When visitors walk between the 1853 Greek-revival mansion’s six solid-cut stone pillars, onto the portico, and through the heavy wood door, they might tour the rooms or learn to cook in its original kitchen. Originally founded by John Harding in 1807 for thoroughbred-horse breeding, the rolling grounds of Belle Meade Plantation now welcome seasonal tours and events ranging from book signings to art shows. Knowledgeable guides in period costumes lead tour groups through the building’s parlors and bedrooms and down a long central hallway to ascend the three floors via a circular cherry-wood staircase.
As groups wander the mansion and cross the grounds, guides divulge facts about famous visitors, such as President Cleveland and General Ulysses S. Grant, including the fact that they probably got scared of the dark just like normal people. During special tours, the staff demonstrates Southern cooking techniques and walks visitors through an herb garden or serves them lemonade or hot wassail with desserts. In an on-grounds winery, winemakers hold tastings of red and white varietals made from Tennessee grapes. Visitors can also clink wineglasses over Southern-style cuisine at the Harding House restaurant, located on the plantation grounds.
After marrying into an Italian family, Let's Make Wine owner Cheryl Lisi discovered winemaking and, at the behest of friends, opened her own shop where everyone could participate in the art. Her stock includes a menu of winemaking kits for varietals from around the globe, such as riesling, Chilean malbec, and Lisi's favorite, Italian sangiovese, stomped with Gucci loafers. In addition to wine-crafting opportunities, Lisi hosts wineglass-painting classes and will soon add beer-brewing supplies to the store's inventory.
Though some of Virginia Wine Tours’ staffers swear by Argentinean Malbecs and others favor New Zealand Rieslings, one thing’s certain: they’re all passionate about Northern Virginian wines. These aficionados conduct tours through a sweeping array of vineyards across the region, including the intimate Bluemont Vineyard in Loudon County, the sprawling Gray Ghost Vineyard in Rappahannock County, and the mountainside Naked Mountain Winery in Fauquier County. During these full- and half-day trips, they enlighten groups with local area viniculture facts and anecdotes, as well as encourage them to mix and mingle amongst their fellow wine enthusiasts. Virginia Wine Tours provides tour groups with transportation to and from wineries, sparing customers the inconvenience of having to worry about parking their cars or mastering the art of vehicle levitation.
Fill up on fries and other comfort food at Flyte World Dining and Wine, a savory spot for American cuisine. None of the fare at Flyte World Dining and Wine is low-fat, so you'll have to put the diet aside for a visit here. Flyte World Dining and Wine's fully stocked bar is a perk for patrons who enjoy a fine wine (or more) with their meal. Looking to host a party but don't have the space at home? You'll love the private room offered at Flyte World Dining and Wine — just right for large and merry gatherings. Take advantage of great beer and tasty bites when you stop by for happy hour. Al fresco eating options are also available at Flyte World Dining and Wine, which offers a lovely patio seating area for warmer months.
Patrons pack the restaurant on weekends, so it's a good idea to make a reservation to ensure prompt seating. Love the food so much you want to serve it at your next soiree? No problem — Flyte World Dining and Wine offers catering.
Pull into a parking space in the neighboring lot, or take advantage of the restaurant's valet service. If the lot is crowded, diners can search for street parking.
Prices are a bit on the higher side, so this might be a good pick for a special night out. Flyte World Dining and Wine accepts all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express.
Come to Tayst for a sandwich and side — this eatery serves American cuisine everyone will love. Tayst is also a good option for those with special dietary needs, offering both vegan and gluten-free items on the menu. Tayst diners can also take advantage of the many drink options offered here. Bigger groups gravitate toward Tayst, which offers a private section for your next get-together or celebration. Make sure to check out Tayst's happy hour for a great way to decompress from the workday. Tayst's outdoor seating is available during the warmer months.
If your weekend plans include a trip to the restaurant, avoid the packs of people by securing a reservation ahead of time. Tayst offers an informal dining experience for those who are allergic to jackets and ties. A catering menu is also available if you're looking to dazzle the guests at your next shindig.
For diners who choose to drive to the restaurant, parking is readily available — the nearby lot offers optional valet, and street parking is also accessible.
A night out here can be a bit pricey, so prepare to shell out a bit more. Tayst accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, and all major credit cards.
Belcourt Taps celebrates the charms and flavors of the South with regular live music, and gourmet twists on comfort classics. The festivities begin before diners even step through the door. Outside, a sprawling patio surrounds the restaurant, lit up at night with warm sconce lighting and candlelight. There, guests can dig into gourmet stuffed burgers and tacos with pulled pork, shrimp, or chicken. Diners can also explore tapas and shareable plates of fried green tomatoes and nachos or dive solo into a barbecue pulled pork sandwich.
Inside, regular live music showcases the talents of singers and songwriters who carry on the Nashville sound. Golden yellow walls brighten the room, adding the feel of a southwestern cantina or a southwestern cantina owned by a pyromaniac, and soft overhead lighting creates the ideal atmosphere for a draft beer.