About the Loudoun County, Virginia Area
A harmonious mix of city and country living, Loudoun County is known for its beauty, history and high standard of living. Home to about 240,000 people, Loudoun has a highly urban region that includes Dulles International Airport and one of the nation’s most dynamic high-tech and communications industries, but it also has a highly rural area to the west, with farms, wineries, equestrian centers, and small neighborly towns and villages.
Loudoun has several superb parks and wilderness areas, and the Potomac and Occoquan rivers border the county to the east and south, giving county residents ample opportunities for hiking, picnicking, sports, boating, swimming, kayaking and more. All things equestrian are enjoyed here; Loudoun has the largest horse population in the state of Virginia.
Education is first rate and real estate a sound investment as the local economy steadily goes from strength-to-strength, supported by its proximity to the nation’s capital. The nicest thing about life Loudoun is that all the amenities of urban life are available but the county has not sacrificed its considerable rural charm.
Location -Loudoun is Virginia’s northernmost county, sitting directly south of West Virginia (to the northwest) and Maryland (to the northeast). Fairfax County is directly southeast and Prince William County south. Washington D.C. is about 35 miles southeast of Loudoun County’s eastern border (with Fairfax County).
Geography/Terrain– Sitting between Washington, D.C. and Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, scenic Loudoun County is firmly in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains (which are found to the north of the county). The Potomac River borders Loudoun County to the north (across the river are Frederick and Montgomery Counties in Maryland) and the Occoquan River lies on its southern boundary (with Prince William County on the opposite bank). There are some lovely lakes and reservoirs in the county, most notably Cedar Lake, Alder Lake, Tippecanoe Lake, Kalnasy Pond, Quail Ridge Lake, Horsepen Pond, Godfrey Pond, and Bell Pond.
Covering about 520 square miles, Loudoun is an attractive mix of urban and rural, with much of the countryside either rolling hills and wilderness areas or expansive fields, crisscrossed with the fences and corrals of horse country.
Loudoun County’s primary towns include Leesburg (the county seat), Purcellville, Lovettsville, Middleburg, Hamilton, Round Hill, and Hillsboro.
Distance to 3 closest major cities– Washington D.C. is about 35 miles southeast Leesburg, the county seat of Loudoun County. Baltimore (Maryland) is about 60 miles northeast of Leesburg and Manassas is about 35 miles south.
Jobs– With its mix of urban and rural life, Loudoun County offers its residents a great deal of choice in lifestyle. While the southern and eastern part of Loudoun is highly urban along with the towns scattered throughout the county, the northern and western regions are mostly rural in character.
East Loudoun is known as an international center for technology, communications and transportation industries, and the majority of the county’s employment is found here. Part of wider Washington D.C., eastern Loudoun county has access to more scientists, engineers and advanced degrees per person than any other location in the country, and is one of its fastest growing regions. MCI, America Online, Orbital Sciences Corporation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute have all chosen eastern Loudoun for their corporate world headquarters, and there are several huge industrial and business parks here. Proximity to the federal government has given rise to a large professional services industry here, and the construction and ret
The Washington Dulles International Airport is in eastern Loudoun, on the border with Fairfax County and provides supportive infrastructure for continued economic growth, along with the comprehensive network of highways that connect the region with D.C. and surrounding centers. On average, commuters travel for 28 minutes to get to work.
The county seat of Leesburg is in the north of the county; this large city also has a thriving commercial and industrial scene, alongside a large retail sector.
Rural Loudoun County is also thriving economically, with award winning wineries, world-class equestrian facilities and successful agriculture earning the most. Many farms are small family owned businesses that specialize in growing fruit, vegetables, or Christmas trees. Pedigree animal breeders also find a great deal of success here. Many farms offer home stays and Bed and Breakfasts are thriving as more and more visitors are drawn to visit this charming region.
Loudoun has an exceptionally low unemployment rate and a high rate of job growth; about 80,000 new jobs were created in 2005.
Housing -Because Loudoun County life offers a mix of both urban and rural lifestyle options, there is a fantastic range of choice here as far as real estate is concerned. Housing prices are lower in Loudoun than in D.C., and Leesburg in the north of the county is still only 35 miles from the capital, making this an attractive place for commuters to buy homes. Many other residents come to Loudoun for the superb business opportunities within the county or for the affordable rural lifestyle possible here.
The county’s eastern region has experienced rapid commercial growth in recent years and housing developments have mushroomed here. Thanks to the affluence of the area, most of these modern developments are beautiful and well planned, with ample parks and green plantings.
Loudoun County’s historic towns and villages have an eclectic mix of historic and modern homes, some dating back as far as the early eighteenth-century. Antebellum homes and large historic estates are additional exciting options here.
Predominantly rural west Loudoun is the place to buy the farm you’ve always wanted, and if you’re looking for an equestrian facility this is where you’ll find it. Some land tracts are available for development also.
Housing prices in Loudoun range from about $130,000 to well over 3 million, with the average price for a single family home sitting at about $588,000. Prices in Leesburg range from $149,000 to $3,690,000, with the average list price sitting at about $693,000.
Parks/Sports/Recreation/Golf -Bordered by rivers on two sides and inundated with local and regional parks, golf courses, and equestrian centers, Virginia’s pretty Loudoun County offers ample recreational opportunities to its residents. The county Parks and Recreation Department cares for the parks and trails and coordinates a wide range of recreational and sporting activities for locals.
There are fifteen local and five regional parks in the county, many of them on historic spots, and many with good recreational and sporting facilities. Some of the best local parks are the Potomack Lakes Sportsplex in Sterling, a 47-acre park with ten ball fields that hosts local tournaments all summer long; the Banshee Reeks Nature Preserve in Leesburg, which includes a wetlands; and Claude Moore Park in Sterling, with its miles of hiking trails and many ponds.
Regional parks include Franklin Park in Purcelville, which has a swimming pool, a fishing pond, 203 acres of rolling hills, and majestic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The route of the Washington & Old Dominion Railroad (W&OD) has been remade into a beautiful and well-maintained trail that stretches for 45 miles from Purcellville to Arlington. The trail may be enjoyed on foot, by bike, or on horseback. The Algonkian and the Brambleton regional parks are also stunning wilderness areas.
The Occoquan and Potomac rivers and their tributaries provide ample recreational opportunities. Boaters can find public access to the river in Algonkian Regional Park, which has miles of scenic wilderness, riverfront vacation cottages and golf.
Scenic Loudoun County is an ideal place for golf, and the county has over a dozen of the finest courses in the state of Virginia. Some of the best include the Algonkian Regional Park Golf Course, an 18-hole public course with varied fairways and plenty of water holes, and the Brambleton Regional Park course, a public championship 18-hole, par-72 course with a variety of challenging holes and water in play. Stoneleigh Golf Club, named The Prettiest Golf Course in Northern Virginia, by Golf Magazine is another standout course, and it was given a three and a half star rating by Golf Digest. Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club is a superb facility with a Gary Player designed 18-hole public championship course. Easily one of the best on the east coast, the private Landsdowne Golf Club has a two superb championship courses; the award winning Virginia National Course is another top facility, awarded four-stars by Golf Dige
No description of recreation in Loudoun County would be complete without mention of its equestrian scene. In the heart of Virginia horse country, the western part of the county has the state’s largest horse population. Middleburg is the nation’s horse and hunt capital, and important national horse shows and steeplechase events are often held here. Show jumping, dressage and point-to-point racing events are held throughout the region. Loudoun County has many excellent wilderness trails ideal for horseback riding, and horse farms abound. Whether you are looking for beginner lessons or top level competitions, you will find plenty of equestrian events to enjoy in Loudoun.
Fox hunting is another popular local recreational pursuit, especially in the Middleburg region, where it was first introduced from England in 1748. The Piedmont hunt was organized in 1905; still going strong today, the Piedmont was popular with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis until shortly before her death in 1994. There are ten active hunts in the region.
Special Attractions/Events -Top wineries, a world-class equestrian scene, a meaningful history, and excellent cultural facilities make Loudoun County a special place to live. The county’s ten best wineries are leading producers of Vinifera and New World grape wines, drawing tourists and residents alike to the beautiful wine producing region. Horse farms and equestrian centers are some of the nation’s best, and annual horsing events draw thousands to Loudoun County annually. The National Air and Space Museum and companion Udvar-Hazy Center is here, near the Dulles International Airport and the border with Fairfax County. The museum exhibits over eighty aircraft and space artifacts like the space-shuttle Enterprise. The Loudoun Museum is a superb repository of the county’s history, and many of the regional parks have historic landmarks. White’s Ferry, originally established in 1828, is the last working ferry on the Potomac River.
Loudoun County has a thriving arts scene, with excellent local theater, dance, and music, and several good galleries and performing arts venues.
With the best of city and country life that it represents, it is no surprise that there is always something happening in Loudoun County. Annual events include country and craft fairs, festivals, steeplechase races, equestrian shows, winery events, home and garden tours, outdoor summer concerts, farm and stable tours, antique shows, historic reenactments, dog shows, and holiday parades. The Bluemont Concert Series is a big draw, as is the annual Waterford Fair, and Leesburg’s First Friday events, held in the town’s galleries, shops and restaurants on the first Friday of every month are also popular. Civil and Revolutionary War re-enactments are common in this historic region.
Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places– Named for the Fourth Earl of Loudoun (John Campbell), who was Governor of Virginia from 1756 to 1759, Loudoun County was originally settled by Europeans in the mid-seventeen hundreds, when settlers began to clear the land and grow wheat and corn. Plantations soon followed, and over the years political leaders had estates here.
There are ample reminders of this period throughout the county; today Loudoun has hundreds of beautifully maintained historic homes, estates, and even settlements, like the nineteenth-century village of Waterford, which was designated a National Historic Landmark some years ago. There are several restored gristmills and preserved plantations in the county, and the superb Loudoun County Museum in Leesburg is an additional glimpse into the county’s past.
Many of the county’s regional parks and wilderness areas also feature historic landmarks, like the Balls Bluff Battlefield Regional Park on the Potomac, the site of a Civil War battle where the Union army was driven backwards into the river. A national cemetery stands on the battle field. Morven Park is another site, a beautiful 1,200-acre estate that once was home to former Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis. Oatlands Plantation is lovely spot, with a mansion built in 1804, a green house from 1810 and a stunning terraced garden.
President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline spent a great deal of time in Loudoun County. In 1963, a Roman Catholic church was built in Middleburg for the then President, and Jacqui rode with the Piedmont Fox Hounds and Orange County hunts until just months before her death in 1994.
Notable Loudoun County locals include the Smothers Brothers, the writer Russell Baker, actor Robert Duvall, philanthropist Paul Mellon, and Washington business magnate Donald Graham.