Take a step back in time, to a town nestled in the lush mountains of the George Washington National Forest in Bath County, Virginia. Here, you can enjoy the cozy and country charm of the Warm Springs at “The Inn at Gristmill Square”. The Inn, a unique bed and breakfast built from the 5 original 19th century historic buildings that were on the property, is home of the famous Waterwheel Restaurant. It is also a member of the Bed and Breakfast Association of Virginia.
The Glorious Inn at Gristmill Square
My daughter, Peyton, and I arrived at the Inn at Gristmill Square and checked in with a friendly receptionist. She not only showed us to our room, but also pointed out the magazines, games, and puzzles available during our stay. The welcoming Inn at Gristmill Square’s lobby offered free coffee and reading materials to guests. I liked that the property was easily accessible, including the swimming pool, onsite restaurant, and neighboring spa. Parking was easy and there were plenty of spots. The rooms were given names such as the Hardware Store (where our Silo room was located), Miller’s House, Steele House, and the Blacksmith Shop. Each room was unique in decor and offered free Wi-Fi, local landline telephones, window air conditioning and complimentary breakfast.
Delighted with the Silo Room
Our room was in the Silo, a round bedroom with an enormous bathroom, featuring a 2 person Jacuzzi tub. I loved the warmth of the quaint yet spacious room, which featured a desk area, 2 fireplace facing Wingback chairs, and plush linens. The works of art on the walls were most interesting; pieces that had no similarities though complimented each other nicely. Thick super soft handmade rugs were the floor and looked gorgeous against the hardwood floors, I would love to have taken one home with me! Our king size bed was incredibly comfortable and the separate bathroom…heavenly.
I loved the huge bathtub and later that day, I soaked my traveling aches away while reading the handful of Bath County brochures and literature I picked up in the lobby. The bathroom had a separate modern shower, private toilet, and complimentary toiletries. A mini-fridge was stocked with bottled water. I appreciated the brown washcloths for make-up removal. Why do all hotels not offer those? I always hate defacing the white washcloths, but the Inn at Gristmill Square was clever enough to cover this base. Well done!
Delivering Delightful Breakfast Baskets
Breakfast was delivered to our room each morning in a cute little basket, a nice touch. The darling basket was filled with breakfast goodies, orange juice, water, and coffee. I was highly impressed with the thought and efforts that went into assembling each basket. One morning our basket had spinach cheese pastries and fresh fruit, while the second day we had homemade biscuits and jelly, sliced nut bread, and yogurt with granola served in the cutest little mason jars. What a delight!
The Inn at Gristmill Square offered plenty of outdoor seating for relaxing, socializing, and breathing the fresh mountain air. I was fond of the small wrought iron tables that restaurant guests used as they sipped their evening wine. Beautiful flowers were placed in nooks and crannies throughout the property and were in pristine condition.
Dining at the Waterwheel Restaurant
Peyton and I booked a reservation at the Waterwheel, a converted mill that now houses a gourmet restaurant on-site. It is also known as a Simon Kenton Pub. I was completely bowled over as we entered the restaurant. From the white starched tablecloths to the upscale menu and wine list, and the professionalism of the wait staff to the fresh flowers on the tables, not a stone was left unturned. All these and more provided us with an exceptional dining experience.
My daughter Peyton and I started our meal with French Onion Soup. The soup was served in small crocks and topped with creamy Gruyere cheese. We ate this with fresh baked bread spread with real butter. Dinner size salads, wrapped together with a thin slice of cucumber, were too pretty to eat but that did not stop us. The beautiful presentations were much appreciated.
For dinner, Peyton chose the Pappardelle Bolognese while the Faroe Islands Salmon was my choice. My salmon was paired with asparagus spears and basil & citrus risotto. Both photo-worthy plated dinners arrived and after our first bites, there was utter silence while we both savored these amazing dishes. My salmon was spectacular and had a crusty herb topping. The slow cooked risotto was just how I like it and cooked to perfection. Peyton’s pasta was sinfully delicious and creamy; an irresistible Bolognese recipe. Simply put, both meals were up there as two of my favorites of 2015.
Finishing a Memorable Meal
Our waiter delivered desserts that was the “icing on the cake” for the evening. Peyton opted for the Flourless Chocolate Cake, which was paired with caramel sauce, coffee ice cream, and compressed strawberries. Peyton=1; cake=0. My Carrot Cake was a deconstructed version. The cake (being muffin sized) was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, heavily drizzled with cream cheese icing, and a creative bit of peanut brittle stuck in the top of the cake. Picture me with my eyes rolled back in my head. My palate did a happy dance with every bite of this ingenious and fantastic dessert. I later learned that the carrot cake recipe belonged to a long-term kitchen employee. How special is that? It was one of the best desserts of my life!
After dinner, I had a chance to chat with innkeeper John, an incredibly kind and attentive man who paid attention to all of his guests. He seemed to subscribe to the same “Ritz Carlton” method of customer service that both my husband and I do, in which dazzling the guest and making each one feel special is the top priority. I can see why he and his wife, Kate, have been successful in their hospitality careers. Though I did not meet Kate, I know through emailing her that she is equally as passionate and happy with her life as an innkeeper owner as John. I wish them all the best in the future with this rustic slice of paradise, where relaxation meets elegance. Thank you for hosting Peyton and I.
Inn at Gristmill Square Photos:
Check out our other post about Bath County, Virginia here.