My Favorite Things, Chapter One: The Clifton Inn
To sort of cristen my new website and blog, I am going to do a series on the venues that I love most in the area in which I have chosen to live, work, and raise my family: Central Virginia. I cannot possibly write just one blog entry on all that I love in the Central Virginia region, so I will focus on venues that I love for weddings and other related social events. This particular entry is the first of many. A kind of appetif, just to whet your palette, if you will. Let’s dive in. Keep that pinky up; we’re headed to Charlottesville!
Ah, Charlottesville. It’s quintessentially southern. Refined, elevated, luxurious, classy, charming. The adjectives abound. It’s home of the Hoos, where they wear ties to football games. Wait, what?? Aren’t we talking weddings?? I digress. I’m a Hokie and had to jab that in there. Regardless, even I selected Charlottesville’s neighbor, Keswick, for my very own nuptials. And if a Virginia Tech grad can fall in love with UVA territory, you can too. And you should. And you will.
First stop: The Clifton Inn. I don’t often share this with my clients, but I’m feeling sporty… my husband and I had our reception at The Clifton Inn. So this is really, really first hand, behind-the-scenes, where-the-wedding-planner-had-her-wedding, straight from the horse’s mouth, hot-off-the-presses, BRAND NEW INFORMATION! I’m a logophile (Google it) and even I can’t describe The Clifton Inn in words. But I’ll try. Just for you.
I had a small wedding: 35 guests. And weather is fearful to me as a bride, so I wanted an indoor/outdoor venue. (As a planner: I’ll do it for you in a tent, in a hurricane if that’s what God wants. Girl, don’t you worry.) And I didn’t want my guests to lift a finger from the time they woke up. And I wanted them to wake up all in the same place so we really felt like the family that we are. And I wanted them to be a short drive from my church. And so… I was married at South Plains Presbyterian Church and we celebrated at The Clifton Inn. Where even my expectations were exceeded.
The staff at The Clifton Inn is the kind of staff that fills up your wine glass when you’re not looking. Which is a good thing at a wedding, especially when you’re staying over and not driving. The staff at The Clifton Inn is the kind of staff that hand-butlers hors’dee to the bride and groom when they arrive at the reception AND sets up an entire to-go spread for them in their suite at the end of the night because-those-itty-bitty-ham-sammies-were-AH-MAZING-and-you-knew-I-wanted-more. The staff at The Clifton Inn is the kind of staff that patiently responds to a zillion emails from an unnamed wedding planner planning her own wedding, and the kind of staff that greets said wedding planner with a smile every single time she and her husband and now growing family chose to return.
And then there’s the food. O-M-G, people. Just amaze-balls. I like red meat, I’ll admit it. I was pretty set on the tenderloin going into our tasting, but we came out with the breast of chicken. If you can get a steak lover to pick the chicken, you know that’s some freakin’ awesome chicken. Everything else on their menu is freakin’ awesome too. And as someone with a sweet tooth the size of my right leg or perhaps larger, I’ll share that they have a cookie jar in the kitchen. And if you’re not too embarrassed to frequent it (because the kitchen staff sees you every time that you do), then you can frequent it as often as you like. I frequented it A LOT the weekend of our wedding, and I feel it bonded me with the chefs, ha!
In all seriousness, the Clifton is a beautifully restored, incredibly well-staffed, historic inn bursting with it’s own charm and beyond fully capable of being your memory-maker on the day of your wedding, vow renewal, or simply for a special night out. It dates back to the pre-Civil War days, which my retired history teacher father-in-law appreciates for good reason. Plus they have a pool. A pier. A farm house. They are kid-friendly. And they are (in my opinion) begrudingly pet-friendly, just ask my sister-in-law and her furry child. Ah, family…for better or for worse. Cheers! Pinky up!