Warm, sunny spring days are still several long months away. Embrace the chill of the bomb cyclones, winter wallops and deep freezes upon us right now with a stay at an inviting inn. We’ve picked three top properties in the Virginia countryside--and places to explore nearby, from wineries to antique shops--that’ll have you welcoming single digit temps.
The former Civil War-era mansion in Haymarket is now a restored inn. Its 11 rooms retain the feeling of the manor house, yet have been updated to include modern amenities. The property's setting on the grounds of Evergreen Country Club makes it a quiet and peaceful retreat. Enjoy breakfast onsite, then relax in the evening at the adjacent clubhouse bar with a glass of wine.
Things to do nearby:
- Have lunch in town at Hidden Julles Cafe, a locally-owned spot featuring local, organic and natural breakfasts and lunches, including produce, dairy, meat and other ingredients sourced exclusively from area growers. Start with one of their freshly-pressed juices, like Mean Green (apples, cucumber, celery kale, lemon and ginger), or their decadent take on Bulletproof Coffee, with almond milk, almost butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, coffee, an espresso shot and grass-fed butter. Breakfast is served all day, and their burritos can also be served in a bowl. And you don’t have to be a Paleo diet devotee to enjoy Aaron’s Bowl, which tops scrambled eggs with spinach, pico de gallo, sausage and salsa verde.
- Taste your way through a wine flight at The Winery at La Grange. Catherine’s flight pairs up their rosé with four whites, while Benoni’s flight serves four reds and their Port-style dessert wine.
- Learn the art of making delicate meringue-based pastries and other treats and French fare at a cooking class at Macaron Tart. A minimum of three people is needed to hold your own private class, or check their website for a schedule of public classes they offer.
Built in 1770, this Quaker built stone manor house in Hillsboro has mountain views, and five rooms with design details including muted colors, warm woods, wide-plank flooring and ceiling beams. Enjoy complimentary wine and snacks when you arrive, and when you are all settled in, borrow a book from their library and a cozy spot by the fireplace. If it’s warm enough, hike the nearby paths and stroll the gardens. It’s the perfect homebase for the forty-two area wineries, breweries, distilleries, restaurants, antique shops and historic landmarks in the region, too. Continental or country breakfast can be arranged for you in the morning, too.
Things to do nearby:
- Breaux Vineyards, a family-run Louisiana-inspired winery, is just a few miles away. Sip your way through their options (the Nebbiolo rosé and Meritage are particularly stunning) then enjoy a bottle and some snacks on a sofa in their bright, sunny and welcoming tasting room.
- Beer more your thing? Head to the laid-back Belly Love Brewing in Purcellville for a pint of Shut the Fook Up Pale Ale or Auld Resolutions winter spiced ale and some smoked trout spread or a giant pretzel. Easy-to-sink-into leather couches and convivial round tables encourage conversation--or competition via cards or a board game.
- Reserve a table for dinner at Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville. Menus are updated frequently, but may include pepper-seared Virginia scallops with gratin potatoes, corn chowder, Tuscan kale, green tomato relish and crispy pancetta, or pork two ways (cheek carbonnade and local schnitzel), served with crispy Brussels sprouts, buttered spaetzle and mustard au jus.
This luxury inn in Huntly overlooking Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Mountains was originally a Wells Fargo stagecoach stop; today, it’s been converted into twelve guest suites located in three buildings. Take in the sumptuous setting, with a fire-lit entrance hall, a baronial oak hunt room and minstrel gallery, stone wine cellar and country kitchen. The Tack Room Spa, adjacent to the horse stables, offers sixty and ninety minute solo or couples massages, and on-site restaurant Houndstooth features a five-course prix fixe menu from chef and co-owner Dayn Smith (with optional wine pairings) that may include butter-poached lobster with ginger-lemongrass cream and roasted tenderloin Madagascar with green peppercorn sauce.
Things to do nearby:
- If you love seeking great finds and rare treasures at antique shops, you’ll encounter a lot of them in the area, including Antiques at Middle Street in Washington and Copper Fox Antiques in Sperryville.
- Taste Chris Wasmund’s award-winning whiskey at Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, which is the only distillery in North America to hand-malt their own barley and use apple and cherry wood smoke to flavor it. Clear spirits fans will love their VirGin, a small-batch gin crafted with malted barley.
- Don’t miss Linden Vineyards, run by Jim Law, who some refer to as the godfather of Virginia wine, is literally a few miles up the street. His Hardscrabble Chardonnay is a lesson in the effects of terroir under a highly-skilled winemaker, and his Claret is a restrained, balanced and simply gorgeous Bordeaux blend.