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Northern Virginia in 4 Days

Guest post by karenj

Map tips: each color represents a different day. Click a marker to learn more about the spot, and click the star in the map header to save the entire map under Your Places in Google Maps.

Day 1: Leesburg and Waterford

  • Roots 657 Cafe and Local Market
  • The Old Mill of Waterford
  • Wild Hare Cider Cabin

We had about a 5-hour drive from Ohio to Virginia, and our Airbnb host in Waterford let us have an early check-in, so we arrived around 1pm. We grabbed a fast lunch at the Route 657 Café. There was a little market of local goods, and then also a quick-service food counter. We had some tasty soup!

After lunch we checked into our Airbnb, Grace Cottage, right in the middle of Waterford. Grace Cottage is a converted church, so it really is a unique space with an open floor plan and floor to ceiling bookcases.

Waterford, VA is an interesting town, in that there really aren’t any shops or restaurants. The town itself is a a National Historic Landmark.

After settling in, we took a walk around town to get our bearings. We walked down to the Old Mill where there was a nice easy trail (the Phillips Farm Trail) that we walked for a while. We also visited the local market which had basic necessities.

After exploring Waterford a bit, we drove to Leesburg (a nice quick jaunt). Leesburg was a great town for walking around and shopping! I recommend spending some time here to just meander. We grabbed some cider at Wild Hare Cider Cabin (cute place!) before dinner at Tuscarora Grill. Since we were there in Covid times, we ate outdoors, but the food and atmosphere were great for celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

Day 2: Harpers Ferry

  • The Point
  • John Brown’s Fort
  • John Brown Wax Museum
  • Jefferson Rock
  • Catoctin Creek Park & Nature Center

On our first full day, we drove to Harpers Ferry. I have always wanted to explore Harpers Ferry and it didn’t disappoint. Word of caution – you will not find parking in Lower Town. It won’t happen. Just accept that you’ll have to park at the top of the hill and take a pleasant walk down. It was fine!

There’s lots to explore in Harpers Ferry – we especially enjoyed walking over the bridge next to the train tunnel. Right by The Point (great view) is John Brown’s Fort, but that doesn’t take too long to see.

We went to the Wax Museum, but I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re looking for a good laugh. There were a lot of restaurant with outdoor dining, and our lunch stop was good, but not memorable enough to remember the name.

Definitely take a walk up past the church to Jefferson Rock for a great view of the town.

There are also a lot of great shops, including a historic candy store, worth visiting.

After spending the majority of the day in Harpers Ferry we drove to Catoctin Creek Park in Maryland to meet up with some friends. It was a fun park and nature center for our friends’ kids to enjoy.

Day 3: Waterford and Purcellville

  • Waterford Corner Store Studio
  • Village Winery
  • Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park
  • Purcellville
  • Bears Den
  • Wheatland Spring Farm + Brewery

On the next day, Saturday, we explored some more quaint towns.

First, we got some breakfast from the Corner Store in Waterford. They’re only open certain days of the week, but it’s a cute store, within walking distance of our Airbnb, and they had delicious food.

We headed out to the Village Winery in Waterford to try some of their apple products, and then stopped at Ball’s Bluff Battlefield. It was a nice walk around the Civil War battlefield.

From there we headed to the town of Purcellville. It was a nightmare trying to find parking since we happened to be there the day of their village rummage sale, but once we found parking, we had a great time walking around the town exploring all the shops. We had a nice lunch at Magnolias at the Mill (again, pleasant outdoor dining).

We got some dessert crepes from Lou Lou’s nearby, and then we drove to the Bears Den Overlook. Once we drove up the hill to the parking lot of the overlook, it was a quick walk/hike to the overlook itself. There was a fantastic view, and lots of people enjoying it. You could tell there were many Appalachian Trail hikers passing through. There was a hostel and a campground by the Overlook as well. I definitely recommend stopping here if you’re in the area.

Our next stop was the Wheatland Spring Farm & Brewery. It was a cute (all outdoor) set-up, and you could reserve a table which was handy. They also had firepits around. The only negative was that they only had beer (I’m not a beer drinker), and not a large variety of food. Nonetheless it was a nice end to our evening.

Day 4: Vanish Brewery

Our last full day of the trip, Sunday, the weather was not great. It rained all day. So we spent the majority of the day at the Vanish Farmwoods Brewery. This was a fantastic place! Large, spread-out, plenty of seating, and phenomenal food trucks. They had a wide variety of beers and ciders, and we enjoyed our cider flights! It was a relaxing atmosphere and we spent quite a few hours here.

I highly recommend this area of Virginia if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend with good food, good wineries, good shopping, and good scenery.

I cannot recommend Grace Cottage in Waterford for your accommodations highly enough.

Traveled in October 2020

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