Story by Liesel Schmidt
If you’re like 99.9 percent of the population with a driver’s license and functioning wheels, you’ve probably been stalking gas prices like Carrie Bradshaw stalks a pair of Jimmy Choos. But while none of us can do anything about the increasing costs at the pump, we can still enjoy our summer—and have a getaway that doesn’t cost as much as our mortgages just to fill up. Take a look at our VIP Road Trip Itinerary for an awesome weekend in Loudon County, filled with fun ways to keep the whole fam happy.
THE RESORT (CHECK-IN TIME)
“Friday, I’m in love…” Time to leave work behind and hit the road! Check out this Black-owned, award-winning resort less than 50 miles away via I-495 S and US-50 W. Luxury at its finest, Salamander Resort boasts two prestigious five-star ratings by the Forbes Travel Guide, one of which was awarded to Salamander Spa, the only five-star spa in Virginia. The 168-room resort is among the most iconic and celebrated properties worldwide and is located on 340 picturesque acres in the midst of Virginia’s famed horse and wine country. More than just a lavish stay, Salamander offers unique, immersive experiences including Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill, a cooking studio, a culinary garden, a tree-top zip line tour and an equestrian center with a riding arena. The Salamander Spa offers unique, customized health and wellness treatments that are integrative, regionalized, holistic and result-driven. The spa’s private stone treatment terraces, aromatic steam rooms, well-appointed changing areas, sun-lit relaxation spaces, a sumptuous couple's suite and a secluded spa courtyard with an elegant infinity-edge pool and cabanas create the perfect nature-inspired retreat.
WINE BAR / BOUTIQUES / ICE CREAM
Check into your suite at the Salamander Resort and sip a glass of wine and nosh on sushi at their Gold Cup Wine Bar before heading out to explore the Middleburg boutiques. Horse lovers will love stopping in the Tack Box, Inc., a quintessential equestrian shop that just screams Middleburg. Riders will find everything they need at the stables, with all tack and dressage essentials covered. From tall riding boots and show coats to paddock boots and outwear, they’ll outfit your every desire, along with your horse’s; from coolers to barn blankets and bits. For a little fun, check out the Fun Shop, a two-story destination for everything from housewares and Christmas décor to toys and books. For all things Hunt Country, this is one shop you’ll want to explore. For a sweet treat along the way, head to Scruffy’s Ice Cream Parlor, where you’ll find just what you need to satisfy your sweet tooth. From milkshakes and sundaes to floats and classic cones, Scruffy’s has the perfect flavor for your craving.
FOUR-COURSE SEAFOOD DINNER
For a seasonally-inspired, chef-driven dinner, the Red Fox Inn and Tavern offers a four-course menu featuring unique game and seafood dishes that combine traditional cooking techniques with seasonality. Boasting an impressively-paired wine list, the Red Fox also showcases a wide selection of local beverages as well as national and international favorites. From elegant dinners in the Tavern to hand-crafted cocktails in the Night Fox Pub, your experience will be unforgettable.
SWIM + RELAX
After dinner, head back to Salamander for an evening swim at the resort pool.
COFFEE + PASTRIES
Wake up! It’s time for coffee and pastries at Middleburg Common Grounds, where you’ll find the perfect way to start your day. From coffee beverages to sweet or savory delights from the bakery, you’ll have a new favorite way to spend a lazy Saturday morning.
Love exploring the past? Check out Mount Defiance Historic Park, a Civil War site that was key to the Battle of Middleburg. Historic Civil War-era buildings including a blacksmith's shop and cottage stand just where they stood during the battle, offering cover for the warring soldiers. Check out the grounds of Mt. Defiance on a walking path that traverses the property and provides historic markers detailing the battle’s events. To add some fun to your exploration of the area, print out the park’s scavenger hunt and hit the road for your own adventure!
FRESH OYSTERS + CRAFT COCKTAILS
Getting hungry? Take a break to shower and head out to Leesburg for lunch, where you’ll find King Street Oyster’s spectacular menu of fresh oysters, seafood and craft cocktails.
WINERY CONCERT SERIES
As the evening winds down, get your groove on at Tarara Winery’s Summer Concert Series in Leesburg. Starting at 6:00 p.m., enjoy the musical talents of local bands performing hits from some of your favorite artists and some of the best eras in music. Food trucks are on site to satisfy your hunger, so check out the variety of food from some of the area’s mobile chefs. The concert series runs through September 24. Gates open Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. Concerts are held from 6:00 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
Pamper yourself on the last day of the weekend with an early-morning personalized massage or facial at Salamander Spa. Designed to recharge and revitalize your skin, the menu of facials at Salamander Spa are as beneficial as they are luxurious. For tired, tense muscles, their massages relax and release you to just breathe and recenter.
Post pampering, grab a quick carryout breakfast from Market Salamander. Their kitchen offers great breakfast sandwiches, offering your choice of scratch-made buttermilk biscuits, English muffins, toast or tortillas. From simple egg and cheddar to chicken sausage, egg and cheddar, the sandwiches are sure to brighten your morning. Looking for something more substantial? The kitchen also offers everything from chicken and waffles to Grand Marnier French toast.
DISTILLERY TOUR + TASTING
Now that you’re fueled up for your day, head out to Purcellville for a tour and tasting at Catoctin Creek Distilling Co. This historic old building is full of charm—and definitely lots of whiskey. Enjoy a tasting flight of whiskey, brandy, gin or cocktails from the distillery. Tour the facility to see just how the magic happens. Tours occur on the hour each day. Before you leave, stock up on your favorites from the Catoctin Creek label.
BBQ + LOCAL BEER
Next up is lunch. Let your nose guide you to Monk’s BBQ, where the brisket is so tender and juicy, you’ll be a fan forever. With a menu offering meats cooked low and slow, the restaurant is all about family and tradition. The restaurant has a wide selection of locally-brewed beer and an impressive list of bourbons that pair perfectly with that pile of barbecue you’re about to dig into.
POOL TIME / DINNER WITH A VIEW
Relax by the pool at Salamander and recharge a little before you head back out to dinner at the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm. One of the first farm restaurants in the U.S., the menu of New American cuisine is created with ingredients sourced on-site. As stunning as the food is, so is the view of the Potomac from the all-glass dining room. This is one meal you’ll never forget—and the perfect way to end the perfect weekend.
THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
Yes, you guessed it… Monday means it's time to head home. But stay tuned for more VIP getaways that will make you feel like you’ve escaped to somewhere special.
Stay tuned for more VIP Road Trips in upcoming issues! Be sure to share pictures from YOUR Road Trips with us on Instagram!