Autumnal Romance: Plan Your Getaway to These Virginia Inns
Autumn is sneaking up on us. The nights are growing colder and the clouds are holding back the sun’s warmth to prepare us for the coming season. In these precarious weeks between the end of summer and the onset of winter, it is the perfect time for those of us itching for a relaxing weekend getaway. Pastoral bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels surround the D.C. area. The landscapes of these mountain and riverside resorts are in a state of autumnal serenity, and the weather is still warm enough to enjoy nearby attractions.
Within 100 miles of the District liea a wealth of vineyards, rustic Inns, elegant cuisine and pastoral countryside to keep you satiated through the winter.
Keswick Hall at Monticello Just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, lies the Keswick Hall at Monticello. A little more than two hours away from Washington, this Hotel is a great combination of a romantic Inn and a large resort. Guests travel here from all over the world to stay at this intimate haven, rated the number-one small resort in the country by Conde Nast. Located in the heart of Virginia, it is the perfect spot for a long weekend getaway.
The Keswick Hall at Monticello offers a range of activities designed for couples. From couples massages and private cooking classes with the estate’s Executive Chef Dean Maupin, to private golf lessons, fireside billiards and couples tennis matches, there are countless activities to suit any mood. For wine enthusiasts, the Keswick has its own private vineyard and offers tours of the other renowned Charlottesville vineyards nearby. Having all the amenities of a large resort with the intimacy of home, you can spend an entire weekend exploring the wondrous fall terrain of Keswick Hall. Keswick.com.
The Homestead Resting on 3,000 acres of Allegheny Mountain terrain, The Homestead is a luxury mountain resort that has been spoiling their guests since before the American Revolution. This National Historic Landmark of a retreat is ranked among the world’s finest spa destinations, and has enough activities to keep you busy through the entirety of winter.
There are a variety of suite accommodations from which to choose, including pet friendly rooms. Their world-class spa alone would nearly be worth the trip—even more so in the autumn months, when skin is particularly sensitive to the dry, cold atmosphere. Revitalize the mind, body and spirit with a hydrotherapy treatment, and then, if the mood is right…go see a movie at the in-house theater, or swim in the naturally heated indoor pool, play tennis on the indoor courts, ice skating, bowling, snow tubing. To say the least, The Homestead understands how to make the most out of any season.
With nine restaurants to choose from, guests can dine in almost any manner they please. Put on your evening’s best to enjoy French American cuisine at 1766 Grille, or enjoy a poolside lunch wrapped in a beach towel with a view of the snowcapped mountains just outside the window.
With so many unique opportunities just hours away, there are plenty of reasons to enjoy the intimacy and the solitude of fall. TheHomestead.com
Goodstone Inn and Estate The Goodstone Inn, with 18 rooms spread about a rustic estate, is a choice romantic destination, and fall is its peak season.
There are many different activities available at The Goodstone. The estate grounds hold possibilities for hiking, biking and canoeing, all of which are included in the rates. For explorers, The Goodstone Inn can arrange activities such as hot air ballooning, horseback riding and history tours, while the many wineries in the area are a good choice for those seeking a more gastronomic experience.
As fall season is the peak season for The Goodstone, they are already almost fully booked for October and November, but limited vacancies are still available. Goodstone.com.
The Inn at Willow Grove Moving south, The Inn at Willow Grove is located close to the town of Orange, Virginia. Just under two hours’ drive from the District, this eclectic country inn presents itself as an upscale, luxury retreat. Recently renovated, the Inn has 11 rooms and a gourmet restaurant. The surrounding scenery combined with the beauty of the Inn attracts guests throughout the year.
With heated floor tiles, soaking tubs and fireplaces, the accommodations are worth the trip alone. You might find yourself not wanting to leave the room. But should you want to explore, there are plenty of things to do. Guest favorites include horseback riding and wine tours to the various wineries in the area. Additionally, the can help arrange hot air balloon trips, civil rights and historic battlefield tours and even skydiving for the brave at heart.
The Inn at Willow Grove is almost fully booked for the weekends in October and November, with some availability in the weekdays. TheInnAtWillowGrove.com
The Ashby Inn and Restaurant In the town of Paris, Va. lays The Ashby Inn and Restaurant. Just an hour outside the city, this popular travel destination offers respite for those jaded city dwellers seeking nature’s tranquility. A small Inn with 10 double rooms, it still has a restaurant of 70 seats that fills up every Saturday.
For adventurous couples, nearby Sky Meadow State Park, which can be seen from the porch of the inn, offers great hiking and other outdoor activities. If you are looking for less strenuous quality time, the nearby town of Middleburg is well known for its antique shops and local stores, and it’s historic downtown is worth just strolling through. Another great activity for those who want to relax but explore is a trip to any number of the over twenty local wineries located within 30 minutes of the inn.
As this resort is tremendously popular, they are almost fully booked during the weekends leading up to November, so call in to see what’s left! AshbyInn.com
The Inn at Monticello Just a stone’s throw from Monticello proper, The Inn at Monticello is a five-acre Bed & Breakfast, and a convenient base of operations while exploring all that nearby Charlottesville has to offer. Just far enough outside the city to enjoy the rolling landscapes from your private porch or cottage, and down the street from a handful of vineyards, the Inn is still only a ten-minute drive from the center of town. Once in Charlottesville, across the street from the UVA campus, visit the Corner. A stretch of coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores and nightspots frequented by the academic and local community, the Corner is a local watering hole, and a perfect place to enjoy a simple cup of coffee with a good book, grab dinner, or have a few drinks. Among the scenery, UVA’s historic chapel and the “Academical Village” are noteworthy sites particularly beautified by the autumn foliage.
Restaurants to check out around Charlottesville include The Ivy Inn Restaurant and Hamilton’s at First and Main. Producing cuisine inspired by seasonal and locally grown ingredients, The Ivy Inn offers classic American fare with modern twists, such as pumpkin ravioli or veal osso buco with sautéed local bok choy. At Hamilton’s at First and Main, inventive pairings such as roasted halibut stuffed with chèvre, or crab cakes with lemon-basil aioli are the highlights of the menu. InnAtMonticello.com The Inn at Little Washington
When discussing luxury dining and accommodations in Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington garners the same reactions that one gets if mentioning Disney World to a four-year-old. The love child of renowned restaurateur Patrick O’Connell, a self-taught chef often accused of having “perfect taste,” and a pioneer of the local, organic movement, The Inn at Little Washington is one of the most highly decorated restaurants and hotels in the country—and just about the only nationally lauded two-for-one. This time of year, O’Connell’s celebrated kitchen is honoring the bounty of fall, one of O’Connell’s favorite occasions to have fun with the season’s best ingredients. TheInnAtLittleWashington.com