A stone’s throw from Lexington and Staunton in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fort Lewis is a vast 3300 acre estate first carved from the wilderness in the 1750’s. At the heart of it all sits the Lodge, a natural retreat nestled in a scenic river valley at the foot of Shenandoah Mountain. Nearby are the soothing waters of Virginia’s historic Warm and Hot Springs. We are also close to the Omni Homestead Resort and the Jefferson Pools.
Here you will find a rare combination of unpretentious elegance, superb food and unique lodging choices where every room has a view. The Lodge has been family owned for 30 years, with loyal visitors and their families coming back year after year for the refreshing retreat of nature, outdoor adventure, and seasonally-inspired gourmet cuisine. Come visit us for a couple’s getaway, or bring friends and family for a country reunion or group retreat.
Like most country inns and bed and breakfasts, we trade in a change of pace, romance, and exceptional fare. But over the years we’ve come to understand that Fort Lewis has an asset that few others have – the mountains, forests, fields and streams and all the creatures that call this their home. Outdoor activities abound with 3 miles of private river access for fishing and boating, a swimming hole, extensive hiking trails, mountain biking, and magnificent vistas.
Evenings are highlighted by farm fresh cuisine served nightly in the restored 1850’s Lewis Gristmill.
In the 1740’s Virginia frontiersmen found herds of buffalo roaming in fertile grounds of the Cowpasture River Valley. The Shawnee had long since cleared these fields and regarded them as sacred hunting grounds. Early settlers introduced domestic livestock and small grains but found hemp to be the most valuable crop.
The richness and sheer beauty of the land led Colonel Charles Lewis to settle here more than two centuries ago. In 1750 he built a small stockade to protect the southern pass of Shenandoah Mountain from Indian raids. Col. Lewis went on to die a hero’s death fighting the Shawnee, allies of the British, in the 1774 Battle of Point Pleasant, now widely regarded as the first conflict of the American Revolution. His vast 3,200 acre mountain farm, once known as “Fort Lewis Plantation”, has remained relatively unchanged over its 200 year history.
Descendants of Col. Lewis managed the plantation for over a century. By 1850 the Lewis family had diverted water from the river and built a gristmill to service the plantation and neighboring farms. The Mill has been faithfully reconstructed and now serves as the Lodge’s dining room. The Cowden family purchased Fort Lewis in 1959 and brought a herd of registered Black Angus cattle to the valley. Today we strive to be stewards of the land while continuing to raise cattle, grow crops and provide for wildlife.
Click any of the photos below for an enlarged slideshow.
“When was the last time you had 3,000 acres of Virginia’s finest in our own backyard?” -Eddie Nickens | Washingtonian
“Fort Lewis Lodge is one of those rare and wonderful places that celebrates life’s simple pleasures.” -Cassandra VanHooser | Southern Living
“We didn’t bring much – old bathing suits, sensible shoes, tons to read and expand-waist pants to accommodate fresh-from-the-garden cooking. Eating is a recreational activity here. Believe me.” – Krys Stefansky | Travel Editor, Virginian Pilot
“A country inn for guests seeking the outdoors and an opportunity for some ‘natural’ relaxation, hiking, fishing , mountain biking and swimming.” -Matt Sampson | Virginia Wildlife
“Hiking boots, biking shoes, paddleing sandals, chest-waders – if you visit Virginia’s Fort Lewis Lodge, you’re biggest problems might be packing all the footgear you’ll need.” -Eddie Nickens | Washingtonian
“This western-size spread has fly-fishing, mountain biking, and hiking–less than four hours from Washington, D.C.” -Eddie Nickens | Men’s Journal
“Furnished with country-style antiques and quilts, the Lodge’s 19 rooms look bright and cheery. On my visits I spend a lot of time bobbing around in the old fashioned swimming hole, carved at the base of a towering rock wall.” -Jim Yenckel | Budget Travel
“…the Fort Lewis Lodge is a true escape, an idyllic hideaway where all there is to do is relax and enjoy the natural beauty of this pristine 3,200 acres of meadows, forest and rivers amid the Allegheny Mountains.” -Andie Gibson | SmithMountainLaker.com
“It’s my Shangri-la, a unique place that I recommend enthusiastically. My dictionary defines Shangri-la as a remote, idyllic hideaway where life approaches perfection. For me, that’s Fort Lewis Lodge.” -Jim Yenckel | Travel editor Washington Post