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Traditional Christmas Fun in Middleburg

One of the things for which the quaint yet sophisticated village of Middleburg, Virginia, is best known happens on the first Saturday of December. Since 1979, most...

A Winter Getaway to Maine

Georgetowners mostly think of Maine as a summer destination — thanks, in part, to those images of the Bush clan in Kennebunkport, boating in...

Anne Stewart, Designer Known as Wendy Pepper (1964-2017)

The designer, who died Nov. 12 at the age of 53, was a member of the first group of contestants on “Project Runway,” one of a then growing number of reality shows.

The Sport, the Magic of Polo

As a kid, horses were my life. They provided my income throughout high school and paid for college. Title IX was passed when I...

Lewisburg: Nestled in the Greenbrier Valley

I left my heart in Lewisburg because of a French goat. Actually, it wasn’t a French goat, but the French Goat — one of only...

Gracious Weddings in the Virginia Countryside

` Tucked away between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the nation’s capital, along dirt roads and country curving streets, lies a secret garden of green pastures growing local produce, freshly painted farms with white picket fences and acres of vineyards with large succulent grapes and tasting rooms filling visitors’ glasses with the latest and greatest new wines. Hidden in these foothills are also lists of wedding venues, vendors and anxious brides hoping to secure their spot in peak season at the pavilions located here. Say goodbye to the destination weddings on sugar white sandy beaches in the Caribbean and hello to the horses and historical lands in the country side of Virginia. There is something to be said when a small town stubborn girl from the rocky coast of southern Maine who doesn’t think anything is more pristine and precious than her local beach town in New England begins to have second thoughts when driving along Loudoun County. This area may lack the sound of crashing waves, but it is smothered with kindness, tranquility and nature that could de-stress any city slicker. This area is truly the spot where fairy tale weddings come alive and bride’s dreams come true. Allow yourself to explore the opportunities each season will bring to your special day in a handful of options ranging from bed and breakfasts and farms to vineyards and mansions. The Goodstone Inn & Estate ------ Location: Middleburg, Va. Cost: $23,935- $30,174 Contact: Emily Tabachka 540 687 3092 Emily@Goodstone.com Goodstone.com This bed and breakfast is more than a place to rest your head, but an inn where you will be swept away. With 265 acres of open fields and cottages with rooms filled with original antique furniture and four post beds, a bride can live like a princess for a weekend with up to 150 friends and family members. Elegant weddings over the meadows on this estate are hosted poolside by the façade of an old mansion with overgrown ivy and gardens. Rehearsal dinners and receptions can be held outdoors or inside at the Carriage House, where guests can enjoy local food and wine designed by executive chef William Walden. Wherever you choose to say your vows, a picturesque view of the country side is sure to be in sight. Why we love it here: The Goodstone Inn & Estate offers in-house catering and planners to help make your event exclusive and as easy to plan as possible. The Fox Den at Briar Patch ------ Location: Middleburg, Va. Cost: $10,000 + tax Contact: Charlotte John 703 327 5911 Info@BriarPatchBandB.com BriarPatchBandB.com This historical bed and breakfast has unlimited possibilities for today’s bride. On 47 acres of property dating back to 1805, the guests stay the weekend to enjoy family, friends, Virginia wines and mountain views. Rehearsal dinners, receptions and ceremonies can all be accommodated for groups up to 200 people (and your pets are welcome, too). Whether you choose to say “I do” outside or in, Briar Patch has several options to choose from. Dance the night away in the Fox Den, a spacious hall filled with white linen tables, floor to ceiling windows and plenty of room to mingle. Have your first kiss by the shaded trees along the property or choose to have your event poolside in the warmer season. Why we love it here: When you book your wedding here, you’re given access to it all and have the option of getting married at just about any spot on the property. The Pavilion at The Farm at Broad Run ------ Location: Broad Run, Va. Cost: $1,750 Contact: Michelle DeWitt 703 753 3548 ShellyD96@aol.com TheFarmAtBroadRun.com Greenhouses, vegetable patches, fresh fruits and animals graze this 72-acre family-owned farm located just a short trip down a classic gravel driveway. At first glance, this may look like an unexpected place for a grandiose affair, but look again. The family recently opened “The Pavilion” to host events including weddings, which owner Michelle DeWitt said have often been over the top. The contrast between the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of the farm mixed with an elegant white gown has been simply majestic here and word is spreading. Events are booking frequently and we’re not surprised. The Farm at Broad Run offers a solely outdoor wedding with a covered pavilion protecting a large, outdoor, artisan stonework kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a grill to allow your chosen caterers to complete a fantastic meal for your guests (and the option of eating produce right from the farm). Why we love it here: A newly built two-bed, two-bath farmhouse with a wrap-around porch and exquisite decor has been placed on the property for the convenience of the wedding party to relax and prepare before the main event. Whitehall Manor ------ Location: Bluemont, Va. Cost: $4,500 - $8,000 Contact: Douglas Armstrong (703) 948- 2999 HistoricWhitehall.com Stepping in to Whitehall Manor is like stepping back in time. This mansion, built in 1790, was once occupied by our first president’s brother, John Augustine Washington, and survived the Civil War’s Battle of Snickersville. A catering company later purchased the property from dairy farmers in the 1990s and has since turned the home in to the ultimate wedding venue (and offering, of course, a gourmet meal for your guests). Brides are given access to the entire first floor of the mansion to prepare prior to the ceremony and to unwind during and after the reception, which takes place in the newly added pavilion built in 2005. This space holds 225 guests comfortably and boasts a large dance floor for those who choose to kick off their shoes and let their hair down after a bit of bubbly. Why we love it here: Your wedding photos will never fail with the mix of historical and modern architecture, green grassy pastures, large trees and views of nearby farms and mountains. The Stable at Bluemont Vineyard ------ Location: Bluemont, Va. Cost: $3,000 - $6,000 Contact: Debbie Zurschmeide Schoeb 540 554 2073 Debbie@BluemontVineyard.com BluemontVineyard.com Off the beaten path and beyond the hustle and bustle you’ll find a vineyard hidden on top a hill with breathtaking panoramic views spanning as far as the Washington Monument. Event planners and coordinators specialize in making your day special and allow you to work with other vendors to perfect your dream wedding. The Stable is one of the largest event facilities in the county holding more than 200 people in a climate-controlled space with stamped cement floors, natural light and original wooden beams from when it was first built decades ago. Step outside the country doors to say your vows and step back in for cocktails on the patio and back in to The Stable for dinner and dancing wherever you choose. Why we love it here: Since I can’t mention the view again (or can I?), I must say the next best thing is that having a wedding on a vineyard means having a wedding with fresh and locally produced wines as well as farm fresh ingredients in all menu items. [gallery ids="100485,117295,117285,117277,117267,117258,117250,117241,117309,117233,117315,117225,117321,117217,117326,117303" nav="thumbs"]

Douglass Unbroken at Mt. Misery

America’s great orator, abolitionist and social reformer, Frederick Douglass, was born a slave in Talbot Country in 1818. Never really knowing his mother, he...

Mathewes Speaks at Cultural Leadership Breakfast

A milestone in Melanie Mathewes's effort to expand the audience for the National Sporting Library & Museum is the exhibition “The Horse in Ancient Greek Art,” which opened Sept. 9 and runs through Jan. 14.

Virginia Hunt Country: Lovely, Lively and Local

Georgetown’s favorite country getaway — Middleburg, The Plains, Marshall and the farms and wineries that abound in Loudoun and Fauquier Counties — is about...

Touring the Trails of Virginia Wine Country

An up and coming wine destination unlike any other, Virginia’s deep wine history dates back to Jamestown and the settlers who each tended 10 vines. Vintner Thomas Jefferson made it his life mission to produce a successful vineyard and their experimental harvesting now yields the region’s award-winning wines. Last October, the seventh edition of The World Atlas of Wine by Jancis Robinson and Hugh Johnson featured Virginia wines for the first time. Time Magazine’s article on the book even named Virginia the “newest chapter in American wine history” calling Boxwood Estate’s merlot blends “wines that California would have to respect”. With more than 230 wineries spanning the Commonwealth, there is no better way to take in the vino, scenery and historic sites than through the many trails and tours. The array of routes allow for a fun, educational day experiencing multiple wineries with two or 20 people. Meet the winemakers, visit a part of the countryside you otherwise wouldn’t and most importantly grow in your knowledge of Virginia wines. Here are a number of trails and tours to check out this season, visit VirginiawWine.org for a state-wide list. Cheers! The Great Skedaddle: Wine on 29 Pearmund Cellars, Vint Hill Craft Winery and Winery at Bull Run make up this wine trail formed along Route 29, the path of The Great Skedaddle, a term used to describe the unorganized retreat of Union troops back to Washington after their unexpected defeat at the first battle of Bull Run in 1861. The Blue Ride Wine Way The Blue Ridge Wine Way is recognized as Virginia's premier wine region featuring five counties in the Northern Virginia region. Wineries include; Gray Ghost Vineyards, LaGrange Winery, Mediterranean Winery, Molon Lave, Narmada Winery, Oasis Winery, Pearmund Cellars, Rappahannock Cellars and Unicorn Winery. This trail is just under an hour drive from D.C. BlueRidgeWineWay.com Northern Neck/Chesapeake Bay Trail The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail features nine wineries which include; Oak Crest Winery, Ingleside Vineyards, Belle Mount Vineyards, General’s Ridge Vineyard, Vault Field Vineyards, Athena Vineyard and Winery, Jacey Vineyards, Good Luck Cellars and The Dog and Oyster. April 26 is the 2nd Annual Spring Oyster Crawl on the Wine Trail. Visit ChesapeakeBayWineTrail.com for more information. Loudoun County Wine Trail The wine trail of Loudoun Country is so large it is broken into five clusters; Loudoun Heights, Waterford, Potomac, Mosby, Harmony and Snickers Gap. Find the complete list of more than 30 wineries at VisitLoudoun.org and look for the developing LoudounWineTrail.com 211 Scenic Vino Trail The Vino Trail on Route 211 leads to Shenandoah National Park and runs beside the quaint village of Little Washington. Along the way sit five wineries; Unicorn, Magnolia, Gray Ghost, Narmada, Gadino, Little Washington and Quievremont. 211winetrail.com Monticello Wine Trail The wineries on the Monticello Wine Trail were inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision of winemaking and claim the birthplace of American wine. This Charlottesville trail holds 30 wineries. MonticelloWineTrail.org Area Services and Guided Tour Companies Divine Wine Tours of Virginia; Fairfax Va. 855-384-6382 divinewineva.com Dominion Wine Tour; Catharpin, Va. 571-330-5406 dominionwinetours.com Point to Point Limousines; Catharpin, Va. 703-771-8100 PointToPointLimo.com Reston Limousines; Reston Va. 703-478-0500 restonlimo.com Chariots for Hire; Sterling, Va. 703-639-4957 chariotsforhire.reachlocal.com Boomerang Tours; Washington D.C. 202-217-2055 RideTheBoomerang.com Fairfax Limo Wine Tours; Sterling, Va. 703-229-5057 Fairfax-limo.com