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Cooking Getaways In the mid-Atlantic Region
Looking for a weekend escape that features hands-on cooking intstruction and gourmet meals? Style put together a list of inns in the mid-Atlantic offering classes this month, and throughout the winter.
Text and photos by Stephanie Citron

MARYLAND

The Atlantic Hotel

The Setting: This circa-1895 hotel stands in the 18th-century town of Berlin less than 10 miles from Ocean City. Its new owners have recently renovated its interior and added modern amenities.

The Classes: Cooking classes, offered on weekends between November and April, are limited to six couples. They convene on Friday evening at a wine-tasting reception and hors d’oeuvre preparation demo. Following a homemade breakfast on Saturday morning, the class prepares a “gourmet luncheon.” The afternoon session is led by a sommelier, who demonstrates selecting and pairing wines. Sunday morning’s class focuses on creating a classic country brunch. In the afternoon, there are mini-sessions on proper table settings, tea preparation and serving hints.

The Cost: Package costs $678/couple, including cooking classes, lunch and brunch on Saturday and Sunday, two nights’ accommodation and a Saturday night dinner at sister-hotel Fager’s Island Bayfront Resort.

The Accommodations: Luxurious digs include hand-ironed sheets, feather-topped beds, down comforters in antique-filled bedrooms.

Contact: 2 N. Main St., Berlin, 410-641-3589 atlantichotel.com

Tilghman Island Inn

The Setting: This casual Victorian waterfront inn, circa 1890, was originally a boarding house for steamboat operators and is now a respected pioneer in the farm-to-table philosophy.

The Classes: The inn’s cooking school features local ingredient-driven cooking taught by executive chef David McCallum and chef de cuisine William Dickey. The Nov. 20-22 weekend will be a hands-on Thanksgiving themed cooking session, including meeting local growers, producers, vintners and other suppliers.

The Cost: Price ranges from $580 to $680 depending upon room choice. The package for two features two nights’ accommodation, Saturday breakfast, cooking instruction and lunch, five-course sampling dinner menu on Saturday evening, three-course Sunday brunch and culinary excursions.

The Accommodations: The inn is “shore shabby-chic,” but the guest rooms have undergone renovation. Some have second-floor balconies and gas fireplaces; most have ultra-spa baths and luxe bedding.

Contact: 21384 Coopertown Road, Tilghman, 410-886-2141, tilghmanislandinn.com.

Savage River Lodge

The Setting: This rustic inn near Frostburg is surrounded by the 700-acre evergreen-laden Savage River State Forest. Its main lodge serves as the resort’s nucleus, a hub for eating and activities.

The Classes: The Chef for A Day package allows guests to work with the inn’s chef Jim Meehan to plan, prepare and cook a multi-course gourmet meal. At the end of the day, students enjoy their meal, which is served by the inn’s waitstaff. The program is offered midweek and geared toward the participant’s skill level.

The Cost: Packages are scheduled upon personal request and cost $300 per person or $250 each for two or more chefs. Package includes personalized chef jacket, full-day four-course meal cooking instruction with the chef, photos of the experience, recipes and certificate of completion. Cabin accommodations are not included

The Accommodations: Private cabins with sleeping lofts for two, down bedding, gas fireplaces and soaking tubs with designer bath amenities begin at $220 per night.

Contact: 1600 Mt. Aetna Road, Frostburg, 301-689-3200, savageriverlodge.com

PENNSYLVANIA

Country Cooking School at Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast

The Setting: This traditional, storybook English B&B in the Brandywine Valley is lauded for its exquisite cuisine.

The Classes: “Take a Buttock of Beefe,” Nov. 1-2, focuses on preparing a traditional English Christmas Dinner. The class prepares lunch and dinner in two hands-on cooking sessions. The classmates sample their own efforts, served to them formally, in the dining room with wine.

The Cost: $700 per couple; $600 per single. Package includes an all-day, hands-on cooking session, accommodations for two nights with breakfast, lunch and dinner on class day, a reception on the arriving evening, and class materials. Dinner will be paired with wines from local vineyards.

The Accommodations: Antique-appointed rooms with queen-sized beds dressed in triple-sheeted Irish linens. Many rooms overlook the horse pasture.

Contact: 725 Darlington Road, Media, 610-459-3000, hamanassett.com/cookingschool.html

Mercersburg Inn

The Setting: This elegant inn has partnered with chef François Dionot, owner and founder of Bethesda’s L’Academie de Cuisine, to offer a series of weekend French cooking school experiences throughout the year in the kitchen of its magnificent turn-of-the-century Georgian mansion.

The Classes: Offered four times a year, including Nov. 13-15, classes include a four-hour, hands-on instructional session each morning, followed by lunch featuring the results. Chef Dionot emphasizes knife skills and techniques such as the proper way to tie a cut of meat or fish.

The Cost: Standard room with breakfast for two nights, $304. Cooking class, $175 per person. Saturday evening dinner, $85 per person, additional.

The Accommodations: Standard rooms feature antique furnishings, feather-wrapped queen-sized beds and private baths.

Contact: 405 S. Main St., Mercersburg, 717-328-5231, mercersburginn.com/cooking.htm

Torte Knox

The Setting: In a refurbished bank building in Hawley, a restored 19th-century mill and mining town in the northern Poconos, resides this gem of a culinary school and bistro. Classes focus on serious cooking for recreational chefs. Celebrity chef and owner Sheelah Kaye-Stepkin is a regularly featured cooking expert on “Al Roker’s Cooking On The Road” and The Food Network, and in The New York Times.

The Classes: On Nov. 11-12, Torte Knox will be offering an Italian-themed package called “Under the Tuscan Sun.” The program begins with a welcoming glass of wine and discussion about the origins of the food and preparation of the meal. Each student will be assigned a portion of the meal to prepare, supervised by Kaye Sheelah Stepkin and often a guest celebrity chef. Afterward, everyone dines on the results. On day two, there’s another cooking session and a culinary outing.

The Cost: Cooking school rates comprise the activities for the day of the class; each class is billed separately and depending on length of stay, expect to pay $125 to $150 per day.

The Accommodations: The school doesn’t provide lodging, but there are several elegant choices nearby. The Settlers Inn is a historic arts and crafts inn with Jacuzzi tubs and feather beds. Rates begin at $160 per night (thesettlersinn.com). Ecce B& B is a stunning mountain retreat perched high on a bluff above the Delaware River, boasting panoramic views. Rates begin at $150 per night (eccebedandbreakfast.com).

Contact: 301 Main Ave., Hawley, 570-226-8200, torteknox.com.

Harvest Moon B&B

The Setting: The owners of this century-old country house in Pennsylvania’s Amish countryside are dedicated to creating a rich epicurean experience for their guests.

The Classes: During the Bella Luna Italian cooking weekend, on Nov. 6-7, professional chef and innkeeper Carl Kosko will team up with celebrity chef Maria Liberati of New York City’s illustrious Il Cortile restaurant to provide authentic Italian holiday recipes. The full-day cooking class, provided in morning and afternoon sessions , for a maximum of 10 students, offers hands-on opportunities for the motivated, and permit spectators to simply take notes. Those who arrive a day early can join Kosco on his famous culinary shopping excursions, scouring local Amish markets, dairy and meat farms and fruit orchards for provisions.

The Cost: The cooking package is $400 per couple and includes breakfast each morning, lunch and dinner prepared by cooking demonstration, a collection of Liberati’s Italian holiday recipes, the cooking class, welcome reception and an antipasto demonstration. Accommodations are separate and range from $99 to $149 per room.

The Accommodations: Guest rooms are outfitted in antique wood furnishings with modern comforts such as jetted tubs and pillow top beds.

Contact: 311 E. Main St., New Holland, 717-354-0213, harvestmoonbandb.com/cul-cooking.htm.

VIRGINIA

The Inn at Meander Plantation

The Setting: This spectacular inn is set amidst wineries, rollicking horse farms, ambling creeks and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

The Classes: At the monthly cooking classes, innkeeper and chef Suzie Blanchard and executive chef Alexander Morris co-teach preparing a meal, integrating slow food cooking methods and techniques and incorporating local and seasonal ingredients.

The Cost: “Celebrate Turkey and the Trimmings” on Nov. 16-17 includes two nights’ accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner on both days and two full days of cooking instruction. Cost for two, $850.

The Accommodations: Sprawling rooms outfitted with big canopy beds and fireplaces.

Contact: 2333 N. James Madison Hwy, Locust Dale, 800-385-4936, meander.net/cookingSchool.htm

Inn at Coopers Landing

The Setting: The inn occupies a home built in 1830 in Clarksville, the heart of Virginia’s verdant lake country.

The Classes: The inn is offering two November weekends of cooking classes: “Savory Soups and Hearty Stock,” Nov. 1-2 and “Holiday Entertaining and Decadent Desserts,” Nov. 29-30.

The Cost: Packages for two include two-nights’ accommodation, five-course chef’s tasting dinner and wine pairing, gourmet cheese reception, candlelight breakfast each morning, four hours of cooking instruction and lunch. $700 for double; $495 for single.

The Accommodations: Antique furnishings with queen beds, designer bath amenities and terry robes.

Contact: 801 Virginia Ave., Clarksville, 434-374-2866, cooperslandinginn.net/cooking.html

Briar Patch Bed and Breakfast Inn

The Setting: The inn is a restored circa-1805 farm on 47 acres in Middleburg, with stunning views of the northern rim of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, picturesque horse farms and wineries.

The Classes: Monthly cooking classes begin Dec. 11-13 and are offered weekends once a month through April. Chef Bernard Henry teaches students to prepare four- and five-course gourmet meals. Wines from local wineries accompany the courses.

The Cost: Package rates begin at $250 per person and include two nights’ lodging with breakfast Saturday and Sunday mornings, Friday evening wine-tasting reception with hors d’oeuvres and a three-hour hands-on cooking lesson. Optional three-hour tour of various wineries via limousine, $50.

The Accommodations: Antique and Arts & Crafts furnishings and local toiletry purveyors.

Contact: 23130 Briar Patch Lane, Middleburg, 703-327-5911, briarpatchbandb.com/cooking-classes.html.

Keswick Hall

The Setting: Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the heart of Virginia hunt country near historic Charlottesville, Keswick Hall offers an idyllic escape.

The Classes: Perhaps one of the region’s most recognized recreational cooking programs, the inn offers monthly cooking class weekends year-round led by award-winning chef Craig Hartman. On Nov. 13, Chef Hartman is offering “Creating the Perfect Holiday.” Classes often feature a winery tour and always a separate lunch or dinner with the chef.

The Cost: The three- to four-hour class session is $85 per person in addition to accommodation fee starting at $395 per room per night.

The Accommodations: Standard rooms begin at 350 square feet with queen beds, Wi-Fi, CD players, bathrooms with soaking tubs and designer toiletries.

Contact: Keswick Hall, 701 Club Dr., Keswick, 888-778-2565, keswick.com/web/okes/culinary_cooking_school.jsp.

The Miller House B&B

The Setting: This circa-1896 Victorian B&B presides majestically on a hill over the historic (1732) town of Staunton, within walking distance to its quaint shops and galleries.

The Classes: This school specializes in the art of creating fine European pastries under the guidance of chef Giancarlo Gnali (Keswick Hall, The Homestead and several pastry cafes bearing his name). The class Nov. 6-7 is entitled “Classic European Tarts,” and offers a hands-on instructional preparation of butter tart dough with a variety of fillings.

The Cost: Package includes two nights’ accommodation, gourmet breakfast each morning, formal tea and three four-hour cooking sessions. $450 to $495 for two.

The Accommodations: Stately guest chambers filled with exquisite family antiques, plush bedding and modern amenities such as Wi-Fi and posh toiletries.

Contact: The Miller House, 210 N. New St., Staunton, 877-886-3186, millerhousebandb.com/pdf/Specials.pdf

NOVEMBER 2009

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