Monday, July 21, 2008

A Weekend in the Virginia Countryside

My husband and I recently spent a weekend in the Shenandoah Valley, just an hour away from our home in Vienna. It was a perfect weekend getaway - the weather was amazing and it was a short drive that resulted in a beautiful change of scenery and some time to relax. The easy drive was especially nice given the price of gas these days and it enabled us to spend a little more on the food!

Along the way, we stopped for lunch in Leesburg. We decided to try The Lightfoot Restaurant and were pleasantly surprised to find that they not only have beautiful indoor dining
but also a quiet patio for outdoor dining. With the nice weather, we opted to sit outside, despite the awesome interior. Many items seemed to have a subtle Asian influence but for the most part the menu offered traditional American-style dishes. Everything on it looked exciting and as it turns out, the food was delicious.

We started with fried green tomatoes topped with jalapeño cheddar cheese, sautéed shrimp and a Szechwan chili cream. Following the appetizers, I had the Chinatown Salad- loaded with fresh veggies, chicken and crispy Chinese noodles, it was the perfect summertime lunch. My husband indulged a little more (I'll admit, I was a bit jealous) and had the BLT&C sandwich - smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato and provolone cheese. So simple yet I couldn't have made it better in my own kitchen. Other entrees that were hard to resist include a Chesapeake crab and ham Reuben sandwich, a meatloaf sandwich with red Thai curry mayo and crisp onions, and a grilled cheese of the day. I'm looking forward to my next stop in Leesburg!

After another pit stop (this time at the Tastee Freeze in Berryville), we checked in at the french country inn, Villa la Campagnette, in White Post, VA before heading off to its sister (and original) inn, L'Auberge Provencale, for dinner. A visit to the inn and restaurant has often been compared to a visit to Provence in France. I haven't been to Provence but I already like White Post, VA better because I don't have to actually travel to France to enjoy the beauty - what could be better than that?

In addition to the amazing view of the Shenandoah Valley, L'Auberge is also a four-diamond award-winning restaurant (note: jackets are required for men... something unbeknownst to us until we got there). Not only is much of the food locally grown in Virginia, but many of the herbs and vegetables on one's plate can actually be found growing less than 20 yards from the inn. Talk about fresh. The dinner was a prix fixe meal and though pricey, we did not leave unsatisfied. The food was perfect and was truly a special treat that will from henceforth be reserved only for very special occasions (read: we can't afford to go more than once every five years).

The most pleasant surprise of the weekend, however, was the breakfast we awoke to at the Villa. After our decadent meal the night before, I wasn't sure I could actually fit more food into my stomach but alas, I managed. Also prepared at the L'Auberge restaurant, we were served this elegant meal poolside amidst beautiful gardens. The meal included quail sausage, an "eggroll" omelet with fresh vegetables inside, tender potatoes, cafe aulait, fresh squeezed orange juice and a variety of breads with the best raspberry jam I've ever had. (Seriously, I could have eaten this jam right out of the jar - I suspect it was also a local product.) We left the inn at noon and didn't eat again until the evening.

All in all, we had a wonderful stay in the Shenandoah Valley despite the fact that I couldn't drink copious amounts of Virginia (or French) wine while sitting on the front porch of L'Auberge or near the pool at the Villa. I certainly won't forget the food and from now on, I will be driving less so I can save my pennies for another visit to the countryside!


  1. stacy, i had no idea you were such a food connoisseur. now you have me inspired to get away and try some great restaurants outside the beltway. reminds me of tasha's b-day/wine tasting tour. good times!