Flint Hill, Virginia

It would be unfair to say that you could miss the small community of Flint Hill if you blinked, but if you had a long yawn, then you could surely miss it.  This is a small, one-main-street kind of place just a stone-throw away from the Skyline Drive and the more famous Little Washington.  Very few people I spoke with had ever heard of Flint Hill, or could figure out why I would want to stop by the place during one of my photo excursions on a Saturday morning.  The reason is simple: food.  Well, at least the memory of food and the meal I once had at a restaurant by the name of the Four and Twenty Blackbirds.  This was a gastronomy gem in the middle of nowhere, and the memory kind of stuck in my mind for years.  The unfortunate thing was that the restaurant was transformed by the owner about 3 years ago into a much smaller venture now called 24 Crows.  The owners and chef are still the same, the much reduced menu still reads like a mouth-watering canvas, and the good ice cream still waits patiently for you to finish with the savory lunch.  However, the few available tables now compete with wine bottles, art, and an assortment of  crafts that fill most of the restaurant.  Or is it a store?  I’m not sure.  Of course, if your entourage includes a large group of people, you may want to head on a little down the street to the larger Griffin Tavern.

The town itself sits along the Zachary Taylor Highway (OK, more like a two-lane country road) and it easily reached from Rt. 211, which connects the town of Warrenton with the mighty Shenandoah Valley.  Driving Rt. 211 feels like going surfing.  Wave after undulating wave of road makes you just want to step on that gas pedal, and if it were not for the extensive welcoming committee of  highway patrolmen that just can’t wait to greet you, this road would be reason enough to invest in that new Mustang.  But it’s not just the folks in blue patrol cars that are going to make you slow down here.  Rt. 211 is lined with some of the most popular wineries in Virginia, so your designated driver will get plenty of practice driving on dirt roads lined with beautiful, green vines.  Food, wine, incredible scenery, and great people seem to be the raw materials of this picturesque part of Virginia.  And the great thing is that the slower you move through the area, the more you will enjoy it.

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