On February 19, 2014Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Goodstone Inn & Restaurant’s The Restaurant at Goodstone is a small, 40-seat fine room overlooking the property’s rolling fields. Because of the space’s size, the tables are fairly close together and there are two seatings for dinner — 5:30 or 8:15 p.m. (no children are allowed at dinnertime). The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, except on Tuesday, when it offers breakfast only. Notably, Goodstone’s property is home to a working farm, from which the restaurant receives much of its produce. Two full-time farm managers raise a multitude of animals and vegetables, including 120 chickens that supply the restaurant with all of its eggs, micro greens throughout the winter and lambs. If you feel like dining outside, the kitchen will pack picnic baskets with anything from sandwiches to cheese and charcuterie.
On February 19, 2014Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Goodstone Inn & Restaurant’s 18 rooms span the entire property’s 265 acres, so car rides or long walks to and from breakfast are essential from some accommodations. There are four houses and cottages, each with multiple guest rooms and a communal area for all guests for share. Each house and cottage has a porch, hammock and gas grill. In addition, the fifth building, the Carriage House, holds the great room and bar, The Restaurant at Goodstone, and four plush guest rooms, all accessible by the original wide stall doors. All guest rooms except the Bull Barn have queen beds, and some have pullout sofas. Amenities include Keurig coffee makers with a variety of coffee pods and a refrigerator stocked with complimentary San Pellegrino and soft drinks.
Southern hospitality exudes from each room. You’ll find a masculine look in the Bull Barn, a the sixth and final standalone building created from a reconstructed bullpen with a wood-burning fireplace, a sitting room with leather chairs, copper sinks in the bathroom and a California king bed. There are also feminine touches, with canopy beds and drapes in the bathrooms. Some bathrooms have hand-painted tiles with landscapes from the luxury hotel’s property.
On February 19, 2014Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Goodstone Inn & Restaurant is located in Middleburg , Virginia, an affluent, picturesque southern village surrounded by horse farms, agriculture and wineries. The main street is lined with high-end clothing boutiques, galleries, food shops and restaurants, plus a couple of vineyards’ tasting rooms. Founded in 1787, Middleburg retains its historic charm with stone streets, gas lamps and historic sites. Many visitors from Washington, D.C., make the hour-and-15-minute drive from the city for a weekend trip or own country homes in the area. The inn does not offer transportation into town from the property, so access to a car during your stay is critical to visiting the shops, going on wine tastings and exploring the area.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Summer can be tough in DC but so far we've had a mild summer with temperatures rarely above the high 80s. It's been a bit like a jungle, too, with light rain every afternoon. The best advice is, grab a bottle of wine and some bread and cheese and head out for a picnic -- as long as it's before 3 pm. August is usually the hottest month so there's still time for things to get hot and steamy, as it normally is.
For now, bring a light sweater (not a jacket — could be too heavy and even the chicest jacket becomes an annoying burden when lugged all around town) and keep your fingers crossed that we don't reach the 100s, as we have most summers.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Sleeping in the Lincoln Bedroom, attending a state dinner, and dancing onstage at an Inaugural Ball. But let's say those options aren't available to you this weekend. I could spend an entire day around the Jefferson Memorial (and not just because my husband proposed to me there). The Jefferson has it all — history (of course) and on a hot summer day it's always below 80 degrees in the cool marble memorial with Jefferson's statue towering above. Seclusion when you want it, which the other memorials don't have, the Jefferson's nooks along the Tidal Basin, where the famed cherry trees twist around their gnarled trunks to form private worlds for weary tourists. There's plenty of lawn space for picnics, an indoor exhibit (and bathroom), views of the White House and Washington Monumnet, and if you must work in some cardio, round out the day with a paddle boat rental. Sure the Jefferson is a bit more difficult to get to than the other monuments, but so worth it.
For true Jefferson fanatics, The Jefferson Hotel is offering a fun promotion this summer called "Where's Tommy?" The staff hid cartoons of Thomas Jefferson in some of the city's most monumental spots (the White House, the Capitol, the National Archives), so it's an easy way to make sure you hit DC's best locations. Before venturing out, you'll meet with a presidential historian to inform you about the sites you'll visit, then take off on a free Capital Bikeshare rental. Find Tommy in all locations and win a Jefferson bobblehead and -- best of all -- one of the hotel's excellent strawberry-aloe popsicles (two of Jefferson's favorite plants in his garden).
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:I have a five year old and there's always something to do in DC. The museums are amazing and because they're free, we pop in for half an hour just to see the fish tank or the butterfly room at the National Museum of Natural History or to just say hi to the giant pandas at the National Zoo. I'm never on a three-hour museum death march as I sometimes am when I pay $25 to get in. Theater is terrific — Adventure Theater, Imagination Stage, the Smithsonian's children's programming of music and puppet shows are all thrilling for kids. Glen Echo Park in Maryland requires a car but your reward is an antique carousel, playgrounds, and a dinosaur hunt area. DC's Aquarium is hidden in the basement of the Department of Commerce (who knew?) and is a small but worthwhile gem. The Rock Creek Park Nature Center inspires kids' innate attraction to nature, with horses, a small planetarium, and tons of special lectures. The small water park on Georgetown Harbor attracts fun-seekers of all ages -- sometimes in suits, sometimes fully clothed -- with a gorgeous view of the Potomac River. Walk down just a few steps for young kids to get a thrill feeding the ducks.
For very young children, head to the National Building Museum's Building Zone where toddlers can construct with enormous legos and build cars from block. Run upstairs for the Play Work Build exhibit featuring giant foam blocks and a virtual building screen. The museum's main room is gigantic and on a rainy day you'll find dozens of kids just running from end to end, playing tag and enjoying the indoor fountain.
Now that it's summertime, pcik-your-own farms are up and running. Butler's Orchard in Maryland is a 30-minute drive outside of the city, but a world away with hay rides, super fast slides (adults can't stay off of them), and easy blueberry, raspberry, and apple picking. Best of all, the Dogfish Head Brewery Restaurant is on the way home to DC, where you'll sample more than a dozen of their hard-to-find craft beers.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:On July 11 from 6-8 pm, the Smithsonian's National Zoological Park hosts the seventh annual Brew at the Zoo, a celebration of craft beers with tons of creative food and drink. For one night, the Zoo allows the 21-and-over crowd to take over and enjoy suds from more than 60 breweries while cavorting with the animals. (Just make sure to avoid beer-soaked bets about who can jump in the lion cage.)
Live entertainment and food samples from some of the area's best restaurants, including Belga Cafe, Matchbox, and Et Voila! round out the evening. Food trucks will swing by if you want to purchase extra food (and you probably will, because Jose Andres's Pepe Food Truck will be there with its irresistable Iberico ham sandwich). General admission tickets are $65 but spring for early admission at 5 pm for just $20 more. Sober driver tickets are $30. All proceeds go to animal care and conservation.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Even with the demise of the martini lunch (sigh) Washingtonians love our cocktails. Jeff Faile is a master of spirits, and his talents have fully unfurled at the fabulous Fiola Restaurant. His enormous bar hosts tastings and mixology classes – our favorite is his PhD-worthy seminar on gin. Faile has the goods to back up his talents, with no fewer than a dozen bourbons to pour for any given happy hour. Love a bitter negroni? He has five kinds, including a trendy white version with Cocchi Americano.
Faile’s alma mater, Palena, continues its reputation as the bar of record for in-the-know Washingtonians with the city’s best Manhattan. For a hip vibe, head to Black Jack for an El Dorado (tequila, habanero, and orange bitters) by the bocce ball court. Or try Jack Rose Dining Saloon for one of the city’s largest selection of spirits, with more than one hundred whiskeys alone.
Drink Prohibition-style with the moonshine punch at Brickside Food and Drink in Bethesda, Md. And on Friday and Saturday nights, the Empress Lounge at the Mandarin Oriental has live jazz to accompany your Cherry Blossom Sling Cocktail (vodka and cherry puree). If you're more of a Rat Pack fan, The Graham Georgetown has Pin Up Mondays, with cigars, whiskey, and 1950s tunes.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Look, there's no bad time to be in the nation's capital. That said, July 2013 is a pretty fantastic time to be here. Summer is hot, sure, but DC's green spaces provide respite and perfect venues for outdoor events like plays, movies, and National Symphony Orchestra Concerts. With 20-year-old phenom Bryce Harper back on the field after a knee injury, the Nationals are rising in baseball stats faster than DC temperatures. And a DC United soccer game will give a crazed-crowd fix for the most rabid European fan of futbal.
Then again, in winter, special events for the holidays are everywhere, from art exhibits to the lighting of the national tree and menorah to theater for all ages. Santa brunch at the Kennedy Center is a best-kept secret, and a photo with Santa overlooking the Potomac River and the monuments is priceless. Spring brings cherry blossoms — the best time to see these glorious pink puffs along the Tidal Basin is super early in the morning, before the crowds get too overwhelming. The weather is perfect, flowers are blooming, and even Capitol Hill seems a little more congenial with its milky white dome against the brilliant cloudless sky. Fall is clear and pleasant, a virtual replica of spring, and the city comes alive again with the new theater seasons and Congress back in session (which, for better or worse, means the city gets buzzier). Day trips down to Shenandoah National Park provide foliage to rival New England.
On July 2, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Mintwood Place in Adams Morgan just won the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington Award for Best New Restaurant of the Year. Executive Chef Cedric Maupillier's modern French bistro cuisine also earned him Food & Wine Magazine's award for Best New Chef: Mid Atlantic. Don't miss his maple pork cracklin', wood-grilled swordfish, and suckling pig croquettes.
DGS Delicatessen in Dupont Circle is a throwback to the great delis of New York, in a chic and comfortable restaurant. Their old world Jewish kitchen turns out killer pastrami, chopped liver, and matzo ball soup, in addition to terrific cocktails (my favorite, the Mensch, combines Rye and blood orange bitters). The DGS sandwich shop just opened next door.
Table is another great new place (which thankfully just started taking reservations), offering seasonal and casual fare. Chef Frederick de Pue runs a chef's table-style restaurant, with an ever-changing menu of fresh comfort foods. Welcoming and chummy, Table's best offerings include one of the city's best coq-au-vin and housemade fresh tagliatelle with wild boar sauce.
On June 30, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Washington’s dining scene is as diverse as its residents. On one level, there are the up-in-bright-lights fine dining restaurants in busy areas that capture the glitterati’s imaginations and get almost as much ink as Kate Middleton’s pregnancy. Some of them are worthy of the hype – I’m thinking of Komi, Bourbon Steak, and The Source.
DC has terrific off-the-beaten-path choices too, like the outdoor garden at The Tabard Inn (or the cozy dining room in winter) and Palena in Cleveland Park for both high-end dining or the busy no-reservations café which serves the city’s greatest roast chicken and hamburgers, in addition to delicate consommés and crudo.
Don’t neglect niche restaurants that are positively crave worthy. Amsterdam Falafel Shop in Adams Morgan makes such great chickpea patties, they didn’t need to make some of the city’s best French fries too…but they do, served steaming in a paper bag that keeps these crunchy potatoes hot until you devour them on your walk home. Etete serves terrific Ethiopian food.
For outdoor dining, head for the firepits and Southern comforts of Art & Soul, with a direct view of the Capitol Dome. This summer, it’s offering alfresco supers the second Saturday of each month, with a reception, four-course meal and drink pairings. The past couple of suppers have boasted whole roasted lamb and clambake, so come hungry. Often a great view means mediocre food, but waterfront dining alfresco in Georgetown is as good as it gets at Farmers Fishers Bakers, with a New American menu showcasing the country’s best ingredients.
On June 30, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:After an early renaissance that was, for some wineries, as rocky as Burgundian soil, Virginia vineyards are blooming into their full potential. For one-stop tasting, head to Early Mountain Vineyards where owners Steve and Jean Case have created a hub for showcasing Virginia wines and food. Opened just last year at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the tasting room offers sips from ten or so different Virginia wineries, including the spectacular Linden, Barboursville, and Thibaut-Janisson labels. Our favorite comes from Early Mountain’s own property, a lush 2008 Merlot.
Early Mountain shows off the state’s terroir by matching local artisanal foods with their wines in a casual, relaxed atmosphere. Antipasti plates of famed Virginia ham and local cow- and goat-milk cheeses paired with vino taste even better when sinking into one of the long room’s plush couches. Live music and a blazing fireplace welcome imbibers from 6 to 8 pm Fridays in the winter, and there’s a picnic space for warmer weather. Or buy a sandwich to-go from the Marketplace and take a stroll through nearby Shenandoah National Park, where the wildflowers arrive in March and April.
Another fantastic destination for locavores is The Inn at Perry Cabin, which recently added five hives that house 80,000 bees. The Inn’s chef uses their honey in dishes, and massage therapists incorporate the honey in treatments at the Linden spa.
On June 30, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:Dolcezza Artisanal Gelato is a DC company with a cult-like following. New for summer: Dolcezza’s soft-serve gelato maker, DC’s first, which makes the best ice cream sundae imaginable at its Dupont Circle location. Consider the DDL Sundae, a cup swirled high with dulce de leche gelato (blackberry is another seasonal flavor), homemade meringue, local-strawberry jam, and Valrhona chocolate brownies.
Using local milk and seasonal ingredients, Dolcezza's take on ice cream is a trip to Nirvana. Their gelato makers have a chef's eye for ingredients, like the Sicilian Blood Orange Sorbetto made with that special Italian fruit or the Valrhona Chocolate Gelato, using the special French luxury chocolate. I've been know to order their Valrhona hot chocolate in July, for the thick, pudding-like drink that is 70% chocolate (as it was made in 1920s France). If sweet isn't your thing, Dolcezza serves an amazing cappuccino.
With four area stores and stands at several farmers' markets, Dolcezza reigns as a top DC frozen treat.
On June 30, 2013Mary Beth Albright answered the question:The upcoming Capital Fringe Festival is one of my favorite summer events. From July 11-28, more than 135 groups will perform eclectic selections throughout the city, from burlesque interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s movies Mme. Macbeth (in which the women rule the world and then men are domestic plotters). The only rule is that all performances chosen by the Fringe Committee are creative and uninhibited.
Another can’t miss Shakespeare show: “43 and ½”, staging just the deaths and “stabby bits” from the Bard’s masterpieces. Even if you’re not a performance-art aficionado, stop by the festival’s Baldacchino Gypsy Tent Bar for prosecco, craft beer, and one of the coolest, most artistic crowd in Washington.