Great Small Towns Near DC: Waterford

Around Waterford, Virginia. Photography by Jared Soares

Waterford, Virginia—on the banks of Catoctin Creek in the drowsy foothills of the Blue Ridge—is 50 miles and about 250 years from DC. The Loudoun County village, founded by Quakers in 1733, consists of some 90 handsome brick Federal, Victorian, and Colonial homes interspersed with tumbledown log cabins, an 18th-century mill, a working blacksmith’s forge, and a rustic general store, its shelves covered in what might be Civil War-era dust.

Photo by Jared Soares

There are no restaurants—the county has strict conservation codes—but that hasn’t stopped celebrated artists, playwrights, and authors from making the town home over the years. Come during the annual Waterford Fair (October 2 through 4 will be the 72nd), when some 20,000 visitors converge for guided home tours and exhibits by Colonial-authentic gunsmiths, farriers, musicians, and magicians. Stay at the gracious Stone Manor Bed & Breakfast (13193 Mountain Rd.; 540-822-3032) in nearby Lovettsville, and when hungry grab some BBQ and Virginia wine at Vino9Market in neighboring Paeonian Springs (40602 Charles Town Pike; 540-882-9600).

Population: 300.

Distance from DC: 50 miles.

Town trivia: Playwright John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation) has a home here.