Inn at the Crossroads

5010 Plank Road, Charlottesville, Virginia 22959
Innkeeper(s): Jim and Janet Stern
 

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! 

It's All Random 14 Jul 2014, 1:47 pm

Take the time to enjoy what's around you.  Case in point, this year I have been watching petunias of all colors spring up all over the property. It's been a rather wet summer and conditions are ripe for good blooms. I'm not sure where they all came from but I'm glad they are there to brighten the day. Although, I have had to mow around all of these random flowers because I can't bear to cut them down. The garden is the best it has ever been - tomatoes galore, beans plentiful and melon vines everywhere just waiting to fruit. The herbs are also growing like weeds, basil, mint and spring onions are ripe for the picking and I have been using them in creative ways at breakfast time. They say this year we will have a bumper crop of peaches and I am looking forward to hitting the local orchards to enjoy this most awesome fruit and share it with the guests at breakfast time.  What's growing where you are?

Growing in the yard

Growing at the edge of the driveway

Growing under the porch

The Kitchen Garden Grows 3 Jun 2014, 11:27 am

New walkway to the upper sitting area and lower portion of running stream.

Last month we broke ground on our kitchen garden and private sitting area next to the cottage.  As most projects do, this one has expanded since we started. Originally we designed the area to provide much needed water diversion and drainage away from the Summer Kitchen Cottage. After a couple of extremely heavy rainfalls, we discovered that we needed to rework some of the drainage. And with that change, came the addition of a koi pond and running stream and a second seating area for Inn guests.  This is in addition to the private seating area for the guests of the Summer Kitchen Cottage and the kitchen herb garden.  We also decided to finally, after 8 years, finish the sidewalk that goes nowhere and incorporate it into sitting area. We are eagerly awaiting the end of the school year so the kids can begin helping us to complete the project. Our youngest is particularly excited about her new fish pond! Stay tuned as we update you on our progress.

It's All About the Marle 29 Apr 2014, 12:05 pm

The grading work continues around the Summer Kitchen Cottage to improve drainage.  Jim continues to pick ax through the marle, which are the hard packed clay chunks that resemble rock.  Unfortunately, underneath the marle are remnants of an old coal pile which is almost as tedious to dig through.  This pile suggests that the cottage may in fact have been used for blacksmithing as was told to us by several people who lived in the area a long time ago.  In any case, once the digging and grading is complete, we hope to put in a kitchen herb garden and private seating area for the cottage.  We have several ideas for the layout and design of the garden and planting area.  As we get farther along, be sure to check back for pictures of our progress!

First view of the drainage and grading of the kitchen garden and sitting area. Note that what appears to be rocks are actually clumps of marle.

Our Best Scone Recipe 26 Mar 2014, 11:34 am

It may be spring, but the weather is still chilly. Why not bake up some delicious scones to savor with your coffee, tea or hot cocoa? This is our most requested scone recipe.

Lemon-Ginger Scones

Makes 12

Preheat oven to 400F. Add the following to a food processor fitted with blade:

2 1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon baking powder

zest from 1 lemon

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, broken into small pieces

1 stick butter cut into tablespoon size pieces

Blend until dough looks like course sand.

Add 2/3 cup heavy cream and continue blending until dough just comes together. Add additional cream by the tablespoon if needed.

Shape dough into triangles and place on baking sheet.  Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden, about 14 minutes. Serve warm with butter.

Triangles can be frozen and baked as needed. 

The Inn Gets A Makeover 1 Mar 2014, 8:16 am

This winter we are hard at work with renovations in the Inn. We have recently updated the living space in the Americana Suite.  The bathroom in the Sarah Gillocke room also got a color makeover. The original flooring exists in the Inn and over time, the boards have loosened. We've spent quite a bit of time fixing squeaky floors.  While some may find the floor noise charming, others may not so now you can walk most of the Inn without making any noise!  Our dining room is also getting renovated.  This is a great time to take everything down and do some rearranging.  New pictures will be posted soon on both the website and Flickr.  Better yet, why not make a reservation and see what we've done firsthand! 

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year 9 Jan 2014, 11:54 am

No, it's not Christmas but the day the Burpee seed catalogue arrives in the mail. I can spend hours looking at all of the options and planning what I will plant come spring. It's hard not to get captivated with the colorful pictures and sometimes I don't make the best planting choices for our area. Once I decide what to plant I begin mapping out where everything will go. Come spring I can see what has survived the cold winter months. I have had to replace shrubs and even a tree or two. It's sad to see a plant go, but it often gives me the opportunity to replace it with something better.  I have planted quite a few perennial beds in our 11 years here and it is a joy to watch them bloom. It always inspires me to create yet another flower garden.  I am lucky that we have so much space to do so. Now if I can just come up with a way to prevent the wildlife from enjoying my gardens...

Winter is Here 8 Dec 2013, 1:23 pm

The weather has gotten decidedly colder here! Today we received our very first snowfall of the season. This is definitely the time to cozy up to the fireplace and enjoy the warmth of the fire. Did you know there are plenty of winter activities in the region? Wintergreen offers plenty of skiing and snow tubing and Charlottesville has its own ice park which is open for public skating. Or, if skating isn't your thing, enjoy an ice hockey game; both UVA and JMU utilize this facility for their ice sports. As for the Innkeepers, we spend our winter months doing repairs and freshening up the paint and bathrooms in the Inn. All must be done before the busy season arrives again in just a couple of months.