Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Living the Southern Good Life in Northern Virginia with the Hyundai Santa Fe

One of the two cars in my driveway this week is the totally redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe. I was on the press launch for this crossover a few weeks ago, and just didn't get around to blogging about it at the time. Yes, shame on me.

Hyundai anchored the event at the Boar's Head Inn, a resort in Charlottesville, Virginia. I had dinner in one of its dining areas a couple years ago with the gang from the Virginia Department of Tourism. At that time I was part of a small contingent of travel media learning about Virginia's wine industry and, specifically, those wineries surrounding Jefferson's Monticello. Dinner was excellent and I was eager to spend a couple of nights there.

Affiliated with the University of Virginia, Boar's Head Inn is a full-blown resort with everything from Golf to hot-air ballooning. The food is topnotch and the service excellent. I love this area of Virginia with its rolling hills and lush foliage. That we stayed at Boar's Head made it all the better.

At the end of our afternoon drive, my driving partner and I decided to go into Charlottesville. I have pals who will swear that I have a built-in radar for seeking out microbreweries; it reared its head once again in Charlottesville. "Turn here," I yelled as we drove down the town's main drag. The turn put us on a side street of warehouse-looking structures mostly converted to office buildings. And there it was: the South Street Brewing Company.

Pulling into a parking lot across the street, I dug around in my carry-on bag for quarters to put into the parking meter. I snapped the photo above and we headed for the door. Nuts! It was locked. Looking closer, we saw that the joint didn't open for another 20 minutes. Oh, well, back to the Boar's Head.

Defeated in our quest to sample a microbrew -- and purchase a tee-shirt, we headed for the bar at Boar's Head. It was there that I had a Starr Hill Amber Ale or three. Although it wasn't a South Street brew, it was local and pretty good for not being a brown, porter or stout.

The Santa Fe I am currently driving is a two-wheel-drive version it the top-end Limited trim that retails at $33,350. You can get into a Santa Fe GLS for $28,600.
A beefy 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 is plenty for this crossover. A six-speed automatic tranny hustles engine production to the wheels.

Santa Fe can tow up to 5,000 pounds, yet it was sufficiently athletic to effortlessly whip around the winding roads of northern Virginia.

Packed with technology, Santa Fe features such advances as adjustable steering with three modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport. Often detecting the differences between modes in such systems is difficult, but not so with this one. There are discernable differences.

Heated rear seats, as well as a heated steering wheel, and a panoramic sunroof all contribute to the value story.

Nothing like spending the day tooling around in a decked-out, high-end crossover, and then retiring to a glass of Basil Hayden small batch bourbon in the Boar's Head Inn's Bistro 1834 bar that evening. 

Southern living at it's best!

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