Want to wander with your dog over 1,000 acres of fields, woods, formal gardens and beautiful rolling Virginia hills within an hour’s drive of the city? Look no further than Morven Park in Leesburg.
Leashed dogs are welcome throughout the estate grounds, once home to Westmoreland Davis, the 55th governor of Virginia, and his wife, Marguerite. The couple bought the property in 1903. You won’t be able to tour the stunning Greek Revival mansion, coach house or carriage museum, however, as dogs aren’t permitted inside the buildings.
Morven Park hosts a wide variety of activities, such as horse shows and food and wine festivals, and most are dog-friendly. Just keep your dog under close control, especially around horses or other animals that could be frightened by an excited dog.
Another nice thing about the park on a hot summer day is that there are plenty of shaded trails. In fact, last year, in partnership with the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy, the park opened more than two miles of new hiking trails winding through the woods.
I would recommend packing a picnic lunch—there’s something about the property that makes you want to avoid returning to the clogged Beltway and city sidewalks. But if you want to explore the quaint main drag in Leesburg, you’ll find at least two restaurants with outdoor, dog-friendly dining: La Lou Bistro and Tuscarora Mill.
Morven Park is at 17263 Southern Planter Ln., Leesburg; 703-777-2414.
Gwyn Donohue is the author of the blog Two Dog Tales. Head there to read about more events, activities, and news for Washington dog owners.