BEST Event Venue, Fauquier
Airlie has made itself known to locals and world travelers for the last 57 years. Its bucolic atmosphere with the lush backdrop of rolling hills, forest, and gardens, along with its close proximity to both urban and rural sites have attracted four-star generals, celebrities, Fortune 500 CEOs, professional athletes, and politicians. Local residents look to Airlie for a unique getaway, meeting place, or special meal.
“Some people who have lived in the area for a long time still think of Airlie as a private conference center for government officials, and being ‘off-limits’ to anyone without a security clearance,” says Steve Wheat, Airlie’s marketing manager. “However, the truth is that Airlie is actually open to the public. Its business model has evolved over the past 57 years to include corporate meetings, weddings, company picnics, team building events, and weekend getaways.”
Wheat says, “We have guests from just about every state. Internationally, guests come from all parts of the world.” Many groups return every year, some multiple times throughout the year, and some for as long as the last fifty years. Airlie hosts conferences, meetings and retreats, with an average meeting size of 45 people and lasting two and a half days.
Every year Airlie hosts approximately 650 events. Only 75 of these are weddings, according to Wheat. Annual events at Airlie include Fauquier County Wine Tasting & Competition, Easter brunch, Mother’s Day brunch, Earth Day celebration, turkeys-to-go, breakfast with Santa, a holiday open house, Christmas Eve dinner, and New Year’s Eve dinner. Wheat shares that the holiday open house event is one that he looks forward to the most. “It gives us an opportunity to welcome the community to our property for a festive, family-friendly gathering,” he says. “It features caroling by elementary school choral groups, horse and carriage rides, and Santa. Tens of thousands of holiday lights adorn the formal gardens and property,” he says.
Airlie’s food is as sought after as its ambiance. “Many restaurants and resorts claim to offer ‘field-to-table’ dining,” says Wheat. “However, we actually deliver on this promise, as we live it every single day. The property includes a 20-acre production farm, a three-acre organic herb and flower garden, and 75 acres of pasture for Black Angus cattle and Berkshire pigs. The tons of vegetables that we harvest are used as ingredients by Airlie’s culinary team. The grass-fed beef and pork is served at our restaurant (Harry’s) and is also for sale to the public.” Airlie’s two restaurants offer breakfasts, dinners, and daily fare throughout the year, as well as holiday brunches. Lakeside dining and a variety of cocktails, draft beer, and wines add elegance to the food scene as well.
The 300-acre property requires upkeep, but Wheat shares that guests appreciate the lush, scenic Virginia landscape and like to walk along nature trails and through the elaborate gardens during their stay. Sunlit ponds, lush gardens, rolling pastures, and wooded landscapes are all part of the beautiful outdoor space. On the inside, a British-royal décor is swept with a touch of traditional-English style and modern elegance, begging guests to stay just one more day.