Just outside the Washington, DC metro area, in the beautiful foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia's horse and wine country, The Plains has retained the charming character of a small village, but with many amenities that delight both residents and visitors alike.
The first thing you notice on Main Street is the signpost that tells you 52 miles from Washington and, in case you're seriously lost, about 2,500 miles to Los Angeles, 3,900 miles from France, and 7,300 miles from Shanghai, among other places. Then you notice the wonderful array of shops on both sides of the street.
Shops of The Plains:
Crest Hill Antiques & Tea Room, 540-253-5790, www.cresthillantiques.com
Vintage Furnishings, fine gifts, English-style tea room
Eclectic furniture, art, accessories, gifts, plus interior design services
Yams, knitting and needlepoint supplies, trunk shows, workshops & classes
Gourmet American- European lunch, dinner & Sunday brunch
Garden accessories, plants & landscape design
Contemporary paintings, sculpture, fine crafts, unusual toys, classes & workshops for children and adults
Fine art gallery, paintings, pottery, silks & glass
Gourmet Northern Italian Dinner & Brunch
The Whole Ox, 540-724-1650, www.thewholeox.com
Full service whole animal butcher shop emphasizing local food. Featuring sausage, pate, cheese, wine, prepared foods and more!
Educational workshops & lectures for children & adults
Established in 1992 with a museum, library, history, genealogy, educational programs & archives
Grace Church sponsors a wonderful Concert Series in Fall & Winter and a juried Regional Art Show in Spring. Halfway between Middleburg and Warrenton, The Plains is also steeped in equestrian tradition. Great Meadow Events Center, which hosts the annual Virginia Gold Cup and International Gold Cup, polo events, horse races, the annual Upperville Horse Show, among other events is a short ride from Main Street. Just down the road is Madcap Farm, a 65-acre estate open for instruction in riding, jumping, polo, and dressage. The area's agricultural heritage is on display at the Archwood Green Barns Farmer's Market, which offers fresh local produce, eggs, baked goods, cheeses, wool, and meats on Sundays from April through October. The Corn Maze in The Plains is a popular autumn attraction featuring a giant corn maze, pumpkin patch, hayrides, animals, and country store, open on weekends from September through November.
Fauquier County is also known for a number of excellent vineyards and wineries, old-fashioned country inns and bed & breakfast establishments, farm and garden tours, and thriving artists' enclave that includes painters, potters, sculptors, and glass & fabric artists, among others.