Welcome to horse and wine country of Virginia (Loudon & Fauquier County).
The Plains and Middleburg are beautiful, photography worthy towns. The Plains is possibly the smallest town I have ever been to that has viable businesses operating such as restaurants, a drug store, and an antique/gift store. The freight train passes through a few times per day, adding to the small town atmosphere. The best part about this town is that you’d never know it is just a few miles from the interstate. Down the road is Middleburg, which is a rather large village with multiple boutiques, restaurants, and best of all: a grocery store right downtown! (It’s a Safeway, if you’re wondering.) I was very excited to see such a thing.
These towns are walkable and gorgeous. Had I not been exhausted from reading fox hunting diaries at the National Sporting Library for two days, I would have explored some more. I had the chance to browse a few stores, get a sandwich to go from a café in Middleburg, and of course, to walk in the grocery store. Both towns have many B&Bs nearby or within walking distance of the town center (not both, but either or). Personally, I’d recommend the Grey Horse Inn, which is perfect. The rooms are elegant and comfortable and furnished with antiques, breakfast was delicious, and it was completely affordable (especially in the middle of the week).
Driving back to Washington DC to catch the Amtrak train, the infamous development of Loudon County became unmistakingly noticeable and traffic appeared suddenly. I could see why much of Loudon County is worried about DC sprawl (and sprawl of DC sprawl as it seems to be). The Plains and Middleburg are worth the visit whether you are a lover of horses, wine, historic & charming towns, or just good views from a nice bed and breakfast. I would recommend either of these towns. They are unique hamlets just an hour outside of Washington D.C. To get from one to another, the road is eight miles of country scenery with farms and vineywards on either side of the rolling hills.
Of course, if you are researching horses, fox hunting, horse racing, polo or any another sport related to horses, the National Sporting Library is the place to go. It’s a beautiful facility and in downtown Middleburg. I spent two days reading and scanning the fox hunting diaries of Joseph B. Thomas, Master of the Hunt with the Piedmont Hounds. Mr. Thomas also happened to be good friends with Percy Rockefeller and spent many winter hunting seasons of the 1920s hunting at Overhills with his pack of hounds – thereby being my reason for my research trip.
Normally, I’d have photographs inserted in the post; however, wordpress is being impossible, so here are the photographs in smaller form. Sorry!