Above and Featured Photo: Holiday.Road/Visit Loudoun
You know the holidays have arrived in Loudoun County when wine country vines are covered in twinkling lights and historic towns are decked out like Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Throw in spectacular themed illuminations and festive street parades and you have the perfect holiday destination.
Historic Towns to Visit at Christmas Near Middleburg
Throughout December, picturesque Middleburg celebrates “A Dickens of a Christmas,” a Charles Dickens-inspired experience that transports you back to the Victorian era of “A Christmas Carol.” Shops decorate their storefronts on Dickens themes; there’s a dog show, a fun run, carol singing, theatrical performances of “A Christmas Carol” and vintage carriage rides through the streets.
Meanwhile, the first Saturday of the month sees the annual Christmas in Middleburg parade, where crowds line the street to see dozens of scarlet-jacketed riders and their foxhounds, vintage horse-drawn carriages, and a 1.5-mile-long procession of drummers, bagpipers, bikers and more. Celebrations actually start the night before with the “Oh Holy Night” tree-lighting ceremony and carol singing in town. Shop windows will be dressed to the nines as part of a holiday decorating contest and you can follow this link to find all our best tips for Visiting Middleburg During the Holidays.
Historic downtown Leesburg is equally glittering. Take the kids to the tree lighting ceremony on the town square Friday, December 2, and to the annual “Leesburg Holiday Fine Arts & Crafts Show” at Ida lee Park on December 3 and 4, where you can buy works from more than 90 local artists, artisans and crafters. Saturday, December 10, is Leesburg’s annual “Christmas and Holiday Parade” in which Santa and friends parade down King Street.
Over in Lucketts, the famous Old Lucketts Store is hosting its annual “Holiday Open House” on Thursdays through Sundays until December 11. Browse or purchase antiques, vintage clothing and accessories from the main store or purchase a ticket online to the nearby “Holiday Design House” on-site. The Design House is a festively decorated 19th-century farmhouse in which all the décor and items are for sale.
Countryside Holiday Happenings in Loudoun
Drive west on Route 7 toward Bluemont on any Thursday through Sunday evening throughout December and you’ll see the slopes of the Blue Ridge to the left carpeted in a glorious golden glow. Welcome to “Lighting of the Vines,” 15,000 holiday lights strung through 10,000 grape vines at the spectacularly beautiful Bluemont Vineyard. Launched on Friday, November 25, the vines are lit Thursday through Sunday at 5:30 p.m.; and while they can be seen from miles away, the best place to enjoy them is at the lovely winery tasting room or the property’s Harvest Room & Kitchen restaurant on the slopes of the hill.
Staying festive and rural, enjoy some beer with your holiday shopping. On December 10, Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery hosts “The Lager Days of Christmas,” a curated holiday market held in the 19th-century barn of the brewery outside Waterford. Enjoy a raft of Wheatland’s own German-style “land beers,” as well as beers from guest breweries from Atlanta, Maine and New Hampshire, while shopping for seasonal produce from a range of local vendors. There’s a wood-burning stove in the barn, but dress warm because it’s not a traditional indoor space. The market benefits the Inova Children’s Hospital with a silent auction and raffle.
Family Fun in Loudoun
Make your way to One Loudoun, Ashburn on December 3 at 5 p.m. for the 10th annual Holiday Tree Lighting, a modern twist on the traditional celebration. Santa is on-hand for photos under the tree; there are train rides, ice carving demonstrations and live music; and you’re surrounded by the superb shops, restaurants, bars and ice cream parlors. Visit our Guide to Christmas Trees in Virginia for ideas on where to find the perfect tree for your home.
Back in western Loudoun, December 10 sees the start of Franklin Park Arts Center’s third Winter Lights Walk: the illumination of an array of lighted sculptures on a walkway through the grounds of the park. Open through December 23, the experience features the work of local artists that you won’t find anywhere else.
photos & lead photo: Courtesy of Salamander Resort & Spa
Holiday Fun at Loudoun’s Resorts
Make a weekend of it and stay at one of Loudoun’s two luxe resorts, each offering enchanting and memorable experiences. At Forbes five-star rated Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg, there are a series of holiday-themed events through December including “Brunch with Santa” on December 10 & 17 and the “Santa Experience” on Sundays and on December 23 & 24 in which kids board a wagon for a visit to Santa’s workshop that’s followed by s’mores, hot chocolate and a craft project with resident elves.
At the newly revamped Lansdowne Resort & Spa, stay in luxury on the banks of the Potomac River. Celebrate the season with weekly “Breakfast with Santa” on Saturdays, featuring a seasonally crafted breakfast menu and activities such as cookie decorating.
For details on everything happening in Loudoun, visit www.visitloudoun.org. ~
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