Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County

BEST WALKING SPOTS in Loudoun County Happy National Walking Day here in the United States! Today, we are bringing you the best walking spots in Loudoun County!  If we're honest with ourselves as a nation, I think we have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the world in terms of the time we spend walking (or biking), so let's do our part, starting with Loudoun County!

Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County:

The W&OD Trail.

The W & OD Trail is a beautiful 45-mile route along the former route of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad (hence the acronym: W & OD). This is an amazing opportunity to get your move on whether you are walking or biking!

Claude Moore Park.

This park, located in Sterling, Virginia, offers woods & meadows with amenities such as walking trails and picnic pavilions. Located at 21544 Old Vestal's Gap Road, Sterling, VA 20164 Claude Moore Park is dog friendly (please use a leash!) AND has many geocache sites for additional fun.

Best Walking Spots in Loudoun County Rust Sanctuary Trail MapRust Sanctuary.

The beautiful and serene Rust Sanctuary is home to 68 acres of wooded trails through gorgeous untouched meadows and forests. If you have children, consider signing them up for the Fresh Air Kids Nature Program / Nature Nuts Program! Located at 802 Children's Center Road, Leesburg, VA 20175.

The Bears Den.

Here is your opportunity to hike the famous Appalachian Trail! The Bears Den is a combined 66 acres of mountain wilderness. Bring a picnic for the gazebo, stay overnight at the lodge, or hike in time for the sunset at the Bears Den Rock Overlook. Use Bears Den as a starting point to take a hike north or south. Located at 18393 Blueridge Mountain Road, Bluemont, VA 20135.

Freedom Center.

A visit to the Freedom Center is like a breath of fresh air, literally. Over 100 acres of wooded glory, complete with expansive mountain bike and hiking trails offer opportunities for beautiful nature walks. Located at 13951 Freedom Center Dr, Leesburg, VA 20176.

Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park.

The beautiful and historic Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park will take you back in time as you stroll the over 100 acres of passive parkland with access to the Potomac Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. Located at 44105 Heron Way, Lansdowne, VA 20176.

 

What is YOUR vote for the best walking spots in Loudoun County?

Where to Volunteer In Loudoun County

It's time to spread goodwill, good tidings and good cheer, since it's the holidays, after all!

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that people 65 years of age and older who did NOT assist friends, neighbors or relatives had a 30% higher chance of dying after a stressful event (like a job loss) than those who were generous! Another study says that volunteering can lower your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Sound crazy? I think it's sure worth a shot! To health!

where to volunteer in loudoun county

 

As we head into 2017, perhaps you've placed on your resolution list that you want to get more involved in your community.

Community isn't literally about the neighborhood that you live in. It isn't the borders defined by your school board, or the zip code to which your mail person delivers. It's about the choices we make to step outside of our comfort zone to do a *thing* that impacts another being - whether human, four legged, or otherwise.

Community is that thing that allows us to connect to others, it's that thing that reminds us that we are all human and have an innate need to give to others. Even when it feels that our society is full of people with fingers in their ears and singing "lalalala" while they go about their day, in an insular way, community still matters and is very much at the heart of what we ALL want in our lives.

So ... how to go about finding that community? There is NO better way than to volunteer your time. I promise you! It's easier than you might think. But where TO volunteer in Loudoun County?  One of the first stops (and best stops) is to visit Loudoun Cares, an organization matching volunteers to the places in need of donated time and efforts.

We'll be drawing out some stories in 2017 about specific partner organizations, but for now, here are several places that answer the question: where to volunteer in Loudoun County in 2017.

*Please note that at the time of publishing, the information provide is accurate. Always call ahead and be sure to understand the volunteer guidelines before showing up.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAMILIES/CHILDREN

Mobile Hope of Loudoun

703.771.1400 getinvolved@mobilehopeloudoun.org

[Volunteers as young as 4 are welcome when accompanied by a parent!]

FOUR LEGGEDS & THOSE WHO TAKE FLIGHT

Homeless Animals Rescue Team

703-691-4278

www.hart90.org

Loudoun County Animal Shelter

703-777-0406

Little Horse Miniature Horse Therapy Team

540-547-3951

www.littlemagic.org

Loudoun Therapeutic Riding

703-771-2689 x6630

volunteer@ltrf.org

Friends of Homeless Animals

Wildlife Rescue League

703-391-8625

volcoord@wildliferescueleague.org

TOUCHING THE HUMAN SPIRIT

Blue Ridge Hospice

540-313-9200

blueridgehospice.org

Boulder Crest Retreat

540.554.2727

Volunteer Form

LAWS

(Loudoun Abused Womens Shelter)

703-771-4265

Loudoun County Library System

Capital Caring Hospice

(quilters, lawyers, artist, massage therapists, photographers and more are needed)

703-957-1785

rweaver@capitalcaring.org

CrisisLink

703-527-6016

crisislink.org

Home Delivered Meals

703-777-0505

debra.bressler@loudoun.gov

It Takes a Village

Donate Items | Volunteer

Feed My Peeps

314-452-8578

FOR THE EARTH / OUR COMMUNITY

Balls Bluff Battlefield

703-779-9372

jlewis@nvrpa.org

Loudoun County Volunteer Fire-Rescue

Loudoun County Department of Parks and Recreation

high school students for community centers

loudoun.gov/teenvolunteers

WORKING WITH THE LITTLES

American Association for the Advancement of Science

703-517-1350

loudoun.sse@gmail.com

GIVE (Growth and Inspiration through Volunteering and Education

(high school students needed for K-5 students)

giveyouth.org/tutoring-program

Loudoun Families for Children

703-771-9505

lfconline.org


What other locations and organizations do you enjoy volunteering your time? If showing up to donate an hour or two of your time feels like too much to add to your plate, consider simply spreading kindness and good will! Smile at your barista and make eye contact with the person bagging your groceries. Say "no, after you!" and let someone jump the line, or hold a door open.

If you have youngsters in your life and need to inject them with a spirit of kindness / volunteerism, consider gifting them with the game Play it Forward. It will bring a smile to your face, guaranteed!

Lake Accotink Park

Lake Accotink Park is located in the heart of Fairfax County, Virginia and boasts a whopping 493 acres! Of those 493 acres, 55 of them belong to the lake itself, but also includes wetlands and streams, as well as picnic areas, playground, pavilions, trails and open play fields. Lake Accotink Park is open daily, year-round, 7 a.m. to dusk. Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

If water sports are your thing, fishing is allowed and also check out the canoe and pedal boat rentals (starting at $6/hour on weekdays)! The park also offers regularly scheduled kayak tours in the marsh. There are tour boats as well! If you have your own water vessel, bring it ... boats powered by electric motors, sailboats under 15' and personal kayaks are all allowed ($2 launch fee applies). Swimming, however is strictly prohibited.

Bicycle rentals are provided (adult sizes only, helmets provided) are $10/hour and $5/hour for three or more bikes. The 9 hole miniature golf course starts at $3 per game for children (and seniors) and $4 for adults. Buy a miniature golf AND a carousel ticket and save!

Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

The antique carousel was built between 1937 and 1945 and was purchased from Fairhill Farm Antiques by the Park Authority. Check out the hand carved horses! The carousel runs every 30 minutes and tickets are $2/person on weekdays and $3/person on weekends.

Lake Accotink 7709 Heming Place Springfield VA

There are many picnic areas with grills as well as multiple pavilion shelters. The playground is a fun stop for all and Lake Accotink Park also boasts a sand volleyball court and basketball court. Rounding out the many offerings, the Park also has a four mile hiking and biking trail! Lake Accotink Park also has many events and camps, such as the Campfire By the Lake, which is held on Saturday evenings.

Lake Accotink Park is one amazing place! Don't you wish you lived nearby?

Check out this amazing 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home conveniently located, on a cul-de-sac lot with a PRIVATE path through the woods straight to Lake Accotink Park!

 

7709 Heming Place Lake Accotink Park

 

For more information on the home offered for sale at 7709 Heming Place, visit the property website or contact us for more information at naomi@8thandhome.com or 571-482-7356!

Hope Flower Farm Barn Dance

Spring has arrived in Loudoun County again, with blooming flowers and trees almost as abundant as the historical homes and farms that dot the countryside. Hope Flower Farm 8th & Home Real Estate

 

Helping to showcase Loudoun’s rich heritage is Hope Flower Farm in Waterford, which is hosting two cultural traditions in one single event– a May Day Barn Dance on Sunday, May 1.

May Day has its origins in both the ancient European cultures and the Roman Empire, celebrating the arrival of summer and the blossoming of flowers.  It continued into modern times as a popular secular celebration and made its way to North America during colonial times.

Hope Flower Farm 8th & Home Real Estate

 

A good old-fashioned barn dance, or square dance, also has its roots in European tradition, specifically the British Isles, where it was a common community-oriented event featuring easy group dances that all ages could participate in, dancing to folk music such as Irish and Scottish jigs and reels, the musical ancestors of Bluegrass and modern country music.

barn dance

Hope Farm’s May Day Barn Dance will run from 5:00pm until 8:00pm on Sunday, May 1, featuring a traditional May Pole and a quick tutorial on “How to Square Dance” before the Barn Dance Boogie officially gets started to the music of Catoctin County String Band.  Admission is $10 per person, or $30 for families of four or more.

Hope Flower Farm near the historic village of Waterford is a floral and event design “retreat” that is frequently open to the public.  Their website describes Hope as “a playground for floral design and teaching. . . a relaxing, educational environment for designers and non-designers alike. . . (with) farm-to-table dinners, styled shoots and workshops, Hope will be a Loudoun County destination for all creatives.”

May 1. 2016

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

5-6:00 pm - Social/Learn to Square Dance

6-8:00 pm - Boogie Down

Hope Flower Farm

40905 Stumptown Road, Waterford VA

For more information, including Hope Farm’s location, or to purchase tickets, visit: www.hopeflowerfarm.com

Waterford Art Harvest

This weekend, October 17-18, the small village of Waterford, Virginia will provide a special opportunity to step back in time and observe first-hand the rich artistic heritage and craftsmanship of this region with the Waterford Art Harvest. Waterford Arts Festival

Established in 1733 by Quakers, the little village is remarkably untouched by the hands of time, with most of its 18th and 19th century homes, barns, storefronts, and churches not only intact but continuously used and lived in.  Because of this, the entire village of Waterford is now listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Waterford Arts Festival

This year’s Art Harvest will have several stations set up within the historical buildings of the town:  The Bond Street Barn, the Corner Store, the Old School Auditorium, as well as the Heritage Farm Exhibit at the Schooley Mill Barn which celebrates Waterford’s agricultural history.

Waterford Arts Festival

The large gathering of artisans and craftspeople creating everything from paintings to pottery and quilting to woodworking is advertised as “the oldest and best-juried crafts fair in Virginia.”

Waterford Arts Festival

 

The Waterford Art Harvest will be held from 10:00am until 5:00pm both Saturday and Sunday, October 17 and 18th.  Admission is free.  For more information, visit  www.waterfordfoundation.org

 

Waterford Arts Festival

Lucketts Fair 2015 Artisans and Vendors

  Lucketts Virginia Summer Series 8th and Home

It is almost time to wrap up our Lucketts Summer Series! This next post is a doozy, filled with some of our FAVORITE vendors and artisans who will be showcasing their talent at this weekend's Lucketts Fair! Will you be there? Stop by and say hello! Some members of our team will be at the Lucketts Elementary PTA Booth selling some AMAZING hand churned ice cream!

 

I am sea glass jewelry Talula Bea

Talula Bea Designs, Laurien Dowdy (read our post about her amazing creations) is the creator of unique and one-of-a-kind jewelry, and also the artist behind the "i am" pendant. A true labor of love, this piece was created using 3D imaging in the true organic shape of sea glass. Encouraging its owners to wear the piece close to their hearts, the raised letters “i am” allow the wearer to focus on the strength already inside them on a regular basis. Not all jewelry is interactive, or becomes a part of one’s daily routine, but we believe this Talula Bea Sea Glass jewelry DOES have a message and a purpose.

 

Swirladelic, John Bailey is a Harper's Ferry WV resident that has QUITE the amazing business! Swirladelic Lucketts Fair They say: “We have a tray of liquid; it’s a bit thicker than water. You drop paint on that, and with a stick, you can make designs — hearts, flowers or swirl it for something surreal and abstract.” After the liquid is prepared, a silk scarf is place on top of the liquid. “It’s really just a kind of print making,” Bailey said. “It’s fast, though. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to make a scarf.”

 

Wikiwood Naturals - A small family owned business located in Springfield, Virginia, the Blevins were inspired by a surprise romantic camping trip in 2012.  Sitting around the camp fire, roasting marshmallows, and listening to the relaxing sound of the bonfire crackling, motivated them to bring that same relaxing feeling, aroma and atmosphere to our home and they have re-created that same atmosphere when we burn our candles.

Polish Potter Lucketts FairTwins Polish Pottery - a little known fact about Jenny Puckett and Holly Trevino, the twins behind this beautiful polish pottery, their husbands built a "twin plex" where both families reside, and the sisters did all of the design work! They operate their business in the rolling pastures and vineyards of eastern Frederick County.

 

 

With You In Mind, Joette Dorosheff creates stunning wreaths made of natural materials. This artistic display will be a focal point of your decor. The wreath is created on a wire frame from pinecones, nuts and pods. This unique design will be a year round cherished feature of your home or office.

 

Back to Basiks Lucketts FairBack to the Basiks - What began as a single spice blend given to friends as a Christmas gift, has grown into a blooming business. The company was started by Anne Shomberg and Heidi Basik in 2008 out of a love for cooking and sharing food with others. Over a short period of time, the two moms were successfully selling Basiks Spice Blends to stores and restaurants around the U.S. They traveled across the country introducing people to their all natural spice blends at trade shows, women’s events, and craft fairs. f

 

The Larkin Tea Company was founded in 2001 with an initial focus on educational programs. Over the years, their high-quality loose leaf teas has become an important part of business from a sales perspective! Both Bill and Judy are certified tea specialists. Their teas are sourced from all over the globe. She says “We buy in small quantities to ensure the tea you purchase is as fresh as possible and hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for months. It is for that same reason we don’t carry a huge selection of teas.”

 

Sequoia Springs was started by Lorraine McConnell, an Interior Designer and is a line of luxury-inspired, pillows and throws continue to be popular to those seeking distinctive, beautiful, and wonderfully functional accessories for their home. In 2002, Lorraine's husband, Jamie, joined the business and they have expanded to include accessories that integrate the beauty of nature, using as many natural materials as possible including feathers (to pay homage to Jamie's love of fly fishing!)

 

Falling Bark Farm LLC - Syrup produced in small batches from select hickory bark and still involves the tradition of foraging and WILDCRAFTING in the Virginia forests.  Bark from the shagbark hickory tree is shed naturally, so the tree is not harmed during the process.

 

Shenandoah Crafts - John and Karin Tipton offer sewing crafts, needlework and painted crafts and refinish furniture. Staunton, VA. 540-280-5519, Fabric and Woodwork

Nola Watkins Collection - produces high quality hand-painted ceramic christmas ornaments, herb and flower pots, and many other fine gifts.

 

Gypsy Hill offers amazing rubs and spices! Margaret O'Neill says “We have always had some herbs and then about 10 years ago we took what had been our flower beds and my husband, when would find an unusual plant or herb, would start planting,” and because there are only a few herbs they can sell fresh, the O'Neill's dehydrate them with their dehydrating machine to sell later.

 

Designs by Grace, Grace Rochford is a stay at home mom of three, with a love for Early American History, which led her being making colonial american floorcloths.

Wood Eye Wood Products, Keith Schoonover operates this Frederick County based full service sawmill providing quality lumber and wood products from local, sustainably harvested or salvaged timber. The Sawmill also facilitates custom processing of logs into usable furniture products. Each of Keith’s pieces is a one of a kind by its very nature; no two custom wood-workings can be the same.

Rennaissance Lavender - Marianne Weitzel wanted a new challenge and began growing lavender on her farm in Virginia. The intoxicating scents and healing properties of lavender along with other botanicals have generated many popular products that will be at the Lucketts Fair.

 

The Lucketts Fair

42361 Lucketts Road, Leesburg VA

August 15-16, 2015 | 9 am-5 pm

Rain or Shine | $5. Children under 6 years old are free

Parking provided by the Lucketts Ruritan Club

Ready to search for your home in Leesburg/Lucketts, Virginia?

Map search here

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Natural Bridge of Virginia

Located just a few hours south of us in Rockbridge County, The Natural Bridge of Virginia has been included in numerous lists as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.  It has been visited by dignitaries, world leaders, famous authors, artists, and other celebrities since the 18th century when it was privately owned by Thomas Jefferson. Natural Bridge

The Natural Bridge continues to be an amazing site! I was impressed with how big it was, even after seeing pictures. You don’t realize how tall it is until you are standing underneath.

You can even see George Washington’s initials carved into the rock from when he surveyed the land for Lord Fairfax, years before the Revolutionary War.

Following along the walking trail beneath the bridge you will eventually come to the Monacan living history exhibit, an authentic reproduction of an historic Native American village. Here, living historians dressed as members of the Monacan tribe will give you a first-hand look at everyday Native American life centuries ago.

Monacan Village

Monacan Village

Monacan Village

Monacan Village

Continuing further up the trail you will see the entrance to caverns and a scenic waterfall.

If you want to make your visit more than just a day trip you can stay at the historic Natural Bridge Hotel there at the property and visit other attractions nearby such as the Caverns at Natural Bridge, Virginia Safari Park, or the Natural Bridge Zoo.

Natural bridge

The Natural Bridge is located off exit 180-A on I-81 just a few miles south of Lexington, Virginia. Admission is $20 for adults. Children ages 7-17 are $12 and children 6 and under are free.

Learn more about this beautiful location by visiting The Natural Bridge website.

Leesburg Animal Park

Looking for something to do in or near Leesburg, Virginia? Look no further than the Leesburg Animal Park! Leesburg Animal Park 8th and Home

Leesburg Animal Park offers 21 acres of animal petting opportunities, pony rides, wagon rides. They even schedule hourly live animal encounters. Some of the animals include llamas, alpacas, donkeys and cows. The ability to feed the goats and sheep was a great activity for my kiddos, even the middle schooler enjoyed it!

Leesburg Animal Park 8th and Home

Pack a picnic and don't forget to visit Lemur Island, which is tucked back away on the far end of the property. Another enjoyable activity is the horse wagon ride, which allows you to meet even more of the animals!

Leesburg Animal Park 8th and Home

19270 Monroe-Madison Memorial Hwy
Leesburg, VA 20175