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Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Year's Eve in Charlottesville, Virginia

As the song goes, we at Foxfield Inn are wondering what are you doing New Year's Eve? If your plans bring you to Charlottesville, Virginia, we want to share some of the events going on to help you ring in the New Year!

Get a seat for the main event at First Night Virginia!
Photo by FNV (2013), used with permission.
Entertainment is abundant for First Night Virginia.
Photo by FNV (2013), used with permission.
This annual event held on the Downtown Mall is very popular with townies and visitors alike. The family-friendly block party offers a huge variety of entertainment starting in the late afternoon and continuing on into the evening. Performances by musicians, dance groups, theater groups, comedians, acrobats, musicians, and more promise for an exciting evening. Make a dinner reservation at a restaurant on the Mall, and partake in as many events as you can before or after you eat. You can check the schedule of entertainment online here and purchase admission wristbands online here. You won't want to miss the "Main Event" - a hilarious performance by hypnotist James Munsey. And if you want to partake in a New Year's Eve countdown, head to one of these three locations by 11:15 pm with your party hats on.

If dancing in masked company is your idea of a celebration, you won't want to miss this black-tie optional event at one of our favorite wineries. Make reservations online here (they're required) to enjoy wine and hors d'oeuvres, a five-course meal, champagne, dancing, and even breakfast! 

For those who prefer to start the New Year off with a bang, the fireworks show at Wintergreen Resort begins at 10 pm! You can spend the day skiing, snowboarding, or snow tubing, and try one of their three restaurants for an evening meal. DJs and musicians will help you celebrate in style. Wintergreen is an hour-long drive from Foxfield Inn; you can purchase lift tickets and find out more information at their website.

How will you welcome 2014? Let us know how we at Foxfield Inn can help you start the New Year off right, whether it's with a bottle of champagne or a health-conscious breakfast.

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Pear & Pistachio Cake - Recipe from Foxfield Inn

At this time of year I like to make food gifts for friends and relatives.  Last year I stumbled across a recipe for a Pear & Pistachio Cake.  This recipe caught my attention because my dad loves pears and I love pistachio nuts. So this sounded like a perfect combination.  Not only did Dad love the cake so did my friends and they all requested it again this year.  In fact they want me to make it more than just at the Holidays - but then it wouldn't be so special.

Pear & Pistachio Cake - adapted from Better Homes & Garden

Cake Ingredients
  • 4 cups fresh pears, peeled, cored and diced (approximately 3 large pears, I like D'Anjou for this recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups pistachio nuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly ground preferred)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
Frosting Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, finely chopped
 Directions - Cake
Preheat oven to 350F or 325F for convention oven.  Spray 12 small fluted tube pans or one 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray and flour pans.  Set aside.

Peel and core pears, cut into small dice - set aside.  Coarsely chop pistachio nuts - set aside.  Combine flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves - set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat oil, granulated sugar and brown sugar with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) until thoroughly combined.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Add the vanilla and mix.  Stir in the flour mixture, pears and nuts.  Divide batter evenly between the prepared tube pans.

Bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans half-way through.  Check to make sure that cakes are baked such that a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  If making a single 10-inch cake bake for 70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes.  Invert to remove cakes.  Cool completely before drizzling with frosting and more pistachio nuts.

Directions - Frosting
In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat.  Continue heating until the butter turns an amber brown.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.  Combine powdered sugar and milk in a large bowl.  This mixture will be quite thick - do not add additional milk at this time.  Add vanilla and slightly cooled butter to bowl and stir until combined.  If the consistency is too thick add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve the consistency you desire.

Drizzle frosting over cooled cakes and sprinkle with finely ground pistachios.  This can be a messy step and I usually do this with the cakes on a rack over a baking sheet to catch the drippings.

Let cakes sit until frosting sets then package as desired - bag with a pretty bow for instance.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as it is a great way to use pears and the salty pistachios complement the sweetness of the frosting.

Dan and Kathryn Bundy, your innkeepers at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville Virginia.

Monday, December 9, 2013

What to do in Charlottesville, VA - December 2013

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style... You'll certainly find Charlottesville dressed in holiday style in the coming weeks, and we at Foxfield Inn want to share some neat events that you won't want to miss when you visit us this December.

Holiday Wreath-Making Workshop
December 3
Learn how to cure and assemble your own holiday wreath sourced from local materials with Jenn Pineau, an artist with an impressive resume and the design genius behind a local boutique florist. Judging by the photos from a previous wreath workshop, it promises to be a very informative, hands-on session. Held in the historically significant Old Metropolitan Hall, you'll want to call in advance to reserve your spot. You can even split the cost of the class with a friend and work together to create two smaller wreaths to take home.

Lighting of the Lawn
December 5
If the University of Virginia holds a special place in your heart, you may want to take a stroll on the Lawn this particular evening. Festivities begin at 7pm with a capella performances, speeches, and more, and after a short countdown, this historic landmark is illuminated with holiday lights, followed by a singing of the Good Ol' Song. The Lawn will continue to be lit each night after dark for the remainder of the month.

Monticello Holiday Tours
December 7, 13-14, 20-23, 26-30
Thomas Jefferson's home is an interesting study all year round, but during the holiday season, it is magical. You won't want to miss these special evening tours that offer a glimpse of the holidays in Mr. Jefferson's time. Reserve your tickets online here.
And in case you can't make the wreath workshop mentioned above, Monticello also offers wreath-making on select days in December! Click here for more info.

Be sure to check out the Christmas tree on the Downtown Mall!
Photo by J.E.(2006) and used with permission.
Messiah Sing-In
December 10
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Join the University Choral Singers and the Charlottesville community as they sing Handel's Messiah accompanied by instrumentalists and vocalists of all shapes in sizes. Held in UVA's Old Cabell Hall, the performance invites you to sing along in what can only be described as a powerful setting. And even if you only prefer to sing in the comfort of your shower, there is space for spectators to listen and enjoy. The concert begins at 8pm; purchase tickets in advance online here.

Irving Berlin's White Christmas Viewing at the Paramount Theater
December 22
For a holiday-themed movie-and-dinner date, why not see the afternoon screening of the song-and-dance Christmas classic, White Christmas, at the historic Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall?

Veritas Masquerade Ball
December 31
If you'll be joining us to ring in the New Year, consider attending Veritas Vineyard & Winery's Masquerade Ball to celebrate in style. Wine, hor d'oeuvres, winemaker's dinner, and even breakfast will be served amid dancing, toasting, and costumes at this black-tie optional event. Reservations are required and may be purchased online here.

Come experience the magic of the season in Charlottesville! Let us know how else we at Foxfield Inn can make your holidays bright!

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