Friday, July 24, 2015

Gluten-Free in Clifton Forge and Covington, VA

Our little vacation this summer was a stay in a cabin at Douthat State Park. My family has been going here every summer since my sister was born, and my mom stayed with her family when she was a kid! You take Douthat State Park Rd directly off of 64, meander down a two-lane road that becomes enclosed with tall trees and then you're there. They have a lake with a beach for swimming, boat rentals, restaurant and store, campgrounds, new horse campgrounds, log cabins and tons of trails. The cabins have normal amenities like AC, microwave and kitchen cookware; there are indoor and outdoor fireplaces as well as grills. No TV, thank goodness and trails you can get to right from your cabin. Some of the cabins have a view of the lake and surrounding mountains, and other cabins are nestled further back into the woods and feel very secluded.

I love going there and I was so excited to stay with our little family, with my parents in a separate cabin just up the road. It was cool weather our first days there and our small hikes with the baby and Clover were really easy and enjoyable. Most mornings and afternoons I had James in the carrier and took little walks up and down the gravel path, or across the road to the top of the lake trail. He loves being outside and is totally calm, just listening to everything. The yard right around our cabin was covered in moss and walking barefoot with my baby, looking at mushrooms and butterflies made me feel like I was where I needed to be.

With a baby, a dog, and a gluten-free mama, our trip definitely took a ton of planning, including food preparations. James is eating solids now so I brought some foods for him, I made sure to have enough gluten-free snacks for us like gf pretzels with peanut butter and jelly or cheese and gf crackers. For lunches we ate cold ham and cheese sandwiches or grilled cheese on gf bread, and for dinner I pre-made a big batch of crock-pot beef with steamed carrots, and we brought rice. I didn't want to have to cook or drive into town to Kroger every night (the main grocery store in Clifton Forge), and I wasn't sure what Kroger or the local restaurants would have that was gluten-free friendly. Well not to worry! There was plenty.

Gluten-Free in Clifton Forge, VA

Kroger had tons of gluten-free products! crackers, pasta, cookies, granola bars, etc.

Vic's Family Restaurant- I ate the burger platter (already on the menu without the bun) with cole slaw, baked potato and steamed spinach. They were very friendly and helpful when I was asking then super specific questions about their ingredients.

Jack Mason's Tavern- This place is awesome! Tons of beer, wine and cider and very knowledgeable about gluten-free options. I ate the chicken wings (which naturally come fried and not breaded), a side salad and the smoked sausage with house-made sweet sauerkraut which was enjoyed by all of us, including little James. We came here our last night in town and I would have visited more often if I had known how great it was.

The Club Car- A cute little deli that serves coffee drinks, desserts, soup, sandwiches and salads. They knew about gluten-free, had gluten-free bread for sandwiches AND even had a gluten-free bread pudding dessert on stand-by in the freezer! I was totally shocked. My mom and I ended up sharing the salad with cashews, chicken and broccoli which was super tasty. Another place I would have visited more often if we had gone sooner in the week.

Gluten-Free in Covington, VA 

We only came here one day during the week to eat lunch. There is a wal-mart and a kmart for shopping needs and a few more restaurants. With the kind of luck I had in Clifton Forge I would hope that a few of the Covington restaurants would be gluten-free friendly too.

The Main Street Shoppe- Run by an Italian family, this place gets very busy and is full of charm. My parents have gone here often over the years and I can't recommend this cute little cafe enough. Chris are a rueben on home-made bread which he loved and I had a stuffed tomato with chicken salad. We shared a giant bowl of clam chowder (thickened only with potato so it was safe for me to eat) which was the best soup of our lives.

Pictures of Douthat State Park, downtown Clifton Forge and Covington

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