Try as I might, I often start blog posts, get distracted by something else I want to write and the original post languishes, sad and unread. NO MORE! In honor of Throwback Thursday (#TBT), I’m finishing these forgotten gems (?) and sharing them. Some are from a couple of months ago, some are from years ago (fun!). Enjoy taking a look back at some awesome travel and eats.
Way back in December 2013 (when my hair was behaving and my pants fit better), my friend, Jen and I took a girls’ spa weekend to Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia. About 30 minutes outside DC, this new-to-us-then resort (they opened in September 2013) seemed like a perfect fit.
– Gorgeous spa? CHECK
– Walking distance to downtown? CHECK
– Cozy bar area? CHECK
– Horses? CHECK – what? Yes, you read that right, HORSES.
Giddyup, we were in.
The resort and grounds are absolutely gorgeous, idyllic and classic Virgina country.
We were escorted to our cozy 4th floor room, where we found an inviting, well-appointed room with…
…stinkbugs. YES, STINKBUGS.
We didn’t realize it at first; and just saw little critters on the floor and bed…and well, we screamed, grabbed our bags and ran to the front desk, ready to have a meltdown.
After a round of drinks on the house; and some soothing tones from the Guest manager, we got the scoop:
Apparently, the Virgina countryside where the resort is had a terrible season (2013) for stinkbugs; and despite the resort’s best efforts; they’re everywhere. They are nature-bugs and are no indication of the cleanliness of the resort or rooms; it’s just you know, nature.
I appreciated their attitude and calm; but it was still disconcerting. We were given another room (that had been checked for the little Virginia treats) and settled in (It must be said, we did not have nay other experience with nature-bugs in our room for the rest of the trip).
(cozy fireplace, comfy seating, wine within arm’s length. Yup, all the makings of a girls’ weekend!)
It was Christmas Parade weekend in Middleburg; so we walked the 10 minutes from the resort into town and wandered through the throngs of people enjoying the parade, food and hot drinks. We had missed the horse and hound parade (where horses and hounds simulate a typical fox hunt by zipping down main street) and opted just for lunch (and wine).
In an effort to avoid the crowds, we stepped off the main road and into The French Hound.
Set up like a country house, we were escorted to a window seat and promptly ordered glasses of wine to start the afternoon.
We enjoyed all manner of “classic” French dishes. Charcuterie, cornichon and lovely French breakfast radishes with sea salt and butter (so simple and so good). I opted for a luscious, drippy, rich and creamy Croque Madame for lunch. Viva la France. A beautiful spot and a quaint lunch. Don’t miss it.
During our weekend it snowed in DC.
(yes, you can still see the grass).
Us Boston girls weren’t deterred by the 1/2″ of snow; but our Virginia neighbors were a bit more cautious. We had wanted to visit several of the local (literally within 3 miles) wineries but were told they were probably closed due to the “weather. However, we were feeling adventurous and had a lovely valet man who was happy to fire up the on-property SUVs (for guest transportation) to see if any wineries were open. Sadly, none were. We had to settle for a glass of wine back at the resort, enjoyed fireside in the library. Shucks.
However, we did get to visit the stables! Again, the weather prevented any riding (and um, I don’t know how to ride a horse unless you count the pony rides at my hometown library during elementary school where they had “Timmy the Pony” at all library events. Doesn’t count? Didn’t think so). But we fed our equine friends carrots and gave them snuggles.
The terrified look in this horse’s eye should be no indication of my comfort level with the animal kingdom. He was fine, I swear.
Because we were wiped out from the SUV riding and the horse hugging, we opted to get into cozy clothes, cue up everything on Bravo and order room service!
Mushroom soup, corn fritters, crab cakes and sautéed kale. Oh heck yes. Enjoyed all the more while wearing ripped hospital pants and old college t-shirts from 1998.
Sunday morning dawned cold and bit more snowy. We headed to the on-site fine dining restaurant, Harriman’s for brunch.
I’ll take my champagne with a side of winter ambiance, thankyouverymymuch.
There was some confusion over the “bottomless” champagne advertised but we spoke to a couple of different servers and it all worked out. (In Salamander’s defense, they had been opened 2 months at the time of our visit; and most likely our visit was one of their first “tourist” weekends due to the Christmas events. I’m sure they’ve since worked out the service bugs).
A Bloody Mary WITH BACON and a gorgeous quinoa salad for Jen….
….nonstop champagne and the brunch buffet for me. A beautiful selection of all manner of brunch and lunch options were available. Feeling more lunch than brunch, I tried shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, bacon and collard greens. How this Boston girl loves and craves shrimp and grits, I’ll never know. I just know I like it. ALOT.
After a leisurely stroll around the property, a super relaxing massages in the clean, comfortable and elegant spa, we finished off the weekend with hot drinks and a gorgeous toffee pudding in the bar area. Fact: I will always order the toffee option. Always. Relaxed, stuffed and happy, we rolled ourselves into taxi and off to DCA.
Another girls’ weekend on the books. (2 years late).