Friday, April 16, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
Of course, the first thing we want you to do is to pick up the phone and make a reservation for your favorite room or the Susie Hodges Cottage at South Court Inn. We'll be happy to schedule a masseuse to come in and massage all those knots in your calf or across your shoulders. Or, we'll steam up a pot of tea for you to enjoy on the front porch or a wing-back in the living room. Or, we'll leave you to your own devices to retreat, relax and enjoy doing absolutely nothing. No matter what you do, you will, sooner or later, want to know about dining in Luray, VA. So, this first of many blog posts will talk about the varied landscape of dining available to you here in Luray.
So this time I want you to know about the Artisans Grill, 2 East Main Street, Luray, VA, 22835. Artisans Grill is not just a good place to eat, but a great re-purposing of an old Art Deco building. Enjoy a sandwich for lunch or later and dinner from 5PM Wednesday through Monday. Note that comment about them being open on Mondays and look forward to a hearty welcome and service on what can sometimes be a hard day to find dinner in Town. They pride themselves on using local produce as much as possible and the natural, grass-fed beef that stars in their burgers and steaks. Artisans Grill offers a great selection of sandwiches and sides, any of which they will happily pack as a picnic meal you can enjoy at one of the tables in the Hawkbill Greenway Park, only about 50 yards from the Grill. The dinner menu features a good selection of American fare...crab cakes, grilled salmon, grilled steaks, even game every once in a while...all with something to match from the wine or beer list...or, OK...OK...iced tea, water and soft drinks.
Whether for lunch or dinner, here is a vegan alert! If you like grilled portobello mushrooms, then you will love the grilled protobello sandwich served from lunch 'til closing. It is one of my favorites and I have a hard time getting past ordering it whenever I stop there. Come dinner time, however, the grilled protobello is also offered as a dinner entree. If you'll allow me to stretch you imagination just a bit, I'll say that it is a large portobello Napoleon centered on a base of salad. The portobello is grilled to perfection, then filled with layer upon layer of grilled onions, soft, fresh mozzarella and roasted sweet red pepper. The dressing adds the touch of tartness so important to obtaining good depth and complexity of flavors. Anyway, whether you are a vegetarian or steak lover, you'll love the deep flavors and hunger-quenching texture this plate offers at the end of the day...and it is right here in Downtown Luray, only 90 minutes from the Beltway and a mile from world famous Luray Caverns!
Monday, March 29, 2010
There was a time not too long ago...when the wall was up...and our guards were up...and when Check Point Charlie was recognizable round the world...a time when rounding just about any corner in West Berlin meant encountering a wurst vendor's cart where the offering included, among other things, curry wurst: a done-just-right sausage steeped in a curry sauce and then slathered with the sauce and add- your-own mustard to make a memorable sausage sandwich right there on the sidewalk.
Well, the wall is gone, our guards eye a different horizon and Charlie is hardly more memorable than the faint perfume of bygone years and us youngsters shagging into the wee hours to Beach and Motown music. But for those who long for a-moment-in-time-rememberance of that strange concoction, melded together in an isolated-multicultural-city-caldron, there is curry wurst...and a lot more German fare to enjoy...only 90 minutes from the Beltway and one mile from world famous Luray Caverns...right here at A Moment to Remember, 55 Mains Street, Luray, VA. 22835.!!!
How strange as I sit down to write today that I feel the urge to stream my thoughts and talk about food through a looking glass of nostalgia, sensing the slow infusion of memories of Germany and the plates loaded with home-fries, with tight-bound pork shoulder and hot, steaming wursts weeping hints of the taste delights to come. Perhaps it is the thought of the connection between the buildings that are now home to A Moment to Remember and South Court Inn: both built by the same man, both now re-purposed to other lives and views of different horizons. Whatever it be, do plan on enjoying the years' ago decoration of this old building...the the pressed tin ceilings, the dark, oak, service counter of the 1880s, a counter which saw many a bag of nails and screws cross on their way to other habitats in Town...the large bank of drawers and cubbies that were the transient homes where nails and screws and hinges and clips and hardware rested until called to duty, waiting to be wrapped in newspaper or placed in bags to ease the transition. Do plan a visit because you'll enjoy John and Elka Thomas' third-career adventure and good German fare to boot. Do plan on having dinner at A Moment to Remember because the food is good! Do plan on having dinner at A Moment to Remember because we need to reward folks who will come to Luray and offer good ethnic food to a meat and potatoes palate. Do plan on dinner at A Moment to Remember!
As usual, Anita and I have to head it two different directions. She seems to always take the road opposite mine and enjoys one of the schnitzels...smokey mushrooms, tender pork, browned here and there...a slice of ham, perhaps...or a fried egg...all topped with brown gravy...and sidled up to by just cooked, blond spatzle and sweet-tart red cabbage. I, on the other hand, have to ride hard on the right and chase memories of those bygone wursts from grill to platter to table. Hard by I want strong mustard, dill-infused potato salad, red cabbage and reisling or Spaten, or Haker Pschoor or Grolsch even. On other evenings, Elke makes it harder to choose our favorite, whether the schnitzel or wursts, by offerings of sauerbraten or rouladen. Both are good; do plan on having dinner at A Moment to Remember.
And, then too, do plan on stopping with us here in Luray, VA, at South Court Inn. We'll offer a quiet location for the two of you to burrow and enjoy memories of things past, of the sights and sounds that tip your automatic response recall into overdrive and release the mental flow of ease and joy. Do plan to stay at South Court Inn and when you do and when you ask, we'll tell you that you do need to plan on having dinner at A Moment to Remember.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Today's discussion highlights one of Luray restaurants, or in this case a great full-service deli.
It is interesting answering the phone here at South Court Inn. I never know what to expect. I'm constantly amazed at how many callers are not aware that the Town of Luray even exists! Many years ago, the State built a 4-lane highway that by-passes downtown Luray and hundreds of thousands of people visit Luray Caverns each year without realizing that the Town is only a mile away. That's a real shame because they are missing the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful Main Street...one that is becoming more attractive all the time. In particular, they are missing one of the prize-winning attributes of the Town...the Hawksbill Greenway.
The Greenway is a 3-mile walking path/park that meanders along the sides of the Hawksbill Creek, which bisects the Town. If you plan ahead a bit and pack a picnic and fishing equipment/license, you can spend part of your afternoon picnicing on the Hawksbill Greenway and fishing for trout in the Creek itself. You'll be surprised just how many citizens you encounter in the Park...it is a strong point of civic pride here in Luray and a fantastic place for the morning and evening constitutionals so many residents take.
Now, just suppose you don't pack a picnic...you are in luck. Luray is adding more eateries all the time and has several that will be happy to pack sandwiches, salads, snacks...whatever...for you to take to the Greenway and enjoy while whiling away in the sun.
If you like a great Ruben sandwich, make sure you visit Bill at the West Main Market, 123 West Main Street, Luray, VA 22835. Add a pint of mustard potato salad and a bag of kettle potato chips and you'll be in for a real treat. Bill piles the corned beef high and heats the sandwich almost to boiling. The cheese oozes, the kraut sizzles and the aroma wafts! As I said, you are in for a treat...all because your decided to visit Downtown, Luray, VA!!!
And while you are at it, think about making your visit a getaway at South Court Inn B&B. You're stressed at work; you're maxed out with rush hour traffic; you're tired of having every minute scheduled or eaten up by something in the way. One of South Court Inn's claim to fame is that is provides elegant accommodations, a laid-back atmosphere and some knock-your-socks-off breakfasts.
You don't have to do anything...just make a reservation and plan on relaxing when you get here! Hope to hear from you soon!!!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Bring the whole family and enjoy a day of family fun, craft and food vendors, games for the kids, canine frisbee, a wine garden and a beer garden, plus outstanding live music all day long.
And, since yours truly heads up ticket sales for the Big Quack Duck Race, make sure to look for the air-blown duck balloon and buy your ticket for the winning duck. We'll also have a list of the prizes and race times, so stop by and say hello.
The 2010 Festival is the latest edition of what has become the first of our annual street fairs. We'll do it again on July 4th, when the bridge on Main Street and the Greenway walking path will sport large crowds from afternoon until the fireworks exhibition just after dark.
For the Festival of Spring and the Family Fun Day on July 4th, we seal off several blocks of Main Street and set up vendors, entertainers and educational activities on the street an along the Hawksbill Greenway, our creekside walking trail and park that bisects the Town. So, make plans now to attend the Festival of Spring and watch us grow!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Two Triathlons this Year! OK, for all those folks who always wanted to compete/complete a triathlon, here's your chance...and it is only 90 miles but a whole world away from the metro buzz of life.
The Luray/Shenandoah Valley Triathlon scheduled for June 5, 2010 will cover the same route as the previous Fall races, but give participants a chance to see the Valley as it peaks from Spring growth. Get your application and information at the posted link and consider signing up for the Fall race...the Luray International Triathlon...scheduled for August 14, 2010. Keep in mind that the 2009 Fall race was oversubscribed and folks had to join the spectators along the route rather than run the race.
And, of course, if you plan on staying 2 nights the weekends of any of the Luray Triathlon events, we sure hope you will call us here at South Court Inn (888-749-8055) and reserve one or more of our rooms and cottage which have whirlpool tubs. We'll be happy to schedule massages for you as well.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Now, about the story: We recently had a guest who, as it happened, is a travel writer. She spent the night with us and, shortly thereafter, posted a story about us on-line We hope you will enjoy the article as much as we did and that we'll see you in the near future to experience all the elegance of a great Victorian town house, but with a real down-home, casual welcome.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Back by popular demand, the Washington, D.C. based band, IONA will fill the BB&T Center for Performing Arts in Luray, VA with great Celtic beginning at 7:30PM, 13 Mar 2010.
Note this tip: Luray is only 90 miles from DC and the weather forecast is looking good so plan a weekend getaway now! Make sure to buy your tickets on-line at
before you leave home. You don't want to arrive for the weekend or evening only to find out the tickets are all gone!
IONA's performance last year treated the audience to high energy entertainment featuring Scottish fiddling, driving percussion, and strong vocals from all the Celtic nations, including America. Presenting the music and dance of all the Celtic countries--Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, Brittany, Asturies and Galicia--IONA emphasizes that America is not only the repository of all these cultural influences, but also the progenitor of many of its own. Audiences are encouraged to clog along, or dance Breton line dances, and join in singing.
Saturday, February 13, 2010
My wife, Anita, and I own and operate South Court Inn, a bed and breakfast in Luray, VA. We bought the house in 1997 and spent 3 years refurbishing it, opening as a B&B in late May 2000.
Anita did the decorating, making all the drapes and bed hangings, selecting the color schemes and painting most of the trim and moldings while I was working in DC. I did the carpentry, floor refinishing, landscape and general maintenance work.
We've pretty much found our niches in the business. I cook the breakfasts, do maintenance, bookkeeping and special projects. She keeps things lively in the dining room, does guest relations and boosts my ego daily.
We both do the housework, but neither smiles much during that time. It is a long way from the basement to the 2nd floor carrying a load of robes, towels or sheets, but that’s work too.
Four years ago, I spent the spring and summer overhauling the bathrooms to put in whirlpool tubs where possible. Two years, we refurbished the 1875 laundry, converting it into a neat French country cottage. We are both about at our max on projects, so we are starting to plan what we will do when we go into a 4th career in a post-B&B phase of our lives. We've also decided that we need to start taking some time for ourselves and are taking action on that realization.
As it turns out, this past year we discovered that the cycle of life in owning and operating a B&B matches closely the cycle we know from our daily lives. When you first open, you are the anxious and eager novice...all the more if you have poured yourselves and your resources into converting a vacant house into what you see as a dream getaway destination for the public. You're eager to please and especially accommodating of adapting to every expectation and demand. You strive to attract more guests, offer more amenities, set a grander table, develop signature dishes and characteristics that will make a stay at your place even more memorable, but above all things you seek to provide an atmosphere and welcome that will keep guests coming back.
Then one day you wake up and find that you have no personal life...the business owns you. In striving to make the business a success, you've allowed the personal things and times of your life to slide away unnoticed. Or at least that is what we found we had done. So, beginning 1 January 2010, we decided we need to claim back some time for ourselves.
Effective that date, we decided that we would be closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to give us one day a week for ourselves. That means we use Tuesdays to finish taking care of work from our four business-day weekend. Then on Wednesdays, we can get out of the house and away from focusing on the business and into the realm of focusing on ourselves. We try to get out the door by 9 in the morning and not return until 9 at night! Half the time we have no idea what we will do.
We try to go to a movie, travel to NOVA or elsewhere to enjoy a great gardens, museums, dining experiences or whatever. We crave ethnic meals...searing hot Thai chili curries, pho with so much cilantro it looks like split-peas soup, fantastic spring rolls with chili paste and fish sauce, chopped North Carolina barbeque, freshly made, tart with just enough vinegar and biting with just enough red pepper flakes to let you know that you that it is the real thing, a luscious fig compote Patrick O'Connell matches with seared foie gras, a roasted duck with port reduction Montmorency sauce, Peking duck with warm pancakes and lots of plum sauce and threaded scallions, or even a burn-your-fingers-fresh-from-boiling-oil tray of Popeye's fried chicken, with red beans and rice and larger order of onion rings!
We return to the house refreshed from a day of focusing on ourselves. Then on Thursday morning, it is time to check the house and cottage for whatever is needed for the coming 4 nights of guests, and the whole cycle starts all over again.
So, the bottom line is....Hey folks! Yes, indeed, we are open for business. It may be a shorter schedule each week, but it is as welcoming and focused on providing you a great experience as it ever was. We look forward to meeting you here at South Court when you need that special break in your lives that allows you to return to the next cycle of the wheel with new enthusiasm and even greater appreciation for your partner.
See what previous guests have had to say about their stays at South Court Inn.