Village Cheeseworks: Helping Revive Loudoun’s Local Dairy Industry

Written by Victoria Peace | Photos by Michael Butcher

Village Cheeseworks founders Eric Hilgartner and Kelly Harding know that it takes a village to get high-quality cheese from farm to consumer — that’s why every step of the way, they have partnered with local farms and small businesses in order to deliver a product that is delicious, historic, and community-centric.

Established in 2020, Village Cheeseworks is a joint venture between Hilgartner and Harding. Both partners come from a dairy background, and the pair met while they were helping get another creamery off the ground. Hilgartner has a degree in animal science from Virginia Tech where he completed several classes in dairy management and has previously served as a beef cattle, land management, and farm business consultant. Harding has almost 30 years of experience as a creamery consultant and helps creameries craft recipes, train employees, create protocols, and receive certification from the state.

Hilgartner says that while there were aspects of starting a small business during the midst of a global pandemic that were intimidating, it also presented a huge opportunity. “COVID gave us the chance to work together and pull the trigger,” Hilgartner emphasizes. Hilgartner and Harding took the time to revive an old creamery site in Upperville that had not been used in 15 years, getting it recertified and tailoring it to their specific needs. 

After about a year, they produced their first cheese. The duo initially focused on making soft cheeses because with their shorter expiration date, they were harder to procure during the pandemic due to supply chain pressures. “We wanted people to have access to a really good product at a good price — and this is still what we hang our hat on,” Hilgartner says.

Village Cheeseworks currently partners with several local businesses to distribute their cheese including wineries, breweries, restaurants, and resorts. They offer free delivery and low order minimums to stay small-business friendly.

Village Cheeseworks sources the majority of their milk from Dogwood Farm in Purcellville, Virginia, the last remaining operational dairy farm in Loudoun County. In the 1950s and 1960s, Loudoun County was one of the most prolific per capita dairy farming areas in the world; there are even milk drops lining the border of the Loudoun County flag to symbolize the historic importance of the industry. However, in the decades since, dairy farming in the area has experienced a sharp decline. “We are trying to draw attention to the fact that if we don’t support this, all of this goes away and we don’t get to enjoy it — the visual appeal of driving by and seeing cows and open land and stone walls,” Hilgartner says. 

Hilgartner and Harding are passionate about increasing collaboration in the cheese production process, and getting the raw product to a value-added form that pays everyone along the value chain back a little more than under the traditional system. “We want [value] going back to the farmers, we want it going back to the people adding the value into [cheese] and providing the raw products,” Hilgartner emphasizes.

In honor of Village Cheeseworks’ hyper-local model, many of their cheeses are named after small towns in Hunt Country. “We wanted to put a stamp in the history books to highlight these little towns where all of the historic dairy farming happened,” Hilgartner says. Village Cheeseworks’s offerings include Zulla, a washed rind cheese; Atoka, a soft-ripened cheese; and Round Hill Camembert-style cheese, a nod to the town where Hilgartner grew up and attended high school.

Village Cheeseworks also produces Philomont Feta, named after a local town which is home to a unique, dairy-centric memorial. A plaque located next to the Philomont Country Store honors Round Oak Rag Apple Elevation, a bull raised in Loudoun County whose genetics have influenced 90% of Holstein dairy cows in the world. Hilgartner likens him to the “Genghis Khan” of Holsteins, born and bred right here in Virginia.

Hilgartner’s favorite cheese from Village Cheeseworks is the Zulla. “I love everything about it — if you let it mature to its peak ripening phase, it’s super funky,” he says. The process of making it is definitely a labor of love. Every other day, Hilgartner and Harding have to scour and scrape the cheese with a brine-soaked rag. However, this process results in a rind with a “delightful mouth feel” and a smooth, pâté-like interior.

“Long term, we have visions of collaborating with a lot of other cheese makers to market and distribute and sell dairy products on a broader scale and put the mid-Atlantic on the map,” Hilgartner says when discussing plans for the future. “We’re a very strong agriculture and dairy area. You hear about Vermont, you hear about California, but you don’t hear a lot about Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania. We’d like to draw a little more attention to the unique features of our agriculture systems here and the high quality of our milk and dairy products.” ML

Author’s Note

I had the pleasure of sampling two of Village Cheeseworks’ cheeses when writing this article: the Round Hill Camembert-style cheese and the fresh cow’s cheese with garlic and herbs.

The Round Hill Camembert is incredibly smooth and buttery with a slightly earthy aroma. I can’t wait to bring it to my Twilight Polo tailgates this summer, perhaps accompanied by some prosecco and fig and walnut crackers. The fresh cow’s cheese is light, tangy, and herbaceous, and paired perfectly with a loaf of bread from the farmer’s market for a mid-afternoon snack. 

You can purchase Village Cheeseworks cheese at multiple different locations around Hunt Country, including but not limited to Fields of Athenry Farm Shop, Market Salamander, Market at Bluewater Kitchen, and Great Country Farms. For more information, please visit: villagecheeseworks.com.

Published in the May 2023 issue of Middleburg Life.

Local History: Robert F. O’Neill’s “Small but Important Riots”

Written by Heidi Baumstark

Everyone knows that horses take center stage in Virginia’s Hunt Country. 

But not everyone knows about another “stage” our four-legged friends premiered in during the summer of 1863: war.

In “Small but Important Riots: The Cavalry Battles of Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville,” author Robert F. O’Neill unpacks the details of three cavalry battles in Loudoun County that were part of the Gettysburg Campaign. These battles broke out along an approximate 12-mile stretch of Ashby’s Gap Turnpike (today’s John Mosby Highway) when mounted soldiers clashed in summer 1863 — Aldie (June 17), Middleburg (June 19), and Upperville (June 21).

All three conflicts resulted in Union victories, but Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart maintained an upper hand, sparring with Union commander Alfred Pleasonton as a delay tactic to prevent him from gaining intelligence on Robert E. Lee’s movements. By preventing Federal forces from passing through local mountain gaps, Stuart’s cavalry allowed Lee’s troops to travel north unhindered. 

After all, it’s the cavalry (horse-mounted soldiers) who are the most mobile operating in roles of reconnaissance, screening, and skirmishing. “Cavalry protects the infantry,” explains O’Neill. “That’s one of their jobs. The other is to find the enemy.”

These three clashes took place between the famous battles of Brandy Station in Culpeper County, June 9, 1863 (the largest predominantly cavalry engagement of the entire Civil War, resulting in a Confederate victory), and Gettysburg, July 1–3, 1863, a win for the North. O’Neill points out, “These three cavalry battles were overshadowed by Gettysburg, [which] happened just 10 days later.”

About O’Neill

O’Neill lives in Virginia’s Northern Neck and comes from a distinguished career in law enforcement. His parents instilled a strong interest in reading and history, which led to his study of the Civil War, specifically the Union cavalry in the crucial year of 1863. On his mother’s side, O’Neill has two ancestors who fought in the war. 

O’Neill’s original edition of “Small but Important Riots” was released in 1993, but after gaining access to previously unpublished documents, O’Neill published a second edition in 2023 with an updated narrative and added information from recently discovered letters, diaries, and soldier records. “I think I cited 13 newspapers in the 1993 edition, but with today’s access to digital databases changing the way research is done, I cited 89 newspapers in this 2023 edition,” he says. After 30 years of searching the National Archives for records pertaining to the Civil War, O’Neill’s findings have significantly advanced the understanding of these three cavalry battles. 

The origin of O’Neill’s book title comes from U.S. Infantry Captain John W. Ames, who was in the area on June 21, 1863. From Aldie, he heard cavalry fighting around Upperville (about 12 miles west of Aldie), and listened to the battle throughout the day, later explaining that the cavalry was fighting “small but important riots.”

“Though Ames is away from the firing,” O’Neill says, “they heard cannon and found out it was the cavalry fighting…. There were a series of skirmishes during that day [June 21, 1863] that surrounded Upperville itself; Goose Creek Bridge is one of those areas.”

The Three Cavalry Battles

According to published records, Pleasonton’s superiors — President Lincoln, U.S. Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, and army commander Joseph Hooker — ordered Pleasonton to search for Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia who was heading into the Shenandoah Valley, north toward the Potomac River, and into Pennsylvania. “Hooker’s objective was to save Washington — the capital — from attack,” O’Neill explains. “Hooker was to send his cavalry out to look for Lee. But, Pleasanton disobeyed Hooker’s orders; I found documents that prove this.”

As cavalry commander, Stuart had the whole width of the Loudoun Valley to keep Federal forces away from Lee. Pleasanton was not to take his cavalry into the Loudoun Valley, but he did. And when Pleasonton and Stuart run into each other, that’s what leads to these three cavalry battles in June 1863.

Stuart was in the little mill village of Aldie when fighting broke out on Wednesday, June 17, at a sharp curve on Snickersville Turnpike. A stone monument commemorating the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry stands nearby, honoring those who fought at the Battle of Aldie. “It was erected by survivors of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry; they suffered many heavy losses there,” O’Neill says.

An aspect of the Battle of Middleburg that has always been a mystery was its exact location. On June 17, French-American Union soldier Alfred Napoléon Duffié led his regiment into the Loudoun Valley, where they would ultimately perish. Having found a letter referring to the death of one of Duffié’s officers, O’Neill’s book at long last reveals the circumstances of their defeat. “Based on the information in that letter and further research, I was able to pinpoint where that battle was fought,” he explains. “Duffié, coming into Middleburg on the night of the 17th, was attacked, driven out of town, and retreated south. On the morning of the 18th he’s attacked again; that’s when his officer was killed. Duffié was coming into Middleburg via The Plains Road.”

Severe fighting broke out about one mile west of the village of Middleburg, near a cluster of 19th-century stone buildings still standing at what is now Mt. Defiance Historic Park. On Friday, June 19, the Battle of Middleburg enveloped the area around the blacksmith shop at the intersection of the old Zulla roadbed and John Mosby Highway. The Union’s 1st Maine Cavalry were fighting dismounted from their horses, and the outnumbered Confederates were almost overrun. A stone monument dedicated to the bravery of the 1st Maine Cavalry stands on the grounds of Mt. Defiance, and in the old Zulla roadbed stands a 12-pound Napoleon howitzer cannon that Confederates used as a defensive position. 

Stacked stone walls, still visible today, bordering Mt. Defiance provided cover for Union and Confederate soldiers along both sides of the old turnpike. In the evening of June 19, a storm rolled in, ending the Battle of Middleburg, which resulted in about 400 casualties. Churches became hospitals, including Aldie’s Mt. Zion Church, where graffiti by soldiers can still be seen on the walls. 

The Battle of Upperville occurred on the afternoon of Sunday, June 21, ending five days of cavalry engagements along Ashby’s Gap Turnpike including the area of the Goose Creek Bridge, which spans the waters of Goose Creek in four arches. Northern and Southern cavalry brigades totaling about 6,000 men with horse artillery clashed that afternoon in Upperville across the Ayrshire and Kirkby farms, between Trappe and Greengarden roads.

“That fight has been interpreted several different ways over the years,” O’Neill adds. “The owner of Kirkby Farm allowed me to walk the property and I was able to sort out that battle, as well.” Kirkby Farm was also the site of the Battle of Unison, which occurred months earlier, November 1–3, 1862. The farm is now permanently protected by a conservation easement with the Old Dominion Land Conservancy located in Purcellville.

By the night of June 21, almost a week’s worth of fighting resulted in fatigued and injured mounts, dwindling supplies, and high casualties on both sides. Just 10 days later, the Battle of Gettysburg (July 1–3, 1863) would break out. 

160 Years Later

In commemoration of the 160th anniversary of these three cavalry battles, NOVA Parks is teaming up with the Virginia Piedmont Heritage Area to provide a weekend program June 17 to 18. The weekend will include a family-friendly living history program at Mt. Zion Church in Aldie and guided tours at Mt. Defiance, and an all-day bus tour on June 17 will be led by VPHA Historian Emeritus Rich Gillespie. 

On June 18, O’Neill will present a talk on his second edition of “Small but Important Riots” at Buchanan Hall in Upperville. The event concludes with a book signing and a beer and wine reception. 

NOVA Parks Site Manager Tracy Gillespie, who invited O’Neill to speak, adds, “Bob’s book is extraordinary. He has shared a lifetime of learning through this narrative, which has been described as a ‘tactical study’ of the cavalry battles, but it’s so much more than that. It’s storytelling at its best!”

“Thirty years ago, there was no parkland there; it was all private property,” O’Neill points out. “But now we have Mt. Defiance Park and lots of other land placed in easements by folks who live out there.”

Reflecting on his research, O’Neill concludes, “Years ago, I met the late John Divine,” a nationally recognized authority on the Civil War and a native of the early 18th-century village of Waterford in Loudoun. “In 1980, John took me to the Route 50 corridor and explained what he understood about those battles. He suggested I try to write a book on it. I had never set out to do that, but one thing led to another. And I did. I hope that in 10 years someone else will take the story even further.”

Thanks to O’Neill and his dedication to research, we can learn more about these important cavalry battles and their role in the Civil War. And thanks to dedicated preservation efforts by NOVA Parks and other organizations, we can witness the fields and drive the roads where cavalrymen — and their proven steeds — changed history.

More information about the June 17 bus tour (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) beginning at Mt. Zion Historic Park (40309 John Mosby Highway, Aldie, Virginia) and the June 18 (2 to 4 p.m.) lecture by O’Neill at Buchanan Hall in Upperville can be found at VPHA’s website at piedmontheritage.org. Information on O’Neill’s book and his other publications and articles in historical magazines can be found at smallbutimportantriots.com. ML

Published in the May 2023 issue of Middleburg Life.

2023 Virginia Gold Cup Hat Contest

Written by Kaitlin Hill
Photos by Callie Broaddus

On Saturday, May 6, Middleburg Life was honored to return to Virginia Gold Cup to judge the annual hat contest. The beautiful weather with no shortage of sunshine made for an impressive selection of hats and fascinators from which to choose. See scenes from a wonderful day at the races captured by ML photographer Callie Broaddus below, and a list of the hat contest winners at the end.

Most Glamorous or Elegant:  Maranda Smith
Best Racing Theme: Frazer Hendrick
Funniest or Most Outrageous: Ann Franzese
Best Child’s Hat: Riley Whitley
Best Men’s Hat: Wesley Harris

Posted on May 20, 2023

Upperville Market Extends Dining Space and Offerings

Indoor dining, private event space, and expanded menu.

UPPERVILLE, VA — After operating as a full-service catering and event company since 2013, and opening the Market at Bluewater Kitchen in 2019, the farm-to-table establishment is answering the call of the community with requested expansions and enhancements to their operation. These include additional on-site dining, a more diverse menu offering, and easier shopability of curated goods, including high quality seafood and meats, plus other ways to experience the combined cutlery and hospitality talents of the Bluewater Kitchen team.

The Market’s second floor houses a newly renovated indoor dining space. The casual operation offers hot lunch Tuesdays through Sundays with limited service, and transforms into a quaint, full-service restaurant for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays. On-site guests dine with real china, silver, and glassware, and can now experience alcoholic beverage pairings with the meals, highlighting partnerships with local vineyards and breweries. Wine and beer may be consumed on the main Market property, which includes the front patio and upper floor. New highlights off the menu include:

Oysters on the Half Shell
pickled pearl onion, mignonette, fennel

Prime Steak
chef’s choice, grilled, seasonal vegetable, sauce robért

Chickpea Tart (V)
spring vegetables, baba ghanoush, tomato, garlic

The neighboring cobblestone building, formerly housing the Market’s selections of fresh caught seafood and local meats, is now available to rent as a private event space, in addition to seating Market patrons who choose to dine on-site. The space has a total capacity of 50 for social style receptions, and 40 for sit-down dinners, making it the perfect intimate, boutique space for engagement parties, baby showers, milestone events, corporate luncheons, or private dinners. Food and beverage minimums required to reserve the space vary seasonally. When not occupied, the space will house Bluewater Kitchen’s full-service event headquarters and rental studio, and be utilized for Market events, such as Sunday Supper Clubs and other culinary experiences with hyper-local partners.

In conjunction with the Market’s expansions, the business is refocusing its product line of locally sourced, high-quality goods. Keeping customer at the forefront of the remodel, the storefront will flow to create a cohesive shopping list for each customer. Entertaining needs, breakfast staples, fresh produce, prepared meals and beverage pairings, and fresh caught seafood and local meats are all offerings of the Market, which are now more easily accessible to shoppers in the main Market building.

By embracing the community’s requests with these enhancements, the Market is ready to better serve Upperville and the surrounding area. Marketing Manager Sabrina Trout raves about the new additions: “After watching Bluewater grow throughout the past year, it’s beyond exciting to see the fully realized vision of an elevated, daily farmer’s market come to fruition. You can really shop, dine, and support your community all in one place, and that’s the Market at Bluewater Kitchen.”

The Market at Bluewater Kitchen
9036 John S. Moseby Highway
Upperville, VA 20184

Photos courtesy of Sabrina Trout.

Posted: April 10, 2023

Luxurious Littleton Farm in Upperville’s Hunt Country

33846 Foxlease Ln, Upperville, VA 20184
Offered at $8,300,000
10 BD | 9/3 BA | 11,230  SQFT | 153 AC
MLS # VALO432996

Welcome to the luxurious Littleton Farm on 153+/- glorious acres* in Upperville’s Hunt Country, part of the historical Piedmont hunt! 

This premier estate is an equine and entertainer’s paradise offering in the main house 10 bedrooms, 9 full bathrooms, and 3 half bathrooms, 3 tenant houses/apartments with a total of 9 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. 2 horse barns (12 stalls / 17 stalls), 4 run-in sheds (3 large include feed rooms, tack rooms, and extra stalls), 1 machine shed, a 6 bay garage, 1 riding ring with competitive footing, multiple fenced paddocks with automatic waterers, 2 silos with rolling hills, a lighted helipad, and trails to ride out. 

The main home offers grand living and entertaining spaces with soaring ceilings, unique and inviting gathering areas, and breathtaking views of Hunt Country’s finest land. Upon entry, you are welcomed into the living room with stunning exposed beams, 2 massive fireplaces, and patio access with views of the impeccable grounds. From the living room, flow into the guest wing or main living wing through sun-drenched hallways. The guest wing offers 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and 1 half bath. 

The main living wing of the home includes a cozy library with a fireplace, with 1 bedroom and 1 full bathroom above, 2 half bathrooms, a formal dining room, a commercial-grade kitchen, and a mudroom. Directly above the dining and kitchen area are a laundry room, 2 bedrooms, and 2 full bathrooms. Relax and unwind in the Primary Suite showcasing sweeping views from 3 balconies, offering a fireplace, a walk-in closet with ample built-ins, a bathroom with a soaking tub and standing shower, as well as a sitting room. 

Family and friends will love the extravagant theater room with a bar located in the basement. In total, the main home offers 7 bedrooms, 6 full bathrooms, 3 half bathrooms, and 7 fireplaces. 

A few hundred feet from the main home is the 60 feet pool, and a pool house complete with a steam room, large gym, 1 bedroom, and 1 full bathroom, and a stone house with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths above and a 4-car garage underneath. 

The first tenant home (in close proximity to the small barn) has 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, a large basement used as a playroom, and an attached but separate apartment with 2 bedrooms and a full bathroom. 

The second tenant home (located close to the pool house) is stone-built with 2 separate apartments, each with 2 bedrooms and 2 full baths. The third tenant home is an apartment with 2 bedrooms and 1 full bathroom, located above the main garage and next to an office. 

Additionally, there are multiple outdoor living spaces perfect for parties! Jacques Wertz, the world-famous Belgium landscape garden designer, was the inspiration for landscape design. Wertz is known for his signature “clouds” of beautiful boxwood creating green architecture. The boxwoods, weeping Kastura and extensive vegetable garden are a true delight. What’s more is the lovely lake, stream and waterfall features. 

The property is in Open Space Easement. *The final acreage is subject to pending boundary line adjustment. Littleton Farm is conveniently located 38 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport, and 52 miles from our nation’s capital.

Be sure to see this link for video, floorplans, and additional photos.

Listed by
Peter Pejacsevich | Principal Broker + Managing Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 


Scott Buzzelli | Associate Broker + Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 

Stunning Brick Colonial on 53+ Acres in Prestigious Greystone

1294 Greystone Rd  | Upperville, VA
Offered at $2,900,000
5 BD | 4/2 BA | 7,538 SQFT | 53.91 AC
MLS # VAFQ2004686

Welcome to 1294 Greystone Road! This stunning brick colonial sits on 53+ gorgeous acres in prestigious Greystone. Throughout this charming five bedroom, four bath, custom-built home you’ll find pristine craftsmanship and detailing in every room. The 7500+/- sq ft boasts high ceilings, gleaming wood floors, a bright sunroom, and a main level primary suite with its own sitting room and back patio access. Outside, amongst the sprawling acreage, take in the mountain views, fenced pastures, lush woodlands, Virginia’s rolling hills & a private pond. A fully renovated barn (2018/2019) provides a workshop and entertaining space above.

Be sure to see this link for video, floorplans, and additional photos.

Listed by
Peter Pejacsevich | Principal Broker + Managing Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 


Scott Buzzelli | Associate Broker + Partner
[email protected]
Licensed in VA
Middleburg Real Estate 

The Best of Antiquing In and Around Hunt Country

Written by Shayda Windle

Shopping in Hunt Country is a bit different than elsewhere. When people visit, they are looking for something unique and one-of-a-kind; something that speaks to the history of the area. One could argue that the retail options that best showcase this heritage are the many and much-loved antique shops in Hunt Country. In that spirit, here are some local favorites offering their take on heirloom treasures. As you navigate the antique scene, be sure to take the time to look around — you never know what hidden gems you might find.

Middleburg Antique Gallery & Antiques on Washington St.

With its treasure trove of fox hunting and horse racing-themed antiques, Middleburg Antique Gallery has been a staple of the Hunt Country antique scene for the past three decades. As owner Linda Mason says, there’s “something for everyone here.” Last year, Mason and Lisa Vella, co-owners of Baileywyck in The Plains, joined forces to open Antiques on Washington, an extension of the two shops. Mason and Vella each have distinct tastes when it comes to antiques which allows patrons to find a little bit of everything at Antiques on Washington including French provincial, Swedish furnishings, American antiques, home goods, and fine art. Mason says, “It’s a little bit old and new here. I like the fun stuff, the things that are a little bit different. We work with local artists and go to auctions. Lisa gets things from all over the world.” Fresh inventory is arriving all the time, so be sure and stop by — both stores are located right on Washington Street in Middleburg.

Middleburg Antique Gallery: 107 W. Washington St, Middleburg, Virginia 20117, 540-687-8680
Antiques on Washington: 3 W. Washington St, Middleburg, Virginia 20117, 540-687-8680

Marshall Curated

The small town of Marshall has a number of antique and consignment shops to visit, and Marshall Curated is a local favorite. With 14 permanent vendors and over 100 consignors, the shop is more of a “museum” than anything else according to owner Rosanna Funiciello. Though she constantly moves merchandise in and out of the shop, her vendors are a carefully selected group of antiques dealers, decorators, and creatives that offer a variety of vintage and new home furnishings and gifts. She adds, “I feel like an ambassador for these vintage pieces. I help to convey their story and give them renewed purpose. At the heart of it, we are recyclers of beautiful and useful things.” Marshall Curated is open Thursday through Monday, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also check them out on Instagram at @MarshallCurated.

8371 W Main St, Marshall, Virginia 20115, 571-921-0356

Mercer Tavern Antiques
This popular antique shop in the village of Aldie is filled with 19th and 20th-century furniture, paintings, baskets, china, and much more. Originally built in 1939, the little white house has had its share of facelifts over the years. Roughly 30 years ago, owner Mary Ann Withers decided to transform the tavern into an antique shop. And in 2020, she renovated the store inside and out. Each week, she brings in new items and posts them on Instagram and Facebook. Withers shares, “Everything I source is within an hour radius of Aldie so what you see here are local products [from] online auctions, live auctions, and getting called to go into people’s houses locally.” Withers and her husband Tucker also own nearby Little River Inn which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month. Mercer Tavern Antiques is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, follow the shop’s Instagram at @mercertavernantiques.

39359 John Mosby Hwy, Aldie, Virginia 20105, 703-618-3169

Vintage Marshall

Vintage Marshall is the latest antique store to hit Hunt Country territory. The shop, which opened in February, is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Julien and Cassandra Lacaze who were previously vendors at Marshall Curated. “We both love wine, travel, and all things vintage and wanted to bring that concept to Marshall,” Julien Lacaze shares. He frequently travels to France to source vintage and antique furniture and home decor items directly, which are then shipped to the store in Marshall. They also offer wine for a unique twist. Lacaze says, “We recently picked a wine from Buzet, which many people are not familiar with, but this is the same region where we are picking most of the French [antique] finds. We wanted to incorporate wine with the furniture, and that’s why we chose the name Vintage. It can refer to items that are older or it can refer to the year in which a wine was made.” Stop in to see them in person for a fabulous French furnishing or glass of wine and be sure to check their Instagram at @Vintagemarshallva.

4238 Frost St, Marshall, Virginia 20115, 540 454-2000

Red Schoolhouse Antiques

Red Schoolhouse Antiques in Millwood, Virginia, has been in business for 32 years. Owners Lorraine and Robin Murray live on their farm in Scotland and stock the store with their unique finds sourced from all over Europe. Manager Mary Kinnie and Associate Dealer Troy Pittenger work on-site warmly welcoming antique seekers. The shop is known for its traditional and contemporary furniture and accessories. Lorraine, who grew up in Clarke County, comments, “I love coming back to Virginia. It’s the best of both worlds — bonnie Galloway in Scotland and gorgeous Hunt Country, Virginia. Seeing friends old and new adds to the enjoyment of every visit.” Find them on Instagram at @redschoolhouseantique.

1014 Bishop Meade Rd, Millwood, Virginia 22646, 540-837-3033

JPN Antiquities

Patrick Newell, owner of JPN Antiquities in Warrenton, began buying and selling antiques in college while pursuing his business degree. He recalls, “I realized I could do something [relating to antiques] with my degree so I opened up a store in Old Town, Alexandria.” Since its early days in Old Town, JPN Antiquities has held several locations throughout Northern Virginia and now calls Warrenton home. Right across the street from Horse Country in Warrenton, the tiny shop boasts “offbeat and funky” pieces devoted to horses, foxes, cows, and chickens. Newell also sells his antiques online through Facebook and Instagram and updates his shop daily with new items. You can find his store on Instagram at @jpn_antiquities, on Facebook at @thepaupergentleman, and on Etsy using this link: etsy.com/shop/thepaupergentleman. ML

17 Horner St, Warrenton, Virginia 20186, 540-219-1952

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

A National Campaign and Local Effort for Greener Horseshows 

Written by Kaitlin Hill 

More than historic, the site of the Upperville Colt & Horse show is undeniably green. The sloping lawns, towering hundred-plus year-old trees, and the familiar evergreen paint on nearly every structure all contribute to a feeling of being one with nature upon entering the gates of the showground. And in recent years, there have been efforts to make Upperville even greener by operating the show with environmental impact in mind, led by a national campaign called Green is the New Blue and aided by local efforts supporting the cause. 

Founded by amateur equestrian Stephanie Riggio Bulger, Green is the New Blue (GNB) partners with horse shows across the country to reduce the impact of equestrian events can on the planet. Emily Cleland of GNB shares, “With year-round horse show circuits available to us, we are such a transient population. And in the effort to get from show to show, we just don’t realize the amount of waste we produce, especially in the form of plastics: supplement tubs, shavings bags, twine, water bottles… just for one horse and rider, it really adds up.” 

As the oldest horse show in the nation, it seems appropriate that Upperville was also Green is the New Blue’s original partner. Cleland says, “Upperville was actually our very first horse show partner!” She adds, “Its management team has made such a commitment to the future with their forward-thinking approaches to sustainability.” 

Caitlin Lane, executive director of Upperville Horse Shows, LLC notes, “We have been working with Green is the New Blue for a few years to develop a sustainability program. We’ve been brainstorming with them on how to expand the program and get more people involved, more sponsors.” 

For this year’s show, the team at UCHS and GNB connected with Maria Eldredge and Anne McIntosh of Middleburg Real Estate and Atoka Properties. Lane shares, “In talking with Middleburg Real Estate, we put forward the idea that we wanted to add these hydration stations and it would be something new this year.” 

Coincidentally, Eldredge explains, “Middleburg Real Estate had just come up with a new program where, as agents, if we wanted to sponsor something we could, and we’re trying to do more locally.” A single-use to reusable convert herself, Eldredge jumped the idea of sponsoring the hydration stations and partnered with McIntosh and Middleburg Real Estate to cover the $10,000 project. She says, “Instead of selling thousands of [single-use] plastic bottles, there will be tents set up with bamboo cups. You can refill your water bottle and there will be bigger jugs of water.” 

This latest initiative is one of many that Upperville has adopted to reduce its environmental impact. Lane says, “We are doing wider facility recycling. We’ve been able to recycle the shavings bags which is a big source of plastic for us. We are trying to work on where the manure goes after an event, how it can be reused.” She adds, “We’re really looking at how we can be more sustainable. It’s deliberate choices on what products we can use and how we can set things up to reduce our footprint…Ideally, we are helping spread [the idea] to other events across the country.” 

Cleland adds, “We want to see horse shows and facilities adopt initiatives that are reasonably actionable in their geographic areas. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ — some municipalities simply don’t have recycling programs for show organizers to utilize, for instance. Some facilities have the means to tackle issues like erosion and water runoff that other facilities don’t. That said, recently we’ve been inspired by the horse shows like UCHS that have substantially cut their use of single-use plastics by committing to water refill stations with compostable cups. That choice alone produces exponentially less plastic waste.”

In addition to national campaigns and locally sponsored programs, an impact can be made on an individual level too. Cleland says, “Make a habit out of bringing your own refillable water bottle to horse shows and everywhere you go! Be vocal! Let your horse show organizers and venue managers know that sustainable practices are important to you.” 

As horses, trainers, and spectators show up June 6 through 12 to enjoy the 169th Upperville Colt & Horse Show, they will take part in the new green legacy of this historic event, as Cleland says, “to preserve our planet for generations of equestrians to come.” ML

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

History on Display at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show

Written by Bill Kent
Photos by Michael Butcher 

Ask anyone within 50 miles of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show what it’s like and you’ll hear of great things. After all, the show has been going on for 169 years.

However, this year, America’s oldest show has a new designation. After more than two years of research and advocacy, Upperville is now the only showground on the National Register of Historic Places.

It can be argued that one can’t go anywhere in and around Middleburg without finding a significant connection to history. The inclusion of the Grafton Farm showgrounds on the register honors the importance of horses and the equestrian arts in the larger story of our country, as well the 1,800 horses and even more people from all over the world who will come to the region to compete this month.

Maral Kalbian, the historic preservation consultant whose application to the National Park Service won the show its registry status, credits Huntland equestrian, philanthropist, Canon, and 17th Baroness of Lochiel, Scotland, Dr. Betsee Parker’s support for the application. “Dr. Parker was the prime mover. I know that the community has wanted official recognition for quite a long time, but without Dr. Parker, it wouldn’t have happened.”

Kalbian calls the seven-day show, which begins June 6, “a jewel of a resource to have in your own backyard.” She adds, “It makes you appreciate where you are and how absolutely important the horse has been in our history.”

As an architectural historian who savors the old and the interesting, Kalbian says she fell in love with the show’s Grafton Farm site (about two miles east of Upperville on the south side of Route 50) on her first visit when she noticed “how free it was of intrusions. With just about any structure that has survived to this century, you’re going to find changes, upgrades, modern touches. You see almost none of them at Grafton Farm. If you sit in the grandstand at Grafton Farm as I did, and you look out onto the immediate surroundings and take in the unquestionably beautiful natural hills, you get a profound feeling of tradition. You don’t need much imagination to connect what’s going on right now all the way back to the time it began.”

“If you sit in the grandstand at Grafton Farm as I did, and you look out onto the immediate surroundings and take in the unquestionably beautiful natural hills, you get a profound feeling of tradition.”

– Kalbian

That’s not exactly how Olympic gold medal winner and Hall of Fame member Joseph “Joe” Fargis IV remembers his first time at Grafton Farm. “I was 12 years old and it was raining and there was mud everywhere. I was knee-deep in it and enjoying it.”

Now 74, Fargis is the president of the show and is still a leading figure in show jumping. He notes that while some things have changed, others have remained the same. “We’ve upgraded the footing so the horses can have [the] best possible surfaces to move around on, but we haven’t been able to fix the weather. When it rains, everyone feels it.”

They also feel a closeness that is not common at other horse shows. “This is the gathering of a tremendous extended family. We’re all very proud of our horses and how long this show has lasted,” Fargis says.

And there’s one thing that everyone loves, rain or shine, no matter how the competition shakes out. “It’s the oak grove. Some of these trees are quite old. Some we’ve replaced over the years with donations. You go out and stand there in the shade and look around, see your friends and family. It’s like coming home.”

The Grafton Farm oak grove is that rarest place in horse shows: a place of common ground where everyone — former and future Olympic riders, first-timers, and old-timers — meet and greet.

Among those whom you might find in the grove is Barbara Riggs, a former competitor who is now part of a group of 150 Upperville volunteers. These individuals do everything from bringing breakfast to the barns to acting as concierge for any last minute needs of the show’s participants. 

“If you’re coming to the show for the first time, every day has something interesting and exciting going on.”

– Riggs

“If you’re coming to the show for the first time, every day has something interesting and exciting going on,” Riggs advises. “But there are two events you really can’t miss. The Sunday Grand Prix, which is the top competition with the best riders and the biggest prize, and the Saturday lead-line event where you see children on ponies who may be showing for their first time. The kids you see on the ponies now are the same ones who will come back as competitors later.”

One such former lead-line participant is saddle-maker and leather designer Dorothy “Punkin” Lee. She started in the lead-line class and is now in her 25th year as a volunteer. “This show gets into you like no other show anywhere. The lead-liners come back as competitors, and the competitors become volunteers. Once you’re part of it, it’s hard to let a year go by without coming back, seeing friends and family, and serving and helping the horses. It began for the horses and it’s stayed that way ever since.”

Helping and caring for horses — in this case a struggling colt with nearly frozen feet — inspired Colonel Richard Henry Dulany to hold the very first show back in 1853. Though horses had been a fixture of country fairs previously, Dulany’s Upperville gathering was devoted to improving the care of horses and celebrating what horses can do, not just in Virginia, but throughout the emerging American nation. “And we try to keep it that way,” says Tommy Lee Jones, a third generation equestrian who has managed Upperville’s show since 1982. “[The show] is unique because of its placement — you feel you’re at a farm, out in the country, and not in a stadium or arena — and the people who have made it what it is, who have given it so much time, effort, and support. Go to the Wall of Honor and you can see some of the names of those who have come before. For every name up there, there are thousands more that have been part of it.” ML

This article first appeared in the June 2022 Issue.

Ali Wolff Comes Full Circle for Upperville Colt & Horse Show with $25,000 Platinum Championship Grand Prix Win at Palm Beach Masters

Feb. 7, 2019 | Wellington, Fla. –

As America’s longest running horse show, the Upperville Colt & Horse Show (UCHS) has helped launch the careers of many young equestrian athletes across the nation since its inception in 1853.

In June 2018, Ali Wolff captured the biggest win of her career in the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4, sponsored by Lugano Diamonds and Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Smith, aboard Casall. Coming full circle, Wolff took home first place on Saturday afternoon in the $25,000 Platinum Championship Grand Prix, presented by UCHS, at the CP Palm Beach Masters Winter Classic CSI4-W.

Ali Wolff and HH Venice Beach accepting their awards on Saturday with Joe Fargis (left) on behalf of the Upperville Colt & Horse Show and Lou Jacobs (right), co-founder of the Palm Beach Masters Series.

“This class was sponsored by Upperville so I’d like to think there’s some relation!” said Wolff after her win. “It’s phenomenal when horse shows can support other horse shows. [The Palm Beach Masters Series and UCHS] are two outstanding horse shows, and the fact that Upperville is still going as strong as ever is really an indication of the management and the work that they do there.”

Coincidentally, Cormac Hanley finished in second place on Saturday behind Wolff riding Copain Z, and was also the third place finisher at the 2018 UCHS in the $216,000 Upperville Jumper Classic CSI4*.

Wolff has competed at UCHS for the past two years, making it a regular stop on her summer competition calendar, and she looks forward to once again returning in 2019.

Ali Wolff and HH Venice Beach.

“I love [Upperville] and that facility,” said Wolff. “It’s a great horse show and I can’t say enough about it!”

To learn more about the Upperville Colt & Horse Show, please click here.