Town of Washington, Rappahannock Co. in national spotlight for hospitality — and love

The Rappahannock County seat of Washington might be described as a sleepy little place, but who cares when Southern Living magazine crowns it one of “The 17 Best Small Towns in the South for a Romantic Getaway.”

“It doesn’t get much better than the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” the article glows. “Especially in ‘Little Washington,’ where time has a way of slowing down in this town of less than 150 individuals, not including two horses, one llama, a flock of sheep, and a dozen or so chickens who live in an ornate abode with stained glass windows in the Historic District, naturally.”

Le Fay Cottage on Christmas Tree Lane, one of several Rappahannock establishments noted by Southern Living magazine. By Chuck Fazio

Along with the honors comes a stunning overhead photograph of Le Fay Cottage on Christmas Tree Lane, with mention that the new overnight getaway is within a stroll’s distance to the award-winning Little Washington Winery.

“You can’t go wrong with dinner at the Inn at Little Washington,” adds Southern Living, “especially when it’s paired with a show with your beloved at Little Washington Theatre.”

Speaking of the Inn (and who isn’t this year), Patrick O’Connell’s internationally renowned romantic escape continues to make history even after four full decades in the historic town of Washington, becoming this past week the longest tenured Five Star restaurant in the world.

The Forbes Travel Guide has announced that the Inn, for the 29th consecutive year, has received two Five Star Awards — one for its restaurant and one for the hotel.

“The achievement of this award honors The Inn at Little Washington’s dedication to raising the global standards in luxury hospitality and recognizes its delivery of a service culture that is both genuine and trusted,” praises Gerard J. Inzerillo, CEO of the Forbes Travel Guide.

“It is especially gratifying to receive this accolade on the year of our 40th anniversary,” O’Connell reacts. “It’s well known in our industry that it is harder to maintain these awards than it is getting them for the first time because the bar is continually being raised.”

The Inn is one of only 199 hotels worldwide to receive this top honor, albeit the town’s landmark now stands alone in Five Star tenure.

If all this exposure isn’t enough to attract tourists by the car and busload to Rappahannock County, the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s colorful new 71-page booklet —“What’s New to Love in Virginia 2018” — is the cherry on top.

On the “New Places to Stay” page of cottages, B&Bs and petite retreats, one reads all over again about Le Fay Cottage, described as “a charming refuge nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains” and featuring French and English antiques and chandeliers, which adorn each room. Also highlighted are the Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville and the Little Washington Winery.

And speaking of the many wineries and vineyards that have sprung up in Rappahannock County over the last decade, what more memorable and scenic venue for a wedding?

“Virginia offers the perfect backdrop for every couple, whatever their style: modern, classic, whimsical, vintage, or edgy,” the tourism booklet points out. “Whether you want to get married in a historic hotel or at a beautiful vineyard, Virginia has a world of choices just waiting to be discovered. Combine this with epic views, delicious local food, and perfect local wine pairings and it’s easy to see that Virginia is the perfect spot for a destination wedding.”

Virginia, if you didn’t know, is the 12th most popular state for weddings.

About John McCaslin 466 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at