- The Scout Guide -

Valentine LOVES





1| Artisan chocolates from Shenandoah Fine Chocolates are the perfect choice for your one and only this Valentine’s. Every bite made from the finest ingredients and loads of love (some creations still made today are from family recipes dating back to the 1900’s). Shenandoah Fine Chocolates are tried and true and the ultimate indulgence for your Valentine. Locations in Middleburg and Winchester, VA. 540.687-5030

2| Nothing says, “I Love You,” better than a stunning arrangement of flowers. Our favorite master of the blooms is Bluebells in Winchester, Virginia. 540.535.7279

3| Of course any girl would LOVE to find an Elizabeth Locke jewel in her Valentine. Visit Elizabeth’s flagship location, The Other Elizabeth in Boyce, Virginia to find your true love the perfect gesture of your affection. 540.837.2215

4| French Lingerie is the perfect choice for Valentine’s, especially the exquisite collection from LOU lingerie at Highcliffe Clothiers, Middleburg, Virginia. 540.687.5633

5. Nest of New York candles and fragrances will add the scent of seduction to your Valetine’s Day. Find Nest and so much more at TULLY Rector, Middleburg, Virginia. 540.687.5858

6. The Locke Store knows how to make hearts (and tummies) swoon. Chef Katie has prepared housemade raspberry macarons especially for Cupid’s big day. You can also find decadent handmade chocolates from Zoe’s, and luxurious French champagne from the Chouilly region. Locke Store. Boyce, Virginia. 540.837.1275

7. Hunt Country is a romantic’s paradise. Charming and luxurious destinations, like The Inn at Little Washington will pamper the body, delight the palate and calm the soul. If you missed our recent blog – Romantic Destinations of Hunt Country, Virginia, click through now and plan your Valentine’s getaway.


Wishing you and yours a very happy Valentine’s Day!

Enjoy & be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.


Romantic Destinations

Of Hunt Country, Virginia

When it comes to romance, our little pocket of the World has everything required to make hearts swoon. Winding roads cradled in countryside, breathtaking scenery at every turn, and quaint little townships, seemingly untouched by time. Add to all this scenic seduction and mystique, a preponderance of World-class destinations, and Hunt Country is Cupid’s paradise – and the ideal spot for you and your one and only to spend this Valentine’s weekend.

The GoodStone Inn & Restaurant

If your Valentine wish is to escape and lose yourself in a fairytale, this is the perfect haven of retreat. Set in over 250 acres in Middleburg, Virginia, Goodstone houses multiple venues for a private country getaway: The Carriage House, Spring House, Dutch Cottage, French Farm Cottage, Manor House and the Bull Barn are all utterly romantic, original structures (some dating back to pre -Civil War era) that have been gorgeously restored in English/French country decadence and charm.


PicMonkey Collage.gs2 Along with its luxurious accommodations, the seduction continues with a full service spa. Indulge in massages for two and a dip in the estate’s four-season Jacuzzi.

PicMonkey Collage.GSfoodandwine Of course, throughout your stay, you’ll also enjoy award-winning French dining and an expansive wine collection – this country inn has over 1,500 wines for your choosing from fine vineyards around the world, and the farm-to-table cuisine is heaven on a plate.

Tip: Consider the Romantic Getaway Package. It includes a two night stay at the inn, with chocolate covered strawberries upon your arrival, a luxurious four-course dinner for two, wine, champagne, and a delicious country breakfast.

Salamander Resort & Spa

The Salamander Resort & Spa is located on a 340-acre Equestrian Estate in Middleburg, VA. Gorgeous views of the Bull Run Mountains and the vast Virginia countryside quickly relax the mind and calm the soul.


Luxurious accommodations, fine dining and an array of activities are sure to make this a getaway to covet. Visit the world-class spa, plan a trail ride for two, a romantic carriage ride into Middleburg or a local winery. Feeling feisty and adventurous? A Tree Top Zip Tour for two can also be arranged.

PicMonkey Collage.sraccomo

Bonus: Thanks to the resort’s close proximity to the town of Middleburg, a quick walk and you’re in a shopper’s nirvana. Take in the many specialty boutiques and restaurants, and be sure to wander over to the National Sporting Library and Museum. Let your TSG Hunt Country be your guide.

Tip: Consider the “A Night of Romance” package: including a two-night stay, plus $150 toward the extravagance of your choice – a romantic carriage ride, a relaxing afternoon in the award-winning spa, or dinner for two at Harriman’s. Add-on’s include couples massage, zip-line tours. art classes, and much more. 

Poplar Springs Inn & Restaurant

Whether your plan is a romantic dinner for two or a weekend retreat, Poplar Springs is a winning choice. This Fauquier County gem is set on 172-acre estate in the township of Casanova, Virginia. Glorious setting, a rich history and grand dining room that is absolutely breathtaking.

big_picture_faq If you should decide to stay the night, the Inn’s romantic and luxurious rooms are sure to pamper and the estate’s full-service spa is a must-do indulgence.

PicMonkey Collage.poplarsprings

Bonus: Poplar Springs is yet another secluded country estate located just minutes from great boutique shopping. Warrenton’s historic downtown is just 10 minutes away and the perfect spot for a mid-day spree. Here’ just a few of our must-see favorites, Horse CountryPiccadilly, and  The Town Duck. Best stop for coffee and a muffin Red Truck Bakery, where to go for lunch, Claire’s at the Depot or the organic deli at the Natural Marketplace – Enjoy!

The Inn at Little Washington

The perfect way to say I love you! Our very own five-star, world-renowned The Inn at Little Washington is known for its opulence, superb service and lavish dining experience.  The Inn itself was decorated by Joyce Evans, a London set and stage designer, so there is a particular uniqueness to the ambience of the inn. Accommodations include thoughtfully prepared single rooms, to luxurious suites with balconies and garden views.



Located in the historic community of Washington, Virginia, a walk thru the village streets will delight. A few stops we highly recommend, R.H Ballard Shop, local eateries such as Stonyman Gourmet Farmer, and for a fiery, fun tasting and tour of locally brewed spirits, be sure to make time for the Copper Fox Distillery.

L’Auberge Provencale

Another perfect choice for exceptional dining experience and/or weekend stay, this little French country inn and restaurant is located on the historic estate of Mt. Airy. It offers all the luxury and romance of the French Provence, right here in White Post VA where Lord Fairfax himself first established his own getaway.


The restaurant serves 3 to 5 course meals, and is committed to creating a dining “experience.” Much as you find in France, dining is more than eating at L’Auberge, it is a celebration of food and conversation (and you’ll have lots to talk about). The menu is wildly creative and changes with the seasons and the whims of its talented chefs. Only fresh, locally sourced (or harvested onsite), fruits, vegetables and herbs allowed. Every bite will entice. Conveniently, there are several luxurious rooms for guests to stay the weekend, and a gourmet breakfast will be served in the morning.

PicMonkey Collage.lauberge

The nearby historic community of Millwood offers antiquing and gallery gazing at Duvall Designs Gallery. And, be sure to visit Locke Modern Country Store where you can bring home a bottle from a carefully curated wine selection that will keep the romance alive once you get back home.

Tip: Consider the “Keep Warm & Feel the Heat!” package. It offers a special room rate and a sizzlin’ welcome of Provencale soup with warm artisan bread upon arrival for you and your’s truly to warm up with fireside.

Book your romantic getaway now and let this Valentine’s exceed expectation. All the ingredients needed are right here in Hunt Country. Enjoy!

Be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.




Get Google Savvy


Learn your way around Google and drive more customers to your web site

In today’s marketplace, if you own a business, you need a presence online. Of course, once you’re on the web, you have to make sure your audience can find you. That’s where Google-smarts come in to play.

But, if you’re like this business owner (and were born before the digital age…yes, my college essays were typed on a “typewriter”), then you may need a little help with the whole “online marketing” thing. If you’re looking to better understand how to reach your customer via the web, plan to attend the McKinsey Development and Google Event this Feb 11th from 12-1pm. MKD and Google are pairing up to help we Hunt Country businesses get Google savvy.



I’ll be there! Hope you can make it too and remember to tell them, SCOUT sent ya!

McKinsey Development

28 Blackwell Park Lane, Suite 204

Warrenton, Virginia 20186




Preserving Beautiful Spaces

We cherish the history of our Virginia countryside and the many historic spaces that remind us of a distant time. Today we’re checking in with Jane Covington of Jane Covington Restoration who is carefully preserving that long, rich narrative – one building at a time.

Covington’s team has restored pre-Revolutionary churches, country estates, farm houses, and even a former furniture factory. With thoughtful attention to detail and a passion for preserving the story of a space, Jane Covington Restoration has given many a forgotten edifice a gorgeous NEW lease on life – including this recently completed historic, Virginia country home.


The Before

PicMonkey Collage.before

Often, what an older home lacks in modern comforts, it makes up for in charm, antique elements and craftsmanship of yore. As Jane explains,

It was the client’s dream to live in an historic home but this space had not been touched since the 1970s and was badly in need of updating.  Typical of an older home, there was no closet space, the bathrooms were abysmal, and the kitchen space cramped and dark.”

The Makeover

PicMonkey Collage.after

Of course with every renovation there are challenges, but when you start with good bones and a solid foundation, the sky is the limit. Jane describes her carefully implemented plan to add needed modern upgrades to the space, while preserving the character and history that made it unique,

“The house lent itself to architectural changes. We opened up the kitchen and added a master suite, complete with walk-in closet and generously proportioned bath.  We did all of this while leaving the historic spaces with original moldings and woodwork in tact.  Despite the needed upgrades, we didn’t want things to look too ‘new,’ so we refinished the floors by hand to keep the soft edges and refurbished the historic windows rather than replace them, leaving the stunning wavy glass in place.”

Going Green + Savings

Possibly the most impressive aspect of this restoration was how the homeowners financed the project. Jane explains,

The client was very committed to ‘going green’ and we worked with some exciting high performing, low VOC products and reclaimed materials. As a bonus, we completed all of this work financing the cost with the renovation tax credit, representing a substantial savings to the client.”

“we worked with some exciting high performing, low VOC products and reclaimed materials. As a bonus, we completed all of this work financing the cost with the renovation tax credit, representing a substantial savings to the client.” — Jane Covington, Jane Covington Restoration

 Whether you’re looking to restore a new (old) home, bring life back to a cherished historical structure in your community, or offer new purpose to a “formerly functioning” barn, corn crib or stable on your property, consider Jane Covington Restoration for the project – and preserve a beautiful historic space of your very own.

…be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.

Jane Covington Restoration








Marketing Your Business


Crystal McKinsey :: Advertising Smart

We’re tapping into local experts all month to help you jump-start your new year goals! Today, business owners take note, Crystal McKinsey of McKinsey Development is talking effective marketing in today’s “multi-channel” marketplace.



Not too long ago, business owners had just 3 choices in advertising: print, radio, television. Today two new players (the internet and the smartphone) have created both potential and confusion. They’re constantly evolving, creating more and more “channels” for advertising all vying for the same audience. Moreover, “the big three” are forced to evolve and complicate things even further for all of us. It is enough to make a business owner want to run for the hills.

As Crystal explains, “we’re talking thousands of different advertising combinations, and hundreds of different advertising channels competing for your marketing dollars…and, if you aren’t strategic in your decision making you could end up with nothing to show for your investment but invoices!”

“we’re talking thousands of different advertising combinations, and hundreds of different advertising channels competing for your marketing dollars…if you aren’t strategic in your decision making you could end up with nothing to show for your investment But invoices!

Now that she has our attention, Crystal says, “don’t panic.” There is a method to overcoming the madness:

1. Seek professional help. If you don’t have a trusted marketing adviser or agency with demonstrated results navigating through these channels with you–find one. You are a busy business leader focused on delivering premier products or services. Bring someone on who is focused on helping you be in the right places, at the right times in an engaging and compelling manner.

2. Don’t abandon what’s working for you–supplement it. There’s a lot of pressure to make the marketing leap to digital and social. That being said, if you have tried and true traditional advertising strategies that work for your business, keep them! Supplement the traditional with the progressive to make sure you are remaining relevant without jumping ship completely on strategies that are delivering for you.

3. Double your marketing budget. Yes, this is a bold statement and there will be instances when this recommendation is not applicable to your specific type of business. But, most small businesses are not allocating enough money towards marketing. As the wise adage goes, you must spend money to make money, and you have to do more than dip your toe in the water to see results “in a world with a thousand channels.” A good rule of thumb for measuring success is a double return on your marketing investment. If you invest $50K in marketing over the course of the year, you should increase your revenue by at least $100K (note that this will vary by industry and your respective profit margin–ask the professional help referenced in the first point). If you are just starting out and you don’t know how much to allocate towards marketing, use an objective-based budgeting approach. If you are aiming for a million dollar year, budget according to SBA marketing spend recommendations for your industry as a starting point (typically 7-8% of your revenue goal).

Of course if you are in need of a professional marketing agency……we may know someone you can call.

McKenzieDevelopment_2014_OFAv3 copy

A full-service marketing firm, McKinsey Development brings a team of talent to the table (a ping pong table no less). That’s right, their boardroom table is of the ping pong variety – a telling tribute to the creative environment in which these innovative professionals thrive! Their dedicated team offer expertise in advertising, web development, public relations and more. McKinsey Development is posed and ready to help businesses meet their revenue goals. Here’s a few local MKD-assisted, success stories you may recognize…

Whole-Health-Challenge-Campaign The-Bridge-Home-Page-2 BROS_Pain-Ad_NOVADaily View MKD’s complete portfolio HERE, give them a ring today, and if you’re up for a game of ping pong – they’re in! Much success in 2015, be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you.


McKinsey Development

28 Blackwell Park Lane, Suite 204

Warrenton, Virginia




Living a Purposeful Life

Kim Forsten helps us find Focus & Yoga in 2015

Why do we do it?! Over schedule, over do, constantly on the gospinning our wheels but getting nowhere! Not to worry, there is hope. Turns out we can create purpose amid the chaos.

Kim Forsten, owner of Old Town Athletic Club and lifestyle and fitness guru, offers real insight into this “go-getter, get nowhere” epidemic in her blog, Kim’s Corner this month, but she’s sharing her thoughts with us here first. Read on, be inspired and learn how you can find focus, create tangible goals and give each day purpose.


“Imagine how your life would change if you knew exactly where you were going. If we all took a moment to establish a few specific goals each day, week, month or year, and went after them with purpose, our lives might feel more rewarding and less chaotic. Take a look at these short-term goals and think about which ones you’d like to see in your own life:

 -spend two hours more each week with my family
 -mindfully relax for at least 10 minutes each day
 -commit to 3 days of exercise each week
 -complete one project at work/home that I have been procrastinating
 -explore a new form of exercise and discover something I might really enjoy 

Now that we’re in January, consider all the fresh opportunities to set new and long-term goals for the year. Our lives can certainly stay busy, but we can feel better about how our hours and days are spent when there are tangible priorities and goals on the horizon.

Instead of go, go, go-ing into each day, steer towards something that’s important to you and your family. Be a goal-getter! Your accomplishments will amaze you.”

 – Excerpt, from Kim’s Corner. Find the full post at www.otac.com

As if these words of wisdom weren’t enough to help us find our “zen” in the new year, Old Town Athletic Club is also bringing us YOGA in 2015! Currently home to the Old Town Athletic Club fitness center, Warrenton Pilates and the Parisi Speed School this family-friendly, health and wellness campus will now include Warrenton Yoga. Sunday, January 18th, 3-5pm marks the celebratory grand opening of Warrenton Yoga and classes begin on Monday.


The new facility will offer well-credentialed yoga instructors dedicated to helping you realize the joy of a fit body and calm mind. The Warrenton Yoga studio is a 2,500 square foot built-to-purpose oasis and is host to hot and traditional yoga rooms. Class offerings are available for all levels, from beginner through advanced. Reserve your class today at warrentonyoga.com.

Thank you Kim Forsten for sharing your insight and for inspiring so many of us every day with your commitment to our better health and well- being. (A self -proclaimed OTAC-addict myself, I highly recommend the experience to all who will listen). Here’s to focus, purpose and Yoga in 2015! See you in the gym (and on the mat)…be sure to tell them SCOUT sent you!

Old Town Athletic Club

Warrenton Pilates

Warrenton Yoga

Parisi Speed School

361 Walker Drive

Warrenton, Virginia


Related Images: