Friday, February 20, 2009

Barboursville Vineyards & Palladio Restaurant

Well if you can't make it to Italy right now, try a weekend getaway at Barboursville Vineyards.
As the birthplace of American viticulture, Virginia has been cultivating and producing wine grapes for more than four centuries and now has about 140 wineries. To witness where some of the state's finest wines are made, head to Barboursville Vineyards, just 20 minutes outside of Charlottesville. Tour the winery, taste its award-winning varietals, enjoy a gourmet meal at its Palladio Restaurant, and walk the grounds to see ruins of a home designed by Thomas Jefferson. As a bonus, the drive there passes through some of the state's most beautiful farmland.

Tasting & Tours
Let us welcome you to our TASTING ROOM, the centerpiece of many a visit to Barboursville Vineyards. In the style of a Northern Italian farmhouse we greet you with a roaring fire in our double-sided fireplace in winter, and covered loggias in the warm season. Here you can sample more than 15 of our award winning wines, select wine books and accessories in our gift shop, or just relax at a table or on lawns overlooking the vineyards and the Blue Ridge, with your favorite wine.

Let us offer you a tour of our modern winery on Saturday and Sunday, free, including an introduction to the history of Barboursville. Or take a self-guided tour of the Historic Ruins of Governor Barbour's Mansion, a short stroll from the winery.

A Virginia historic landmark, the Ruins overlook an expansive, classic estate park framed in ancient boxwoods, a beautiful area for picnics, strolling, or simply listening to the stream flowing past, imparting the serenity of centuries in this place.

We are open for wine tasting Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday 11am-5pm. The $4 tasting fee includes an inscribed glass and entitles you to a tasting of 16-20 wines, several offered only at the winery. On your next visit, bring your souvenir glass and there is no charge for tasting.

Tasting Room
Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 11am-5pm

Arianne Wojcik
Carole Martin
(540) 832-3824
bvvy@barboursvillewine.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Winery Tours
Saturday and Sunday : Noon-4pm or by appt.

Tour Historic Landmarks
Self-guided tours are permitted.
Monday-Saturday: 10am-5pm
Sunday: 11am-5

Stay at:
The 1804 Inn

Reservations & Rates For more information about The 1804 Inn call (540) 832-5384 and ask for Lynn Russenberger
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The 1804 Inn and Vineyard Cottage are open seven days a week, year 'round.

To make reservations, please contact us: The 1804 Inn ReservationsThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

We invite you to stay at The 1804 Inn to recuperate from 2008 or to start 2009 with a fresh outlook, with a Special Rate for Suites this February. For all stays of any one or more nights, Friday through Sunday in February, we offer the weekday rate every night of your stay (saving $100.00 each night).

Don't forget to make reservations at the Palladio Restaurant to further enjoy your stay.
Reservations Fill out our online Reservation Form

Please note on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, we serve lunch but not dinner.

Please do not not consider your reservation confirmed until we contact you by telephone. If we have not confirmed your e-mail reservation request within 24 hours, please contact us by telephone at (540) 832-7848 between the hours of 11:00am and 3:00pm, Monday through Saturday.

Reservations requested less than 24 hours in advance should be made by telephone to (540) 832-7848.

A credit card will be required for confirmation of a dinner reservation, and for a lunch reservation for 4 or more.

Gentlemen and Ladies are respectfully requested to adopt appropriate attire, "business casual" or better at lunch and at dinner. Jacket for gentlemen at dinner, please.

Growing Season
April 8-July 31
August 1-Nov 15
Nov 16-April 7
Nebbiolo-Cottage $240
$240 $240 $240 $240 $240
Barbera-Cottage $240
$240 $240 $240 $240 $240
Phileo Suite $425
Malvaxia Suite $450
Octagon Suite

* Please Inquire about Weekly Rental and Private Functions.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Limoncello Trifle

4 egg yolks
¾ cup sugar
3 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
1-1 1/2 cups limoncello liqueur
30-36 lady fingers
Additional 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 pint fresh berries

In a double boiler, combine the egg yolks, sugar and lemon zest, and beat until mixture is light yellow in color and has reached 140 degrees F. Remove mixture from heat and pour in a large bowl. Whisk in the mascarpone cheese until smooth and let cool for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the cream into the egg mixture, set aside. Pour limoncello into a flat serving dish and dip the ladyfingers in the liquid. Don’t over soak to the point of sogginess. In a 12 to 14 inch oval or rectangle serving dish, spread a thin layer of cream mixture. Arrange ladyfingers on a layer of cream, breaking pieces to make a uniform fit. Add another layer of cream, then another layer of ladyfingers. Top with remaining cream and smooth with back side of butter knife. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4 to 6 hours ( the longer the better). Before serving sprinkle additional zest on top and add berries to top.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

One Step Closer

One Step Closer was created for those who don’t have the time, the patience or the contacts to organize their own trip to Italy. We specialize in Florence & Tuscany, Rome, Naples & the Amalfi coast, Venice but have contacts also in several other minor but not less interesting centers such as Ravenna, Padova, Verona, Bologna, Palermo.

After almost 10 years of business we are proud to say that we have strengthened our skills in customizing tours and offering unique experiences in Italy to our clients. Our efforts have been rewarded by having been mentioned on several publications throughout the years: Wine Spectator, Forbes, Travel and Leisure just to mention the most famous. We have also been listed in the well known Andrew Harper Collection and Hideaway Report now for 4 years.

Our company can also arrange special events: from weddings to small conferences or corporate events, as well as a simple birthday party. We always offer the maximum degree of flexibility in helping our clients: from just providing flowers for a wedding to arranging the whole event.
Customized itineraries

Nowadays the notion of “customized itinerary” is abused and everyone seems to offer this service. Nevertheless, there is a large difference between selling a customized itinerary and carefully arranging one. In order to arrange a customized tour one needs the synergy of two knowledge: of the country (city, region etc) and of the client.

All of us at One Step Closer were born and raised in Florence (from a partly American family): we know our city, our region and our country and everything we suggest stems from our direct experiences. We never sell a tour without knowing personally the guide, the itinerary and each place our client will be visiting.

The contact with our clients is very careful: asking about their interests, listening to their comments on our ideas and taking into consideration all the aspects of their trip. That’s why we need to work with a bit of notice, in order to have the time to impeccably plan everything making sure that no small detail passes unseen.

Our guides are experts in each field (art historians, landscape designers, wine consultants etc.), are fluent in several languages, have experience in sharing their knowledge and are pleasant people to be with. We like to think of ourselves and whoever works with us as your friends in Italy. We try to combine as closely as possible expert, client and activity and in order to do this we tend to ask many personal questions to our clients such as age, kind of group (family, friends, business etc), disabilities, personal interests.

We will also be on call for the duration of their stay for any last minute changes, requests or emergencies.

Throughout the years we have specialized in planning trips for families with children of different ages. The concept of children’s museums and activities that are specifically created for kids is still not that common in Italy but we have seen that children can have fun sightseeing . It’s all a question of “selling” it to them in the right way. We have had many happy families that were amazed at how much their kids got out of the visits and actually asked for more (gelato is an excellent resource for instance). You can’t obviously put them through 5 hours in a museum but they usually hold out better than their parents. Many parents have confessed that they have learned more from a tour with their kids than in other occasions.


HOTELS: We will be glad to provide a list of recommended hotels which you can book directly or we can do this for you and include this in the price of the tours.

VILLAS: We do not arrange holiday rentals but we will be glad to give you contacts of companies that specialize on this and whose properties we feel are up to our clientele’s standards.

The only property we manage directly is located in Camporsevoli, a village in the southern countryside of Tuscany, an hour drive from the most important Tuscan cities as Siena, Arezzo, Montalcino etc. The property is an ancient hamlet and there are two available villas for rent. You can see the website

Special Events

We can arrange small conferences, single social events for bigger conventions, weddings and anniversaries, birthdays and any event that needs celebration. Each event deserves its own venue: a medieval castle… a museum after closing hours… or what about a former train station? We work with selected catering services, photographers, musicians, conference service agencies and even tailors, hairdressers and florists.

Our assistance will cover the first stages of the organization by escorting the clients to visit the venues, as well as the smallest details as helping to decide the right color of the tablecloth that will match the flowers previously chosen! Our job ends taking part in fist person to the event to make sure that everything will go smoothly.

We work on a planning fee basis which depends on our degree of involvement in the organization of the event, so that each price of the various services is clear and net to the clients.

We have worked with alumni groups and board members of the most important universities in the United States (Yale, Cornell, William and Mary, Loyola Marymount), planned events for important corporations (Boeing, Citigroup, Renault), arranged trips and visits for museums (Huston Museum of Natural Science, the National Museum of Women in Art, Washington)

Some examples …

We have just said that every tour we arrange is unique and personalized according our clients’ requests… nevertheless sometimes you may need to know what we organize in practice to have some ideas of the activities in each city!

Guided tours in the art cities: in Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Arezzo, but also Rome, Assisi, Perugia, Orvieto, Naples, Amalfi, Sorrento, Positano, Pompeii, Venice, Verona, Padua…and many others! Our guides can spend a half day or full day with you.
Price depends on the city – consider an average of 300 euros for a half day and 600 euros for a full day.

Cooking classes: our cooking teachers are not professional chefs but simply Florentine ladies who like to share their passion for cooking with their guests. For this reasons the class takes place at their home in Florence. Clients can meet the teacher in the morning, go shopping with her to a local market to buy all the necessary ingredients to prepare a typical Tuscan lunch! The lesson will end eating their creations together with the teacher at lunch. Price 500 euros up to 4 persons including shopping.

Art Class: This is usually fun for families with children! Our clients will have the opportunity to learn the different art techniques once used by Florentine artists to create their masterpieces. Water coloring and sketching will take place around Florence to give them the opportunity to learn live techniques. We pick a spot that is particularly suitable for the season (i.e. shade in the summer and sun in winter). It is interesting to join the learning of a technique (ex. Fresco painting) with seeing some of its highest moments in the monuments around town.
Gelato Tasting: one of the most famous “gelaterie” in Florence will open its secret doors to our clients. The owner will explain how gelato is made, how it was started and – most importantly – guide you through a tasting of their wonderful gelato. All of this held in the backstage “kitchen”. Price: 40 euros per person

Artisans and workshops: If you are interested not just in shopping but also in learning the process and the history behind the creation of an object explained by the artisan himself inside his “bottega” (workshop), we can arrange paper making and pottery making and many other interesting experiences. Price to be determined according to the activity and number of persons.

Perfumes making: You will be visiting the atelier of one of the most famous perfumes creator in the world who “customizes” the essence for his clients by a long interview with them to understand their “soul”. The place itself is worthwhile the visit and you will be introduced to all the secrets of perfume and essence making. Price will be given upon request

Private collections and private openings: we can arrange a private visits to the Vatican museums after its closing hours. Our clients will have the opportunity to be the only visitors of one of the most famous museums in the World. We can also arrange private openings of collections, palaces or gardens which are normally closed to the public. Prices will be given upon request.

Shopping tours: A personal shopper will spend the day with our clients showing them the best places to purchase local artisans’ products (pottery, leather, linens, paintings …). This can be combined with the above mentioned tour of the artisans and workshops.
If you are a “fashion victim” we can arrange daytrips to the nearest Outlets center where you can buy Prada, Armani, Valentino and Ferragamo at discounted prices.
Price depends on the number of persons.

Wine tours: We have special access to wineries located in the Tuscan countryside which are usually closed to the public and open their doors exclusively to our clients and friends. Our wine consultants will introduce you to the uniqueness of the different wines and their particular flavors. The areas of Tuscany where we usually arrange these activities are Chianti and Montalcino. The tour can include visits to little towns or places of particular interest in the neighborhood. The tour can be also food oriented (oil and cheese producers, butcheries, vinegar producers, herbs shops..) or shopping oriented (pottery, ceramic, leather etc).Price depends on number of persons – itinerary – and distances.

Camporsevoli, Casa Del Neri

The ancient hamlet of Camporsevoli dates its origins from etruscan times. It is situated in the heart of a peaceful and shaded counrtyside on the slopes of Mount Cetona.

Geographically it is placed in the southernmost section of the region of Siena, a few miles from the Tuscan borders with Umbria (the region of Assisi and Perugia) and Latium (the region of Rome), thus within an hours’ drive from Siena, Pienza, Montalcino, Arezzo, Cortona, Perugia, and one and a half hours away from Florence, Rome or Assisi.

Being guests in Camporsevoli will introduce you and your family or friends to the still unspoilt and quite unknown beauty of this serene and mind resting country. You will be offered the possibility to unwind while learning at your own leisure about the Tuscan way of cooking, drinking and generally enjoying life. The vicinity of all the major centers of art and culture will also enable you to take trips in search of the origins and evolution of Italian art though repairing to more quiet surroundings at the end of the day, thus avoiding the confusion of mass tourism.

The nearby spa of San Casciano dei Bagni and its state of the art beauty and fitness center makes Camporsevoli also a perfect spot to enjoy the lovely relaxing treatments of San Casciano.

Casa del Neri is one of the farmhouses within the hamlet of Camporsevoli. It has been restored and redecorated maintaining its old farmhouse character while at the same time providing all those comforts that we have learned to use daily and are not willing to give up while on holiday.

The main entrance has been maintained as the original one, via a covered stone staircase on the side of the building. This means that one enters on the first floor. Here you will find a large dining room with a big open fireplace and the kitchen, which has gas burning rings, an electric oven, a fridge and freezer, dishwasher, microwave oven, American coffee machine.

On this same floor there and two bedrooms (one twin, one double) with two bathrooms (one is en suite to the double bedroom and has a shower, the other has a bathtub) .

On the ground floor you will find the sitting room with wet bar and television as well as the master bedroom with its characteristic rounded stone wall (one of the few remains of the mediaeval castle) and en suite bathroom with shower and a twin bedroom with its bathroom (with shower).

The ground floor opens up from the living room directly into a flagstoned patio and is linked to the top floor by means of an internal staircase. On the patio there is a dining table, lounge chairs and barbecue.

The laundry room is in a separate room and has a washing machine but no dryer.

The house is equipped with free wireless DSL internet connection.
Bedroom windows have screens to keep out un-invited flying and creeping guests !

Each bedroom has a fan, most of these have never been used because the house, as all old-world country houses, has a very natural, cheap and efficient air conditioning system provided by the neighbouring trees and wide stone walls.

The pool is a short walk away (500 mts) up a lovely cypress-lined path. At the pool there is a changing room where guests are welcome to leave their pool things, a separate bathroom and fridge for drinks. The distance of the pool to the house makes it 100% safe for children as well as very quiet.

The pool is shared at times with the owners of the hamlet who use it only as a holiday weekend house therefore are very seldom there and usually the times of “use” of the pool of owners and guests do not coincide. The owners are partly American and are always happy to have a chat and get to know their guests, making pool side moments very enjoyable to all.


2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms
Highchair and baby cot available at no extra charge
Pets welcome with an extra security deposit
Dining room
Sitting room with TV
Wet bar
Outdoor barbecue
Outdoor dining area