Temperatures are falling, the humidity is — finally! — gone and leaves are flying. Fall is the perfect time for a trip to the countryside.
Drive an hour west of Washington to Loudoun County, and you can find small towns, large farms, historic sites and antique shops with welcome signs on the side of the road. Here’s a day-long itinerary through three towns: Lucketts for brunch and antiquing; Waterford for a stroll through American history, and Leesburg for drinks and dinner.
Start with a strong coffee and brunch at Faith Like A Mustard Seed Farm (42906 Lucketts Rd., faithlikeamustardseedfarm. com), which was built in the 1840s and now includes a store, butcher shop and bed-and-breakfast, along with free-range turkeys, horses, cows and chickens.
Order a farm-to-fork brunch from the chalkboard menu. Owners Patricia and Karl Glaeser raise 60 hogs a year and make their own chorizo, Italian and sage sausages. Look for omelets served with potatoes and stuffed with chorizo and tomatillo and chipotle sauces; or grilled corn tostadas that incorporate the chorizo with scrambled eggs and queso fresco. Add the apple-smoked sausage as a side and you’ll have a true taste of the farm.
Once you’re sated, check out the shelves stocked with produce for sale: homemade sauces and preserves (try the peach or mixed berry), and the glass freezers packed with meat the Glaesers have butchered and prepared themselves.
After brunch, head back to James Monroe Highway. At the Old Lucketts Store (42350 Lucketts Rd., luckettstore.com), owners Suzanne and Pat Eblen offer a well-curated selection of vintage dishes, jewelry, sunglasses and more. They also have classes, ranging from painting techniques to the more whimsical Succulents in a Teacup workshop.
You can’t miss the pink silo, green barn roof and pink metal bed frames on the lawn of On A Whim (14920 James Monroe Hwy., facebook.com/pinksilo). Inside you’ll find a collection of repurposed and antique home furnishings in a preponderance of pink and black-and-pink polka dots, such as shutters, old-fashioned bicycles, wall mirrors and vintage dresses.
At the neighboring Rust & Feathers (14928 James Monroe Hwy., rustandfeathers.com), owner Sydney Figert sells such refurbished and upcycled things as upholstered chairs, throw pillows, vases and pottery.
This lovely village, surrounded by 1,400 acres of rolling farmland, is a designated national historic district. Park on Main Street, in the center of town.
Waterford looks much like it did 250 years ago, with Federal- and Victorian-style homes and wraparound porches, plus Georgetown-like rowhouses that open onto the sidewalk. The Waterford Foundation has been preserving and protecting these historic buildings and the surrounding open space for nearly 75 years.
The building that houses the Waterford Corner Store (40138 Main St., waterfordvillage.org/corner-store.html) served as the town’s general store through the 1950s. It’s owned by the Waterford Foundation, is staffed by local volunteers and sells locally produced jars of baby corn, sweet pepper relish, and apricot and pineapple preserves, as well as pewter jewelry, farm animal ornaments and linens all made by local artisans.
A passel of sheep living in the field along Second Street produce the bags of Waterford Wool stashed on ceiling-to-floor shelves in Waterford Market (15487 Second St., waterfordcon nection.com/waterford-market). You might see owner Linda Landreth knitting or spinning wool: “Spinning transports me to another time and place, which is the point,” she says. Spinning wheels, knitting needles and ready-made gloves, hats and socks are for sale.
Inebriates and thieves were thrown into the Old Waterford Jail (intersection of Market and Water streets) from Colonial days until the 1930s. “Everything in those days was self contained in the village,” said Ed Lehman, a volunteer at the Waterford visitor center. “You had a lot of people eating and drinking and so you had drunks. That’s where they were sent till they sobered up.”
This weekend, during the annual Waterford Fair (waterford foundation.org), the tiny stone jail will be converted into an arts showroom.
End your day on King Street in Leesburg’s charming historic district. Stroll the red brick sidewalks alongside the buildings painted in a Colonial palette of yellow, blue, olive and white. The beautiful classic revival county courthouse on the corner of King and Market streets was built in 1895.
Just across the street from the courthouse is Shoe’s Cup & Cork (17 N. King St., shoescupand cork.com), where footwear hangs from the ceiling among the pendant lights. The restaurant was once a shoe store, and now you can munch on Parmesan truffle fries and Tuscan chicken salad while sitting under a lady’s black Victorian ankle boot. Dine in the street-level cafe, in the garden with a bocce court out back, or in the upstairs dining room.
Carroll Vineyards, one of Loudoun’s newest wineries, makes 200 cases per year and has a tasting room at Leesburg Vintner (29 S. King St., leesburg- vintner.com). In an intimate lounge with wood paneling, you can sit comfortably and have a taste of five wines for $5 or have a glass for $7.
The Wine Kitchen (7 S. King St., thewinekitchen.com) has a welcoming vibe and a seasonal menu, printed on brown paper stock, featuring local ingredients sourced from nearby shops (such as Sweetz Bakery) and farms (such as Martin’s Angus Beef in The Plains). It also has interesting seafood dishes, such as the marinated crab salad, served with cantaloupe and honeydew, olives and mint vinaigrette.