Wine and Hunt Country


Loudoun | Fauquier | Wine Country | History | Rappahannock

Stunningly beautiful, historically rich, economically thriving, Northern Virginia is understandably a highly desired place to live. Here you’ll find rolling hills, horse farms, wineries, historic sites, battlefield parks, nature preserves, golf courses, hiking trails, canoeing and more.

Northern Virginia offers the convenience of proximity to the nation’s capital with all the luxury and peace of living in a rural, upscale setting.

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Gloria Rose Ott serves the region that encompasses Loudoun, Fauquier, Clarke, Rappahannock & Warren counties.

Loudoun County is bordered on the north by the Potomac River and on the west by the Blue Ridge Mountains. Just south of Loudoun is Fauquier County, a beautiful bridge between bustling Northern Virginia and the tranquil foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rappahannock is southwest of Fauquier and is dominated by picturesque drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Shenandoah National Forest.

As you read about this very special place, keep in mind that the very qualities that make the historic countryside so appealing are coming under threat as more and more people seek to avoid the high housing prices in the metropolitan D.C. area or the beltway suburbs.

Virginians are challenged today to find the proper balance between preserving the beautiful open spaces of the countryside and the demands that growth and expansion place on the land.

LOUDOUN

Loudoun County — steeped in history, blessed with natural beauty and ideally located just 25 miles west of Washington, D.C. is one of the fastest growing counties in the country. It is also ranked in the top 5 in the country for quality of life and on some lists (FORBES) is the most affluent county in the nation.

PorchColumnsthumbnailHistory permeates Loudoun, but its economy is thoroughly modern. During the economic expansion of the 1990s, Loudoun had great success attracting news business. As a result, the county was transformed from a bedroom community to a vibrant employment center.

One example of that growth is the new Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course being built in historic Aldie, about 30 miles west of D.C. Finishing touches are being made to the 7,200-yard course along with the Golf Club, which will be the centerpiece of Creighton Farms, a 180-home golf community.

The county is home to Washington Dulles International Airport, and schools are considered excellent. The county’s population is skewed to the youthful side: 40 percent of Loudoun residents are between the ages of 21 and 44.

Historic sites abound. Aldie Mill is the only surviving grist mill in Virginia that is powered by twin overshot water wheels. Dodona Manor, the home of Gen. George C. Marshall, best known for his postwar Marshall Plan, can be toured in Leesburg.

GrapesmallerThe county is home to twenty wineries set amid rolling hills and beautiful vistas. Loudoun County ranks second in Virginia for number of acres planted with wine grape. You can tour Loudoun’s wineries on your own using a Wine Trail brochure available from the Loudoun County Office of Rural Economic Development or there are commercial wine tours that take care of the driving and can create customized catered programs. Along the Wine Trail you’ll travel scenic roads to all of the county’s varied wineries, which range from Tarara, housed in a 6,000 square foot man-made cave, to Willowcraft, located in an old red barn atop Mount Gilead.

Sprinkled throughout Loudoun are towns and villages, each with distinctive character.

Leesburg is Loudoun’s largest town and the county seat. Its 18th and 19th century buildings are now home to wonderful boutiques and galleries, home furnishing stores, art galleries, and gourmet food and wine boutiques. The Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets has 110 retail outlets, including the nation’s only Smithsonian Outlet. The Lansdowne Resort is an award-winning luxury getaway that features 305 rooms, six dining spots, 36 holes of golf, spa treatments, a health club, aquatic complex and a special program designed especially for children. The Loudoun Museum in Leesburg prides itself on making history interesting, fun, and especially appealing for children. Nearby is the Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, which includes historic trails and guided tours. The Oatlands Plantation is on the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and visitors can tour the mansion and garden. The Historic Morven Park holds the Windmill Carriage Collection and the Museum of Hounds and Hunting, the only one of ts kind.

Middleburg is considered the nation’s horse and hunt capital, and the equine theme is everywhere. The town has a sophistication all its own, and historic architecture is found along tree-lined streets. The horse and hound themes can be found in the names of such shops and restaurants as the Journeymen Saddlers and the Wylie Wagg. The Red Fox Inn was built during colonial times and provides lodging and a tavern-style restaurant.

FeedBucketssmallerOlympic equestrians live in Middleburg, and past residents have included Elizabeth Taylor and President John F. Kennedy. Jackie Kennedy rode the hills surrounding Middleburg and is fondly remembered by so many locals. During the Civil War, Union and Confederate troops camped and skirmished in the area on their way to Gettysburg. The annual Christmas Parade on the first Saturday in December is led by hounds of the local hunt followed by riders in their red hunting jackets.

Purcellville has a railroad heritage. The W&OD rail line used to run through town and the same railroad bed now serves as a recreation trail. Many of the older structures remaining in Purcellville reflect the Victorian architecture popular during the turn-of-the-century. The town, located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has antique and gift shops, restaurants and one of the oldest hardware stores in the country. Nearby are farms that allow visitors to pick their own fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Other communities include Waterford, which is listed as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. The annual Waterford Fair brings artisans from around the region to celebrate the community.  Round Hill offers great views of the mountains and of Loudoun Valley, and Hamilton has a post office that got its stamp of approval from President John Quincy Adams back in 1827. Lincoln, a Quaker Village is the home of Abernethy and Spencer Greenhouses, the oldest in the Mid-Atlantic.  Bluemont is nestled in the mountains and is at the end of the old commerce trail.

FAUQUIER

Nestled in the heart of Virginia horse and wine country, Fauquier County has scenic country roads lined with stone and rail fences leading to towns and villages that have been around for more than two centuries.

HUNT COUNTRY & HORSES, HORSES, HORSES…….

Fauquier is home to the oldest horse show in America. The Upperville Colt & Horse Show began in 1853 and today is considered one of the premier equestrian events. The show attracts Olympic-class riders from around the world. The largest prize money event of the show is the $100,000 Budweiser/Upperville Jumper Classic. For amateur riders there is the $10,000 Junior/Amateur Hall of Fame Jumper Stake.Racehorsesthumbnail

Two of the most prestigious outdoor social events in the Washington area are held in Fauquier County. The Virginia Gold Cup is a steeplechase race held in May and attracts more than 40,000 spectators to watch steeplechase races over timber fences and brush, terrier races, and hat and tailgate competitions. It’s considered a must on many social calendars. In the fall, the International Gold Cup hosts a series of steeplechase races at the peak of the fall foliage. The mood is festive, the air crisp and the thrill of horse competition is everywhere.

Both the Virginia Gold Cup and the International Gold Cup are held at The Great Meadow, a 250-acre steeplechase course and field events center. It also hosts a variety of other equestrian events throughout the year. One of its summer favorites is Twilight Polo, which is held May through September and attracts players, fans and those looking to enjoy a fun, even romantic evening.

Other horse centers include The Marriott Ranch, which offers twilight dinner rides, mystery picnic rides and cattle drive and city slicker experiences, and The Inn at Kelly’s Ford, which offers a state of the art lighted indoor arena and clubhouse, miles of bridle trails and riding lessons.

WINE COUNTRY

You can’t go far in Fauquier County without seeing the sinuous rows of grape vines growing across rolling hills. Fourteen wineries and vineyards give wine lovers a great selection to choose from.

At Fox Meadow Vineyards in Linden you can look out from atop the Blue Mountain and see for 50 miles from a tasting deck. Gadino Cellars in Washington offers cheeses and sausages in an Italian-inspired tasting room. Gray Ghost Vineyards in Amissville has been named Best in the East by Vineyard and Winery Management Magazine. I live just down the road from the Philip Carter Winery.  These are just a few of the great wineries located in the Blue Ridge WineWay district. Suffice to say, if you’re in the mood to enjoy beautiful settings, fine wine, and the romance of an enchanted area, the Fauquier countryside will not disappoint.

Step outdoors and the opportunities open up for any number of recreational activities. Hiking, fishing, boating, hunting, canoeing, horse riding, picnicking you name it, Fauquier has it. The G. Richard Thompson Wildlife Management Area includes 4,000 acres in northwestern Fauquier, where a 10-acre lake is stocked with trout, bass, catfish and sunfish. The C.F. Phelps Wildlife Management Area is in the south of the county and offers hunting, fishing, hiking and canoeing. Dozens of parks dot the county. You need only decide how you’d like to spend your time outdoors.

If you like to shop, you’ll like Fauquier County. It has antique shops, fashion stores, equestrian and sporting goods stores, farmers markets and much more. Diners will find all flavor of restaurants, from the Salem Diner in Marshall, to the gourmet dining and a romantic atmosphere of the five-star Poplar Springs Manor House Restaurant in Midland. Other popular dining spots include the Ashby Inn & Restaurant in Paris and The Rail Stop in The Plains.

The Airlie Center in Warrenton is a unique conference center founded in 1960 that calls itself an island of thought. For decades it has facilitated important meetings, many involving the federal government, to promote the creative exchange of ideas. The center’s natural setting lends itself to any number of recreational activities, including swimming, tennis, skeet shooting, biking, hiking and fishing.

HISTORY

FenceTreemediumThe area of Fauquier County was listed in 1608 as part of the Northern Neck of the Colony of Captain John Smith, leader of the Jamestowne Colony. The county is named for Francis Fauquier, who was the lieutenant governor of the Colony of Virginia in the mid 18th century. Fauquier County is rich in Civil War history, and driving tours, museums and historical trail markers are all available to learn about the area’s past. Union General McClennan said farewell to his troops as Commander of the Army of the Potomac in 1862, from the balcony of the Warren Green Hotel, which still stands today. The Fauquier County Public Library in Warrenton has The Virginian Room, which holds an extensive collection of materials focusing on state and local history and genealogical research. The Old Jail built in 1808 in Warrenton, houses a museum of local history. One historical tidbit: President Teddy Roosevelt rode horseback from Washington to Warrenton and back in one day to prove such a trip was possible.

RAPPAHANNOCK

Rappahannock County is at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and its rolling hills are ideal for agricultural. About forty percent of the county’s 267 square miles are farmland.

The name “Rappahannock” comes from the Algonquian word lappihanne meaning “river of quick, rising water” or “where the tide ebbs and flows.”  Rappahannock County was formed in the year 1833 from Culpeper County. The Rappahannock River forms the northeastern boundary and separates Rappahannock County from Fauquier County. Its county seat is Washington.  Rappahannock County has been taking lead in land conservation. With the help of the Piedmont Environmental Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the Piedmont’s natural resources along with other organizations, more than 23,000 acres have been permanently protected by conservation easements.

The natural beauty of Rappahannock has made it the perfect setting for scores for bed and breakfasts. The town of Washington, which was plotted by George Washington in 1749, can boast of being home to one of only 32 five-star hotels in the country — The Inn at Little Washington. Or please check out a Restaurant that Gloria Rose sold on behalf of her client and it is now the very popular Flint Hill Public House…well-mannered doggies are welcome!

A delightful place to live and play, the Piedmont offers residents a myriad of outdoor activities from horse races to wine festivals, from fall apple festivals to spring marathon races….to just a long walk in an open field.

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