An hour west of Washington, D.C., the Goodstone Inn is a world apart, an estate in the heart of Virginia’s horse and wine country.
Small and peaceful, the rustically elegant inn in Middleburg, Virginia, hosts small board meetings and executive retreats with some interesting twists.
Maybe the most surprising is that its 18 guest rooms are scattered in six locations on 265 acres. They are in three cottages, a carriage house, a bull barn and the Manor House, once home to the lord of the manor.
The Manor House is the inn’s venue for meetings, small ones of up to 16 people. Audiovisual equipment, flip charts and complimentary Wi-Fi are in place, and the parking is free.
The house’s dining room, with a wrap-around historical mural, serves as the boardroom, with windows that overlook tranquil rolling hills. Breakout sessions — and breaks — take place in the gracious sitting room, a solarium, a library and a den.
The Manor House also has four of the inn’s guest rooms, including a first-floor suite. Additional guest rooms are just over the hill, two in the Dutch Cottage, three in the French Farm Cottage, four in the Spring House, one in the Bull Barn and four in the Carriage House, where guests check in and eat breakfast. Each location has outdoor furniture, a grill and a hammock.
“A group can rent as many guest rooms as it needs or the whole inn, as General Dynamics and Audi did recently,” said Linda Boyer, the assistant general manager.
“At Goodstone, you can come to one place,” she said, “and change locations during your meeting.” There’s no need to go off-site for a change of pace.
Meals can be served at the Manor House, at the inn’s farm-to-table restaurant in the Carriage House or as a picnic lunch in the Woodsy Garden near the inn’s heated outdoor pool.
The inn was one of three finalists for Condé Nast Johansen’s “Most Excellent Inn in North America” in 2014 and received TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013.
Boyer and her husband, Craig, moved from New Hampshire to Middleburg last May (2013) to manage the inn for its owner, Mark Betts. Betts bought the estate in 1996 and opened an inn in 1998.
Executive chef John Leonard, a French-trained local who has spent time in Italy and Asheville, North Carolina, recently returned home to captain the Goodstone’s 50-seat restaurant.
Being “from here,” Leonard loves to cook Southern American dishes and says he’s trying to “bring the locality” to his restaurant. That includes pork, beef aged for 45 days and wild trout raised in a stream.
Many of his sources are people he knows who bake, make cheeses and raise lamb, beef, pork and chicken.
Leonard’s cooking is complemented by a wine cellar that stocks 1,500 fine wines and can be used for dinners for up to 14. Wine Enthusiast magazine called Goodstone one of America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in 2013.
Fresh Air To Clear The Mind
Just down a lane from the Manor House, there are 3.5 miles of trails for hiking and mountain bikes for cycling. The inn also has canoes for a paddle on Goose Creek.
“Some groups use them for team-building events,” Boyer said. “And we can help arrange activities like scavenger hunts.”
The inn’s heated pool is in a sunny spot just beyond the ivy-covered stone facade of the original manor house that burned down years ago. A patio draped with wisteria is available for receptions.
And since this is horse country, groups can arrange trail rides with a nearby ranch. Goodstone has three horses, but they’re not for riding.
“They’re old gals, and this is their retirement home. They’re our lawn ornaments,” Kope said.