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Leesburg is the picturesque county seat of Loudoun County, Virginia, at the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains and adjacent to the Potomac River. Dolley Madison stayed here after escaping Washington, D.C., during the War of 1812 when she took with her important documents and portraits of America’s early leaders, so they wouldn’t be destroyed by the British.
Not Unmindful of Our Future
Home to many of the county’s famous families and named after an ancestor of Robert E. Lee, a general in the Confederate army, Leesburg changed hands several times during the Civil War and, as a result, many well-preserved historical buildings and heritage sites remain.
From small historic homes in the downtown area to new, spacious single-family homes, townhomes, and condos on the town’s outskirts, Leesburg is especially attractive to families who love small town living, but also want to be close to the suburban. There’s even a small zoo for kids, Leesburg Animal Park, featuring zebras, lemurs & other exotic species, plus a petting zoo with camels & llamas.
Mark your calendars for these annual Leesburg traditions: Leesburg’s Flower and Garden Festival – Held annually in April in the Historic District, the event includes garden displays, vendors and entertainment; Fourth of July Celebration – Events include a morning parade, a festival at Ida Lee Park and evening fireworks; Classic Car Show – is held annually on the first Saturday in June. This event features dozens of classic cars and hot rods on display in the streets of downtown Leesburg as well as music and food. Proceeds benefit the Graphic Arts and Auto Body programs at C.S. Monroe Technology Center; Leesburg AirShow – is held annually on the last Saturday in September. This event features parachute jumpers, aerobatic routines, warbirds, model aircraft, military vehicles & classic cars on display on the ramp of the airport, as well as music and food; Halloween Parade – Said to be one of the longest-running Halloween parades in the country, the parade includes marching bands from the local high schools, floats made by local businesses, Scout troops and families, etc. Many participants distribute candy to parade watchers.
A View of Leesburg
Leesburg’s Favorite Vineyards
Stone Tower Winery
Against the rolling hills of Hogback Mountain, Stone Tower produces a premium selection of both red and white varietals. With inside and outside tastings available, Stone Tower is a great place to gather with friends and make a day of it.
An extension of local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Great Country Farms, Bluemont Vineyard produces about 6,000 cases of wine each year. A beautiful setting for sampling a flight or two, and ideal for weddings and other special events.
The Fabbioli vineyard was first planted in 2001 on the 25-acre property. Since then, the cellar’s wines have won several awards. A large clapboard, silo-like structure houses the wine-tasting venue, and events include a ‘wool and wine gathering’ held throughout the year.
Retired property developer, Whitie Hubert, purchased this 475-acre property on the Potomac River with the intention of pioneering the Virginia wine industry. The wines are produced from grapes grown on the estate and sourced from local farmers. The single vineyard and blended wines can be tasted year round.
Places to Explore in Leesburg
White’s Ferry, named after a Confederate Civil War General, Jubal. A. Early, operates the last of 100 cable ferries that were active on the Potomac between Maryland and Virginia. The ferry transports pedestrians, cars and trucks daily from 5:00 am to 11:00 pm, except in floods and icy conditions. Groups make use of the ferry for functions. Boats, canoes and picnic facilities can be hired from White’s. An annual event honors the wounded soldiers that were housed in the area.
Known as the Central Park of Loudoun County, Morven Park‘s first structures were erected in Morven Park around 1780. Morven Mansion, Winmill Carriage Museum and the Museum of Hounds and Hunting in North America are located within the 1000-acre historic estate and horse park. International equestrian events, such as horse trials, dressage, gymkhana and carriage driving, are held here. There is ample space for horse riding, hiking, athletics and playing polo for the 200,000 visitors to the park, each year.
The Museum of Hounds and Hunting, North America is dedicated to the research, preservation and display of the sport of mounted hunting. The historical, cultural and sociological significance of the sport are seen in the costumes, taxidermy, papers and trophies on display, in addition to a collection of fine art paintings of hounds, horses and hunting scenes.
Recently renovated, The Loudoun Museum brings Loudoun’s history to life with exhibitions on the Civil War to Virginia’s wine industry.
The home of George Marshall, former Secretary and State and Defense, and author of the Marshall Plan after World War II, Marshall House was formerly known as Dodona Manor. It has been restored to the Marshall era and contains more than 90% of the furniture and household contents owned and used by the Marshall family. Outside is a large vegetable garden where the former Secretary sought refuge from his stressful responsibilities while his wife tended to her roses.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield and National Cemetery: In late 1861, 54 Union force soldiers were defeated and killed north of the then National Capital. The day in late October was characterized by miscommunications on both sides. Fighting continued throughout the day but finally a fresh contingent of Confederate soldiers chased the Union soldiers down the bluff, onto a narrow beach and into the river. There were too few boats for the beleaguered men and many drowned with their full kit on, trying to escape enemy fire. Only one of the men buried in the 25 graves in the cemetery could be identified. This national cemetery is the country’s 3rd smallest, being less than 50 square feet.
Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park: This park commemorates a small but significant battle that took place on the Potomac. This battle was unusual in that is was a Union Army defeat north of the capital. A great friend of President Lincoln, Col. Edward D. Baker, a U.S. Senator from Oregon, was killed on that day. He was the only senator to die in the war. The battlefield has been restored to the time of the battle. There are 7 miles of marked trails in the 223 acre property, including a mile-long loop to the bluff.
Fun Fact For Your Next Trivia Night
The earliest document in the Loudoun County Circuit Court records the town in a suit filed by J.S. Camell in 1798 over the taking of his pigs by the Town of Leesburg. It was dismissed with costs of $2.57.
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