Trump Estate: Girls Night Out

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It’s been two months since I wrote Part One of this post!

Procrastination and life has a way of interfering with sitting back at a keyboard with a glass of wine and reflecting on how  blessed we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. It actually took the Republican National Convention to spur me on to writing. Kerry Woolard, General Manager of Trump Winery, spoke last night at the RNC and Eric Trump is slated to speak this evening. I have Kerry to thank, along with the staff at Trump Winery, for making our stay exceptional.  Oh, and by the way, this is not a political diatribe, it just got me thinking. This is about an over the top Bed and Breakfast in Virginia wine country,  just a short drive down the road from the historic Monticello,  Ashlawn ( James Monroe’s home),  Dave Matthew’s winery Blenheim Vineyards, peach and apple orchards and our own charming downtown Charlottesville.

In thinking back over our stay,  I pondered as to why it was such an impressionable overnight  and several reasons came to mind.

One: As children we hear stories and read fairy tales about princes and princesses, castles and sumptuous living, but only a few people actually experience the daily lifestyle of the rich and famous. This was an opportunity to slip into that world, for a night or a weekend or a week.

Two: Trump does have the letter “T” everywhere and guess who has the same initials? So, when they handed us the remote control for the gate to the property and I kept seeing the “T” everywhere, well, it kind of did feel like home. The fact that the manor house has only (only!) ten suites, and due to the limited number of guests on our stay, my sister actually started calling it her home. Conversations began with “ I’m so glad you could come to visit me” and along with plenty of bubbly wine and giggles, we did make ourselves quite at home.Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0043

Three:  The approach through the vineyards and traversing through the rolling countryside with pastoral vistas, I was reminded of early 1800’s paintings of  England in  particular, a  landscape by English Romantic painter, John Constable of Wivenhoe Park  an English landscape park, and the estate of the Rebow family. John_Constable_-_Wivenhoe_Park,_Essex_-_Google_Art_Project

Four: Elegance permeated the property with two 1760 handmade Waterford crystal chandeliers, the elaborate ornamental rococo mantle in the dining room, the soaring 22 foot ceiling in the living room, hand-painted wallpaper designed in Paris and painted in India, garden statuary and formal rose gardens plus the Steinway grand piano-  all speak to a lifestyle of days gone by and made this home outstanding.

As I said, we were totally impressed!

Movie Night

So that night, we slipped on our slippers like The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm (except there were only four princesses in this story) and danced and traipsed through the halls of the mansion down to the private theater, complete with freshly popped popcorn, loads of candy bars and BYOB Trump Sparkling Blanc de Blanc.              Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0095

Okay, so maybe we don’t look like princesses-we felt like princesses.

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Showing pictures of our “Pajama Party” at the Albemarle Estate,  I really wanted you to see how much fun you can have at the estate and it would’t be complete without sharing about our evening in the private theater. The room was used in the 1980’s to screen first release films and currently, state of the art surround sound and HD projection. For about $20 per person, you can reserve the theater for your group .

You’ll have the theater to yourself with tons of movies to choose from (you get to select only one though), all you can eat Reese’s and it’s really close to the indoor hot tub, sauna and outdoor pool area if you decide to do something else. I fell asleep and missed THE END but we had a short walk to our opulent suite and sweet dreams.

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I think the pictures speak volumes…it was a heavenly wake-up and the formal breakfast/brunch was artfully presented.

Afterward, we took advantage of the cool morning air, a bike ride and further exploring the property…

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A special thanks to my sweet daughter/photographer, Jillian Curran of  Lumina Boston Photography, the pictures were too many, too wonderful to include all in this one post.

I hope you have as much fun as we did!

THE END

 

 

 

 

Save The Bay, Eat An Oyster In Nelson County


Oyster lovers were greeted  Saturday afternoon by billowing cottony clouds rolling across the Blue Ridge mountains near Wintergreen and fears of a rainy washout dissipating in the light breeze. This year, the 2nd Annual Blue Ridge Oyster Festival appeared to be quite successful judging by the numbers of happy picnickers headed in with lawn chairs, children in tow and  lines forming for food and beverages at the Devils Backbone Brewing Company  in Roseland, Virginia.

I’ve never been a big fan of oysters so this was a nice chance for my husband to enjoy a rare treat. Neither of us anticipated how much I was going to like the BBQ’d Mobjack Bay oysters with Rock Barn‘s Andouille sausage, arugula, and Asiago cheese.  Needless to say, they were sold by the half-dozen and first go-around I had three!  The shrimp and sausage grits topped off with scallions and cheddar cheese were worth the fork fight we had and are a must for next year. Ice cold beer on draft washed it down well and cooled us from the warm sun.

Oysters play a key role in helping to restore the Chesapeake Bay by filtering water.  One single oyster can clean up to 60 gallons of water every day. More oysters and oyster reefs are needed which is why they were proudly recycling all the oyster shells from this year’s Blue Ridge Oyster Festival for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s many oyster restoration projects.  All oysters served at the Blue Ridge Oyster Festival were harvested from Ward Oyster Company’s Aquaculture program (Ware Neck, VA)

We never got a chance to try the wine that was released by Cardinal Point and Blenheim wineries as we were headed back into Charlottesville for the Monticello Wine Trail Festival.  The 2011 Chardonnay aged in 100% American Oak  from Cardinal Point was the featured release and the 2011 Red Table wine from Blenheim was a blend of 46% Cabernet Franc, 36% Merlot and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon.  The Blenheim wine that I thought would have paired well with the oysters was the 2011 Rosé a vibrant, fruity but dry rosé made from Mourvedre, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, served chilled.

I wanted a souvenir wine glass but settled for a cool t-shirt. Next year, wine and the glass!

The hustle bustle behind the concession counters kept up with the demand and I loved the lady working the oyster booth with her double strand of pearls smiling her gorgeous smile. She was indeed one of the “pearls ” of the oyster festival. I would have loved to interview her but didn’t dare disrupt the assembly line.

Two Suggestions for 2013:

Restructuring the admission gate to facilitate better flow of the people who purchased tickets online. There was a bit of grousing and one person actually asked the attendant if they weren’t embarrassed to tell people, “If you don’t have a ticket, move to the head of the line”. The line was actually to check bags for outside food and beverages but unfortunately it was to the advantage of non-ticket holders.

Also, is there any way that speakers can be enhanced so that the food concession area can hear the wonderful live music? Picky, picky, but the stage was a bit far from the food area to pick up much volume.  I’m not an engineer and perhaps it is due to sound restrictions? With so many people quietly savouring their meals, I think it would add to the experience.

The commitment to accommodating as many people as possible was evident and look for this event to work out fine details, this was only the second year and they did a great job. Thanks to Cerberus Productions and Devils Backbone Brewing Company for hosting the event and benefitting The Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge and The Chesapeake Bay Foundation. We look forward to next year!

Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Update

Dreaming Tree Afoot!
Paulette Musselman snapped this at Dave's Blenheim Winery in Charlottesville

If you’re a fan of Dave Matthews and a wine lover, you already know aboutThe Dreaming Tree WinesI wrote a post about Dreaming Tree Wine in September when very few people were aware of it; now, in a short period of time fans are all over their wines  (disclaimer-not because of my blogpost).  If you have “fanned” or “liked”  their Facebook page, the prevailing question is regarding availability.  The Crush wine is very high on DMB fans Christmas wish lists.   Even though the Dreaming Tree representatives respond quite well to comments on Facebook  questions still persist.

So, here’s the lowdown:

  • You can order from their website, but shipping regulations restrict them from shipping to certain states
  • Dreaming Tree Wines is licensed to ship wine to the following states: Alaska, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
  • At this point, they do not ship internationally.
  • Unfortunately, the website does not have a list of retailers, although it may be coming soon, retailers that carry Clos Du Bois is a good bet, small local discount liquor and wine stores, Randalls, Central Liquor Stores Jewel grocery stores and where I found it, Target!
  • Definitely follow them on Facebook for the latest events.
  • Dreaming Tree Wines Customer Service
    Phone: (855) 839-2962
    Fax: (707) 251.4995
    E-mail: customerservice@dreamingtreewines.com
  • Suggestion for Dreaming Tree Wines-Add a list of retailers for your fans!

Dreaming Tree Wines and Dave Matthews

In case you’ve missed it, the latest “buzz” in wine is crossing the continent as we speak!

 11 years ago, our family had decided to move to a beautiful, relatively small town in Virginia with world-wide recognition!  Historians will insist that  Charlottesville is most notable because of the influence of one man, Thomas Jefferson.  However, talk to anyone under a certain age (ahem!) and they’ll have you know it is more well-known as the residence (albeit, part-time) of Dave Matthews and the DMB!  Two decades ago at the Earth Day Festival in the City of Charlottesville, the Dave Matthews Band was publicly launched. in 2001 I had no idea who the heck DMB was, but friends of ours in Dallas were envious that we could move to the “birthplace of  The Dave Matthews Band“!  How exciting!  A couple of years after we moved, a family member (name to be withheld) was eating a slice of pizza with us at Christian’s Pizza on the Downtown Mall and literally bit through her plastic fork when she realized Dave Matthews was sitting behind us. We kept the fork for quite some time as a memento and at that point I realized how exciting (wink) it was to live in Charlottesville!  Unbeknownst to us, in 2000, Dave Matthews had established Blenheim Vineyards, a family operated winery a scenic 20 minute drive southeast of Charlottesville.   Now in 2011, Dave is launching another collaboration in wine making with Steve Reeder of California called  The Dreaming Tree Wines, named after the song. 

Creative Factor– Dave: “A mutual respect that doesn’t rely on his (Steve’s) knowledge of music or my knowledge of wine”  and Steve: “I make wines for people to drink, I don’t make wines for people to put in their cellar”.

    Steve Reeder graduated from University of California, Davis and according to Steve,  was inspired to make wine at the 1st Middleburg Virginia Festival in the 1970’s!  As a youngster, he worked for a while  on his uncle’s farm in Indiana pitching in with beer making in the barn. Later he lived in Germany and was introduced to exceptional lager beers and his parents wine cellar 🙂  His resume includes Kendall-Jackson, Fosters Wine Estates and most recently, Simi Winery.

Check out their website, super cool and follow the path on the map! Does this mean the path ends in Virginia with Blenheim Winery making wine for The Dreaming Tree label as well? Could we cross the Great Divide between California wines and Virginia wines? And by the way,  I love the Cork!  We’ll soon know, perhaps someone can shed more light on this? All I know is that it sounds great, looks like fun and takes the pretentiousness out of wine drinking!