Wednesday, August 16, 2017  

Kilmarnock Inn
Lancaster's Newest Bed & Breakfast

Kilmarnock Inn is Lancaster’s newest bed and breakfast, just opening their doors the beginning of July this year. But don’t be fooled by the newness of this inn, it is enriched with history. Stepping into the inn will automatically give you the feel of years gone by in Virginia, while still offering every amenity of a modern five star hotel.

The main house of the Kilmarnock Inn was built in 1884 by the Turner family. Sean Donahue saw the architecture and the location of the home, which had been vacant for several years, as the perfect venue for a bed and breakfast. The home is situated right in downtown Kilmarnock, about one block from Main Street. With this vision, Donahue purchased the home, which was still a part of the Turner estate, and began renovations.

The main house was renovated, in the fashion of Woodrow Wilson’s birthplace, to house a dining room, sitting room, registration area, commercial kitchen, along with a few accompanying rooms on the first floor. The first floor has hints of the White House with the sitting room decorated in the colors of the Lincoln Room and carpet with the presidential seal in the foyer. On the second floor of the main house are the guest quarters. There are two bedrooms, all with full bathrooms, and a suite, which has a sitting room, bedroom, and bath.

Through the back door of the main house you will find a large covered deck and a courtyard full of flowers in bloom. Surrounding the courtyard are seven additional guest houses that have, in total, another thirteen guest rooms. Each of the seven guest houses are modeled after the homes of the remaining seven Virginia born presidents; Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Harrison, Taylor, and Tyler. Each room has a private balcony or deck, plasma television, and a witty sign with information on the president from which it is named.

The Washington Cottage features two suites, upstairs and down, housing a bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom. The first floor suite is compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act, having complete wheelchair accessibility to and throughout the suite. With it’s two queen size beds and pull-out sofa this also makes the perfect suite for a small family to share. Much like the first floor suite the upper level suite also has a bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom, but instead the bedroom features a queen size bed. The plaque outside of the Washington Cottage notes that when Washington was elected president there was a king in France, a czarina in Russia, an emperor in China, and a shogun in Japan. Today the only office still remaining is that of president.

The Jefferson Cottage not only houses two guest rooms, it also houses a gathering room that can be used by all of the Inn’s guests. The gathering room is located on the first floor of the Jefferson Cottage and opens up onto a nice brick patio. Inside you will find a big screen television, leather sofas, a small kitchenette, and restrooms. This space is ideal for a small gathering of around fifty people as the furniture can be adjusted to meet the needs of the customer. Upstairs there are two private rooms. The first a bedroom-bathroom combination, with the second room having a sitting area, sleeping area, bathroom, and in-room Jacuzzi tub. The amenities within this cottage make it ideal to rent for a party and stay the evening. Since there are two sections to the Jefferson Cottage, there are also two plaques with information on Jefferson. The plaque dedicated to the Jefferson Gathering Room explaines that Jefferson’s personal library, of approximately 6,000 books, was the basis for the Library of Congress. The second plaque notes that after Jefferson was sworn in as president he returned to his boarding house for dinner where every seat was taken and no one stood to offer him a seat. After some time, the wife of a Kentucky Senator offered the new president her seat, but he politely declined.

The Madison Cottage, also referred to as the Honeymoon Cottage, simply houses one guest room. Once you enter through the doors of the Madison Cottage, simplicity ceases. This is a spacious room with a separate bath. There is a four poster, king size bed, three-sided fireplace, and in-room Jacuzzi tub. There is a deck off the courtyard and off the back of the cottage for privacy. The style of this cottage definitely sets the mood for romance. The funny tidbit of information on Madison’s plaque says that he was the first president to wear trousers instead of knee breeches.

The Monroe Cottage is designed to resemble a farmhouse with four guest rooms. There are two guests rooms on the upper level and two on the first floor. Each of the guests rooms have a private bath and there is a central hall and stairwell inside. The plaque regarding Monroe explains that in 1820 he ran unopposed and received all of the electoral votes except one—a delegate from New Hampshire wanted Washington to be the only president elected unanimously.

The Harrison Cottage is designed to look like a beach cottage. It is a tall narrow building with two guest rooms; one on the first floor and one above. Harrison’s plaque states that as Governor of the Indian territory he was cursed by the Shawnee leader that he would become “Chief of His Land” and would die in office as would every leader in twenty year increments. This happened to Harrison and every leader, seven in total, who was elected in a year ending in zero up until Ronald Reagan, who was badly injured but not killed in 1981.

The Taylor and Tyler Cottages, each have one bedroom and a private bathroom. These cottages have beach cottage exteriors and are both pet friendly. Tyler’s plaque notes that he was the father of fifteen children and learned that he was to become president while playing marbles.

After a night's stay in one of the lovely rooms, guests will receive a gourmet breakfast cooked by locally renowned chef Jeff Johnson. Each breakfast is a three-course meal. The first course typically consists of fresh seasonal fruit. It is followed by a homemade pastry of sorts; maybe a muffin or cinnamon rum bun. The final course is usually a featured itemed served with bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, and the like. Some of the feature items include gourmet French toast, an omlette, or the signature dish, Breakfast Brulee. The Breakfast Brulee is an egg cream base with various accompaniments such as sausage, bacon, or spinach and feta. All breakfasts are served inside unless other arrangements have been made.

The gourmet meals do not end with breakfast. After Labor Day the Kilmarnock Inn will be offering dinners on occasion by reservation. The first dinner will be on Thursday, September 4th. The package will include a five course dinner, one night’s stay at the Inn, and a full breakfast, for only $195 a night per couple. Dinner will be served to non-guests as seating is available.

This will be the first of a series of dinners. In the months to come there will be a number of special dinners featuring “celebrity chefs.” These chefs will come in from all over for one night to delight guests and diners with their specialty dishes.

After dinner, guests will be able to enjoy a cocktail at the Inn’s 14 Points Lounge, which is a fully stocked cash bar. The lounge is named after Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points on Peace speech he gave to Congress in 1918. The lounge is open all day to guests and the general public.

Another fun event offered by the Kilmarnock Inn will be cooking classes. On the same lines as the “Celebrity Chef” dinners, chefs will come in and teach guests to master culinary dishes in the Inn’s commercial kitchen. This will allow guests a fun-packed, learning experience that they can take home with them and enjoy for years to come.

Starting in October, Halloween weekend to be precise, the Inn will begin their Murder Mystery series. These will be offered monthly, but on October 31st it will also be a Halloween Costume Ball. Other events planned at the Inn include a wine pairing dinner with Athena Vineyards, the Inn’s house wine. In all, the Inn will offer a minimum of two special events monthly.

Aside from the planned events, guest can also enjoy the many daily amenities offered at the Kilmarnock Inn. The Inn has masseuses available for their guests to enjoy a relaxing massage. There are also a number of bicycles available for guests to use to tour the town of Kilmarnock. In the courtyard guests will find a five hole practice putting green and fresh herb, vegetable, and flower gardens.

The facilities at the Kilmarnock Inn are available to rent for special occasions. There are spaces available that will comfortably accommodate anywhere from thirty to two hundred guests; both indoors and underneath a tent in the courtyard.

The Inn is also proud to offer a corporate rate and discounts to certain patrons. Those in need of lodging in Kilmarnock for church functions, funerals, new teacher recruitment, new hospital employee recruitment, and for local business functions will be offered rooms at the Inn at a discounted rate.

For more information on the Kilmarnock Inn please visit their website, www.kilmarnockinn.com, or call, 804-435-0034. They are also more than happy to give tours of the Inn to the general public. They are located at 34 East Church Street in Kilmarnock.