Last weekend, my best friend Emma was in town from New York City, so I wanted to make sure she had a great weekend here in the DC area as she is always the best host when I’m in town visiting her. On Friday night, we spent time in Georgetown—we first went to L’annexe for a pre-dinner cocktail before heading over to Martin’s Tavern, a classic Georgetown haunt where JFK proposed to Jackie. (The booth is now called The Proposal Booth and has a cool marker.) More to come on both in my next DC Dinner club post!
On Saturday, Emma suggested we spend the day in Middleburg, Virginia and I loved that idea since I hadn’t spent much time in Middleburg; so after meeting a few of our friends from college for a great Saturday lunch at the new Tatte Bakery in Clarendon, we headed out towards Virginia Hunt Country. It took us about an hour from my apartment to arrive to historic Middleburg, and we were obsessed with its charm from the second we parked the car. (I will say—parking was extremely easy! There’s plenty of parallel spots available on Washington Street, the main drag in town, available for free, and many places have their own surface parking lots, too.)
WHERE WE SHOPPED —
Emma and I both love browsing antique shops and gift shops and finding those pieces that just speak to you for your home—so that’s what we spent the most of our day in Middleburg doing. We pretty much walked up and down Washington Street and popped into any store that caught our eye. We loved the following places:
Creme de la Creme — A really cute gift shop with all sorts of home goods, stationery, decor, and some of the best smelling candles. They also have a location in Richmond, Virginia and Frederick, Maryland.
Atelier Design & Decor — I could have bought out this store; it has the most beautiful home furnishings and accessories. Lots of pops of color on neutrals, and lots of fresh, modern pieces. They also has amazing candles—especially their white pine holiday scent.
The Christmas Sleigh — This place is covered wall to wall with Christmas decor! A lot of the wares in this store are authentic German Christmas ornaments or figurines, so a lot of it was really expensive, but still a fun and festive store to shop around.
Zest Clothing & Co — This is a really cute boutique that specializes in women’s clothing. They also have locations in Richmond, Virginia and Leesburg, Virginia.
Middleburg Antique Gallery — By far and away, this was our favorite shop we went into. Stocked with beautiful antiques at all price points, this would be such a great place to shop for a special piece for your home. I will definitely be back!
Community Shop Consignment & Thrift Shop — This was another shop we really liked that had a mix of antiques and pieces being sold on consignment. You definitely had to dig a little bit more to find the gems in this shop than in the Middleburg Antique Gallery, but I would definitely add it to your list if you’re on the hunt for antiques.
The Fun Shop — A classic gift shop with all sorts of accessories and knick knacks, they also had a cute selection of Middleburg wares—think foxes on everything!
Brick & Mortar Mercantile — This shop has a mix of Virginia products—think peanuts and hot honey—as well as a mix of unique gifts—think Uncommon Goods type of merchandise.
Another Blue Moon — The clerks at another Blue Moon were so sweet! This is another antiques shop I would ensure is on your Middleburg ‘to shop’ list.
Highcliffe Clothiers — We actually didn’t go into this shop, but we walked by it after it was closed and noticed they had Smathers and Branson tumblers in the window, as shown above. Those would make for such a cute gift!
I’d love to come back and shop here around the holidays because I bet it’s magical!
WHERE WE ATE —
After a day of shopping, we were ready for a cold drink! We originally tried to grab a seat at the bar at King Street Oyster Bar right at 5pm, but it was absolutely packed—so I would definitely recommend getting a reservation for a table if you’re dining in or going early if you want a seat at the bar like we did. We then popped into Old Ox Brewery—earlier in the afternoon, it was a very lively spot with live music, but when we went back in, it had died down a little bit and was really hot. I also am not a huge beer fan and that was all they served, so Emma was kind enough to indulge me and keep looking for a bar that served wine.
Third time was the charm as we ended up at Red Horse Tavern, which was the perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink. They had a beautiful patio out front, but we opted to grab a table right near the bar to take advantage of the air conditioning and football on the TV. They had a great selection of American food and affordable drinks. I went with a good ol’ Sauvignon Blanc and Emma and I split an order of the fried pickles—one of our favorite foods to share!
After happy hour, we walked down to the Red Fox Inn for the main event of the day—their four-course seasonal dining experience. From the moment we walked in, we had an incredible experience! The dining room was a cozy, romantic spot, and the service was excellent. How dinner worked was for each course, there were several options, and you were able to select what dish you wanted. (The menu changes seasonally, so I’d definitely scope it out before you go!) I ordered the shrimp and grits, roasted pear and arugula salad, scallops with risotto, and pumpkin spiced cheesecake. We also split the warm shrimp and pimento cheese dip for the table; it was good, but the chips were a little over salted. (That was my biggest complaint of the night—everything else was perfect!) There was an optional wine pairing, but we opted just for glasses.
The food was amazing–the shrimp and grits and scallops and risotto were both some of the of the best I’ve ever had. Sometimes, I feel like fine dining at establishments like this can really be over hyped, but this one was great. The four course experience was $125 per person, and I definitely felt like it was worth the money. And, probably goes without saying on this one, but I would highly recommend getting a reservation. If you’re looking for a more casual spot, they also have The Night Fox Pub, which offers bar seating for a pre- or post-dinner drink and some bar snacks.
I would love to come back to stay at the Red Fox Inn one day!
A FEW CLOSING THOUGHTS —
One thing we didn’t get to do that is a Middleburg-must, in my opinion, is go to a vineyard! We got out to town around 2pm since we did lunch with my friends, but if you went out earlier, it would be really easy to add wine tasting into your Middleburg day. There are so many great ones nearby, but one of my favorites is Greenhill—you can read my reviews of the winery here and here. Other wineries close to downtown Middleburg that I’d recommend are: Boxwood Estate, Chrysalis, 50 West, and Cana Vineyards. (I’ve been to all of them over the years, but not all of them have made it onto the blog like Greenhill!) I’ve also heard good things about Mount Defiance Cidery and Distillery, and their distillery is located right on Washington Street, if that’s of interest to you!
Another place on my Middleburg list is a stay at the Salamander Resort—I’ve been for lunch and to ride the horses, but it’s been over five years since I’ve visited, and know so many of my friends absolutely love it at Salamander.
Lastly, Upperville, Virginia is a short (~10 minute) drive away from Middleburg and is another cute town worth checking out. We drove through before we went to Red Horse Tavern for happy hour and it was a beautiful drive. It is definitely much smaller than Middleburg, so I wouldn’t make a whole day of it. I would love to eat at Hunter’s Head Tavern in Upperville one day!
This was such a fun day—it was really fun to mix it up from my normal weekend plans in Arlington and DC, and explore a little bit more of Virginia. If you’re looking for a fun day trip from the DC area, I can’t recommend it enough!
If you have any questions about our day trip to Middleburg, Virginia, don’t hesitate to drop me a comment below or shoot me an email at email@example.com.