What, in your experience, makes a Shenandoah Valley hotel or inn “unique”? Actual personal attention from the staff? A wine tasting? Genuine gourmet dining? Or just a spectacular Blue Ridge view as you sip fresh coffee on the balcony?
In their zeal to make your stay unique, lodging owners in the Valley are adding amenities galore—a variety of packages, massages, hot tubs, yoga, live music, craft classes, dance instruction, fabulous dinners, vineyard tours and more. An extensive list of hotels, cabins, B&Bs, cottages and campgrounds can be found here and each is special in its own way. Below, we describe just a few unique options that we think will be certain to tempt you.
The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, (540) 869-0200
Hidden away about 12 miles south of Winchester, the Inn at Vaucluse Spring is a “village” of six guest houses surrounded by a beautiful limestone spring. Enjoy views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, well-kept gardens, an outdoor pool, walking trails and a small herd of cattle. Accommodations range from elegant rooms in the 200-year-old Manor House to cozy rooms in an 1850’s log house. For real seclusion, opt for one of their private cabins– a converted artist’s studio at the water’s edge, a re-purposed art gallery with views of the meadow, or a tobacco-barn-turned-luxury-cabin overlooking the spring valley. All rooms have fireplaces, private baths with Jacuzzi tubs, and king or queen beds. Wake up to a full 3-course breakfast that changes with the season’s availability but always includes locally roasted Black Dog Coffee and local farm fresh eggs.
If you can’t make it to the French countryside this year, L’Auberge Provencale is probably the next best thing. The cuisine, the décor and the antiques are all French-country influenced. Located in White Post (Clarke County) L’Auberge Provencale, is a romantic B&B with award-winning dining, lovely suites and a variety of package deals involving food, cooking classes, massage/spa visits, etc. Several packages center around fine wine—until November 15th take part in the 7th annual Wine Crush Special and save 20 percent. Or consider a four-hour Chauffeured Wine Tour guided by Sommelier Christian Borel and Wine Director Celeste Borel. And “farm – to – table” has been practiced here for more than 30 years. On-site gardens provides the freshest possible herbs, vegetables and fruits in season.
Mayneview B&B at Luray Overlook
Claiming to have “the best views in Luray” is a pretty confident statement, but the Mayneview Bed and Breakfast may well own it. The mountains are easily seen from their wrap around porch or from a large covered deck with seating area, dining table, a six-person hot tub and a fire pit patio. Close to Downtown Luray, Luray Caverns, the Greenway, and a short drive to either Shenandoah National Park or George Washington National Forest, Mayneview is perfectly located to keep you active over a long weekend or a vacation anytime. Pick from seven newly renovated rooms or consider the Mayneview Cottage, next to the B&B. Family reunions, weddings and special events can all be arranged.
The Iris Inn
Located in Waynesboro, minutes from the northern entrance to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Iris Inn is a complex of a main inn, cabins and cottages. Each was planned and built to provide the best view possible of the rippling Blue Ridge Mountains. And “complimentary breakfast” here doesn’t mean toast and coffee. Depending on the time of year, it might include: fresh fruit, eggs, waffles, French toast, bacon, sausage, and cheesy omelets. In fall and winter, sit down to pumpkin pancakes, buttery scrambled eggs, and warm sausage links, or fresh yogurt parfait, homemade granola and their own Eggs Benedict. Iris Inn is closely connected to nearby restaurants and vineyards, which you can take advantage of through one of the Inn’s “Wine Therapy Packages” in summer.
The Blackburn Inn
(See banner photo.) Originally built in the 1800s as a hospital and later operating as a prison, the inn is now a luxury boutique hotel that combines historical charm and modern technology —all set on 80 pristine acres just minutes from Downtown Staunton. After extensive renovation, many of its early architectural features have been preserved or given new life–the signature spiral staircase, classical arches, hardwood pine floors, and traditional fireplaces–plus 49 unique guest rooms and an intimate on-site restaurant. Other features include: gardens and patios, a 24-hour fitness room, an art gallery displaying Virginia works, a variety of activities on the spacious front lawn. They are pet-friendly, too. The Blackburn Inn offers a variety of special packages that help you take full advantage of sights and attractions in nearby Staunton.
The Inn at WestShire Farms (formerly the Inn at Old Virginia)
Located in Staunton, the Inn’s nine guest rooms and suites create a small, intimate and private atmosphere. Choose from one of two accommodations—the Windsor House and the Millstone Barn. In the former you will find their extended stay suite and the Biltmore Conservatory — the Inn’s breakfast room –plus a cozy living room reminiscent of British elegance. Views of the Blue Ridge Mountains can be enjoyed from the Inn’s landscaped outdoor patios flanking the Conservatory. The Millstone Barn is a restored civil war-era structure with eight-guest rooms serving as the core of Inn’s accommodations. The Barn overlooks the 12 acres that make up the Inn’s pastoral grounds. A central vaulted-ceiling common area in the Millstone Barn supplies the perfect venue for friends and families to share a weekend away. Package deals involving massages, roses, bouquets, picnics and chocolate-covered strawberries will entice you all the more. Pet-friendly.
The Inn at Meadowcroft Farms (540) 712-0791
MeadowCroft Farm is a 7th generation working family farm about seven miles west of Staunton in southwestern Augusta County. Dating back to the mid 1700s, it is a diversified operation consisting of beef cattle, sheep and crops. More than 60 all-natural pickles, relishes, jams and jellies are manufactured here today under the MeadowCroft Farm Brand. Home- grown foods are a mainstay in the Inn’s dining options. In 2013, restoration began on an 1820 two-story log cabin that stands on the property, and shortly after that work started, the owners bought a 1795 two-story cabin, dismantled it and added to the original cabin. Renovations and updates to the joined cabins were completed in 2018; almost 200 years have gone by since these log cabins were built—but modern amenities, comforts and service are much in evidence.
The Georges (540) 463-2500
Occupying two buildings on opposite sides of Main Street in Lexington, the Georges combines history and revitalization. In fact the name of the hotel honors the historic connections of George Washington and George Marshall to the city. Built in 1789, the Georgian-style Washington Building is one of the oldest structures in Lexington. Today, it offers five suites in a beautiful three-level brick townhouse, which is on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places. It is also home to the casual Haywood’s piano bar restaurant. The original part of the Marshall Building was built in 1809. Over its long lifespan, it’s been a jewelry store, doctor’s office, telegraph and post office, in addition to a hotel. It now features 13 stately guest rooms and suites across its four floors. On the street level, you’ll also find TAPS, their lobby lounge.
Banner photo courtesy The Blackburn Inn