Yesterday I spoke approvingly of wines being produced in the area of Middleburg, VA, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about an hour’s drive from Washington, DC. That’s hunt country, but it’s also a great jumping off point for what is called a “journey through hallowed ground.”
Journey Through Hallowed Ground is actually a non-profit organization that has put together an ideal driving tour through Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia that includes a multitude of important Revolutionary and Civil War battlefields as well as the homes and birthplaces of—get this—nine US presidents.
You know about Thomas Jefferson and, Monticello. You know about the battlefields of Gettysburg and Bull Run. But there is so much more fascinating history embedded in the towns and hills of the Hallowed Ground route. This is a trip ideal for history buffs or parents with kids of learning age.
Check out a National Geographic book called Journey Through Hallowed Ground, or call the folks who will be happy to help you plan an impactful trip. Visit HallowedGround.org.
Each of these 50 united states makes wine, and I’ve tasted examples from maybe 15 of them. Some OK, some not so OK. But I was pleasantly surprised to sample some wine from Virginia recently, and I’d like to commend it to you and also suggest that Virginia wine country can make for an interesting trip.
I remember when a couple of wineries in Virginia were just beginning to turn grapes into wine a few decades ago. But while doing a radio show recently from the lovely Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, I learned how rapidly the local wine industry has matured.
I stopped by perhaps the most modern and striking winery in the state, the Boxwood Winery (pictured) in Middleburg. Unusually, Boxwood grows all its own grapes and turns out a rose and three red wines using the traditional grapes of Bordeaux; I took home the just-released, 2012 “Boxwood” that I found luscious. The winery is very visitor friendly as is nearby Greenhill Winery that makes a robust Meritage blend called “Philosophy” that would show well against a Bordeaux.
Tomorrow: More about visiting this gorgeous, hilly country in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that ought to be on your bucket list.
If you ever board a flight and find your seatmate pulling out an e-cigarette, you’re most likely within your rights to ask a flight attendant to halt the “vaping.” This, despite a claim on a website called “Electronic Cigarette Consumer Reviews” that suggest it’s OK to smoke an e-cigarette aloft if you’re sneaky about it.
“Vaping” ought to be as verboten as regular smoking on an airplane, I think, and most major airlines agree. But despite a move years ago by the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration to issue a blanket rule, the agencies tossed the question to airlines.
Today most if not all US airlines ban the smoking of e-cigarettes, though some pro-smoking web sites such as BluCigs.com suggests you ask each airline. To its credit, the site also suggests your ask your seatmates if they mind, adding that perhaps when they learn more about e-cigs, they’ll decide to join the club.
You’re permitted to carry your e-cig paraphernalia in your carry-on baggage, as long as you comply with the three-ounce rule for liquids. One pro-e-sig site says you might be able to get away with smoking in a lavatory, but then adds, “But we didn’t tell you that.”
Right. Because vaping can set off an airplane lavatory smoke detector. Why the FAA can’t issue a firm rule is beyond me.
Have you ever walked into a hotel or resort and felt immediately at home? Even the fanciest of marble lobbies can fail in that regard. But I recently spent two nights at a resort in Virginia’s hunt country—Middleburg, VA—that gets it right.
The resort is a year old, and it’s called Salamander Resort & Spa. Middleburg is about an hour’s drive from DC, about 25 minutes from Dulles airport. Middleburg is a small town of grand stone houses, quaint inns, rolling hills, and lots of wide open, green spaces.
In short–a perfect place for a resort.
And owner Sheila Johnson recognized that. She and her team spent eight years bringing Salamander to life; after all, a resort with more than 150 rooms was a big deal for a village steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history that is also home to quite a few wealthy and well-known families.
But she succeeded, and you enter the resort via an unmarked, winding road and walk into a huge living room flanked by fireplaces with an expansive view of the great outdoors. The details are just right—high-end fittings, a library you’ll want to move into, a polished equestrian center and luxurious spa. Three pools, two restaurants . . . check the photos out at here and treat yourself to a getaway.
By now, we all know that airfares jump around like crazy. We’ve all found a good price on a ticket, but after we’ve checked with friends or even stepped away from our computer to get a drink of water, we return to find that ticket price has increased. What if you could have an assistant that monitors ticket prices 24/7 and lets you know when prices drop?
Your personal assistant exists, and it costs you nothing. It’s an option on Kayak.com called “Price Alert.” Kayak is not a site that sells airline tickets—it’s a good place to see a vast array of flight options. After you choose a search, look in the upper, left-hand corner of the page and find “Price Alert.”
Click on that and set your parameters. Are you flexible about the day of travel? You can type in your exact date or ask for the cheapest fares on a particular month or even year. Do you want to receive price alerts daily? (That, by the way, is what I’d suggest.)
Our friend over at MileValue.com, Scott Grimmer, wanted to go from DC to LA, and by receiving daily updates from Kayak.com, he saved $65 on a one-way ticket between those two cities.
Kayak.com’s price alert—use it.