V is for Virginia, Vineyards, Veritas and Very nice B and Bs

Every once in a while, it feels good for this Yankee to travel outside New England.  I know - the destination needs to be a place that’s relatively easy to get to from Boston, plus scenic, fun and filled with beautiful B&Bs.  For wandering educators, a few historic, cultural or educational attractions help too.  Charlottesville, VA hit my radar screen when planning a fun place to go, and from the time my husband and I started the research we were impressed with all there is to do in this region.  Home to the Virginia Wine and a number of fabulous wine trails, Monticello, University of Virginia and a host of wonderful inns and B&Bs, it quickly became clear this would be a fun trip. 

 

Right from the start, I knew we would wish we had more time to spend here, and I was right.  They say Virginia is for Lovers, which makes the fabulous wine trail B&Bs all the more attractive. It’s also home to all things Jefferson and Thomas Jefferson’s influence lives on through his beloved Monticello and the University of Virginia, which he founded.

 

While there are 17 inns and B&Bs in the Charlottesville region, we enjoyed tours of three.  We focused on vineyard B&Bs with a penchant for both the old and the new.  Our B&B tour started in Shadswell, a town known best for the birthplace of Thomas Jefferson and continued through wine country, past Monticello and James Monroe’s Ash Lawn Mansions to Charlottesville. We toured three inns, all blending historic features with modern amenities seamlessly and effectively. 

 

The Arcady Vineyard B&B overlooks a one acre vineyard from which Chambourcin vines create a sweet port wine soon to be produced and served at the inn with local chocolates.  Two brand new guest rooms and a new expanded tasting room will open here this weekend, expanding the accommodations to four guest rooms and one suite.  Bathrooms with radiant heated floors, soothing earth tones, whirlpool tubs and steam showers are just a few of the amenities offered here, along with complimentary sparkling wine, fresh flowers and free wi-fi.  Weekend guests are treated to Arcady’s signature wine tours (at a discounted rate) featured this month in Washingtonian Magazine.  Virginia Wine Lover Magazine has named Arcady the Best Wine Tour and Best B&B, adding additional testimony that the B&B and Wine Tour are a great choice for wine lovers of all ages.  For those looking for more contemporary décor and with palates for local and fresh, Arcady is an ideal choice. 

 

Arcady Vineyard B&B

 

Arcady Vineyard B&B

 

 

Our next stop was the Farmhouse at Veritas B&B, a brand new bed and breakfast located at one of the region’s most well-established vineyards.  Surrounded by 40 acres of vineyards, with more being cleared on the mountainside nearby, the Farmhouse at Veritas B&B opened just three weeks ago.  Once home to Patricia and Andrew Hodson and their four daughters (2 of whom join their parents in winemaking and event planning at Veritas), the rambling farmhouse has been transformed into a perfect B&B.  While it was built in 1830 and still maintains many of the historic touches, there’s a modern freshness to this inn. Upon entry, I pictured guests joining one another in the Gathering Room with its large billiard table and a whimsical retro iPod juke box to enjoy wines purchased at the tasting room or the bottle of sparkling wine that comes with each room. Six spacious guest rooms (including one pet-friendly room) accommodate people of all ages in queen and king bedded rooms.  In warmer weather enjoy breakfast at rod iron tables set beside the vineyard with Chardonnay grapes all around.  Four porches overlooking vineyards on three sides of the inn beckon guests with rockers just waiting for company. While Veritas has been a popular tasting room and event venue for many years, the Farmhouse at Veritas B&B is a brand new and undiscovered treasure.

 

Farmhouse at Veritas B&B

 

Farmhouse at Veritas B&B

 

Farmhouse at Veritas B&B

 

Farmhouse at Veritas B&B

 

 

Just a little more than 2 miles from Veritas, the Afton Mountain B&B is clearly distinguishable via the bright red authentic English phone booth greeting guests in the parking lot in clear contrast to the historic Americana look of the exterior of the inn.  Walk into the Afton Mountain B&B through the front door proudly bearing the Virginia B&B Association flag and a large and colorful stained glass window casts lovely light on the front hallway. Two parlors mean there’s plenty of room for guests to mingle or enjoy quiet couple time.  Guest rooms include period antiques and artworks yet whirlpool tubs in some rooms are an option for those looking for more modern amenities.  A bureau with coffee, tea and freshly baked yummy-looking bars is right outside guest rooms to insure that no one goes hungry here.  Irises and pinky-orange roses were in full bloom.  Crediting the early spring, both Dan and Orquida Ingraham, co-owners of the inn, joined us in marveling at roses in full bloom in April.  I realized that the pool just beyond the garden would be open soon as sunbathing season is right around the corner.  Just down the road from Monticello and the Veritas Tasting Room, my husband commented “Now that’s the perfect B&B”.

 

Afton Mountain B&B

 

Afton Mountain B&B

 

 

When You Go

You simply can’t come to Charlottesville and not visit Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello.  The $24 House Tour includes a tour of the first floor room, the Slave Tour (highly recommended), the opportunity to stroll the gardens, the Jefferson graveyard and an insightful film too.  For a more in-depth tour including the second floor bedrooms, take the Behind the Scenes Tour ($42 per person).  Just 2.5 miles down the road, tour Ash Lawn-Highland, former home for James Monroe.  It’s smaller but equally historic and interesting.

Afton Mountain B&B, 10273 Rockfish Valley Highway, Afton VA 22920, 540-456-6844 / 800-769-6844, aftonmountain.com

Arcady Vineyard B&B and Wine Tours, 1376 Sutlers Road, Charlottesville, VA 22902
434-872-9475, innarcadyvineyard.com

Farmhouse B&B at Veritas, 72 Saddleback Farm, Afton, VA 22920, 540-456-8100   veritasfarmhouse.com/accommodations/

 

 

 

 

Marti Mayne is the B&B Editor for Wandering Educators

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Marti Mayne

 

 

 

 

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