Saturday, May 18, 2013, boasts a springtime festival at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello—Wine & Roses. Wine & Roses is part of the Center for Historic Plants’ open house and will feature wine tasting, workshops, a tour of the gardens, plant sales, and a family activities table.
The Center for Historic Plants has its roots in Thomas Jefferson’s horticulture interests. The center was established at Monticello in 1987 and its members “collect, preserve, and distribute historic plant varieties and strives to promote greater appreciation for the origins and evolution of garden plants.” While Jefferson’s interest spanned a number of North American plants, this particular event will explore the history of rose cultivation, demonstrated at the picturesque Tufton Farm.
Tufton Farm “was one of Thomas Jefferson’s quarter farms and borders the Monticello plantation…Tufton served as important agricultural land, providing large amounts of crops and food sources for the Monticello plantation.” Today, Tufton houses the Center for Historic Plants, flourishing in a display of brightly colored flora.
Now that you know a bit about the history of Monticello’s plant life, you may be wondering what specific activities the Wine & Roses festival will entail:
10 a.m. – 11 a.m: A discussion with Doug Seidel about the “various types of old roses and their myriad virtues.”
11:15 a.m. – 12 p.m.: A garden tour led by Peggy Cornett, Curator of Plants at Monticello, “focusing on the antique rose collection.”
12:30 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.: The “Antique Rose Show” workshop with Doug Seidel.
1:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Wine tasting with Gabriele Rausse, the Director of Gardens and Grounds at Monticello
1:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.: A rose propagation and culture workshop with Briar Hartsock, the Nursery Manager
2:15 p.m. – 3 p.m.: A garden tour with Peggy Cornett
“Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.” — John Ruskin
The reawakening of the natural world is one of the most welcomed parts of spring, particularly in regards to the vivid splash of color of newly bloomed flowers. While the progression of springtime greenery is a slower process, flowers seem to leap forward in their urgency towards warm weather.
Coming up on May 4-5, the Shenandoah National Park will be celebrating the flora of the area with its 27th Annual Wildflower Weekend: “Take a day or two to appreciate the diversity of wildflowers growing here in the Blue Ridge. More than 1,300 species of plants thrive in Shenandoah National Park, a mountain island surrounded by farmland, towns, and expanding developed areas.” (NPS). Because Wildflower Weekend is held in early May, you can expect to see wildflowers like hepatica, violets, wild geranium, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild azaleas, and numerous other floral wonders.
If you’d like to learn as well as look, the park is offering programs led by biologists, park rangers, guest naturalists, and professional photographers, and topics will include everything from wildflower identification to bird-watching. (Click here for a full list of the scheduled programs.)
Reminders from the Park:
- “Wear sturdy shoes and bring water on all hikes.” (We’re sure they don’t want any half-dehydrated, high-heel wearing participants…)
- “Evaluate your personal fitness and health to choose an appropriate program.” (We’re pretty sure none of the park rangers will carry you if you get tired while hiking.)
- “Come prepared for wet weather. Walks may be conducted in light rain, but will be canceled in case of thunderstorms.” (After all, no one wants to get struck by lightning.)
This is a great opportunity to explore the native and exotic wildflowers that take root among our mountains, so go out on an adventure, then return to relaxation at the Iris Inn!
Photo Credit: Stolz Gary M, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The weather may still be reminiscent of winter, but spring has arrived, and Virginia’s Historic Garden Week is fast approaching: “Every April, visitors are welcomed to more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during “America’s Largest Open House.’”
The first garden tour nearby the Iris Inn is on April 20, 2013 at Morven Estate in Charlottesville: “Morven, a three-story brick manor house built in the late-Georgian/Federal Style, dates to 1820. The land on which it sits was part of the original Carter family land grant and was known to Thomas Jefferson as ‘Indian Camp.’” The estate was passed from Jefferson to his adoptive son William Short. It was then passed on to others until it was finally owned by John Kluge, who generously gifted the estate to the University of Virginia.
Another tour destination that takes place on April 20, 2013 is the Staunton-Augusta Tour, which explores five properties, including two 18th century homes and gardens. “Another home showcases new construction based on historical design and is the site of Mount Airy Vineyard which is included on the tour. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum showcases a Garden Club of Virginia restored garden, and will also be included. The Spring Hill Presbyterian Church, which began as a Chapel in 1895, will be open and serve as the lunch venue for this tour.” On April 24, 2013, one can partake in an “intimate house and garden tour” in Harrisonburg, VA: “Highlights of these properties include: a home with black wood floors, a working artist’s studio, heirloom antiques to salvaged architectural details, and a property owned by a Master Gardener.”
Click here for a complete list of 2013’s 80th Historic Garden Week tours and locations.
“Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers.” –Herbert Hoover
There’s still a bitter chill in the air here in Waynesboro, Virginia, but the warm weather is soon to come, bringing with it the 13th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival: “Held on the banks of the South River in Downtown Waynesboro, this festival is the largest outdoor fly fishing event in the Mid-Atlantic. Casting class with instructors, over 40 exhibitors with the latest gear, children’s fishing pond and some of Virginia’s finest vintners are just some of the activities offered over the weekend!” –Visit Waynesboro
Take classes for beginners, chat with fellow sportsman, taste Virginia wine, and visit the many different vendors. Also, if you are interested in obtaining a fishing license, you’ll be able to purchase one right onsite: “[The festival is] proud to announce that attendees will be able to purchase their fishing licenses and check on their driver’s licenses at the festival this year! That’s right: A partnership between Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Game and Inland Fisheries means one-stop shopping for anglers.”
This year, we here at the Iris Inn are offering a Fly Fishing Festival Package for our guests. This includes tickets to either day of the event as well as lunch at a fantastic nearby restaurant, the Greenleaf Grill. Pricing includes the cost of your room plus $75. If you’re interested in booking a room for this fun, warm-weather package, click here.
One of Charlottesville, Virginia’s most well-known entertainment venues is the John Paul Jones Arena. The Arena was built in 1976 by a University of Virginia (UVA) graduate named Paul Tudor Jones II, and it was constructed and named in honor of Jones’ father John Paul: “Mr. Jones has described his father’s life as being dedicated to four things: his faith, his family, the University of Virginia and basketball.”
While the John Paul Jones Arena does host both UVA men’s and women’s basketball games, athletics is not the only thing you’ll find there. A huge number of entertainers have performed there as well: “The arena is…host to a myriad of attractions including concerts, family shows, exhibits, trade shows, and community events. John Paul Jones Arena has hosted many of the biggest acts in live entertainment, including Dave Matthews Band, The Police, Eric Clapton, The Eagles, Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, Jimmy Buffett, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, George Strait, The Dead, Phish, Jason Aldean, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
“Masquerades disclose the reality of souls. As long as no one sees who we are, we can tell the most intimate details of our life.” –Fernando Pessoa
Masquerade. The word itself holds many connotations from fictional characters in lavish disguises to mysterious figures waltzing away in Regency Era ball rooms. And what do you get when you combine the extravagance of a masquerade with the energy of a New Year’s celebration? You get the chance to participate in your own Masked Ball at Veritas Vineyard & Winery in Afton, Virginia on December 31, 2012. The evening will include “wine and hors d’oeuvers followed by a five-course winemaker’s dinner at 8 p.m. in Saddleback Hall” as well as “dancing until midnight,” which is when the “masks come off and the champagne flows!” Perhaps you think the party ends there, in which case, you would be incorrect. At 12:30 am, breakfast will be served!
Black tie is optional, so dust off your fancy jackets and formal dresses, and make a grand appearance in style. Also, remember to book your room at the Iris Inn so that when you’re finally done celebrating a masked New Year, you can return to the comfort of your own bed and rest your tired dancing feet.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Staunton, VA, which is only a quick drive away from the Iris Inn, boasts the only re-creation of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Theatre. While the American Shakespeare Center is obviously renowned for its Shakespearean performances, their holiday shows are particular favorites among viewers.
A Christmas Carol- It’s a classic for sure! Charles Dickens’ story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge takes on a unique atmosphere on the traditional Shakespearean stage: “Expect to be right in the middle of this beloved tale with new twists, surprises, and a production filled with music and cheer for the whole family.”
The 12 Dates of Christmas- (RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES) Looking for a fun, girls’ night out? This may be the show for you ladies (though men are certainly not dissuaded from going as well). This is a one-woman performance about Mary, who, after dumping her fiancé, spends a year navigating the complexities of dating.
The Santaland Diaries- This production is “an outrageously funny one-man play (from National Public Radio’s well-loved humorist David Sedaris) about the author’s experiences as an unemployed actor/writer taking a job as an elf at Macy’s department store in New York City.” If you enjoy a bit of wry humor, you’ll definitely like The Santaland Diaries.
The holiday season is just now beginning, and you may already be feeling stressed out. Why not have something restful to look forward to once your Christmas decorations are put away, your New Year confetti is swept up, and family members have departed back home? We’re once again offering Do Nothing Weekends at the Iris Inn!
Friday: Join us at the Inn anytime between 3pm and 9pm. We will have a light dinner—soup, salad, and fresh bread—ready for you from 6-9pm, and then at 9:00, you are welcome to partake in dessert and coffee.
Saturday- The day is your to do with what you will! Sleep in, play some board games, chill in front of the television, or get a massage. If you’re feeling a bit restless with all the relaxation, there are numerous hiking trails around the area as well as some great shopping destinations in Waynesboro as well as in Staunton and Charlottesville. Meals for the day include a 9am brunch and a full dinner at 6:30pm (salad, entree, dessert, and wine).
Sunday- Enjoy a wonderful breakfast at 9am before checking out around 11am. Hopefully by this time you will be will be well rested!
January 11-13, 2013
February 22-24, 2013 (with an Everything Chocolate theme)
March 1-3, 2013
March 8-10, 2013
March 29-31, 2013
Price: Minimum 2 night stay. Rooms will be discounted 5% and food costs will be an additional $99.00 for two persons. A couple may take advantage of Friday only for $40.00, or Saturday only for $60.00.
Out of all of the Monticello Wine Trails, the Southern Trail best reflects the work and accomplishments of well-known individuals, be they historical figures like Thomas Jefferson or modern day moguls like Donald Trump.
The first stop on this wine-tasting road trip is Monticello, the “the primary plantation of Thomas Jefferson, who inherited it….Located just outside Charlottesville, the plantation was originally 5,000 acres. At Jefferson’s direction, he was buried on the grounds, an area now designated as the Monticello Cemetery, which is owned by the Monticello Association, a lineage society of his descendants” (Monticello).
The next stop is Jefferson Vineyards, which still grows fruits that were selected by Thomas Jefferson in 1774. One thing that makes this winery and vineyard so unique is that it is entirely self-contained in Virginia. The grapes are grown onsite, and no fruit is purchased outside Virginia. As the winery states, “These choices are consistent with our values, and we believe they are true to Jefferson’s original vision of winemaking in Virginia” (Jefferson Vineyards). If you do make a stop at this vineyard, we recommend the Chardonnay!
Bleinheim Vineyards is next on the trip, and this property just happens to be owned by renowned musician Dave Matthews. Like the previously mentioned establishments, however, this one is also linked to Thomas Jefferson: “It was Blenheim where Thomas Jefferson and his bride, Martha, are said to have “rested and warmed themselves” after their coach stalled nearby during a snowstorm. Later, the Jeffersons continued on to Monticello on horses borrowed from Edward Carter. The property was sold in 1840 and the house burned a few years later” (Blenheim).
Lastly, there is Trump Winery, owned by Donald Trump, legendary real estate tycoon and star of NBC’s The Apprentice. This winery is known to have the best Brut in Central Virginia, and they also serve some fantastic cheese if you’re hungry for a midday snack.
Enjoy your Southern Trail road trip, and don’t forget to book your room at the Iris Inn!
Carter Mountain Orchard, which labels itself “a Charlottesville family tradition since 1912,” is a unique experience for all of its visitors. It boasts not only a vast number of apple and peach trees from which visitors can pick their own fruit, but also a bakery, a country store, and a wine shop. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the absolutely stunning views surrounding the orchard.
Carter Mountain Orchard is also well-known for its events and festivals, and coming up in a little more than a month is one such event. Starting on June 7, 2012 and continuing until October 4, 2012, every week the orchard will feature its Thursday Evening Sunset Series: “Come pick your own fruit when it’s a little cooler, shop in our Country Store, grab some donuts and cider from our bakery, and dinner from our Grill, and then head into the Carter Mountain Wine Shop for wine (tastings, by the glass, or by the bottle). Perch on our two large decks to listen to free live music, and catch an amazing sunset.”