As a city girl when I first moved to DC I could never imagine exploring the Virginia countryside. Now I'm eating my words, quite literally.
This summer and fall I had the pleasure of venturing off to the countryside numerous times and found that I loved it. In Northern Virginia, the countryside isn't too far off, as everything I visited was within an hour drive. A relatively short trip that allowed me to relax, unwind and breathe in some clean air.
I stopped by places I never thought of visiting such as Middleburg, Aldie, The Plains and Delaplane mostly. I loved Middleburg for it's quaint shops on E. Washington St. Not to mention it's the epicenter of horse country. If you are looking for a fox hunt, stop by the Middleburg Hunt. Can't make it before Christmas, I hear the Middleburg Christmas is a celebration not to be missed.
Although I only saw Aldie from route 50, it is quickly becoming the place for young families. This was apparent at the Aldie Harvest Festival that took place in October. Lots of families came out to shop at the vendor stalls and watch the duck race. The Old Aldie Mill is usually available for tours. If you're in town stop by Brassicas. I had their chicken quinoa soup and it was the best I've ever had.
Among my favorite day trips, horseback riding at Bright Morning Horseback Riding took the cake. I really did arrive at the barn on a bright morning. The trail was full of fallen leaves in an array of colors and captured Autumn perfectly. Additionally you were given a hearty lunch, one bottle of wine and a complimentary wine tasting as well. What better way to start the weekend.
Speaking of wine, wine lovers will not be disappointed. There are many wineries throughout the area. Some of my favorites were Barrel Oak Winery, Quatrro Goombas, Three Fox Vineyards and if you are a cider fan don't forget to try Mt. Defiance Cidery.
Not sure you will have time to visit everything in a day? Hotels in this area are hard to come by but thankfully for you these towns have small inns that offer great accommodations throughout the area.
If you're looking to get away for a weekend, then it's best to book at least 3 weeks ahead as those dates fill up fast. Some have minimum stays for a weekend. If the weekend rates are a little steep, try the weekday rates; as those can be more wallet friendly than the weekend rates. There is also more availability at the inns during the weekday. Looking for a resort feel look no further than Salamander Resort in Middleburg.