It was November 2020. I really wanted to get away, I was depressed and tired in need of a change of scenery. We were months into confinement and no end was in sight. But I wondered if going away was a good idea, even driving and traveling solo. Was it safe? Was it inconsiderate of hospitality workers to even travel at all? I almost bailed on the whole thing. I looked at resorts and hotels down in Central Virginia, (I wanted to be pretty well south of DC) I quickly realized that I was priced out of most of the things that had caught my eye. I closed my laptop. Then, I though, hmm, I bet Jessie Peterson knows of some good spots and she surely did.
I met Jessie years ago when she worked at Baltimore Magazine and she is a firecracker! She now lives in Leesburg, Virginia with her husband and three kiddos. Through her work with Inside Loudoun — an excellent source for places to stay, eat and drink and things to do all around Loudoun Country, VA — she was able to give me the best advice and recs thanks to her amazing network of people and places.
Jessie recommended several places and the one I liked best was The Inn at Mount Vernon Farm in Sperryville, Virginia. It was a little over what I wanted to spend, but it looked small, I knew I would interact with very few people and it seemed perfect. I emailed them and one of the innkeepers, Dawn, got right back to me with a warm, welcoming and helpful email. I felt at ease already and it was only an email! We exchanged a few emails and I eventually decided on a Sunday and Monday night, because the room I wanted (The Brief Room) was booked up for months (they are often completely booked). I loved that room because it had a freestanding tub, a king-sized bed and a working fireplace. Oh and also its own private entrance and a little side porch where I had coffee in the morning. Because this is Virginia horse country, the room had a little bit of an equestrian theme and I had a beautiful view, too.
Dawn had given me a heads up that due to COVID, and also the timing of my stay, many of the restaurants in town would likely be closed. So, I packed a ton of snacks, a batched cocktail from a friend and a bottle of rosé. Dawn suggested that since I was so close, I consider having a meal at The Inn at Little Washington, but it was not in my budget at this time. I told her I’d go and see it all the same and I did go over to Washington, Virginia on my second day and wandered around the vegetable garden at The Inn at Little Washington, which was a treat. I chatted with the head gardener, she was really nice. I visited the chicken coop (of course I did) and walked all around the beautiful grounds. Then I walked throughout the restaurant and saw the mannequins I had read about — they were quite creepy. The town of Washington was very charming, however.
I also planned to go to Copper Fox Distillery, which was literally next to the Inn (just over a little stream) and also planned a few nice long walks. I really just did a lot of nothing. I slept and ate and slept. I drove around downtown Sperryville, which was quaint and slow and lovely.
One thing I really enjoyed was breakfast. While the offerings are not elaborate, everything was made fresh daily by the Inn’s cook, Lillian Aylor. On the two mornings I had breakfast there, she had baked something fresh herself, plus she prepared other things like bacon, sausage and scrambled eggs and more. And because this was during COVID, there were only a few tables offered and everyone spaced out nicely. I had a chance to talk with Miss Lillian for a while and she told me all about her family and some of the history of the area. Listening to her stories, I was completely at ease and very interested. She was amazing, actually. Miss Lillian also wrote a book and once the Inn’s owner Mr. Miller gifted me a copy of the book. I’ve had it on my bedside since, I really need to dive in. (I am the world’s worst reader). Oh…and when I met Mr. Miller outside on my porch, I also met his dog, Hannah. She was the sweetest old girl. I have a soft spot for older dogs, especially after having my girl, Magnolia. (Big thanks to my friend Kathleen for having Magnolia over while I was away!)
On Monday afternoon, I wandered over to Copper Fox. I was so happy they were open on a Monday! It was a beautiful day and I sat outside along the stream and had a very nice Old Fashioned. (Sadly, I deleted the photo of the drink). Just picture it in your mind. You can do it.
As I packed up my suitcase, I vowed to come back to this wonderful place. A place with almost nothing to do is my idea of a perfect mini-vacation. It’s funny, I love cities and towns with a bustling downtown filled with restaurants, bars, shops, galleries, etc.. too, but sleepy little Sperryville was just what I needed.