Thanks to the iconic, 46-year-old slogan Virginia is for Lovers™ emblazoned on everything from bumper stickers and license plates to postcards and t-shirts, travelers to Virginia know that this is an ideal destination for lovers – of every kind.
Those with a penchant for fascinating history, succulent wines, or scenic landscapes will, undoubtedly, find something to hearten this affection when visiting Virginia. But rather than dwell on these types of love that are easily sated, let’s focus on romantic love; the sort of dreamy, heart-fluttering love that has inspired generations of couples, not to mention countless books, movies, and fairy tales. It’s time to bring those intoxicating daydreams to life.
Whether you enjoy escaping to a cozy bed and breakfast or prefer the amenities of a more traditional hotel, you are invited to explore a variety of romantic destinations in the beautiful Commonwealth of Virginia. Sweep your paramour away to one of these retreats where the possibilities for romance are endless.
Airlie – Warrenton, Virginia
A gem set amid the gently rolling Shenandoah foothills, Airlie mingles tranquil respite with extraordinary gastronomic delights. The 150 well-appointed guestrooms and suites are spread over several historic buildings and quaint cottages. Enjoy strolling the grounds and manicured gardens, gaze out over tranquil lakes, and take a peek in the butterfly garden. When it’s chilly, friendly staff ensures that cozy fireplaces are crackling. A vast organic garden provides homegrown vegetables and herbs year-round for the hotel’s signature restaurant, The Garden Bistro. Here the talented culinary team impresses the palate with sophisticated flavors and beautifully presented dishes. This modern Virginian cuisine pairs well with select vintages from neighboring wineries. The hotel’s history includes stays by renowned global figures, notable cultural events, and pioneering environmental initiatives. For the ultimate romantic experience, book a Fireside package that includes a three-course gourmet dinner, overnight accommodations, and breakfast. Take time to discover the local boutiques and restaurants of historic downtown Warrenton. Address: 6809 Airlie Road, Warrenton, VA 20187. Tel: (540) 347-1300. www.airlie.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 52 miles. The Garden Bistro is open for dinner Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, and brunch on Sunday.
Keswick Hall – Charlottesville, Virginia
If your idea of romance includes 18 holes of golf, Keswick Hall is the place for you. Not far from Monticello, this stately mansion has 48 rooms and suites, each unique in style and décor yet wholly tranquil and inviting. Whether you choose golf, tennis, hiking, or pampering, this is a splendid retreat. Book a relaxing couples massage in the spa or try the new vineyard-inspired treatments. Savor Southern-inspired dishes at Fossett’s Restaurant. For an indelible culinary memory enjoy a private dinner for two in the romantic hidden wine cellar, Treble. Stroll through the vineyard and landscaped parkland, or take in the view from a hot air balloon. Address: 701 Club Drive, Keswick, VA 22947. Tel: (434) 979-3440. www.keswick.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 110 miles.
The Inn and Garden Café – Onancock, Virginia
True to their motto, “Southern Hospitality with an Elegant Twist,” gracious hosts Sandra and Paul Fox welcome guests to The Inn and Garden Café on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Built around 1880, the inn has four guest suites, each decorated in a country inn style with thoughtful amenities that make you feel right at home. In the evening, dine at The Garden Café where dishes feature produce from the inn’s garden. The café offers special monthly events and a popular Sunday brunch. Enjoy a bountiful breakfast served in the sunny dining room before settling in on the front porch to watch the world go by. There is ample parking and the inn is a certified Virginia Green Lodging. Address: 145 Market Street, Onancock, VA 23417. Tel: (757) 787-8850. www.theinnandgardencafe.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 182 miles. The Garden Café is closed on Monday.
L’Auberge Provençale – White Post, Virginia
Author Peter Mayle would undoubtedly feel right at home amid the splendors of L’Auberge Provençale. A love letter to Provence, this lovely bed and breakfast is run by Chef Alain and Celeste Borel. Each of the 14 elegant guestrooms and suites feature Provencal fabrics, antiques, and views over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy a leisurely dinner of modern French cuisine at the onsite restaurant, La Table Provençale. Here the freshest of ingredients are used in seasonal menus that celebrate the sheer pleasure of food. After a peaceful night’s sleep, enjoy a delicious breakfast that includes homemade croissants. A perfect weekend getaway, this is a great spot from which to explore the Shenandoah Valley. Address: 13630 Lord Fairfax Highway, White Post, VA 22620. Tel: (540) 837-1375. www.laubergeprovencale.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 77 miles.
Morrison House – Alexandria, Virginia
Set in the heart of historic Old Town Alexandria, Morrison House is a welcome reprieve from the workaday world. The hotel’s Federal-style architecture houses 45 guestrooms and suites that meld colonial character with contemporary comfort. Splurge on a variety of in-room spa services including skin care treatments and massages. Dine at The Grille where Chef Brian McPherson and his team craft seasonal menus featuring products from local farms, markets, and artisans. Sample a cocktail at the bar (they make a great martini) and enjoy live piano music Thursday through Saturday. The hotel is mere steps from King Street where you will find numerous boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and cultural events. You get a sense that George and Martha Washington could easily relax here. Address: 116 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: (703) 838-8000. www.morrisonhouse.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 8 miles.
The Inn at Little Washington – Washington, Virginia
Oft considered the most romantic place in Virginia, The Inn at Little Washington is the place to make a grand romantic gesture. Whether on bended knee or simply pushing a Tiffany Blue Box across the table, the intimate atmosphere is bound to bring out the romantic in anyone. Chef/proprietor Patrick O’Connell and his team create exquisitely prepared and presented dishes that have made this a culinary destination for over 35 years. After enjoying a lovely meal, retreat to one of the inn’s 24 luxuriously appointed guestrooms or suites, where no detail is left to chance, for a restful sleep before exploring the town and countryside the next day. Address: Middle and Main Street, Washington, VA 22747. Tel: (540) 675-3800. www.theinnatlittlewashington.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 74 miles.
Prospect Hill – Louisa County, Virginia
A genuine 18th century plantation, Prospect Hill combines historic charm with contemporary comfort. The expansive grounds include a five-acre arboretum home to the rarest magnolia species in the U.S and trees planted in the 1840s. There are 11 guestrooms and cottages housed in original buildings. Each has a unique character accented by fireplaces and period antiques. Opt for the 1850 Carriage House with a private deck and fabulous views over the grounds, or the intimate allure of the 1699 Boy’s Log Cabin. In the evening, enjoy a fine meal in the restaurant. Dine by candlelight on creative dishes inspired by locally-sourced, organic ingredients accompanied by a vintage from the fine wine list. After a peaceful night’s sleep, savor breakfast in bed or in the attractive dining room. From here it is easy to explore the sights of Charlottesville. Address: 2887 Poindexter Road, Louisa, VA 23093. Tel: (540) 967-0844, www.ProspectHill.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 104 miles. Prospect Hill’s restaurant is closed on Tuesday.
Mayhurst Inn – Orange, Virginia
Hosts Jack and Pat North invite guests to take a step back in time and enjoy the antebellum charm of Mayhurst Inn. Originally built in 1859, this restored Italianate Victorian plantation home is a bastion of southern hospitality. There are eight guestrooms and suites, each with distinctive décor, tasteful antiques, and an original marble fireplace. In the evening enjoy wine and cheese in the library, and a splendid three-course breakfast each morning. Take a walk around the grounds and gardens or simply enjoy the view from the veranda. Be sure to ask about the history of the house, as Civil War Generals “Stonewall” Jackson, Ambrose Powell Hill, and Robert E. Lee crossed over the threshold. The inn is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and is a Virginia Historical Landmark. Address: 12460 Mayhurst Lane, Orange, VA 22960. Tel: (540) 672-5597. www.mayhurstinn.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 88 miles.
The Fife and Drum Inn – Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg natives Billy and Sharon Scruggs provide a warm welcome to visitors of The Fife and Drum Inn located on the second floor of the Hitchens Building built in 1933 by Sharon’s grandfather. There are nine rooms and one cottage each individually decorated with authentic Williamsburg memorabilia. The romantic Conservancy Room has a four poster bed and the Cedars Suite, a cozy sitting area. Nearby, the Drummers Cottage is a private retreat and handicap accessible. A hearty breakfast made using family recipes is served in the airy common room each morning. Take time to peruse the interesting collection of folk art and keepsakes from the city’s famed restoration. The inn is in the heart of downtown adjacent Merchant Square shops and restaurants, Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionary City, and the College of William and Mary. Address: 441 Prince George Street, Williamsburg, VA. Tel: (757) 345-1776. www.fifeanddruminn.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 153 miles.
Salamander Resort and Spa – Middleburg, Virginia
Virginia’s undulating horse country provides a lush backdrop for Salamander Resort and Spa, a luxurious retreat set amid the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Many of the 168 guestrooms and suites feature gas fireplaces and private balconies. A full-service equestrian center offers lessons, trail rides, and an innovative Equi-Spective program. Get your heart pounding on a zip line tour or keep it at a resting rate with a massage in the spa’s private couples’ suite. There are miles of hiking and biking trails, a cooking studio, wine bar, and billiards room. Harrimans Grill serves Virginia Piedmont-influenced farm-to-table cuisine enhanced by produce from the onsite culinary garden. Explore nearby wineries and historic Middleburg before heading back to the real world. Address: 500 North Pendleton Street, Middleburg, VA. Tel: (800) 651-0721. www.salamanderresort.com. Distance from Washington, DC: 43 miles. Harrimans is open for breakfast Monday through Saturday, dinner Wednesday through Sunday evenings, and Sunday brunch.
Virginia tourism: www.virginia.org.
Looking for Virginia is for Lovers™ merchandise? You can order officially licensed products from www.thevastore.com.
A variation of this article appears in the February/March 2015 issue of DC Metro Plus Magazine.