Our schedule is majorly packed this fall—we’ve got shows, pop-up shops, and more in the works—and we know you’re probably just as busy. So, in advance of the fall show, we did a little R&D for you and made a list of all of our favorite spots to check out while you’re traveling. (We also have a primo packing inspiration list here.) Let us know where you visited and what you thought—and more importantly, we’ll see you at the shows.
The American Gold Cup
North Salem, New York
The scene for the 43-year-old show, Old Salem Farm, is beyond picturesque. (Think ridiculously gorgeous buildings and lush grounds.) When you’re read to venture beyond the farm you’ll find equally as scenic spots in town to enjoy and Instagram.
What to do: North Salem’s most famous attraction is Balanced Rock—which is exactly what it sounds like but also very perplexing (seriously, there are some analogies about balancing life and work to be thought about there)—and totally worth a visit. There’s also apple picking at the Harvest Moon Orchard and nature to explore at the Hammond Museum and Japanese Garden.
What to eat: There’s ton of delicious Italian options for you to choose from (we like TerraSole and Rraci) but our favorite restaurant in the city Purdy’s Farmer and The Fish for super good seafood, especially oysters. If you’re in the mood for something easy and good, The Blazer Pub has excellent burgers.
The Washington International Horse Show
If we were going to truly dive into everything we’re obsessed with in D.C., we would need its own (super-long) guide. Instead, we’re hitting the high points.
What to do: It can be really fun to play tourist in D.C. and see the sights: the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial. But if you’re feeling been-there, done-that or want to stick closer to the Show, check out the Georgetown Waterfront for a riverfront view and respite from everything (you can also rent paddle boards and kayaks at the Key Bridge Boathouse). There’s great live music at Gypsy Sally’s and Blues Alley, bocce ball at Pinstripes, and awesome shopping in the Book Hill neighborhood.
What to eat: Everything in the Georgetown area feels historic, and the restaurants are no different. Try 1789, which is inside a gorgeous old home from… well you know, for delicious pasta. America Eats Tavern has upscale bar food that’s inspired by traditional dishes since the country was founded, Blue Bottle for crazy-good iced coffee, Fiola Mare for amazing food with an equally amazing view. (And if you break between events, Georgetown Cupcake is just a few blocks away from the arena.)
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Now in its 25th year, the Capital Challenge is one of the most exciting (and intense) fall shows. Upper Marlboro is also the perfect spot of a lowkey, bed-and-breakfast style weekend.
What to do: Weekend visitors will love the Dutch Village Farmers Market—where you can find handmade furniture and locally roasted coffee—and you can’t miss the apple cider donuts, which will be handed to you while still steamy from the fryer. Calvert Brewing Company is an awesome craft brewery nearby that makes seasonal IPAs (hello, pumpkin spice latte beer), and the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary has more than 15 miles of hiking trails through the lush marshes and a freshwater canoe tour if you’re looking to get up close and personal with the wildlife.
What to eat: Resist the temptation to take a trip into D.C. (even though it’s just fifteen miles away) and instead try some of the local fare. The Old Towne Inn is an easy spot for lunch or dinner (try the fried catfish tenders and the cornbread that comes to the table still hot in a griddle) and Carolina Kitchen’s soul food is not to be missed.
The National Horse Show
The capital of Pennsylvania has a little bit of everything—museums, amazing outdoor parks, and seriously good restaurants. Extend your stay for a few days after the show to truly enjoy it all.
What to do: Stop by City Island, mile-long island in Susquehanna River (between Harrisburg and Wormleysburg) is an amazing greenspace where you can just… sit. The State Capitol has tours daily, as well as the National Civil War Museum, which is definitely worth exploring. A quick drive to the edges of the city will get you to Spring Gate Vineyard, known for their delicious rose cider.
What to eat: You’ve got everything from the super-fancy—Bricco, Progress Grill, and 1700 Steakhouse are favorites—to local haunts like Home 231, the Millworks, and
If you have the time, spend an entire afternoon at Lancaster Brewing, where you can get awesome beer flights with upscale bar food like French onion soup, milk stout muscles, and a beyond delicious lamb burger.