Hi friends! If you follow me on Instagram (@BaileySchwartz), then you likely saw I recently spent a weekend at The Inn at Willow Grove in Virginia with a bunch of my blogger girlfriends. We were all invited there to visit the hotel and enjoy a spa experience, participate in a tour of Montpelier (our President, James Madison’s home), and enjoy a wine tasting at one of the top vineyards in Virginia, Barboursville Vineyard.
It truly was the perfect girl’s weekend getaway, relaxing, charming, all complete with a countryside view. I was not surprised to hear the hotel recently was named #1 Hotel in the South and #3 Best Hotel in the Country by Travel & Leisure. I received so many questions from you all about what we did on the trip, so I thought I’d take you through each item on our itinerary and give you more information in case you’re interested in visiting as well.
Dinner at Forked on Main in Orange, VA
On our first night at the hotel, we enjoyed a group dinner at Forked on Main. It is about a 10-15 minute drive from the hotel and located in the quaint town of Orange, VA. Unfortunately, Vanessa and I arrived a little late due to traffic, but the other girl’s told me they got to visit a couple of shops in town before dinner. I was so jealous!
The dinner started with the yummiest cocktails and appetizers including potstickers and buttery shrimp. For dinner, I had the Cece’s filet, one of their highly recommended entrees though everyone meals looked amazing. I even got a taste of Hilary’s (@byhilaryrose) pizza and it was SO good! The one thing I want to make sure I don’t forget to mention is the rolls. Oh my gosh, the rolls. I was bummed I filled up on the appetizer bread because the dinner rolls were to die for!
The best part? We got to dine with James Madison himself. An impersonator of course, but it was hilarious! The girls and I got a kick of trying to make him come out of his ‘act,’ and he wasn’t budging. We taught him how to boomerang and he told us all about his wife, Dolly Madison.
Tour of President James Madison’s home, Montpelier
If I am being honest, I am not much of a history buff. In fact, history was likely one of my worst subjects in school growing up. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the tour of Montpelier, President James Madison’s home. It wasn’t just a tour of their home, but it was a story that truly took you back in time to that era. It was so fun to understand the personalities of those that visited the house, and the family dynamic and struggles the Madison family faced. It was even more interesting to hear about how one man, James Madison, played such a huge role in the creation of our country.
I think my favorite part was learning about his wife, Dolly Madison. She was considered America’s first ‘First Lady’ because she hosted amazing parties and was very fashionable. She was a socialite of her time, and it was so interesting hearing about the power she also had in building a nation during a time when women weren’t recognized like they are today, so impressive! She even created the first form of hair extensions, LOL! She used to stick fake hair in her turban as she got older and wore it to all her dinner parties. Fashionista if I do say so myself! 🙂
Lunch and Wine Tasting at Barboursville Vineyards
Our visit to Barboursville Vineyard hit the spot and is definitely a must-do during your stay at the Inn at Willow Grove. It is one of the top vineyards in Virginia, and I was so impressed with the service, amenities, view but most of all the wine. It was so good, y’all. Some of the best wine I’ve had in a long time and that says a lot because Drew and I always make it a habit to visit the best local vineyards on every trip. You have to try the sparking rose as well as the red Octagon wine, to die for!
We started with a tasting of several of their best wines and then the General Manager hosted us for a personal lunch at their affiliate restaurant, Palladio Restaurant. It was delicious. We had the yummiest salad and a ravioli dish. It would be the perfect spot to host a bridal luncheon or rehearsal dinner if you decided to do your wedding at the Inn. I kept thinking how perfect the ambiance was for an event like that. If you decide to make the trip from the Inn, I would recommend using our transportation service we used, Central Virginia Wine Tours. It was very convenient and allowed us to consume as much wine as we liked since we had a designated driver! 🙂 It’s my understanding they organize tours for groups if you wanted to visit multiple wineries or even throw a brewery into the mix.
A Visit at Mill House Spa
Of course our visit to the Mill House Spa located at the Inn at Willow Grove was my favorite thing we did during the weekend! It was so relaxing after a long day of walking around and sightseeing. The spa is a new addition to the Inn, and a must-do during your stay at the hotel. During out tour, I even noticed they have a salt water pool complete with a bar during their warm season. I immediately thought, I need to come back in the summer when I can enjoy those amenities – so fun! Vanessa and I enjoyed their signature massage, and a couple of the other girls had a facial. Following our service we spent some time relaxing by the wood fire before exiting the spa to get read for dinner. The perfect reboot for another fun night with the girls!
Dinner at Vintage Restaurant & Pub
Our dinner at the Vintage Restaurant & Pub was likely my favorite dinner of the entire weekend. The Restaurant is located at the hotel so it is very conveniently located. They reserved a small event room for the 8 of us, so we had it all to ourselves. Though I’ve met many of the girls a couple of times in the past, I haven’t had the opportunity to truly get to know them. It was so nice chatting over dinner during our last night together. Cheesy, I know!
For dinner, I had the warm brie salad to start and the scallops as my main course. It was so much food and I ate the entire meal because it was so good! Everything on the menu looked amazing, and if I’m being honest I had some food envy over the other girl’s plates. This dinner was such a great way to end the trip, and I felt so happy with a full belly and some fun girl talk!
I know I speak for all the girl’s when I say we had such a good time visiting the Inn at Willow Grove. The hotel and staff went above and beyond making sure everything was taken care of during our stay. My favorite part about the Inn is how they served fresh beignets and french press coffee to our rooms each morning. This is a staple service that is included with every person’s stay. I’ve never heard of a hotel providing that level of service – for free! The first day I hoarded all the left over beignets because I was terrified I wasn’t going to be able to get anymore. I had no idea they refreshed them each morning. I was pretty embarrassed once I realized, lol! On top of that, the rooms were so clean, spacious and well decorated. It felt like you were staying in a countryside cozy room with a modern flare. Everything was so well done. It was bittersweet leaving the hotel on Sunday morning, but I look forward to a future stay at the Inn at Willow Grove!