There’s no shortage of style, sophistication and refinement in Loudoun. From glamorous resorts and luxury inns to famous farm-to-fork restaurants and fashionable boutiques, the county knows good taste. But we also know a good time, with a slate of activities that have the kind of cool cachet residents from other regions can only envy.
Here we highlight some of the luxe options open to all in Loudoun.
Resorts & Inns
When looking for pampering and refinement in Loudoun, look no further than the equine-themed Forbes Five Star Salamander Resort & Spa set in 340 acres of Middleburg horse and wine country. The 168-room luxe resort has a world-class spa, sumptuous wine bar, multiple restaurants and a slate of outdoor activities including archery, horse riding, zip lining and croquet. A few miles away, the more secluded Goodstone Inn is equally gorgeous: an intimate 18-room inn and farm on 265 tumbling acres, famous for the acclaimed Conservatory restaurant of Chef Jan Van Haute where he creates sublime four, five and six-course tasting menus paired with world-class wines. Back in Leesburg, meanwhile, there’s the elegant 296-room Lansdowne Resort & Spa on the banks of the Potomac River. Enjoy rounds of golf on one of three championship standard courses, dine in one of the superb restaurants including Riverside Hearth facing the Potomac and enjoy a massage, facial or detox at the property’s 12,000 square- foot wellness center, Spa Minérale.
The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
In 1986 nurse Beverly Morton bought a 40-acre farm overlooking the Potomac River in Loudoun. Long before “locavore” was a thing, she was raising her five daughters on food grown and foraged on her land. By the early 90s she had opened a restaurant in a greenhouse on her property, serving what she called “Earth to Table” food. Fast forward 20 years and today, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm is one of the most exclusive dining experiences in the U.S., recently rated by Conde Nast Traveler as one of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World. Book well in advance to sample unique flavors such as farm egg with sultanas and fennel; roasted rabbit with eggplant butter and sweetcorn agnolotti with chanterelle mushrooms and pine needle cream on the ever-changing, nine-course Progression Menu.
Perhaps it’s James Bond ordering a martini (shaken not stirred), but there’s something about drinking a perfectly poured cocktail that suggests you’re living the high life. Live the Loudoun high life at Nightshift, the recently opened craft cocktail bar of Leesburg mixologist and musician Richard Smith. Located in a cool, low-slung, garret above the restaurant SideBar, Smith and his team create classic and original cocktails for a trendy yet discerning clientele – everything from martinis, Old Fashioneds and SideCars to fun inventions such as Panic! At The Pisco: a pisco, gin, pineapple, coconut and lime concoction with chocolate bitters. Enjoy your drink, Mr. Bond.
Refined living means good taste and if there’s one thing the farmers and artisanal growers of Loudoun produce, it’s good tastes. Leesburg, Middleburg, Purcellville, Sterling and Ashburn all have weekend markets selling fresh farm produce, but why not venture closer to the farms themselves? On Route 15 between Leesburg and Lucketts, Farmer John’s Market stocks locally grown greens, potatoes, fruit, herbs and even rare foraged mushrooms, while jewel-box sized Spring House Farm Store off Route 9 near Hamilton sells grass-fed beef, pork, poultry and honey from a nearby farm. Nearby Paige’s Pit Stop offers fresh baked goods on top of farm-grown fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese and even artisanal ice cream.
Horse Racing and Polo
They call horse racing the Sport of Kings and while we haven’t had a monarchy in the U.S. for three centuries, we do like to watch those horses run. Middleburg’s Spring and Fall races at Glenwood Park are highlights of the regional social calendar where people arrive decked out in designer hats and seersucker suits to tailgate. Leesburg’s Morven Park Equestrian Center meanwhile hosts the Loudoun Hunt Point to Point steeplechase in April, fans cheering on from the rails. Come summer, Morven Park also hosts the equally upscale Polo in the Park. Matches take place Saturday evenings from July through August with residents and visitors alike coming out to cheer on leading national and international players.
Loudoun has its share of thrilling pro sports – rugby, soccer, the aforementioned polo – but did you know we also have world-class figure skating? From October 27-30, Ion International Training Center in Leesburg will host the flagship US Figure Skating Championship Series Presented by Toyota, providing a chance for the public to see Olympic hopefuls in action including 2014 bronze medalist Gracie Gold. A state-of-the-art twin sheet arena, Ion is owned by former Romanian Olympic skater Luiz Taifas and several Olympic skaters and hopefuls both train and coach there. Buy your tickets here: https://www.usfigureskating.org/event/championship-series-leesburg-virginia