Forty miles west of Washington, DC, suburban sprawl gives way to endless green farms, vineyards, quaint villages and palatial estates and ponies. This is ‘Horse Country,’ where wealthy Washingtonians pursue their equestrian pastimes. The following route is the most scenic drive to Shenandoah National Park. From DC, take Rte 50 West to Middleburg, a too-cute-for-words town of b&bs, taverns, wine shops and small boutiques. The National Sporting Library (nationalsport ing.org) is a museum and research centre devoted to horse and field sports such as dressage, steeplechase, foxhunting and polo. About 20 miles northeast of Middleburg is Leesburg, another charming town with a colonial feel and historic sites. Stop in Morven Park (morvenpark.org) for a tour of a staggering Virginia home on 1,000 acres. For more Greek Revival grandeur, visit Oatlands Plantation (oatlands.org), outside of town. The area has a wealth of appealing dining options. Stop in the Shoe’s Cup & Cork (shoes cupandcork.com) in Leesburg for creative American fare or Chimole (facebook.com/ ch1mole) for wine and Latin American tapas. In Middleburg, the Red Fox Inn & Tavern (redfox. com) has first-rate American cooking served in a beautifully preserved 1728 dining room. Located six miles west of Middleburg, the Welbourne b&b (welbourneinn.com) has five heritage rooms set in a historic landmark house (c 1770) surrounded by 520 acres. The Leesburg Colonial Inn (thelees burgcolonialinn.com) has a great location and unbeatable prices. Further down the road at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is Sperryville. Its many galleries and shops are a must-stop for antique-lovers. Continue nine miles west to reach the Thornton Gap entrance of Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.