The hospitality of Virginia’s Northern Neck
If you haven’t had the chance, you should meet Dudley and Peggy. They are perhaps the most hospitable people on earth and the friendliest of purveyors behind The Hope & Glory Inn in Irvington, Va.
The Inn is located near the Southern tip of Virginia’s Northern Neck, a marshy peninsula carved out by the Rappahannock River to the south and the Potomac River to the north. It was the birthplace of George Washington and, as our drive south down its length on Friday afternoon proved, is now home to little more than hundreds of acres of corn and soybeans. Don’t get me started. (But you can read my latest on the ag census and how these trends aren’t really changing, despite the strides of “local food,” here, or my project about chefs and farmers who are creatively challenging this norm here.)
Ahem, back to our restful weekend getaway (can you tell I’ve been working too much?). We scheduled this trip to celebrate our FIVE-year wedding anniversary on Friday. Five years! It also served as a sort of “babymoon,” with just four weeks to go until — as my husband keeps repeating (with his eyes just a little bit glazed over in disbelief) — “our lives change forever.”
I’m sure you’re familiar with the babymoon term, coined by the travel industry to convince us that what a pregnant woman really needs in the midst of lower-back pain and the encroaching reality of a first child is “one last trip for the two of us.” I fell for it — complete with a massage from a magician named Patricio, which did wonders for that lower-back pain — and the experience certainly didn’t hurt (anything other than our baby budget).
My husband and I have stayed at quite a few bed & breakfasts over these five years. When he was deploying frequently out of Whidbey Island, Wash., I could easily justify frequent weekends or evenings away at the B&Bs that dotted the nearby San Juan Islands. For our two-year anniversary, we drove down to the Oregon Coast and spent the weekend marveling at the eccentricities of the British woman who ran our B&B and had a thing for Chinese religions and Buddha figurines. We spent one all-too abbreviated night in a cozy, Scottish-themed room with TWO tubs in the snowscapes of Leavenworth, until my husband was abruptly called back to duty during breakfast. And we particularly enjoyed jetting over on a ferry for quick off-season stays on one of the San Juan Islands. We even hit tiny Lummi Island once, which boasts little more than the B&B at which we stayed, which happens to have one of the “10 restaurants worth a plane ride.” I could go on…
So that’s the context to consider when I say that this weekend at the Hope & Glory was one of the best we’ve ever had. If you don’t like hugs or getting to know the other guests, this place isn’t for you. But if you want to park your car for the weekend, see much of Lancaster County — including an impressive little farmers market — by foot or bike and receive just the right amount of pampering, consider this place highly recommended (and not just by me).
I can’t say enough nice things about the people we met this weekend — from the locals who happily let us chat their ears off to the other guests. We especially enjoyed talking to two other young couples over dinner who had little girls back home; one of them got married on the same day as us! So, DC and Virginia friends, consider this my hearty endorsement for your next weekend away! Lord knows we might not get another for quite some time… 🙂