By Shuan Butcher
From Gettysburg to Monticello, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is a 180 mile long, 75 mile swath of land that contains a vibrant natural, historical, and culturallandscape. Known as the region Where America Happened™, it contains more history than any other region in the country. But it is also steeped in a rich culinary tradition that stems from its bucolic countryside and fertile agricultural land. There are over 75 wineries and vineyards within the three-hour drive, not to mention the craft breweries, distilleries, orchards, and farms that dot the magnificent scenery.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area has been a historic foodway for centuries. For example, Thomas Jefferson was considered the original foodie to some whether it was because of his own work and experimentation in the garden or the classically French-trained cook he had at Monticello. And Edna Lewis, from Orange County, Virginia, elevated southern cuisine to the national spotlight and and is lauded as one of the great women of American cooking.
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Today, towns throughout the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area have become culinary destinations, with the help of folks like Top Chef Runner Up Bryan Voltaggio in Frederick or 2013 James Beard Finalist Ian Boden in Charlottesville. Frederick and Charlottesville join a long list of growing foodie sites, including Gettysburg, Leesburg, Warrenton, Culpeper, Orange, and others. And, of course, Patrick O’Connell has made The Inn at Little Washington a perennial favorite among foodies and was recently named the Top Hotel for Food by the reader’s of Travel + Leisure Magazine
Several communities within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area organize a Restaurant Week, a chance for them to showcase the local cuisine in a collective way. Restaurant Weeks are often held during a slow time of the year, providing the opportunity for increased foot traffic and exposure to new customers.
Charlottesville, Virginia hosted their restaurant week in early 2013. Frederick, Maryland kicks off its celebration this week (March 4-10), where over a dozen restaurants are offering special set-course pricing deals for lunch and dinner. For menus, pricing information, and other details, visit www.frederickrestaurantweek.com.
Other restaurant weeks and food celebrations taking place in 2013 throughout the Journey through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area include:
-Gettysburg Restaurant Week in Gettysburg, PA: April 12-21 www.gettysburgrestaurantweek.com/home/
-Discover Virginia Wine & Food Festival in Ruckersville, VA: May 11-12
-Taste of Old Town in Manassas, Virginia: June 23
-Restaurant Month at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre: Month of July
-Hagerstown Restaurant Weeks in Hagerstown, MD: August 4-17
-Ediblefest in Orange, Virginia: August 10
-Epicurience- An Epic Wine & Culinary Experience in Leesburg, VA: Aug. 30-Sept. 2
-Culpeper Restaurant Week in Culpeper, Virginia: October 14-20
This is just a sampling of the food and beverage events that are scheduled to take place throughout The Journey in the coming year. For more information about the region, visit www.hallowedground.org.
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