I'm awaiting the birth of my best friend's baby any day now, and trying to decide how to make the most of a 3 hour one way drive down to her new home in Aldie, VA to visit when he arrives. I was originally thinking about a stop at the Chantilly Dover while in the area, but I see there are several saddle shops right in Middleburg as well: Saddlery Liquidators, MIddleburg Tack Exchange, and The Tack Box. Do any VA people on here have suggestions as to the quality/value of any of these over Dover? I don't really "need" anything right now, but I'm always keeping an eye out for good deals on breeches, shirts, horse boots, pads, etc., as well as anything new and fancy that catches my eye. I do have 2 Dover retail stores within an hour of my house, and tend to shop online with them or Smartpak for a lot of my purchases. Are stops at any of these Middleburg stores high on anyone's must do list while in the area?
P.S. My best friend is definitely anti-horsey and not the one to ask. Such a waste living in that area!
If you've already got Dovers within a drive of you, I'd skip the Chantilly store, as it's not going to have anything different. If you want to make one stop, your best bet would be driving into Middleburg and hitting The Tack Box and Tack Exchange (which are within a block of one another), and then walking up to the smaller Saddlery Liquidators that's in town.
Thanks! If they're all walking distance from each other, that's even better. Any suggestions for lunch while I'm there?
Middleburg isn't very big, and the whole village is very walkable. If you don't want to parallel park on the street, there's a metered lot behind the church, which is conveniently between the Tack Box and Tack Exchange. Lunch depends on what you want--Market Salamander does good to-order gourmet deli type stuff, of if you want something sit down, there are a few pub type places in town; I like the Red Fox. Or you could drive out a bit further to Upperville and do Hunter's Head, which is fantastic
If you want lighter lunch and good coffee, I highly recommend Common Ground. Red Fox and the French Hound are a little on the $$ side (lunch may be different...I've only been to them in the evening). Hunter's Head is one of my all time favorite places to eat, hands down.
Keep in my the Tack Exchange is consignment. Some interesting things. Worth the cruise through even if you don't need to shopping.
agree w/ yellowbritches post. Frankly I'm not a huge fan of French Hound - it's got great atmosphere but I'm not so gaga over their menu -but all my friends love it so it must be me; Fox's Den is another spot. Red horse is OK inside isn't the best; I would cruise thru middleburg and head to Hunter's head - I prefer it much more over the others; and really if you're interested in a different type of tack store certainly a drive down to Hunt Country in Warrenton would be worth the drive - beautiful store - lots of great houseware/entertaining, good selection of horse books -and lots of country clothes.. another place might be Tri County Feeds which is in Marshall - easy enough drive from Middlleburg. Anytime I've been to Tack Exchange it's been an amusing experience. Saddle liquidators is OK but some good deals there -
The ice cream shop in the summer really hits the spot - AND it supports the humane society.
Don't forget the humane society thrift shop. There's usually a very small selection of tack there. I snagged a set of horse ice boots for $10 (Never used them on the horse so far but they work well on people!)
The Tack Exchange is always my first stop (well, not true - if I'm in Middleburg its because I'm dropping tack off or picking tack up from Journeymans....).
So the Tack Exchange is always my second stop. It's a consignment shop and you just never know when you'll score that $140 Sprenger bit for $70. It's also a great place to shop for little kids riding clothes.
Next on to the Tack Box. Generally higher end tack and goods. Prices on tack (e.g., Edgewood) is right in line with what I can find online (and cheaper than many "popular" online stores). Plus, they are generally well-stocked with bridle pieces. So I can always buy a new crown or smaller cheeks, etc. They can be pricey on stable supplies (hoof oil, shampoos, detangler, etc.).
Saddlery Liquidators is good for hard stable supplies (buckets, feed tubs, muck tubs, forks, etc.). When they have sales, they can be really good on blankets, riding clothes, coats, boots. Their tack is generally lower end but once in a while you can find decent stuff. I've seen some things priced higher there than Dover and others the opposite.
Danks' Deli is the lunch spot of choice for me. You might just run into a certain local movie star, especially during the week. Over the years, I've seen him twice at Danks and twice at the Rail Stop in the Plains.
"I always remember you as quite the desk chair contrarian." APirateLooksAtForty
I second Tri County Feeds. They have a very eclectic gift dept. (mostly horse oriented) that is just fun to browse around. A huge selection of boots, books, bracelets, furniture, etc as well as the usual items for a tack dnd feed store.
Bent Hickory described my itinerary in Middleburg perfectly, except for me the first stop is the Upper Crust to clean them out of Mutton Buttons (shortbread sandwich cookies with chocolate middles...mmmm, butter...)
Originally Posted by Bent Hickory
You might just run into a certain local movie star, especially during the week. Over the years, I've seen him twice at Danks and twice at the Rail Stop in the Plains.
Mr. Duvall, I presume?
Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.