Laura Emery, Field Editor

Loudoun’s Little Lucketts

Come visit and enjoy wine, the Old Dominion and song.

September 2018

Busy roads, construction projects and industrious workers show why Loudoun County is one of the wealthiest and fastest-growing counties in the United States.

But away from the hubbub around Leesburg, and about an hour from Washington, D.C., Loudoun’s rolling pastures with mountain views restore the urban soul.

A favorite destination for people looking for fun and leisure is Lucketts — one of the county’s most charming bucolic villages. There, residents and visitors find wine, Old Dominion stories and song!

Loudoun’s Lucketts near Leesburg
Lucketts sits along U.S. Route 15 about 7 miles north of Leesburg and 4 miles south of the Point of Rocks bridge that crosses over the Potomac River. The village, with charming shops and a popular community center, radiates into the countryside where farms, wineries and breweries attract city dwellers weary of concrete and deadlines.

“In Lucketts, I’m in my element,” says Geary Higgins, county supervisor for Lucketts and the Catoctin District. “You have the village with its antique and vintage stores and the Lucketts Community Center with its many local events, including renowned bluegrass concerts. The natural beauty of the area just draws you there. My wife and I love history and antiquing. And we enjoy a good glass of wine or beer. If you like history, natural beauty and a rural setting, you can’t go wrong.”

Mike Mumma, a Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) member and Lucketts resident, agrees. The director of information technology for a research institute in Maryland says, “In less than an hour you can go from urban centers and Dulles Airport to Lucketts with its country living and farm-fresh food.”

Judy Klock, who moved with her family to Lucketts in the Catoctin Mountain region from a busy suburb, says, “You get the best of both worlds here — the scenery and wineries, yet just a few miles from Leesburg.” The maker of handcrafted cards adds, “I can breathe here!”

Susan and Kenny Lee, who own a large cattle and hay farm, want to hold onto Lucketts’ rural character. “We put our farm in a conservation easement instead of developing it,” Susan Lee explains.

A Welcoming Community
As much as Lucketts’ residents love country living and their cottage industries, they care just as much about each other and their community.

“Lucketts’ folks are a part of what makes this beautiful rural community rare,” says Mary Gustafson, coordinator/ designer of the Lucketts News & Notes. “Volunteers pull together to hold the Strawberry Festival in the spring and Lucketts bluegrass concerts in winter, with many other events in between.”

Kurt Aschermann, the lay pastoral leader at the 150-year-old Christ Church, says, “Lucketts is a great little village. Its people, with multi-cultural diversity, come here to live well.”

Susan Lee, who serves on the church’s vestry, says, “We love everybody here. When members aren’t at church, we call them to make sure they’re okay.”

From left: Lucketts Community Center was the former schoolhouse. The Old Lucketts Store was built by the Luckett family in 1879. Christ Church has been part of the Lucketts community for 150 years.

From left: Lucketts Community Center was the former schoolhouse. The Old Lucketts Store was built by the Luckett family in 1879.
Christ Church has been part of the Lucketts community for 150 years.

Lucketts Community Center and Toe-Tapping Music
Villagers enjoy going to the Lucketts Community Center. The former schoolhouse, built in 1914, gained a spot on the National Register of Historic Places with its traditional school-bell cupola and early-20th-century architecture. Today, it’s a place for child-centered activities, meetings and classes.

Wendy Overton has worked at the community center for 18 years. She says, “I am the childcare supervisor. It’s awesome to see the children grow up and come back to visit.”

People also go to the center for — as many NOVEC members say — “great bluegrass music!” Concerts began in the 1970s when bluegrass bands sought places to perform during cold months. Since then, bands play almost every non-holiday Saturday night from October through April. During spring and summer, many of Lucketts’ wineries and breweries feature live music.

‘The stuff of home-décor shopping dreams’
Lucketts’ antique and vintage shops, including the Old Lucketts Store built by the Luckett family in 1879, draw shoppers looking for “that special something.” At the Design House, designers create new rooms from ceiling to floor and offer the décor items on the first weekend of most months. Lucketts’ stores say, “Bring a van or trailer!”

One enthusiastic shopper said, “Lucketts is one of my favorite spots in all of Virginia. It’s full of treasures. … Lucketts is really the stuff of home-décor shopping dreams!”

Shoppers also head to farm stands that offer fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade pies and barbecue. And after all that shopping, patrons often go to one or more of Lucketts’ wineries and breweries, or to Roots 657 Café for a refreshing repast.

Loudoun and Lucketts’ Legends
Loudoun County’s Colonial history goes back to when the Virginia Assembly designated a county in 1757 and named it for Scotland’s Earl of Loudoun. While King Tobacco ruled eastern Virginia, wheat made Loudoun “the breadbasket of the American Revolution.” Four score and seven years later, Union troops burned much of the breadbasket to break the Confederacy during the Civil War.

From left: Kenny Lee stands with Jerry the Jester at the yearly Strawberry Festival. Wendy Overton and Judy Klock at work at the Strawberry Festival. (L-R) Kelley Pierson, Nancy Wiseman, Susan Lee, Pattie Palmer and Christine McFall serve at Christ Church’s Strawberry Fest.

From left: Kenny Lee stands with Jerry the Jester at the yearly Strawberry Festival. Wendy Overton and Judy Klock at work at the Strawberry Festival. (L-R) Kelley Pierson, Nancy Wiseman, Susan Lee, Pattie Palmer and Christine McFall serve at Christ Church’s Strawberry Fest.

Loudoun’s Civil War
America’s War Between the States (1861-1865) split Loudoun County. Many farmers of German, Quaker and Scotch-Irish decent in northern Loudoun did not want anything to do with slavery and the Confederate States of America (CSA). They were not alone. Leesburg’s John Janney, who tried to get the 1831 General Assembly to abolish slavery in Virginia, voted originally against seceding at the Commonwealth’s Secession Convention in 1861. He wrote to his wife, “I have used every faculty that I possess to prevent this catastrophe. …”

Soon after the secession vote, Virginia’s northwestern section broke away from the Old Dominion and joined the Union as the West Virginia territory. That move put Union land on three sides of Loudoun and made Lucketts and the northern outcrop a gateway for both the Confederate and Union armies.

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A gateway event occurred in August 1861 when a Loudoun native led a Union detachment over the Point of Rocks bridge. They surprised and killed a 14-year-old Confederate soldier — the first Loudoun CSA soldier to die on Loudoun County soil. The Confederates burned the bridge later that day and buried the boy in Lucketts.

Two months later, the Union blundered at Ball’s Bluff, south of Lucketts. U.S. Gen. George McClellan ordered federal troops to cross the Potomac River to test the CSA Army’s defense of Leesburg. When the Virginia Infantry spied the approaching troops they “double-quicked to the woods skirting Ball’s Bluff, and formed in line of battle” and took on the federals, according to Tom Richards, a Confederate soldier. In the afternoon the Virginians attacked, but this time with help from a large Mississippi regiment. “We went at them with a yell,” Richards wrote.

As bullets flew, Union soldiers fled down the steep bluff to jump into boats. Overcrowded boats capsized. Drowned bodies floated downstream to the horror of Washingtonians. One of the 223 federals killed was Col. Edward D. Baker, a U.S. senator from Oregon and friend of President Abraham Lincoln. Baker is the sole U.S. senator to die in battle.

In June 1862, about 200 loyalists formed the Loudoun Rangers — the only organized group of Union combatants in Virginia. Subsequently, CSA Gen. J.E.B. Stuart allowed Captain John S. Mosby to form his own group of independent rangers on Dec. 30, 1862. Mosby, a brilliant 29-year-old lawyer, channeled military tactics he had studied of Francis Marion, the American Revolution’s “Swamp Fox.” Soon, Mosby’s Rangers fought the Loudoun Rangers and attacked Union outposts, supply wagons and railroad operations. The “Gray Ghost” and his partisans kept thousands of federal troops busy while the Confederate army moved.

In the Lucketts area, Mosby’s Rangers “celebrated” the Fourth of July in 1864 with their own fireworks. They fired artillery at a canal boat transporting federal Treasury employees near Point of Rocks. With shells flying overhead, the boat went aground. Passengers and crew jumped ashore and ran in every direction while rangers grabbed liquor, cigars and everything they wanted before burning the boat.

“The rangers then cut telegraph lines, threw logs across the railroad tracks, hid and waited for an oncoming Union train,” Civil War historian Donald Hakenson says. A few minutes later, the train’s engineer frantically blew his whistle to stop the train after he saw the boat’s smoke, but it was too late. Mosby’s men opened fire. Rangers plundered passengers who did not escape.

The next morning, four young Loudoun women stealthily crossed the Potomac River near Lucketts to obtain apparel in Maryland for Confederate soldiers. After collecting and hiding goods, Union soldiers caught the “shoppers” and took them to prison. Washington officials threatened to hang them as spies. Fortunately for the women, who almost “shopped ’til they dropped,” officials paroled them after three weeks. The plucky women recovered their contraband and crossed the river in a skiff with heavy boots and cloth dangling inside their hoop skirts.

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Postwar Loudoun: Turning Milk into Wine
After the war, dairy farming, apple harvesting and horse breeding entered Loudoun County’s agricultural mix. By the 1930s, many farmers longed for electricity. With financial help from the New Deal’s Rural Electrification Administration, farmers formed an electric cooperative in 1939 — called NOVEC today.

In the 1960s, some Loudoun fields of grain became Dulles Airport runways. Farms began sprouting housing developments instead of crops, and dairy farmers seemed to be turning milk into wine.

Today, 44 wineries and 23 breweries in the county lure tourists and residents with not just tastings, but entertainment, local foods, special events and — most importantly — beautiful countryside vistas.

Attractions and Events in and around Lucketts

Ball’s Bluff Battlefield Regional Park’s
seven miles of trails and one of the smallest national cemeteries give visitors “an honest reminder of the Civil War’s impact on Northern Virginia and the rest of the country.” Balls Bluff Road.

Faith Like a Mustard Seed Farm
offers a farmer’s market and wedding venue. 42906 Lucketts Road.

Lovettsville’s Oktoberfest
is Sept. 28-29, in a town founded by German immigrants. Two locations: East Pennsylvania Avenue and Town Center Drive.

Waterford Fair
is Oct. 5-7 near Clarke’s Gap Road in this National Historic Landmark village.


Wineries, Breweries and Eateries in and near Lucketts

Barnhouse Brewery
43271 Spinks Ferry Road

Fabbioli Cellars
5669 Limestone School Road

Hidden Brook Winery
43301 Spinks Ferry Road

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
42461 Lovettsville Road

Roots 657 Café and Local Market
42301 Spinks Ferry Road

Tarara Winery
13648 Tarara Lane

Vanish Farmwoods Brewery
42264 Black Hops Lane

The Vineyards & Winery at Lost Creek
43285 Spinks Ferry Road

Winery 32
15066 Limestone School Road


References:

Guide to Virginia’s Civil War,
civilwartraveler.com

William S. Connery, Civil War: Northern Virginia
1861, copyright 2011

Donald C. Hakenson and Charles V. Mauro, A Tour Guide and History of Col. John S. Mosby’s Combat Operations in Loudoun County, Virginia, copyright 2016

VisitLoundoun.org