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The nation’s “Horse and Hunt Capital" -- Middleburg -- is a lovely rural escape about an hour away from D.C. It dates back to the 1700’s, but today the quaint downtown is lined with boutiques, cafes and historic inns, making for a perfect day of easy walking. Add to that an abundance of wineries, landscapes of green pastures with horses, a luxury resort to pamper yourself, and it makes for one heck of a day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of city life! (Image: Aparna Krisnamoorthy)

A day in the country is only an hour drive away with a trip to Middleburg

The nation’s “Horse and Hunt Capital" -- Middleburg -- is a lovely rural escape about an hour away from D.C. It dates back to the 1700’s, but today the quaint downtown is lined with boutiques, cafes and historic inns, making for a perfect day of easy walking. Add to that an abundance of wineries, landscapes of green pastures with horses, a luxury resort to pamper yourself, and it makes for one heck of a day trip to escape the hustle and bustle of city life! Plus, it’s a very dog-friendly city, with dogs allowed into most establishments around town.

Where to Stay

You can always drive back to DC at the end of the day, it is only an hour away after all, but if you choose to stay overnight, you have several options ranging from cozy B&Bs to upscale luxury resorts. Book a night at Salamander Resort & Spa for a true luxury experience, the Red Fox Inn for a cozy, historic bed and breakfast, or the Goodstone Inn for a country farmland resort.

Where to Eat

Red Fox Inn and Tavern: This is a fabulous spot to enjoy a hearty breakfast/brunch or a cozy dinner in typical Virginia style. The entire space oozes charm, and the three-course brunch is a great start to the day. Start with the Virginia peanut soup, move on to the fried green tomato benedict and end with a slice of pecan pie. I’ve heard the fried chicken is another favorite!

Federal St Café: Hidden off the main street in Middleburg, this quaint diner-style, family-owned café has a simple menu, but stands out with high quality ingredients. Their pimento grilled cheese is worth a visit on its own! Bonus – the spot is vegetarian friendly.

Market Salamander: This gourmet market and café is a nice stop to get a freshly prepared sandwich, or to pick up a few cheeses, meats and breads for a picnic.

Common Grounds: This casual coffee shop’s outdoor patio is where you will want to chill and chat with friends with a cappuccino or a glass of wine. They also have snacks, so it’s a good place for grab-and-go style as well.

NY pizza at Teddy’s: I know, I know, it’s hard to believe there could be a decent NY style pizza shop in the middle of Virginia. But trust me, make the time to stop by for a slice, and even you NY transplants will be impressed! They also have really good subs, and is very reasonably priced, which is hard to come by in Middleburg.

What to Do

Shopping in Middleburg: The downtown district is not very big, but all the stores are really unique and interesting. Wander through them and talk to the storekeepers, as they always have interesting tidbits of history to share!

  1. The Middleburg Tack Exchange: Once called the “best equestrian shop in the country” by Southern Living Magazine, this funky shop is not to be missed, even for non-riders. Lots of equestrian related items to be found here, from traditional riding gear, accessories and just a whole bunch of interesting stuff! Absolutely worth a wander.
  2. Lou Lou: Yes, these stores are all over D.C. but did you know their first store was in Middleburg? Stop in here to check out reasonably priced clothing and accessories.
  3. The Fun Shop: Definitely an appropriate name! The store contains floors of fun and whimsical items, ranging from kitchen wares, children’s toys, greeting cards, gifts for any occasion, and so much more!

Olive oil tasting: Stop by Olio, an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room, and try some classic and unique flavored oils and vinegars. The Citrus Habanero is a great bottle to bring back home and the mango balsamic is a great addition to any salad.

National Sporting Museum: For your dose of culture and history, stop here to learn about the” literature, art, and culture of equestrian, angling, and field sport." It is horse country, after all.

Wine tasting at Greenhill Winery: A short two-mile drive from the historic district, this popular winery gives you beautiful views of the countryside, good wines and seated tastings. Grab a bottle of your favorite (the Blanc de Blanc is very good!) and settle in to enjoy the quintessential Virginia winery experience. If you can, do a tour here -- the manor and tasting rooms are gorgeous, and the winemaker is passionate about the winery operations.

Salamander Resort and Spa: The previously mentioned luxury resort is a destination in itself, and the splurge to stay overnight (starting at $400) is well worth it if you want to pamper yourself. But even if you are not staying, stop by for a glass of wine in their stunning library, and you’ll forget that you are only an hour away from city life!


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