With foxhunting season on the horizon, thoughts of tacked-up horses and stylish hunting parties, with all dressed in riding coats and hunt caps, come to mind. Soon, the Virginia Hunt Country — with its large, historic estates, elegant horse farms and unspoiled surroundings — will reawaken these images. Rolling hills colored apple green and cornflower blue take on an almost mystical quality in the early morning light, or at dusk when hunting parties traverse through venerable foxhunting grounds associated with private clubs.
Perhaps the most prestigious of these is the Orange County Hunt, founded in 1910. Today, the Orange County Hunt encompasses a patchwork of properties with thousands of acres of easement-protected land. Rare is it then to find an estate coming on the market in such an esteemed place. Enter: Hound Hall.
With 100 acres in the heart of the Orange County Hunt, Hound Hall is a golden coin unearthed from Virginia’s deep-rooted treasure trove. In the early 2000s, a private owner purchased the land and built an English country house for his family. The estate was named Hound Hall after the owner’s daughters attended Foxcroft School. Here, students are either “Foxes” or “Hounds,” the designations of two spirited teams, and when the girls became “Hounds,” a name for the estate was born.
Hound Hall has frontage on two country roads and is situated just down from Boxwood Winery and Hickory Tree Farm. The grounds boast a number of impeccable features, including a state-of-the-art equestrian facility suitable for professional show, polo or racing operations. The 17-stall Belmont racing barn and stable was completely rebuilt, a tribute to the surrounding country. Highlights of the facility include an expansive 7/8-mile sand exercise track that can be used for cross-country schooling or converted for polo. Additionally, there’s a separate two-stall barn with a two-bedroom apartment for trainers.
The house at Hound Hall defies its recent construction. It feels at once historic and modern, a dichotomy that affords both luxury and convenience. Outside, the home, built with a locally quarried stone, is lavishly landscaped. Inside, five en-suite bedrooms allow ample room for family, extended family and guests. Throughout the house, antique, wide-plank oak and pine floors sprawl; the railheads are all period reproductions, stained to replicate the patina of age and wear. Five wood-burning fireplaces add warmth on cold Virginia evenings, and the ironwork in these hearths, along with the fireplace tools, was designed and forged locally.
The owner spared no time or expense to ensure the home’s quality construction, readily working with the craftsmen, artisans and architect on his vision. This effort is evidenced in the paneling, doors, bookcases, cabinets and interior window shutters, all of which are handmade and hand carved from 9,000 square feet of old chestnut boards sourced in Pennsylvania.
In addition to the home and the equestrian facility, Hound Hall has a first-class sporting clays course. Shooting enthusiasts will covet the enclosed automatic, dual-action Promatic thrower and the area for entertaining, all within walking distance of the house. There is also a walk-in Pentagon gun safe on the lower level of the house.
This multi-faceted property, just seven minutes from Middleburg, is both an elegant sporting estate and a comfortable country home. Whoever its future buyer may be, the land — with its unobstructed mountain views, wooded acreage and rolling hills — is sure to offer a sense of peace, embodying the bond between man and nature. And, who knows, Hound Hall’s future owner may just watch the next fox hunt canter through, witness to a token of sporting history that remains alive and well today.