When DC denizens seek a truly sophisticated winter retreat, The Inn at Little Washington’s 18 bedrooms and suites often spring to mind. Located about 70 miles from the District in the charming village of Washington, Virginia, the inn has earned a dazzling reputation—not to mention recently garnering a 2013 AAA Five Diamond Award for first-class service, accommodations, and richly decorated rooms by London set designer Joyce Evans.

And while the historically inspired spaces, featuring garden views and English furnishings, make for luxurious holiday hideaways, the true star here is the cuisine turned out by chef and proprietor Patrick O’Connell. Embracing the idea that family traditions define the holidays, O’Connell welcomes new and returning visitors with offerings that dovetail in myriad delicious ways: Time-honored favorites intertwine with current culinary trends to create an inspired feast. “We look to classic holiday dishes and try to reinvent them,” he explains. “For example, we may do a frozen eggnog soufflé or a truffled Yorkshire pudding. We always offer turkey, but [we] make it taste like the woods by roasting it with juniper and spruce branches.” So what does O’Connell hope visitors come away with after spending festive family time at the inn? “Simply the sense that they’ve come home for the holiday,” he says. “Home just happens to have a staff of 135.” Middle and Main Streets, Washington, VA, 540-675-3800

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