Loudoun loves a party - a chance to celebrate a national day, festival or an annual tradition. We let loose during St Patrick’s Day and Halloween but we also love Virginia Craft Beer Month, Virginia Wine Month and all the annual concerts, tours and fall festivals.
It’s rare though for several celebrations to fall in a single week. Yet, that’s the case this week with multiple holidays or commemorations to consider. October 24 is National Food Day as well as the start of the Indian holiday, Diwali; October 26 is National Pumpkin Day; October 27 is National American Beer Day and October 28 is National Chocolate Day.
Naturally, this being fun loving Loudoun, we’re here to suggest how to best celebrate them all.
National Food Day
National Food Day is a nationwide focus on healthy and nutritious foods and fortunately in Loudoun we’re blessed with an abundance of farms, farmers markets and farm stores. Check out Farmer John’s Market on Route 15, bursting with fresh greens, mushrooms, fruits and vegetables and wildly popular with local chefs. For a wide range of plant-based juices, nut milks and smoothies as well as salads and snacks, look no further than Greenheart Juice Bar & Café in Leesburg and Aldie. We love the Liquid Gold juice made with carrots, ginger, turmeric, pear and pineapple. Over in Hamilton, Hamilton Mercantile on the town’s main street sells all the regular health store items – fruit, vegetables, vitamins and supplements – but also remedies, skin care creams, tinctures, seasonal drinks, handmade jewelry as well as artisanal coffee from Lone Oak.
Diwali, the five-day festival of good food, fireworks and light, is the most important holiday of the year for Indians and Hindus. While many will celebrate at home with family, it’s a good time to try one of Loudoun’s world-class Indian restaurants to honor the occasion. Where to choose? We adore the spicy Chicken Balti with garlic naan bread at Bhai Sahab in Lansdowne, while devotees swear by the bone in lamb chop with dill turmeric sauce at Celebration by Rupa Vira in Ashburn. Then there are the deliciously authentic Punjabi dishes at 5 Tara (5 Stars) Indian Cuisine in the Village at Leesburg. Try the ultra-spicy Gosht Vindaloo or the rich and tangy Chicken Tikka Masala.
National Pumpkin Day
With Halloween looming, it’s pumpkin time and October 26 is National Pumpkin Day. We’re spoiled for pick-your-own in Loudoun. Temple Hall Farm near Lucketts is a fun, family outing that includes wagon rides along with the picking, while beloved Wegmeyer Farms in Hamilton grows more than 50 varieties of pumpkins from traditional Jack-O-Lanterns to magnificent heirlooms and offers pre-picked and pick-your-own. If you want to entertain small kids, the Pumpkin Village Fall Festival at Leesburg Animal Park is always popular. The little ones get to pick out and decorate pumpkins in between pony rides, petting and feeding all the animals.
National American Beer Day
It's October 27 now – National American Beer Day – and where better to celebrate than in Loudoun, home to more than 35 craft breweries and taprooms along the LoCo Ale Trail. The day is geared to specifically American beers so go hyper local at Lost Barrel Brewing in Middleburg with a taste of the golden-orange Salamander Sunset Wheat brewed with estate-grown hops from Lost Barrel and the nearby Salamander Resort & Spa. They also host Beer Bingo tonight. Over near Hillsboro, Old 690 Brewing Company off a rugged dirt road has 12 local brews on tap including the Barn Find Brown with Cold Brew Coffee – an American brown ale finished with cold brew coffee from Catoctin Coffee Company. Can’t get much more down home American than that!
National Chocolate Day
And so to the end of the week, October 28 is one for people with a sweet tooth: National Chocolate Day. Fine dining restaurant The Conche in Leesburg has a chocolate lab on site and several dishes, including the steak and lamb chops, come with a cocoa crust. You can take a cocktail making class– the Conche Old Fashioned contains Aztec chocolate bitters – or visit their new cake studio in Sterling, which hosts chocolate making classes. Book one! Chocolate ice cream anyone? Scruffy’s Ice Cream Parlor in Middleburg has been serving delicious scoops for over 30 years. The heaped chocolate cone is a winner, but the owners also do decadent chocolate chip cookies. What about a chocolate Sundae or Shake? Head to the The Yard at One Loudoun to try the Cookie Monster Sundae: cookie monster ice cream in a chocolate iced jar topped with whipped cream, chocolate and marshmallow.
Happy Everything Week!