Travel

Cuppa Cheer Tea Room; Ladysmith, VA

Lloyd and I recently drove up to Thurmont, Maryland to spend a weekend with some friends. Along the way we we spotted what is easily the cutest little Tea Room I’ve ever seen in Ladysmith, VA. Even the name of the town is darling! It was kismet cause I had googled for places where we could have afternoon tea on our drive up and hadn’t had any luck so when we saw it on an exit sign we knew we had to make a stop. The place is pretty small but that really adds to the coziness. Which was heightened by the cute knick knacks all over the shop. My favorite were the parasols hanging from the ceiling.

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They also had the most twee table settings. Everything was done up in lovely, bright colors with fresh flowers dotting their space.

All of the wall hangings were perfectly spring-like! And dotted all the available wall space. But it was so tastefully done that you didn’t feel overwhelming at all. I especially loves the way they used parts of the tea service in the decor.

But, the most important thing is whether the tea and the food stood up to our rigorous taste testing! Spoiler alert: it was! I also loved the doily detail on the menu!

The tea selection was great. I went for the Victorian Earl Grey and Lloyd had the Burgundy Blast. They were both perfect. Lloyd was in heaven, he loves any tea with hibiscus.

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The Earl Grey was exactly what I wanted with this delightful hint of rose that was unexpected and refreshing. And I just love the way milk sinks into tea so I had to share that visual with you.

The Menu was a sort of pre fixe situation in which you pick the number of courses you prefer. We just did the basic tea for two and were absolutely stuffed. It started off with a delicious pair of scones. Golden raisin and caraway seeds paired with a strawberry shortcake.

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I’m not usually a dried fruit kinda gal but I am lover of caraway seeds. Honestly it was one of the best scones I have ever had. It even came with cutest little side dish of lemon curd and butter.

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Next up we each got a “main” tea sandwich. I got the cheese on toast and Lloyd got the cucumber sandwiches. They were served up with cheese, fruits and vegetables and were scrumptious.

Lastly we finished off with a pastry trio. We were honestly so stuffed that we couldn’t finish all the desserts. But they had a delicious lemon tart, a chocolate chip and shortbread tart and some walnut chocolate fudge.

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I was taken with the cute way they brought out their check. It reminded me Alice in Wonderland.

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Speaking of Terrie and Charlotte I wanted to take a moment to introduce the two ladies I met there. Terrie is the owner and does all the cooking, she was the sweetest lady and her inspired idea for a tea room has definitely been a winner. Charlotte was our very knowledgable server and tea connoisseur.

After dessert we were able to take a little turn around the gift shop. Most of the products are actually hand made by Charlotte who also goes by M’Lady Alanna. I was so impressed with her handmade tea cozies. Dobby the Elf would have been beside himself!

My absolute favorite was this handmade shrug. It looks like something straight out of Outlander. If you read the label you’ll notice it says “Emily Bronte Shrug” this is because they host literary nights about once a month! It sounds fantastic and I’m definitely adding it to my to-do list!

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All in all if you ever find your self driving up I-95 towards DC I think you owe it to yourself to plan for afternoon tea at this quaintly English tea room!

wine

Williamsburg Winery

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I think it’s time I start writing about wine as I promised I would. I’m going to start off with an easy one. Easy because we go to the The Williamsburg Winery often and are wine club members here. We love this winery so much that Lloyd and I are getting married there in December.

 

Every quarter we get a selection of three wines in a cute little carrying case and each month we have four free reserve tastings. These tastings are excellent. They are in a little back room and include a drier selection of wines. I really enjoy the more intimate setting of the backroom tasting. Chief among those reasons is the fact that members get to sit and it’s nice to have that option. The membership also came with a very nice discount on our wedding, so a total win-win.

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If you are ever in Williamsburg and a lover of dry red wine you owe it to yourself to make a visit to this Winery and do the Reserve Tasting. Just look at that list of wine. The real stand outs are the two Malbecs at the end. The 2013 Apogeo is the first 100% Malbec that Williamsburg Winery has put out. And the second, the 2015 Reflective, is from their sister winery, A16, in Argentina. You can see that they scored very well in Wine Enthusiast, and the scores are justly deserved.

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Of course this is just a small selection of their wine. There are many other tastings and tours available. Including one that ends in the notorious cellar wine jail. There are also two different restaurants on premises the Gabriel Archer Tavern and the Cafe Provencal. The Tavern serving more American style fair like this roast beef sandwich. Also you can combine tours with pre fixe menu deals at the tavern.

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The Cafe focuses on French cuisine of a more haute variety. It’s a little pricier but their is also an option for a tasting menu coupled with a tour for a very reasonable price. The food and the service when we have eaten here has been amazing. I only took a few picture because I couldn’t be bothered to delay myself or the people I was with.

 

I want to give a special mention to the onsite hotel, The Wedmore Place. It was built ten years ago in the fashion of a french chateau. It oozes old-world charm, absolutely oozes. Each room is uniquely appointed and named after a different of old work Europe; Bavaria, Killarney, Andalusia, Champagne, Veneto, to name a few. I have visited the premises many times and seen inside a number of the rooms but have not spent the night there…yet. We will be staying there for our wedding weekend so expect a much more detailed blog post when that time comes. And maybe a word or two on the wedding itself. In the meantime I leave you with a picture of this lovely wine wall.

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Travel

Manteo, NC

Have you been to the Outer Banks? I grew up in North Carolina so this was a frequent summer destination spot for my family. And when I became an adult I kept going back. I thought I knew all the best spots. But like most OBX snobs I was always focused on the beach side. On this recent trip over a holiday weekend we decided to explore the sound side and were thrilled with the little beach hamlet of Manteo, NC.

We rented a cute little place just a five minute walk from the water that allowed dogs. There were a dozen different places that had great food and drinks just a few minutes walk from where we were. We drank our body weight in La Croix, nibbled our way through all the snacks we brought and even found a local book shop so we could read books about the beach, while being at the beach.

And no trip would be complete without drinks! The restaurants had pretty standard wine and beer lists. There were a number of free wine tastings that we indulged in as we were out and about. I even tried a flight of beer. But the standout was out trip to the Outer Banks Distillery to try Kill Devil Hills Rum! It also happened that a good friend was staying in Rodanthe so she was able to come visit with us.

But by far the best part of our trip was how dog friendly every thing was. We were able to take Grace and Bhaloo with us to eat which was a rare treat. And they enjoyed seeing the lighthouse and meeting the locals as much as we did.

There was a local farmer’s market on Sunday morning and I got very close to some honey bees (who were very kindly behind glass) and tried the local honey.

Having lived in Virginia for the last five years I’ve become accustomed to some pretty spectacular sunsets. But the Outer Banks never fails to impress.

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There is something hugely romantic about lighthouses, in my opinion. I think the Manteo Lighthouse at sunset proves my point.