Steeles Tavern Manor and Alpine Hideaway Cottages

8400 North Lee Hwy, Steeles Tavern, Virginia 24476
Innkeeper(s): Melissa & Ray Alexander

5 things to do in the month of February while staying in Steeles Tavern VA? 25 Jan 2015, 3:33 pm

What is there to do and see in the Shenandoah Valley while staying in Steeles Tavern VA?

Here are 5 things we suggest while visiting Steeles Tavern Manor and Alpine Hideaway Cottages in the month of February.


Get into Culture.  Enjoy a Shakespearian play at the American Shakespeare Theater, a cultural center in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.  Here’s what playing in February.… The Taming of the Shrew, The Rover, The White Devil, and Every Man in His Humour. Have an early dinner at a nearby restaurant on Beverly Street and after the show enjoy a Gelato at the Split Banana.


Think wine.  Wineries in our area are open year round.  Visit Barren Ridge Vineyards on Saturday January 31 for their Swedish Fire Festival.  The event includes wine pairing with a Swedish smorgasbord, live music and dancing under the stars in their new enclosed patio.  Also, every 3rd Friday, Barren Ridge hosts Sunsets at the Vineyard. On Friday February 20, enjoy an evening of live music from 7 till 10, with dinner available for purchase. These fun events cost only $10 per person.


Shopping and Sight-seeing.  We are centrally located between two of the best small towns in America – Staunton and Lexington.  Discover Staunton (pronounced STAN-ton), with its quaint shops, antique stores, locally owned coffee shops & restaurants lining Beverly Street.   Lexington is preserved with its history. Visit Lexington’s historic museums, gravesites of General Stonewall Jackson and General Robert E. Lee, stroll along Main Street working your way through the cute shops, galleries, and local restaurants. Sample local cheese, do a coffee tasting, and stop by The Cocoa Mill for some delicious homemade chocolates.  Spend one day browsing in Staunton and the next day exploring Lexington.  Each town will bring a smile to your face.


Think wine again.  On Saturday February 21, it is the annual Winter Wine Festival at Staunton’s Stonewall Jackson Hotel. Taste over a dozen Virginia wines and ciders and sample local artisan fare.  This is a great indoor event!


Be a History Buff.  As you approach historic downtown Lexington, you first drive through the impressive campus buildings of Virginia Military Institute (VMI). Contact the school to arrange for a tour of VMI with a cadet as your guide. While on campus, visit the VMI Museum where General Stonewall Jackson’s uniform and horse are displayed and the George C. Marshall museum. Next you’ll pass the stately southern architectural buildings of Washington & Lee University (W&L).  W&L, named after George Washington and Robert E. Lee, is the 9th oldest institute of higher learning in the nation. It is home to the Lee Chapel and Museum where General Lee and his horse, Traveller, are buried.  In downtown Lexington, you can visit the Stonewall House (home of General Stonewall Jackson) and the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, where General Stonewall was laid to rest.

Stay with us and we can help plan your activities!

See you soon.

Ray, Melissa, and Bacchus

Christmas Traditions 24 Dec 2014, 1:17 pm

It’s Christmas Eve!

This is my favorite day of the year.  It’s our biggest family tradition day of the year and my favorite.  The Feast of the Seven Fishes.    Our Italian heritage celebrates this feast.  My mom was born in Italy and celebrated this feast as far back as she remembers.  She continued the celebration all through her years making the feast for our family and my godmother’s family each and every Christmas Eve.  It wasn’t unusual to have 20 people around the dinner table passing around the seafood specialties.  And there were always left overs to eat the following week.  As I am writing this blog, she is making the anchovy sauce and clam sauce, cleaning the smelts, and preparing the calamari, flounder, and tilapia.  My godmother will bring the jumbo shrimp and my niece (it was my duty in the past) will prepare the crab appetizer. OOPS, that is eight fishes.  You can prepare more than seven dishes but you need to eat seven.

What is the Feast of the Seven Fishes?

The tradition started when Catholics fasted to anticipate the birth of baby Jesus on Christmas Day. The fast would end when they received Holy Communion during Midnight Mass.  Fasting as a Catholic meant refraining from eating meat, therefore fish would be consumed typically fried in oil.  And it is not known where the seven came from. Most believe it is due to the number 7 being the most repeated number in the Bible.  But for most Italians, the main point of the meal is to gather family and friends and enjoy good food and wine.

Since I am not back home in Pennsylvania for Christmas Eve, I will carry on the tradition here with Ray.  My anchovy and clam sauces are simmering on the stove.  We will start with shrimp cocktail and fried calamari, then feast on smelts, crab cakes, and tilapia. Only 2 people will be at the table but it is our new tradition.

What is your tradition? If you don’t have one, then you should gather the family together and decide what it should be.  It is the time of year to spend with family & friends, enjoy good food, and create memories and traditions that last a life time.

Happy memories!

“BLACK” FRIDAY – Get ready to shop for the 2014 Holiday Season! 19 Nov 2014, 9:32 am

It is the buzz word for the biggest and busiest shopping day of the year with the best prices and wildest crowds.

It originated as being the day after Thanksgiving, kicking off the holiday shopping season, and “the” day to find the best deals in town. For retailers, it became the point at which they begin to turn a profit, or “in the black”.   Hence, the name “Black Friday”.

In the “old” day, we couldn’t wait until the extra thick newspaper was delivered on Thanksgiving morning and could pull out the store’s ads which listed their Friday only deals. We would scan the ads searching for the deals.  After our Thanksgiving dinner, we would circle the items we wanted to buy and list stores that we wanted to visit. Then we would map out our plan of attack charting the sequence of travel to the stores to get the best deals.  The stores would open “early” like 6:00am.

Now things have changed. Black Friday ads are exposed online weeks before the date. Smart phone apps are available to help in the search of bargains. Text messages can be sent to your phone to indicate new or updated sale items. Black Friday sales now start early on Thanksgiving Day and extend throughout the Black Friday weekend and into Cyber Monday.  And you don’t even need to leave your house in the wee hours to get a deal. You can make purchases online!

I admit that I do review the ads prior to Thanksgiving and download an app or two to search around for deals. And I love to buy online if I can get the deal rather than fighting the crowds. But I am not a fan of shopping on Thanksgiving day.  Thanksgiving remains a day to give thanks and share with family and friends (and guests!). I can wait until Black Friday to shop.  And I still go out on Black Friday and search for the deals even if I don’t need them!


Steeles Tavern Manor & Alpine Hideaway Cottages are jumping on the band wagon and offering a Black Friday deal, too.  Make a reservation on Black Friday (November 28, 2014) for a future stay with us and receive 10% off the lodging price.  You can make the reservation online via our website or by simply giving us a call.  The stay can be any dates in the future (2014 or 2015) and good for either the Inn or Cottages.

So make a reservation on Black Friday and stay with us whenever you choose!

See you soon!

Ray, Melissa, and Bacchus


Holiday Fun – Take a Cooking Class at Wade’s Mill 12 Nov 2014, 1:59 pm

Preparing for a Thanksgiving Feast? Or thinking what to prepare for Christmas dinner?

Holidays are fast approaching. It is the time of year to spend with family & friends, enjoy good food, and create memories and traditions that last a life time.

So if you are entertaining this holiday and want to serve something special and different, then consider taking a cooking class from our friend and neighbor, Georgie Young at Wade’s Mill in Raphine.  These hands-on classes are held in “Georgie’s kitchen” at the Mill.  Class attendees prepare the food (under Georgie’s guidance of course!) and then enjoy the meal together.  Sometimes Georgie has a guest chef teaching the class.  I took 4 classes last year – Georgie’s Bread making class, Pastry class taught by Brigita Simanis, pastry chef from the Southern Inn Restaurant, Holiday Specialties which we learned how to create some great Holiday table arrangements and prepare some special treats, and lastly, the Holiday Dinner class which included wine pairing with the fabulous Rockbridge wines.  The classes are so much fun plus you learn different things, meet new people, and enjoy a great meal!  And you get all the recipes too!

Not everyone is the expert chef in a kitchen, but with a little know-how from Virginia’s local experts, we can certainly learn!

Take note of these special cooking classes and seminars to make your Thanksgiving, Christmas and the holidays a bit more meaningful. Classes will be either lunch (starting at 10am) or dinner classes (starting at 3pm).

Chocolate Delights with Tad Van Leer – Learn how to make chocolates and truffles which you will enjoy after a dinner with Rockbridge wine tastings.  November 15  3pm – $50 class & dinner

Thanksgiving Leftovers - Once you’re past Thanksgiving, someone has to do something with the leftovers? November 21 10am – $30 class & lunch

Holiday Specialties – Great table decorating tips from Shirley LaCroix, expert gardener and preparing Christmas Treats taught by Georgie, herself!  December 1  10am – $50 class and lunch

Mike Lund’s Holiday Feast – Dinner prepared by Mike Lund, owner of Mike Lund’s Foods in Staunton and former owner of Zynodoa. Mike will use local products and his dinner will be paired with the great wines of Rockbridge vineyard!  December 6  6pm – $50 no class

Christmas in the South – The class will prepare a Southern Holiday meal. December 13 10am – $30 class and lunch

It is a short ride to Wade’s Mill from Steeles Tavern. So stay with us and learn to make some wonderful meals that will “wow” your family and friends!


Ray, Melissa, and Bacchus

Fall – Hiking and Apple Picking in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia 18 Sep 2014, 1:40 pm

What a wonderful time to be outdoors and take a walk or hike.  Strolling on the trails in the warm, crisp air with the leaves starting to show their colors. Gorgeous! We have some great hiking spots close to us.  Just check them out on the map.

On your way to your hike, Stop in at Gertie’s Country Store and grab a picnic lunch. It will be great to enjoy a lunch at the top of Crabtree Falls or at Yankee Ridge..

Another Fall favorite is apples.  Silver Creek & Seaman’s Orchard is located in the Blue Ridge close to us and the hiking trails.  They have pick your own apples as well as apples picked that are available for purchase from September through November.

Grab a jacket, pack your hiking boots, and visit us this Fall.
See you soon!
Ray, Melissa, and Bacchus

AUGUST is CRAFT BEER MONTH in VIRGINIA 8 Aug 2014, 4:04 pm

In the month of August, Virginia is For Lovers BEER!

Did you know…….

Locally sourced beer in Virginia is a tradition that began in 1587 when Virginia colonists brewed their first ale using corn?   And the production of craft beer stimulates economic growth in Virginia by supporting local farmers of grains, barley, and hops?

Therefore Governor Terry McAuliffe has issued a certificate of recognition to proclaim AUGUST as Craft Brewers Month as an opportunity to celebrate the Commonwealth’s craft beer and the business and community leaders working to grow the industry!

It’s time to support and drink the local brews.  And we are lucky to have the best ones nearby.

LEXINGTON VA:  Devils Backbone Brewery and Blue Lab Brewing Company.

Devils Backbone location on Route 11 in Lexington is where the beer is created! Open every day at 1pm, you can buy pints of beer and sit inside or outside on their patio. Grab a lunch and bring it with you to enjoy while sipping the brew! Brewery tours are available on Saturday and Sundays. You’ll be guided through the brewing process in their working brewery.

Blue Lab, located in downtown Lexington, is open Wednesday through Saturday. What’s on tap in August: Summer Blonde Ale, Hefeweizen, Pale Ale, I.P.A, and Irish Red to name a few. Sit and enjoy a glass of beer. Or if you can’t stay then grab a growler to go. The beer is great!

Do you want to enjoy a day of beer tasting? Then go over on Route 151 and follow the Brew Trail. About a 30 minute drive from our location but a very scenic one.  To get there….Follow Route 56 to the Blue Ridge Parkway heading north and then off the first “exit” to Wintergreen on Rt 664. In 10 minutes you will be at Devils Backbone – Main Camp.  You can also visit Wild Wolf Brewery and Blue Mountain Brewery.

Here are some August BEER Events:

August 9  –  Summer Blues & Brew Festival @ Frontier Culture Center, Staunton

August 13 –  Annual Hop Festival @ Blue Mountain Brewery, Afton

August 23 –  Virginia Craft Brewers Fest @ Devils Backbone Brewery, Wintergreen

September 6 – Rockbridge Beer & Wine Festival @ Virginia Horse Center, Lexington


“Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” — Benjamin Franklin

And, as always, we will be serving the local microbrews (as well as local wines) at our 5:30 Social Hour!

So come and enjoy!

Ray, Melissa, and Bacchus

What to do outdoors in the Shenandoah Valley this summer: Hiking, Scenic Drives, Drive In Movie, or simply relax? 13 Jul 2014, 2:05 pm

Visiting us this Summer?  Well, you are in luck because this area is filled with fun filled things to do.


Are you the outdoors type? Take in nature and hike Crabtree Falls.  Located on Route 56 only 13 miles from us, the 1.7 mile intermediate hiking trail leads you up along the falls with several overlook areas where the first overlook is just a few hundred feet from the parking lot.  Need more adventure? Then Spy Rock is your thing.  A strenueous hike where the last part of the hike is rock climbing.  When you reach the top, the view is spectacular. The trail head is located off Route 56 in Montebello which is between our location and Crabtree Falls.

Or take a hike on the Appalachian Trail. You can find it 4 miles from Crabtree Falls on Route 56. Park in the dirt lot on the right side of the road then cross Rt 56 to find the AT trail.  You’ll come across this gorgeous suspension bridge in less than ¼ mile.


Jump on the Blue Ridge Parkway off Route 56 (6 miles from us) at milepost 27.  Head south to Lexington (20 miles) which is the next exit point for the Parkway.  Along the way, stop off at the scenic overlooks. A nice picnic spot at mile post 34 is Yankee Horse Ridge complete with a picnic table and small waterfall.  The windy ride up the Blue Ridge on Route 56 to the Parkway entrance is also a scenic ride.

Goshen Pass (off Route 39) near Lexington. It is a very scenic drive along the Maury River between 2 mountains where you can’t stop saying “WOW” to all the gorgeous rock formations.


Outdoor movies isn’t just a thing of the past.  Hull’s Drive In is located 10 minutes on Route 11 towards Lexington.   In 2012, Hull’s upgraded their projection system to digital which now allows them to show first run movies! And they are dog friendly for guests staying with their furry kids in the Pond View Cottage.


You can soak in the rays and relax by the Steeles Tavern Manor  pool.  Whether you are staying in the Bed & Breakfast or the Cottages, come enjoy the pool!  Take a walk on the grounds and make your way to the stream. Then continue across the bridge on the woodsy trail for about ¼ mile.  Adirondack chairs and benches are on the property in front of the pond and by the stream.  Relax, read a book  and enjoy the day!

Stay in our Pond View Cottage and enjoy fishing in our stocked pond. Bass, Catfish, Trout, and Crappie are swimming around. It is catch and release so all guests can enjoy the catch!

Guests relaxing on the front porches of the Ivy & Sunset Cottage will enjoy the scenic mountain and valley views and even catch a few sunsets.

If you already have your reservation made for a planned visit here at Alpine Hideaway Cottages or Steeles Tavern Manor then now you have decisions to make on what to do! If you haven’t made your plans yet, then you better hurry.  Summer ends soon!

Ray, Melissa & Bacchus



Steeles Tavern Manor and Alpine Hideaway Cottages proudly approved as a Virginia Green Lodging facility! 22 Apr 2014, 12:57 pm

Today is Earth Day!

But now every day is earth day at Steeles Tavern Manor Bed & Breakfast and Alpine Hideaway Cottages.  We recently received our Green Certification from Virginia to be classified as a Virginia Green Lodging facility.

Here in Steeles Tavern we are committed to use environmentally friendly cleaning, laundry, and bath products.

We use locally grown products in the foods we serve both at breakfast and social hour and include local products in our Celebration Package.  We also plant our own herbs and vegetables during the summer season and use them in our breakfast entrees.

We added recycling bins for the guests to recycle bottles and cans. And we ask guests to conserve as well by reusing towels and bed linens during their stay.

And, finally, we utilize a wood burning furnace during the winter months to provide heat to the first floor and to heat the water in the Manor House.

We are proud to be in the VIRGINIA GREEN LODGING program!

Come visit our “green” lodging facilities!

Ray and Melissa, Innkeepers

BARKING DOG – STAUNTON VA..….. What is everyone yelping about? 3 Apr 2014, 8:46 am

A super great wine bar called The Barking Dog, has opened in the heart of downtown Staunton last year. It is a wonderful place to sit, relax, chat, and have a glass of wine or purchase a bottle. Prefer beer? No worries. The Barking Dog has 50 craft beers available. Whether you are walking the streets of Staunton or need a place to stop in prior to dinner or waiting for your Shakespeare Theater show to start, this is a perfect place to chill out.

With your favorite beverage, you can order a wonderful cheese plate or delicious gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. Ray and I tried the Double Cheddar Tomato Jam sandwich on sourdough. It brings you back to your childhood days eating a grilled cheese with tomato soup. And all sandwiches are served with Route 11 chips! We also shared one of the cheese plates (check out the picture!) with our friends, Walt and Jeannie, over a few bottles of wine, of course.

Its name….The Barking Dog. How did owner John Reese name his establishment? He named it after his 3 daschunds: Charlie, Franklin and Oscar. But soon The Barking Dog will be renamed to ….The Yelping Dog. Reason? It’s one of those legal things. But who cares about the name! It’s the same wonderful place, same owners, but new name.

John also offers wine tastings monthly either during a Saturday afternoon or a weekday evening. Ray and I attended his last one. Adam Breske from Siema Wines poured 6 wines. The cost….a small donation ($5) is collected for the local SPCA. How appropriate! It is a great way to taste different wines.

Visit us, visit Staunton and visit the Barking (Yelping) Dog!
Hours: Tue-Thur 11am – 9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Closed Mondays.
Ray and Melissa

WELCOME BACCHUS! 30 Mar 2014, 11:54 am

Our new fur baby has finally arrived on Friday night from Monroe, Louisiana.  Bacchus, black lab mix, was adopted from Bonnie Blue Rescue.  He was named Bacchus after one of the New Orleans Krewes.  I didn’t know what a Krewe was myself so I did some research.

A krewe is any group of revelers to band together to host a Mardi Gras ball, ride on a Mardi Gras parade float, and participate in social events throughout the year.  Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; the most common throws are strings of colorful plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys.

BACCHUS is considered to be one of the “Super Krewes” of the Carnival due to its invitation to celebrities. Founded in 1968 by a handful of New Orleans business leaders, the Krewe of Bacchus debuted in 1969, its aim to bring national attention to Mardi Gras with gigantic floats and a Hollywood celebrity. Its King is always a well-known personality…Danny Kaye being the first King and Bob Hope being another. A progressive, daring and bold Krewe, Bacchus has often been known to break with tradition during the Carnival in order to create excitement among the crowd.  We hope that our Bacchus’s behavior doesn’t follow these traits!  Bacchus has 2 siblings also named after a Krewe: Rex & Iris.

Bacchus, in Greek Mythology, was the God of Wine.  He showed people how to cultivate grapevines and make wine. What an appropriate name for our Inn Dog!

He had his first encounter this morning with snow and loved every bit of it.


Come visit us and meet Bacchus.  Be prepared to receive a lot of kisses!


See you soon!

Melissa and Ray

BBOnline Member SINCE 1997