Archive for the 'Holidays' Category
“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!
The holiday season is upon us, and even if you’ve forgotten, the stores certainly haven’t. (Poor Thanksgiving seems to have become the forgotten middle child in between Halloween and Christmas.) If you’re struggling to think of a gift to give this season, allow the Iris Inn to help you out. We offer gift certificates to be purchased and given at your leisure. In case you need convincing, feel free to peruse this list of five reasons why you should purchase an Iris Inn gift certificate for the holiday season:
1. You will undoubtedly be the most envied of all gift-givers at your holiday party. Seriously, can a pair of socks, however fuzzy, compete with a contribution toward a bed and breakfast getaway? I think not.
2. You don’t have to fight the Black Friday crowds to buy your gift. In fact, you don’t have to fight any crowds, since the gift certificates are available for purchase online.
3. You’ll have a huge head start on shopping for gifts. Knowing what to buy someone is half the battle, so this will make it easier on you as the days progress.
4. We have brand new cabins! Although all our rooms are positively fabulous (though we may be a bit biased in our opinions), we are particularly fond of our new cabins, and they make a most tempting incentive to plan an Iris Inn getaway. Further that incentive by giving a gift certificate.
5. You’re giving someone something much more than a physical gift. Gifts are often used and then forgotten, but a B&B getaway creates memories that will be cherished in the future.
“What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?” — George Eliot
There is no place quite like a B&B to spark romance and rekindle the love and affection. What makes the Iris Inn such a romantic place for a Valentine’s Day getaway? Read on, and you shall see:
- The location. We are nestled in the forest, encircled and shaded by mountains. It is a woodland setting befitting any fairytale romance.
- Our in-room massages. A good massage can increase your flexibility, ease your depression, increase your concentration, and strengthen your muscles. Not to mention, a couple’s massage is a wonderful way to relax with a loved one. (Also, our Do Nothing Weekends are the perfect time to take advantage of an in-room massage!)
- Our Hawk’s Nest hot tub. What’s more romantic that watching the sun set while immersing yourself in the soothing bubbles of a hot tub?
- Our chocolate covered strawberries. Make your arrival extra special by requesting fresh, luscious strawberries, hand-dipped in rich chocolate.
- Our Specialty Cake for Two. Like the strawberries, you can request a cake to share with your sweetheart to make a fun getaway exceptional.
- The nearby romantic restaurants. Dine by candlelight at a fine restaurant in Charlottesville. Sip a cappuccino at a café in Staunton. Whatever you choose, you are sure to find a place with an atmosphere appropriate for two people in love.
© Jumping Rocks Photography
“Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” — Washington Irving
Just in case you have forgotten, Christmas is only two days away. Have you finished your shopping yet? Wrapped all of your presents? No??? If you are one of the many, many procrastinators out there, or if you simply have no idea what gift to give someone in your life, fear not, because, we are your Last Minute Life-Saver. (Kind of catchy, isn’t it?)
We offer the wonderfully timed option of purchasing gift certificates from the Iris Inn. They make excellent holiday gifts, birthday gifts, apology gifts, or “just because” gifts, and honestly, who wouldn’t love a bed and breakfast getaway?
Now, if you do intend to purchase a gift certificate as a Christmas gift, you should probably scribble out an IOU for the receiver since we’ll be mailing the certificate to you, and it certainly won’t make it in time for Christmas. Just make sure to let the future receiver know that something spectacular is on the way.
From the Iris Inn Bed and Breakfast, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy New Year!
One of the most well-loved holiday traditions is baking. Whether you’re cooking for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or New Years, family recipes are always a must during the holiday season. Here at the Iris Inn, we certainly love our food (as you well know if you have been a guest here!), and we are happy to have contributed a few recipes to the new Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia’s cookbook.
One of our recipes features our highly requested “Amazing Cinnamon Rolls,” which we make with a handy little “shortcut,” a package of frozen biscuits. And so, we present this recipe to you in hopes that it delights your taste buds enough that you simply have to have the entire cookbook. (If you would like more in depth information about the cookbook, check out one of the BBAV’s latest blog entries)
1 (26.4 oz.) package frozen biscuits
¼ cup butter, softened
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 cup posdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Arrange frozen biscuits, with sides touching, in 3 rows or 4 biscuits on a lightly floured surface. Let stand 30 to 45 minutes or until biscuits are thawed but still cool to the touch. (May defrost in refrigerator overnight.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Springle thawed biscuits lightly with flour. Press biscuit edges together, and pat to form a 10×12-inch rectangle of dough; spread evenly with softened butter. In a bowl, stir together brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over butter. Sprinkle chopped pecans evenly over brown sugar mixture. Roll up, starting at one of the long ends; cut into 12 1-inch-thick slices. Place rolls onto lightly greased 10-inch round or 9-inch square pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until center rolls are golden brown and done; cool slightly.
Stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract; drizzle evenly over rolls.
Photo by Rebecca (http://www.flickr.com/photos/70757891@N00/3685013163)
If you read out previous Iris Inn blog post, you know that we suggested gouda cheese from Our Lady of the Angels Monastery as a Christmas gift for that hard-to-buy-for individual. We now have another recommendation for you that would not only make an excellent holiday gift, but would also provide quality time with friends and/or family.
Sunspots Studios is a gift gallery that also has a live glass blowing studio where you can observe the fascinating process of their craft. The artists at Sunspots produce and sell such items as vases, perfume bottles, garden art, decorative ornaments, and a huge variety of other pieces, all forged right in their studio in historic downtown Staunton, Virginia.
Along with the items for sale in their gallery, Sunspots is also offering another way to obtain the perfect gift for the holidays—blowing your own glass ornaments. (Seriously, who wouldn’t want their own handmade glass ornament? These things are amazing!) On Wednesdays through Sundays from now until December 31, 2011, you can “start a new family tradition” and create a one-of-a-kind prize that the receiver is sure to treasure. (Okay, so that was incredibly cheesy, but the sentiment really can be stated in no other fashion.)
People enjoy a well thought out gift, and to help mold the gift with your own hands is to add another depth of meaning entirely. It says that you place more than monetary worth on the recipient; you value them as worthy of your time and creativity.
Are you convinced yet? No? Then have a look at some of Sunspots Studios’ photos and see for yourself how beautiful these creations are. To contact Sunspots Studios, call 540-885-0678, email email@example.com, or visit their Facebook page.
Photo by Neon Ja
We all have that one individual in our lives for whom it is impossible to buy the perfect gift. Christmas shopping for this person involves wracking our brains for unique ideas, usually unsuccessfully, and in the end, they receive a generic gift that is well-received but still not complete perfection. However, if said individual is a fan of cheese (and isn’t a vegan, of course), then we believe we have found the perfect gift for them (which you can pick up during your stay at the Iris Inn!).
Our Lady of the Angels is a Trappist monastery located in Crozet, Virginia and comprised of eleven lovely Sisters. The Sisters boast a variety of backgrounds, having come from New York, Minnesota, Texas, Korea, India, and various other locations. These diligently faithful women make a living by making Gouda cheese, using a Dutch recipe and fresh cheese culture from Wisconsin. Everything from making the cheese to packaging and shipping the cheese is done by the Sisters of the monastery, illustrating their emphasis on self-sufficiency and manual labor. As they state on their website, “We try to be good stewards of our land, and our cheese-making endeavor helps to support our life of prayer and service.”
If you are interested in purchasing cheese or simply visiting the monastery, the Sisters will gladly welcome you. Gouda cheese would certainly make a deliciously unique holiday gift!
“The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” –Abraham Lincoln
Veterans Day will be here shortly, and you may be looking to join in the celebration which honors the lives of all men and women who have served in the various branches of the military. During your stay here at the Iris Inn, there are several different options of showing your patriotic thankfulness. You can, of course, adorn yourselves in red, white and blue attire while waving your own star-spangled banner. However, if you’re looking for a more subtle option of celebration, have no fear.
There will be a Veterans Day program at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Virginia. The program begins at 10:30 am (the 93rd anniversary of President Wilson’s original Armistice Day address), and it is free to the public.
Shenandoah National Park will be offering free admission to everyone Veterans Day. What better way to thank the men and women of the armed forces than by getting out and delighting in the land they help to protect?
Another Veterans Day commemoration will be found at Ash-Lawn Highland, the home of President James Monroe, who was a Revolutionary War veteran. The event begins at 11 am and is free to the public. Ash-Lawn Highland will be free the entire day to all military personnel, active, former, and retired.
Halloween is a little more than a week away, which means that you’re either scrambling to buy enough candy for trick-or-treaters, or your trying to perfect your children’s outrageous costumes (or perhaps you’re assembling your own costume….adults like dressing up too!).
Whatever the case may be, Halloween is certainly an entertaining time of year, and whether or not you’re interested in the costuming aspects of it, you have to admit that the vast amounts of sugar (particularly chocolate) are most pleasing. (We always have plenty of sugar on-hand here at the inn!)
And so, in honor of this sugary yet scary holiday, enjoy some fun facts about Halloween, courtesy of Purple Trail, the Holiday Spot, and Halloween Web:
- The tradition of carving pumpkins began with the legend of Stingy Jack, a selfish man who eventually became a ghost known as Jack of the Lantern.
- More than 93% of children, under the age of 12, will go out trick-or-treating
- Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees
- Over $1.5 billion is spent on costumes each year and more than $2.5 billion on other Halloween paraphernalia
- Legend says that if a young girl puts a silver coin and rosemary under her pillow on Halloween, she will dream of her future husband.
- About 50% of adults dress up for Halloween, while 67% take part in the activities, such as parties, decorating the house and trick-or-treating with their children
- It is believed that the Irish began the tradition of Trick or Treating. In preparation for All Hallow’s Eve, Irish townsfolk would visit neighbors and ask for contributions of food for a feast in the town.
- More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billion pieces – enough to circle the moon nearly 4 times if laid end-to-end.
© Carole Pasquier
If this positively fascinating information has intrigued you, then perhaps you should consider spending your Halloween weekend at the spooky woods of the Iris Inn.