The Killahevlin Bed & Breakfast
Killahevlin B&B, Front Royal, Va.
As snow clouds gather over the Blue Ridge, we pull up a winding drive to an Edwardian mansion.A resident house cat (one of three) escorts us up the stone steps to the front door and our host Tom Conkey.
What we’ve discovered, on the highest point in Front Royal, Va., is a little bit of heaven – Irish heaven, that is.
Tom and his wife, Kathy, fell in love with the inn over years as frequent guests. On St. Patrick’s weekend 2005, the owner offered to sell them the century-old historic landmark. After 30 years in the corporate world, the Conkeys were ready for new careers in hospitality.
It’s easy to feel at home in this heaven with leather couches and fine antiques in the open parlors, kegs of Irish stout in the house pub, and Tom’s homemade scones or Kathy’s fruit dishes for breakfast.
We are the only guests this night and have our choice of four second-floor guestrooms – each with a working fireplace, Jacuzzi or claw-footed bathtub, plush linens, and two with access to a wide sun porch running the width of the house. (A circa 1905 guesthouse, about 50 feet from the main house, offers two suites, each with sitting room, fireplace, whirlpool tub and a private porch overlooking the mountains.)
The Conkeys pamper their guests with homemade cookies and decanters of sherry in each guestroom.
Do we prefer our breakfast sweet or savory, Tom asks, ready to accommodate with eggs benedict, sausages, fresh fruit and, of course, his specialty scones.
As delightful as Killahevlin is in the winter – with twinkling lights tucked among its lush landscaping – it’s not to be missed, he says, in the bloom of spring.
1401 North Royal Ave., Front Royal, Va. 800-847-6132, 540-636-7335, vairish.com. Rates: $155-$255 (includes full breakfast and complimentary wine and Irish beer on tap in the private Irish pub). No pets; children 12 and above are welcome. Open year-round, reservations recommended, smoking allowed outdoors. Handicap accessible.