The Best of Virginia
Published: April 2009
By Frank Rose
America's cradle hasn't changed at all, only now it's more seductive than ever
Like most native-born Virginians, I grew up with an ancestral portrait on the wall. The original was said to hang in a museum in Richmond, so ours was a faded black-and-white photocopy mounted in a dime-store frame. It showed a mustachioed English dandy, black curls falling luxuriantly past his shoulders, lace collar spread grandly across his chest, staring into the Xerox machine with an air of courtly insouciance: my mother's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, loyal supporter of Charles I, forced into exile after the beheading of his monarch and newly arrived in Virginia with a retinue of servants and of cattle in the year 1649. We called him the Cavalier.
Today's Cavaliers are a football team (the University of Virginia's), but the kind I grew up with—dashing, heroic, extinct—are as essential to the Virginia myth as ever. During the Revolutionary period, the idea of the English country squire in the New World yielded Washington and Jefferson and their compatriots; less than a century later, the same concept found full flower in the gallantry of Robert E. Lee. Over the years, the legend of the Lost Cause has covered the Virginia landscape with a patina of regret that no amount of suburbanization seems able to erase. Seen through this gauze, the past becomes a haze of white columns and red brick peopled with valorous aristocrats on horseback. But the story is more complicated than that. And since the past is what you're here to find, it's a good idea to know what you're looking for.
What made the Virginia aristocrats great—distinguishing them from, say, the plutocrats of the Gilded Age—was the earnestness with which they took on "the burden of government and public responsibility," as historian Daniel Boorstin put it. But something changed between the Revolution and the Civil War, as the utopian ideal of pure reason gave way to Romantic notions of chivalry—notions that masked the economic imperatives of a 19th-century slaveholding society.
To understand why this happened, start your visit at Arlington House, Lee's grandly porticoed mansion overlooking Washington, D.C. The lawns have been covered with graves ever since Lee left to command a Confederate army and Union authorities started burying their dead there: in Virginia, all time can be measured from this spot. Work your way down the Potomac to Mount Vernon and Gunston Hall and Stratford Hall, plantations of the gentry who created the new republic. Go to Williamsburg, the colonial capital where they forged the ideas that would be realized in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Visit Monticello and walk the grounds of the University of Virginia to experience the perfect geometries of the Enlightenment, which Jefferson the architect rendered in brick as expertly as he did in government. Visit Richmond to see the shrines of the Confederacy and taste the ashes of defeat.
Of course, if you want tour buses and T-shirted tourists snapping photos in Historyland before hitting the theme-park rides, you won't be hard put to find them. But that is not Virginia. Virginia is an ancient place where nothing is far from the soil. It is the impossibly broad rivers of the Tidewater, rising and falling with the moon. It is the red clay of the Piedmont, where Jefferson the country gentleman trod the Newtonian frontier. It is a formal garden at twilight, boxwood perfuming the air with the scent of decay. Breathe deep, and you too can taste the faded glories of cavalierdom.
Grand Hotels and Resorts
The Jefferson Franklin and Adams Sts., Richmond; 800/424-8014 or 804/788-8000, fax 804/225-0334; doubles $155-$225. In 1895, 30 years after the firestorm that consumed Richmond as the Confederacy fell, Carr¶re & Hastings gave the city a magnificent Beaux-Arts pile that over the past decade has been splendidly restored to its crypto-Roman excess. No, the staircase was not used in Gone with the Wind, but alligators did once inhabit the pools in the Palm Court, and Scott and Zelda once cavorted here. Upstairs you'll find all the luxuries you'd expect—but the place to be is amid the marble columns of the Rotunda, sipping Manhattans in a club chair while the world revolves around you.
The Homestead Hwy. 220, Hot Springs; 800/838-1766 or 540/839-1766, fax 540/839-7670; doubles $117-$480 per person, including breakfast and dinner. Virginia's premier resort may look like a turn-of-the-century Georgian Revival spa on the model of Baden-Baden, but it's really the Jefferson transplanted to a 15,000-acre forest in the Allegheny highlands. In its heyday the Homestead drew Rockefellers and Vanderbilts; as it nears the end of a long-overdue renovation, you can see why. Besides golf (three courses, one designed by Robert Trent Jones), the Homestead offers tennis, hiking, skiing, skating, horseback riding, skeet shooting, trout fishing, carriage rides, mineral baths, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a 1930's movie theater, afternoon tea, and five-course dinners with an orchestra in the formal dining room. You can also drive up the road to the village of Warm Springs, where the hotel maintains two 98-degree soaking pools whose rustic enclosures date from the Jeffersonian era. After that, you'll probably just want to sit on the veranda and rock.
Williamsburg Inn137 Francis St., Williamsburg; 800/447-8679 or 804/221-8840; doubles $235-$340. Sometime after John D. Rockefeller Jr. was persuaded to undertake the restoration of Virginia's colonial capital, he realized visitors would need a place to stay. The result is a formal yet intimate hotel that delivers Southern hospitality as only a Rockefeller could envision it. Some of the rooms may be a little dowdy and small, but everything else about the place murmurs comfort and reassurance, from the view of the bowling green as you take tea in the East Lounge to the 1930's Regency Revival decor (which comes as a relief after the relentless Georgianism of Colonial Williamsburg itself). Don't forget to pack a suit if you want to join the Daddy Warbucks types sipping lobster bisque in the dining room.
Tides Inn King Carter Dr., Irvington; 800/843-3746 or 804/438-5000; doubles $137-$154 per person, including breakfast and dinner. You've toured Williamsburg and Monticello, you've driven the crest of the Blue Ridge, you've seen the monuments and the battlefields. You think you know Virginia. You don't—not until you've been to the Tides, a time-capsule resort on a broad inlet just upriver from the Chesapeake Bay. This is the kind of place you didn't think existed anymore, a rambling brick-and-clapboard resort where couples from Richmond or Norfolk or some plantation in between dance the fox-trot as moonlight slants in off the water. During the day there's golf and tennis and a saltwater swimming pool, plus charter boats for fishing and cruises on a vintage yacht. At first you think it's mainly for the older crowd, but then it hits you: you're going to grow old too. And you can hardly wait.
Small Hotels and Country Inns
Morrison House 116 S. Alfred St., Alexandria; 800/367-0800 or 703/838-8000; doubles $150-$295. This small, refined hotel on a quiet side street in Alexandria's 18th-century Old Town is just downriver from Washington and convenient to Arlington House and Mount Vernon.
Linden Row Inn 100 E. Franklin St., Richmond; 800/348-7424 or 804/783-7000, fax 804/648-7504; doubles $99-$119. Seven Greek Revival town houses on the edge of downtown Richmond, artfully combined and finished in just the right shade of faded mulberry. Downstairs is a courtyard garden that may or may not have inspired Poe.
Red Fox Inn 2 E. Washington St., Middleburg; 800/223-1728 or 540/687-6301, fax 540/687-6187; doubles $135-$155, including continental breakfast. The ur-hunt country inn in the ur-hunt country village: cozy rooms furnished with hooked rugs and wing chairs in an 18th-century fieldstone tavern, with a kitchen that's justifiably famous for its crab cakes.
Inn at Little Washington Middle and Main Sts., Washington; 540/675-3800; doubles $250-$390, including continental breakfast. In a sleepy village some 70 miles west of D.C., Reinhardt Lynch has created the ultimate romantic hideaway, a luxurious cocoon that surrounds a small, secret garden. Does the outside world still exist?Do we care?
Conyers House 3131 Slate Mills Rd., Sperryville; 540/987-8025, fax 540/987-8709; doubles $135-$200, including breakfast. A rustic 18th-century inn where the hunt country gives way to the Blue Ridge. Comfort sometimes yields to character here: the floors creak and the doors may jam, but the hospitality is as genuine as the English tack set out on the porch ($40 a person for a two-hour guided horseback ride).
Clifton 1296 Clifton Inn Dr., Charlottesville; 804/971-1800, fax 804/971-7098; doubles $150-$265, including breakfast. This 1799 house built by Jefferson's son-in-law is now a smoothly run inn set in a secluded woodland, with croquet on the lawn, tennis courts out back, and a private lake down the hill. The rooms—especially the white-and-chintz ones in the carriage house—have a cozy, romantic feel that will make you want to put a match to the logs in the fireplace and keep the shutters drawn until noon.
Sampson Eagon Inn 238 E. Beverley St., Staunton; 800/597-9722 or 540/886-8200; doubles $85. Despite its natural beauty, the Shenandoah Valley has a dearth of first-rate places to stay. Fortunately there's the Sampson Eagon Inn, a marvelously restored 1840's mansion in Staunton's leafy Gospel Hill district, just down the street from the Presbyterian manse where Woodrow Wilson was born.
The Trellis 403 Duke of Gloucester St., Williamsburg; 757/229-8610; dinner for two $66 (meal prices throughout do not include drinks, tax, or tip). In the old days, Virginia cuisine meant Chesapeake Bay shellfish swimming in butter, and the rich, salty tang of Smithfield ham. It still does, except that the shellfish are only wading now and the ham has been joined by exotic flavors from Asia and the Mediterranean. Marcel Desaulniers's evanescently pink restaurant is known for such seasonal offerings as grilled sea scallops on pumpkin fettuccine and pan-seared duck breast paired with pork medallions. But Desaulniers's true passion is chocolate— dark, milk, white, or all three—and that's the flavor you should leave with.
Todd Jurich's Bistro 210 W. York St., Norfolk; 757/622-3210; dinner for two $55. The most ambitious of Norfolk's chef-owned restaurants is this spiffy little bistro, sandwiched between downtown and the 19th-century mansions of the waterfront Freemason district. Jurich relies on local farmers yet comes up with dishes like Vietnamese spring roll with Smithfield pork on daikon- cucumber salad, and clam linguine in parsley-root broth with applewood-smoked bacon. Go figure.
Indian Fields Tavern Rte. 5, Charles City; 804/829-5004; dinner for two $60. Archer Ruffin Jr. has turned an abandoned overseer's cottage on Evelynton Plantation into one of the Tidewater's culinary landmarks. Try the sautéed oysters with wild mushrooms and polenta; follow it with crab cakes over Smithfield ham and Sally Lunn bread.
The Frog & the Redneck 1423 E. Cary St., Richmond; 804/648-3764; dinner for two $70. Jimmy Sneed's establishment in Shockoe Slip, the cobblestoned tobacco-warehouse quarter next to Richmond's sleek financial district, is considered a temple of the new Virginia cooking, despite its ungainly decoration and a few ungainly dishes. Skip the much-ballyhooed redneck risotto (grits is grits, Jimmy), but do give the place a try—the service is great, the crowd is mixed in every sense, and the redneck lobster (roast monkfish) is not bad at all.
Millies Restaurant 2603 E. Main St., Richmond; 804/643-5512; dinner for two $60. This friendly, crowded, no-fuss establishment puts out some of the best and most inventive regional cooking in the state. The smoked duck breast with cranberry chutney definitely should not be missed.
Métropolitain 214 W. Water St., Charlottesville; 804/977-1043; dinner for two $70. A contemporary eatery in a loftlike space that previously housed a hardware store. Have the Booker's single-batch bourbon (neat, of course, with water back), then try the smoky black-eyed-pea bisque or the astonishingly intense gâteau of portobellos with fried grits and parsley butter.
C&O Restaurant 515 E. Water St., Charlottesville; 804/971-7044; dinner for two $40. Haute meets funk: classic French cuisine in what was once a train workers' boardinghouse, hard by the tracks on the edge of downtown. There's an informal bistro downstairs with the same menu.
Clifton 1296 Clifton Inn Dr., Charlottesville; 804/971-1800; dinner for two $116. Sophisticated Virginia cooking in a country club environment. Cocktails in the drawing room are followed by a multicourse dinner with an impressive selection of wines. You don't have to wear a blue blazer, but it helps.
Willow Grove Inn 14079 Plantation Way, Orange; 540/672-5982; dinner for two $70. Updated plantation cooking in a white-columned manor house on a lonely country highway north of Charlottesville. Edna Lewis, who grew up nearby, has been known to serve as guest chef; otherwise, you'll be quite happy with the ragout of salmon, sausage, and crawfish followed by pan-seared tuna with red-pepper aioli and a fried cornmeal cake.
Inn at Little Washington Middle and Main Sts., Washington; 540/675-3800; dinner for two $200. Patrick O'Connell serves revelatory American cuisine in a rose-and-teal room that feels like the inside of a Fabergé egg. When he and Reinhardt Lynch opened in 1978, the only wines available from the local distributor were Boone's Farm and Ripple; their cellar now holds some 850 selections. Meanwhile, O'Connell's kitchen has done for cooking on the East Coast what Chez Panisse has done on the West.
Four & Twenty Blackbirds Flint Hill; 540/675-1111; dinner for two $55. A husband and wife team from the Inn at Little Washington have opened a delightfully casual dinner spot at a nearby crossroads. It's the only pink-and-plum-shingled restaurant in town.
Willson-Walker House 30 N. Main St., Lexington; 540/463-3020; dinner for two $40. The Shenandoah Valley is a culinary wilderness compared with Tidewater and the hunt country, but the Willson-Walker House is a standout, offering well-prepared American fare in an antebellum mansion grandly furnished in the Empire style.
Roadhouses and Cafés
Lancaster Tavern Rte. 3, Lancaster Court House; 804/462-5941; dinner for two $16; no alcohol. In an unrestored 18th-century tavern in a blink-and-you've-missed-it Tidewater village, Lindy Grigsby serves lunch and dinner family-style: meat loaf, sugar-cured ham, roast beef, roast pork, or whatever else she feels like making. It's all set before you with an array of fresh vegetables on an oilcloth-covered table you might end up sharing with local farmers. Do save room for dessert.
Surrey House Rte. 31, Surry; 804/294-3389; dinner for two $25. This fifties roadhouse done in knotty pine and tufted vinyl is the perfect setting for fried chicken, crab cakes, pork barbecue, salty Virginia ham (cured just down the road), and that other local delicacy, peanut soup.
Mrs. Rowe's Family Restaurant Rte. 250, Staunton; 540/886-1833; dinner for two $15. Fried chicken, Virginia ham biscuits, and dreamy banana pudding in an old-fashioned roadhouse that went up in 1947 and feels as if it hasn't changed since.
Once revered as the Mother of Presidents, Virginia is more accurately known as the Mother of House Tours. Late April is the time for Garden Week (sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia, 12 E. Franklin St., Richmond; 804/644-7776), when the finest private estates open their doors; but the most important houses in the state are open year-round.
Arlington House Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington; 703/557-0613. Built in 1802 by Parke Custis, Martha Washington's grandson, this stately Neoclassical mansion became Robert E. Lee's when he married Custis's daughter. Lee left for Richmond when Virginia seceded, turning his back on Washington to lead the Army of Northern Virginia; he never returned.
Mount Vernon George Washington Memorial Pkwy., Mount Vernon; 703/780-2000. George Washington's Potomac River estate, grand in scale but utilitarian in design, includes a four-acre working farm. The house tour is instructive, but don't neglect the outbuildings if you want a real sense of 18th-century plantation life.
Gunston Hall 10709 Gunston Rd., Mason Neck; 703/550-9220. Small but exquisite, this was the Georgian manor house of George Mason, a framer of the Constitution (which he refused to sign because it failed to ban slavery). Gaze across the untamed deer park from his formal boxwood garden and you can sense what he was up to: bringing reason to human affairs, just as Newton had done with the heavens.
Stratford Hall Stratford; 804/493-8038. Robert E. Lee's birthplace on the Potomac is the most stunning of all the river mansions, a massive, H-shaped structure that guards its vast acreage with lordly grace.
Shirley 501 Shirley Plantation Rd., Charles City; 804/829-5121. Owned since the 18th century by the Carter family, one of the richest in colonial Virginia, and now inhabited by their 11th-generation descendants, this three-story 1723 mansion has green lawns sloping down to the James River. Lee's parents were married in the parlor.
Monticello Rte. 53, Charlottesville; 804/ 984-9822. The sheer unconventionality of Jefferson's mountaintop villa can't be fully appreciated until you've seen the Tidewater plantations. Then it all becomes clear: the Neoclassical design; the customary cluster of outbuildings gathered neatly under flanking terraces; and most remarkable of all, his obsession with gadgetry, as if with enough tinkering Jefferson could anticipate Thomas Edison or Henry Ford.
Oatlands 20859 Oatlands Plantation Lane, Leesburg; 703/777-3174. A Greek Revival gem in the northern Virginia hunt country, Oatlands was another Carter family estate, but its terraced gardens and 1920's English-country-house decoration speak to the power of big-city money from Washington.
Jamestown Island Colonial National Historical Park; 804/229-1733. Few of the adventurers and laborers who landed here in 1607 made it past the first two winters, and Jamestown itself fell into ruin after the capital was moved to Williamsburg in 1699. A new archaeological dig, timed for completion on the settlement's 400th anniversary 10 years hence, may have turned up the site of the original fort. The foundations of the town that succeeded it have a strangely haunting presence.
The Capitol Capitol Square, Richmond; 804/786-4344. Jefferson, to whom architecture was politics, despised the patently colonial structures of Williamsburg, so after the government moved to Richmond in 1780 he set out to design a new capitol for a free people. Despite some turn-of-the-century additions, his rendition of the Maison Carrée, the Roman temple at Nämes, is a dazzling exercise in geometry. Stand in a corner of the rotunda and gaze past Houdon's statue of Washington to the dome—which Jefferson had to hide below the roofline because, as the blue-haired tour guide exclaims, "He wanted his capitol to look just like that big ol' temple!"
Hollywood Cemetery 412 S. Cherry St., Richmond; 804/648-8501. James Monroe, John Tyler, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart: this was the foremost burial ground of Virginia. High above the James stands Jefferson Davis like a pillar of salt, looking back at the city he abandoned in flames in 1865.
Richmond National Battlefield Park 3215 E. Broad St., Richmond; 804/226-1981. A sprawling series of Civil War battlegrounds from McClellan's unfortunate Peninsula Campaign of 1862 and Grant's even bloodier 1864 campaign. The sense of death can still be overwhelming today.
Petersburg National Battlefield Rte. 36, Petersburg; 804/732-3531. A railway center, Petersburg was the key to Richmond, and when it fell after a grueling 10-month siege, the Confederacy's fate was sealed. Near the crater where Pennsylvania miners blew a hole in the rebel lines is the lovely Old Blandford Church, its Tiffany windows a memorial to the Confederate dead.
University of Virginia University Ave., Charlottesville; 804/924-0311. Jefferson's academic village is his architectural masterwork, a marvel of Neoclassical design whose focal point is the exquisitely proportioned Rotunda, modeled on the Pantheon in Rome.
Shenandoah National Park covers some 280 square miles of woodlands astride the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Virginia, with the Skyline Drive winding across the mountaintops from Front Royal south to Afton Mountain. The Blue Ridge Parkway follows the crest of the Blue Ridge from Afton Mountain past Roanoke to the North Carolina line. Sharp Top Trail (milepost 86 at the Peaks of Otter) takes you to the craggy summit of Sharp Top Mountain, where a panoramic view has drawn visitors for some 200 years.
Washington and Lee University N. Jefferson St., Lexington; 540/463-8710. A perfectly preserved Greek Revival campus overlooking a picturesque town deep in the Valley of Virginia. Across from the rustic colonnade, General Lee lies buried in a tiny brick chapel.
Virginia Military Institute Letcher Ave., Lexington; 54/464-7306. W&L's Gothic Revival neighbor, where Stonewall Jackson taught, George C. Marshall studied, and the cadets go on parade every Friday at 4:15.
Jefferson's travels in France (1784-1789) convinced him that Virginia
could become a wine-producing region, but only in the past decade has it come to pass.
Piedmont Vineyards Halfway Rd., Middleburg; 540/687-5528. Very nice Chardonnays on a hunt country farm.
Linden Vineyards 3708 Harrels Corner Rd., Linden; 540/364-1997. Marvelous Chardonnays and Cabernets on a remote hilltop in the foothills of the Blue Ridge.
Afton Mountain Vineyards 234 Vineyard Lane, Afton; 540/456-8667. Rich, complex Chardonnays, Gewürztraminers, and Cabernets in a small, family-run winery just west of Charlottesville.
Horse & Garden
Aside from ancestor worship, Virginians have two passions. Take your pick.
Norfolk Botanical Gardens Azalea Garden Rd., Norfolk; 757/441-5830. More than 150 acres of azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and roses, with extensive footpaths and waterfront views.
Westover 7000 Westover Rd., Charles City; 804/829-2882. Romantically overgrown boxwood gardens at the James River plantation of William Byrd II, founder of Richmond. The 1735 mansion is open during Garden Week.
Montpelier Montpelier Station; 540/ 672-2728. The country house of James and Dolley Madison, Montpelier was bought by the du Ponts in 1900 and radically enlarged. The mansion is currently being restored by the National Trust, but work on Mrs. du Pont's formal garden was recently completed by the Garden Club of Virginia. The Virginia Steeplechase Circuit, which runs from February to May and September to early November, concludes here with the Montpelier hunt races. The amateur Point-to-Point Circuit is held in spring (for information, call the Central Entry Office at 703/777-2575).
Blessing of the Hounds Rte. 231, Keswick; 804/293-3549. Takes place every Thanksgiving morning outside Keswick's Grace Episcopal Church, in the rolling hills east of Charlottesville. After the ceremony, the Keswick Hunt sets out in pursuit of the fox.
Virginia Horse Center Rte. 39, Lexington; 540/463-2194. A regular program of horse shows, dressage competitions, polo matches, and auctions in an expansive indoor arena.
Palace Antiques Gallery (300 W. 21st St.; 757/622-2733) and Morgan House Antiques (242 W. 21st St.; 757/627-2486) have large collections of English, French, and American 18th- and 19th-century furniture, china, chandeliers, and prints.
Everybody who goes to Williamsburg wants to buy Williamsburg. That's why there's the Craft House (Merchants Square, 757/220-7747; also at Williamsburg Inn, 757/220-7749), which sells authorized reproductions of china, glassware, linens, furniture, rugs, paint, and just about everything else you see in the historic district.
Bookpress Ltd. (411 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/229-1260) is a source for antique books, maps, and prints. For new books, try Rizzoli Bookstore (423 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/229-9821).
Beecroft & Bull (416 Duke of Gloucester St., Merchants Square; 757/ 229-7887) carries a sophisticated range of American and Italian men's wear: shirts and suits by Ermenegildo Zegna, suits and sport jackets by Canali and Mickey Spatz, Polo sportswear, shoes by Cole-Haan and Ferragamo.
You can buy things in Shockoe Slip: D. M. Williams Ltd. (1211 E. Cary St.; 804/783-9211) is a comfortably luxurious men's store, with Nautica, Jhane Barnes, McKenzie Tribe. But the more interesting shopping is a couple of miles west in Carytown, a turn-of-the-century residential district with a leafy charm and a lively commercial strip. Boxers (2931 W. Cary St.; 804/355-4889) carries casual men's clothes by the likes of Joseph Abboud and Wilke Rodriguez. Thomas-Hines (3027 W. Cary St.; 804/ 355-2782) is Richmond's leading antiques store: serious 18th- and 19th-century English and American furniture, paintings, and silver. Across the street, Palais Royal (3016 W. Cary St.; 804/ 353-8701) carries Yves Delorme's signature bedclothes and toiletries, set off by well-chosen French antiques—for plantation owners who've been to Paris.
The Phoenix (3039 W. Cary St.; 804/354-0711) specializes in the Virginia Woolf look: tweedy women's wear in calf lengths, the kind of thing Scott and Zelda probably encountered at the Jefferson. Pink (3158 W. Cary St.; 804/358-0884) is proof that debutantes and body piercing can mix: Betsey Johnson, John Fluevog, and futuristic items like corrugated-steel clocks. At Annette Dean (3325 W. Cary St.; 804/ 359-8240) one can find designers Joan Vass and Belford for women, Alan Flusser and Barry Bricken for men, plus Dean's own private label, well designed and reasonably priced.
The 1740 House (Rte. 250 W., Ivy; 804/977-1740) is a former tavern filled with exquisite English and American antiques at prices to match, plus paintings, maps, and sturdy canvas floorcloths made to order and painted with contemporary or Early American designs.
FREDERICKSBURG The antiques shops in this small river town are clustered near the corner of Caroline and William Streets. Beck's Antiques & Books (708 Caroline St., Old Town; 540/371-1766) is heavy on the Virginiana, especially Civil War histories and biographies, not to mention county histories: James City, Charles City, Prince William, King and Queen. In the front of the shop you'll find early-19th-century antiques, most of them American, most from nearby estates. Past treasures have included an American Empire horsehair sofa made in Philadelphia around 1820 and a mahogany pedestal card table from 1825.
This is the hunt country village that Jacqueline Onassis made famous back when she was wearing pillbox hats and redoing the White House. Antiquarian Book & Autograph Center (2 N. Madison St.; 540/687-5020) is the place to go for 18th- and 19th-century periodicals, from Harper's and the Atlantic to the Panoplist and Gentleman's Magazine of London.
Hestia (4 N. Madison St.; 540/687-5531) has luxurious linens and gift items, while Waller Picture Framing (9 S. Madison St.; 540/687-6939) offers magnificent gilt frames for those ancestral portraits you were planning to pick up at auction. At Tully Rector (13 E. Washington St.; 540/687-5858) you can stock up on Cole-Haan shoes and boots, Calvin Klein flannels, and Barbour outerwear for the hikes you'll be taking once you hit the mountains.