Day Tripping - DC Metro
Middleburg, Virginia

Site Links
Items of Interest: Antiques, Art Galleries, Restaurants
(Located midway between Alexandria and Winchester
On the Ashby Gap trading route (now Route 50)

Many folks remember Middleburg as the site chosen by President and Mrs. Jack Kennedy for their "weekend" escape from Washington, but Middleburg has always "been on the map" as the scene of an English way of life complete with country houses, estates, foxhunting, and horses!

The Kennedy "invasion" of the sixties simply made Middleburg a fashionable destination for "everyone else" because of its celebrity status. Tom grew up near this area in the fifties (in neighboring Warrenton, VA), and observes that "downtown" Middleburg has not changed that much.

The addition of the stop light at the intersection of Foxcroft Rd. and Rt. 55 created quite a stir in the community as it forecast the urbanization of the community (little did they know).

The local Episcopal Church was the scene of another celebrity event - the marriage of Senator John Warner and Elizabeth Taylor. Middleburg locals don't get excited by celebrities as many are simple homeowners in the area pursuing a "normal" life! Speaking of churches, St. Stephen's Roman Catholic Church was built to accommodate the Kennedy's as mass was celebrated in the Community Center in the pre-Kennedy town.

The Red Fox Inn

The Red Fox Inn is still there as is the Fun Shop, Foxcroft School, and Howard Allen's photography studio (he of the famous Jackie, Caroline, John-John birthday photo), and the Community Center.

Click Here for Interior Photos

The Red Fox Inn
Click Here for Interior Photos
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

We've tried a number of restaurants in and around Middleburg, some very good and others just OK. We are always pleased, however, when we end up at the Red Fox Inn.

On our latest sojourn to this locale, one of our favorite towns in the Commonwealth, we took time for a late lunch at the Inn. Lucky for us, we weren't able to be seated immediately and had the chance to talk to the new owner.

We introduced ourselves with an opening about this web site and the recent article in the NY Times about Middleburg.

He had some wonderful stories about Middleburg - sorry, we won't repeat them, but they were enjoyable, especially coming from such a friendly host. We ordered their Grilled Ham & Brie (sweet ham, brie and mango chutney grilled on sourdough bread with sweet potato fries) and the beef bar-b-cue with French fries. Folks, these are terrific sandwiches.

Tom was delighted with the very special touch of the Brie with ham and Ron declared that the bar-b-cue was arguably among the very best he has ever had. Each time, we more fully understand why we return so regularly to the Red Fox.

Our Rating (Five Chefs is Highest)

Middleburg Antique Emporium

Middleburg today contains shops featuring sophisticated and world-class goods. The classic Middleburg Antique Emporium is just that - a center of true antiques.

John Clark
(Photo Courtesy Penny
Farthing Antiques & Clocks)

You'll find no massing of flea-market "doo-dads" and collectibles here!

We have made several purchases here (most recently an early 19th Century diminutive sterling silver condiment set and a 19th Century Belgian double-barreled shotgun) and we always recommend the Antique Emporium to friends as a "must stop."

One of our close friends had asked us to be on the lookout for a tall case clock in our travels around the area.

After we visited the Emporium to make photos for the web site, we sent her pictures of two clocks and she promptly purchased one of them, and she did so sight unseen. We've visited her home and seen the clock - magnificent and perfect for the space. Ah! The power of the web.

Middleburg Antique Emporium
(Click Here for Interior Photos)

While at the Antique Emporium, check out the quality antiques offered by Penny Farthing Antiques & Clocks, which is integral to the Emporium. The tall case clock referenced in the previous paragraph was purchased from these exquisite purchasers of fine antiques.

Leslie and John Clark (photo at left) are much more than just knowledgeable - they are sincere, very helpful, and both are delightful conversationalists. Seek them out when visiting the Emporium.

Walking down the main street (Rt. 50), you will find many quality shops featuring kitchen items, gourmet foods and wine, clothing, specialty items, art, and antiques. It is, for the most part, real luxury shopping. Reminder: Bring your checkbook. There's also a Safeway which rivals the "social Safeway" of Georgetown; after all, the rich and famous have to eat, too!

The Shaggy Ram

Another absolute "must" stop in Middlebury is Joanne Swift's Shaggy Ram - an art/antique shop and interior design center. Ms. Swift, a long-time supporter of humane treatment of animals, presides over not only a spendid collection of antiques, original sporting art and home furnishings, but runs her own animal adoption service via a wall of photos of adoptable pets.

This establishment is a treasure trove of opportunities for gifts and exquisite home decoration obījets d'arts. You can find a wide range of books, pillows, furniture, original oil paintings and lamps.

To your left as you enter the store, you will be greeted by a photo gallery of pets available for adoption as well as animals recently adopted (see photo to the left). This wall represents a continuation of Ms. Swift's long-term commitment to animal rescue.

The Shaggy Ram Interior
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

Prior to her move to Middleburg and opening the Shaggy Ram, Ms. Swift was engaged in animal adoption in Eagle, Colorado, as co-founder of Eagle Valley Humane Society, recognized for its "no kill" status, which means that at least 96 percent of animals are placed in homes.

A Wall of Adoption Photos
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

According to a July 11, 2004 article in the Vail Daily News,

"It wasn't intentional, not planned at all. They just kept showing up; either Inga Prime and Joanne Swift found them or, just as likely, the dogs and cats - and various other critters - found Inga and Joanne.

Week after week, month after month, Swift and Prime filled their homes with cats and dogs and animals in need, finding permanent homes for the menagerie where they couldn't offer their own."

On one of our frequents visits (May of 2006) to the Shaggy Ram, we found an incredible oil painting of a "Braque St. Germain" - a handsome orange and white hunting dog.

Ms. Swift explained that the artist, Elizabeth M. Katchmer, excelled at painting copies of sporting animals, explaining that this piece, "Bell,", was a copy of an original oil by Charles Hermann-Leon, a 19th Century French genre and animal painter. (Click Here for Katchmer Biography)

We believed the price to be very reasonable and made the purchase. Subsequently, we purchased a second of Ms. Katchmer's works - a delightful portrait of two Scottish Terriers, after "Darby and Joan," by the 19th Century English artist Lilian Cheviot - and then a third, "Fox in Snow".

And, we were able to see the originals of the paintings in a book by William Secord entitled Dog Painting: The European Breeds.

We found the book, of course, at the Shaggy Ram, and, of course, we bought it.

And what about, you might inquire, the name "Darby and Joan?" Is there a story here? Well, if you really care, just click here to find out about this name, or term. You might be surprised and amused. We were.

Not satisfied with our three Katchmer paintings, we were fortunate enough in October 2007 to find two more before they were purchased by other discriminating collectors - "Richmond Jack," an exquisite Smooth Fox Terrier, and a Charles Spaniel. Check them out on our Katchmer page.

The book by Secord is the most comprehensive book to date on the history of 19th century dog paintings, including exhaustive information on the dog world and the art world of the 19th century. It also gives a historical overview of the development of more than 90 breeds. Its 400 pages contain 580 reproductions, most previously unpublished and in full color.

Now in its second printing "there should be something for everyone," says author William Secord.

Click Here for Larger Image and Additional Painting
Darby and Joan
By Elizabeth M. Katchmer
(Click Here for Larger Image
And Additional Paintings)

William Secord
(Photo Courtesy The Bruce Museum)

William Secord is the world authority on the nineteenth century dog painting and is the first author to explore the presentation of the dog from its origins to the remarkable paintings of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and up to modern times.

He was the founding director of The Dog Museum of America and is the author of three books: Dog Painting, 1840-1940, a Social History of the Dog in Art, Dog Painting, The European Breeds, and A Breed Apart, The Art Collections of The American Kennel Club and The American Kennel Club Museum of The Dog. We subsequently purchased the second and third Secord books.

The Shaggy Ram is located at 3 E. Washington Street (Route 50) and can be reached at 540-687-3546.

The Art of Anthony Barham

With regard to art, antiques, fine restaurants and hospitable merchants, it is almost impossible to enter a commercial establishment in this village without something attracting your attention. While our interest does not necessarily lie with French furniture, oil paintings on the wall of JML French Antiques drew us into the shop. Unfortunately, the shop has closed.

However, it was there that we were introduced to the art of Anthony Barham. According to his online biography, Mr. Barham was born in London, UK, and grew up painting, restoring and gilding in the family antique business.

In 1994, he moved to Middleburg, married artist Misia Broadhead, and together they formed the Broadhead-Barham studio, accepting commissions for murals, portraits, sculpture and representational art. JML carries Misia Broadhead paintings as well.

Check out their web site to see their amazing art. It took two visits to JML, but we purchased the splendid red fox painting you see here to the right.

Click Here for Larger Image
A Red Fox
By Anthony Barham
(Photo by Ron Patterson)

(Click Here for Larger Image)

Stop at the Pink Box Information Center (see photo) on Madison Street for good tips on restaurants and new shops.

And after your energizing day in Middleburg, take a side trip down "The Plains Road" or "Zulla Road" or "Atoka Road", especially in the fall and winter months, to view the estates, horses, wonderful stone fences, and beautiful countryside. There are very few drives like this remaining, in light of this area's constantly expanding development. So enjoy it while you can and pray that local politicians and landowners will do their very best to save such a magnificant part of our heritage.

Loudoun County Road Map
Click here for a printable road map of Loudoun County.
This map requires Adobe Reader. Click here for free software.