Sun Rises on Contemporary Art
Middleburg ... Still Stable
Octogenarian Ann MacLeod has lived in the village of Upperville (estimated population 150) since moving into Dunvegan Farm as a newlywed in 1945. She met her husband Colin "Sandy" MacLeod, Jr., while living and working in Army intelligence in Austria. "I'm a retired lady spy," she says. They settled into life in the country, raised a son and bred and raced horses on the 150-acre family property. Through the years Ann's been an active member of the local community and is one of several stylish grandes dames in this pocket of posh. Ann makes an authoritative distinction between Upperville and Middleburg, just eight miles to the east along John Mosby Highway. "Upperville is a hotbed of social rest, quiet and bucolic," she says. "And Middleburg is the mink and manure set." Ann lost her husband in 1977. In 1995, she carved off 13-acres for herself, sold the farm and built a smaller home.
The original property became Horsefields and passed through several families. It has a five bedroom stone manor house (with renovations by Upperville architect Tommy Beach), two tenant houses and a charming barn. Tatiana and Sergio Pino of Coral Gables recently purchased it for $6.7 million and now commute to Virginia by private jet. He is founder, president and CEO of Century Partners Group in Miami and also directs his original business endeavor, Century Plumbing.
Meanwhile, Ann is preparing for the annual Stable Tour on Memorial Day weekend (cochaired by Dorothy Gow and Leah Creighton). She's posted at the Goose Creek Bridge, the longest remaining four-arch stone turnpike bridge in the state. It was built when Thomas Jefferson was president and renovated with a government grant on 12-acre meadow donated by Senator John Warner. It's lovingly cared for by the Fauquier and Loudoun Garden Club, of which Ann is a member.
Many mistakenly mention The Trinity Church (frequently referred to as the "Mellon Church") as English; actually it's inspired by a 12th century French country church. It was donated by Bunny (an active and elegant 96) and the late Paul Mellon. The late H. Page Cross of New York designed the church buildings. Cross also designed the stunning stables at Rokeby, the Mellon farm, which will be open this year. In addition to the horses, there's a little known extra attraction here … the cheese. For years, the Mellons have had a boutique dairy with fresh products from seven Brown Swiss cows including milk, cream, (a luscious 65 percent fat content), cottage cheese and butter. Several years ago, cheesemaker Allen Bassler went through the rigors of state inspection and began to offer 20 varieties of Oak Spring cheeses for sale, including a selection of white and yellow cheddar, caraway derby, marbled Colby and jalapeno red pepper derby.
Anne Dudley and Coventry Burke at the Orange County Hunt Point-to-Point Races.
MASTER OF THE HOUSE
Upperville has several new residents, including Jennifer and Jamie Gore (whose family once owned the Marwood estate on River Road in Potomac and the old Fairfax Hotel on Massachusetts Avenue). The couple has purchased the 55-acre circa 1840 Seaton Place for just under $2 million last December. Wonderful weatherman Willard Scott's 15-acre place (Cape Cod house, pool and stables) just up the road has been listed for $2.3 million. Cricket Bedford Whitner, daughter of the late Master of the Piedmont Fox Hounds Erskine L. Bedford, recently parted with the family farm known as Old Welbourne. The 328- acre property is considered a local treasure - having been in the Dulany family for generations until Bedford purchased it in 1961. After much agonizing, the adorable Cricket - now a single mother of two - wrote a letter to her dear father about the difficult decision. The next day, she received a contract from Mary and Tom Catlett, who have three daughters and family in the area. The selling price was $6 million. Back in 1840, Richard Henry Dulany (see above) was the founder of the Piedmont Fox Hounds and in 1853 started the Upperville Colt and Horse Show - the oldest horse show in the United States (The hamburgers at the food stand manned by the fire department are a must.)
OLD SHOW/NEW SHOW
The mistress of Fox Lair Farm, Elizabeth "Luv Luv" Busch Burke (her father August A. Busch, was a co-founder of the beer company) will be dancing at the Upperville Horse Show Kickoff Party. During the show, she'll be cheering from the sidelines as her daughter, Lysa Horkan and granddaughters Ashley Burke, 11, and Brittany Horkan, 12, compete.
For culture vultures, the Middleburg Players are taking their current production, "Plaza Suite" (starring Little River Inn owner Tucker Withers in the part once portrayed by Walter Matthau) on the road for a four-day run at Buchanan Hall in Upperville. Buchanan Hall, built by the Dulany family in 1920, was deeded to Upperville for civic use by Ann Dulany and H. Rozier Dulany, Jr., in 1933.
Linden Wiesman, a Three Day Event team Bronze medal winner at the 2000 Olympics, is the current squeeze of Gregg Ryan, an amateur steeplechase rider/insurance executive and one of People magazine's Most Eligible bachelors. For anyone wanting to join in all the fun in Upperville (and maybe even have your place on the Stable Tour), Linden is selling, Roscommon, her family farm. The property includes a stylish stone and stucco main house and for true horse lovers a barn constructed by the Pennsylvania Amish, with eleven paddocks and an indoor arena. Asking price? Just over $3.3 million. For a tiny village there's sure a lot going on.