Harrisonburg, Virginia, is a small town that’s worth a visit. At just two-and-a-half hours from Washington, D.C, it makes not only for a great overnight visit, but Harrisonburg also appeals to the food-loving traveler.
I made a visit to Harrisonburg this past spring, and whlist there I toured two wonderful wineries— CrossKeys Vineyard and Bluestone Vineyard. Travelers should head to CrossKeys for the panoramic mountain views and house white vino. Take a trip out to Bluestone for the red table wine — Crooked and Weedy— that’s a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Along with a visit to the wineries, I had dinner at Jack Brown’s Beer and Burger Joint. The premium Wagyu beef burgers are too die for, and ultimately these burgers made me decide to return to the meat-eating world after 10 years of pescatarinism.
But the true highlight of the trip was a stay at By the Side of the Road Inn & Cottages.
This cozy B&B is exactly how you would imagine a charming country inn complete with some added amenities that you'll most certainly be swooning over. The main house has several rooms that can accommodate singles, couples or even families — a rarity among your typical inn.
The property is also home to several charming small houses. The idea behind each one is ultimately about intimacy and romance. Friends need not worry that it will be overkill with the romantic decor (thankfully the rooms are not teeming with all things Valentine's Day), but it certainly would be a nice retreat for a couple looking to getaway. Even though each one evokes country charm, the houses come with modern bathrooms that would impress even the most jaded travelers. For starters, they’re huge, and a few of the cottages include full-size Jacuzzi tubs that you’ll wish you had in your own home.
If you’re looking for a truly modern experience, the most recent additions to the property can accommodate such wishes. These large cottages felt like beach houses to me — and yes, water views of the lovely, nearby ponds are included. If you don’t fall for the plush beds and the modern kitchen, you’ll probably love the Vichy shower (and yes, in case you were wondering, it is big enough for two).
For my stay, I opted for the historic feel of the Fitzgerald Cottage. I was immediately charmed by this place’s wood-burning smell (it has a real fireplace downstairs!) and spiral staircase that leads to the plush lower-level bathroom. The feather bed in the main room was easily one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept on. The family tokens thoughtfully placed in each room were a nice touch and an aspect that I truly adored. Each room or home at the inn is dedicated to the owners’ families. My room held a charming school field trip photo to Washington, D.C., and even a plush toy that a child probably once loved. It was these little details that made me feel right at home and offered more than the average hotel room would have.
Enough about the bed, though; let’s cut to the breakfast. You can opt to eat it in the main dining room (where happy hour is served nightly from 5 to 6 p.m.) or have it delivered to your room. I’d suggest the latter to get a true inn feeling. My meal came in an adorable basket and was just the right amount of food. The presentation was just right, an impressive feat considering the basket was hand-delivered. The moist sausage patty just helped bring out the flavors of the hearty-yet-light herb soufflé resting on top of it. The meal was completed by fresh fruit and an even a fresher tasting fluffy roll. We even enjoyed part of our meal on the porch, in true country fashion.
And a cat even came by to greet us in the morning—completing the straight-out-a-storybook experience in a small Virginia town.
Teresa Tobat is a travel writer and editor based out of the Washington, D.C. area. View her website at teresaktobat.com. Follow her tweets @ttobat88.