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Jeb Stuart Road


It’s not like I need an excuse for writing about Jeb Stuart Road; I mean, I know I’ve shared my experiences of Snickersville Turnpike as it passes through Philomont either to or from the Mountains to the west – but I figure I’ve paid my dues over the past several years along this little split corridor of gravel.

Yeah- and that’s a good thing to keep in mind if you ever head down there – say – after dark or during a really wet period: Jeb Stuart doesn’t cross that little stretch of water down at the bottom – or, wait a minute – yeah, it does – but the road goes under Butchers Branch instead of riding safe and dry over the top. I’ve heard tales of folks crossing over during dry spells, but you won’t catch me giving that a try. The last time I came in from the east side – down to where the water meets the road – I barely got out of there with an all-wheel drive Subaru. It gets pretty soupy down there. … Continue Reading

Tuscarora Creek Park


Nothing like a brisk walk. Always good for what ails ya. Some nice hills (not too steep, mind you) to get the heart pumping and the blood running and the breath working – makes you feel alive. Combine that with some inspiring surroundings and you’re on your way to actually feeling pretty good – no matter how sluggish or grumpy (or maybe worse) you felt before you left the house. I wish I were there right now.

You see, Tuscarora Creek Park – just off Battlefield Parkway in the Southeast Quadrant of Leesburg – lies adjacent to a very scenic portion of the W and OD Trail. Or – I should say – a nice little paved walking path heads down to the Trail at the bottom of the gorge – close to the pylons for the Battlefield Bridge. So, it’s a nice ‘jumping off place’ from which to park your car, head down the hill and spend some time and energy in one direction or the other. … Continue Reading

Sterling Veterans Memorial

February 5, 2014 by Tim Jon Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth 1 comment

The first thing you notice is the flags – I guess it’s their movement that catch the eye and ear – then the silent, immobile shapes of the obelisks bearing insignias of the various branches of military service; yeah, you see those (to me) statues of pride and sadness sheltered under the waving flags as you walk up a little closer – and that’s when you notice the names etched upon the bricks you almost trod upon. And I can’t say that I’m familiar with any of the names I gazed upon on my last visit – but I have heard about the conflicts in which they served: Iraqi Freedom, Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, World War I and II- and even back as far as the Civil War. … Continue Reading

Lakeview Cemetery


I guess it’s ‘cause I honestly feel safer here than at most of our more populated locations – like a crowded mall or supermarket or other high-density shopping attraction. I don’t have to ponder on any unexpected activities here – I’m pretty sure, anyway. But it’s far beyond these concerns; I also have to admit that there’s always been kind of an odd – inexorable – attraction between yours truly and the local churchyard. And this one sunk its teeth into me the first time I came across it – which must’ve been on one of my first ramblings around the new neighborhood during that one year I lived in the charming little Town of Hamilton.

Lakeview Cemetery was practically in the backyard of the historic, imposing – almost foreboding house (fit for an Edward Hopper painting, if there ever was one) in which we rented space – just north of Colonial Highway; the burial ground lay within about a tenth of a mile from the place, so it naturally became one of my habitual destinations on my frequent, solitary walks. In those days – this was about 15 years ago, back long enough to predate much of the recent development on the outskirts of Hamilton – the churchyard was truly (most of the time, anyway) a lonely, isolated place – a perfect spot for a 21st Century ‘shaman’ to re-connect with his soul. Lord knows there were (and still are, and always will be) plenty of ‘em around me in spots like this – at least according to my beliefs. … Continue Reading

Neer Lane


No, not much happens out here – as far as I can tell; and it’s not very conveniently located for easy access during your commute from home to work. And, no – this spot’s probably not the most exciting intersection of latitude and longitude that you’ll ever (or never) visit, and even if you grow to love it dearly (as I have) you’ll probably never hang around for very long at any one time. Having said all this (probably at least partially to discourage the less intrepid traveler), I’ve come to realize that I always feel awfully good whenever I come to this little, neglected dirt road called Neer Lane.

And, the sardonic in me often asks: “So, just where is Neer?” Well, Neer’s nowhere special – but it is in a very specific spot – out in Western Loudoun, of course – just off Cider Mill Road, south of Harpers Ferry Road on the frontier side of Hillsboro. And that’s enough information for anyone with the least bit of adventurousness in their system. But – there’re no whitewater rapids to test your kayaking skills, no hiking trails to exhaust your overspilling energies, not even much of a roadway itself to exercise your driving ability. … Continue Reading

Meadow Hill


I’m not sure if I heard about these guys first, or if I saw them first and then talked about ‘em, but it’s one of the early recollections of my discovery of what I thought was really cool about Leesburg. And, mind you, there were, and still are, a lot of really intriguing things about this Town – but this made quite a deep and lasting impression on me.

Now – you may recall how fond I am of animals: wild critters, pampered pets or good old fashioned farm animals. And that’s (the latter, that is) what these characters are – and they’re right smack dab (pretty much) in the center of the Historic County Seat of Loudoun. Anyone who’s driven into Town from West Market or taken Dry Mill Road toward the western edge of downtown has passed by the cow pasture across from the familiar 7-11. … Continue Reading

Foxcroft Road


People don’t talk much about this one – it doesn’t slip off the tongue like Snickersville Turnpike or Harpers Ferry Road – or even John Mosby Highway – and it doesn’t serve as a major conduit between big population centers, like Sycolin Road or Claiborne Parkway or Sterling Boulevard. But it’s a nice drive on a Sunday afternoon – or just about anytime you’d like to see some inspiring, expansive vistas and feel some G-Forces as you make the tight turns on this twisty, two-lane blacktop. No, I haven’t read any rhapsodies of this one on any internet blogs or in any newspaper articles – not recently, anyway – or in any of the local travel brochures. And I’m sure most of the people in Middleburg and Unison are OK with that – as well as those sprinkled along the way on the 6 miles or so of windy, hilly and narrow Rt. 626 – Foxcroft Road.

It takes you right by the famed Salamander Inn – as well as the venerated Foxcroft School – and very impressive estates and farms devoted to equine pursuits and beef production. You also travel through some of the more active Civil War history country in Loudoun- with Unison and Middleburg each boasting tales of skirmishes between the Blue and Grey.

Oh, and – ever heard of Leithtown – otherwise known as Pot House? … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) On Earth: Lime Kiln Road


There’s a little two-lane blacktop road that runs to the west from Route 15 (just south of Oatlands Plantation) to Snickersville Turnpike; this probably sounds picturesque enough already; the real kicker – for me – is, that it snakes right along the Goose Creek flood plain for much of its length. I guess that’s what makes it kind of unique for Loudoun County: it’s very windy, (with a long I, that is) but not really hilly. Now, I love our curvy mountain roads with their ups and downs and twists and turns as much as anybody, but I must admit that I find a particular relaxation about the gentle sweeps along Route 733 – otherwise known as Lime Kiln Road.

Part of that comfort level – I’m sure – comes from the nearly constant ‘companionship’ of Goose Creek; its waters offer a reassuring sense of close contact with the earth’s elements. I’ve stated before that I find a very ancient form of power at work here (with moving water, that is); it generally has a healing – almost regenerative, effect on me. Makes me just a bit jealous of the folks who enjoy life from the homes adjacent to the Goose, but I can still access the energy from a quick visit. … Continue Reading

The Stony Point Ruins


There’s a run-down, neglected, dark-reddish little stone structure out in Western Loudoun that gets to me every time I pass by; it doesn’t matter whether I’m in a hurry or taking my time, if it’s a sunny day or a blustery snowstorm, if it’s just after dawn or the middle of the afternoon, or if it’s spring, summer, fall or winter. I always imagine that there’s a hush about the spot – almost a vortex of peace and silence – a location suitable for quiet contemplation and solitude – or companionship only of the deepest empathy.

Now, mind you, I’ve never had the opportunity to stop and walk about this ground or examine the decaying shelter standing just off the roadside. I’m also aware that this county’s got numerous other historic buildings – many in various states of disrepair that try their best to tell their tales of time gone backward. No, I’ve never explored here, in the physical sense – and I probably will never get the chance to give my special little place a closer look than I get in just passing by on the legal right of way; it’s private property, and, since I expect people to respect mine, I do the same for theirs. … Continue Reading

Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth: Robin Circle


Have you ever dreamt of a place without actually seeing it – and then found it in ‘real’ life? Well, my sleeping visions have been focusing – for some time – on what my heart and soul would describe as a ‘home.’ Not just any home, mind you; these are big, sprawling places with lots of surrounding greenery and enough land to offer the kind of seclusion and space that my subconscious evidently feels I need.

Now, the houses along Robin Circle – just south of Leesburg – don’t fit exactly into my nightly structural conjurations (nothing in this world really does!)– but some of them would be a great place in which to start. Elaborate, unique, architectural designs for each structure – with most of the dwellings placed in shady yards full of mature trees – set back far enough from the roadway for my tastes – the whole package answered a lot of my soul’s requirements for satisfaction the first time I happened upon this little, unobtrusive neighborhood. Hey, I could get to like it out here. … Continue Reading

The Place of the Long-Hair Cows


It’s those cows. They just seem so appropriate in this place – sorta like the yaks of the Himalayas – those shaggy critters used to lug supplies up and down the dizzying inclines. Well, these guys have it a little easier – from what I can see – until their conversion into table products, anyway. Nice, lean beef on the hoof …

Oh, and, yeah – I know there are several places in Loudoun County where you can see these things – Highland cattle, I mean – originally bred along the cold, windy slopes of Scotland’s high ground and Western Isles. That memorable day I visited, the low-sweeping clouds of a spent tropical storm made it all the more fitting – as if this local herd and their stumbly patch of earth had risen to meet the weather. And, like a lot of other mountaineers I’ve come across, they don’t really have a lot to say: they seem content just to BE – too busy living their lives to spend too much time on commentary and self-analysis. Cow gurus, as it were. Well, like I say, they’re not in a bad spot; I could sure think of lots of worse places to plod out an existence – on which many of us two-leggers actually do – to my way of thinking. … Continue Reading


February 6, 2013 by Tim Jon Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth 1 comment

I never thought I’d be doing this, but I really need to issue a formal apology here. I am very sorry, Middleburg. Yeah- you heard right; I feel I’d been neglecting one of our most charming places in the County (heck, one of the most charming little Towns in America, when you come right down to it).

You see, I’m very good at excuses, if you hadn’t already noticed. I can come up with an absolutely iron-clad explanation for having failed to perform some of the most painless tasks; but, on the other hand, I’m probably even better at apologizing. “Take responsibility!” I often say, and I’ll stand by my words on this one. It’s my own fault for not having answered the call of Middleburg’s many offerings over the past couple of years in this column- but no more. No, sir.

So, I grabbed the bull by the horns early one morning, camera and coffee in hand, and I made my touristic way down to the fabled center of the ‘Hunt Country’ in Loudoun’s southwest corner. … Continue Reading

Harpers Ferry Road

tim jon

If there’s a place in Loudoun County where the term ‘desolate’ could apply, my choice would be some of the spots along Harpers Ferry Road – and I mean this with no sense of disrespect; it’s sparsely populated, and simply runs the gauntlet-esque valley from Charles Town Pike in the south up to Route 340 in the North.

I know, I know, there are lots of other adjectives one could choose to describe this two-lane blacktop and its surroundings: beautiful, for sure- expansive, no doubt – green, except in the dead of winter – wild, for the most part – and, depending on your luck with the traffic, just a bit dangerous.

This last term may come as a bit of a surprise, but – having driven this stretch countless times in the line of duty – I can attest to the number of blind curves and crossings – and the exceptional hurry in which I’ve found some of its travelers. At least a good number of ‘em are NOT out there for the scenery. Except to get through it. … Continue Reading

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Sustainable Planet

Pungent Curry

9 Apr 2014


The latest version of the IPCC report is published and once again it will go unread by the great masses of climate science deniers and unreported by the media. So it might be useful to revisit the fundamental physical realities …

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Ask Dr. Mike

Understanding Teen Suicide

1 Apr 2014


By Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. Northern Virginia has recently experienced several teen suicides. Last month, two Langley High School students took their own lives just a day apart from one another, and this month it appears two students at Woodson High …

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Virginia Gardening

Spring Is Coming

4 Mar 2014


By Donna Williamson March is an in-between month – some cold and the return of glorious warmth now and then. One way to bring some delight inside is forcing spring-blooming branches. You can cut branches of forsythia, cherry, crabapple, kerria, …

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Sushi's Corner

An Easter Swim

1 Apr 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.10.56 AM

I felt like a silly nim “cow” poop with these Easter bows in our hair. Okay Nelly, maybe you didn’t because you’re a girl. But me, a Mighty Cairn Terrier male? – PLEASE! Pleasing Mrs. B for Easter pictures was …

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Amy V. Smith's Money Talks

What Baseball Can Teach You About Financial Planning

1 Apr 2014

Amy Smith-BRL

Spring training is a tradition that baseball teams and baseball fans look forward to every year. No matter how they did last year, teams in spring training are full of hope that a new season will bring a fresh start. …

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Go Take a Hike

Blandy Experimental Farm

6 Jun 2012


By Molly Pinson Simoneau It’s no secret that I love a challenging hike. I’ve written here about hiking sections of the Appalachian Trail and Shenandoah National Park. I’ve taken vacations with my family to Colorado where I’ve attempted to conquer a “fourteener” (a summit that is higher than 14,000 feet), …


Real Estate Ticker

A Buying Opportunity?

6 Nov 2013

Carl Fischer headshot

By Carl Fischer As a direct result of the uncertainty that has arisen from national and regional politics, with its unsettling effect on the Northern Virginia area, for the past two months there has been a market slowdown which has …

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From the Farm

From the Farm

5 Jul 2012

From the Farm

When the heat index reaches 110 degrees, as it has been doing recently, I try to keep in the shade, or stay indoors. But my lavender, about halfway from full bloom, seems to thrive in it. Hot and dry, I …

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April 2014
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: Art Gallery Reception for Featured Artists -- Abstract painter Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and contemporary painter Sandra Iafrate


April 12, 2014N/A

Meet Evelyn and Sandra and other gallery artists during a free, open to the public reception for this month's Featured Artists' exhibit "Living Color,” showcasing two accomplished painters Evelyn Lopez de Guzman and Sandra Iafrate, in a vivid and dynamic presentation of color, shape and our surroundings.

Evelyn Lopez de Guzman’s vibrant paintings awaken the viewer to connect with nature and the modern world through an interplay of shape, color, and textural materials.

Sandra Iafrate’s combination of realistic and surrealist interpretation of flowers, foliage and landscapes on spacious canvases convey a sense of movement and playfulness.

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Easter at "The Park"


April 19, 2014

Celebrate Easter at historic Morven Park with crafts for kids, an egg hunt in the formal gardens plus a traditional egg roll on the Davis Mansion lawn. Have a family photo taken with the Easter Bunny. Children should bring a basket for the hunt and a large spoon for the egg roll. $10/participating child (ages 2-12), $3/adult. Register at www.MorvenPark.org.

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VAL's Pals Kids Club


April 30, 2014

Join Inova Loudoun Hospital as the present their Beamer the Dog Program.

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May 4, 2014

Scouting for Bricks is an exhibit showing the Love for everything LEGO® . Come see amazing LEGO® creations by Fans of LEGO®, LEGO® trains, Mindstorms robots. We will also have live Star Wars Stormtroopers and an interactive play area with over 100,000 LEGO bricks. Scouting for Bricks is fun for the Whole Family! Visit us at www.ScoutingForBricks.com.

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View From the Ridge

Rural Loudoun Is Different, and We Say Dark Skies Do Matter

4 Mar 2014


In February of this year a sell out crowd gathered at the county public seat in Leesburg to provide feedback to the Loudoun County Planning Commission on the idea of adding additional sports lights to the upper athletic fields at Franklin Park. Franklin Park includes a really wonderful performing arts …



Steady and Nobull

4 Mar 2014

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Park and Ride Lots for Western Loudoun

4 Mar 2014


In 2003, the county purchased 22 commuter buses to serve a growing demand for bus service to Washington D.C. The demand has grown exponentially ever since. The county now owns or leases 65 large commuter buses (with plush seats and on board restrooms) and more are being added every year. The buses are often filled to standing room only as …



Sadie’s Race 5K and Fun Run Scheduled for Sunday May 18

9 Apr 2014


Sadie Smile Foundation is putting on the third annual Sadie’s Race/Walk and Kids Fun Run to Benefit Smile Train in Purcellville Sunday, May 18th this year. The race starts at 8:00 a.m. at the train station at 200 N 21st Street in Purcellville. Sign up at Active.com. When Sara Ablard lost her five year-old daughter, Sadie, two years ago, she …

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Dr. Joseph Rogers Dies at Family Farm

1 Apr 2014

Dr. Joseph Megeath Rogers, 90, died on Saturday March 8, 2014 at his Hillbrook Farm near Hamilton following a stroke. Physician, farmer, businessman, rural land conservationist, philanthropist and expert horseman, Dr. Rogers was a tireless advocate and practitioner of country living whose contributions in a broad range of interests were made quietly and with little fanfare. His public persona was …

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Zoldos Presented Citizen of the Year Award

1 Apr 2014


At the biweekly March meeting of the Lovettsville Town Council, Mayor Bobby Zoldos was presented the 2013 Citizen of the Year from the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans. Presenting the award was Rick Adams, current president along with Board Member Peter Mullally and  Vice President Jeff Boogaard. Adams said, “On behalf of the Lovettsville Waterford Ruritans, we would like to present the …

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Around Virginia

Wolf Won’t Seek Re-election


Rep. Frank Wolf (R-10th) today announced that he would not seek election to an 18th term in 2014. He released the following statement announcing his decision: “I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern …

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Virginia Can and Should Work Harder to Combat Hunger


By Congressman Frank Wolf Last year, the USDA reported a record number of Americans are struggling to put food on their tables. Across the nation, 49 million people – including 17 million children and six million seniors – are going hungry, a number that has grown substantially over the last …

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Kaine Statement on Navy Yard Shooting


U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on today’s shooting at the Washington Navy Yard: “My thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by today’s tragic shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. As we learn more about the horrific events that unfolded this morning, my deepest sympathies go out …

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Nominate Your Hometown Hero

9 Apr 2014


Upper Loudoun Little League’s Hometown Heroes scholarship closes on April 21, 2014. The application is available online at ULLL.org. The scholarship is open to all graduating seniors who played baseball for ULLL at some point in their growing up years.

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Lady Vikings Give Back

10 Feb 2014

The Loudoun Valley Girls basketball team held an event on Friday, February 7 at LVHS. The Lady Vikings celebrated “Pink Night” by honoring those who are battling breast cancer or have been affected by breast cancer. The event was held in conjunction with an event held at Woodgrove earlier this …

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Medicaid Expansion Battle Heating Up

4 Mar 2014


Did you know that there’s a very real possibility that a DC-style budget battle and government shutdown could come to Virginia? The Medicaid expansion battle …

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Endorsing for Profit Businesses?

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

I recently received an automated email message from the Town of Purcellville soliciting nominations for volunteer award recipients in cooperation with the Purcellville Business Association …


Another Vote To Overrule Purcellville’s Board of Architectural Review

4 Mar 2014

town of purcellville sign

The Purcellville Town Council, foolishly, in the view of many and perhaps most, has overruled its Board of Architectural Review and approved Mark Nelis’s and …



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