A log cabin tucked between the Potomac and a dense blue grove of pines might seem more likely to dispense moonshine than merlot. But seen up close, the rustic timbers hold as much outright elegance as backwoods charm. In the summer, oenophiles nibble cheese and crackers to pair with sips of fruity whites, dry, robust reds, and sweet wines on the evergreen-scented veranda. In the winter, a roaring fire keeps things toasty while guests trade bites of fondue. The vintners ascribe to a philosophy of experimentation, tweaking their blends, methods, and California Raisin impressions based on customer feedback. The winery completes the picture of Arcadian bliss with a gift shop and gallery stocked by local artists.
As the promoter of antique shows across the East Coast, Dordy Fontinel's career is almost as storied as the pieces of vintage Americana she vends. A collector since her teenage years, Dordy first started in the antiques business in 1978, eventually moving into promotion in 1992. She was joined in her new venture by her husband, Stillie Mason, an auctioneer with 18 years of experience. Together, the pair helps dealers display their wares to new crowds of collectors, filling their events with vintage home decor, jewelry, and accessories?many of which date from the 1760s to the 1960s.
Spread over 70 wooded acres, Hogback Mountain Paintball hosts family-friendly games across 14 distinct playing fields for players ages 10 and up. Taking advantage of the natural topography, seven of the courses are geared toward Woodsball play, where teamwork and stealthy maneuvers are paramount to success. Four additional fields host scenarios based on a storyline or theme. Finally, four smaller fields are used for fast-paced games of speedball.
Augustine Golf Club's award-winning course was sculpted to reflect its natural beauty with its distinctive par 4s sculpted by course architect, Rick Jacobson. Although the greens at Augustine declined for a few years, recent renovations have restored the course to its former glory, once again luring golfers to its babbling streams and forest. Farther north, rivals Augustine's sister course, Raspberry Falls. Course architect Gary Player remarked that the Falls, once an 18th-century plantation, “was made for a golf course.” Inspired by this ideal setting, he dreamed up the links-style course at Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club, whose meandering brooks, stone walls, and stacked-sod bunkers evoke Scotland, while its vista of the Catoctin Mountains remind players they’re in Virginia.
These golf havens have more than picturesque views in common—they are two of six award-winning courses united by Raspberry Golf Management’s portfolio, which stretches from Virginia to Pennsylvania and skips over to Arizona. Gary Player’s design team for Raspberry Falls included Tim Freeland, who went on to design two of the firm’s other courses: Royal Manchester Golf Links, whose bentgrass fairways sidle up to the Susquehanna River, and Old Hickory Golf Club, a parkland-style course crisscrossed by Beaver Creek. The management company's other gems include The Legacy Golf Resort, where cowboys used to ride their rocking horses around a 7,500-acre ranch, and Bull Run Golf Club, which sprawls across more than 450 acres of meadows and woodlands at the foot of the Bull Run Mountains.
Multitudes of furry creatures, both foreign and farm dwelling, reside within the sprawling 21 acres of Leesburg Animal Park's exhilarating grounds. Inquisitive imps and animal-loving adults will be enchanted and educated with exotic animal exhibits featuring lemurs, African serval cats, white-handed gibbons, giant tortoises, and more. For an even closer look, the animal petting and feeding area allows visitors to softly pet heads, scratch ears, and satisfy stomachs of each curious creature they encounter ($1 for a cone of food).
If there's one word to describe the success of Willowcroft Farm Vineyards, it's persistence. Owner and winemaker Lew Parker planted the first vines on what is now Willowcroft's home vineyard in 1980, but they didn't grow. They died. Doubt about the feasibility of the project came from everywhere, including the Virginia Extension Service. Lew planted anyway, and in 1981 he grew his first cabernet sauvignon, riesling, and chardonnay grapes. Today, through Lew's hard work and horticultural innovation, Willowcroft bottles 14 different varietals from reds such as the merlot and cabernet franc to whites such as the chardonnay or muscat-ottonel.
Willowcroft's wines maintain a crisp, clean flavor due to the winery's sustainable dry farming, and have garnered a litany of awards since their first vintages in 1984. However, the wine isn't the only draw to the winery. Located atop Catoctin Ridge, panoramic views unfurl from the winery's open terraces, where visitors can enjoy cheese and wine purchased onsite.