Tea at Oatlands, Leesburg

Are you looking for a girls day out with a little class?  Spend an afternoon enjoying tea at Oatlands Historic House & Gardens!  The traditional English afternoon teas are hosted every season of the year, with special teas during the winter holidays, Valentines Day, and Mother’s Day.   Tea is served at 1:00pm along with tea sandwiches, sweets and scones.   Check the complete 2012 tea schedule then call to make your reservations and purchase tickets ($26.95+ tax).  The teas are reserved for ages 3 and up.   Proceeds support the Oatlands Historic House & Gardens which is located on Rt. 15, south of Leesburg.

New Years Eve Loudoun: Ringing In Hope

For family-friendly fun on New Years Eve in Loudoun, check out the Ringing in Hope 10K and 5K race or 1K walk along a certified, level, scenic course in Loudoun’s Brambleton!   Ringing in Hope has become an annual New Year’s Eve tradition in Loudoun.   Along with the race and walk, loads of family fun activities are planned including pony rides, moon bounces, train rides and more!

Check the Ringing in Hope site for full details and race registration.   Showers and changing facilities are available for race participants so why not stay to enjoy the shopping, dining and take in a movie at Brambleton’s Town Center too?    Brambleton Town Center is located at 42395 Ryan Road, Brambleton (Ashburn), VA 20148

Drive-Thru Living Nativity Leesburg, 2011

An annual Christmas tradition in Leesburg, VA:   “Return to Bethlehem”, a  Living Nativity sponsored by Leesburg Church of the Nazarene,  is this weekend December 10 and 11.    Come see the area’s one-of-a-kind Living Nativity from the comfort of your car from 5:00 to 8:30pm both nights.     Bring hot chocolate and a little patience as the line of cars coming off Route 7 can get a little backed up as people come from all around to see this unique annual display.    The lines get longer later in the evening.   Admission is  Free but monetary donations are welcome.   Located off Route 7, just west of Leesburg at 17667 Roxbury Hall Road, Leesburg, VA 20175

Veteran’s Day & 11-11-11 Day

11-11-11 Day in Loudoun County:  The Town of Lovettsville will hold its 5th annual Veteran’s Day ceremony at 11:00 am Friday, November 11, 2011, to honor all of those who have served in the armed forces.   This year is particularly special, however, as the Town will dedicate the new Lovettsville Veterans Memorial in the town square.  The Town plans to pave the Memorial with custom engraved pavers which can be purchased by the public.  Each paver, including engraving and installation, costs $250.  This is a wonderful opportunity to honor your veterans in your home town and home county. Check the Lovesttsville Town website for the engraver order form.

While observing the more important aspect of November 11 this year, why not pause to recognize the rare calendar event that will happen at 11:11 a.m. and 11 seconds on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of the millenium:   11:11:11 11/11/11    Neat, huh?  There’s lots of fun to be had with numbers.  Check out this fun math fact:

111111 x 111111 = 12345654321!

For more fun facts about 11-11-11 day and other rare calendar days visit TimeandDate.com.



What Happened to Thanksgiving?

Yes, Virginia, there is a Thanksgiving! Contrary to popular retail belief, there is a little holiday known as Thanksgiving that comes after Halloween and falls about a month before Christmas.  While many of us celebrate and love everything about the winter holidays, our friendly neighborhood stores are bound and determined to rush us right from ghosts & goblins to the big guy in the red suit with no turkey & stuffing in between.  As of November 1st, Christmas Muzak® is already blasting throughout the local Walmart.  When I heard store employees complaining about the music (yet observed fellow shoppers in a holiday-induced stupor) I got to thinking that things have really gone too far.

I don’t know about you but, in homage to the foodie holiday to end all foodie holidays, I’m hoarding the canned pumpkin in my pantry with visions of pumpkin pie dancing in my head later in November.  Thanksgiviphiles unite!  Embrace all things turkey, stuffing, harvest, cornucopia and, of course, the quintessential green bean casserole!

As a preview to turkey day, I’m sharing one of  my grandma’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes: Frosted Pumpkin Cookies.  My advice is to sample, savor and enjoy the food this time of year……but woe to the shopper who dares enter Walmart before Black Friday.  Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup shortening (it’s 2011….apparently grocers still sell this stuff.  Who knew?)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
nuts & raisins optional

Cream shortening, sugar and pumpkin together.  Add egg.  Mix.  Add vanilla.  Mix.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Mix all together.  Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.   Let cool on rack.   When cool, make the frosting.

Frosting for the Cookies
1 tbsp. margarine
2 tbsp. milk
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla

Mix margarine, milk and brown sugar in a pan on the stove top.   Cook 2 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.  Add vanilla and powdered sugar.  Stir until smooth.   While icing is still warm, dip tops of cookies into icing one at a time and cool on rack.  Let cool.  Enjoy responsibly.

55th Annual Halloween Parade, Leesburg 2011

If you’re in Leesburg on Halloween night, you’re at the Halloween Parade! Join the longest running Halloween parade east of the Mississippi as thousands of residents and visitors line the sidewalks through Leesburg’s Historic District.  The parade begins at 6 p.m. and follows the traditional parade route down King Street from Ida Lee Park to Fairfax Street.

Sonsored by the Leesburg Kiwanis, 2011 marks the parade’s 55th year.  Children come dressed in their Halloween costumes and enjoy early trick-or-treats as many of the floats, firetrucks, marching bands and other parade participants hand out candy along the way. The Kiwanis collects non-perishable food items for Loudoun Interfaith Relief at numerous collection spots along the parade route. Insider tip: many town residents line up at the beginning/north end of the parade route so as to get home quickly after the parade to begin trick-or-treating.   As always, the Leesburg Police Department reminds everyone to follow Halloween Safety Tips.  Enjoy & have a Happy Halloween!

Loudoun 4th of July Parades, Festivals & Fireworks

Can’t get enough of old fashioned 4th of July parades & festivities?   We’ve got ’em here in Loudoun.  Dress in your best red, white & blue and get going.  In Leesburg?  Begin your day at 10:00 a.m. as the annual Leesburg 4th of July Parade processes down King Street (Rt. 15) from Ida Lee Park to Catoctin Circle.  Historic Dodona Manor is Leesburg will open its gates to the public for an ice cream social immediately after the parade.   There will also be music on the lawn and free tours of the Manor until 1:00p.m. Festivites at Ida Lee Park, including music, food and entertainment, begin at 6:00 p.m. followed by fireworks at dark.

Not to be outdone, the Town of Purcellville hosts its annual  4th of July Fireman’s Parade beginning at 12:30 p.m.  from Emerick Elementary and processing through town to end at Loudoun Valley High School.  This is Purcellville’s largest parade of the year and it continues to grow annually.  Franklin Park in Purcellville opens at 6:00 p.m. for an evening of music, food and entertainment before their fireworks display at dark.

Farther east in Sterling, Claude Moore Park hosts its annual Ol’ Time 4th of July Celebration with music, food, vendors, pony & wagon rides, tours of the historic Lanesville Ordinary and displays at the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum.  10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Public fireworks displays are planned throughout the weekend.

Happy Easter, Loudoun!

It’s a great sunny, warm day here in Loudoun.  Perfect weather for celebrating the holiday with family and friends.  Easter brings thoughts of eggs and this picture reminds me of a all the spring chicks who’ll soon grow to chickens laying eggs for Loudoun residents.  If you’ve never tried farm-fresh eggs from a local farmer or poultry hobbyist, the taste is definitely worth it.  There are many people who keep poultry throughout the county and once you start asking around you’ll be surprised how easy it is to find someone from whom you can buy farm fresh eggs.  Or better yet, start your search at www.BuyLocalVirginia.org.

Whatever your plans today, have a wonderful Easter and get ready for all the local outdoor activities the warm weather will bring.

#85 Happy Mardi Gras!

My how time flies!  Mardi Gras is upon us and tomorrow begins the 40 days of Lent before the Easter season.  Regardless of your religious views, embrace the tradition and enjoy some pancakes tonight at one of the local churches or even IHop in Leesburg or Sterling!  Or perhaps you’ve got a taste for some cajun?  The Cajun Experience in Leesburg and Purcellville serves up cuisine from southern Louisiana including but not limited to the ever popular po’ boy, yummy gumbo, fresh beignets and Abita beer.

Wondering what the fuss is all about?  Check out this wiki article that tells everything you ever wanted to know about the interesting and colorful festival that is Mardi Gras aka Fat Tuesday!

#77 Celebrate Chinese New Year at Jasmine, Leesburg

Welcome to the year of the Rabbit!   Looking for great local Chinese cuisine to celebrate Chinese New Year?  Look no further than Jasmine Chinese Cuisine & Sushi in downtown Leesburg.  Not only does Jasmine feature a full menu of traditional Chinese entrees and chef’s specials but they also have an impressive sushi and sashimi bar.  Enjoy carry-out or eat-in in the cozy yet spacious dining room with exposed wooden beams.    A large window looks into the kitchen and if you prefer, you can watch the chefs in action as they prepare your food.   Jasmine keeps a good list of wines to enjoy along with your meal and the staff are always friendly.   Jasmine is located on the ground level of the Tuscarora Mill complex at the just off  Loudoun Street at 110 South Street, Leesburg, VA 20175.   Gung Hay Fat Choy!  (“Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year!”

110 South Street

Leesburg, VA 20175