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Country Getaway: Natural Retreats

Life in DC can be hectic. There are always meetings, dinners, networking events to go to. The fast-paced life is fun, but it’s great to take a little escape from time to time. When my friend Lacey invited me for a weekend escape at Natural Retreats at Hot Springs, VA, I couldn’t turn it down. Natural Retreats is an upscale vacation rental with a gorgeous portfolio of homes from Virginia to the Canary Islands.

All about our Natural Retreats getaway

Getting there: We left Washington, DC on a Friday at 6pm. We were a little nervous about hitting traffic, but thankfully, it was a painless and scenic route as we entered the Shenandoah Mountains. It took us exactly four hours to arrive with very little traffic. Thankfully my navigator, Carlis, and I were belting out old Luis Miguel sappy Spanish love songs and having fun.

The house: We arrived late and tired but were quickly taken by the beautiful Natural Retreats house! We decided to cook the night of arrival and took advantage of the large outdoor grill and the spacious kitchen which was a cook’s dream. I had Korean beef ribs marinating in a cooler in the car, which was great as we just had to throw them on the grill. We also grilled corn, made a salad loaded with veggies, and couscous as a side dish. Dining Traveler Tip: opt for simple recipes when staying at a rental home.

The house had three rooms which was perfect for our group of 5. I loved that each room had its own bathroom, which is great for a large family or a group of friends. My biggest takeaway from our Natural Retreats experience was that no detail was spared. We were welcomed with local eggs and milk, the pantry was loaded with condiments, and a beautiful welcome basket. Other great details include high speed wi-fi, great toiletries, and plenty of information on what to see and do in the area. Tip: The wine selection in the area is quite limited, if you have certain favorites, pick them up on your way to Hot Springs.

What to do: Although there is a beautiful golf course, hot springs, and a pool nearby, we were all pretty tried and decided to hang out at the house. The one thing we did enjoy was going to the local farmer’s market. The stands were lined with beautiful flowers, handmade soaps, fruits, and vegetables. There was a local man playing the banjo in the background as locals mingled and chatted with one another.

Where to Eat: We made all of our meals at home but decided to splurge on a dinner at Les Cochons d’Or, a quaint restaurant on the Main Street of Hot Springs, VA. The restaurant is quite popular with the after-golf crowd, but the Natural Retreats concierge made sure we had a nice table. It is owned by a husband and wife team who also happen to be a chef and sommelier, respectively. We enjoyed a delicious french onion soup, followed by the ultimate indulgence: pancetta wrapped pork tenderloin. Delicious. We culminated our dinner with a selection of local cheese paired with a homemade brittle. Great company, plenty of rosé, and beautiful atmosphere made for a gorgeous dinner.

Originally published in The Dining Traveler on July 22, 2015.