Saturday, November 7, 2015

101 Things We Love...Part 6

November! We are counting down...and hoping to get Ellen's attention, so if you have a cousin that works for her, please tell her we need her help to get the word out about our contest! We have a long way to go, but the pace of entries has picked up in the past week. I realized I had better finish my list, and I was reminded on Halloween of my next great 10 things...

49. Halloween in Scottsville. This year, our little town had well over 1000 trick or treaters - because, thanks to our own Baine's Coffee & Books - Scottsville businesses on Valley Street transformed into the Harry Potter village of Hogsmeade! In the past, we have hosted a pumpkin carving contest too - there are house parties, and an amazing Trunk or Treat downtown set up by one of the local churches. A M A Z I N G.

48. Halloween in Charlottesville at UVA Grounds. IF you decide to venture out the day before the big neighborhood celebration, the Grounds at UVA are host to lots and LOTS of little ghosts and goblins. And they go home with lots of treats!

47. First Night Charlottesville. The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville hosts an incredible family-friendly New Year's Eve party that includes music, magic, food, and tons of fun!

46. 4th of July Naturalization Ceremony at Monticello. Every year, Monticello hosts over 100 people who are sworn in as new citizens of the USA on the morning of the 4th of July, in Thomas Jefferson's front yard. Go for the emotion, the celebration, and the always inspirational speaker.
Dave was there.

45. 4th of July Fireworks in Scottsville over the James River. Fantastic celebration for a small town. Picnic with your family on the banks of the James River, an amazing morning Main Street Parade including every firetruck from every station within 20 miles! Best of all, you can walk down the High Meadows driveway for front row seats.

44. Scottsville Festival of Lights. It can't be overstated, for a small town, there is a lot of community! Each year, for the past 8 years, local school, businesses and clubs decorate a Christmas tree - and for several nights in early December, this magical place is open to the public - for free. Miniature train village, sometimes Santa...gingerbread, and good company - it's beautiful! This photo is by Thomas Greene...just a perfect winter shot...imagine it all lit up at night, soooo pretty!

43. While maybe not specifically a Valentine's Day celebration, Charlottesville hosts an annual Chocolate Festival downtown every fall...decadent and delicious, you can get your chocolate fix in one stop.

42. Gingerbread House display at the Omni. Ok, it's not the Grove Park Inn - but there are some really talented locals and always some professional entries that will blow you away! Early December, downtown Charlottesville.

41. Easter. Charlottesville Parks & Rec holds and annual Easter Egg Hunt in Charlottesville, if of course the natural spring beauty of Albemarle County in April isn't enough of a treat for you!

40. Holly Trolley in Charlottesville. There are some incredible light displays in Charlottesville! If you want a guided tour, hop on the Holly Trolley and travel in style. Every evening for several weeks in December, it's one of our favorite memories of Christmas in Charlottesville!

so...have I convinced you yet to enter!?! You've only got a few weeks left...get writing!
How do I enter?
First,read the Official Rules. Most questions can be answered there.

Second, use the online entry form for the quickest and most secure way to tell us about your dream! Or, if you will be sending your entry through the mail, read the rules again for WHAT information we need and WHERE to send it.

What does it mean when you say 'don't include identifying information in your essay"? I want to tell you about myself!
Of course you do, and we want to hear it! We mean that - since we are doing everything possible to keep things anonymous - you should absolutely not use your real names in your essay, or phrases like, "I was Cynthia's roommate in 1985" because that is a specific person that we will be able to identify without lifting our eyes from the page. Saying 'I am a 5th grade teacher in Baltimore' is fine...there are a lot of you, and we do not read minds...just lots of essays.
Can I visit High Meadows?
Sure! We are open year 'round, though we have closed reservations for a time in 2016 anticipating time to get the new owners acclimated to their new digs. If you're asking about just stopping in, well, use your best judgement...we are busy welcoming and caring for our guests, so rooms are often occupied and off limits to visitors anyway. The photos on the website are very good, and I'll be posting more on the blog as the contest continues. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Owner's Quarters...

We have had a ton of questions regarding Owner's I'll try to do them justice here by putting everything in one place! I have tried to explain in other places that we have utilized MANY different parts of the inn for our own space over the years, as the needs of my family changed. I assume that the new owner will also use the spaces as they see fit. There is no 'one size fits all' owner's quarters here!! Options, however are everywhere. :) Since many people also are interested in the Cottage, I will start there:

This is a photo of the Cottage (today...leaves are falling fast!),

and the professional photo from late spring
which, as you can see from the floor plans below, is currently divided into two guest rooms, each with a private bath. This cottage was built in 1996ish for the previous owners' parents, and when they passed away, it was divided as you see it is now.  We removed the kitchen appliances - but there is still 220 elec and plumbing run to the little sitting area (the room with the windows and yellow walls below) that has the door onto the deck, just capped off, that could easily convert this space back into a kitchen. This cottage also has drop-down attic stairs, accessed from the bathroom for the Cottage Room, for a storage space where we currently keep all the boxes for holiday decorations.
This is a photo of the entry hall, looking in as you open the front door. To the left is the door to the Cottage Room, to the right is the door to the Cottage Suite (with the deck)

Photos of the interior of the Cottage Suite:

Here are a few photos of the Cottage Room:

These bottom two are obviously NOT the professional shots...but you can see the bathroom, and the new flooring, bed and table/chairs.

That pretty much sums up the cottage...definitely potential and space for owners quarters, if the winner is so inclined.

 These next pictures are of the basement hallway, in between the kitchen and the rooms my children use:

These stairs are the ones that go to the main level, and you can see into the kitchen from this photo. The doorknob is just pretty, it goes into the full bathroom on this level. The wooden closet doors on the left cover a whole wall of shelving we use for towel and linen storage.
I like the floors...white stones in the bathroom with painted brick wall, and brick floor in the hall.

The next photos are of the rooms down on the lower level that we turned into our personal space for living room/dining room. You can get a feel for the spaciousness, and the window placement. That's a great gas stove insert! Directly across from it (not pictured) is the door that connects the kitchen.

The photo below shows the small room adjacent to the room above, and which also has a door out to the brick patio. This 'window' you see is covered with a board divider, and is seen from the other side above my son's bed (with the red/white coverlet below).

I got brave and took pics of my teens' rooms...don't judge's their mess. 
Top photo as a guest room many, many years ago - nice and neat. Bottom is my 13 year old daughter's vision of pink.We painted the paneling - it's not fancy woodwork, just literally beadboard panelling, added in the 80's to cover rough plaster walls. There is an in-the-room handsink. The floor is painted concrete - we like that, but basically you could put down anything you want over this surface. This is at the front of the house, with a door connecting to the full bath (that also has the door from the hall with the pretty knob...two doors into one bathroom), as you are reading the floorplan...the room on the bottom right of the picture below.

Below is my son's room (the bottom left room in the photo above) - it's a painted concrete floor as well. Nothing fancy, the windows let in nice light. It is at the front of the house, directly below the Peony room.

The last photo of where we 'live'...
This is called the 'Office' on the floor plan, it's on the main level, and we have a tv in an alcove here (not pictured, on the right), there is a full bathroom to the right also. 

Behind the curtain, there is a doorway we boarded up (but could easily be taken down) that leads to the massage room - which has a separate entrance from the back porch. Before we closed it off, that part of this room held the bed for this room, which has been a guest room, and was also where my mother lived when we first came. 

SO...these are some of the spaces you HAVEN'T seen on the website, as they are generally off limits to guests. I hope it's obvious there are SO MANY configurations for pretty much whatever the new owners needs are! Lastly, the laundry room, kitchen....

And the large chicken coop/tool shed. 

Now go, write your essay, and ENTER!!!  Good luck!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Some bonuses for the winner!

We have been pondering a few fun (but practical) ways we can support the winner in their new endeavor, and after following a few other contests with similar ideas, I think we came up with a few perks that will definitely put a few more reasons under the 'Why I SHOULD enter the High Meadows Essay Contest' column...

We are lucky living here in Scottsville to be near one of the best B&B consultants in the whole country, Peter Scherman of the B&B Team....a group of realtors specializing in inns and B&B's, aspiring innkeeper seminar leaders, and consultants. Peter lives here in Scottsville, though his business keeps him on the road a lot! We want the winner to be successful whether or not they are experienced innkeepers, if that's their dream. So - we are going to send the winners to one of the BB teams Aspiring Innkeepers Seminars in 2016, hopefully in conjunction with the Bed &Breakfast Association of Virginia's annual conference! They will have a chance to meet other friendly, helpful innkeepers in Virginia,  be able to ask lots of questions, sign up for all sorts of interesting training sessions and get acclimated to innkeeping in Virginia. As much as everyone entering the contest is excited - my fellow innkeepers are excited too! They can't wait to see who wins, to meet them, and to support their dream. If we get our minimum of 5,800 entries, AND the winner has an interest in keeping High Meadows as a B&B...this trip will be paid for by us!

Also something that will be very relevant to a winner hoping to continue as a B&B...association membership fees for 2016 will be paid for AIHP (Association of Independent Hospitality Professionals), BBAV (Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia), and the Inns of Charlottesville. These are educational and advocacy associations that have been invaluable to us.

If we get at least 6,800 entries - we will also award the winner $10,000 to help pay immediate real estate transaction fees and moving expenses.

If we get at least 7,800 entries - we will award an additional $25,000 to help with startup expenses.

These are the biggies...we hope that they help!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Things we love...Parts 4& 5

This will be EASY...and maybe I am cheating a bit by not just listing 'WINERIES' as one item, BUT...they are all so different, we like them for VERY different reasons. So I think it's on for our faves!

the view at Blenheim

69. Barboursville Vineyards. This one is the farthest from us - but if you are coming or going from DC like 90% of our guests, it's literally ON YOUR WAY. And it's a 'don't miss this' kind of place, especially if you are new to VA Wines. Some of the best are made here - Octagon of course. The restaurant is wonderful. The ruins are legendary. And there is an inn on the grounds, which I am also sure is lovely! Our own winemaker Gabriele Rausse began his storied career in Virginia as the guy this family recruited from Italy to grow great grapes and make great wine. The current winemaker, Luca, is a local celebrity.

68. King Family Vineyards. To the west of us, this isn't necessarily convenient for our guests to visit while they are here for the weekend. But this blog is to tempt you into wanting to enter the contest and WIN HIGH of course it goes in. Great views, polo matches (fond memories from my college days in Sarasota, at Ringling School of Art & Design), a beautiful fireplace for winter tastings...this makes a great drive when we need to just get out of our own space and relax.

67. Veritas.  Also over in Crozet, an amazing venue for brides, delicious wines, one of my FAVORITE sparkling wines Fizz, and they have their 'Starry Nights' music series every summer. Go at least once!

66. Pollack. Another place over in the western part of the county...we like to make a day of King, Veritas, Pollack, and the next ones...

65. Cardinal Point. One of my personal favorites, and they have a sweet farmhouse available as a homestay! Great wine for just about any reason.

64. Flying Fox. Really pretty views, and visiting this winery gives you a reason to hope that the chef/owner of...

63. Le Bleu Ridge B&B has her food truck open, Le Chic Picnic. If she isn't open near the winery, then she might be up at Bold Rock Cidery...wherever you find her - HAVE LUNCH. Whatever is on the menu will be awesome. She has won the Bed & Breakfast of Virginia Cooking Challenge for the last 2 years...and I was a judge one year. She is French, so maybe it's the accent. I don't know, but her cheese souffle was heavenly. So if she is open, go.

62. Hilltop Berry Farm & Winery. So maybe wine snobs will think any other-than-grape, fruit-based wine is no good....but I beg to differ. Maybe not paired with a steak, sure...but as a light dessert accompaniment? Sorry, I think it's perfect. Plus, they make MEAD here! Honey-based, it's delicious. AND...I LOVE to cook with these wines!! They have fresh fruit flavors that really make anything special. The labels are as lush and pretty as the wines, too.

61. Because after all this wine tasting, if Le Chic Picnic isn't open, there is also Basic Necessities over this way, which is a French wine lovers dream shop...cute shop, interesting wine selection, cheese counter, local breads and a lovely little menu. Our go-to place for food when in the Western part of the county.

60. Pippin Hill. Stunning views. The only vineyard I can think of that actually has a kitchen too. And oh, what a kitchen! The food is stunning, little delicious bites that pair nicely with the wines. You will soon start to feel like you never want to leave, though closing time does eventually come. This place is perfect on it's own, AND only a hopskipandjump from High we enjoy it for lunch more than we should admit to.

59. Jefferson Vineyards. This one is nearly always packed, BUT...late winter, it's between us and Charlottesville, and not so crowded - and definitely worth a visit to taste the new wines.

58. Trump Vineyard. Actually, my favorite thing about this winery is the patch of wineberries just off the parking lot in late July...but the Cru is a delicious after dinner wine and this is the best place to get it. The staff is great, and the patio is nice for picnics.

57. Virginia Wineworks. LOVE LOVE LOVE this's not the fanciest tasting room, and there are zero views...BUT, you are in the actual winery, among the beautiful barrels and tanks. And, you can stop at

56. First Colony. New owners took over a couple of years ago, and the changes have been extraordinary! From the amazing thatch roof, interior renovations, and still always excellent winemakers and staff - this is one of the closest wineries to us, therefore my go-to when I need a nice bottle of wine in the eve.

54. Blenheim. This place has the best views, hands down. It's also one of the closest to us, I can be there in less than 10 minutes, driving the beautiful backroads. The art is ever-changing, and always great. The winemaker is a lovely person, making lovely wines, and a woman to boot. The wines are ALWAYS very drinkable - I've never had a Blenheim wine I didn't like. Did I mention the view? Apart from winemaker Kirsty...
also on staff is Tracy Love
- who always boggles my mind with her foodie knowledge, event stylings, and all-around great taste. That will lead me to

53. Hill & Holler. Not a winery at all, but a roving farm-to-table dining event company, run by the above mentioned Tracy and friends. The food is always stellar, and the wine pairings perfection. The Hill & Holler team knows their stuff, and I look forward to being able to attend more of their events when I'm not so busy with High Meadows...and the next owner should make time to go to at least one of the dinner events. In fact, maybe we should go together next spring! Future Winner, it's a date!

52. Thistle Gate Vineyard. On the other side of Scottsville, this vineyard sits by itself - but it's so worth the effort to visit this solitary gem. Some of these reds are so rich and yummy, they might be my favorite wines for fine dining enjoyment...Thistle Gate Cab Franc, and a steak at The Smokehouse Grille in Scottsville...pure local deliciousness.

51. Gabriele Rausse. This lovely Italian winemaker is legend in Virginia. He planted many, many vineyards - including High Meadows in 1986. He was our winemaker here for years, and we have many fond memories of the High Meadows Pinot Noir Vin Gris. Now, you can visit his winery for very limited hours - and if you are lucky, get a chance to meet the man who made making wine in Virginia possible.

It's a long list, but you can see why we can't simply group them all together and call it a day! Whoever is the lucky winner of the essay contest, the one who will take over the property at High Meadows...whatever their plans - wine in Virginia has been a part of our history since Thomas Jefferson, and we are lucky today to enjoy such a variety of wines, winemakers, and wineries! Cheers!