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Middleburg Blog: Riding to the Hounds

Thanksgiving Day in Horse Country always has a familiar chorus, the sound of the hounds. Usually, by 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning, the hunts have cut to the chase, and the horses are racing across the countryside and jumping the coops with the riders following the sounds of hounds. All of the hunts hope for a viewing, of course, which is such an experience that even William Faulkner chose to make note of it when he rode with Longreen Hunt in Shelby County, Tennessee, many years ago. The tradition continues, especially here in the western part of Loudoun County, the center of Hunt Country.

Russell Moore, son of Laura Lea and Chet Moore, who has enjoyed many years growing up in horse country, returned home from Christopher Newport University for the holidays and joined his parents in Middleburg Hunt’s Thanksgiving Day meet and festivities, which always includes an abundant and delicious breakfast at Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Harmon’s Wind Fields Farm on Snickersville -- a lovely event at one of the most beautiful farms in Virginia.

On Nov. 25, Whitestone Farm on Snickersville hosted the meet and breakfast, the first time on that farm in 30 years. Thanksgiving weekend is always special during the hunt season, and the coming week will be too. Middleburg Hunt's country is 15 miles surrounding the town of Middleburg, and this is why the hunt is always featured in the Christmas in Middleburg event.

Christmas in Middleburg

This is the big weekend – always the first Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of December. Thousands will make their way to the little historic town to enjoy the annual event, particularly seeing the Middleburg Hunt riding in review at 11 a.m., on Saturday, and later, the Christmas Parade, the main event, beginning at 2 p.m. The parade includes foot beagle hunt clubs, animal affinity groups, community groups, school and business floats, high school bands, reenactment bands, and, of course, Santa.

Many come to Middleburg on Friday to begin the celebration. On Friday, the National Sporting Library & Museum’s Exhibition, the Middleburg Gallery Holiday Open House, and the Middleburg Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Welcome Center invite visitors and community members to join in their celebrations.

Breakfast with Santa and the Silent Auction is at the Middleburg Charter School, on Saturday, at 7:45 to 10:30 a.m.

The hunt will collect behind the Red Fox Restaurant and Inn before riding through the town on Washington Street at 11 a.m., and there is time after that to enjoy the restaurants and shops. There are other activities to entertain too. There is a craft fair at the community center and a progressive wine bar tour, for example.

Parking is at Mickie Gordon Park (Rt 50, 1 mile east of Middleburg), Salamander Resort and Spa field, and Rt. 709 at Rt. 50 1/2 mile west of town. $20 per vehicle - includes parking, shuttle service, and program guide. Purchase online in advanceand bring your receipt for faster lines and preferred parking location, or bring $20 cash.

The Annual Foxcroft Pageant is on Sunday at 2 p.m., at the Engelhard Gymnasium, one of the favorite traditions for many families in the area and perfect way to end Christmas in Middleburg.

Roundabout Meadows Tour

On Saturday, the Piedmont Environmental Council will host a tour of the Roundabout Meadows farm property and the historic Mt. Zion Church grounds., 2:30 p.m., Mt. Zion Historic Park, John Mosby Highway 40309, Aldie, Virginia. PEC and NOVA Parks will be on hand to interpret the cultural, historical and ecological characteristics of both properties. PEC will provide an update on the farm restoration practices and conservations efforts at Roundabout Meadows, along with the new community farm project. The event is free, but registration is required. Visit the PEC web site for more information.

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