Dream Weekends 2005: Keswick Hall

Three presidents settled in the land around Charlottesville, including Madison, Monroe, and Jefferson, whose estate, Monticello, dazzles half a million visitors a year.

A more exclusive spot these days is Keswick Hall at Monticello, a 48-room Orient-Express property on 600 acres that might have dazzled Jefferson, a serious farmer and a foodie.

The rooms are tastefully themed—fishing, maps, circus—and have hand-painted armoires and canopied four-poster beds. Views are of the pool, the gardens, or the golf course, a 1939 Fred Findlay design, updated in 2004 by Arnold Palmer, that makes good use of the estate’s water, trees, and rolling hills.

Jefferson would have appreciated Fossett’s, Keswick’s year-old restaurant, named for his chief cook, Edith Fossett. On our visit, highlights included local lamb, pork, and peanuts, with contributions from New Zealand (red deer), California (a roulade of Sonoma foie gras brûlée with roasted banana, pickled Michigan blueberries, and caramelized apple), and lots of French technique.

Bottom line: This kind of pleasure doesn’t come cheap, but it isn’t likely to be forgotten.

Keswick Hall, 800-274-5391; http://www.keswick.com. Rates for two start at $425.

This article first appeared in the April 2005 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.