The Inn at Little Washington is just 70 miles from Washington, D.C., but it feels like a lifetime away. Nestled in the foot of the Shenandoah, this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel and restaurant are imbued with epicurean delights and the charm of an earlier era. In a recent move that gives the property even more of an 1850s air, The Inn added its latest lodgings, The Parsonage, bringing the total room count to 24 and offering yet another reason to plan a visit to this under-the-radar gem.
Here are five things you need to know about the glorious Victorian addition:
Embrace the grace of an earlier age
Designed in a “Downton-Abbey-meets-modern-glam style, the sage-colored Parsonage — the house gets its name because of its proximity to Trinity Episcopal Church — features accents such as a Moorish-inspired glass-enclosed conservatory; hallways patterned in William Morris tulip-print paper; and a side porch facing an enclosed garden filled with stately oak trees and views of the summer kitchen and smokehouse. While the six rooms are individually decorated with English fabrics and wallpapers, the cottage isn’t totally stuck in the last century. Bathrooms feature Waterworks tiles and fixtures, Carrara marble vanities and Bulgari amenities, and all rooms offer gratis Wi-Fi.
Pick the right room
All of the Parsonage’s accommodations are lovely, but we can’t help but suggest the junior suite for your stay. It offers a massive soaking tub overlooking the peaceful back garden. But in the event that unit is unavailable when you place your reservation, all is well – every room in the new cottage features a fireplace, and rooms at The Inn always come standard with welcome cocktails, afternoon tea, a house breakfast and valet parking.
The Inn boasts a Five-Star restaurant of the same name. Book reservations for chef and property owner Patrick O’Connell’s adored establishment as far as a year in advance to find yourself among notable Washingtonians and honeymooners, birthday celebrators or anniversary-canoodling couples. Know the best part about booking an overnight stay? You’re guaranteed a spot at the dinner table – The Inn assures hotel guests that dinner reservations will be available, even on a same-day basis. Just be aware that The Inn is closed most Tuesdays, and there are extra fees for booking on Sundays, Fridays, Saturdays and any night in May or October.
Hang with the locals
Chef O’Connell donated $150,000 to the beautification of one of the town’s public areas, a former-car-park-turned-town-square with trees and period-style gas lanterns. In exchange, the town named a street after him — can you sense that he’s a rather beloved local figure? Take some time out from your visit to walk around the repurposed area and shop about town. Pop into cute stops such as Wine Loves Chocolate (try the key lime treats!) and R.H. Ballard, a home décor store and gallery where you can often discover local art as well as chic housewares.
Become one with nature, history and wine
One of the best reasons to stay overnight — well, besides the aforementioned dinner promise — is the local scenery. The hotel is just 12 miles from famed Skyline Drive, the National Scenic Byway where you can hike to burn off any unwanted calories. You could plan a trip to close-by Monticello or Montpelier, homes of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, respectively. You’d also be remiss to skip a day at a local winery; dozens are within a 30-minute drive of The Inn. Close in, though, Rappahannock Cellars is a local favorite while Naked Mountain Winery & Vineyards is must-stop for a souvenir bottle — and its cheeky cork that read “Drink Naked.”