The Inn at Willow Grove is recognized by the most discerning hotel reviewers, including Forbes, Select Registry, and the Historic Hotels of America. But these sophisticated awards do not fully capture what makes this hotel a splendid destination for a romantic rendezvous, or haven for celebrating that special occasion.
The inn is located in central Virginia, home of the award-winning Monticello Wine Trail, and flanked by rounded peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Staying at this lovely place puts you in a truly scenic part of Virginia, where farmsteads and quaint villages dot the landscape.
As you drive up the winding road to the Inn at Willow Grove, you’re immediately impressed by the hotel’s enchanting surroundings. A statuesque main house sits atop a ridge with sweeping views of a lush green lawn, meandering paths, and manicured gardens.
The main house is a place to gather. Built in the 1770s, the building has been completely restored but retains its historic charm. Inside, the mood is celebratory.
“Many of our guests are here for their birthdays, anniversaries, or to visit wine country,” says Michele Sigler, guest services manager for the Inn at Willow Grove. “Doing all the fun things.”
At check-in, guests are welcomed with a glass of Champagne and a friendly smile. The front desk staff provides an old fashioned key to open your accommodations. The mansion has elegant sitting rooms with fireplaces where guests can read or chat.
“Forbes recognition aside, we are very personal. Greeting our guests, knowing them when they return, that’s what’s important to all of our staff. You’re not a number. We know who you are and are really excited that you’re here,” she says.
“We have 25 rooms and cottages. The creekside rooms are our newest addition along with our spa,” Sigler says. “The main house has four rooms with a balcony. Guests can walk down for breakfast and dinner.”
The rooms closest to the creek are brand new and located near a forest that has old-growth trees and a babbling brook. The historic smokehouse and the two other outbuildings have been turned into luxury suite–style cottages with sumptuous furnishings, patios, heated bathroom floors, sunken tubs, and the fluffiest beds.
One cottage is ideal for two traveling couples, because it shares a sitting room with two plush bedrooms. For guests with their pets in tow, there are three Overlook cabins with stunning views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Nearly every room at the Inn has a fireplace and spa-like bathroom. In the morning, complimentary coffee, tea, and beignets are delivered to your room. The whole experience is so pampering and cozy, a sanctuary from your busy lives.
The Mill House Spa is a brand-new facility with multiple treatment rooms both for individuals and couples. It offers wraps, facials, and massages.
“The spa has a gift shop and three treatment rooms. Upstairs, there are rooms for singles or couples, and the lower level is for couples only, and has its own stone fireplace,” says Sigler.
The heated, saltwater relaxation pool is located beside the spa. The pool is 5 feet deep and open from May until October. You can use the pool as a hotel guest or as part of the spa experience.
The barn provides a place for gathering and special events. The inn frequently hosts live music under the stars, and the occasional murder-mystery night.
The Inn at Willow Grove has the acclaimed Vintage Restaurant, a fine-dining destination restaurant with intimate seating and exquisite service. The focus is on regional American cuisine, and a seasonal menu takes advantage of the bounty from the surrounding farms in the Virginia countryside.
The restaurant has a first-rate wine list as well, including wines from the Monticello Viticultural Area. Some highlights from the menu include the spinach salad, Maryland lump crab cakes, and short ribs. The Pub is the Inn’s more casual option that doesn’t require reservations.
The Inn at Willow Grove definitely does not look its age. The plantation was founded by Joseph Clark in 1778 as a working farm. The former schoolhouse, now a guest cottage, was the oldest school in Orange County, Virginia. Other buildings served as a weaver’s cottage and a smokehouse.
Today’s owners, David and Charlene Scibal, are hands-on, designing all the interiors and architectural flourishes. If you love the décor, take a look at Charlene Scibal’s boutique, Objects on Main, in the nearby town of Orange, where you can find some of the same items she used to decorate the Inn at Willow Grove.
Location and Attractions
The Piedmont region of Virginia is a pastoral place, with bucolic hills, farms, and so many vineyards. The Town of Orange has several dining options, and if you’re looking for a gift to commemorate your special getaway, shop in the Town of Gordonsville. The boutiques are filled with original works by local makers.
Feature image courtesy Inn at Willow Grove
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