The Tides Inn: a relaxing escape for those who don’t want non-stop action

Written by admin on October 8, 2009 – 4:41 pm -

If your thing is big city glitz, The Tides Inn in Irvington, Va. isn’t for you. If you like the water, watching boats, biking, playing a few rounds of golf on a par 72 Golden Eagle Golf Club, designed by George Cobband and taking it easy, you’ll love the Tides Inn. Travel and Leisure has named The Tides Inn its number one choice for Best Resort in Virginia (and the only Virginia resort mentioned in their Top 100 issue last year).

The 106-room inn overlooking Carter’s Creek, surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay to the East, the Potomac River to the north and the Rappahannock River to the south, is an ideal place for family vacations. There’s so much for children to experience while adults do their thing.

The Tides has a camp called Crab Net Kids, where children do more than just basket weaving. They learn about the area’s ecology and the surrounding environment. City kids (perhaps for the first time) are exposed to croquet, shuffleboard, basketball, bicycles, volleyball and bird watching not to mention fresh water fishing. There are nature trails galore and it’s a superb and diverse area to explore. In other words, children are kept constructively busy while parents and grandparents enjoy grown-up time without guilt. Specific rooms have been designated “pet” friendly so you aren’t forced to leave those members of the family home.

The Tide Inn also has a sailing school and paddle boats, canoes and kayaks are available. There are four tennis courts and a swimming pool plus a spa for those who crave a stone massage, a seaweed wrap, a facial and other sybaritic delights.

If you like boats, you’ll probably see some glorious ones since it’s a frequent stop for the 125-foot variety that are making pilgrimages from one destination to another and rent one of the hotel’s slips. Each boat is given a room number and its occupants have access to all of the resort’s facilities. Don’t be surprised if you see crews of well dressed people in the bar or in one of the two restaurants. Smaller boats frequently moor at the hotel and rent a room or a suite for a night or two, since even dedicated sailors occasionally crave a break, especially if their vessel is the 27-foot variety and doesn’t have all of the comforts of home e.g., a really good shower.

The Tides Inn is an approximately a three hour drive from Washington, DC and Baltimore. It’s ideal if you’re planning a visit to Colonial Williamsburg since it’s only 45-minutes away.

The Tides’ executive chef T.V. Flynn is a master when it comes to preparing fresh cuisine and he’d give many French Michelin chefs a run for their money when it comes to presentation. Flynn insists on only the freshest of ingredients. You won’t find anything frozen on the menu and most of the herbs are grown on the property. Flynn’s salmon is grilled with honey glaze, the Filet Mignon is served with cheddar grits and perfectly cooked green beans and the signature She-Crab soup, chock full of soft-white fresh local crab, merits a second order. The tuna is seared rare and draws rave reviews.

If you’re a wine lover, Virginia is making its mark. There are more than 125 vineyards in the state now and some of the wines are very good with the whites currently taking the lead. The area isn’t Napa or Sonoma Valley yet. But don’t be surprised if you’ll be reading about and tasting more Virgina wines in the future. Most vineyards are about five-acres large, but hey, you have to begin somewhere. Wine tours are becoming another tourist attraction. Remember, you’ll need a dedicated driver even if you taste and spit. All those sips add up.

Would I return to the Tides? Yes and with pleasure. I’d love to take two grandchildren with me. It’s time their ‘city’ grandmother exposes them to nature.

The Tides Inn isn’t just for families. Irvington, most definitely a southern town, has some boutique shopping where you’ll spot some chic people buying clothes and more. Many military and government employees retire to the area and more than a few of the homes fetch hefty seven-figure prices. There’s a real community of residents and newcomers (that means you weren’t born there) who socialize and take pride in the area and plan activities such as the First Friday (of the month) evening festival and the following morning’s Farmers’ Market where more than 150 vendors (many who sell organic products) set up stands and people from all over the area congregate.

Oh, if you’re thinking wedding, getting married by the water at the Tides would be a romantic way to begin your lives together. Be sure to have some of Chef Flynn’s succulent grilled oysters and miniature crab cakes to accompany the Champagne toasts! Sante.

Karen Fawcett is president of Bonjour Paris

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Posted in Consumer Traveler |