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My Route du Bonheur

From Washington DC to the plantations of South Carolina

Patrick O'Connell
By Patrick O'Connell, Owner and Chef of the Inn at Little Washington

Plan your personalized
itinerary with our concierge

+1 800 735 2478 * *Local charges apply
“More than 50 years ago Relais & Châteaux was first conceived as a travel itinerary from Paris to the South of France with stops at charming and unique properties along the way. This travel route was affectionately known as La Route de Bonheur – the route of happiness. For the first time we are proud to introduce our own East Coast Relais & Châteaux Travel Route from Baltimore to Charleston. This journey will take you to some of the most unique and fascinating properties in the world--each offering an unforgettable sense of place, inspired by the history and culture of its region. May our American Route of Happiness stimulate all of your senses and provide you with enchanting memories to last a lifetime. Bon Voyage and welcome to the magical world of Relais & Châteaux.”
Suggestion of itinerary
  • 4 hotels
  • from US$ 1,447.07 *
1
521 km
2
175 km
3
325 km
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To give you inspiration, Relais & Châteaux presents the Routes du Bonheur: suggestions for travel itineraries that you can fully personalise according to your wishes and the experiences you would like to discover. Our consultants are available to help customise your route and assist you in making reservations at our properties. It is up to you to reserve any recommended activities on-site or nearby that might interest you.
*Total price provided for information only, based on accommodation for two people in a double room for the number of nights per property as indicated on this page, exclusive of recommended activities, properties that cannot be reserved online and restaurants.


1 Baltimore — 1 Night
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

The Ivy Hotel

Baltimore - Maryland, United States

Hotel and restaurant in town. The morning coffee enjoyed in the courtyard, the tea served by the fireplace in winter, the library, the music room with its piano: The Ivy is as welcoming as a private home. Built at the end of the 19th century and recently renovated, this beautiful mansion melts perfectly into the historic and prestigious Mount Vernon district, with turrets rising above the trees. Behind the ivy-clad walls and high shining windows this charming boutique hotel is structured around a magnificent staircase, covered by the original skylights, which leads to the guest rooms. In the evening, guests will appreciate the cuisine of Magdalena, one of Baltimore’s finest restaurants. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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18 rooms
US$ 456.22 (from)
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Close to the property

The residences of the Presidents, Charlotesville

The residences of the Presidents, Charlotesville

A registered Unesco World Heritage site, Monticello is not just the old residence of the President Thomas Jefferson, the Father of the Declaration of Independence; it is also an architectural masterpiece with 43 rooms which is accompanied by some of the finest gardens in the country. The fifth President of the United States, James Monroe resided for twenty-four years (1799-1823) in Ash Lawn-Highland, close to Monticello. Its Victorian-style house has charming antique furniture. Finally, the residence of James Madison, the fourth President of the United States and one of the main authors of the Constitution, is located in Montpelier, in the vicinity of a forest where I love to walk. 

The Monticello Wine Trail

The Monticello Wine Trail

Renowned for being a wine region in America (American Viticultural Area), Monticello offers a certain experience for wine amateurs. A remarkable amount of work has been undertaken by the winemakers of the area for nearly thirty years. Virginia has become a veritable destination for winemakers who come to enjoy varieties as different as viognier, cabernet franc and norton. This wine route meanders through more than 1,000 hectares of vineyeards, in the loving memory of Thomas Jefferson…

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521 km
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175 km
3
325 km
2 Washington — 1 Night
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

The Inn at Little Washington

Washington - Virginia, United States

Restaurant and hotel in the country. Patrick O’Connell abandoned his dream of becoming an actor for cooking and the “living theater” of the restaurant world. Just an hour’s drive from Washington DC, this sumptuous hideaway nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains is a world-renowned destination for gourmets in the know. The menu spotlights Chef O’Connell’s spectacular, refined American dishes, like carpaccio of herb-crusted baby lamb with Caesar salad ice cream, served in dining rooms whose inspired décor creates a wondrous cocoon of luxury. The Inn’s rooms and suites are aptly named after America’s culinary pioneers, and opulent lounges complete the transformation to an idyllic fantasy world. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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Key Services
22 rooms
1 villa
US$ 383.23 (from)
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Close to the property

The Inn Shops

The Inn Shops

Every good vacation needs a good shopping excursion. Located within walking distance from the Inn at Little Washington are the Inn Shops, part of the Old Tavern. Built in 1740, the Colonial building features a series of five decorated period rooms that showcase one-of-a-kind tableware, jewelry, antiques, and home furnishings from the 1800s.

Dinner at The Inn

Dinner at The Inn

A private dining experience unlike anything else. With only 30 tables, we treat every diner to an intimate and luxurious dining experience. Our staff can help choose a wine from our 14,000-bottle wine cellar to accompany your dinner. Dining is the perfect way to wind down a long day of travel and sightseeing, and a great way to reconnect with your travel partner and plan the next day s events.

On the route

Visit Old Town Alexandria...

Visit Old Town Alexandria...

Head out of Washington DC toward Old Town Alexandria, where the 18th century meets modern day tourism. Stroll the 250-year-old cobblestone and brick streets that lead you past boutiques, antique shops and endless cuisine options. The Hard Times Cafe is home to world famous chili and the famous Chili Mac plates.

Smithsonian American History Museum

Smithsonian American History Museum

Along your walk you'll pass the Smithsonian Museums. From American Art to Air and Space, history knows no limits in these buildings. Stop off at the American History Museum to view the first flag our nation flew, George Washington's uniform, Dorothy's ruby slippers and the leather jacket worn by "The Fonz".

Skyline Drive

Skyline Drive

As you leave The Inn at Little Washington, head south for a Skyline Drive, where you'll view the grounds of the Shenandoah Valley. Located just 12 miles from the Inn, the drive was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression and offers 75 scenic overlooks to stop and take photos, picnic and enjoy the views.

The White House

The White House

A few blocks from the Newseum on Pennsylvania Avenue is The White House, which is currently open for tours. If you want to tour the grand home, make sure to contact your member of Congress's Washington, DC office about a month before your trip to secure White House tour passes.

The Newseum

The Newseum

One of the most powerful new museums in Washington, and a personal favorite for retelling the stories of the past, is the Newseum - a 250,000-square-foot museum of news from five centuries. Here we're reminded of the most news breaking events in our history, from Watergate to the attacks on 9/11, and how reporters and photojournalists covered every event that shaped our nation.

National Mall

National Mall

Washington's National Mall is where it all takes place. The Mall is home to years of protests, events, exhibits and leads the way to some of Washington's most famous monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian Museums (I can never pass up an opportunity to walk through the Air and Space Museum). As you walk the grassy Mall, stop at the Washington Monument, walk through the Vietnam and Korean Memorials, and end near the Capitol Building.

1
521 km
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175 km
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325 km
3 Pittsboro — 1 Night
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
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Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

The Fearrington House

Pittsboro - North Carolina, United States

Restaurant and hotel in the country. Midway between the nation’s capital and the historic port of Charleston lies Fearrington House Inn, Restaurant and Spa. The hotel has a relaxed agrarian feel yet cosmopolitan spirit, surrounded by Piedmont pastures with rare Belted Galloway cows and nestled among exquisite shops and restaurants. Guests can stroll the extensive grounds, enjoy author readings and culinary events, indulge in a spa treatment, browse the boutiques and taste a local brew at a seasonal beer garden or wine and cheese at the wine shop. Not to mention Chef Colin Bedford’s exceptional southern-influenced European cuisine, all just a short drive from Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham. ... Learn moreless

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32 rooms
US$ 323.76 (from)
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Close to the property

The Beer Garden and restaurant

The Beer Garden and restaurant

After your walk through the south's most stunning gardens, enjoy the English Afternoon Tea at the Inn or if you are in the mood for more casual atmosphere, head over to Roost, the Beer Garden. Don't worry if brew isn't meant for your palette -- Roost offers a selection of wines by Fearrington sommelier Max Kast. For an exceptional dining experience, savor acclaimed Chef Colin Bedford’s farm-to-fork cuisine at the Fearrington House Restaurant

NC Museum of Art

NC Museum of Art

After a light lunch at the Belted Goat, visit the stunning new NC Museum of Art in Raleigh - In 2010, this important Southern art institution reopened in a new home - a 65,000 square foot modernist marvel that has gotten rave reviews. The wide ranging collection includes the Southeast's finest collection of Old Master paintings, works by 20th century African American artists and an African art gallery

The Gardens

The Gardens

What better way to unwind than with a walk through one of the country's most lush and lovely gardens? Start at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, often referred to as the "Crown Jewel of Duke University." The gardens span a stunning 55 acres and is widely recognized as one of the best public gardens in the United States. Continue your drive to the North Carolina Botanical Garden, where you'll be invited to walk the nearly 1,000 acres of lush landscape and green gardens. The Botanical Garden hosts various "theme" gardens throughout the year. Since the Botanical Gardens are a part of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, you can walk the campus while you're here.

On the route

Lafayette's Tour

Lafayette's Tour

As you make your way south toward Planters Inn, head along the Lafayette's Tour Scenic Byway, where you'll see some of North Carolina's oldest and most historic plantations and southern architecture. Named for General Lafayette of France who followed the route during his tour of the country in 1825, you'll enjoy picnics at state parks and find yourself transported back in time when plantations were the main form of economic survival in the South.

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521 km
2
175 km
3
325 km
4 Charleston — 1 Night
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant
Hotel + Restaurant

Planters Inn

Charleston - South Carolina, United States

Hotel and restaurant in town. Holding court in the very heart of Charleston’s famed Historic District, the 64-room Planters Inn is the city’s iconic grande dame hotel. Uniformed doormen welcome every arrival, ushering guests into a sanctuary of elegant style and genteel service inside the gloriously restored circa 1844 building. Soaring ten-foot ceilings, dozens of working fireplaces, and a stunning collection of antiques and Baker Historic Charleston décor, including a sumptuous four poster bed in every guest room, create a luxurious ambiance described by Travel + Leisure magazine as "akin to an overnight with well-to-do friends in their old Charleston mansion." There’s also more to Planters Inn than meets the eye: A hidden courtyard illuminated by flickering carriage lanterns provides a beguiling entry to Peninsula Grill, the city’s foremost dining experience. ... Learn moreless

TripAdvisor
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Key Services
64 rooms
US$ 283.86 (from)
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Close to the property

Boone Hall Plantation

Boone Hall Plantation

The Boone Hill Plantation is one of the country's still working plantations. Take a walk through the gardens, explore what was once the slave cabins in the south.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

Before leaving Charleston, stop by the Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, a pre-Revolutionary War plantation house where history comes to life in the vast gardens, antebellum cabin and outdoor trails that wind through the 17th century plantation.

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Texts : © Gallimard Loisirs