Applewood Inn & Llama Trekking
Table Of Contents
Applewood, our Virginia country inn, is conveniently located mid-way between Lexington and Natural Bridge at the end of a dirt road (sometimes single lane) which follows scenic Buffalo Creek. This Shenandoah Valley lodging facility is perched on 37 acres, high above the creek in a very private and beautiful setting.
This passive solar home is furnished with antiques, reproductions, quilts, and original artwork with massive lodge-style, south-facing porches that afford lovely views of the surrounding woods, hillside pastures grazed by llamas, and the distant mountains.
Off the east end of the house is a full-sized, in-ground swimming pool and on the ground floor, a hot tub. Adjoining the Inn property are more than 900 acres of forest and meadow crisscrossed with miles of trails for hiking, riding (bring your own horses), and llama treks, two-hour guided hikes leading an Inn llama. (POOL OPEN BY MAY 19TH)
From the top of the hill just behind the Inn, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the Blue Ridge, the Short Hills, House Mountain, and the distant Alleghenies.
As a guest at Applewood, you will be greeted as friends by Linda and Chris Best, innkeepers for 30 years. Though just 10 minutes from downtown Lexington, you will be drawn into the "otherworldly" tranquility of this unique B&B, which they like to call their "little piece of heaven."
When you stay at our Virginia bed and breakfast in Lexington, you will enjoy the meals as well as the fine lodging accommodations.
Applewood Inn, now a B&B offering green lodging, is an eco-friendly structure built in 1979 as a private home, which continued as such until Linda and Chris Best bought it in July of 1996. The structure is a three-story passive solar home design by Lee Merrill, a Lexington architect who has designed a number of solar homes in the area. The envelope design works extremely well, but it was very expensive to build. Thus, there are relatively few such homes in existence.
The design allows for air convection all the way around the house, from the south-facing, two-story enclosed porches upward through the "envelope" into the attic space and then down the "envelope" on the north side to the crawl space underneath. The enclosed porches on the second floor are essentially usable year round, except during prolonged cloudy cold weather, with daytime temperatures on a sunny January day reaching into the 80s. Auxiliary gas heat and central air conditioning are used to balance the natural fluctuations.
About The Innkeepers
Before moving to Virginia in July 1996, Linda and Chris Best owned and operated Seekonk Pines Inn, a six-room B&B in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, for 18 years. There, they became known for their gardens and great hospitality. Chris also has his own sign business on the side where he utilizes his expertise as an electrician, a sign painter, and a carpenter. Both Linda and Chris share a passion for singing, and during their last year in Massachusetts, they sang with the Paul Winter Consort at Symphony Hall in Boston and on two CD recordings of choral music. In her spare time, Linda sews, upholsters, paints watercolors, and gardens. Over the past ten years, she has developed a passion for genealogy.
Because they longed for space to expand into the llama trek business, they began searching for an ideal location to relocate and found the property above Buffalo Creek in November of 1995. It took 7 months to work through the sale of Seekonk Pines and several months to get settled in the new location. Applewood Inn and Llama Trekking opened for its first guests on Labor Day weekend, 1996.
Their philosophy of innkeeping is simple: they try to treat every guest as a friend. That personal approach is what they feel sets inns apart, having learned this from staying at scores of B&Bs and inns while on vacations. Guests may have as much privacy as they wish, but if they want to talk or need assistance in planning their day's excursions, Linda and Chris are always there for them.
Memberships and Inspections
The Inn is an inspected and approved member of the Virginia Bed & Breakfast Association. It is also inspected annually by the Rockbridge County Board of Health.
The Innkeepers are members of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce and are long-time members of the Professional Association of Innkeepers International.
Guided llama trekking of about two hours on Virginia mountain hiking trails leave from the Inn about 10 am. Each guest who wishes may lead one of the Inn's llamas. They are fascinating creatures with great curiosity and sense of adventure. With advanced warning, our furry friends are willing to carry your lunch, bird/wildflower book, and binoculars. In the spring, special wildflower treks are available from April through May, observing and identifying the myriads of wildflowers found around the Inn. Bird watching treks in May and June are also popular.
Of our 6 trekking llamas (three are retired), four are from Shangrala Llamas in Calloway, Virginia.
Summer treks are possible if the weather is not too hot, although we usually start at 9:30 in order to beat the heat.
In the fall, September through November, trekkers get to view the spectacular fall vistas. In the winter, weather permitting, they get to see the mountains at their most dramatic, with a coating of light snow in the crystal clear mountain air while sipping on the hot chocolate or cider carried by the llamas. Treks are usually made on Saturday, Monday, or Thursday mornings, and they are suitable for all ages, six and up. We also offer Long Weekend Packages that include a basic llama trek & Sunday dinner, lunch extra.
Read the article in Friday December 30th Washington Post: Llamas in Lexington
Basic trek: $30 per person for non-Inn guests as space is available
Breakfast (8:30-9:00 a.m.)
Breakfast at Applewood is usually served family style in the main dining room, but breakfast service can also be arranged on one of the porches or patios. The menu consists of fresh in-season fruit, from the Inn's garden when possible, fresh-baked herb biscuits, whole grain breads or muffins, and such main courses as Gingered Peach Soufflé, corn pudding, omelettes, whole grain pancakes or waffles, and breakfast meats. Jams and jellies are made on the premises and are available for sale. The emphasis is on hearty and delicious but healthy breakfasts. The menu changes daily, and special diets are cheerfully accommodated with advance notice.
Dinner (7:00 p.m. Sunday only, only as part of Long Weekend Package or New Weekend Dinner package)
During the warmer months, usually May through October, a deluxe poolside barbecue can be arranged as part of the Long Weekend Package, featuring grilled chicken, pork loin, steak or salmon, and fresh organically grown veggies from the garden. This is al fresco dining at its most relaxing, watching the sunset and the fireflies come out on the hillside. Available Memorial Day weekend, July 4th, Labor Day weekend, and occasionally on other weekends. Please inquire.
During the cooler months, dinner is served in the main dining room by candlelight. It consists of a choice of soup or salad, main course, desert, and coffee or tea. Available most Holiday weekends. Please inquire.
Sunday Dinner is part of our Long Weekend Package; however, other guests may join us, if dinner is already planned. Cost: $60 per couple.
NEW WEEKEND DINNER PACKAGE includes two nights lodging and a poolside barbeque on Saturday evening. Add $50 to room total.
Things To Do
On a Virginia vacation at Applewood Inn, you can visit local attractions in Lexington or within a short drive to Natural Bridge. There are activities for a variety of interests such as fishing, skiing, hiking, hunting, swimming, bird watching, and many more.
At or Near the Inn
- Relaxing on the porches
- Llama trekking
- Fox hunting
- Trout fishing
- Cross-country skiing (when it snows!)
- Bird watching
Short Drive (10-15 min. drive)
- Natural Bridge (one of the 7 natural wonders)
- Natural Bridge Caverns
- Natural Bridge Wax Museum
- Natural Bridge Zoo
- Cave Mountain Lake
- Blue Ridge Parkway
- Appalachian Trail
- Canoeing the James River
- Antique shops
- Stonewall Jackson House and Museum
- Robert E. Lee Chapel
- Carriage rides
- Walking tours
- Ghost tours
- Lime Kiln Theater
- Washington & Lee University
- Virginia Military Institute
- George Marshall Museum
- Boxerwood Gardens
- Lexington Antique Mall
- Links Golf Course (new)
- Virginia Gold Asian Pears
- Virginia Safari Park
- Cascades Day Spa
- Hull's Drive In Movie Theater
- Horseback riding (20 min. drive)
- Virginia Horse Center
- Wilderness Canoe Company
In the County: (25 min. drive)
- Cyrus McCormick Farm/Museum
- Rockbridge Vineyard & Winery
- Wade's Mill
- Lexington Valley Vineyard
In Historic Staunton: (40 min. drive):
- Museum of American Frontier Culture
- Woodrow Wilson Birthplace
In Roanoke: (45-55 min. drive)
- Mill Mountain Zoo
- Civic Center
- Historic Market Square and Farmers Market
Longer Day Trips (a little over an hour)
- The Homestead Resort
- Warm Springs public mineral baths
- University of Virginia
Applewood Inn is located south of Lexington, and is only a short distance from Interstate Routes 81 and 64
From the North
- Take Route 11 south 4 1/2 miles from traffic light at intersection (south of Lexington) of Rte. 11 and Rte. 11 Business (south of Lexington), to Route 678, Buffalo Bend Road
- Turn right on Buffalo Bend, and follow 1.2 miles to Tarn Beck Lane where signs will direct you. If using GPS, this is one driveway past where it directs you to turn
- DON'T TURN ON PAVED DRIVEWAY WITH MAILBOX MARKED PEEBLES
- Look for the Inn sign and the Tarn Beck Lane road sign
- For accurate GPS use 242 Tarn Beck Lane, Glasgow, Va. 24555-2343
- Without the last four digits you will be sent to Glasgow and we are 15 miles from Glasgow!
From the South
- Exit 180 at Natural Bridge
- Take Route 11 north 3 1/2 miles to Route 678, Buffalo Bend Road
- Turn left on Buffalo Bend, and follow 1.2 miles to the private road entrance where signs will direct you