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“Nearly perfect bed, perfect breakfast, a few niggles”

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Foster Harris House
Ranked #2 of 8 Washington B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 13, 2014

We stayed at Foster Harris House this weekend, largely on the basis of virtually unalloyed raves here on TripAdvisor. We were not disappointed. The location is quiet and central, and the house is maintained in pristine condition. We stayed in the "Suite" (the largest room, on the second floor), which was comfortable and capacious as a whole, although the sitting room is itself tiny, no bigger than a closet, rendering this space a suite in name only. But at $300 a night, including a gourmet breakfast, it's a very good value.

There is indeed much to like about Foster Harris, starting with the food. John MacPherson, the owner, is a gourmet chef and foodie. He does it all -- originality, presentation, thoughtfulness of combinations, etc. Our one breakfast was a treat, including a gruyere frittata that was out of this world. We got a nice lagniappe, too: some extra scones to take home.

The building is well-maintained, and the systems, for the most part, work perfectly. One disappointment was air conditioning, which seemed to drop offline during the wee hours each night, and I went into a swelter. The systems are not individually controllable from each room.

Decor is interesting but not the greatest. Our room was furnished with a single antique but mostly new, old-looking pieces. Artwork is appears to be generally consignment paintings from local artists -- with price tags attached. There was no consistency of themes or attempt to match framing with the decor. I don't care for the price tags.

Flexibility is not their long suit. Dinner is served at 7:00. If you are not finished with your cinq à sept by then, or need to get to the opera earlier, or are allergic to something on the menu, you are SOL. Likewise breakfast, which is served at 9:30, come hell or high water. I recognize the need for very small operations like this to have some "rules," but our request for a piece of toast or a banana at 6:00 a.m. so that we could get out cycling early fell on deaf ears. They do it their way, not your way.

Another reviewer termed John "prickly." We found him reserved. He wants to be amiable and but it's not a natural skill for him. I'm also not sure he's sensitive to the idea that first-class "hospitality" requires customizing the experience to meet the guests' needs. Or perhaps this is just a business decision, like Henry Ford's decision that all Model T's should be black. Diane, John's wife, is lovely and charming. They're a good pair.

This is a spectacular jumping-off point for cycling. John and Diane run a cycling business and do both supported and unsupported tours. He is a retired professional cyclist. They are good people to know for route information and cue sheets.

We would go back in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank HBMiller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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207 - 213 of 514 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2014

We chose to stay at Foster Harris House as part of our overnight trip to dine at the Inn of Little Washington on July 4th and were extremely pleased with the comfortable accommodations, beautiful surroundings and delicious breakfast! We enjoyed the spaciousness of the room, the comfortable bed, the views from the sitting room and the great private bath/shower. You can tell that the owners pay attention to the little details and touches to make their guests stay pleasant and memorable. Thanks Diane and John -- we definitely plan on returning!

Room Tip: We booked way ahead and were pleased with our choice of the Suite-- the largest room with a private...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Soulshine3620
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2014

My husband and I were considering the Inn at Little Washington for a special weekend and went to the Foster Harris House instead. SO glad we did. The main features you expect are all there at this lovely B&B - beautiful room, parlor and outdoor porches to hang out. The dining part of the experience was excellent - from the elegant and special 4-course breakfasts to the 5-course dinner with wine pairing. The care and attention that the owners, John and Diane, put into every detail made this a very special experience. The Inn is 20 minutes from Shenandoah where we went hiking. We came back at the end of the day for a leisurely dining experience that was as artistic as it was delicious. I am really looking foward to coming back so we can take advantage of one of John's cooking classes. If you like great food and cycling you will want to find out about their Tour d'Epicure.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank SunLover2121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 15, 2014

For a very special family occasion recently, we had made dinner reservations at the Little Washington Inn, but we wanted to try a different setting to spend the night. So based on the raving reviews we read about the Foster Harris House, we decided to give it a try. We could not be more pleased we did. It is a most welcoming place and impeccably maintained throughout, located just a couple of blocks from the Inn, in the midst of a bucolic setting. The two rooms we booked for our family of three - the Suite for us, and the Compton for our son - were both tastefully decorated, very comfortable and quiet. These are definitely not your typical chintzy B&B rooms, but more like what you would find in a chic boutique hotel in Europe. In the morning we were treated to a delightful multi-course breakfast served with great care and a touch of elegance. We very much enjoyed meeting and chatting with our charming and attentive hosts. There may be a couple of newer inns opening in town. But we had such a pleasant stay at this one that we will surely return for possibly a longer visit so we can enjoy the hosts' dinner. Without reserve we warmly recommend this property.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with family
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Thank NP888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2014

My wife and I recently had dinner at Foster Harris House. Something we'd been intending to do for a while, and now wish we'd done sooner. The menu was great with interesting food combinations, wonderful flavors, and beautiful presentation. The accompanying wines were well matched with the several courses of food. Diane and John were the consummate in gracious hosts. The beauty of the landscape and the serenity of the town of Washington, VA, added to the experience of the evening. We look forward to going back to enjoy not only another dinner but also a night and the following morning's breakfast.

Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Ken C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 5, 2014

The Foster Harris House is an excellent place to stay when dining at the Inn at Little Washington as it's an easy walk, or short drive to/from dinner. It's also lovely, run by pleasant, interesting, friendly people, and outfitted with first class amenities. We stayed in the suited, and appreciated the extra room of the window lined sitting area. The shower is absolutely amazing!!! My first impression was that the bathroom was smaller than I expected (we usually stay in hotels, not b&b's), however, the Italian shower is wonderful!! 6 side jets and a big rainhead. There was another choice in the shower of a mounted hand-held, but I didn't even try it. The towels are extremely fluffy and luxurious, and the toiletries very nice. Breakfast was gourmet and delicious. Ours started with a yogurt parfait in a martini glass with sweet, ripe fruit. The "main course" was a perfectly poached egg on puff pastry with chipotle cream, with a swipe of avacados, peppers, tomatoes, etc. There's a comfortable sitting room, offers of wine, a side porch (where we chose to eat breakfast), and a nice yard where I relaxed, sitting in Adirondack chairs. And, then there's Stella their sweet yellow lab (they only let her out if you ask). We had a very nice stay and highly recommend the Foster Harris House!

Room Tip: We loved the suite.
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  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank nkdp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2014

Why didn't we visit Foster Harris House sooner???!!! Living just an hour away, we are kicking ourselves that we didn't visit this gem sooner than this weekend.

I booked the Tour d'Epicure (stay at Foster Harris for two nights with four-course breakfast each morning, and several cycling excursions as well as two fabulous dinners including Inn at Little Washington) as a Christmas present for my husband. Unfortunately, I hurt my back three weeks before the tour and wasn't able to ride with my husband and the others in the group. However, I went for the weekend anyway and was glad I did.

John and Diane are the consummate hosts. Their home is warm, welcoming, and impeccably clean. Nothing is overlooked, from the corkscrew and wine glasses in each room and the little bag of Sweet Dreams chocolates on the door to the fresh coffee just outside the guest rooms each morning, always available complimentary non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages, and the awe-inspiring breakfast each morning. With regard to the latter, attention to detail reigns supreme. The food isn't just delectable, it is plated so artfully that it easily rivals the better-known Inn just down the street.

In addition to the Tour d' Epicure rides, there was a tour of the Copper River Distillery as well as lunch and a wine tasting at a local vineyard. Events and logistics are seamless with John and Diane, and yet one is very much at ease thanks to their easygoing demeanors and genuine love of their inn and most certainly their guests. In fact, many of their guests seem to become good friends too and after enjoying their company for the weekend, we can certainly see why.

We could go on and on about Foster Harris House. This gem is an easily accessible getaway from the Washington DC region yet seems a world away. We will definitely be returning again...and again...and again.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank kpcod
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Foster Harris House

Address: 189 Main Street, P.O. Box 333, Washington, VA 22747
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Virginia > Rappahannock County > Washington
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 8 B&Bs / Inns in Washington
Price Range: $322 - $459 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Just steps from the world-renowned Inn at Little Washington in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Foster Harris House offers comfortable, refined country inn accommodations in an enchanting setting. Each queen bed guest room has exquisitely soft linens, spa robes, and a private bath with a rainfall shower. Included with your stay is a lavish, unhurried four-course breakfast. Dinner at the Foster Harris House unites the elements that inspire Chef John's culinary muse - fruits and vegetables from the rich soil of Rappahannock County, surprising flavors, bold splashes of color and family traditions - with each plate artfully composed to entice the eyes and the appetite. The intimate dining room of only 10 seats and just one seating per night allows for an unhurried and personal dining experience. ... more   less 

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