Shop, Dine, Stay in The Plains, Virginia


Along nearby Rt. 626, the scenic road running north from The Plains to Middleburg, Sioux Native Americans maintained a hunting ground for buffalo until 1722. Today’s pasturelands, marked by post & rail fences and some stonewalls, make it easy to see how this rural outpost received its distinctive name in 1749 when Nathaniel Chapman received a 699-acre land grant and designated it The Plains.

The first Union camp in Fauquier County (1862) set up nearby, and the Confederates hanged Union spy Jack Sperry for the murder of a southern soldier. In the 1940s, highway workers found remains believed to be the spy and his victim – there’s a marker at Rtes. 55 & 245. Thoroughfare, just a few miles east, figured as a major military point in the Civil War: sharpshooters, both Confederate and Union, used the five-story Beverly’s Mill, then Chapman’s Mill, to defend the pass.   

The Plains railroad station, built in 1915 by Southern Railway President Fairfax Harrison, proved to be a popular Hunt Country stop. Trains still run freight through the area. The lovely Grace Episcopal Church bears the date-stone 1855, Grace 1917. More recently, The Plains has established itself as a picturesque country town with antique, gourmet and specialty shops as well as the home of The Rail Stop restaurant and Great Meadow Event Center. Great Meadow offers steeplechase racing with the Gold Cup and International Gold Cup, Friday Night Twilight Polo, Three-day Eventing, and Horse Shows, such as the Middleburg Classic, and Wine Festivals.