Inn at the Crossroads
Here's to You James Monroe 12 Sep 2015, 11:03 am
Recently we visited Ash Lawn Highland since it's been quite a while and had a wonderful tour of the house and grounds. Although smaller in scale than Monticello, Ash Lawn offers a nice contrast to the lives of Monroe and Jefferson. Of course, my favorite part is visiting the grounds and the resident peacock. Rarely do we have time to get away from the Inn, but it was a nice break to enjoy the serene setting and to brush up on local history.
With Bated Breath We Await the Eggs 19 Jul 2015, 5:21 pm
Our new Barred (not "Bard") Rock chickens are are on the verge of laying their first eggs! We received our chicks just after Easter and they are well acclimated to their new home. There are 20 hens and 1 rooster in the flock. We can't wait to get eggs as they begin laying since they are an essential part of our breakfast.
Hens enjoying the cool early morning.
Rainy Days 5 Jun 2015, 10:05 am
Summer in VA means a lot of rain. The past two weeks have been filled with rain, but that makes for some really interesting photos of the trees on the property. When the rain finally decides to cease, we'll have even more beautiful flowers, and don't forget about fruit picking either! We've got multiple orchards close to our location, and they are always a great attraction.
Spring Lanscape and Mountain Overlooks 21 May 2015, 7:24 pm
The foliage is transitioning, and it's finally turning into summer here in North Garden. The assorted buds and colorful floral trees are now glowing in viridescent tones, green and lively, and the late-blooming flowers are displaying themselves in the liveliest of manners. Although autumn is most often credited with displaying pigmentation and unique aesthetics, spring and summer bring, without a doubt, the most amazing foliage of all the seasons. If you are yearning for an escape within your escape, hop in the car, roll down the windows, and drive west high into the mountains. You won't regret the truly jaw dropping views, no matter what time of year. The Skyline Drive holds some of the most scenic views in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and we're only ten minutes away!
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The Saga of the Koi Pond Continues 21 Mar 2015, 4:52 pm
Spring has sprung and with it comes the urge to get back to work outside. In between the cold and wet and sometimes snowy days, we continue to work on the cottage and the accompanying landscaping project. We are finally finishing up the siding on the back of the cottage and have also fixed the drainage around the base of the cottage, channeling water around the cottage and back porch. This involved digging down a couple of feet in some areas and removing large chunks of tree roots. We are also close to finishing the second private sitting area. From the front it doesn't look like anything has changed but if you look at it from the back side, you can see where we added dirt and flattened it down. Next comes the patio pavers. And then finally we can get back to the actual water feature! Max loves working outside with us and although he is not much help with the digging he loves rolling around in the fresh dirt. It's a good thing he is ruby colored; the dirt blends in nicely with his fur until bathtime.
Meet Max 10 Feb 2015, 1:53 pm
Max, the newest Innkeeper
Meet our newest Innkeeper, Max. Max comes to us as a puppy from the animal rescue and is learning to be a junior innkeeper. Currently he is being trained to accompany us to and from the Inn and to greet guests as they arrive. He gets quite a bit of practice. As our children get older and move on to college and beyond, we decided the time was right to add to our family. It's nice to have company on days when there are no guests and even when we are full. Max does not live in the Inn; he happily stays at the house but you may see him with us when we are on the property. Please say hello! to Max when you arrive. We're glad to have you stay!
Max is waiting for guests to arrive while having a bit of fun.
Warm Bread on a Winter Day 14 Jan 2015, 7:43 am
After a few months of perfecting, I've come up with a yummy banana bread recipe that's been a hit with our guests!
Extreme Banana Bread
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vanilla greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 large bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1 cup frozen raspberries
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 2 loaf pans with cooking spray.
Cream butter and sugar then add eggs one at a time. Beat in yogurt, bananas and vanilla. Mix together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon then add mixture to the wet ingredients. Add up to 1/2 cup buttermilk to make a thick batter. Hand stir in the chocolate chips and raspberries.
Spoon batter in prepared pans then bake for 60-65 minutes until tester comes out clean. Allow bread to cool completely before cutting. This bread tastes best 2 days after baking!
Here Comes the Sun 6 Dec 2014, 11:26 am
As autumn draws to a close and daylight savings time joins us for a while, we are working diligently to winterize the Inn and prepare for our off season projects. Those of you who are keeping up know that the koi pond was a major focus for the summer. While we got a good start, we did not have enough time to complete it. So it will be winterized until the warmer weather arrives. This season, we will revisit the dining room french doors which were an add on many years ago. The weight of the bricks are causing the door frame to sag and so support must be added. This will also help the main entrance and front door which sometimes does not want to close properly. But it is a slow project since you can only jack up your support 1/8" per month! The third floor will also get a makeover to make it more usable for the family. Painting is always in the plans - every room gets a touch up! The cottage will also get a back porch makeover. Hopefully all will be done in time for the start of our busy season in 2015. With the smaller amount of sunshine each day, it will be a challenge.
The sun sets on another day at the Inn
Happy Anniversary 11 Nov 2014, 5:19 pm
This past weekend we had our 25th couple get engaged at the gazebo on our property. It's so lovely to see the love and happiness as young couples begin a new life together. We reflect on past weddings at the Inn and remember some of the more memorable moments. Now that Pippin Hill Vineyard has come on the scene, we don't do many weddings, just the occasional small ceremony with 25 guests or less. But that's ok, because we often get to see weddings every weekend from our upper property. To all of our couples, Happy Anniversary! We hope you'll come back to visit us!
Hot Fun in the Summertime 6 Sep 2014, 1:13 pm
This weekend marks the second annual Lockn' Festival in nearby Nelson County. There was so much good music at this year's festival. The major headliners will be playing tonight and tomorrow night. Because we are close enough to the festival we can enjoy some of the music and then come home to the Inn. We are looking forward to the next music festival, the Festy which happens in October. These festivals are a definite reminder of the thriving music scene here in Charlottesville. In the 12 years that we have been here, we have listened to our fair share of great music at several of the local venues. Maybe we'll see you out there on the scene!