As the excitement of the holidays wears off and the long chill of winter sets in, thoughts turn to where to vacation this year. Are you looking for family-friendly outdoor fun or a romantic retreat with your loved one? How about an excursion into DC’s Wine Country®, the Napa Valley of the East Coast, or a thirst-quenching brewery adventure in the urban taprooms and mountain top beerhalls of the LoCo Ale Trail? Whatever your tastes or passions, Loudoun has you covered. This January 25th, National Plan for Vacation Day, plan one of these trips to Loudoun.
With more than 40 wineries and tasting rooms, Loudoun is aptly known as DC’s Wine Country. For the complete experience, – an idea of the variety of wines and stunning locations on offer – visit each of the county’s wine clusters, from the Potomac in the north to the Loudoun Heights Cluster out east, and much in between. County seat Leesburg is home to wine-forward restaurants Echelon and The Wine Kitchen, while Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg is renowned for its Gold Cup Wine Bar, which features several local vintages. There are dozens of B&Bs within wine country to stay. At AltaTerra Farm B&B in Hillsboro, check into the Shiraz Suite and hike through farm fields to neighboring Hillsborough Winery, Brewery & Vineyard for a glass of sublime Ruby Red blend.
Loudoun may be wine country but it’s one of the most exciting craft beer destinations too, with more than 35 breweries and taprooms connected by the county’s popular LoCo Ale Trail. Vary your ale trail experience. Explore the trendy micro-breweries of the urban Dulles Corridor one day, the cozy beerhalls of historic downtown Leesburg the next and the stunning farm breweries and scenery out west the next. If you’re feeling active, you can even spend a day cycling between breweries located on and close to the scenic Washington & Old Dominion Trail in Sterling and Ashburn. Want to stay at a brewery? Check out the cozy, one-room log cabin B&B of the acclaimed Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery outside Waterford.
Loudoun is not all about beer and wine. We’re a family destination too with a myriad of kid-friendly activities and adventures to entertain the little ones. Experience Loudoun's rich agricultural tradition at Great Country Farms in Bluemont, a working farm where activities include strawberry and apple picking, tractor rides, a mine sluice, a corn maze and even fishing. Make sure to indulge in the delicious apple donuts too. North of Leesburg, at Temple Hall Farm Regional Park, you can pet animals and take a horse and carriage ride, while out in the east you can learn about the rural history of Loudoun at the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum. Another not-to-miss adventure is Leesburg Animal Park, an interactive facility where kids can meet or pet a range of exotic creatures such as sloths, zebras, hedgehogs, camels and even African cats.
How about a whole vacation dedicated to romance? Start your woo-cation with a couples visit to a Loudoun spa. Try the signature Respiratory Detox treatment with hot stone massage at Lansdowne Resort & Spa on the banks of the Potomac River or enjoy an entire day of pampering in the saunas, massage rooms and rooftop pools of newly opened Korean-inspired King Spa in South Riding. Follow this with a day of shopping in the stylish boutiques, galleries and home décor stores of downtown Middleburg or historic Leesburg. What relationship doesn’t go better with chocolate? Take a chocolate making class together at The Conche restaurant in the Village at Leesburg. As for the ultimate romantic dinner, call weeks in advance to reserve a table at world-class, earth-to-table icon The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm where you dine on an ever-changing, nine-course Progression Menu while gazing down on the Potomac from an imperious greenhouse dining room.
If you want a vacation of active, outdoor fun, Loudoun has you covered too. Harpers Ferry Adventure Center in the west of the county offers a heart-in-mouth zip-line over a forest canopy while those who prefer to keep their feet on the ground should hike the Appalachian Trail north of Round Hill to Bear’s Den Overlook above Bluemont. Cyclists love the W&OD Trail that dissects the county east to west, while equestrian enthusiasts can hit the back country horse trails of Oatlands Historic House & Gardens and historic Morven Park. Chase Run Stable in Hamilton leases horses and offers group and private riding lessons. Want some heart in mouth action? Pev’s Paintball near Middleburg is a 48-acre paintball park with 14 themed fields in which to play. Want to get on the water? Paddle Nova offers kayak and Stand Up Paddle board rentals at Beaverdam Reservoir and tours along the Potomac River from Algonkian Regional Park, while Sterling’s Volcano Island Waterpark is a tropical island themed summer park with waterslides, splash pools, dumping buckets and more. Finally, why not watch some high-octane pro sports action? Segra Field in Leesburg is home to Major League rugby team Old Glory DC as well as soccer stars Loudoun United. Get your game on!