Trump Estate: Girls Night Out

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It’s been two months since I wrote Part One of this post!

Procrastination and life has a way of interfering with sitting back at a keyboard with a glass of wine and reflecting on how  blessed we are to live in such a beautiful part of the world. It actually took the Republican National Convention to spur me on to writing. Kerry Woolard, General Manager of Trump Winery, spoke last night at the RNC and Eric Trump is slated to speak this evening. I have Kerry to thank, along with the staff at Trump Winery, for making our stay exceptional.  Oh, and by the way, this is not a political diatribe, it just got me thinking. This is about an over the top Bed and Breakfast in Virginia wine country,  just a short drive down the road from the historic Monticello,  Ashlawn ( James Monroe’s home),  Dave Matthew’s winery Blenheim Vineyards, peach and apple orchards and our own charming downtown Charlottesville.

In thinking back over our stay,  I pondered as to why it was such an impressionable overnight  and several reasons came to mind.

One: As children we hear stories and read fairy tales about princes and princesses, castles and sumptuous living, but only a few people actually experience the daily lifestyle of the rich and famous. This was an opportunity to slip into that world, for a night or a weekend or a week.

Two: Trump does have the letter “T” everywhere and guess who has the same initials? So, when they handed us the remote control for the gate to the property and I kept seeing the “T” everywhere, well, it kind of did feel like home. The fact that the manor house has only (only!) ten suites, and due to the limited number of guests on our stay, my sister actually started calling it her home. Conversations began with “ I’m so glad you could come to visit me” and along with plenty of bubbly wine and giggles, we did make ourselves quite at home.Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0043

Three:  The approach through the vineyards and traversing through the rolling countryside with pastoral vistas, I was reminded of early 1800’s paintings of  England in  particular, a  landscape by English Romantic painter, John Constable of Wivenhoe Park  an English landscape park, and the estate of the Rebow family. John_Constable_-_Wivenhoe_Park,_Essex_-_Google_Art_Project

Four: Elegance permeated the property with two 1760 handmade Waterford crystal chandeliers, the elaborate ornamental rococo mantle in the dining room, the soaring 22 foot ceiling in the living room, hand-painted wallpaper designed in Paris and painted in India, garden statuary and formal rose gardens plus the Steinway grand piano-  all speak to a lifestyle of days gone by and made this home outstanding.

As I said, we were totally impressed!

Movie Night

So that night, we slipped on our slippers like The Twelve Dancing Princesses by the Brothers Grimm (except there were only four princesses in this story) and danced and traipsed through the halls of the mansion down to the private theater, complete with freshly popped popcorn, loads of candy bars and BYOB Trump Sparkling Blanc de Blanc.              Lumina_Boston_Photography_www.luminaboston.com_Charlottesville_Wedding_photographer_Trump_Albemarle_Estate_-0095

Okay, so maybe we don’t look like princesses-we felt like princesses.

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Showing pictures of our “Pajama Party” at the Albemarle Estate,  I really wanted you to see how much fun you can have at the estate and it would’t be complete without sharing about our evening in the private theater. The room was used in the 1980’s to screen first release films and currently, state of the art surround sound and HD projection. For about $20 per person, you can reserve the theater for your group .

You’ll have the theater to yourself with tons of movies to choose from (you get to select only one though), all you can eat Reese’s and it’s really close to the indoor hot tub, sauna and outdoor pool area if you decide to do something else. I fell asleep and missed THE END but we had a short walk to our opulent suite and sweet dreams.

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I think the pictures speak volumes…it was a heavenly wake-up and the formal breakfast/brunch was artfully presented.

Afterward, we took advantage of the cool morning air, a bike ride and further exploring the property…

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A special thanks to my sweet daughter/photographer, Jillian Curran of  Lumina Boston Photography, the pictures were too many, too wonderful to include all in this one post.

I hope you have as much fun as we did!

THE END

 

 

 

 

Lessons Learned at a Wine Bloggers Conference

Sip often!

Spit just as often!

Listen, listen, listen!

Sit next to knowledgeable people and listen more!

Remember where you leave your shoes! Yes, I lost a pair of my favorite heels when I switched to my black Reefs!

Wear comfortable shoes, no one can see your shoes below the tablecloth!  Works for a formal dinner where everyone has been drinking all day!

Walking barefoot on the West Lawn at Monticello made me wonder if  Thomas Jefferson had done the same on a hot summer evening!  Definitely cooler barefoot in the grass!

When it’s super hot, a glass of  icy cold water is preferable to any Gold medal winning wine!  MAYBE a very nicely chilled Virginia Viognier…

Don’t stand behind someone at the tasting bar when sampling a Cab Franc or Petit Verdot!

Wine Away works well except when used with a cute colorful napkin from Greenwood Grocery!  My camisole went from a deep burgundy stain to an olive green smudge (was white!).

I’m very proud of Charlottesville, our local wineries, the downtown mall, and Virginia Wine!  Job well done!

Wine Blogging at Monticello!

After spending a day at the Omni Hotel on the Charlottesville downtown pedestrian mall ( I write this description for non-locals) we climbed on busses heading up curvy route 53 to Monticello for a dinner reception featuring Virginia wines. Extremely muggy hot weather was not the best conditions to show off our fair city and Blue Ridge Mountains. I still think despite the New Orleans Bayou-thick air, out of state visitors were impressed with the history and beauty of Monticello.  Efforts were made to keep the guests comfortable, hand-held fans printed with “Virginia Is For Lovers” were distributed and outdoor air conditioning was provided at strategic locations, fans with water reservoirs diffusing cool mist on the more aggressive heat relief seekers (Me!).  TJ look-alike mingled with the guests  along with celebrities like the Zonins, owners of Barboursville, just in from Italia! 

The wine makers were sheltered under a vast tent, keeping their bottles in coolers before opening them  for the bloggers. I couldn’t be more proud of our winery owners, wine makers and hosts-cheerfully pouring (more requested) whites  and reds and extolling the quality of their wines. Meanwhile, I shed my heels at Ankida Ridge’s table and walked barefoot in the grass,  meeting other wine bloggers and tasting wine.  As I wandered around, I couldn’t help but wonder what Thomas Jefferson would think about these techy wine lovers traipsing around his home and sharing thoughts regarding an industry that he started centuries ago  in Virginia!  

I was a little despondent about the demise of the 200+ years old White Oak and Poplar trees flanking the west side of Monticello. Noticeably missing, the large tree stumps look void and sad, so I toasted Thomas Jefferson quietly to myself.  The value of some of the wines attributed to his collection have reached record prices at auction!

Ankida Ridge, Glass House, Stinson, Gabrielle RausseFlying Fox and Pippin Hill Farm Vineyard were stops for me, unfortunately I missed several others due to waning energy. The food was excellent!  Shrimp and cheese grits, mini crab cakes, tiny stuffed red potatoes were all tasty pairings for the wines offered. Water bottles were the most coveted item on the menu, Keswick Hall did a fabulous job!

All in all, a lovely event and I overheard many guests discussing return travel plans to Virginia!

Great job, Charlottesville and Virginia Tourism!

2011 North American Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville!

In a little over a month, Charlottesville, Virginia will be hosting The North America Wine Bloggers Conference!  They are expecting as many as 325 participants, actually limiting it to that number!  This is quite a coup for Virginia and the efforts of many in the Commonwealth including Governor Bob McDonnel . With the recent opening of Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards  and this week Stinson Vineyards,  there is a lot of excitement in the air around Charlottesville’s wine country!

This is my first time to participate and I’m excited to be  learning more about wines from enthusiasts world wide!  I will be joining wine bloggers, new media innovators, and wine industry leaders on July 22-24, 2011 in Charlottesville, Virginia for the fourth annual North American Wine Bloggers Conference!  Best of all, I feel proud to be a local wine blogger and have the opportunity to show off  the beauty of our wine country and some of our superb wineries! 

There is also a Pre-Conference Excursion to Loudoun County.  Loudoun County is located just outside Washington DC and is one of Virginia’s premier wine areas, with 28 area wineries. I really wanted to join this group as well but can’t take that much time away from real estate in the summer! Other than visits to local wineries and Monticello, all meetings will be held at the Omni Hotel,  located near the end of our charming downtown pedestrian mall.

I’ve never “Live-Wine Blogged” before, hopefully I’ll get some pointers before the event!  The agenda is amazing including Dave McIntyre, wine writer for the Washington Post and founding member of DrinkLocalWine.com;  Lenn Thompson, founder of New York Cork Report; and Rémy Charest, blogger at The Wine Case in Canada.  This panel will be moderated by wine blogger, Frank Morgan of  Drink What You Like.  It will also be a great chance to meet wine tweeps in person!

New York Times wine critic and blogger Eric Asimovwill be providing the  keynote speech for the conference. I also noticed my friend Kat Schornberg Barnard of Keswick Vineyards will be attending!  I’ll know one person!

Look out C-ville, Here come the winos 🙂

Monticello Wine Festival

Tonight on the West Lawn at Monticello!  The Monticello Wine Festival is an opportunity to  sample some of the best wines in our area in a historic setting.  The weather is fabulous today and everyone should have a great time, not sure if tickets are still available at this time, but for  future events, check out the Monticello Wine Trail!  One of my favorites will be represented, Pollak!  Try their Cabernet Franc!Cabernet Franc 2007 Reserve was recognized with gold at the Grand Harvest Awards sponsored by the Vineyard and Management magazine while the 2008 vintage received gold at the Virginia State Fair.

Kluge EstateVeritasKeswickWhitehallJefferson,Afton MountainGabriele Rausse and King Family wines will all be available!  Enjoy, I can’t make it but guaranteed I will be there next year! Look for future posts about EACH of these wineries and tips about making the most of your visit to them.