Twas the Saturday before Christmas...
While folks were pounding the pavement and furiously wrapping last-minute holiday gifts this weekend, I ventured north to Charlottesville for a quick day trip with my mom and sister. First up on our itinerary was the Southern Living Idea House. Nestled deep in the mountains--so deep that we were a little concerned our GPS had played a cruel trick on us--the 2015 Southern Living Idea House is a charming stone cottage located on Bundoran Farm just outside of Charlottesville. For several months, the home was open to the public, offering unique and creative home design and decor ideas for people like my family and me who love all things HGTV-related. The house is like a living Pinterest board of paint colors and furnishings. But the most spectacular part of the home: the view. 21 acres of pristine countryside. It was well worth the dirt-road drive.
We continued day-dreaming about the gorgeous Idea House as we made our way to Trump Winery, the largest vineyard in the state. And yes, it's that Trump, as in the Donald. Eric Trump, Donald's son, is the president. But whether you read into all the politics or not, the winery speaks for itself. We tasted seven of the winery's signature wines, including a Chardonnay that I fell in love with even though I don't usually like Chardonnay. And if the wine doesn't draw you in, the food will. The tasting room menu is just as good as the wine...a classic cheese platter, mushroom and goat cheese flatbread with arugula, a ham sandwich with Brie and apple butter. I know...my mouth is still watering.
To me, nothing says Christmas like a performance of The Nutcracker. Growing up, I performed in my fair share of the classic holiday ballet--I've been a snowflake, a mouse, Spanish, Chinese, a party parent, and something that required I wear a giant pretzel-shaped headpiece. This year's show was extra special, as it was performed by the Charlottesville Ballet, who's co-director is a former dancer friend of mine. A relatively new company, the Charlolttesville Ballet is supported by one of Roanoke's local performance groups, the Southwest Virginia Ballet. My favorite part: watching the little kids on stage dressed as gingerbread and mice and toy soldiers. It brought me back to my childhood, and made me want to run home and slip on my pointe shoes.
After all of the excitement, it was nice to settle in for a leisurely dinner at Red Pump Kitchen in historic downtown Charlottesville. The Mall was lit up with holiday lights and decorations; Christmas carols filled the cold night air, everyone was feeling festive as they walked up and down the cobblestone street, taking in the window displays and sipping hot cocoa.
I love traditions, especially holiday traditions, and I think that our girls' day trip to Charlottesville will inspire future December getaways. Next year: Biltmore?