If you want to feel like you are ensconced in heaven and truly experience the vibrant, inspiring Charlottesville (C-Ville) community, then the 573 acre Boar's Head Inn and Resort is the place to stay. The University of Virginia (UVA) Foundation owns The Boar's Head Resort which is mere minutes from the historic downtown Charlottesville mall. The resort is akin to staying at a private university enclave, albeit one that is open to the public at the same time. It's beautiful inside and out.
Below are five reasons to stay at the Boar's Head Inn and Resort.
Chef Dale Ford oversees a 23 member kitchen staff that caters to every need of the resort. The varied dining options include The Old Mill Room, Bistro 1834, The Sports Club Cafe, plus the Birdwood Grill, located on the resort's 18 hole golf course. Guests can also order food poolside during warmer months; in-room dining is offered from 7 am to 11 pm.
Upon speaking to Chef Dale, we were blown away to learn just how extensive the sustainable emphasis of their entire food operation is. The Boar's Heads is a central part of a circular economy in this vibrant college town and is tied closely with local farmers, distillers, breweries and food producers. We were excited to discover that The Old Mill Room serves chicken from Polyface Farms because we were soon to visit this legendary ag operation in nearby Swoope, Virginia.
The video above was filmed at Boar's Head with Chef Dale Ford, Ann Walker, Director of Sales & Marketing, and Shawn Jernigan, Director of Food and Beverage.
Among many local providers, Boar's Head sources produce from Morven Farm which is also part of the UVA Foundation and was once a farm managed by founding father and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. We shared locally raised lamb sliders at Bistro 1834 and washed the tasty fare down with a martini. For the first time, I also had peanut soup, naturally made with Virginia-grown peanuts. If you've never had peanut soup (and not allergic), you have to try it. It's subtle and savory, a treat to wet the appetite before moving on to the main course.
The Sports Facilities
Usually when you stay at a large hotel or inn, you are lucky if you get a smallish pool, perhaps one tennis court. Maybe there will be a small gym area to work out in. At Boar's Head, exercise and health are an integral part of the experience, if you choose to make that part of your stay. Don't worry if you are not an avid sports player or one dedicated to regular exercise because sports and exercise options are not in your face at this laid back place. Even the sports complex has the feeling of a luxurious lounge.
What's great about the whole sports focus of the resort is you barely notice the sprawling sports complex because of how wonderfully the property site plan was developed. Just a short walk from the four diamond restaurant, Old Mill Room, you'd never know there was a professional level sports facility. The resort integrates buildings into the surrounding nature, creating self contained areas which serve unique purposes yet blend into the whole. This health-oriented resort feels like a campus, a small village with buildings small and large spread throughout the 573 acres.
Boar's Head Inn is by far the most amazing place to stay if you want to exercise or enjoy a good sport workout to burn off the calories from eating too much good food on the road. Boar's Head has dozens of indoor and outdoor tennis courts, squash courts, a climbing wall, an indoor basketball court, three pools and miles of hiking and bike trails. There is also a huge gym with tons of equipment. The property is so vast we never even made it to the 18 hole golf course.
Have you ever made new friends that become true best friends and make you part of their family from the first time you go to their house? It's rare to make friends like that, but it has happened to me. When it does, you realize how special it is. The staff at Boar's Head Inn makes you feel like you are new friends. Staying there invoked the sense that we were part of an extended family living on a grand, sprawling estate, yet so real and intimate. At Boar's Head we felt like we were surrounded by our favorite cousins, aunts and uncles, beaming with joy, so happy to see us.
Picture above of Thornton Jones and Kristin Valentine at the front desk of the Sports Club.
The staff at Boar's Head don't just treat you like a guest they have to serve well. They engage you, offer stellar service, and create an ambiance that you are part of a winning university team or club that they, along with you, are privileged to be a part of. From the minute you check in to when you depart the stately grounds, you imagine the day when you will be back to see your new-old friends and, once again, enjoy this special place that is etched into your memory forever.
When we opened the door and entered our room we immediately felt calm, relaxed. The room was just the right size. Much larger than your typical hotel rooms, yet if felt cozy at the same time. We had our own private deck overlooking one of the lakes on the property. After six days on the road reporting for United States of Green, it was refreshing to feel so at home. Eureka, we had a refrigerator to store the fragile, hand-made chocolate truffles we bought as gifts for friends back home. And, we were so happy to find the Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee near the coffee maker hidden inside a cabinet. Coffee beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms are sustainably grown to benefit the workers, wildlife and the environment. USG is a big believer that details like this matter. Even the cup of coffee you sip in the morning can help create a more just and sustainable world.
For business travelers, like us, there was plenty of room to get work done and not be in each other's way when sharing a room. With our own outdoor space and campus-like grounds, we felt like we were budding screenwriters in a Hollywood Cottage on a studio lot about to pen our first hit. It was so much fun to be able to stay in our little world and download photos and videos from our journey as we posted some articles about our Virginia trip on the USG blog. The bathroom had a spacious walk in shower, a large double sink vanity and towels so luxurious and heavy I could not imagine throwing them on the tiled bathroom floor after taking a steaming hot shower.
Of course, we have to mention there is a spa. The pool pictured above is next to the spa building. Nothing like a massage or facial after a good workout or swim and before nourishing yourself at one of the on-site restaurants.
Charlottesville is hands down one of the nicest, best laid out, most pleasantly bucolic university towns we have ever experienced. The whole region is dominated by the UVA, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. The university owns thousands of acres throughout the city. The entire area feels like one expansive, stimulating campus, an intensely learned and historical place that feels contemporary and alive.
Charlottesville is one of those places, once encountered, you will start to imagine how it might be possible to move there for a while. A weekend could easily turn into a week; a week might morph into a month or two. You will want to stay in C-ville to re-energize, re-invent yourself. Take that sabbatical. You can't help but absorb the intellectual energy and curiosity of the young students. The sense of new discovery opens and frees the mind and encourages one to explore and enjoy life fully and intensely, as you once did when adulthood was hidden behind the door of limitless possibility.
Photo of Courtyard at Boar's Head Inn
Go to Charlottesville. Stay at the Boar's Head Inn and Resort. Experience this sustainable community that exists at the nexus of past and present. Imagine you are deciding on what major you want to study. Dream about the magnificent future that is about to unfold.
Copyright Paul E McGinniss 2017.