Celebrity Travel & StyleInterviewsJet Set PetLuxury VoyagesSuite Dreams - The World's Best SuitesTime TravelerLuxury Travel TrendsWeekend Away
Destination WeddingsFamily Vacation PackagesSpa & Wellness PackagesRomantic & Honeymoon PackagesGirls GetawaysFall Travel PackagesWinter Getaway PackagesChristmas Travel & PackagesNew Year's Eve Packages
ArticlesThe Best Hotels, Resorts & Villas Around the World
Beach & Island Resorts5-Star City HotelsAdventure Lodges & Eco EscapesBoutique City HotelsCountry House HotelsRomantic RetreatsLuxury Guest RanchesLuxury Safari Camps & LodgesGolf Resorts & LodgesSpa Resorts & Wellness RetreatsSki Resorts & LodgesWine Country GetawaysLuxury Family Travel & ResortsNew HotelsHot Hotel Openings
Beach, Coastal & Island VillasCountry VillasGolf VillasSki VillasLuxury Villas & Vacation Rentals Around the WorldHotel Branded Residences
Luxury Cruises & YachtingLuxury Car RentalTravel Tips & AdviceAirline NewsUltimate TripsBusiness TravelFamily TravelLuxury SafarisPrivate Jet TravelRail Journeys: The World's Most Scenic Train Rides
RestaurantsBars & NightclubsAfternoon TeaCoffeeCooking ClassesCulinary TravelWine Travel
Spa & Wellness RetreatsYogaGolf GetawaysTennisSki Vacations
Gift GuideBeach and ResortwearBeauty and FragranceBooksFashionHome StyleLuggage and HandbagsLuxury Autos & Driving ExperiencesMen's StyleTravel EssentialsWatches & JewelryWine and SpiritsWorld's Most Expensive
Back to:  Home > News > Weekend Away

Weekend Away

Keswick Hall: An Idyllic Escape to Virginia's Countryside

November 27, 2014 - By Merle & Christine Gray

A country road meanders past horse farms, vineyards, and white-columned mansions. We have escaped the traffic of Washington D.C. and are on our way to Keswick Hall, a private estate turned luxury hotel in the scenic foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

We pull into Keswick's circular driveway and share a smile over our choice for a weekend get-away. Golden hues against a verdant landscape conjure up a Tuscan villa complete with vineyard. This was once the estate of the Robert Crawford family and the entryway's fireplace, oil paintings, and plush furnishings are more like living room than lobby.

Keswick Hall snooker

The historic north wing of Keswick Hall dates back to 1912, and its public rooms are filled with period-inspired furnishings and art that tell the story of the original home. Roaring fireplaces create the ideal environment for a game of snooker in the billiards room, an afternoon of reading in the library, and an evening cocktail in the lounge.

We're booked in a room in the original villa, so we ascend the home's grand staircase to room #12, an elegant “Deluxe Balcony Room” overlooking the hotel's formal gardens. Across the hall, rooms offer exquisite views of the golf course and lush rolling fields. We're told all 48 rooms and suites have been newly refreshed and feature ‘Hypnos' beds -- favored by the Queen of England. I, for one, am ready to sleep like royalty, but first it's down to one of the hotel's restaurants and bars, Fossett's, for cocktails and appetizers.

C&O RestaurantC&O Restaurant mezzanine

The plan is to head to downtown Charlottesville for dinner. The hotel arranges a table for us at the C&O Restaurant that had its humble beginnings as a railroad bunkhouse. The entrance is on a mezzanine that once led to the legendary C&O Night Club (closed in 1988). Rustic barn siding and intimate lighting create a bistro atmosphere. A Tulikiva wood stove warms the few tables, and we settle in to enjoy our fine dining experience.

Awaking refreshed the next morning, we breakfast in Fossett's, with its spectacular wall of windows, and watch the sunrise over the 18th green of the golf course. We decide on a day of touring this historic region that was the birthplace of three U.S. presidents – Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Since our time is limited, we decide to visit the closest and most famous, Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Keswick Hall FossettsFossett's

Keswick Hall's resident expert, Shirley Midyette, organizes visits to Monticello (as well as Madison's Montpelier and Monroe's Ash Lawn-Highland) for interested guests. Shirley sets up reservation times, acquires admission tickets, and accompanies guests on the tour. A former Monticello guide, Shirley has a wealth of information to share. We learn about the three former presidents, known as the "Virginia Dynasty,” and all our questions about plantation life, Visitor Center exhibits, and the museum shops are answered.

Our afternoon plans involve a visit to a local vineyard. We're surprised to learn that Virginia (our recently adopted state) is the fifth largest wine producer in the U.S., and that Keswick Hall is just a short drive from more than 25 vineyards that offer tours and tastings. Once again we find ourselves exchanging the smile that says, “We've hit the jackpot!”

Barboursville wines at MonticelloBarboursville wines at Thomas Jefferson's Monticello

We choose Barboursville Vineyards for its history. Two hundred years ago when Thomas Jefferson and James Madison visited each other at home, they traveled through this estate on the daylong carriage ride between Monticello and Montpelier. The plantation then belonged to Jefferson's friend and Virginia's governor, James Barbour. Jefferson designed the landmark mansion that still graces the property.

We tour the impressive winery and then visit the tasting room where visitors can sample up to 18 vintages. We enjoyed the award-winning Octagon, served to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited in 2007 for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. Again, we were surprised to find out how many different wines are produced here – whites, reds, blush, and dessert wines.

Our final day is all about relaxation. Keswick Estate offers an extensive trail system designed as a complement to the property's Audubon Sanctuary certification program. The trails wind through some of the most beautiful and private settings on the 600-acre property. We revel in the solitude of the estate's wooded areas and its extraordinary natural beauty. Then we join Keswick's head gardener, Yara Acker, for an informative and entertaining tour of the flower gardens, vineyard, and chef's garden.

Villa Crawford lunchVilla Crawford lunch

For today's lunch we opt for another of the hotel's restaurants, the warm and charming Villa Crawford. Its delicious buffet of entrées and accompaniments allows us to sample and indulge before we head in separate directions. I'm off to the spa and my husband to play the newly opened Pete Dye–designed golf course, Full Cry. Full cry is a hunting term describing the call of hounds that have found a scent and are in hot pursuit. My husband is in pursuit of that often-elusive experience, a satisfying golf game!

Keswick Hall golf

The new course replaces an Arnold Palmer–designed course that has challenged golfers at Keswick since the 1990s. Barely two months after it's opening, the Full Cry has been named to Golf Digest's prestigious “2014 Best New Courses” list. I wonder how my “weekend warrior” husband will fare.

In the spa I am pampered with a massage and facial. We meet up at the end of the day for a plunge into the spectacular horizon pool with its infinity edge overlooking the golf course. My husband is beaming. The holes are long but forgiving. The scratch golfer is challenged while those with a higher handicap can find reward.

Keswick Hall horizon infinity poolHorizon pool

The day's grand finale is dinner at Fosset's. Here the tradition of local produce and "garden to table" eating cultivated by Jefferson at Monticello continues. In fact, Fosset's is named after Thomas Jefferson's French-trained chef! We select our wine from an extensive offering of both Virginia and international wines, including the hotel's own vintages. Once again we're mesmerized by the view of the estate's pristine landscape and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.

We talk about all we did this weekend and all there is left to do – tennis, archery, croquet, snooker, biking, horse riding. With D.C. only two hours away, we can come back anytime or any season! For now, we reflect back on our get-away, sip our excellent wine, and smile.

Keswick HallRoom #9 is the Louis XV inspired room, featuring the original hardwood floors that date back to 1912 and French doors that open onto a private terrace - the room offers breathtaking views of the golf course and infinity pool below. This is one of the most frequently requested guest rooms and is the original master bedroom of the Crawford family who resided at Keswick from 1912 to 1919.

More information: Keswick Hall

Visit hotel's website: keswick.com


Featured Luxury Hotels





Springtime in Tuscany, 25% off
Relais San Sanino is a charming, unique resort in Tuscany, near Montepulciano, offering 4 Exclusive Luxury Suites in the Countryside.



The Abaco Club on Winding Bay
A private, international sporting club and residential community situated on 453 acres in the Bahamas. The Abaco Club offers a world of relaxation with pristine white sand beaches, world-class Scottish styled links golf and a spectacular offering of other water, leisure and sporting activities.



Carneros Resort and Spa - Napa Valley, California
The resort features 86 charming private guest cottages and suites and nightly private luxury home rentals, each furnished with casual elegance and nestled in a lush garden courtyard with private deck.




2018 Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix Luxury Cruise and Driving Tour
Only a few spots left! Autobahn Adventures' Formula 1 Grand Prix VIP Tour is a combination Mediterranean luxury cruise and Porsche driving tour.




The luxury lifestyle - how to spend it on autos, jets, yachts, real estate, travel, shopping, wellness and all the best in life.




Anse Chastanet - St. Lucia
Set amid a lush 600-acre estate with two soft-sand beaches and breathtaking views of St. Lucia's iconic twin Pitons mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.




Eden Roc at Cap Cana - Punta Cana
Offering exclusive luxury in the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc at Cap Cana, the only Relais & Chateaux hotel on the island, features 34 freestanding suites with private pools and stunning views.




Explore the world outdoors - discover the best travel adventures, glamping, activities, gear, apparel, vehicles, and more.




Primland - Meadows of Dan, VA
A pristine Blue Ridge Mountain resort offering 12,000 acres of space, sky and shifting moods. Primland is the ultimate getaway for world-class golf, refined dining, and outdoor activities in an environment of rare natural beauty.




Rawai VIP Villas - Phuket, Thailand
A brand new family community and kids' park that epitomizes modern Thai luxury. Each of the 40 villas boasts a private pool in terraced courtyards.



Private Villa Rentals - Caribbean & Mexico
In the realm of world-class luxury private villa rentals, we know that the exceptional experiences our guests deserve are about much more than just the villa itself.



Living the dream - the world's best yachts for sale and charter. See the latest trends in yacht design, tech, toys, destinations and lifestyle.



Mountain Shadows
The new resort features timeless modern design, 183 guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course, a golf grill and lounge as well as 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.



Jade Mountain - St. Lucia
Jade Mountain is an exclusive luxury 'resort within a resort' with 24 suites at St. Lucia's famed Anse Chastanet Resort, in a truly romantic and magical setting poised high overlooking St. Lucia's Piton World Heritage site and the Caribbean Sea.



Hotel Valley Ho - Scottsdale, AZ
Escape to the sun in Scottsdale! A hideaway for celebrities, this Downtown Scottsdale resort features generously sized guest rooms with all-glass walls opening onto airy patios or balconies, many with views of Camelback Mountain.



Luxury travel and lifestyle - discover all the best destinations, hotels, resorts, nightlife, adventure, shopping, safaris, villas, spas and much more.



A.M.A Selections
A.M.A Selections offers a portfolio of hand-picked villas on the French Riviera, Tuscany and Umbria, complemented with an exclusive range of concierge services such as private jet and yacht charter, private chef, car service, and more.



BINA - Luxury Yacht Charter 142'
Offering remarkable quantities of luxury for a yacht of her size category, nothing but unadulterated bliss awaits you on board BINA. Sleeps 10-12 in 5 cabins.




Exploring the World in Style - cruising, yachting, expeditions, family adventure, luxury, river cruising - all to the best destinations in the world.