Weekend Escape: Hunt Valley, Maryland

by Erica Moody

Scenic wineries, perfect crab cakes and a peaceful hotel are waiting for you just north of Baltimore.

Bedrooms at the Hunt Valley Inn pay homage to the equestrian culture of the area (Photo Courtesy of Hunt Valley Inn)

Where does Oprah go when she wants a great crab cake? Hunt Valley, Maryland.

A stone’s throw from Washington and near the attractions of downtown Baltimore (just north of the city), the unincorporated community of Hunt Valley offers great food and more, providing a peaceful and convenient spot for your next weekend getaway. You won’t want to miss the scenic drives, wineries and yes, restaurants, of this easy weekend escape.

The cozy Polo Club Lounge at the Hunt Valley Inn serves craft cocktails that change seasonally (Photo Courtesy of Hunt Valley Inn)

Where To Stay: Hunt Valley Inn
Horseshoe chandeliers, equine-themed paintings and verdant grounds give this 392-room hotel and conference center a distinctly Hunt Valley vibe, combining rustic charm with contemporary decor. The recently renovated property is just far enough from Baltimore to give visitors the feeling of being removed from it all. Features include a large heated outdoor swimming pool (in addition to an indoor pool), coffee shop, bar with romantic ambiance and the Cinnamon Tree Restaurant, where you must order the lamb chop entree. Try seasonal and regional specialties at the Polo Lounge & Bar, such as mint juleps during racing season and Moscow Mules in the summer.

Photo Courtesy of Boordy Vineyards

What To Do: Sample Wine at Boordy Vineyards
Instead of venturing to Virginia for wine, why not give its oft-overlooked neighbor Maryland a try? Maryland has over 75 thriving wineries and, due to its climate and soil, the wine has a special quality. A good place to start is by visiting Maryland’s first winery ever, Boordy Vineyards, opened in 1945. Try award-winning wines from the Landmark collection, sourced from 100% Maryland grown grapes. Housed in a 19th century barn in the beautiful countryside of Hydes, Md., it’s easy to forget that the winery is merely a half hour drive to downtown Baltimore. You’ll spot groups of friends and families dining outside on picnic tables and enjoying the live tunes of the bands that frequently entertain guests.

Dinner at The Milton Inn (Photo by Erica Moody)

Where To Eat: From strip mall standouts to award-winning fine dining, Hunt Valley has something for everyone.

Pappas Restaurant and Sports Bar: The aforementioned Oprah-approved crab cake is situated in the surprising location of a strip mall in Cockeysville, Md. But don’t let the surroundings fool you. Once inside, the cozy sports bar atmosphere invites you to settle in to watch a game with the locals (Ravens gear is encouraged) and fill up on the meatiest crab cakes you’ve had in your life.

The Milton Inn: The romantic ambiance, top-notch service and amazing eats of the Milton Inn are reason alone to visit Hunt Valley. Situated in a 276 year old fieldstone building in Sparks, Md., the historic eatery is the only restaurant in Baltimore County to receive the prestigious DiRoNA award, and frequently tops Zagat’s surveys of top traditional American cuisine. From mouth-watering crab soup to perfectly prepared steak and seafood entrees, the Milton Inn experience is worth the splurge.

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