This weekend did not go how I had originally planned it. I was supposed to be making a trip to Cary, North Carolina as I do often (I play for a North/South Carolina travel ice team). I drove home in Pennsylvania Friday night and was ready to finish the drive the next morning. Between the tornado/rain and my car apparently having an electric short, I ended up buying last minute tickets and flying instead. I had to drive most of the way back north to the Pittsburgh airport but at least I had to pass Pittsburgh to return to Cleveland…
But before I ended up flying through Atlanta and NYC on a whim, I had intended to explore Virginia some more. When I drive from Cleveland, I pass Wythesville and don’t see too much of the state. When I drive from home, Maps takes me through D.C. My mom prefers to drive through Winchester, however, and so, after debating whether or not to go whale-watching at Virginia Beach where I have family, I decided to take my mom’s route and revisit a favorite place: The Wayside Inn. I’ve decided to write about it anyway:
The Wayside Inn
claims to be the longest continually operated inn in America (and perhaps haunted), having been completely in business since 1797. It is located in Middletown, just southwest of Winchester in northern Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley/Frederick region. At the foot of the sprawling Massanutten Mountains, the inn boasts a colonial feel with modernly accommodated bedrooms, antiques, a wedding venue, and Larrick’s Tavern – the adjoining restaurant. Walking through the inn, you can see the outdated architecture, like a brick-floored kitchen separate from the main sections where the servants and slaves used to spend their time.
I first discovered this inn when my mom and I were coming back from Durham, North Carolina. I was in the mood for some good peanut soup. Searching “peanut soup near Winchester, Virginia” immediately threw The Wayside Inn on my map, so we took a break there to indulge in a large meal in the dimly-lit tavern. I just LOVE colonial Virginia; you could really imagine what the place was like 200 years ago.
And if you’ve never had peanut soup – or even heard of it, golly – trust me, it’s really good. It’s like a mellow, creamy peanut butter that’s not so sticky. So be sure to check out the Inn and the Tavern if you’re ever making a trek through the mountains outside of D.C. In the meantime, perhaps try out this copycat recipe for your own peanut soup experience:
Peanut Soup – The Wayside Inn copycat recipe
Yield: 8 Servings
——————————-FOR THE STOCK——————————-
6 tb Butter
1 c Chopped celery
1 lg Onion; chopped
8 c Chicken broth
1 Turkey drumstick
1 Herb bouquet (parsley; thyme; bay leaf)
——————————–FOR THE SOUP——————————–
1/3 c Finely minced celery
1 sm Onion; finely minced
4 tb Butter
2 tb Flour
1 1/2 c Chunky peanut butter
1 c Heavy cream
2 tb Bourbon
For the stock, melt butter in a saucepan large enough to hold the broth. Add celery and onion, and cook slowly several minutes. Add broth, drumstick, and herb bouquet. Simmer partially covered 1 1/2 hours. Strain and refrigerate the stock, discarding solids. When chilled, remove fat from top. For the soup: Bring stock to a simmer. In another large pot, melt butter and cook onion and celery 5 minutes. Stir in flour and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Slowly add hot stock. Bring to a simmer and simmer 10 minutes. Add peanut butter, beating until dissolved. Simmer 10 minutes longer. Add cream and bourbon, and serve hot. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, chopped peanuts, or chopped country ham, if desired.
The recipe says it will serve 8-10 people. Only the stock may be frozen. The recipe can easily be doubled.
Recipe found in online archives.