I decided to get away with my main squeeze for a romantic escape last week. Where did I head? To the other end of Chester County, of course.
We packed our bags and headed down 322 for about 30 minutes until we came to the very edge of Chester County (at Route 10) in Honeybrook, Pa. We had decided to make The Waynebrook Inn our home for the weekend. I had never been to Honeybrook before and was excited to see what adventures could be found in my own backyard. What we discovered was delicious cuisine, local cheeses, wines and music… all with a touch of romance.
When we first checked in I took a quick tour of the building and was surprised to discover that on the first floor of the Inn was a full-service restaurant and bar called Bistro on 10, and ANOTHER bar and restaurant below that called The Horseshoe Lounge. (They call it a lounge but it’s a gorgeous bar with live music, darts and pool tables!) All of this was a treat to discover before we even checked in to our room.
I reserved the jacuzzi suite because, well, wouldn’t you? Turned out it was a pretty sweet jacuzzi and it had it’s own ROOM, located off of the beautifully decorated four poster bedroom. After grabbing a quick shower and getting settled we made our plans for the rest of the day.
We wanted to explore some of the locally produced goodies and headed out to check out September Farm Cheese Company. We were warned that it’s a bit tricky to find, so we kept our eyes peeled for signs along the way. Nestled among beautifulAmish and Mennonite farms we discovered September Farm, owned andoperated by David and Roberta Rotelle and their five beautiful children. We took a tour of the farm and learned how they make all of their artisan cheeses from fresh hormone-free milk from their herd of over fifty Holsteins. We sampled ourselves silly with all the varieties of cheeses. For Valentine’s Day they offer locally-made chocolates and cute little cheese balls shaped like hearts. We bought a few varieties and the heart-shaped spread because, as my beau whispered to me, “nothing says love like horseradish-cheddar.”
Cheese – check. Now all we needed was some wine to go with it. We ventured down route 10 to find Kog Hill Winery. Situated across from the Windmill FamilyRestaurant (which actually has a huge windmill rotating out front) and next to a dollar store, this unassumingstorefront looked the least like any winery I had ever seen. I didn’t let the “Got Wine?” shirts in the window deter me from having my local wine experience, so in we went with our cheese in hand.
Inside we found the best wine deal of the year, $3.00 to taste as many wines as you would like AND you can keep the glass as a souvenir. I confirmed that they said I could taste “as many” as I wanted, and since I was riding shotgun I informed them I’d be taking them up on that offer. Another bonus was that another local cheese was available for sale from Conbella Farm, an award-winning 100% Ayrshire dairy farm. We snacked away on our savory September Farm cheese along side of smokey, buttery Conbella Farm smoked cheddar cheese and I happily sampled wine after wine.
My favorite of the bunch was the semi-sweet Riesling 2006, followed by the BlueMerlot 2007 with hints of blueberry, so we got a chilled bottle to go and headed back to the Inn to take a quick walk and relax before our dinner reservations at Bistro on 10.
The restaurant was upscale-casual and recently restored with textured stone accents. It was bustling with couples and families when we arrived downstairs. A wood-burning pizza stove centered itself as the focal spot of the restaurant, behind the long bar. Chef Chris Darmstaetter, the newly appointed chef at the restaurant, greeted us and took the time to let us know about some of his specials. Our friendly server, Cathy, filled us up on our drinks of choice; I decided on champagne for my romantic getaway while my man chose Labatt’s…we were both thrilled.
Our dinner began with fresh sashimi, plated on thin slices of cucumber with a wasabi and roasted red pepper aioli, a special of the evening, which whet our appetites for the next course – a crab cocktail which we deemed our favorite dish so far in 2010. This indulgent dish was plated with gorgeous crab claws brimming with fresh crabmeat, additional generous lump crab meat, and finely julienned green and red peppers and red onion with a melt-in-your-mouth mango butter sauce. Hooray!
Next course: tender escargot drenched in a succulent garlic butter with shallots and fresh parsley. These meaty morsels were served with all the delicious drippings over crostinis to soak up each yummy bite.
Our entree was the Chef’s Featured Special: venison macaroni and cheese. Presented in a cast iron skillet hot from the oven, this bubbly, cheesy casserole was the ultimate comfort food with just enough twist to make it truly unique. It was so much fun, and so tasty, with savory bits of mushroom and spinach.
We finished our dinner with their trademark dessert, “The Cookie Smash,” also served in a skillet, with chocolate chip cookie dough cooked just enough to be sorta done but still warm and melty, and topped with rich vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.
With a glass of Bog Creek Riesling in hand, I soaked my time away in the jacuzzi tub with the jets fully blasting. Had I died and gone to heaven? I had just dined on sashimi, crab cocktail, escargot, venison and chocolate chip cookies (the way I’d always secretly wanted them- gooey and delicious) and was now soaking in a hot bath with local wine in hand. Close to heaven… but still in Chester County.
We finished the evening with one of my favorite bands, Jeffery Washington. I normally catch them in downtown West Chester but was now rocking out to their soulful tunes below the restaurant at The Horseshoe Pub…Who woulda thought you could pack all of this into one fabulous day?
The next morning we dined on Belgian waffles, fresh coffee and pastries at the complimentary breakfast buffet and soon bid farewell to our romantic Valentine’s escape… only 30 minutes from home.
Try it out for yourself:
Valentine’s Dinner and Overnight Package- Available all month long!
Three course dinner for two
Split of Champagne in Room
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Overnight Deluxe Accommodations for Two
Deluxe Continental Breakfast for Two
Sun-Thurs- Starting at $129.00
Friday and Saturday- Starting at $159.00
Jacuzzi Suites Available
Waynebrook Inn, Bistro on 10, Horseshoe Pub
Honey Brook, PA 19344
September Farm Cheese
Honey Brook, PA 19344-9275
Kog Hill Winery
Morgantown, PA 19543-9475