Our wine country vines are covered in twinkling lights and historic towns are decked out like scenes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Yes, the holidays have arrived in Loudoun. Throw in artisan markets, seasonal classic movies and animals dressed in festive attire and you have the perfect holiday destination.
Here we highlight some of the must-do holiday events in Loudoun this season.
Even though the famous Christmas in Middleburg parade isn't happening this year, visitors to the historic town can take part in a family-focused scavenger hunt, enjoy free hot cocoa at various stops, drop letters for Santa at the old post office and enjoy carriage rides down Washington Street where the lampposts are hung with wooden Christmas ornaments and decorated with twinkling lights.
Over in Leesburg, a giant tree lights up the Town Square and historic street lamps are adorned with red ribbons and greenery. The annual Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Show moves outdoors on December 5 at Freedom Park and will feature more than 30 local artisans. The town puts a twist on its traditional holiday parade by offering a free Glitter and Glow Drive Thru past stationary floats at Freedom Park on December 12.
Purcellville’s tree lighting ceremony will go virtual on Friday, December 4 at 6:30 pm. Watch this traditional town event from the warmth of your home on the town's facebook page. Additionally, on December 12, the town will host virtual Lego train displays and ornament building workshops. December 14 is the start of Franklin Park Arts Center’s first Winter Lights Walk: the illumination of an array of lighted sculptures on a walkway through the grounds of the park. Open through January 2, the festive outdoor experience features the work of local artists and is an extension of the park’s indoor gallery exhibit, “Stars, Night and Winter Sky.”
Staying at Franklin Park, on December 12, international Irish Tenor Mark Forrest presents a Christmas Concert filled with holiday favorites.
Over in Lucketts the famous Old Lucketts Store is hosting its annual Holiday Open House four days a week through December 20. Purchase a ticket online in advance to get access to the Holiday Design House – a festively decorated 19th Century farmhouse in which all décor and items, from homeware to ornaments to furniture, are for sale.
For the Family
Enjoy animal encounters on December weekends at the annual Christmas Village at Leesburg Animal Park. Camels, sheep and other animals adorned in festive gear bring the nativity to life while other activities include photo ops with Santa and furry friends, a holiday train ride and craft making all under the glow of decorative twinkling lights.
The holiday classic, A Christmas Story, comes to the Stagecoach Theatre Company in downtown Ashburn, December 12-23. The black box theater is one of the few offering a safe, yet intimate live show that will capture the hearts of everyone as it tells the story of little Ralphie at Christmas time.
At Forbes five-star rated Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg your little ones get to board a wagon and let the elves take them to Santa’s workshop to meet the big man himself. This is followed by s’mores, hot chocolate and a craft project.
At the beautifully decorated Lansdowne Resort & Spa, book the new holiday staycation package, complete with a s’mores kit to enjoy at the outdoor firepit, a bottle of wine and a holiday gift. For those traveling with kids, breakfast with Santa is a must on December 19.
Urban Precinct Happenings
Loudoun’s swanky lifestyle precincts are alive with seasonal cheer.
One Loudoun hosts a public pageant – The One for Holiday Fun – on Saturday December 5th. The evening includes a virtual tree lighting ceremony through @oneloudoun on Facebook, Santa photos by appointment, LED light show performances and the classic holiday movie Elf drive-in style. Tickets are free for the movie but must be reserved in advance.
Enjoy VALFresco – outdoor live music – Friday and Saturday nights in the Village at Leesburg, much of it Christmas themed as we near the big day. Santa attends brunch at Travinia Italian Kitchen on Saturday December 12 while at Chefscape partake in the White Winter painting party – with cocktails.
Brambleton Town Center hosts its Winter Wonderland from 12pm to 4pm on December 6th, featuring Christmas characters, carolers, crafts, hot chocolate, treats and more.
Be sure to visit Bluemont Thursday through Sunday for the Lighting of the Vines: 15,000 holiday lights strung through 10,000 grape vines at Bluemont Vineyard on the slopes of the Blue Ridge. At 5:30pm each evening, the staff leads a countdown to the illumination, followed by a rousing toast with Bluemont wines.
Food & Drink
Lost Rhino Brewing Company hosts a Holiday Street Market on December 5 with scores of local artists and craftsmen selling products. Great gift buying opportunity. The brewery will also host a Holiday Beer & Food pairing in its Ashburn tap room December 13: a four-course dinner matched with fine wines and the brewery’s best ales.
On December 9 and 10 Tuscarora Mill restaurant hosts “A Very Crooked Run Christmas” and “A Merry Crooked Run Christmas” - successive holiday dinners paired with beer from its neighbor, Crooked Run Brewing.
On December 10 at 6.30pm Magnolias at the Mill hosts 12 Beers of Christmas: a lavish six course dinner paired with 12 winter warmer beers delivered by Santa himself. Book your spot for $125, including tip.
Beer lovers can visit Old 690 Brewing Company where the tasting room has been transformed into the magical Gimble's Department Store from the movie Elf.