Opulent Estate with Old-Fashioned Dining in Shenandoah Wine Country
In the late 19th century, sailors on the Missouri River often sang "Oh Shenandoah," a wistful tune that became an immensely popular folk song. It evokes the Shenandoah Valley’s beautiful forests and river bends amid the Blue Ridge and Appalachian mountains. Situated on a knoll overlooking these peaks, The Mimslyn Inn is a grand Virginian estate built in 1931. A multimillion-dollar restoration in 2007 revived the inn’s old-fashioned elegance, making it a peaceful respite for travelers visiting the Shenandoah National Park or the nearby Luray Caverns.
The building looks more like a capitol than a hotel: its circular driveway is situated beneath a monumental portico supported by multistory doric columns. In the lobby, you'll see crown moldings, a mantled fireplace, and a winding staircase with wrought-iron railings. The inn’s historic rooms feature queen-size two-poster beds and windows overlooking the grounds, which boast formal gardens and a gazebo. Those who opt to spend New Year's Eve at the hotel will also be treated to a champagne toast and fireworks display.
Crystal chandeliers and Chippendale-style chairs with ornate woodwork decorate the inn's southern restaurant, Circa '31, one of the property’s prettiest spots (open during limited hours). Downstairs, the Speakeasy Bar and Restaurant evokes the Prohibition era with art-deco decor, period cocktails, and meat pies shaped like Al Capone's hat.
Luray, Virginia: Limestone Caves in Shenandoah Wine Country
Luray, Virginia, was the site of army encampments and skirmishes during the Civil War. Today, the area’s biggest draw is the Luray Caverns, a National Natural Landmark popular for its giant pillars, curtain-like stalactite walls, and the Stalacpipe Organ, which plays classical melodies by striking rubber mallets on the calcified formations. Admission for two to the caverns is included with this getaway.
The picturesque farms you’ll see throughout the Shenandoah Valley produce the sweet corn, goat cheese, and pasture-raised beef used in many dishes at The Mimslyn's restaurant, Circa '31. Aside from these farms, there are dozens of wineries dot that the hillsides. You can sample local pinot noirs and chardonnays on the Whiskey Wine Loop.