As selected by
Frommer's BUDGET TRAVEL MAGAZINE
and the WALL STREET JOURNAL
Swing open the old iron gate and walk through the garden to the welcoming front porch with its classic fluted columns and wicker seating, and you are already surrounded by the charm of this historic Lexington bed and breakfast. Pass through the front door into the entry hall, scattered with Oriental rugs, lined with original paneling, decorated with magnolia-themed wallpaper, and lighted by an antique chandelier to feel that you have stepped back in time.
Pause to relax in the Parlor and explore its collection of classic Victoriana - the oval gilt mirror above the gas-log fireplace, the Empire side table that holds the morning paper, the old brass candlesticks, the needlepoint pillows, the antique books in the massive bookcase. The Parlor is the perfect spot to experience a fantasy visit into the past.
As you ascend the stairs to the second story, you notice that the old house creaks a bit and some of the floors have a slight tilt—no surprise when you realize this Lexington, Virginia bed and breakfast was built a hundred and forty years ago.
The year was 1868, the same year that Strauss composed Tales from the Vienna Woods in the mid-Victorian Era. The War Between the States had ended three years before, and Robert E. Lee, former General-in-chief of the Confederate forces, was President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington. Part of Lee's legacy is the beautiful Victorian chapel that he commissioned to be built on the campus by William Pole. The completion in 1868 of what is now known as Lee Chapel enabled Pole to purchase land on South Main Street in Lexington and to erect for himself the Victorian home—of simple lines and gracious proportions—that has become the 1868 Magnolia House Inn.