The Mimslyn Inn, location meets luxury
Location. Location. And luxury. Rising gracefully from the Shenandoah Valley, The Mimslyn Inn is an elegant retreat perfectly wedged in between and near some of the nation’s most breathtaking treasures. Hailed as one of Virginia’s finest inns and just 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., guests can enjoy rugged beauty and timeless adventure, and still immerse themselves in a kind of luxury unique in the valley.
With The Mimslyn Inn’s enviable location being one of its biggest draws, here is a fun look at some of the wonders that hug this historic hotel.
Shenandoah National Park
More than 8 million visitors travel within 10 miles of The Mimslyn Inn, drawn to Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah National Park. Those familiar with the inn eagerly check in, knowing few stays compare to this Georgian Revival classic. In fact, when President Theodore Roosevelt dedicated Shenandoah National Park in 1936, Mrs. Roosevelt stayed at the inn, immersed in its southern hospitality.
Today, the 200,000 mountainous acres that Roosevelt set aside have become a cherished destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who adore hiking through wooded hollows, with the Shenandoah’s spectacular vistas and cascading waterfalls being the ultimate reward. Guests at The Mimslyn Inn can see one of Shenandoah’s most hiked trails right from the comfort of the inn: Stony Man Trail, a 1.6-mile circuit that takes hikers to one of the park’s highest points. Rock climbers flock to Little Stony Man, a popular rock wall just below the main peak. The trail is so iconic that The Mimslyn Inn commissioned a local artist to paint the vista, and now the artwork graces one of The Mimslyn Inn’s meeting rooms.
Road trip enthusiasts will enjoy Skyline Drive, a 105-mile National Scenic Byway that runs the entire length of the Shenandoah National Park. Just 15 minutes from The Mimslyn Inn, guests who travel the byway are said to “ride the sky” as the mountaintop highway crests the spine of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where 75 scenic overlooks flaunt the Shenandoah Valley more than 4,000 feet below.
George Washington National Forest
Flanked by two national treasures, The Mimslyn Inn is sandwiched between the aforementioned Shenandoah National Park to the east and the George Washington National Forest to the west. A popular destination for trail runners and ultramarathoners, some 230,000 acres of old-growth forest create this woodland splendor. Virginia’s highest point — Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet above sea level — is located in this forest.
For those exploring Virginia by way of road trip, the George Washington National Forest offers up its own parkway experience: the famous Blue Ridge Parkway. Known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” the majority of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway runs through the western edge of this national forest. The northern tip of the parkway, the Blue Ridge Parkway - North Entrance, is roughly an hour from The Mimslyn Inn.
The Mimslyn Inn’s neighboring national park, preserved forest and scenic drives are evidence the area is rich with wonder. The inn’s founders, Henry and Elizabeth Mims, recognized this when they set out to build their luxurious accommodations. In awe of the area, the Mims wanted their inn to reflect the many nearby treasures, and so it was built with brick from Glasgow, slate quarried from Buckingham and tile from Roanoke. A local blacksmith even made the window frames on site. In May of 1931, the Mims opened up their own Shenandoah treasure.
One mile from The Mimslyn Inn, millions of visitors flock to Luray Caverns. The find of a lifetime, the caverns were discovered in 1878 when Luray tinsmith Andrew Campbell, his 13-year-old nephew, Quint, and three other men were exploring the area in search of a cave. The group discovered a limestone sinkhole, and when cold air blew out the candle Andrew was holding, they knew they were onto something big. After hours of unearthing rock around the limestone, Andrew and Quint descended into a hole by rope, discovering the largest series of caverns in the East.
A Registered National Landmark, the caverns boast a series of underground rooms, some 10 stories high complete with towering rock formations. The most notable formation is the Double Column, a geological wonder created when one of the cavern’s stalactites joined with one of the floor’s stalagmites, creating a 47-foot column. But this is just one of many wonders below the surface. Most visitors are surprised to find the world’s largest musical instrument in Luray Caverns: the Great Stalacpipe Organ. Visitors only have to gently tap on the stalactites that fill the cavern’s three acres, producing a wondrous musical effect that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
Luray also boasts the area’s newest vineyard, Luray Caverns Vineyard, where native Norton grapes were planted in 2013. The valley’s climate conditions and the area’s rich soils create intense flavors and aromatic wines, with 25-some wineries within a 35-mile drive of The Mimslyn Inn. Today, the entire Shenandoah Valley is renowned for its wine scene, producing some of the country’s most exciting varietals and making the valley the perfect retreat for a culinary road trip.
Virginia Civil War
During the Civil War, the peaceful beauty of the Shenandoah Valley was shattered as Union and Confederate forces fought for control of this vital land, a thoroughfare to Washington, D.C. For four years, the valley became the setting for some of the war’s most pivotal battles, including Stonewall Jackson’s 1862 Valley Campaign, which victoriously fended off the Union. For years, Shenandoah was known as the “Valley of Humiliation” for the North.
Surrounding The Mismslyn Inn, more than 200 Civil War sites dot Shenandoah Valley. Guests at the historic hotel can reach the Battle of New Market simply by setting out on Highway 211. The 1864 battle marked the last major Confederate victory in the Shenandoah Valley, and in 1996, Congress designated eight counties in the Shenandoah Valley as a National Heritage Area, marking the significance the valley played in the war. For those who enjoy interesting road trips, the Civil War Trail program offers several driving tours that follow some of the area’s major campaigns.
The Mimslyn Inn property has a storied past as well. Before the inn was built, the area served as an army encampment, with the previous building housing a hospital during the Civil War. Aside from the war, the childhood homes of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson can be found within a 40-minute radius of The Mimslyn Inn.
Virginia inn southern comfort
From cavern delights to park recreation, and from winery adventures to historic exploration, The Mimslyn Inn has its many draws, but luxury is perhaps its greatest attraction.
After a day of adventure in Shenandoah, there’s no better place for southern respite than The Mimslyn Inn, flaunting a recent $8 million renovation, its full-service Seasons Spa and two exemplary fine dining establishments. Exuding the same warmth and charm since 1931, it is here at The Mimslyn Inn that southern comfort takes on new meaning.