Nice town for mini sister-reunion? Eastern Virginia version.
July 8, 2012 5:10 AM   Subscribe

Sisters and I want to meet somewhere in the middle, between Connecticut and eastern Tennessee. We would like something that is a reasonable drive from each state. We are looking for a quaint type town, maybe a bed and breakfast, walking to restaurants and browsing antique stores? Not spending too much money would be nice. Close to the 81. Was thinking about northeastern VA-ish. We will be going end of July for 2 nights.
posted by Vaike to Travel & Transportation around Arlington, VA (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Dang, sorry, that was meant to be northern Virginia (possibly Maryland/West Virginia), not eastern. We want to avoid driving through Richmond, Washington, Baltimore, etc.
posted by Vaike at 5:16 AM on July 8, 2012

Best answer: Lexington is closer to central Virginia, but that fits your criteria nicely. Farther north, Winchester is spot-on. Harper's Ferry is half an hour off 81, and the very definition of quaint.
posted by waldo at 5:21 AM on July 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is a lot of antique/history/wine stuff to do in and around Winchester VA. Another option a little bit off 81 is Harpers Ferry WV.
posted by headnsouth at 5:23 AM on July 8, 2012

Yep, Winchester and Harper's Ferry are very nice! Fredericksburg, Virginia also has a nice small-town feel in its downtown with a LOT of antiques and some cool restaurants. Fredericksburg is also home to Carl's Frozen Custard, which is regionally famous and pretty tasty. There is the historic downtown and the newer end of town with outlet stores and big hotel chains, if one of you gets tired of the small town feel.

Also, if you do end up in Winchester, Berkley Springs, West Virginia is a nearby and really cute town with cute shops and a neat inn. It's definitely less than an hour from Winchester. They also have the Cacapon State Park there, and hot springs.
posted by shortyJBot at 6:14 AM on July 8, 2012

Here in the central Shenandoah Valley, our go-to, aesthetically-pleasing, quaint weekend-getaway town is Staunton. It's the kind of small city that hadn't the money to rip down handsome old underused buildings, but has since been stocked with a critical mass of artists & patrons. Free or donation-suggested small museums of local art, historical objects, old cars. A seriously great Shakespeare theater, that causes local restaurants, coffee shops, and the excellent gelato shop to stay open till the last show lets out. Restaurants are uneven, but strive for interestingness & integrity at many different price points. Highly praised bakery. Small local artsy cinema chain where we got to see The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo in Swedish. All my niece & nephew gifts come from Pufferbellies. Loads of antique stores, and some nifty thrift shops. Congenial walking, and occasional stumbling into random finds like a band playing 'Sweet Jane' to a broad cross-section of folks dancing in a closed-off street. We've never stayed overnight, but the Artists' House B&B might suit.
posted by feral_goldfish at 6:14 AM on July 8, 2012 [4 favorites]

I was thinking Winchester as soon as I read this too and see others have suggested it. Its right off of 81 and has really cute pedestrian street full of restaurants and shops, old beautiful big houses, civil war history, etc. enjoy!
posted by BlueMartini7 at 6:17 AM on July 8, 2012

I was thinking Winchester as soon as I read this too

Me too. (Or three, or five.)
posted by DestinationUnknown at 6:29 AM on July 8, 2012

Well, it's not cheap, but it'd be memorable. The Homestead. And here's a website that will help you find the actual midpoint.
posted by crunchland at 7:36 AM on July 8, 2012

I'd take a look at Berkeley Springs, WV. It's charming, close to 81, has close parks with swimming etc, has antique shops. It's a great little place, and should be roughly midway, although closer to the TN location than the CT location.
posted by OmieWise at 9:33 AM on July 8, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all. Wonderful suggestions! Winchester is in the lead, but some of the other suggestions seem just lovely as well, especially Harper's Ferry, The Homestead and Berkeley Springs.

My sisters are checking out this thread as well, so I will let you know once the voting results are in!
posted by Vaike at 11:22 AM on July 8, 2012

When I saw your question I immediately thought Harper's Ferry.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:19 PM on July 8, 2012

Harper's Ferry is really gorgeous, with the two rivers joining to cut through the mountains; everyone should visit it once. Stunning little town with great scenery and lots of history, though I don't remember seeing a ton of antique stores (the main historic area is surprisingly small).

Front Royal is a small cute town at the north end of Shenandoah National Forest, a bit south of Winchester, that markets itself as an antique destination; I had a great meal at the Soul Mountain Cafe but there are other nice-looking restaurants downtown as well. At the south end of the Forest is Staunton, a larger town with more to see and do, as feral_goldfish points out above; both are very close to 81. Also, if winding mountain drives with beautiful views are your thing, travel at least some section of Skyline Drive through the Shenandoah. The full 3 hours might be a bit too much if you're on a timetable (the speed limit is 35, I think), but it's worth doing some of it, for sure, and there are 2 or 3 east-west roads connecting Skyline Drive to 81.

There's a bit more discussion of Staunton here and here. And while it might be a slightly different take on "antiques," I'll second the recommendations there for the Frontier Culture Museum [autoloading video], well worth a few hours if you want a close-up look at early American frontier life, with lots of fascinating furniture and household equipment as it was used at the time.
posted by mediareport at 9:08 PM on July 8, 2012

These suggestions are all great; I'm going to throw another place into the mix as well.

Strasburg, VA is just off I-81 and has a true small-town feel. You can stay in an old hotel (the Hotel Strasburg), walk to the Strasburg Emporium to do some affordable antiquing.
posted by apartment dweller at 10:26 PM on July 9, 2012

Response by poster: Winchester it is! All these places sound fabulous, and I hope I get to spend time in them eventually. Thank you for sharing

We decided on Winchester because we finally decided to go more hotel than B&B, and the George Washington Hotel seems like it is the best fit for 3 sisters who haven't hung out in years to just, well, hang out. Then there are plenty of places to venture out to a museum, garden or antique store if we don't just lounge around too busy gabbing with each other.

Thank you everyone!
posted by Vaike at 7:10 PM on July 16, 2012

Response by poster: Update. We went to Winchester and it was perfect The George Washington Hotel had the most wonderful staff I have ever come across. Super efficient with the best sense of humor ever.

It was the perfect amount of walking, shopping and lounging around. The Village Square had some amazingly tasty food and afternoon cocktails in a really comfy setting.

It was perfect and lovely, so we all thank you.

posted by Vaike at 1:16 PM on August 7, 2012

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