I first stayed at Meander last September on my way to North Carolina to a wedding. It was just an over night stay and I swore I would return with my husband .I did so last week, this time to attend Meander Plantation's cooking school. It was an activity and information full two days.
When we arrived we were given a Meander apron and a tote bag filled with goodies as well as a notebook with cooking information and all the recipes for the items we would be making. This allowed us to really watch the chefs while they were cooking rather than trying to furiously write down what they were doing. We also received an invitation to a Spring Tea Party with Chef Sarah in the Meander kitchen.
The theme for this class was "Elegant Entertaining" so Chef Sarah taught us how to make all kinds of items for a tea party. This included how to make a Pate a Choux (puff pastry dough). Chef Sarah made it look so easy I can hardly wait until I have time next week to try to make it. The best part of the class is we got to eat all of our efforts.
After lunch and a break we got to meet Chef David Scales for a "Dinner Party Primer" as he prepared the courses we would be dining on that evening. Tuesday night we had a wonderful dinner in the private dining room. This was followed on Wednesday with Suzie Blanchard, one of the owners, teaching us how to make pizza dough and many kinds of elegant toppings such as duck. She taught us how to make a spicy tomato jam that she served with melted manchego (cheese) on a round of bread. After 2 PM on Tuesday we were free and had time to drive over to James Madison's house. Tuesday night we were invited to a Vintner's Dinner featuring the wines from Gray Ghost vineyards. The evening started in the formal living room with the vineyard owners discussing wine making and tasting their new Riesling. We than moved to the dining room and were treated to a five course dinner, each accompanied by the appropriate wine from Gray Ghost. I loved Gray Ghost's reds.
First course was a sampling of wonderful fresh local asparagus prepared three ways: asparagus tempura, chilled asparagus soup with jumbo lump crab cake, and shaved asparagus salad with seared scallop and balsamic reduction. Second course was big eye tuna served two ways: seared with wasabi cream and soy reduction and ceviche with horseradish and ginger mayonnaise. Third Course was a rack of lamb lollipop with crispy garlic potato, and fourth course was a New York strip steak with wilted baby spinach and mushroom risotto. The dessert course was buttermilk panna cotta with a strawberry-rhubarb coulis and a pistachio tuile.
The food was absolutely amazing and two nights stay plus the two day cooking school and all that wonderful food for two of us was only $800.00. I don't know how they do it. I think it has to be one of the best bargains in the travel world.
Staying at Meander is a treat unto itself. Imagine a long curving driveway at the end of which sits this magnificent house built in the 1720s which sits in the middle of 80 rolling Virginia acres. There are horses and when it was clear we could see the outline of the Blue Ridge mountains. It rained most of the time so we weren't able to walk down to the river but during lulls we did walk the grounds. Instead of a yellow brick road there are red brick walk ways and around every bend and curve is a different little area planted with different flowers and bushes. The entire setting just makes you forget any problems you may have arrived with. The house also is as magnificent as you might expect. I was in the Shearer Suite again which is exceedingly comfortable. Once again I marveled at the opulent bed linens, the furniture, the chandelier in the bathroom, the wonderful bath amenities. And Meander is spotlessly clean.
I can't recommend their cooking school and a visit to Meander highly enough. The only disappointment is we didn't give ourselves an extra day to see even more of the area. Well, like Scarlett O'Hara said, "Tomorrow is another day" and with that will come another stay at Meander.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Discover wine country at our romantic Virginia B&B, minutes to Culpeper, Orange, and nearby Montpelier. Our Culpeper bed and breakfast is a historic getaway from hectic city life on a beautiful sprawling estate with luxurious rooms and private cottages. Don’t miss out on a truly spectacular and memorable meal at our elegant Orange, VA restaurant. Our Pet friendly Virginia bed and breakfast combines elegance and comfort for a truly romantic Virginia getaway. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Inn At Meander Plantation Hotel Locust Dale