13 East Coast Inns with Excellent Wines

Eat, sleep and drink well at these Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning destinations
13 East Coast Inns with Excellent Wines
Off the coast of Georgia, Greyfield Inn offers a tranquil escape and a standout wine program. (Peter Frank Edwards)
Jul 19, 2018

While sprawling resorts have their place, there’s something special about smaller-scale lodging. Often nestled in scenic towns, with deep ties to the community, inns and bed-and-breakfasts provide an immersive way to explore a new place. But there’s no need to sacrifice quality for charm. At these 13 Restaurant Award winners along the East Coast, guests can experience world-class wines in settings that feel like a home away from home.

To check out more wine-and-food destinations around the world, see Wine Spectator’s nearly 3,800 Restaurant Award–winning picks, including the 100 Grand Award recipients worldwide that hold our highest honor.

Do you have a favorite you’d like to see on this list? Send your recommendations to restaurantawards@mshanken.com. We want to hear from you!

Rana Faure
Crabtree's Kittle House Inn has maintained a Grand Award–winning wine list since 1994.

A historic hub for wine lovers
11 Kittle Road, Chappaqua, N.Y.
(914) 666-8044
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Grand Award
Wine list selections 4,000
Inventory 40,000
A vision brought to life What was once an old barn built in 1790 is now a renowned wine-and-food destination in upstate New York. The Crabtree family has owned the inn since 1981, and by 1990, John Crabtree and wine director Glenn Vogt set out to grow the 150-selection wine list into one of the world’s top programs. Crabtree and Vogt met with legendary producers in California, France, Italy and beyond to secure the best bottles possible.
Wine strengths Vogt’s wine list has grown into an extraordinary collection, especially in Burgundy, California, Piedmont, the Rhône, Tuscany, Bordeaux, Australia, Spain, Germany, Oregon and Provence.
Cuisine The inn was named after a local farmer, John Kittle, and chef Jay Lippin honors that connection with farm-to-table cuisine. The regional American menu showcases local ingredients in salads, fresh pastas and entrées like yellowfin tuna steak with espresso rub and venison loin with wheatberry pilaf.
Deals to discover While the inn has many splurge-worthy bottles, there are plenty of great values on the moderately priced wine list. Guests can enjoy picks from producers like Joseph Drouhin, Zind-Humbrecht and Mauro Molino for under $100.

Gordon Beall
The Inn at Little Washington has luxurious lodging and outstanding wines.

A renowned retreat with a legendary wine program
Middle and Main Streets, Washington, Va.
(540) 675-3800
Open for dinner, Wednesday to Monday

Grand Award
Wine list selections 2,000
Inventory 13,125
Iconic inn The Inn at Little Washington opened in 1978, about 70 miles from big Washington, D.C., in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The building was an abandoned garage before owner and chef Patrick O'Connell converted the space into a restaurant, welcoming his first overnight guests six years later.
Cuisine A main draw of the inn is O’Connell’s $218 American tasting menu. Dishes change frequently, but a sample menu includes peanut-crusted soft-shell crab tempura and pan-seared veal tenderloin.
Wine strengths Managed by wine director Bill Harris, the wine program represents top labels from major wine regions around the globe, especially Burgundy, California, Bordeaux, the Rhône, Spain, Italy, Champagne, Germany, Austria, Spain and Oregon. In the past year, Harris has bulked up German and Austrian selections and added verticals from Virginia producers including Barboursville and RdV Vineyards.
No easy feat Washington, Va., was a legally dry town when the inn opened. Once alcohol was legalized, the inn quickly gained acclaim for its wine program, earning the Grand Award in 1995.

Christian Gianelli Photography
At Goodstone Restaurant, diners are treated to a menu fusing French and American cuisines.

A comprehensive wine list in Virginia wine country
The Goodstone Inn, 36205 Snake Hill Road, Middleburg, Va.
(540) 687-3333
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 750
Inventory 5,500
Multipurpose property The Goodstone estate consists of horse stables, a pool, a spa, numerous walking trails and 18 lodging options across six guest houses. There’s also a working farm, as well as gardens and beehives, that supplies the farm-to-table menu.
Wine strengths Wine director Stephen Elhafdi’s program is strongest in California and France, especially Burgundy. Italian selections shine with picks from big-name producers like Gaja and Pio Cesare. The wine list also has more than 20 Virginia labels.
Well-versed wine director Elhafdi moved to the United States from Morocco to begin his career in restaurants, and he’s since racked up more than three decades of experience. The wine director will happily help guests browse the inn’s retail wine offerings to grow their personal collections.
Cuisine Chef Eric Smith serves American fare with heavy French influence and plenty of seasonal components like ramp butter and pickled garden vegetables.

L’Auberge Provençal
Drawing influence from France, L’Auberge Provençal highlights the country’s cuisine and major wine regions.

A Provençal escape on the East Coast
L’Auberge Provençale Country Inn, 13630 Lord Fairfax Highway, Boyce, Va.
(540) 837-1375
Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday to Monday

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 1,060
Inventory 6,985
European inspiration L’Auberge Provençal brings the feel of a French bed-and-breakfast to the quiet town of Boyce, Va. There are 11 individually styled guestrooms on the property, featuring attractive amenities like working fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs.
Wine strengths Led by wine director Christian Borel, the program carries the inn’s theme with standout selections in Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhône. Domestic selections are also impressive, particularly in California and Oregon.
Local wine advocate L’Auberge Provençal champions Virginia wines through tours of nearby wineries, collaborative wine dinners and nearly 30 Virginia labels on the wine list.
Cuisine Chef Richard Wright leads the kitchen, dishing out French-influenced American cuisine. The restaurant partners with an extensive list of local farms to source everything from fruits and vegetables to eggs, dairy and meats.
Laid-back alternative The inn’s more casual concept, Le Bar, serves refined bar food and the same Best of Award of Excellence–winning wine list.

The Red Lion Inn
Seared scallops are part of the regional American menu at the Red Lion Inn.

A rural Massachusetts gem with a strong commitment to wine
30 Main St., Stockbridge, Mass.
(413) 298-5545
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 535
Inventory 8,000
Wine strengths The Red Lion Inn has hosted guests for more than 200 years and has held a Restaurant Award since 1999. Wine director Daniel Thomas upholds the longstanding legacy with a comprehensive program excelling in California, France (especially Burgundy and Bordeaux) and Italy. Thomas makes a conscious effort to keep the wine list approachable with more than 200 selections under $100 and nearly 40 half bottles.
Cuisine In the main dining room, chef Brian Alberg’s regional American menu changes with the seasons. New England ingredients shine in dishes like the tasting of local vegetables and a schnitzel made with pork from a nearby farm. Guests can also dine in the property’s tavern, pub or courtyard.
Distinct spaces Four types of lodging make up the “village” of Red Lion Inn, from the historic Main Inn established in the 1770s to the more modern Maple Glen building. One lodging option was converted from a 1950s firehouse and includes a dining area that can seat up to 15 people. Several guesthouses are also available to rent completely or by room.
Activities for everyone Enjoy the inn’s nightly live entertainment, or venture off the property to explore the surrounding Berkshires region. The town is peppered with historic sites, theaters and forests for outdoor adventures.

Restaurant 1879
Restaurant 1879 is housed in the Atlantic Inn, a picturesque bed-and-breakfast by the ocean.

Delivering hospitality with a side of ocean views for more than a century
The Atlantic Inn, High Street, Block Island, R.I.
(401) 466-5883
Open for dinner, daily, early May to mid-October

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 485
Inventory 2,500
Stay by the sea Made up of 21 guest rooms, the Atlantic Inn is a short stroll from the beach. A sun porch and a wrap-around veranda offer great spots to peer out at the water.
Cuisine Named for the year of the Atlantic Inn’s opening, Restaurant 1879 features chef Adi Mandel’s eclectic menu. Dishes include tuna carpaccio and miso butter–roasted lobster, plus a variety of tapas plates.
Wine strengths California and France stand out on the wine list, overseen by owner and wine director Brad Marthens. South Africa, Hungary, Germany and Italy are also represented.
Exceptional verticals Marthens presents an array of impressive verticals, particularly in California. Highlights include at least 10 vintages of wines from producers like Beaulieu Vineyard, Caymus and Silver Oak.

The White Barn Inn Restaurant
The White Barn Inn Restaurant is housed in two converted barns that date to the 1800s.

Luxurious New England lodging
Grace White Barn Inn & Spa, 37 Beach Ave., Kennebunk, Maine
(207) 967-2321
Open for dinner, daily

Best of Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 445
Inventory 4,500
Rustic restaurant The White Barn Inn Restaurant was created from two renovated barns built in the early 1800s; floor-to-ceiling windows and wood-paneling accent the farmhouse décor.
Wine strengths Wine director Christopher Bayley’s program emphasizes France and California, with particularly extensive selections from Napa Valley and many high-end Bordeaux picks.
Cuisine Created weekly by chef Matthew Padilla, the four-course, prix-fixe menu costs $125 and an additional $75 for wine pairings. Padilla showcases his regional American style through dishes like beet agnolotti and short rib braised for 48 hours.
Personalized stay Grace White Barn Inn & Spa has various cottages and rooms to fit a range of guest needs. The recently renovated accommodations draw inspiration from the New England countryside.
Get around town In addition to a spa, pool and gym, guests can take advantage of Kennebunk, Maine’s numerous beaches and forest trails. The inn provides complimentary bicycle rentals for guests to explore the area.

Aurora Inn Dining Room
Aurora Inn Dining Room serves an Award of Excellence–winning wine list right on the shore of Cayuga Lake.

A waterfront wine destination in the Finger Lakes
Inns of Aurora, 391 Main St., Aurora, N.Y.
(315) 364-8888
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 110
Inventory 2,500
Accommodation options The Inns of Aurora comprise four adjacent properties that vary in size and style, including the Aurora Inn, which houses the restaurant.
Wine strengths Wine director Erin McElhinney showcases the bounty of the Finger Lakes on her New York–focused list that also excels in California and France. The inexpensive program offers significant values, with few bottles exceeding $100.
Cuisine Chef Patrick Higgins dishes out farm-to-table plates designed to complement the many Finger Lakes selections on the wine list.
Foodie fantasy Several food and wine experiences are available for purchase through the inns, from private wine tastings with McElhinney to a garlic farm visit.

Beechwood Inn
Beechwood Inn offers farm-to-table cuisine with a Mediterranean spin.

World-class wines in a small Southern town
220 Beechwood Drive, Clayton, Ga.
(706) 782-5485
Open for dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 280
Inventory 5,000
Wine-loving innkeepers Beechwood Inn’s owners, wine director David Darugh and his wife, Gayle, both grew up in California wine country and have been immersed in the industry for decades. They channel their passion for the region into the California-focused list.
Wine strengths David’s wine program covers many of California’s top producers, including dozens of Turley labels and a vertical from Franciscan Oakville Estate. Guests are always welcome to purchase bottles from the list to take home.
Cuisine David and Gayle also serve as the inn’s chefs, creating Mediterranean dishes using ingredients from the onsite garden as well as local farms. The restaurant is only open to guests except on Saturdays, when anyone can partake in the chef’s dinner of five to eight courses with wine pairings for $89.
Full culinary experience Beechwood Inn hosts several activities for wine and food lovers, from wine dinners to cooking classes to complimentary tastings in the wine cellar featuring the inn’s own local wines. For lodging, guests can choose from 10 styles of suites and cabins.

Peter Frank Edwards
Greyfield Inn celebrates French and Italian wines on its Award of Excellence–winning wine list.

A standout wine program off the coast of Georgia
4 N. Second St., Cumberland Island, Ga.
(904) 261-6408
Open for lunch and dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 130
Inventory 900
Island escape Greyfield Inn is the only commercial property on Cumberland Island, a tranquil piece of land just 18 miles long. Guests can stroll along the beaches or venture on various hiking trails before retiring to one of the inn’s 16 rooms or two cottages.
Wine strengths Wine director Christopher Becerra lists exceptional classics from France and Italy, rounded out by picks from regions like Greece and Lebanon.
Informative presentation The concise list provides tasting notes for each selection and highlights rarer labels like an Italian orange wine and Burgundy premiers crus from top producers.
Cuisine The three-course, prix-fixe only menu by chef Whitney Otawka costs $120 and features a seasonal selection of American dishes. Otawka uses ingredients from an onsite organic garden that also produces honey from more than 20 beehives.

Jessica’s Restaurant
At Jessica’s Restaurant, the wine list is filled with great deals on labels from around the globe.

A peaceful wine oasis in the heart of Vermont
Swift House Inn, 25 Stewart Lane, Middlebury, Vt.
(802) 388-9925
Open for dinner, Wednesday to Sunday

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 335
Inventory 1,295
Serene spot Jessica’s Restaurant is located in Swift House Inn. There are a total of 20 guestrooms among three historic buildings, with the oldest dating to 1814. Surrounded by acres of farmland and forests, the inn is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts, providing easy access to activities like bike tours, hikes and fishing.
Wine strengths Wine director David Herren runs the inexpensive wine program of strong Italian and California labels, supplemented by strengths in France and Spain.
Growing program In the past year, Herren has brought in several large-format bottles and expanded Spanish selections to cover producers such as R. López de Heredia Viña Tondonia and Álvaro Palacios.
Cuisine Chef Robert Fenn works with Vermont farmers to source ingredients for his eclectic American menu. Fenn incorporates global and local influences in dishes like panko-crusted whole-belly clams and Long Island duckling prepared two ways with cherry gastrique.

A charming outpost of an urban steak house
Huntting Inn, 94 Main St., East Hampton, N.Y.
(631) 324-0411
Open for dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 240
Inventory 2,000
From city to seaside The Palm has 22 Restaurant Award–winning locations, most of which are in major metropolitan areas. In the historic Huntting Inn, the Palm East Hampton is located right off the picturesque Main Street about a mile from the ocean.
Wine strengths Managed by wine director Brenton Smith, the program focuses on California and Italy. The bulk of the list features the core wines that are available at all Palm restaurants; special additions on this location's list include producers like Quintessa and Tenuta San Guido.
Cuisine Chef Orlando Valerio executes the Palm’s signature menu of steaks and chops aged for at least 35 days, alongside classic appetizers and seafood options.
Special selections A section on the wine list titled “For the Enthusiast” features a handful of wines—typically around two to five—that are worth a splurge.

The Red Fox Inn & Tavern
The Red Fox Inn & Tavern has been family-owned for decades.

A tavern rooted in local tradition
2 E. Washington St., Middleburg, Va.
(540) 687-6301
Open for dinner, daily

Award of Excellence
Wine list selections 255
Inventory 1,480
Centuries-old setting The Red Fox Inn & Tavern was established in 1728 and has been owned by the Reuter family since 1976. It’s hosted some big names over the decades, from Tom Cruise to Paul Newman to John F. Kennedy, who held a press conference there during his presidency. Today, guests can lodge in one of 19 rooms among the inn’s four buildings.
Wine strengths Wine director Cathy Lindahl offers solid California selections and highlights local producers with more than 50 Virginia labels.
A short drive from the source Wineries such as Boxwood, Naked Mountain and Philip Carter are all less than a half-hour drive away.
Cuisine Chef Kurt Baier turns out regional American plates like grilled pork chop from Wiffletree Farm and hickory Bourbon–glazed salmon, plus an array of steaks with traditional sides.

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