Travel

Great Day Trip: an Art Show and a Pretty Picnic Spot

See original works in a quaint setting, plus enjoy gourmet fare.
The Art at the Mill show, which runs through May 10, offers a chance to admire—and buy—original works by local artists. Photo courtesy of Art at the Mill.

Close your eyes and picture a quintessential country village, and odds are that it looks a lot like Millwood, Virginia, a sleepy enclave (population: 106) where an 18th-century grist mill still operates alongside a picturesque creek. As if that wasn’t enough reason to take a drive out for a picnic, add this one: Art at the Mill, a biannual show that runs through Sunday, May 10. The show has filled the historic Burwell-Morgan Mill with hundreds of original works by regional artists. All of the pieces are for sale, for a good cause—proceeds help fund the mill, museum, and archives.

Now in its 25th year, Art at the Mill will feature more than 300 artists, almost all from Virginia and Maryland, displaying nearly 1,000 pieces. While oil paintings will be plentiful, visitors will also find sculpture, woodworking, pottery, and mixed media. The show is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 to 6, and Sunday 11 to 5. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for seniors; kids 12 and under are free.

Before or after, you might walk across the road to the Locke Store, a terrific country market where you can pick up a delicious gourmet sandwich, a bottle of wine from its expert selection, and a fresh-baked cookie or other treat. You can savor your lunch at one of the picnic tables that dot the green outside of the mill.

Still in a mood to browse? Next to the Locke Stores is Duvall Designs Gallery, which sells more original local art along with gorgeous sculpted furniture by Jay Duvall. Antique-lovers might want to pop into Red Schoolhouse Antiques, a Millwood store that’s a little over a mile north of the mill.

Or extend your day in the country with a detour to the State Arboretum of Virginia, three miles away at Blandy Experimental Farm. With more than 5,000 trees and shrubs from around the world, various gardens, and four walking trails, it’s a pretty place to work off your lunch.

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Bikes and Hikes, Fairs and Festivals, Great Small Towns, and the Washington Bucket List. She lives in Arlington.