Country Life Magazine, May 14, 2022 – The area around Washington DC isn’t the obvious choice for holidaymakers crossing the Atlantic, but as Sophia Constant discovered it offers a huge range of wonderful options — particularly if you pencil it in now for the autumn.
Start in Winchester, Virginia, the oldest city west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which famously changed hands between Unionists and Confederates 72 times during the Civil War. Over 15 million Americans can trace an ancestor that travelled through Winchester on the wagon-way trail from Philadelphia to the American West. Take the Taste Winchester History tour through the historic downtown’s restaurants and bars. Explore The Mall, where original buildings and classic facades have been restored to look exactly as in the 1800’s. Don’t miss the Beaux Arts Library, Post Office, Union Bank, Court House, Clock Tower, and The Museum of The Shenandoah Valley’s 200-year old house, museum and gardens.
Havre de Grace, Maryland. Credit: Capital Region USA
The Shenandoah Valley’s winding country roads pass colonial-style houses, vast orchards, farms and picket fences. Enjoy gorgeous hills and forests via hiking trails, including Sky Meadows and Eagle Rock. Gastronomy is a major part of the experience. Tour Winchester Ciderworks to taste experimental blends: blackcurrant and ginger, or even turmeric chai anti-inflammatory cider. For homemade pies and cakes, head to The Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill Orchard, a fourth generation farming family’s store, set in an old carriage barn. Their BBQ and Bluegrass Night is an authentic experience, where local musicians jam on the porch and anyone’s welcome to join. The drive through Middletown is particularly striking; a half-pipe valley with mountains rising up on either side. Time this over lunch at Shaffer’s BBQ, a dilapidated gas station transformed into a restaurant serving delectable on-the-go southern cuisine. Shaffer’s sits on a Civil War battle site, Cedar Creek (1864), where annual re-enactments take place, including 3000 people, cavalry and heavy artillery