“A Evening in Provence” was the invitation that hit my inbox back in August. L’Auberge Provencale had invited me to an exclusive preview of a new 3-day guest experience, “A Taste of Provence” in the Shenandoah Valley. I would enjoy samplings of farm-to-table French cuisine, wine from a local vineyard, and a VIP tour of the property.
It sounded amazing but to make the hour and half drive and back during the week for dinner with wine just was not feasible. So sadly, I declined. Good thing I did because a visit to this exquisite bed and breakfast is not something one should experience with just a simple tasting. Owners Chef Alan Borel and his wife Celeste go out of their way to make L’Auberge a place that you’ll want to spend some time enjoying.
Located in the Boyce, Virginia, L’Auberge Provencale could easily just capitalize on the splendor of the Shenandoah Valley. It’d be a simple stop as visitors take advantage of the lush nature, the fall foliage, the many wineries or available outdoor adventures. However the bed and breakfast is so much more and seeks to enhance your stay as you take advantage of the many activities in the area.
The inn offers a variety of packages and services for when you venture off the property. For those who like the outdoors, they will steer you to great places to spend your day with things like hiking the trails, taking bike tours or exploring the water, I started my day with a little horseback riding at Double H Stable. Open 364 days a year excluding Christmas, owner Will Burke personally trains all of his horses. He and his knowledgeable staff are pros at helping even the most novice of riders feel comfortable. (I hadn’t been on a horse since I was 14!) I also had the opportunity to go canoeing (Front Royal Canoe) but let’s just say I wasn’t feeling that adventurous!
For wine lovers there are over 200 wineries nearby and L’Auberge is the perfect hub to chart out a wine tour. I took advantage of the 4 hour chauffeured wine tour with sommelier Christian Borel. If you haven’t guessed by now running the inn is a family affair. A couple of perks of having Christian along for the ride is his knowledge of the wines and local wineries and I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving. Celeste, who is the inn’s wine director, can also be a tour guide. My wine tour included visits to three wineries: Fox Meadow, Glen Manor and Chateau O’Brien Winery. Each was very different, had excellent wines and gave a great perspective of the wine culture in Virginia.
One of the things I was particularly looking forward to was the food at L’Auberge Provencale. Dishes are prepared using fresh local ingredients, many from the inn’s own garden. While the bistro menu at the bar looked tempting, I wanted the full experience in the dining room. I opted for the chef’s tasting menu with wine pairing. Let’s just say the food was delicious, I was not disappointed and I left dinner a happy man. There is also a Menu Prefix option offering 4 or 5 courses that I’ll try on my next visit.
The inn does food really well. Diet is almost a dirty word when you stay here. And they make an incredible effort to cater to food allergies. Breakfast is no less extraordinary offering up a Parisian breakfast with an incredible spread of breads and pastries, jams, fresh fruit, granola and yogurt. They then up their game by adding several delectable entries. And when you venture off property, they will be happy to pack you a gourmet picnic basket or cheese & charcuterie plate for your day excursions. See what I mean about no dieting?
As for the property itself, it truly is an idyllic getaway. It’s a nice place to go and just hide out from the city. One of the things that discourages people from a bed and breakfast is they believe they are intruding in someone’s home. I never felt that way. My room was spacious and beautifully decorated with all the amenities that a true social media city boy would crave. The inn itself features 11 unique guest rooms and suites at their main property and 3 additional guest rooms and suites at our sister property, Villa La Campagnette complete with a pool.
Why head to Napa when a wine tour can be had right in your own backyard? I plan to revisit L’Auberge Provencale soon. After all, I only hit 3 wineries and there’s still over 200 to hit and at L’Aurberge I can do it in style!