9 Best Sights in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia

Aldie Mill Historic Park

The restored Aldie Mill, built between 1807 and 1809 and once the largest factory of its kind in Loudoun County, epitomizes Northern Virginia’s industrial heritage. The twin waterwheels are fully operational, allowing visitors to see grinding demonstrations during guided tours. Aldie Mill also hosts educational programs, teas, and other special events.

Ball's Bluff Battlefield Regional Park

One of the Civil War’s first major engagements unfolded on October 21, 1861, on these wooded bluffs above the Potomac. The Confederates defeated an ill-prepared Union force in a battle that, combined with the First Battle of Manassas, dashed the North’s hope for a quick defeat of the Confederacy. The site is now a 286-acre regional park with one of the country’s smallest cemeteries and a bucolic trail serenaded by chickadees and tufted titmice. Guided tours and living-history events are offered April though November.

George C. Marshall's Dodona Manor

Nobel Peace laureate, Army Chief of Staff during World War II, and architect of the Marshall Plan (which helped Europe recover after World War II), General Marshall lived in this stately home during the most important years of his service to the nation. Faithfully restored to share the Marshall story with a new generation, the historic house and gardens are open for tours.

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Leesburg

Founded in 1758 at the crossroads of two Native American trails near the Potomac, the hub of Loudoun County retains its historic charm but is totally immersed in the present day. Funky and fun boutiques, coffee shops, stylish bars, and farm-to-fork restaurants housed in historic buildings line its picturesque streets. The interactive Loudoun Museum has rotating exhibits, tours, and talks on everything from the Revolutionary War in Loudoun to the origins of the Virginia wine industry. Leesburg is a good base from which to explore Loudoun’s historic sites, small towns, and wineries.

Middleburg

In the heart of Virginia’s hunt and wine country, Middleburg is a welcoming country town that Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy (and plenty of other illuminati) have called home. It dates back to 1728 when a cousin of George Washington established a fieldstone tavern on an old Native American trail; that tavern, Red Fox Inn, is still going strong. Boutiques, antiques stores, restaurants, taverns—and a craft distillery—line the enchanting Main Street (US 50), while a bevy of wineries and breweries sprinkle the surrounding countryside. The Middleburg Film Festival is a major stop on the Oscar trail, while in December the town turns into a scene from a Charles Dickens novel, with carolers, actors, and musicians.

Morven Park

This 1,000-acre property and stately mansion was once the home of early 20th-century governor Westmoreland Davis. You can discover the eclectic collection assembled by the Davises on a guided tour of the Greek Revival mansion, explore the Museum of Hounds & Hunting (also located in the mansion), and visit Mrs. Davis’s beloved boxwood gardens. Miles of hiking and horseback-riding trails weave through the grounds, and the Morven Park International Equestrian Center is home to many events and shows throughout the year that are open to the public.

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens

An elegant estate dating from 1798, Oatlands has terraced gardens and a Greek Revival mansion. The grounds include 8 miles of trails to explore and 4½ acres of terraced gardens for picnics and weddings. Be sure to take one of the guided tours, with themes including contributions of the enslaved people who lived and worked here, history of the gardens, and architecture of the buildings and property.

20850 Oatlands Plantation La., Leesburg, VA, 20175, USA
703-727–0670
Sight Details
Rate Includes: $10 (grounds pass), $20 (guided tours), Guided tours must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance, Guided tours by appointment Mon.–Thurs.; walk-in tours available Fri.–Sun.

Small Towns in Loudon County

Two-lane roads—and plenty of dirt and gravel lanes—lace Loudoun County, connecting a bevy of picturesque small towns full of historic charm. Don’t miss Purcellville, graced with Victorian homes dating back to 1874 when the railroad came through; Hillsboro, known for its quintessential stone buildings; Round Hill, where wealthy Washingtonians once escaped the summer heat; and Waterford, settled by Quakers and the site of a long-running fall arts festival. Along the way, you’ll discover pick-your-own farms, grazing horses, antique shops, breweries, wineries, country B&Bs, and more.

Wineries and Breweries

More than 50 wineries and tasting rooms speckle the Loudoun countryside, where you can sample, tour, and picnic. You can’t go wrong, but favorites include Chrysalis, which produces wines from the indigenous Norton grape; Willowcroft, Loudoun’s oldest winery, occupying a century-plus-old barn; and lively Stone Tower Winery. The county boasts more than 30 breweries as well; some are in towns, but the most interesting are farm breweries such as Bear Chase Brewery and Vanish Farmwoods Brewery—offering rustic beers on bucolic lands and glorious views.