12 Ways of In Country Living
Guide to Real Estate and More
Middleburg, Va., has a quiet beauty. Driving down the winding farm roads outside of Washington, low-lying fences of stacked stone separate the asphalt from the rolling country beyond. Estates sit on expansive greenways shared with rustic, whitewashed barns and grazing horses and cattle.
Perhaps this is why Middleburg continues to be one of the most thriving real estate markets in the region and a favorite area for Washingtonians seeking a country lifestyle. A drive of 30 minutes to two hours from the city, depending on traffic, sprawling country homes are waiting to be bought up around Middleburg.
Because this holiday season is the perfect time to gain a foothold in the countryside, the “12 Ways of In Country Living” highlights some of the most persuasive reasons to think of Middleburg and its environs as more than a weekend getaway.
1. Virginia Wines There is a rampant misconception that East Coast wines are sweet, simple and unrefined. Bandied about is the truism that our land is unsuitable for growing proper wine grapes. But the truth is that we just got a late start. We are California 30 years ago. Today, more and more of our winemakers produce high-quality dry wines and the world is taking notice. Among the many vineyards of distinction around Middleburg, Chrysalis Winery, Boxwood Estate Winery, Barrel Oak Winery and Linden Vineyards are all worthy stops on any wine enthusiast’s Virginia itinerary.
2. The National Sporting Library and Museum The colorful history and legendary stories of Loudoun’s long, rich equestrian history are enshrined in the National Sporting Library and Museum. On its shelves and in its galleries are more than 17,000 books dating back to the 16th century. The permanent art collection and special exhibitions chart the county’s sporting traditions back to their roots. NSL.org
3. The Ashby Inn and Restaurant In the town of Paris, Va., one finds the Ashby Inn and Restaurant. This popular travel destination offers respite for jaded city dwellers seeking nature’s tranquility. A small inn with 10 double rooms, its charming 70-seat restaurant fills up every Saturday. For adventurous couples, nearby Sky Meadow State Park offers hiking and outdoor activities. Looking for less strenuous quality time? The antique shops, tack stores and restaurants of Middleburg are just next door. Another option is to combine exploration and relaxation with a trip to any number of the more than 20 wineries located within 30 minutes of the inn. AshbyInn.com
4. The Salamander Resort Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg formally opened last August on 340 acres just outside Middleburg. The 168-room hotel is built to evoke a country estate, with a pale plaster facade, a stone courtyard, terraces and wrought-iron balconies. At Harrimans, the main restaurant, the menu includes locally harvested delicacies such as blue crab, Rappahannock River oysters, Angus beef from the Plains and Berkshire pork from Pennsylvania. Seasonal, local vegetables star on every plate, many grown in the kitchen gardens or at nearby farms. SalamanderResort.com
5. The Inn at Little Washington No discussion of luxury dining and accommodations in Virginia is complete without admiration for the Inn at Little Washington, the life’s work of renowned restaurateur Patrick O’Connell. A self-taught chef and pioneer of the local, organic movement, O’Connell is often accused of having “perfect taste.” The Inn is one of the most highly decorated restaurants and hotels in the country – and just about the only one nationally lauded for offering both fine dining and sumptuous guest rooms. TheInnAtLittleWashington.com
6. The Kennedy Estate, from Atoka Properties Wexford, the iconic John F. Kennedy family estate just west of Middleburg, is for sale for the first time in 22 years. The property was custom-designed by President and Mrs. Kennedy as a family retreat in 1963. Originally 39 acres, the property today comprises 166 acres. The main residence is a beautiful stucco home filled with light with views of the magnificent Blue Ridge Mountains. The Kennedys’ first visit to Wexford after completion was Oct. 25, 1963; they visited again on Nov. 10. Mrs. Kennedy sold the property a year later. Located in Orange County Hunt territory, the property offers riding trails, peaceful surroundings and dramatic views. The property still contains an underground bunker and areas used by Secret Service personnel. $10,995,000. AtokaProperties.com
7. Blue Spring Property, from Long & Foster Blue Spring, designed by longtime Georgetown resident and architect Robbi Cooper, was created as a rural escape close to Georgetown to accommodate weddings, anniversaries and family holidays. It comprises three buildings around a small formal courtyard. Centrally located in Loudoun County and surrounded by hills, valleys and a stream, it’s a short drive from Washington. On 12.99 acres for $525,000 and on 23.99 acres for $720,000. (The separate approximately 11 acre lot is priced at $195,000.) LongAndFoster.com
8. Scawfell Farm, from Washington Fine Properties This is a charming and elegant home with the original section dating to c. 1860 and the most recent renovation and additions to 2003. On 58 acres, the house has sweeping views down to the Rappahannock River and past fenced pastures to a cascading stream, pond and two-bedroom log cabin. The home has a beautiful pool, five bedrooms, five baths and two half-baths. There are also several barns, run-in sheds and paddocks with water. $2,195,000. WFP.com
9. Liberty Hall, from Thomas and Talbot Real Estate Nestled just below Paris, Va., Liberty Hall, c. 1770, is a lovely stone and stucco farmhouse that sits at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains on 20 acres surrounded by protected lands. A dream property for lovers of antique homes, it offers captivating views of the countryside and features meticulous exterior renovations. County records indicate that the residence provided room and board for soldiers during the American Revolution. $1,950,000. Thomas-Talbot.com
10. Signal Mountain, from Sheridan MacMahon Realtors Located in The Plains, Va., the 160-acre Signal Mountian estate sits on the western slope of Bull Run Mountain. Used by the Confederate cavalryman, Colonel Mosby, the estate is rich in beauty and history. The property is entered through an automated gate system built of stone walls and gate piers that support hand forged iron gates. The private drive passes a civil war era stone chimney/foundation, a well, and a spring house. On the property sits a stocked pond and a two-story carriage house. Several main home sites are available to build out the estate. $1,950,000. sheridanmacmahon.com
11. Creighton Farms and Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course Conveniently located on Route 15 in the scenic Route 50 corridor, Creighton Farms is ideal for those who want the luxury and privacy of a first-rate community without an hour’s drive outside the city. Creighton Farms has a large handful of homesites with dramatic views of woods, meadows, mountain ranges and a spectacular golf course. The 900-acre landscape on which the course sits was designed by Jack Nicklaus who is currently building a home behind the ninth green. CreightonFarms.com
12. New Long & Foster Real Estate Office in Purcellville The growth and development in Loudoun County continues to drive the real estate west of the District. Many already consider the area surrounding Purcellville, just north of Middleburg, to be an up-and-coming area with more modestly priced homes than its sister town. “This site in Purcellville was specifically chosen to give us centralized access to the community and a brand new state-of-the-art facility,” said Michele Stevens, managing broker of Long & Foster’s Middleburg office, who is leading the team at the new Purcellville sales office.