New Year’s resolutions are often about getting healthy – dieting, juicing, endless hours at the gym. But there are more rewarding (and fun) ways to be active and get the mind and pulse racing again.
Here we select a range of ways to build a “new you” in Loudoun in 2021.
Who doesn’t love a spa? Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg and Lansdowne Resort & Spa in Leesburg are the gold standards in Loudoun pampering. The 50-minute Immunity massage at Lansdowne using essential oils such as clove, lemon, cinnamon and rosemary is a great stress reliever.
In eastern Loudoun, ARIA Medi Spa is a tech-driven, medically inspired wellness center that deals with body shaping, weight loss and anti-aging treatments overseen by expert physicians. It also has a five-room hotel or ‘sleep lab’ for you to stay and enjoy treatments over multiple days.
In Ashburn, OmFloat is a rejuvenation center offering unique “Floatation Therapy” to cure the storms in your head. The innovative treatment involves lying on your back in a dark 10-inch-deep tank of saltwater and floating, Dead Sea-style, for 90 minutes. The weightlessness induces an ethereal, meditative state akin to the most peaceful sleep, a cure for everything from anxiety to insomnia.
The Great Outdoors
Loudoun is an outdoor lover’s paradise, with multiple cycling and hiking trails, and kayaking, canoeing and rafting adventures thrown in for good measure.
The W&OD Trail is probably the best-known trail in the county. You can walk or even horseback ride it in sections, but it’s best for cycling, particularly the flat stretch between Hamilton and Purcellville, beautiful farm fields all around. The promise of a healthy lunch – try the lacquered salmon with Asian slaw – awaits you at Magnolias at the Mill at the end of the trail.
Further west, on the crest of the Blue Ridge above Bluemont, a hike to Bear’s Den Overlook gets the heart racing, as do the west-facing views of Shenandoah Valley from the top of its rocks.
Above Round Hill, on the same slopes of the Blue Ridge, is a stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Loudoun. Known as the “rollercoaster” for its many peaks and troughs, it will test even experienced hikers.
While it may be too cold to be on a river in winter, your resolutions apply for the whole year. When it warms up, make your way to Harpers Ferry Adventure Center. The center specializes in canoeing, tubing and white-water rafting on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. There is also a zip-lining course – and a brewery.
New Hobbies & Pursuits
Variety is the spice of life, which suggests picking up a new hobby might put a bit of zest in your step. First step – Summit Ropes in Sterling. As the largest indoor ropes course in the U.S., it has multiple levels of obstacle courses for both kids and adults and is as much about decision making as physical strength and conditioning. You’ll be scaling Mt. Denali in no time.
If a round of 18 holes on a golf course is not your thing, how about TopGolf in Ashburn- the golf craze where you can drink a smoothie, listen to music and hone your swing on the range.
Another intriguing new hobby: the international phenomenon of axe throwing. Channel your medieval warrior at popular axe throwing restaurant-bar Axes and O’s in Sterling. Try it for a night out, or they have a league, too.
Talking unusual sports, why not try your hand at curling, the Winter Olympics event that resembles bowling or shuffleboard on ice. You can take lessons at Ion International Training Center in Leesburg and even join a competitive league. “It’s actually quite strenuous and a good way to get fit in the new year, with a lot of lunging and squatting,” says Mitra Setayesh, co-owner and COO of Ion.
Expand Your Palate
There’s more to Loudoun’s dynamic wine and craft beverage scene than drinking. Wineries, breweries and distillers offer multiple educational opportunities to learn more about their products and expand your palate. Join the Elevation Club at 868 Estate Vineyards and you get to experience private tastings, dinners with wine pairings and meetings with award-winning winemaker Carl DiManno. At Greenhill Winery & Vineyards, membership of the Barrel Club means you get to learn about a selected vintage in its maturation from barrel to bottle and get invited to taste it as it evolves over the years. A Flight Tasting at music-forward brewery B Chord in Round Hill gets you a selection of ales, similar to a wine flight, and you can ask questions of staff and brew masters about methods and fermentation. Membership of the Rye Society VIP club at Catoctin Creek Distilling Co gets you invitations to exclusive events, rare behind-the-scenes tastings with distiller Becky Harris, 20% off all merchandise and a $200 credit off dinner for two at one of the regular private distillery dinners.