Where: Westmoreland Berry Farm in Oak Grove, Va.
Why: A berry farm with baaad-ass goats.
How Far: About 75 miles, or about two hours from the District.
Mountain goats get all the climbing glory. They amble up the sides of rocky hillsides and narrow cliffs as if they're strolling nonchalantly through a field. On the other hand, ordinary farm goats -- you know, the ones that munch on grass and are often depicted eating tin cans -- don't get nearly the respect. But guess what? Farm goats are cool too. Climbing and incredible balance, it turns out, are innate abilities of all goats.
At Westmoreland Berry Farm, goats scramble over a wooden catwalk 20 feet above the ground, all in anticipation of a little grub. The show starts when the sure-footed ruminants see someone heading to the quarter-operated feed dispenser or hear the corn kernels being hoisted up to the catwalk's end. Up the little beasts go, across a high, narrow bridge to a tower where the chow arrives. But don't expect to get away with feeding them just one cupful. A goat will signal for more by ramming his rock-hard head and horns against the metal pulley.
When you get to the farm, you'll likely spy the goats -- including ringleader Twinkle -- either on the catwalk or in the pasture, surely hoping for a little hand-feeding. Bypass the bovids, and there's still plenty to delight in: pick-your-own berries, in-season fruits and vegetables, nuts, jams, fresh lemonade and a strawberry shortcake smothered in ice cream. (Yum!) Rounding out the adventure are wagon rides and a small petting zoo with baby goats -- and let me tell you, these kids are cute.
Start your day by learning about other aerial feats, this time of the U.S. military variety. The Airmen Memorial Museum includes the personal effects of the first enlisted airman, Cpl. Eddie Ward, plus exhibits on the pioneers of aviation and the atomic missions of WWII. Down the road near Andrews Air Force Base, home of Air Force One, step back in time to when horse-drawn carriages were the hippest way to travel. Poplar Hill on His Lordship's Kindness (great name!) has working stables and a museum including 16 restored carriages. Peacocks stroll through the gardens of the national historic landmark, and people can tour the Georgian mansion -- every Washingtonian's dream house, on more than 137 acres just outside the Beltway.
Chapel Point State Park is another anachronism. You'll think you're in the land (and time) of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer when you spot the small beach on the edge of the Port Tobacco River. The wide, slow-moving river deep within the forest is the perfect place to cast a line or just kick back and rest under a straw hat -- far from the "sivilized" world. You can think about how impressed Tom and Huck would have been by the antics of those Westmoreland goats.
Westmoreland Berry Farm, 1235 Berry Farm Lane, Oak Grove, Va., 804-224-9171, www.westmorelandberryfarm.com. Open daily, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
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