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Food destinations in VA countryside

I live in DC but love a good drive along VA country roads. Does anyone have any food-related favorites within a couple hours of DC? I'm thinking anything from a restaurant, to a farmer stand, to a vineyard, to a butcher, to a cheesemaker, to a pick-your-own whatever orchard. What's worth a drive?

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  1. I have to vote for the Inn at Little Washington, but be prepared to Spend - It's a heafty bill, especially if you stay the night...

    1 Reply
    1. re: tommyskitchen

      I think we may have to try it at some point. How crazy are reservations? If I were to shoot for a weekend night in January or February, what are my chances?

    2. For a real down home experience try Hi-Neighbor in Strasburg.

      There's also a German resto that's near Madison, VA called Bavarian Chef that's supposed to be good, though I haven't been. Then C-Ville does have some good places as well. Or the bottoms in Richmond.

      1. I'm a big fan of the Bavarian Chef. It's a fun place, with good solid German food. Great for this time of year. Saturday night and Sunday afternoon you need to have reservations as it is a pretty popular place.

        I love the Ashby Inn in Paris (I have been for dinner but I am told they do a great brunch) and Girasole Restaurant (Italian) in The Plains. Girasole is the sister restaurant to Panino in Manassas.

        I'm a big fan of Hunter's Head Tavern in Upperville. I love the tavern atmosphere and the English pub fare plus the food is all local and organic.

        1. Palladio Restaurant, the Italian restaurant on the premises of Barboursville Winery, is a lovely option. You could eat lunch or dinner there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Indy 67

            I can't believe I forgot Palladio. A very memorable meal and the place has a lot of atmosphere.

          2. OK...this may not be what you are looking for but when we are hiking, we love stopping at the Epicurious Cow.


            1. Regarding pick your own apples, I like this place and try to make an annual visit.


              It is not far off 66 and has lots of types of apples. Plus NO moon bounce, hay rides, corn mazes, or other things that would make crowds even bigger. It is busy on nice fall weekends but the orchard itself is plenty big.

              And I am quite simply incapable of going anywhere near Mt. Jackson without visiting the Route 11 chip factory: http://www.rt11.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: tcamp

                We've been going to Stribling for a couple of years now. Last year we picked 40 lbs of apples pretty quickly -- nice mix of varieties. Hartland Orchard on the other side of 66 also has PYO apples and PYO pumpkins, which is fun. Also not as crowded as Stribling. I think the owners are cousins. Also in the area is the Apple House in Linden, which has awesome apple cider donuts that are made all day, plus pretty good barbecue and other food.

              2. There are so many I don't even know where to start!

                First a trip to Trummer's on Main in Clifton then a wine tasting at Paradise Springs is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, but it isn't hours away.

                A stop at the BBQ exchange in Gordonsville to pick up BBQ and then a picnic at Barboursville is a great diversion, as well. There is also Pomme in Gordonsville which is nice for dinner. Near Barboursville are some other good wineries.

                Then there are all the great wineries in the Crozet area, with excellent restaurants all around the Crozet and Charlottesville area. There are also a number of pick your own orchards in that area.

                The Staunton Grocery is a great destination and downtown Staunton is cute.

                There is a neat lavender farm in Warrenton.

                My in laws have said downtown Culpepper is really cute, I haven't been. I know the place we sometimes get country ham and virginia hams is located in that area. http://www.calhounhams.com/

                Nelson County also has Blue Mountain Brewery and a couple other breweries.

                Irvington, VA has a great seafood festival in the fall and a neat farmer's market in the summer and the Tides Inn or Hope and Glory Inn there are fun. There is also Trick Dog right there, which is a good restaurant.

                I post more about this sort of thing on DonRockwell and on my blog: www.katelintaylor.com if you are interested.

                1. L'Auberge Chez Francois, an Alsatian restaurant in Great Falls. I've been there a few times and have really enjoyed it.


                  2 Replies
                  1. re: souschef

                    There's a new bistro attached to this that I've wanted to try. It's caused an uproar because the son did it, though the father/original owner was against it.

                    1. re: chowser

                      The first time I went in there I was travelling on business and when I made the reservation I asked about the dress code. I was told that a tie was an option, but not required. We were at a corporate meeting, so we had good clothes, but as a tie was optional we dressed casually (not like bums!). Imagine my surprise when we walked in to find the women in basic black and the men in tuxes!

                      It was a lot more casual the next time I was there (no tuxes or basic black), but then the first time was a Friday night (opera, theatre after?).

                      It's definitely worth the trek.

                  2. My favorite is Patowmack Farms in Lovettsville outside of Leesburg. The restaurant is a glass conservatory overlooking the trees/mountain (or large hill, depending on how you view it). They source from their own farm for vegetables and eggs and from local sources for most of menu.

                    For the other end of the spectrum, there's Windy City Red Hots--Chicago style hot dogs, either in Ashburn where there's a food truck in the parking lot of a nursery, or the store in Leesburg. Not much room to sit in, though seats open up quickly, but there's a little park nearby you can walk to.

                    There's the new Mu-thru which makes ice cream with ingredients from their own cows a mile away.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser

                      Patowmack Farms is very nice. The food I'd say is very good, but the view elevates the experience another notch.

                      Windy City Red Hots -- the food truck original -- is one of those mirage-like places (another example, a soul food restaurant in Waterville Me that closed up just before I got to try it this summer). Not sure how they came to choose the Bluemont Nursery parking lot as their home, but it's right off Route 7 and is a great find. I'm far from an expert on Chicago-style junk food, but the hot dogs and the Italian beef sandwiches are always very good.

                    2. Christina's Cafe in Strasburg is a nice little eatery that sources locally and has an excellent beer selection.


                      1. Thornton River Grille in Sperryville is very good. Also in Sperryville is Cafe Indigo, which we got to try just before the original chef left. Tom Sietsema's two-star review was accurate. Not sure how it is now, but worth looking into. Other chefs should be able to do a good job with the simple recipes using local foods.

                        1. Foti's in Culpepper. I strongly recommend it.