Paris, Virginia

I have always been fascinated with all things Bunny Mellon and have been so interested in visiting the Horse Country of Northern Virginia.  We decided to visit on our way to visit Brian’s mom in Charlottesville.

Middleburg, Upperville and Paris are just about 40 minutes from Dulles Airport so they make a great day or weekend trip from DC. Unfortunately, Bunny’s property, Oak Spring in Upperville wasn’t available for tours when we were there.

Each town is very small, probably less than a mile of a downtown.   Each are very walkable.  Middleburg had the most shops to walk through.  Obviously we went to the Christmas Sleigh.  Obviously we bought some Byer’s Carolers.  Obviously we went in the kitchen store and bought some candles and kitchen towels.  I mean, who do you think we were dealing with. 



Side Saddle Cafe

We did make one unexpected decision for lunch and went to the Side Saddle Café.  It was a rainy afternoon and they had a turkey pot pie soup on the menu.  I was curious to their interpretation.  Let’s be clear: it was the best soup of my life.  I don’t think that the owner was expecting me to be as moved by her soup as I was.  I wasn’t crying but I was certainly emotional. It is not a photogenic soup.  It was basically a turkey soup with a big scoop of mashed potato in it.  I am not sure if they invented this but it is genius.  The big part of this, besides an island of potato, which is also revelation, is that it was made in duck stock.  DUCK STOCK.  I am an adventurous cook but I will probably never make duck stock.  My local gourmet market makes it.  THANK GOD. The soup itself had corn, green beans, big chunks of turkey. I will be talking about it for the rest of my life.

Really happy we discovered this gem.  They have a fun pantry in the entrance.  It is run by a mother daughter team and you can tell that they put so much heart into their cooking.

Hunters Head Tavern

We did a more casual dinner at the Hunters Head Tavern where we had fried green tomatoes, boiled peanuts and pimento.  Everything was served Ye Ol style with heavy pewter utensils.  It is very cozy and tavern style indoors with an attractive patio outside.  It was delicious and very good sample of Virginia cooking.



The Ashby

We stayed at the Ashby in Paris which was very special.  It is just down 50 from Upperville and Middleburg.  Our room was in the Schoolhouse.  The rooms are spacious with a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains and their garden.  We had a large covered balcony to sit and drink wine on to admire the region.  We loved walking through their gardens and seeing all the produce they grow for their restaurant. It is a quaint and intimate Inn whith great hospitality.


The restaurant has a very impressive dinner that I am looking forward to trying on our next trip.  We had a fantastic brunch there.  Get the shrimp and grits!

While small, there was still so much left to see. We are looking forward to our next visit especially when Oak Spring is open.  I also have heard that the Salamander is a fantastic place to stay, shop or just have a spa treatment. I also would love to visit the Red Fox which is a Virginia landmark.   Owned and operated by the same family for decades.