So you’re finally here in Loudoun, but what is there to do? The Connection has put together five fun nearby locations and activities that are distinct to the area. Check them out and get involved.
20136 Gant Lane
<bt>Everyone from embassies to the Washington Redskins have played at Pev’s Paintball and the sport keeps growing in popularity.
One of the top paintball retailers in the country, Pev's has a retail store in Sterling as well as a retail store and paintball field — Pev's at AG — in Leesburg, as well as four others in the Northern Virginia area. They’re also developing another new field in the Loudoun area that will be opening some time next year. Pev’s also works with local youth teams as a sponsor in order to allow them to compete on a national level.
The field in Leesburg is open, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., on the weekends if weather permits. Beginners and experts are welcome to participate.
Group games involving side-against-side battles are the norm for paintball. Guns, paint, air tanks, masks, clothing/attire and accessories can be purchased for personal use at retail stores or rented/purchased at the field.
For more information on paintball, check out www.pevs.com.
<lst>AV-ED Flight School
Leesburg Executive Airport
1001 Sycolin Road, S.E.
<bt>Flying an airplane doesn’t sound like something one can do in their spare time, but AV-ED Flight School would like to teach people how anyway. It will be holding a free one-hour learn-to-fly seminar at Leesburg Airport, July 25, at 6 p.m., for anyone interested or take a discovery flight at the Leesburg Executive Airport to see if flying is for you. Discovery flights last 30 minutes and cost between $50 and $70, depending on the type of plane.
If interested, enroll in flight training lessons, approximately $179 an hour. Training consists of ground training, in-flight training and a practical test. Private Pilot Ground School will being Aug. 4 and Instrument Ground School begins the same day. The Leesburg Executive Airport also offers courses for experienced pilots, including a GPS seminar, multiengine basics and commercial knowledge test prep.
The school also rents planes for experienced pilots to take up. The Leesburg fleet includes Cessna 172ps, Diamond DA20-C1s, Piper Dakota PA28-236 and a brand new Diamond DA42 Garmin 1000, along with many others.
<ro>Food and Drink
<lst>Loudoun Wine Trail
Loudoun County Department of Economic Development
1 Harrison St., S.E.
<bt>These easily-accessible wineries are the primary producers of vinifera and New World grape wines. Families gather here for afternoon lunches and friends spend the day visiting with one another. It is a great place to relax, taste the award-winning wines and take in Loudoun's reputation as being a "Wine Country."
The 2008 Loudoun Wine Trail brochure is available at www.loudounfarms.org and offers information on the multiple wineries. Use the brochure as both a tour guide and a passport to the world of local wines. At each winery participants with a brochure can obtain a stamp in the brochure. Those who collect eight stamps will receive a gift at whatever winery gave them their final stamp. In addition anyone who collects eight stamps will be entered into a drawing to win a case of Loudoun wines. Second place will be a tour of the winner's favorite wineries for up to 12 people.
Participating wineries and vineyards are Bluemont Vineyard, Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis Vineyards, Corcoran Vineyards, Doukenie Vineyards, Fabbioli Cellars, Hidden Brook Winery, Hiddencroft Vineyards, Hillsborough Vineyards, Lost Creek Winery, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, Notaviva Vineyards, Sunset Hills Vineyard LLC, Swedenburg Estate Vineyard, Tarara Winery, Village Winery and Willowcroft Farm Vineyards.
<lst>Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum
21668 Heritage Farm Lane
<bt>Located in Sterling's Claude Moore Park, the Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting objects, documents and photographs related to agricultural and rural life in historic Loudoun. It has special exhibits during the year to accompany its permanent exhibit "It’s Just a Way of Life," which chronicles 250 years of agricultural history.
Throughout the year, it holds a variety of events to help educate the public on farming in Loudoun. These events include a Tractorpalooza, spring and fall farm tours and an apple harvest festival. It will also be celebrating the museum’s 10th anniversary, Saturday, Oct. 25, with dinner, awards and entertainment.
Hours of operation are Tuesdays-Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, from 12-5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children 2-12. The museum is also home to a variety of farm animals and many children’s events.
<lst>Washington & Old Dominion Trail
21293 Smiths Switch Road
<bt>Stretching from Purcellville in the west to Alexandria in the east, the W&OD Trail stretches 45 miles in length and takes the name from the railroad that ran in the area from 1859-1968. The park is one of the longest in Virginia but at only 100 feet wide it is also one of the skinniest.
The recreational trail is well-suited for walking, hiking, biking, jogging, inline skating, while equestrians may ride a parallel trail that stretches from Purcellville to Vienna. The trail is also home to a variety of flora and fauna that is easy to find thanks to the park's small width. Along the length are multiple hotels and bed and breakfasts for those who wish to make a trip out of exploring the entire length of the trail.
The trail is watched over by the Friends of the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (FOWOD) who organize a trail patrol that promotes safe use of the trail, provides information and assists travelers.
For a map, mileage chart and more information on the trail, go to www.wodfriends.org.
<lst>Claude Moore Park
21544 Old Vestal’s Gap Road
<bt>Looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, visit Sterling’s Claude Moore Park. The 375-acre park offers residents 11 miles of hiking trails, as well as playing fields and the Loudoun Farm Museum. The park is home to the Sportplex, which includes four lighted baseball fields, three lighted softball fields, a lighted football field and a practice field. The park hosts a number of activities for families, including an Ol’ Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration, which includes crafts, face painting and food, an annual Autumn Arts and Crafts Show in September, Stories Around the Campfire in October and Holiday in the Park, which includes music entertainment, wagon rides and a candlelight tours of the historic Lanesville Heritage House.
The park has recently opened a new recreation center, which provides year-round educational, recreational, social and cultural programs. It includes a gym, rock climbing wall, swimming pool, locker rooms, jogging track, teen club space and much more. The building is open 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m., Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. To directly call the center call 571-258-3600.
<1b>— Matthew Razak