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‘X’ marks the spot for Loudoun County’s artisans

Stone Manor Bed and Breakfast in Lovettsville is part of the new Artisan Trail in Loudoun County. Facebook/Stone Manor Bed and Breakfast
Loudoun County residents and visitors will soon be able to follow a carefully crafted trail to sample some of the county's best artisan offerings.

Loudoun's Artisan Trail will be made up of local arts and agricultural businesses, tourism and economic development representatives and cultural businesses. The organizers represent a public-private initiative with an aim of strengthening the relationships and connectivity of local businesses, while also emphasizing local products.

Small business and community leaders have been working for months to establish the trail, and it's just about ready for launch.

“The development of an artisan trail is the logical extension of our successful wine trail and LoCo Ale Trail,” Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson said.

In becoming an Artisan Trail member, food producers, artists, distilleries and others will find their businesses plotted on a map. The map showing their location will form part of a brochure that will be placed in visitor's centers and other well-trafficked areas. By referencing the map, visitors to the county and those living here will experience “the vast array of products, from cheeses and honey to organic body lotions and herbs to art created by our neighbors,” said Lisa Strout, trail boss and gallery manager for Leesburg's Tryst Gallery.

Members signed up so far include visual artists, breweries, wineries, locally owned restaurants and bed and breakfasts, including Beth Goldsmith of Creative Works in Purcellville, Loudoun Valley Herbs in Round Hill, Side Saddle Cafe in Middleburg, Stone Manor B&B Inn in Lovettsville, Loudoun Brewing Co. in Purcellville and Amazing Farm Fun at Ticonderoga Farm of Chantilly. Artisans and businesses pay a nominal fee to the Artisan Center to be included in the trail.

The idea came about thanks to a conversation between Strout, Erickson and Marantha Edwards, economic development director for the Town of Leesburg.

“We were discussing how to make the art community more visible and increase Loudoun’s footprint as an arts destination,” Strout said. “There are an amazing number of artists, artisans and craftspeople working in Loudoun and we wanted to offer them a way to reach not just customers, but each other. We were familiar with the program run by the Artisans Center of Virginia that networks all artisans county-wide and thought it would be the most efficient and affordable way of achieving our goal.”

Members of the trail are also expected interact with each other to identify further opportunities to elevate the profile of Loudoun as an arts and culture destination.

The premise is part of a wider program from the Artisans Center of Virginia. The center manages a program developed to raise awareness with residents and visitors alike of the creative talents present in the state.

The Loudoun County Artisan Trail will be the 31st trail in the commonwealth. Members will get a web page on the Artisans Center of Virginia website as well as be featured on the specially designed trail map. The web page is designed to give members their own space to create content to engage with an online audience.

The focus now is on finding a suitably creative name for the trail. A naming event where people can put forward suggestions will be held March 28 at Stone Tower Winery.

More information on how to become a trail site member can be found at http://www.artisantrailnetwork.org

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