As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Americans continue to be cut off from most international travel. While that does not mean we have to be stuck in our homes, we do need to exercise caution and follow CDC guidelines. “Virginia Is For Lovers” has been the tourism board’s official slogan for over 50 years. The state features an abundance of natural beauty from the Appalachian Mountains to Chesapeake Bay. Charming historic towns like Colonial Williamsburg pre-date the founding of the United States. Here are some great Virginia weekend getaway ideas from Washington, DC and elsewhere! Included are some fantastic bed and breakfasts and historic hotels around Virginia that we have loved staying in.
The Shenandoah Valley is an excellent Virginia weekend getaway destination. The region features charming towns packed with great restaurants, historic hotels and cozy romantic cabins, craft breweries and wineries and attractions like the Luray Caverns and American Shakespeare Center. Just 75 miles from Washington, DC, Shenandoah National Park has been one of the most popular national parks in the country since it was founded in 1935.
Staunton is an excellent base to explore Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Downtown Staunton is home to a vibrant art and music scene, nestled in a walkable historic center. A couple highlights of Staunton include the American Shakespeare Center and Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum.
Staunton, Virginia’s Historic Hotels
Staunton offers two Historic Hotels of America properties. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel is located right in downtown Staunton, next to the American Shakespeare Center, where you can take in a play and walking distance from great restaurants, shops, bars and cafes. The Stonewall Jackson Hotel was originally built in 1924 and was recently restored in 2018. It’s perfect for a Virginia weekend getaway, with amenities that include an indoor heated pool.
The Blackburn Inn is another member of the Historic Hotels of America. The building dates to 1828 and was built by Thomas Jefferson’s carpenter. The building’s history is storied, previously housing a mental asylum, it was later converted to a boutique hotel. The tranquil property, a stone’s throw outside downtown Staunton, sits on 80 acres of well-manicured grounds. Old-time charm meets modern finishes at Blackburn Inn, making it an excellent place to host a wedding. The pastries served for breakfast are baked at Reunion Bakery and Espresso, an excellent cafe that gives Parisian patisseries a run for their money!
Historic Prospect Hill is just a 30 minute drive from Charlottesville. History abounds with Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia, which he founded nearby. When you set foot on the beautiful 40 acre Louisa County property, you take a step back in time. Prospect Hill is the oldest continually operating frame-house plantation in Virginia, with the manor house dating back to 1732. Along with wineries just down the road, it is a short drive from the homes of several former presidents and close to civil war battlefields. If you visit Monticello, be sure to take the slave tour, which depicts the hypocrisy of Jefferson and other American founders.
Prospect Hill offers guests a choice of 11 distinct rooms. Some are in the Manor House, and some are in separate cabins. The “boys cabin” actually dates back to 1699 and was the original home built on the property. By American standards, it’s extremely rare to be able to sleep somewhere that old. In recent years, they’ve added modern comforts like a plush bed and whirlpool jacuzzi in the adjoining bathroom to the cabin from 1699.
Prospect Hill gives guests the option of eating a complimentary gourmet breakfast in their historic 177 year old dining room or having it brought to your room. We stayed for two nights and chose each option one morning, so we could experience both and enjoyed breakfast the two mornings. We also highly recommend eating dinner there, as it is a culinary feast.
Richmond is the state capital, with lots to offer for a Virginia weekend getaway. Highlights include the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia State Capitol Building. Richmond restaurants offer an innovative culinary scene, blending southern favorites with modern international dishes. The state capital of Virginia was also the capital of the Confederacy during the US Civil War and you can take a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy. The history is tragic, and by learning more about it, we can hope to avoid repeating it.
We celebrated our 14 year wedding anniversary at the historic Jefferson Hotel and had a fantastic time. The Jefferson opened its doors in 1895 with the intention of bringing the country’s finest hotel experience to Richmond. At least 13 US presidents have been guests, along with many foreign dignitaries and celebrities like Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra, Tom Hanks and the Rolling Stones. This palatial property is AAA’s only 5 diamond rated hotel in central Virginia, so it’s the premier place to celebrate a special occasion in Richmond. Read our article on a special Richmond, Virginia weekend itinerary.
Williamsburg, Virginia was the capital of the Virginia colony from 1699 to 1780, when the capital was moved to Richmond. Today it’s the centerpiece of the historic triangle with Yorktown and Jamestown, one of the first English settlements on the continent. Colonial Williamsburg is the best preserved colonial settlement on the continent. Its historic district is a living-history museum where actors in period costume depict daily Colonial life in the streets, stores and workshops.
We recently used an annual AMEX Marriott Bonvoy redemption for a complimentary night stay at the historic Williamsburg Lodge. The property is just across the street from Colonial Williamsburg, with two on-site restaurants, a swimming pool and spa. Room décor is inspired by the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum collection. Comfortable rooms feature bedspreads with 18th-century coverlet designs, hand-painted lamps and throw pillows. This is a fantastic weekend getaway idea that you can save a lot of money on with points. Read our article on travel hacks to save big money!
The Luray Caverns are the largest caverns in the Eastern United States. They were first discovered on August 13, 1878, by five local men, including tinsmith, Andrew J. Campbell and local photographer Benton Stebbins. The caverns have been a popular tourist attraction for over a century. Guided 75-minute tours leave every 20 minutes from 9am-6pm.
Luray Caverns are packed with stalactites, stalagmites, mirrored pools and mud flows, that create beautiful optical illusions. Another highlight is the Great Stalacpipe Organ, a lithophone made with solenoid-fired strikers that tap stalactites of different sizes to produce tones similar to xylophones, tuning forks or bells. A lighted pathway in the caverns means tours are also handicapped accessible as well as suitable for families.
Historic Hotels of America Stay in Luray: Mimslyn Inn
The Mimslyn Inn is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and has been operating since the 1920’s. From its hilltop location in Luray, well-appointed rooms feature great views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Suites have jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces and large flat-screen TV’s. Circa’ 31 is their specialty dining restaurant open for dinner shows like Murder Mystery performances. Their Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant has art deco-inspired decor, a prohibition theme drink menu and period music.
Located in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Northern Virginia, Winchester is just 76 miles from Washington, DC. It has a charming historic center packed with a variety of great restaurants. Nearby Shenandoah Valley offers many picturesque overlooks along with hiking and outdoor recreation opportunities. Outdoor enthusiasts can also enjoy the nearby Blue Ridge and Skyline Drive, George Washington National Forest and Appalachian Trail. The scenery is lovely year round, with peak autumn foliage being a significant highlight.
History enthusiasts can enjoy visiting the office of George Washington in Winchester. From that office, he supervised the construction of the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum and Fort Loudoun. The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley covers the art, history and culture of the area. Country music legend Patsy Cline was born in Winchester and you can tour her former home, which is now a museum. All this makes Winchester a great base for a Virginia weekend getaway.
Historic Winchester Hotel: George Washington
A wonderful place to stay in Winchester is the historic George Washington. Located right in the historic downtown, it is a short walk from lots of great restaurants, bars and cafes. Rooms are well-appointed and extremely comfortable, making it an ideal choice for a fun couples getaway. Amenities include an indoor pool, fitness center, on-site restaurant and bar and room service.
Blacksburg is a quaint college town that is home to Virginia Tech University. You can use it as a base to explore the scenic nearby Blue Ridge Parkway. Check the calendar at the Moss Arts Center, Virginia Tech’s hub for performance and visual arts. Off-campus, the Historic Smithfield Plantation Home, is a unique 18th-century property on the National Register of Historic Places. It was the birthplace of two Virginia governors.
Charming Blacksburg Bed and Breakfast: Clay Corner Inn
Clay Corner Inn is tucked away in a residential neighborhood a short walk from central Blacksburg and the campus. The rooms are individually decorated and lovingly maintained by the couple operating the property. After checking in, we were delighted to find gourmet chocolates in our cozy well appointed room.
Clay Corner Inn serves a wonderful gourmet complimentary breakfast that can be brought to your room or enjoyed in their comfy common area. We especially loved the sausage stuffed French toast with raspberry puree and a side of cheesy grilled tomatoes. During the warmer months, you can take a dip in their swimming pool to cool off. However, in the off-season, this is one of the best value Virginia weekend getaway stays we have experienced. We enjoyed a lovely and peaceful stay there during a recent white Christmas!
Virginia Weekend Getaway Ideas Recap
Virginia offers a wealth of experiences for weekend getaways, from the Appalachian Trail to Chesapeake Bay. A popular vacation destination we left off this list is Virginia Beach, partly because fighter jets fly over the beach during the week. You can avoid that noise pollution by visiting on weekends. There are lots of great Virginia wineries, breweries and distilleries around the state as well, from the Appalachian Mountains to Colonial Williamsburg.
Seasonally, we also highly recommend staying at Capon Springs, just over the Virginia boundary in West Virginia. Tucked away in the Allegheny Mountains of High View, West Virginia, Capon Springs and Farms is less than a two-hour drive from Washington, DC. The 119 room all-inclusive resort is a wonderful oasis to relax and enjoy a wide range of activities like golf, tennis, swimming and their luxurious spa. It is a peaceful getaway for a digital detox or family reunion.
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