Valentine’s Day has passed but June brings summer, the pull of romance and the promise of Date Nights. Fortunately, like Virginia, Loudoun is for lovers – and we have you covered.
Here we suggest 10 date nights to enjoy with that special person.
Shoot for the Heart
In lieu of Cupid’s Arrow, how about sending one of your own to your loved one in a competitive game at Ultimate Archery. This Sterling-based business features Virginia’s only archery dodgeball arena. Speaking of competitive, you can also face off at Pev’s Paintball south of Leesburg, which is a 48-acre paintball park with 14 themed fields. If you don’t fancy taking your date on a Mr. and Mrs. Smith-combat style experience, team up and take on rivals in multi-member team events. There’s nothing like bonding under fire while hiding in a prison guard tower or behind a log in a Wild West borderland.
A great date is one that gets the heart racing and there’s no better way to do that than in a racing car. Or should we say, racing kart? Surprise your date with a trip to Autobahn Indoor Speedway in Sterling, a 40,000-square- foot European style indoor go-karting facility, the largest of its kind in Virginia. The high-speed electric Italian pro-karts are inspired by Formula One racing cars and can reach speeds of up to 50mph.
Take in a Game
Loudoun – or specifically Segra Field in Leesburg – is becoming a Mid-Atlantic sports mecca. If your date is athletically minded – and who doesn’t like sports? – take in a pro rugby or soccer game at the 5,000-seat stadium. Major League Rugby team Old Glory DC play home games at Segra, including one June 12 against the New Orleans Gold. Local soccer stars Loudoun United, feeder team to DC United, play Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC June 30 and Miami FC July 11. Then there’s the DC area’s female pro soccer team, Washington Spirit, who play some home games at Segra Field including against Chicago Red Stars on July 2 and Gotham FC on July 18.
Polo in the Park
Morven Park is known for its historic mansion and gorgeous landscaped gardens – perfect for a late afternoon romantic stroll. By the time evening – date night – rolls around, however, you will want to have a picnic blanket out and wine and cheese ready on the grass slopes of the polo arena at the Morven Park International Equestrian Center. Polo matches take place every Saturday from July 10 through summer, with socialites, hunt country gentry and glam couples in seersucker suits and designer hats cheering on leading national and international players. The perfect glamor date.
Ride Horses Together
Polo is just one of Loudoun’s crowd-pleasing equestrian events, and while it’s exciting to watch horses in competition, it’s more romantic to ride one. Make your way out to Chase Run Stables in Hamilton where you and your date can lease horses for a “Trail Ride” on the scenic W&OD Trail, which runs along the southern boundary of the property. Demand is high, so make sure you book your horses a week in advance. When done, you’re just yards away from the newly opened Firefly Cellars, a boutique winery where you can enjoy a glass of delectable sparkling Blanc de Blancs in the gardens, lush fields all around.
Sip Wine With a View
Wine and a good date go together like strawberries and cream, and while there’s no shortage of wineries to try in Loudoun, why not combine a unique vintage with a spectacularly romantic setting? Tucked away on aptly named Tranquility Road just outside Purcellville, Otium Cellars is a boutique winery specializing in complex Austrian and German varietals such as Grüner Veltliner, Grauburgunder and Blaufränkisch, as well as classic Chardonnay, Merlot and Malbec. There are multiple settings on property to try them in, including a chic wood paneled tasting room, but we like the new gazebo out front overlooking the vines, Blue Ridge Hills and neighboring farm. Pair a glass of the 2015 Blaufränkisch Reserve with cheese and charcuterie as the sun sets and you won’t go wrong.
Dinner Above the River
On some dates you just have to splurge. Call well in advance to reserve a table at world-famous Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, the fine dining, foraging-to-fork restaurant of Beverly Morton located on her land overlooking the Potomac River. Everything on the menu from ramps and mushrooms to beets, beef and even catfish come either from her farm, local farms, surrounding hills or the Potomac River itself. On a recent visit the nine-course Progression Menu included a farm egg with asparagus, hollandaise and cayenne; a Potomac River catfish in a lemon sauce and chicken and grits with mushroom ragout and Appalachian cheese. The views of the river from the hushed gazebo-style dining room are sublime, as is the service.
Enjoy Live Music
Everything goes better with music and there’s no shortage of live bands, concerts and even festivals to show off your moves. B Chord Brewing Company has live bands every weekend in summer as well as the second Julesapalooza on July 12 , a day-long festival featuring the likes of The Bumper Jacksons and Juliana MacDowell, after whom the event is named. On June 13, 868 Estate Vineyards hosts musical acts to benefit Cancer Can Rock. Enjoy 868’s superb vintages to summer sounds from Jason Masi, The Honey Larks and others. Then there is the Tarara Summer Concert Series, which returns July 3 after a hiatus in 2020. Held every Saturday evening through September, you and your date get to enjoy a variety of rock and blues bands while sipping Loudoun wine and beer.
Hike to Bear's Den Overlook
There’s a reason DC’s elite used to escape the summer heat for Bluemont when the W&OD railway line operated out here in the early 1900s: it’s cool in those Blue Ridge hills. Make like an early 20th Century aristocrat and hike – really a 20-minute walk - to Bear’s Den Overlook above Bluemont, accessed via the parking lot just off Route 7. The west -facing views from the rocks of the Shenandoah Valley are breathtaking, and if you bring a bottle of wine, you can toast as the sun sets on the meandering river. Glorious. After the hike, make your way to Bear Chase Brewing Company nearby, the wildly popular mountain-top brewery and beer garden with equally stunning views of the Piedmont to the east.
Sample Craft Cocktails
Loudoun may be best known for wine and beer, but we’re fast becoming a craft whiskey and cocktail county, too. Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Purcellville offers tours and tastings – a perfect date night for couples into distilled goods. Enjoy a whiskey or brandy flight around the horseshoe shaped bar after you tour, or ask for one of the signature cocktails, best made with their award-winning Roundstone Rye or Watershed Gin. Impress your partner by buying them a bottle of the good stuff when you leave.