Sponsored Advertising Content: Southern Living has partnered with Virginia.org to form a guest blogger network. Today’s post is provided by guest blogger Elisabeth Pendergrass of District of Chic. Check back every Monday and Thursday for new ways to explore the state of Virginia.
If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway that really maximizes the bang for your buck, Airlie might be the best-kept secret you’ve been looking for. This former meeting center has welcomed world leaders for over 50 years, but only just recently opened as a weekend leisure destination. You’re in luck because if you’re on the hunt for a romantic escape, a gathering spot for friends, or a family vacation, Airlie is just the ticket. We found Airlie to be a grab bag of everything – whether you enjoy farm-to-table dining, activities like archery and skeet shooting, or just relaxing by the pool with a cocktail, this place has a little something for everyone.
One of the things that makes this place so special is its long dedication to protecting the environment. (Fun fact: it was here that Senator Gaylord Nelson first introduced the idea for Earth Day.) Airlie implements a number of green initiatives like fuel-efficient vehicles, bicycles for guests, LED lighting, an organic garden, and certified wildlife habitats. When my husband and I stayed here, we were immediately struck by how peaceful and serene it was. The first thing we did was take some time to unwind with a relaxing walk around the lake, but you can just as easily grab a fishing pole and try your luck in their fully-stocked lake. We also took advantage of the bikes that you’ll find parked at each building – it was so refreshing to walk out the door in the morning and take a ride to breakfast! This inspired us to buy each other mountain bikes and get active! I know, mountain biking is intense, we spent lots of time looking at the best mountain bike ratings and finally made a choice, we fell in love with this activity.
If you appreciate knowing where your food comes from, you’ll love the locally-sourced meals at Airlie, much of which is grown on premise in their organic garden. We were lucky enough to sample some of their delicious cuisine at their recent Spring Signature Dinner featuring Early Mountain wine and the menu was fresh and creative. (Read all about it here.) Later in the evening, you can grab a cocktail from their pub and roast marshmallows around one of their fire pits.
In addition to all of the on-site activities, there’s much to be taken advantage of nearby. For starters, just ten minutes down the road, you’ll find Great Meadow. This spot is host to a number of spectator equestrian events, but the Gold Cup Races are probably the most popular. Hosted in both the spring and the fall, this event is a perfect excuse to pick up an eye-catching hat and don your race day best! You can catch a game of twilight polo, which takes place every Saturday night during the summer months. Airlie also lies right in the heart of Virginia Wine Country. You’re hard-pressed to find a bad view at any one of these scenic wineries, but make sure you check out Linden and Glen Manor Vineyards – two of our favorites!