Romance in Hunt Country
Middleburg’s Goodstone Inn & Restaurant has long been a go-to for Washingtonians seeking a little romance in Virginia’s Hunt Country. Eighteen differently decorated rooms and suites in six cottages allow couples to pick an experience from French countryside to rustic chic. (To really get away from it all, book the standalone Bull Barn, with its wood-burning fireplace and king-size sleigh bed.)
The restaurant has a new chef, Benjamin Lambert, who honed his culinary chops under a Food Network-like cast of mentors ranging from Rocco DiSpirito to Geoffrey Zakarian to Michael Mina. Lambert’s French-inspired menu meanders from brioche-crusted sweetbreads in truffle sauce to Châteaubriand, prepared tableside. Check the website for cool-weather packages. 540-687-3333.
Butlers and Beignets
At the Inn at Willow Grove, you don’t have to leave your room for breakfast. Just ring for your butler, who will deliver a tray of complimentary French-press coffee and a paper bag of hot sugared beignets. Service is the name of the game at this inn, which includes a restored 18th-century manor house and cozy private cottages with fireplaces, set in the Blue Ridge foothills of Orange, Virginia.
The butler will come in handy if you want to book a massage at the inn’s Smokehouse Spa or dinner at Vintage Restaurant, where executive chef Jason Daniels hosts the “Three on Thursday” tasting, a three-course, farm-to-table meal for $29.95. Just be sure to save room: Your butler will be back at turndown, bearing a pot of hot tea and a tray of sweets. 540-317-1206.
The Cat’s Meow
When you stay at the Inn at Montchanin Village in Wilmington, Delaware, you don’t just get a room; you get a small town. Montchanin Village, in the Brandywine Valley, is made up of 11 restored buildings dating from 1799 to 1910; most once housed workers at the nearby DuPont gunpowder mill (now the Hagley Museum and Library). Today the old homes accommodate 28 luxe rooms and suites, many with soaking tubs and gas fireplaces.
The village’s stone-covered lanes remain, as do the outdoor privies (now gardeners’ sheds). A sprawling 19th-century barn holds a lobby with wooden beams and cushy chairs as well as a full-service spa. Cat lovers will cozy up to Krazy Kat’s restaurant, decorated in an over-the-top animal theme, complete with tiger-print chairs and portraits of military-garbed felines. The Modern American cuisine includes stout-braised short ribs, scallop gratin, and seared antelope with a cherry-Cabernet reduction. 302-888-2133.
Organic Style in Baltimore
Open just two years, the Inn at the Black Olive has already leaped to the top of Baltimore’s hotel heap on TripAdvisor. Every suite in the 12-room inn promises Inner Harbor views, a soaking tub, and enough eco-friendly amenities to please the pickiest green guests—from organic mattresses to furniture made with sustainably grown wood.
The inn is run by Demitris Spiliadis, who, with his family, also operates the Black Olive, a Greek restaurant specializing in seafood, around the corner in Fells Point. You can stroll over there for dinner or head up to the inn’s swank rooftop restaurant, the Olive Room, for a decidedly lamb-centric take on classic Greek cuisine, complemented by a mostly organic wine list. 443-681-6316.
Eating Well in Easton
Choosing a room at Easton’s Inn at 202 Dover is like picking a travel itinerary—should you go Asian, English, French, or African? Each of the four suites at this restored 1874 mansion features decor inspired by a different country, and all are tastefully done. (There’s also a queen-size bedroom.)
And while we love the French fare at the neighboring Bartlett Pear Inn, the Inn at 202 Dover boasts the equally sublime Peacock Restaurant & Lounge, where chef Douglas Potts prepares contemporary Eastern Shore cuisine—oyster bisque, seared duck breast, or whatever comes in fresh that morning. He calls it Potts Luck. 866-450-7600.
This article appears in the January 2014 issue of Washingtonian.