For my birthday, my lovely husband took me for a winter sojourn in nearby Virginia hunt country – one of my favorite things to do.
We had heard many good things about the historic Ashby Inn in Paris, Virginia and booked a night in one of its School House suites and dinner in the restaurant.
Paris, Virginia is a tiny village (population 70) located an hour outside of Washington, DC with a view of Ashby Gap and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The village (really just one street) is charming with several old residences and a charming old church.
The Inn was built in 1829 by Manley Pierce as a private residence. The original house had four rooms with additions over the years.
Generals Joseph E. Johnston and Stonewall Jackson rested on the house porch on their way to the First Battle of Manassas the night of June 17, 1861. The house also served as a Methodist parsonage for many years.
We stayed in the Lafayette Room in the School House which was lovely and large.
There are four private rooms in the School House and each has a king bed, wood-burning fireplace, mini-fridge, large bathroom en suite, and a private balcony with Adirondack chairs to enjoy the view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The polar vortex (read, wind chill and snow) prevented us from sitting out on the balcony but we had a lovely view at sunrise out of our bedroom window.
Upon arrival, John immediately built a fire. The innkeepers had laid the first fire for us so it was ready to go and there was plenty of firewood, starters, and matches.
They also provided a sample of Virginia port in a lovely decanter on the dresser. We loved all of the antique furniture and we remarked that we had some similar inherited pieces at home (the cherry wood dresser, the one-drawer turned leg bedside table.)
The evening was going swimmingly!
We had a couple of hours before our restaurant reservation and were feeling quite peckish so we asked for a little nibble to be sent to our room. Chef David Dunlap sent an abundant charcuterie and cheese plate, including some of the house-made rabbit rillettes he was serving as a first course that night.
Dinner was wonderful: John had the grilled ribeye, parmesan espuma, herb pesto, and roasted marble potatoes; I enjoyed the loin of lamb with mustard, boudin noir, peas, carrots and potatoes.
For starters we had the house-made snacks: chicharrónes (freshly fried pork rinds) and comté gougères with some craft cocktails (John: Hendricks gin martini, dirty, with 3 olives; Rebecca: Copper Fox Distillery gin (made in Purcellville, Virginia) with Fever Tree tonic and ginger simple syrup.)
We shared dessert: fuji apple-almond cake, honeycrisp sorbet, apple brandy foam.
I love me some foam!
Do book a special occasion or simple getaway at The Ashby Inn & Restaurant if you have the opportunity. Winter or summer, it is delightful (especially if you like old places, antiques, gracious service, fabulous wine, wonderful food and who doesn’t!)
NOTE: to ‘type A’ types: don’t expect your cell phone devices to work all the time and don’t expect room service or ice at 10 pm or any of that. Just relax and be mesmerized by the fire and the quiet and your partner’s good company. Beds are comfy, too!
On the way back home, we enjoyed touring the countryside and looking at some old churches.
We enjoyed our brief winter exploration into Virginia hunt country (as we have many times before). More to come about what we saw and ate in a future post!
692 Federal Street
Paris, Virginia 20130