Returning home after days in Europe has a way of making you dream about new getaways to exotic international locales. Not wanting the adventure to end, seeing new places, tasting local flavors, the notion of taking a fall getaway consumes my thoughts. Realistically though, between school schedules, birthdays and non-specific family commitments, a fall getaway to a local Virginia destination is the closest my suitcase will carry me.
The good news, for East Coast travelers looking for a fall getaway, is that Virginia is full of easily accessible destinations that will transport you, at least emotionally to far off lands of culinary genius and blissful relaxation.
Getaway to Charlottesville Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia is a budding community that evokes a European flair of elegance, a high level of culture and tradition and a long list of active adventures to satiate any traveler. For the discerning getaway traveler, a weekend at Keswick Hall, is almost like a trip to a country inn in Europe, with decadent furnishings and environments that will relax and pamper you.
One of my favorite moments at Keswick Hall was going for a walk on the trails that take you through the property’s 600 acres. Although I have a feeling that if I were there in the fall I would first experience a trail in the morning on a run, and then go back with my camera in the afternoon to capture the changing colors around you.
After you have taken in the tennis, golf, swimming or spa possibilities at Keswick Hall, your weekend will be filled with window shopping on the Downtown Mall, taking in a theater performance at the University of Virginia, or spending the afternoon visiting local wineries or breweries. The only trick with planning a fall weekend in Charlottesville is keeping in mind that the University of Virginia has a strong alumni presence at all home football games, causing hotels to fill up long in advance.
Getaway to the Wineries of Northern Virginia
Wine lovers will feel at home in Northern Virginia with over 75 local wineries each serving wines for all tastes of wine connoisseurs. The region is quickly becoming known nationally as producing critically acclaimed wines that rival the traditions of Napa Valley. One of my favorite local wineries that produces not just phenomenal wines is the Winery at La Grange in Haymarket Virginia (Meritage and Viognier are my two favorite La Grange wines).
The winery hosts many weekend events with live music and tastings that invite families, couples and groups of friends to bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon on the sprawling lawn.
For getaway travelers hoping to make a weekend of sipping wines from one winery to the next, the choices of bed and breakfasts or hotels is plentiful. A new addition that is sure to pamper guests is Salamander Resort in Middleburg Virginia. This new property looks like the perfect place to come home to after a day of wine tasting with a spa, equestrian center and the culinary experience of acclaimed chef Todd Gray leading the charge in the kitchen.
One of my favorite bed and breakfasts in the area is L’Auberge Provencale in White Post Virginia. Although the cost of an evening at L’Auberge is not inexpensive, you will be glad you pampered yourself with the experience afterwards. We have been to the Inn twice, each time for our anniversary in March before the grounds have really bloomed, but even then the countryside setting makes you want to slow your pace and take it all in.
Each room at the Inn has its own theme and charm, and the flowered grounds on the property invite you to relax and savor the quiet of the countryside. Breakfast is a gourmet adventure with freshly made everything in the sunroom and conversations with the Inn’s owner Alain Borel (I usually would never eat a deep fried egg, but at L’Auberge Provencale I would try and eat just about anything). For the piece de resistance, taking the time for dinner at the Inn with a multi course menu that might just be one of the best meals you will have all year.
What about you? What fall getaways do you have planned?