A labyrinth made with apple trees, a new casino and more
Follow the Apple Trail
Taste fresh ciders and explore a 1.7-mile-long labyrinth created with more than 2,000 apple trees at Halcyon Days Cider Co., which opens for business Labor Day weekend in Natural Bridge, Virginia, roughly 15 minutes from Lexington. Owner Larry Krietemeyer, a retired architect, modeled the orchard after France’s famous Chartres labyrinth. Halcyon’s diameter—at 425 feet—is 10 times larger.
Set on a knoll overlooking the Allegheny and Blue Ridge mountains, the trees are planted in four circular sections that represent the apple’s evolution. The innermost ring is lined with ancestral apple trees originating from parts of Asia and the Caucasus Mountains, which divide Asia and Europe. The next ring contains varieties from England and France, followed by a ring with heirloom American apples. The outer rows are comprised of modern apples (circa 1900 and later), such as WineCrisp and Gold Rush. (None are for public picking.) Admission is free.
Krietemeyer’s wife, Martha, and brother, Andy, are partners in the business and give introductions to the labyrinth and also staff the cidery’s tasting room, where you can sip nonalcoholic and hard ciders.
Halcyon Days Cider Co., 4135 S. Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, Virginia, 540-291-1340, halcyondayscider.com
Overlooking a wide expanse of the Chesapeake Bay, The Northampton Hotel in Cape Charles, Virginia, reopened in May after a three-year renovation. Originally built in 1909 as a private home, the property was expanded and converted into a hotel in the 1930s, when Cape Charles was a bustling railroad and ferry hub. The hotel operated until the late 1960s. Over the past few years, husband and wife Jeff and Pam Thornes, who now manage the hotel, helped the current owners meticulously restore the building down to the refinished pine floors. The inn’s five guest rooms feature bathrooms with custom-built marble-topped vanities, smart TVs and beds so comfortable you can’t help but catch up on your sleep.
The three second-floor guest rooms share a large balcony with bay views. Download the VesselFinder app to learn where the passing ships are from and what cargo they’re carrying (some have traveled from as far as Liberia or the Marshall Islands).
The hotel features a coastal-themed gift shop and a more than 100-year-old staircase to a widow’s walk with water views. Breakfast and lunch are served on the front porch. Specialties include homemade sweet potato cinnamon rolls and eggs Benedict.
Boutiques, restaurants and Brown Dog Ice Cream (try the homemade Belgian waffle ice cream sandwich) are a short walk from the hotel. Rates begin at $199.
The Northampton Hotel, 1 Mason Ave., Cape Charles, Virginia, 757-695-3750, thenorthampton.com
Gamble the Night Away
Opened in June, the 17-story Live! Casino Hotel Maryland in Hanover has 310 guest rooms and suites, including five spa suites that each have their own treatment room and private terrace. The casino’s Orchid Gaming & Smoking Patio is the region’s first outdoor gaming and smoking area and features both table games and slots. Orchid’s bar offers an extensive cocktail menu and specially built humidors stocked with premium cigars.
David’s, the on-site restaurant named after David Cordish, the chairman of The Cordish Companies, which owns and operates Live!, offers an eclectic menu of global flavors and 24-hour breakfast service (breakfast is his favorite meal). Other options include The Prime Rib, Bobby’s Burger Palace, The Cheesecake Factory, 8 at Luk Fu (featuring sushi and sashimi) and Italian gelato eatery Luckies.
Entertainment at Live! can be found at the 1,500-seat Event Center. Scheduled acts include comedians Dane Cook on Sept. 15 and Tracy Morgan (of Saturday Night Live fame) on Oct. 20, and former Prince friend and drummer extraordinaire Sheila E. on Oct. 27. The contemporary guest rooms offer a respite from the hullabaloo with pillow top mattresses and Ultra HD 55-inch TVs. Rates begin at $169 per night.
Live! Casino Hotel Maryland, 7002 Arundel Mills, Circle #7777, Hanover, Maryland, 855-563-5483, livecasinohotel.com