A few weeks ago, Emily and I packed up our bags with an eclectic assortment of props for our V7 bouquet shoot (sneak peek coming soon!) and hit the road to Northern Virginia. Being around gorgeous blooms is one of the biggest perks of our jobs, so we were already buzzing with excitement, but I got even more thrilled when I realized we were driving right past my hometown (and my middle school, which I naturally had to pull over to Instagram)! I haven’t been there in about ten years, and I had almost forgotten how absolutely gorgeous the area is. I was very quickly reminded as we pulled up to our accommodations for the trip–the beautiful Salamander Resort & Spa.
The resort is tucked away behind downtown Middleburg (such a charming little town!) on 340 acres of rolling hills and forests. As we were driving down the road, I couldn’t help but think about how amazing it must be to attend a wedding at Salamander Resort–when choosing our reception venue, it was really important to Dave and I that our guests felt like something special was coming, well before they entered our reception, and that is definitely how guests would feel here.
Emily and I stayed in a Double Queen Guestroom, and it was so lovely and comfortable! Salamander Resort is right in the heart of Virginia horse country, so lots of the decor was inspired by horses and equestrian lifestyle. We both loved how they carried this theme throughout the resort in such an elegant way, and it was fun to try to identify the horse-inspired details everywhere we went.
Last photo is a personal photo–the view from our balcony!
Shortly after our arrival (we were greeted with the prettiest chocolate-covered, lavender-dusted strawberries!), we met up with Vanessa, the Public Relations Manager, who gave us a tour of the property and told us the history of the resort, which was fascinating, even though it is practically brand new (opened in August 2013). It’s owned by Sheila Johnson, who was inspired by her own home (as a member on the Board of Governors for the Parsons School of Design, it’s no surprise she has impeccable taste!) and her daughter’s love of horses, and had a heavy hand in the design of Salamander Resort. Of all things, Emily and I were possibly the most smitten with the colors of the walls in the living room! I want to paint my entire apartment that color, but alas, it’s a custom “Salamander Blue.”
Even though the resort is still so new, great care was taken to make sure it feels more like a (pristinely well-kept) old Virginia manor. The oak flooring in the living room was even purposefully designed to give and creak a little!
Of course, we had to stop by the ballroom–the main wedding venue on the property. Ballrooms sometimes get a bad rap, but this one was lovely and neutral. It opens up to a huge foyer that overlooks the grounds and the stables, and we were excited to hear that weddings and events can be held in any of those locations. The events team at Salamander is all about making a bride’s vision come to life, and with so many beautiful corners of the resort to choose from, I imagine any bride can find a spot that fits what she’s looking for.
After a long day on the road, we were excited to finally sit down to dinner! We had an amazing five-course meal with Vanessa and Lindsay, the catering manager, at the Cooking Studio, a cozy little dining room that opens up to the kitchen. It was such an interesting space, and the food was divine. I’m still dreaming about the salad course!
The next day, still full from dinner and well-rested from our comfy beds (I literally zipped open the pillowcase to find out the brand of pillow–it was amazing!), we headed out to a full photo shoot day with Holly Chapple and Katie Stoops. More on that soon! After the shoot, we hurried back to the Salamander stable, which we had been admiring from afar since we arrived. Y’all, it is so pretty! On our way, we walked through the Culinary Gardens, where Salamander grows organic produce and herbs that they use in the kitchens. It already looked amazing so early in spring, and I can only imagine what it will look and smell like this summer!
Last two photos personal
The pictures from our horseback riding lesson were not quite blog-worthy, but regardless, it was so much fun! We stuck to the paddock, but Salamander also offers trail rides, carriage rides, lessons, and some really fascinating programs, including Yoga on Horseback. The stable itself is beautiful inside and out, and yet again, it’s an option for an events space!
After touring the stable and saying goodbye to the horses, we headed to the Gold Cup Wine Bar for dinner. Emily had the Chopped Country Salad with a side of Macaroni and Cheese, and I had a Chicken Margherita Sandwich. Both were delicious, but the highlight of our meal was dessert! We were tempted to take a S’mores Kit to one of the cozy fire pits on the property, but instead, we moved onto the dining patio to split the 19-Layer Mint Chocolate Cake and a Blackberry-Basil Ice Cream Sandwich.
Last two photos personal
On our last morning before heading back to North Carolina, we stopped by the spa for a tour and massages. What a treat! The spa was so luxurious and relaxing–the heated Tepidarium Loungers and the incredibly comfy chaises in the Ladies’ Lounge were our favorite parts, though we also loved taking a peek at the infinity pool outside.
We had such a great time in Virginia and absolutely loved experiencing so many aspects of Salamander Resort. So much care and thought went into every detail, and I can only imagine how well they care for their brides! Thank you so much for Salamander Resort for so graciously hosting us!
All photos courtesy of Justin Kriel for Salamander Resort, unless otherwise noted