We're talking Lexington... Virginia.  When Jessica's little brother shared that he was going to continue his education in Lexington, we all held our breath AND then heard Virginia.  Growing up in Lexington (KY!), he's gone straight from one Lexington to the next.  Lexington has a special place in our hearts and now we've got another Lexington (VA) in our lives that is pretty special as well.

Once Jared settled in at Washington & Lee, we didn't waste any time going to visit... as in we were there his first weekend of college (sorry, Jared!).  #alreadyfeelinglikecollegeparents  Not only did we want to really feel like we knew where he was going to spend his college years, but it also gave us the opportunity to check another place off our list.  It was the best of both worlds.

Lexington's population is small, even with the influx of students during the academic year.  It is a quaint, historic town that radiates beauty.  For a community of its size, it actually has a lot to offer.  While it's home to the cutest little downtown you've ever seen, you don't have to go very far to find tumbling rivers, majestic rocks and mountain breezes.  Jessica's little brother loves the outdoors so it was perfect for him.  When we visited, we quickly realized how he fell in love with Lexington.

The thing about Lexington being tiny (yet very popular when it comes to academics with both Washington & Lee and the Virginia Military Institute steps away from one another), which makes lodging extremely tricky... to say the least, especially on the popular parent's weekend at W&L.

If you don't have a reason to go to Lexington during parent's weekend, homecoming or graduations then don't.  It can be a nightmare finding a place to stay during these popular weekends.  Even though we don't encourage going then, we enjoyed visiting while students were there.  Plan your trip during the academic year, but away from popular times for student's families to be in town.

Let us start by saying there just aren't many places to stay in Lexington.  There are a few hotels which fill up quickly, and a handful of Bed & Breakfasts or remote places that can be rented.  If hotels are more your style, we'd recommend staying at the following:
401 E Nelson Street 
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 463-2223 

30 S Main Street
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 461-8484

11 N Main Street
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 463-2500
All three hotels have great accessibility to downtown and universities.  The Hampton Inn is close to the W&L campus and provides a typical Hampton stay.  Robert E. Lee and The Georges are in the heart of downtown and give a more boutique style stay.  Both hotels are housed in historic buildings that have undergone elegant renovations... modern amenities with historic character and charm!

When we visited for Jared's Graduation, we stayed at The Country Inn and Suites.  Although not in walking distance to W&L, it's only a short 5 minute car ride away.  Finding lodging for our entire family for graduation started out as a nightmare and we actually had rooms booked an hour away in Roanoke, but when my parents were visiting Jared in Lexington one weekend mom went directly to the hotel and had luck securing rooms for all of us.  This was more than a year out... yikes!

The Country Inn and Suites
875 N Lee Highway
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 464-9000 

Hopsen tagged along for our initial weekend in Lexington so we checked out non-traditional spaces for our stay.  There are lots of places similar to where we stayed in Lexington.  If you're looking for something different or haven't ever used aribnb before, Lexington is a good place to try it out.

We wanted to stay somewhere not far from campus and it had to be dog friendly.  We stayed at the Twin Maple Carriage House and couldn't have been happier.  This little apartment was exactly what we were looking for and Hopsen loved getting to see all of the farm animals.   

The space had a private balcony overlooking the Blue Ridge Valley.  They did have an extra fee for Hopsen (who doesn't?), but at only $12 extra a night it was a steal.  We can't recommend this place enough and wish it would have been available when we went back for graduation.  We absolutely loved it and the hosts were extremely welcoming and there were farm fresh eggs every morning!

The view from the little farm cottage wasn't bad either.  When you use airbnb, life is a little different during your stay.  Typically, no one comes in to make your bed and clean your room (some do have the option, but with a price).  We knew that and were OK with it for this stay. 

 Lexington also has some pretty wonderful restaurants.  For a town of its size, they have put major focus on high class dining and they do a superb job.  

They have everything from fine southern dining to little bakeries and cafes.  If you are visiting over a weekend, or a crowded time of year for Lexington we would strongly recommend that you make reservations.  Most of the restaurants aren't super large and reservations fill up fast.  

Some of our favorite spots to eat (or grab a drink) in Lexington are:

 37 S Main Street 
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 463-3612

8 N Main Street
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 464-4888

101 W Nelson Street
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 463-7911

11 E Washington Street
Lexington, VA 24450
(540) 464-4401 
 Shout out to the Lexington Chamber!
    As far as coffee goes, we've got two stops for you.  The Lexington Coffee Shop is number ONE.  This place is the epitome of local coffee shop.  With locals' mugs hanging on the wall, you get a welcoming feeling the moment you step through the screen door.  It is the cutest little place.

If you love coffee like us, you'll also want to check out the Lexington Coffee Roasters Roastery and Espresso Bar.  The Espresso Bar is a great place to learn more about coffee with a self-guided tour.  Their staff is knowledgeable and you can take a couple of notes while watching them roast and brew.  And the best part - it's dog friendly so if you've got a pal like Hopsen, bring them along!

Keeping in line with a few of our favorite things, Lexington also has a handful of wineries and breweries.  Some of these are small scale, but are still a treat.  Check out websites for additional information.  Some ask that you call before coming, as they are small operations they want to ensure they are there to assist you.  Additionally, some of these places point out on their website detailed directions and recommend that you not follow GPS.  Learn from our experience, take this advice.

Lexington Wineries:

We went to Lexington Valley Vineyard and really enjoyed our experience.  It is family owned and operated and extremely inviting although a little off the beaten path.  We called to give a heads up about us coming and we were greeted at the drive by the family AND their dog.  

Y'all, this made Hopsen's day.  She was so excited to have a little playmate who showed her the ropes around the vineyard.  Our stop here was very personable and we felt so welcomed.  Allowing yourself no more than an hour or two is plenty.  They also have a sundeck that provides a beautiful view.  Guest are welcome to bring their own food selections to pair with the vineyard's wine.

Lexington Breweries: 

Devils Backbone is really the star of the show.  If you're looking for a true brewery experience, check out their tap room.  Oh, and they offer tours on Saturday and Sunday at 2, 3, 4 and 5 pm.  You have to drive to Devils Backbone, but if you've got time it's a great place to visit.  Blue Ridge Taps is located right downtown and the perfect location to walk and grab a beer on tap.  It's got a fun, low-key vibe.

Lexington has a great website that includes all kinds of information about the area.  We definitely recommend spending a little time on it before visiting.  You'll probably find additional stuff that you're interested in checking out while you're there. 

We went to Lexington last month for Jared's College Graduation.  How do the years fly by so fast?  Seriously, how did that happen?  You can check out our visit for graduation and hear how much Jess cried HERE.  Plus, see our stop at The Greenbrier on our way home from graduation HERE
Make reservations early for lodging and dining out, especially during the academic calendar year!

Give yourself plenty of time to stroll through downtown and check out the cute little shops.

If you're heading to one of the vineyards, call ahead to make sure they'll be there since they are smaller operations and definitely follow directions from their website instead of using GPS.

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