WFCCVB

Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau

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The official blog of the Winchester-Frederick County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

New Year's Eve Guide for the Winchester Area

Got kids? Got grandparents and family visiting? Maybe you've got a party spirit rearing to go. Or maybe you prefer to enjoy New Year's Eve in a peaceful, quiet setting.

No matter what, we've got you covered this New Year's Eve in the Winchester and surrounding Frederick County area with some ideas on what to do from the day before to the day after.  Need help getting home safely?  We've got a number of cab companies and Uber!  Please note: Hours/events listed below have been checked before posting, however are subject to change.  Please double-check before making plans.

 


 

Kid and Family Friendly

 

30th Annual First Night Winchester

  • Saturday, December 31 - 10am-Midnight throughout the Old Town Winchester area, culminating with the Apple Drop at midnight on the walking mall.  Buttons $10 for adults, children under 10 are free.  Reserve buttons online here (with a $2 convenience fee), or purchase at these locations.

 

Museum of the Shenandoah Valley

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 10am-4pm (regular admission prices).
  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 10am-4pm as part of the part of First Night Winchester celebration (free admission with First Night Winchester botton).  
  • Sunday, January 1 - Closed.

 

Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 9am-5pm (regular admission prices).
  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 12pm-4pm for the New Year's at Noon event (regular admission prices), and later as part of First Night Winchester celebrations from 4pm-7pm (free admission with First Night Winchester botton).
  • Sunday, January 1 - Closed.

 

United Way/Rubbermaid Parking Lot Sale at the Apple Blossom Mall

  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 8am-12pm - Very popular local event, with proceeds benefitting the Adult Care Center of the Northern Shenandoah Valley (free admission but show up early as the best items go fast!).

 

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 5:30pm-9:30pm (regular non-peak admission prices).
  • Saturday, December 31 - Closed. 
  • Sunday, January 1 - Open from 5:30pm-9:30pm - final day of the season (regular non-peak admission prices).

 

Winchester Model Railroad Club

  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 6pm-10pm - part of First Night Winchester celebrations (free admission, First Night Winchester buttons not required, but donations accepted).

 

Party Spirit

Image from Sweet NOLA's Facebook PageImage of Sweet NOLA's 2016 New Year's Party from their Facebook Page

 

Alamo Drafthouse

  • Saturday, December 31 - 10pm-Midnight - "When Harry Met Sally" New Year's Eve Party. Show starts at 10pm, special champagne toast at midnight.

Bright Box

  • Saturday, December 31 - 8pm-12:30am - "B105's Boots Bourboun and Barbecue New Year's Eve Bash" - live country music, dancing, fresh barbecue, and a bourboun toast at midnight.  $15 in advance or $20 at the door.  21+

Hideaway Cafe

  • Friday, December 30 - 8pm-10pm - Sashay Away 2016 Drag Show - admission $3

Sweet NOLA's

  • Saturday, December 31 - 7:30pm-Midnight - New Orleans House of Blues circa 1940 New Year's Eve Party with live music and 4 course buffet meal with incredible food.  $65 per person, reservations required.  21+

Winchester Brew Works

  • Saturday, December 31 - 8pm-Midnight - New Year's Eve Brewery Bash with live music, dancing, light fare from eM, and beer.  $45 per person, reservations required. 21+

Winchester Beer Mile

  • Sunday, January 1 - 1pm-4pm - This national trend (as seen on CNN, ESPN, Jimmy Fallon, and more) is enjoying it's second year in Winchester.  $20 registration, beer and root beer (non-alcoholic) categories. 21+

Valley Cat

  • Saturday, December 31 - 7:30pm-11pm - New Year's Show & Afterparty featuring 5 live bands.  $10 cover, or $8 if you bring canned goods for donation to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.  All ages.

 

A Quiet Celebration

Just a sampling of local spots to enjoy on your own casual time with limited or no special events plannedImage from Region's 117 Facebook Page

 

 

Belle Grove Plantation

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 10am-8pm - final day of the season (regular admission prices).  Candlelight tours 6p-8p.

Escutcheon Brewing Co.

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 2pm-10pm
  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 12pm-6pm
  • Sunday, January 1 - Open from 12pm-8pm

James Charles Winery 

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 12pm-8pm
  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 12pm-4pm
  • Sunday, January 1 - Closed

Region's 117 Restaurant

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 11:30am-9pm (regular hours/menu)
  • Saturday, December 31 - Open from 11:30am-9pm (reservations only, special menu)
  • Sunday, January 1 - Open from 11am-3pm (brunch menu)

Valerie Hill Winery

  • Friday, December 30 - Open from 11am-9pm
  • Saturday, December 31 - Closed
  • Sunday, January 1 - Closed
  • Monday, January 2 - 11am-6pm New Year's Party with live music by Jimmy Lee from 2-5

 

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17 Winchester Area Live Music Hot-Spots

LC_11-7-2014 041Flickr image by Richele Cole (embedded), taken at the Bright Box Theater

It took a few months of living here (probably because I have two little kids in my house) to start to grasp the depth of the live music scene here in the Winchester area.  With all of the hyper-talented SU Conservatory students floating about our community, I figured there were live performances going on all over the place.  Now, after a year of finding out about more and more cool spots to catch some live tunes, I decided it might be nice to try and put it all down in one place.  As always, if I missed something here, don’t hesitate to let me know.  And get out there and enjoy!

 


 

Backseat Bar and Grill

Image from Backseat Bar & Grill's Facebook page

Country, blues and acoustic fill much (but not all) of the regular live music bill at this local favorite eatery. 104 Full House Dr, Winchester, VA 22603; (540) 665-9033. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Blue Fox Billiards

UntitledFlickr image by PhyllisLynn (embedded)

Local, regional and national acts including country, metal, bluegrass and more. 1160 Millwood Pike, Winchester, VA 22602; (540) 665-2114. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

The Bright Box

Blue HeavenFlickr image by Tyler Priola (embedded)

Local, regional and national acts of every kind located in the heart of Old Town Winchester. 15 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA 22601; (540) 665-2878. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows

 

Escutcheon Brewing Co

Image from Escutcheon's Facebook page

Winchester's original craft brewery features regular acoustic shows in their tasting room area. 142 W Commercial St, Winchester, VA 22601; (540) 773-3042. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

IJ Canns

Casual, affordable upscale restaurant in the new Creekside Shopping Center featuring weekly live shows and comedy. 3111 Valley Ave, Winchester, VA 22601; (540) 667-9995. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Mimosa

Image of Engine No. 9 from Mimosa's Facebook Page

This local Asian fusion restaurant offers an open mic every Thursday, as well as regular local original artists from country to jazz to electronic dance music (EDM). 202 Grocery Ave # 101, Winchester, VA 22602; (540) 545-8482.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Nana’s Irish Pub & Restaurant

Image of Rick Harris from Nana's Irish Pub's Facebook Page

Live Irish, bluegrass, and rock music is performed weekly at this hidden gem of great Irish fare and live music right in the middle of Middletown, just steps from the new Gingerwolf Distillery. 7843 Main St, Middletown, VA 22645; (540) 868-9877. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Shenandoah University

Conservatory Presents 2014 Holiday Gala Concert Flickr image by Shenandoah University (embedded)

The world-class SU Conservatory turns out regular musical offerings year-round, from free, open rehearsals to nationally known conductors to their ever-popular Summer Music Theatre program.  620 Millwood Ave, Winchester, VA; (540) 665-4569.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Stephen’s Jazz Café

Image from Stephen's Jazz Cafe Facebook page

Live jazz music weekly, next to the childhood home of Big-Band era jazz musician John Kirby.  440 N Kent St, Winchester, VA; (540) 431-5384.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Sweet NOLA’s Restaurant

Image from Sweet NOLA's Facebook page

Live music, nationally recognized bands, and crazy-good Southern New Orleans-style food (“Food so good you need a safe word” according to their bumper sticker) in an intimate, funky cool setting.  688 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA; (540) 667-6652.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Valley Cat

Image from Valley Cat's Facebook page

New recording studio and intimate club-like venue featuring up-and-coming artists.  106 W Boscawen St, Winchester, VA; (571) 383-1626.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

~Old Town Walking Mall Restaurants~

 

147 North 

Image from 147 North's Facebook page

An energetic blend of open mic nights, acoustic bands, and even EDM fill 147’s busy weekend music calendar.  147 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA; (540) 313-4804.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Brewbaker’s Restaurant

Image from Brewbaker's Facebook page

Local and regional live music, many times in conjunction with Shenandoah University.  168 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA; (540) 535-0111.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Piccadilly Public House

Weekly piano bar on Wednesday and Thursday is juxtaposed with lively regional cover bands of every type acoustic performances on weekends.  125 E Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA; (540) 535-1899.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Village Square/V2 Piano Bar

Image from Village Square/V2 Piano Bar's Facebook page

Top quality acoustic and piano performances dominate the weekly music calendar at this upscale casual restaurant.  103 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA; (540) 667-8961.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

~Wineries~

 

James Charles Winery

Someone To Ride The River With

Flickr image by Coy Ferrell (embedded)

 Live music every Friday and Saturday evening throughout the year, featuring a range of local, acoustic and SU conservatory performers and beautiful mountain views. 4063 Middle Rd, Winchester, VA; (540) 931-4386. Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

Valerie Hill Vineyard & Winery

Image from Valerie Hill's Facebook page

Enjoy regular acoustic shows on weekends throughout the year in a historic, intimate setting.  1687 Marlboro Rd, Stephens City, VA; (540) 869-9567.  Click here for a schedule of upcoming shows.

 

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9 Ways to Pass a Rainy Day in Winchester

Rainy Day in Winchester by Aaron Riddle
Image courtesy Aaron Riddle Photography

We don’t get all of these beautiful natural surroundings for free here in the northern Shenandoah Valley – we must pay for them with the occasional rainy day. But don’t let that dampen your adventurous spirit or dash your hopes for a fulfilling visit. Here’s an inclement weather guide to help out the next time you’re in the Winchester area and the sun takes a day off…

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Top 10 Must-Do List for Fall Around Winchester

Fall starts in late September, and every year the localities throughout Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley gear up for the many travelers that come through from all over the region, nation and world.

Viewing our fall foliage is such an integral part of any trip here this time of year, we’ve just put an icon next to leaf-peeping related opportunities.

Our team has compiled a Top 10 list of Winchester area things you just can’t skip when visiting every year as the nights get cooler, the weather gets calmer, and our outdoor beauty comes into sharp focus.  Get out and enjoy! 

#1 – Go to a farm market

Photo of Richard's Fruit Market - source: Facebook

This season is their bread and butter, and for good reason.  You’ve got the big, ever-popular ones like Marker-Miller and Virginia Farm Market, and then some really unique and fun smaller finds like Hill High Farm, the Homestead Farm at Fruit Hill OrchardRichard’s Fruit Market, Rinker Orchards, Shen Val Farm Market, and West Oaks Farm Market!

#2 – Turn off that GPS and go for a country drive 

Yes, I’m telling you to get lost (but seriously, in a friendly way) out on our local roads.  We’ve got fields, orchards, rolling hills and mountains all within about 20 minutes of Old Town Winchester.  Or if, like many of our fall visitors, you’re headed to the nearby Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah National Park, take a side road like 522 or 11 and enjoy the ride down and make a few discoveries along the way.

#3 – Roll up your sleeves and pick an apple 

Surprise, this is apple country.  I know you probably already knew that, but to really grasp the scale of it you’ve got to actually get into the trees at one of those orchards.  Marker-Miller and Rinker Orchards have pick-your-own operations, or just drive around the countryside and look for some “pick-your-own” signs.

#4 – Hike to a vista point, even if just for an hour or two 

The Tuscarora Trail is truly a hidden gem, but may not remain so once people realize there’s alternative for Old Rag to get beautiful valley vistas.  We’ll make it easy for you to get magnificent views of our fall foliage – get to Eagle Point overlook by clicking HERE and hiking about 1.75 miles northeast along the trail, or get to Pinnacle Rock (pictured) by clicking HERE and hiking less than 1 mile northwest along the access trial.  Need maps, gear, or just some local expertise?  Then Mountain Trails Outfitters on the Old Town Walking Mall is a necessary stop.

#5 – Enjoy a meal al fresco

This was our our lastest blog, but it was still a little warm when we posted it.  The evenings are perfect now – check out the list, choose at least one and enjoy!

#6 – Go on a horseback trail ride 

Photo of Rocking S Ranch - source: Facebook

Okay, we’ve got lots of options regionally for trail rides, and there’s a reason for that.  Our surrounding countryside in the Shenandoah Valley provides an incredible trail ride experience.  This is a must-do for young and old alike.  Check out our professional trail ride outfitters such as Bailey's Walking After Midnight FarmMagic Mountain Farm, Raynor's Hilltop Farm, the Rocking S Ranch (the #1 rated local attraction on Winchester’s TripAdvisor page), or the Wagon Wheel Ranch.

#7 – Have a local, seasonally brewed pint of beer or cider

Photo of Alesatian Brewing Co. - source: Facebook

In the very recent past, you couldn’t get a pint of locally crafted beer here.  Now we’ve got three different, unique and pretty awesome brewery options and an outstanding cidery.  Alesation Brewing Company on the Loudoun Street Mall (aka Old Town Walking Mall) has an Oktoberfest brew that uses 21 pounds of locally raised pumpkins in the brewing process, and Winchester Brew Works, Escutcheon Brewing Co. and Winchester Cider Works all have great fall offerings and on-site tastings.  Want traditional non-alcoholic apple cider?  You’ll find it at most local markets – Rinker’s apple cider is pretty famous. 

#8 – Catch a show at the drive-in

Photo of Family Drive-In Theatre - source: Facebook

There are only seven drive-in theatres left in all of Virginia, so the Family Drive-In located just outside Stephens City is truly a special place.  Owner Jim Kopp has really captured the nostalgic allure of his theatre, and boy, does this place get busy. Open throughout the fall season (not just summer!) and offering special screenings of classic films.

#9 – Enjoy an annual fall festival

There are still many dedicated locals here who work hard during harvest season at our farms, orchards and vineyards.  To celebrate the end of harvest season, they like to blow of some steam and celebrate – fortunately, we’re all invited to many of these events!  Here’s a little sampling of the annual fall events in our area: Shenandoah Valley Apple Harvest Festival, Marker-Miller and Richard’s Apple Harvest Festivals, OctoBeer Fest, Pumpkin Festival, and Winchester Brew Works Oktoberfest.

#10 – Learn how to fly-fish (or at least tie a lure)

Photo of a free Winchester Trout Unlimited Barfly event at Escutcheon - source: Facebook

The local Winchester chapter of Trout Unlimited has regular “Bar Fly” social events that pair novice to experienced fly tying lessons with beer at local breweries, namely Escutcheon Brewing Co.  The good news is, if you snag your finger, it won’t hurt as much.  This is a great group to help guide visiting fisherman to the best trout spots in our area.  Want to go it alone?  Check out the interactive DGIF Virginia Trout Fishing map, which shows local stocked lakes & streams, cold water streams, and wild trout streams in our area.

 

As always, no business or individual paid to be on this list - it's just a fun collection of some top fall activities that should keep you busy for this fall, and probably next fall as well!  Don't be shy to let us know if we missed anything!.

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16 Local Spots (32 total restaurants) for Dining alfresco around Winchester

On the right day, nothing beats a relaxed outdoor meal at a great restaurant.  When my wife and I are looking for a place to eat, outdoor dining is a huge plus because, well, we’ve got a toddler and an infant and aside from a generally more laid back atmosphere, any noise our kids make just seems much quieter outside.  

Fortunately for us, we’ve got an over-abundance of both perfect days here in the northern Shenandoah Valley as well as restaurants with outdoor dining for every budget and taste.  As always, if I missed something, let me know and I’ll be happy to add it!

B=Breakfast, SB=Sunday Brunch, L=Lunch, D=Dinner


50/50 TaphouseWinchester/Old Town

If you want a burger and/or a beer, well, they’ve got 50 kinds of each here (hence their name).  They have a huge indoor space but you can also score a great seat in their enclosed, partially shaded outdoor seating area.  Located just steps from the Loudoun Street Mall and next to the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum.  L/D

Aroma DeliWinchester/Old Town

Breakfast served most days until around 11am.  This local favorite has great rotisserie chicken with a Peruvian flair, burritos, and of course breakfast.  They’re located in a historic house about 2 blocks from the Loudoun Street Mall, and you can eat outside on their porch or patio.  Mature trees and umbrellas provide shade during the heat of the afternoon.  B/L/D

Backseat Bar and Grill – Winchester

This casual diner staple is always busy turning out dishes to hungry customers, whether it be hearty breakfasts or great burgers and sandwiches for lunch or dinner.  They've added a pretty large outdoor seating area in the parking lot that lets you enjoy our cooler mornings and evenings most of the year.  B/L/D

Bonnie Blue Southern Market & BakeryWinchester

This fairly recent addition to the area’s family of restaurants has the feel that it’s been here for generations.  Very popular for their breakfast and barbecue, this great find has fresh coffee and great pastries as well.  Umbrella covered picnic style seating outside is more lively than intimate. B/L/(D on Fridays) 

Creekside Station – Winchester/Kernstown

This outdoor shopping area has recently become a dining hotspot, with nearly all of their restaurants offering alfresco dining.  Located in Kernstown just minutes from the extremely popular Alamo Drafthouse, this upscale area is quite a find.  Below are the restaurants offering alfresco dining:

The Butcher Station - Local farm-to-fork hotspot with burgers and seasonal items. Also a stop on the Virginia Oyster Trail. L/D

The Chocolate Café – Creative sandwiches, fresh bakery goods, and covered patio dining. L

Firefly Café & Bakery – Fast casual, fresh sandwiches and bakery goods with a social mission.  B/L

I J Cann’s American Grill – Casual, affordable upscale American cuisine.  SB/L/D

George's Food and Spirits – Old Town Winchester

The attached upscale casual restaurant to the beautiful George Washington Hotel, this lower level dining experience boasts an intimate, relaxed atmosphere just a block from the Loudoun Street Mall.  And believe it or not, they were the first inland stop on the famous Virginia Oyster Trail.  Limited outdoor seating available.  B/L/D

Joe's Steakhouse – Winchester/Old Town

Another great restaurant just steps from the Loudoun Street Walking Mall, Joe's offers top-notch steaks and seafood in a beautiful, authentic southern mansion setting. Their outdoor dining patio has intimate evening lighting but can still feel the energy of the nearby mall. SB/L/D

Nana’s Irish PubMiddletown

Traditional Irish fare with a creative flair and full bar with an authentic Irish atmosphere and live music on weekends.  The patio seating is located out back and provides a cozy, private setting with views west towards the mountains.  L/D

Old Town Walking Mall (aka Loudoun Street Mall) RestaurantsWinchester/Old Town

This is the biggest concentrated hub of alfresco dining options in the entire Shenandoah Valley.  Nearly every restaurant has taken advantage of the beautiful, recently renovated Loudoun Street Mall on Loudoun St.  We’ll just list out all of the ones with alfresco dining so you can relax and people watch any day of the week, year-round!

147 North – Creative American cuisine and full bar; live music on weekends. L/D

Awabi Sushi Bar – Extensive and creative sushi menu, beer, sake and wine. L/D

Brewbaker’s – Very popular local American style restaurant and bar; live entertainment. L/D

CrepeWorx – Creative, fresh made lunch and dessert crepes. L/D

El Centro – Classic Mexican food and very popular margaritas. L/D

Espresso Bar & Café – Full espresso bar and some pastries; front and secret rear patios. B/L

Roma Wood-Fired Pizza – Local Italian in a cozy atmosphere; craft brewery located upstairs. L/D

Ronca’s – Philadelphia inspired diner, with outstanding breakfast and cheesesteaks. B/L

Snow White Grill – Tiny, classic no-frills grill; no better place for a slider! L/D

Thai Winchester – Award-winning chef-created Thai food. L/D

Union Jack Pub & Restaurant – Famous fish & chips, creative pub fare, many beers on tap. L/D

Village Market & Bistro – Upscale bistro with many craft beer & wine options. L/D

Village Square Restaurant – Upscale dining, piano bar & lounge located next door.  L/D

Violino Ristorante Italiano – Upscale, family owned authentic Italian landmark restaurant. L/D

One Block WestWinchester/Old Town

Located, well, one block west of the Loudoun Street Mall, this upscale treasure features very creative and constantly changing menu items, nearly all of which are locally sourced and seasonal.  A small outdoor seating area promises a quiet, intimate environment for a special occasion or meeting. L/D

Piccadilly’s Public HouseWinchester/Old Town

Popular for lunch but usually hopping for dinner and after, the large outdoor seating area here offers a peaceful afternoon meal spot or energetic evening scene with sports games often projected on the side of the adjacent building.  Burgers, sandwiches, wings, salads and a full pub menu promise something for every taste.  L/D

Region’s 117Lake Frederick

This brand new addition to our family of unique local restaurants boasts lake-view dining with some outstanding locally-sourced menu items.  Casual visitors are encouraged to grab a cup of coffee or espresso from their separate grab and go counter and relax outside on the elevated deck on huge hanging sofas (they’re too nice to be called swings).  This is a great stop before or after a few hours kayaking or fishing on Lake Frederick.  SB/L/D

Roma Casual Italian & Greek DiningStephens City

A very popular local Mediterranean (Greek & Italian) restaurant.  The Stephens City location has a small but comfortable outdoor seating area.  See Old Town Winchester section for other location.  L/D

Stephen's Jazz Cafe – Winchester

Yes, Winchester has a really cool jazz cafe. Located just up Kent St and next to jazz musician John Kirby's childhood home, this cafe turns out great southern food and lots of live jazz.  Their outdoor seating area is rocking year-round - the nearby SU Conservatory students provide fresh talent all through the school months.  L/D

Sweet NOLA's – Winchester

This is another new addition to the Winchester area dining scene, and has rocketed to the top of most lists.  Authentic New Orleans style food, live jazz, and a funky, fun atmosphere have cemented this restaurant as a favorite for locals and visitors alike.  Some limited outdoor seating available.  L/D

Umberto’s Pizza & PastaWinchester/Delco Plaza

Too hot or cold outside?  Well, you can still get your alfresco dining fix at Umberto’s.  Their outdoor dining patio is, well, inside.  They offer inside inside dining as well. Very popular Italian cuisine and pizzas keep the tables filled at this unexpected gem. L/D

 

As always, no business paid to be on this list – we just love dining outdoors and wanted to share a thorough list of the bounty of offerings we have.  Enjoy!

 

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8 Ways to Enjoy the 4th of July Around Winchester

Yes, you can definitely get your fireworks fun tickets punched here over the Independence Day holiday. I've taken a look at those plus a few other activities that will round out your long weekend when you come visit us here in the Winchester area.  I’ve broken these down by date and as always, please let me know if I missed something?

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10 Ice Cream, Custard and Cool Treat Hotspots around Winchester

 

Okay, let me begin by saying this area has a serious addiction to ice cream.  And let me be clear that this isn’t a criticism in any way.  In fact, pair this with the affinity for great coffee (see our local coffee shops post), and you’re pretty much set when you visit over the summer.

Now, I’ve occasionally had to make some tough sacrifices for this job, and one of them is the many ice cream cones I’ve had to eat in order to accurately write this blog.  You’re welcome.  Somebody had to do it.

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8 (and growing) Totally Unexpected Finds in and around Winchester

There’s a certain advantage to being the new guy in town (in addition to being able to say “oops, sorry, I’m new here” when I mess something up).  I’m on a mission to discover things, and pretty much everything is new and exciting.  My wife and I have definitely stumbled across some pretty cool stuff, and a number of things have been so unexpected I felt compelled to do a whole blog post about them.  I’m still finding new stuff, so this is in no way an exhaustive list, and I’ll be adding to it in the future.  I encourage you to get out there and find something even more unexpected and let us know about it!  Never stop exploring, even especially in your own backyard. 

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7 Unique Boutiques in Winchester

All images by Megan Valentine on behalf of the Winchester-Frederick Co. Tourism Office

Living in the Winchester area my entire life, I’ve been able to scope out all the hot spots for shopping. So as my week-long internship with the Winchester-Frederick County Tourism Office was coming to an end, I was sent on a mission to check out the local boutiques. My first initial thought was sign me up, but then it occurred to me, this could lead to trouble and some money spent. Nonetheless, I hit the ground running and got to visit a majority of the boutiques in Winchester. A few hours later, I came back with a compiled list of the boutiques I visited (along with an idea for a new wardrobe). I’ve listed below a brief overview of those shops I visited*. I definitely encourage you to take the time to visit a few of these great local boutiques. ~Megan


 

The Black Rose

"Dine, shop & relax”. This flourishing business is currently in their 6th year of business, and constantly expanding. With their newest addition, The Black Rose is your one stop shop. You can enjoy some freshly brewed coffee or tea and an all-natural sandwich with California flair, all while browsing the latest fashion collections such as Natural Life, Global Mamas and Soul Flower. But why stop there? The Black Rose Boutique now offers an exclusive Skincare Studio. Plus, this quaint boutique supports local and global artisans. 11 S Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Scarpa Alta

Scarpa Alta has been in business for 12 years with 6 years at their current location. This cozy boutique offers a casual feel and is for "every woman.” Scarpa Alta has it all, from current fashion clothing to shoes and accessories to match. They will help keep your style and wardrobe fresh and up to date. Scarpa Alta carries lines such as Free People, Citizens of Humanity, Toms, Sam Edelman, and so much more. 10 S Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Posh Pets Boutique

Here’s a boutique you don’t see every day, Posh Pets. Our furry friends need some TLC, too. “We’re more than a pet store” is a pretty spot-on quote. They offer all natural and holistic products to our 4-legged friends. Along with food, Posh Pets offers trainings, grooming, and pet sitting services. Posh Pets also works closely with the SPCA, Dakota’s Dream, and Shirley’s Angel Boxer Rescue. This family owned operation has been in business for 4 years and is open 7 days a week. 16 S Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Simply Charming

This locally owned and operated business has been a success since their opening in 2004. The vision of Simply Charming is to empower women in the community. Simply Charming has a homey feel that’s comfortable and inviting. The staff is quick to help when they’re needed and strive to help you feel your best. This charming boutique stays up-to-date with current and trending brands such as Hobo, Corkcicle, Scout Bags, Ronaldo Jewelry and much more. Simply Charming provides much more than clothing, they offer shoes, accessories, and even household items. 28 W Piccadilly Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Kimberly’s

This up-scale boutique has continued to grow throughout its 27 years of business. Kimberly’s carries a multitude of merchandise, “from baby to sympathy notes.” The success of Kimberly’s created the need for a second building, Kids at Kimberly's, which is located directly next to Kimberly’s. Unlike many boutiques, Kimberly’s goes the extra mile to incorporate the men in the community with McKee’s. McKee’s has its own separate entrance in the bottom of Kimberly’s, and this is the ultimate upscale man cave. The entire store offers brands such as Southern Tide, Vineyard Vines, Lily Pulitzer, Spartina and so much more. I like to consider Kimberly’s the “Nordstrom of Boutiques." 135 N Braddock Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Abija Blue

Abija Blue hasn’t been around as long as the others - they’ve only been open for about 3 years - but don’t let this fool you. Abija Blue carries the finest handmade goodies, both locally and globally crafted. With the needs of customers constantly changing, Abija Blue is hoping to become our area's next gourmet shop. The hope for the future is to continue selling the same great artisan crafts, but also delve into the side of fine wines and hand-crafted sauces. Be on the lookout for this upcoming change. 126 N Loudoun Street, Winchester, VA 22601

Lantz’s Pharmacy and Gifts

This flourishing business has been a part of the Stephens City community for 27 years. When you hear the name “Lantz’s Pharmacy and Gifts” you admittedly don’t automatically think of a boutique, and that’s how Lantz’s differs from anyone else on this list. The pharmacy is a huge aspect of Lantz’s, but they’ve expanded their store to be much more than that. Lantz’s is a “gift boutique.” They offer a diverse place to shop with prices ranging from $10 to $200. When people think of Lantz’s, they want to be known as the “happy place”. Lantz’s offers a variety of products from some big brand names such as Spartina, Vera Bradley, Chamilia and Simply Southern that includes shoes, handbags, and accessories to candles, cards, and collectibles. 5015 Main Street, Stephens city, VA 22655

*Nobody gave us any advertising money, discounts or other consideration to be on this list - in fact, they already made some money from us visiting (and shopping) to write this blog :)

Coming soon:  Some cool finds that you probably wouldn't expect here in the Winchester area, a look at where to get some awesome local ice cream, and a guide to catching some great local bands and performances...

 

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8 Great Cups of Coffee in Winchester

8 Great Cups of Coffee in Winchester

Cover image taken at Hopscotch Coffee by Yelp user Adam B.

I must admit, when my wife and I first scouted out the Winchester area to relocate to in late 2015, we immediately went online to see if there were any good local coffee shops. They’re just one of those underlying indicators of a community’s style.  Just about any town can have a Starbucks or Dunkin (and yes, the Winchester area has several of each), but not all of them have enough ‘flavor’ for a successful purveyor of a great local cup of joe.   I’ve been to, and enjoyed, just about all of the area’s coffee shops, and below is my humble impression of those I’ve visited* (in absolutely no particular order).  I sincerely hope you have a chance to check out at least one or two of these the next time you’re in the Winchester area. ~Justin


 

 

Hopscotch Coffee

@ Hopscotch Coffee, Winchester, VirginiaImage by Flickr user Coy Ferrell

- These guys know their coffee; in fact that’s what dominates their menu.  They really are artisan coffee makers, with a few small pastry offerings.  They also are the only coffee shop in town that roasts on-site (independently branded as “Lone Oak Coffee”).  Situated in what feels like an old garage, they’ve got a unique 2-story set up where you enter upstairs, then below is the seating, roasting and live music area.  And get this – they even have a record shop attached.  Seriously cool. 250 Millwood Ave, Winchester, VA 226015 stars, 15 reviews on Yelp.    

 

Steamy’s Café

Steamy's 0821.jpgImage by Flickr user Ray Clark

- Want some fresh homemade bagels?  Yes, Steamy’s makes their own unique craft bagels in-house in very small batches.  Their coffee is also expertly crafted, and they have an intimate, eclectic space that is exactly what you envision a college town coffee shop to look like.  This is a great place to warm up (or cool down, depending on the weather) and watch the city go by – located just steps from the Old Town Winchester pedestrian mall, this is a must for visiting on a chilly or drizzly day. 38 E Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA 226015 stars, 59 reviews on Yelp.   

 

0-60 Energy Café

LampImage embedded from www.LotusTalk.com

- One of the more unique settings for a coffee shop; but don’t let the race car enthusiast interior or strip mall location fool you – this is some outstanding, artisanal coffee.  Their specialty is cold drip coffee, but they’ve also got some fresh made breakfast and lunch menu items, with rotating specials. 170-11 Delco Plaza, Winchester, VA 226025 stars, 13 reviews on Yelp.   

 

Espresso Bar & Café

Bring your friends. I'll bring the coffee. ☕️👍☕️  #workflow #espressobar #coffeeshop #shoplocal #smallbusiness #espresso #exploremore #explorevirginia #downtownwinchester #winchesterva image by Flickr user The Rustic Charmer

– This modern coffee shop, ideally located right on the Old Town Winchester pedestrian mall, is reminiscent of some European coffee shops we’ve seen – clean but cozy, with local artwork adorning the walls.  They’ve got a few breakfast items like a breakfast sandwich and, our favorite, the locally made and incredibly rich little Irish tea breads.  Cuddle up and sneak out back to the secret garden (pictured above) to enjoy your cup of coffee, or sit out front and people watch on the mall. 165 N Loudoun St, Winchester, VA 22601. 4 stars, 51 reviews on Yelp.   

 

JoGail’s Country Cookin’ Restaurant

Image by Winchester-Frederick County Tourism

– We just had to get this on the list – just about the opposite setting of a college town coffee shop, this local favorite turns out a two kinds of coffee – small and large.  But boy, is this place hopping at 7am on a weekday.  Heavily favored by locals, you’ll feel right at home no matter where you’re visiting from.  The smiles are just as warm as the coffee, and the setting offers a nice view of the mountains and valley.  Located just 20 minutes (but a world away) from downtown Winchester on Rt 50. 5665 Northwestern Pike, Gore, VA 226374 stars, 2 reviews on Yelp.

 

Firefly Café & Bakery

Image by Yelp user Paul U.

– This made our list as, in addition to a great cup of coffee roasted by Orange County Roasters out of Orange, VA (drip as well as espresso drinks), their food is fresh and fantastic.  Lots of specials, incredible homemade desserts, friendly and happy employees, and a California flair that somehow fits just right in our community.  And for a little dose of philanthropy to sweeten your coffee, they’ve got a long and ingrained history of employing folks with disabilities and other barriers to employment. 3035 Valley Ave. #101, Winchester, VA 226014.5 stars, 18 reviews on Yelp.   

 

Tropical Island Coffee Café

Image of owner Lloyd by Yelp user Mary M.

– Welcome to our very own Little Jamaica here in Winchester.  Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (the legit stuff; not the mixed down blends you see so often) is brewed up daily here.  But this is a whole Jamaican cuisine experience – including an incredible jerk chicken, curry goat, beef ox-tails and even a variety of York Castle ice cream flavors.  Just can’t do without your espresso?  They’ve got a full espresso bar menu as well.  Located right around the corner from the Old Town Winchester pedestrian mall, directly across from the beautiful Handley Library. 39 W Piccadilly St, Winchester, VA 226014.5 stars, 81 reviews on Yelp.   

 

The Hideaway Café

Image from Hideaway Cafe official Facebook page

– Winchester's newest coffee shop has really earned it's name.  Why?  Well, they're in the basement of the old post office building in Old Town, just across the street from Handley Library.  The three women who partnered together to open this great spot have really transformed the space, and it is much larger than you would expect.  With the soft opening just out of the way when I wrote this in late March and a grand opening coming in early April, they're well on their way to becoming a fixture of local university students and evening shoppers and diners.  They'll be offering sandwiches and other goodies soon, and evening live music Fri-Sat.  200 N Braddock St, Winchester, VA 22601.  No reviews as of yet on Yelp.   

 

* Disclaimer – no businesses paid us or gave us anything to be on this list – we just love coffee and our local businesses, as we hope you do when you visit!

Coming soon – we let our intern loose on the local boutique shopping scene and she’s writing down some insider shopping tips for your next visit!

 

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