This Virginia hotspot offers wine, outdoor activities, and breathtaking views?

A new kind of status is bestowed upon Loudoun, Virginia, because to the area’s focus on organic farming and winemaking set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rolling green hills, phrazle a family environment, and relaxed elegance can be found only an hour outside of Washington, D.C., yet this fantastic year-round resort is frequently overlooked.

Located in a valley surrounded by mountains and acres of farmland, the 12 towns and villages that make up Loudoun County include the well-known Leesburg, Middleburg, and Lovettsville, among others. When she was a mother, Beverly Morton Billand would take her children to the tranquil town of Loudoun Valley to harvest strawberries and pumpkins. This was in the 1970s, when the area was still relatively undeveloped. After relocating there in 1986, she started the first organic farm in the state of Virginia. The children “thought we were insane to relocate where nobody lived…and that their mom was to be a farmer,” she explains. Her company is now run by her family, as are many others in the area, illustrating the value of working together to create something lasting.

Morton Billand states, “Loudoun County is rich with farmland [with] tranquil and magnificent landscapes.” “Why in the world would I want to leave a location that gives me nothing but pure happiness, the spiritual blessings of farm life, and an experience that is rewarding?”

Learn about Loudoun’s past

In the 1600s, Loudoun was home to a diverse collection of Native Americans, including Sioux (Manahoac), Algonquin, Iroquois, and Piscataway. Its strategic position also made it significant during the War of 1812, when the British burnt the White House and the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were secretly transported by horse to a farm just outside of Leesburg to avoid capture. Some locals even assert that Leesburg served as the United States capitol over a short period.

Since the completion of the Washington and Old Dominion Railway in Loudoun, Bluemont has been a popular destination for the well-heeled of the nation’s capital. And until its 1912 fire, the Blue Ridge Inn (1893) was the place to stay.

Thus, Loudoun is no stranger to the affluent who want total anonymity and an authentic escape from the politics of Washington, D.C. The Red Fox Inn & Tavern, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was founded in 1728. It’s a historic building on Middleburg’s main drag that’s been tastefully renovated. During their hunting vacations, famous people like Elizabeth Taylor and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis regularly stayed at the inn.

Another site with history: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant, which can likewise be traced back to the 1700s, when Middleburg was a layover for tired travelers. The area operated as a farm until 1997, then was created as a genuine inn with 18 luxury cottages.

Salamander Resort & Spa (cofounded by Sheila Johnson) is a luxurious destination with breathtaking vistas and a wide variety of family-friendly activities, such as a wine-tasting program called Salamander Uncorked and a full-service equestrian facility. The Wheatland Spring Farm and Brewery Cottage House are two examples of the family-owned homes in Loudoun that are managed by Airbnb. The farm is also a German-influenced brewery with a “farming for fermentation” idea, describe owners John and Bonnie Branding.

At the Forefront of Viticulture

While Loudoun’s agricultural heritage extends back to the 18th century, its viticulture is a relatively contemporary enterprise. Loudoun’s first winery, Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, established near Leesburg in 1980.

Today, Loudoun County is home to more than 50 wineries and tasting facilities. In particular, the viognier, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and norton grapes grown there are reminiscent of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine area in France. Visitors may explore the vineyards at their own pace, or they can decide to follow a predetermined route, known as a “wine trail.”

Many of the wineries in Loudoun County are committed to environmental protection. Sunset Hills Vineyard is a fantastic illustration of this concept since it uses sunlight to produce wine. In order to better understand the local soils and microclimates, the property spent two years collaborating with Virginia Tech. They’ve got Tesla charging stations and butterfly gardens, and they’ve got solar panels that will provide enough energy for 75% of their yearly demands. “Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about the broad picture for managing a farm and the land,” says owner Mike Canney. “This region has highly educated customers who favor locally grown and made wine. [They] want to meet the people who created their wine and have a sense of location, so it has to be real.”

Chrysalis Vineyards, located in Middleburg, is not only a winery but also a cheese shop. They rebuild the wine and cheese experience by creating both and maintaining the land’s agricultural tradition. “Our soils are great for norton, Virginia’s native jewel, and our climate produces superb fruit-forward whites (viognier, albariño, and petit manseng) that stand alongside the finest on the world’s wine stage,” says owner Jennifer McCloud. Have a glass, because even while you can get these wines elsewhere, like as in a wine subscription box, they are still, in the main, handcrafted, small-batch treasures best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home in Loudoun.

Plant-Based Southern Dishes

In Loudoun County, the expressions “farm-to-table” and “vineyard-to-glass” take on a whole new meaning. Southern food and American cuisine in general are being reimagined by acclaimed chefs and long-established local families, creating a gastronomic boom in the area.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm is one of the most renowned eateries in the region, set on a functioning organic farm. Morton Billand thinks that “a stroll to the field for inspiration” is necessary when coming up with dishes for the restaurant’s menu. “We respect the’marriage’ between the food and connection to the ground, and we feel it creates a knowledge that the care of the food is holy,” they wrote. Chef Jason Lage and his business partner Rebecca Dudley also own the popular Market Table Bistro in their city. The restaurant is a local staple in Lovettsville, and it draws customers from all around.

Visit Magnolias at the Mill, a charming eatery located in a historic mill from 1905, or the Wine Kitchen, a smaller establishment with seating for just 40. One of the top restaurants in all of northern Virginia, Tuscarora Mill serves up both land and sea fare in its rustic log cabin setting. Knead Wine in Middleburg serves both regional and international wines with gourmet pizzas topped with things like truffle and basil for those who are in the mood for the two. Wild Wood in Leesburg also provides pizza-making workshops for children, where they can learn the basics of working with dough, make their own delectable pies from scratch, and then seeing their creations cook in a wood-burning oven. After school, there are also pizza-making kits available for purchase. Last but not least, Goosecup, SideBar, and Shoe’s Cup & Cork all provide speciality coffee in relaxing settings, making them ideal for an afternoon break with a snack.

Things to Do in Loudoun

There is a wide variety of things to do in Loudoun County with the kids. Travelers, for instance, may find some hidden jewels by exploring other villages. Leesburg is a bustling little city with a thriving artistic community. Take a 75-minute tour with Amy Bobchek of Loudoun Art Tours, seeing Raflo Park’s sculpture garden, public work on the picturesque Washington and Old Dominion bike route, and the King Street Bridge mural. The Winmill Carriage Museum in Morven Park also has a collection of historic carriages that are well worth seeing.

Loudoun’s rivers, farmland, and mountains are also the great locations for outdoor pursuits. Visit Leesburg’s Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park and go up to the overlook for breathtaking views of the Potomac. If you prefer two wheels to two feet, the Washington and Old Dominion route is undoubtedly the greatest cycling path in the country. In addition, there are equestrian-accessible stretches. Starting in Virginia around the western border of Loudoun County, the Appalachian Trail rapidly climbs and drops roughly a dozen times in a relatively short distance before reaching the Loudoun region.

Loudoun County is a fantastic year-round vacation for families and groups of friends. “Making memories,” “experiencing the seasons,” “meeting people from various walks of life,” “the serene setting,” and “the family relationships — not just of own family, but also of the family of ‘guests,'” as Morton Billand puts it, are what it’s all about.

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