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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.

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

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

Monday, August 4, 2014

Zucchini Fritters at Foxfield Inn, Charlottesville VA

It's that time of year when the zucchinis (both green and yellow) are at all the farm markets & stands.  Even your neighbor is giving them away to anyone who will take them.  With so much abundance I have been trying to find different ways to use them here at Foxfield Inn in addition to the old stand-bys of Chocolate Zucchini Cake, sauteed zucchini and zucchini muffins/breads.

A fellow innkeeper (thank you, Hayden) told me they make them into Zucchini fritters/cakes and serve them to guests with breakfast.  This was something new to me (OK, I know the rest of you have probably done these many times but not me).  So off I went searching the internet for zucchini fritter/cake recipes and discovered that these are definitely NOT new.  I settled on starting with recipes I found on Smitten Kitchen and The Pioneer Woman sites. 

After a few adjustments we came up with a recipe that our guests really like.  We serve them with poached eggs and an herb Hollandaise sauce.  We hope you enjoy them as well.

Zucchini Fritters
2    cups grated zucchini (from approximately 1 pound of zucchini)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2    large eggs (preferably from free range, pastured chickens)
2    tablespoons chopped sweet onion (or green onions)
1    cup Panko bread crumbs (adds to the texture, flour will work if no Panko available just use less)
1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2  teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon salt
1     teaspoon fresh oregano (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
4     basil leaves chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2     sage leaves chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
1     teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
Panko crumbs for dusting cakes
oil for frying

Mix the grated zucchini with the salt and put in a strainer in the sink.  Let sit for 30 minutes.  Lightly press on the grated zucchini to start the de-watering process.  After 30 minutes place the grated zucchini on a kitchen towel and squeeze out as much water as you can.

Place the zucchini mass in a large bowl.  Lightly toss with a fork toloosen the zucchini.  Combine the remaining ingredients except the final Panko crumbs and the oil with the zucchini.

In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat.  Form the zucchini mixture into 2-3 inch flat cakes.  Lightly dust with the Panko crumbs. 

Carefully transfer to the hot oil and fry until golden brown (approximately 3-4 minutes).  Watch the heat of your pan as you do not want this happen too quickly or too slowly - adjust temperature if needed. 

Flip the cakes over and brown the other side.  Remove to a paper towel lined baking sheet and keep in a warm 200F oven. 

Fry the remaining cakes.


Serve warm topped with poached eggs and an herb Hollandaise sauce.


Dan & Kathryn Bundy, your Innkeepers
Foxfield Inn, a Charlottesville VA bed and breakfast