Easy Escapes: Follow the Maestro

Lorin Maazel’s music festival is worth a trip, as is the new Inn at Mount Vernon Farm. Photograph by Leslie Maazel.

Standing ovations are par for the course for the gifted young
performers at the Castleton Festival, entering its fourth season on the
sylvan Rappahannock County estate of the great maestro, 82-year-old Lorin

Maazel, former music director of the Cleveland Orchestra and
the New York Philharmonic, founded and funded this festival to give a new
generation the encouragement he received as a young prodigy. He recently
sold his prized 1783 violin for more than $1 million to help establish a
permanent endowment.

More than 200 of the world’s most promising singers and
musicians are chosen each year to receive six weeks of training and the
chance to perform in operas and concerts. The coming season features 17
performances, June 22 through July 22. Rossini’s The Barber of
Bizet’s Carmen, and Sondheim’s A Little Night
are among the highlights.

Performances take place in a spacious, air-conditioned, tented
theater that was completed last summer. Tickets range from $20 to

The Inn at Mount Vernon Farm is an ideal place to stay if you are attending the Castleton Festival. Click to view full size. Photo by Molly M Peterson.

Castleton is about 70 miles southwest of DC. An ideal place to
stay overnight is the nearby Inn at Mount Vernon Farm, opened last year in
an 1827 home that has been in one family for six generations. The hilltop
house offers original wood beams, fireplaces, antiques, and luxurious new
baths. Delicious breakfasts include treats from the surrounding 840-acre
farm. Rooms start at $249 a night; festival-goers get a 10-percent

Castleton Festival, Castleton, Va. The Inn at Mount Vernon Farm,
Sperryville, Va.; 800-765-0604.

This article appears in the April 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.