Bliss by the Water

Look to the luxe resorts when you crave good golf, curated activities, and ultimate pampering.

Lansdowne Resort

Virginia’s waterfront resorts have turned “going to the rivah” into destinations visitors won’t want to leave. Start with morning riverside stretches, progress to paddleboarding or pampering in the spa, and finish with dinner and a glorious sunset, sampling and savoring wonderful local foods and beverages along the way. 

Lansdowne Resort & Spa

The countryside of the Potomac River Valley and Loudoun County Wine Country is just 12 miles from Dulles Airport, making Lansdowne Resort close enough for locals to go for dinner or a weekend’s staycation and for travelers to add to a visit to the nation’s capital—but also special enough to be a destination of its own. 

Start your visit with an appointment at Spa Minerale. Seasonally themed treatments, couples massages, and warm whirlpools are among the popular offerings. For a different kind of relaxation, the spa offers wellness activities, fitness classes, and personal trainers.

Next, enjoy the countryside. Biking and hiking trails to Elizabeth Mills Park reward with impressive river views. Paddle offerings include tours themed for sunrise, sunset, explorers, and history buffs. Then, 45 holes of AAA Four Diamond golf await! If bad weather sets in, there are dozens of local craft beer and wine sampling options (Wine Enthusiast magazine designated Loudoun County one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations”). Or, Leesburg offers Colonial-to-Civil War-era attractions. You can also sample and take home a bit of Lansdowne’s annually harvested 250 pounds of honey.

When it’s time to dine, Lansdowne has three options: Riverside Hearth offers diverse buffet options or made-to-order dishes with exceptional service; at Piedmont’s, try the chicken piccata and chocolate cake; and Coton & Rye, a tavern, features Old Dominion favorites like chicken pot pie and iron-pan steak and taters, as well as locally crafted private-barrel whiskey. LansdowneResort.com

Tides Inn

Tides Inn

A destination since 1947, Tides Inn’s initial appeal is its secluded location on Carter’s Creek near Irvington on Virginia’s Northern Neck. But the inn’s 24-slip marina makes it popular with boaters, and its wide range of amenities make it a hive of (extremely relaxing) activity. 

Like many resorts, Tides Inn offers a full-service spa,fitness options, and golf. (The par 3, nine-hole executive course is complimentary, while the 18-hole Golden Eagle course features exciting elevations, well-placed bunkers, and several water elements.) Where the inn shines, though, is in unique offerings like classes in sailing, drink mixology, and oyster roasting; jet ski and oyster harvesting excursions; river cruises in electric Duffy boats (picnics available!); live music; and even crabbing along the creek.

On rainy days, guests can tour local wineries as well as the area’s two National Historic Landmarks: Stratford Hall, home of the Lees, and Christ Church, one of the finest colonial churches remaining in the United States. A dozen other museums and Historic Williamsburg are also conveniently nearby.

For indulgent vacation meals, Tides Inn offers five restaurants: the Chesapeake Terrace and Overlook Dining for meals al fresco, the Golden Eagle Grill’s lighter fare, and “tide to table” entrees at Chesapeake Restaurant. The newly opened Fish Hawk is a casual space with great waterfront views, a raw bar, and a menu of coastal classics, including more than a dozen types of oysters with an array of house sauces, a daily Chesapeake Bay Boil, crab cakes, and soft-shell crabs, all paired with local libations. TidesInn.com

Kingsmill Resort

Kingsmill Resort 

Because Kingsmill is both a resort and home to a large, upscale residential community, the signs alerting travelers to its entrance are very discreet—drivers can easily pass its tucked-away location east of Williamsburg. Vigilance pays off once you pull onto the beautiful property, though.

Kingsmill is known for its golfing, and seasoned fans say the resort lives up to its billing as Virginia’s Only AAA Four Diamond condominium golf resort. It offers three courses, one of which is home to an LPGA event, while another was created by golf legend Arnold Palmer. Lessons, rentals, and course memberships complete the package.

Other guests will enjoy Kingsmill’s spa options, which include holistic treatments, massages, and salon services, and the recreational activities, such as tennis, swimming, and the kids club. Nearby attractions include the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, Busch Gardens, and Colonial Williamsburg. The resort’s location and popular marina on the James River make it a nautical hub for boaters as well as fans of jet skiing, paddleboarding, kayaking, and pontoon boating.

The waterfront also means expansive sunset views while you enjoy the onsite restaurants; try James Landing Grille for regional seafood and Eagles for luscious desserts by pastry chef Uwe Schluzas. Nearby, you’ll find small plates at La Tienda Tapas Bar and Market, Southern breakfasts at Old Chickahominy House, and more excellent seafood at Waypoint Seafood & Grill. Kingsmill.com


This article originally appeared in our WaterLife 2019 issue.

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