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101: Plenty To Do Close to Home

Residents can find activities and events to suit everyone’s tastes and interests.

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The Washington Redskins practice in Ashburn. The team opens up at least one day of training camp to the fans.

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An adult soccer league plays at the Dulles SportsPlex, which offers activities for all ages.

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Last year’s Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest.

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Sadie, a sled-racing husky, tries to follow the bowl with the treat under it at one of several game booths for dogs at the 2008 Barktoberfest event. Owner Katie Eldridge of Reston, left, and Ellen Wingerd of Friends of Homeless Animals look on.

Throughout the month of January, The Connection will be highlighting 101 ways residents can have fun in and around their community. Mike DiCicco, Justin Fanizzi, Jennifer Lesinski and Rich Sanders worked on this project.

<ro> Be a Buddy

<lst> Reading Buddy Volunteers

Ashburn Library

43316 Hay Road

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-737-8100

www.library.loudoun.gov

<bt> This great volunteer opportunity requires a person to commit an hour of time, every Monday from 4:30-5:30 p.m., for a two-month session. Encourage a child’s love of books by pairing him or her with a teen reading buddy for one-on-one reading time. Recommended ages for volunteers: 12-18.

<ro> Strengthen Relationships

<lst> Mom & Me Book Club

Sterling Library

120 Enterprise St.

Sterling, VA 20164

703-430-9500

www.library.loudoun.gov

<bt> The monthly Mom & Me Book Club is a special opportunity to read books and engage in conversation. Recommended for daughters ages 9-12 and their mothers or mentors. Call to register and for titles.

<ro> Go Cosmic

<lst> Bowl America Dranesville

46940 Woodson Drive

Sterling, VA 20164

703-430-1350

www.bowl-america.com

<bt> Every Friday and Saturday, from 11 p.m.-2 a.m., the lights go out, the music goes up and a party atmosphere takes over the bowling alley for cosmic bowling. The nightclub-like, family-friendly evening features pulsing lights and glow in the dark bowling balls. Cost is $5.75 per person per game.

<ro> Fresh Off the Farm

<lst> Loudoun Valley Homegrown Markets Association

P.O. Box 716

Hamilton VA 20159

540-454-8089, info@loudounfarmersmarkets.org

www.loudounfarmersmarkets.org

<bt> The six summer farmers markets take place May through October, throughout the county along with a winter farmers market, November through April, in Leesburg. Each provides and guarantees fresh produce and every market offers different events. Visit the Web site for locations, times and special events.

<ro> Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

<lst> West Belmont Place at National Conference Center

18980 Upper Belmont Place

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-9622

http://www.chocolatesgalore.org

<bt> The annual Chocolates Galore and More fund-raiser for the YMCA Loudoun County, taking place Feb. 20, offers a room filled with the most spectacular chocolate, dessert and hors d’oeuvre creations for participants’ sampling pleasure. Attendees will vote for Best Taste and Best Presentation in both the dessert and hors d’oeuvre categories at the end of the evening. The event also features a silent and live auction, dancing and champagne. Proceeds benefit the YMCA Loudoun County’s Building Bridges Program, which provides essential support to area families in need. Ticket Price: $60 per person advance purchase, $65 per person at the door.

<ro> ‘Tease Your Way to Fitness

<lst> DivaFit

20604 Gordon Park Square

Suite 110

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-724-1134, Info@DivaFitOnline.com

www.divafitonline.com

<bt> Founded by Lisa Peklo in September 2006, DivaFit offers women of all ages and fitness levels a different way of exercising: the art of pole dancing for fun and fitness. The studio has 10 instructors, two dance rooms with a total of 24 poles and six levels of pole classes. Introduction classes begin at $20.

<ro> Get Pampered

<lst> Lansdowne Resort

44050 Woodridge Parkway,

Lansdowne, VA 20176

703-729-8400

www.lansdowneresort.com

<bt> The AAA Four Diamond Award-winning Lansdowne Resort features 296 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants that are open to the public, a private golf facility open to members and hotel guests, Spa Minérale and a year-round calendar of events ranging from holiday brunches to weekly jazz concerts. Visit the Web site for prices and packages.

<ro> Go Irish

<lst> Ned Devines Irish Village

21800 Town Center Plaza

Sterling, VA 20164

703-444-7873, sterlingquestions@nedevines.com

www.irishvillage.neddevines.com

<bt> Always wanted to visit Ireland, but could never afford it? Ned’s allows diners to feel like they are at least eating in the Emerald Isle. The walls of the restaurant consist of "storefronts" from an Irish village and the menu features traditional dishes such as lamb stew, shepherds pie, Guinness beef stew, bangers and mash and of course, corned beef and cabbage. On weekends, Ned’s becomes a nightclub with live entertainment and features a martini bar. See the Web for entertainment details.

<ro> Get Moving

<lst> Zumba Fitness

Creative Dance Center

44710 Cape Court

Suite 126

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-724-4900, Margaret@cdcdance.com

www.cdcdance.com

<bt> Creative Dance Center offers adult Zumba Fitness classes for anyone 18 and older. Zumba Fitness is a fusion of traditional cumbia, salsa, samba and meringue music combined with Latin rhythms and international dance moves.

<ro> Let Imagination Take Flight

<lst> National Air and Space Museum

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center

14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway

Chantilly, VA 20151

202-633-1000, NASM-VisitorServices@si.edu

www.nasm.si.edu/UdvarHazy

<bt> Located minutes from Washington Dulles International Airport, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened in December 2003 and is the companion facility to the Smithsonian Institution's museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Among the planes on display are Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the fastest jet in the world; the Boeing Dash 80, the prototype of the 707; the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay; and the deHavilland Chipmunk aerobatics airplane. The centerpiece of the museum's space hangar is the space shuttle Enterprise.

The center also offers an IMAX Theater, flight simulators, food service, a museum store, free tours, daily educational programs and school group tours and activities.

The center is open daily, from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Admission is free, however, it is $12 to park with annual parking passes available.

<ro> Unleash Your Inner Muse

<lst> Loudoun Academy of the Arts/Gallery 222

222 South King St.

Leesburg, VA 20177

703-777-5498

www.gallery222.com or www.loudounacademy.org

<bt> Feeling artistic? Visit Gallery 222, home to the area’s leading artists. The gallery houses a variety of mediums including watercolor, drawings, photography, calligraphy and sculptures. Feeling really artistic? Take an art class at Loudoun Academy of the Arts, a school of fine arts instruction for artists of all ages and skill levels. The school offers classes like oil painting, pastels, glass and ceramics, and all classes are taught by professional artists. Visit the academy Web site for class offerings and pricings; visit the gallery Web site for information on the ever-changing exhibits and hours.

<ro> Provide Creatures Comfort

<lst> Loudoun County Animal Shelter

39820 Charles Town Pike

Waterford, VA 20197

703-777-0406, animals@loudoun.gov

www.loudoun.gov/animals

<bt> The Loudoun County Animal Shelter is located on a 13-acre parcel of land, five miles west of Leesburg. The shelter offers a number of services including pet adoption, assistance with lost pets, information on disaster preparedness for pets and in conjunction with Animal Control, C.A.R.E. (Companion Animal Resource Effort) and wildlife issues. The shelter also provides tours and volunteer opportunities.

<ro> Catch the Buzz

<lst> Loudoun Beekeepers Association

www.loudounbee.org

<bt> Based in Leesburg, the Loudoun Beekeepers Association offers classes on beekeeping, as well as various member and nonmember functions including guest speakers and open houses.

<ro> Learn from a Master

<lst> Master Gardeners' Demonstration Garden

60 Ida Lee Drive

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-771-5150, ex107mg@mail.vt.edu

www.loudouncountymastergardeners.org

<bt> The Master Gardener class of 1992 first developed the Demonstration Garden. The goal was to create a practical organic garden for growing vegetables and fruit where the public could visit and learn about chemical-free gardening. The garden has grown considerably since then in size and scope. The garden is divided into a variety of areas including a children’s garden, vegetables, butterfly and perennial garden, wedding garden and more. The garden is never closed; feel free to visit anytime. However, on Tuesday or Thursday mornings, from 9 a.m.-noon, Master Gardeners will be there to answer questions.

<ro> Kick Off the Weekend

<lst> Leesburg’s First Friday

Loudoun Arts Council

King, Loudoun and Market streets

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-777-7838, info@loudounarts.org

www.leesburgfirstfriday.com

<bt> Held the first Friday of every month except January, from 6-9 p.m., more than 35 specialty shops, art galleries, antique shops and restaurants in downtown historic Leesburg offer live entertainment, free refreshments and/or special sales. Visit the Web site for details on that month’s activities and entertainment.

<ro> Stroll through History

<lst> Town of Middleburg

10 West Marshall St.

Middleburg, VA 20118

540-687-5152

www.middleburg.org

<bt> Browse among the array of quaint shops and inns. There are approximately 600 people residing in the town. Established in 1787 by Revolutionary War Lt. Col. and Virginia statesman, Levin Powell, he purchased the land for Middleburg at $2.50 an acre from Joseph Chinn, first cousin to George Washington. Previously called "Chinn's Crossroads," Powell chose the name Middleburg because of the town's location midway between Alexandria and Winchester on the Ashby Gap trading route (now Route 50). There are several inns located within the corporate limits, including the historic Red Fox Inn and Tavern, which is billed as the "oldest original inn in America." The village has earned a reputation as the "Nation's Horse and Hunt Capital," and is home to the National Sporting Library. Middleburg was recognized for its historic preservation efforts by being designated a Preserve America Community by First Lady Laura Bush.

<ro> See the Sights

<lst> Rust Sanctuary

802 Children's Center Road

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-669-0000

www.audubonnaturalist.org

<bt> Rust Sanctuary is an Audubon Naturalist Society sanctuary. The property includes a manor house and 68 acres of land budding with nature trails and picnic tables. In total, the sanctuary protects six kinds of habitats, including wildlife gardens, meadows, hedge rows, mixed hardwood forest, pine plantation and a pond. The sanctuary offers a variety of activities including free nature walks, seasonal discussions and walks and family programs. Open dawn to dusk, seven days a week with free admission.

<ro> For the Young

<lst> Loudoun Youth Fest

215 Deport Court

Leesburg, VA 20175

lyi@loudoun.gov

www.loudounteens.org

<bt> Loudoun Youth Fest is planned by teenagers, for teenagers. Designed as a fun way to get important information out teenagers about issues from drunk driving to safe sex to education, this youth festival does it all. This year's event included performances nationally known band, Senses Fail, as well as the county’s top teen bands. Attractions include giant inflatables, rock climbing, Rock Band and Dance, Dance Revolution competitions and a sports zone. An exhibitor's showcase highlights services and programs for teens.

<ro> Become a Green Thumb

<lst> Leesburg Flower and Garden Festival

Downtown Leesburg

703-777-1368

www.idalee.org

<bt> Historic Leesburg will be in full bloom as lush landscapes and gorgeous gardens fill the streets. More than 100 vendors will be on display April 18, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and April 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., featuring landscape designs, gardening supplies, outdoor living items, plants, flowers, herbs and more. A variety of food, music, children's entertainment and crafts will also be on hand for this annual event. Visit the Web site for the cost.

<ro> Get Rural

<lst> Loudoun Farm Tours

Department of Economic Development

1 Harrison St., fifth floor

P.O. Box 7000

Leesburg, VA 20177

703-777-0426

www.loudounfarms.org

<bt> Twice a year, Loudoun County farmers open their farms to the public to give residents a taste of the rural life. Every year, the Spring Farm Tour is held the third weekend in May and the Loudoun Farm Color Tour is held the third weekend in October. Residents can visit local vegetable and fruit farms to learn how to care for their own plants or maybe buy something for their home. At horse and animal farms, visitors have a chance to learn about the animals and meet the newest arrivals. The local vineyards offer tours and tasting for people to enjoy. Visit the Web site for a list of participating farms.

<ro> Celebrate the Celtic

<lst> Potomac Celtic Festival

The Potomac Celtic Alliance

525-K East Market St., No. 295

Leesburg, VA 20176

1-866-771-7786, information@pcfest.org

www.potomaccelticfest.org

<bt> This summer festival — held June 13 and 14 at Morven Park — features continuous live ethnic music and dance on multiple stages, a craft market, Celtic living history demonstrations, import and specialty vendors, Scottish games, pipe bands, poetry readings and storytelling, authentic Celtic foods, language workshops and much more. See the Web for a complete list of vendors, the entertainment schedule and ticket information.

<ro> Experience Country Living

<lst> Lucketts Fair

42361 Lucketts Road

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-771-5281

www.luckettsfair.com

<bt> The annual Lucketts Fair, which runs late August, is billed as a weekend in the country jam-packed with bluegrass music, crafts, antiques, cloggers, a farmyard zoo, hay rides, cakewalks, down-home food and old-fashioned fun for the whole family.

The fair first began in 1972, when the inhabitants of the small village of Lucketts first began putting on an annual fair at the Old Lucketts School — a building erected in the early 1900s. Visit the Web site for ticket information.

<ro> Now in Session

<lst> Court and Market Days

King, Loudoun and Market streets

Leesburg, VA 20165

703-777-1368

www.idalee.org/parks/events

<bt> Go back in time when the Circuit Court of Leesburg was only in session once a year, creating a festival-like atmosphere. The annual event includes artisan demonstrations, traders and peddlers selling their wares, re-enactments of court cases from 1750-1825, period entertainment and hands-on children’s activities. Free.

<ro> Celebrate the Dog Days

<lst> Barktoberfest

Melodee Music Center

46077 Lake Center Plaza

Sterling, VA 20165

703-450-4667

www.barktoberfest.org

<bt> Each fall, Melodee Music Center goes to the dogs and cats, with a "music and pet lover’s festival" benefitting Friends of Homeless Animals. The fun-filled day includes pets for adoption, music, games for pets and their humans, food, animal-related vendors, silent auction and prizes. Canines and kitties are welcome to participate in the fun. The event is free to attend, but donations are accepted. The 2008 event featured nine bands performing on three stages. Friends of Homeless Animals is a nonprofit, no-kill animal rescue organization serving the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area.

<ro> Prost

<lst> Lovettsville Octoberfest

Lovettsville Community Center

57 E. Broad Way

Lovettsville, VA 20180

540-882-5788

www.townoflovettsville.com

<bt> Celebrate a German tradition with Lovettsville’s annual Octoberfest, Sept. 26-28, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. The three-day event celebrates the town’s heritage; German immigrants settled Lovettsville in the 1730s. The festival includes authentic German cuisine, live music, street performers, local art and more. Admission is free.

<ro> Ring In the New Year

<lst> First Night Leesburg

Bluemont Concert Series

Downtown Leesburg

540-338-4640, info@bluemont.org

www.bluemont.org

Bluemont Concert Series organizes First Night Leesburg, New Year’s Eve, from 6 p.m.-midnight, which features more than 100 performances at 20 indoor locations in downtown Leesburg. Enjoy jazz, classical music, puppet shows, bluegrass, folk music, rock and roll, magicians and more. A list of performers will be posted on the Web site by mid-December. First Night concludes at midnight with a traditional Grand Illumination gathering on the courthouse green. Cost for the 2007/08 event was $10 per adult, $8 for seniors over 65 and $3.00 for children 3-12. No charge for children under 3 years of age.

<ro>Safe and Fun Combat

<lst>A.G. Paintball Games

20136 Gant Lane

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-771-3965 (field); 301-417-0137 (office)

www.agpaintballgames.com

<bt>A.G. bills itself as a professionally owned and operated establishment run by people with years of experience. They have one large outdoor compound and several other smaller fields to play on and gun and mask rentals and paintballs and air are also available.

A.G. offers four sessions total per week for walk-ins and those with reservations; a morning session, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and evening session, 1:30-4:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Prices vary by sessions played, equipment rentals and reservation/walk-in status. Visit the Web site for rental prices and reservation information.

<ro>Burn Rubber

<lst>Allsports Grand Prix

45915 Maries Road

Dulles, VA 20166

571-434-9566

www.allsportsgp.com

<bt>Allsports Grand Prix is an indoor karting facility in Northern Virginia with a road-racing profile inspired by the Monaco Grand Prix racetrack. The technical and four-wheel drift turns will challenge even the seasoned driver, yet has a slip/grip track surface that raises drivers’ skill levels. At the end of each race, every driver receives a race result sheet, detailing the best lap time, average speed, total race time and more.

Walk-ins are welcome, but Allsports also offers a 40-lap, 11-driver mini Grand Prix, a 120-lap team race and sprint heat races. Leagues for all skill levels are offered as well.

See the Web for kart information, pricing, race format details and more.

<ro>Take Flight

<lst>AV-ED Flight School

Leesburg Executive Airport

1001 Sycolin Road S.E.

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-9252

<bt>Believe you can fly? 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 you like it, enroll in flight training lessons,

approximately $179 an hour. The Leesburg Executive Airport also offers courses for experienced pilots, including a GPS seminar, multiengine basics and commercial knowledge test prep.

<ro>Get a Bird's-Eye View

<lst>Balloons Unlimited

2946-0 Chain Bridge Road

Oakton, VA 22124

703-281-2300

<bt>Its home office in Oakton, Balloons Unlimited offers ballooning in Middleburg — at Flying Horse Farm — and in the Shenandoah Valley.

Flights are scheduled twice a day, every day, all year round. The price for adults is $175 per person. Children under 16 are $100 when accompanied by an adult. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. for the winter; 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m. for the summer. Reservations made a couple weeks in advance are recommended.

<ro>Do-si-do

<lst>Bluemont Country Dances

250 South Nursery Ave.

Purcellville, VA 20132

540-338-5025

www.bluemont.org/dances

<bt>Swing your partner round and round at the 100-year-old

Purcellville Skating Rink. Bluemont brings big country bands and line callers to the wooden dance floor. Bluemont Country Dances are held every third Saturday of the month, October through May. The dances begin at 8 p.m., with a beginner's workshop at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $10 per person and $7 for Bluemont Friends, students and seniors.

<ro>Get Lost

<lst>Corn MAiZE

15789 Temple Hall Lane

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-779-9372

www.nvrpa.org

<bt>The corn maze at Temple Hall Farm Regional Park encompasses 11 acres of land and challenges the minds of explorers to find the one exit. It usually takes people between 40 minutes and an hour to make their way through the 10-foot-high walls of corn. It is part of the fall festival from Sept. 8-Oct. 29. Go to the Web site and click on the link to Temple Hall to find out maze schedules, hours of operation and prices.

<ro>Start a Tradition

<lst>Cut Your Own Christmas Tree

Loudoun County Farms

www.loudounfarms.org

<bt>Start a new holiday tradition at one of Loudoun's 19 Christmas tree farms. Badlands, Creekview, Day Star and Great County Farms are a few farms that allow customers the option of cutting down their own Christmas tree. For a complete list of cut-your-own Christmas tree farms, visit the Web site.

<ro>Go Ghostbusting

<lst>Hauntings 2009

16 Loudoun St.

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-7427

<bt>A part of the Loudoun Museum's Halloween program, the Leesburg Hauntings ghost tours run Oct. 23-24. Participants will take tours of 18th- and 19th-century homes and hear tales of colonial residents who haunt historic Loudoun. Tours run every 15 minutes and reservations are strongly recommended. The tour is not appropriate for children under 12. Admission is $20 for adults and $15 for museum members.

<ro>Play a Round

<lst>Local Golf Courses

<bt>Hit the links at any one of the county's public golf courses. In Sterling, visit Algonkian Regional Park where 18 holes cost between $26 and $32 and nine holes cost $16 to $20. Ashburn is home to the Brambleton Regional Park and Golf Course where residents can play 18 holes for $30 to $37 and nine holes for $18 to $24. Leesburg has three public courses to play on. The Goose Creek Golf Course allows weekday play for $23 to $40 and weekend play from $30 to $59. The Gary Player-designed Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club offers 18 holes Mondays through Thursdays for between $57 and $78 with nine holes at

$45 and weekend play Fridays through Sundays at $67 to $98 with nine holes costing $55. For something more inexpensive, the Westpark Golf Club green fees run $26 for weekday play and $40 for weekends and holidays.

<ro>Family Fun at the Fair

<lst>Loudoun County Fair

Loudoun County Fairgrounds

P.O. Box 4100

Leesburg, VA 20177

703-777-3835

www.loudouncountyfair.com

<bt>From barbecue dinner to livestock auctions to sidesaddle horse riding to tug-of-war to carnival rides to bingo to a professional rodeo, the Loudoun County Fair is an enjoyable time for all.

The fair will take place this year at the Loudoun County Fairgrounds, from July 26-Aug. 1. A complete list of events can be found on the Web site.

<ro>Follow the Grapevine

<lst>Loudoun Wine Trail

Loudoun County Department of Economic Development

1 Harrison St. S.E.

Fifth floor, P.O. Box 7000

Leesburg, VA 20177

www.loudounfarms.org

<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 different wineries include Breaux Vineyards, Chrysalis

Vineyards, Hidden Brook Winery, Hillsborough Vineyards, Lost Creek Winery, Loudoun Valley Vineyards, Swedenburg Estate Vineyards, Tarara Winery, Village Winery, Waterford Vineyards, Willowcroft Farm Vineyards and Windham Winery.

<ro>Taste of Louisiana

<lst>Cajun Festival

Breaux Vineyards

36888 Breaux Vineyards Lane

Hillsboro, VA 20132

800-492-9961

www.BreauxVineyards.com

<bt> Immerse yourself in Cajun culture at the 12th annual Cajun Festival. The festival provides something for all members of the family. Dance to live zydeco and Cajun music or enjoy Cajun cuisine including jambalaya, muffaletta, gumbo, crawfish and wine. There will also be children's activities including clowns, balloon art, face painting and vineyard hayrides.

This year’s event will take place Saturday, June 20, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person, includes wine tasting and souvenir wine glass, $10 per persons not drinking, free for children under 6.

<ro>Go Back in Time

<lst>Mosby’s Confederacy Tours

183A Keith St.

Warrenton, VA 20186-3231

540-351-6073

www.mosbystours.com

<bt>Go on one of three tours to learn about one of the most fascinating characters of the Civil War, John Singleton Mosby. Go on the "Life and Times" tour to learn about Mosby’s life and see his home, grave, the Mosby Monument and other important sites from his life. Embark on the "Bookends" tour to see many of the important war sites such as Aldie Mill, Red Fox Inn, Sharon Cemetery and other sites that were played important roles in Mosby and his men’s journey. The final option is the "Atrocities of 1864" tour, which shows visitors sites where many of the most terrible events occurred and some of the monuments dedicated to victims of the brutality.

Tours start at $150 per person, $250 total for two and $15 for each additional guest. Register online.

<ro>They Jump Fences, Don’t They?

<lst>Steeplechase at Morven Park

Morven Park International Equestrian Center

41793 Tutt Lane

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-777-2890

www.morvenpark.org/steeplechase

<bt>Steeplechasing includes all the thrills and speed of horse racing at flat tracks, mixing in the precision of jumping to create a hybrid similar to hurdle events in track and field. The races are between two and four miles in length and the fences are manmade 52-inch hurdles called National Fences or timber jumps constructed of posts and rails at varying heights.

Each year, Morven Park is home to a premier national steeplechase event, which will have its 30th installment Oct. 10. More than 10,000 people attend each year to not only watch horses but to enjoy the "Family Fun Fair," where children will find a petting zoo, duck pond, pony rides, moon bounce and more. Vendors will also be on hand for shopping and eating. Visit the Web site for more on the types of races run, the day’s other events and more.

<ro>Celebrate Community

<lst>Sterlingfest

Sterling Community Center

120 Enterprise St.

Sterling, VA 20164

703-450-4365

www.sterlingfoundation.org

<bt>This communitywide event involves arts and crafts, vendors, nonprofit organizations, children's marketplace and game area, an open house at the local fire station and two stages of entertainment. Food and treats will also be available.

The event will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, and is sponsored by the Sterling Foundation, which will use proceeds for the beautification of the community.

<ro>Get Hog Wild

<lst>Hogback Mountain Paintball

20217 Hogback Mountain Road

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-0057

www.hogback.net

<bt>With more than 70 acres and 14 unique courses, Hogback Mountain Paintball’s fields are designed for both recreational and pro players. Hogback also offers courses for woodsball, attack and defend, speedball or scenario games.

Hogback Mountain is open 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday year round for walk-ons. Reservations are available for groups of at least eight and require a deposit. Prices vary by gun rental, paintball purchase and air tank fills.

<ro>Sing to the Music

<lst>Loudoun Chorale

P.O. Box 6197

Leesburg, VA 20178

703-722-4055

www.loudounchorale.org

<bt>The Loudoun Chorale is a community-based arts organization, which presents quality music presentations on a continuing basis. The chorale welcomes all who share the love of vocal music, either as performers or audience members at one of their many concerts around the county. Visit the Web for concert listings and other information.

<ro>Getting in Step

<lst>Loudoun Ballet Company

P.O. Box 916

Leesburg, VA 20178

703-771-1522 (main); 703-771-8074 (ticket line)

www.loudounballet.org

<bt> The Loudoun Ballet Company has a nine-month performing season, September through May. The season typically begins with a children's story ballet; winter brings the full-length ballet, "The Nutcracker" and the season concludes with an annual spring full-length ballet performance. Concert schedule, ticket information, repertoire and more are available online.

<ro>Grand Ole Band

<lst>Loudoun Border Guards Fife & Drum Corps

P.O. Box 1414

Leesburg, VA 20177

703-244-9768

www.lbguards.org

<bt>The Loudoun Border Guards Fife & Drum Corps was founded in 1996 and has performed across the East Coast, including the Kennedy Space Center and New York City. Their uniforms are of an 1855 militia style and every other year, they host a muster in Leesburg where other Fife and Drum Corps from throughout the world are invited to come and perform.

The corps holds its annual membership drive each September, but they accept new members throughout the year. The Junior Corps for children ages 9-18 is also offered. Potential new members can sign up during their regular rehearsals, held Fridays, 7 p.m., at Leesburg United Methodist Church, 107 W. Market St., Leesburg.

<ro>Campus Entertainment

<lst> Northern Virginia College Community Theater

1000 Harry Byrd Highway

Sterling, VA 20164

TAKINGFLIGHT@cct2ft.com

www.cct2ft.com/joomla

<bt>The College Community Theater was formed in 2003 with the mission to entertain, enlighten and educate the diverse community. Productions are produced through the unique collaborative effort of community members as well as NOVA faculty, staff and students. In April 2008, College Community Theater merged with 2nd Flight Productions, which was formed in March 20003 by six recent college graduates in Blacksburg.

The merger was finalized in April 2008 and all productions will now be performed at the Waddell Theater, located on the NOVA Sterling Campus. The company will be performing three shows for the 2008-09 season with the third slot remaining open for guest director applications. Find show times, audition information, to make donations and more on the Web site.

<ro>Go Antiquing

<lst>Historic Leesburg/Antique Shops

Intersection of Business Route 7/Business Route 15

www.leesburgantiques.com

<bt>The Leesburg Antiques and Collectibles Dealers Association

represents more than 120 dealers in the Leesburg area. Member

businesses include the Black Shutter Antique Center, Cobblestones Ltd., Greener Pastures Antiques and Collectibles, the Leesburg Antique Emporium and the Leesburg Court of Shoppes. For an extensive list of shop names, hours and antique

descriptions visit the Web site.

<ro>Take a Ride

<lst>Georges Mill Farm Bed and Breakfast

11867 Georges Mill Road

Lovettsville, VA 20180

540-822-5224

www.georgesmill.com

<bt>Georges Mill consists of a Civil War-era stone home nestled on a 100-acre farm located in the Short Hill Mountains. Enjoy fishing, antique shopping and quiet walks through woodland paths.

Adding to the get-away, bed-and-breakfast feel of Georges Mill, patrons may take guided horseback riding tours at Georges Mill Farm & Stables. Highlights include viewing the gap in the Short Hill Mountains where Virginia and Maryland are joined together by the Potomac River.

<ro>Beer a Plenty

<lst>Northern Virginia Brewfest

Morven Park International Equestrian Center

41793 Tutt Lane

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-923-0800

www.novabrewfest.com

<bt>Start off the summer right with this thirst-quenching event. The equestrian center will host more than 40 breweries from across the world, allowing visitors to sample some of the finest libations from all corners of the globe. Discover how beer is made, how to brew your own and learn about great beer and food pairings.

In addition, live music and entertainment will perform, local restaurants provide the cuisine, artisans will display their works and there is a special area for children.

This year’s event will take place Saturday, June 20, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday, June 21, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tickets are $25 per adults over 21 and $20 for designated drivers.

<ro>Holiday Fun

<lst>Holiday in the Park

Claude Moore Park/Lanesville Heritage Area

21544 Old Vestal's Gap Road

Sterling, VA 20164

571-258-3700

<bt>Celebrate Christmas in 18th- and 19th-century style. Candlelight tours of the Lanesville House will highlight a Lane family Christmas of the 1780s in one parlor and the 1870s in the second parlor. Enjoy an evening holiday hayride through the park, roast marshmallows, drink hot cider and sing carols at the campfire, visit Frogshackle Nature Center and make an old-fashioned holiday decoration. This year’s event will run Saturday, Dec. 5, 3:30-6 p.m. and is free.

<ro>Reading Wrestlers

<lst>2009 WrestleMania Reading Challenge

Cascades Library

21030 Whitfield Place

Potomac Falls, VA 20165

703-444-3228

www.library.loudoun.gov

<bt>The Cascades Library has many fun activities for all members of the family that encourage reading and learning. An exciting new program for children is the 2009 WrestleMania Reading Challenge. Readers ages 10-18 will be challenged to read 10 books and participate in a bookmark competition. Completing the assigned tasks will qualify participants to win prizes and a trip to Houston for WrestleMania 25. The contest will run Oct. 12-Jan. 12.

<ro>Learn to Farm

<lst>Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum

21668 Heritage Farm Lane

Sterling, VA 20164

571-258-3800

www.heritagefarmmuseum.org

<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. Hours are Tuesdays-Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, from noon-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 has annual events, such as the Spring Farm Tour and Tractorpalooza.

<ro>Take to the Trail

<lst>Washington & Old Dominion Trail

21293 Smiths Switch Road

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-729-0596

www.wodfriends.org

<bt>Stretching from Purcellville in the west to Alexandria in the east, the W&OD Trail runs for 45 miles and takes its name from the railroad that ran in the area from 1859-1968. The recreational trail is well suited for walking, hiking, biking, jogging and inline skating, while equestrians may ride a parallel trail that stretches from Purcellville to Vienna. For a map, mileage chart and more information on the trail, go to the Friends of the Washington & Old Dominion Trail Web site.

<ro>Play Around

<lst>Sterling Playmakers

P.O. Box 1611

Sterling, VA 20167

703-437-6117

www.sterlingplaymakers.com

<bt>Spend an evening at the theater. From slapstick comedies to period pieces, the Sterling Playmakers offer something for everyone. Coming productions include "Puss in Boots," "Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," the 10-Minute 1-Act Festival, Disney’s "Aladdin Jr." and "Thoroughly Modern Millie" the musical. The Playmakers not only entertain, but also educate the Sterling community through workshops on acting, hair and makeup, directing and producing and sound and lighting.

<ro>Listen to the Classics

<lst>Loudoun Symphony

P.O. Box 4478

Leesburg, VA 20177

703-771-8287

www.loudounsymphony.org

<bt>No need to travel to Washington, D.C., to hear a symphony perform. The Loudoun Symphony holds a season every year between October and May. Ticket prices vary, but season tickets are $55, or $45 for seniors, if purchased before Oct. 1 and $60 after that date. Admission is free for those under 18. All performances are held at local high schools where audiences will be treated to music from Beethoven to Gershwin. In addition to the regular season, the symphony holds a fund-raising gala every June and a connoisseurs' concert in November, both of which are open to the public.

<ro>Eat Pancakes with the Fire Fighters

<lst>Ashburn Volunteer Fire Department

20688 Ashburn Road

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-729-0006

<bt>On the first Sunday of each month, the Ashburn Volunteer Fire Department hosts a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits and gravy, hash browns, coffee and juice. Breakfast is from 8 a.m.-noon and costs $4 for children ages 3-8, $6 for seniors and $5 for adults. Children under 3 are admitted for free. The apparatus bay is open for children to check out the fire and rescue equipment.

<ro>Take in a Show

<lst>Franklin Park Performing and Visual Arts Center

17501 Franklin Park Drive

Purcellville, VA 20132

540-338-7973

www.franklinparkartscenter.org

<bt>This center is a second home to many Loudoun musicians, actors, dancers, artists and art enthusiasts. Shows, presented on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, include movies, music, dance and professional, youth and community theater. Ticket prices vary. Performance dates and directions can be found on the Web site.

<ro>Savor the Sweet Sounds

<lst>Tarara Winery's Toast to the Tunes

13648 Tarara Lane

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-771-7100

www.tarara.com

<bt>This summer concert series, hosted by Tarara Winery, runs from early July to mid-September. Concerts are held Saturday evenings, from 6-9:30 p.m., rain or shine. Picnics, prizes and vacation give aways are also part of the fun. The price for adults is $15, while children under 6 get in free. Tickets are available at the winery or online. Complimentary shuttle service is also available.

<ro>Go Unplugged

<lst>Acoustic on the Green

25 W. Market St.

Leesburg, VA 20178

703-737-7084

www.leesburgva.com

<bt>This annual summer concert series offers residents the chance to listen to a variety of acoustic music every Saturday between early June and late August. Held from 7-9 p.m. on the green of Leesburg's Town Hall, each of these free concerts features acoustic performers in classic rock, blues, pop and bluegrass. Series creators Stilson Greene and Pat McKinney raise money each year to present the series to the public. So come out, bring your family and a blanket and enjoy the show. For more information and the concert schedule, visit the Web site.

<ro>Go Milling Around

<lst>Aldie Mill

39401 John Mosby Highway

P.O. Box 322

Aldie, VA 20105

703-327-9777

www.aldiemill.org

<bt>At Aldie Mill — a working mill built in the early 1800s and now owned by the Virginia Outdoors Foundation — the heritage of water-powered mills is preserved. Demonstration grinding and tours of the site take place on weekend afternoons. Forming the core of the mill's mission is historic research, archaeological investigations, preservation and restoration work and educational programs. An annual art show and sale is held every June and the mill also participates in the Aldie Harvest Festival, held annually in October. The mill is open from late April to late November, weekends, from 12-5 p.m. Milling demonstrations are at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.

<ro>Experience Early Living

<lst>Waterford Homes Tour/Crafts Exhibit

The Waterford Foundation

P.O. Box 142

Waterford, VA 20197

540-882-3018

www.waterfordva-wca.org

<bt>Since 1943, the Waterford Foundation has held this annual autumn fair, which draws artisans and craftsmen from around the country. Along with exhibits, there is also music and dancing, Civil War re-enactments, citizens in historical dress and food — from apple cider to Loudoun sausage. Visitors will discover how early furniture, tools and house wares were made and see historic homes and American life 200 years ago. This year, the fair will be held Oct. 2-4, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and 155 artisans will be featured. Tickets in advance are $13 per person, per day and $15 at the gate. Children under 12 are free.

<ro>Tour a Preserve

<lst>Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve

21085 The Woods Road

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-669-0316

<bt>The 700-acre Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve protects plants, animals and various habitats along the rolling hills near Goose Creek. Wetlands, fields, forests, trails and wildlife make a visit to Banshee Reeks well worth the trip. The preserve is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., every Saturday and Sunday. After-hours activities may be approved and scheduled by calling the park for a permit.

<ro>Get Crafty

<lst>Annual Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival

21544 Old Vestals Gap Road

Sterling, VA 20164

703-444-1275

www.loudoun.gov/prcs/parks/claude.htm

<bt>The Arts and Crafts Festival is held in September at Claude Moore Park and the Lanesville Heritage area in Sterling. It features 100 or so crafters selling handmade jewelry, baskets, wood items, candles and more. There is also a children's craft area, entertainment, historic house tours, craft demonstrations, a bake sale and food service. Admission is free.

<ro>Show Off your Muscles

<lst>Dulles Day Family Festival and Plane Pull

Dulles International Airport Fed-Ex Terminal, behind buildings 5 and 6

Dulles, VA

703-359-4301

www.planepull.com

<bt>Each year, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority Police Department challenges teams of family and friends to pull 150,000 pounds of machinery at the Dulles Day Family Festival and Plane Pull at Dulles International Airport. Each team donates $1,000 to the Special Olympics of Virginia to get the chance to pull an airplane. The team that pulls the plane the farthest wins. The day also includes face painting, food, a car show, aircraft displays, exhibits, games, rides, a Kids’ Corner, live music, concessions and a School Bus Pull for the kids.

<ro>Horse Around

<lst>Morven Park

The Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation Inc.

41793 Tutt Lane

Leesburg, VA 21078

703-777-2414

www.morvenpark.org

<bt>This 1,200-acre, historic landmark estate of former Virginia Gov. Westmoreland Davis (1918-1922) features tours, gardens, museums, a mansion first built in 1781, an equestrian center and steeplechase racing. The Museum of Hounds and Hunting is particularly interesting, as it serves as the repository of art, artifacts and literature on the sport of fox hunting, as well as other paintings, photographs, music and books portraying famous hounds. The park is open daily from 7 a.m.-dusk. Guided tours are offered Fridays-Mondays, between 11 a.m.-4 p.m., April through mid-November. The grounds are closed to the public in January and February. Special programs are held Saturdays and Sundays by reservation. Events include the Celtic Festival, Loudoun Fun Day, the Classic Car Show and the Caroline Muldoon Pas de Deux Challenge Cup. This year will also feature events commemorating the opening of the Morven Park Historic Mansion and a celebration in honor of Davis’ birthday. More information on Morven Park can be found online.

<ro>Take in a Movie – For Free

<lst>Brambleton Regal Fox Cinemas

22875 Brambleton Plaza

Ashburn, VA 20148

703-957-1035

<bt>For nine weeks during the summer, the Brambleton movie theater hosts a free family film festival. Selected G- and PG-rated movies start at 10 a.m. each Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. First-come, first-served seating is limited to theater capacity.

<ro>See How Marshall Lived

<lst>Dodona Manor

217 Edwards Ferry Road

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-777-1880

www.georgecmarshall.org

<bt>Dodona Manor is the restored summer home of Gen. George C. Marshall, father of the Marshall Plan and highly accomplished statesman and military man. The house contains approximately 90 percent of the original belongings of Marshall and his wife, Elizabeth, including items such furniture, art, books, clothes, maps, Chinese furniture and artwork, trunks and personal items. The Marshalls were avid gardeners, and most of their landscaping, including the vegetable and rose gardens, has been recreated. The house is open to the public year-round on Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, from 1-5 p.m., and between June and August, the house is also open Mondays, from 1-5 p.m. Tours are on the hour, with the last tour at 4 p.m. Weekday tours are available by appointment with two-weeks notice. Call 703-777-1301 for reservations. Admission costs $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and group tours, and $5 for students and children ages 9-17.

<ro>Shoot the Rapids

<lst>BTI Whitewater

10985 Harpers Ferry Road

Purcellville, VA 20132

1-877-RAFT-BTI (723-8284)

www.buttstubes.com

<bt>Join BTI Whitewater for tubing, whitewater rafting, canoeing and duckies (inflatable kayak rentals) on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. Spring through fall, the company offers trips for the family, summer campers or commercial groups interested in team building. Trips cost between $21 and $80.

<ro>Learn the Magic of Basketball

<lst>Hoop Magic Sports Academy

14810 Murdock St.

Chantilly, VA 20151

703-268-5780

www.hoopmagicsa.com

<bt>Hoop Magic has a basketball league for kindergartners and first-graders, seniors social activities and everything in between. In addition to leagues and tournaments, this sports academy offers camps, clinics, birthday parties, high-school events, after-school gym, shooting machines, a workout gym and more. The facility is open late, closing at either 11 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; at midnight Tuesdays and Thursdays; and at 9 p.m. on Sundays.

<ro>Take a Hike

<lst>Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park

43098 Edwards Ferry Road

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-737-7800

www.nvrpa.org/parks/redrock

<bt>Hike over hills and through the woods to panoramic views of the Potomac and the distant blue foothills across the river on this out-of-the-way, 67-acre property. The park is open all year from dawn until dusk.

<ro>Go to the Birds

<lst>Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail

703-771-2170

www.dgif.virginia.gov/vbwt

<bt>The "Foothills to Falls Loop" is part of the Piedmont Region of the Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail, a statewide system of 13 loops that allow visitors to experience wildlife in its most beautiful and natural habitats and the opportunity of seeing resident, breeding and winter birds. Some of birds that may be spotted in the fall and winter include bald and golden eagles, common mergansers, redpolls, green warblers, magnolia warblers, red-tailed hawks, mallard ducks, great blue herons, common ravens, Canadian geese and an assortment of woodpeckers, as well as the usual year-round residents such as blue jays, cardinals, sparrows, juncos and chickadees. The trail also highlights the red fox and more than 250 species of fish. It runs through the Rust Sanctuary, Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve and Red Rock Wilderness Overlook Regional Park. The free, self-guided driving tour guide can be obtained at the Loudoun Visitors Center, 222 Catoctin Circle S.E., Suite 100, Leesburg.

<ro>Get Artsy

<lst>Round Hill Arts Center

540-338-5050

6 West Loudoun St.,

Round Hill, VA 20141

www.roundhillartscenter.org

<bt>The Old Furniture Factory, once a prohibition-era speakeasy, among its several former identities, now houses an art gallery and art and music studios. The Round Hill Arts Center offers classes for all ages in pottery, painting, illustration, photography, tile art, knitting, classical guitar, mandolin and more. Occasional figure model sessions are also offered.

<ro>Explore the Past

<lst>African American Heritage Trail

Thomas Balch Library

208 West Market St.,

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-737-7019 (Marantha Edwards)

<bt>Tour the history of African-Americans in Leesburg. The Black History Committee of the Friends of the Thomas Balch Library developed a publication to guide users to noteworthy sites of black history in town and explain their significance. Pick up the publication at the Thomas Balch Library or the Loudoun Museum.

<ro>Jazz It Up

<lst>Loudoun Jazz Ensemble

703-725-5732 (Jerry Bresee, manager)

www.lcbandinc.org/ljehome.htm

<bt>The Loudoun Jazz Ensemble is a performing organization of the Loudoun Community Band Inc. with a twofold purpose: to provide a group in which area musicians with a strong interest in "big band" jazz can rehearse on a regular basis and to bring the results of their efforts to the people of Loudoun and the surrounding areas. The band is committed to performing a wide variety of the big band music from the '40s through today with style and excellence. This is an all-volunteer ensemble of 17 members ranging in experience from high school students to professional musicians. Upcoming shows are yet to be announced.

<ro>Hear the Fat Lady Sing

<lst>Loudoun Lyric Opera

703-771-0996

www.loudounlyricopera.com/index.html.

<bt>Founded in 2007, Loudoun Lyric Opera provides an intimate stage for tomorrow’s leading singers to launch their careers as well as a venue for local performers to showcase their talents, all while enriching the cultural climate of the community. The group’s next performance will be "L'Elisir d'Amore" ("The Elixir of Love"), performed with the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra. The show will be Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m., in the Heritage High School auditorium, 520 Evergreen Mill Road S.E., Leesburg. General admission tickets will cost $25 at the door. Advance sales cost $20, and senior citizens pay $20 at the door, $15 in advance. Admission is free for youth 18 and under.

<ro>Be a Good Sport

<lst>Dulles SportsPlex

21610 Atlantic Blvd.,

Sterling, VA 20166

703-430-9966

www.dullessportsplex.com

<bt>Dulles SportsPlex boasts 79,000 square feet of sporting activity for ages 18 months to senior citizens. Leagues for all ages include soccer, football, basketball, lacrosse, volleyball, field hockey, dodgeball, table tennis, roller hockey, inline hockey and futsal. The facility also hosts parties, field trips, corporate events and youth camps, as well as home-school, school day off and child development programs.

<ro>Become a Bookworm

<lst>Ashburn Library

43316 Hay Road

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-737-8100

http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=1297

<bt>Many of us have not been in a public library since we were students meeting up with friends to study for the next day’s big test. But the library is for anyone, not just students. The Ashburn Library is a wonderful venue for people to learn more about their interests through books and the Internet, a reliable place for students to get in a last-chance cram session or simply a getaway for someone who wants to find a quiet atmosphere to read a novel.

Many people like to read books relating to subjects in regards to current national happenings such as the election of a new president, or to read about the history of a particular holiday or perhaps a favorite sports hero.

At Ashburn Library, there are all kinds of book club group discussions, parent readings and volunteer teenager readings. There are all kinds of positive things going on at the library and volunteers are always willing to help you get started or pointed in the right direction. It is open Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, from 1-5 p.m.

<ro>Root for the Home Team

<lst>High-School Sports

<bt>Are you tired of professional sports and the escalating player salaries, irksome behavior on and off the field of play of some of the game’s biggest stars, and out of control ticket prices? Why not take a simpler, scaled down approach to sports and attend one of your communities’ high-school sporting events.

No, high-school sports is not perfect, it’s not an athletic fans’ utopian. After all, these are teenagers we are talking about who are balancing class work, relationships, peer pressure and growing pains. But there is something a little more innocent and pure in high-school athletics, where the first and foremost motivations revolve around pride of school, team work and enjoyment of the game.

Yes, most schools still don’t understand that maddeningly loud, recorded, pregame music that makes it nearly impossible to carry on a conversation with the person sitting next to you is a distraction and a turnoff. But once the game itself gets started, it’s a lot of fun watching high-school athletes compete, often at a higher level than people realize.

So if you are in the need of an athletic viewing fix and want to get out of the house but not have to go too far, give the local high school a call and find out what’s on tap on the sports’ schedule.

Here are some upcoming Loudoun area events to consider taking in: Potomac Falls at Park View girls basketball Jan. 30; Dulles District wrestling championships, tabbed to take place Feb. 7 at Loudoun County High School.

<ro>Strap on Some Blades

<lst>Ashburn Ice House

21595 Smith Switch Road

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-858-0300

www.ashburnice.com

<bt>Local hockey and figure skating fans must be loving life with the state-of-the-art Ashburn Ice House being right in their backyard. The facility has two NHL-sized ice rinks, professional-sized locker rooms, a pro shop and a high-tech lighting and sound system. For skating onlookers, there is a mezzanine-viewing lounge.

The management caters to individuals, youngsters and adults, who want to learn how to ice skate. There are classes for beginning ice skaters as well as more seasoned skaters wanting to experience the joys of learning low freestyle skating and ice dancing. There are also ice hockey camps.

Whether one is looking to enhance his or her skating skills or just looking to get started in the enjoyable sport of skating, the Ashburn Ice House has a camp for everyone.

Programs include learn to skate, tot lessons for children 6 and under, camps and clinics and figure skating. Contact Shari Trotter for more information on these classes at strotter@ashburnice.com.

For those in the ice hockey mode, there are youth and adult leagues and camps, as well as a hockey camp for those learning to play the greatest sport on ice. Contact Troy MacCormick at tmaccormick@ashburnice.com.

<ro>Make New Friends

<lst>Senior Center at Cascades Marketplace,

21060 Whitfield Place

Sterling VA, 20166

703-430-2397

http://www.loudoun.gov/Default.aspx?tabid=2217

<bt>The Senior Center at Cascades features the Senior Café, classes, activities and games, dances and socials, numerous clubs, educational programs and trips all designed to keep the 55-plus set young at heart. General interest activities are free unless otherwise noted and do not require registration. Annual membership and daily drop-in fees apply. Hours are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.,

Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Saturdays and Sundays.

<ro> Take in a Game

<lst>Youth Sports

<bt>It might sound kind of silly unless you have children playing youth sports, but why not take a visit to one of your local community youth athletic contests? Maybe you played youth sports when you were a youngster. Hopefully, the memories are good ones. It might be fun to go out and see a youth sports event 2009 style. There is bound to be some good, wholesome entertainment as the young players cheer each other on and exalt when something good happens, or perhaps show their exaggerated frustration when something goes wrong on the diamond, gridiron or hardwood court. This summer, hop in the car, go to the nearest Little League complex one gorgeous Saturday afternoon, buy yourself a soda and hotdog at the concession stand and take in a baseball game. It will jar some old memories, perhaps, and give you a glimpse, for better or for worse, of contemporary youth sports.

<ro> One-Stop Shopping

<lst>Dulles Town Center

21100 Dulles Town Circle

Dulles, VA 20166

703-404-7120

www.shopdullestowncenter.com

<bt>Dulles Town Center is a 1.4 million-square-foot, two-level regional mall that provides Loudoun County with a town center in the heart of a 554-acre mixed-used development.

Located at the intersection of routes 7 and 28 in Dulles, the Dulles Town Center is just minutes from Dulles Airport. The shopping center provides design elements relating to Northern Virginia’s rich historical heritage and beautiful natural countryside.

There are over 185 stores to choose from. Shopping certainly builds up an appetite and there are plenty of eateries and food places of all kinds.

The center is open Mondays-Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and Sundays, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

<ro> Get Back to Nature

<lst>Claude Moore Park

21544 Old Vestal’s Gap Road

Sterling, VA 20164

571-258-3700, claudemoore@loudoun.gov

www.loudoun.gov/default.aspx?tabid=885

<bt>Claude Moore Park offers a variety of activities for people of all ages. Because of Claude Moore Park’s open space — including miles of hiking trails, pavilions, and ponds — the park hosts classes and activities that take advantage of these natural resources.

Claude Moore Park encompasses 357 acres in eastern Loudoun County in the neighborhood of Sterling. The park hosts many diverse habitats, including wetlands, meadows and forests. The National Wildlife Federation owned the park from 1975 to 1986, before Loudoun County purchased the Park in 1990.

The park is divided into two major areas — the Sportsplex and Nature Area. The Sportsplex includes four-lighted baseball fields and three-lighted softball fields. There is also a lighted football field. From April through November, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, softball, flag football and football teams generally make plentiful use of the playing fields. This area of the par is also the site of the Claude Moore Recreation facility.

The remainder of the park includes the nature area. This includes 11 miles of hiking trails. One 3.5-mile stretch, called the blue-blazed Scout Trail, is in recognition of the Girls and Boys Scouts for their many services and projects on behalf of the park. Trail maps and guides are available at the Visitors Center, open 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily.

<ro>Get Out There

<lst>Algonkian Regional Park

47001 Fairway Drive

Sterling, VA 20165

703-450-4655

www.nvrpa.org/parks/algonkian

<bt>There is something for everyone at Algonkian Regional Park. Located on the scenic Potomac shore, Algonkian Regional Park is the perfect place for an afternoon of fun in the sun, family getaway or family celebrations.

The park includes a large swimming pool and aquatics play complex, a newly-designed, 18-hole, par-72 golf course, miniature golfing, hiking, fishing, a boat launch, a downpour water park, vacation cottages and a conference room.

Group camping and shelter reservations for 2009 began in early January and are continuing.

Directions: To reach Algonkian Regional Park from the Beltway (I-495), take Route 7 west 11 miles to Cascades Parkway north and drive three miles to the park entrance.

<ro> Get Sporty

<lst>Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park

21593 Jesse Court

Dulles, VA 20166

703-404-8800, funevents@dullesgolf.com

www.dullesgolfcenter.com

<bt>Along with being a golfing haven, this is also a sports participants’ dream. Golf Range Magazine has named Dulles Golf Center & Sports Park among the Top 100 Golf Ranges in North America every year since 2001. The facility also features a total family recreation center and golf practice facility open year round. Enjoy the premium golf range, the 18-hole miniature golf at the "Rock Garden," the batting cages and white sand beach volleyball courts and leagues.

Hours of operation for spring and fall hours: March-April and September-October, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. daily. Summer hours: May-August, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Sundays-Thursdays and 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays.

<ro> Singing under the Stars

<lst>Loudoun Summer Music Fest

Belmont Country Club

19661 Belmont Manor Lane

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-327-9096

www.liveatbelmont.com

<bt>Want to experience dancing, cheering and singing under the summertime sky? No better way than to take in the Loudoun Summer Music Fest, a series of live concerts held under the stars for crowds as large as 50,000. It’s one of the summer highlights for adults and children.

Throughout the summer, favorite bands from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s play their greatest hits, live on the lawn at Toll Brother's Belmont Country Club in Ashburn.

Profits from the concert series are donated to Loudoun County charities through the Loudoun Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To purchase any of the 2009 presale packages, call the Loudoun Foundation directly at 703-327-9096 or e-mail Tracey Parent at tparent@integrity.com.

Online sales will available soon.

<ro>Get Ready for Some Football

<lst>Redskins Park

21300 Redskins Park Drive

Ashburn, VA 20147

703-726-7000

www.redskins.com

<bt>OK, so the Redskins kind of fizzled out this season after a good start. It can happen to anyone, even the Cowboys. But Redskins Park, located in Ashburn, is still one happening place in the mid-to-late summertime during training camp, when local fans are invited to gain a first-hand view of the team’s preseason workouts.

This past summer, all the rage was over new Redskin defensive end Jason Taylor, the former All-Pro player who came over from the Dolphins. Fans flocked to Taylor after practice sessions like Redskins defensive linemen used to flock towards Dallas QB Roger Staubach back in the day.

Training camp is a chance for Skins fans to get an up-close look at their favorite Redskins coaches and players as the team embarks on the season ahead. And almost every year, usually for a week or so in late July, the Redskins are real good about giving their fans a few chances to check out training camp happenings. Parking and admission is free, although that is real likely to change.

The Redskins held a Fan Appreciation Day last summer July 26. Thousands flocked to the burgundy and gold headquarters, creating a weekend gridlock in Ashburn.

<ro> Kick Back

<lst>Jazz on the Potomac

Lansdowne Resort

44050 Woodridge Parkway

Lansdowne, VA 20176

703-729-8400

www.lansdowneresort.com

<bt>Enjoy jazz music on Friday nights at the Lansdowne Resort summer concert series. It’s free and the view overlooking the Potomac is wondrous. The series runs from Memorial Day-Labor Day. Concert times are from 6-10:30 p.m. So sit back, relax and unwind to the smooth sounds of jazz music on the Potomac. And enjoy the good food as well. Music lovers took in the great sounds of such artists as Phase II, Common Ground and Tyris in 2008, and the summer of 2009 will be just as enjoyable.

<ro> Grab the Bats and Gloves

<lst>PONY Fast-Pitch Softball/Baseball

1951 Pony Place, P.O. Box 225

Washington, PA 15301

724-225-1060, info@pony.org

www.pony.org

<bt>The renowned, longtime national organization has been providing a sports and tournament venue for youngsters for decades and is one of the fastest growing international youth sports organizations in the world. In recent years, Sterling has hosted some of the nation’s top PONY Nationals girls’ fast-pitch softball tournaments.

The home base for PONY baseball and softball is in Washington, Pa., but its organization influence is experienced every spring and summer throughout the country, including Loudoun. The Virginia contact for PONY softball/baseball is Stephen Badin at 703-443-1942.

<ro>Sounds of Music

<lst>Bluemont Concert Series

Old Loudoun County Courthouse

Corner of Market and King Streets

Leesburg, VA 20176

540-338-4640

www.bluemont.org/Concerts/Leesburg

<bt>What better way to spend a Sunday evening than enjoying outdoor Bluemont concerts, on the town greens, courthouse lawns and public squares in Virginia, with family, friends and neighbors. It’s an opportunity for audiences to enjoy world-class jazz, bluegrass, Celtic music, rock, rhythm and blues, Zydeco, African dance, folk music and more. Don’t forget to bring a picnic dinner to enhance the magical evening. Also, bring the children. This is for folks of all ages. Keep in mind, however, that all Bluemont concerts are smoke-free and alcohol is prohibited. Pets are not allowed in the concert areas.

Some of this past summer’s concerts included the Martinsburg Jazz Orchestra, the Homes Brothers and Dixie Power Trio.

Want to be a Bluemont concert volunteer? If so, contact Jackie Kocher at 540-338-4640.

<ro> Embrace a Lemur

<lst>Leesburg Animal Park

19270 James Monroe Highway

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-433-0002, critterpark@gmail.com

www.leesburganimalpark.com

<bt>Get close and personal with our friends in the animal kingdom at Leesburg Animal Park, a 21-acre habitation in which both exotic and domestic animals make their homes. Meet a giant tortoise, a lemur or a serval cat. They won’t forget the encounter and neither will you. It’s a wonderful chance to feed and pet animals or take a pony ride. Those who want to check out the entire park can take a safari wagon ride. There is also a magnificent pond, where families and friends can picnic, play and just relax. A day at Leesburg Animal Park is a splendid idea for birthday parties and other celebrations. Come on out, take a walk on the wild side.

<ro> Go Back in Time

<lst> Oatlands Plantation

20850 Oatlands Plantation Lane

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-3174, info@oatlands.org

www.oatlands.org

<bt> Enjoy history and a sense of the wonderful landscape at Oatlands, an historic mansion built in 1804 with outbuildings that include an 1810 greenhouse and an 1821 bank barn. The mansion is surrounded by 369 acres of grounds, including more than four acres of formal gardens.

Oatlands was one of Loudoun’s largest antebellum plantations. Unfortunately, the history of the Oatlands includes slavery. It is an architectural showplace as well as a classic case study of how a Southern plantation has had to adapt to the changing times. Oatlands is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site.

<ro> Learn Some History

<lst>Loudoun Museum

16 Loudoun St.

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-777-742, info@loudounmuseum.org

www.loudounmuseum.org

<bt>History is made fun, interesting and children-friendly at the Loudoun Museum.

Loudoun is growing and changing so fast. In fact, Loudoun is one of the fastest-growing counties in the United States. Sometimes, as a result, it’s easy to lose sight of its rich history and character. The folks at Loudoun Museum make it their job to bring Loudoun’s history to life, right before your sparkling eyes.

The museum is located on Loudoun Street in historic downtown Leesburg. You’ll find plenty of parking and in the public parking lot right next door. The museum is open Mondays and Wednesdays-Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., as well as on Sundays, from 1-5 p.m. Open by appointment on Tuesdays.

<ro> Be Hands-On

<lst>Smithsonian Naturalist Center

741 Miller Drive S., Suite G-2

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-779-9712, natcentr@si.edu

www.si.edu

<bt>Got a thing for rocks (36,000 of them), fossils, plants, animals, and artifacts? Then why not take a visit to the Smithsonian Naturalist Center? This satellite education center of the Smithsonian, located in Leesburg, offers hands-on access to 30,000 natural history objects for group or individual study. Visitors must be 10 years or older. Admission is free. The Naturalist Center is open Tuesdays-Saturday, from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

<ro> Learn about the War

<lst>Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

Ball's Bluff Road

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-737-7800

www.nvrpa.org/parks/ballsbluff

<bt>Get a first-hand look at the history surrounding the Civil War with a visit to Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park. Surrounding the Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, this regional park preserves the site of the Battle of Ball's Bluff, the largest Civil War engagement to take place in Loudoun County. Hiking trails and interpretive signs aid in understanding this important and tragic part of American history.

Directions: To reach Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park, take Route 7 west toward Leesburg, then Route 15 Bypass north. Turn right on Battlefield Parkway and left on Ball's Bluff Road. The park is located at the end of the street.

Free battlefield tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., from Saturday, April 5 until the end of October. Additional tours take place on Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. Holiday tours take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. New Sunday evening tours on holiday weekends at 6 p.m.

Tour features: Ball's Bluff National Cemetery, One-mile trail, Interpretive signs.

<ro>Feed the Inner Shopaholic

<lst>Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets

241 Fort Evans Road N.E.

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-443-1358

www.premiumoutlets.com

<bt> Everyone has a little bit of that "shop ‘til you drop" desire in them. Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets is one place to get that shopping fix taken care of. More than just a great collection of the finest designer labels and name brands, it is the area's only upscale outlet center and is made up of 110 stores. The outlets are open Mondays-Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sundays, from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.

<ro> Join In

<lst>Bluegrass & Folk Jam

Round Hill Arts Center

6 West Loudoun St.

Round Hill, VA 20142

540-338-5050

www.roundhillartscenter.org

<bt>Go ahead, play that air banjo right along with the on-stage artists at the Bluegrass & Folk Jam concerts, which take place every Friday at the end of each month at the Art’s Center in Round Hill. It’s family friendly, organic music and fun. Sit in on an evening of free-flowing, blue grass and folk sound — Round Hill style, that is. Whether you want to play or just listen (or play air fiddle), it’s sure to be a good time. Barbecue, beer and wine are available for purchase.

<ro> Get Healthy

<lst>Ida Lee Park

60 Ida Lee Drive N.W.

Leesburg, VA 20176

703-777-1368

www.idalee.org

<bt> Ida Lee Park Recreation Center is the crown jewel of the Town of Leesburg Parks and Recreation Department, featuring 71,000 square feet of aquatics, fitness and recreation. Each year the park offers more than 2,800 recreation programs, which include programs for all ages. There are more than 370 acres of park land for hiking, biking or simply enjoying the scenery.

So take some time to enjoy the park’s vast indoor facilities and the great outdoors Ida Lee encompasses. There is tennis, basketball and swimming among the many recreational activities available.

<ro> Be Charmed

<lst>Old Town Leesburg

25 West Market St.

Leesburg, VA 20178

703-777-2420

www.leesburgva.gov

<bt>Discover what everybody is talking about in historic Leesburg — the charm, the character, the shopping, the history, the recreation and the entertainment. Since Colonial Days, Leesburg has boasted a sense of welcoming hospitality and fine dining to all its distinguished guests.

Charming brick sidewalks alongside narrow streets and beautiful, historic architecture can be found in the Downtown Historic District, which is also home to many one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.

From old to new and everything in between, there is something for everyone. A charming, intimate atmosphere, the Historic Downtown is host to specialty shops with an eclectic mix of home furnishings, gifts, ladies and children's clothing, artwork, stylish jewelry, gifts, cafés, spas, traditional antiques and Colonial and Civil War walking tours and more.

Founded in 1758, the attractive, vibrant Leesburg community, located at the foothills of the blue ridge mountains, embraces its heritage, while also taking advantage of being just outside of Washington, D.C. Leesburg is a perfect getaway for sightseeing, fine dining, antiquing, shopping and recreation.

<ro> Get into Fall

<lst>Pumpkinville

Leesburg Animal Park

19270 James Monroe Highway

Leesburg, VA 20175

703-433-0002

www.leesburganimalpark.com/pumpkinville

<bt>Pumkinville runs each fall from late September through early November. Explore the 21-acre park filled with an abundance of family fun. Fall time admission includes entry to the Leesburg Animal Park, the white-handed Gibbon (ape) display and bird aviary. Enjoy unlimited hay rides, pet and feed exotic animals and take a pony ride. Kids and older folks alike will love the scenic surroundings and atmosphere. Weekend attractions include camel rides, face and pumpkin painting, minitractor rides, nationally-renowned comedians, magicians, puppeteers and food vendors. Visit the farm market for fresh local produce, plants, homemade jams, baked goods, fall decorations, and exotic pumpkins.

Pumpkinville celebrated its 9th annual autumn time festivities this past year.

<ro> Grab Your Stick

<lst>Loudoun Field Hockey Association

703-444-1020, Ext. 104, meg@loudounfieldhockey.org

www.loudounfieldhockey.org

<bt>Those who have played field hockey are hooked for life. Are you athletically inclined and looking for a new sport to take up? How about field hockey? No, the sport is not a sanctioned Loudoun County high-school sport. Nevertheless, the Loudoun Field Hockey Association provides venues for youth, high-school aged and adults to play the sport.

The organization runs two youth leagues: the Eastern Loudoun League plays in Sterling and the Western Loudoun League plays in Leesburg. The youth field hockey program is for girls from third grade-12th grade. There are four age divisions: third/fourth grade, fifth/sixth grade, seventh/eighth grade and ninth/12th grades.

An experienced group of coaches teach players the fundamentals of the sport through practices, scrimmages and games. Register online. Volunteer coaches and referees are needed.

The adult program is for new and experienced players ages 21 and older. The game-only league plays on Sundays, from 2-4 p.m., at the East Fields at Northern Virginia Community College-Loudoun Campus in Sterling. Adults can play in either competitive or recreational divisions. Men are allowed to play in both divisions. There is a two-men per team limit.