Pet Friendly Virginia Bed and Breakfast

At our pet friendly Virginia bed and breakfast, I am once again reminded this morning just how much we all (me, Suzanne and all the staff) enjoy our dog guests.   It is super to watch the dogs having such a ball running and romping.  Usually our lovable Golden Retriever Callie is right in the middle.   But today is especially wonderful because, along with Callie, there is an adorable black 11-month-old mixed puppy, Ursa; an extremely elegant German Shepard, Bandit; and a cute and lovable white, tan and black dog, Doc, all asking to play!  People and dogs are running in every direction and I must say it has made me laugh out loud. Our guests often tell us just how much their dogs like it here and return over and over with them.  We have watched many dog guests grow from puppy, to full-grown, to mature seniors, enjoying every phase.  We share the painful loss of pets with our guests when that happens, as well.

Callalilly, The beautiful golden retriever at The Inn At Meander Plantation

Our dog Callie

We’ve even had several dogs as  bridesmaid or best man at their human’s elopements.  Sometimes they can be really funny and never fail to produce light heartedness and love.

We are also introduced to new breeds.  Just recently we had a Japanese Shiba Inu, Anime, a breed of Spitz. Our guest explained that these small dogs resemble a fox (we agree!) and self groom like a cat.  And last week we met a beautiful Saluki, Luka, for the first time.

The two most jaw dropping dog guests have been an enormous bull mastiff, Agamemnon,,that weighed in at 225 lbs!  He was gentile and sweet and extremely well mannered…but his size was huge!  The second guests had two giant schnauzers.  I had no idea they were nearly the size of Great Danes.

I do have to say that watching our all time favorite pet-parent guests arrive at the Inn on motorcycle with their Golden Retriever, Gus, in the side car is a totally amusing sight.  He will wear his goggles but really doesn’t like the helmet.

visit from golden retreiver gus at our pet friendly inn

Gus the Golden Retreiver


There are several pet friendly, dog fun locations close to the Inn, like splashing in the Robinson River and walking along the river trails or chasing a ball out in the pastures.    If the weather cooperates we can even offer breakfast on the porch so pooch can come as well.  Away from the Inn we offer a list of great places that will allow and even welcome dogs.  Several wineries such as Early Mountain Vineyards, Old House Vineyards, Keswick Vineyards and Ducard Vineyards even put out dog treats and water bowls.  While most won’t let dogs come in the tasting rooms, some do have beautiful covered picnic terraces or patios where a glasses of wine can be shared along with a picnic from the Inn.

Come stay and check out our new pet friendly package located under “Specials” here on the website.


Suzie and Suzanne



Culpeper VA Holiday Shopping and Events Begin on Nov. 18th

Culpeper VA holiday shoppingJoin us for a unique and special small town celebration to start the holiday season. Culpeper begins the Holiday Season on Sunday, November 18th with our annual downtown Holiday Open House! Merchants will have their stores all trimmed and decorated for the holidays.

You are sure to find unique and perfect Christmas gifts in our specialty shops located in Historic Downtown Culpeper VA. If you haven’t been to Culpeper in awhile, you’ll love the great new shops that have opened. It is foodie heaven!

Before heading back to our romantic Virginia bed and breakfast, join in singing Christmas carols with the Blue Ridge Chorale at the Community Tree Lighting at the Depot at 5:30 p.m. There will be warm apple cider and cookies offered by local Girl Scouts. Make sure to keep an eye out for the Big Guy dressed in red! Stay for the weekend with us at our Virginia Inn, and enjoy some fine food, wine, and get your holiday spirit on.


Montpelier, the home of President James and his wife Dolly Madison is only a few miles from Inn at Meander Plantation and Orange area Bed and Breakfast. A fantastic new day long symposium: The Founding Friendship and Enduring Legacy of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson Saturday, October 13, at 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

The Founding Friendship and Enduring Legacy of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Visit James Madison’s home for a day-long symposium on the close personal and professional friendship between the Father of the Constitution and the author of the Declaration of Independence. Notable founding era scholars from across the country will offer remarks on the “long period of … private friendship and political harmony” of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. A companion exhibit will open on October 13 in the Grills Gallery.

The exhibit will be on display through the end of the year. Montpelier is offering this special symposium to the public at no charge. Register for the symposium and lunch online by October 8. Please call 540.672.2728 x418, or email with questions.

Vineyard at the Bed and Breakfast


Thanks to our friend and neighbor Dean Gruenberg, who has his own Castle Gruen Vineyards and Winery just around the corner from our Virginia wine country bed and breakfast, we have about 2 acres of beautiful grapes growing here at Meander. The vineyard is about a half-acre each of Cabernet Franc (a staple Virginia varietal) and Petite Manseng (our favorite white varietal) at the top of the field to right of the driveway. We’ve had devastatingly(ok, don’t laught!) bad luck the last two years with the harvest. Year before the grapes were so gorgeous and a herd of deer agreed and cleaned out the whole lot! If it weren’t so sad it would be funny.

Suz and I were returning from the tiny garden up the hill when we wondered when in the world Dean had picked the grapes. All was lost!  Then last year we had 19 inches of rain before harvest so nothing could be done but drop the fruit due to the rot. WE hate spraying! In the field to the left of the drive is an acre of Crimson Cabernet, a brand new hybrid cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and Norton. This is an extremely new hybrid and we are, to our knowledge, only the second vineyard in the state to plant this grape (Dennis Horton at Horton Vineyards and Winery is the other) that has the taste properties of Cab Sauv with the disease-resistance, hardiness of Virginia’s native grape, Norton.

For some reason this small planting just would not thrive! It just seemed to get nipped in the bud (pun intended) every time it showed a little progress. Turns out it was a large population of ground hogs just munching those tender shoots right to the ground! Dean cleaned out 27 groundhogs!

Please don’t send me any more recipes! Thanks to Dean for all his hard work of planting and maintaining the vines and thanks to Ron Kilby, our extraordinary gardener, for keeping the rows tidy. What a beautiful site as you approach The Inn to see grapes growing!

Chocolate Ameretti Cake at Italian Cooking School

Italian is the theme for this month’s Inn at Meander Plantation’s Country Inn Cooking School here our Orange, Virginia wine country bed and breakfast. Our enthusiastic students mastered marinara and manicotti, did oh-so-good on osso bucco and finessed focaccia.

Italian desserts are pretty simple and often involve fruits. A grapefruit zabaglione was simple to make and incredible over fresh berries, and the espresso panna cotta with cranberry-pistachio biscotti was equally easy and amazingly delicious.

But the favorite dessert was the Chocolate Amaretti Cake. Ground amaretti cookies and almonds take the place of flour and give a gooey texture reminiscent of brownies. Topped with Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries, it was an elegant finale to the Vintner Dinner that featured the wines of pioneering Virginia winemaker Gabriele Rausse.

Suzanne’s Dessert of the Week:  Chocolate Amaretti Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Giada De Laurentiis, The Food Network

  •  3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces or 10-12 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest from one orange
  • 4 large eggs
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries, for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.

Microwave the chocolate until melted and smooth, about 1 minute.

Combine the almonds and cookies in processor. Process until the almonds and cookies are finely ground; remove and set aside. Place butter and sugar in the processor bowl and blend until creamy and smooth. Add orange zest and pulse until incorporated.

Add the eggs 1 at a time, blending until well mixed. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate. Process until blended. Clean the sides of the bowl after each addition and blend again.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to serving tray.

Before serving, dust top with cocoa powder. Top each slice with a dollop of Amaretto Whipped Cream and fresh raspberries for garnish. Makes 12 servings.

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu

Thanksgiving Dinner Menu
November 26, 2009; 2:00pm and 6:30pm
Call today to make reservations for either of our two seatings.
First Course:

Mixed Baby Greens, Apples, Goat Cheese and Pecans
with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Oyster, Corn and Potato Chowder
Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Bacon Lardoons
Second Course:

Roasted Butternut Squash, Parmesan, Toasted Almonds,
Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Scallops with Wilted Spinach and Tomato-Caper SauceMain Course:

Breast of Turkey with Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing,
Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

Roulade of Pork Tenderloin with Cornbread, Apple and Country Ham Stuffing,
Sweet Potato Casserole, Haricots Vert and Apple Cider Reduction
Escolar Filet with Maple-Ginger Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables,
Winter Squash and Asparagus

Dessert Course:

Pumpkin Tart with Molassas Spiced Cookie Crust
Apple Tart Tartin with Honey-Thyme Ice Cream
Individual Pecan Pies with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

$65 per person
$35 for children under 10
(Does not include gratuity, taxes or alcoholic beverages.)

Dinner Menu – Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Executive Chef/Owner Suzie Blanchard

First Course:
Salad of Baby Field Greens with Apple, Maytag Blue Cheese,
Candied Pecans and Apple Cider Vinaigrette
Wine Pairing: Rappahannock Cellars Seyval Blanc 2008
Spanish Gazpacho: A Cold Soup of
Cucumbers, Avocado, Yellow Pepper, Onions and Herbs
Wine Pairing: Gray Ghost Vineyards Victorian White

Entrée — Select One per Person:
Pan Seared Bistro Steak with Blood Orange Beurre Rouge,
Creamy Parmesan Polenta and Sautéed Asparagus
Wine Pairing: Prince Michel Vineyards
Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Seared and Roasted Duck Breast with Peach Tarragon Sauce, Potato Puree and Yellow Haricots Vert
Wine Pairing: Linden Vineyards Claret 2006

Seared Ahi Tuna with Herbed Basmati Rice Pilaf,
Haricots Vert and Roasted Yellow Tomato Vinaigrette
Wine Pairing: Del Fosse Vineyards Grand Cru Olivier 2007

Panna Cotta Trio with Kiwi, Strawberry and Mango
Wine Pairing: Gray Ghost Vineyards Adieu 2007
Lemon Sorbet with Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
Wine Pairing: King Family Vineyards Loreley 2004Late Harvest Viognier

The Inn at Meander Plantation Dinner Menu

Thursday, June 4, 2009 through Sunday, June 7, 2009

Chef Alexander Morris
First Course:
Hudson Valley Pan Seared Foie Gras with Savory Polenta,
Virginia Country Ham and Blackberries
Salad of Mixed Greens with Cherry Tomatoes, Asparagus Tips,
Fresh Grated Asiago Cheese with House-Made Balsamic Vinaigrette

Second Course:
Oysters on the Half Shell with Champagne Tobikko Roe Sauce
Goat Cheese Bombes- Cornmeal Dusted Deep Fried Goat Cheese

with Fresh Tomato Basil Salad

Raspberry-Orange Sorbet

Entrée (Please Select One Per Person):
Pan Seared Blue Marlin with Jumbo Lump Crab, Pineapple Butter,

Crispy Potatoes and Sautéed Snow Peas

Rosemary-Garlic Essence Colorado Rack of Lamb with Potato Puree,

Baby Carrots and Burgundy Wine SauceMaryland Style Crab Cakes with Saffron Risotto,
Rainbow Chard and Citrus Butter Sauce

La Bete Noir (Flourless Chocolate Cake)
with Retreat Farm Blackberry Coulis
Meander Classic Crème Bruleé

DelFosse Winery

Hello we went to Delfosse

The Inn at Meander Plantations Dinner Menu

Friday, May 22, 2009
Chef Alexander Morris

First Course:
Blue Crab Salad with Tomato Confit
and Champagne- Basil Vinaigrette
Salad of Baby Lettuces with Cherry Tomatoes,
Local Grown Strawberries, Candied Walnuts
with House-Made Honey-Mustard Vinaigrette

Second Course:
Maryland Style Crab Cakes Three Ways:
*Curry Oil
*Avocado Tar-Tar
*Honey Balsamic Remoulade
Pan Seared Colossal Sea Scallop with Sweet Pea Puree
and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Pan Seared Duck Breast with Braised Cherries,
Sweet Potato Puree and Gingered Figs

Panko Encrusted Filet of Opah with Wasabi Potato Puree,
Sautéed Mustard Greens and Blackberry Ponzu

Cinnamon Rubbed New Zealand Rack of Lamb with Port Wine Demi-Glace, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Baby Carrots

La Bete Noir with Raspberry Coulis
Lemon Cups with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote