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Monday, October 27, 2014

Stuffed Baby Peppers - New Treat at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville VA




We've been working on some new hors d'oeuvres to offer our guests here at Foxfield Inn to have with their glass of wine on Friday and Saturday nights.  One of the new favorites is our Stuffed Baby Peppers.  Another one is our Bacon Wrapped Squash Bites - more about that at another time though.

I came across a recipe from Giada deLaurentiis for Stuffed Baby Peppers and thought they would be a good addition to our social hour menu.  We tried it a few years ago and the guests were not overly enthusiastic about them - good, yes; great, no.  So I put the idea away until I saw baby peppers at the market in September.  So, out came the recipe.

This time though we removed the ingredients the guests thought were a bit strange and added some that we liked.  We also changed from "grocery store" bacon to locally sourced and smoked bacon from JM Stock Provisions & Supply.  This bacon is absolutely the best bacon!

We hope you enjoy!
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Innkeepers at Foxfield Inn

Stuffed Baby Peppers

2 slices thick-cut bacon, finely diced
2  tablespoons chopped chives
3/4 cup ricotta cheese (low fat is fine)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste
24 baby sweet peppers
 
Note:  You can substitute 3-4 regular sliced bacon for the thick-cut
 
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray a 24-cup mini-muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium skillet over medium heat cook the bacon until lightly brown and crispy.  Stir frequently so that all pieces are evenly browned.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate.

In a medium bowl combine the remaining ingredients except the peppers.  Mix well.  Stir in the bacon.
 
Cut the tops off of the peppers.  With a small paring knife or your fingers (whichever works best for you) remove the seeds and veins from the peppers.
 
With a small spoon fill each pepper with the cheese 
mixture.  Place each pepper either on the baking sheet or in the muffin cup.  
The last batch I made I cut the peppers in half horizontally, removed the veins and added the filling.  This worked quite nicely and gave an "open-faced" stuffed pepper.
 
Bake for 15-18 minutes until the peppers begin to get soft.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
 
Some of the cheese mixture will come out of the peppers and you will need to gently push it back into the peppers before serving.  If you use the muffin tin there is less of this happening.
 
Options: 
  • add petite peas to the cheese mixture, 
  • remove the bacon for a vegetarian option,
  • add pesto to the cheese mixture.
recipe adapted from Stuffed Baby Peppers courtesy of
Giada de Laurentiis
 
 
Foxfield Inn's Stuffed Baby Peppers

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Things to Do in Charlottesville, VA - November 2014

Looking out our window at all the beautiful fall foliage here at Foxfield Inn reminds us that autumn is the most wonderful time of the year here in Charlottesville, VA. Just take a look at these exciting events in November that celebrate our region's arts, flavors, harvests, and creativity.

Events at Monticello
Thomas Jefferson's home is a wonderful place to tour any time of year, but be sure to take advantage of the knowledgeable staff at these exciting events offered at Monticello this month:
11/1 Falling Leaves and Winter Trees Walk
11/15 Vinegar Making Workshop
11/20 and 11/22 Owl Prowl
11/22 Cooking Unusual Vegetables
11/28-11/30 Wreath Workshops

Hot Air Ballooning at Trump Winery
Sunday, November 2, 2-5pm
To celebrate the end of the harvest season, Trump Winery is offering tethered hot air balloon rides over their estate. What a great way to see the fall color! Consider pre-ordering one of their gourmet picnics, or simply enjoy their wines by the bottle or glass, a seasonal signature cocktail, and live music.

Mix at Ix at 6 Happy Hour
Wednesdays, 6-9pm
Stop by Al Hamraa in the IX Building for sangria, hummus, dolmas, and Moroccan meatballs. Mingle with art (and humans) for a lively social scene. Great stop on your way to dinner Downtown.

Virginia Film Festival
November 6-9
One of the most popular festivals in our state, the Virginia Film Festival draws a huge crowd of film enthusiasts, actors, directors, and more. From film screenings to lectures to parties, check the full schedule here to plan your visit during this exciting time of year.

Artisans Studio Tour
November 8-9, 10am-5pm
The 20th Annual Artisans Studio Tour allows you to visit our region's most celebrated artists and craftspeople up close and personal. From pottery to furniture, wood turning to basket-weaving, jewelry and fabrics to stained glass, the tour is filled with demonstrations and displays to glimpse the creative process at work. A great opportunity to find some unique gifts for your home or loved ones. See a map of participating studios here.

Free Bridge Quintet at Old Cabell Hall
November 8, 8pm
The Free Bridge Quintet is the University of Virginia's faculty jazz ensemble. They are renowned locally and nationally, and their concerts never disappoint. If you enjoy live jazz, this is an evening you won't want to miss.

TEDx Charlottesville at the Paramount
November 14, 9am
Independently organized as an offshoot from the annual TED conferences, TEDx Charlottesville brings together speakers and performers from all walks of life who have unique, surprising, or unusual ideas to share to make our world a better place. Purchase tickets online here to take part in this inspiring all-day event.

Cider Week Virginia
November 14-23
With as many fantastic varieties of apples in our region, it's no wonder that cider has seen a resurgence as the hippest beverage of choice. Celebrate cider with a week's worth of events, tours, tastings, and classes. Check the full schedule here for dates and locations.




Oyster Roast at Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery
November 15-16, 12-5pm
Raw, steamed, fried, or stewed, however you like your oysters you can enjoy the freshest from Rappahannock River Oyster Co. at Cardinal Point Vineyard & Winery with live music, crabcakes, and, of course, wine.

Holiday Wreath and Decor Workshop at Pharsalia
November 23, 2-4:30pm
Ready to get your home decorated for the holidays? Learn some new techniques while creating your own pieces to take home at this workshop. Register in advance to secure your spot.

At this time of year, there's something for everyone. How else can we at Foxfield Inn help you to make your November visit to Charlottesville special?

--
Your Innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Apple Picking Time in Charlottesville, VA

One of my favorite fall activities (when I can get a few hours off from working here at Foxfield Inn) is to go apple picking.  There is nothing like being outdoors wandering through an apple orchard in the warm sunshine with a light breeze.  Of course that usually isn't the case when I do get to go - more likely cool and misty with a stiff wind but at least I get to go.

Here in Charlottesville there are a couple of great places to either pick your own or to purchase apples that are already picked.
  • Carter Mountain Orchard - this is the largest of the orchards and the busiest on the weekends.  Some of the varieties of apples they have are Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious, Pink Lady, Rome, Jonathon - and the list goes on.  They have a wonderful Apple Harvest Celebration every weekend in October.  Besides apple picking there's music, and hayrides.  Be sure to stop at their country store for their apple butter and apple cider donuts!
 
  • Henley's Orchard - 38 varieties of apples including the Albemarle Pippin that Thomas Jefferson took to the Queen of England. They also have wonderful Honey Crisp and Cameo apples.  Henley's has been in the same famliy for four generations - so they know what they are doing.   It's a great place to pick apples (or buy them already picked) as it is not crowded.

 If you come to pick apples here in the Charlottesville area in October be sure to check out Carter Mountain's Apple Harvest Celebration.  It is held every weekend in October.  And be sure to get you picture taken as the worm in the Big Apple!  (Yes, that's me as the worm!)


Your Innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Things to Do in Charlottesville - October 2014

Summer is winding down and we at Foxfield Inn, like much of the rest of Charlottesville, are ready to welcome the fall with scarf-clad arms. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." From the colorful fall foliage to the autumnal menus, we invite you to discover new life in Charlottesville this October.

Events at Monticello
Can't get enough Thomas Jefferson in your life? Consider adding one of these great programs to your visit to Monticello:
10/4 Montalto Hawk Watch
10/7 and 10/15 TOM Talk: Thomas Jefferson and the Culture of the Earth
10/9 and 10/11 Natural History Walk
10/17-10/18 Archaeology Open House
10/18 Apple Tasting
10/18 Center for Historic Plants Open House
10/23 and 10/25 Edible Native Fruits and Nuts
10/30 Falling Leaves and Winter Trees Walk

Oktoberfest at Blue Mountain Brewery
October 1-5
In case enjoying the beautiful scenery at Blue Mountain Brewery isn't reason enough to sip a cold craft brew, you won't want to miss Oktoberfest at this local brewpub which will include releases of new and limited edition beers and a festive, seasonal menu. Prost!

Third Anniversary Weekend at Trump Winery
October 3-5
Celebrating its third year, Trump Winery will offer extended tastings of their wines and host live music. May we suggest this as a perfect stop after a morning of apple picking at nearby Carter Mountain Orchard?

Mask-Making 
October 3, 4-7pm at McGuffey Art Center
Get a jump on your Halloween or masquerade ball costumes at this free drop-in workshop with Australian artist Ricardo Idagi. A fun stop on a date night before dining on the Downtown Mall.

Fall Fiber Festival and Sheepdog Trials at Montpelier
October 4-5, 10am-5pm
If you've always wanted to visit James Madison's home, the Fall Fiber Festival would be a great time to do so. Crafts, demonstrations, and sheepdog trials will bring Montpelier's beautiful grounds to life.

Swannanoa Palace Open House
Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-5:30pm
This palace, modeled after the Roman Villa de Medici, is stunning to tour any time of year, but with the leaves changing in October, we bet the views on Afton Mountain will be breathtaking.

Apple Harvest Celebration at Carter Mountain Orchard
Every weekend in October, 8am-7pm
Fresh apples, apple cider, apple donuts, hayrides, pumpkins, and the works. If you wanna do fall right, you've got to make a stop at this mountaintop orchard.

Last Comic Standing at the Paramount
October 10, 8pm
Whether you're a fan of NBC's Last Comic Standing or just want a good laugh, don't miss out on this stop of the comedy tour. Tickets can be purchased online in advance here.

Events at John Paul Jones Arena
10/10-10/12 Martha's Market (Boutiques and vendors benefiting women's healthcare at Martha Jefferson Hospital)
10/16 Eric Church The Outsiders World Tour
10/18 UVa President's Speaker for the Arts presents Kevin Spacey
10/25-10/26 Cirque du Soleil presents Dralion

The Festy Experience at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company
October 10-12
Live music, great beer, and fabulous autumnal views make The Festy at the concert grounds at Devil's Backbone October's most popular concert experience. Drop in for a day or camp the whole weekend. Tickets information available here.

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival at Claudius Crozet Park
October 11-12, 10am-5pm
If you are visiting this weekend and appreciate handcrafted arts, you must stop by this festival. Browse dozens of stalls where artisans display their unique crafts, beautiful art, and occasionally whimsical pieces. Take home a special piece for yourself or start your holiday shopping early.

Jazz Ensemble at UVa's Old Cabell Hall
October 24, 8pm
Under the direction of John D'earth, himself a legend in today's jazz circles, the UVa Jazz Ensemble has evolved into an exciting group of talented musicians whose concerts are consistently among the most enjoyable to attend.

Public Exhibition of the Historical Buddha's relics at City Space (Downtown)
October 24-26
Relics and artifacts of the Historical Buddha will be on display for peoples of all faiths and cultures to admire and reflect upon. The exhibition is free and might make an interesting stop while you stroll the Downtown Mall.

Spirit Walk - Court Square/Oakwood Cemetery (Downtown)
October 25-26, 6-9pm
We couldn't list Charlottesville's October events without sneaking in a little bit of the spooky and macabre. In the spirit of Halloween, discover the city's darker, lesser-known stories on this animated ghost tour.


October is the most popular month to visit Charlottesville, so be sure to book your stay as soon as possible. Even if you just drive down for the day, let us know how we at Foxfield Inn can make your October visit to Charlottesville special.

--
Your Innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Things to Do in Charlottesville, VA - September 2014


September in Charlottesville, VA is packed full of festivals and events to celebrate the end of summer and welcome the start of fall. Here at Foxfield Inn, we are so excited for all the options that this month provides to showcase our region's specialties and pride. Whether you want to check out a festival, taste our area's bounty, or enjoy the great outdoors, Charlottesville has much to offer this September.

Festivals
In tribute to the traditional harvest celebrations, this month is jam-packed with festivals of all different varieties for you to enjoy, from food to music to history to beer. Click on the links to learn more about each festival.
Meet Yer Eats
Labor Day Celebration at Wintergreen Resort
Monday, September 1, 10am-5pm

Meet Yer Eats at select nearby farms
Monday, September 1, 10am-4pm

Charlottesville Chamber Music Festival
9/7, 9/11, 9/12, 9/13, 9/18 at various times and locations
Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello
Friday and Saturday, September 12-13, 9am-4pm

Fall Fruit - Tomatoes
Fall Fruit Festival at Edible Landscaping
Saturday, September 20, 9am-5pm

Top of the Hops Beer Fest at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion
Saturday, September 20, 3pm

Constitution Day Celebration at Montpelier
Taste of Freedom Wine Festival
Saturday, September 20, 10am-9pm

Top of the Hops
Oktoberfest at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company

Thursday, September 25, 1130am-10pm

Oktoberfest at Blue Mountain Brewery
Saturday, September 27, 11am-9pm

Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival at Lee Park
Saturday, September 27, 11am-5pm

Of interest to foodies, oenophiles, and beer-lovers
As the weather cools down and the summer humidity dissipates, the sunsets become more brilliant and Virginia landscapes come to life. Why not relax with a glass of wine or craft beer and take it all in?
Carter Mountain Apples

First Wednesdays at King Family Vineyards
Wednesday, September 3, 5-830pm

Thursday Evening Sunset Series at Carter Mountain Orchard
 Thursdays, 6-9pm

Woodson's Mill Tour
Saturdays, September 6 through October 18, 12-4pm

Vine & Dine Harvest Dinner at Trump Winery
Trump Winery
Thursday, September 11, 630-9pm

New Belgium CLiPS Beer & Film Night at Washington Park
Friday, September 12, 730pm

Starry Nights at Veritas Vineyard & Winery
Saturday, September 13, 7-11pm

Third Thursdays at Trump Winery
Thursday, September 18, 6-8pm
Veritas Vineyard Patio

Johnny Appleseed's 240th Birthday Celebration at Carter Mountain Orchard
Saturday, September 27, beginning at 1030am

Other 
If the start of football season lures you outside in September, here are some additional outdoor events you may want to attend.

CavMan - UVA Football
UVA Football Games
Saturday, September 6, 330pm vs. Richmond
Saturday, September 13, vs. Louisville


Gardens & Grounds Tour (free) at Montpelier
Sundays, September 7 through October 26, 2pm
Roseland Polo at King Family Vineyards
Sundays, 1pm

Flower-Arranging with Foxie at Afton Mountain Vineyards
Foxfield Races
Sunday, September 28, 1-4pm

Fall Foxfield Races
Sunday, September 28, 10am-5pm

What events are you excited to attend this September in Charlottesville? Let us know how else we at Foxfield Inn can make your stay as special as possible.

--
Your Innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Amphibians at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville VA

What?  OK, I realize this is probably a strange topic for Foxfield Inn but we have some interesting frogs and toads here at the inn.  I know most people want to know what there is to do in Charlottesville VA or about the food we are serving or about all the beautiful birds in our yard or even the horse races down the road from us.  But no, today it is going to be about frogs and toads.


We have a small fish pond in the backyard that has become home to several frogs in addition to our many goldfish.

Last summer we had 6 frogs sitting on the rocks surrounding the pond.  Of course we stood there admiring them and forgot to take a picture.  Then there are the frogs that like to go for a swim such as this one and just laze about in the water.

We recently discovered this toad hiding in one of our outdoor potted plants.  The look on his face makes me think he is mad at us for finding his hideout.  I will say he did startle me when I went to water the plant.  He has since moved on - to where I don't know but I do hope he likes his new home.

While your visiting us don't forget to check out the fishpond to see our beautiful frogs and fish.

Your innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast



Thursday, August 7, 2014

Date Night: The Charlottesville, VA Area Craft Beer Experience

Walk into any local restaurant or brewery here in Charlottesville, VA and the taps are flowing. And I don't mean with Bud Light. August is Virginia Craft Beer month, and in case you haven't heard, we have a lot to celebrate. Virginia boasts over 60 craft breweries, all producing incredibly interesting interpretations of those liquid fermented grains that even our local hero, Thomas Jefferson, was known to experiment with. The month culminates in a large festival at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company where winners in various tasting categories will be crowned.

Charlottesville has historically enjoyed tourism of its wineries, and while they are still going strong, craft breweries are catching up. To explore this phenomenon, I sat down with Scotty Lynch of Fardowner's in Crozet.

* * *

The very first time I walked into Fardowner's, a short, fifteen-minute drive from the inn, every table was full of diners and it was standing room only at the bar. A large chalkboard on one wall listed in bright colors the names of the beers on tap, and I only recognized one or two of them. My husband and I squeezed in, and before long, Scotty, a tall, kind-faced man with long, wavy hair tied back in a loose ponytail, sidled up to ask me what I'd like to drink. Our beer-drinking friends speak in hushed, reverent tones about Scotty's vast knowledge of beer, so naturally I asked him what he recommended. He responded with a question: "What do you like?"

* * *

Scotty Lynch stands in front of the
beer chalkboard at Fardowner's.
That was almost two years ago, but the proliferation of craft beer in our area has increased exponentially. Back in the day, like many restaurants, Fardowner's sold copious amounts of familiar mainstream beer (namely Miller Lite--the one national name they still keep on tap), and it was a small personal victory for Scotty whenever a customer ventured to order a craft beer and, even more, enjoyed it. Today, with so many flavor profiles to choose from, Scotty has to ask me what I like. Today, saying "I'll have a beer" in a Charlottesville bar is like saying "I'll have some food" upon entering a restaurant.

As for craft beer's increasing popularity, it's a boom to which Scotty attributes several factors. The biggest one being that the food and beverage laws in our state changed just in the past year and a half so that breweries no longer have to simultaneously operate a restaurant in order to serve alcohol to the public. (Many still serve food regardless, and at those that don't, our local food truck scene is happy to oblige).

Secondly, Virginia is home to many university towns, like Charlottesville, and some of the most popular Virginia breweries tend to pop up around them for a steady clientele who, well, enjoy drinking beer. And finally, Scotty believes Virginia was simply primed to embrace craft beer--geographically as the centrally located "crossroads" of the East Coast, and economically as the emphasis on local and artisanal foods have brought folks more in touch with the fresh and unique flavors that characterize a region.

In his restaurant, Scotty observes the transformation that happens when customers try a new beer. "They'll go, 'Hey, this is pretty good. If I like this one, maybe there are others [craft beers] I'll like.'" He continues, "If you really want to experience the [Charlottesville] area, why would you get a Bud Light that you can get at any gas station in your own hometown?" Scotty advises visitors to take a cue from the locals and seek out a new experience and order something that, perhaps, you can't yet get back home.

But what? Or how?

Here is some of Scotty's advice for making the most of your Virginia craft beer experience near Charlottesville.

  • There are several beer tour services now that will escort you from brewery to brewery. But if you're driving yourself, plan to start at Devil's Backbone Brewing Company (it's the farthest out) and then head back towards town.
  • That said, don't bite off more than you can chew. Think quality versus quantity. A large part of tasting craft beer in Virginia is taking in the experience. Try a sample of multiple beers--many places offer tasting flights. When you find something you like, order a pint, play a round of cornhole, and take in your surroundings--whether a breathtaking mountain view, a lively social scene, or a German-inspired biergarten. "Have fun with it!" Scotty urges.
  • In large part, craft beer drinkers are friendly folk. Talk to your neighbors! Talk to the staff! They are extremely knowledgeable and will be able to help you find something you will enjoy drinking.
  • If you'd like to go more in-depth with your visit, many breweries offer tours. Scotty recommends Devil's Backbone's Lexington facility (if you're willing to make the drive), Starr Hill, Three Notch'd Brewing Company, and Champion Brewing Company. One of them used to be a TV dinner production factory, but we'll leave it up to you to tour them and find out which.


Scotty's final piece of advice is particularly applicable for our visiting couples wherein one person enjoys beer and the other does not: "Just because you think you don't like beer, doesn't mean you don't like beer." There is almost always something for every palate, even if you don't like the taste of lite beer or perhaps the carbonation. I myself have been surprised at the number of stouts I have sampled that were more tantalizingly reminiscent of flavored coffee than of beer. "Plus, you can always throw in a visit to one of the cideries nearby," Scotty adds.

By the way, I asked Scotty if he still sells more Miller Lite than craft beer. He smirked and said with resounding relief, "No." The most popular style of beer ordered at Fardowner's is a pale ale, so be sure to add one of them to your tasting lineup. To Scotty, that's a sure sign that craft beer is here to stay, and we'll drink to that.

* * *

It was Starr Hill's Psycho Kilter, a Scottish ale, that Scotty recommended for me that first fateful day in Fardowner's, and I loved it. My tastes may have changed slightly since then, but to whatever reason you give credit for the proliferation of Virginia brews, I maintain that it's the invitation -- for dialogue, for conversation, and for the willingness to try something new, that's at its heart. What do you like?

As for what to do in Charlottesville for craft beer month? You can go all out and join in the festivities at The Virginia Craft Brewers Fest, or keep it simple and try a Virginia craft beer at one of many breweries or restaurants. We'd be happy to make a recommendation. Wherever you end up, talk to the bartender or brewmaster, and celebrate the best of what's around. Let us know how else we at Foxfield Inn can help you plan out your next new experience with Virginia craft beer.

And if you can't make it to Charlottesville this month, consider making plans to attend the Top of the Hops Beer Festival on Saturday, September 20. If you still can't get enough of our local brews, sign up for Scotty's weekly beer email to stay in the loop.

--
Your innkeepers,
Dan & Kathryn Bundy
Foxfield Inn | A Charlottesville, VA Bed and Breakfast