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.”
Charlottesville, Virginia’s nTelos Wireless Pavilion is well-known for hosting concerts, shows, and tours of all musical genres. They have just released a list of the first half of the performers for their ever-popular Fridays After Five Concert Series, and whether you’re a die-hard fan of bluegrass, a lover of rock, or an admirer of world rhythms, you will most certainly find a band to suit your tastes.
All of the performers are local artists from central Virginia, and you will be delighted to know that all the performances in this concert series are free. Also, part of the proceeds from concession sales will go towards local non-profit organizations. (How great does this concert series sound???)
If you aren’t able to make any of the shows during the first half of this 2012 concert series, have no fear. A list of musicians for the second half will be released sometime towards the end of June.
April 20- Love Canon (Low Fat. Bluegrass. Eighties)
April 27- No BS! Brass Band (Modern Funk Brass Band)
May 04- Skip Castro (Swing, R&B, Boogie Woogie)
May 11- Soul Transit Authority (Golden Hits of Soul)
May 18- Honey Island Swamp Band (Bayou Americana)
May 25- Chickenhead Blues Band (Soulful Dancing Blues)
June 01- Second Draw (Jam Band, Bluegrass)
June 08- Baaba Seth (Worldbeat Dance)
June 15- Indecision (C’ville’s Favorite Jams)
June 22- The English Channel (British Invasion Rock)
June 29- Terri Allard (Rootsy Country Folk)
Book your room at the Iris Inn, and start planning your Fridays After Five activities!
Montpelier, as you may know, is a National Historic Landmark and also the lifelong home of former U.S. president James Madison. The estate is comprised of 2,650 acres in Orange County, Virginia, and it was built in 1723 by James Madison’s grandfather Ambrose, who called the property Mount Pleasant. Nowadays, Montpelier is a popular tourist attraction that boasts three annual festivals—the Montpelier Hunt Races, the Fiber Festival, and the Montpelier Wine Festival.
You will be quite delighted to learn that the Montpelier Wine Festival is only a month away. May 5-6, 2012, you will have the opportunity not only to visit and tour the beautiful grounds of Montpelier, but also to sample wine from 24 local wineries, indulge in delectable dishes prepared and served by festival vendors, and enjoy a variety of live events.
Want to bring the kiddies with you? Don’t be dissuaded by the “wine festival” title! There are plenty of children-friendly activities as well, including a free ride in the barrel train, face painting, kite-making, and a kite-flying contest. Instructions, stunts, and demonstrations will be provided by the Wings Over Washington Kite Club.
Book your room at the Iris Inn, and immerse yourself in wine and history!
Spring has entered with a fanfare of warm weather and early blooms, and now is the time to once again enjoy outdoor events and festivals. One such festival that is soon to take place in dear old Waynesboro is the 12th Annual Virginia Fly Fishing Festival: “Want to get started in fly fishing but don’t know where to begin? The Virginia Fly Fishing Festival is the ideal place to get your feet wet in the sport. Are you an avid fly angler looking to take your skills to the next level? The festival is your one-stop shop for gear, expert advice, and even instruction. Be a part of the largest fly angling event in the Old Dominion!” –Visit Waynesboro
On April 21-22, 2012, make your way to Waynesboro’s South River and partake in a host of free lectures and tips. The two-day schedule includes such lectures as “Casting Tactics for Trout in Tight Cover,” “Getting Into Saltwater Fly Fishing,” and “Fishing the Best Waters of the Mid-Atlantic.” If you’re a fly fishing beginner, have no fear. There will be experts available to answer all of your questions and to teach you the how, when, and where of this sport.
Perhaps you are asking yourself, “What if I don’t have a fishing license? Must I rush to buy one in time for this magnificent event so that I can partake in the merriments of my fellow fishermen?” If that is indeed your question, then you will be happy to know that the Fly Fishing Festival will have licenses for sale. (Make sure you have a picture ID and cash or a credit with you in order to purchase your license.)
Fly Fishing Festival Quick Facts:
DATE: April 21-22, 2012
LOCATION: South River, Waynesboro, VA
COST: $20 for a day, $35 for a weekend pass, children ages 16 and under free.
“But each spring…a gardening instinct, sure as the sap rising in the trees, stirs within us. We look about and decide to tame another little bit of ground.” — Lewis Gantt
Nothing proclaims the arrival of spring quite like the sight of budding flowers and the gradual shades of green that seep in the landscape. The Shenandoah Valley is a lovely place to watch spring emerge, and as a result of such an ideal location, there are specific places that commemorate this coming season.
Historic Garden Week in Virginia takes place April 21-28, 2012, and it includes around 250 gardens, historical landmarks, and homes all over the Commonwealth. We at the Iris Inn are lucky enough to be located near several of the Garden Week participants:
Morven Farm, Charlottesville, VA- This beautiful property was open during the first Historic Garden Week in 1929, and “it has been open for every Garden Week since” (Virginia.edu). When you tour Morven Farm, know that you will be experience a piece of history laden with the flora of spring.
Monticello, Charlottesville, VA- Garden Week at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello includes a Revolutionary Garden Tour on April 21 and April 23 as well as a National Book Launch on April 23.
Woodrow Wilson Birthplace, Staunton, VA- On April 21, 2012, take a tour of the historic boxwood garden next to the birthplace of former U.S. president Woodrow Wilson. Sponsored by the Augusta Garden Club, the tour also includes both the Woodrow Wilson Birthplace and the Woodrow Wilson Museum.
If you’re a fan of reading, writing, or literature in general, then mark your calendars for the renowned Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. For five days, March 21-25, 2012, you can attend book signings, readings, seminars, luncheons, and much more: There are “approximately 125 events on books of many topics, including but not limited to history, mystery, fiction, current affairs, poetry, cooking, photography” (Visit Charlottesville). Not only will this festival celebrate the potency of the written word, but it will also provide an enjoyable gathering of like-minded individuals, people who respect writing for the power that it holds in spite of ever-growing technological advances.
Every year, the festival boasts a myriad of authors, both fiction and non-fiction, as well as poets, publishers, and editors. A few of this year’s many participants include “international number-one bestselling author” Jeffery Deaver, National Geographic writer Jennifer Holland, and Shamus-award winning author Andy Straka.
What are other people saying about the Virginia Festival of the Book?
“Every year the Festival of the Book comes along to dispel the notion that reading has gone the way of the eight-track tape.” –Lisa Province, The Hook
“Mr. Jefferson would be proud to know such things as the Virginia Festival of the Book still occur.” –Festival Attendee 2011
“A five-day nonstop bookish bash with something that caters to every interest.” –Susan Stevens Huckle, Roanoke Times
(All quotes can be found VaBook.org)
In case you are unfamiliar with the area, Charlottesville, VA is only a quick drive, 25 minutes or so, away from the Iris Inn. Spend a day or two (or all five) at the festival, and know that you have a comfortable place to return to once you have enjoyed your literary ventures!
“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” –Anonymous
Although we, Dave and Heidi Lanford, are the head innkeepers here at the Iris Inn, there is a third individual who whole-heartedly welcomes guests on arrival. She helps show them to their rooms, keeps them entertained, and bids them farewell when they leave. We are, of course, talking about Katie, our 12-year old border collie who has been our constant companion since she was five months old.
A few reasons why we all love Katie:
Guests enjoy using a “launcher” to throw tennis balls for Katie outside. She always returns with a tennis ball, but we suspect that it’s rarely the same ball that was thrown. There are tennis balls scattered about the surrounding woods, and Katie always manages to bring one back so as not to disappoint the thrower.
To the delight of most everyone who meets Katie, she has a trigger word—“tail.” Say this word to her, and she will immediately begin chasing her tail, her barks growing louder as her viewers’ laughter increases. Sometimes it requires a firm command of “stop” before she actually ceases the pursuit of her tail.
If Katie wants you to throw her ball for her inside the inn, she certainly lets you know. She nudges it towards you with her nose, and then backs up in anticipation.
Katie knows she is not allowed in the rooms, so after she had helped show guests to the rooms, she patiently waits at the threshold, nudging her ball into the room so that guests will play with her.
Know that when you arrive here at the inn, you will be met with the utmost warmth and enthusiasm, not only by your innkeepers, but also by our beloved Katie.
We here at the Iris Inn know what makes those long days just a little bit more enjoyable: WINE! We are once again offering our ever popular Wine Therapy packages for price of $150 (plus the cost of the Iris Inn room of your choice). This package includes a light dinner on the Friday evening of your arrival, along with four desserts paired with four wines, all served on the Inn’s sunset deck. Next comes the Saturday events: breakfast, wine tasting at three premier vineyards, a gourmet lunch, and then a meal at the wine festival, along with live music and EVEN MORE WINE TASTING!!!! This package is made complete not only by a final delectable breakfast at the Inn, but also a complementary “Virginia Wine in My Pocket” app for your phone. Go ahead and book your room now.
And now, I present to you a list of upcoming festivals. Check our blog for posts closer to the event date, as they will list more details.
2. June 8-10 Veritas Starry Nights: A medley of bluegrass music, a delicious dinner, and an affluence of wonderful wine.
3. July 6-8 Veritas Starry Nights: In case you missed Round One of this event, here’s another opportunity for you to go!
4. July 20-22 Andre Viette’s Daylily and Wine Festival: Named one of July’s top 20 events by Southeastern Tourism Society, this event offers floral and flag festivities and artsy attractions, and of course, wine tasting.
7. August 10-12 Veritas Starry Nights: And if you missed Round One and Round Two of this event, here’s one more chance for you to attend!
Wine Therapy at the Iris Inn: Book your weekend today. Choose your room, and then add the Wine Therapy Package. We will take care of the rest!
“From the start it has been the theatre’s business to entertain people … it needs no other passport than fun.” –Bertolt Brecht, A Short Organum for the Theatre
If you read our blog entry about Staunton, Virginia’s Blackfriar Playhouse, then you already know that we have a wonderful theatre nearby the Iris Inn. But this Shakespearean marvel is not the only drama to be found in and around Waynesboro. There are numerous community theatres around the area that illustrate local talent and provide good quality entertainment for viewers in the Shenandoah Valley. So book a room at the Iris Inn, and then take in a show at one (or all) of these excellent local theatres:
Waynesboro Players, Waynesboro, VA- Climb aboard the M.S. Stillwater in a comedic tale of modern day piracy. See the antics of Walker D. Plank and his minion Halitosis Halvard as they attempt to overtake a cruise ship in the name of the Pirate Appreciation Movement. This show, written by local Matthew Warner, runs from February 23-26, 2012. (Your humble blogger also happens to be a cast member of this production, so this may or may not be a shameless promotion…)
Live Arts, Charlottesville, VA- Enter the surreal world of the Belgian painter Rene Magritte and step into the bizarre magic of his mind that inspired his paintings. This show, written by Barry Kornhauser and directed by Will Rucker, runs through February 18, 2012.
ShenanArts, Staunton, VA- Witness the life and times of Woodrow Wilson in ShenanArts’ production of “Woody,” written by Richard Adams and adapted by Diane Stewart. The show runs from February 24-26, 2012, and there is a dinner option on the Saturday evening of the show.
“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” –C.S. Lewis
When you’re looking for a restaurant at which to eat and relax, there are many factors that you consider—the type of food, the atmosphere, the cost, the company, and the convenience. No matter the factors, though, the most memorable restaurants are the most unique ones, and here in Waynesboro, Virginia, we have just such an establishment.
Stone Soup Books is a café and a bookstore, and during the warmer months, it boasts a lush garden as well. Its location is perfect, as it’s nestled in downtown Waynesboro and centered in the verdant beauty of the Shenandoah Valley.
The bookstore at Stone Soup features a fantastic collection of rare, out of print, and collectable books, and if you can’t locate a book that you would like, they promise to help you track it down. You can also share your enjoyment of reading with other book lovers at various book gatherings and events, often accompanied by tea or wine. (Coming up on January 26, 2012 is Stone Soup’s “Book Tea” for only $8 a person. Make your reservations now!)
The café section of Stone Soup is known for a delicious selection of soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and teas. Ingredients are locally grown, organic, fresh, and healthy: “Breaking bread with your neighbors and visitors offers fellowship and a connection to your community.” (Stone Soup Books)
If you have any questions about Stone Soup Café, call 540-943-0084 or email email@example.com. Book your room at the Iris Inn, then trek down to the café for a spot of tea and some quality reading.