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Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927
Book Online or call HomeAway Booking Assistance 888-640-7927

Historic House with Gardens Near Universities & Downtown

Bedrooms 3
Property type house
Minimum Stay 2 - 3 nights


About the property

House, 3 Bedrooms + Other (See Description), 3 Baths, (Sleeps 6)

McDowell House offers the unusual opportunity to stay in an exquisitely restored historic residence in one of Lexington's most beautiful neighborhoods. Surrounded by other 19th-century properties, the house sits just blocks from Washington & Lee, VMI, and downtown's restaurants and shops. A deep front lawn and tranquil gardens provide quiet and privacy.

McDowell House sleeps 6 guests--or up to 10, when combined with the property's 3rd floor apartment, McDowell Studio (VRBO #339861). Combined bookings receive a special rate.

All beds have high-quality mattresses, silky all-cotton linens, and hypoallergenic duvets. McDowell House's charming 1st-floor Garden Bedroom features a tall-post double bed and a window overlooking the secluded rear garden. An adjoining tiled bathroom retains its original marble sink and claw-footed tub, but with shower mounted above.

On the 2nd floor, the West Bedroom has a queen-sized brass bed and tall windows on 3 sides. The Turret Bedroom features an elegant pair of antique brass twin beds and its own little circular porch overlooking the front lawn and mountains beyond. Two well-appointed bathrooms serve these bedrooms: a marble-floored bathroom next door with tiled shower and claw-footed tub and the house's original bathroom, on the same floor, which contains a sauna and shower.

Guests may use a rowing machine, Nordic Track, exercise bicycle, and vibration platform conveniently located in a nearby 2nd-floor conservatory and porch.

McDowell House has an amazing eat-in kitchen with original wainscot, Virginia soapstone counters, and state-of-the art appliances--from restaurant-grade gas stove to espresso maker. With windows overlooking both rear and side gardens, it's the perfect place to enjoy cooking--or eating--local vegetables, meats, breads, and cheeses. Glassware, china, flatware, and serving pieces make dining, entertaining, or enjoying take-out easy and fun.

McDowell House is a magical place to spend time with friends and family. A large, airy parlor with tall windows opens into the generous dining room, via sliding doors. The sunny library provides comfortable space for reading, working, watching television, or catching up on the day's activities.

Rooms feature luminous colors and period carpets, wallpapers, and curtains. Art covers the walls, as it did in the 1890s. Musical guests love playing the c.1890 ebonized Knabe piano in the handsome 1st-floor hall.

Visitors also enjoy lounging on the porches that wrap the house.

In the back garden's rock-lined pool, goldfish swim among the waterlilies. A round table and chairs sit on a stone terrace, surrounded by lush Japanese maples and evergreens, ferns, and native woodland plants. McDowell House provides a quiet refuge--and a perfect base for visiting Washington & Lee and VMI, exploring scenic Rockbridge County, and enjoying Lexington's vibrant downtown.

Keywords: historic property, residence, villa, self-catering house

More Details

Property Manager
Property Manager
Member since: 2010
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within a day
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
January 19, 2018

About The Owner

The owners' award-winning restoration work has been featured in magazines such as Preservation, Early American Life, Victorian Homes, Traditional Homes, and Southern Living.

The Owner purchased this house in 1983

Why The Owner chose Lexington

Lexington combines the intimacy and friendliness of a small Southern town with the diversity created by universities. Located a short drive from stunning scenery--Natural Bridge, Goshen Pass, the Blue Ridge mountains--the city is also linked to the country by walking trails.

What makes this house unique

Local meat, eggs, vegetables, cheeses, ice creams, breads, beers, and wines make Lexington a wonderful place to dine--out or in. McDowell House is just blocks from downtown's shops, bakeries, farmer's market, wine shop, and micro-brewery. Its location encourages walking to everything: the newsstand, exercise classes, the whole foods grocery, the movies. At McDowell House, the car stays parked!

Guestbook comments from the manager

We enjoyed our stay at this wonderful house! We look forward to our next visit to Lexington and this house. Thanks for this special place!
Oct 2013
  • 1 of 17


Lexington House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
  • Housekeeper Optional
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 6
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets not allowed ...
  • non smoking only ...
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Broadband Access
  • Clothes Dryer
  • Hair Dryer
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided
  • Washing Machine
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Wood Fireplace ...
  • Catering Available ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher
  • Ice Maker
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Refrigerator ...
  • 3 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
    Bathroom 3 -
  • 3 Bedrooms, Sleeps 6
  • Queen size Beds (2) The tall-post bed in the 1st-floor bedroom dates from c.1820-1830, but has a luxurious custom queen mattress. The 2nd-floor bedroom has a handsome queen-sized brass bed with top-quality Stearns & Foster mattress., Twin or Single Beds (2) Twin brass beds share the 2nd-floor Turret Bedroom. Both have comfortable new mattresses and luxurious all-cotton linens.
  • Books
  • CD Player
  • DVD Player
  • Satellite / Cable
  • Television
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lanai / Gazebo ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill
Pool / Spa:
  • Sauna ...
Onsite Services:
  • Private Chef
  • cinemas
  • health/beauty spa
  • live theater
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
  • zoo
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • boating
  • horseback riding
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • fitness center
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • kayaking
  • mountain biking
  • swimming
Historic McDowell House offers a wide menu of modern comforts, including an exceptional kitchen and a sauna.


Wonderful! 4.8/5 -
(9 traveler reviews)

77% Complete
22% Complete
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Historic House with Gardens Near Universities & Downtown
average rating of 4.7777777 based on 26 reviews
Dallas, Texas

Historic home fit our family nicely

  • 5 of 5

We rented the large home as well as the third store studio apartment for a wedding. The home meets the description perfectly -- two large bedrooms upstairs and one downstairs. Kitchen is extremely well equipped. Several sitting rooms as well as front and back porches. Very near downtown Lexington, VMI, W&L in a nice, quiet neighborhood with rabbits in the yard.

  • Submitted: Aug 8, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Great stay in Lexington !

  • 5 of 5

Great property. Clean, well maintained and close to downtown. Loved the front porch!!

  • Submitted: Jun 18, 2017
  • Stayed: June 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Columbia, SC

beautiful home!

  • 5 of 5

We enjoyed this wonderful home, met and exceeded our expectations. It was a short walking distance to town, very convenient. The home was very well equipped, not need to bring anything!

We would definitely rent again if we return to the area!

  • Submitted: Jun 2, 2016
  • Stayed: May 2016
  • Source: HomeAway
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Charlotte NC

Absolutely wonderful accomodations

  • 5 of 5

Incredibly beautiful, functional, decorated and restored house within a short walk to heart of downtown Lexington. Have to see inside to fully appreciate. What I found most impressive about the accommodation is that everything in house WORKS! Every light switch, every appliance, every light bulb. The owners attentiveness to cleanliness, upkeep, and functionality is quite obvious during your stay. The garden is cozy and secluded. The owner is very attentive to your needs and only a phone call away.

  • Submitted: Nov 4, 2015
  • Stayed: October 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Great Place Walking distance to VMI and W and L

  • 5 of 5

Great House with wonderful Kitchen, garden and porch seating areas and interior room to entertain visitors. We stayed here for a reunion so were not present a lot, but when there was downtime was pleasant not to be crammed in hotel. Working windows provided for wonderful evenings. Would highly recommend. Have been coming to Lexington 35 plus years, one of the most pleasant places to stay I have found. Could walk easily to all of the good restaurants in the area and did not have to move the car for the weekend, other than a quick trip to Krogers which is extremely close by. Plenty of room to spread out and sit with a larger crowd, but enjoyable for 2 to 4 people as well.

  • Submitted: Sep 16, 2015
  • Stayed: September 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Lexington, VA

The best in Lexington!

  • 5 of 5

The McDowell House was the perfect place for my family to stay while visiting Lexington for Thanksgiving. The house is incredibly spacious, with 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a well-appointed kitchen. It was great to gather in the sitting room or around the dining room table, but was also really easy to sneak off to a secluded comfy chair to read or look at art. The architectural and historical character of the house itself is very impressive, even for Lexington. Finally, the location could not be better for just walking out the front door and taking advantage of all Lexington has to offer--the universities, shops, and restaurants.

  • Submitted: Dec 2, 2014
  • Stayed: November 2014
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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McDowell House is 3 blocks from the Woods Creek Trail, which winds down to the Maury River at Jordan's Point Park, connecting with university trails along the way. From Jordan's Point, walkers and cyclists can cross the Maury River bridge and pick up the riverside Chessie Trail. The property is also located just blocks from Washington & Lee's Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts; Lexington's Wednesday Farmers Market--with its fabulous local food; a movie theater; Sweet Things ice cream parlor; antique shops; restaurants; bookstores; and Healthy Foods Market. Back at the house, visitors can use the house's exercise machines, sauna, watch cable TV, relax with a book, enjoy the private back garden, with its goldfish pond--or play the c.1890 Knabe piano.


Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

Tax Rate 13.0%

Manager's Cancellation Policy

Please ask the manager or check their rental agreement when booking the property.

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