Guest Author - Candyce H. Stapen
Virginia’s Inns and Country Hotels
A weekend at a charming inn or country hotel can be as welcome and rejuvenating as the harder to plan seven day plus vacation. These six Virginia properties each offer something special. Choose a retreat with noted cuisine, or expansive grounds, friendly hosts or an historic hotel that’s near a summertime folk festival.
We have been enjoying L’Auberge Provenaçle, White Post, for years. Within an easy drive of Washington, D.C., the inn showcases chef and co-owner Alain Borel’s modern Provençale cuisine. The Zagat survey rates the inn’s restaurant as number 57 on a list of the top 100 hotel restaurants in the United States. Choose to stay either in the main house or in the adjacent cottages. The décor recreates a bit of southern France in Virginia hunt country.
Poplar Springs Inn, Casanova, spreads out on 200 wooded acres. At the country inn, just an hour from Washington, D.C., walk the gardens and paths, play tennis, swim in the outdoor pool, or pull up a chair and read on the shaded patio. You can also treat yourself to a massage at the inn’s own spa. The inn offers several packages that bundle meals, lodging and spa services, including a popular Girlfriends Getaway.
At 562-acres Kiptopeke State Park, a former ferry terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, offers two beaches and paths for walking. The nearby Cape Charles House Bed and Breakfast, Cape Charles, features five rooms furnished with collectibles and antiques. In addition to breakfast, the inn serves afternoon wine and cheese.
Keswick Hall at Monticello is grand. Situated on the outskirts of Charlottesville on 600-acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Keswick Hall, combines the friendliness of an inn with the fine food of a boutique hotel. Fossett’s, the signature restaurant at this Orient-Express property, serves modern American cuisine. The 48 guest rooms are large and each combines antiques and comfortable period pieces.
How about a llama to go with your lodging? At the Lexington area’s Applewood Inn & Llama Trekking, you can admire the resident llamas as well as book a two-hour llama trek with the clever and friendly critters. Treks are available April to November. The inn has three rooms, scenic Shenandoah countryside views and a pool.
The Martha Washington Hotel and Spa, Abingdon, offers a welcoming place to stay in southwestern Virginia’s Blue Ridge Highlands. Built in 1832 as a private residence, the hotel served as a finishing school for young ladies, a hospital during the Civil War and a women’s college. The 62 rooms combine 19th century décor with such modern amenities as flat screen televisions. The hotel also has an indoor pool and spa.
Located near Virginia’s border with Tennessee, Abingdon, established in 1778, is the oldest English speaking settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Explore the 34-mile path once walked by Daniel Boone, the Virginia Creeper Trail. Visit July 23-August 7, and take part in Abingdon’s Virginia Highlands Festival, a celebration of Appalachian arts and crafts that always has a large antiques market.