Christmas in Middleburg

Middleburg’s annual Christmas celebration is the perfect way to celebrate the holiday and horses in beautiful Virginia hunt country!

by Jocelyn Pierce

I set off to explore the hunt country capital for the annual Christmas tradition, which took place from December 4-6 this year.

Christmas in Middleburg Sign

Middleburg, Virginia is a horse person’s mecca. The small, 18th century village, filled with quaint shops and charming inns and restaurants has a storied equestrian history. Since the early 1900s, steeplechasing and foxhunting were popular in Middleburg, which was quickly named the “Nation’s Horse and Hunt Capital.” In addition to the air of equestrianism throughout the town, Middleburg has antique shops, fine dining, and great lodging all located in Virginia’s premier wine region.

Christmas in Middleburg Hunt and Hounds

Photo by Kari Bowman/Salamander Resort & Spa

Every year, tens of thousands of people flock to Middleburg--the perfect setting for Christmas festivities. I stopped by on Saturday, which out of the three days, had the most activities scheduled.

Perhaps the most exciting and iconic event at Christmas in Middleburg is the Middleburg Hunt and Hounds Review. Riders in red coats, horses, and hounds paraded down Washington St. as excited spectators looked on. The Middleburg Hunt, which has been around since 1906, headed through the crowd and out to the Virginia hills for a day of foxhunting. The excitement and anticipation of the hunt set the tone for the day.

Christmas in Middleburg Hunt Salamander

Photo by Kari Bowman/Salamander Resort & Spa

Many of the local businesses had special activities and discounts, and throngs of people checked out the cute shops and dining options. All the shops seemed to be doing good business. I poked around The Fun Shop, which was packed with people searching for ornaments and all things equestrian themed. The line wrapped down the sidewalk at the The Christmas Sleigh, an authentic German shop, and the antique shops seemed to have a steady flow of traffic.

I visited the craft fair at the community center, scouted the Middleburg Tack Exchange for good deals, and sampled delicious fare from eateries (and tried a wine sample or two).

Middleburg is a very dog-friendly community, and the canine population was out in full force, many of which were dressed for the occasion in Santa hats, jingle bells and reindeer antlers. Welcome in almost any shop, bringing your dog to join in the fun is certainly an option.

Christmas in Middleburg in Corgi

The day was coming to a close as a sea of people lined up to watch the mile-and-a-half Christmas Parade. The parade featured polo clubs, hunt clubs, classic cars, bagpipers, community groups, countless animal participants, and of course Santa on a horse-drawn coach to close out the parade. 

Christmas in Middleburg Parade

Other activities available throughout the day included Breakfast with Santa, hayrides, a Christmas concert, a progressive wine crawl, and more.

Spending the day at Christmas in Middleburg was a great way to kick off the holiday season while getting an up close look at the hunt country equestrian tradition.

If you’re planning to visit next year, consider staying at Salamander Resort & Spa, an equestrian themed resort for the full experience or check out Middleburg's historic inns and bed & breakfasts.