The Blue Stone Inn

The Blue Stone Inn.

Driving home from a day golfing at Bryce, a resort tucked away in plain sight just off I-81 and Route 11, I decided it was time to write a piece about another hidden treasure, and one of my all-time favorite spots in the Valley: the Blue Stone Inn in Lacey Springs, VA.

Blue Stone is a true family restaurant that has lived on Route 11 for four generations. A painting above the bar depicts the current matriarch Janet serving tables when she was just a rebellious 20-something, carrying beers out to the gang—some of which still eat at this same spot in the same seats as they did almost 50 years ago.

Most of Blue Stone has stayed the same since then. Blue Stone started out as a hang-out spot for locals, evolving into a family-style restaurant serving steak and seafood. Several waitresses have been there for more than ten years. My late sister worked there, and every time I come back, I revisit fond memories of her dry humor as she’d slide into a booth seat, lovingly teasing my boys and stealing my fries.

Blue Stone serves country and homestyle food: hand-cut fries, homemade hummingbird cake, local in-season produce, steaks and seafood served hot and tasty. They have on-tap beer, local wines, and deep-fried hushpuppies in baskets, complete with maple butter. Antique table lamps cast a gentle lighting as you sit at the bar, a booth, or a table. Photos from days-gone-by adorn the walls, showing people sitting and dining in the exact booth you are presently occupying. You are surrounded by time and stories, engagements, birthdays, holidays, celebrations, and romance.

Janet Olschofka and her son Tom now run the show. Blue Stone is so popular, it’s not uncommon to have to wait in the foyer or even outside for a little while on weekends, but trust me—it is worth the wait.

The round window peering into the small kitchen is tempting to peek through and see how small but functional the kitchen is. Everyone at Blue Stone has a role, and it’s almost a dance as waitresses bob and weave behind the bar, carrying plates of steak and lobster or bottles of beer and generous pourings of wine.

It’s good to have a place that stays the same and where you are welcomed to stay and eat slowly, to talk long and to laugh loudly. Although I initially didn’t realize it, over the years Blue Stone has become an unexpected, delicious focal point of my family.

To explore or live in the Shenandoah Valley without experiencing a meal at the Blue Stone Inn is a tragedy. Drive up to this classic, stone-clad restaurant, let yourself be drawn into its history, home cooking and hospitality. I promise you will not be disappointed.

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