The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, located in Abingdon, Virginia, is filled with historic charm. Cody Myers Photography
The mountains and valleys of Southwest Virginia are the birthplace of Appalachian Mountain culture, which features its distinctive bluegrass music, fine crafts, and an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities. The small towns of this region are experiencing a renaissance as more visitors seek out their charm and unique attractions—places like The Barter Theatre in Abingdon or the Virginia Creeper Trail. One way to dig into the unique heritage and hospitality of Southwest Virginia is to stay in a historic inn. Here are three exceptional lodging options that will help make your trip unforgettable.
THE OAKS VICTORIAN INN
The Oaks Victorian Inn is on the National Registry of Historic Places. Renee Sklarew
The Oaks Victorian Inn is located in Christiansburg, about 10 minutes from Virginia Tech. Major William Pierce completed this Queen Anne style Victorian house in 1893 for his bride Julia Baird, and it’s where they raised their seven children. In the 1990s, new owners completed a full-scale renovation to modernize the house and convert it into an Inn. The Oaks received several notable designations, including the National Registry of Historic Places, the prestigious AAA 4 Diamond Award, and recognition by Select Registry.
This small inn is known for personal service, romantic guest rooms, and exquisite three course breakfasts, as well as perennial gardens and oak trees that are more than 300 years old. It’s an ideal place to stage an expedition on the nearby New River or hear live music in the quirky town of Floyd. In the summer, go berry picking at Three Birds Berry Farm or visit one of the seven breweries producing craft beer. The Oaks Victorian is an Instagram-worthy setting where guests will relax and unwind. Rates start at $169 per night.
THE MARTHA WASHINGTON INN & SPA
The Martha Washington Inn & Spa was once a college for young women and a hospital during the Civil War. Renee Sklarew
The Martha Washington Inn & Spa, affectionately known as The Martha, began as a private home for General Robert Preston after his success in the War of 1812. Preston and wife Sarah raised their nine children in this regal brick residence in the heart of downtown Abingdon. The property was purchased in 1858 and transformed into a college for young women—then named after George Washington’s wife, Martha. Studies were interrupted when, during the Civil War, the school served as a makeshift hospital, and students helped provide nursing care to injured soldiers.
After the school closed in 1932, the Martha became a hotel for visiting actors appearing at the famous Barter Theatre across the street. In 1984, The Martha underwent large-scale renovation while maintaining its architectural details and original splendor. Today, the Martha stands as a thoroughly modern marvel with exquisite accommodations, delicious Southern cuisine and an elegant spa. The therapeutic, heated salt-water pool encased in a glassed atrium is its crowning glory, along with lush gardens, multi-level outdoor hot tubs, and 18-hole miniature golf.
The staff is all-in when it comes to friendly helpful service, and don’t miss the complimentary Southern breakfast at Sisters featuring Virginia ham, sausage, and cheesy grits. The Martha lies at the end of the awe-inspiring Virginia Creeper Trail, a 34-mile, rails-to-trails mountain biking path that begins at Whitetop Station. Surrounded by Southwest Virginia’s Appalachian Mountains, the town of Abingdon is close to majestic Mount Rogers, the largest peak in Virginia.
The Martha has shops and farm-to-table restaurants within walking distance, and down the road is Heartwood, a spectacular facility that showcases regional crafts, music, and food. The Martha’s décor is elegant with fine linens and antiques, and the front porch is a delightful place to sip cocktails under the shade of giant oak trees. Rates start at $215 per night.
Primland Resort is full of surprises. When you drive down the 10-mile driveway, what a revelation to find this super-luxurious resort so far off the beaten path. But it’s a path worth taking, where guests are treated to an idyllic setting and breathtaking landscapes. French businessman Didier Primat originally founded Primland as a sporting lodge. He relished the wide-open spaces and cherished the nature. This led him to choose eco-conscious building materials and employ sustainable resources. In 2015, Condé Nast Traveler recognized Primland as a top ten resort in the world, with accommodations that include standard mountain rooms, suites, mountain homes that sleep six, romantic tree houses, and cottages on the golf course.
Primland’s staff will eagerly connect you with the activities found on the property—ATV driving, skeet and clay shooting, fly fishing, golf, paddle boarding, and horseback riding. Primland also offers yoga, afternoon tea, as well as distillery tastings. The spa’s natural spaces include the hydro spa, steam room and sauna.
While it’s tempting to indulge in Primland’s creature comforts, the mountain vistas beckon you outdoors. So along with hiking, mountain biking and carriage rides around the 12,000 acres of wilderness, guests make s’mores by the fire pits and go stargazing. Nightly, Primland’s guests huddle in the Observatory under wooly blankets as the silo’s roof slides open, and a telescope reveals the Dark Sky—Primland’s altitude and unusually clear skies, allow guests to see celestial bodies millions of miles away. Rates for mountain rooms start at $324.
Originally written by RootsRated for Southwest Virginia.