Trip Overview: This DC Road Trip takes you into the heart of Virginia’s picturesque Rappahannock County. Farm-fresh produce stands, artisans, wineries, taverns and hidden-gem natural wonders are along every mile of the route as you drive out of the city and towards the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Total Mileage: Around 180 miles, roundtrip
Time Needed: 12 hours. Numerous B&B options are along the route for those wanting to extend the trip overnight.
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1. Buckland Farm Market (4484 Lee Highway, Warrenton, VA 20187)
This is one roadside stop that must not be missed. The Buckland Farm Market has it all: plants, home-grown produce, canned goods, bakery items, by-the-pound old-fashioned candy, dry goods, meat and much more. Tip: Buy some carrots and other veggies at the market to bring to the friendly donkeys and goats outside in the “petting zoo” area, overlooking the nearby farm.
2. Griffin Tavern (659 Zachary Taylor Highway, Flint Hill, VA 22627)
Established in 1843, the Griffin Tavern is full of character, with lots of old touches like hardwood floors and stone fireplaces. Patrons can sit in one of several dining rooms, the porch or the inviting bar and choose from traditional pub fare like Shepard’s Pie, burgers, pizzas and salads. There’s a decent drink list, too, including local beers and wines, making this a great spot for a lunchtime pick-me-up before you move along to the next stop.
3. Inn at Little Washington (Middle Street, Washington, Virginia 22747)
The town of Washington, Virginia is famous for one thing: the Inn at Little Washington. Perhaps this five-star property should be called the Little Inn at Washington, because this noted Inn is, well, little. But inside this little structure holds one of the “biggest” and most renowned restaurants in the entire DC area… for those lucky enough to have a reservation. For everyone else, Washington, Virginia is still a noteworthy stop on the Rappahannock tour- stretch your legs, stroll around town and enjoy stopping in some of the shops.
4. Little Washington Winery (72 Christmas Tree Lane, Washington, Virginia 22747)
In an area full of wineries, it can be hard to decide which one to visit. If you’re stuck, try the Little Washington Winery, known for its gorgeous views of the Shenandoah countryside… and its “George” red wine.
River District Arts brings together over a dozen different artists to showcase their work in a collective space. Featuring varied mediums like pottery, paintings, sculptures, photography and more, R.D.A. is part gallery, part artisan storefront and part artist work space. It’s common to see artists hard at work at their next masterpiece, as you wander through the open and airy space before continuing on your way.
6. The Coterie and School House (12018 Lee Highway, Sperryville, Virginia 22740)
After stopping at River District Arts, your culture-vulture soul will be warmed up and ready for another set of artisan shops at the Coterie and School House. Here, whimsical and homemade housewares, antiques, crafts, clothing and more are on display. Plus, there’s an on-site pub, for those preferring to whet their whistle rather than shop.
7. White Oak Canyon (the lower parking lot is located in Robertson, Virginia 22719)
In this part of Virginia, Old Rag is a frequent destination avid hikers. However, there’s another lesser-known hike that’s the perfect complement to a warm summer day. White Oak Canyon is a moderate to steep hike that follows bubbling creeks, pools and waterfalls along the entire path. If you don’t feel like doing the entire circuit (which could take upwards of 6 hours), in just 2 hours you can take the “Cedar Falls Run” trail to hike to “the Slide”- a natural water slide into a brisk, refreshing pool.
8. Rudy’s Pizza (3710 Sperryville Pike, Sperryville, Virginia 22740)
After completing your hike at White Oak Canyon, reward yourself with a slice of “the best pizza in Sperryville” and an ice cold bottle of beer at Rudy’s. Freshly made dough and pizza sauce are the base to creatively named pizzas like “Blue Ridge Greek” and the “Hiker’s Special.” The best part? It’s affordable– with $13 large pizzas and bottles of microbrew that cost under $4/ bottle.
9. Carousel Frozen Treats (346 Waterloo St Warrenton, Virginia 20186)
End your day on a sweet note at Carousel Frozen Treats. This florescent roadside stand is an ice-cream lover’s paradise and dishes up heaping cones of soft serve, sundaes, malts, hawaiian-style shaved ice and more. For those looking for a salty treat, try the sundae topped with crushed pretzels, hot fudge and caramel sauce… or their popular sea salt fries!