About 90 minutes away from Washington, D.C. on 80 rolling acres in bucolic Rappahannock County, Virginia is a small, five-bedroom inn that goes by the name of Blue Rock. It’s an unassuming place located just off a two-lane highway, surrounded by vineyards and situated in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For those lucky enough to snag a stay and a reservation at its eponymous restaurant, it may just be one of the most magical and delicious experiences in the state.
Located in Washington, Virginia (otherwise known as Little Washington, and otherwise known as the home to the famed three-star Michelin restaurant The Inn at Little Washington), Blue Rock is not without its storied competition. But the kitchen, newly helmed by the enormously talented Bin Lu (who previously led the team at two-star Michelin D.C. restaurant Pineapple and Pearls) is making it clear that there are many reasons to make the trip out to the country Washington.
The warmth and hospitality of Blue Rock begins upon entry to the inn. Immediately to the right of the check-in desk is a sitting room that is what all living room dreams are made of, complete with comfortable throws draped over couches, and a carved wood chess set for some rainy day entertainment. It’s clear that you’re in horse country: equestrian decor and reclaimed wood, soft color palettes, and country chic furniture are a sharp departure from the city that is a mere 80 miles away.
In each of the inn’s common spaces — many of which are meant for breaking bread — you’ll find unique touches; there’s a library boasting a stone hearth and mantle, and inviting Adirondack chairs in what feels like the backyard of the inn overlooking classic Virginia vineyards. Intimacy is clearly the name of the game at Blue Rock — with only five rooms, each uniquely decorated with en-suite bathrooms — this is an ideal locale to escape the trials and tribulations of what you might soon call the “real world.” Beds are comfortable and large, and outfitted with crisp, white linen bedspreads and traditional rugs laid on top of hardwood floors. Bath products come from Molton Brown, and each room comes equipped with its own Nespresso machine should you require a mid-day pick-me-up.
The real draw of Blue Rock, however, is undoubtedly the restaurant. Chef Lu has created a tour de force in his four-course dinner menu, which makes use of fresh, local produce and marries pungent flavors of the east with more traditional dishes of the west. When I visited, for example, a hamachi crudo with a Thai curry sauce and agnolotti stuffed with charred corn and accompanied by morel mushrooms were just a couple standouts. An expert sommelier is also available to walk through an optional wine pairing, which is just as adventurous as the food. If the prix-fixe option is not for you, the restaurant also boast a tasting room, where options are offered a la carte.
Come morning, take advantage of a light breakfast of homemade granola, yogurt, fruit salad, and tea or coffee, and then make your way either into the town of Little Washington, or to the magical mountains of Shenandoah, which is a mere 15 minutes away by car. The surrounding towns have plenty to offer – from fresh fruit to horseback riding lessons to breweries and wineries – and Blue Rock Inn offers the perfect place to call home at the end of your adventures.
Location: Washington, Virginia
The Vibe: Equestrian country inn with approachable yet elevated sensibilities
Food + Drink: The Blue Rock restaurant is perhaps the main draw of the inn; there’s a full bar and breakfast offered as well
Amenities: Molton Brown bath products, Nespresso machines, complementary breakfast
Any neighborhood recs? While hiking trails abound just 10 to 15 minutes away from Blue Rock, one of the most beautiful (and efficient) is Mary’s Rock Summit, just 2.7 miles roundtrip.
Our Favorite Thing About the Hotel: While dinner at Blue Rock is the star of the show, do not miss out on breakfast on the patio where you can catch stunning views of the county
What’s Nearby? Shenandoah National Park, Blue Ridge Mountains, Luray Caverns, Pen Druid Brewing (and other local breweries), Copper Fox Distillery and Antiques
Rooms: 5 rooms
Pricing: Rooms start at $350/night
Closest Airport: Dulles International Airport
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