Five Worth the Drive
Thinking about an island getaway? We have two—along with three other refreshing retreats—all within driving distance of home.
When on Smith Island, do as the locals do: enjoy blue crabs in all their forms.
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The Vine and Equines: Loudoun County, Virginia
With more than 300 acres of vineyards and over 20 boutique wineries, Loudoun County, Virginia, and the surrounding area, located 25 miles northwest of our nation’s capital, markets itself as “D.C.’s Wine Country.” But, in addition to being a libation destination, the area has long been renowned as Virginia’s horse country.
Stay here: Innkeepers Carol and Roger Healey are as charming as their six-guestroom (one with Jacuzzi), antique-decorated, circa 1760 home, The Norris House (108 Loudoun St., SW; Leesburg; 703-777-1806; norrishouse.com) in the heart of the historic town of Leesburg. Breakfast is a real treat, too. Rates are $130-$159 weekdays, $145-$199 weekends.
Eat here: A jovial authentic English pub in a mid-18th-century log cabin, Hunter’s Head Tavern (9048 John Mosby Hwy., Rt. 50; Upperville; 540-592-9020; huntersheadtavern.com) serves fish and chips-type fare ($7.95-$17.95) and fieldhand-size meat and potato entrées (try the liver—really!) priced at $17.95-$24.95.
So tiny it fills up really quickly (do make reservations), The Wine Kitchen (7 S. King St., Leesburg; 703-777-WINE; thewinekitchen.com) is the place for playful small plates such as “chicken and waffles”—quail, cornmeal waffles and bacon caramel syrup ($9-$17).
Don’t miss the Brownie Excess Bomb and other to-die-for desserts at Market Salamander (200 West Washington St., Middleburg; 540-687-8011, marketsalamander.com).
To-do list: Let Virginia Wine Adventures (877-VA-GRAPE, vawineadventures.com) drive you on a day-long guided tour, including lunch, of several wineries ($125 per person). Take a guided bike ride and winery visit with Trail’s End Cycling Co. (201 N. 23rd St., Purcellville; 540-338-2773; trailsendcycling.com); $75 per person plus $10 bike rental fee.
First a 19th-century working plantation, then an early-20th-century country-house, Oatlands Historic House and Gardens (20850 Oatlands Plantation Ln., Leesburg; 703-777-3174; oatlands.org) tells a tale of two families from two different eras. Guided tours are $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $7 for students. Don’t miss the spectacular terraced gardens ($7 without house tour).
A restoration in progress, Historic Morven Park (17263 Southern Planter Lane, Leesburg; 703-777-2414, morvenpark.org), traces the evolution of a simple mid-18th-century fieldstone farmhouse to a grand Greek Revival mansion filled with global treasures. Guided tours are $7 for adults, $1 for children. Don’t miss the Winmill Carriage Museum with its 120 antique vehicles. Check the calendar for equestrian and Civil War-related events.
Play the 18 challenging holes at the super-scenic, Scottish-style, Gary Player-designed Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club (41601 Raspberry Drive, Leesburg, 703-779-2555; raspberryfalls.com). Fees are $85 weekdays, $105 weekends.
Thrill to the 89th Middleburg Spring Races Glenwood Park Racecourse; 540-687-6545; middleburgspringraces.com), the oldest sanctioned annual steeplechase event in Virginia, on April 17; admission is $25 for ages 12 and older. And visit some of the area’s premier breeding and training facilities during the annual Memorial Day Weekend Hunt Country Stable Tour (540-592-3711, stable tour.middleburg.com; $25 per person).
Thrifty tips: Tuscarora Mill Restaurant (203 Harrison St., S.E. Market Station; Leesburg; 703-771-9300; tuskies.com), a.k.a. “Tuskies,” a local landmark for the past 20 years, serves super-yummy shrimp and truffled grits. ($9-$12 for lunch, most dinners under $20).
Bring your own barbecue fixings to grill while you sample the delectable Albariño, Viognier and Virginia native Norton at Chrysalis Vineyards (23876 Champe Ford Road, Middleburg; 540-687-8222, chrysaliswine.com). Taste “The Pig” (Norton), “The Cow” (Vidal Blanc) and other whimsically named wines while admiring the 60-mile view from Bluemont Vineyard (18755 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont; 540-554-8439; bluemontvineyard.com). Check out the work of local artists along with the Rhone and Bordeaux varietals at Hillsborough Vineyards (36716 Charles Town Pike, Purcellville; 540-668-6216; hillsboroughwine.com).
Spend a day browsing the one-of-a-kind antique shops, art galleries and retail in downtown Leesburg, Middleburg and Aldie.
Page 5: More Than Just Mansions: Newport, Rhode Island