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A Fire in the Blue Ridge—Dinner and a Destination Forged by Hand

July 23, 2018

SPERRYVILLE, VA (July 23, 2018) - Gastrophiles around the world who have made the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains a destination, thanks to the Inn at Little Washington, now have another reason to visit the region. Three Blacksmiths in Sperryville, Virginia, serves a tasting menu created by chef John MacPherson to just 16 guests each evening from an open-hearth kitchen featuring ingredients cultivated, foraged, and handcrafted in Rappahannock County and nearby.

Husband-and-wife-team John and Diane MacPherson sold their popular Foster Harris House, a five guest room inn, in early 2017 and set off for a six-week trip to study the décor and foods of restaurants across Europe. “So many of the small village restaurants we visited relied almost exclusively on their neighbors for ingredients, wines, and even furnishings,” said John, “and we loved the warmth and richness of the décor— wood beams, brick and stone, and open hearths. There’s something comforting about being surrounded by these elements and we wanted to recreate that experience in our own restaurant.”

Thanks to the creative vision of architect Dwight McNeill, the MacPhersons transformed 20 Main Street in Sperryville, a single story, cinderblock box of a building, into a crisp, elegant two-story gem. With large European-style windows and timeless white-on-black finishes, the new building looks both upscale and fitting for the small village of Sperryville. “It was important to renovate the building in a style that made sense for our rural village, but with the look and feel of something unique,” said general manager Diane MacPherson, “A place that, when you peek inside, makes you feel ensconced in the warm, comfortable glow of a special evening.”

While the exterior work was underway, the interior design and construction was left entirely to John, Diane and their sous chef Ethan Taylor. “When John and Diane said we were going to build the restaurant ourselves, they really meant it! We literally built the entire interior...cutting, nailing, painting, tiling every inch of it,” said Ethan. The result is a dining room rich with maple plank walls, exposed beamed ceiling, mahogany floors and an open kitchen with its wood fired hearth at the center of it all.

The fixed price, multi-course menu is creative, local and seasonal, changing a little day-to-day and completely every three weeks. Paired with local wines as well as some from far-flung small producers, the evening meal starts with a trio of little bites and a glass of sparkling wine, continuing leisurely from course to course all prepared and served by the Three Blacksmiths team. “One thing that makes an evening at Three Blacksmiths special,” says Diane, “is that you’ll be served by the folks who are preparing your food, not just a server. Our guests love that they can talk with the owners and staff about the food, wines and the building and know that each of us had a hand in creating all of it.”

Three Blacksmiths is open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner by reservation. Dinner is served to 16 guests at 7:00 pm. Reservations are made online at

Contact: Diane MacPherson,