Our Anniversary Trip to the Shenandoah Valley: Day One

Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, Joe and I recently set out on a weekend getaway to celebrate our 4-year dating anniversary. We left our home in PA on Friday afternoon and we arrived in Virginia around dinnertime. Our first stop (before we even checked in at our hotel!) was to the Third Hill Winery. Set in the rolling hills of Shenandoah Valley, Third Hill Winery is absolutely gorgeous.

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Inside, the owner greeted us and walked us through a tasting of their wines. We mentioned that we were on a trip and she, and other guests at the bar, gave us some great restaurant recommendations. They told us about Cuban Burger for a killer cucumber-jalapeno margarita, Bella Luna for wood-fired pizza, and The Friendly Fermenter for beer.

After our tasting, we each grabbed a glass of wine and the owner made us a phenomenal cheese plate to enjoy out on the porch. This was one of the best cheese plates I’ve had in a long time. There was havarti, blue cheese, chevre (a soft goat cheese), brie, manchego, crackers, grapes, and some salami. Joe and I were in heaven and we quickly divided up the plate so we could each enjoy our favorites.

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After our winery excursion, we headed to the hotel, checked in, and freshened up before heading back out to dinner. We drove into downtown Harrisonburg and I have to say, the options for dinner were pretty overwhelming. Armed with our list of recommendations from the people at the winery, as well as some recommendations from Google, we knew it would be hard to choose a place for dinner. After checking out a few menus, and looking in the windows to see how busy they looked, we settled on Jimmy Madison’s. We shared the Bacon Cheddar Burger with fries and we also tried a side of their mac and cheese. Wow, this was some amazing mac and cheese. And the burger was delicious too. It was missing something though, I’m not quite sure what, but the flavor wasn’t as pronounced and zippy as I had hoped. We were told later that what Jimmy Madison’s is known for is their Brussels sprouts. Now, I love Brussels, but Joe could do without them; I’m super disappointed that I missed out on them!

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What really set Jimmy Madison’s apart, though, was their Prohibition-style Bar Menu. I tried the Bee’s Knees and Joe had a Whiskey Sour (they are a whiskey bar after all!). My Bees Knees was the perfect combination of sweet and tart, with just enough gin flavor to give it some character. After our dinner and drinks, we headed back to the hotel and promptly passed out from exhaustion. We had a busy day planned ahead of us, so we knew we needed plenty of sleep.

Stay tuned to hear about our adventures on the second day when we ventured into Shenandoah National Park, Luray Caverns, and several local breweries!

Bye for now!

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