Back in the spring of 2014, No Crowds wrote about college-touring in the US in Bataan Death March? No our baby is going to college.
Recently, we dropped that very same baby off at the University of Virginia and then high-tailed it down to North Carolina to get out of her way. After a lovely visit with The Tribe – my family and friends in the great State – it was time to head back to London. But first, we had to face the always-horrific drive up Interstate 95 to Dulles Airport. How I hate that highway. I used to love it as a child when we would cruise down from New York with my mother, the Mario Andretti of transplanted southerners, eager to get home. With no regard for speed limits or bodily functions - my brother once had to pee in a bottle - it was all great fun. But I digress.
So daunting was the idea of closing up the farm, driving and then flying all in one day, in the interest of our sanity and marital relations, we decided to drive the day before and spend the night somewhere near Dulles. But where?
Here’s where my father, well traveled and a man of few words, piped in, “Go to the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg, Virginia. Great place. Close to the airport.”
And so we went but we didn’t want to tell our daughter that we were heading back her way and wouldn’t be stopping to take her out for a free meal. In our defense, we thought it was disruptive. So very quietly, we made our way north.
Middleburg hasn’t changed much since I was last there in the 1970s for my sister’s graduation from the Foxcroft School. That’s good. Thank you town fathers, city planners and everyone who has kept out teardowns, dreadful add-ons and McDonalds. This horsey village is charming and filled with unique shops selling tasteful horsey stuff. It’s a lovely place to walk around.
And the Red Fox Inn? In a word – wonderful. Dating back to 1728 and still family owned and operated, there are 25 rooms spread over a number of buildings. We stayed in the dead quiet and comfortable Huntland room in the Stray Fox building, that includes a terrific breakfast. We also had a nice dinner in the atmospheric Tavern.
The next morning we walked around some more and then took a leisurely drive (Middleburg is 23 miles to Dulles) through strikingly beautiful hunt country with a stop in Leesburg for lunch in the back garden of Shoes Cup & Cork that was very relaxing and the perfect antidote to getting on BA’s cattle class A380 to London.
So if you need a place to stay close, but not too close, to Dulles that is full of atmosphere, good service and good food, look no further than the Red Fox Inn in Middleburg.