You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
16 December 2021
Melvin preparing to begin his day
A quick spin round the West Park Gardens backyard
The bubbly fountain, and the family-size Staunton chess set
The 'fire pit'
The back of the house, with patio. All very congenial.
But now we're off to Middleburg, Virginia, 36 crow-fly miles north of Culpeper, at the southern edge of Loudon County and just 14 miles southwest of Leesburg. [That's just a comfy-looking house across from the West Park Gardens. We haven't started yet. ]
Now we've started, and that's an upholstering firm in Marshall, VA. Surprisingly. All we had to do was continue up the excellent Rte 29/15 highway to Aldie and zag 5 miles west to Middleburg, but we trusted the GPS. Ha ha.
And still in Marshall, that's the evidently well-known Red Truck Rural Bakery ('We’re named after the truck we bought from fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger'). The road works are laying underground utility lines and a new brick sidewalk.
But now we're on our own. The GPS evidently prefers the meandery scenic route.
We seem to have just missed Rectortown and may soon be transferring to Rte 702 eastward . . .
. . . and we've run out of yellow lane lines now, searching for Rte 626.
Granted it's very scenic, but we want to get to Middleburg. It's nearly lunchtime!
They look like they're dancing.
A kind of fence or wall construction that we don't recall ever having seen before.
With any luck, we'll be on Rte 626 now and soon to arrive in . . .
. . . Middleburg. We've planted the cute Volvo with its rogue GPS on the main drag, E. Washington St., and are trembling with anticipation.
Actually, one member of our party (pictured right)(not the one with the green-striped scarf) has visited here quite a few times and is very partial to one restaurant in particular. So here we are.
'Country classics', a clothing store firm in its purpose. Middleburg, a convenient historic destination not far west of the nation's capital, with only about 800 residents on its tax rolls, is said to be known as 'the "Nation's Horse and Hunt Capital" for its foxhunting, steeplechases, and large estates' (Wikipedia).
East Washington St. There may be some suggestion of the spirit of the town in the fact that the downtown street names include Washington, Lincoln, Liberty, Federal, Hamilton, Madison, Stonewall, [John] Jay, [Thurgood?] Marshall, [Edmund] Pendleton -- and Washington St., aka US Rte 50, is also known as the John Mosby Hwy, named for the 'Gray Ghost', the Confederate guerrilla commander.
Get your Wild Hare Cider here.
Across the street, that's the Red Bar Sushi, Lou Lou's fashion accessories, and MODA Lookbook, 'clothing and accessories that are easy to wear'. [Right behind MODA is the Middleburg Deli, famous for its sandwiches, but alas, not for today.]
That's MRE--Middleburg Real Estate in the centre and, on the right, Chloe's of Middleburg ('classic and fashion-forward apparel, accessories and gifts at affordable prices') and Les Jardins de Bagatelle ('Magasin français -- Specialty Gifts and Accessories').
And that intriguing little thing is called the Cuppa Giddy Up, which is to say: a coffee shop.
Having coasted past the Zest Clothing 'fashion accessories stores' without noticing, we're now just passing the Christmas Sleigh gift shop ('Fine European Wares'), presumably awaiting the long lines of clients two weeks before Christmas. Who will be along any minute now.
This venerable pile appears to be the linchpin of the Middleburg experience -- 'The Red Fox Inn & Tavern has been Virginia’s Hunt Country jewel since 1728. Standing proudly on the village’s main thoroughfare, The Red Fox is an extraordinary relic to bygone times, where modern touches and classic Virginian character fuse seamlessly to create a coveted establishment.' [website] Well then.
It certainly looks quite nice, a kind of Federal architecture look, or whatever. The Red Fox, then known as Chinn's Ordinary [obs. 'tavern'], was situated halfway between Winchester and Alexandria, a day's ride in each direction, along the trade route that's now Rte 50. The site was established as a town in 1787 by a Revolutionary statesman named Powell, who chose the town's modern name because of its location.
Across the street, that's the King Street Oyster Bar, planted not on 'King Street' but on 'Washington Street'. George Washington would never have approved.
The Red Fox again, as we push on along W. Washington St to see whatever is to be seen. For a block or two.
A classic building, for attorneys and a 'Hunt Country Sotheby's' realtor
7 W. Washington: Another Blue Moon, home goods store; the Byrne art gallery; T & J nails salon (facials, waxing); and round the back, the Fields of Athenry farm shop and Side Saddle Bistro.
A cute little building belonging to McEnearney Associates realtors. There's a huge lot of realtors hereabouts.
Down the alley to view the Side Saddle Bistro, and then . . .
. . . we retreat back onto W Washington. It's time for lunch.
Past the Red Fox and . . .
. . . now -- Lunch (BLT for one, crab cakes for the other) at one of those outside tables. Basking in the summer sun. It transpires that the name King Street Oyster Bar refers to a kind of oyster mini-chain, with four locations within Virginia's reach of the oyster docks.
So, that's done (good BLT), now on the left we have Le Boudoir - The Bra Fit Experts and, in the centre, the Rug Gallery.
No one can explain why these folks always seem so self-righteously proud of themselves. But, as the handwritten note says, 'watch your step'. We'll tiptoe past.
There's a nice little stone building in the centre, Premier Promotional Products [Middleburg branch], that offers 'corporate gift ideas'.
The Old Ox Brewery on S Madison St
The Thaiverse Restaurant at 101 S Madison
This elegant sort of building with patriotic bunting out, next to the Salon 17 South on the left, has a fine USA and another triumphalist sort of flag out front, but that one is so far unidentified here. We're catty-corner across the intersection from the large Tack Box, on W Federal St., meeting your equestrian requirements ('The Tack Box, Inc....Outfitting Champions since 1947').
2 Federal Street (for sale, contact Thomas & Talbot Real Estate)
11 E Federal
Petronella's Flowers and Gifts, 10 Federal St
Cute house. Nice flag. 14 Federal.
We're turning up Liberty St now, because, of course, 'Liberty!!'
A lovely house on Liberty St, across the street from Point to Point Limo and adjacent to Ridge Capital Partners, and then Globalstrat LLC (financial planner)(of course).
Time to be on our way
So goodbye to the venerable Red Fox Inn (est. 1728), 'Fine Food & Lodging', and perhaps we'll see you again, old King Street Oyster Bar (excellent BLT). We're pleased to have had a chance to see how the 'Nation's Horse and Hunt' folks spend some of their time in this picturesque village of gift shops, realtors, tack shops, nail salons, restaurants, fashion accessory boutiques, cider pubs and sushi bars.
And, to round it all out, there's a Safeway just half a block along W Washington from the Red Fox.
What's next, then? A peek at Purcellville