Ready to get away? I feel like I'm endlessly searching for vacation getaway deals, but the cost of actually getting to my destination always keeps me from booking. Last weekend, I stayed at Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia - a most luxurious destination that's only 25 miles west of Fairfax.
As in most reviews, I could tell you about all of the luxuries on the property -- including the most beautiful guest suites with plush linens and a gorgeous standalone soaking tub or the breathtaking view of the sunrise that the property offers while enjoying a quiet early morning breakfast in Harrimans Piedmont Grill. And who can forget the 23,000 sqft spa and wellness center that tailors every last detail to meet your needs?
Instead, I'll share my top three "don't miss" items on my itinerary during my weekend getaway - little hidden gems that are not quite your ordinary stay....
COOKING CLASS WITH THE CHEFAfter checking in and getting settled in our room, we headed down to the cooking studio located right outside of Harriman's. We were greeted with a glass of local wine, and had the most fun during a hands-on cooking class with the Executive Sous Chef.
The classes are $75 and inclusive of your meal, wine, tax and gratuity. The class was about 2 hours long and concluded with a private tour of the kitchen. It was a great experience and is perfect for both couples and girlfriends. We actually ended up ordering some of the items we made later that night at our dinner at Harriman's.
TREE TOP ZIP LINING Anyone who knows me knows that, without a doubt, I am not quite the great outdoorsman. When we go "camping", we either rent a cabin or blow up an air mattress and sleep in the back of our SUV. So when I saw that they offered zip lining through the forest, I was not really sure that I should let this adventure trump 2 hours in the spa, but I am so glad that hesitantly obliged.
It is pretty empowering to jump off a 70 foot tower and zip almost 700 feet on a line! The zip lines sprawl over a 23 acre course in a conservation easement on the property. I almost chickened out when it came to the tallest, longest line - but I did it! WOO!
GOLD CUP & VIRGINIA WINERIESLove to shop and support local businesses? When you sit at the bar at Gold Cup and check it out the wine list, it's no secret that Salamander Resort believes in supporting local wineries and vineyards. You can enjoy a tasting flight in Gold Cup Wine Bar where the staff has a wealth of knowledge about Virginia wines. Middleburg itself has earned its place among best wine regions in the US. Enjoying the wine list is like having a tasting of all the wineries in Virginia from the comfort of a swanky bar with couches, flat screen televisions, and a billiards table.
If you do want to leave the resort and visit a winery, Salamander has a complimentary car service that will take you to many of the local wineries within 5 miles. Along with three other ladies we met while at Salamander, we took a car to Greenhill Winery for a tasting and a glass of Blanc de Blancs on Saturday afternoon.
We were sad to leave on Sunday, but as a final hurrah on our way out of town, we stopped at Market Salamander for a quick bite before our two-lane journey east on route 50. We truly enjoyed our weekend getaway experience at Salamander Resort and Spa and will be back again for another getaway!
Here's a little tip: There is a locals discount! Salamander is offering residents of Loudoun, Fauquier, Fairfax, Clarke, and Prince William County 15% off all Spa and Salon services Mon-Thurs through March 31 with proof of residence (excludes public holidays).
For a full list of resort activities, experiences and attractions, you can visit Salamander's events page. Take a look out for February's "Month of Romance" specials for a couples retreat.
More information about Salamander Resort and Spa can be found online: www.salamanderresort.com.
*special thanks to the Salamander team for inviting us to stay!
If you are looking for a great spot to hang out for date night or try a new restaurant, I highly recommend the additions to Mosaic District. We head out to Mosaic often for special events or to grab drinks -- and it's our go-to pit stop on the way home from DC when we're looking to grab a bite to eat.
I was invited to come do a "Mosaic Dish" tour with a group of bloggers and we checked out 4 of the restaurants on the property -- Cyclone Anaya's, B-Side, True Food Kitchen, and Gypsy Soul by RJ Cooper. I took my mom as my +1 for a fun night out :)
We started off in the upstairs bar at Cyclone Anaya's which is an upscale Mexican Kitchen. If you're a fan of a jalapeño margarita (which is my go-to drink), then you definitely have to top in and grab one. It paired perfectly with their shrimp and lobster street tacos. Yum!
Our next stop was over to True Food Kitchen where we were greeted with a very aesthetically pleasing arrangement of raw veggies and specialty non-alcoholic drinks. Best thing on their menu was the edamame dumplings with white truffle oil. I recommend the Hangover RX - very refreshing with coconut water, vanilla, and pineapple.
If you're looking for an intimate gathering or just drinks with a friend - definitely check out B Side, an offshoot of Red Apron Butcher. This place had the vibe of a dive bar - but more high end. It's smaller, with only 15 seats at the bar, and much more intimate than the other restaurants we visited. I have to say that I am not a whiskey drinker by any means, but I was hooked on what they were serving! Try the Old Brown Shoe - Old Overholt Rye, lemon, and cinnamon honey syrup.
We ended the night at Gypsy Soul with Chef RJ Cooper himself. Really really really good food - and he shared many of his stories and inspirations behind his dishes.
Do not come here if you're counting calories - but do come here for deep flavors and really rich dishes. Plus, the drinks were on point with two great mixologists behind the bar. If you're a Midwesterner like me, you'll probably fall in love with the pimento cheese appetizer. So simple, but it's one of my faves! and you can never go wrong with shrimp and grits!
Earlier this week, the RHNOVA team was invited to join NBC for an exclusive reception and special advance screeningof NBC’s new high-octane, Russian spy-thriller, Allegiance, at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C. The event included a panel following the screening, featuring Oleg Kalugin (former KGB clandestine operative), Peter Earnest (former CIA operative and museum director), and Mark Stout (former CIA intelligence analyst). Here are a few quick pics from the event and panel!
Alex O'Connor, a young idealistic CIA analyst specializing in Russian affairs, learns a shocking secret and his close-knit, affluent family is about to be split apart when it's revealed that his parents, Mark (Scott Cohen) and Katya (Hope Davis), are covert Russian spies deactivated decades ago. But today the Kremlin has re-enlisted them into service as they plan a terrorist operation inside the U.S. border that will bring America to its knees.
Never in my life did I think I'd go to see Monster Jam... until I had a super excited 6 year old who loves Grave Digger... The trucks are larger than you could imagine, and the action is fast paced and fun - always with a great crowd cheering on their favorites.
Here's my tip for newbies: If you're headed to Monster Jam for your first time - WEAR EARPLUGS! We take noise cancelling headphones (like the ones you wear to the shooting range) so that you get the best protection for your ears. You won't even be able to enjoy the show if you don't.
Much like a desperate housewife, Susan Scheiffley started her business out of, well, desperation. “I was in a dreary 9-5 that left me watching the clock. My sister recommended that I get my real estate license. I worked countless hours and hit many walls before I met with success.” In 2008, after a mere 5 years in business, Susan walked the stage at Keller Williams International for being one of the top ten agents in the entire country within KW. “I have been a top producing Realtor ever since. I have already achieved Lifetime Top Producer with Prince William Association of Realtors, and am repeating the process for Lifetime Top Producer at Northern Virginia Association of Realtors. I was also in Wall Street Journal's top 400 agents in the country.”
Shortly after she walked the stage, Susan made the transition from realtor to part owner in a Keller Williams Office. “Today, at Live Fairfax,I run a fully functioning team with a licensed assistant and an experienced buyer agent. I'm both proud and lucky to be in business with Emilie and Janette. I am also honored to be in business with Keller Williams Kingstowne Alexandria as part owner. I stay positive through meditation, coaching, and enjoying my family time. Work/Life balance is the key!”
Describe yourself in three words:
Passionate, Intelligent, Entrepreneur
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
My greatest professional achievement is gaining referrals from prior clients. It sounds cliché, but its actually an honor for me. I love that they enjoyed working with us so much that they think to share my information. I can't ask for more than that. I recently helped the daughter of one of my very first clients, find her first home!
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
I will participate in 30 home sales.
How does your company stay connected through social media?
I regularly post to facebook, twitter, and linkedin. I love supporting local small businesses, especially if they are woman owned (GIRL POWER). So, please like me, follow me and interact with me online. I will share your posts, interact with you, and help you spread word about your business in anyway that I can.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Interior Decoration. I love pretty things and rooms that make sense. My taste leans toward clean modern. My actual house looks like a two year old lives there, because one really does.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I create and delegate. I focus on the things I need to do and have an assistant who, at my direction, handles the day to day. I learned that I am a better all around when I have downtime. I'm more refreshed and actually give people better service.
What website do you visit every day?
washingtonpost.com, cnn.com, abcnews.com, npr.org, facebook.com, twitter.com
What is your favorite drink- and where can you find it in NOVA?
Black coffee, pretty much anywhere you want but, Celebrity Delly in Annandale has a fantastic cuppa joe.
What are your top 3 favorite people/places/things in NOVA?
Spartans in Burke - No Frills, good food, down home, family oriented.
Old Town Alexandria - Boutique shopping. YAY!
Mosaic District - Great food, great shopping, and yoga outdoors in Strawberry Park!
What is your goal for retirement?
As an real estate agent, my plan is to actually retire. So many never do! I am building a lasting brand in both LiveFairfax and Keller Williams Realty that I can eventually pass on to a new entrepreneur.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own company?
Never underestimate the power of kindness in your leadership style.
Expect to fail. Repeatedly. Get over it. Repeatedly.
Have a vision board (also cheesy but highly effective). Don't be afraid to put your wildest dream on it. If there is no goal, there is no point.
CONNECT WITH SUSAN SCHEIFFLEYLive Fairfax | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Email
Rev up for non-stop fun with four of your favorite Disney stories when DisneyOn Ice presents Worlds of Fantasy Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt comes to your hometown! This action-packed ice spectacular showcases beloved characters from Disney/Pixar’s Cars and Toy Story 3 and Disney’s Tinker Bell and The Little Mermaid.Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney On Icepresents Worlds of Fantasy is performing at the Verizon Center from February 11th to February 16th.
We're giving away a FAMILY FOUR PACK OF TICKETS TO OPENING NIGHT!
Thrill to high-speed stunts as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney/Pixar's Cars race across the ice. Dive into The Little Mermaid's enchanting undersea kingdom and enter the mystical world of Pixie Hollow with Tinker Bell and the Disney Fairies as they reveal the magic that lies within! The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Jessie, and the Toy Story gang escape from the rambunctious tots of Sunnyside Daycare and race for home, in their most daring adventure ever!
From wheels to waves, playtime to pixie dust, your family's favorite Disney moments come to life at Disney On Icepresents Worlds of Fantasy with dazzling skating, special effects and beloved characters certain to create a lifetime of memories.
Date and Time of Performance:
· Wednesday, February 11th @ 7:30 p.m.
· Thursday, February 12th @ 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
· Friday, February 13th @ 7:30 p.m.
· Saturday, February 14th @ 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
· Sunday, February 15th @ 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
· Monday, February 16th @ 12:30 p.m.
Tickets start at: $20
To order tickets by phone: 1-800-745-3000
To order tickets online: www.ticketmaster.com
*Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand.
For a complete list of tour dates, visit the Disney On Ice website (http://www.disneyonice.com) and stay current on the latest developments through social media, including instructions on how to access presale codes for tickets as early as May 20th:
To discover more about Disney On Ice Presented by Stonyfield YoKids Organic Yogurt, log on to www.disneyonice.com, or visit Facebook and YouTube.
My friend, Souny West, hosted a photo shoot on Monday for business owners in the DC area for the launch of her new project: Chic Capital! Super excited for this project - and I was happy to get out to Arlington to meet up with her.
Here's a quick look at some of the ladies I was lucky to hang out with! Nicole from Belle Mode Intimates, Tuyet from Chasin' Tails, and Carla from Studio BE Pilates!
This is the aftermath of hungry business owners (with fancy hair and make up done) after a day of photo shoots!
One of the awesome women that I met invited us next door to have dinner at her restaurant, Chasin Tails, in Arlington. If you're looking for authentic, cajun style seafood like steamed crabs, crawfish, and shrimp... and if you don't mind getting your hands dirty, this is the place for you! They actually give you a bib and rubber gloves if you'd like to try to stay clean :) If you're not on a new years resolution diet, I definitely recommend the crawfish mac n' cheese! If you're looking for a healthier option, you can order your shrimp/crab steamed with old bay.
Hi! my name is Andrea and I'm a not-so-average Northern Virginia blogger, mom, and transplant from the Midwest. I host Girls Night Out events, meet ups, and write about events and my adventures in the DC area. I love to travel, brunch, and drink wine with my neighbors! I'm known to live on the wild side and order Venti iced double shots at 5pm.
Official Ambassador of MediaKits.com.