The gazebo provided the perfect setting for her godchild’s wedding and offers a view of the riding ring and the pond, which has a stone bridge and fountains. The grounds also include a swimming pool with an adjacent loggia with a massive stone dining table and a door to the outdoor kitchen. Nearby is a basketball court, occasionally used for practice when some of the members of the Wizards or the Mystics visit. The vegetable garden, fruit trees and greenhouse are nearby, offering fresh food for the meals that Johnson and her husband, William T. Newman, a judge in the Arlington Circuit Court, love to prepare.
“I’m a vegan, and I’m working on my husband, but he loves meat, too,” Johnson says.
Naturally, Salamander Farm’s kitchen provides plenty of space for the couple to cook together and for caterers to take over for large events. The tile-floored kitchen features a marble center island, professional-quality stainless steel appliances, granite counters and myriad wood cabinets. A touch of whimsy is added by the oversize sculptures of apples, cherries and oranges in the kitchen and the adjacent window-wrapped breakfast room, which has views of the lawn and the swimming pool.
One of the property’s several guest cottages, adjacent to the pool, provides a charming two-level retreat with a kitchen, a living room with a fireplace and two bedrooms upstairs, each with a sumptuous bath with Waterworks fixtures and views of the farm.
In the main house, Johnson and her husband have a suite of rooms and a private terrace. The rooms include a foyer, a sitting room with a distinctive antique library table with niches for books, a study, his-and-hers baths, walk-in closets and dressing rooms. A staircase leads from Johnson’s dressing room to the upper-level salon, which has more closets and equipment for a hairdresser and manicurist to primp Johnson and her guests on-site for special occasions.
Two more bedrooms, each with a luxurious private bath, are part of the main house.
Johnson has been careful to preserve the historical flavor of her home and to inject that ambiance in her resort. She clearly loves the natural beauty of Virginia’s horse and wine country and wants to express that love in her home and her resort.
Michele Lerner is a freelance writer.