Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Aug
29

Save the Bees!

By Jackie Pickford

BEE Educated

Bees are an integral part of our ecosystem, providing more for us than just honey and pollinated flowers; bees provide fruits and vegetables for us to eat, supply food for the animals that we consume, and pollinate many of our resources and food such as cotton, herbs, coffee beans, and more. The UN Environmental Programme states that “of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70% are pollinated by bees,” which exemplifies a world-wide dependence on the pollinators.

Alarmingly, however, these creatures have begun to disappear at a rapid pace. The increasing extinction rate can be attributed to habitat loss, parasites, pesticide use, and increasing temperatures due to climate change. If this trend continues, it will have massive consequences on our daily lifestyle.

What’s BEEing Done

Locally, many organizations are attempting to play their part in the movement to save the bees. One unique example in our area is the Hilton Washington Dulles Airport Hotel, which just recently adopted two honeybee hives in hopes of getting involved in the preservation of honeybees. Each hive hosts roughly 50,000-60,000 bees, producing approximately 40 to 60 pounds of honey annually. The hotel plans to use the honey in menu items as well as providing bottled gifts to VIP members; however, the hotel emphasizes that the primary goals of its hives is to encourage sustainable practices and restore bee health.

Nationally, legislation has been introduced to ban pesticides that are especially harmful to bees and other pollinators. The Saving the Pollinators Act of 2017 would suspend the use of neonicotinoids—a harmful pesticide linked to bee decline—until the EPA could determine the safety of the pollinators based on peer-review studies. Although the legislation is still in the works, it has the potential to not only transform agriculture on a large scale, but also take measures to support local farmers, food systems and
sustainable practices.

BEE Involved

As an individual, there are a number of ways to support the bee movement. First, get involved with a local organization! The Northern Virginia Beekeeping Association (NVBA) and the Loudoun Beekeeping Association (LBA) both work to educate and support sustainable beekeeping practices in the area. Local organizations like the LBA provide mentor programs and offer courses for those who are interested in hobby beekeeping, another way to contribute individually. One can also donate to local organizations like the NVBA and LBA, and support companies that take part in sustainable practices, such as Hilton Washington Dulles, for example. Another simple way to contribute is to plant pollinator-friendly landscapes in backyards or patios and use neonicotinoid-free pesticides. Both NVBA and LBA can provide guidance on this as well.

Overall, the goal is that we BEE proactive in any way possible. The extinction of pollinators would have major social, economic, and physical repercussions on our species, which is why doing our part individually, locally and nationally is so important.

Aug
29

I-66 Expansion to Include Parallel Bike/Pedestrian Path

As construction plans proceed for the high occupancy toll lanes (HOT) outside of the beltway, bicycling supporters are scrutinizing the designs for a parallel bike/pedestrian path that is being included in the project.  Specifically, they are opposed to some plans that will place the bike path directly adjacent to the interstate, citing safety and aesthetic reasons for altering the design.

I-66 trail graphic, Courtesy of Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling.

 

 

The Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling is advocating for a change in design to move the trail outside of the noise barriers that will be constructed.  Neighboring communities are opposed to this option, citing intrusion in the communities and fear of potential crime by trail users.  The current design, places about 5 miles of the proposed 23.5 mile trail directly adjacent to the interstate, separated by a 3 foot concrete barrier and a chain link fence.  The Alliance feels this is neither a safe nor a healthy configuration, exposing users to noise and exhaust pollution.

VDOT concedes that the design is a compromise, contending that the five miles of configuration where the trail is adjacent to the interstate is dictated by narrow right-of-way and adjacent community preferences.  In a Washington Post interview Katie Harris from the Washington Area Bicycling Association noted that “VDOT needs to design a facility that is safe and accessible and convenient for those who travel by bike. These are constituents of theirs that need to have their needs met as well.”

When completed, the trail will link to the existing Lee Custis trail that runs adjacent to I-66 inside the beltway, creating an uninterrupted bike facility from Gainesville in Prince William County, to Washington, D.C. The trail will also provide linkages to the many trails and communities that are adjacent to I-66.  Public comment forums on the design of the I-66 HOT lanes will be held
this fall.

Aug
29

DC’s Wine Country®

Winery 32, House Lake. Photo by Aboud Dweck, All Rights Reserved.

Nineteen eighty-four marks the birth of DC’s Wine Country®. Lew Parker of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards established the original Loudoun winery, planting the first grapes in 1981 on the slopes of his farm that, in the 1800s, were successfully planted with orchards. Loudoun’s fertile soil and temperate climate proved fruitful for other winemakers who followed. Today, Loudoun features 40 award-winning wineries and tasting rooms, the most of any county in Virginia, along with two distilleries including Catoctin Creek Distillery, which is the first in Loudoun since prohibition, 23 craft breweries, and three cideries. Located just 25 miles outside our nation’s capital, Loudoun is known as DC’s
Wine Country®.

In Loudoun, visitors can explore boutique wineries sprinkled throughout the countryside; learn about winemaking from area vintners; talk with vineyard owners about the history of the land and its structures and experience Virginia varietals, surprising blends, and dessert wines. Wine tasting in Loudoun is designed to be a welcoming and relaxing experience. During tastings, visitors are educated about the wines they sip and are encouraged to take their own personal notes; the Loudoun winemaking community believes that wine tasting is as personal as winemaking.

Loudoun’s wineries are grouped into six driving “clusters.” The ride to each is an experience in itself, along winding roads and up mountains, past horse farms and historic estates, and beside miles of stacked stone fences. Loudoun offers a variety of scenic wine tours – by bicycle, limousine, bus or sedan charter. Each cluster also features unique culinary experiences, including Loudoun’s own fresh destination restaurants. Visitors can enhance their trip by spending the night at an area inn, bed and breakfast, or resort, and splitting winery visits over two or more days.

 

Wine Clusters

Loudoun Heights Cluster

  • 868 Estate Vineyards
  • Breaux Vineyards
  • Cardamon Family
  • Vineyards
  • Doukénie Winery
  • Hillsborough Vineyards
  • Maggie Malick
    Wine Caves
  • Two Twisted Posts Winery

Waterford Cluster

  • 8 Chains North
  • Corcoran Vineyards
  • Crushed Cellars
  • Hiddencroft Vineyards
  • Sunset Hills Vineyard
  • Village Winery
  • Terra Nebulo Vineyards
  • The Wine Reserve
    at Waterford

Potomac Cluster

  • Carroll Vineyards
  • Fabbioli Cellars
  • Hidden Brook Winery
  • Lost Creek Vineyard
    &  Winery
  • Tarara Winery
  • Creek’s Edge Winery
  • Winery32

Mosby Cluster

  • Boxwood Estate Winery
  • Cana Vineyards & Winery
  • Chrysalis Vineyards
  • Greenhill Winery
    & Vineyard
  • 50 West Winery
    & Vineyard
  • Quattro Goomba’s Winery

Harmony Cluster

  • The Barns at Hamilton
  • Station Vineyards
  • Casanel Vineyards
  • Dry Mill Vineyard
    & Winery
  • Hunter’s Run Wine Barn
  • Stone Tower Winery
  • Willowcroft Farm Vineyards
  • Zephaniah Farm Vineyard

Snickers Gap Cluster

  • Bluemont Vineyards
  • Bogati Bodega & Vineyard
  • North Gate Vineyards
  • Otium Cellars

For location information, visit www.visitloudoun.org.

Aug
29

LoCo Ale Trail

Old Dominion Brewing Company began the craft brew scene in Loudoun in 1989. The company gave its start to many of the local brewers who are producing quality beers today. Two of those brewers, Matt Hagerman and Favio Garcia, opened Lost Rhino Brewing Company in 2011. The brewery paved the way for the brewing industry growth in the county, and while Lost Rhino continues to expand its distribution and tasting room experiences, additional breweries now offer a variety of beer tastes and experiences across Loudoun County, aka LoCo.

Loudoun pairs a modern and urban eastern corridor  with a wide-open rural countryside of farms and pastures along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west. Loudoun’s breweries match their local surroundings, as Beltway Brewing, Old Ox, and Ocelot to the east, offer large tasting rooms and refreshing beers close to Washington DC. Further west, Dirt Farm Brewing, Old 690, and Quattro Goomba’s Brewery offer farm brewery experiences with the chance to see firsthand where the beer’s ingredients are grown.

The agricultural side of beer production is an integral part to the story of Loudoun’s breweries. In 2015 Black Hops Farm became the mid-Atlantic’s largest hops processing facility. Virginia is home to compatible climate, soil, and landscape that make it ideal for growing hops, and Black Hops Farm will help expand supply not only to breweries in Loudoun, but up and down the East Coast. Co-located at Black Hops Farm is Vanish, a farm brewery with a BBQ menu, as well as Pilot Malt House, creating a total beer experience
for visitors.

The LoCo Ale Trail is divided into itineraries that allow beer enthusiasts to enjoy the breweries in a multitude of ways. The Farm Breweries itinerary guides travelers along the county beer industry’s agricultural center through scenic tasting rooms where the ingredients are grown onsite. The Brews by Bike itinerary steers those looking for a more urban tasting room experience through the breweries located along the Washington & Old Dominion Trail.

 

Open Breweries

Adroit Theory Brewing
404 Browning Court
Purcellville VA
703-722-3144
www.adroit-theory.com

Belly Love
Brewing Company
725 E. Main Street
Purcellville, VA 20132
540-441-3159
www.bellylovebrewing.com

Beltway Brewing Company
22620 Davis Drive
Sterling, VA 20164
571-989-2739
www.beltwaybrewco.com

Barnhouse Brewery
43271 Spinks Ferry Road
Leesburg, VA 20176
703-675-8480
barnhousebrewery.com

Black Hoof
Brewing Company
11 South King St.
Leesburg, VA 20175
(571) 707-8014

blackhoofbrewing.com

Black Walnut Brewing
210 S King Street
Leesburg, VA 20175
703-771-9474
blackwalnutbrewery.com

Corcoran Brewing
Company
205 East Hirst Road
Purcellville, VA 20132
540-441-3102
corcoranbrewing.com

Crooked Run Brewing
205 Harrison Street SE
Leesburg, VA 20175
703-609-9241
crookedrunbrewing.com

Crooked Run Central
22455 Davis Dr #120
Sterling, VA 20164
703-609-9241
crookedrunbrewing.com

Dirt Farm Brewing
18701 Foggy Bottom Road, Bluemont, VA 20135
540-454-0366
dirtfarmbrewing.com

Dog Money
Restaurant & Brewery
50 Catoctin Circle NE
Leesburg, VA 20176
703-687-3852
dogmoneyllc.com

Jack’s Run Brewing
Company
108 N. 21st Street
Purcellville, VA 20132
540-441-3382
jacksrunbrewing.com

Lost Rhino
Brewing Company
21730 Red Rum Road
Ashburn, VA 20147
571-291-2083
lostrhino.com

Lost Rhino Retreat
22885 Brambleton Plaza
Ashburn, VA 20148
703-327-0311
lostrhinoretreat.com

Loudoun Brewing
Company
310 East Market Street
Leesburg, VA 20176
703-350-8553
loudounbrewing.com

Ocelot Brewing Company
23600 Overland Dr #180, Sterling, VA 20166
(703) 474-3050
ocelotbrewing.com

Old 690 Brewing Company
15670 Ashbury Church Road
Purcellville, VA 20132
540-668-7023
old690.com

Old Ox Brewery
44652 Guilford Drive
Ashburn, VA 20147
703-729-8375
oldoxbrewery.com

Quattro Goomba’s Brewery
22860 James Monroe Hwy
Aldie, VA 20105
703-327-6052
goombabrewery.com

Solace Brewing Company
42615 Trade W Dr #100, Sterling, VA 20166
solacebrewing.com

Sweetwater Tavern
45980 Waterview Plaza
Sterling, VA 20166
571-434-6500
greatamericanrestaurants.com

Twinpanzee
101-D Executive Drive
Sterling, VA 20166
twinpanzee.com

Vanish
42264 Leelynn Farm Ln
Leesburg, VA 20176
vanishbeer.com

Aug
29

Dine, Drink, Discover Loudoun!

Loudoun County Grapes. Photo by Loi Mai © 2012 Loi Mai.

Just outside Washington, DC lies Loudoun, Virginia where horses wander the countryside, sharing the rural landscape with vineyards, farms and historic estates. With its unpaved roads and charming downtowns filled with historic architecture, it’s a place that reminds visitors of a simpler time and one that has served as an idyllic country escape for Washington notables. Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Potomac River, Loudoun also features a robust outdoor scene where visitors can enjoy the landscape by doing everything from a hike on the Appalachian Trail to a zipline adventure above the treetops. Come discover this beautiful county less than an hour from the nation’s capital.

Drink

With 40 wineries and tasting rooms, Loudoun is a premier East Coast wine region, leading the way in Virginia. Known as “DC’s Wine Country” due to its proximity to Washington D.C., Loudoun’s boutique wineries house tasting rooms in everything from rustic barns and intimate cellars to architecturally stunning facilities. While here, sample wines that include Virginia varietals like Viognier and Norton, taste grapes off the vine, tour barrel caves, indulge in food pairings and enjoy conversation with award-winning winemakers.While Virginians have been producing wine for over 400 years, the craft beer scene is now also making waves. In Loudoun, try one of 23 breweries that are creating more than 200 unique brews at any given time. Home to the LoCo Ale Trail, experience tasting rooms on farms where brewers are growing hops, cherries and other products to go into their beer or play corn hole and chat with a brewmaster at an urban brewery minutes from Dulles International Airport. Here, get a behind –the- scenes look into the industry by booking a guided tour of the Mid-Atlantic’s first commercial-scale hops processing facility at Black Hops Farm or bike to breweries along the W&OD Trail.

Prefer spirits over beer and wine? Loudoun has you covered with a handful of distilleries, cideries and even a meadery!

Dine

Loudoun prides itself on unique dining experiences where you can dine under the stars in a glass atrium on a farm or in a circa 1905 restored mill. Visit a trendy café that was once a shoe shop or enjoy lunch in a turn-of-the century national bank building. Here, the food is as exceptional as the settings. Chefs focus on fresh cuisine where ingredients are sourced from Loudoun’s farms and transformed into culinary masterpieces. Many of Loudoun’s chefs have received regional and national accolades including Chef Tarver King from the Restaurant at Patowmack Farm, who won Chef of the Year at the 2017 Rammy Awards, and The Conche’s Chef Santosh Tiptur-a world-renowned pastry chef who has appeared on various culinary competition programs on the Food Network.

Discover

Besides a robust culinary, wine and beer scene, Loudoun offers a wealth of other attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Stay in one of two resorts or a Bed & Breakfast to take advantage of everything Loudoun has to offer.  History lovers can tour the former home of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis at Morven Park or enjoy a tea at Oatlands Historic House & Gardens- a National Historic Landmark. Those looking for adventure can try everything from white water rafting  and indoor skydiving to zipline courses and numerous hiking trails along the mountains and river. Take time to explore the historic towns of Leesburg and Middleburg, where an eclectic mix of shops and restaurants line the streets, or delve into Loudoun’s rich horse and hunt history at the National Sporting Library & Museum.

For more detailed information on where you can “Dine, Drink, and Discover Loudoun,” visit visitloudoun.org.

You find the offerings in Loudoun are endless. Come create your perfect weekend escape in Virginia’s beautiful countryside and share your experience on social media with #LoveLoudoun.