Magnolias at the Mill: site of Taste of Blue Ridge‘s first Harvest Fall Root to Table Dinner. If you’ve never been, this warm, rustic building, which can be found in Purcellville, Virginia, is enchanting. Large wooden beams stand out prominently, exposing the restaurant’s architecture in a non-pretentious way. History is woven into every piece of the restaurant’s anatomy, from its menu and staff to its location and more. What better place to celebrate Virginia’s first original Thanksgiving than with a dedicated rendition at one of the most renowned restaurants in the state?
When you dine with us this coming November 3rd at the Mill, you’ll experience each menu item two different ways: one in the style of the 1800s and one prepared the modern way. As a commemorative celebration of Virginia’s 400 years of history, we invite you to taste the past, one spoonful at a time.
Coal and Collard Roasted Hen Egg, Sweet Pickled Okra, Crispy Pig ear
Deviled Perfect Duck Egg, Confit, Chive Relish, Bacon Powder
Martha Washington’s Punch
Chesapeake Blue Catfish, Iron Pot Okra and Bean Stew, Ash Lemon and Spicy Tomato Butter, Crisp Oyster
Blackened Blue Catfish and Crab Terrine, Shrimp Beurre Blanc, Okra Rellenos, Crisp Oyster
Michael Shaps Viognier
Crispy Chicken and Apple Spatchcock, Larded Johnny Cake, Catch Gravy, Charred Onion
Heirloom Chicken and Preserved Peach Ballotine, Hickory Maple and Sage Jus, Celery & Turnip Hash
Agents of Chaos Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Cured and Salted Chopped Quarter, Spicy Mop, Hot Ash Yams, Bone Gravy, Pot Greens
Copa & Speck Tacos, Hot and Sweet Garden Slaw, Virginia Red Corn Tortillas, Refried Virginia Peanuts, Yam Gaufrettes
Sasquatch Scotch Ale
Sassafras Smoked and Burried Venison, Sugar and Hickory Vinegar Peppers, Hearth charred Squashes
Sticky Pepper Mop Perfect Saddle Au Poivre, Celery and Rutabaga Gratin, Bone Marrows, Charred Grapes, Bordelaise
Boxwood Trellis 10th Anniversary
Apple Tansey Brandy Poached Apple, Local Egg and
Cream Custard, Brewers Crumble, Salted Brandy Caramel
Fabbioli Raspberry Merlot
Meet Matt, Magnolias’ very own head bartender. He’s chosen a select drink menu specifically for our November 3 event. Each drink has been chosen because it adds that perfect missing touch to each course.
Matt spent almost 15 years working for big name restaurants in DC before moving west to the Shenandoah Valley. His already situated family and affordable housing were the initial draw, but he ended up finding something even more – Magnolias at the Mill. It’s been 4 years since then.
Why did you choose these selections for the menu?
Starting with Martha Washington’s Punch, he explains that after George died, Martha Washington created a cookbook. This said book features the first lady’s famous punch. It includes brandy (or rye whisky), citrus and sugar. Citrus and sugar were both considered to be luxury items at that time in history. Because of the theme of the dinner and the citrus, this is a great drink to open the menu with.
“We were looking to match the flavor profiles with the chef. So, we sat down and thought about different alcohols that could go well with the things that we were serving and obviously since it’s a Virginia dinner, it was important to us to use Virginia products. So Agents of Chaos is from Chaos Mountain Brewery, as is the Sasquatch Ale. And both of those, you know, you have a strong Belgian ale and then the Scotch Ale, so those are stronger, heavier beers, a kind of more of a fall winter style that’s going to go really well with the harvest flavors that he’s bringing out on the Virginia Menu.
Michael Shaps Viognier is from down in Charlottesville. Michael Shaps is a winemaker who has vineyards in France, and then he also has several vineyards in Charlottesville. Viognier is a delicate floral grape that grows really well in Virginia. It’s maybe Virginia’s premier white grape.
The Boxwood Trellis; Boxwood is in Middleburg. Trellis is their Bordeaux blend. So that’s a really great expression of the terroir here in Loudoun county. Finally, Fabbioli Raspberry Merlot is, I mean… it’s just a classic dessert wine. They grow all of their own fruit. He’s making the wine and he’s mixing it with his own raspberries to make it sweeter dessert wine. It’s really quite delightful. He’s also in Loudoun county.”
History of the Mill
The building that is the home of Magnolias at the Mill was built in 1905. Mr. W. H. Adams acquired the enterprise to provide local farmers seed for corn, wheat, other grains, and orchard grass. By the late 1930’s, with the advent of hybrid corn and the growing prominence of orchard grass, which fed the area’s many dairy cows, Mr. Adam’s and his son, Contee Adams, who had joined his father in business, began to concentrate on the cleaning of seed. Shortly he became known as “Mr. Orchard Grass” by the farming community of the Virginia Piedmont.
In 1943, Contee Adams decided to sell the milling portion of his enterprise to the Wilkins & Rogers millers, who also owned the still-going-strong Hamilton Mill. Mr. Adams agreed not to sell feed. Wilkins & Rogers agreed not to sell seed. Contee Adams then moved his seed-cleaning business across the street to the still-standing warehouse, built for John James Dillon in 1874.
Elizabeth Reed Johnson, who managed Contee Adams Seed from its inception in 1943 until its closing in 1993, recalled that during the Second World War the bulk of Virginia orchard grass seed was shipped to Europe, not necessarily for seed, but as packing for artillery shells and armaments. Wilkins & Rogers remained at the mill, retaining its name, Loudoun Valley Milling, until 1967, when Contee Adam’s son, Contee Lynn Adams, Jr., took over his father’s enterprise, and bought back the mill building from Wilkin’s & Rogers.
The restoration of the mill into its present state of “Magnolias at the Mill” began in December of 2001 and was completed in February of 2004. Just as the former owners of “Magnolias” had worked to fill a need in the community our goal is also to serve the community as well. We hope you enjoy your time with us at our new venture in an old Mill.
We can’t wait to see you November 3rd at Magnolias. We can all learn a little something from history, and we can all certainly enjoy eating a slice of it.
Seating is now limited, reserve your spot here.