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Gardening Tips, April 2014

April 1, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Tips, April 2014
daffodil

Getting Ahead Of Those Garden Undesirables

It’s hard to imagine – after the winter we’ve had – that spring is here, or at least not far behind.

The weather is slowly getting warmer, the days are getting longer and the early daffodils and crocuses are forcing their way up, even if peeking out from of remnants of snow.

I’d be happy just to pull up a lawn chair, relax and enjoy spring’s arrival. But, I’ve made that mistake before, and, before I know it my wild mint has taken over, grass is sprouting up and smothering the daffodils, and tree seedlings, too, are taking hold in my garden. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: The Constant and Private Red Shouldered Hawk

March 4, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: The Constant and Private Red Shouldered Hawk
Red-Red shouldered hawk inside

A female red-shouldered hawk is one of my most constant wild companions here on the farm. Three or four times a week I see her perched in a willow above the pond, on the fence line or in one of the larger trees on the property. With open fields, water sources and mature trees, it’s good habitat for her; more often than not she is flying off with something in her talons. She is exceptionally cautious as I drive down the driveway – private and wary somehow. She doesn’t really like me to pause and take a picture, most times flying off to a spot several hundred feet away – especially if she is in the middle of a meal. So, I’ve named her “Wary.”

Red-tailed hawks are common in my area, too. But, the bird I see has distinct reddish-brown shoulders, peachy under parts streaked with white and the dramatically banned tail characteristic of the red-shouldered hawk. Red-shouldered hawks are smaller than the bulkier red-tail, as well, and I notice that size difference, too. … Continue Reading

Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

March 4, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

Last month we focused on the basics of hardscape planning – looking at the stone walls, woodwork, patios, arbors, decks, water features, etc. of your businesses or home’s yard and landscape.

The key priorities we discussed included: 1) deciding on what outcome and functions you wanted – how would the area or areas be used? … just for show or are you wanting a vegetable or flower cutting garden?; 2) Do you have your drainage issue sorted out?; 3) How do you want the main areas and features in your hardscapes to relate to each other? Are you creating a path to move through or a simple place to sit and enjoy the scenery?; And, finally, 4) what’s your style? Sleek and modern, homey country or something in between the two? … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Snowy Owl – Interrupted Beauty, Flashing White

February 6, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Snowy Owl – Interrupted Beauty, Flashing White
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Imagine winding your way to Dulles Airport on one of our recent cold January days. You can’t wait to get on the plane and wake up in sunny Florida the next day. Palm trees, warm breezes, ahhhh. But, as you drop off the last highway ramp and into the parking lot you notice a large snowy-white bird perching on an airport fence. It’s big. And, “Wow,” you think, “What the heck is that?”

Once in the airport, sipping your coffee and waiting to board your flight you see the news report about a snowy owl that was sighted in Washington, D.C. near a Washington Post building in January, and then taken to a local wildlife hospital after being hit by a bus. The bird appears to be OK, and veterinarians hope to release it, soon. Wow, you say to yourself, I just saw one of those birds. Wow. … Continue Reading

Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”

February 5, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Planning Those All-Important “Hardscapes”
planninghardscapes

Patio entertaining, or lazing by the pool seems months and months off – especially when the wind chill is hovering at about zero, as it has been for weeks.

But despite our wintery mindsets, this is a good time of year to put together your spring and summer landscape wish lists. If you are planning to make big or even more modest changes to your garden, outdoor areas or yard, one of the most important considerations is how your hardscape will be put together and function.

Hardscapes are described as the inanimate part of landscaping – the stone walls, woodwork, patios, arbors, decks, water features, etc. The softscapes, of course, are your plants and trees. … Continue Reading

White House Turkeys Make Their Debut at Morven Park Open House

January 19, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on White House Turkeys Make Their Debut at Morven Park Open House
Popcorn_and_Caramel_arrival

The silver collection will sparkle and the windows will gleam when Morven Park re-opens its museums following a one-month break for deep cleaning. But new additions to the Park’s treasures just might out-shine all the rest, as the pardoned White House turkeys make their public debut.

Popcorn (who participated in the President’s pardoning ceremony) and Caramel (the “alternate”) will be strutting their stuff in front of the Davis Mansion during the weekend of February 1-2, and the public is invited not only to meet these famous turkeys but to visit the Mansion and Winmill Carriage Museum at no charge during this special open house. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Killdeer: Protective and Assertive Winter Beauty

January 8, 2014 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Killdeer: Protective and Assertive Winter Beauty
wildloudounpics

Nature is beautiful, inspiring and accessible no matter the season. Still, it was a bit of a challenge to decide what part of wild Loudoun to feature in this January 2014 edition of the Blue Ridge Leader.

My question was answered at Franklin Park a few weeks ago. The park is one of my dog’s favorite haunts, with lots of varied natural areas and habitats, lots of places to sniff and lots of trails to follow. As we were enjoying a sunny but cold afternoon there just before Christmas, both she and I stopped and looked up at the sky, reacting to the sharp sound of a small, fast-moving bird, swooping, calling and circling as it finally landed in a wet, snowy area on the edge of a parking lot near a large pond.

The park has quite a bit of what would formerly have been wetland and spring-type areas, and I’ve always been on alert as to what kind of wildlife that might attract, including birds you would find around water. … Continue Reading

Gardening Class Starting in February

December 28, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Gardening Class Starting in February

Expand your gardening toolbox by covering gardening, pruning, and landscape basics with four weeks of solid, no nonsense garden information and activities, then go on to design a real garden. Classes will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesdays, from February 5 to March 26 in the Tasting Room at the Village Winery & Vineyard on Brown’s Lane in Waterford. The first class on basics runs from February 5 to Feb. 26. Fee is $96. Registration is required. The fee for all 8 classes is $180. Class size is limited. The class is taught by Donna Williamson. For more information, go to the dwfinegardening.com and click on classes, call (540) 877-2002, or e-mail donnawilliamson2002@earthlink.net.

These classes will help you sort through mountains of bewildering and conflicting gardening and plant information to understand the approaches and tasks that really work in Virginia. You can make a big difference in your landscape and environment, saving bees, butterflies and birds in the process. Gardening with deer and the latest in vegetable gardening will be included. Ornamental and native plants can coexist beautifully in your landscape for more interest.

Wild Loudoun – Reindeer. Here. But Neither By Day Nor By Night. By Dreams.

December 3, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun – Reindeer. Here. But Neither By Day Nor By Night. By Dreams.
wildloudoun

On one of those quiet cold Loudoun nights to come – a night when the winter storm has blown through and you have stepped out for a few minutes to sweep the snow off the front steps before going to bed – you might have imagined a deer-like creature looking at you through the dark.

The softly glowing eyes – a pale blue – are there for a moment and then they are gone. So, you set your broom aside, take a last look into the dark and head inside and up the stairs to bed. Climbing under the covers you bury your face into the pillow … still seeing those softly glowing eyes. And, while you sleep soundly, you wake in the morning wondering why all of the more wild lore associated with Christmas – including flying reindeer – are dancing in your head. … Continue Reading

The White-Footed Mouse: Beauty in Miniature

November 6, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on The White-Footed Mouse: Beauty in Miniature
wildloudounpic

I can’t imagine that the soft drumming sound I might have heard coming from a woodpile, or the faint buzz I’ve heard in grassy areas could have been coming from the common, white-footed mouse … but I like to think it might have.

All wild animals have what we’d consider to be mysterious behaviors, and many of those behaviors help them survive. The white-footed mouse – common to nearly every county in Virginia, including Loudoun – drums its feet rapidly when alarmed, and replicates this behavior on hollow reeds, creating a sort of buzz. The normal drumming biologists know indicates that the mouse is afraid of something. The reed drumming is something else – no one really knows why mice do it. … Continue Reading

1,798 and Counting

October 6, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on 1,798 and Counting
monarch released 9_25_13

Earlier this year the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy (LWC) launched a 2013 campaign to “raise and release” monarch butterflies.

Due a precipitous loss of habitat, monarch populations have plummeted. Female monarchs lay their eggs on wild milkweed and milkweed only, and both modern day farming practices and over-use of herbicides is wiping out this essential flowering plant.

As part of its lifecycle the butterfly participates in one of the most extraordinary migrations on the face of the earth, with the last generation of the season flying sometimes thousands of miles to warm overwintering spots, including select-forested areas in Mexico.

The purpose of the LWC’s campaign is to “fill the gaps” in the monarch’s lifecycle, increasing the chances that individual monarch eggs and caterpillars make it to adulthood, complete their migration, and start the springtime process that replenishes the species.

At the time of this printing the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy and its volunteers had raised and released 1,798 monarchs, nearly 90 percent of their 2013 goal of 2,013.

Wild Loudoun: Trumpet Vine – Zesty, Assertive Beauty

trumpet-vinecmyk

It can cause a rash. Plant or cultivate it in the wrong place and it can take down your house. It tends to crowd out other plants. And, its nectar is a closely guarded secret – not many animals and insects can reach far enough inside to take advantage of it.

So why do I love the North American native known as trumpet vine?

Well, both the foliage and the flowers are stunning in their color – a deep, emerald green and a hot and zesty orange. It has a strong constitution. Older vines develop thick, woody trunks that can grow up to seven inches thick and thirty feet high. It has a sort of prehistoric look, with large, curved, tubular flowers, spiky leaves, and oversized pods that use the wind to disperse hundreds of brown papery seeds. And, it greatly benefits both bees and hummingbirds, two living things that could really use our help right now. … Continue Reading

Wild Loudoun: Harvest Moon

September 4, 2013 Farm and garden, Lifestyle Comments Off on Wild Loudoun: Harvest Moon
harvest-moon

By Andrea Gaines

We’ve all heard the term “harvest moon.” But, what exactly is a harvest moon, when does it occur and what are the wild residents of Loudoun County doing during this time?

A harvest moon starts with what’s known as an “equinox.” Derived from the Latin term ?aeguus, meaning equal, an equinox marks two times during the year when night and day are approximately equal in length. A vernal equinox occurs in the spring and an autumn equinox in the fall, marking the beginning of that season in the northern hemisphere.

A harvest moon occurs when there is a full moon on the same day as the autumn equinox. The 2013 harvest moon for the northern hemisphere comes on the night of September 18-19. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

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Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those …

Sugar Crash

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Sugar runs inside our body and fuels our very being. In biology they teach us that sugar is really glucose which is broken down in the body to produce ATP (adenine tri-phosphate). So why bring this up? Well, sugar is …

The Art of Memory

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By Samuel Moore-Sobel Still Alice. A movie that not only elicits tears, but naturally incurs reflection. This heartrending movie was the starting point of a personal wrestling with the implications of human memory. Remembering can bring us back to a …

Living in Debt

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Dr. Mike, My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, …

June in the Garden

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Conserve Water, Beat the Heat and Keep Things Blooming By Andrea Gaines It’s getting hot out there. And, there’s nothing more discouraging for a gardener that to come home after a weekend away – or miss a regular watering schedule …

Potoma Wayside

potoma wayside

My advice is: Don’t look straight down; the combination of rushing highway traffic a couple of feet away and, what’s – to me, anyway – a dizzying height, can produce some unsettling sensations. I came to this conclusion after walking …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

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By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Thank You Purcellville Voters

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I would like to thank you, the Purcellville voters, for your tremendous support of my campaign for Town Council.  I appreciate that so many of you put signs in your …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

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8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

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Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

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Calendar

June 2016
M T W T F S S
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Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

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Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Free Gardening Lecture

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Yard Sale

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

PAUL REISLER TRIO WITH LEA MORRIS AND MARSHALL KEYS

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

19th Annual Cajun Festival & Crawfish Boil

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Goats at BRNP

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Bring Dad to North Gate Vineyard

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

June Fourth Friday at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Love, He Called It

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Sip & Paint at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

29

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

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Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

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Lifestyle

Troy and Paula Haag Perform at Old Stone School

9 Jun 2016

troy and paula haag 1a

Troy and Paula Haag, will appear on The Gap Stage at the Old Stone School on Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Dinner will be sold by Big Mike’s BBQ, drinks will be sold by the glass, and there will be desserts at intermission. Troy and Paula will be joined by Max Haag …

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Here’s To the Colorists, Manicurists and Blow Dry Mavens… Thanks for Listening!

1 Jun 2016

hair color

Sunday, June 26 is Beauticians Day, celebrating the cosmetology and other experts who keep us looking and feeling our best – whether it’s with a haircut and style, a facial, a manicure, or just some quiet and light conversation.

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Wait. Something That’s Really Healthy Can Be Really Fun … Too?

1 Jun 2016

poolsafety2

Parents of small children, and property owners with pools, ponds and other water features know that swimming safety is a must. You need to have clear rules about how ponds, pools and other places are to be used, and when. Safety equipment needs to be up to date and accessible, and it is critical that there be a responsible adult …

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Around Virginia

HUD Awards $2 Million in Housing Counseling Grants To Virginia

Kaine

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Catholic Charities USA, headquartered in Alexandria, will receive $951,150 in federal funding, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority, located in Richmond, will receive $1,040,918. This nearly $2 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) …

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Four Hop, Skip and a Jump Local Destinations

morven

Last month we encouraged our readers to consider visiting any one of five great destinations within just a stone’s throw of Loudoun’s history-lined borders – Berryville and Harper’s Ferry among them. This month we feature four destinations – two right here in our much-celebrated county, and two just over the …

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Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

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Sports

The Lady Vikings Earned Back-to Back Conference Title

1 Jun 2016

lvhs

The Lady Vikings earned the back-to back conference title with a 4-1 win over Heritage in late May. The team earned a first round playoff bye finishing first in the conference and then went on to defeat Rock Ridge 12-0 in the conference semi-finals. The Lady Vikings ended their regular …

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Big Baseball Coming To Fireman’s Field

1 Jun 2016

purcellville cannons

Got Your Father’s Day Gift Lined Up Yet? The Purcellville Cannons’ Brett Fuller couldn’t be happier. He’s the owner of one of the most popular teams in the Valley Baseball League. The team, up until recently was called the Charles Town Cannons but now calls Purcellville its home.

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