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Monday, September 30, 2013

Perfect Apple Crisp - Recipe from Foxfield Inn

Everyone at Foxfield Inn breathes a sigh of relief when fall arrives in Charlottesville, Virginia. The air is crisp, the mountain views are clear, the leaves are preparing for their showy display, and the apples are veritably rolling off the trees and into our kitchen.

Fruit crisps are an easy and delicious way to use seasonal fruit. This apple crisp can be seasoned with your favorite spices--cinnamon and nutmeg, even ginger or cardamom. We typically serve it as a sweet ending to breakfast, but you can certainly fold it into some yogurt to lighten it up, if you wish.

Perfect Apple Crisp
Makes 4 generous servings, easily doubled or halved

For the fruit...
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium apples, cored and roughly diced (count on 1 medium apple or 1/2 large apple per person)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Spices - we recommend 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg but your favorite combination of spices including cloves, allspice, star anise, cardamom, or ginger can be used
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
For the topping...
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 tablespoon oil

Melt the butter in a 10 or 12 inch pan over medium heat. Add the diced apples, and sprinkle on the sugars, spices, and cornstarch. Stir to coat all the fruit, cook until just softened and the sauce has thickened.

Fruit may be made ahead to this point. Simply refrigerate cooked fruit and divide among serving dishes when ready to bake.

Crumble Topping
Stir together all the dry ingredients. Using a food processor or your hands, work the butter and oil into the dry ingredients until they come together and are cohesive. Topping may be made ahead and frozen until ready to use.

Place fruit in oven-safe bake ware, such as individual ramekins, and top with 2-3 tablespoons of the crumble topping. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes (more or less depending on size of baking dish) until the crisp is lightly brown and fruit is gently bubbling. Remove from oven and cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with vanilla yogurt, vanilla or caramel ice cream, or a simple dollop of whipped cream.

Print Recipe

This fall comfort food is an excellent way to finish up a breakfast at Foxfield Inn. Maybe it will be on the menu when you visit us! If you'd like to make this recipe using apples you picked yourself while you are visiting Charlottesville, check out Carter Mountain Orchard and Henley's Orchard. What is your favorite way to cook or eat apples in the fall? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What to Do in Charlottesville, VA - October 2013

It's always a great time to visit us at Foxfield Inn, but we believe October offers even more appeal: Charlottesville, quite simply, pulls out all the stops. Between the crisp fall air and the trees putting forth their true colors, the football fever and the harvest festivals, October is our favorite month. Here are some interesting events and attractions you might consider adding to your autumn-in-Charlottesville adventure.

Photo by J.F. (2012)
used with permission
Oktoberfest Beer Festival at Blue Mountain Brewery
October 1-6 (begins September 28)
Blue Mountain is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, known for both their excellent craft beers and for their spectacular mountain views. Find a spot on the expansive patio to watch the sun go down while you sip on your favorite brew or try a sample of them all. During Oktoberfest, enjoy special tastings and menu items as well as live music. Prost!

October 12-13
Held twice a year, this festival is a mecca of handcrafted art, furniture, jewelry, decor, and so much  more. Meet the artisans and get a jump start on your holiday shopping, or simply browse for unique additions for your home. Take a break to taste some wine and enjoy a meal, if you'd like. The festival runs from 10-6 on Saturday and 10-5:30 on Sunday, and general admission is $6.

October 13
If you are a music lover, how about enjoying a concert with a legend at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on the Downtown Mall? Proceeds from this concert benefit the UVA Cancer Center and the Compassionate Care Initiative at the UVA School of Nursing. The show begins at 7 P.M. and tickets are available to purchase online.

October 18-20
Feel that chill in the air? Is is the brisk fall weather or a Charlottesville spirit in the shadows? With Halloween just around the corner, how about an animated tour from one of the guides at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society? Choose from a tour of the Maplewood Cemetery or the Court Square including the old jail house and learn of the legends and lore surrounding our fair city. Check the Historical Society's website for tour departure information and to purchase tickets.
And if you're not in town that particular weekend, consider trying a Ghost and Murder Walking Tour which follows the story of one of Charlottesville's late mayors. Tours are held every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening at 8 P.M. and depart from York Place on the Downtown Mall.

October 29
Alternative rock fans will be thrilled to witness this powerhouse band at the incredible venue that is the John Paul Jones Arena. Tickets are available online, and the show begins at 8 P.M.

Apple Picking
There are a few things that Virginia grows pretty well, and one of them is apples. Come fall, we are swimming in apples, apple butter, apple cider, and applesauce. If you'd like to pick your own and go home with a bushel, we have a couple of recommendations. (And if you don't want to pick them yourself, don't worry, there are plenty pre-picked to choose from). Carter Mountain Orchard is by far the most popular stop for apple enthusiasts, and each weekend in October is Apple Harvest Festival. A word of caution: allow plenty of time to visit the orchard on these merry days, especially if it falls on the same day as a UVA home football game (check that schedule here). In that case, you may want to check out nearby Henley's Orchards for some delicious, unique varieties native to our region. We stock up there often to let their apples be the star in some of our breakfast dishes.

As you can see, there is a wide range of interesting events to add to your Charlottesville itinerary when you visit us this October. Let us know how we can make your stay at Foxfield Inn as special as possible. What other things do you like to do in the fall?

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

Friday, September 13, 2013

Top 6 Places to Find a Unique Souvenir from Charlottesville, Virginia

When it's time for check-outs and goodbyes at Foxfield Inn, we sometimes wonder how our guests will remember their time in Charlottesville, Virginia. Will they look at a photo of themselves taken with a mountainous backdrop and laugh over a shared joke? Maybe they will try to recreate a meal they enjoyed together or search for a bottle of that favorite new wine they tasted while visiting. Or maybe when they unpack their suitcases back at home they'll unwrap a little souvenir, adding it to a collection of tokens from other travels on a favorite bookshelf or fireplace mantle.

Whether you're looking for a special piece to add to your personal travel collection, a gift for a friend or neighbor, or want to get a jump on your holiday shopping, we've scoped out some of the best places to purchase unique pieces of art from local Charlottesville artists and artisans.

The Artisans Market
Located in the Barracks Road North Wing shops, this relatively new establishment offers a unique selection of pieces. From one-of-a-kind wood furniture and serveware to handcrafted soaps and candles to creative jewelry, greeting cards, and bags, the Artisans Market offers plenty to look at. They also feature a collection of leather goods and textiles from Morocco, as well as traditional Polish pottery. I just couldn't leave without this divine-smelling goat's milk soap and an adorable illustrated card--perfect for an upcoming wedding.

The Barn Swallow
Just a short drive from the inn, The Barn Swallow is a lovely, well, barn, dated to the early 1800s that is just as beautiful to admire as the goods it houses inside. In a word: enchanting. Wandering through the gardens to the main entrance and through each of the three rooms will peak your curiosity amid displays of pottery, wood turning, linens, soaps, greeting cards, and more. The stars of the show are Janice Arone and Mary Ann Burk, the co-owners, whose pottery and ceramics are prominently displayed throughout the shop. The work of other local artists reflect a shared a love of nature. Oh, and keep an eye out for the friendly shop cat!

C'ville Arts
A mainstay of the Downtown Mall, and famous for its mosaic "sofa" outside the shop, C'ville Arts is a cooperative gallery featuring the work of dozens of Charlottesville artists. We are especially drawn to the brilliant photographs of Ben Greenberg and Jack Cacciatore, but also enjoy perusing the work of new artists as well. The displays rotate seasonally as the artists' work changes, and often you'll find that "the artist is in!" meaning you can meet one of the featured artists at the store. You'll also find unique pottery, paintings and prints, jewelry, textiles, ornaments and bobbles, journals, and more.

A quick peek in the window at Vivian's will have you itching to go inside. Dozens of handblown glass ornaments, vases, bowls, and figurines catch the light from the front windows, effortlessly capturing the imagination. Part of the Artisan Network Trail, Vivian's features the work of over 30 local artists, plus another 100-some additional artists. Wander towards the back of the store for some truly interesting pieces for the home - lamps, wall hooks, and mirrors - and for you - scarves, shirts, belts, and jewelry. Before you leave, make sure to glance upwards - the dazzling mobiles hanging from the ceiling are truly remarkable.

City Market
Held each Saturday morning April through October (and with a holiday market beginning November 23 this year), the City Market is not just for farmers. Check out this post about unique things to find from the Market artisans to add to your collection. Handmade teas, ceramics, wood carvings, jewelry, blankets, and even dog treats await you.

Crozet Arts & Crafts Festival
Dying my own silk scarf at the Crozet Arts&Crafts Festival!
(Photo credit: N.K., 2013, used with permission)
Okay, we have to expand our definition of "local" for this one. Twice a year, in nearby Claudius Crozet Park, dozens of juried artisans (both local, and from up and down the Eastern seaboard) gather to sell their wares. Potters, painters, and candlestick makers display their pieces alongside jewelry makers, woodworkers, and even silk scarf dyers. If you like variety and want to personally speak with the artist from whom you are purchasing, or just want to browse for inspiration, you won't want to miss this festival, held this fall October 12-13.

If you'd like to be inspired watching these artists at work, be sure to mark your calendar for the 2013 Artisans Studio Tour on November 9-10 for a truly hands-on experience.

We can't wait to hear about the unique treasures you find while shopping for the perfect memento of Charlottesville! Let us know how else we at Foxfield Inn can make your stay memorable. See you soon!

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