Nestled within the secluded foothills of the Catoctin Mountains, resides an exclusive enclave; a retreat from the ordinary and an escape from your everyday reality. No wonder Camp David overlooks this lavishly historic circa 1844 country estate with meticulously manicured gardens, rustically elegant cottages bordering a babbling brook, and if not the most important, exquisite fine dining at their signature restaurant—Smokehouse.
Upon arrival the gracious bellman will walk you through the gardens to your distinctive accommodations. You'll be immediately taken back by the colorful rose gardens and ornate stone fountains. And there it was.
One of the most picturesque examples of historic southern architecture we've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. In the words of One Republic, you will simply stop and stare. Shortly thereafter, there was a knock on the door.
Almost not wanting to answer, knee deep absorbing the character of the accommodations. Think brick walls, period decor and a luxurious wall-to-wall window lit master bathroom with jacuzzi. Angela introduced herself and offered a tour of the former plantation and indulged on the estate's history.
Full of knowledge and an open book, Angela—a veteran staff member, who you'd think was Antrim 1844's curator, was enthralled with the mansion's history and will literally fill you in on anything you could possibly imagine—from A to Z.
Legend has it that the glass-enclosed cupola was used as a lookout for troop advancement prior to the Battle of Gettysburg (a mere 15-minute drive away).
From the Ice House to the Greek Revival mansion, there's never been one place that was steeped in so much history, character and above all—genuine hospitality.
Heading back to the Chamberlain Suite in the circa 1860 Smith House with the intent of some rest and relaxation before dinner at Smokehouse, you'll continue to be enthralled in this perfection.
Hors d'oeuvres and cocktails in the antebellum mansion before dinner will be anticipating your arrival and surely not to be missed.
But first, since your accommodations neighbor a spring-fed pond, take the liberty of enjoying yourself waterside. We promise you'll look this content.
Meanwhile in the 17,000 square foot mansion, preparations were under way for an extensive 9-course tasting menu, complete with wine pairings, amuse bouche, intermezzo and dessert.
You'll be beyond excited to indulge in the Smokehouse Restaurant's brand-new executive chef, Drew Fontaine's local, seasonally-inspired interpretation on modern French American cuisine.
A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, Chef Fontaine brings his sophisticated interpretation of contemporary American cuisine from the gourmet kitchens of The Ritz-Carlton and Mandarin-Oriental hotel groups, including his previous stint in Napa, which plays host to more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita and is widely known as home to world-famous, The French Laundry.
There they were, all of our favorite things on one table. Silver plate flatware for each course, crisp linens and Riedel glassware. Aren't you in love with the ambiance?
You'll be delighted by the interesting history behind the architecture of the Smokehouse. The restaurant is housed in the estate's former summer kitchen and is also where meats were smoked, cured and stored. These kitchens were used in the 18th to early-19th centuries to physically separate hot kitchen activities from the rest of the house during the warmer months.
Perhaps one of the most unique features of this restaurant is the water that trickles through the weathered brick floors when it rains. This is the overflow from the cistern (the underground tank that stores fresh rainwater). A picture doesn't do justice, you'll have to see for yourself!
For the 1st course, we started off with Agnolotti with ricotta and English pea. Wine pairing: 2012 Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc, France. This is something you could eat all day, every day—if not careful!
Ahi Tuna with watermelon, tomato consommé and cucumber. Wine pairing: NV Alain Vincey Champagne, France. You can never get enough Ahi.
Foie Gras Torchon with huckleberry tomato, brioche and strawberry. Wine pairing: NV Alain Vincey Champagne, France. You'll want more.
Mero Sea Bass with corn and black truffle. Wine pairing: 2012 The Novelist, White Meritage, Napa. Absolutely delicious.
Spinalis Doris with homemade flour tortilla, chimichurri, peach salsa and avocado. Wine pairing: 2009 Chilensis Lazuli La Esperanza, Chile, Maule Valley. It wasn't even Tuesday and this was pretty divine.
Lamb with black mission fig, garbanzo and yogurt. Wine pairing: 2009 Chilensis Lazuli La Esperanza, Chile, Maule Valley. Highly suggest enjoying a bite of the fig and lamb at the same moment. Amazing.
Strawberry Shortcake. Wine Pairing: 2015 Evolucio, Tokaji, Hungary. Absolutely scrumptious.
After wrapping up this amazingly, well-orchestrated 9-course dinner at Smokehouse, retreat back to the Smith House to relax before nightcaps in Pickwick Pub.
We can't reiterate enough how amazing the entire staff at Antrim 1844 is. Flawless hospitality.
Meanwhile over in Pickwick Pub... which is home to some of the finest cognacs and whiskeys in the world, you'll also have your pick from Antrim 1844's 20,000 bottle wine cellar.
Furthering the enticing ambiance, can you think of a better place to enjoy a sidecar cocktail? Winter will be bringing our souls back to this spot real soon.
The next morning you'll awake to fresh coffee and fresh baked blueberry delicacies at your door.
We used to be obsessed with these James the Butler side tables from The Bombay Company as kids. But, we renamed this one Belvedere, and am hoping he can also shake up a good martini later. But for now, coffee.
It was an easy choice to bring the tray back to bed.
The culinary adventure of a lifetime continued into the main mansion for a gourmet breakfast in the sunroom or out on the terrace.
An absolute favorite was on the menu: Eggs Benedict
As a self-proclaimed Eggs Benedict connoisseur, we've experienced the worst and what I thought were the best and until now, it's quite easy to say, the BEST Eggs Benedict ever experienced to date. From the presentation to the decadent preparation, you'll be asking yourself, "When can I move in?"
This culinary excursion will have your body begging for a swim.
Luckily, Antrim 1844 has you covered with their secluded, hedge-enclosed swimming pool, complete with chaise loungers and a shade-draped gazebo. Privacy, please.
It was hard imaging that it was time to hit the road soon. Leaving a place like Antrim 1844 isn't easy at all, as you'll discover. But, it just makes for an easier decision to return very, very soon.
P.S. We hear the mansion and grounds look simply stunning during the holidays!