You’ll find lots to love about Fauquier County. In fact, there’s so much to see and do in Fauquier County, you’ll be able to fill a weekend, or more. Whether you’re into antiquing, touring farms or visiting farm stores, biking its scenic byways or there to enjoy the wine from one of the 27 wineries in the area, you’ll enjoy your time. You’ll also find comfortable and relaxing accommodations and great food! The rural county in Northern Virginia is a great weekend getaway destination for those in the Washington – Baltimore metro area.
1. Enjoy the Region’s Wines
Virginia has a well deserved reputation for making excellent wines, and Fauquier County is right in the mix. We didn’t have time to check out all of Fauquier County’s 27 wineries, but we did get to visit Arterra Winery, a gorgeous winery nestled in the woods near Delaplane. Arterra specializes in clean wines, i.e., those created with a native yeast. Arterra’s “Virginia style” wines range from sweet to dry, with a variety of both spectrums in red and white.
The outdoor seating area is under many canopy trees, which gives the feeling of enjoying wine in the forest, unique among wineries. In fact, it’s the setting and the land itself that inspire owners Jason Murray and Sandy Gray-Murray. They pour their hearts and their art into Arterra.
Everything at the winery reflects their values and passion for wine, art and the land. You’ll see this reflected in Jason’s dedication to making clean wines, which are harder and more unpredictable than other types, and in Sandy’s pottery. Sandy uses leaves from the winery grounds to inspire and form her artwork.
2. Tour a Wagyu Farm
Ovoka Farm specializes in Wagyu, a type of beef native to Japan known for its excellent taste and marbling. Beyond the beef (which you must try, if you haven’t before), the farm itself is typical of the region’s scenic farmland. Ovoka offers farm tours and Wagyu tastings, during which you get to meet and interact with Wagyu cattle while learning about their sustainable farming practices.
Because we were a small, private group, we got to drive up, into and through the forested mountains on the farm’s trails, stopping at the very top of Paris Mountain to take in the incredible view. If you’re looking for a place to stay while exploring Fauquier County, then consider renting the new and very comfortable cabin on the farm. I did not want to leave!
3. Go Ghost Hunting
Today, the old jail buildings house the Fauquier County Historical Society Museum. The museum documents not only the history of the old jail itself, but also county and local history. My favorite part of the museum are the recreated rooms of a barber and a dentist — the way they were way back when.
But, as you might guess, the museum, is very, VERY haunted!
In fact, visitors, volunteers and museum staff have reported multiple experiences. Playful ghost children perform pranks. Some have seen full body apparitions and shadow figures lurking in the cells. And of course, like many old buildings, folks have heard the usual footsteps, knockings and bangs.
Investigate the paranormal at the Old Jail, either through one of the museum’s sponsored ghost hunts or rent out the entire jail for your own private paranormal investigation. Read more about that here.
4. Browse Quaint Boutiques
Fauquier County offers multiple quaint towns to explore, but we recommend starting with Warrenton and Marshall, both of which have friendly main streets with multiple boutique and antique stores to browse. My favorite, no lie, is Latitudes, a cute boutique in Warrenton offering fair-trade decor and clothing. I’ve purchased two of my favorite outfits there!
Warrenton is a historic town that began as a trading post in the 1790s at the crossroads of the Falmouth-Winchester and Alexandria-Culpeper roads. There’s tons of history in and around Warrenton, including Civil War history.
5. Eat at Top-Rated Restaurants
There are several delicious restaurants that need to be on your bucket list. Let’s start with Field & Main in Marshall. This charming upscale restaurant serves Southern-inspired dishes featuring the seasonal foods (as much as possible). The building is wonderfully old (and is lightly haunted, in case you’re into that). If you’re interested in trying Wagyu burgers, this is the place to go!
Just across the street from Field & Main is the Red Truck Bakery. This Fauquier County favorite is a country bakery and café offering breakfast, sandwiches, sweets and more. Check out owner Brian Noyes’ cookbooks for recipes for his scrumptious pies (or better yet, purchase them at the bakery or order online). We sampled the breakfast sandwiches, oatmeal and cranberry cookies, cranberry apple muffins (yummy!), apple pies and maple-bacon donuts. Oh yeah, the granola is to die for, so make sure you grab a bag of that too! Discover for yourself what Noyes’ favorite desert is (hint: the bakery specializes in pies). If you get a chance to chat with Noyes, ask him how his take on Eudora Welty’s eggnog recipe, except in cake form, is coming along!
Warrenton also offers excellent restaurants, such as Denim & Pearls (although there’s a Red Truck Bakery there as well)! Denim & Pearls features rustic Italian dishes with an American flare. I particularly enjoyed a delicious butternut squash ravioli while looking out on the quaint main street of the town.
Know Before You Go
During our visit to Fauquier County, we stayed at the lovely Airlie resort and conference center. Tucked into the rolling hills of Fauquier County, just outside of Warrenton, Airlie used to be an idyllic escaped reserved for presidents and politicians.
Before serving as a resort for the powerful and the rich, Airlie was the home of Harry Groome, and the main house was built in 1899, although it was destroyed by fire in 1824, and the building replaced with the neo-colonial style building that now serves as the offices and entrance to Airlie’s restaurant.
Now this historic hotel can serve as your relaxing get-away from the frenetic pace of our bustling lives. With extensive grounds to explore, including several fishing lakes, trails and 120-year old formal gardens, you’ll have plenty of space to unwind and rejuvenate.