by Claudine Kurp
It has been a hectic summer with a busy 9-year-old and an active toddler. With my husband’s work schedule and a young child that seems to be allergic to travel, I threw my hands up at the idea of an extended vacation. Still, this was my 10-year wedding anniversary and I wanted to do something special for this milestone occasion.
When I secured a sitter for an overnight trip, I started looking into local options for a quick getaway. I considered Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington D.C., and the beautiful Virginia countryside. Through some friends, I discovered a gorgeous destination, Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, VA. After doing some research on the resort, I was a little surprised that this jewel wasn’t more widely known.
With my due diligence complete on hotel options, I booked a room and planned for a dreamy, albeit quick, visit to Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg, Virginia.
Image Credit Salamander Resort & Spa - Downtown Middleburg
One thing that always continues to amaze me about the DC Metro area is just how quickly you can be taken from urban chaos to rural relaxation. That holds true if you have a penchant for Virginia horse country, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Chesapeake Bay, Lake Anna and the lists goes on. In a mere 45 minutes I had escaped the hustle and bustle of Rt. 66 and landed on a tranquil one-lane portion of Rt. 50 heading toward Middleburg, VA. Charming to say the least. I passed the quaint Village of Aldie, replete with gristmills, Civil War era stonewalls and the historic Mount Zion Baptist Church. Be careful, blink and you may miss it.
A few short miles later I was in Middleburg, VA. I love this little town. I have made a few trips to Middleburg in the past. It is beyond charming. Antique shops, stores, restaurants, and art galleries dot the picturesque main street in Middleburg (a.k.a. Washington Street). You feel as though you have traveled for hours to be so far from the sites, sounds, and insanity of the city. For tired city dwellers (myself included) it is an intoxicating feeling. Bonus, the journey was less than hour from Northern Virginia!
The First Impression
Unlike many large resorts that demand an extended trip well outside the city center, Salamander Resort & Spa is less than a mile from Washington Street. Tucked away off Pendleton Street, the resort is within walking distance to nearby shops and restaurants.
As you enter the grounds you are immediately struck by the inviting nature of the property. Set on 340 lush acres in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you are transported away from city life to a calming retreat. Idyllic pastures with grazing horses surround the striking 14,000-square-foot stable. Quick…someone paint this scene! From there you can either continue to the main entrance to drop off your luggage and valet park or simply self-park. Wow, a resort that actually provides free parking, that is a first for me.
As I entered Salamander Resort and Spa, I was struck by how gracious the staff was to every visitor. I could see that guests came in all shapes and sizes. There were corporate clients, a group of women sharing a lunch at the Gold Cup Wine Bar, DC Metro locals that were coming for a spa day as well as happy hotel guests. The doormen, front desk attendants and wait staff treated every guest with 4-star hospitality and outstanding customer service.
The Resort & Accommodations
After gliding through the stately Sundlun Library and inviting resort living room, we had a quick meal at the Gold Cup Bar. I was quickly falling in love. With keys in hand and our bags already in the room, the hubby and I headed to our suite. As I opened the door I got that giddy feeling of pure delight. I squealed as I walked into the Dressage Suite. I looked up to find an official welcome on the TV above the fireplace. I threw myself on the exquisite bed. And what do I see, is that cast iron pedestal tub?
Oh God…please don’t ever make me leave! Before I could fall deeper in love with the room, I looked out the window. The sprawling Grand Lawn, the fire pits surrounded with Adirondack chairs, manicured paths to the deeper trails and a lovely view of the Old Stallion Barn. It all made me swoon. Despite the luxurious digs, I needed to get out and discover the resort.
The Zip Line Experience
Image Credit: Empower Tree Top Zip Tour
Activities and excursions were at the top of my list when researching resorts and hotels. It isn’t often I get time away from my kids, with my husband. I was determined to do something beyond nap and eat.
Salamander Resort & Spa has no shortage of unique and appealing activities. I opted for the Salamander Tree Top Zip Tour by Empower. Nothing like gliding 670 feet through the trees to get your adrenaline going!
To be honest, I was harnessed in and listening to the safety overview before I really thought about the height and distance I would be exposed to for the zip tour. If I had ANY fears they all dissipated when I met my group. My husband and I met an awesome father, son and daughter team that would join us for our outing. The kids were incredible. They showed absolutely no fear! Olivia (7) and Christian (12) embraced the challenge and even asked to go first on some of the lines.
I can’t say enough about the staff at Tree Top Zip Tours by Empower. Chris and Zack at Empower were incredibly knowledgeable and provided a thorough safety overview of the course. They also proved to be a calming influence on the group. We were even given a history lesson at various parts of the trail. It was a great day and an amazing experience. I highly recommend it!
A few notes, use the restroom before you start your tour, there is no turning back. Wear comfortable pants or long shorts. If you have serious fears, voice your concerns before starting on the first line. For me, this was beyond fun and so kid-friendly that I plan on returning with my 9-year-old for a day trip.
After doing my research on Salamander, I knew it was worthy of a blog. How could I not share this property with you? After contacting the resort, the folks at Salamander were gracious enough to offer me a personal tour of the stables. Note, if you are an equestrian enthusiast, I highly recommend asking for a tour. Sheryl Jordan, who runs the equine facility, avails herself to any visitor who wants to learn more about the horses, the stables and the equine programs.
I quickly discovered that Salamander Resort & Spa boasts one of the finest equestrian facilities and equine programs in the country. Set in the grandeur of Virginia horse country, Salamander's equestrian facility has 25 on-site acres dedicated to programs including: Horses 101, Countryside Trail Rides, Mindfulness Trail Rides, Human/Horse Synergy Rides and standard riding lessons for ages 7 and up.
Salamander Resort & Spa has an exceptional equestrian offering for all ages and skill levels. Experienced riders have access to the scenic Virginia countryside and 340 acres on the property. Little ones can enjoy gentle ponies for rides and lessons.
For those not quite ready for a full interactive equine experience, you can opt for a carriage ride. James Houston, experienced English coachman, takes guests on a trip through the quaint town of Middleburg, local horse farms, wineries, and the stunning resort property.
While time did not permit me to experience an equine activity, I am going back in the fall for a carriage ride with my children. I can’t wait to share the property with my kids. What an amazing way to soak up the surroundings!
Kid Trips Northern Virginia Edition
Buy New $12.59
About The Blog
Kid Trips' blogs profile fun events and cool family-friendly venues. We focus on regional and national family travel articles.
Blogs Via Email
Links We Love