a night at stone manor

as a wedding gift, my girlfriends gave mike and me a night at a bed and breakfast in virginia wine country. i picked mike up from the airport on sunday afternoon and we headed to stone manor bed and breakfast for a night of relaxation and catching up.  from reagan national airport, it was just a short hour and 20 minute drive into the rolling hills of northern virginia.  it’s always so nice to get out of the city for a bit, there’s something about seeing grass and trees as you drive.  it feels free.

we arrived at stone manor around 2:30, a half-hour before check-in, but were warmly welcomed by owners spencer and beth.

spencer took us right into the kitchen, offered us a glass of wine and took us on a tour of stone manor. spencer bought the house in 1986 and shortly after he met his “sweetheart” beth, they began transforming the house into the manor it is today.

our room, the manor suite, was the last stop on our tour.  after we put our things down and spent some time looking around, we settled in for a much needed afternoon nap. boy was the bed comfortable: soft but firm and those pillows! ah, it was so warm and cozy, perfect for a cold, rainy october afternoon. after our nap, we chose a movie, the pelican brief, from the dvd collection and got back in bed to watch a bit.  after about 45 mins (remember i’m not a movie person), it was time for a break.

mike went to read in the library and i followed shortly after looking for the wireless password. i heard some people in the kitchen and went to ask for the password.  beth was there with another guest and offered some homemade bread and hummus, followed by another glass of wine.  i stayed chatting for a bit and soon enough it was time for dinner.

at spencer and beth’s recommendation, mike and i headed to magnolia’s at the mill in purcellville, just a short 15 minute drive away. i wanted to stop and take pictures of the beautiful tree covered mountains in the distance and the chimney smoke billowing through the trees but it was raining so i just looked intently out the window. our meal was absolutely delicious (check back at 4pm for a post about dinner) and we drove back to stone manor with full bellies.

we took a relaxing bath in the huge jacuzzi tub using the bath salts beth made just for us. as i sit under blankets in our drafty apartment, i wish i was back in the warmth of the bath.  the warm water and scent of the lavender in bath salts was so calming.  we both commented how relaxed our muscles felt when we got out.  after the bath, mike watched the phillies and i blogged for a while.  though our stay was coming to an end as we went to bed for the night, we still had breakfast ahead of us in the morning.

a six course breakfast was served in the morning. the first course, pineapple and cheese grits was served in a martini glass. it sounds weird but was actually pretty good.  as beth said “anything with a pound of butter and ritz crackers has to be good.” juice was a blend of orange, pomegranate, and blueberry.  another guest proclaimed “this is the best juice i’ve ever had” and i might have to agree. it was so sweet but light and refreshing all at the same time.  next up was “the comfort food of the breakfast world, think of it as macaroni and cheese,” beth said. it was two kinds of potatoes, 3 or 4 types of cheese, heavy cream, and eggs. then we had sweet onion, sweet pepper, and cheese in a puff pastry. i know you’re wondering how we managed to fit anymore in at this point, but we did. you would’ve found a way to fit these in too: corn griddle cakes (beth’s great grandmother’s recipe), two types of homemade sausage–pork sausage with and chicken sausage with mango and habanero pepper, and rancher’s style thick cut bacon. finally to end the meal was a chocolate peanut butter muffin. this was an amazing meal made with love.

we had such a nice time at stone manor bed and breakfast. if you’re looking for rest and relaxation, i definitely recommend a night (or two).

thanks, girls!


breakfast of champions

chocolate chip pancakes are my favorite breakfast.  they have been for years. so i was thrilled when the abs diet cookbook had a recipe for chocolate chip flapjacks. pancakes on a diet?  yes, please!  

we have these pancakes at least twice a week (the batter stays good in the fridge overnight for one night). and the best thing about these…you won’t crash and/or be hungry 30 mins after eating them.  

chocolate chip flapjacks (adapted from the abs diet cookbook)

makes 10-12 pancakes

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 tbsp ground flax seed (optional)

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 cup instant oatmeal

1 1/2 cup 2% milk (1% works fine)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs, lightly scrambled

1/2 cup semi-sweet choc chips

Preheat skillet on medium-low to medium heat.

In small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and flax.  In large bowl, combine oatmeal, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs.  Add flour mixture to oatmeal/milk mixture, stir until combined.  Add chocolate chips.  Stir. 

Pour 1/4 cup mix onto skillet.  Cook for a few minutes on each side.


(i find that two is plenty.  mike needs at least three. four on hungry mornings.)

these pancakes are absolutely delicious on their own, with a little butter, with a little syrup, with fresh fruit on the side, with a nice berry sauce or with any combination thereof.  add some extra protein with a little crunchy peanut butter.  mmm mmm mmm.