Orange, Virginia, is a little town about thirty miles northeast of Charlottesville, with more than its fair share of rich history and southern charm. Orange has the delights of small town living surrounded by some of the most beautiful Virginia countryside.
To begin with, Orange, Virginia, is the home of James & Dolly Madison’s Montpelier, a stunning home and estate just a few minutes from the center of town. Hailed as the Father of the Constitution for his pivotal role in drafting the United States Constitution and The Bill of Rights, our fourth president set down roots just a few days ride from his good friend and fellow president, Thomas Jefferson.
These days, Montpelier features guided tours of the multiple historic buildings year round and the annual Montpelier Hunt Races in the first week of November. The inspiration for turning the lands into a state of the art Thoroughbred racing and training center came from prior owner Marion duPont Scott, who was an accomplished horsewoman. Her homebred Battleship, a son of the great Man O’War, became the first American owned and bred horse to win the prestigious British Grand National Steeplechase.
A Place to Shop & Eat
In a town with such a long history, it’s no surprise that antique stores are amongst the highest draws for tourists and residents alike. Weekends in Orange, Virginia, see city dwellers come down from D.C. to visit the selection of shops that offer steals and deals on everything to improve the decor of your home and benefit your lifestyle. With an emphasis on Civil War memorabilia as well as relics from World War II, you’ll be astonished what you can find.
Of course we cannot go any further without mentioning the iconic southern cuisine. If there is anything that represents the hospitality of the southern states, it’s food. Just ten minutes down the road you can find the five-star rated BBQ Exchange, which has the best hush puppies and pork platter you can hope to find within a several hour radius. If you’re feeling a little more fancy, Pomme is a authentically french restaurant that delivers a surprisingly high class meal in humble settings.
Getting Outside in Orange, Virginia
Don’t worry, Orange has you covered on wineries and vineyards as well. If you haven’t guessed already, we love enjoying our beautiful natural landscapes along with an excellent glass (or two) of locally produced wine. While Charlottesville may have the bulk of vineyards, Orange has a very respectable eight options just minutes from town.
While you’re there, be sure to check out The Market at Grelen, which combines all of these opportunities into one. With 500 acres and one of Virginia’s largest plant nurseries, the views are stunning as you enjoy locally grown food from the cafe, wine, beer, and cider tastings on Saturdays. Once you visit, you’ll not be surprised to hear that Grelen is also a major wedding destination.
What seems like a sleepy little southern town can often surprise you, and Orange is a prime example. You can enjoy the friendly community and experience some of the best that Virginia has to offer… all within minutes.