Relaxation Awaits at Clifton Inn

There are plenty of ways to get from Washington, DC to Charlottesville, VA, but the best way is through the backroads.  Horse farms framed with white picket fences and blossoming magnolia trees along two-lane roads make the 95-mile drive into the angelic countryside of Central Virginia a relaxing prelude to a visit at Clifton Inn.

Clifton Inn has its fair share of history with direct ties to Thomas Jefferson, a former governor and a “ghost” of the Civil War.  The white-columned, anti-bellum mansion sits on a nugget of the original 3,000 acre farm that passed from generation to generation with the occasional family tryst and disallowance.  Today, the Inn and several outlying buildings, is a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux and boasts one of the best dining experiences in the area.

Traveling solo mid-week, on a sweltering summer day, I stayed in the Merriweather Lewis cottage, a low-lying white brick hut with original stone flooring, massive fireplace and clapboard siding on the interior.  An alluring, quaint environment that made me feel perfectly at home the minute I stepped into the room.  Dining at Clifton Inn is worth the trip alone. A four-stool bar in the main house was the perfect place to start. I found it hard to leave the generous bowls of honey-coated sugared pecans (thank you for the recipe!) and extensive wine menu, including many listings from Virginia’s established wineries. 

I woke early and walked along the pebble paths that outlined the manicured lawns as the morning haze of the Blue Ridge Mountains began to lift.   Various spots on the property were a perfect backdrop for a full day of writing.  Calm scenery always helps me feel creative.

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