The sun is setting over the Blue Ridge, a gentle breeze is blowing through autumnal forests and in the cascading gardens of a historic Loudoun estate, two dozen couples are dancing the Foxtrot to Frank Sinatra’s “It Was a Very Good Year.”
Welcome to the Fall 2020 Edition of Dance King Studio’s “Sweetheart Sunset Date” dance series at Oatlands Historic House & Gardens.
Brainchild of Dance King instructors Adam King and April Rodriguez, the series began during lockdown as a fun, socially distanced way to get together safely – and learn a few moves. Tickets cost $50 per couple and guests bring their own blankets, chairs, food and wine.
“Saturday October 10th is the last of the series,” said Rodriguez, who along with King gives swing and foxtrot lessons to the group at the start of the event, and one-on-one instruction as the sun goes down. “With the leaves turning it will be more beautiful than ever.”
Loudoun is gorgeous in the Fall. The air has turned crisp and cool, morning mists hang in the valleys and the landscape- green farm fields offset by explosions of burnt yellow and salmon red forests- resembles an oil painting. It’s a good time to branch out and explore the outdoors.
“It’s harvest season (at the vineyards), the foliage is stunning and most wineries will be releasing their new reds from 2018 and 2019,” said Aimee Henkle, Chair of the Loudoun Wineries Association.
October, which is Virginia Wine Month, also sees the 6th annual Loudoun Wine Awards showcasing the best wines in the county. The event will be streamed live on the LWA’s Facebook page on October 1st.
Also going virtual is the Waterford Fair, which will showcase the work of several skilled artisans online, and the 2020 Loudoun Fall Farm Tour.
Another exciting in person event will take place October 11th at Celebrations Farm in Bluemont. Leading Virginia chefs and farmers will come together on the sweeping lawns for Pickled & Roasted: An Autumn Open Air Culinary Experience, part of the Roots to Table series created by Taste of Blue Ridge founder and owner Nancy Craun.
The event will feature Loudoun’s own Erik Foxx-Nettnin (The Polished Foxx), Jeremy Thrasher (West End Wine Bar) and Jason Reaves (pastry chef at Salamander Resort & Spa) who will partner with regional farmers to cook unique dishes and discuss fresh produce.
No harvest season is complete without pumpkin picking and Halloween haunts. Temple Hall Farm near Lucketts will host a pick-your-own pumpkin patch this year while the Loudoun Museum will offer its Hauntings Tour October 16 and 17, taking visitors to historic homes and businesses where storytellers share the ghostly tales of the town. And, no Fall in Loudoun is complete without The Arc of Loudoun’s Shocktober, which features one of the scariest haunted houses in the country. This year, take a terror-filled, two-hour tour of the house virtually or attend classes that range from creating creepy home décor to how to apply haunt makeup.