The BIG House at BIG Cork in Maryland Wine Country
A romantic getaway with wine tasting plus fun for kids? This is where it's at! Take a drive out to Washington County, Maryland and you'll discover Maryland wine country. It's as close as you can get to a Napa Valley experience without traveling to California.
And you can stay in Maryland Wine Country on a spectacular vineyard in a 6,600 square foot luxury home! With panoramic views of South Mountain, Big Cork Vineyards in Rohrersville, Maryland has taken the winery experience to the next level. Only minutes away from water adventures in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, historic battlefields, and quaint towns with unique shopping and local food, it offers everything for a family getaway.
The original farm harvested soybeans until owners Randy and Jennifer Thompson and Dave Collins, Master Winemaker, first planted grapes in 2011 on the 100 acre property now known as Big Cork Vineyards. It didn't take long to start producing their first award winning wine of 2013 and more to follow. Fast forward 8 years and many acres later, it's now a popular destination to enjoy prized Big Cork wines through tastings, tours, and events.
Before heading to the big house, we went to the winery to get inspired for our vineyard experience ahead.
From the moment we drove on the property, I could see why it's a special place for weddings, private parties, and celebrations. The sweeping views are spectacular as calm breezes come through the mountains. The winery is designed to have a tranquil feeling and it absolutely does. Although don't let that deter you from bringing the kids for musical entertainment, food trucks, or whatever seasonal event they are featuring.
Step inside and you'll find a stunning tasting room flanked by beautiful seating all around. From outside patios to a cool lounge, and tables with cork stools, there are social and intimate areas to sit and sip Big Cork wine.
Elegant dinner parties are hosted in the winery. With chandeliers that drop from the ceiling, imagine dining while being surrounded by shiny stainless steel vats and warm oak barrels.
Guided by the knowledgeable Nicole, we had a tasting of 6 wines, three whites and three reds. Starting with a light Chardonnay, we worked our way through Muscat flavors to full-bodied smoky reds. I was truly impressed by the complexity of flavors and smooth tannins. After the tasting, you can purchase the varietals you try.
Where to Stay
Ready to check-in? This BIG house is roomy enough for a BIG family. Overlooking the vineyards, step inside and you'll know right away you are on vacation. This house features a gourmet kitchen, dining room, comfortable den with Apple TV, game room with billiard table, open concept living room and even a baby grand piano. And it's all stunning.
On the first level is a master bedroom with king bed, sitting room, dressing area, and en suite bathroom. Upstairs are three additional bedrooms, including a second master bedroom with en suite bathroom, a room with a double bed, and another with two twin beds. They are all beautifully decorated and appointed with a television in each room, a generous amount of plush bath towels, and toiletries (make-up remover, bar soap, bath gel, shampoo and conditioner) in the bathrooms. Also upstairs, you'll find a large "bonus" room that overlooks the first floor.
How to Eat
In researching dining options, I was inspired to get creative in the BIG gourmet kitchen. I really enjoy cooking, although I like to make simple and easy meals when I'm traveling. I created my menu ahead of time and brought along items I would potentially need. One thing I knew for certain, there would be wine!
If you are planning to cook in the kitchen, you'll find they have thought of everything. There is a well-stocked assortment of pots and pans, knives, and tools to prepare a meal. You'll find plates, bowls. and utensils needed to set the table, including serving platters and lots of BIG wine glasses. Store your cold and frozen foods in the full refrigerator or beverage cooler. For cooking, you'll find a 6-burner range for stove-top and oven use. If you are serving multiple people and meals, having two (yes, two!) dishwashers makes it easy to clean up. There's still more,,,inside the cabinets, you'll find small appliances you may need (i.e. food processor, toaster, coffee grinder.) And don't worry if you get messy, there is a full-sized washer and dryer.
Sit and dine at the enormous bar in the kitchen (seats 4), casual kitchen table (seats 6), or enjoy a formal dining room experience (seats 12.)
HERE ARE MY MENUS:
For snacking, I brought a variety of cheeses, crackers, chips and dips. If staying over on a Thursday through Monday, you can also purchase local charcuterie items, sweet snacks, and drinks from Big Cork Vineyards tasting room.
Breakfast was cereal, along with bagels and fresh fruit. They have everything you need to made a great cup of coffee, including a coffee maker and a hot pot.
Roasted fingerling potatoes with fresh herbs
Wine Pairing: Big Cork 2016 Cabernet Franc
Flatbread Two Ways:
But, not to worry, you don't have to cook every meal in the house, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia is only a quick 15 minute drive and offers a variety of restaurants and cafes. Or drive a bit further to Martinsburg or Shepherdstown, West Virginia. We decided to journey out for lunch and happened upon Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery, enticing us with decadent sweets and specialties. My family loves cupcakes so we had to bring some back to the house.
Virtual Tip: If it's in your budget, there are many home chefs a short radius from Rohrersville, Maryland who may be available to prepare a meal (or all) for you in this gourmet kitchen.
What to Play
You will not be bored in this BIG house. Play basketball outside or stay cool in the game room with a billiard table. There are also board games and books to read in every room. If you haven't invited them over already, (the driveway easily parks up to 20 cars) show off the house to your friends and family on social media with complimentary WiFi.
As beautiful as the house and vineyards are, take the time to explore the surrounding areas.
In the Appalachian Mountains, Washington County, Maryland is close to five National Parks, eight State parks, and includes the city of Hagerstown. Hagerstown has a great cultural scene, shopping, numerous restaurants, and incredible nature. You'll find opportunities for hiking, biking, boating, photography, bird watching, and more.
If water sports are what you love, you probably already know that people come from all around to visit nearby Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Established in 1733, Harpers Ferry is one of the oldest towns in West Virginia, Walk through the Historic District and you'll take a step back in time. Besides admiring the old buildings, we were taken with the old stonework and views. If you visit, there is limited parking in the town but you can park at the nearby visitors center and take the Park Service bus into town.
The picturesque C & O Canal runs through this area and offers exciting adventures on the water. You can either casually explore the canal on foot or plan ahead for a full day of activities for kids of all ages. For one stop fun, explore the options at River Riders. They specialize in white water rafting, tubing, and zip lining tours, plus have an aerial adventure park that's perfect for various age groups and activity levels. Or if you are looking for white water rafting, as well as kayaking, canoeing, biking, or hiking, check out River and Trail.
For history buffs, historic Antietam National Battlefield is not far away in Sharpsburg, Maryland. This was where the battle took place between the Confederates of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of Potomac in the American Civil War on September 17, 1862. It's known to be the bloodiest day in United States history. Even though it's a somber experience, the allure of the mountains and vast fields are not to be missed.
With nearby adventure, historic location, and award-winning wine, Big Cork Vineyards offers a unique experience for families to stay in luxury accommodations blended with Maryland vineyards, mountains, and beauty.
For a truly memorable visit, inquire here for your stay at the BIG House at Big Cork Vineyards.
DISCLAIMER: We were graciously hosted by Big Cork Vineyards for a 2-night stay at the BIG house and a bottle of wine. All food shown was purchased by My Virtual Vacations. All opinions are my own based on our experiences.
My Virtual Vacations Blog
About the Author
Thanks for cruising by! Along with creating this website and blog, I work in an office full-time and as a mom to two energetic teenage boys. With our family's busy work and school schedule, we look forward to traveling during holidays. Although it seems that our family can never agree on anything, we do when it comes to vacations. We typically travel on cruises or stay at luxury hotels. We enjoy upscale dining, beautiful decor, excellent service, and spacious accommodations. However, with a family including two teenage boys, we still need family friendly and comfortable.
Virtually escape and start planning your next luxurious cruise vacation on land or sea with My Virtual Vacations. Contact me for any specific questions or recommendations. And don't forget to keep checking back for the latest blog posts and information. There are always more family vacations in our future!
You'll also find me on Cruise Critic boards as SunnyAJ. Let's connect!
About the Photos
Our beautiful photographs are creatively captured by my talented freelance husband/photographer located in Baltimore, MD. Click here to explore more of his work.
Join our group
Time flies! The winter holidays are almost here.
We are still working on our holiday travel plans and throughout the chilly winter months.
As we are anxiously awaiting next winter's cruise to the ABC islands on Celebrity Cruises, we'd love to get another cruise on the books.
If you have suggestions for My Virtual Vacations to visit, reach out to us on our Submission Form. We'd love to hear from you!
Be in the know!
Sign up for our email list and you'll receive a sneak peek when we have an update or new blog post.