It’s all about presentation, whether it’s a creatively garnished plate in an elegant Michelin rated restaurant, an exquisitely wrapped gift or the initial dramatic entrance as you approach an estate property. It is an announcement of what is to come, a tantalizing expectation of an anticipated experience. In this case, large iron gates supported by heavy brick columns with the name Albemarle Estate and Trump Winery announce your passage into a world of opulence. We had arrived!I’ve been fortunate to be in attendance at some of the major events at Albemarle Estate including the announcement of the acquisition of the winery by Donald Trump , the official ribbon cutting for Albemarle Estate Bed and Breakfast, gala events and a recent wine makers sparkling brunch. While researching places to stay around Charlottesville, I couldn’t find a write up by anyone who had actually stayed at the B & B. As a member of the Trump Winery Wine Club and living in Charlottesville, I decided what better place for an indulgent girls getaway? No beach house for this group! No way!
Fabulously groomed ornamental gardens with tucked away sculptures, fountains, blooming Dogwoods, Cherry and Apple trees, Wisteria draping over arbors and perfectly chilled glasses of sparkling Trump Blanc de Blanc Chardonnay awaited us.
Graciously, the men in our family took over the job of babysitting and keeping up on the home front as we headed out on our own for a retreat a mere 30 minutes away in Albemarle County.
Bye Bye Daddy! Bye Bye Elena!
After being buzzed in through the gate, we were able to park right in front of the 26,000 square foot 45 room Georgian style mansion now Bed and Breakfast recently acquired by Donald Trump and part of the Trump Hotel Collection. We were greeted and delightedly found out we had our accommodations upgraded to the premier William and Mary Suite! With two luxurious separate bedrooms, each with King size beds sumptuously made with 100% goose down pillows and comforters and Italian Bellino bed linens, two 55 inch LCD flat screen HDTV’s, and a Nespresso Beverage system. The suite is accessed via an alcove adjoined by a private dining room. Each of the two bathrooms boasted a wonderful extra long claw foot tub with all the spa Trump bath goodies, and a separate hot steam shower. This is my kind of living!
The William and Mary Suite
Myself, my sister from London, our daughter in law from São Paulo, Brazil and most recently, Raleigh, N.C., and our daughter presently residing in the Boston area, all came to celebrate being together, birthday, and friendship in Charlottesville for a “Girls Getaway”. The last time we were together was almost 4 years ago and it was entirely too long. Book bridesmaid parties, a fun time with your besties, your book club or whatever, for a ridiculously wonderful “Girls Night Out”-preferably two nights if you can manage it-it takes a while to wind down. But do plan ahead. I planned this early and we scheduled on an off day which allowed us incredible privacy, lots of laughs and an all round grand experience. The more people in your group, the less you have to worry about bothering others since it is a quite intimate setting and others are looking for sanctuary as well. In retrospect, It was a good idea that we had reserved during the week since the following day all 10 rooms were completely booked. The estate is a perfect venue for weddings, functions and romantic weekends near the Monticello Wine Trail.
Check in is at 3 p.m., if you get there right on time, (we actually sneaked in a bit early, nabbed a freshly baked hot chocolate chip cookie or two, towels, lovely spa bathrobes) head straight out to the pool. The staff are quietly available to serve your needs and will give you a complete tour of Albemarle House prior to settling into your room or afterwards. The pool had just been heated and the hot tub was deliciously inviting after a cool Spring and welcome sunny day. Poolside towels are available, water bottles and the fireplace in the cabana can be lit for you upon request. The fitness room is nearby at the main house if you must workout as well as bicycles to ride around the property and vineyards.
What’s for Dinner?
Pay attention to the time, it slips away quickly and your options include heading back into town for dinner which is about a twenty minute drive, or (what we did) take advantage of the complimentary wine tasting at the Trump Winery, just off the grounds of the estate. They offer delicious fare and we called ahead to have our food ready to complement our tasting. They can also prepare plates “to go” and take back with you to the estate leaving you more time to enjoy the surroundings.
One of the more popular and unique wines outside of the award winning sparkling wines at Trump is Cru, a dessert wine created by blending Chardonnay juice with grape brandy then aged for over a year in American bourbon barrels. With 14% residual sugar and flavors of citrus, pear and a little bourbon, it can also be used as a mixer as well as an aperitif. It never fails, when I’m at the winery, there are always people walking away with a bottle or case of Cru. On our return, we took advantage of my favorite perk at Albemarle Estate (and the hardest item to give up) the electronic gate opener. Oh how desperately I wanted to keep it, while it was in my car we could pretend we were pulling up to home !
Stay tuned for Movie Night, the Morning After and the Gardens… Part Two: Girls Night Out at Trump