The Inn at Willow Grove: relax, unwind, indulge

By Posted on Feb 13 2015 | By

Orange Virginia inn pampers guests with a deft touch

Willow GroveA unique Piedmont inn is attracting a growing clientele seeking a gracious lifestyle getaway.

And it’s obvious to many guests that reduced stress and declining blood pressures are collateral benefits that take effect shortly after checking in.

Could doctors soon be writing prescriptions for a two night day stay for their overworked patients? Let’s hope so.

If it all sounds a bit magical, perhaps it is.

The force behind The Inn at Willow Grove is the Scibal family. David and Charlene purchased the home in 2009. It was originally built in 1778 by Joseph Clark. Their son Matt is general manager.

The inn is a classic two-over-one Federal-style home and was in need of extensive repair when purchased. Following a multi-million dollar renovation it opened in 2010 as an upscale resort.

The 38 acre property showcases the manor house with four rooms and 10 separate cottages. Every room is beautifully appointed. The goal of the layout is to achieve a communal village effect. While the dwellings are clustered, a sense of privacy prevails as one walks the grounds.

To round out the entertainment offerings, two structures are devoted to weddings, fundraisers and musical events. One building is for small groups and the second is a rebuilt historic barn that seats 150.

Willow Grove has partnered with Comcast to produce a series of Xfinity concerts. Each intimate show focuses on music, food and wine discussions followed by a live show. Larger performances will be held this spring and fall.

Inn at Willow GroveDining at the inn’s restaurant is the highlight of a visit, but one doesn’t need to stay overnight to enjoy the unique experience. The restaurant is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday.

The restaurant, called Vintage, seats 65 guests and features contemporary American cuisine with a twist. “We try to do something different; a bit more whimsical and fun with our food rather than a normal eatery,” said Matt Scibal.

For lighter fare, the inn has a pub featuring local craft brews from award-winning Virginia microbreweries.

Last June, a new culinary team focused on creating a farm-to-table menu. “We try to produce dinners using products from local farms,” said Scibal. The menu changes four times a year.

Of particular interest to wine lovers is the impressive wine selection. The list features 120 different bottlings. Matt Scibal is the wine buyer. “I am the fortunate one who gets to taste a lot of wine. And like our food program, we’ve tried to draw from the wonderful Virginia wine region.”

Quality Old Dominion producers such as Linden, King Family, Barboursville, Jefferson Vineyards, Early Mountain and more are featured.

The list also includes wines from around the world but many of the offerings are California centric. Again, quality producers prevail such as Duckhorn, Cakebread, Caymus, Trefethen, Silver Oak and Opus One. A few 96 and 100 point wines are also represented.

The wine list received the coveted Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

So what’s been the public’s reaction to the establishment? For starters, the web site Tripadvisor lists 227 “excellent” ratings out of a total of 245; and an additional 13 folks rated it “very good”.

To support those opinions, Culpeper County residents Betsy Walker and her husband Fred experienced the Inn’s magic. She came way with this observation, “It’s the place to go if you want the entire package. Good food, luxury accommodations and wonderful service…even your own butler.”

Inn philosophy
The Scibal family has traveled extensively. “We’ve always stayed in very nice accommodations. But we were often a little put off with the service. We don’t believe you have to be very wealthy to have a five star experience; it doesn’t have to be stuffy.

“We want our service to be genuine, considerate and comfortable. We feel we can pull that off and still have a five star experience. We are cutting edge. We like to meld the old and the new and create something interesting,” said Scibal.

And as sons might often be heard to say, “My mother is the creative genius behind the whole property.”

Thanks Mom.

For information on lodging, dining and more visit: http://innatwillowgrove.com/

John’ Pick of the monthOpus One
2010 Opus One
96 points


OK, few of us have the courage…or wallet to order a wine this expensive. But it’s emblematic of the depth of the wine list at Willow Grove. And if you were staying at the beautiful inn and enjoying quality food and service, might temptation overcome you? The wine is fairly priced for a restaurant selection; Total Wine sells it for $235.

Let’s listen in on what world famous wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. had to say about the selection: “A glorious perfume of sweet charcoal, truffle, black currants and spice box soars from the glass of the saturated purple-colored 2010 Opus One. The gorgeous aromatics are followed by a beautifully knit, full-bodied red blend displaying lots of spicy black currant fruit, medium to full body, velvety tannins, and not a hard edge to be found. The texture, length and richness are all impressive.”

Inn at Willow Grove

Published in the February 12, 2015 edition of the Culpeper Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES