Virginia Wine Country
When you say wine country in Virginia, it can mean one of many different places all over the state. Hands down each area is incredibly beautiful and has unique characteristics, but today, we are going to focus on four distinct areas – Middleburg, The Plains, Marshall and Delaplane. Middleburg is in Loudoun County and Marshall, the Plains and Delaplane are in Fauquier County. Marshall is the “biggest” of these small towns, with a population of about 1500. The Plains is the smallest, with just 250 people calling it home. These small towns are big on charm.
Believe it or not, Northern Virginia has its own American Viticultural Area or AVA. What does that mean and where is it? The city of Middleburg is the “center” of the AVA and its boundaries are defined by the Potomac River in the north, and the Blue Ridge mountains and Bull Run mountain, which define the east, west and southern boundaries. This region has over 20 vineyards with award winning wines, farm-to-table dining experiences with wine pairings, and idyllic sceneries that make a weekend outing seem like a vacation.
Let’s take a closer look at these Loudoun County and Fauquier County areas that have some great wineries. We will highlight some of our favorite wineries. In case you want to move here, we’re going to talk about more than wine! We are going to cover lifestyle and what it is like living here too. Grab your glass of wine and let’s get started!
Real Estate in The Plains, Middleburg, Marshall & Delaplane
You come to us for real estate advice so you probably want to know – what is real estate like in these areas? It depends! You don’t have to be ultra-wealthy to live in Wine Country nor do you need to be a farmer. Many people move here for different reasons: tranquility, farming, more space, fewer people, and so on. Price points here vary greatly.
Living “in-town” in these areas still gives you that rural life but affords you some walkability, smaller lots and a strong sense of community. Some of the towns will have townhomes and duplexes, but most consist of single family homes of varying architectural styles. Prices in-town can range from $200,000 – $325,000 for townhomes and single family homes range from $325,000 to over $3,000,000. Condition of the home can range just as widely as pricing in these areas.
Living that rural life can also vary greatly in terms of condition and price. You can live just outside of the town limits or a 15-20 minute drive into town. It depends on how close you want to be to people and if you are okay with having to drive 20 minutes for basic necessities. Prices can range anywhere from $200,000 to over $20 million. Architectural styles also vary greatly. You can find everything from a lot of brand new construction ramblers or ranchers to huge, historic estate homes. You do find a bit of new construction colonials and craftsman homes in the rural areas, but they usually aren’t track homes. They are custom built homes.
There are HOA style neighborhoods randomly dispersed in the rural areas as well, most notably Creighton Farms in Loudoun County, which is home to football players, tech giants, and many other wealthy residents. One thing we love here is the abundance of historic and old homes! You can find some of the most beautiful bungalows, farmhouses, federal style, and Georgian architecture to name a few. Just be ready to live with well and septic. Don’t worry if you haven’t lived with well and septic systems before, Melissa and I are very well versed in this realm so we have you covered!
Food and Fun:
Something people love most about wine country in Loudoun County and Fauquier County is the ability to bounce from town to town if you feel like venturing outside of your own area. There are so many parks, trails and fun sporting activities between the two counties that it would be impossible to name everything. Golf, trails, canoe and kayak launches, pools, sports, playgrounds, community centers – there is much here to take part in.
We must start with everyone’s favorite and possibly the most well-known town – Middleburg! Middleburg is known as Horse and Hunt Country. Michael grew up in the horse community and Middleburg has always held a special place in his heart. They host many events year-round, including The Christmas in Middleburg Parade, the steeple chases, the fox hunts, and their Art in the Burg parade.
Michael is a Christmas fanatic and the Christmas in Middleburg Parade is one of the best. Somehow they take the historic charm of the town and transform it into a parade. There is a wonderful array of casual and fine dining restaurants and the shopping is amazing. The best restaurants in town are the Red Fox Inn & Tavern for fine dining and Knead Wine for their incredibly delicious pizzas. Michael’s favorite winery in Middleburg is Greenhill Vineyards, hands down. Boxwood Estates is a close second. Greenhill has the most idyllic setting and their wines are so, so good. Their Blanc de Blancs is my favorite Virginia wine. Their member benefits are excellent. You can reserve a fire pit during the cold months.
If you are looking to venture out to the Fauquier County side of Wine Country, check out all of the wineries in the Delaplane area. The scenery is incredibly beautiful and because the zoning is so restrictive to protect the agricultural nature of this area, so much of it remains untouched. You have a wide variety of wineries to choose from in this area, including one of Michael’s favorites, Aspen Dale Winery at the Barn. The grounds are so beautiful and their wines are delicious. Don’t forget to also check out Barrel Oak Winery & Brewery, RdV Vineyards, Three Fox Vineyards and Delaplane Cellars. There are so many more wineries to visit and you could spend two years visiting them and still find new ones!
If you decide that you don’t want to eat at the wineries or if they don’t offer food, drive over to either Marshall or The Plains for lunch or dinner. The Railstop and the Front Porch Market & Grill are two of the best restaurants in The Plains. The Front Porch is more casual and The Railstop is more fine dining in the evenings. Michael’s parents are at the Railstop nearly every Sunday. The Plains is home to Great Meadows, the world famous equestrian park that hosts The Gold Cup, steeple chasing, and Twilight Polo. It’s an absolutely incredible place and the events are always a good time.
If you want to venture to Marshall, Field & Main and the Red Truck Rural Bakery are a must-do. If you are also looking for something fun to do in Marshall, checkout Big Dog Pots Pottery. You can paint all different types of pottery. Ask Michael about painting one of the old mid-century light up ceramic Christmas trees.
In terms of day-to-day necessities, most residents who live in Middleburg will shop in and around town as well as at Safeway. There is also easy access to areas like Leesburg and Ashburn if they need to access big box retailers or larger grocery stores. For The Plains, Marshall, and Delaplane, Warrenton and Haymarket would be the easiest places to venture for big box retailers or larger grocery stores. Honestly, the farmer’s markets, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) organizations and farm stands in these areas are world class and offer so much incredible produce, meats and other grocery goods that you won’t need to venture out for too many things. There is a big push to shop local in these areas and you have a lot to choose from.
Commuting & Work From Home:
These areas are generally not commuter friendly unless you enjoy sitting in hours of traffic. Many people who live here either work from home full-time or have a hybrid schedule. Others have flex scheduling and can commute around high traffic time periods. The internet service and capabilities have improved vastly in these areas in the past five to seven years but it is still important to check the service options before considering a home. Satellite internet can be unreliable. You will be car dependent in these areas unless you live in the town limits.
Kids & Schools
This was and still very much is an agricultural community. There are few schools here, and they cover a huge geographic area in some cases.
The Plains, Delaplane & Marshall families are served by Fauquier County schools. Families in these areas either go to Claude Thompson or W.G. Coleman Elementary schools. Both schools score at 7 on Great Schools, and serve Pre-K through 5th grades.
Middleburg is served by Loudoun County and Banneker Elementary School serves Pre-K through 5th grades. The Great Schools score here is a 4 out of 10.
Marshall Middle is Fauquier County schools and covers Delplane, Marshall and the Plains. Grades 6-8 attend Marshall and the Great Schools Score is 5. The middle school on the Loudoun / Middleburg side is Blue Ridge Middle School. This is also for grades 6-8 and is a 6 on Great Schools.
Because Middleburg is on the far south edge of the boundary area for the middle school, your kiddo could be riding a bus for a long time to get the 17 miles to the school. We are in the country now!
For high schools, in Middleburg in Loudoun County, students will head to Loudoun Valley High. Loudoun Valley is beginning their IB program. The school is a 5 out of 10.
In Fauquier County, students in Marshall, The Plains and Delaplane will either go to Fauquier High or Kettle Run High. Fauquier High is a 6, Kettle Run a 7 on Great Schools. Kettle Run was the 3rd high school in Fauquier County and it opened in 2008. Fauquier High was the first high school in the county and opened in 1963.