In Virginia’s northern corner, with the beautiful banks of the Potomac River to the north and east, and the West Virginia state line to the west, is historic Loudoun County. Home to roughly 400,000 Virginians, Loudoun County has plenty to entertain outdoor enthusiasts, history lovers and wine connoisseurs alike.
Downtown Leesburg has ample options to start your day with a good cup of joe and a healthy breakfast but it’s hard to top the delicious, local food from Cowbell Kitchen. Located on East Market Street in downtown, Cowbell Kitchen works with farmers from Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. to create a made from scratch menu, which changes each week based on what’s available from local producers.
From breakfast, head out to the Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Park to burn off the morning’s calories on the numerous trails throughout the park. A number of historic building and informational plaques greet you in the well-maintained and sizeable parking lot. From there, all the trails break away from the same parking lot and all link back up at multiple spots that overlook a wide, meandering section of the Potomac River. A full loop of the park on the white-marked trail will put just over a mile of steps under your feet, although it is possible to make it out to the overlooks with less than a half a mile of walking. Be sure to stay on trail as the park is home to a number of native, wild plants and animals.
Get some more steps in for the day as you explore the picturesque streets of historic Leesburg. With multiple parking options, including free parking at Liberty Street Lot, access to downtown is quite easy. Grab a mid-day bite at Señor Ramon Taqueria where the owners have brought the authentic taste of Mexican street food to this quaint little town.
Any wine lovers out there? If so, you’ve found yourself in the right spot. Loudoun County, which is home to 40 plus different vineyards and tasting rooms, is often referred to as “D.C.’s Wine Country”. Check out visitloudoun.org for a full list of wineries and their descriptions.
Downtown Leesburg offers a multiplicity of dining options. Check out Lightfoot on North King Street for an elegant evening of classic American food. Take advantage of your proximity to the Atlantic by heading over to King Street Oyster Bar, located on South King Street, where fresh seafood meets quality service for a great meal.
Start Day Two with a peaceful walk or bike ride through the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad Regional Park (W & OD). The parks paved trail runs nearly 45 miles from Shirlington to Purcellville and covers both urban spaces and the stunning Virginia countryside. The W&OD Park also offers a 32-mile horse trail that is sure to keep any equestrian occupied. There are a number of different access points along the 45-mile trail, some of which are actual parking lots while others are roadside pull-offs. Check the Northern Virginia Parks website for more information.
A fancy burger from Melt Gourmet Cheeseburgers, located on East Market Street, should hold you over as you take a casual stroll through Morven Park, a historic 1,000-acre park just outside of Leesburg. The park features walking trails, beautiful gardens and a grand mansion that was formerly home to Virginia governor Westmoreland Davis. The park does offer tours of its multiple museums but only on Saturday and Sunday. Ticket prices can be found at morvenpark.org.
Sneak back into downtown for a savory midafternoon snack from Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery where the butter pecan apple crumble pie is to die for. After enjoying a yummy slice, pop right across the street to check out the historic Marshall House, which was home to prominent U.S. Army General and statesmen George C. Marshall from 1941 to his death in 1959.
Spend the rest of the afternoon sipping cocktails and smashing golf balls at Top Golf’s Ashburn location, just a short drive from downtown Leesburg. Giant targets cover the driving range and microchipped golf balls allow you to put a special spin on this classic game. With a full dining and drinking menu, heated bays, and comfortable seating, Top Golf is a destination fit for an afternoon full of fun.
End the day with dinner and a show in downtown. Craft beers and local wines pair well with American cuisine at Trungo’s, located on Loudoun Street. After dinner head over to Tally Ho, a 1930s movie theater that was renovated into a live music and theater venue. It offers regular performances and acts in genres across the board. See a list of upcoming shows at tallyhotheater.com.
Where to stay:
Whether in a private cabin or a campsite along the Potomac, the Harpers Ferry Adventure Center provides a relaxing environment for both seasoned outdoor aficionados and those trying to escape the city for a calm weekend. Each campsite features a picnic table, grill and fire pit and there are on site bathhouses and a small market.
Only 10 minutes from downtown Leesburg, the Lansdowne Resort is perfect for the traveler looking to add some luxury to their getaway. They have farm to table dinning, miles of hiking and biking trails, and sprawling views of the Potomac River.
Comfort Suites (ask about their bike package)