Our visit to the Inn at Willow Grove was one of our last stops on the 2-day Orange Weddings Tour (naturally, I refuse to begin at the beginning). Every venue was elegant and hospitable in its own way. Willow Grove was one of the largest properties with some of the newest renovations and most luxury accommodations, and the staff’s greeting matched the site’s grandeur – a line of servers and management holding trays of sweet iced tea and champagne awaited the tandem arrival of our James Limousine coach and limo bus.
The brochures for the Inn at Willow Grove describes the property as “a luxurious country Inn” – which is a monumental understatement. The grounds are sculpted and manicured with fountains and hidden footpaths leading from the huge primary estate building to cozy private cottages. The front of the property (like almost every one we visited in Orange) has breathtaking views of horse country and the Blue Ridge Mountains. I actually wished for a minute that I was a photographer, because every angle offered an epic scene (No worries, photographers, I am the least talented person with a camera in the entire world. Not even point and click will save me).
The interior of the main building belies the historic exterior – it is pure contemporary with tasteful animal print accents, flat screen TV’s – lots of sleek angles and attention to quality and detail. This isn’t Mayhurst…total non-historic liberty was taken with the multi-story building, and as such, it has a personality all its own. Cosmopolitan couples looking for a wedding spot that meets big-city comfort and amenity standards but offers wine country vistas will fall in love instantly with the Inn at Willow Grove.
From a wedding perspective, the ceremony site that they demonstrated was intimate, cool and had an ethereal quality like being in a secret garden. The converted barn is contemporary and sophisticated, with interior restroom facilities, and can accommodate 150 guests before the addition of the satellite adjacent tent.
Lunch was gourmet and inspired with a fusion-Virginia flavor. The chef captured my attention by displaying dessert first (but I’m like that) – and the only thing missing was a cup of coffee (sorry, this was day 2 of the whirlwind tour and every opportunity to re-caffeinate was deeply appreciated – besides, who can eat a delectable mini chocolate chip cookie or a gooey brownie without coffee? Okay, I managed to eat plenty).
From the patios appointed with purely southern rocking chairs to the stone-accented firepit, every visitor finds some little spot at The Inn at Willow Grove to claim as their own. As a Williamsburg resident located just 2 hours from the property, I would definitely plan to stay for a long weekend, and as a planner wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this venue to brides (in fact, let’s combine the two – I’ll meet you there!).
Shayna Walker, Williamsburg Wedding Design