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KLUGE WINERY

The Kluge Winery and Estate, 220 acres where they grow all their own grapes, is a must see & the Kluge Estate Wines are recognized as top of the line. Also well known for exotic cheeses , the Albemarle Va 2007 is a great alternative to Chardonnay. www.klugeestateonline.com

THE POE MUSEUM


The Poe Museum tells the story of Edgar Allen Poe, inventor of the mystery novel. We lunched in the garden & were treated to a lovely lunch, wine tasting of Sherrys from Spain, called the Unhappy Cask of Amontillado Tasting. A reading of The Tell Tale Heart in the Enchanted Garden by Ryan Taylor, who definitely resurrected the celebrated poet. The museum is in the Old Stone House is the oldest standing house in Richmond.Loved the Mortiado Sherry . www.vahistorical.org. In honor of the Poe Bicentennial. Richmond was Poes hometown & where he first gained a national literary reputation,

BUZ & NEDS


Have lunch at Buz and Neds & you will see why the BBQ picnic style with a variety of lip smacking ribs, hush puppies, chocolate brownies & special beer brew is here 14 years . Owner Buzz slayed Bobby Flay on BBQ TV, www.bud@ buzzandneds.com and I know why. Everythings dazzling.

MICHIE TAVERN
The 200-year-old Michie Tavern in Charlottesville, has a buffet with a true taste of the 18th century of typical Southern Fare. The Southern Chicken & smooth staff, with many here 4 generations, in period costumes, is a great experience. www.michietavern.com

CAN CAN BRASSERIE


Carrytowns charming Can Can Brasserie of Richmond, sells French wine similar to the Brasserie in France. The French casual menu owned by Chef Chris a CIA grad First drive to strip mall on East Coast Many Provincal-inspired disThey are in a strip mall that was the first drive to strip mall on the East Coast. www.canbrasserie.com

GAIL SAYS

GO TO VIRGINIA
As the Regional Director of NY and NJ for the International Food , Wine and Travel Association, Id like to recommend a drive or fly to Richmond, and Charlottesville, Virginia and you will find something for everyone. From exotic wineries to exotic gardens to superb restaurants, to fascinating museums as you breathe American history, this fascinating trip is just an hour away by plane and 5 by car. . The Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau introduced us to 4 centuries of history WWW.VISITRICHMONDVA.COM I loved St. Johns Church, where Patrick Henry gave his famous give me liberty or give me death speech and Hollywood Cemetery, where President Monroe and President Tyler are both buried. BY GAIL GERSONWITTE & CAROLYN DELAFRANGE

BOARS HEAD INN


Boars Head Inn in Charlottsville is the ultimate destination for romance, and family fun. I am planning my return . Elegantly casual with a darling perfectly appointed hotel, restaurant, spa golf course & sports center, where even breakfast is spectacular is a special destination. www.boarsheadinn.com

THE JEFFERSON HOTEL


The exquisite Jefferson Hotel of Richmond, here, here since 1865 has so much history & is a Five-Diamond property, illustrating classic Southern charm. Many say the grand staircase in the Jeffersons lobby was the inspiration for the Gone with the Wind staircase. A reception at Lemaire restaurant with Chef Walter Bundy taught us about his farm to table philosophy, using regional produce & herbs. www.jeffersonhotel.com

CHEFS TABLE DINNER AT DOUBLETREE HOTEL

JULEPS
Dinner at Juleps. New Southern Cuisine is this restaurants claim to fame. Located in Historic Shockoe Bottom, Juleps occupies the oldest commercial building in the city of Richmond (1817). An open kitchen and sexy staircase sets the delicious dining stage. www.juleps.net Executive Chef Dean Maupin serves extraordinary delicacies at the celebrated Cliftons. www.cliftoninn.net. Established in 1799, indoor & outdoor dining, is highlighted by a marvelous wine room, where we were treated to a Chefs special dinner. The spectacular wine pairing, by owner Anthony Champ of the White Hall Vineyards was great. In the 2007 Chardonnay Franc I tasted Violet Blackberry, Raspberry & a bit of Vanilla. This is Charlottesvilles champion. www.whitehallvineyards.com

Chef Nancys cook with the press dinner was a taste treat. A wine pairing by Mitzi Battetson of James River Cellars Winery with the fab Gewurztramier Wine paired well with luscious Crab Cakes and Nancys unique plated seasonal Southern foods were outstanding. Our members assisted in the preparations & had a fun eve. www.jamesrivercellars.com & www.richmonddowntown.doubletree.com.

NEW KENT WINERY


Wine tasting at fabulous New Kent Winerythat opened in 2008, is not your average winery. It serves as the anchor of a new residential development that includes amenities such as a Rees Jones championship golf course, shops,boutiques, polo grounds, walking paths & luxury home sites in its Viniterra section. A spa is coming too. Built from materials reclaimed from Richmond Region buildings & structures over a century old, this visit is a plumb.. The White Norton wine is to die for. www.NewKentVineyards.com

CLIFTON HOUSE WHITE HALL VINEYARDS