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Wine Country Dining in Rappahannock, VA

Virginia is steeped in history. Everywhere you go, you’re crossing the threshold of an authentic presidential estate or beautiful antebellum plantation. As architectural techniques progressed, many old schoolhouses were abandoned in favor of sites with more modern conveniences.

Virginia wine country: Flint Hill Public House dining room

A modern take on country comfort: the Flint Hill Public House offers local and sustainable American fare in Virginia wine country.

But in Flint Hill, VA, the village schoolhouse has been restored to life, applying modern, “green,” and sustainable practices. The Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn, no longer stern or austere, opened its massive double doors to welcome diners and travelers in January.

One is a bit taken aback when entering the imposing white stucco building which has stood here for the past hundred years. While the exterior maintains its historic integrity, the atmosphere within will delight you with its sleek, modern elegance.

In addition to the newly refurbished interior, I was thrilled to come upon one of the most delicious Virginia wines I have ever tasted.

Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn is a restaurant, pub and inn with stylish decor and scrumptious food. Under the care of General Manager John Gruber and Executive Chef Marvin Swaner, this new place offers both luxury and affordable prices.

Virginia wine: Berry Hill Vineyard Cab Franc

Virginia's Berry Hill Vineyard Cabernet Franc is offered by the glass in the dining room at Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn.

I visited for lunch with a friend recently. While the complete wine list is still being put together, I found Fox Meadow Winery, the winner of a recent Virginia Governor’s Cup, on offer by the glass, as well as an “unknown,” from Berry Hill Vineyard. I decided to be adventurous. Well, congratulations to John and Marvin for picking a real winner. Berry Hill Vineyard Cabernet Franc is a fabulous wine, and you’ll be hearing more on the winery here next month!

The food was delicious: as I mentioned to John, if you can get the burger right, you are in for clear sailing. The lobster roll my friend ordered is one of the most popular items on the menu. The chef sources local and sustainable products whenever possible, and the property will have its own garden when the season turns. Service was attentive and friendly, and the surroundings vibrant and bright.

I took a tour of the guestrooms upstairs, and would have no trouble recommending these suites  to friends who want to visit the area. Each room has a sumptuous king bed and private bath. Free high speed internet is included for those who need to stay connected. But the tranquil surroundings and muted colors will put thoughts of business out of mind.

Virginia wine country: Flint Hill Public House guest suite

Convenient to the many wineries that are nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn is inviting, with sumptuous king beds and modern private baths.

There is spectacular art on display throughout the building. Some pieces are from the owners’ private collections, but several may be acquired through Long View Gallery in Washington, DC.

William Waybourn and Craig Spaulding invested in the property in June 2011, contracting with DC architect Ernesto Santalla to renovate, down to the bare walls in many areas. They subscribe to an environmentally conscious philosophy, and have incorporated many “green” features such as low voltage lighting, passive heating and cooling, low flush toilets, and much more.

Flint Hill is about a half hour south of Front Royal, and half hour west of Warrenton. I’d certainly encourage a stop here if you’re out for a bit of winery hopping. Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn is also available for private parties, weddings, and special events. I can’t wait to see the landscape transform as spring takes hold!

Flint Hill Public House & Country Inn
675 Zachary Taylor Highway (Rt. 522)
PO Box 356
Flint Hill, VA 22627
540 675 1700,