The american chestnut tree appears to be alive and well according to a recent article in our local newspaper. In a neighboring county, Virginia Chestnuts is a 45 acre nut growing operation containing more than 1000 chestnut trees. The story of the american chestnut is so fascinating in that nearly 70 years ago the tree was essentially extinct due to a virulent pathogenic fungus. The American Chestnut Foundation was formed with the intention of restoring the american chestnut tree and in 30 or so years has successfully grown chestnut trees that are genetically american chestnut but with all of the blight resistant characteristics of the chinese chestnut. And these orchards are beginning to produce chestnuts being used in our local restaurants. It's a fascinating story with a great outcome for chestnut lovers! Visit acf.org to learn more.
Finally! The donut has returned to Charlottesville. After our beloved SpudNuts closed this past spring, Charlottesville has experienced a donut drought. Sure, you could get a yummy donut from the donut food truck, Carpe Donut, but you had to know when and where the truck would be; and then get to wherever it was. Yes, they have a cafe in the IX Art Park but really, if you are going to the IX, then you really want to get a yummy cupcake instead from SweetHaus (but that's another story). If you were feeling adventurous, a trip past town to the Dunkin Donuts could be done, but it's far and the donuts are just so-so. So we were very excited when the Krispy Kreme came back to town. It's very conveniently located to the Inn also! On the rare day when we don't have breakfast to cook for our guests, we can now make a very short trip and get a hot and fresh donut just the way we like them.
This summer the old wihing well got a makeover. The 'wishing well' had seen better days and had some storm damage and it was time for a redo. When we removed the old structure, we tested the original well and was surprised to find that water could still be drawn after all of these years. The water that currently comes to the Inn comes from a newer and much deeper well but it's still nice to know that we could hand source water if it was needed. Bonus fun Wiki fact about wishing wells: A wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted. The idea that a wish would be granted came from the notion that water housed deities or had been placed there as a gift from the gods. This practice is thought to have arisen because water is a source of life, and was often a scarce commodity.
Charlottesville has great foresight when they decided to close main street in the mid-70's and make it a pedestrian friendly walking mall. Today it flourishes with over 60 restaurants, most of which are chef owned, shops and boutiques. The amphitheater anchors one end of the mall and it is a fantastic venue for listening to great live music. Firday's After Five is a popular music event that goes all summer long. Be sure to check it out the next time you visit C'ville!
The white flowering dogwood is a common deciduous tree occurring throughout the eastern half of the United States. It is the state tree of Virginia. The tree provides showy white flowers in spring, rich green foliage in summer, bright red leaves in fall and red berries relished by birds and animals all winter.
The white petals of the dogwood flower are actually leaf-like growths called bracts rather than true petals. The actual flowers are in the cluster at the center of the dogwood bloom. The showy bracts can attract pollinating insects to the flowers. Wild dogwood trees normally bloom in white, but pink and red varieties also occur.
Here at the Inn we have a couple of different varieties of the dogwood and right now they are in magnificent bloom!
It may only be February, but spring is off to an early start this year. We are seeing significant blooms on our Hellebore and Witch Hazel. In record bloom time, we currently have daffodils and crocus in full bloom and our Quince bushes are full of vibrant pink flowers. At this rate, the family garden and Inn herb garden will be planted in March provided the lovely warm weather holds. Peas and lettuce, here we come!
The winter solstice has passed and as the days start to slowly get longer we take a moment to reflect on another year of inn-keeping. As always we are grateful to our wonderful guests who continue to inspire us. Here's to another fantastic year in the making!
Autumn has been upon us for several weeks now and we have been enjoying some of the warmest weather for the season. While the weather has been pretty spectacular, the fall foliage has not been as colorful as in years past. This is due in part to the heat but also the decidedly sparse rainfall. But nature makes up for it in her own way - the sunrises and sunsets have been extra colorful. As we enjoyed yet another lovely sunset, we are looking ahead to our first real cold snap of the season set to arrive on Sunday. Time to put away the warm weather gear and break out some mittens!
Apple season is upon us and in full swing. We have been watching the commercial apple trucks go by the Inn loaded with fruit for a couple of weeks now. While we don't use truckloads of apples, we have been known to over indulge in Jefferson's favorite fruit now and again. There are several fantastic orchards in the area all selling very different varieties of apples and apple picking experiences. If cider is your thing, Albemarle Ciderworks and Vintage Virginia apples is your destination (and they are really convenient to the Inn!). Carter Mountain Orchard is another favorite; besides many varieties of apples, you can also find cider baked goods, local wine tasting and the best view around. This year, we are using local apples for several breakfast recipes and of course, an apple pie or two.
Summer is still upon us as we endure more 90+ degrees of summer heat. But that doesn't stop the flowers from continuing to bloom nor the grass to keep on growing. Festivals abound this month in Charlottesville. Each weekend explore a new event or visit some of our enduring standbys like Fridays after Five.
We are thankful that our historic property lives to tell its tale and that we get to share it with our wonderful guests. Take a moment this Fourth of July holiday weekend to reflect on the great words of wisdom from Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
As spring turns the corner into summer, we look forward to a beautiful garden full of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In fact, we often use our strawberries and melons in our morning breakfast at the Inn!
Don’t forget to check out and “like” our Facebook page under “Inn at the Crossroads.” We post often about events and deals, and we post new photography of the inn every time it comes around.
In addition to the outdoor attractions near the inn, we have great breakfast. One of our favorites to make is our original ham and cheese waffles, accompanied with natural maple syrup and fruit topped with yogurt and granola.
If you’re in to hiking or taking a scenic drive, you’ve come to the right place. Virginia is abundant in wildlife and trails to wander down. We encourage you to check one out and spend your day outside! For a short and scenic hike, try Humpback Rock or Crabtree Falls. For a longer and more strenuous hike, but still incredibly beautiful, try Old Rag Mountain or Mcaffe Knob. Or- if you are not into hiking- simply take a drive fifteen minutes up the road to Virginia's infamous Skyline Drive!
Check out the lovely spring blossoms!
If you stay at the Inn, you may encounter this little guy at some point. He is our friendly companion, and you can expect to be welcomed by him during your check in! He loves walking, running, and especially his red frisbee, and he is a great model for photos!
The chickens have been surely enjoying this warm weather, and more sun means more fresh eggs! We have Barred chickens here at the Inn, and they lay beautiful brown eggs. We love them!
Walnut Creek, roughly fifteen minutes from the inn, is another wonderful outdoor attraction. A nature filled area for canoeing, kayaking, fishing, swimming, walking, or simply sitting and enjoying the weather, Walnut Creek is a great place to spend the day here in North Garden. Enjoy the Virginia water and air...
Some people think hiking is only fun in the summertime, but Crabtree Falls offers a nice day hike with beautiful views. Free of charge and located in the George Washington National Forest, Crabtree Falls offers some of the most beautiful waterfalls you can find in Virginia. Our Inn is amidst many great hikes, and this happens to be one of our favorites. Not only is it short and sweet, it's incredibly beautiful year round. If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, try booking a room and drive only 45 minutes for a fun and nature-filled day!