To the Blue Ridge

Cool Stuff for the Dog Days

To the Blue Ridge

By Julie Reardon


Cool Stuff for the Dog Days

The humid, sultry dog days of summer are here, once thought to be an evil time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” according to Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. The name came from Sirius, also known as the dog star. The Ancient Greeks thought that Sirius’s emanations could affect dogs adversely, making them behave abnormally during the “dog days,” the hottest days of the summer.

The Romans knew these days as dies caniculares, and the star Sirius was called Canicula, “little dog.” The excessive panting of dogs in hot weather was thought to place them at risk of desiccation and disease. Whatever you believe, the dog days are a good time to take a vacation, or even if you already did, or couldn’t take one due to finances, time and/or work, enjoy a mini vacation in the hunt country before Labor Day. You won’t be alone—plenty of people are sticking close to home this summer. Yes, it’s hot outside, but it’s summer in Virginia so pick a cool activity that won’t be available for much longer and enjoy. Soon enough, we’ll all be complaining about the cold weather.

We love horses out here, and you can come enjoy them too. Whether it’s a polo game, a horse show, or a scenic Blue Ridge trail ride, there is something for everyone this month. Polo continues every weekend, whether it’s a Friday afternoon “social polo” game at Banbury Cross on Rt. 50 just east of Middleburg, or the Saturday twilight polo series at Great Meadow in The Plains. At the end of the month, jumpers take to the Great Meadow arena in an exciting display of power and speed. Rocking S Ranch offers up trail rides for beginners and experienced riders alike on their well-trained string of trail horses in the historic Winchester area, if you want to actually ride a horse instead of watch one.

August harvest is in full swing, which means time for an abundance of local produce. The farmers markets are particularly fun to visit at this time of year, and some have corn mazes for the kids. Grapes are ripening and area vineyards host a variety of events for every palate.

If you enjoy listening to music outdoors, the Bluemont Summer Concert Series has a stellar stable of performers that play every summer weekend in Middleburg, Warrenton, Leesburg, Winchester, Ashland, Culpeper and Fredericksburg.   This private, non-profit corporation has been a favorite summertime venue in smaller communities since 1976 and has presented more than 5,000 high quality events to a combined audience of more than 2 million and has experienced steady growth because of its public-private coalition with communities and local businesses in the region. Blue Ridge - BarrelOakView
Blue Ridge-TrailFrontVines

For the very reasonable donation of $5 the summer concert series features a wide variety with something for everyone, whether you like rock, folk, Irish, Caribbean, New Orleans jazz/zydeco, bluegrass or rockabilly at their various community locations. We recommend some listed below; for a full schedule visit

August Calendar of Events


Each Friday: Social Polo at Banbury Cross Farm, Middleburg, 2 miles east of town at the intersection of Rt. 50 & Carter’s Farm La., visit Middleburg Polo on Facebook or call (540)364-5939. No admission charge, games usually 4:30 PM til dark.

Each Saturday: Twilight Polo Series, Great Meadow, The Plains: visit, Admission $30/car, games start at 7 PM

Trail Rides, all month:

August 1, Saturday Panmasters at Bluemont Outdoor Concert Series, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton. A Bluemont favorite from Trinidad & Tobago since 1982, and many of the current band members are children of the original Pan Masters. The popular steel drum orchestra

thrills audiences with exotic island instruments, great music, and dancing on the green.

Their eclectic repertoire ranges from traditional island calypso, reggae and soca to the

band’s interpretations of Stevie Wonder, the Beatles, J.S. Bach and more.

Many people bring picnics to enjoy during the show. People of all ages are welcome.

All Bluemont concerts are smoke-free and alcohol is prohibited. Pets are not allowed

in the concert areas. Cost: $5 adults; $4 Bluemont Friends & Seniors; $2 kids under 12

For more information call (540) 341-0988 or (703) 777-6306 or visit


August 1-2, Dog Daze at Barrel Oak Winery, 11:00 AM both days; 3623 Grove La., Delaplane: Dogs and children always welcome at Barrel Oak. For the kids, there’s a petting zoo and pony rides at the Farmfarm, as well as a farmer’s market featuring local goods and produce. Visit for a complete calendar of events for the month of August.


August 11 – 14 (Tuesday-Friday) Wine, Women and Polo Camp, Llangollen Estate, Upperville.The Virginia International Polo Club sits on the 1,100 acre historic Llangollen Estate in Upperville. We can customize packages for coporate and tour groups and welcome spectators! Our polo school is every Sturday and Sunday at 10am and is appropriate for complete beginners as well as more advanced players. Join us in August for loads of fun, learning, wine and polo! For more information, call (404) 713-4011, e-mail:, or visit

August 15, Saturday, 7:30 PM, Hard Swimmin’ Fish at Bluemont Outdoor Concert Series, 10 Hotel St., Warrenton: A blues quartet with a unique sound of Mississippi and Piedmont country blues, urban Chicago blues, and funk infused with a dash of New Orleans’ second line. Two great vocalists with guitar, harmonica, bass and drums. Many people bring picnics to enjoy during the show. People of all ages are welcome. All Bluemont concerts are smoke-free and alcohol is prohibited. Pets are not allowed in the concert areas. Cost: $5 adults; $4 Bluemont Friends & Seniors; $2 kids under 12. For more information call (540) 341-0988 or (703) 777-6306 or visit

August 15 – 16, Saturday & Sunday, Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival, Rt, 17 & Ritchie Rd., Bealeton: The Flying Circus Airfield. Balloon activities will be held both morning and afternoon with the World Famous Flying Circus Airshow being presented each afternoon at 2:30. Balloons will be launched in the early morning (6-7am) and late afternoon (5-7pm). Take an air balloon ride, or just sit back and enjoy the view. For more information call (540) 439-8661 or visit the

August 28, Friday: Twilight Jumpers at Great Meadow, 5089 Old Tavern Rd., The Plains: Gates open at 6:30pm. Join us for an evening of summer fun. Enjoy fun and games for the kids and top class show jumping. The area is home to some of the nation’s top show jumping horses and riders and the competition is top notch. Pack a picnic and come out to enjoy a night in the open space and fresh air. Tailgating, VIP Boxes, Bonfire Pit, DJ & dancing until late!

Tickets at the gate: $30 per carload. For tickets or more information, call our event line at (540) 253-5001, or visit:


August 29, Saturday: Ability Fitness Charity Polo Match, 12:00pm – 4:00pm. 18911 Beallsville Rd. Poolesville MD. Tickets/info

Polo doesn’t always have to be high-brow, super fancy, and ultra-expensive. Family-friendly, fun-filled day in the country planned sure to please the whole crew. Tickets include catered lunch, beer and wine for adults, and lots of fun for kids: pony rides, moonbounce, face painting, an ice cream truck, and a half-time kids fun run race. There’s also a silent auction, with a 6-carat diamond tennis bracelet, island vacation getaways, loads of Stella and Dot jewelry for sale and top class polo played by some of the area’s best players.. All

0.00 avg. rating (0% score) - 0 votes