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Carolina BBQ Brothers

If you’re looking for the no-frills dining experience that the locals flock to, look no further.  Carolina Barbeque Brothers is the best barbeque for miles around.  It’s the perfect spot for those weeknights or weekends when you can’t bring yourself to cook but don’t want to break the bank.  Their slow-cooked barbeque practically melts in your mouth, and every side they offer is served up with delicious flavors that transport you to a Southern 4th of July potluck.  

Furthermore, they have recently posted information about common allergens found in each dish they serve, so if you’re someone who struggles to find a healthy meal on the go, this is a great place to go.  I’ve eaten here while gluten free, dairy free, and even on an elimination diet.  

You can look here to check out their menu, read more about the founder, or plan for your next party.  If you want to plan your visit around some outdoor fun, you can check out Ashburn Park down the road or the W&OD trail located right next to the restaurant.

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W&OD Trail

I’ll never forget riding the W&OD trail with my father and sisters as a child.  My mother dropped us off at the beginning in Purcellville and we pedalled along much of the day until we reached Leesburg.  There wasn’t much to see in Ashburn back then, but we knew if we kept at it, we could make it all the way into Washington D.C.

Referred to as “the skinniest park in Virginia,” the W&)D stretches 45 miles from Purcellville, Virginia all the way to Shirlington.  There is a 32 mile gravel path available to equestrians and many parking lots along the way to enable travelers to jump on and off the trail.  From Ashburn, you can head out to Purcellville for a day trip and check out the restaurants and shops located at the very end (or beginning!) of the trail.  You can also head east and explore many different areas on the way to DC.  

The Ashburn section of the W&OD runs about 6 miles with entrances at Smith Switch Road off Gloucester Parkway, Farmwell Station Middle School, Trailside Parkway, Ashburn Road, and Belmont Ridge Road.  The Belmont intersection was notoriously a dangerous one, however recent widening of Belmont Ridge Road has created an underpass for cyclists and travelers along the W&OD.  One of our favorite parts of the trail is the Ashburn Road entrance which is home to the greatest barbeque for miles around,  Carolina Barbeque Brothers.

To help plan your trip, you can check out a map of amenities located close to the Loudoun County parts of the trail here.  This was a crowd-sourced project from 2013. I’d recommend double-checking to make sure a business still exists before planning your route around it!

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Top Golf

My first and only experience with golf consisted of my teenage YMCA counselor shaking his head in disbelief and telling me to stick to arts and crafts.  So when my husband recommended that we go to Top Golf for an anniversary date, I was not thrilled.  I’d heard good things about their food, however, so I decided to go along for the meal and beg to leave early if it was terrible.    

I couldn’t have been more surprised with how much fun this place was.  You could compare it to the experience of bowling, but it can be more fast paced.  When you walk in, you get assigned a bay on one of the three levels.  Each bay has a machine that feeds golf balls and a set of clubs for you to use.  The golf course is a giant field surrounded by a net to keep the balls in, and the basic point of the game is to hit your ball into one of the giant targets located throughout the field.  

When you start playing, you can choose between many different games to play, some geared more towards rookie or casual golfers and others for advanced players.  Just like bowling, there’s a scoreboard that keeps track of points (using little chips in the balls) and sometimes encourages or taunts players based on their performance.  During our date, I racked some points up and gave my husband a run for his money, all while enjoying the delicious appetizers and drinks that were served directly to our private table.  

This place gets busy on the weekends, so I recommend either reserving a bay beforehand or showing up early with the knowledge that you may be hanging out at the bar for a little while. There are heaters in the bays, so you can stay pretty warm during the colder months.  You can host an event here, sign up for classes through TopGolfU, or sign up for leagues to play in as well.  Membership is required to use the facility, you can either purchase a one-time card for about $5 or subscribe to a 3 or 6 month unlimited plan.  

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Blend Coffee Bar

When I was in college, I practically lived in the many coffee shops that were within walking distance of my dorm.  I quickly figured out which ones had the most seating, the best eats, and the most electrical outlets.  My standards for coffee shops are impossibly high, and it’s rare that a coffee shop even comes close to meeting those standards.  Blend Coffee Bar is one of the few places that checks all the boxes.  

To start off, the physical space invites you to sit and stay awhile.  Aside from the fact that it’s beautifully designed, there are creative and comfortable seating arrangements, board games, toys for young kids, and a large outdoor patio (with a fence).  It is truly a community space and does much more than your average coffee shop.  If you’re looking for things to do in Ashburn, they host live music each week (usually on Fridays), Food Truck Friday events during the warmer months, trivia nights every two weeks, the occasional yoga class, and much more.  Check out their calendar of events here.  

Blend offers a variety of baked goods (including gluten free treats that don’t fall apart) an assortment of warm breakfast items, desserts, wine and beer, and of course, coffee.  Their coffee is locally roasted and many of the baristas can describe in great detail the differences between the options.  If you’re looking for a place to study, a meeting spot for a client, or even a cozy space to host a party, Blend is a great option!  

https://www.blendcoffeebar.com/

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Legacy Park at Brambleton

If you’re located near Brambleton, Legacy Park is a great outdoors gem for both adults and children. Legacy Park is an 11 acre park along Legacy Park Drive between Belmont Ridge Road and Olympia Drive. This park is mostly wooded with paved trails that connect all areas of the park. There is ample parking on both sides of the park along the road on Legacy Park Drive and Greenside Drive with townhomes and single family homes on both roads.

The park features 2 playgrounds, a basketball court, lighted tennis courts, a beautiful pond, and more. What we find most appealing about the park is the mature trees that create plenty of shade and the beautiful man-made waterfall. One of our favorite things to do when the weather is nice is to ride our bikes to the park, play tennis, and let our toddler run around the 2 playgrounds. After an activity-filled day at the park, we can conveniently head over to the Brambleton Town Center for a nice meal.

Legacy Park is also a great place to take outdoor pictures. We’ve found various scenic backdrops at the park for our family photos and have observed other people doing the same.

 

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Atomic Trampoline Fun Center

The Atomic Trampoline Fun Center is located in Leesburg at the Village of Leesburg shopping center. It’s a large indoor trampoline park with a general jumping area, dodge ball, basketball, and a pit full of foam squares that you can jump into. Whether you’re a small child or a grown adult, this place is lots of fun. My toddler fondly calls this the “jumping place” and gets really excited anytime we go.

When you first enter, there are convenient touchscreens for signing a waiver (only needs to be done once). Then the front desk will take your payment, place a bracelet on your wrist and give you special socks designed for the trampolines. There’s a sitting area where you can change your socks and shelving to place your shoes and belongings. There are also paid lockers if you would like to use them.

The general jumping area is a mix of 40 interconnected trampolines. There are small individual trampolines, longer trampolines, and even trampolines on the walls. At first I was concerned about the safety of my toddler but there are padded areas where they aren’t trampolines and there is staff everywhere paying attention to everyone’s safety.

Jumping on the trampolines truly brings out my inner child. I was unsure of myself at first but have now graduated to jumping from trampoline to trampoline, bouncing off of the walls and even occasionally attempting flips. If I’ve missed a gym workout, this is truly a great replacement activity that is also a lot more fun.

On Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday from 10AM to 11AM, they have a Kids Jump time for $12 (including one adult) which is a great bargain.

1604 Village Market Blvd
Suite 110
Leesburg, VA 20175

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Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee is a chain based out of San Francisco that has several locations in Northern Virginia with 2 locations in Ashburn. Unlike other major chains, this company has maintained their seriousness about coffee (in my opinion). I’ve become quite a connoisseur of coffee especially since I drink it black. Peet’s has never let me down with the quality of their coffee and most of their baristas can talk serious coffee with you.

My favorite location is the one at Brambleton Town Center. It is smaller with limited tables but has the feel of a local coffee shop. The drive-thru is convenient on days when its cold and you don’t want to walk in. I personally like to walk in when I can since the baristas greet me by name and always seem to remember what I want. At the recommendation of one of the baristas, I’ve also started to buy the Ethiopian Super Natural beans from Peet’s to make at home. This is the smoothest and most delicious coffee I’ve had recently. However, it is only available for a limited time every year so get your beans while you can.

 

19800 Belmont Chase Dr
Ashburn, VA 20147

 

42385 Ryan Rd
Ashburn, VA 20148