Horsing Around in DC’s Wine Country

Loudoun is an idyllic place where Thoroughbreds thrive, olympians excel, and miles upon miles of equestrian trails beckon.

Published: 6/14/2016


Just outside Washington, DC, lies Loudoun, Virginia, where thousands of horses wander the countryside, sharing the rural landscape with vineyards and historic estates. Here, where storied towns and stacked stone fences line unpaved roads, Loudoun preserves a simpler time and provides a glimpse into America’s past. Long before it became known as DC’s Wine Country and a premier East Coast wine destination, Loudoun was known as the horse-and-hunt capital of Virginia. Today, the wine and equine worlds are intertwined, providing an unparalleled visitor experience, with 40 wineries offering Virginia varietals and an engaging equestrian scene.

Enjoy the thrill of a steeplechase, learn to play polo, get an insider’s look at luxurious horse farms during the annual Stable Tour, and attend the Upperville Horse Show—the nation’s oldest, dating back to 1853. Sample wine in a stable and barn that was once home to the horses and dogs of the Loudoun Hunt Club at Dry Mill Vineyards & Winery. Enjoy the beautiful collection of horse-inspired paintings, sculptures, and rare books chronicling American field sports at the National Sporting Library & Museum. Or wander the country roads from the museum in Middleburg to Leesburg’s Morven Park to tour the antique carriage museum or catch the horse trials, which feature jumping and dressage competitions.

While in town stay at the country retreat, Serene Manor, where the manor house dates back to the nineteenth century and overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. Connected to the equestrian scene, the owners offer overnight packages that include trail rides and riding lessons at the nearby equestrian center, Serene Acres. Or immerse yourself in the equestrian experience at the rolling 340-acre Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Test your balance with yoga on horseback or experience the one-of-a-kind Equi-Spective program that unites horses and humans through a hands-on approach that puts you in the ring.

The opportunities to embrace Virginia’s rich equestrian and wine scenes are endless. To learn more, see visitloudoun.org

As seen in the issue Summer/Fall 2016 of Touring & Tasting Magazine.