Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, just minutes from Shenandoah National Park, Foster Harris House is a quaint and luxurious guest lodge in the heart of beautiful Washington, Virginia. The lovely little guesthouse offers sophisticated, yet comfortable accommodations, a wonderful fine dining restaurant and an array of activities to enjoy in an enchanting country setting on your weekend getaway from DC.

Owned by Diane and John MacPherson, Foster Harris House was built in 1905 and purchased by the couple in 2004 when they decided to quit the corporate life and follow their dream of creating a business that combined their passions for food, wine, cycling and entertaining. In addition to the Foster Harris House, John and Diane own Tour d’Epicure Virginia Cycling Adventures, an adventure company that offers scenic cycling tours that combine food and wine tastings along the way.

The Foster Harris House is situated in the heart of Rappahannock County, just two blocks from the renowned Inn at Little Washington and 66 miles southwest of Washington, DC. The inviting guest house is situated within a short distance of Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive, as well as being centrally and conveniently located to some of Virginia's best vineyards and wineries. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.Foster Harris House Rooms & Suites

Foster Harris House Rooms & Suites
© Foster Harris House

Foster Harris House presents five beautifully appointed guest rooms with elegant décor and stunning views. Individually decorated to exude their own character and charm, guestrooms feature lovely French Provençal-style furnishings, gleaming wooden floors and rich kilims, ornate mantle pieces and free-standing stoves and gorgeously draped windows that look out over the lush, landscaped gardens and the Blue Ridge Mountains beyond.

The Mountain View Room features a queen-size bed, an en suite marble bathroom with a glass-enclosed spa shower with water jets and rainfall showerhead, bathtub and lighted make-up mirror. An elegant sitting room has a crystal chandelier, a free-standing stove for warmth and coziness and a loveseat with beautiful views over the perennial gardens and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.

Situated at the back of the guest house for extra privacy, The Meadow Room offers a romantic four-poster queen-size bed and pristine en suite white tiled bathroom with a walk-in rainfall shower and bathtub with lovely views from the bathroom window. This room also features a free-standing stove for warmth and coziness and its own separate anteroom, offering an extra sense of seclusion.

Sunny, spacious and stylish, the Garden Room is situated on the first floor of the guesthouse and features a custom-made queen-size bed, en suite bathroom with a traditional bathtub, rainfall shower and lighted make-up mirror. A comfortable sitting area has two upholstered chairs, a free-standing stove for warmth and coziness and lovely views of the garden and meadows beyond the house.

The Compton Room is a study of opulence with a dark cherry queen-size bed, an en suite Italian-tiled bathroom with a large walk-in rainfall shower, separate bathtub and lighted make-up mirror. An elegantly furnished sitting room offers an upholstered wingback chair, a free-standing stove and a love seat that converts to a twin bed.

The Jenkins Room is a smallish, carefully appointed cozy room that features a luxurious queen bed, elegant French country furnishings and a lovely en suite bathroom with Italian tiles, a walk-in rainfall shower and a lighted makeup mirror. All guestrooms feature deluxe amenities such as plush terry bathrobes, Gilchrist & Soames bath products, hair dryers, a "Fashion Emergency" Kit and complimentary high-speed wireless Internet.

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2.Dining at Foster Harris House

Dining at Foster Harris House
© Foster Harris House

Foster Harris House offers guests an intimate and exceptional dining experience for both breakfast and dinner. The intimate restaurant is a culinary treasure, where owners, Chef John and hostess Diane MacPherson, team up to serve the best seasonal foods and wines the Shenandoah Valley region has to offer.

Guests are presented with a hearty four-course breakfast to start the day, including fresh seasonal fruit, freshly baked ginger scones, feather-light soufflés and blueberry cheesecake crepes.

Dinner is served in an intimate 10-seater dining room where guests can order from an innovative menu created from locally sourced ingredients from the Rappahannock County and presented with flair. Soft lighting, candlelit tables and beautifully arranged floral centerpieces set the stage for what is an intimate evening of culinary enchantment. Artfully composed to entice the appetite and eye, gourmet dishes include grilled Carolina shrimp served with avocado cream and coconut jalapeno mousse, filet mignon with butternut squash purée in a Zinfandel apple sauce, and house-made ricotta fritters with toasted marshmallow, créme Fraiche Gelato and elderflower berry coulis.

Service is impeccable and the cuisine is paired with some of the Virginia Piedmont region’s best wines such as Rappahannock Cellars Meritage (Virginia, 2013), as well as fine wines from the most famous parts of the world such as the Leyda Single Vineyard Las Brisas Pinot Noir (Chile, 2012).

A dress code of smart casual attire is required and the dining room is also available for private dinner parties of up to 10 guests from Sunday through Thursday evenings. Guests can take home a special memento in the form of the cookbook written by Diane and John MacPherson, The Foster Harris House Cookbook. Other Services (Eco-Friendly, Family Services & Kid’s Club) Foster Harris House is an eco-friendly hotel that is a member of Virginia’s Green Lodging program and practices sustainability and environmentally-friendly initiatives. Established to preserve and contribute towards the beauty of Rappahannock County for generations to come, the hotel’s green initiatives include an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system, energy-efficient bulbs, low-consumption toilets, linen-reuse options, “green” cleaner and a recycling program.

Foster Harris House also has a Tesla Destination Charging Station where both overnight and dinner guests can charge up their cars while they recharge and relax over dinner.

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3.Cooking Classes

Cooking Classes
© Foster Harris House

Foster Harris House gives guests the opportunity to get into the kitchen with an expert chef and learn all the tricks of his trade. Led by Chef John MacPherson, cooking classes consist of an afternoon in the kitchen chopping, kneading, stirring and enjoying a glass of wine or two. Classes are limited to a maximum of 10 people, and tips and techniques include learning how to get the most out of the season's finest ingredients, as well as practicing cutting skills and pasta filling techniques. Classes are open to all skill levels and end with a delicious sit-down meal paired with fine wines.

Groups of friends can enjoy private cooking classes together, whereby Chef John MacPherson can create a workshop that is perfectly suited to the group’s needs. Private cooking classes last for approximately three hours and are suited to all skill levels and include a sit-down meal paired with local wines at the end.

Other specials at Foster Harris House include a free copy of The Foster Harris House Cookbook when you book a two-night stay with dinner for two, and discounted winter meals for visitors from the surrounding neighborhood counties of Rappahannock, Culpeper, Madison, Page, Warren and Fauquier. Prix fixe, five-course menus can be reserved for parties of up to six people on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, while private dinner engagements or cooking classes for up to 10 guests can be booked for any day of the week.

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4.Things to Do in Surrounding Area

Things to Do in Surrounding Area
© Foster Harris House

The surrounding Rappahannock County offers a variety of things to see and do from sampling excellent wines and eating fantastic food to exploring art galleries, museums and historical monuments and enjoying the great outdoors. Dine at award-winning restaurants, taste world-class wines from local vineyards, attend performances at the Village theaters, browse antique shops, art galleries and boutiques and explore the famous Shenandoah National Park. Outdoor enthusiasts will delight in the spectacular surroundings that offer the perfect setting for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, golfing, fishing and hot-air ballooning.

Wine estates, vineyards and family-run wineries are an integral part of the rolling farmlands and patchwork landscapes of the Rappahannock County. Clinging to the stony hillsides, the vineyards of Rappahannock produce outstanding wines which can be sampled and savored at each of the estates in the region, along with light foods, wines and wine accessories for sale. Rappahannock County is also home to the Copper Fox Distillery in Sperryville, which produces the well-known Wasmund single malt whiskey. Visitors can enjoy scheduled tours of the distillery and learn more about the distilling process.

Guests can rent well-maintained Giant brand hybrid bicycles for the day or experience the incredible natural beauty of Virginia’s wine country with the Tour d’ Epicure bicycle tour. The tour is led by Foster Harris House owners John and Diane MacPherson who are both experienced cyclists with a passion for good food, wine and cycling around the countryside. Epicurean cycling adventures explore the surrounding area, taking in the beautiful scenic views and sampling some of the region’s best food and wine.

Tour d’ Epicure offers two- and three-day all-inclusive cycling tours, as well as private tours for groups. Itineraries can be adjusted according to guests needs. All-inclusive tours include luxury accommodations at the guest house, transportation during the tour, all meals including dinner at renowned The Inn at Little Washington, and a handpicked selection of wines with lunch and dinner. Guests will receive food and drinks to keep them energized on the road, Giant brand bicycles and helmets, on-road van support with experienced cycling guides, wine tasting and tour fees and Shenandoah National Park entrance fees, if required.

Rooms start at $239 per night.

189 Main St, Washington, VA 22747, Phone: 540-675-3757, website

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Romantic Getaways near DC: Foster Harris House Near Shenandoah National Park

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