When I was growing up, my parents would take me to my uncle’s house in Richmond where, during Halloween, he adorned his front yard with ghouls and all kinds of scary decorations. You can see the place when the local news covered it in 2011:
Ever since, I have worked on decorating my own house for Halloween to celebrate the season, and now I like to go out and find the houses of people who share the same passion. I am in the process of compiling a map of locations, which I am sharing below, and welcome other suggested locations in the comments.
Please let me know if you know of any other places that I should include so that folks in the area can find the best places to visit during this time of year!
And, make sure to be on the lookout for our revised Christmas Tree Farm Map, which will be updated by Thanksgiving!
Its a cold Saturday and I am traveling the backroads of Lovettsville heading to a listing appointment looking to kill a few minutes, so I stop into another of Western Loudoun’s great vineyards, Creeks Edge Winery. I sit down at a beautiful natural wood table and order their Valentine’s Day special and drink in the ambiance of the place. There are quite a few couples milling about, and for a moment I wished that I was here with my wife, because the place is so romantic.
For a place that opened in the Spring of 2014, it is impressive how many people have started following this vineyard and their offerings of Merlots, Vidal Blancs, and Chardonnays. The crowd turning out on this cold Saturday speaks volumes to how popular this place is becoming. I imagine that they have quite a few events booked where many of the couples I saw will be celebrating another “special day”.
In addition to offering a wide variety of wine, they have a light menu provided by Market Table Bistro, and live entertainment most weekends. I would imagine that on a warm weekend, sitting out on their balcony enjoying a nice glass of Pinot Gris or a glass of sangria (which I had here in the fall) would be pretty nice.
Creeks Edge is located in downtown Taylorstown, just around the corner from Lovettsville and offers a nice alternative to some of the large vineyards that are in Loudoun (but equally good).
While returning from another home showing in Lovettsville, I decided to visit another local vineyard, Sunset Hills. On a cold Saturday, on the eve of the Super Bowl, I found the place packed with customers, all enjoying glasses of their award-winning wine.
History of the Vineyard (From their Website)
From the planting of the first vines in 1999, Mike and Diane Canney, owners of Sunset Hills Vineyard, had a vision of making fine wine of the highest quality in a manner which was gentle on the land. That vision is reflected in the sustainable farming practices employed today.
Sunset Hills Vineyard’s completed its first harvest in 2001, with more than six tons of Chardonnay picked and sold to local wineries. In 2004, the Canneys expanded the vineyard from three to seven acres, planting Cabernet Franc and Viognier, two of Virginia’s signature varietals.
They opened their tasting room in 2008 and they are one of the most popular vineyards that I have seen in Western Loudoun.
While I didn’t get a chance to enjoy any of their wines (the lines for tastings were five deep!), I do plan to go back and learn more about their business and what services that they have to offer, since they have some great looking facilities for weddings, etc.
The next time you are out in Western Loudoun, head north out of Purcellville up Rt. 287 towards Lovettsville, and you will find them a couple miles outside of town on the right side of the road.
Financing homes in Loudoun County is about to become a bit easier and less expensive as a result of new programs announced in the last few weeks by President Obama and Freddie Mac.
The first announcement came from Freddie Mac in December 2014 where they announced a program that would allow for a 3% down payment called the “Freddie Mac Home Possible Advantage“. This program, along with a similar offering from Fannie Mae, gives home buyers a variety of options when purchasing a home with a low down payment (including the existing one with the Federal Housing Administration-FHA). Some highlights of the new program are as follows:
Maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 97 percent and total LTV ratio of 105 percent.
The mortgage must be a fixed-rate mortgage secured by a 1-unit property other than a manufactured home.
Maximum debt payment-to-income ratio of 43 percent for manually underwritten mortgages.
FHA Insurance Reduced by .5%
Beyond the new down payment option from the FHA, President Obama announced yesterday that the FHA would be reducing their annual mortgage insurance premium from 1.35% to .85%. This change will result in a nine hundred dollar per year savings for the average new borrower.
And, with this additional money in their pocket, borrowers should now be able to afford more house for their money. This will most likely help first time home buyers in places like Loudoun, where the average home price hovers around $460K, thus placing a large upfront and monthly burden for a new homeowner.
Have Questions? We can help!
For many home buyers, financing homes can be scary and a daunting process. The good thing is that when you work with the Bush Realty Group, you get the benefit of a relationship with Mclean Mortgage and Champion Title, to make the finance and closing process an easy one.
If you have any questions regarding these changes, or if you are thinking about buying a new home and want to know what you would qualify for, contact Melissa at Mclean Mortgage or Nicole at Champion Title, and they will be happy to help you navigate these changes.
Since Western Loudoun is considered rural, there are some options through government sponsored programs that might allow for 0% down. Melissa at Mclean Mortgage has details.
Yesterday, after finishing a showing for a client interested in purchasing one of Western Loudoun’s vineyards that is for sale, I headed down Route 9, and happened upon Crushed Cellars. After passing the place several times throughout December, I finally made it a point to stop and I was glad I did.
Crushed Cellars is a family owned and operated winery in the heart of Virginia’s wine country, in the Waterford Cluster. Their wines are sold exclusively at the winery and by phone order, so if you haven’t been there, you probably haven’t had a chance to try their wine unless you have had it at a private event.
While I was there, I tried out their 2011 Vidal Blanc, and as someone who does not drink a lot of wine, I found it to be sweet and refreshing (I like sweets, just don’t drink a lot of sweet wine). I then ventured down to the pond just past the vines that they have in front of the building and fed the coy fish that were recently added as something for kids to see when their parents are visiting the winery.
If you get a chance, go by, try out their wine and say hello to Bob, the owner. He’s a great guy to talk to and he really makes you feel at home. And tell him that we sent you!
…twelve “Kick Butt” Beers and a membership in the Black Heart Society!
Does your true love enjoy craft beers from a local brewery? Do they want to be part of a secret society that gets them early access to a beer that has never been tasted by ANYONE before (except the brew master, of course)?
Then get your true love a membership in the Black Heart Society, a members-only club for fans of Adroit Theory Brewing! Members receive access to six special beers brewed exclusively for BHS members and are entitled to special benefits throughout the year!
About Adroit Theory
Adroit Theory Brewing Company is a new nano brewery specializing in esoteric brews with an emphasis on Barrel Aging. Located in Purcellville, Virginia in Loudoun County.
…eleven bicycles (and a cup of coffee)! (See the history for the rest of the days.)
Veloville USA Bicycles and Coffee is one of Purcellville’s newest businesses, but you wouldn’t know that from how busy they were on a recent day when we visited. With half the business dedicated to selling and repairing bicycles, and half to a good cup of coffee, it makes a visit to their business one that might have you sipping a cup of Espresso while thinking about your next bicycle tour around Western Loudoun. Check out their large selection of bikes today, and bring your true love something that will make them happy (and healthy) in the new year!
About Veloville USA
Veloville USA has searched for and stocked a unique blend of cycling gear and apparel that we feel represents the quality, comfort and style best suited for riding in our area.
Please stop by the shop and try on some great apparel, helmets or shoes that will make your next ride more comfortable while making you look great!
We currently carry apparel items from: SIDI, Giro, Bell, Catlike, Endura, Shimano and DeFeet. The list of accessories is endless, but includes favorites from Michelin, Challenge, Hutchinson, Continental, Prologo, Fizik, Deda, Terry, Lizard Skins, Blackburn, HED, ENVE, Zipp, Chris King, White Industries, Stan’s No Tubes, Brooks, Crank Brothers, SRAM, Campagnolo, FSA…
…ten toppings for my hamburger! (See the history for the rest of the days.)
Have you been to Market Burger, or their “upscale restaurant, Market Table Bistro? If not, you need to go and get a gift certificate immediately (and have lunch or dinner)!
About Market Burger
At Market Burger, you get a handmade burger on an amazing roll from a local bakery, with fresh toppings that you won’t find at that joint with the “clown”.
Market Burger Fries & Shakes takes a local approach to the traditional hamburger. Whenever possible, we source our ingredients locally, ensuring you the freshest food right to your table!
And at the Bistro, you will find special recipes from Chef Jason Lage, who with his partner, Rebecca Dudley, will make you feel like you are eating in their personal dining room, with great food and wonderful hospitality.
…nine locally made candles! (See the history for the rest of the days.)
Twigs has been a local destination for women’s clothes and house décor for over ten years, and now they have the Sydney Hale Candle line, which people are have been calling Twigs to order from as far away as Arizona! The scents are legendary and you need to stop by Twigs today to check them out before they are all gone!
Located in a historic farmhouse in downtown Purcellville, it is hard not to fall in love with the charm of this store. Be it the special women’s clothing found on the first floor, or the unique decorations and home furnishings on the second, you can count on finding a gift for anyone at any price range.
And beyond the wonderful gifts, you can count on great customer service from the owner and her daughter. Recently on Yelp a reviewer said, “Amy is the owner and she is one of the sweetest women I have met. I love looking around and buying special Christmas and birthday presents. My favorite boutique in the U.S! The store is a old farmhouse, gorgeous. And they are opening a cool antiques section! Worth the visit!”
So, visit their store today in Purcellville and make sure to pick up a gift for that special person in your life!
When traveling through Western Loudoun near Hillsboro, you may have noticed a store at the intersection of Routes 9/690, that you “marked” as a place that you needed to visit the next time that you drove through the area.
Founded in 2007, the Stoneybrook Farm and Market has grown from a small roadside table to a natural grocer and deli store that serves sandwiches, coffee and a variety of other natural and locally-sourced items.
The Stoneybrook Farm Deli
Featured selections from their menu include: “The Deli Rose”, a Roast/Corned beef sandwich with pepper jack/cheddar cheese on an onion roll with special sauce, and a “Garden Burger” that includes organic vegetables from their farm on a kaiser roll.
In addition to those menu items, you can also “design your own” sandwich from fresh meats and cheeses that have reviewers on Yelp raving and coming back multiple times!
Organic Produce and Locally Sourced Meats
Beyond the deli menu, the store has a full selection of organic produce, meats, cheeses and dairy items. The dairy items include organic milk from the Trickling Springs Creamery and their produce comes from the one hundred acre Stoneybrook Farm, located just down the road in Purcellville, VA.
Soaps, Oils and Candles
After you have picked up your lunch or dinner, you can check out their wide selection of soaps, oils and natural products. During a recent visit, we found handmade soaps from The Parsonage Soap Company, and aromatic candles from a local business that left us ready to visit the vineyards and breweries of Western Loudoun.
So, the next time that you are traveling through Western Loudoun, (or if you are lucky enough to already live here), make sure to visit the Stoneybrook Farm store. You won’t regret visiting and taking home a locally sourced meal that will make you feel great!