Traveling this summer? Consider a compassion-filled getaway 

By Nicole Rivard 

In our spring 2015 issue of Action Line where we highlighted vegan vacays, Harry Appel, co-owner of vegan destination Deer Run Bed and Breakfast in Big Pine Key, Fla., explained that he adopted a vegan lifestyle after visiting Virginia’s White Pig Bed & Breakfast and Animal Sanctuary and becoming aware of the horrors of animal farming. In this second installment on compassion-filled getaways, we highlight why to visit White Pig B&B, which is located near the upcoming Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival. 

White Pig Bed and Breakfast and Animal Sanctuary  

5120 Irish Road

Schuyler, VA 22969

Three main farmhouse rooms under renovations (will reopen this fall); one-room Cloud Cottage available featuring kitchenette, screened in porch, beautiful mountain views, pet friendly 

1 night: $269; add $20 for pets (water bowl & vegan biscuits included)

Dina Brigish 434.831.1416 


Can you discuss what prompted you to create a vegan getaway? How many years have you been in business? 

The White Pig Bed and Breakfast and Animal Sanctuary at Briar Creek Farm opened in 2000. The sanctuary features 170 acres, which includes a natural pond, babbling creek and acres of meadows and forests. Quiet walking paths have been created for guests to catch a glimpse of the numerous birds, plants and wildlife that also call Briar Creek Farm their home. 

I have been a vegetarian since my early teens and became an animal activist after co-founding Syracuse University for Animal Rights while attending Syracuse. After college I worked in the fashion industry in New York for several years. During that time I received my first pot-bellied pig as a gift from my mother and named him “Norman.” Shortly after Norman arrived, I became a vegan.

In 1997, I left fashion to pursue my dream of incorporating a plant-based lifestyle, rescuing animals and a career all in one. After much deliberation, I decided to open a vegan farm bed and breakfast. But first I needed to hone my cooking skills. I attended The Natural Gourmet Cookery School in Manhattan and then interned at Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco. 

After returning to New York, I searched for the perfect farm to open my inn. It took roughly three years but in 2000, my vision of a rural farm, with a historic home, in a quiet and beautiful location, but close to an “open minded city” was found at Briar Creek Farm just outside the city of Charlottesville. 

The White Pig is a tribute to Norman (and all the other pigs that I rescued after him) and a plant-based lifestyle. Currently there are 18 animals at the sanctuary. Most of the rescues are abused and abandoned pot- bellied pigs, dogs, cats and horses. 


How many meals do you serve a day and can you give examples of some of the items on the menu that guests rave about? Do you grow any of the ingredients on the grounds? 

A vegan breakfast is included in the rates. I grow seasonal organic vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, corn, summer squash and fresh herbs, which, when available, I include in my breakfast frittata. Options also include blueberry pancakes with soy bacon, Caribbean banana cinnamon pancakes with soy sausage; scrambled tofu and organic vegetables with home fries and whole wheat toast. With prior notice vegan bag lunches can be ordered for $12.50. Options include a Tofurky, tomatoes, lettuce & “mayo” hoagie or mock “chicken” salad on San Francisco sourdough bread. Thai Sam, about 15 minutes away, and Milan Indian Cuisine, about 25 minutes away, offer vegan dishes. 


Are there any eco-friendly components of your business? Such as….Cruelty-free toiletries, LEED certification, recycled furnishings? Etc.

I have a vegan liquid soap, shampoo and bar soap made for the B&B by local soap makers. We are certified GREEN from the state of Virginia. Since I am in the process of adding new rooms, we are using all ecofriendly material and will utilize solar power.


What area attractions are nearby to make this the ultimate destination for environmentalism and veganism. For example, wildlife refuges or national parks nearby, etc. Do you offer any classes/workshops on site?

We are located 23 miles south of Charlottesville, the home of The University of Virginia. The 19th annual Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival is slated for Sept. 26, 2015. Monticello (home of Thomas Jefferson), Montpelier (home of James Madison) and Ashland Highlands (home of Pres. Monroe) are all within a 30-minute drive. We are 30 minutes from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Skyline Drive, & The Jefferson National Park. We are 30 minutes from Wintergreen Ski Resort. We are 30 minutes from Crabtree Fall — the longest waterfall east of the Mississippi. White Pig is also 15 minutes from the James River, which offers canoeing and tubing. This area of Virginia is also home to numerous wineries, breweries and distilleries. I can offer personal cooking classes if requested.