By Kelly MacConomy
Over the river and through the woods to a winery tasting we will go. Driving along the wine trails less travelled and haplessly following signage to dirt road vineyards, one frequently happens upon an undiscovered hideaway. Nestled in a grove of whispering pines along aptly named Christmas Tree Lane in Little Washington, 60 miles from Alexandria, is an unassuming house with only a simple sign roadside indicating it’s available to rent.
LeFay Cottage, conveniently located a stroll downhill from the Little Washington Winery, is owned by Sally-Anne Andrew, a former event planner who turned her creative muse from soirée to hostelry, transforming the Cape Cod-style cottage tucked unassumingly near the foothills of Shenandoah National Park into an oasis of enchantment.
The walkway to the entryway is adorned with decorative flourishes that hint at the fantastical curtain rise to come. Imagine the decor of the Inn at Little Washington meets classic English Country cottage by way of a storybook dream from childhood: the Princess of Chintz a la Joyce Conwy Evans, who designed the Inn, in a fantastical homage to spritely not-so-shabby chic.
Sally-Anne is as lovely, gracious and enchanting as Le Fay Cottage. Speaking with a beguiling English accent she tours the cottage noting the conveniences and elegant touches of unexpected luxury. The 3 bedroom 2 bath (supplied with Molton Brown pampering products from London) cottage sleeps six comfortably. The kitchen is stocked with basic staples that preclude a run to a grocery- coffee from a local roaster, teas, cream, milk, butter jams, soft drinks and libations. The kitchen is well-equipped in the event that reservations to fine dine at the Inn haven’t been made or you don’t plan to explore the various recommended epicurean options in Sperryville, Flint Hill or Tula’s in downtown Little Washington.
LeFay Cottage has a deck off the sunroom with views to the Skyline Drive Blue Ridge mountainscape. The Blue Ridge mountain range is believed to be the oldest in the world. The undulating hues of blue, purple and grey ridges echo deep secrets of history and oceans of time, harkening an air of mystical, magical awe. There is a lot of there there. And here.
Peering between the majestic pines is a peek of venerable Old Rag, the DMV climber’s pilgrimage destination, yielding yet a another delightful diversion on the inviting deck festooned with hydrangeas and trumpet vine, beckoning a breakfast ballet of butterflies and hummingbirds.
Sharing the view an easy stroll up Christmas Tree Lane is the Little Washington Winery, one of the top wineries in the Rappahannock “sweet spot” of Shenandoah wine country which includes Chester Gap, Desert Rose, Gadino, Gray Ghost, Magnolia. Narmada, Quièvremont, Rappahannock, and Sharp Rock.
Little Washington Winery offers their own various Virginia varietals as well as wine from all 50 states and around the world. The popular blend George, named the top red Virginia wine, sells out year after year. Winemaker Carl Henrickson with his wife Donna own and operate the winery as well as the luxurious five suite, year-old Skyline Vineyard Inn up the mountain on property that borders Shenandoah National Park. Outstanding hiking is a stone’s throw away with the Park entrance an easy 15 minute drive down the 211 highway.
Whether you are an inveterate winery weekend warrior, an aspiring Appalachian Trail conquerer, or an accidental tourist, you will be warmly welcomed at LeFay Cottage. Open weekdays and weekends throughout the year. Be sure to visit Carl and Donna. Tell them Sally-Anne and Z~Oenology sent you.
Come for the views
Stay for the weekend.
And the wine!
LeFay Cottage 41 a Christmas Tree Lane Little Washington, Virginia 22747 703-980-1478. LeFayCottageatLittleWashington@gmail.com Call for rates and specials off-season or check online.
72 Little Washington Winery Christmas Tree Lane, Little Washington, Virginia 22474 Open Thursday-Sunday 11-5 540-987-8330 $10 tastings with sales by tasting, glass or bottle.