Looking for a mini vacation where you can indulge a bit? Look no further than Loudoun County, home of DC’s Wine Country, Horse Country, an incredible craft brewery trail and a healthy mix of both urban areas and country living.
Beef & Brews
MORNING: After checking into the Lansdowne Resort & Spa, take a short drive over to the charming downtown area of Leesburg to visit Delirium Café, the first U.S. location for the Belgian-based brew cafés. In addition to serving the European brewery’s delicious creations on draft, they offer over three dozen house-made Genevers(aDutch-style gin product infused with fruits, herbs, peppers and other tinctures). As this is currently the only place in Virginia concocting their own Genevers, you won’t want to miss this unique tasting experience.
AFTERNOON: For lunch, head to Purcellville for a stop at Monk’s BBQfor a plate of some of the finest barbecued meats you’ll ever eat. Then, wander down the street to Catoctin Creek Distillery. They craft award-winning rye whiskeys and gin on-site. Order a tasting of the liquors straight or try their seasonal cocktail tasters. A window-covered wall gives you a glimpse of the distilling process. Keep an eye out for Frank the pug, the owner’s pet and the unofficial mascot of the distillery.
EVENING: End the day at Crooked Run Breweryin Sterling. Step inside the new brewery and sample some of their unique creations, including the Raspberry Empress Sour IPA, a one-of-a-kind pale ale that is a local favorite. If you’re hungry, order some tacos or tostados from the on-site Senor Ramon Taquerialocation. Travel back to Lansdowne for a good night’s sleep or call an Uber to check out the nightlife options in downtown Leesburg.
Barn Cats & Bon Bons
MORNING: For breakfast, the buffet at Riverside Hearthin the hotel has everything you could possibly want. Plan to leave the resort around 10:30am to make the 30-minute drive over to Stone Tower Winery, which opens at 11:00am for tours and tastings. Stone Tower has two separate tasting rooms: The Harvest Bar, a spacious family-friendly area, and The Tower View Tasting Room, a 21+ space.
Next, stop by Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, the oldest winery in Loudoun County. Owner Lew Parker crafts interesting varietals from the over 13 acres of grapes grown on-site. Keep an eye out for Flint, the extremely friendly resident barn cat that was once voted“MostRecognizable Barn Cat.”
AFTERNOON: Drive back to Leesburg for lunch at King Street Oyster Bar, a seafood restaurant that has an outstanding selection of fresh oysters. After lunch, journey north along Route 15 to Fabbioli Cellars. This winery pairs current varietals with carefully curated small bites(thinkcheeses, meats and chocolates) to complement the wines. You may be a bit worn down after all those wine tastings, so consider heading back to Lansdowne for a little down time.
EVENING: For dinner, make reservations at The Concheahead of time, as Saturdays are always busy. This new Leesburg restaurant is a chocolate-lovers dream, serving creative cocoa-infused cocktails, desserts and even entrees. During the meal, you can watch chocolatiers through a glass wall as they make beautiful chocolate bon bons. Before you leave, order some to take home with you.
Boutiques & Baguettes
MORNING: After a final luxurious night at Lansdowne, travel to Middleburg, a quaint, small town filled with antique shops, local boutiques and endless charm. Located in the heart of horse country, many of the shopping destinations are fairly expensive, but perusing the streets while window shopping is still a worthwhile experience.
AFTERNOON: Break for a quick bite at the Market Salamander, a gourmet market and open kitchen that serves a wide array of breakfast and lunch offerings. After lunch, make a final stop at Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery. Their new barn location on the outskirts of town welcomes visitors to sample their dry cider creations, while a smaller tasting room in the heart of Middleburg’s Main Street features their liquors, including rums, apple brandy and the only absinthe made in Virginia.
DEPARTURE: On your way out of town, you simply have to drop by Red Truck Bakeryin Marshall for a slice of their seasonal, award-winning pies, which have been heralded by both President Obama and Oprah as personal favorites. Oh, yes… you’ll be back.
WHERE TO STAY…
Lansdowne Resort This property has all the amenities you expect at a luxury hotel in Virginia, but
& Spa: Without the steep price tag. The property holds two 18-hole and one nine-hole golf course, several on-site restaurants—including Coton & Rye, where you can enjoy dinner and a limited-edition Catoctin Creek whiskey made exclusively for the resort—and a world-class spa that utilizes local wine products in their treatments. If the weather permits, take a walk along the Potomac River located behind the resort and explore Northern Virginia’s natural beauty.