THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON

Hi!

Welcome to another chapter of “checking off my bucket list.”

Having just returned from a epic journey to our nation’s south, I have been sharing my trip with you.  Today, I’m taking you back to Little Washington, Virginia…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

a place made famous by two historic visionaries: George Washington and Patrick O’Connell.  OK, so you know who George Washington is, but perhaps you haven’t yet heard of Patrick O’Connell.  Well, like George Washington, the original surveyor and pioneer who delineated the town of Washington, Virginia, Patrick O’Connell is the culinary pioneer of the town.  Thirty six years ago he turned a former filling station into what today is considered the #1 Hotel for Food in the United States.  It is called The Inn at Little Washington and our stay there proved to be one of the best hotel and dining experiences of my life.  Who would have guessed that in such an unlikely spot Patrick O’Connell would turn this garage into a hospitality and culinary empire?

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I have known about The Inn at Little Washington for years and years and have had it high on my bucket list after reading about it in numerous publications. One of those publications was The New York Times, where the late food critic Craig Claiborne called it “The most magnificent Inn I’ve ever seen in this country or in Europe, where I had the most fantastic meal of my life”.  Honestly, I have to agree.  Not only is the Inn charming yet luxurious, but the dining experiences (which I will show you in a future post) were beyond compare.  I think I can also say with certainty that the meal I enjoyed at the table pictured below was indeed the finest meal of my life.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Hey, but more about the food in my next post.  Today, I want to tell you all about The Inn at Little Washington.  As I mentioned in my previous post about the uber charming village, Little Washington, Virginia is a hop-skip-and-a-jump from Washington, DC.   The 79 mile drive to get there took us through beautiful, lush green countryside, dotted with farmland and green pastures.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Once we arrived at the Inn we felt instantly relaxed and far removed from life’s realities and responsibilities.  The porter appeared out of nowhere to greet us, unloading our luggage and parking our car.  As we stepped through the door of the Inn at Little Washington, all of our cares seemed to melt away.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The small lobby is filled with portraits…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and gorgeous flower arrangements.  I snapped photos of them while Brad checked in.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

I learned later that the Inn employs two full time florists to keep it filled with fragrant blooms.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Some of the flowers come from a cutting garden on the property that I’ll show you later.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

What they can’t grow themselves is brought in to insure an ever-present collection of florals…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

placed almost everywhere one looks.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

We were then greeted by the Butler who called us by name (how he managed that I have no idea) and whisked us off to the lounge where he served us a refreshing glass of champagne.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

He then guided us out to the terrace…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

seated us next to the Koi pond…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

where we were served tea from the most comprehensive Tea Menu I have ever seen.  I selected a Jasmine tea that was delicious!  Later that evening we met Cameron, a Certified Tea Master, whose job it is to curate the tea served at the Inn. I was so impressed by his occupation that I asked him if I could take a picture of his metal-festooned jacket.  He is also known as “The Cheese Whiz” because it is also his job to procure and serve an abundant array of gourmet cheese during the dinner service.

Tea Service | The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The complimentary tea service included smoked salmon and cucumber tea sandwiches, Virginia ham and biscuits, delicious scones, sea salt encrusted chocolate tarts and madeleines. It was exactly what we needed to keep us going until our much anticipated dinner later that evening.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The tea cakes were accompanied by clotted cream, lemon curd and house-made rhubarb preserves, served in tiny jars with miniature spoons.

Tea Service | The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

While they readied our room, we relaxed in the garden…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

along with the resident Koi…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and the dragon flies.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The grounds were lovely and peaceful…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and featured fruit trees trained in the shape of umbrellas.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

After thoroughly enjoying our tea, we were lead to our room, located just above the gardens.  As we passed the library on the way, we were told that the framed photos on the walls were an ode to all the chefs that inspired our Chef/Proprietor, Patrick O’Connell.  There were portraits of Chefs Wolfgang Puck, Paul Prudhomme, Martha Stewart, and, as you can see, many others.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comThe Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

The Inn is a member of the prestigious “Relais & Châteaux” organization, made up of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants. With all of the accolades it has achieved over the years, it could very easily be stuffy and pretentious, but in fact, we were relieved to find that it was quite the opposite.   Thankfully, The Inn at Little Washington doesn’t take itself too seriously. Everyone we encountered was warm, friendly and welcoming. In fact, one has the sense of being a guest in a private country estate.  We were encouraged to feel at home, as if it were our own private sanctuary. The hallway leading to our room was lined with framed drawings of the guest rooms, hand painted by by Joyce Evans, a London stage and set designer that was hired to decorate the Inn.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Each of the 24 guest rooms and suites are named in honor of someone special to Patrick O’Connell.  Our room was named after the recently retired Washington, DC restaurant reviewer, Phyllis Richman. Stepping inside, we encountered a small vestibule.  One door led to the bathroom…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and another to the bedroom.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

There, on the little table, we found the first of many little extra touches and surprises that were offered during our stay.  There was a basket of fresh fruit and nuts…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

a list of activities for the day, and a handwritten welcoming note from Patrick O’Connell himself.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

On another table sat a stack of books (all cook books) penned by Chef O’Connell.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Our room, located on the second floor of the Inn, had a small balcony that overlooked the gardens below.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comThe Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Guests can choose to take breakfast on the terrace in the morning or be served in the Terrace Room below.  Stay tuned and in a future post I’ll share with you that dining experience as well.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Stepping back inside, I’ll now show you the bathroom, complete with a heated towel rack…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.comThe Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and Bulgari toiletries.

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

Well folks, as it states in their brochure, “The Inn at Little Washington is a romantic fantasy world far removed from the harsh realities of modern day life. It is also a culinary oasis akin to visiting a Michelin starred restaurant in the European countryside.”  So, trust me, if you ever find yourself in this neck of the woods, treat yourself to the stay of a lifetime.  I’m going to end this post now with a preview of what’s to come, because there is so much more to The Inn at Little Washington.  In future posts, we’ll take a walk around the grounds of the Inn…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

visiting the resident llama, sheep and chickens.  We’ll pay a visit to the abundant kitchen garden…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

tour Chef O’Connell’s kitchen, called the most beautiful kitchen in the world…

The Inn at Little Washington | www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

and take an amazing culinary joy ride.

Dining at The Inn at Little Washington \ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com

So, please come back tomorrow for lots more from The Inn at Little Washington.

 

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All opinions expressed in this post are my own.   All photos are the original property of Celia Becker @ www.AfterOrangeCounty.com and may not be reproduced without specific permission.

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