Washington, DC, is a company town—and the business is politics. This year, the churning news cycle has taken its toll on Beltway insiders: Add sweltering summer temperatures to the mix, and there’s a recipe for Capital fatigue. Even the savviest DC residents need a break from the wonky cocktail chatter, meddlesome motorcades and public attractions they’ve seen and done a million times. You can only take refuge in the air conditioned Smithsonian so many times.
If you’re suffering from DC exhaustion, a Beltway getaway is just what the Surgeon General ordered. We’ve curated a list of Select Registry properties in easy range (and safe distance) from your day-to-day routine. Book your long weekend in nearby Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania or West Virginia and return to your daily grind feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. At drives shorter than two hours, these destinations make it easy. Reconnect with your spouse! Work on your roman à clef. Find a babysitter and get out of Dodge.
These properties are our picks for device-free, news-free weekend havens. Think of it as choosing your own personal Camp David. Escape to the pristine farmlands and natural wonders just outside the Beltway to unplug, recharge and return to the capital ready to take names and make change.
Antietam Overlook Farm Bed and Breakfast: Keedysville, MD.
One hour and fourty-four minutes from D.C.
The Location: A true escape calls for wide, open spaces: Antietam Overlook Farm sits on 95 acres nestled atop the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. The inn derives its name from the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle in American history and a turning point in the Civil War. Nearby Sharpsburg is a quaint historic village and the property’s views stretch all the way from Maryland to neighboring states.
The Inn: The 19th century-style farmhouse is decked out with rustic finishes, stone fireplaces and antique furnishings. The original structure merges with an expertly designed new wing that maintains the period integrity of the inn. Each morning, visitors enjoy a country gourmet breakfast with special innovations.
Select Room: The Overlook suite is the inn’s most sought-after for its second-floor views in three directions. Guests have a clear view of the battlefield valley below, and unwind with a soaking tub, screened-in porch, fireplace and sitting lounge.
A Select Registry Playlist: Dreamers and Protesters
Hillbrook Inn and Spa: Charles Town, WV.
One hour and thirty-eight minutes from D.C.
The Location: In 1748, an 18-year-old George Washington visited the Charles Town area as a surveyor for Lord Fairfax. Hillbrook Inn and Spa sits on 18 acres that belonged to a 500-acre parcel Washington purchased with earnings from his early career.
The Inn: The imposing Tudor façade borrows from fabled English country retreats and welcoming common areas bathe in natural light. Wooded grounds promise a stunning, remote escape and history around every turn. Most importantly, the Hillbrook Inn staffs the Gatehouse Spa where guests indulge in luxury treatments, pampering and relaxing “me time.” For dinner, the property’s Redbook Restaurant elevates seasonal, local ingredients to create a daily prix fixe menu.
Select Room: The Summer Cottage offers a secluded experience with private entrance and gorgeous interior design. Hand-painted walls accentuate a gas log fireplace and charming windows with views to the wooded outdoors. Similar cottages (Spring, Fall and Winter) celebrate the seasons in casual, elegant style.
Inn at Willow Grove: Orange, VA.
Two hours and ten minutes from D.C.
The Location: Visitors needn’t step off the grounds to enjoy Central Virgina scenery: Rolling hills reveal picturesque gardens with quiet nooks for reading a good book as well as fountains, ponds and art installations. Play a game of horseshoes or congregate around several fire pits. Stunning views of the Blue Ridge skyline abound throughout the manicured lawns and gardens. Offsite, the Shenandoah National Park provides even more space to explore and indulge in outdoor adventures—hot air balloons, kayaking, skydiving and more.
The Inn: Impeccable service rules the day at the Inn at Willow Grove, where a personal butler carries guests’ belongings to marvelously appointed guest rooms and suites. Forbes gave the Vintage Restaurant (regional American cuisine with a twist) four stars and wine lists capitalize on the prime Virginia Wine Country location. The Smokehouse Spa offers 60-minute massages for ultimate relaxation.
Select Room: The two-story Schoolhouse cottage is registered as a historic landmark: It’s been updated with contemporary amenities like a wall-mounted flatscreen TV and soapstone wet bar. With space for four adults, it’s the perfect accommodation for girls’ or guys’ weekends.
L’Auberge Provençale: Boyce, VA.
One hour and thirty-four minutes from D.C.
The Location: Boyce, Virginia is teeming with American history: Winchester’s Abram’s Delight served as the area’s first Quaker meeting house and the Burwell Morgan Mill is the oldest operating mill in America. An 18th Century log cabin in Winchester served as George Washington’s office, and the Glen Burnie House boasts six acres of gardens. This is antique country: Steals and finds for your Georgetown apartment are available form many local shops and dealers.
The Inn: Despite the abundant Americana on view nearby, L’Auberge Provençale is a French country inn that delivers a slice of Provence in the scenic Mid-Atlantic. The farm-to-table cuisine draws from the grounds’ orchards, herb gardens and fresh vegetable patches. Rooms include steam baths, Jacuzzi tubs and cozy fireplaces for relaxation and solitude.
Select Room: At L’Auberge Provencal, rooms are named for French icons: Voltaire, Matisse and Coco Chanel, to name a few. The Lafayette Suite contains a grand fireplace and private deck with table and chairs—ideal for enjoying refreshments en plein air. Bright golds and supple oranges create a warm, cheery atmosphere.
Mercersburg Inn: Mercersburg, PA.
Two hours and five minutes from D.C.
The Location: Near Cowans Gap State park (where guests enjoy swimming, rowboating and hiking) the forested tract of Pennsylvania offers golf, farm tours and historic walks through Civil War sites. Meet an alpaca face-to-face or book theater tickets at the Totem Pole Playhouse—a short drive from the Inn. Beer lovers can explore nearby breweries and in the winter, ski season draws guests.
The Inn: Mercersburg Inn guests enter the turn-of-the-century Georgian mansion to find a heart-stopping foyer, with symmetrical grand staircases leading to the second floor. The light-filled sunroom boasts a wall of windows while parquet floors feature throughout the dining room. Stately blossoming shrubs line the front garden. The effect is grand, polished elegance—anything but “quaint.”
Select Room: Julia’s Repose is decked out in French country blues and a four-poster queen bed with lace curtains and vintage lamps. The bathroom is not to be missed: Blue-and-gold deco wallpaper accentuate mosaic tile and a generous, floating antique soaking tub.
Books for the Break: Inspiring and Provocative Reads
- The Path to Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert Caro. "This is the story of the rise to national power of a desperately poor young man from the Texas Hill Country. The Path to Power reveals in extraordinary detail the genesis of the almost superhuman drive, energy, and ambition that set LBJ apart." Available here via Amazon.
- Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think by Steven Kotler and Peter H. Diamandis. "We will soon be able to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp. This bold, contrarian view, backed up by exhaustive research, introduces our near-term future, where exponentially growing technologies and three other powerful forces are conspiring to better the lives of billions of people. This book is an antidote to pessimism by tech-entrepreneur-turned-philanthropist Peter H. Diamandis and award-winning science writer Steven Kotler." Available here via Amazon.
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau. “In 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a cabin by Walden Pond. With the intention of immersing himself in nature and distancing himself from the distractions of social life, Thoreau sustained his retreat for just over two years. More popular than ever, “Walden” is a paean to the virtues of simplicity and self-sufficiency.” Available here via Amazon.