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Van Metre Homes

At Willowsford Van Metre Homes is a locally based, family owned community developer and luxury homebuilder that has been reshaping the National Capital suburbs for nearly 60 years. Today, they are helping Willowsford take shape with new home designs specifically crafted for the community and available nowhere else. These new Van Metre Homes are 4,300 to over 5,600 square feet, occupying homesites of 3/4 to over an acre. Designed in the style of historic Virginia estates, they blend classic elements such as dual staircases, sweeping views and charming porches with modern touches like dual owner’s suites, gourmet kitchens, and morning rooms. Homebuyers can personalize their new Van Metre Home at Willowsford through the Dream Home Portfolio which offers the easy path to customize the home of your dreams. Van Metre Homes at Willowsford will be fully ENERGY STAR® 3.0 compliant, for utility bills up to 30% lower, according to the EPA. Few homebuilders anywhere can claim the respect that Van Metre has earned since 1955, and their new designs for Willowsford further prove that Van Metre Homes builds trust for generations.

Directions to Tenant House Information Center from DC: Take the Dulles Greenway (Route 267) West to Exit 7 for Loudoun County Parkway (Route 607). Turn left off the exit onto Loudoun County Parkway. Continue to a right onto Ryan Road (Route 772). Turn left onto Evergreen Mills Road (Route 621) and proceed approximately 2 miles to a right onto Founders Drive in The Grange. Follow Founders Drive to the Tenant House Information Center on the left.


606 267


Washington, DC

620 659

Priced from the Low $700’s Tenant House Information Center 23510 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148 703-764-5448 Model Open Daily 11-6pm Prices are subject to change without notice. See Sales Manager for details. March 2012.


SINCE 1955



Letter from Brian he mild winter has given way to an impatient spring, breathing new life and energy and beauty into Willowsford. Everywhere you look, the community is buzzing with activity—you can’t help but feel spring fever! And while the natural world is revealing its display of color, our team is busy bringing to life new elements of Willowsford that bring the outdoors to the front steps of our residents. That includes the 1,900 new trees we’ve planted in the community! Our trailblazers, Mark Trostle and Jack Kelly, have been carefully planning and forging natural trails at The Grange and The Grant that will take our residents through forests and meadows, across stream valleys, and around Willow Lake in The Greens and Willowsford Farm in The Grange. They connect outdoor enthusiasts to some of the unique amenities that will be delivered this spring and summer such as our dog park, tree houses, farm garden, and resort-style pools. Our builders have also been busy getting homes ready for the arrival ®®

of our first families this spring. We are excited to welcome them to our community and understand they are already finding ways to connect and have gatherings in scenic locations at Willowsford—just as we had hoped!





FRASER WALLACE AGENCY FR ASERWALLACE .COM © 2012 Willowsford, L.L.C. Willowsford, Willowsford Conservancy, Inspired, Inspired Living, Naturally Planned Community and are all trademarks of Willowsford L.L.C.. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any material in this magazine is expressly prohibited. Publisher reserves the right to accept or reject all advertising matter. The information, illustrations, maps, and depictions contained in this magazine concerning the Willowsford development are based on the current proposed development concepts and actual development may vary from what is depicted. As the vision for the project evolves, facilities, features and other components are subject to change. Certain features and amenities depicted within the magazine have not yet been, and may not be, constructed. Dues, fees and assessments may be imposed for the use of some amenities. Photographs and images are not necessarily of the Willowsford development, are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be an actual representation of any features or designs of any specific community, neighborhood, amenities, facilities or improvements.

And we are delighted to introduce Bonnie Moore. Formerly a chef at the famed Inn at Little Washington, Bonnie is running Willowsford’s culinary program, and she kicks off a regular column in this issue of Inspired by explaining the ins and outs of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) at Willowsford Farm, and offers recipes from her own kitchen for a spring feast that highlights the best of the season. We invite you to visit us this spring and get a glimpse of how life at Willowsford is blooming. Throughout April and May, we are hosting a variety of special events and speakers such as Mike McGrath (garden editor for WTOP). Regards,




1 Message from Willowsford


18 Day Hikes


Spot spring’s first blooms on five day hikes near Willowsford.



5 Mike Snow Willowsford’s resident farmer forecasts the season ahead.

6 CSA: Supporting Local


Willowsford’s Culinary Director explains how to get the most from your weekly farm share.

20 Park It Help your pooch become a part of the pack at a dog park. ALECIA EVANS

22 Letting Be Meditation for the beginner. HUGH BYRNE



12 Intoxicating Elixirs Use the herbs from your garden to concoct innovative cocktails. KRISTEN HARTKE

16 The Harmony Trail Four Loudoun vineyards make for a lovely afternoon tour. KARLY POPE


24 The New

Essential Room A local designer prescribes the perfect mudroom. LAUREN LIESS


29 Experience Willowsford Learn about the community.

52 Willowsford Life

Cozy gatherings and fireside chats at the Boat House and Tenant House.


50 Non-toxic Spring


A renowned cleaning expert explains how to clean your house with an eye on the earth. ANNIE BOND


54 Magnolias at the Mill Chef Mark Marrocco shares his recipe for spring lamb shanks.




56 The Hunt for the


Elusive Morel

A Virginia native explains why the woods’ ephemeral spring treat haunts him, and how to find it for yourself. ROBERT STUDEBAKER


58 Main Street Shopping Middleburg’s Washington Street offers retail therapy in an historic Virginia setting. PAMELA HESS


62 Gilbert’s Corner

The crossroads of Route 50 and Route 15 have long been an intersection of history. HEIDI BAUMSTARK


64 A Final Bit of Inspiration


Spring brings fresh blooms. Photo by Elena Elisseeva

20 52

Home Grown Harvest Welcome to Willowsford Farm

A real vision for healthy, inspired living is emerging in Loudoun County in the new community of Willowsford. At the heart of this unique community is Willowsford Farm. Here, “farm-to-table,” “locally grown,” and “seasonal eating” are part of everyday life. Willowsford Farm’s homegrown harvests are now available through our 2012 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program, which offers members a variety of fresh, seasonal produce in our weekly farm shares from June through November. To purchase a Willowsford Farm CSA membership, visit us at

Learn More About Us and Join the 2012 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Program! Membership Perks Include Loudoun County Wine and Weekly Tips and Recipes from Willowsford’s Culinary Director. 4 INSPIRED SPRING 2012


On Willowsford Farm by Mike Snow



any things in farming show a logarithmic growth curve. I like garlic as a metaphor: plant in fall, it grows only roots, underground, for three or four months, then as things warm it sends a shoot skyward, leafs out, matures, and in summer is harvested. So it goes with the farm. In spite of my own impatience, things are maturing organically, as they need to. This shouldn’t be surprising; this farm is not just any farm. It is a unique proposition for which there are few real models, a project that requires extra thinking and information processing on the front end. But things are ripening. They swell in winter, and are now, with spring, bursting like leaf buds on a tree. Winter is a good time of year for doing the nitty-gritty farm planning. How many beds of each crop, how many plants per bed, how many plantings, the numbers of seeds and names of varieties...there are prices to compare, lists to make, lists to revise, new cover crops, and rotations to consider. One stays in tension between what worked in years past and new techniques and practices to try. During the winter we gathered new friends to the farm, too. The little Kubota tractor and medium Kubota tractor have been joined by the big Kubota tractor (I like orange). We now also have a farm truck and a trailer to pull the Kubota family around, and another small farm truck that we didn’t plan to pick up for a couple of years. Fortuitously, a neighbor had the right thing at the right time, and now we have a mint condition 1997 Ford Ranger with 23,000 miles on it. Other equipment is trickling in: the brush hog, after weeks of procrastination, came along in January with a set of pallet forks, just in time to clear land for the grading crew and to take the first deliveries of greenhouse parts. That brings me to site work, and a little farm philosophy. We broke ground in January on the tractor barn at the Grange, and on other site improvements. All materials from the farm remain onsite—topsoil from the barn pad goes to level a space for the greenhouse, or to fill a swale or hole in a field. Everything is a resource. Trees and brush that need to be removed are left in place or moved across the field, topped with soil, and trees and plants planted in the mound. This is an ancient European practice that makes productive use of a farm’s resources, providing those plantings with nutrients and water, and protection from browsers. January and February remained warm, and that barn is now in its final stages of completion. The greenhouse is

covered and filling with seedlings. Water and electric have been taken to the field, and the rest of our equipment and supplies are on their way. With winter’s passing, spring is here—and this is when the real fun begins. We should be on the ground soon, planting our earliest crops. The Willowsford Farm family keeps growing as we welcome

our farm crew, and especially our Assistant Farm Manager Katie Maunz. Most important, it’s time to welcome you to the Farm. This spring, our inaugural CSA and growing season begins. If you haven’t already, sign up for a CSA membership. Visit the Farm for spring vegetables, fruit, and other farm products, and bring the family for one of our farm events and activities. We look forward to you joining us! Be great, Mike SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 5


Spring Fever CSA Style by Bonnie Moore


So you’ve got Spring Fever.

A vacation to a warm weather resort is one remedy. But here is a simpler solution- sign up for a share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It’s closer to home, lasts longer and is good for your health. It’s a six-month food adventure bounded only by your imagination. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) turns back the clock to a time when people had a direct connection to farming. CSAs began in Europe in the 1960s and have gained popularity as interest in local food and concern about the environment have surged. At the core of a CSA is a group of customers willing to provide what most farmers need—enough cash flow in the dead of winter or early spring to support the coming production period. In return, each consumer receives a share of the food produced throughout the growing season, usually late May through November.

1 2

Consumers gain access to high-quality, locally grown foods and farmers can count on regular sales. Through your CSA share you’ll experience the earth’s bounty and challenges right along with the farmer. You’ll feel the rhythm of the local harvest and a connection to the people who produce your food. You’ll learn what, for instance, an asparagus spear is supposed to taste like (trust me, what you get in a typical grocery is a shadow of the real thing), and you’ll reap the nutritional benefits of just-picked produce. Fruits and vegetables lose nutrients once harvested, so food that travels across the country (or the globe) to your plate is less nutritious than the stuff that just travels across the street. The luscious flavors and abundance can spark a sense of adventure and imagination in the kitchen. It doesn’t take much to cook like a rock star chef when you’re working with produce at its peak.

CSA TIPS Get ready.

Organize your fridge ahead of time. While you’re at it, make a list of items you’re out of or low on. Some CSAs provide a weekly newsletter that gives information in advance, so you can stock your pantry to complement the week’s provisions.

Arrive early. If there is any element of choice with your CSA, you’ll get the best selection to choose from. Bring a cooler to keep your veggies at their peak, especially if you’re not going straight home.


Deal with everything right away. Set aside an hour to prep for the week. Peel


Plan ahead. Take a few minutes to plan the meals for the week. A little advance

and trim vegetables and cook as many as you can. You’ll be glad you did when time is short during the week.

planning helps you be creative and vary the menu from dinner to dinner. It’s easy to fall into a rut of night-after-night stir fries.


Get inspired. Be willing to stretch your culinary horizons. Try a new vegetable or


If all else fails: Make vegetable stock. Roughly chop a variety of vegetables,

cooking technique. Lots of CSAs provide recipes, especially for unfamiliar veggies. If yours doesn’t, treat yourself to a cookbook featuring vegetables (Alice Waters and Mark Bittman have produced two of my favorites.)

toss them in a stockpot and fill it with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes. That’s it! Strain it, freeze it and you’ll be ready to go for cold weather soups and stews. This is great to do at the end of the week with your leftovers when your next CSA box is just around the corner. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 7


A CSA Inspired Spring Menu by Bonnie Moore


Roasted Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Fresh Chevre 8 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Roasted Beet Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Fresh Chevre SERVES 4


1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 1 teaspoon finely diced shallots salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, shallots, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the oil. Refrigerate (up to 1 week) until ready to serve.


zest and juice of ½ orange 1 teaspoon finely chopped shallots salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, orange zest, orange juice, shallots, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Refrigerate (up to 3 days) until ready to serve.


½ cup heavy cream zest and juice of ½ lemon In a mixing bowl, whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the lemon zest and juice and whip for a few seconds more until soft peaks form. Refrigerate (up to 2 days) until ready to serve.


8 small beets, any variety or combination splash olive oil ¼ cup Balsamic Vinaigrette 2 tablespoons fresh chevre (goat cheese) 2 tablespoons toasted, chopped walnuts (optional) Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Wash and trim the tops and bottoms of the beets, but do not peel them. Toss the beets with olive oil and wrap them in foil. Roast them in the oven until tender when pierced with a small paring knife, about 25 minutes for small beets, longer for larger ones. Let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and quarter the beets. When ready to serve, toss the beets with half of the Balsamic Vinaigrette. Add more dressing as desired. Divide the beets among four salad plates. Garnish with the fresh chevre and walnuts. Tip for peeling beets: With a paper towel in each hand, rub the skin off each beet. The paper towels keep your hands from turning bright red (if you’re peeling red beets) and do a beautiful job of taking off the skin while maintaining the contour of the beet. To toast nuts: Preheat the oven to 350 ºF. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a small baking sheet. Toast the nuts in the oven for 5 or 6 minutes or until they are fragrant.

Grilled Asparagus Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette and Lemon Cream SERVES 4


zest and juice of ½ lemon


1 pound fresh asparagus, ends removed 1 tablespoon olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Preheat the grill to high. Brush the asparagus with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus for 5 to 10 minutes, until the spears are just tender on the outside. (Thin asparagus spears will take less time to cook than thick ones.) Set aside. When ready to ser ve, toss the grilled asparagus with the Citrus Vinaigrette. Arrange the asparagus on four serving plates and garnish with the Lemon Cream.

Fettuccine with Spring Peas and Morels SERVES 4

1 cup fresh, shelled peas (about½ pound peas in their pods) 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil 2 cups morels, cleaned and halved 1 cup heavy cream ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 pound dried fettuccine pasta salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the peas in a colander and lower the colander into the boiling water. Cook until the peas are tender, anywhere from 2 to 8 minutes. (The time varies depending on the freshness of the peas.) Lift the colander out of the water and plunge the peas in a bowl of ice water to cool them quickly. Drain and refrigerate until ready to use. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add

the morels and sauté until they are brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another minute. Add the cream and simmer until the cream thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Add the Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, bring another large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, toss the pasta with the cream mixture, and serve immediately. To clean morels: All mushrooms absorb water like sponges. For that reason, it is preferable to wipe mushrooms with a damp cloth rather than submerge them in water. Morels, however, have very short stems and lots of crevasses where dirt and insects like to hide out. To clean them, plunge them by the handful into a bowl of clean water, quickly lift them from the water and spin them dry in a salad spinner or lay them out on a clean kitchen towel.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp SERVES 6

CRISP TOPPING 1 cup all-purpose flour 6 tablespoons brown sugar pinch of freshly grated nutmeg ¼ teaspoon salt 6 tablespoons unsalted butter ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, finely chopped In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, nutmeg and salt. Work in the butter with a fork (or your fingers) until the mixture is crumbly. Add the nuts and mix to combine.

STRAWBERRY-RHUBARB FILLING ½ pound rhubarb, washed, trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces ½ cup sugar, or more to taste ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 2 tablespoons butter ¼ cup all-purpose flour 1 pint strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Combine the rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and butter in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer until the rhubarb is just tender and still holds its shape, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the sugar to suit your taste. Stir in the flour and strawberries. Spoon the filling into a baking dish and sprinkle the topping over it. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.



To make the best use of your CSA bounty, master these two basic cooking techniques; both are excellent methods of preparing fresh vegetables. Blanch, or partially cook, vegetables in boiling, salted water and then plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking. This is the go-to way to prepare a variety of vegetables for the week. Roasting is another technique that’s perfect for spring finds like asparagus, beets, kohlrabi, and baby carrots. Toss the vegetables with a small amount of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, lay them out in a single layer on a sheet pan or wrap them in foil and pop them in a 400˚F oven until they are just tender. Asparagus takes 8 to 10 minutes, while beets take up to 75 minutes, depending on the size. Roasting actually intensifies the flavors, while submerging vegetables in water (boiling or iced) dilutes their flavor. Roasting is also forgiving: if you roast the asparagus for a few extra minutes, it is still perfectly delicious. But boil or steam asparagus a little too long and you’ve got unappetizing mush.

INTERESTED IN JOINING A CSA? Willowsford Farm is now offering CSA memberships for a weekly share of fresh mixed vegetables, fruit, and herbs during its growing season from June through Thanksgiving. Additional details and instructions on how to join are available on the Farm’s website at MEMBERSHIPS: Each week from June to Thanksgiving (23 weeks), members will receive a farm share of fresh, mixed produce consisting of 6-10 items depending upon the time of year. An item may be a pint of cherry tomatoes, a head of lettuce, a melon, 2-3 pounds of sweet potatoes, etc.

COST: $675 per membership. EXTRAS: Willowsford Farm is proud to support the Virginia wine region and 2012 CSA memberships will include a bottle of wine and other great perks from Willowsford’s vineyard partners in Loudoun County. CSA members will also receive weekly farm updates, tips and recipes from Bonnie Moore and invitations to special farm and culinary events.


Bonnie Moore, Willowsford’s Culinary Director, brings more than 25 years of experience to the community as a strategic planner, chef, and educator focused on the culinary arts, healthy eating, and connecting farms with families. Educated at the famed culinary arts university Johnson & Wales and L’Academie de Cuisine, Bonnie is the former executive sous chef at the renowned Inn at Little Washington. There, Bonnie became part of a farm-to-food community that shaped her career. “I remember tasting a juicy, ripe tomato still warm with field heat for the first time in my life,” she says. “I was 25 years old and the experience changed my life forever.” Bonnie brings this sensibility to Willowsford, where as Culinary Director she is advising the developer on the demonstration kitchens that will be located in The Lodge and The Sycamore House recreation centers, and oversees all of the culinary programming elements that connect the farm with the local residents.

Khovnanian Homes

At Willowsford K. Hovnanian is a family-owned and operated, national homebuilder that has been committed to excellence since 1959, and today builds in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, the Southeast, the Midwest, Texas and Arizona. The company combines its national experience with a local focus in each market, which led the Willowsford development team to select K. Hovnanian as one of Willowsford’s dedicated homebuilders. K. Hovnanian custom-created a new line of homes specifically for Willowsford that capture Virginia’s history, with architecture inspired by heirloom family farmhouses and Colonial manors. Interiors offer up to six bedrooms and up to four-and-a-half baths, with up to 4,200+ square feet of thoughtfully appointed space. Front porches and porticos enter into genteel, welcoming foyers, gourmet kitchens open to light-filled great rooms that are the hearts of the homes, and gracious owner’s suites soothe away the stress of daily life.

Directions to Tenant House Information Center from DC: Take the Dulles Greenway (Route 267) West to Exit 7 for Loudoun County Parkway (Route 607). Turn left off the exit onto Loudoun County Parkway. Continue to a right onto Ryan Road (Route 772). Turn left onto Evergreen Mills Road (Route 621) and proceed approximately 2 miles to a right onto Founders Drive in The Grange. Follow Founders Drive to the Tenant House Information Center on the left.


606 267


Washington, DC

620 659

Starting from the Upper $500’s Tenant House Information Center 23510 Founders Drive, Ashburn, VA 20148 571-233-9979 Model Open Daily 11-6pm

*Earnest money deposit required at contract. Not to be combined with any other offer. See sales consultant for details. Prices, terms and features subject to a change without notice. Prices reflect base prices and are subject to change. Lot premiums may apply and community association fees are required. Closing cost assistance valid only with the use of K. Hovnanian American Mortgage and approved title companies. Offer not good in CT, NJ and NY. Void where prohibited. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 11



Elixirs by Kristen Hartke photos by Molly McDonald Peterson


mere century ago, when Braddock Road was still a rutted dirt track winding through Loudoun County,

the locals might have amused themselves by visiting a traveling medicine show. Stocked with pills, potions, and

Juice of one lemon Club soda Lemon slice and fennel leaves, for garnish Make the gin infusion: Place gin, anise hyssop leaves, and fennel stems in a small bowl or glass; set aside for a few hours, then remove hyssop and fennel. Make the lemon simple syrup: Put lemon juice, sugar, and water into a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or until syrup has thickened. Remove from heat and cool. Assemble the drink: Add a few ice cubes to a large wine glass. Pour in 1 ½ ounces of gin infusion, one tablespoon of lemon simple syrup, and three ounces of chilled Chardonnay. Stir briskly, then top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a slice of lemon and a few fennel leaves.

various miracle cures, nothing would be more popular than elixirs that promised to conquer everything from thinning hair to tuberculosis—although these remarkable remedies were, in reality, little more than alcohol and sugar mixed with a handful of herbs. The tonics might not cure what ailed you, but they might relieve you of your cares temporarily. “Apothecary cocktails” are the twenty-first century twist on that old snake oil tradition, marrying aromatic herbs with hand-crafted liquors to create complex flavors fresh off the farm. Willowsford Farm boasts mint, lemon balm, hyssop, fennel, lavender, sage, basil, and bee balm, to name a few, and an afternoon forage through the meadows and woods may also yield edible wildflowers such as violets and dandelions that can add an interesting dimension to your next happy hour at the Boat House. But, sorry, these elixirs still won’t fix that bald patch.

Woodland Lemon Crush The woodsy undertone of juniper berries in Catoctin Creek’s Watershed Gin meld well with the subtle licorice flavors of fennel and anise hyssop, a member of the mint family. Hyssop is an ingredient used in absinthe and is thought to help treat lung conditions—but should only be used sparingly.

3 ounces gin 2 anise hyssop leaves, washed 1 heaping tablespoon chopped fennel stems ½ cup sugar ½ cup water 3 ounces chilled Chardonnay (North Gate, Tarara, and Sunset Hills are just a few of the Loudoun vineyards that offer great varieties) 12 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Farmer Mike’s Moonglow Margarita Ploughing, composting, harvesting—life on the farm is no picnic, which is why a hardworking farmer deserves a refreshing cocktail just as the moon begins to rise over the fields. Used to treat excessive sweating and muscle cramps, sage adds a pungently peppery note to this slightly unorthodox nightcap.

2 ounces Catoctin Creek Mosby’s Spirit (unaged whiskey) 4 fresh sage leaves, washed 2 tablespoons light agave nectar 2 ounces fresh lime juice ½ ounce triple sec Wedge of lime for garnish Coarse salt, for rimming the glass Make the whiskey infusion: Put the Mosby’s Spirit, 2 sage leaves, and 1 tablespoon of agave nectar in a small bowl or glass. Lightly bruise the sage leaves and set aside for two hours, then remove the leaves. Assemble the drink: Run the wedge of lime around the rim of a margarita or old fashioned glass and dip the rim in the coarse salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice and add the infused Mosby’s Spirit, triple sec, lime juice, an additional tablespoon of agave nectar, and 2 fresh sage leaves. Shake vigorously and pour contents into the glass (do not strain). Garnish with lime wedge.

Kristen Hartke is a Washington writer and the force behind the cocktail blog

Grange Julep There’s no need to head to Kentucky to enjoy a good julep when you’ve got all the ingredients in your own backyard. This version uses the fresh heads of chamomile flowers and honey to create a soothing concoction that is woken up with spicy mint.

6–8 chamomile flower heads, with any dirt brushed off 12 ounces rye whiskey (go local with Copper Fox or Catoctin Creek) 4 tablespoons local honey Generous handful of fresh mint leaves, washed Cracked ice Several clean sprigs of fresh mint for garnish Powdered sugar Make the julep syrup: place the handful of mint leaves and chamomile in a bowl, drizzle the honey over them, and cover with 6 ounces of rye whiskey. Using the back of a wooden spoon or a muddling stick, lightly mash the mint and chamomile to release the essential oils. Cover and set aside for one hour. Strain the liquid into another bowl, then gather the mint and chamomile leaves into a piece of cheesecloth or a paper towel and squeeze thoroughly into the liquid, to capture all the herbal essence. Strain the entire mixture again. Can be made ahead and kept bottled in a dark cupboard for several days. Assemble the drinks: Chill four old-fashioned glasses or julep cups, place a sprig of fresh mint in the bottom of each glass, and fill with cracked ice. Combine the julep syrup with an additional six ounces of rye whiskey. Pour three ounces of rye julep mixture into each glass and stir briskly with a bar spoon. Add another sprig of mint and dust each glass lightly with powdered sugar. Serve immediately.



Barnraiser There’s nothing like putting up a barn to make you thirsty for a refreshing drink. Ginger and basil combine here to help you rehydrate after a long work day with the neighbors. Try different varieties of basil such as peppery Thai Basil or citrusy Lemon Basil to add a new dimension.

3 ounces vodka (try Whitewater Vodka from West Virginia or Virginia’s own Deep Run Vodka) 2 slices of fresh ginger, each about 1” diameter ¼ cup clean basil leaves, loosely packed 1 heaping teaspoon granulated sugar ¼ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger Club soda Place the vodka and ginger into a small bowl or glass and set aside for an hour. Then take a highball glass and put basil leaves, sugar, and grated ginger in the bottom. Muddle these ingredients together and add ice. Remove ginger slices from vodka and pour over ice, then top with club soda. Stir to combine before serving.


Wild Violet Soda The edible flowers known as violets, violas, or pansies— not the African violet—make a beautiful floral base for a simple syrup. It’s even prettier when you use deep purple petals to impart a rich color to the final product.

1 cup water 1 cup sugar ½ cup fresh violets or pansies, leaves and stems removed 6 ounces club soda First, make the violet simple syrup: soak the violets in the water for several hours at room temperature. Pour the water, violets, and sugar into a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the syrup is thickened and has taken on the color of the flowers. Remove the petals and let cool to room temperature. To make the soda: Pour two tablespoons of violet simple syrup into a glass filled with ice and top with club soda. Stir well and enjoy. Tastes lovely with a splash of vodka too.



Harmony O Cluster Wine Trail

ne of the wonderful things about Virginia’s burgeoning wine industry is that the wineries are mostly small and personal. The wines are delicious, and it’s not unusual to meet the vintner who made the glass of grape you are drinking and strike up a conversation about what’s in your glass. Try doing that in Napa. Loudoun County, which doubles as D.C.’s wine country, is home to the four vineyards known as the Harmony Cluster, the moniker drawn from the original name of the town now known as Hamilton. Be prepared for some gravel roads and gorgeous spring blooms along the way.

by Karly Pope







3 2 7





Casanel Vineyards:


Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery:


Zephaniah Farm Vineyard: Zephaniah Farm Vineyard is a small, 100%


Willowcroft Farm Vineyards: Not far from Zephaniah is Willowcroft

Situated at the foot of Catoctin Mountain, about 10 minutes from Leesburg, is Casanel Vineyards. Six grape varietals are grown on 10 acres, including Norton, the only grape indigenous to Virginia (and Casanel is the only winery in the cluster currently growing it). The stone barn-turned-tasting-room was hand restored by owner Nelson DeSouza, and while you’re there, try the Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon, and late harvest Viognier. Since opening in October 2008, Casanel’s wines have been made off site, but the new winery is under construction and set to be complete by the end of the year. On weekends, guests can enjoy live music and in the summer there is often wood-fired pizza served on the patio. For information and event schedule, visit their website at The final stop on the Harmony Cluster wine trail is Dry Mill Vineyards and Winery. Its tasting room and winery were once the stables and barn for the Loudoun Hunt, and owners Dean and Nancy VanHuss try to keep the equestrian spirit alive at Dry Mill. There are some young vines on site—about an acre—but the majority of grapes are grown at their vineyard in Lovettsville (where Dean has been growing them for over a decade). Try their Barrel Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot in the rustic tasting room, and don’t forget to bring a picnic to enjoy outdoors at a picnic table on the lawn. On Friday nights in the summer, you’re also likely to hear live music on the patio. Check out their website for information:

family operated winery southwest of Leesburg. Farming is at the heart of the operation—once a dairy farm, Zephaniah now grows 1.5 acres of grapes on site with plans to expand to 3 acres this spring (while still producing grass-fed beef, honey and other products sold at local farmers markets). Their wine is made in the vineyard; 100% of their grapes are farmed at vineyards the family owns and leases. The most popular wines are the Zephaniah Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin, with the winery’s first Viognier and Rose to be released in April of this year. The experience at Zephaniah is unique, as their tasting room is situated in the living room of the 1830 Manor house where guests are invited to enjoy a seated tasting. Visit their website at for hours and more information.

Farm, Loudoun’s oldest winery. All grapes are grown on the farm’s 17 acres of vines, which includes five red and six white varietals, and they are one of only two vineyards in the state to grow the Albarino varietal. Of about 14 different wines, Willowcroft’s RMO (Riesling-Muscat-Ottanel) is by their the most popular, with their Cabernet France and Petit Verdot as popular reds. The tasting room is located in a circa-1875 barn and the property offers beautiful views of Loudoun Valley from its vantage point on Catoctin Ridge. Check out their website at for upcoming weekend events.

While you’re in the area, be sure to visit historic Hamilton and Oatlands Plantation, which is off Route 15, not far from Zephania and Willowcroft. A delicious lunch can be had at any number of places in Leesburg. The Inspired staff especially loves The Wine Kitchen, Tuscarora Mill, and Lightfoot Restaurant. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 17


Spot Spring’s First Blooms Looking for a walk with nature, but have no time for a trip to Shenandoah National Park? Not to worry. There are plenty of engaging and beautiful parks and nature preserves within a short drive from Willowsford. The following are four special places with trails that can take you away from it all, and give you your first glimpse of spring blooms. Of course, with Willowsford’s extensive trail network you may not have to go anywhere at all!

Fraser Preserve Trail (Northwestern Fairfax)

This 220-acre property, formerly a summer retreat for a Washington family, was given to the Nature Conservancy in 1975. The land contains “excellent examples of the natural habitats found in the Piedmont region”, says the Conservancy. The property is managed with little interference, the goal being to return it to something close to its condition before European settlement. Paul Elliott, Washington D.C.-based author of the guidebook “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles,” calls the Fraser Preserve a “delightful and secluded place to hike.” Try the six-mile West Trail loop, which offers about 1,200 feet of elevation change. This could be a good workout for power-walkers, or take it at an amble so as to enjoy the great variety of trees and shrubs— spicebush, oak, pine, holly—that fill the forests. The preserve borders the Potomac at its northern end, and visitors can view canal stonework that remains from the 18th century Potowmack Company, a concern that George Washington and others established to try to make the river navigable for small trading ships. (search the site for Fraser Preserve) 18 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Banshee Reeks Trails (Central Loudoun)

The name of the 730-acre Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve reflects superstitions of the Scotch-Irish who were early settlers of the county. Banshee is the Gaelic word for a female spirit whose loud cries are a sign of impending doom; reeks, by contrast, describe the scenes of rolling hills so common in Loudoun. No banshees have been reported in the area recently, but the flora and fauna is certainly diverse. Pileated woodpeckers, great blue herons, and eastern phoebes are among the 200 bird species that have been observed. The animals include red fox, beaver, even a stray black bear. Trilliums, orange trumpet creepers, Virginia bluebells, and goldenrods are just a few of the many wildflowers poking up. It’s also a good spot for butterf ly lovers. The Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy reported recently seeing migrating monarchs, common buckeyes, a variegated fritillary, orange sulpher and an easterntailed blue. Goose Creek, which despite its name is an official Virginia Scenic River, winds along the southern border of the preserve. Wetlands, hardwood forests and meadows provide a diversity of habitats. Created by Loudoun County less than two decades ago, the preserve is overseen by the Loudoun County parks department, which maintains more than a dozen trails and a visitor center.

Pimmit Run Trail (Eastern Fairfax)

The best place to start the Pimmit trail is at its busy intersection of Glebe Road and Chain Bridge Road at the Virginia end of Chain Bridge. You can grab a quick peek at the spectacular Potomac River gorge from the bridge, then double back to the northwest side of the much smaller Pimmit bridge, where you will find two historic markers that relate the little-known history of this area. Big fact: it’s the spot where the Declaration of Independence was hidden in an empty mill overnight when the British burned Washington in 1814. Walking upstream, you’ll immediately be greeted by

on Nearby Hiking Trails

by Steven Dryden

the rocky Pimmit valley, where the rushing, tumbling water quickly drowns out car noise (the area is in fact part of the George Washington Memorial Parkway). About a half of a mile from the bridge, you can turn off to see the modest remnants of the Civil War-era Fort Marcy, or keep walking on what soon becomes a flat pathway. Still very tree-covered, the trail cooled by stream breezes is pleasant even on rather warm summer days. Yellow trout lilies and white Mayapple flowers are among the attractions in the floodplain. Kirby Road, another mile upstream, is a good place to turn around if you’d like to keep the walk to less than two hours. Be on the lookout for the belted kingfisher, which zooms along the Pimmit valley like a Star Wars fighter plane. In the trees you can spot redtailed hawks watching for prey.

Ridge Trail

(Bull Run Mountains Natural Area) This natural area near Haymarket is known for its rare wildflowers, and in contrast, the fighting that took place in the Civil War over access though a natural gap separating Fauquier and Prince William Counties. Ridge Trail leads to the best overlook, notes guide Paul Elliott. “It’s a broad rock ledge with magnificent views to the west of Piedmont farmlands with their glinting ponds and isolated hills,” he writes. “Looking out across the void, you may well see ravens and various raptors in search of sustenance.” Don’t miss the white quartzite cliffs of the 16-mile long Bull Run Mountain ridge. Another attraction: as you pass the natural area going west on Route 66, you’ll see ruins of the impressive, seven-story Beverley Mill, which is being partially restored. Springs and runoff from the Bull Run mountains feed both the Occoquan River and Goose Creek. Catlett’s Branch intersects the natural area, and near its northern headwaters is Bull Run Mountain Vegetable Farm, one of the oldest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the Washington area. The farm also pioneered chemical and pesticide-free practices as early as the 1960s.

Look for the tiny yellow trout lily, whose leaves resemble the markings on the fish, on the Pimmit Run Trail. It blooms in early spring.



Park It by Alecia Evans

eady to take your dog for romp in the park with a bunch of other happy-go-lucky-dogs? The dog park is as great a treat for your dog as it for you: you’ll both get exercise and a chance to play and socialize with neighbors. But dogs are pack animals, and unfamiliar dogs in a dog park will have to establish their place in the pack in order to play. This can be a challenging time for an unprepared or “unbalanced” dog (as well as its human, who has to stand by and watch!). When a dog has nervous, aggressive, or unbalanced energy, other, more centered dogs will correct it by nipping what they see as unacceptable behavior. To humans this may not look nice, but it is the way dogs instinctively keep order amongst themselves. 20 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

HELPFUL RESOURCES Got a new puppy? Congratulations! To learn about the best ways to socialize your newest family member check out Have a dog that walks you? Check out and end the pulling habit in minutes. This will have you and your pooch in a balanced state to lessen the risk of fights. Need a trainer to correct behavior issues? Contact to link up with great trainers in your area.

Here’s how to prepare a pooch to be a balanced part of a joyous pack, and ensure its safety as well as the safety of the other dogs. Note: If you have a new puppy, it may be best to wait until he’s at least six months old before heading out to play with the big dogs. In the meantime, you can facilitate positive experiences of socialization at a puppy class or even a doggie day care while they are growing.


Center You First. Remember what the stewardesses remind you


Teach Your Dog How To Manage His Own Energy. As a

to do every time you are on the plane? In the event of an emergency put the oxygen mask on your face first. It’s the same in the dog park. First, consider your frame of mind and sense of confidence. Are you calm, relaxed, and free of any negative projections of what might occur at the park? Take a deep breath and relax. This is vital: dogs pick up energy from the person on the other end of the leash. Your dog knows one of two things—either you are in charge or they are. If you are nervous or on edge your dog will sense it and be on high alert for threats, which is not the way you want him or her to enter a dog park. Instead allow yourself to breathe, and be the confident, calm leader shepherding your pup to a new and exciting adventure. If you are calm, your dog will be calm.

professional trainer I am a huge advocate of teaching your dog how to harness his own energy, rather than you trying to hold it back for him. I use front clip harnesses to train and walk dogs. It is easier for dogs to learn about backing off and managing their own energy when there is a clear, consistent boundary—the harness—that they are accountable to. This makes it easier for them to interact with other dogs in a balanced manner and diminishes the potential for fighting. I developed the Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System for this purpose. It comes complete with harness, leash, and online videos that will have you and your dog or pup walking in sync in just minutes without ever choking them or struggling with them for control.



Walk The Line—the fence line, that is. When approaching the


Picture What You Want. As you are on your way to the dog park,

park for the first time, walk the fence line with your pooch to ensure that they get the smells and a sense of the other dogs while there is still a fence between them. Give your dog the opportunity for introductions by loosening the leash, which signals to them that you are calm, they are safe, and they can make their choices freely.

Alecia Evans, an award-winning television host, author, lecturer, and frequent guest on TV and radio, is the inventor of Walk In Sync™ Humane Dog Walking and Training System, the first truly pain-free system on the market that will never choke your dog. She can be reached at

visualize a picture of all going smoothly and your dog having fun and playing with the other pooches without incident. Your thoughts create your world, so program your mind to focus on what you do want—not what you don’t. That creates anxiety, and your dog will feel it.


Socialize. Be calm and clear from puppyhood and make sure to

socialize your dog from the beginning when they are pups by giving them plenty of time to play, socialize, and learn good manners—both from you and from other dogs. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 21


“Letting be” Meditation for the beginner by Hugh Byrne


editation can literally change your mind: participants in an eightweek mindfulness course who meditated a half-hour every day showed physical improvements in the cortex in areas connected to learning, memory, self-awareness, compassion, and introspection. Cortical areas linked to stress and anxiety thinned. And it can change your body: A study in 2011 showed that meditation was more effective 22 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

than even morphine in reducing pa in. A 2008 study showed that meditation helped lower blood pressure in two-thirds of study participants—the practice actually increases the formation of nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to open up. And meditation slowed the advance of HIV because it boosts the immune system. If you want to experience the benefits of meditation, here is a way to start.

Mindfulness meditation is one of the best-known and simplest forms. It is a practice of bringing a kind and non-judging awareness to one’s experience, moment-bymoment. In mindfulness meditation, we allow our experience to be as it is—not resisting, grasping or judging, but noticing what is happening moment by moment in the body, mind, and emotions. This diminishes the tendency of the mind to be lost in memories, plans, daydreams, and fantasies, and encourages a sense of ease and well-being in the present. We can begin by placing our attention on our breath, and using this focus to counter distractions and be here, now. When difficulties arise—bodily pain or discomfort, painful emotions or mind states—these can gently be made the object of awareness. When we open to them, rather than adding layers of resistance to an already unpleasant experience, they can become less challenging. People often ask, ‘when should I meditate?’ There is no ‘best time.’ It really depends on what works best for each person in their life and schedule. We can meditate at any time, anywhere, if we bring our awareness to our experience, just as it is. Some people like to meditate early in the morning before they launch into the activities and responsibilities of the day. Others prefer after work or during a lunch break. For some the best opportunity to meditate may be while riding the bus or taking the train

Here are some basic instructions that can help you develop a regular meditation practice: to work. Find a time that works well for you and commit to a daily practice. See if you can sit for 10 minutes a day, five or six times a week…and gradually increase the time you meditate over a period of months. The right posture to meditate in is what works for you and allows you to be comfortable, relaxed, and alert. It is helpful to sit with your back straight, relax your body, and let your breath be easy and relaxed. Bring an attitude of “letting be.” Allow your experience to be as it is, rather than striving “do it right.” You can sit cross legged, if that is comfortable, using a pillow or cushion. Or you can use a bench or a chair. You can also meditate lying down, if you need to or find that preferable. You might also find times during the day to pause and bring awareness to your breath or bodily sensations to help cultivate awareness, joy, and happiness in the present moment.

Choose a time of day when you feel relatively rested and energetic. Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. Set an alarm, so you aren’t occupied with the time. Find a relaxed and comfortable posture. Take a few minutes to consciously relax the body and mind. Give yourself permission to put aside other obligations and allow yourself to be fully present with whatever comes up for you during the period of meditation. Use your breathing as the focus for your attention, and bring awareness to the breath at the nostrils or at the belly or chest. When the mind wanders into thought—plans, memories, daydreams—gently bring your attention back to the breath. If some bodily experience—pain or discomfort or a pleasant feeling, or a difficult or pleasant emotion— calls for your attention, make that the object of your awareness. Stay with that experience as much as you are able to, returning to the breath if it lessens or passes. At the end of the period of meditation, you might note the overall quality of the experience (calm, peace, sleepiness, busy mind) without judging or seeking any particular state. Simply be aware of your experience, as it is.

Hugh Byrne, the co-founder of the Washington Buddhist Peace Fellowship, has been teaching meditation for 12 years. He completed a four-year teacher-training program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in California and the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Ma., and has trained in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Somatic Experiencing, a mind-body approach to healing trauma. He also mentors a team that teaches mindfulness in correctional facilities in the D.C. region. For information about his classes and workshops, go to SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 23


“The mudroom has become one of the most sought after spaces in new homes. Beazer has designed our floorplans at Willowsford to provide functional mudrooms without sacrificing style, offering the perfect transitional space to help keep your family organized!” —Kellie Tolocka, Beazer Homes

THE NEW ESSENTIAL ROOM Your Guide to Creating the Perfect Mudroom by Lauren Liess


Photos by Chris Spielmann

MAKE YOUR OWN CHALKBOARD PAINT It’s simply a mix of paint and tile grout, in an 8 to 1 ratio. Mix well: 2 cups acrylic or latex paint (any color) 4 teaspoons tile grout (unsanded) Apply evenly with roller brush, and allow to dry for two hours. Then apply a second coat. Repeat this step for a total of 3 coats. The paint dries quickly in the can so it’s better to mix just the amount you will be able to apply at a time. When the paint is dry, run the flat side of a piece of chalk over the surface to condition it and prepare it for use.


1 A spot for every member of the household to leave their coats, shoes, gear, bags and “mess” at the door.


he ideal home is both beautiful and comfortable. It fits our busy lives and families, and is practical and livable. It’s easy to keep clean and organized, and we can breeze in and out without wreaking havoc on the house. But the reality is that life is messy. We enter the house with our hands full of bags, groceries and “stuff,” which we plunk down to start putting away. We’re busy, and not everything always finds its place once it makes it inside, which creates little messes that can eventually (or very quickly, if your family’s anything like mine) turn into big ones. And a home isn’t pretty or even comfortable if it’s disorganized, so we need to design our homes with organization and livability in mind. One of the best ways to keep your home and your family organized is to create a mudroom, which organizes all of the “stuff” coming into your house on a daily basis. The key to getting and staying organized in any space is creating a designated spot for every single thing. When designing your mudroom, think of all of the messes that come into your house that could be stopped right at the door: mail, store returns, coats, shoes, bags, paper clutter, sports gear and seasonal items like Christmas lights or umbrellas. Making a place for each of these things ensures that your transitions in and out of the house will be faster and smoother, and you’ll be taking a critical step in keeping your family’s daily debris at bay.

Mudrooms are increasing in popularity for good reason. Whether you’re carving out a mudroom from an existing space or outfitting one that has been specially built, here are some important elements to include: 26 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

— D e signate d , lab ele d cubbie s for ever y family member make organization easy, but if that isn’t possible, at least have a wall of hooks. Put some down low so the little ones can hang up their own jackets and gear. —It’s important that everyone’s onboard and gets into the habit of unloading his or her gear in the right spot.


A message center for the family. —T h is c o u l d b e a c h a l k b o a rd , whiteboard, or individual corkboards. Calendars are also all great to include. There are both chalkboard and whiteboard paints on the market. And it’s easy to make your own chalkboard paint in any color you want.

3 A mail station for incoming mail. —Consider putting a small trash can or recycling bin near the mail slot. You may want an outlet and a shredder there, too.


A school paper station.

—Kids can deposit homework, art, permission slips, etc. for mom or dad to look at.

5 A rug that is easily cleaned and will stop dirt from getting further into the house. —There are many attractive outdoor rugs that can be hosed off, and they are less expensive than many natural fiber rugs. Sea grass is a great option too and is very inexpensive.


A mirror for last-minute checks on the way out.


A spot for car and house keys and cell phones. —If you have the space, a console table with tray on top will work. If your mudroom is smaller, try a wallmounted soap dish. -While you’re at it, make duplicates o f key s a n d ke e p t h e m i n t h e mudroom too. If for some reason the regular keys go missing, you’ll never be slowed down on your way out.


Adequate lighting.

—Lighting should be functional and attractive, and fit with the décor in the rest of your home.



—Inject your family’s personality into the décor. While the room is about function, it’s also your family’s first step into home. Make it feel that way! Cubby interiors can be painted a favorite color, or you can hang family photos or mementos from a recent trip.



—Yo u n e e d a p l a c e f o r of te n awkward spor ts equipment, umbrellas, hats, shoes, extra coats, beach towels, etc. I’ve used shoe organizers that hang on the backs of doors for hats, scarves, gloves and they make it really easy for everything to stay organized. (Even the little ones can help!) Baskets are also great.


A bench or chair.

—Larger mudrooms can fit a storage bench for sitting down and pulling off shoes, or small benches can be installed in each cubby with shoe storage underneath.


Practical flooring.

— M a ke s u r e t h e f l o o r i n g c a n handle water and mud. Think stone, hardwood, brick, sea grass or tile.

“The mudroom is the Home’s Central Headquarters and organizes our lives. It’s where the bulletin board reminds us what time to pick up the kids. It’s the launching pad; the place where all the necessities for heading out the door can be located in one convenient spot. Even the dog knows where to find his leash and rain coat.”—Robin Ingenito, VanMetre Homes SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 27


THE SURVEY SAYS... There was a time when every well -appointe d home had a separate dining room, living room, and parlor. Then came the fascination with great rooms and vast open kitchens. The recession, however, has refined what homeowners want. Recent consumer surveys s h ow t h a t p ra c t ic a lit y n ow trumps luxury. Simply put, how your space works is even more important than how it looks. A recent survey by the American Institute of Architects shows that even as new home sizes shrink, most “special function” rooms like in-law suites, home gyms, and game rooms are being jet tisoned from plans . Mud rooms, however, are increasingly requested by homeowners, even in smaller homes.

“Mudrooms are a ‘must have’ for homebuyers today. Our K. Hovnanian home designs showcase well thought-out, functional mudrooms that serve family’s active and growing lifestyle.” —Howard Johnson, K. Hovnanian 28 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Lauren Liess is the principal of Lauren Liess Interiors, an interior design firm in Northern Virginia. She writes a design and living blog called Pure Style Home (

Set in the rolling landscape of Loudoun County, the new community of Willowsford is as distinctive for its homes and natural community design as it is for what’s been left untouched – 2,000 acres of shared open space. Which means plenty of room to explore, to play, to grow, and to dream in nature’s own peace and quiet – right in your back yard. And that’s a good thing, because the best adventures begin and end at home.

The Willows

The keystone of the Willowsford vision is “Inspired Living,” establishing grounded connections for the community and its residents to enrich their quality and variety of life. Willowsford draws on Virginia’s scenic landscape and rich agricultural heritage to create a community defined by its expansive natural beauty, unique and engaging recreational spaces, a strong food and farm connection, and activities that encourage an appreciation for the environment and land stewardship.


Located in the heart of Loudoun County, Willowsford spans over 4,000 acres and is comprised of four distinctive “villages” interconnected within the framework of the overall community: The Grange, The Grant, The Grove and The Greens. More than half of the land in the community is designated to remain as open space under the stewardship of the Willowsford Conservancy, a nonprofit organization specially formed to oversee and maintain Willowsford’s extensive natural resources. This scenic “naturescape” strongly characterizes the traditional Virginia countryside, with lush forests, rolling meadows and agricultural fields

sford Story punctuated by hedgerows and woodland streams that will be maintained through a variety of sustainable uses intended to further connect residents to the land and its legacy, such as Willowsford Farm. This remarkable lifestyle connection is further enhanced by a variety of distinctive and engaging recreational areas and programs. Sycamore House and The Lodge at Willow Lake, two of the community centerpieces, will include resort-quality amenities. These signature facilities showcase Willowsford’s farm-to-table attributes by supporting a variety of culinary activities and have been thoughtfully planned to provide residents with a range of exceptional indoor and outdoor features that will appeal to all ages, including two distinctive pool complexes, a spray-and-play pool, state-ofthe-art fitness facilities and a village green framed by decorative gardens. Willowsford will also feature an extensive trail and park network, a lake for non-motorized boating and fishing, an amphitheater, a dog park, camping and interpretive nature areas. The emphasis on open space as a recreational amenity, sustainable agriculture and the authentic character are all intended to integrate Willowsford into the local landscape in a way that has not been done before in Northern Virginia‌ creating a unique environment and a sense of place that sets Willowsford apart from other communities in the area. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 31

Tenant House Information Center 23510 Founders Drive Ashburn, VA 20148 Boat House Information Center 41095 Braddock Road Aldie, VA 20105 Open Daily 11am - 6pm 571-297-2000 For directions, visit 32 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Country Charm Modern Convenience Willowsford is located in the heart of Loudoun County, between Virginia hunt country and thriving eastern Loudoun County, at the foothills of the Northern Virginia Piedmont along historic Route 50. The community offers convenient access to transportation and major employment centers in Northern Virginia: Washington Dulles International Airport, Reston Town Center, Route 28, the Dulles Toll Road and I-66 are all accessible within approximately 15 minutes. The Metrorail extension to the airport and beyond to Route 772 (Ryan Road) is currently underway with projected completion in 2017.


Brimming with history, character, and economic vitality, the local landscape is a patchwork of agricultural fields, rolling meadows, woodlands, residential neighborhoods, shopping and public parks. Willowsford’s exceptional location represents a union between the typically suburban and more densely developed areas east and the pastoral countryside dotted with small hamlets further west. This duality supports the Willowsford vision to enrich the lives of its residents through meaningful connections to nature, neighbors, and Virginia’s rich history. Willowsford offers the best of all possibilities– the charm and character of the countryside with state-of-the-art amenities and a convenient location.

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The Willowsford Conservancy is a nonprofit 501(c)4 organization, with the mission and authority to foster and preserve a true sense of “community” at Willowsford – a place where people put down roots, build relationships and get involved in a way that enhances their lifestyle and that of the community at large.

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The Willowsford Conservancy advocates and encourages an appreciation for the environment and land stewardship. The Conservancy sets the tone for the community’s lifestyle by working to support the core Willowsford philosophies of interaction with the land, with nature, and with family and friends in ways that make everyday life here rewarding, fulfilling…and fun.

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The objectives of the Conservancy are: • To manage and maintain Willowsford’s ‘naturescape’ of forests, trails, streams, parklands and agricultural resources. • To program educational activities and services that connect and enhance the lifestyle of Willowsford residents. • To establish a beneficial relationship between other community governance programs and initiatives within Willowsford. • To provide a framework for supporting its operations, activities and services.

The Willowsford Conservancy was created to help residents connect with the land, with nature and with each other. 2011

Inspired 36 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

Living What would you like to do today? Boating and fishing? Swimming? Hiking? Biking? Gardening? Yoga? Or perhaps, a cooking class or demonstration by a local chef to add to your own culinary repertoire? Willowsford offers all of these – and more! So, no matter what inspires you, outdoors or in, the community’s unique array of planned recreational and social amenities let you and your family indulge in all of your favorite pastimes, and explore some new ones. Make every day a truly fulfilling experience in the scenic beauty of Willowsford. At Willowsford, the “great outdoors” is a signature aspect of life. With more than 2,000 acres of scenic naturescape–including forests, streams and meadows connected by miles and miles of trails–residents can exercise, spend time with neighbors, let their dogs play in the dog park, or just savor incredible views and a quiet, reflective walk in nature. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 37

Farm-to-table food. Locally grown produce. Seasonal eating. These ideas have gained strength in Americans’ consciousness over the past few years. Now, for Willowsford residents, these healthy concepts will “come home” through Willowsford Farm.


Willowsford is designed for people with high expectations for themselves and for the place they call home. Qualities that redefine Virginia living: • Over 4,000 acres of scenic Virginia countryside, with 2,000 acres of natural open space, bordered by traditional low stone walls and four-board fencing along rolling pastures bounded by hedgerows and lush forested areas • Miles of nature trails offering varying degrees of intensity for walking, hiking and biking • Willow Lake for canoeing, kayaking and fishing

The vintage 1948 Willowsford farm truck, the traveling "ambassador" for the community.

• Unique amenity areas for a wide variety of outdoor recreational pursuits, including a dog park, picnic and camping areas, and a sledding hill • Willowsford Farm, offering fresh seasonal produce and a pick-your-own farm garden • Culinary classes, demonstrations and events in exceptional settings • Resort-style pools with cabanas and a children’s spray-and-play pool • Outdoor amphitheater and village green for community and other special events • An engaging selection of programs and activities designed to connect adults, children and families Willowsford Farm's homegrown harvests will include a variety of seasonal produce, and some that residents can even pick for themselves. Our farm is right at your back door, so it does not get fresher than this – from mixed vegetables and berries to flowers and herbs. Our professional farmer and staff ensure that everything produced by Willowsford Farm is grown with integrity using methods that enhance our natural and agricultural resources.

Sycamore House

The Lodge at Willow Lake will be a vibrant recreation area that embodies the active, natural lifestyle offered by Willowsford. The Lodge is designed to enjoy inspiring views over its large sweeping lawns and across Willow Lake, framed by the picturesque meadow and forest beyond. Its architecture is a blend of sophisticated yet rustic design, reminiscent of a large family lake house with a camp-like, fun atmosphere that extends to its Boat House complete with a fishing dock, outdoor fire pit, canoe launch and storage. The Boat House information center welcomes visitors daily from 11am to 6pm (see map on page 28).



Sycamore House represents a true community hub for recreational activities and neighborly interaction in Willowsford. The centerpiece of The Grange, Sycamore House will engage residents and guests by interweaving the history of the area with local food and wine appreciation, social gatherings, and opportunities for relaxation. In keeping with the area’s agricultural heritage, the design for Sycamore House is reminiscent of a countryside manor. The rambling “estate” will also include the Tenant House constructed using re-purposed stone and wood from a historical structure built on the property circa 1800. The Tenant House information center welcomes visitors daily from 11am to 6pm (see map on page 28).

Lodge at Willow Lake











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The Grange is defined by its natural setting, with rolling hills and woodlands traversed by Upper Broad Run Creek, creating a timeless backdrop for the classic design features integrated into its traditional agricultural areas. The Grange is a key activity center located in the heart of the community and will feature the Sycamore House recreation center, Willowsford Farm and a number of other unique amenity areas accessible from its trail network, including a dog park and community garden.






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Stretching from its secluded entrance off Evergreen Mills Road southwest to Route 50, The Grant is defined by its expansive natural backdrop, featuring lush forested areas and scenic meadowlands bordered by the hedgerows traditional to Loudoun County. A village loop and extensive nature trail network are designed to access the unspoiled beauty of more than 1,000 acres of naturescape, linking multiple parks and camping facilities. In keeping with its natural elegance and “wide open spaces”, The Grant is planned to offer some of the largest estate lots in Willowsford. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 43


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The Grove has an active, outdoor appeal characterized by its mature forests intertwined by two woodland streams, a park and nature area, and its close proximity to The Lodge at Willow Lake, adjacent to its southern border (in The Greens). The character of this village will be emphasized by a scenic, main thoroughfare running along forests and parklands to connect its individual neighborhoods. Whether an outing with family and friends, or a quiet contemplative stroll through the woods, The Grove will inspire interaction with the land and with nature. 44 INSPIRED SPRING 2012




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The Greens is the largest village in Willowsford, defined by an extensive patchwork of scenic forests, meadows and agricultural land of rambling topography extending from Braddock Road down to its southern border along Bull Run Creek. In keeping with this diverse landscape, the Greens is designed to offer a variety of living and entertainment options. The Lodge at Willow Lake, a resident destination for sports and outdoor recreation, is located along its northern boundary. Nearby is the trailhead for a loop trail that will circumnavigate the entire village with varying degrees of intensity to interconnect planned camping and picnic areas. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 45

The Willowsf 46 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

ford ord Home Willowsford introduces a distinctive selection of signature home designs on generous homesites ranging from 1/4 acre to over 2 acres. Each collection of new homes has been exclusively designed by Willowsford’s builders to support the community vision and meet rigorous architectural design guidelines. Ranging in price from the $500,000’s to over $1,000,000 these unique home designs are only available within Willowsford.

historical categories: Formal, Arts and Crafts and Picturesque. This program establishes the design framework to create a diversified and scenic streetscape in harmony with the natural landscape of Willowsford and rooted in the area’s heritage. Each home design is further enhanced by a quality selection of building materials which support the architectural style, authentic character and the latest technology.

The architectural design guidelines for Willowsford were thoughtfully created to capture the rich varied character and charm of Loudoun County, and are based on three

For more information about the current builders’ collections in Willowsford, visit the community website at

© 2012 Willowsford, L.L.C. Willowsford, Willowsford Conservancy, Inspired, Inspired Living, and Naturally Planned Community and are all trademarks of Willowsford, L.L.C. (“Owner”). All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any material in this magazine is expressly prohibited. Publisher reserves the right to accept or reject all advertising matter. The information, illustrations, maps, and depictions contained in this magazine concerning the Willowsford development are based on the current proposed development concepts and actual development may vary from what is depicted. As the Owner’s vision for the project evolves, facilities, features and other components are subject to change. Certain features and amenities depicted within the magazine have not yet been, and may not be, constructed. Dues, fees and assessments may be imposed for the use of some amenities. Photographs and images are not necessarily of the Willowsford development, are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be an actual representation of any features or designs of any specific community, neighborhood, amenities, facilities or improvements. The information in this magazine is only intended as general information about Willowsford and the surrounding community and is not an offer or solicitation to sell property. Lots within Willowsford are not for sale to individual buyers. Owner intends to only sell lots to unaffiliated homebuilders. If you are interested in purchasing a lot within Willowsford please contact homebuilders building within the community. All information concerning homes and homebuilders within this publication was provided by the builders and not independently verified by Owner. Owner does not warrant or guarantee the obligations, construction, or pricing of builders who may build and sell homes in this community. Buyers of homes in Willowsford contract directly with the builder and must rely solely on their own investigation and judgment of the builder's construction and financial capabilities in as much as Owner does not warrant or guarantee such capabilities, nor does Owner warrant or guarantee the design, pricing, engineering, construction, or availability of any home or any other building constructed by such builder or the obligations of any such builder to the buyer. This material shall not constitute a valid offer in any state where prior registration is required or if void by law. Owner is pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation. Owner encourages and supports an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are not barriers to obtaining housing because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. Prices and terms set forth herein are provided by home builders within Willowsford who are not affiliated with the owner and developer of the community. March 2012. | 571-297-2000

Beazer Homes

Ashland Model

At Willowsford Beazer Homes, one of the top ten homebuilders in the U.S., is pleased to present three, brand new home designs at Willowsford. Each of these homes is inspired by craftsman style architecture reflecting old-world style combined with the modern conveniences you love. Homeowners will love the welcoming front porches, gabled roofs and multitude of windows that each of our exteriors will offer. The interior of the homes feature between 3,090 to just over 3,620 square feet of finished living space, 4 bedrooms, 2 ½ to 4 ½ bathrooms and a variety of high end details and finishes. Beazer builds homes that meet and exceed ENERGY STAR® requirements offering increased savings and a lower ongoing cost of ownership.

Directions to model: From Lee Jackson Memorial Highway West (Route 50), turn left onto Gum Spring Road. Turn right onto Braddock Road (Route 62) to a left onto Lake House Lane and left onto Willowsford Lane.


606 267


Washington, DC

620 659

Priced from the Upper $500’s 41119 Willowsford Lane, Aldie, VA 20105 703-593-2036 Model Open Daily 11-6pm

Prices, features, and availability are subject to change at any time without notice. Homes started after 2/14/11 will be ENERGY STAR® homes. To fi nd out whether a particular home is qualified, contact your Beazer New Home Counselor. ©2011 Beazer Homes


Spring cleaning the natural way by Annie Bond



pring cleaning has come to mean a deep cleaning of the home, an undertaking that is, surely, good to do periodically for any house. The task heralds back to the time when houses were filled with soot from winter fires and oil lamps; spring cleaning was a time to wash away the accumulated filth. Having evolved into a top-to-bottom overhaul, spring cleaning is nowadays a colossal chore. How many of us really have the time or inclination for it? Better to keep up with everything as we go along. I, for one, tackle one room or another for a deep “spring cleaning” about every six weeks. For me, spring cleaning is meaningful—and dare I say fun—when it is a celebration of the season. Having grown up in the North, hearing the return of the songbirds and smelling the fresh green smells makes for a joyful time. Energized by the changes outside, I do a little bit of spring cleaning inside every day over a month or so…and the little bit might be simply opening all the windows in the house for fresh air on one of the first warm days. On another day, the increased light streaming in the windows as the days become longer may show me dust in places I didn’t see in the winter, so out comes the lemonand-oil dusting cloth. The increased sun also makes it impossible to ignore dirty windows, so it is a great time to wash the glass to let in more light. Try my tried-and-true, non-toxic window cleaner in ‘The Best Window Wash” sidebar. It uses what you most likely already have in your kitchen cupboards. Another day, shake out your bedding and curtains, and hang them on the line in the sun. It’s a great, natural way to kill dust mites and deodorize, all the while celebrating the sun’s return. Sunlight is powerfully antibacterial. Most of all, spring cleaning for me is all about celebrating fresh, clean air in the house after a long winter of being cooped up with the windows closed. What better time to resolve to establish truly clean air inside your home?

Here are six ways to establish clean air in your home. Simply remove and discontinue using the following: Synthetic Pesticides—and this includes herbicides and disinfectants. Moth Balls—they are a recognized carcinogen and highly neurotoxic. Formaldehyde—the most common source in the home is in pressed-wood products, such as particleboard, plywood, and fiberboard. (Note that AFM Manufacturers has a sealant you can paint over such wood products.) Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)— solvent-based products such as polishes, paints (low-to zero-VOC paints are available), furniture polish, cleansers. Fragrance/Perfume—replace with products that are scent-free or use pure essential oils. Dry Cleaned Clothes—skip cleaners that use perchloroethylene; seek out greener dry cleaners that use oxygen-based procedures. Standard Cleaning Products—look for the government “signal” words on cleaning products, and don’t use anything that is stronger than a “caution.”

LIGHT AND LEMONY DUSTING CLOTH ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice a few drops of pure, food grade lemon oil (as opposed to an essential oil for aromatherapy) a few drops of olive oil a soft cotton rag

Combine the oils, dip a soft, recycled cotton cloth into the oil, and use it for dusting.

THE BEST WINDOW WASH ¼ cup white vinegar

The great news is that there is now a good, healthy green product for almost all the chores we could ever want to do around the home. Alternatives are available even in mainstream outlets like Home Depot and Target. Draw a line in the sand this spring, and choose healthy products to support clean indoor air. 

Annie B. Bond is a green living expert and best-selling author of five books, including “ Better Basics for the Home”

½ teaspoon liquid soap or detergent 2 cups water

Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray on your windows. Wipe off using soft, cotton rags. Old t-shirts are ideal.

and “True Food.” Annie is the editor-in-chief of Terraspheres. More about her work can be found at



Willowsford Life Friends of Willowsford gathered at the Boat House and Tenant House information centers to enjoy good food, good concoctions, and good company. Events included a chef demonstration ‘meet and greets’ with John Champe High School and Farmer Mike, chili cook-off, and s’mores…lots of s’mores! photos by Kiela Hall




Magnolias at the Mill B

uilt in a circa-1905 mill in historic downtown Purcellville, Magnolias at the Mill is now in its ninth year of serving great food from nearby farms to townspeople and tourists alike. The lofty restaurant backs up to the Washington & Old Dominion bike trail, so this is an especially popular spot on warm, spring days—in large part because of the spacious deck. Magnolias is known for its support of local growers, and Executive Chef Mark Marrocco hosts a lunch for his farmers every spring to celebrate the coming growing season. He marries his Italian roots to Virginia’s southern offerings to create Magnolias’ evolving menu. Here Chef Marrocco shares a hearty lamb dish— perfect for bridging the burgeoning spring with the sometimes still blustery weather.


Red Wine-Braised Lamb Shanks With Citrus Gremolata SERVES 6

6 lamb shanks (Frenched and tied; ask your butcher to do this) 3 large carrots, peeled and diced ½ head celery, diced 1 large onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 ounces tomato paste 2 cups red wine (Nebbiolo works) 1 quart chicken stock 1 cup veal stock 1 bay leaf 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley Small handful fresh whole thyme, rosemary and sage Zest of one lemon, minced Preheat oven to 350F. Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper and sear in hot pan (not non-stick) till caramelized. Put into a heavy-bottomed roasting pan with the fresh herbs. Turn heat down in the pan you seared the lamb in and sweat the onions, carrots, and celery until they are soft—do not let them brown. Add garlic and sweat for 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and work into the veggies. Deglaze the pan with wine and reduce to a syrup consistency. Add chicken and veal stock and bring to boil. Pour the stock mixture with the vegetables over the shanks and herbs, cover tightly with foil and put in a 350F oven for 3 hours or until tender. Let shanks cool, remove from liquid, and strain the solids out of the jus. Put the jus back onto heat and simmer to reduce by half, skimming the grease off of the top. Mix the zest and parsley for the gremolata. Serve lamb over whipped or mashed potatoes flavored with goat cheese and chives. Top with braising jus and sprinkle with gremolata. SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 55


The hunt for the elusive morel by Robert Studebaker Photo by Molly M. Peterson


he dream comes like clockwork. It’s late February and I am wandering through the forest. The calendar says it is impossible, but my eyes tell me otherwise. Bending to the ground, I pull a knife from my pocket and begin cutting, one at a time, the flush of treasures I have found. I always wake before my bag is full. And so begins my anticipation of April and the fleeting weeks when morels are king. Foraging in general is special, but hunting for morels is different. It is a measure of life, like a birthday, or spring itself, and with its passing comes the recognition that life’s finite supply of these joys has now reduced by one. We hunt morels for many reasons: They are easy to identify, fantastic table fare, and profitable—they go for around $40 per pound. But the real drive is the satisfaction of a long-dormant primal instinct. Collecting in the woods awakens something primal in a person—hunting and gathering, after all, is what we evolved to do. When you spot your quarry and pick that first morel, an ancient circuit reconnects and a long forgotten part of what it is to be human flickers back to life. In the Mid-Atlantic region, the first black morels (Morchella angusticeps) emerge in mid to late April, after the surface soil temperatures have held in the mid50s for about two weeks. A couple of bio indicators can help you key in. In our part of Virginia, when the redbuds begin to bloom and the petals are starting to fall from most of the bloodroot flowers, black morels are up. Grey/yellow morels (M. esculenta and M. deliciosa) and half-free morels (M. semilibera) quickly follow. The season is short and glorious. By the end of May, the mushrooms collapse back into the earth as quickly as they arose. A little knowledge can put a lot of morels on your plate this spring, plus give you a great excuse to get out and enjoy the warm weather you’ve been waiting for all winter. The best place to start is at the bookstore. Get a mushroom identification guide and do your homework. Morels are nearly unmistakable, but there are a few vaguely similar species that you want to avoid. To find morels, you must walk in the woods. The real woods. If you are lucky enough to have access to privately held woodland…I envy you. If not, don’t worry, I find bags of morels each season in Virginia’s wonderful public woodlands. (Check out county and

city laws before removing anything from public land.) As you walk, you will see many trees, but they are not just trees—they are your map. To find morels, you will need to be able to read your map, that is, identify these trees. The morel is the fruiting body of an underground fungus that spreads widely as thin white strands, called the mycelium. These strands connect with and exchange nutrients with the roots of certain varieties of trees—elm, tulip poplar, ash, and apple being the most noteworthy for our area. To find morels, search the ground beneath these trees. Kneel in As you walk, you the leaf litter, scan slowly, then move to the other will see many trees, side of the tree and do it again. Morels are experts but they are not just at hiding. When you find one, keep searching the trees—they are your same area. Many morels may grow from the mycemap. To find morels, lium net of one individual fungus. Others could be you will need to be only inches or feet away. When it comes to pickable to read your ing the mushroom, a sharp knife is your ally. map, that is, identify Pulling the morel tears the strands of mycelium. these trees. Cut the stem just above the soil and preserve the health of the underground organism. The morel will reward you by fruiting again year after year. A GPS is a great way to mark your “secret” spot for future seasons. Don’t be easily discouraged—keep looking. The first morel is the most difficult to find. Many factors determine where morels grow and how plentifully they fruit, and many of those determinates are still unknown. If one area fails to produce, try another, and another. You will eventually find them, and each time you do, you will better understand the local conditions that are conducive to their growth. You will learn as you go, investing effort, sure, but seeing a much larger return in the form of happiness, health, and of course…dinner.

Robert Studebaker is a freelance writer living in Virginia.



Main Street USA


Washington Street by Pamela Hess

photos by Molly M. Peterson

Low stone walls, graceful Thoroughbreds, leafy lanes, and wide open, sunny pastures— Middleburg is the quintessential Virginia hunt country town. It dates back to 1787, when Leven Powell, an American officer in the Revolutionary War, purchased the land from one of George Washington’s cousins. Its streets are dotted with historical landmarks—160 historic buildings in Middleburg are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register. (One of those, the Red Fox Inn, on the eastern edge of downtown, was a meeting spot for Confederate Colonel John Mosby and his Rangers

during the Civil War). Middleburg’s name is a geographic reference—it’s halfway between Winchester and Alexandria on the Ashby Gap trading route (now known as Route 50, or the John Mosby Highway). Small, tony restaurants, gourmet sandwich shops, bakeries, and boutiques front Washington Street, a several-block-long stretch of independent shops that recall the way it used to be in vibrant small towns. They are full of quality, well-curated goods you won‘t find anywhere else, and you’re likely to meet the shop owner inside, who will show you what’s special, and explain why.

Middleburg Antique Emporium Make a beeline to the Middleburg Antique Emporium where you will want to spend a little time exploring. There are two sprawling floors of art, pedigreed furniture, china, architectural salvage, garden statuary, carpets, and more. It’s home to about 45 dealers so the inventory is always changing. The staff is exceptionally friendly, so you are always welcome just to browse. Middleburg Antique Emporium 107 West Washington Street 58 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

The Magic Wardrobe A few doors down from Betsey you’ll find the original The Magic Wardrobe—the gorgeous children’s clothing boutique that also has an outpost in Georgetown. While stocking big designers like Mark Jacobs, many of the sweet ensembles on sale are designed by owner Bridget Wilson, who several years ago started her own private label. This is your first stop for a new spring frock, for bathing suits for tiny tots, or a baby shower gift. The Magic Wardrobe 108 West Washington Street

Betsey Despite the fabulously expensive real estate in Middleburg, this tiny women’s clothing store won’t break the bank. Colorful winter scarves were $16 (not even on sale!) on a recent visit. Delicate silk dresses for less than $100 hung on racks in back. And Betsey stocks a line of wrap dresses made by local designer Wendy Pepper—from the original Project Runway—that can be customized. Handmade jewelry and gorgeous hand-crafted bags in linen, tweed, and leather line the walls. They’ll even throw open the doors after hours for a shopping party—you can gather up to a dozen girlfriends together to play dress up at your own private event. Betsey 102 West Washington Street SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 59


The Upper Crust Bakery At this point you probably need a snack. Head back east down Washington Street and dart into the Upper Crust Bakery, on Pendleton Street just back from the road (it faces the Safeway parking lot). You’ll know it by the chalkboard out front. This bakery is as old school as it gets, with glass fronted display cases packed full of freshly baked treats. The Upper Crust rambles through three rooms in a low-slung historic home, but if you want to sit and eat, you’ll need to go out back in the courtyard or to the dependency behind it. Try as you might to stick to the savory menu of sandwiches and soups (they make their own bread every day), the cookies and pies will get you every time. Order the signature Cow Puddle—a flat, toffee cookie redolent of butterscotch—or the chocolate chip sandwich cookie with buttercream… like an Oreo, but better. Or a snickerdoodle. Or lemon bars, pies, cakes, or frosted sugar cookies. You’ll want to take home a box with one of everything. The Upper Crust Bakery 4 North Pendleton Street

Wylie Wagg Don’t forget your pooch. Head east on Washington to Wylie Wagg, a spacious pet store that has everything you need—from doggie sweaters and chew toys to animal-themed greeting cards and an herbal water additive that will clean up your pet’s breath. A side room is full of quality pet food, and the front part of the store is devoted to delicious-looking dog biscuits and food dishes that would be appropriate in even the most fashionable of homes. And Wylie Wagg offers a community for pet lovers as well—hosting a bulletin board with personal ads for animals looking for adoptive parents (a pig, among them) as well as a website where you can upload pictures of your furry friends. Wylie Wagg 5B East Washington Street 60 INSPIRED SPRING 2012

The Home Farm Store Small-town groceries were never like this: Ayrshire Farm’s Home Farm Store is a butcher shop, purveyor of heirloom produce, wine store and purveyor of gourmet foods—much of it local. It offers USDA certified organic, Certified Humane®, pasture-based meat and poultry from Ayrshire and other Virginia farms, and expert cuts by trained butchers. It’s housemade charcuterie alone is worth a visit. This airy, inspiring store could outfit your larder or just your day’s picnic. Don’t miss it. Home Farm Store 1 East Washington Street

Crème de la Creme Deck out your home with the impossibly gorgeous ceramics, striped pillows, and soft throws on display at Crème de la Crème. Known for its selection of Provencal linens and Italian dishes, it also was recently stocking modern, handmade porcelain plates and bowls by renowned D.C. artist Benedict Tisa. The small shop window barely hints at the treasures inside, so don’t even think of strolling by without stopping in. There’s a back room with cards and candles—this is the perfect place to pick up a wedding present. Crème de la Crème has another outpost in Leesburg and, further afield, in Charlottesville. Crème de la Creme 23 East Washington Street SPRING 2012 INSPIRED 61


Col. John Mosby and his Raiders once patrolled Route 50.

Gilbert’s Corner Tiny crossroads with a big history by Heidi Baumstark




t’s almost cinematic: a quaint crossroads, a sagging stucco building topped with a red tin roof; a ton of memories for old timers and a shroud of mystery for newcomers. It’s called Gilbert’s Corner, named after William and Bessie Gilbert who opened the first Sinclair gas station there in the late 1920s at the intersection of present-day James Monroe Highway (Route 15) and John Mosby Highway (Route 50). It was a community gathering spot, offering not just gas but a country store and huge baked ham sandwiches for 25 cents each. But as the two road names suggest, there is more afoot, historically speaking, than just the Gilberts. The nation’s fifth president, Virginia-born James Monroe, owned a home less than a mile up the road in Aldie called Oak Hill. Constructed in 1822 while he was in the White House, he lived there from 1827 to 1830. It is now owned by Tom and Gayle DeLashmutt and is a U.S. national historic landmark. From its earliest days, Route 15 was a Native American hunting trail called the Susquehannock Plain Path. With the arrival of colonists, by the 1740s the road had acquired a rather shoddy reputation: it was known as the “Rogue’s Road”…“a resort of horse and cattle thieves.” Apparently, bandits stood in-wait during the night for carriages or riders heading north toward Leesburg or traveling west toward Winchester on what is now Route 50. Route 15—then called Carolina Road and later Old Carolina Road—retained the ill repute through the end of the 18th century, as a route on which “vagrant people” traveling through the area from Northern provinces peddled horses. John Mosby Highway—now Route 50—is named after the popular “Gray Ghost of the Confederacy” who formed his band of daring rangers on June 10, 1863, just west of Middleburg. Mosby and his rangers fought up and down what was then known as Little River Turnpike, most notably in the summer of 1863 during three Loudoun County battles: Aldie (June 17), Middleburg (June 19) and Upperville (June 21), all of which unfolded just days before the Battle of Gettysburg. Nearby is historic Mount Zion Church. In 1850, 14 members of the Little River Baptist Church withdrew from that congregation to establish the new church; they were known as “hardshells” and built the red brick, federal-style church in 1851 just east

of Gilbert’s Corner. The church cemetery is the final resting place for 12 Union cavalrymen killed in a July 4, 1864, rout by Mosby’s Raiders; 13 Confederate soldiers who died after the war; and 63 African-Americans, all of whom were buried before the end of the Civil War. Also nearby lived one of Mosby’s nemeses: Alexander G. Davis, originally from Connecticut and a man with Northern sympathies. Locals called him “Yankee Davis”—not an endearment in Loudoun at the time. On October 18, 1861, he was beaten and stabbed by Confederates, punishment for his Northern allegiance. Considered too old for official military service, after the attack Davis became a civilian scout for the Union and lead an unsuccessful attempt to catch Mosby. (The Gilberts moved onto Yankee Davis’ farm some 50 years later). A letter by Davis’ wife, Eliza, written to her mother in 1864 from their farm, describes the horrific scenes of her time and place. She wrote, “I have lived on the battlefield for the last four years and seen the dead and dying all around me…our barn, and the church on the other side [Mount Zion Church] have been full of wounded, dead and dying.” Now, the land near Gilbert’s Corner is owned by the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority (though the building and land directly on the intersection are privately owned). Gilbert’s Corner Regional Park covers 155 acres, preserving a swath of beautiful historic countryside. Today, the crossroads is still a gathering point. Instead of cars lining up at the old filling station, the lot is often filled on weekends with people stopping to check out vendors selling local produce, barbeque, handmade birdhouses, Christmas trees during the holidays, and even lobster. While the huge ham sandwiches may be a thing of the past, the crossroads is a living landmark offering others the chance to gather, to congregate, to commune. More information about Gilbert’s Corner Regional Park can be found at or by calling 703-327-9777.  Heidi Baumstark is a part-time reporter for a bimonthly newspaper covering western Prince William County and parts of Fauquier County, Va., where she specializes in writing history-related articles for the region.



“Every spring is the only spring— a perpetual astonishment.” —Ellis Peters 64 INSPIRED SPRING 2012


Planting • Removal • Cabling • Pruning • Maintaining • Stonework

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Where Your Home Comes with a 2,000-acre Back Yard. Set in the rolling landscape of Loudoun County, the new community of Willowsford is as distinctive for its homes and natural community design as it is for what’s been left untouched – 2,000 acres of shared open space. Which means plenty of room to explore, to play, to grow, and to dream in nature’s own peace and quiet – right in your back yard. And that’s a good thing, because the best adventures begin and end at home.

Introducing an Inspiring Selection of Fine Single-Family Homes Priced from the $500’s to over $1 Million TM

Prices and terms set forth herein are provided by home builders within Willowsford who are not affiliated with the owner and developer of the community. Such prices and terms, and the quality of the home builder’s homes, are not verified or warranted by owner Willowsford, L.L.C. or its affiliates. Dues, fees and assessments may be imposed for the use of some amenities. This material shall not constitute an offer or solicitation in any state where prior registration is required. © 2012 Willowsford, L.L.C. Willowsford, Willowsford Conservancy, Inspired Living and Naturally Planned Community are all trademarks of Willowsford, L.L.C. Inspired Magazine, March 2012

Profile for Willowsford

Inspired Spring 2012  

Willowsford's Inspired Spring Issue 2012

Inspired Spring 2012  

Willowsford's Inspired Spring Issue 2012