Discovering the Clifton Inn

At first glance it may be easy to be intimated by the Clifton Inn. The inn, located minutes away from Charlottesville, Va., is not only a Relais-Chateaux property but also has a connection to Thomas Jefferson as well.
However, looks can be deceiving. You see, once you get past the doors of the circa-1799, iconic white house, you'll discover a warm and welcoming place for every type of traveler.
“We're not a frou frou stuffy place,” comments Niall Reid, general manager. “There are no airs here, just good southern hospitality.”
Situated on 100-acres overlooking Monticello Mountain, Reid stresses the property is close enough to everything, but far enough to feel like you've really gotten away from it all.
 “If you want to go sit on the dock – you there. If you want to be in the woods – you're there,” he says. “We're also minutes away from wineries and presidents' homes. There's so much to do in the area.”
“It's a charming and relaxing place.”
He points out that Clifton Inn is a destination for families as well with its horse-back riding, swimming and hiking opportunities on the property.
“It (inn) works for every type of traveler.”
The property offers 17 rooms and suites, each individually decorated and vary in size and amenities. You can chose among the lofty Carriage House (largest suite that includes a loft bedroom)  or the intimate Dogwood Room (garden suite with a private porch) depending on your need, taste and budget.
And then there is the food. When describing Clifton Inn's restaurant, Reid uses two words:  “innovative and interesting.”
“We have a great restaurant,” he says. “The chef uses as much local products as possible. The dishes he creates are incredibly flavorable and he uses unusual pairing of flavors. You won't find a lot of butter or cream, his creations are heavy on flavor.”
“The dishes are a visual treat as well, since people tend to eat with their eyes first.”
Be sure to check out the restaurant's themed dinners, one each month, ranging from farm themed to pumpkin themed. For foodies, there's also a chef's table experience worth checking out.
If you're looking for a intimate accommodation that's also comfortable in many ways, definitely consider the Clifton Inn.

If You Go: Make a long weekend of your time at the Clifton Inn and explore the area. For history-lovers, not only is Thomas Jefferson's Monticello nearby, but also James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland and Montpelier, home of James Madison. Nature lovers will enjoy a drive along Skyline Drive, running the entire length of Shenandoah National Park along the ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For something new mixed in with the old, there's the Monticello Wine Trail, a collection of 20 vineyards and wineries.