The Ultimate Valentine’s Day Gift 8 Feb 2017, 3:30 pm
Valentine’s Day can be difficult. It seems like pressure to say “I love you” to your partner while simultaneously taking their breath away, making all your friends jealous, and outdoing every past Valentine’s Day, grows heavier each year. If you did a great job in 2016, how do you outdo yourself in 2017? How do you surprise your person with a gift that is thoughtful, romantic, personalized, and caring?
Give your loved one an experience they will never forget. A gift certificate to the Iris Inn is the promise of a night or weekend to remind them how well you know their worth.
Here are 3 ways you could use an Iris Inn gift certificate:
A gift certificate of $320 covers a night away in the main Inn with our Sip and Slip on Your Boots Package any time of year. A bottle of wine, hiking books, and a picnic lunch make up the package which compliments to your stay. Take a sick day this summer and spend it exploring area wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries, gazing out over the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Spend your afternoon reconnecting with nature on one of the many Blue Ridge trails. If your partner is a nature fan, come during the week of April 22-29 and enjoy Historic Garden Week.
Or how about a spa weekend for the person who deserves a few nights to relax? A $950 certificate covers 2 nights in one of our four, exceptional cottages with the Sip and Spa package. Enjoy an in-room, hour-long, couples massage before exploring the surrounding area. Take your bottle of wine and picnic lunch to one of the many overlooks on the Skyline Drive and view the changing of the leaves this fall.
For the ultimate cuisine getaway, come stay in one of our luxury couple’s cabins for 3 nights and add the Sip and Simmer Cabin Dinner. A $1300 gift certificate accomplishes just that! The dinner is prepped by our in-house chef, waiting for you to finish in the intimacy of your private cabin kitchen. To knock the socks off your favorite foodie, plan your trip during Charlottesville’s Restaurant Week, July 14th-July 23rd, and eat the best local chefs can offer.
These are 3 ideas, but there are so many more options!
Give us a call or buy your gift certificate online here. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Red Velvet Pancakes 2 Feb 2017, 11:06 am
Yield: 16 pancakes
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp white vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 Tbsp red food coloring
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup salted butter, melted
Cream Cheese Glaze
fresh raspberries and mint leaves, for garnish (optional)
Cream Cheese Glaze
6 oz cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup milk, plus more if desired
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions for Pancakes
The pancakes don’t take long to make up, so go ahead and get your pan or electric griddle heating while you mix the batter together. An electric griddle is preferred because your pancakes have a higher probability of cooking evenly, but they’re not called pancakes for nothing, folks! Use what you got!
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk vinegar into the milk, allowing the mixture to rest for 2 minutes. After the 2 minutes, add in sugar, eggs, red food coloring, vanilla and melted butter. Whisk mixture until well combined. While whisking, slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.
Voila! Now you’re ready to make some pancakes. Butter the pan or griddle as necessary. The key to the perfect pancakes is to make sure the griddle is hot, spreading the batter into an even layer as soon as it touches the surface, and waiting to flip the pancake at the first sight of bubbles on the raw surface. These are wonderful served warm with Cream Cheese Glaze and garnished with fresh raspberries and mint leaves
Cream Cheese Glaze
In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on medium speed, blend together cream cheese and butter until well combine and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in remaining ingredients and mix about 1 minute until well combine, adding additional milk to thin if desired. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
Don’t Waste Your Vacation Days 31 Jan 2017, 5:39 pm
Though February arrives tomorrow, the year is still new.
If you haven’t yet broken your New Year’s Resolution, bravo! Stick
to it! For the rest of us, well, there is plenty of time to
make the most of 2017. The best course of action? Plan
your year up front.
If you’re reading this, chances are that some of your vacation days in 2016 were tacked on inconveniently at the end of the year, or worse, missed altogether. That’s because nearly half of Americans do not use all of their vacation days. The latest study done by Project Time Off found that 658 million vacation days were wasted by Americans in 2015.
That’s a lot of time off, folks.
As you plan out your precious time off this year, here are 3 ways you can make the most of your 2017 vacation time.
1.Take some time off during Virginia’s Historic Garden Week. Celebrate spring by touring the best gardens and historic homes Virginia has to offer. From April 22-29, estates across the state will open their gates for visitors to explore.
2. Hike the Blue Ridge Mountains this summer. There are some amazing hiking trails along the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline drive, like Crabtree Falls and Jones Run Falls. The best time to see these beautiful landscapes is during the work week, when they’re not overrun with college kids and tour groups. Add the Sip and Spa package to your stay, and you can wind down from your hike with an in-room couples massage and glass of wine. Ah, talk about connecting to nature.
3. Come down for the fall foliage and stay a while. The Shenandoah Valley is famous for the bright vistas and overlooks during autumn for good reason. It is beautiful here in October and November, so it’s no wonder we book up quickly during these months. Make the most of this busy season by booking early and coming during on weekdays. Don’t miss the Fall Foliage Festival while you’re in Waynesboro, either. Hundreds of booths line the downtown area during this annual arts and crafts showcase; this year on October 14 & 15.
New Year’s Eve Recap 24 Jan 2017, 12:49 pm
Every New Year’s Eve one of our favorite local wineries, Veritas Vineyard and Winery, puts on a Masked Ball in their expansive Saddleback Hall. Guests from all over come to the event, decked out in their formal attire and donning unique and extravagant masks. At the ball, attendees were served a 5-course meal with perfectly paired wines by Veritas.
This year’s meal had everything from seared scallops, to lemon-parsley gremolata, to artichoke bisque, to grilled pork tenderloin, to caramel cake, and much more. The Veritas wines paired with the meal were a Saddleback Chardonnay 2015, Rose 2015, Sauvignon Blanc 2015, Claret 2015, and Petit Manseng 2013.
The luxurious winemaker’s meal was followed by an evening of dancing and music until the midnight, New Year’s Countdown. Midnight is rung in with a toast and followed by more dancing! At midnight, a breakfast buffet was set up to celebrate the New Year, and the champagne flows.
The following photographs were provided by guests who attending the Masked Ball this and previous years. Although black-tie is optional, it’s a yearly tradition to dress to the nines; people waltz, sachet, and generally get down in their finest get-ups.
The masks are a spectacle in themselves. Some people handcraft exquisitely detailed masks while others purchase theirs from craftsmen. For instance, the masks below were made by a New Orleans mask maker.
We love sharing this holiday with our guests and hearing about their midnight escapades at the Veritas Masked Ball the next morning over a late breakfast.
Hangover Quesadilla Recipe 2 Jan 2017, 9:57 am
I hope your New Year’s Eve Party was as exciting as ours! There was a lot happening here in the Shenandoah during New Year’s Eve, from Masquerade Balls to dancing around town. We’ll be sure to share more with you about the holiday soon, but for now, we’ve got a recipe for you. Chef Caitie’s sharing her Hangover Quesadillas to help you get over the partying on New Year’s Day.
“The main thing in the quesadilla that helps with a hangover is the eggs. They are chock-full of amino acids including the main one which helps break down the headache-causing chemical left in your body causing the hangover.” – Chef Caitie Maharg
Two 6-inch flour tortillas
1 large egg
1 to 2 ounces of pork or turkey cooked sausage
Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese
1 slice of bacon, cooked
1 tbsp chopped jalapeno, cooked
Salsa for dipping
1. Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Let the pan heat up a bit until it’s warm over medium-high heat.
2. Whisk the eggs in the bowl with a fork and some chopped chives. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Cook the eggs until they’re scrambled.
3. Place one flour tortilla on the pan, then the cheese, sausage, diced bacon and scrambled egg. Add some more cheese on top until it’s golden brown on the bottom. Flip it over and cook the other side until everything in the middle is warmed throughout.
4. Garnish with sour cream and serve with your favorite salsa.
Activities for Your 3 Day Weekend 28 Dec 2016, 3:14 pm
As short winter days gradually lengthen, office workers all across the nation are antsy for more sunshine. While we still have a while to wait for the return of warm weather, we are all blessed with a few 3 day weekends scattered across the calendar. President’s Day comes in late February, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 16th. Here are some activities to occupy your time while you’re here for an extra night.
The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton is a must see for anyone visiting the Shenandoah Valley. Performing in the Black Friar’s Playhouse, the world’s only indoor replica of London’s Globe Theater, the beginning of the year marks the Actor’s Renaissance Season. The plays running during this season are directed and costumed by those acting in them. The Merchant of Venice opens January 14.
The University of Virginia in Charlottesville has an annual Community MLK Celebration filled with exhibits and speakers you don’t want to miss. This year’s lineup includes a key note address by Anita Hill, pioneer for civil rights and gender equality.
A majority of local vineyards and wineries will be open for wine tastings. One of our favorites, Afton Mountain Vineyards, is open on the federal holiday and sits right across the mountain from us. Their wine tastings run from 11am-5pm daily. The view of their property is stunning and their wines are fabulous!
As always, guests are welcome to enjoy Wine Hour in the Great Room here at the Iris Inn! Wine hour runs from 5:30-6:30, and is a fun time to relax in front of the fire and meet other guests.
Check our availability chart today and take advantage of the long weekend!
Christmas Traditions at the Iris Inn 13 Dec 2016, 7:47 am
The weather is decidedly cooler, Waynesboro has put up twinkling snowflakes along Main Street, and we are prepared for Christmas. When fall withers to winter, inviting a crisp wind to sweep the Shenandoah, it’s time to light the fire in the Great Room. It illuminates the expansive room, bringing a warmth to the hearth and many a rose to many a cheek, while guests enjoy a leisurely breakfast.
That’s when we decorate for Christmas.
Garland is wrapped around banisters, the mantle is decked, twinkle lights are carefully arranged around miniature Christmas villages, and a singing tree adorns the front porch. And smack-dab in the center of Great Room, we erect a giant Christmas Tree.
Seriously, it’s huge.
Tatiana, one of our staff members, courageously makes the trek up the giant ladder to decorate the giant Christmas tree with ornaments. She leans blithely around its branches to place a bobble here, a poinsettia bloom there, while the innkeepers collectively hold their breath and pray she doesn’t fall. She never does. We always worry. It’s a yearly tradition.
Once the Yuletide decorations are set up, it’s time for another tradition: the Staff Christmas Party. Each year the entire staff—kitchen, desk staff, and housekeeping—and their families are treated to a private Christmas event, complete with dinner and present swap. It’s a festive occasion to praise each other for a year well done, and share gratitude.
And like every household, we’re paid a very special visit by a very special guest! Santa joins us every year for the staff Christmas party, bearing a particular resemblance to one Dave Lanford. This year, he sends a video message to the Lanford’s grandkids:
Merry Christmas, from all of us at the Iris Inn!
Veritas Vineyards and Winery Christmas Caroling Party 1 Dec 2016, 12:46 pm
If you’ve come to stay with us, or simply checked out our website, you may have noticed a trend.
We are all about the wine, particularly wine from local vineyards.
I love Veritas Vineyards and Winery. With a high caliber wine selection, beautiful scenery, and cozy atmosphere, it’s a prime destination to visit near our inn. A lot of guests wonder if area wineries and vineyards will be closed during the winter months. No way! Not only is that not the case, but many host lovely holiday events, like Veritas’ Christmas Caroling Party.
Friday, December 9th, the vineyard and winery will host extended hours during which you can enjoy mulled wine, local beer and cider, desserts, cheese and charcuterie plates, and of course, Veritas wines.
Area university, UVA’s a cappella group, The Virginia Sil’hooettes, will put on a special Christmas caroling singalong performance. There is no entry fee and no reservation required, so don’t miss this event! Here’s a video of The Virginia Sil’hooettes performing Christmas songs with another area a cappella group. Feel free to listen to it on repeat while you get in the holiday spirit.
Veritas’ normal tasting hours are Monday-Friday 9:30-5:30, and Saturday-Sunday 11:00-5:00. Like many area wineries, they are only closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
For more information about area vineyards and wineries, check out our Shenandoah Vacation Guide. And if your thirst for winter wine activities is as insatiable as ours, look into our upcoming Wine Weekends.
Don’t forget to book a room here at the Iris Inn. We look forward to having you!
Shop Local on Small Business Saturday 2016! 23 Nov 2016, 12:00 am
Remember those warm, soft robes that you slipped into during your Iris Inn getaway? How about the rich, bold coffee that you sipped while cozied up in the sheets of your bed? Bring back the memory of a stay at the Iris Inn by giving one of these gifts to a loved one for the holiday season. On November 26, 2016, Small Business Saturday, shoppers everywhere will be enjoying special deals at local businesses. Watch your email inbox for discounted pricing on some of our Iris Inn merchandise!
In the meantime, you can shop small anytime with these wonderful Iris Inn souvenirs:
– Iris Inn
– Luxury bathrobes
– Packages of The Queen’s Beans Coffee
– Iris Inn Coffee Mugs
– Hand Milled Wildflower Soap
– Gifts Cards
Give us a call or send us an email to order your Iris Inn product! Or, of course, you could always book a stay here and collect your item in person. We can’t wait to see you!
4 Reasons You Need an Iris Inn Gift Certificate 18 Nov 2016, 12:00 am
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” ― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
The holiday season is almost here, and that means that the madness of the shopping season will arrive soon as well. But if you’re less than impressed with stores’ garish displays of uniformed “gifts for him” and “gifts for her,” then we have an alternative you might like—an Iris Inn gift certificate.
- It’s a unique gift that will appeal to a variety of people. Not sure what to get that semi-acquaintance coworker? Drawing a blank as to what to give your mother-in-law? How about your picky brother, who already owns everything you can think of? Give them something different than the norm—a break from the “real world.”
- You don’t have to fight off the holiday crowds who jostle you around and run over your toes with their gift-laden carts. Our gift certificates are available to purchase online, so you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home to pick one up.
- You’ll be done with your shopping a few weeks early. Knowing what you’d like to buy for someone for Christmas is probably the hardest part of the process, but we can help ease the trouble.
- An Iris Inn gift card offers much more than a simple, physical gift. Many gifts will wear out or be forgotten over time. Those fuzzy socks from Grandma? They’ll fray and tear after a year’s use. The iPod from your significant other? It’ll break after too many uses or become obsolete as technology upgrades. A B&B gift certificate, however, offers the chance to make fond memories that you’ll recall in years to come.
Interested? Click here to purchase your gift certificate.