An Insider's Guide to Hunt Country, VA

From the best shops to the greatest places to stay, The Scout Guide (TSG) Hunt Country editors Kim McCusker and Ann Marie Valenti plan the perfect trip to the area.

Where to stay for a getaway as a couple: THE GOODSTONE INN & RESTAURANT is the most romantic place on the planet. The food is absolutely to-die-for and the rooms are so elegant. Nestled in the hills behind Middleburg, you truly feel like you have escaped to another place and time. Love it!

Where to stay for a getaway with kids: SALAMANDER RESORT offers lots of great activities for the kids. They have an amazing equestrian center, beautiful trails for hiking or a ride, and even offer overnight camping for the kids by the pond (let’s be honest, Mom and Dad wouldn’t mind a night to themselves).

Where to go for brunch: Hands down for me – CLAIRE’S at the Depot in Warrenton. Just thinking about her Eggs Chesapeake is making me hungry! The most dense crab cake atop a perfectly poached egg and covered in hollandaise. YUM!

Where to go for lunch: For a light lunch, nothing beats MIDDLEBURG COMMON GROUNDS‘ tuna salad over greens! I just love it. Definitely my tried and true on the menu. HUNTER’S HEAD TAVERN is another favorite lunch stop. It’s a true farm-to-table experience and you can taste the freshness in every bite. My fave is the vegetable quiche but the burger is an indulgence I sometimes can’t pass up.

Where to go for dinner & drinks: IRON BRIDGE in Warrenton is our go-to for date night. The mussels are out of this world and the wine selection is unmatched. The atmosphere is perfect for a grown-up night away.

Ideal place to celebrate a special occasion: The INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON is paradise in Hunt Country. The decadence is over-the-top and always admired. You are treated like royalty from the minute you arrive. Warning: you will never want to leave.

Where to shop: Middleburg will never disappoint when you’re ready for retail. DUCHESSA OF MIDDLEBURG, BETSEY and TULLY RECTOR all have great looks for every woman. RICHARD ALLEN CLOTHING and HIGHCLIFFE CLOTHIERS have our men covered. Don’t forget the kids either! Mom’s, THE MAGIC WARDROBE will make your kids the best dressed in this original kid’s line – love it!! When looking for home decor, the antiques are endless. But one of my always-pop-in places is FOXFIRE GALLERY & ANTIQUES. I just love the French and Italian imports – there is inspiration in every corner. I’m also a big fan of THE OUTPOST. This place will blow your mind. It feels like you have stepped into a Hemingway novel – make sure to see it. You won’t leave empty handed.

Best fests and other reasons to visit: Of course, the VIRGINIA GOLD CUP races in May and the Virginia Gold Cup International races in October are a must-experience in this area. The races are beautiful and exciting, the tailgating lavish and fun, and the setting nothing less than gorgeous!

Where to get pamperedThe SALAMANDER RESORT has a wonderful spa you should not pass up. Get ready to feel your very best when you leave. I also really love the quiet, simple elegance of POPLAR SPRINGS SPA in Casanova, VA.  Another plus is the breathtaking beauty of this historic site.

Ideal Saturday: A day touring the vineyards of our area is always a great way to spend an afternoon. BOXWOOD Winery in Middleburg is always a favorite. The wine is simply amazing (Topiary blend is my fave).  Not to mention the scenery can only be described as idyllic.

One piece of insider information: While we had it to ourselves for decades, the MIDDLEBURG CHRISTMAS PARADE has now officially been discovered by the masses. It truly is a beautiful and festive affair and yet another must-see here in Hunt Country. If you do decide to join us, my advice is to arrive very early, park and take the shuttle service into town. It is a lovely tradition and you won’t want to miss a minute of it.