Drive west down John Wolford Road near Waterford, one of dozens of scenic back roads through the horse farms and wheat fields of western Loudoun, and a surreal sight soon appears on the right: half a dozen tables set under the shade of what look like giant ship sails. Sitting at benches under those sails – ochre-colored to blend in with the rural landscape – drinkers are sipping cool glasses of farm-brewed ale, eating juicy Cuban sandwiches and watching the sun fall over the barley fields.
Welcome to Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery’s expanded extra-shade social distance seating.
“We wanted people to feel safe and still have fun, so we tripled our outdoor shaded area,” said brewery owner Bonnie Branding. “Our guests can now book a table online, order beer and food on their cell phones from their table and pick their orders up at “service stations” six feet away.”
If there’s still too much heat under the sails, there’s extra seating in a barn on the property and five tables under gazebos – all at least eight feet apart. Not a bad way to reacquaint oneself with a brewery.
As Loudoun reopens, the desire to branch out and take a dirt road to your favorite winery or beer garden, dine at a restaurant, or explore a historic downtown has never been greater. Indeed, Branch Out is the name of a new Visit Loudoun marketing campaign urging residents and regional visitors to explore the attractions not far from their own backyards.
Wheatland Spring is not the only business catering to pent-up demand – while keeping customers safe.
Bluemont Vineyard recently unveiled “Rent a Row” – a new reservation option at the winery. The “Row” in question happens to be a column of Norton grapes in the vineyard below the tasting room.
“You book a row online, bring you own chairs and blankets, and we have runners to bring food and wine down,” said General Manager Hailey Zurschmeide. To ensure social distancing, other “renters” are either placed at the opposite end of a row or allocated a separate column in the vines. “It’s turning out to be as popular as our Chef’s Table dinners – and highly Instagrammable,” Zurschmeide said.
Of course you don’t need a reservation system to reacquaint yourself with your favorite parts of Loudoun. At Beaverdam Reservoir in Brambleton fish, kayak, paddleboard or hike winding waterfront trails of the 1,000-acre park, while over in Leesburg explore the historic downtown by downloading the Leesburg Walking Tour App. There are three self-guided walks to choose from, including an African American History Tour of the historic county seat.
The time is now to support Loudoun’s tourism attractions and towns; the time is now to branch out.
For more, visit: https://www.visitloudoun.org/explore-local/