Driving west through George Washington National Forest a short distance past the village of Churchville you come upon the rambling inn, almost as if you have somehow driven back in time. The Buckhorn Inn has witnessed a dramatic flow of history through its elegant old portals. Early records indicate that it was a tavern since about the year 1811. It long served as a stagecoach stop between Staunton, Hot Springs, and points south and west. The affluent and afflicted often stopped there on their way to the famous springs of western Virginia for social festivities and health treatments. City dwellers sought the bracing mountain air in the near-wilderness of this Allegheny haven.
Virginia Military Institute Professor Thomas Jackson, later known as Stonewall, stayed at the tavern with his first wife, Elinor in 1854, on their way to one of the springs. Later, in May 1862, Jackson’s army camped in the large field extending to the west of the tavern on their way to Stribling Springs and Mt. Solon after their victory at McDowell, the first triumph in Jackson’s brilliant Valley Campaign. Sick and wounded soldiers were treated at the tavern. A Confederate garrison remained stationed at the tavern throughout much of the Civil War, and cannons were emplaced on nearby ridges.
After the Civil War, the venerable tavern again catered to wealthy sojourners to the salutary springs, well-heeled gamblers, and seekers of natural beauty in the summer and fall months. Those were the years of sleek horses, glistening coaches, bustles and broadcloth and taffeta, and genteel conversations. For a time, the tavern catered largely to local folk. Its walls echoed with the high soulful sounds of the country fiddle and the pounding heart-beats of the guitar as residents of the surrounding mountains and valleys kicked up their heels in country squares. Today the Buckhorn Inn, faithfully restored and well-appointed with fine antiques, nestled in a mountain gap on fertile river bottom, continues to extend its fabled hospitality to lovers of superb food comfortable lodging and graceful, leisurely living (Joe Nutt, Daily New Leader).
Contact Tom Oberholtzer at Cottonwood Commercial (540) 434-9922