieces but I got to play games too. What fun I had helping Alfred the Butler guess how to properly set the table for a formal dinner party in two minutes or less via video game! I suppose I should mention that the MSV has several other outstanding galleries as well it’s just that this one spoke to the foodie in me.

The wonderful café on MSV property is run by Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery also in Winchester The wonderful café on MSV property is run by Bonnie Blue Southern Market and Bakery also in Winchester
Gazpacho at Bonnie Blue Café Gazpacho at Bonnie Blue Café

Speaking of food, after spending time looking at the great indoor galleries, we were hungry. To my delight, the café downstairs not only served wine (remember, I was on vacation) but had Gazpacho….my all time summer favorite. The gazpacho was of the smooth variety and came with a drizzle of basil oil on top. I also ordered a salad of mixed greens, candied walnuts and dried cranberries topped with a herb dressing. The goat cheese croutons that accompanied the salad were what I can only describe as two heavenly quarters of a toasted cheese Panini filled with gooey goat cheese. We were fortunate to be able to talk to Christian, one of the owners of Bonnie Blue (the café as well as the market, bakery and catering business), who shared a lot about the local produce and meats they use in the operation of their businesses. When in Winchester, definitely go the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and Bonnie Blue. Check out the Bonnie Blue website at: On to the gardens……..

Marigolds used keep pests away from the grapes at Old House Vineyards Marigolds used keep pests away from the grapes at Old House Vineyards

On the way to Culpeper (remember, say call peppa) the plan was to stop at the Old House Vineyard. Boy, am I glad we did! We had a delightful time tasting wine and talking with Alison, the owner of this very beautiful property. I’m especially fond of the Chambourcin called Wicked Bottom and the port-style dessert wine called Mutage. Many of the wine labels feature artwork that translate into local folklore. We were fortunate that Bill, quite a historian of the area, was there during our visit so we learned a lot. Proving once again it’s a small world, it turns out Bill was once the ROTC Instructor at Dickinson College in Carlisle Pennsylvania (where I spent most of my time growing up) and graduated from West Point in the late 50s when my dad was an instructor there. Who knows how many times our paths may have crossed! Old House Vineyard is a must see and taste destination.
Next we checked into our lodgings for the night, the Suites at 249. I could go on and on about this place but as it doesn’t fit the Food and Drink category of my blog, I’ll just sum it up this way: GO….I recommend the Verde Suite.
Dinner at Culpepper was at It’s about Thyme (thanks for the recommendation Alison). I know, I know, I had Gazpacho for lunch but I couldn’t resist ordering it again in the evening when I saw this version included baby shrimp. True to form that no gazpacho is alike, this one was chunky, had lots of baby shrimp and was equally delicious. My entrée of Veal Shank was superb as well, but alas was a special so won’t always be available.

It's About Thyme rendition of Gazpacho It’s About Thyme rendition of Gazpacho
We had such a grand time on our way down to the Tides Inn. Stay tuned for more musing….

Wonderful Winchester Weekend

The Tasting Room at Twin Oaks Tavern Winery

The Tasting Room at Twin Oaks Tavern Winery

My daughter and I always take a Birthday Weekend in the Spring. Typically it involves wine, food and history……probably in that order. This weekend was no different in that we started our jaunt to Winchester Virginia by visiting three wineries. I’ll mention two. First stop: Otium Cellars-great tasting room, a nice Malbec and friendly staff Next Up: Twin Oaks Tavern Winery-Extremely great tasting Room, an unusually dry Peach Wine and a top-hatted fox to boot I recommend both these wineries if in the Northern Virginia Wine Country.

I enjoyed both evening meals in Winchester. The Village Market and Bistro is located on the Walking Mall and was a short distance from hotel, The George Washington Grand. The dining space is in the midst of the Beer and Wine Shop. We picked our $7 bottle of wine (+ $5 corkage fee…oh my!) to enjoy with our dinners. I chose the Chicken Schnitzel with Red Cabbage and German Potato Salad while my daughter got the Beef Pastie with the same sides. Both dishes were flavorful and well worth the price (how does $15 sound?).

Sunday included trips to two wineries until our ultimate destination which was the Grandale Restaurant outside of Purceville where we met the rest of the family for Easter Dinner. Such a beautiful day to enjoy such a lovely venue….did I mention the restaurant was located on the grounds of the 868 Estate Winery My meal was fabulous!! Pea and Mustard Spaetzle, Local Citron Mix, Fried Local Egg, Crispy Capers, Provencal Tomatoes with a Balsamic Reduction. Yum. (Thank you to our lovely server for taking care of the coursing issue. Well done!).

Note: Our Museum visits weren’t mentioned since they had nothing to do with eating and boozing…duh.