Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Our big trip to Virginia, part one-- Hummingbird Inn review

I have already written about our air travel from Germany to Washington, DC and our one night stay at Embassy Suites near Dulles Airport.  Now for the rest of the story...

Bill and I opted to stay at the Hummingbird Inn in Goshen, Virginia.  This bed and breakfast is located near Goshen Pass, which has a very special place in our hearts.  I think it's kind of where we fell in love.


The Hummingbird Inn right after a rare November snow...

Backstory... skip this if all you want to read about is our experience this year... 

My first memory of Goshen Pass was from childhood, when my family had a big birthday party there in June of 1978.  For years, I thought the party was for my benefit, but actually it was for a few family members.  My beloved Uncle Brownlee's birthday is the day after mine, and there are also many other June birthdays to celebrate among cousins.  Anyway, that year, I turned six and we had just come back to Virginia from Mildenhall Air Force Base in England.  It was the first exposure to my enormous family that I can remember, though I'm sure there were other gatherings before our three years in England.



Goshen Pass

Many years later, Bill and I had one of our first dates at Goshen Pass.  The year was 2001 and the month was September.  Bill had just moved from Leavenworth, Kansas to Alexandria, Virginia.  He was working at the Pentagon.  I was in graduate school at the University of South Carolina.  We came up to see my Granny, then 95 years old, for Labor Day weekend.  It was Bill's first exposure to my family and, fortunately, he fit right in.  Uncle Brownlee was cooking eggs in his underwear and asked Bill if he wanted one.  He added in his hilarious southern twang, "I mean it.  I'll knock a hole in one for ya!"


We didn't swim this time, but it sure is pretty...

The weather on that Saturday before Labor Day was absolutely gorgeous.  I told Bill I wanted to go to Goshen and see it again, even though it had been many years since my last visit.  He agreed, so we went, parked on the side of the road, and enjoyed a positively awesome day swimming in the Maury River.

The rest of that weekend was equally amazing.  It culminated when Granny, the family matriarch, told me that she liked Bill.  She said I should marry him, adding that she wished my cousin Suzanne would find a guy as nice as Bill, too.

A week later, Bill was in the Pentagon working.  It was 9/11 and his office was in the area that was hit by the jet airliner.  I didn't know if he was alive or dead all day.  At that time, we were still calling ourselves friends, but it was pretty obvious to everyone that we were beyond friendship.  When he later came on the computer to tell me he'd survived, I told him it was probably time we went more public with our relationship.  He agreed.  A few months later, we were engaged and the following year, we got married.  It's been all good since then.

Bill's mother, Parker, booked us two nights at the Hummingbird Inn for our honeymoon.  At that time, the inn was run by the Robinsons.  I don't remember if the husband half of the couple was British, but I do remember the wife was.  She was an amazing cook.  We stayed in the Teter Wood room, which was on the first floor and had its own private entrance.  I left the inn vowing to learn how to make a cheese souffle, which I did.

Now we're in the year 2014...

So this year, after considering all of the hotel properties in the Lexington/Rockbridge County area, I decided we should go back to the Hummingbird Inn.  I chose the inn because it was priced fairly reasonably compared to the two star motels in Lexington.  Also, we just celebrated our 12th anniversary.  I booked on Expedia.com for four nights, paying about $600 or so.  This time, Bill and I stayed in the Robinson room, which was named after Jeremy and Diana Robinson,  the very same couple who owned the inn when we stayed there in 2002.  Apparently, they were the ones who got the Hummingbird Inn back in business.  Our room was where they lived and it was sort of interesting, because it had its own little foyer area.


The bedroom

The sheets on our bed came from Comphy, which is a company that makes sheets for hotels and spas.  They are super soft!  Bill and I were both raving about them.  Those who like the sheets can arrange to order them through the Hummingbird Inn.  I probably would have ordered a set myself if I hadn't just bought new sheets that I love.  


Foyer


Bathroom.  Has a shower only.


Foyer going the other way.  


Bill settling in...

The Hummingbird Inn is now owned and operated by Dan and Patty Harrison, a couple of California transplants who have enjoyed quite a variety of different life experiences together.  I really enjoyed getting to know the Harrisons, who are very personable and hospitable.  They scored extra points with me for leaving chocolate in strategic locations around the house.  We also appreciated the free WiFi, though it's a bit on the slow side.  Given how remote Goshen is and how big the house is, that's not a surprise.  A "public" computer with Internet access is available to those who didn't bring their own.  There are also books, board games, puzzles, and movies aplenty to occupy your attention should you not find anything to do nearby.

My sister, Becky, joined us for three nights.  She and her cat, Oliver, stayed in the Teter Wood room, our "honeymoon" suite from 2002.  

Goshen is not all that close to our family festivities-- it's about 30 miles as the crow flies from Goshen to Natural Bridge, Virginia, which is where our "homeplace" is.  But the drive there on route 39 is simply gorgeous.  There are plenty of places to pull off and take photos if you are so inclined.  If you'd rather not take a winding road, you can get to Goshen via Interstate 64, which is about ten miles from the inn.







It was snowing as we drove in, which created some magical scenery...

Breakfast is served every day at 9:00 and we found it to be substantial and quite tasty.  Each day, we had a fruit starter, then an egg dish with a meat side and potatoes.  One day, it was quiche.  Another, it was a delicious fritata.  Another day, we had a bacon and feta cheese casserole.  We missed breakfast one morning because we had to leave before 9:00.

Those who need something before 9:00 can help themselves to fresh baked pastries, coffee, and tea.  To be very honest, I wasn't too wild about the coffee at the inn, though I was glad to see they had real half & half available.   The coffee offered at breakfast was a little too weak for me, though there is a Keurig available during the rest of the day. The tea was good, though, and made a sufficient substitute.  I also really liked the orange juice we were served.

I didn't get a chance to walk around the inn to see the creek that runs in the back, but I did hear it.  I also heard trains.  There are lots of them and they run right in front of the house.  They didn't bother us while we were there this time, but I did notice them during our first stay.  Maybe it's because we were newlyweds!

Bill and I enjoyed hanging out with the other guests in attendance, too.  We met a very nice couple from the DC area... well, they weren't really from there.  They live there because the husband is a retired colonel taking advantage of his years in the military in the form of a decent job.  Bill talked shop with the male half, while the female half and I compared notes on being retired Army wives.  It was a lot of fun!

We also met a gentleman who came up from Georgia to see his family.  He said there were over twenty of them in attendance, but his eyebrows raised when I said we have over 80 at ours!  Turns out he lives in the same area as a number of my relatives do, too.
      
We had a great stay at the Hummingbird Inn, a place that seems to be very popular with hunters.  There were a couple staying there during our weekend there and I remember one or two during our first stay in 2002.  I'm not sure when we'll get back to Rockbridge County, but to anyone else heading there, I'd recommend a stay with Patty and Dan Harrison at the Hummingbird Inn.  It's a great place to go if you need to unplug.

2 comments:

  1. Good to see the Hummingbird Inn is still a great B&B with a different set of owners. :o) Maybe I'll pass by that way sometimes when I finally get my act together and go on a ride across America trip. ;o)

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    Replies
    1. Well, the current owners indicated that they might not stick around for too much longer. They have a bucket list, you know. ;-) But it is a very charming house and the surrounding areas are just breathtakingly pretty.

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