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Yeap…..you read right. Chilhowie, Virginia. The next new tourist hotspot. In actuality, Chilhowie is nothing more than a sleepy little town in the western part of Virginia. But two chefs there are about to put it on the map.

After years in Chicago cooking for culinary greats including Charlie Trotter, Chefs John Shields and Karen Urie decided that they craved a slower pace and wanted to be closer to the ground. In early-2008, the husband and wife team found exactly what they were looking for at Town House in Chilhowie, Virginia, and have been cooking up a storm ever since. Less than two years later, Chef Shields was named one of the Top 10 Best New Chefs for 2010 by Food & Wine magazine and his life (and Chilhowie) will never be the same.

Although destination dining is all the rage right now, it’s nice if you can parlay a trek to Chilhowie into an overnight stay or a weekend. And this charming area in the Blue Ridge Highlands can accommodate. One option is a stay at Town House sister property, Riverstead. Situated on a scenic 30-acre farm overlooking the serene South Fork of the Holston River, the Victorian farmhouse offers a quiet retreat with two guest rooms in elegant farmhouse style with luxurious modern amenities.

The other option is a stay at the Martha Washington Hotel & Spa in nearby Abingdon, Virginia. Originally built in 1832 as a private residence by a Virginia General, The Martha Washington has seen many different uses. From private residence to a finishing school for young ladies to a Civil War hospital to a women’s college and, today, an elegant hotel, the building has always paid homage to its gracious Southern roots and enduring historic legacy. The Martha Washington Hotel & Spa now offers to its guests elegant accommodations with modern amenities, creative dining, and a full-service spa.

While in Abingdon, be sure to explore the charming walkable downtown, walk or bike part of the 35-mile Virginia Creeper Trail, and visit the Barter Theatre, the State Theatre of Virginia.