An hour outside DC, in the middle of hunt country, is a tiny little town called Middleburg. I’d been meaning to get out and explore it, and this summer’s CSAdventures have given us just the opportunity. Our farm, in Bluemont, and our friends’ dairy farm, encircle a 100-mile circuit with Middleburg at the dead center, perfect for a lunch. Driving the gently rolling hills and winding scenic byways has become a real joy for us each weekend. The ancient stone wall fences that surround so many of the country estates and farms of the hunt country are iconic, throwbacks to a time long passed.
The town itself sits on the John S. Mosby Highway (Route 50), halfway to the Blue Ridge. It’s only about a mile wide, and certainly no wider than a few blocks, but what’s contained therein is an impressive collection of prosperous businesses. Restaurants, Beds & Breakfast, Country Inns, this is the perfect little hamlet for escaping to the country for a quiet weekend away.
Middleburg is incredibly motorcycle friendly, so if you’ve got a bike, and you’re looking for a great day trip, this would be the right place. We had lunch at the Red Horse Tavern, which seemed to be a popular haunt for the Harley set. It’s right there on the main drag, John Mosby Highway.
If you’re looking for something a little more upscale on the palate, head across the street to the Market Salamander café and deli. The property is part of the incredible Salamander Hospitality owned by area billionaire Sheila Johnson (she owns parts of the Mystics, the Wizards and Capitals, as well as part of BET) The unassuming exterior gives way to an incredible kitchen featuring all manner of homemade masterpieces including their bourbon pecan chicken salad, their curried chicken, and their awesome red cabbage slaw. This is not your ordinary deli. Make a point to drop in.
Our friends PJ & Erin speak highly of Chrysalis Vineyards in Middleburg, as well. It’s just outside the town, off State Route 629, and features Viognier grapes, as well as the locally-cultivated Norton varietal. This weekend, they’re having an event out at the vineyard featuring the Deaf Aids and their locally produced wine.
When it comes to staying out in the country, hospitality is a totally different concept than you might find here in DC. It’s a different definition, and the innkeepers around Middleburg are no exception. The old stone Red Fox Inn is a popular inn, right on Washington Street at the center of town. If you’re looking for something a little more out of the way, and some hidden luxury, take a look at the Goodstone Estate & Inn.
So, go for a drive in the country. Maybe start your weekend at one of the area farms who offer the opportunity to go picking. Peaches are in-season right now, so lots of orchards and whatnot are opening their doors. Our favorite is Great Country Farms in Bluemont. Go say hey to Farmer Ray, then head down to Middleburg for lunch and a stroll through the little burg. Dinner at one of the fine inns and restaurants, then go check out the Polo match on Sunday. You’ll not regret it.