Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Wayside Inn

New Years 2010 was welcomed by spending time with family in northern Virginia. A few days into the new year, my son and I drove to Frederick Co., Virginia (not too far) and had lunch in an ancestral abode.

We stopped at the Wayside Inn in Middletown to have lunch and walk through the building that ancestors lived in shortly after the Civil War. I was actually hoping to meet one of them! It was easy to feel their presence among the various rooms that have old fireplaces and tables for diners. Upstairs are rooms that are available for lodging, all decorated with Americana artifacts. I was able to go into all of their dining rooms, each with fireplaces. The slave kitchen was the most interesting. I tried to picture slaves preparing the meals on the open hearth for those who were guests or passing by in search of a warm meal. Unfortunately the employees had no identification of the many paintings of people that line the walls.

My son and I enjoyed a lunch of Colonial Peanut Soup and homemade, original family recipe Chicken Pot Pie. The waitress was attired in a colonial costume which added to the experience.

The Wayside Inn is the oldest continuously operating Inn in America. It is at 7783 Main Street in Middletown. You can't miss it because it is a small town. Travelers started coming to the Inn in 1797 as they journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley. Then it was known as Wilkerson's Tavern. Into the early 1800s it became a relay station for stagecoaches.

It was a common ground during the Civil War as soldiers from both sides sought refuge there. This actually spared the Inn from the ravages of the Civil War. It was after the war that relative, Jacob Larrick purchased the Inn and changed it's name to Larrick's Hotel. In the early 1900s another relative, Samuel Rhodes, purchased the Inn. Samuel added a third floor, wings on each side and renamed it the Wayside Inn. In the 1950s Leo Bernstein bought the Inn and restored and refurbished it. The current owners are doing a great job of maintaining the ambiance of the original Inn.

I would like to return to Middletown in the summer when I can relax in a rocking chair on the Inn's veranda and maybe glimpse a Civil War soldier approaching. Oh well, it's fun to dream. Where's my time machine?

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 -- Ruby


  1. I see that Becky has already awarded you the "Happy 101" award, but since you are so deserving, I am awarding you another! Please visit Mississippi Memories to pick up your award.



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