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Weekend getaway for food lovers: The Clifton Inn

Monday - 1/20/2014, 11:43am  ET

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Dining Bisnow Editor Alia Khan says The Clifton Inn is a great weekend destination for area food lovers. (Courtesy Alia Khan/Dining Bisnow)

WASHINGTON - Many experience a mid-winter slump this time of year, and a weekend getaway is often a quick fix to remedy the cold-weather blues.

But you don't need to run off to a ski resort or jet-set to the Caribbean to get your travel fill. There are weekend getaway destinations much closer to home. And one, in particular, is an ideal destination for food lovers.

For those looking to cuddle up next to the fire with something delicious, Alia Khan, editor of Dining Bisnow, says to head to The Clifton Inn, located in Charlottesville, Va.

Khan recently featured The Clifton Inn in Dining Bisnow's Foodie Field Trip series, which features destinations for food lovers that are an easy weekend trip from the D.C. area.

The inn was originally built in 1799 by Thomas Jefferson's son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph, who was married to Martha Jefferson. Since then, the inn has been "lovingly restored to its historic charm," as Khan says, noting the traditional décor, wood floors and guest rooms, which are all unique to the historic time period.

The chef's table at The Clifton Inn allows diners to get in on the cooking action. (Courtesy Alia Khan/Dining Bisnow)

The Clifton Inn's proximity to Monticello, downtown Charlottesville and the area's vineyards make it an ideal location for those looking to fill the day with activity off the inn's grounds. But Khan warns: just don't fill your stomachs. You'll want to save your appetite for the food offerings at the inn.

"The things that [Chef Tucker Yoder] does there are really a wonderful balance between modern and comforting foods," Khan says.

It all starts with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. Included in the stay is a continental breakfast, but Khan says it far from a traditional continental breakfast.

"It's the best continental breakfast I've ever had," she says. "The basket of pastries was flaky, buttery, delicious, amazing. That, alone, was enough to make me happy."

In the afternoon, the inn hosts a tea service, also complimentary for guests, where fresh-baked treats accompany the drinks.

For dinner, guests can choose from a la carte menu offerings, or do a tasting menu, which includes a seat at the chef's table.

"You can watch all of the action," Khan says.

If you're looking to watch the action and learn something in the process, Clifton offers a private cooking class, which also takes place at the chef's table.

"The chef will demo the recipes and share them with you. And you, of course, will get to enjoy the fruits of his labor, so that's a really fun experience for food lovers, as well," Khan says.

Looking to cuddle up after your meal? Khan says there is no shortage of fireplaces at The Clifton Inn.

"As far as being a great mid-winter getaway, downstairs in all of the common areas, including both of the dining rooms, there are fireplaces, and outside, they actually have a fire pit, where they will set up a bonfire for you in the evening if you'd like."

As Dining Editor for Bisnow Media, Alia J. Khan writes about the business side of DC's restaurant industry. Check out Dining Bisnow for handy listicles and the latest on hot new openings, trends, and innovations in the DC Dining Scene. Peruse the archives, subscribe, or follow @DiningBisnow on Twitter. Alia is a recovering attorney turned restaurant writer, realtor and yoga instructor. You can reach her at Alia.Khan@bisnow.com.

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