Framed by the rising crags of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Blue Ridge Shadows Golf Club’s 18-hole course incorporates mature hardwoods, immaculate greens, and dramatic elevation changes into a pristine layout that earned a position on Golfweek’s list of the Best Courses You Can Play in 2009. Cresting hilltops give way to sweeping panoramas of the natural surroundings, including a 60-foot waterfall stationed behind the 18th green that used to host Gary Player's famed cliff-diving exhibitions. A grass-tee driving range, large putting green, and short-game practice area unfurl across the mountainside terrain, helping players warm up neglected swings. Additionally, players can prepare for an upcoming round with a lesson from Blue Ridge’s staff of sage instructors or by scrutinizing the course’s splendor from the wraparound terrace of the stately clubhouse.
Course at a Glance:
Rolling hills and meadows cascade toward the organic-farming grounds that surround Paris Barns, where red-roofed buildings and metallic grain silos stand as pleasant punctuations against the lush landscape. The Virginian soil hosts more than 10,500 tomato plants, as well as other seasonal vegetables and herbs. The grounds also act as a certified wildlife habitat for goats, lambs, and alpacas, as well as more exotic animals such as flightless emus, which entertain visitors with their aggressive posturing and spot-on Groucho Marx impersonations.
In addition to harvesting their crops, the zen-minded farmers share their passion for sustainable living with the community at events and workshop that dish the ins and outs of organic farming. When the weather turns warm, the staffers shear wool from the resident sheep and alpacas, demonstrate crafts, and sell fiber-based arts. Meanwhile, beekeepers raid rows upon rows of hives for pure, organic honey.
In production since 1988, Mackintosh Fruit Farm introduces city slickers to country life with seasonal crops available for handpicking and a meandering corn maze. Harvesting hands can make their way through rows of ginger gold, gala, golden delicious, york, and fuji apples, filling containers with up to eight pounds of potential pie-fillers or impressing dates by playing catch with squirrels. Couples may alternatively opt to adopt a newborn pumpkin from Mackintosh's patch to serve as protective porch guardians during late-October monster invasions, then find their way through a maze of corn, where seven game and activity stations entertain along the way. The corn maze takes most people an hour to navigate, though delays can result from sightings of a translucent James Earl Jones.
The Coach and Horses Tea Room is to the restaurant, as a bed and breakfast is to the hotel. They present over 52 high quality teas from around the globe and dishes that are prepared by hand freshly on a daily basis. The tea room's decor provides an authentic colonial experience, with ornate rugs, patterned china, and hand-stenciled walls. Its colonial-style exterior has barely changed from its original construction in the 1790s. The original log walls and plank flooring have stood the test of time, contributing to the building's placement on the National Registry of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior.
When the first Eggspectation eatery opened in Montreal in 1993, the concept was simple: upscale brunch with a focus on decadent egg and crepe dishes. The founding concept has been tweaked only slightly since then, with a menu that today includes more than 160 breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Breakfast remains the menu’s biggest draw, with a dozen egg benedicts and savory crepes, 16 omelets and fruity pancakes, plus french toast and waffles. At lunch and dinner, chefs stack plates with fine-dining-style entrees, such as half-pound USDA-choice beef burgers and steak and seafood entrees, such as maple-glazed rib eye or lump crab cakes. Whether at a location in Canada, the US, or India, patrons can slide behind a table amid rustic stone and brick walls flanked by jubilant circus-theme decor, such as colorful murals and paparazzi snapshots of Humpty Dumpty.
À la Carte Catering and Event Design shoulders the entire burden of event planning, from the food and wait staff to flowers and decorations to entertainment and lighting. Hosts just meet with an event specialist to describe the basics behind their dream party, and À la Carte hammers out the kinks to make it a reality. The company's executive chef draws on his training in France, New Orleans, and the Caribbean to craft elegant and casual menus, and partner vendors manage other accoutrements, such as coat checks, valet parking, or live musicians. Civilians get a glimpse inside the trade at cooking classes with À la Carte’s chefs during interactive demonstrations that cover professional techniques for butchering meat, cooking pasta, or licking brownie batter off of a spatula.