Washington, Va.: The ‘Inn’ Place to Go

A member of Relais & Chateaux, an exclusive collection of 481 of the finest hotels and restaurants in 58 countries, the Inn at Little Washington offers rooms, in addition to its award-winning restaurant.

The 18 bedrooms and suites are exquisite.

You can reserve the Mayor’s House, one of the oldest buildings in town, parts of which date to 1740. The mayor of Washington, Va., once lived there. This room includes a formal sitting area with a gas fireplace. The bedroom boasts a king-sized, four-poster bed with a fieldstone wood-burning fireplace. The bathroom has hand-painted Portuguese tile and a Jacuzzi tub. If that’s not enough, there is a private walled garden, “perfect for afternoon tea,” suggests the website.

This room starts at $995 a night.

The Claiborne House is a 3,200-square-foot cottage, overlooking the herb and cutting garden.

It features two bedrooms, two and a half baths, a living room, dining room, media room and library. Not to mention a two-story veranda that overlooks a private garden.

This one is starts at $2,450.

A standard room starts around $425.

I don’t recall the prices 10 years ago when we stayed at the inn, but I do remember it was worth the experience – afternoon tea in the garden when we arrived, cozy bathrobes to snuggle up in, cocktails before dinner and a sumptuous breakfast the next morning.

For this visit, we chose to stay at another nearby inn. The Middleton Inn, just a short walk away, was lovely with a log-burning fireplace and a bottle of anniversary champagne upon our arrival.

Everyone staying in our inn was dining that night at the Inn at Little Washington – a 49th wedding anniversary and a couple of birthdays were the occasions.

We met over wine and cheese at 5 p.m., and discussed our dinner over breakfast the next morning.

Breakfast at the Middleton was pleasant in a bright and cheery first-floor dining room.

A parfait of fruit, yogurt and granola, along with freshly baked cherry scones started our breakfast.

I could smell the scones baking earlier that morning, just after the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafted up the stairs to our room.

The Middleton Inn, built in 1840, is owned by Mary Ann Kuhn, who purchased it in 1994, and a spent a year renovating it before it opened in October of 1995.

She had been a producer for CBS News in Washington, D.C., before she relocated to Washington, Va.She had visited the town back in the 1970s, she said, and at the time thought, “One day I’m going to come back and live.”

“I was just feeding the horses and looking at the mountains,” she said on a clear, October day, as we were checking out of the inn.

“And I thought, ‘this is paradise.'”

I would have to agree.

And I’ve already got my eye on an inn for sale, just down the street from the Inn at Little Washington.