A dozen or so years ago my wife and I packed up our Volvo station wagon and two young kids and moved from Brooklyn, New York to Waterford, Loudoun County – swapping a sprawling metropolis of eight million people for the bucolic charm of a Quaker village with a population of 280.


I’ve never regretted it.


For me, the charm and appeal of Loudoun is that it’s a rare combination of country living alongside urban style and sophistication. Sure, we have open space – fresh mountain air, farm fields, dirt roads, stone-fenced lanes, parks, lakes, rivers and hiking trails – but we also have trendy towns and historic villages lined with galleries, museums, cafes, restaurants, cocktail bars and boutiques. The best of both worlds in other words. All that and Washington, D.C. is only a 40-minute drive away. 


This week is National Travel and Tourism Week. In anticipation we asked local residents to be tourists and tell us their favorite things to do in Loudoun.


Jamin Akpan, Healthcare Consultant, Ashburn

I’m originally from Potomac, MD so just on the other side of the river. I moved to Loudoun in the fall of last year from Richmond. It has been a nice change from a mid-sized city to a small-town feel, but I love it. I was seeking a community that did not feel transient, where you know your neighbors and those around you. Everything you need in Loudoun is right at your fingertips without having to go into the city but if you do want the city, it's less than an hour away. My favorite places to frequent in Loudoun are Lost Barrel Brewing in Middleburg and Goosecup Café and Public House in Leesburg. For exercise and staying fit I like Flow Yoga, which has studios in Ashburn and Purcellville.


Jamin Akpan

Deb Dramby, Farmer & Marketer, Bluemont

I moved to Loudoun in 2012 to help build the farm and community at Willowsford, now a nationally recognized “agrihood” with as many acres in conservation and agriculture in Aldie and Ashburn as there are homes. I've found a wonderful balance working in bustling eastern Loudoun and then going home via a gravel road in Bluemont down the street from the historic Austin Grove Church and a short drive from Dirt Farm Brewery, Henway Hard Cider, Bluemont Vineyard and Bluemont Station. Western Loudoun is famous for its brewery and vineyard scene so rarely does a Saturday pass without friends and family from the DC metro area stopping by. Aside from the above-mentioned spots, I love Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery in Waterford (also home to an incredible Farmers Market on Saturdays), and The Hamilton Mercantile, which was the first natural food store in the county and is currently owned by a powerhouse duo of local ag-supporting women. Nothing makes me more grateful to live here than when I see the hunt clubs pass through on horseback with their red coats and hounds – Loudoun is quite literally out of a storybook!


Deb Dramby

Danielle Davis, Business Owner, Leesburg

I moved to Loudoun shortly after getting married 20 years ago. My husband Chad is an avid golfer and wanted to live within a stone's throw of his home course, River Creek. Since then, River Creek has become a social hub for our entire family. We – along with our three teenage children – golf, play tennis and dine there several times a week. We love meeting friends there to take in the spectacular views of the Potomac while sipping some of the best cocktails in town. I love that Loudoun, and Leesburg in particular, has a smalltown charm, all while being only minutes away from one of the most powerful cities in the world. On Independence Day, for example, you can start in the morning at the Leesburg Parade, then head into downtown DC for an afternoon Nationals game and cap off the night with fireworks at the White House. I can't imagine a better place to raise a family.


Danielle Davis & Family

Yutao Zhang, CPA & Operator of Lawless Forge, South Riding

Since 2013, my daughters and I have called Loudoun home. It's been a wonderful journey of discovery – the simple joys of rural life blended perfectly with the vibrancy of nearby city living. Summer is a treasure trove of activities. We love spending weekends exploring all the parks and the farmer's markets! We can't get enough of the seasonal fresh produce. Evenings are spent savoring culinary delights from the street corner deli (Mex-Mart & Deli) to the farm to table Restaurant at Patowmack Farm in Lovettsville with its breathtaking view of the Potomac River. Brew Birds café in Stone Ridge with its cozy outdoor seating has become a favorite brunch spot especially during the warmer months. In Loudoun we've found more than just a place to live; we've found a community that embraces us and a lifestyle that fills our hearts with joy.


Yutao Zhang