#62 Route 9 Barrel Tasting

Got plans for the MLK holiday weekend?  The Route 9 Barrel Tasting takes place Saturday, January 15, and Sunday, January 16, from 11am to 5pm.  Take a leisurely cruise down Loudoun’s Route 9 from Waterford through Hillsboro while enjoying a unique wine tasting opportunity.  Four of Loudoun’s wineries will be  participating in this event which gives visitors a unique opportunity to talk with the winemakers and get a sneak preview of the 2010 wines.  Fun times to be had while helping local charity — Inova Loudoun Hospital Foundation will receive 20% of the proceeds from ticket sales.  Participating vineyards and wineries include:  Doukenie Winery, which is coordinating the event, Hillsborough Vineyards, Sunset Hills Vineyard, and Loudoun Valley Vineyards.  Tickets are $40 each and  include tastings from two barrels at each winery and a souvenir wine glass.

Contact Maria@doukeniewinery.com or 540-668-6464 x202 for tickets and information.

#56 Christmas Lights in Wheatland / Purcellville

Haven’t had enough holiday cheer?   Here’s a decorated-for-Christmas house in Loudoun that’s not to be missed!   An annual tradition,  this is the 3rd year for this massive display of holiday lights at the home of Susan & Mark Foster at 38263 Nixon Road near Wheatland.    The light display is planned to run through January 8, 2011.

According to an article in the Leesburg Today newspaper:   “Just follow the lights,” [homeowner] Susan Foster said, noting the public is welcome to come in and view the couple’s house, lit from one end to the other, with the lawn adorned with more than 100 wire-frame animals. Their home is at the end of a long driveway and Foster encouraged viewers to “keep on going until they get to the gates,” which will be open until 10 p.m. each night.”

Photo credit:   Leesburg Today

#55 Ringing In Hope, New Year’s Eve Run & Fun

Ring in the New Year on December 31 with a run and loads of family fun right here in Loudoun’s own Brambleton!  A beautiful planned community in the heart of Loudoun, Brambleton has set a certified level, scenic race course through the community for this charity 10K, 3K and 1K walk.  Race participants will help charities in our Loudoun community by designating a particpating charity of their choice to receive their race registration fee.  Want to participate in the race?  Act soon! Online registration closing date is Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010, 11:00am. The race begins at 3:30pm.

This a day for helping the local community but also for enjoying Family Fun!  Pre-race Family Fun activities begin at 1:30 and are free to race registrants ($5 for non-racers).   As the activities roll to a close around 4:30, why not plan to stay and enjoy some of the local shops & dining or catch a movie at Brambleton’s Town Center?   Check the Ringing in Hope site for all details.  Brambleton Town Center is located at 42395 Ryan Road, Brambleton (Ashburn), VA 20148

#54 Holiday Bus Trip to D.C.

Looking for something to do with your out-of-town visitors this week? “It’s the most wonderful time of year for museums, monuments and memories” so says Loudoun County Transit!   Monday, December 27 through Thursday, December 30, Loudoun Transit is offering a Holiday Special mid-morning bus trip from Loudoun to Washington, D.C.    The bus leaves the Leesburg park-and-ride lot at 8:45a.m., leaves the Dulles North Transit Center at 9:05 and arrives in D.C. around 10:00am.   What a wonderful stress-free way to head to the Nation’s capital this season!  Schedules and information can be viewed at www.loudoun.gov/bus or by calling 703-771-5665.   Be sure to print out and take a copy of the bus schedule, which details all the morning drop-off  & afternoon pick-up spots, with you.   Now relax and let Loudoun Transit do the driving.

#53 Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Loudoun County!

Best wishes to you and those you hold dear as you celebrate today!

And for those of you who don’t live here, we extend the same happy greetings & wishes of the day and hope you’ll visit our fine county in 2011!

#50 Christmas Lights on East Juniper Avenue

There’s nothing like an over-the-top lights display to bring out the child-like wonder of the Christmas season. It’s enjoyable when one or two houses on the block are decked out for the holidays, but when an entire neighborhood pulls together, what a magnificent delight (pun intended)!  Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus-loving street in Loudoun County, and it’s called East Juniper Avenue, Sterling.  Located between North Sterling Boulevard and Oak Tree Lane on the Eastern edge of the county, East Juniper has just about everything seasonal on display:  from nativity scenes to cartoon characters, with lights both classy and tacky.  For a preview, check out this video.  There is no fee, but canned food donations are collected to benefit Loudoun Interfaith Relief.

Seen any other post-worthy holiday light displays in Loudoun?    Please share!

Drive-Thru Living Nativity, Leesburg

For those celebrating Christmas this season, there’s a wonderful annual production “Return to Bethlehem”, a  Living Nativity sponsored by Leesburg Church of the Nazarene this weekend, December 10 and 11, 2011.    From 5:00 to 8:30pm both nights, come see the area’s one-0f-a-kind Living Nativity from the comfort of your car.   As you drive through, you’ll view 11 live scenes from the story of the birth of Christ with more than 100 actors & singers participating in the production.  Also playing their parts are live donkeys, sheep and a couple of camels.   Bring hot chocolate and a little patience.  Sometimes the line of cars coming off Route 7 can get a little backed up as people come from far & near come to see this unique annual display.    The lines get longer later in the evening.   Free admission, donations welcome.  Located off Route 7, just west of Leesburg at 17667 Roxbury Hall Road, Leesburg, VA 20175

Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade

Stake your spot along King Street in historic down-town Leesburg this Saturday morning, December 10, 2011 to watch the annual Leesburg Christmas and Holiday Parade!   Beginning at 10:00am at Ida Lee park and heading south down King Street (Rt. 15) to Fairfax Drive, the annual  parade features Santa,  floats & bands.   Also participating in the parade are businesses, civic groups, teams, organizations, and community groups.

More festivities are planned in the Historic District following the parade.  From the Town of Leesburg’s website:   “Historic downtown Leesburg will feature festive entertainment including roaming characters, roving musicians and a letter-writing station for children to compose their wish lists to the North Pole. While shopping downtown Leesburg, be sure to grab a photo with Frosty, Rudolph and the man of the hour – Santa!”

Enjoy the Holidays in Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County, VA.   Parking is free throughout the Historic District through January 2, 2012.

#47 Christmas in Hillsboro Homes Tour

Come enjoy the holiday season this Saturday, December 11, as the historic village of Hillsboro hosts its annual Christmas in Hillsboro Homes Tour.  This year five historic homes, dating from the mid-1700’s through 1890, will be featured on the walking tour.  Ticket buyers will be treated to tours of these lovely homes beautifully decorated for the holidays.  In addition to the homes tour, Hillsboro’s annual Holiday Craft Fair, featuring 30 artisans, will be held at the Old Stone School.  Run Rabbit Run Theatre Company’s production of Once Upon a Christmas Carol will be on-stage at the Old Stone School.  Other attractions during the Homes Tour include street carolers and a performance by the men’s acapella group, Chorus of the Old Dominion.  Be prepared to do some holiday shopping as local businesses will offer specials and discounts for Homes Tour ticket holders.   Want to do the Homes Tour and catch the play?  A Special ticket package is available to see both the Homes Tour and the performance of Once Upon a Christmas Carol. All tickets may be purchased at the Old Stone School at 37098 Charles Town Pike, Hillsboro, starting at 11:00am on December 11.  Homes Tour tickets are $15.  Package tickets are $25 with some discounts for seniors and children under 12.

#46 Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

For those of us who can’t resist the comforting smell of a fresh-cut tree in our home for the holidays, you’re in luck when you come to Loudoun.   Loudoun County is home to  many cut-your-own Christmas tree farms stocked with pine, spruce and fir trees.   Spending a day in the country browsing for your perfect Christmas tree on one of Loudoun’s beautiful farms?  What could be better?

Many farms opened for cutting the weekend after Thanksgiving, but the first weekend in December tends to be the busiest for local tree farmers as many city and suburb dwellers come looking for the perfect specimen to strap to the top of the car.  A comprehensive list of Loudoun’s Tree farms can be found at LoudounFarms.org where you’ll also find information about local vendors of holiday floral products.  Check out their Interactive Map to find the farms.  You’ll want to check with each farm for dates and hours of operation and for the types of tree grown.   Most farms provide saws and rope.  In addition to trees, you’ll also find holiday greenery such as pine roping and wreaths for sale at many of the locations.  So, come on out and support the local economy.  Your perfect tree is here and precious holiday memories are waiting to to be made.