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Middleburg Blog: Tea at the Mill

The historic 200-year-old Aldie Mill in the village of Aldie, a Nova Parks property, has been a tourist attraction for many years by offering a slate of social activities, demonstrations, educational programs and events that bring visitors from all over. The little village is located just west of Gilbert's Corner on Route 50. The village has a few shops, churches, a school, historic homes, a country inn and a soon-to-open cafe and general store.

The Aldie Mill is regarded by some as the village's featured attraction, along with the fall festival with its famous duck race.

On April 29 at 1 p.m. the public is invited to a "Mint Julep" tea at the Aldie Mill. Calling Card Events will cater and offer scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches, tea breads and assorted desserts, all accompanied by endless pots of tea. Teas include Mint Fields Tea from Dominion Tea in Purcellville and the exclusive Aldie Mill Blend.

Following the tea, guests are invited to join members of the Aldie Horticultural Society to create a unique floral arrangement as their special memento of the day.The floral workshops have become popular, and this time the workshop will feature a Kentucky Derby-styled arrangement in a stainless-steel mint julep cup.

The charge for the tableside tea service and floral arrangement is $37 per person. Proceeds will benefit the Aldie Mill's educational programs. Reservations are required. For more information call Tracy Gillespie, historic site manager, at 703-327-9777.

Bluemont news

Scenic country drives are a vital part of western Loudoun. One of the most beautiful is Snickersville Turnpike, which turns northwest off of Route 50 west. The drive takes visitors by a number of horse farms, stone walls, pastures, fields, historic sites and gorgeous views of the countryside. The fresh new greens of spring are beginning to show, along with the spring flowers, as views of the Blue Ridge appear off and on from the road.

At the western end of Snickersville Turnpike, another historic and charming village, Bluemont, is located at Williams Gap, nestled at the foot of the Blue Ridge. This little village also has its attractions, including the annual fair, and its historic homes and buildings.

John Flannery, district director at the Loudoun Soil and Water Conservation District and an attorney who resides in Loudoun County, wrote a recent Loudoun Times-Mirror commentary, "The End of Rural Loudoun?" where he discussed the challenges the western part of Loudoun is facing. A great deal of its countryside is being developed.

Henry Plaster, known in Bluemont as "Mr. Mayor," is chairman of the Snickersville Turnpike Association. He wrote in the "The Pike Packet," the March edition of the group's newsletter: "The ability to maintain the historical rural character of the area is threatened by clustered housing development and pressures on county supervisors to find non-agricultural uses for our open spaces."

Plaster is Bluemont's representative on the Loudoun County Preservation and Conservation Coalition's Rural Road Committee. He and other Bluemont residents have volunteered their time to help research and mark historic sites along Snickersville Turnpike, as well as in Bluemont.

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