Hawksbill Retreat – Virginia Cabin Rental History Dating Back to 1785

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The Historic Jordan Hollow Inn, which closed in 2010 is now reopen with new owners, luxury renovations and a new name, Hawksbill Retreat.

Romantic Cabin Vacation Rental

Romantic Private Cabin

We are renovating the property to make our guests stays more pleasant and relaxing. Our goal is to keep the original atmosphere but to modernize the facilities to the luxury our company has become known.

The history of Hawksbill Retreat begins prior to 1785 when the first public records noted that the homestead consisted of several hundred acres of property, a barn and a log home. The original farmhouse was a one room log cabin constructed from American chestnut logs (now extinct) and some heart of pine. By 1795 the one room log Cabin was accompanied by a second cabin built along the road on the same property. This cabin was dismantled and moved from the road to the far back right side of the original home. Between 1795 and 1805 four other rooms were added to the original structure. The farmhouse was finished about 1815 when two small rooms with a separate entrance were added above the original log home. These two rooms were used as a small suite by travelers thus making the first record of the property serving guests as a vacation rental in the Luray, VA area.

In early years Hawksbill Retreat was primarily a horse farm and stopping point for travelers. Route 689 that is located one quarter mile from Hawksbill Retreat and in early times one of the farm’s boundaries was known as "The Red Gate Road", a name still used inside the Shenandoah National Park. Later it became known as "The Gordonsville Turnpike". The road was one of the few which travelers could safely cross the Blue Ridge Mountains. Farms at the base of the mountains near these roads would raise horses or mules to trade or sell to travelers crossing the rugged range.

The farmhouse played a small role in the Civil War as it was used as a field hospital. There were many skirmishes in the Page Valley during the war and wounded soldiers were treated at the farm during that period of time. There were no major battles in Page County during the Civil War; however, the county was heavily patrolled by General George Custer due to the fact that Major John Mosby (also known as the Gray Ghost) and his raiders had a hideout about a mile and a half from Hawksbill Retreat known as “Dog Springs”. This is just northeast of the property and can be seen from the top hill where there are currently six one-bedroom vacation cabin rentals.

The original barn was burned when Sheridan made his famous barn burning raid down the Shenandoah Valley in 1864. Records indicate that the barn was rebuilt in 1869 on the original “purged” stone foundation and the new barn was also constructed of American chestnut logs. The back part was added in the late 1920’s. During the 1950’s Tennessee Walking Horses were raised and later this became a stable for thoroughbreds. A carriage house was built in the early 1900's. The rooms under the carriage house were used for extra stabling area.

Hawksbill Retreat is located near a retreat that former president Herbert Hoover built and used during his term in office where in the late 1920's a portion of the farm was developed as part of a nine-hole golf course. Subsequently, the area started being used as a "playground" for Washington’s rich and famous during the summer and autumn months. Guests who stay in a one-bedroom cabin or who walk to the top of the hill in the back of Hawksbill Retreat can see the remains of one of the fairways, green and two sand traps as well as a fantastic view. The stone houses that are visible from the top of the hill were built during this time frame as part of the "resort" that was in the immediate area. World War II brought this era to an end with most of the surrounding property being re-divided, sold and purchased by various individuals.

In the early 1980's a new life for the farm started. A partnership was formed to establish an Inn and learning center becoming one of the oldest "modern" Inns in Virginia, “Jordan Hollow Inn”. The “Farmhouse Restaurant” was established in the original home, and guest rooms were created in the lower area of the carriage house and in the stables. In 1983 another lodge was built and in 1992 the “Mare House” a 3 bedroom vacation rental was completed. In early 2000 the six one-bedroom homes were added as the mountain view cabin rentals.

In early 2010, “Jordan Hollow Inn” and “The Farmhouse Restaurant” were closed. In summer 2012 Randy and Misty Howan of Howan Properties, Inc. purchased the remaining 44 acres and began renovation of the three-bedroom “Mare House” and the six one-bedroom cabins, completing phase 1 of construction. “We are renovating the property to make our guests stays more pleasant and relaxing. Our goal is to keep the original atmosphere but to modernize the facilities to the luxury our company has become known” said Randy Howan, owner. “Whether guests are getting away from work or just looking for a country getaway where they can explore our property and the history of the Shenandoah Valley, Hawksbill Retreat is the perfect getaway location.” Howan Properties Inc. also owns “Absolute Perfect Escape”, which has become one of Luray, VA’s best cabin rentals.

Hawksbill Retreat is beginning phase two of its property renovation where the additional lodge will be made into a private eight-bedroom vacation rental adding another large vacation rental to the Luray, VA area; similar to the original Absolute Perfect Escape cabins.
Read the press release about Hawksbill Retreat’s property description and opening.

To celebrate the opening of Hawksbill Retreat, during the months of January, February and March, 2013, guests will be able to rent two nights in any Hawksbill Retreat cabin, and they will receive the third night for FREE. The offer is not available on holiday weekends. To get more information about this discount vacation rental or to learn more about all of the cabins available, visit http://www.absoluteperfectescape.net.

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