Open daily 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday to 9 p.m. Lunch served in The Depot Lounge, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. No reservations needed; Master Charge, BankAmericard and American Express card accepted; accessible to the handicapped. Phone (703) 465-4140.

It was one of the nicest Saturdays we've had in a long time: A drive through scenic Virginia, a 5 p.m. performance of a play at the Wayside Theatre in Middletown and, just a few miles away, dinner at the newly renovated Strasburg Hotel.

And we were back in the Washington area for a full night's sleep. It's a jaunt more and more area folks are taking and one well worth the time.

At the turn of the century, passengers rode the B & O and Southern Railroad trains to Strasburg and supped in the same gracious dining room where my husband, another couple and I dined inexpensively, yet elegantly, last week.

The hotel is charming. A big, rambling old white frame building, it boasts 12-foot ceilings, a strained glass window and authentic paintings from the Victorian and pre-Victorian eras.

The dining room, recently redecorated in tones fo beige and white, holds about 100 guests, yet is spacious and uncluttered.

Sufficient variety is offered on the menu to please the most exacting diners, with entrees covering aselection of meat, fish, and fowl, and with prices ranging from $3.50 for pan fried chicken to $8 for the New York sirloin steak.

Our male guest chose the roast beef au jus at $5.50 and declared it to be tender and delicious.

My husband debated between the Irish stew at $4.50 and the corned beef, the house speciality, for $5.95, and settled on the corned beef. The portion was quite adequate and a side dish of cabbage and boiled potatoes went withthe order. He had started with onion soup, 60 cents, which was the soup of the day and quite tasty.

Our female guest and I deliberated between the trout at $6, the roast leg of lamb with mint gel relish, at $7.25, and the chicken cutlets at $4. Then we both switched to the roast loin of pork for $5 and lauded our decision.

It was hot, beautifully seasoned, tender, and delectably lean. It was further enhanced by a large serving of spicy apple sauce and a generous portion of delicious hot homemade stuffing.

Vegetables were served family style - a bowl of carrots and peas and one of buttered parsley potatoes. A generous green salad also went with the meal.

One of the highlights of the dinner was the little loaf of homemade bread served with whipped butter and presented on a cutting board with a sharp knife. The bread was toasty hot and flavorful.

For dessert, we were offered a choice of apple tarts or German chocolate cake, 65 cents and 80 cents respectively, which we all passed up in favor of coffee and tea. The beverages went with the dinner.

Our total bill, including the wine and tax, came to only $31.77, excluding tip.

Children's meals are available at the hotel for $3.50, offering kids under 12 a choice of chicken or roast beef, served with French fries, ice-cream, and beverage.

For families with children, instead of the play we recommend the museum, open from May through October and located just two blocks away from the hotel. The museum features several antique railroad cars, including a caboose, and visitors may tour the interior of the cars.