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Favorite Food Destination When Taking a Drive From DC?

I may have been the last to know. Just this past week I learned that Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Flint Hill, VA closed...last year! Sad news. Loved that place, the special experience of the drive and the great care they took to put wonderful food on the table. Anyway, that prompted me to ask all of you in the DC area a question to salve the wound:

When you've decided you have the time--on a weekend or whenever--to take a nice drive (say, more than an hour and a half from downtown DC)--for a great dinner, where do you go?

Inn at Little Washington is one answer so I'll ask that that be excluded here (though I have heard of another, newer place nearby to it?)

Out there in small town VA or MD? Maybe the closer part of PA? But not in any of the big cities like Baltimore or Phildelphia. Looking for your faves that are seriously "out of the way" but fun for destination dining (day trip or overnight) and really special/good, whatever the type of food.

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    1. Here are some of my favorites:

      Foti's in Culpeper, VA

      L'Auberge Provencale in White Post, VA

      Antrim 1844 Inn in Taneytown, MD

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lauman

        I would add It's About Thyme in Culpeper also...it's a terrific Inn as well

      2. Rivers Edge in Confluence, PA

        And Gleason's for greasy spoon diner on that same stretch, I think that is how you spell it. If I am in that area I also like L'Autrec and the Caddy Shack at Nemacolin.

        Or we go over to Easton or St. Michaels lots of good choices there.

        But one of the best may be the drive to Cantler's to get crabs.

        1. Oh or go to Davis, WV and go to Sierriani's, and the Purple Fiddle. My Dad told me there is another really good restaurant up there in Canaan now, but I haven't been yet.

            1. Foti's in Culpeper, VA (someone else already mentioned it) -- chef used to be at The Inn at Little Washington -- more casual and less expensive than the Inn, but very good

              Poplar Springs Inn in Casanova, VA (tiny town near Warrenton) -- gorgeous place in the country -- also an Inn and Spa -- excellent, fairly high-end (also have a great Sunday (non-buffet) champagne brunch)

              Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville, VA -- British pub with lots of locally-grown stuff -- really fun hunt country atmosphere

              Apartment 2G in Front Royal, VA -- small, innovative menu, and handy to wine country

              One Block West in Winchester, VA -- excellent food with lots of emphasis on local ingredients, particularly the produce

              Schmankerl Stube in Hagerstown, MD -- traditional old-style German restaurant

              Sheppard Mansion in Hanover, PA -- beautiful old in-town mansion that has been converted to an Inn -- chef is from Inn at Little Washington -- fancy decor (though you don't have to dress up), really good food, much more reasonably-priced than the Inn

              I think any of these is worth a trip, and can be a destination of a pleasant drive.

              1. When I'm heading back into town from Baltimore, I like to stop by the Italian Inn for some Ledo-style pizza or just to relax at the bar with the locals. Minutes from downtown.


                1. The Bavarian Inn in Shepardstown WV. Good food and wine.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Suemelk

                    If you make a daytrip, 3 Onions in Shepherdstown is also good. When I lived near there, I used to grab a pastry from the German bakery(Ye Olde Sweet Shop?), a coffee from Lost Dog, drive over the bridge by the Bavarian, turn right at the top, and head to the C&o Canal. There was also a great old general store....hmmmm...I may need a roadtrip....

                    1. re: rHairing

                      My favorite in Shepherdstown is Stone Soup Bistro. We road trip up once a year for dinner, which we usually eat at the bar in order to enjoy the wonderful company.

                  2. A couple recommended above: One Block West in Winchester and L'Auberge Provencale in White Post. I'd also add Patowmack Farm outside of Leesburg--they have a great tasting menu and grow most of the produce on their own organic farm. The restaurant is a glass conservatory overlooking the mountains.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser

                      Yeah, I forgot Patowmack Farm -- great place, and a beautiful place to dine -- especially if it's still light out to see the views.

                    2. I like Tersiguel's French Country Restaurant (tersiguels.com) or Jordan's Steakhouse (www.jordanssteakhouse.com) in Ellicott City, MD.

                      I had a great lunch in downtown Richmond a while back -- Cafe Gutenberg had this wonderful "Bella Panini!" (www.cafegutenberg.com). Kuba Kuba is also great (www.kubakuba.info)!

                      1. Not that far from D.C., but I love L'Auberge Chez Francois in Great Falls, VA.

                        1. I was in Frederick, MD for a weekend in February, and had a great time. We stayed at Hill House B & B, and spent the days touring the nearby vineyards and wineries. The wine was not anything special, but it was great to drive through the countryside and talk with winemakers who are really devoted to the trade. Although I heard great things about the Tasting Room, we opted for Acacia for dinner and had a very wonderful and memorable meal.

                          Also, Tersiguel's in Ellicott City is always a treat.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: agoldman

                            Any particular winery recommendations in the Frederick area?

                            1. re: chriscatva

                              Monacacy Crossing in Frederick. Dine outdoors in good weather.

                              1. re: chriscatva


                                Their website is very helpful. As I said, none of the wines were spectacular (in my opinion, of course), but the location and the people make the trip more than worth it. That said, Sugarloaf Mountain might have been my favorite. The two women working there were friendly and talkative, and gave us lots of good information and company while we tasted wines and waited for the pouring rain to subside. Linganore Cellars provided our strangest experience - as part of their Valentines Day motif they dipped their tasting glasses in chocolate. Not good for wine tasting, but great for a memory that still makes me laugh.

                                The vineyards are close enough to each other that you can visit them all in a day. I'd go to all of them (yes, even Linganore) again.

                              2. re: agoldman

                                The Tasting Room is definitely worth the trip. Another further up 270 is Weaver's in Hancock, MD. It is on the main road. Great home cooked food and the desserts are amazing. We always stop when we pass. They have pickled eggs on the salad bar! I don't know how far you want to go, but Miller's in Lancaster is the best farm fresh country food. The breakfast buffet is incredible.

                                A poster above mentioned the restaurant at Bavarian Inn. Although I highly recommend the hotel, we have stayed there several times, I thought the offerings in town were much better. I would agree with 3 onions and Stone Soup Bistro. Great service and friendly people at both. Have fun exploring!

                              3. Wow! Was off CH for a couple of days and look at all the great reccs. Thanks everyone--some really interesting ideas here that I'm sure will literally expand horizons for many. I'm looking forward to checking some of them off the list this summer/fall before winter comes--lots of time 'till then.

                                1. I would second Poplar Springs in Casanova Va and would add the Ashby Inn in Paris Va as having wonderful food with a country setting. Asby also has an attached in which is very nice.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: flobow

                                    I understand Ashby Inn changed hands not too long ago. I've heard really good things about it since but haven't been there. A friend of a friend has just become the sous-chef there, so I'm eager to go try it.

                                    Meanwhile, we're going to Poplar Springs tonight. They have a dinner special on Thursday and Friday nights that's always excellent and relatively bargain-priced (3-course dinner plus a bottle of wine for $55 on Thursday or $65 on Friday). And I'm having a massage at the spa in the mid-afternoon and then will hang out at the pool until dinner time. All good :-).