Loudoun is renowned for great restaurants, superb craft beverages, stylish boutiques and luxury resorts. But you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy a day out in DC’s Wine Country®. Here we recommend how to spend a day in Loudoun on a budget of $50.
Start your day with a craft coffee in downtown Leesburg, home of the Leesburg Coffee Corridor, where there are at least seven cafes and espresso bars within walking distance of each other. Opt for a large Drip Brew ($2.25) from King Street Coffee or a potent Americano ($3.00) from trendy Goosecup Coffee & Bar. Supplement that with a croissant ($4.50) since you have some walking to do.
Established in 1758, county seat Leesburg has a gorgeous downtown buzzing with boutiques, restaurants and historic buildings. Soak up the ambience by downloading one of several free self-guided audio walking tours created by the Town of Leesburg. Options include a Public Art Tour, an African American History Tour and a Highlights of Historic Leesburg Tour. If you prefer your history with less walking, the Loudoun Museum has a series of permanent and rotating exhibits that tell the story of the county’s culture, history and natural treasures. There is no charge.
BUY A CAFÉ SANDWICH
After your tour, pick up a delicious sandwich to go. Puccio’s is a popular New York-style Italian deli on Loudoun Street that does specialty subs, wraps and salads. We love The Brooklyn: turkey and provolone topped with Russian dressing and slaw served hot on a sub for $9.95. South Street Under, part of the Market Station complex, makes its own breads. The Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad is served on the freshest, spongiest ciabatta and costs only $8.75.
ENJOY A WINERY PICNIC
You’re in DC’s Wine Country® so enjoy that sandwich on the lawns of a winery with a glass of Loudoun’s finest in hand. Several wineries allow guests to bring food on site. 8 Chains North has wonderful views of rolling vines from its porch and wines starting from $8 a glass. Sunset Hills Vineyard north of Purcellville allows food in its ample outdoor spaces. A glass of 2021 Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon for $9 will pair perfectly with that South Street Under sandwich. At Otium Cellars west of Purcellville, take a bench table in the shade, views of vines, valley and Blue Ridge Mountains in front of you, and order a glass of Dornfelder for $7, a deep red German-origin wine to accompany that Brooklyn sandwich.
THRIFTING IN PURCELLVILLE
Loudoun has upscale boutiques galore but also a thriving thrift shop scene, so it’s time to pop some tags. Purcellville is a haven of thrift and vintage stores with great bargains. At Re-Love It, a wildly popular consignment store in an enormous space on West Main Street, pick up jeans, shirts, summer dresses or a couple of vintage vinyl records for under $10. Back downtown The Clothing Closet has second-hand men’s and women’s wear as well as winter scarves, hats and gloves. A few doors down It’s Bazaar is a two-floor emporium of bargain clothes, ornaments and other finds. Pick up a vintage flower vase for under $10.
EXPERIENCE EQUESTRIAN HISTORY
By mid-afternoon it’s time to visit Middleburg, the heart of horse country. The National Sporting Library and Museum on the western edge of town is the nation’s leading resource on equestrian and field sports. It has an equine-themed fine art gallery and a research library where you can learn about events such as the Great Hound Match of 1905 – a famous North v South fox hunt that precipitated a rush of Gilded Age New York families to move to the area. The library is free and the museum side is $10, though does offer free entry for students and first responders.
DINNER IN MIDDLEBURG
You have roughly $15 left for dinner and fear not – we have you covered! On East Federal Street in downtown Middleburg, Teddy’s Pizza does the best New York-style pies this side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Slices cost a mere $3. Have two and that still leaves you with room for a glass of Old Ox Brewery’s Black Ox Rye Porter ($9) in the rustic Tavern of the esteemed Red Fox Inn on Washington Street. Alternatively, take a stool in the cozy King Street Oyster Bar on the other side of the street. During Happy Hour between 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. each day, the restaurant offers a selection of cocktails for $7 (try the Gimlet, House Mule or Seasonal Sangria) and tasty bar food dishes such as tuna tacos ($8), crabcake sliders ($8) and signature King Street Wings ($7).