March 1, 2021
When the twins were about 10 months old, Robert and I started talking about leaving them for more than just an evening. After almost a year of once-a-week date nights, and the occasional overnight “house swap” with my parents right up the road, we felt we were all ready.
I was still nursing and we didn’t want to go for more than 2 nights, so we knew we wanted to stay somewhat regional to us in NC, and fairly low-key with travel, expense, and activity. We decided Charlottesville would be a good choice, and I began to research where to stay.
I did something kind of crazy and I made a choice that wasn’t actually based on a word of mouth referral (I never do this). I went out on a limb and booked a weekend at the Farmhouse at Veritas: a farmhouse B&B on a vineyard, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.
As far as what we wanted for that first trip, we simply wanted quality. Quality time together. Quality rest. Quality food and drinks. Quality accommodations. Quality service. We wanted comfort, and we wanted slow, easy living. We did not want to go-go-go. And Veritas was a goldmine. So much so, that we’ve been back 3 more times since that first visit. Here are the things that we love about the Farmhouse (and why we keep going back) in a post featuring a mixture of film, digital, and iPhone images.
The House and Grounds
The Farmhouse was actually built in 1839 and sits in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. It stood for nearly 200 years as a family home, until it was opened to the public in 2012. Surrounded by mountainside vineyards and sitting adjacent to its own horse farm, it’s really beautiful in every season. There’s a porch that wraps around the house (always so welcoming with rockers on it!), and an open-air Garden House for guests to use at dinner. There are eight beautiful guest rooms on the property – one of which is a detached Barn Cottage, next to the main house.
When you enter the Farmhouse, the room you walk into is open to part of the kitchen, so it’s not uncommon to see the Chef and sous-chef buzzing around as they prepare/assemble the four-course, wine-paired, farm-to-table dinner for the evening (more on that in a sec). Very cool if you have any culinary interest and care to watch them work.
The next room over is the Gathering Room, which has a massive and beautiful wood burning fireplace that seems to burn 24/7 in the wintertime (much to my delight), and a big ole’ pool table. Robert and I definitely don’t play pool, but we do when we go to the Farmhouse. We play a lot. Just the two of us. And I usually lose. But it’s always fun.
Other noteworthy things about the Farmhouse: it’s 100% a kid-free atmosphere (with the exception of Robert exhibiting typical kid-in-a-candy-shop behavior that comes with escaping the kiddos for a weekend). Chocolate chip cookies baked fresh on-site for guests every day. Beautiful built-ins and coffee stations all over the house – books on books on books to browse. Three wood-burning fireplaces (1 in each downstairs dining room). King beds in just about every room, each with its own luxurious European-meets-Southern-tradition feel decor. And, in case you have any dust allergies like we do, the grounds are well kept, squeaky clean, and there’s not a stitch of carpet in the place. For the Tates, it’s 100% comfortable, welcoming luxury.
Like I said – comfortable luxury. Easy to be there. Come and go as you please (lots to do in the area – that’s a whole other blogpost), but we’ve found we don’t ever really want to leave; the Farmhouse is our destination. It’s the kind of place that gets incredibly quiet during the day, to the point where you feel like you’re the only one in the house, and we enjoy that. There’s hustle and bustle at particular times of day (mostly surrounding the Farmhouse dinner), but it’s never intrusive and never makes a difference in terms of service. The Farmhouse hosts a “Wine Hour” for guests with wine and hors’ doeuvres every evening, which is always a fun thing for us. If we’re feeling social, we strike up a conversation with other guests before we all go our separate ways for dinner – we’ve enjoyed meeting many people this way. If we’re feeling like we just want some “us” time, we grab our wine and find a corner of the gathering room next to the fire to chat quietly.
I’ll also say – we’ve been to the Farmhouse with another couple (once), and just the two of us (three times) – both wonderful ways to visit, but completely different experiences all around.
When we went with our friends, we stayed in the Barn Cottage, which is actually a two bedroom/two bathroom ensuite with its own kitchen and living area; it sits probably 30 yards from the main farmhouse, literally right beside the horse pasture. Though you have all of the same luxuries as being in the actual farmhouse (breakfast, wine hour, room freshening, etc), being separated from the house and with the added bonus of the kitchen/living area, it almost feels a little more “Air bnb” like.
Going as a couple and without friends, staying in the actual farmhouse, we’re inclined to be a bit more reclusive, enjoying coffee and wine in the nook of our room almost as much as outside of it. Without access to our own private kitchen, we feel more reliant on our surroundings – like we would feel in a hotel as opposed to an Air Bnb.
The four-course, wine paired dinner is admittedly a bit of a splurge for us, but we always (and I quite literally mean 4 out of 4 times) have walked away amazed at the food, and the wine pairings. It’s really an experience more than a dinner.
When we walk downstairs to the kitchen/restaurant area, we’re handed a glass of the vineyard’s bubbly to sip on as we wait. Depending on how early we are, we may sit by the fire and chat, play a game of 9-ball, or find a cozy corner of the house to escape to.
We’re escorted to our seats for the evening promptly at 7. We’ve dined by firelight in the open air Garden House, we’ve dined on a quaint, cozy porch, and we’ve dined indoors by a roaring wood burning fireplace; it’s truly a special atmosphere in every location and in every season. Most recently, we dined in the (closed up) Garden House with all kinda full moon rising just behind my head.
Each course and wine selection is announced upon serving, and the presentation of the food is truly stunning. It’s art. If Robert Tate says, “It’s so pretty I don’t want to mess it up”, then good grief, it’s gorgeous. I always snag a quick iPhone picture before we start eating, and yes, I do get made fun of by my husband for that. One of these days I’ll arrange to take some legit pictures of this dinner, because I can assure you, it’s worth all that.
This was the first course from our most recent visit to the Farmhouse in January: Venison Carpaccio, Chestnut Puree, Watercress, Dehydrated Shiitakes, Toasted Pumpkin Seed Oil, Apple Caviar. It was paired with a Viognier ’19. And it was truly something else. To date, it’s Robert’s favorite course.
The food is next-level delicious. The flavor combinations, the textures, the quality. The ingredients are homegrown and farm-to-fork. The Venison above, for example, was farm-raised in upstate New York. Each week the menu is refreshed and made new, and we’ve never had the same course twice.
The Chef always makes his rounds after dinner to address questions, which has been fun for us. And by us, I mean Robert, who always has 6 billion questions. Not kidding – the chef once walked him through a 60-hour cooking process for Pork Belly. The goal is now to attempt it at home, ha.
Breakfast is included in a stay at the Farmhouse, and is definitely not your average made-to-order experience. Like Dinner, each breakfast is Chef-prepared and served anywhere from 9-11 – which I love because it encourages a slow morning. The menu always includes freshly baked croissants paired with a unique homemade flavor-infused butter of the day (think: salted caramel tamarind, or whipped marshmallow butter), fruit, and your choice of “the sweet” or “the savory” main course (new every day), which again highlights local farm ingredients.
Pictured here, a “Savory” from our recent visit: smoked salmon, grilled asparagus, fried egg, brioche toast, pureed carrots, and capers:
One thing that we love and have talked about recently is how little is wasted in terms of ingredients and Farmhouse menus. We commonly see unique dinner ingredients repurposed in a new way for breakfast. This re-affirms that each menu is thoughtfully prepared from week-to-week, and, as a small business owner (‘s wife), I really do appreciate the foresight and intentionality of wasting as little as possible and using your budget wisely.
Finally, there’s a drink for everyone at breakfast (or, if you’re like me, I drink them all with glee) – each breakfast includes citrus-infused water, French press coffee, freshly-squeezed orange juice, and a glass of sparkling wine to kick off the day. Sometimes Robert makes fun of me as I line up my glasses after they’ve taken my food, and he’s ready to go but I still have my drinks all in a row to finish. Worth it every time.
So, if you know me and Robert, you know that we’re not into uppity places. We’re laidback, chill people, and we are most comfortable in laidback, chill places. Thankfully, the Farmhouse has a luxury vibe without the snooty-pants attitude, and the people who run it are in large part why. The staff at the Farmhouse are the hardest workers, and they go above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and at home. They are incredibly polite and professional, as one would expect from a place like Veritas, but there’s a warmness and a genuineness to them that other places seem to be missing. We’ve encountered the same friendly faces at every visit, and I think that’s one of the main reasons the Farmhouse feels so homey to us. With each trip, we look forward to seeing them.
So there you have it.
If you made it this far (or if you just scrolled past my unnecessarily-long-winded-jibber-jabber, sorrynotsorry), my summary is this: this place gets 5-Stars from the Tates and a long-overdue post with our glowing recommendation for any couple needing a quick, low-key, high quality getaway. The Farmhouse is a special place for us, and I really think it will be as long as it’s there for us to escape to!