Our Cheeselog

Orange you glad…

At a fundraiser last year, my husband and I bid on (and won) a weekend trip to lovely Orange, Virginia. What is in Orange, you ask? Why, Montpelier, home of James Madison, crafter of our Constitution. It took us a while to make it out to Orange, but it was totally worth the wait.

We drove to Orange (about 20 minutes shy of Charlottesville) on Friday morning. Interstate 95, being the ninth circle of hell, was in fact hellish. After much too long of a drive, we finally arrived at Montpelier, which I am still unable to pronounce. I feel like it should sound French, but no one there says it that way. It comes out more like “Montpeeler”, but who am I to judge? We had a private tour with the head of the recent restoration, a charming and uber-knowledgeable man named John Jeanes. John knew all there was to know about Montpelier, as he was the man who brought it back to its early-1800’s glory. He showed us how they figured out what the moldings looked like, how they rebuilt the staircases, etc. It was absolutely awe-inspiring. We even got to hang out for a while in James Madison’s study, where he formulated our aforementioned Constitution. At the risk of sounding totally pedestrian, it was SO COOL!

Then, we headed on to the most beautifully-designed bed and breakfast I’ve ever seen. We’re not normally big B&B fans (too much lace, not enough privacy), but boy did the Inn at Westwood Farm surprise us. It is an impeccably restored 100-year-old home that was so elegant, clean, and sleek. Plus, they had a bunch of chickens (and one VERY lucky rooster). Note to all you chicken fans: roosters crow ALL day. Not just in the morning. ALL day. But it’s a pretty jolly sound, so who’s complaining? The owners, Jay and Elizabeth, greeted us as we arrived, showed us our room, and then showed us the wine (my kind of people!) After a quick glass, Jay even drove us to our dinner at Palladio (at Barboursville Vineyard) because we were not about to navigate the country roads after a full tasting menu with wine pairings. Duh!

Dinner was outstanding. Super-fresh ingredients and absolutely delicious Barboursville wines. The Nebbiolo was a personal favorite – well done, Barboursville!

The next morning, after our homemade breakfast of eggs from the coop out back and other home-grown delights, we took a tour around the Inn’s beautiful vegetable and flower gardens, fed the horses, and gawked at the chickens. It (briefly) made me want to move to the country, but then I realized how much work was required to maintain all that charm and I decided to pack up. We returned that day to “civilization” (that is, of course, after spending 3 more hours on 95).

What a glorious weekend! To innkeepers extraordinaire, Jay and Elizabeth of Inn at Westfield Farm, hold the “blue room” for us. We’ll be back soon!

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