A Countryside Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving brings together everything we love about the fall season, from the rich food and arboreal hues, to the cinnamon-flecked chill of the air and the intimate solitude of its atmosphere. In one grand and cacophonous evening, it allows families and friends to come together to share their affection, swap stories, revel in the early sunset and test their gastronomic stamina. Here on the East Coast, where this seminally American holiday was consecrated, the spirit of Thanksgiving is perhaps at its most consummate. To best appreciate the Thanksgiving spirit, it can be a nice change of pace to step outside the city and spend November’s final Thursday in the surrounding countryside. Whether searching for a quiet holiday escape, or rambling around with the whole family, there are a number of places just outside the city that offer the tranquility of the season in its quintessential form, as well as some traditional and brilliantly unique Thanksgiving dinners. Sitting down in a rustic dining room for a Thanksgiving meal prepared by an award winning chef can sure take the edge off cooking a fifteen pound bird in your home, and you will likely be privileged to some unique Thanksgiving culinary offerings you’d never have imagined.
Dining out for Thanksgiving is becoming increasingly popular (for good reason), and many inns, resorts and restaurants around the area have already filled up. Here is a list of some of The Georgetowner’s favorite Thanksgiving lunch, dinner and weekend getaway opportunities in the surrounding areas that still have some availability. But make your reservations quick, before they fill up!
THE BLACKTHORNE INN UPPERVILLE, VA. The Blackthorne Inn and Restaurant will offer a buffet style Thanksgiving meal, from noon to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving day. The menu features roast butternut squash soup with toasted pecans and chives; organic turkey with root vegetable puree and a country ham stuffing; roast prime rib of angus beef with Yorkshire pudding and sautéed Brussels sprouts, with white baby carrots and peppercorn and rosemary jus; roast leg of lamp with baby turnips, celery root potato mash and mint peppercorn sauce; and grilled filet of Farrow Island Scottish salmon with grilled oyster mushrooms, creamed cippolini onions and beurre blanc. Deserts include a fresh fruit trifle with brandied custard and raspberry cream; pumpkin pie with fresh cream; and southern bourbon pecan pie. Price: $55 per person, $27.50 for children 5 – 12 (4 and under eat free), plus beverage and gratuity. For more information or to make a reservation visit www.Blackthorne-Inn.com, or call 540-592-3848
CLYDE’S WILLOW CREEK FARM BROADLANDS, VA. When Clyde’s Restaurant Group purchased a number of antique heavy timber buildings destined for demolition in the 1980s, Clyde’s Willow Creek Farm was not even a twinkle on the horizon. Today, Willow Creek is one of the Group’s most inviting and comfortable restaurants, warmly decorated with original artwork, sculpture, historic artifacts and an over-the-top collection of 18th-century horsedrawn carriages—most strung from the ceilings lined with solid timber struts. Their traditional Thanksgiving menu will featured, feature a roast turkey dinner with sausage-sage stuffing, mapleglazed sweet potatoes; mashed potatoes; green beans; cranberry sauce; and an assortment of pies for dessert. Reservations are still available for parties of 5 or fewer, both for earlier and later reservations. Price: $25.95 per person, $15.95 for children. For more information visit www.Clydes.com/ Willow, or call 571-209-1200.
THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON WASHINGTON, VA. No list of DC area Thanksgiving celebrations would be complete without mention of the Inn at Little Washington, where founder, proprietor and head chef Patrick O’Connell has been writing the book on pastoral luxury and seasonal cuisine for a quarter century. The Thanksgiving feast at the Inn includes a selection of holiday favorites, as well as their full standard menu of unforgettable seasonal offerings.
Their Thanksgiving menu includes organic spruce-brined locally farm-raised turkeys, with apple-sausage-pecan stuffing, corn pudding, creamed peas and sweet potatoes, with a cranberry-orange salsa. Desert includes warm chocolate bread pudding and almond ice cream perfumed with black truffle. Price: $198 per person, plus beverages and gratuity. For more information or to make a reservation visit www.TheInnAtLittleWashington.com, or call 540-675-3800.
THE ROBERT MORRIS INN OXFORD, MD. This small gem on Maryland’s Eastern Shore is the perfect waterfront setting for a traditional Thanksgiving. The culinary team has put together a traditional and creative menu for this special occasion as an opportunity for regional produce to shine. You could even decide to spend the night at their Inn and take advantage of their three-night Maryland Thanksgiving extravaganza.
Their Thanksgiving menu starts with dishes like spiced butternut squash soup with smoked bacon and cinnamon whipped cream, and red and yellow beets with crumbled goat cheese, toasted walnuts and mixed greens. The main event is free-range turkey and baked ham with roasted potato, sage, onion and celery stuffing and seasonal vegetables, with a cranberry, orange and ginger relish. There are also alternative main courses, such as oyster pot pie, salmon on creamed sweet onions with kale, pancetta and baby potatoes, and beef tenderloin with a Burgundy-truffle sauce. Desert includes apple and blackberry crumble with chantilly cream and pecan pie with bourbon ice-cream. Price: $58 per person, plus beverages and gratuity. For more information or to make a reservation visit www.RobertMorrisInn.com, or call 410- 226-5111.
KESWICK HALL KESWICK, VA. Keswick Hall is truly a luxury resort that overwhelms the senses. Their magnificent and secluded estate in the foothills of the Southwest Mountains outside of Charlottesville will take your breath away—never mind the fact that Condé Nast rated them the number-one small resort in the country. At Fossett’s, the resort’s award-winning restaurant, executive chef Aaron Cross will present a four-course Thanksgiving tasting menu, featuring selections such as slow roasted turkey with cornbread oyster dressing, brown giblet gravy and cranberry compote; petite beef tenderloin with veal reduction and buttermilk mashed potatoes; pan roasted Loch Duart salmon with caramelized Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with apple cider jus; mulled pumpkin cheesecake with caramel ginger sauce; and bourbon chocolate pecan pie with vanilla custard. Availability for seating is very limited, so call quickly. Price: $89 per person, plus beverages and gratuity. For more information or to make a reservation visit www.Keswick.com, or call 434-979-3440.