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  • Writer's pictureCraig Stoltz

A small guide to Little Washington, Virginia

To be plain, there’s barely enough to do in Little Washington to occupy you if you’re on the cafe’s wait list.

My favorite activity if you're waiting: Walk around the Inn’s private farm, located across the street from the Inn. The restaurant's farmers keep livestock, raise vegetables and herbs, and maintain bee hives. It’s a fun diversion, and nobody bothers you.

As for the tiny town itself: The Inn operates a well-curated gift shop, and there’s an impressive kitchen store, a chocolatier/wine shop, and an art gallery or two. There’s a tiny fountain in the square across from the Inn. There are no comfortable sidewalks to invite strolls much beyond the village crossroads.

A bit further afield, you can find a few profitable ways to amortize your drive time.

(More) driving and hiking

Not far away is Skyline Drive, part of Shenandoah National Park, which winds through the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers views of the low humpback range receding into a haze. (Note: A pass to drive on the road costs $30.)

A few pull-overs lead to either short or more ambitious trail walks. Pass Mountain is an easy nearby trail. The tough, often-crowded, 9-mile Old Rag trail has been ranked among the 25 best in the country. You’ll enter the park at Thornton Gap, around mile marker 30, so keep that in mind as you pick your targets.

Fun with adult beverages

If you’re still up for some libations, or just pleasant outdoor time, there are half a dozen nearby vineyards, and a handful of the inevitable countryside distilleries and breweries. My favorites: Little Washington Winery & Brewery is an elegant facility very close by. Copper Fox Distillery makes craft whiskeys in a rustic facility in Sperryville.

And speaking of Sperryville...

Sperryville, about 5 miles away, is a lovely small town with a lot to offer, including affordable lodging, restaurants, and things to do. The River Walk provides an easy point of entry to explore.

If you’re making an eating weekend of it, check out Three Blacksmiths (reservations essential), a fixed-price restaurant whose reputation for excellence is making some hopeful locals dare to call the broader area, including Little Washington, a significant regional dining destination.

Going underground

Where there are mountains, there are caves. Luray Caverns is a big, showy, popular place, with some showbiz flourishes. It’s the biggest show cave in the Eastern U.S. Skyline Caverns is smaller and more dedicated to the geology and science of the caves . Both are near Front Royal, about half an hour away.


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