Five cocktails from historic hotels you need to try this summer

At Airlie, we’re always adding to our menu of fresh, seasonal cocktails. Between the local distilleries and our on-grounds garden, each drink is uniquely Virginian. While our culinary team gathers inspiration here in our corner of the world, they also gain influence by extralocal experiences.

Keeping that in mind, we decided to check out what some of our fellow historic hotels were serving up for the summer months. We were excited to try our hand at mixing these (and tasting), as well as sharing some of our own new recipes.

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From civil engineer to pastry chef: Lora Vennettilli Gookin switches careers and builds a successful bakery business — with plans to grow

A former civil engineer, Lora Vennettilli Gookin turned a hobby into an entrepreneurship when she started making cakes. It all started with her daughter’s first birthday cake. 

Even then, baking was still simply a hobby. Eventually, Lora’s hobby brought her to Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Arizona.  She then opened her business, Gâteau, in Arizona in 2008 and has been operating in Virginia since 2011. To date, Lora has created over 900 cakes, and is excited to open a bakery/café in Warrenton, Virginia later this summer.

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Q&A with Diana Crowley, Airlie’s Meeting and Special Events Manager

Diana Crowley, Airlie’s Meeting and Special Events Manager, helps to plan all the meetings, conferences and retreats at Airlie. Diana spends her days communicating with her clients and preparing for their stay, writing event orders to aid staff in events, and oversees the day to day operations of the catering and planning staff.

“The best part of my day is when guests arrive on property,” Diana said. “It gives me an opportunity to walk the grounds and interact with our guests.”

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The ever-evolving Airlie returns to its roots as one of Fauquier County’s working farms with a continued committment to sustainable practices

Here at Airlie, we like to think we are not like most hotel properties. With the expansion of our very own Airlie farm happening right now, we are definitely blazing a very special trail. From fresh produce, herbs, flowers, and even livestock, our farm is growing rapidly. I interviewed Airlie’s executive director, Chuck Smith, to get the inside scoop about the new and exciting stuff happening.

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Airlie’s namesake, a medieval castle in Scotland, has a fascinating history

Many of our guests are surprised to learn our historic hotel gets its name from Airlie Castle in Scotland, which dates back to 1432. Harry Connelly Groome, who founded Airlie in 1899, visited the castle during a golf trip to nearby St. Andrews and noted strong similarities in the rolling terrain to his own property in Warrenton, Virginia.

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Ella O’Donnell sculpts unique works of art with a delicate medium

Horticulture has been a lifelong passion for Ella O’Donnell. Growing up on a working farm in South Carolina, Ella enjoyed tending an heirloom rose garden with her grandmother. Through the years, her love and knowledge of horticulture and floristry grew. She became an active member of local garden clubs and worked as the lead bridal consultant and designer for one of the most preeminent commercial florists in northern Virginia.

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During your visit, take time to explore all three of Airlie’s gardens

At Airlie, we are fortunate to have not just one, but three different gardens, each with its own purpose and unique characteristics. Guests are welcome to visit all of them and enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells they discover as they explore.


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Airlie founder Harry Connelly Groome was a turn-of-the-century polymath and an active member of the community

Harry Connelly Groome was more than just a wealthy man from Philadelphia who built Airlie House after moving here in 1899 with his wife Mary. He was a man of many talents and accomplishments, including sportsman, soldier, author, farmer, historian, and an active citizen of Fauquier County, Virginia.

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Tested and Trusted yet Trendy and Timely: Your Next Meeting at Airlie

Airlie has been hosting meetings for almost 55 years, with 50 of those years being exclusively dedicated to that aspect of hospitality – mostly catering to the government sector. In 2012, we decided to open to the public, and begin hosting a wider variety of meetings and events (including weddings and leisure stays). If you are just learning about Airlie and wondering about how we could be a good match for your next meeting or event, read on to see what our past clients say truly sets us apart from the rest.

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Why Airlie is a Great Place to Work

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