Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cooking Classes at Briar Patch

Fall/winter marks the start of our cooking class weekends, which we generally hold one weekend per month in our "low" season of November through March. Our first one of the season was held a couple of weekends ago, when Chef Nancy Robinson of Mrs. Robinson Cooks showed us how to prepare the following menu:

Briar Patch B&B Cooking Weekend
Menu for November 19-21, 2010 Weekend

Friday evening hors d'oeuvres

  • Tuna mousse on toasted baguette
  • Crudité with Asian-style aioli dip
  • Chicken morsels with remoulade sauce

Saturday evening dinner

  • Appetizer: Salmon with lemon-pecan sauce on crackers
  • Salad: Warm wilted spinach salad with pine nuts
  • Main Course: Braised Chicken with fresh tomatoes and olives; served with cauliflower purée
  • Dessert: Creamy apple cider reduction sauce over fresh apple cake
The tuna mousse appetizer and the cauliflower puree were my (Ellen) favorites. We also enjoyed having a wine tasting with Lori Corcoran of Corcoran Vineyards. Since Lori was out of her white wines, I introduced our guests to the white wines of Israel.

Our next cooking class weekend at Briar Patch will be January 21-23, 2011. These weekends consist of hors d'oeuvres and wine tasting on Friday night, a two-night stay in one of our rooms at Briar Patch including breakfast, an optional wineries tour on Saturday afternoon, and a four course cooking class meal with wine on Saturday night. Our other cooking class weekends are February 18-20, 2011 and March 4-6, 2011. We still have a few spaces left for the classes so please contact us for reservations by going to our website or call us at 703-327-5911.

As you can see in the photos below, Chef Nancy did a great job in teaching us how to make some good healthy food.

Thank You To Our Veterans

On Veterans Day a few weeks ago, my husband Dan Haendel and I (Ellen Goldberg) were honored to host veterans and their families as part of a nationwide bed & breakfast promotion offering free rooms to veterans. Dan is a veteran (retired lieutenant colonel in the Army JAG Corp reserves), so we decided to go all out by providing all nine of our bedrooms free for the nights of November 10 & 11.

As you can see in the photos below, we had both active duty & retired veterans, male & female veterans, and veterans from every branch of the military. We had some nice articles written about us, including one from WUSA9 and another in

We were really pleased and honored to participate.

Chili Cook-off at Briar Patch

Recently Tom & Shelley Campbell held their annual chili cook-off at Briar Patch. Tom is a real estate agent with Long & Foster and Shelley owns Shelley's Floral Enterprise. Shelley does the floral arrangements for our monthly Middleburg Women networking luncheons at Briar Patch and, as you can see from her beautiful floral arrangements below, she does amazing work.

Tom & Shelley hold an annual clients & friends appreciation event where they ask their clients and friends to prepare chili, sides, and desserts. They then hold a contest with prizes for things like the hottest chili, the best name for the chili, the best side dish, and the best dessert. They also have a bar with bartender and a DJ with dancing. The food and fellowship were fantastic, as you can see in the photos below.

This kind of event is a great idea for anyone owning a business who wants to show their appreciation to clients. It's not too hard to organize and it's a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Briar Patch Hosts the Middleburg Biz Buzz

Briar Patch was pleased to host the monthly meeting of the Middleburg Business & Professional Association, known as the Biz Buzz, the other evening. Over 60 local business people attended and enjoyed the outstanding cuisine of Tutti Perricone, owner of Back Street Cafe & Catering, and the beautiful floral arrangements of Amy Potter of Country Way Flowers.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What a wonderful wedding we had at Briar Patch this weekend for Nicola Copplestone and Tom Polochowski. The weekend started off with a fun & unique way of setting up the rehearsal dinner in the Silver Fox Room of The Fox Den at Briar Patch using a bunch of rectangular tables pushed together to create one huge table for over 45 guests!

The ceremony took place on Saturday afternoon overlooking Bull Run mountain with the beautiful changing leaves in the background.

On the way back to The Fox Den from the ceremony site, I (Ellen, the co-owner of Briar Patch with my husband Dan Haendel) snapped this photo of the horses watching the festivities.

The main house, where the bride's & groom's family and friends spent the weekend, looked particularly nice in the late afternoon sun.

What an awesome shot of the bride & groom on the patio of The Fox Den event building!

Better Events Catering did a great job of setting the Gold Fox Room for their reception.

And the guests enjoyed the food prepared by Better Events Catering.

The evening ended with an absolutely spectacular sunset. Pictured here is the fountain on the patio that Nicola's father set up for her.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dog Days of Summer

Now, that summer seems to be coming to an end, some of you may look back and realize that you have not taken a single day off, let alone a vacation.

If you are wondering about what you could possibly do during those last weeks of summer, consider staying with us, and taking a relaxing plunge in our pool, or exploring the area's wineries, or any of the historic sites along scenic Route 15.

For the adventurous of you we can highly recommend taking a trip to Purcellville, and getting your "butts" wet at BTI Whitewater. Enjoy the day tubing, canoeing, or rafting on the Potomac River, and ease into evening with a wine tasting at the nearby vineyards of Breaux. Pick up a bottle, or two, and enjoy them on our porch alongside the beautiful and breathtaking views of the Bull Run Mountains. Cozy up in one of our eight beautifully appointed bedrooms in the mainhouse, or the cottage, and let us serve you a delicious breakfast, and a fresh cup of hot coffee in the morning.

Friday, July 30, 2010


We were honored to be the venue of the wedding of Khyati Desai & Jordon Seltzer last weekend.It was all-hands on deck to make sure that the weekend celebration went off without a hitch. Well almost … due to the record heat, the ceremony had to be moved indoors. No problem, though, because The Fox Den’s Gold Fox Room was large enough to accommodate the mandap (the tent-like structure seen below) as well as the 170 or so guests.

Friday Night Bride’s Reception

The photos below depict some of the wonderful dancing displayed by the bride & her guests at the bride’s reception on Friday night.

Saturday Ceremony & Luncheon

The groom Jordan arrived in a red convertible with his brother & sister.

The bride Khyati poses as she gets ready in the cottage.

Khyati and her bridesmaids proceed to the ceremony.

The flower girl starts down the aisle.

Here comes the bride.

Khyati places flowers around Jordan’s neck under the mandap.

The guests watch during the two hour ceremony. It’s a good thing the ceremony was moved inside!

The beautiful traditional Hindu ceremony.

The luncheon after the ceremony was held in The Bronze & Silver Fox Rooms of The Fox Den at Briar Patch.

After taking a break in the afternoon, the group partied on into the night.