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Welcome to the Guide

Several hundred people move to Loudoun County every month -- and if you're one of the newcomers, you're probably still trying to get your bearings. Where are the major malls? Where are the nearest hospital and public library? Who handles trash pickup, dog licenses and questions about commuting? And what's the date of that popular strawberry festival that one of the neighbors mentioned the other day?

We're here to help. This special edition of Loudoun Extra provides Loudoun and Fauquier county residents with basic information about local government, schools, health care, transportation and community events. The Guide won't answer all of your questions about this fast-growing, fast-changing corner of the Washington area, but we hope it will make the orientation process somewhat easier.

Although many of the phone numbers, Web sites and agency names will be most useful to those new to Loudoun or Fauquier, the Guide has features for longtime residents, too. They can decide whether they agree with our restaurant critic's list of favorite places to eat, for example, or check out our recommendations for family outings and historic sites in the region.

Even the oldest of Loudoun's old-timers won't remember as far back as 1757. Because the county is celebrating its 250th anniversary, we've included an essay on what life was like for the typical Loudoun family of that era.

We welcome your comments and suggestions about the Guide. Send them to theguide@washpost.com or call 202-334-6005.

If you're looking for the features that appear regularly in the Thursday Extra, they'll resume next week.

-- Paul Bernstein, Editor, Loudoun Extra

A 250-Year-Old Flashback

Loudoun's anniversary gives us an opportunity to imagine a time when the county was in its infancy and the life of its residents was a cycle of unabated work to push back the wilderness. ... READ MORE

What’s in a Name? A Lot of History

John Campbell, the fourth Earl of Loudoun, was really more of a farmer than a fighter. That would have been perfectly fine, except that King George II sent him to the American colonies to wage war. ... READ MORE

Despite Slump, N.Va. Housing Prices Still Top Charts

Northern Virginia bore the brunt of the real estate market slowdown locally last year, but its prices remained the highest in the region. ... READ MORE

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