Oh, the places love will take you!

Mom, Dad, and the Coliseum

Hello ATWG readers! Nicole has given the reins to her travel clique (Mom & Dad) for this guest post. We had the pleasure of spending Valentine’s weekend at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, Virginia a few weeks ago. Middleburg is a beautiful, quaint town in Northern Virginia about an hour by car from Alexandria, where we currently live. Nicole thought that it would be great to share the amazing experience we had during our stay.

My husband and I (going 33 years strong!) have been blessed to visit some wonderful places over the years. Some of which include, the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina; Landhotel Bold Ringhotel in Oberammergau, Germany, which is surrounded by the Alps; and Castello di Poppiano, an exquisite winery housed in a castle in Florence, Italy. (Not bad for a small, country town girl.) So when we arrived at the Salamander, the beauty and grandeur were expected.

Driving onto the property, down the winding, twisting driveway, I immediately felt the change in the atmosphere. I was definitely not in Live Oak anymore. At the entrance, we were greeted by the valet and the bellman, as expected.

Before we could even extend our arms to open the doors, they were opened by two members of the staff. We were then greeted by an additional two members of the staff who seemed sincerely happy that we were there. We  were escorted to the front desk to check-in, then taken to our room. During the journey, some of the resort’s prime amenities were pointed out to us: the restaurant, bar and grille, sitting room, library, concierge, and the spa. Then we entered The Room.

For our stay, we  selected the Bed and Breakfast package, but let me warn you, this is not your grandparents’ B & B! We had the Estate King Guest Room, and yes it was equally as exquisite as it sounds. The 545 square feet room included a fireplace, a king-sized bed, a separate sitting and dining area, executive desk, and to top it off, absolutely beautiful decor. The room opened out to a stone balcony with seating and a gorgeous view of the lawns of Salamander (can you say Evita; don’t cry for me Live Oak). The bathroom included a pedestal tub, dual marble vanity, and any and everything else one would want or need. Awesome.

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Bathroom at the Salamander

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We had arrived mid-afternoon and had dinner reservations for 7:30. We were meeting another couple, who hadn’t arrived yet, so we decided to have a light snack at the bar. This was my first introduction to the purse stool. I had placed my purse on the chair back as usual when the waitress brought over the stool and asked if she could place my purse on it. Atmospheric change! I began to feel a little more regal. No worries about my purse falling and being bumped; it was seated on its own stool. Did I mention the equestrian facilities at Salamander?  They have a beautiful facility and the horses appear to be very happy. I mention this now because my purse stool reminded me of a fine leather saddle. We enjoyed our snack: a salad for me and a sandwich for my husband, which were both delicious, with a little wine of course.

Two adults and one purse, please.
Two adults and one purse, please.

Since our friends had not yet arrived, we took a short walk to the car and drove into the town of Middleburg. I read that Middleburg got its name based on its location, which is midway between Alexandria and Winchester, which was very important back in 1787 when it was founded. Middleburg is home to approximately 670 residents. It is a beautiful place with quaint little shops, inns, and restaurants.

When we returned to Salamander, our friends had arrived. We greeted them and went to their room for a few minutes. I mention this because as we entered their room, which was similar to ours, on the 40″ flat screen TV there was a personal greeting welcoming them to Salamander. Huh!? I hadn’t seen that in my room. Feeling a little slighted, I rushed (not really rushed, but a fast paced walk) back to our room and there it was, our personal greeting on the TV screen. Phew! Since we arrived early, our room was just being completed, so the message had been delayed – at least this was my assumption. All was well, so we prepared for dinner.

My dinner date was one lucky man!
My dinner date was one lucky man!

Dinner was at Harriman’s (an onsite restaurant), which started out a little rough. It was Valentine’s evening, so both the restaurant and its staff were very busy. We had to wait for a while before being seated, but dinner was worth the wait. Although there was a slight mix up with our food (the entree was served before the soup), the ship was righted and the staff more than compensated for the slight indiscretion. My filet was delicious. My husband had venison, which I am not a fan of, but he enjoyed it. After dinner, we retired to the bar, had a wonderful time, enjoyed a couple of ‘Love Potions’ (I recommend potion #3), and retired.

The following day, we were greeted with a snowy morning. We had a wonderful breakfast, eggs Benedict, omelet, and sinfully good pastries. The snow subsided, my husband and I went for a short walk and took several pictures of the beautiful, snowy scenery.

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Salamander provides car service to and from the nearby wineries, so we decided to experience the tour and taste at Boxwood and Green Hill. Currently, Boxwood only produces red wines, which I avoid, but my husband and our friends enjoy (a lot). We enjoyed the tour so much that my husband and our friends joined the wine club. We went on to Green Hill, where the tasting included chocolate pairings, which were delicious. Since I don’t care for red wines, I paired my chocolate with the Blanc de Blancs, which is sparkling Chardonnay (chocolate works with anything). There was also live music, classical guitar, which we enjoyed while sipping Blanc de Blancs, with cheese and a baguette. It was an absolutely wonderful, relaxing afternoon with a very French feel. The car service was a wonderful addition.

Chocolate and Wine Pairings

Back to Salamander, for a evening of relaxation, playing cards, light dinner, and just enjoying our beautiful surroundings for one last evening.

One last thing that I want to mention was the spot on attention to detail. It was as if the designer sat down and thought of everything they would enjoy and then went well above that. The surroundings could not be more beautiful. The level of customer service was exceptional. At no time did I feel any insincerity; we were greeted pleasantly and regularly by the staff.

On my last morning, I got up earlier than my husband. I wanted to get coffee and look around before everyone else started their day. As I was walking through the lobby, I looked out of the window and realized that as beautiful as the surroundings were inside, I had almost missed the most beautiful. Snow had fallen overnight, and the pristine snow was breathtaking.  The sun was rising, the air was crisp, and it was so peaceful. It occurred to me that in the over all scheme of things, if we are not careful we’ll overlook the simple beauty of nature. God painted an incomparable picture. Atmospheric change: peace and tranquility. AWESOME!

While I know I didn’t do justice to the beautiful decor, paintings, and quiet elegance of Salamander, please visit the website www.salamanderresort.com for more information.

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