Industry rankings — from Guide Michelin, Zagat, Saveur, to name a few — are often coveted awards. And then there is Southern Living’s list, the South’s Best Bed and Breakfasts. In the most recent edition of the magazine, Sperryville’s own Inn at Mount Vernon Farm is among the eight B&Bs listed.
“The most important distinction for this six-room 1827 mansion is that it’s an 840-acre working farmstead,” the review says. “Daily breakfasts showcase the farm’s yields, such as eggs, from resident layers, and jam made with blackberries from an on-property briar patch.”
Cliff Miller IV, who along with his sister are seventh-generation owners of the inn property, says he knew nothing about his family’s lovely ancestral home’s being on Southern Living’s list until someone mentioned it to him. Indeed, these rankings are often the result of anonymous visits.
In an earlier Sperryville column, heralding the opening of this southern gem, I’d written, “Cliff Miller IV is all about drive, determination, vision and execution. As a young man, he set his goals, one of which was to bring back to life, with his father, the beautiful country manor now known as the Inn at Mount Vernon Farm.”
Fast forward several years and many effusive TripAdvisor reviews later, and Cliff’s dream and vision is realized. The restoration, not only of the home but also the dairy barn, according to Cliff IV, “was done with great care to honor the ancient wood and architecture of days of old.” The elder Cliff Miller says his son “was the energy behind all the work, and innkeepers Jackie Barroso and Lillian Aylor are now the ones who make it successful day to day.”
Jackie has been employed with the Miller family since 2007 and tells me, with a smile, that she is “blessed to work with them.” Lillian will celebrate her 34th year with the family this upcoming January. She is known for her cooking acumen, including homemade jams, granola cereals and especially her southern chicken and lamb hash. Indeed her culinary skills are so appreciated that she has guests not only clamoring for recipes but encouraging her to publish a cookbook.
The barn, Cliff III says, was built by his grandfather in 1917 and is one of the largest of its type east of the Mississippi. It is used now to house myriad events — corporate, community and weddings. The manor home sits atop a hillside with breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and is filled with rich family history. The Millers are descendants of the Muellers and Hanes. Family portraits adorn the walls, adding to the historical charm of the manor. Cliff IV tells me his own reasons for thinking of the inn as special: “the unique location, lovely landscape and, for guests, it’s like having your own farm for the weekend.”
Among the reviews on TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com) was one that said, in part: “To say our stay was perfect would barely begin to capture the high level of hospitality and excellence . . . Our reception was in the century-old Dairy Barn that was absolutely perfect — and unique! No cookiecutter weddings here.”
Said another review: “We expected this to be a typical B&B — so we were completely blown away by how amazing the place is. Everything is top notch and lux. The grounds are simply breathtaking — meticulously landscaped with stunning scenery. The owners and innkeepers friendliness, warmth and genuine commitment to excellence are what makes this place truly exceptional. . . . The owner explained that he is committed to improving the grass and water quality every single year, and the innkeeper . . . serves simply fabulous food from the farm — fresh eggs, homemade yogurt and jams, fresh fruit . . .”
Yes, Cliff IV, this is no cookiecutter joint, and Southern Living’s recognition is more than well deserved. Congratulations! For more information on Inn at Mount Vernon Farm, go to theinnatmountvernonfarm.com or call 800-765-0604.