Our Vacation to Virginia Wine Country

Just writing the title of this blog post made me wince a bit, because I used the V word.  Vacation.  It's the word every overachieving entrepreneur hates to write, because it feels synonymous with 'slacking' and 'playing hooky'.

I'm not sure why, as business owners, we tend to feel this way.  In reality, we're working 60-80 hours per week (including weekends!) trying to make our clients' dreams a reality.  While our clients are in the office Monday through Friday, they're e-mailing and calling us about their lovely weddings.  While our clients have weekends off, they're meeting with us.  Some may not realize that we hadn't had a day off since April 12th, 2012 (I wish that were a typo).  We're e-mailing, calling and meeting Monday through Friday, and working weddings (or more meetings) on the weekends.  So why do we feel so guilty to take a day off, and worse yet, let people know about it?

As Adam and I were nearing the end of August, we had weddings pretty much every weekend since mid-April, without a single day off.  I found myself making little tiny mistakes here and there that I usually didn't make.  We were maxed out, our marriage was taking a backseat to everyone else's, and we needed a break.  Our business is unique in that we're a husband and wife team, working together on the most important days of our clients' lives, 14 hours straight, adrenaline pumping, weekend after weekend.  Our clients look up to us, and we encourage them in their relationships.  If we didn't love and understand each other as much as we do, and if we didn't push forward in our faith, we'd fall apart faster than a poorly-made wedding cake.

So we decided to be proactive in refreshing our marriage and getting a little much-needed R&R.  When we waited too long to book Napa during Harvest Season, we were pleasantly surprised to learn about Virginia Wine Country.  (Yes, this exists.)

After reading about the Virginia wine region in an article in The Washingtonian, we were intrigued.  After seeing pictures of Barboursville Vineyards and Veritas Vineyard & Winery, we were smitten.  The rest was history.

We began our stay at the Farmhouse at Veritas, which was GORGEOUS.  We enjoyed breakfast cooked by a personal chef on the back porch, with the breeze in our hair, a glass of Mousseux, the best french-pressed coffee we've ever had, and a view to die for.  The staff all had such big hearts, a passion for what they do, and a great knowledge of wine (really... our new friend Valerie was folding napkins as she was teaching me all about tannic structure.  I strongly feel that she deserves a promotion!).

A number of wineries in Virginia use dogs to ward off the deer and birds that might otherwise eat the grapes.  (There's even a photo book about the Virginia wine dogs!)  The dogs at Veritas were so sweet, and leaving them at the end of our stay felt like leaving our own dogs.

As wedding planners, of course we would check out their event space... and it was so beautiful!  Rustic barn meets soft, romantic draping?  My two favorites!  Sold.

And their tasting area?  Equally amazing.  (Who wouldn't want a pic in front of this?)

The wines at Veritas were consistently amazing (my favorite was Othello, their port... yum!).  The view/atmosphere was one of the three best of all the wineries we visited (more on the other two later)-- but pairing that with the wines themselves, as well as the farmhouse stay and the staff-- made it our number one favorite.  When we return to Virginia Wine Country, we will be staying at the Farmhouse at Veritas again.  (How can you not miss this front porch?)

We checked out at Veritas and made our way to Barboursville Vineyards, where we stayed for five days (after making a quick pit-stop at King Family Vineyards to catch their Sunday polo match).  Barboursville was BEAUTIFUL.  Adam is a history buff, so we enjoyed learning about the history of the property.  This was our view driving in to Barboursville:

The Barboursville property once belonged to the late Virginia governor James Barbour, who later served as Secretary of War under President John Quincy Adams.  We stayed in one of the cottages on the property, as part of the 1804 Inn at Barboursville:

Definitely in the top three most beautiful wineries we visited.  We even had this amazing garden behind our cottage:

The main home on the property (not pictured above) was actually designed by President Thomas Jefferson, and had the octagonal architectural elements (neo-palladian style) that Jefferson was known to incorporate.  Tragically, the home burned down on Christmas Day, 1884.  Today, the ruins are listed on the National Historic Registry.

In addition to the interesting history of the property, the wine and food at Barboursville were outstanding.  We were excited for Barboursville because we had heard they had the best wine in the region, and they certainly didn't disappoint.  Their on-site restaurant, Palladio, was superb.  The head chef, Melissa, is a recipient of the James Beard Award, awarded to the top 25 chefs in the mid-atlantic region.  I realize now that I had never had perfectly-cooked pasta until I tried Palladio's!

It was harvest season when we visited, but we were fortunate enough to see some vines with grapes not yet harvested.  How juicy and delicious do these look?!

We spent a day at Montpelier, the home of President James Madison.  From the grounds, to the interiors, to the private garden in the back, I could seriously move here.  I mean, if you twisted my arm and all.

There was even time to stop for a San Pellegrino break at the edge of a horse farm:

There were so many beautiful wineries in the area, but I have to share pictures of Keswick Vineyards.  This place is certainly in the running of 'places I would totally hijack and move into as my own home'.  (What, you don't have that list?)  Eh hem:

Last, but certainly not least, we had the opportunity to stop at Pippin Hill Farm before driving back up to New Jersey.  Definitely in the top three most beautiful wineries down there.  (Okay, maybe this one takes the cake, for wedding purposes.)  How amazing is this event space?

We would so highly recommend a trip to Virginia Wine Country, especially if you're on the east coast and don't have the time or patience to fly to Napa.  As a wedding destination, you have SO many options, and it's close enough for east coast brides and grooms that you can have the 'wine country' wedding without sacrificing the attendance of half your guests due to a cross-country flight.  And you truly have to see Virginia Wine Country to see how beautiful it actually is.  My mediocre photography skills don't do this region justice.  (We have so much to gush about to our destination wedding clients now!)

We loved driving down there, getting lost on back roads and finding some of the best antiques you could imagine.  The people are so nice.  The setting is idyllic.  And spending time with the love of my life was definitely an added bonus.  ;)  I'm so happy we took a break to spend time as husband and wife, as it certainly recharged us to help others do the same.  Back at it with a refreshed and renewed spirit!

Follow me on Instagram to see more pictures of our trip @kristinpolhemus. 

Bella Bridal Consultants


Megan said...

So glad you guys had a great time! What'd you think of King Family? Did you really get to see the polo match??

bonafidebride said...

We had a great time! King Family was really pretty. It was raining a bit that day so we didn't get that 'sunshine' experience, I suppose, but pretty nonetheless! The polo match was on, even in the rain, and there were so many people there! We dressed up a bit for it, as the innkeepers clued us in to polo match fashion. :)

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